Wednesday, October 24, 2007

for the love of mix, long live the demo.

b-sides and demo’s, beginnings and maps of the creative process involved in producing an album. perhaps more…they are an auditory glimpse behind the studio door, into the unmixed talents of artists we love…or hate. but the ability of a band to produce demo tracks that warrant listening and loving on their own merit speaks volumes about the talent who created them. this is a trend that i hope more artists start setting: it not only attests to a band’s ability, it is an invaluable marketing tool.

fans of Brand New were tided over between their three year album hiatus with 9 leaked demo tracks. those demos became an album of their own for me, and remain still. the changes that accompanied demo 8’s transition into sowing season morphed the same chords and words into something different but equally enjoyable. i listen to and love both. the most defining aspect of these tracks as a collective stems from the decision of the BN boys not to mix all of them into the final release; unintentionally solidifying them into an unofficial, technically unreleased lp. yesterday, one of those unmixed and unreleased demos made the leap into production. (fork and knife), otherwise known as demo 7 or The Piano Song, underwent some lyric changes, and the addition of a stellar bridge. it’s different, produced, enjoyable. keeping the melodic piano progressions and hint of hollow drums, the mix gives the track more depth. the clarified vocals give the lyrics more meaning and the song more balance.

another demo-friendly band is Jimmy Eat World. they released a dual disc of both the mixed and demo versions on their last studio album Futures. prior to the release of their new album Chase This Light, i was privy to a demo version. while the album is not Clarity, and i’m starting to believe none of their albums ever will be, there are some very addictive tracks, some extremely radio friendly ones, and one or two hidden gems. an instrumental demo titled Gotta Be Somebody’s Blues was definitely one of those gems. i had hoped it would remain instrumental, however it was given a voice in the end. to my surprise, the vocal additions actually made the track more epic. i have room in my heart for two versions, and am glad i had the opportunity to hear both.

i love the mix, but long live the demo.

(reposted with permission of author. originally posted on The Snob Machine.)

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