Thursday, July 28, 2022

Canned Peaches Discography

I'm baaack!!! Yes it's been a long time, but I was working for a lengthy amount of time on this project. It's from my personal library, so buckle up because it's story time!

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, I was very much interested in audio equipment. Not only did it provide me with music, but it also provided me with a toy. Analog audio tape is quite interesting to play with. Not only does it work, but it also doesn't work in interesting ways. You can play with the speed, you can have bad azimuth, mechanical buttons to operate analog tape can be quite crude, and the list can go on.

The story begins with a thrift store that had opened two blocks away from me. As an eleven year old boy, I went there at least once a week to see what kind of interesting junk I could find. One day, I walked in and spotted a Sony TC-106 reel to reel machine and immediately fell in love with it. I went home, grabbed some of the money I had squirreled away, and promptly paid the man $20 for it. I struggled getting it home because the damn thing was made out of steel, but I persisted. Anyway, I would play with the thing off and on throughout the next few years.

There came a day where I seemingly stumbled upon something interesting that this machine could do. If you bypassed the erase head, you could simply record over top something that was previously recorded. I made up a story where I went hunting for a lion to kill and eat, and as I was searching through the jungle calling out for the lion, there were really bad jungle sound effects in the background that I had made previously. It was essentially multitrack recording, except you only get one shot at it. Unfortunately, I don't own the recording anymore.

On another occasion, I filled up an audio cassette with a sound collage consisting of TV commercials, sound effects, clips from TV shows, and all kinds of other weird crap. I called the tape "The Weird Stuff". Unfortunately, I no longer own a copy of this either.

All of this farting around with audio culminated on September 5, 1992. I was 14 years old and there was a girl at school who was a real pain in my ass named Michelle. I absolutely hated this girl with all my being. I hated her so much that I decided to make a song about her. I couldn't play any instruments, but I had my Sony TC-106. I recorded a copy of the song "Michelle" by The Beatles and overdubbed profanities onto the song. Little did I realize that I had begun what would end up being a six year long project. I named my project "Canned Peaches" and went on a path of making novelty songs and medleys out of (mostly) commercially released music. These were essentially mashups, but the term "mashup" and the genre wouldn't appear for another nine years. The medleys usually had a theme or a story to them, but sometimes consisted only of songs that spliced well together. A lot of these tracks helped me explore some of the more important subjects such as crushes, sex, and even death. However, some were just me fucking around with audio gear.

I made seven albums which consisted of nothing but these audio projects. I passed out mix tapes to friends and those who were close to me were allowed to borrow the cassettes I had made for myself. I made an album cover for each one, liner notes, organized track orders to optimize tape length, and wore these albums as a badge of honour.

I have spent the last few months doing digital transfers and digitally remastering these songs (and dealing with tape splices that have gone sticky). For the last 20 years or so, I've made some attempts to digitally remaster these tracks but was never happy with the results. This time, I'm very pleased at how well these cleaned up. Now I'm more than happy to re-release them back into the public (with bonus tracks!)

So now that you know the background, let's get into each of these albums. As a side note, if you only download one album, it should be "Peach On Ice". It is the most enjoyable album as a whole. However, I will be providing two tracks from each album. An important side-note to remember is that absolutely no computers were used to create any of these tracks. It was all done with tape. Anyway, let's begin our journey...


Sleeps With The Peaches

This was the first Canned Peaches album, released in January of 1993 back when I was just 14 years old. Sleeps With The Peaches was slated for release in December of 1992, but my mom grounded me that month by forbidding me to do anything music related which delayed the release. When I made the first song "Michelle" in September of 1992, I was excited by what I had done but didn't really know how to move forward with something like this. I eventually decided to use my previous audio experimentation for inspiration on how to proceed with this project. The name "Canned Peaches" and the album title were both taken from an episode of the sitcom "Alf" where Uncle Albert comes to visit and inevitably dies, or "sleeps with the peaches". After making the song "Michelle", I had passed out copies of the song on cassette to some friends; copies that didn't have a final edit to them and thus were quite different from the final and officially released version. The track listing would also change multiple times before I settled on what was officially relased. The album almost ended up being an extension of "The Weird Stuff", but at some point I decided to make all new material for it. There are only 8 tracks on this album due to having no clue what I was working towards and the fact that I wanted to get it out by the end of the year. It's a rushed and somewhat boring album, but it paved the way for the next six albums that would follow it.

