Everclear Sparkle and Fade
Everclear So Much For the Afterglow
hane Buettner has had a number of different jobs in the audio industry. He has been a writer and editor, and more recently the person handling press for Vandersteen Audio. But it's his latest position, as founder, CEO and contact point for Intervention Records, that has the greatest significance for audiophile-leaning music lovers. He has undertaken an ambitious series of LP reissues for the purest reason imaginable: love of the music. His first four releases feature the bands Stealers Wheel and Everclear, which are neither contemporaries of each other nor musical bedfellows. The unifying thread is Shane.
It's one thing to love all of this music, and another to love it so much that you're willing to devote your time and money to its restoration. Everclear's Sparkle and Fade and So Much For the Afterglow are not obvious choices for the audiophile-reissue treatment. They are not jazz or rock evergreens that people will repurchase simply because they exist. They are, however, rare -- two records that debuted just as vinyl was beginning what seemed like its inevitable tumble into obscurity. These two LPs will cost you serious money in their original form -- or 35 bucks each for Shane's versions.
What do you get for your money? First, there is the music itself. Like Nirvana, Everclear exists somewhere in the intersection between alternative rock and power pop. I hear echoes of the Replacements and Minutemen in songs like "Santa Monica" and "Strawberry" from Sparkle and Fade and Uncle Tupelo in "Why Don't I Believe in God?" from So Much For the Afterglow. But there is no mere mixing of styles here, no artifice for its own sake. Guitars thrash and grind through songs with melodies, hooks and straightforward lyrics. "Everybody Ive mentioned these Everclear releases to says the same thing," Shane told me, "that they played the hell out of these two records back in the day." Is there a better reason to own them than that?
All of this music was recorded to analog tapes, "piles and piles and piles of them," says Shane. "However, there are no fully assembled and sequenced analog masters." Final mixing was done in digital, and for the original pressings that meant CD resolution. The source material Shane had was 24-bit/96kHz digital files from Capitol's archives, which Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio used for remastering. The sound is lucid and visceral, including down into the bass, which has weight and grip. The 180-gram records were pressed at RTI with original Capitol labels, and the tip-on gatefold jackets were created at Stoughton Printing from 28-pound, film-laminated stock. The package is gorgeous. If you value the tangibility of LPs, you won't want to bury these within your record rack.
"Goddamn I love these records," says Shane, calling them "perfect examples of what Intervention is about." Next up he takes a step back in time with three Joe Jackson LPs, followed by an eclectic mix of titles that are currently in the planning stages. Shane's résumé is like no one else's in high-end audio, and Intervention Records reflects this. He's exactly the right guy for this job.
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