May/June/July ’16

Another busy few months here at Mystery Room Mastering. Some mastering projects include:

Joseph HuberPine Hill Haints, Bullet Proof Lovers, Serious Sam Barrett and James the Fang, Mark Steven Hillstrom, Walker ShellistHorace Greene, Danen KaneStereo FrontierPink TrilliumsKaneFelon (Italy), Rupert (Italy), Charlie (Italy), Fall in Kashmir (Italy), Reality Something94 DistortionSinking SunsWhiskey of the Damned, Cinderuse, Julien KozakWestrin & MowryThe Cut LossesMangled DigitsWalk the DeepPost SocialDope Calypso (Italy), Driveway ThriftdwellersKen TriboliniIan FreiJohann Sebastian Punk (Italy), Architects Of The AftermathBecca May Grant and the Rivers of Madison, Jeff Brown, Zachary BiggusAndrew Price, Jonathan Fries, Hearthfire, and Down On Maddy.

I also mastered a new single for Miles Nielsen & The Rusted Hearts called “High Street”, which you can check out by clicking HERE.

I also mastered a few compilation CDs including one for a local live music series here in my neighborhood called Chill On The Hill. They should have some copies for sale very soon and it features 17 songs from some of the bands/artists performing over the summer. I also mastered a compilation CD for Good Land Records and M: Milwaukee’s Lifestyle Magazine and features 15 songs from some great Milwaukee area bands/artists and you can pick one up for free at some of M: Milwaukee’s Lifestyle Magazine’s events this year. One other compilation I recently mastered is something for local record label Triple Eye Industries and features 13 songs from their various releases. It will be available at their first annual music fest August 26th and 27th at The Cactus Club. More info HERE.

Last but not least…I just put the finishing touches on the next Bash & Pop album. I started mixing an album for Tommy Stinson which evolved into what will be the next Bash & Pop record which will be released in early 2017 on Fat Possum Records. This was a special project for me seeing as the first Bash & Pop album “Friday Night Is Killing Me” (1993) is one of my all-time favorites from both a musical and engineering standpoint. The drum sound on the opening track had a huge influence on drum sounds I would try to get when I was engineering/producing bands.

With the newest Bash & Pop record I agreed to both mix it as well as master it, and also ended up adding some odds & ends such as acoustic guitar, percussion, and backing vocals. I also joined the band and will be playing bass for any live performances.

 

Jan/Feb/March/April ’16

Well, my intent on updating this page more frequently didn’t go well. It’s been an exiting year of great projects already, as well as some significant equipment upgrades in the studio. I added another analog EQ (API 5500), another analog compressor (Manley Variable Mu), another choice of digital to analog and analog to digital conversion (Lynx Hilo), a Dangerous Liaison to manage all the gear, and updated to the latest Crane Song Avocet IIA for source/monitor management and final digital to analog conversion for monitoring.

As far as projects go, there were plenty of mastering projects including Field ReportMidwest Death RattleWestrin & MowryPaladinoThe New RochellesSiro Costacasual vocals, Lugh, DingusTrapper SchoeppSchreng Schreng & La LaLingererThe PeaweesTimothy Charles and the Blind Fiction, Calvin Johnson
and the Snow-Tones, Old Soul SocietyThe Atomic SpinsCabin Essence20 Watt Tombstone/Left Lane Cruiser (split album), Dan Collins & NonprontoKurt BakerLazer LloydSam Steffke & FriendsJeremy J CanfieldMagma Carta, Serious Sam Barrett and James the Fang, Rebecca Gilbert and Kellswater BridgeTeds DancinFortunate OnlyGarbage MasherSpringwaterFox FaceVolkovNorthlessConundrumMark HetzlerBad DinosaurPink BeamClementinePollinatorsTommy and The RocketsThe KaamsLow Down Sound, Mia, Brief CandlesBuildings/Volunteer (split album), The Striped Frogs, Major VistasPost MovesMarkowski’sGhost CutsThe Hallingtons, and some other odds & ends.

