poison to the mind


“Co-caine! Bub-bly! WHEE!”

Pretty much ever since The Avalanches' first full-length was released, people across the world have been whining "when will the Avalanches release something new?" You can't say they don't have a point - in the three years before Since I Left You they lost their original Japanese MC, played a bunch of interstate shows, released a single and an EP from their demo recordings, added Dexter as DJ, toured solidly around the country, released a polished EP and toured some more, released a four-track 12" of dancier non-rap material... and then spent the second 18 months just clearing samples for the album (filling in a little bit of time with shows and putting out the Gimix cassette).

And in the five years since then - scattered, occasional shows, adding members, dropping members, a handful of remixes, and devolution into a two-person DJ team. They've emitted smoke signals to the effect that more recording has begun, but no point getting excited just yet.

And who knows if anything new will even engender excitement once it emerges - the karaoke show that was the Since I Left You tour only served to disappoint in comparison to the thrilling chaos of their early shows, with members running across the stage rapping, trading instruments every song, even throwing guitars to each other mid-song, jumping over each other's backs to reach the theremin... No argument that the album (well, the original pressing, before so many samples got fucked out the side, at least) isn't a fantastic piece of work, but it's a polite record, a living-room House album, a (whisper it) headphone record. I miss the hip-hop group that was fun to watch, you know?

So let's crank up the nostalgia machine and revisit their very first single (note to collectors: the red vinyl was the second pressing!), the ramshackle rap mess of "Rock City". In case you like it, here's four fucking versions for your ass.

The original 7" version (Horse001-7):
The Avalanches - Rock City (7" version)

This one's from a radio session in September 1997:
The Avalanches - Rock City (radio session)

The re-recorded version from 1998's El Producto EP (no juxmo):
The Avalanches - Rock City (El Producto version)

And finally, a live TV appearance following that EP's release - the version of "Run DNA" they played on the same show often gets programmed on Rage, but this doesn't seem to be in the options. It got released on a compilation, though:
The Avalanches - Rock City (live on Recovery)

Well, the 7" is way out of print. The EP goes for big money these days (or did a few years ago. The Recovery CD of TV performances has gone OOP too, as did a sequel. And the radio session is from my own tapes. That's all well and good, we're not about posting commercially-available stuff here.
But would you believe that even Since I Left You is unavailable on CD right now? At least you can still pick it up on vinyl (along with ludicrously expensive 12"s of the title track and Since I Left You). Though then it's still the sample-censored version. Ah fuck it, let's hope they do put something new out after all, eh?

More old Avalanche excavation tomorrow? Anyone want it?

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  1. haha I forgot how good the moog breakdown on the 7″ version was.

  2. I choose to take this post as an endorsement of my PLEASE PLAY INSTRUMENTS AGAIN AVALANCHES position, as well as of any opinion I may express in the future.

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