The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

Archive for July 6th, 2011

“Lonely” No More: Lost Motels Album to Be Released in August

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One of the most desired unreleased records of the New Wave era will finally receive an official release, nearly three decades after it was put on the shelf. The Motels’ Apocalypso was rejected for its lack of commercial appeal by Capitol Records, which accidentally led the band to a path of brief fame in the 1980s…but it’s going to be fun to wonder “what if?” with this set.

In 1981, The Motels – lead singer Martha Davis, guitarist Tim McGovern, keyboardist/saxophonist Marty Jourard, bassist Michael Goodroe and drummer Brian Glascock – were doing pretty well. The band had been signed to Capitol since 1979, following a popular but unsigned incarnation of the band in the mid-’70s (of which Davis was the only holdover). Their first records were moderately successful, particularly in Europe and Australia, but their domestic popularity didn’t stretch further than the L.A. club scene.

For their third album, the band booked sessions with producer Val Garay (who would win a Grammy in a year’s time for producing “Bette Davis Eyes” for Kim Carnes) and recorded a clutch of songs that were incredibly heavy, dark and rock-oriented. (The band was apparently aware of the record’s lack of commercial potential, never sending rough mixes to their label for review.) Where did the weight come from? A good guess lies in the aftermath of the Apocalypso sessions: Davis and McGovern, who were dating, split both personally and professionally. (McGovern went on to form New Wave outfit Burning Sensations, and guitarist Guy Perry was picked to finish out the new sessions.)

The next batch of sessions, also recorded with Garay and using some of the same material, was far more commercially friendly, and it showed. All Four One peaked at No. 16 in the U.S., thanks to the mournful ballad “Only the Lonely,” which reached No. 9. The band still thought highly enough of Apocalypso to call All Four One their fourth album, and included four of the original versions on a remastered and expanded edition of that album in 1999.

This new release, however, from indie label Omnivore Recordings (the same label that presented the special vinyl reissue of Big Star’s Third this past Record Store Day), presents all of the original 10 tracks meant to complete the Apocalypso album. It will be released on both CD and 1,200 copies on translucent orange vinyl. The CD version, though, will add seven bonus tracks, including five of Martha Davis’ demos and an alternate version of lead track “Art Fails,” sourced from a rare acetate. (The five demos will also be separately released as a digital EP.)

Both sets are out August 9. Hit the jump for full track breakdown and order info on what looks to be an exciting release for Motels fans! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

July 6, 2011 at 17:41

Posted in News, Reissues, The Motels, Vinyl

Content with Content: Thoughts on Catalogue Titles and Retail Exclusives

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Last week, there was a sort-of funny tempest in a teapot reported by The Los Angeles Times over pop singer Beyoncé’s latest album, 4. The paper reported that fans were unhappy with the seemingly low stock of deluxe editions of the album at Target, the chain that was carrying the special version exclusively, as well as problems with the bonus content (an online-exclusive music video, streamed through a special portion of the singer’s website when unlocked with the bonus disc) was not available for viewing until sometime during the weekend after the album’s June 28 release).

We could break down the non-controversy to make it look sillier than it already is, but the story raises an interesting side question in the name of catalogue sales. Since The Second Disc started about a year and a half ago, there have been a small handful of reissues with some sort of retail-exclusive component. Target and UMe paired together to offer the bonus disc of The Rolling Stones’ Exile on Main St.: Deluxe Edition as a standalone Rarities Edition (a nice gesture to anyone who didn’t want to buy the album again) as well as a cut-down version of Bob Marley’s Live Forever concert (likely to eliminate some of the tracks that were presented from “secondary sources”). A slight bonus DVD was offered with Wings’ Band on the Run expansion at Best Buy last winter; the chain also got temporary exclusives on deluxe editions by Derek and The Dominos and Rush this spring.

Meanwhile, on the new music front, retailers are always trying to pick up sales by offering exclusive deluxe editions of albums, free shirts with purchase of albums and various other tactics. (That doesn’t even touch on the various releases throughout the calendar year that are fully exclusive to a certain retailer.) Catalogue titles are so often given short shrift in big-box retailers – how many people even know that Target carries Legacy’s expanded edition of George Michael’s Faith, or that the Queen 40th anniversary remasters are found at Walmart stores here and there? – that it’s worth wondering how, if at all, fans would be affected by catalogue titles getting infused with retail-exclusive bonus cuts or other ephemera.