Back in early January I spent two days in Rockford Illinois at The Midwest Sound working with Miles Nielsen & The Rusted Hearts recording a song for a tribute album for a band called The Refreshments. I mixed and mastered the song back here at Mystery Room Mastering and it should be available sooner than later.

I just returned from a week of recording up North Wisconsin in a (very nice) cabin with Midnight Reruns. We recorded 8 songs which should end up being the bulk of their next album. I don’t really like recording anymore but when it’s with a great band, I’ll make exceptions now and then if time permits.

I also got out of the studio briefly in January and did a short run of shows playing bass with Tommy Stinson in Milwaukee, Madison, Minneapolis and Chicago. We have another run coming up in early May in Quebec, Toronto and Buffalo. I’m just starting to mix another batch of songs for Tommy for his next album.

UPDATE: An album I mixed last year by Midnight Reruns “Force of Nurture” which was recorded and produced by Tommy Stinson and mixed by myself at Mystery Room Mastering has won the WAMI (Wisconsin Area Music Awards) album of the year. Here it is:

https://midnightreruns.bandcamp.com

 

Sept/Oct/Nov/Dec ’15

Welcome to 2016. With so many projects going on I struggle to find time to update this blog but I’m hoping to be better about that in this new year.

Aside from all the mastering and audio projects, I’ve also been very involved beta testing the next version of WaveLab software which will be released in early 2016. I can’t say much more about it but I’m very fortunate for the opportunity to help shape the software I use on a daily basis. The results are already helping me be more efficient and do better work which ultimately benefits my clients.

Musically, the end of 2015 consisted of a lot of mastering projects. Some won’t be released until 2016 but some notable projects are new full-length albums for Miles Nielsen & The Rusted Hearts, Space Raft, Daryl Stuermer, Trapper Schoepp, Rx Drugs, Beach Patrol, Slow Motion Cowboys, The Black Saints, Chicken Wire Empire, The Invisible Teardrops, Josh Harty, Baby Lucy, Gli Shakers (Italy), and Mike Castle.

Other mastering clients in the 4th quarter of 2015 include: Buffalo GospelCJ Ramone/The MangesBee Bee Sea (Italy), Justin Heron, Mr. Bison (Italy), Tony Memmel, Trolley, Stephanie Erin BrillNO/NO, Heavy Looks, Buddy SmithGina VenierMiss Chain & The Broken Heelsthe Nabokov ProjectPassing SirensDharma DogsJames Tristan Redding, Meggy Wells, Lazer LloydDominatricksssGreatest Lakes, Dr. Chow’s Love MedicineTapebenders, The Night (Germany), The Phantom BroadcastSara and KennyCora Sayers (Spain), Boy on a BikeAriaemsinnetTentacles EverywhereOphelia’s Sweet Demise, GlenWay, The Snake Leaves, Simon ChainsawBad WigHidden Hindthe Decaying ThingsGavi Moon, Samuel Justice, Leading the Blind, Taboo Blah Blah, The Family Business, Nathan Mathes, Back Alley Riot, to name a few.

April/May/June/July/August ’15

This summer has been so busy with projects and things that I haven’t been able to stick to quarterly updates but here are some of the latest projects:

together PANGEA just released a new EP I recently mastered. It was produced by Tommy Stinson and released on Burger Records.

I also mixed and mastered a new Tommy Stinson song called “Can’t Be Bothered” which is now available on iTunes. I also mixed and mastered a new 7″ single for Tommy with two other new songs which will be released any moment now on Burger Records. You can see the video for “Can’t Be Bothered” HERE.

The Midnight Reruns album, which was also produced by Tommy Stinson and mixed and mastered by myself will be out early this fall on Dusty Medical Records. It’s sure to be a Milwaukee rock & roll classic.