Listen to Michelle

Listen to Mixed Up Hammer

Download the entire album


Mix It Up

This is what I would consider to be the first proper full-length Canned Peaches album. It was release in July 1993 when I was 15 years old. It's mainly just an extension of what I started on Sleeps With The Peaches, but it really gave me time to start fine-tuning some of the editing techniques I was using. I think it's the most well-rounded album of them all, and it wins second place for it's overall audio quality. The tracks can come across as a bit bland, but there's enough here to keep things interesting. This album kick-started my goal of having one sex-based medley for each album. After passing copies of this album out to my peers at school, the feedback I got on it wasn't all that impressive. In fact, it was pretty negative and often perceived as being "lame". I'm always one to bounce back, so I made it a goal to make the next album just a bit more interesting...

Listen to It's Partytime

Listen to The Diamond Ring

Download the entire album


Hypnotix

Hypnotix was release in January 1994. Much of this album (specifially side 2) was an extension of "Mix it Up", but Hypnotix (pronounced "hypnotics") marked a turning point for me. I had begun utilizing better mixing techniques, including using a Fender guitar amp as a mixer which opened up a whole new world of opportunity. When I threw together "Barney Mix", I felt like I had reached a new level of my audio trickery and was extremely proud of this creation. It quickly became a favourite amongst my peers, along with "Catwalk". This album was created with the idea that there would be a continuous run of tracks with minimal gap between them. Hypnotix is by far the best sounding album quality-wise, and has the only album cover created with a computer (with a dot matrix printer!) While it looked a bit campy back in the day, it has aged quite nicely with it's retro goodness (I think I used Print Shop, but I could be wrong). The track "Care Bears Song" appears here for the first time as a bonus, and was previously released only on a demo tape that I passed around.

Listen to Catwalk

Listen to Barney Mix

Download the entire album


Peach On Ice

Peach On Ice is the pinnacle of the entire discography. This has all the elements of a perfect Canned Peaches album. There is a nice balance of proper mixing, overdubbing, tape splicing, humour, and a sex medley. Here are some interesting facts about this album...

- This album was made during a transition between open reel tape recorders. My TC-106 was getting a bit ragged, so I moved onto a Sony TC-105 which inevitably made things a bit more interesting.

- This album marks the first appearance of a track in stereo (everything preceding this release was in mono). 

- The New Kids on the Block album "Hangin' Tough" was purchased (for two dollars) solely to create the first track. 

- This album marked the end of the Michelle trilogy. 

- The song "Return to Tihsllub" sets the record for the longest track to make (one week). 

- This is the only album cover that was drawn by myself. 

- During the 2005 digitizing process, I unearthed the original but unfinished version of "Return to Tihsllub" which was supposed to be erased (and theoretically was!) I ended up 'finishing' it digitally. 

- A restored original version of "Power to the People" is presented here as a bonus track. The one that appeared on the original album suffered tape damage before release and the damaged part was edited out. 

- "Nice Ice Baby" took around 20-30 takes in order to get it somewhat perfectly in sync.

Listen to Power To The People

Listen to Nice Ice Baby

Download the entire album


A Legend Bound To Come True

This album was released in January 1996. I had a very difficult time with this album and it really shows. Creativity wasn't flowing all that well and tracks just weren't turning out all that good. As a result, it leans more toward the experimental side of things. However, a few fan favourites came out of it such as "Ozzy's Cats", "Suzie's Puke", and "Happy 16th Birthday". I came up with the album title when I was working on programming an original game for my Commodore Vic-20 back when I was 13 years old. The album cover is made of snippets from Highlights magazines. The original hidden bonus track "Bad Stuff" was made for a someone's school video project. The left and right channels of "Suzie's Puke" were mixed separately with the idea to remix it back into stereo once I got a stereo reel to reel machine, and a mono mix would be made for the album. Synchronizing the track into mono was an extremely frustrating experience and the audio quality was awful. I've replaced the mono version with the 2002 stereo mix which is vastly superior.

Creating this album was absolutely wearing me down. I can safely say that I was starting to suffer from the effects of burnout when this one came out. This led me to the realization that I was starting to see the end of Canned Peaches on the horizon. However, I wasn't done yet...