What do you think, readers?

Written by Mike Duquette

July 6, 2011 at 15:58

Suddenly…Cherry Pop Reissues and Expands Two Billy Ocean Albums

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If you’re sharing the same dream to see Billy Ocean’s catalogue get some deluxe treatment, next Tuesday is your day: Cherry Pop is reissuing two of Ocean’s mid-’80s pop smashes with bonus content. These will be the Cherry Red label group’s second and third reissues for Ocean, following Big Break’s expansion of 1982’s Inner Feelings back in March.

The Trinidad-born, England-raised Ocean enjoyed early success in the late ’70s on the GTO label. His first single, 1976’s “Love Really Hurts Without You,” peaked at No. 2 in the U.K. and was a Top 40 hit in the U.S. as well. Three more Top 20 singles were spun off his eponymous debut in England, but things were largely quiet from there, save for a Top 10 R&B and Dance chart hit in the U.S. in 1981 with “Nights (Feel Like Gettin’ Down).”

All that changed in 1984, when Ocean released “European Queen,” a pulsating, sensual club track that initially stiffed upon release. When one line was re-recorded for the U.S. market and the single was released overseas, however, “Caribbean Queen (No More Love on the Run)” was a chart-topper. Ocean enjoyed international success and crossover appeal after nearly a decade on the scene, enjoying two more U.S. Top 5 hits with the ballad “Suddenly” and “Loverboy.” (Ultimately, all three songs were Top 20 singles in Ocean’s adopted home country.)

But the winning streak wasn’t over. With revered pop/rock producer Robert John “Mutt” Lange at the helm, Ocean’s “When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going” became another No. 1 hit in the U.K. (and a U.S. No. 2) when it was included on the soundtrack for The Jewel of the Nile in 1985. The following long-player, Love Zone (1986), featured yet another U.S. chart-topper, “There’ll Be Sad Songs (to Make You Cry)” and Top 20 singles in “Love is Forever” and the title track.

Each newly-remastered release is appended with four non-LP remixes each, most of which are making their debut on CD in England. (Interestingly, Suddenly features the hit U.S. version of “Caribbean Queen,” rather than either the original “European Queen” or its equally semi-obscure “African Queen” version.) The discs will also feature liner notes with detailed discographies and pictures of the original single sleeves. Each will be available in the U.K. on July 11, and you can order them through the links after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

July 6, 2011 at 14:26

Posted in Billy Ocean, News, Reissues

New Links in the Chain: Deluxe 2-CD/1-DVD Sets Coming from The Jesus and Mary Chain (UPDATED)

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Few album titles have been more apt than the Jesus and Mary Chain’s 1985 LP debut, Psychocandy. The record took deceptively simple pop songs, influenced by the melodies of Phil Spector and Brian Wilson, and cloaked them in a noisy, fuzz-and-feedback-laden haze that took the darkness of The Velvet Underground one step further. If the group didn’t exist, someone would have had to invent it.  William and Jim Reid, two Scottish brothers, formed the core of the band, initially joined by bassist Douglas Hart and drummer Murray Dalglish, soon replaced by Bobby Gillespie. There were later personnel changes, most notably when Gillespie departed to form Primal Scream, with John Moore taking his place. (William Reid himself left the group late in its existence before it disbanded altogether.) The Jesus and Mary Chain was a potent antidote to the glossy production that now largely defines the sound of that decade.

Edsel, a label of the U.K.’s Demon Music Group, has just announced a definitive series of 2-CD/1-DVD Jesus and Mary Chain reissues that begins September 19 with the reissues of Psychocandy and its 1987 follow-up, Darklands. They will be followed by 1989’s Automatic and 1992’s Honey’s Dead on the schedule for one week later, September 26, then Stoned and Dethroned (1994) and Munki (1998) on October 3. The chronological rollout is a sensible one, with Darklands stripping back the layers of noise if not the darkness and Automatic adding new textures to the sound, with keyboards and even strings. Honey’s Dead was acclaimed as the most consistent of the group’s records since Psychocandy, and Stoned and Dethroned was a detour into more pure, acoustic-based rock, though still based around memorable pop songcraft. The band’s final album to date, 1998’s Munki, is a lengthy recording at 17 tracks, bookended by the seemingly at-odds tracks “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” and “I Hate Rock ‘n’ Roll.”  In between, the group recalls the varied sounds it had created over the previous decade-plus.