Speaking of Milwaukee rock & roll classics, Phylums debut album is out now on Dirtnap Records. Phylums are currently one of Milwaukee’s best bands in my opinion. Listen to it HERE. Buy it HERE.

Other recent mastering projects in include Sahara Surfers (Austria), NO/NO, Nora Collins, Lucyfer Sam (Italy), Space Raft, Midwives, Heavy Looks, Testa Rosa, Gina Venier, TapebendersRoberta Dragone (Italy), Polisong (Spain), Penny CorrisSinfonico Honolulu (Italy), The Midwest Beat, Nate Meng, Dollis & The System, Kurt Baker, Josh Lane, Tradecraft, Sadlord, I’m Not A Pilot, dAb, Linear North, GeenaAuralai, Fun With Atoms, Faux Fiction, The Pikes (Germany), Labradors (Italy), The Singing Company, {ELSE}, Miserable Friend, The Whiskeybelles, The Connection, Out of Nothing, The ComplicationThe Oak Street RamblersCommander Tang, Them Teeth, (ORB)Ophelia’s Sweet DemisefREEXSarah Hollins, WOWS (Italy), The Peawees (Italy), The Lone CanaryLaura PetersenTyler and the Streeters, AvenuesThe Monday SpecialsMare Edstrom And The Snake River RamblersTemporal Sluts (Italy), Dusk, Mia Carruthers, Dope Calypso (Italy), Said the Shotgun, Tight Eye, Mono in Stereo, Lone River (Italy), Jeff & The GoldbloomersGerry Hundt’s Legendary One-Man-Band, BIG HUGE and some others.

 

Jan/Feb/March ’15

2015 is off to a busy and great start.

Some recent mastering projects include: Screeching Weasel, PhylumsBig John Bates, Platinum BoysThe Exotics, GoldBoot, Digital Leather, Great Lakes Drifters, Sweetalk, Overserved Gentlemen, Kaiser (Germany), Go Curtis Go, Kenny Reichert Band, SadlordRainey St. Warriors, The Hussy, IDKFThe Mugwumps (Austria), Vein RaysThe Directionals, Hakan, The Manges/The Queers (Italy), BlonderThe Love is Loud!!, Luke ArvidBelle & the Claytons, K-otix, Avenues, NU (Italy), Glitter Trash, The HullmenWooldridge BrothersTristan Bushman, Testa Rosa, Lou ShieldsTang Soleil (Canada), StrategicThe Piniellas, Holiday Kid, NonprontoMark HarrodPeawees (Italy), and more.

I also took on a special mixing project for the Midnight Reruns new album. The album was recorded and produced by Tommy Stinson (Replacements, Guns N’ Roses). No official release plans yet but the album is mixed, mastered, and ready to go when the time is right.

I took a field trip up to Kiel, WI to record a tape sync interview for one of my favorite radio programs This American Life.

Ian Olvera and I recorded a live concert in Milwaukee, WI at Club Garibaldi back in January. The concert was organized by the folks at Milwaukee Record and featured 8 Milwaukee bands playing the songs of other Milwaukee bands. The recording can be purchased via Bandcamp by clicking HERE. The proceeds of the live recording go to the Girls Rock Milwaukee program.

 

 

October/November/December ’14

As another busy year winds down, here’s a rundown of some mastering clients and projects from the last few months:

Testa Rosa, Field ReportPhylumsFaz Waltz (Italy), Bad Love Experience (Italy), No/NoOphelia’s Sweet Demise, Dirty Louis, Black Belt Theatre, The Rumskis, Anna Dobbin, Buffalo Gospel, Soup Moat, Desolation Row, Devin Quello, Pueblo People (Italy), and a few new releases for Dope Folks Records coming in 2015.