Listen to Ozzy's Cats

Listen to Suzie's Puke

Download the entire album


Biggest Bites

As a additional bonus to "Legend", I'm providing my first attempt at making a greatest hits album which was never officially released. Someone had brought me a stereo reel to reel machine for repair, and I decided to take advantage of the opportunity to make this greatest hits album with a constant run-on. However, problems plagued this project. I had used a new-old stock tape which was full of dropouts, the reel to reel was a Dokorder brand (which turns out is a real shit brand), and the sound quality turned out extremely muddy. I tossed the original master tape, but still had a copy on cassette which is presented here. A cover was never created.

Download Biggest Bites


Dimension's End

Dimension's End was released in January 1997. After the difficulty I had making "Legend" and the thought of graduating high school (and not having an audience for Canned Peaches), I started to plan my retirement from the project. I wanted to do one more album of all new material and decided to set some goals with this album...

- I wanted to finish the track "Bethany" which I had never finished back in 1992. The result was a completely new version which I was very happy with. 

- I wanted to have both the longest and the shortest Canned Peaches songs on this album (Dimension's End and She Has it, respectively.)  

- I had a reel to reel tape that I stole from the music room at school a couple years back. I wanted to do something with it, but could never figure out how to utilize such shitty music. This music turned into "Spoliation Overture".

- I wanted a song for each of the album names. (I only partially completed this one.) 

- I wanted a medley of Canned Peaches songs called "Greatest Hits". 

- I had some clips that were left over from other projects along with others that I wanted to use at some point. 

Having all these goals kept me on track and I think the album turned out quite well. One very noticeable aspect of this album is that there's quite a few stereo tracks. I had finally acquired a stereo reel to reel (a very finnicky Sony TC-500) and was happy to finally start utilizing it. Unfortunately, this stereo machine came into my hands quite late in the game, and only a handful of Canned Peaches songs are recorded in stereo.

Listen to Movin' To The Country

Listen to Spoliation Overture

Download the entire album


Lost Music

Lost Music was released in April 1998. It consists of rare & previously unreleased material along with three new tracks. It is the very last Canned Peaches album. The three new tracks (Connect The Dots, Fun To Dress Barbie, Queen Janis) are arguably the best creations that ever came out of this project. I also replaced my Sony TC-500 with the much better Sony TC-230.

 

"Care Bears Song" was originally slated to be included on this release, but it accidentally got lost in the shuffle of creating the track listing. 

An early attempt at creating a collection of previously unreleased material under the "Lost Music" name was done in 1994, but was ultimately scrapped when I realized the tracks were all terrible. The cover (presented here in edited form) is the third incarnation which was just simply clipped out of a National Geographic. The bonus track "It's Black" was made in 1999 and was the very last analog Canned Peaches track ever made. "It's Over" wins the award for most improved audio throughout the entire remastering process. 

Three years after Lost Music was released, an internet phenomenon called "mashups" became popular. Apparently I was a slightly ahead of the curve. I hate it when that happens!

Listen to Fun To Dress Barbie

Listen to Queen Janis

Download the entire album


So happy 30th anniversary, Canned Peaches. You deserve to finally be re-released into the public in all your remastered glory!

In case you were wondering, yes I'm considering the possibility of making a new album now that music is much easier to access. I no longer have to rely on purchasing albums, borrowing off friends, or recording off television. We now have the internet at our fingertips. Not sure when I'll get around to that, but let's hope for sometime in the next few years.

I'm also considering making a video documentary about all this stuff, including all the techniques I used to make the songs and perhaps a more in-depth review of many of the tracks that I made. If you'd be interested in seeing this, feel free to leave a comment.

Nevertheless, I hope you enjoyed this project from my teenage years. I sure as hell love re-visiting it!

1 comment:

Maggie said...

Hiya!

I've been a longtime reader and am an artist myself, and this post was really great honestly. I'd personally LOVE to see a video documentary about all this stuff and whatever else you might wanna do related to it! Anyway, figured I'd come out of the woodwork for once and tell you just how appreciative I am of you sharing this stuff and also just what a big fan of this site I am in general. It really reminds me of the good ol' internet where everyone had sites with snarky yet lovingly crafted write ups instead of just posting to their latest social media stories or whatever. Keep on kickin' ass!

Maggie