Sunday, March 04, 2007

MIRACLE LEGION part 1 posted with Rex


Genre:
Rock
Style:
Alternative Rock, Folk Rock





























THE BACKYARD (1984) Ep

Notes by Rex :
Their debut EP, never released on CD, ripped from vinyl.

Tracklist :

01 Butterflies
02 Closer To The Wall
03 The Backyard
04 Say Hello
05 Heart Is Attached
06 Stephen, Are You There?


Link to download:


"The six songs on this album are midtempo, often yearning jangle-pop numbers, most with atmospheric, impressionistic lyrics. They're performed by a mid-range baritone singer whose voice is often somewhat buried in the overall sound mix. Around this, echoing background vocals are sometimes interwoven into the general texture. The accompaniment usually consists of ringing and frequently arpeggiated electric guitar, active yet tasteful bass underpinnings, and driving, yet never overstated drums. If you think this is all another way of saying that Miracle Legion's work is a dead-ringer soundalike for R.E.M.'s early-period songs, you're exactly right. The only non-R.E.M. touch in the first five songs are the occasional odd grinding harmonic dissonances in "Butterflies." The last song, the scintillating "Stephen, Are You There?" manages to convincingly conjure up a New-South sound by using only echo-drenched acoustic guitars, tambourine, and voice. In general, the songs are good, if not nearly as memorable as those of their main model. Production values are at times a bit haphazard. This attractive album is worth a listen, especially for those who like music in this style. "~ David Cleary, All Music Guide

"Six songs of pure heaven. The first record by Miracle Legion, a Connecticut rock phenomenon that never quite made it to the big leagues. But it was never their fault (blame Rough Trade and Morgan Creek if you must). Whatever the causes of their trapped-in-limited-exposure-ville, this first record shines. It stays relatively mellow, though "Closer to the Wall" evokes some of the high-energy and grittiness that their live performances always imbued into their otherwise sad and beautiful pop tunes. The music is innocent and lush in a way that doesn't quite evoke early R.E.M (though they were often accused of sounding like the boys from Athens, GA, and way back when Michael Stipe was a confessed fan of the Legion). Mark Mulcahy's voice warbles as he sings stories of being young or being old or being nice or just being. The songs remain moving to me over a decade after I first got a copy of this record. Ray Neal's guitar lines hover over the chord changes in interesting ways without getting weird, and the bass and drums respectively hold everything together but in a way that's unique without being ostentatious. I can't praise this record highly enough. Totally great. "

"Music of my youth from the almost unbearably earnest Miracle Legion. Their first EP created a bit of a stir and was very difficult to find within a few months of its release, granting that expectations for this sort of thing were considerably lower than they would be now. (Selling 2000 copies of something like this would have been considered no small triumph.) They received plenty of the usual R.E.M. comparisons, but managed to establish their own identity over the course of several releases; one I particularly enjoy is the Me and Mr. Ray LP (1989), a stripped-down, largely acoustic affair that tends (like all of their records, really) toward sad melodies and movingly clunky lyrics. You can probably still find it pretty cheap in America's used LP bins. Songwriter/lead singer Mark Mulcahy continues to make the occasional solo record, and re-dubbed a later lineup of Miracle Legion Polaris to provide music for The Adventures of Pete and Pete.
http://www.littlehits.com/archives/2005_07_24_index.html




























SURPRISE SURPRISE SURPRISE (1987)

Notes by Rex :
An LP never released on CD, ripped from vinyl.