Aside from all that, I was also able to wrap up mixing and mastering for the new Tenement album for Don Giovanni Records. It’s a double album that I also recorded the drums for back in 2013. The rest of the album was recorded with Shane at Bobby Peru Recording, as well as by Amos from Tenement at his home studio. I try not to get involved with mixing projects these days because of how it complicates my mastering workflow, but Tenement is a band that I enjoy so much that I couldn’t say no to being involved with this project. All the masters are now delivered and the album should be out sometime in 2015.

I also just finished mixing the new Muddy Udders album that was recorded at The Midwest Sound in Rockford IL. We should be moving on to mastering very soon.

One other thing I did a bit of in 2014 is live recording. I’ve been putting the finishing touches on the mix of The Replacements show from Midway Stadium and hoping to do the final mastering in early 2015. I have no idea what the release plans are for this but there is also video footage, so I’d expect at least a video release, possibly an audio-only release of the show as well.

Another live recording I did recently was something for Miles Nielsen and The Rusted Hearts. They did a Thanksgiving weekend show in their hometown of Rockford Illinois. We were able to do a pretty quick turnaround and the official album release is Dec 23rd digitally, and physical CD release on Dec 26th. I’ll post more info on it when it comes out. The live album was captured in a beautiful old wooden room with a very quiet and polite audience. I’d like to thank Ian Olvera for assisting with the live recording as I was also was mixing the live sound during the show.

I also had the pleasure of getting out of the studio to mix the Field Report album release show at The Pabst Theatre in Milwaukee.

July/August/September ’14

Some mastering projects in the last 3 months include a split 7″ by Dwight TwilleyJosh Berwanger for Good Land RecordsRedHawks, drmanhattan, Air TightXposed 4HeadsMonkeeman (Germany), a split 7″ by Mark Steven Hillstrom & Christopher Gold, introvert, Bullhound Studio Compilation, White Problems, Dope Calypso (Italy), Westrin & Mowry, a split album by Josh Harty & Blake Thomas, King Mastino (Italy), Tara Terra, Old American JunkVince ChiarelliWealthy GhostPaul Trinko, Buffalo GospelElli de Mon (Italy), Michaela Thomas, Daniel and the LionReubens AccomplicePanalureThe Person & The PeopleThe KommissionersNoise ComplementThe Girls UpstairsDead Modern VillainsThe JeaniesFunktional Family, & Building on Buildings.

Aside from all the above mastering, I  continue to master the majority of the output for The License Lab. If you or anybody you know needs music for a video/film production, I highly recommend browsing their brilliant website.

I am also experimenting with a new endeavor. I’ve turned down a fair amount of opportunities over the years to record live concerts, or an occasional album project that I might have been interested in doing but didn’t have time or energy to round up all the equipment needed. Generally speaking, my brain-bandwidth and mastering workflow don’t allow me to get into any recording projects anymore, but putting together a simple but great sounding live recording rig is something I’ve been considering for awhile for unique projects, and rentals to other engineers. I can now say “yes” to the right projects. The system I have allows for splitting up to 24 XLR microphone channels on stage before the signals enter any of the live sound monitor or front-of-house mixing consoles and other equipment. This makes for a nice, clean, and excellent sounding multi-track recording that can be edited, mixed, and otherwise manipulated in the studio. The system itself can capture a total of 26 simultaneous inputs which is ideal for small to mid-size shows by artists that don’t have more than 24 inputs. Even with 24 channels, there are still two inputs for some crowd/ambience microphones.

In the last few months I’ve had the pleasure of capturing The Paegans (featuring Bun E. Carlos) in Rockford, IL and The Replacements at Midway Stadium in St. Paul, MN.

Here is a work-in-progress page with some system specs and other info:

http://mysteryroommastering.com/mobile/

The recording system (in full or in part) is available for rent to qualified engineers, feel free to email if you have a need for something.

April/May/June ’14

It’s been another busy & great few months for Mystery Room Mastering.