Rhino had already rewarded fans of the Jesus and Mary Chain with stereo DVD-Audio reissues, including videos, in 2006 (unfortunately on the late, not-very-lamented DualDisc format in the U.S.), and the four-disc box set The Power of Negative Thinking in 2008. But the new Edsel campaign is the most comprehensive yet.  Each title will boast rarities (numbering 30 bonus tracks each for the first two releases!) and a DVD containing music videos and live performances, plus 32-page booklets with new interviews from band members. The high-resolution mixes aren’t present.

Edsel has revealed the complete track listings for Psychocandy and Darklands (UPDATE: now all the reissues), and we’ve got ‘em!  These two albums remain a perfect place to start exploring the band’s catalogue for bold, polarizing sonic experimentation and solid pop songwriting.  Hit the jump for the full scoop, plus pre-order links!  Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

July 6, 2011 at 12:40

Whole Hall and Oates: Famed Duo’s Complete Atlantic Years Collected

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Daryl Hall and John Oates made their first significant dent on the pop charts with 1976’s “Sara Smile,” released on RCA Records. “Rich Girl” followed as their first No. 1 single in 1977, and a few short years later, they were proclaimed the most successful duo in rock history thanks to an amazing string of ubiquitous pop singles: “Kiss on My List,” “Private Eyes,” “Maneater,” “I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)” and so on. But those who only know Hall and Oates from those remarkable 1980s productions only know one part of the story. Edsel Records is more than happy to fill you in, however. The U.K. label plans the July 25 release of a 3-LPs-on-2-CDs package bringing together all three of the duo’s Atlantic albums, Whole Oats (1972), Abandoned Luncheonette (1973) and War Babies (1974). But that’s not all. Edsel is including all three songs unique to 1977’s “best-of” No Goodbyes as well as one Whole Oats outtake which previously was only available on Rhino’s single disc compilation The Atlantic Collection. These 34 tracks add up to the most complete overview yet of the team’s Atlantic tenure.

John Oates has described the three albums collected here as “three steps towards finding a sound. Whole Oats had a folksiness to it, Abandoned Luncheonette started combining acoustic folk with a little bit of funk, and War Babies was our more adventurous rock ‘n’ roll side. The albums that followed drew on all of those elements.” Indeed, each album has its own identity that recalls part of the magic Hall and Oates formula. Whole Oats was produced by Arif Mardin, who also contributed string, horn and woodwind arrangements for the Philadelphia duo’s early songs. (Some of the Whole Oats tracks had been previously recorded by Hall and Oates, and these embryonic versions have been packaged and re-packaged over the years. The most comprehensive release, legitimately licensed from producer John Madara, is Varese’s 2006 The Philadelphia Years. ) As Oates acknowledged, there’s a folk tinge to Whole Oats, and that’s evident on tracks like the melodic “Goodnight and Goodmorning,” written by Hall on mandolin and finished by the duo. There’s, of course, also a pronounced Philadelphia soul influence, none more so evident than on Hall’s “Fall in Philadelphia.” The song, in Hall’s words, is a personal recollection “about how horrible it is to be in Philadelphia,” though he added, “they still play it there on the radio every fall.” It’s easy to see why; the melody and hook are irresistible, and the lyrics conjure up potent, vivid imagery as well as heartfelt resignation: “A roving band of youths beat up on Johnny/Everybody’s gettin’ richer sellin’ that dope/Say, the stolen bikes are gathering by the thousands/Along with seven million people without a hope…I’m gonna spend another fall in Philadelphia.” Sweeter sounds are conjured up on the Stax-inspired “I’m Sorry” and the gentle, classical-influenced “Waterwheel.” “Lilly (Are You Happy)” looks forward to the blue-eyed soul of later years, a delicious R&B groove co-written by the duo.

What came next at Atlantic?  Hit the jump to find out! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

July 6, 2011 at 09:32