The Steve Miller Band – Brave New World

More Steve Miller Band

More Psych Rock

  • This outstanding pressing boasts solid Double Plus (A++) sound from top to bottom – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • We guarantee you have never heard Space Cowboy and Brave New World sound remotely as good as they do here
  • Engineered by the one and only Glyn Johns – until we heard this specific pressing we had no idea the album could sound as good as this one does
  • 4 1/2 stars: “Brave New World was more fully realized, and rocked harder, than the Steve Miller Band’s first two albums.”

We just finished a big shootout for this fun Glyn Johns-engineered album, and one thing we can tell you without fear of contradiction is that the average copy of this album simply won’t cut it for serious audiophile listening. This copy had some of the best sound we heard, with the kind of open, extended top end and big, solid bottom that really lets this music come to life!

If you’re not familiar with this album, it is certainly not the Steve Miller Band sound that you’d expect after hearing “Fly Like An Eagle” and “The Joker” a million times on classic rock radio. This is the grungier psych-blues side of the band; one that most of us have probably long forgotten by now.

All Music Guide gives the album 4 1/2 stars, and we enjoyed it as well, so its sonic and musical credentials are certainly in order.

What The Best Sides Of Brave New World Have To Offer Is Not Hard To Hear

  • The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
  • The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1969
  • Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
  • Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the instruments having the correct timbre
  • Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space

No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.

What We’re Listening For On Brave New World

  • Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
  • Then: presence and immediacy. The vocals aren’t “back there” somewhere, lost in the mix. They’re front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt — Glyn Johns in this case — would have put them.
  • The Big Sound comes next — wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
  • Then transient information — fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness so common to these LPs.
  • Tight punchy bass — which ties in with good transient information, also the issue of frequency extension further down.
  • Next: transparency — the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the instruments.
  • Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.

Vinyl Condition

Mint Minus Minus and maybe a bit better is about as quiet as any vintage pressing will play, and since only the right vintage pressings have any hope of sounding good on this album, that will most often be the playing condition of the copies we sell. (The copies that are even a bit noisier get listed on the site are seriously reduced prices or traded back in to the local record stores we shop at.)

Those of you looking for quiet vinyl will have to settle for the sound of other pressings and Heavy Vinyl reissues, purchased elsewhere of course as we have no interest in selling records that don’t have the vintage analog magic of these wonderful originals.

If you want to make the trade-off between bad sound and quiet surfaces with whatever Heavy Vinyl pressing might be available, well, that’s certainly your prerogative, but we can’t imagine losing what’s good about this music — the size, the energy, the presence, the clarity, the weight — just to hear it with less background noise.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Brave New World
Celebration Song
Can’t You Hear Your Daddy’s Heartbeat
Got Love ‘Cause You Need It
Kow Kow

Side Two

Seasons
Space Cowboy
Lt’s Midnight Dream
My Dark Hour

AMG 4 1/2 Star Rave Review

Steve Miller’s guitar playing is the star of this album, blazing across the whole affair more prominently than on any other release in his lengthy career; many of the songs have a power trio feel. In addition to the fine guitar work, Miller’s vocals are stronger here, and during this era in general, than they would be in his hitmaking days in the mid-’70s, when he was much more laid-back and overdubbed. Ever the borrower, adapter, and integrator, Steve Miller shapes the blues, psychedelia, sound effects, sweet multi-tracked vocal harmonies, and guitar-driven hard rock into one cohesive musical statement with this release.

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