The Shivvers LP is finally out and getting some great reviews and feedback. The Sugar Stems album that I mixed and mastered is all finished and due out July 22nd on Dirtnap Records.

Some other mastering projects include a 7″ for Direct Hit!, an album by The Gazettiers, Zeti, Lisa Ridgely & The Fainting Room, Jackie BrownHeavy Hand, Midwives, Jeremiah NelsonThe HellfishStreetcar RailroadCanopiesJoey SparrowThe Family BusinessRonnie Jay and The StandardsStolen Silver, The Spastic HeartsDaniel and the Lion, the Bat BitesJodi Beach TrioEvergreenKieran Grogan, Go Curtis Go, TapebendersVolunteer, Space MagicMike CastleDope Calypso, Kaams, Greatest LakesLow Voltage Rangers, Opus DogHeartthrobZach Steinbach, & TIT.

Jan/Feb/March ’14

2014 is already on track to be the busiest year yet for me @ Mystery Room Mastering. With the help of Martin DeFatte at Guerrilla Digital, I now have a handy dandy mastering cost estimator on the Mystery Room website. This calculator allows you to enter different variables and see what your mastering project may cost. From there, you can also enter all your project details and upload your unmastered files as well. The Mystery Room site will be updated soon as well, with more current photos and equipment list etc.

Recent mastering projects include a new LP by Archie Powell & The Exports, a new full-length by Joseph Huber, an EP for Catch Kid, a new Mugwumps full-length, a split LP by The Hussy and Digital Leather, a full-length by Colin Swinney (formerly of Goodnight Loving), an EP by Points West, a new full-length by The Midwest Beat, a Springwater EP, a full-length by Jeff Parks, the Good Land Records 2014 Sampler, the Milwaukee Psych Fest 2014 compilation, a 1- song single for Canopies, full-length by Midwest Guitar Trio, a full-length for Brett Newski, an EP for Magnyfix, 3 songs for Big John Bates, a full-length for Centre The Image, a 3-song preview of an upcoming album for Sharon Alston & Created Image, a new full-length by Haunted Heads, a new full-length by The Delphines, an EP for Greasy Hearts, 8-song EP by Calico Flamigos, an EP for Rushford Mile, and over a half dozen releases for Dope Folks Records.

I also did some mix adjustments and remastered the first They Stay Dead EP and it’s getting reissued on Jailhouse Records and cut by Dave @ Lucky Lacquers.

On top of all that, I continue to master most of the output for The License Lab, if you need any library music for any video productions or otherwise, be sure to browse their catalog and website.

I’m not currently taking on any new recording or mixing projects because all the mastering work, as well as my work with The License Lab and About Face Media, does not leave me with much time to do anything else. If you’re looking to record and mix, I’d suggest these studios: The Midwest Sound (Rockford, IL), Bobby Peru Recording (Milwaukee), Rock Garden Studio (Appleton, WI). All three have been recently remodeled and/or relocated and produce great sounds and work.

Nov/Dec ’13

Recent projects include mastering a Christmas album for The Whiskeybelles and a special New Year’s Eve track by The Violet Lights, as well as projects for The Jeanies, Gen PopKurt Baker, Space Raft, Honey & the 45’s, The New Red Moons, The Mike Benign Compulsion, Fire Retarded, Blue Light Scene, Merging With Machines, Quarter Past One (Italy) & King Mastino (Italy).

Outside of the mastering world, I also mixed (and mastered) a new song by They Stay Dead (once again produced by Mike Kennerty) and I also did some miscellaneous editing for a few songs on Danen Kane’s upcoming album.

Thanks to everybody that helped make 2013 a great year for me and Mystery Room Mastering. Special thanks to The License Lab, About Face Media, The Midwest Sound and Dope Folks Records for your continued support. Exciting things are already in place for 2014.

Unsolicited equipment and software shout-outs to Crane Song LTD, Dorrough & Valhalla DSP.

Stay tuned and thanks for reading.

Justin

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