Tracklist :

01 Mr. Mingo
02 All For The Best
03 Paradise
04 Truly
05 Storyteller
06 Country Boy
07 Crooked Path
08 Everyone in Heaven
09 Wonderment
10 Little Man
11 Academy Fight Song

Link to download:


"The second record by the CT quartet, this time on the larger (and better distributed) Rough Trade Records. It opens with the rockin' "Mr. Mingo", and doesn't slouch after that. This record is a little less quiet than "The Backyard", and musically maybe it sounds a little less thoughtful (or introspective), but it is never the less a great record. Again, Ray and Mark do what only they can do, writing great happy-sad rock songs with interesting riffs and progressions. The energy of the songs here is a little higher, again evoking their live presence, but on record Miracle Legion made it a point to be a little bit more pinned down, a little more serious, than they were on stage. If I start listing my favorite songs I'll just run down every track on the album. Again, I highly recommend this one. Give it a listen with headphones on and the lights down low. And see if "Little Man" don't move you. [CCL, 2/22/99]"

"The first full-length album from Miracle Legion may also be their best. "Little Man" has and always will bug the hell out of me (could a song be any slower?), and "Storyteller" might be a little too long. But the rest is fairly good, especially if you like that emotionally/lyrically vague jangle pop that was so (not) popular in the mid-eighties on college radio."



























GLAD (1987)

Notes by Rex :
Ripped from cassette, with bonus tracks added. Members of Pere Ubu guest on "Closer to the Wall (Live)".


Tracklist :

01 A Heart Disease Called Love
02 Glad
03 Hey Lucky
04 Butterflies (live)
05 Mr. Mingo (live)
06 Wonderment (live)
07 Closer to the Wall (Live)
08 Mr. Spaceman
09 All The Things
10 Homer
11 Academy Fight Song
12 The Backyard
13 30-60


Link to download:



"This one's basically an EP, the first side containing live tracks recorded in New York (and featuring members of Pere Ubu on some songs), while the second side contains a few new studio tracks. And it's the new stuff that kicks butt: "Heart Disease Called Love" is totally phenomenal, indescribably great. A sad semi-country tearjerker: "I'm goin' out with a bang/ And a.../ A heart disease called love". "Glad" rocks the house as well, an up tempo number. The live stuff found here is OK. It _does_ give a feeling for the energy of their live performances, but it's no substitute for being there. Overall, maybe the price of admission is high, but the rewards will last you a long time. "
































ME AND MR RAY (1989)

Credits:
Guitar - Mr Ray Neal / Mixed By - Paul Q. Kolderie/ Recorded By - Jim Rondinelli/ Vocals - Mark J. Mulcahy


Tracklist:

01 The Ladies From Town
02 And Then?
03 Old & New
04 Sailors And Animals
05 If She Could Cry
06 Pull The Wagon
07 You're The One Lee
08 Even Better
09 Cold Shoulder Balcony
10 Gigantic Transatlantic Trunk Call


Link to download:


"Miracle Legion went through some tough times, and fans like myself went through some agonizing moments when rumors about the band breaking up were circulating. The band did break up, kind of, with only Mark and Ray left. But instead of calling it quits they headed out to The Artist Formerly Known as Prince's Paisley Park Studios, and turned out the folk-rock-y Me & Mr. Ray. This one is acoustic only, with Ray on guitar and Mark singing and playing the occasional harmonica and recorder. This record has its peppy numbers and its dirgier ones, but it still says "Miracle Legion" all over and when many of these songs became electrified (with the addition of a new bass player and drummer), they proved to be just as pliable live as the rest of the ML catalog to date. [CCL, 2/22/99]"

"This is the kind of album that makes me write embarrassingly emotional reviews on amazon.com at four in the morning (it's still up if you want to look, you prying asshole). It's without a doubt the quintessential Miracle Legion experience; ten perfect acoustic numbers, no duds, a little over thirty minutes long. I may like "Surprise Surprise Surprise" more for emotional attachment reasons, but I can honestly tell you that this is the best Miracle Legion album."

"There is nothing wrong with a comparison to the legendary, iconic REM but Miracle Legion are certainly not copycats. This album features remarkable, catchy, and well written acoustic tunes."

"Miracle Legion, now reduced to Mark Mulcahey and Neal Ray still manages to produce a quality record. From what I have read these guys are supposed REM clones. That is an unfortunate comparison because they are way too talented to be reduced to that level. They write all their own songs and possess an uncanny sense of timing. That along with Mulcahey's uniquely gifted vocals they generate some really engaging songs. This is very mellow acoustic music so don't plan any rousing parties unless you want everyone to vegetate."
































