Saturday, October 31, 2015

Winter Hours - Chicago, Cabaret Metro, 10/18/89 (R.I.P. Michael Carlucci)

This Thursday I learned the sad news that Winter Hours guitarist/leading light Michael Carlucci passed away suddenly from a heart attack.  I've featured music from the Hours on W/O, and quite coincidentally I corresponded with Michael earlier in the year for the first time.  He expressed his appreciation for keeping the name of his former band alive, and also informed me that plans were in the works for a 2016 reissue of some of Winter Hours earlier records. 

While I didn't foster a frequent or deep rapport with him personally, the music was a different story.  The New Jersey five piece he performed in were consistently vaunted by critics, who often emphasized the Americana inflections that by and large became their calling card.  True, but there were some diffuse post-punk elements peppered in as well, particularly on their first two EPs and the debut 1986 full length Leaving Time, all surfacing on Link Records.  To get a better handle on what they offered sonically, think a less knotty Dream Syndicate, or the Rain Parade had they curtailed their psych urges a notch.  These college radio staples were followed by their second album, Winter Hours, arriving via Chrysalis  in '89.  Although they hadn't sold their soul upon moving to the big leagues, the record could have made greater commercial inroads had Chrysalis not been so intent on promoting hair metal hacks instead, but I digress

I'm presenting a pristine radio broadcast of a 1989 Winter Hours concert in Chicago, in which the band was touring in support of their then-new album, mentioned above.  Bristling with warm frenetic energy the Hours delivered an inspired performance that evening heightening the effectiveness of an already potent body of work.  As you might guess, there's a focus on material from Winter Hours, but they're eager to delve into their back catalog, pulling out among other pearls, "Hyacinth Girl," the band's jangly signature piece that shall echo from the broadcast towers of left-of-the-dial outlets for decades to come.  I would hope anyway.  Take your pick of MP3 of lossless FLAC below, and feel free to check out a set of demos from the immediate precursor band to Winter Hours, Ward 8 here.

01. Longest Century
02. One Small Achievement
03. Smoke Rings
04. Tried So Hard
05. Hyacinth Girl
06. Roadside Flowers
07. The Confessional
08. At a Turtle's Pace
09. Bus Stop
10. Broken Little Man
11. Rise
12. Stay With Me
13. Just Like Love
14. If I Could Make You Hear Me
15. Sweet Virginia
16. Island of Jewels
17. Soul Kitchen

MP3   or   FLAC

7 comments:

Steve Rovner said...

Thanks for posting this. Michael had given me a copy years ago, but I cannot locate it. He was a great guy and I will always cherish the hours I spent talking to him at his store. He turned me on to a lot of great music, and always kept an eye open for the rarities I was searching out. His fingers are all over my music collection, both figuratively and literally. He will be missed.

Jim H. said...

super great, thanks....saw WH anytime they came to Boston, and talked to Michael a few times, a really sweet and thoughtful guy for sure....lets hope for some pre-Chrysalis reissues at some point-it'd be a shame to let their music disappear from commercial view altogether.....

Bruce Kelly said...

I am sorry to hear this news.

My late wife and I probably played "Hyacinth Girl" more than any other song during the summer when it was THE song on Boston radio. For years and years afterwards we continued to love that song. I'm pleased to say there are a couple of friends who know the song thanks to us.

Thank you for the live recording. Looking forward to hearing "Island of Jewels" which has a truly great guitar solo in the studio version.

Elizabeth Klisiewicz said...

I corresponded with Michael many years ago. I think I read about his band in one of the alternative magazines and then got a cassette in the mail that I later played on y radio show. Very sorry to hear of his passing, a talented musician he was.

Rob-in-Brevard said...

In light of the interest in WH, would you be so kind as to re-post the Leaving Trains LP rip?

Thanks for the others, too.

dirthvader1 said...

RIP - Michael... like others Michael was always willing to talk about Winter Hours with a fan

Scott Briggs said...

I somehow only heard this news today, July 21st, 2016.
I'm gutted. I'm one of the original Winter Hours fans,
and proud of it. First heard them on WNYU FM and/or WFDU FM,
college radio, and immediately took trips to NYC to get
their earliest EPs and LP at Bleecker Bob's or wherever.
Last time I saw Michael at his shop Subterranean or at all, was back around 2008 or so, I guess. Also briefly spoke with him at the 2008 or 2009 Winter Hours
Tribute Night and CD release party for A Few Uneven Rhymes
at Maxwell's Hoboken. A wonderful night. I'm truly sorry
to hear this awful news. I got to see Winter Hours twice: once
in 1986 at The Ritz supporting Let's Active and Rain Parade
and then in 1989 at Maxwell's. The latter was even greater
since it was all WH all night long and a full show, with them
finishing with a cover of the Stones' Sweet Virginia and such,
or so my memory tells me. Mike was shocked later, that I was even at the Ritz
1986 show, but indeed I was! With a friend of mine. I was in junior
high school for the beginning of Winter Hours and thus getting into them
a lot younger than many, I suppose. Scott Briggs, LI NY