DRENCHED (1992)

Credits:
Guitar - Doc Equis/ Mixed By - Kevin Smith/ Organ, Piano - Ian McLagan/ Producer - John Porter /Saxophone - Marty Greb


Tracklist:

01 Sooner
02 Sea Hag
03 Snacks and Candy
04 Good
05 Everything is Rosy
06 With a Wish
07 Little Blue Light
08 Out to Play
09 Velvetine
10 Waiting Room
11 Maybelline


Link to download:


"When this record came out, I thought that the time had finally come when ML would hit it big. They had a new bass player and drummer (both of whom, by the way, totally kick ass), a new record label (backed, theoretically, by all the cash of Morgan Creek Films), and it seemed, a new lease on rock-n-roll life. I saw the band perform this whole record top to bottom at a club in New Haven before it was released, I was blown away by their energy and by many of these new songs...Among them, "Snacks and Candy" a catchy pop ditty that happens to be about something somewhat socially charged: hate crime in New York City; "Everything is Rosy", a seething proclamation that maybe everything is not; and "Out to Play", a fantastic jangly number. This album has a bigger, more produced sound (producer: John Porter). It's hard to find (now that Morgan Creek is defunct), but if you're turned on by any of the earlier records this one will float your boat, too. [CCL, 2/22/99]"

"A superb collection of disparate tunes from the opening beats of "Sooner" and the touching and apparently real life based and very rocky "Snacks and Candy" to the soft and sad "So Good" it speeds up and slows down like a bipolar schizophrenic. There is the sweetly moral "Waiting room" and the deeply heartfelt "Out to Play". This album carries you up and down on a roller coaster and it rocks the suburbs. This is one of the three albums I would choose if forced to burn the rest of my collection. Edi"

"More filler than usual. One incredibly boring song ("Everything is Rosy"). The production is a little too glossy. But, other than that, it's not half bad. "Out to Play" and "Maybelline" are excellent. I'd like to hear the demos of this album someday (without all of the polish and shine). Mulcahy himself has said he enjoyed those a lot more than the actual completed album. I'm guessing the stupid and defunct Morgan Creek has the rights to those, though. Sigh."




























PORTRAIT OF A DAMAGED FAMILY (1996)

Credits:
Cello - Tim Peterson/Flute - Forrest Harlow/ Mixed By - Tom Buckland/ Organ - Kid Nietzsche/ roducer - Drew Waters/Trumpet - Buell Thomas/Violin - Michael Larco/Vocals - Barbara Shepard , Kate Richards , Kriss Santala


Tracklist :

01 You're My Blessing
02 Screamin'
03 Homer
04 Say I Had A Lovely Time
05 La Muerte Di Gardenier
06 Accidently On Purpose
07 Please
08 6 Months
09 Madison Park
10 I Wish I Was Danny Kaye
11 K.K.M.
12 30.06 (You Better Watch Out)
13 Good For Her
14 Gone To Bed At 21
15 Interview


Link to download:


"The last (as far as we know at this time) Miracle Legion record. And it feels like a last record, containing a fair portion of Miracle Legion live favorites that had never yet found their way to a record. Among them are "Homer", a song about a kid and baseball (a lot more powerful than it sounds described here); "I Wish I Was Danny Kaye", about just what the title says; and "Madison Park", a reverie of seeing all there is to see in a park on a summer day. There are other fantastic new numbers here, too: "Gone to Bed at 21", "You're My Blessing", and "Accidently on Purpose" among them. 14 tracks in all, and it makes a great curtain call (if indeed that's what it turns out to be).[CCL, 2/22/99]"

"YOU'RE MY BLESSING IS THE LOVE SONG I WISH I WROTE HIGH ENERGY, AND SINCERE I LIKE THE DANNY KAYE SONG AS WELL THESE GUYS DESERVED TO BE BIG OR AT LEAST HEARD"

Biography:
Miracle Legion were a Connecticut-based band that immediately sprung to life on the heels of post-R.E.M. guitar-rock boom, chiefly because lead singer Mark Mulcahy's voice bore an uncanny resemblance to Michael Stipe's, and the arpeggio guitar structures were akin to Peter Buck's. But the band, Ray Neal; guitar, Jeff Wiederschall; drums and Steven West; bass, and later just Mulcahy and Neal ultimately became unique in their own right.
The Backyard EP, released by the small Incas Records in 1984, was an immediate college radio hit, and the band rode high on its popularity for some time. It took until 1987 to get Surprise Surprise Surprise out on Rough Trade, and they were unable to captilize on the initial buzz; the tone was no longer so sprightly. 1988's Glad was a collection of originals and some live tracks recorded with Pere Ubu. By 1989, Mulcahy and guitarist Ray Neal were working as a duo and released Me and Mr. Ray a savvy acoustic album on Rough Trade. Having abandoned the R.E.M. sound, the band found their own direction as a country-rock duo. Mulcahy continues to perform as a solo acoustic artist. ~ Denise Sullivan, All Music Guide




More info:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miracle_Legion





LOT OF THANKS FOR REX!

12 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Salty, regarding DRUM THEATRE - thanks very much, anything you have would be greatly appreciated :O) Gareth in the UK

3:21 AM  
Anonymous Abby said...

Oh WOW! I'm so grateful that you uploaded all of these. I was such a fan around 87-88 and saw them in Athens, GA during that time. What a wonderful overlooked band. I had a fire in 1991 and lost all my vinyl ML. I replaced with a couple of cassettes, but I now have no idea where those are. It was worth buying a RapidShare account for the day to get them. Thanks a million!!!

1:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of my favourite bands ever. I like ''Surprise, Surprise, Surprise'' LP very much, especially ''Storyteller'' And ''Little Man'', also ''Mr. Mingo'', ''All For The Best'', ''Truly'', ''Wonderment'', almost all album is wonderful. But I like ''Me And Mr. Ray'' LP more. Beautiful songs, almost perfect like ''Sailors And Animals'', Pull The Wagon'', ''You're The One Lee'' made me feel so.... I had their 4 first LP's 'til ''Me And Mr. Ray'' and i'm so happy for having their other LP's now from your site. I hope i like them, too. Thank you very, very much. Teo from Greece.

7:33 AM  
Anonymous tingler said...

i dunno if you even read this blog anymore but you posted the coolest posting ever. rapidshare link to backyard ep. i have been looking for closer to the wall F O R E V E R
heard it back in 85 on WOXY Oxford. had it on cassette...lol with radio static.
wow.
thank you thank you thank you

8:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have just found this site. Thanks very much for these. I got have the first three albums on vinyl and got into them when the third album came out.Surprise,Surprise,Surprise is an amazing album. Have seen them play twice here in the UK way back then. I lost track of them and just decided to Google rapidshare them. Thank for the time and effort.

10:40 AM  
Blogger Nick said...

Darn! It seems the links to download have expired! Is there any possible way for you to re-upload these albums or send them to my email? I am a big fan of these guys, Polaris, and Mark Mulcahy's solo stuff and they are all so hard to find :( Anyway, my email is skatersonic2002@yahoo.com

Thanks!

4:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is there anyway you could please send these to my email,i missed out on getting these. Thanks so much. Le_Petomane@hotmail.com

2:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you could possibly re-up the Miracle Legion items, I would send you really groovy vibes for the rest of my life!! I have only just found your blog and still have goosebumps just viewing and reading the posts. I would SO love to be able to listen to this music again. Do consider it, please. Respect, Mike.

2:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Al right guys, im going to up them next week,i mean in the second part of the next week. Be patient please:)

cheers
salty

3:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have found a site where you can get all of their releases. The links still alive (not my uploads):

http://download.f60s.com/forums/t/311328.aspx

11:45 AM  
Anonymous baratos muebles barcelona said...

Very worthwhile piece of writing, thank you for your article.

2:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh God! this must be reuploaded... if some have this material please be kind and get it up for all the Polaris kind of music.. hehe

8:09 PM  

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