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Archive for August 29th, 2011

The Aeroplane Flies High: Vinyl Box Coming from Neutral Milk Hotel

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As principal singer, songwriter and driving force between darling indie outfit Neutral Milk Hotel, Jeff Mangum has spent much of the last decade as one of the most mysterious and low-profile of respected musicians. It looks like things may be changing, however, thanks in part to a vinyl box set curating Neutral Milk Hotel’s discography.

Ruston, Lousiana-born Mangum began recording in earnest under the Neutral Milk Hotel moniker in the mid-1990s. The collective nature of his albums (early works essentially featured whatever side musicians were available, although friends Scott Spillane, Jeremy Barnes and Julian Koster eventually formed the official nucleus of the group) and lo-fi, eclectic style attracted great critical praise, although the group took an extended hiatus not long after the 1998 release of In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, one of the most critically-acclaimed records in recent history.

While Mangum has performed on a very small scale on and off since then, this year is one of his busiest of late, with nine shows planned in the U.S. through the end of the year. Mangum will also curate the U.K.’s famed All Tomorrow’s Parties festival in December, performing as well as curating the 40-plus bands that will play.

The gem for collectors, though, is a new self-released vinyl box set that contains the essential Neutral Milk Hotel discography. Included are two full LPs, 1996’s On Avery Island, 1998’s In the Aeroplane Over the Sea; a 10″ LP featuring the group’s Everything Is EP with four bonus tracks; a set of unreleased tracks titled Ferris Wheel on Fire and three 7″ singles, two of which feature previously unreleased tunes.

The box set will be available on November 22, along with the 15 non-LP tracks (which will be available through the indie-band site Bandcamp – fans will be able to name their own price for the tracks). A dollar for every box set sold will be donated to the Eternal Blue Sky of Mongolia charity.

Pre-order links and a full track list are after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

August 29, 2011 at 12:01

A(nother) Man and a Woman: Vintage Francis Lai Coming From Kritzerland

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Had Francis Lai only composed the immortal (and for a time, ubiquitous) themes to Un Homme et Une Femme (A Man and a Woman) and Love Story, his name would have gone down in the annals of both film and popular music.  Thankfully, Lai – born in 1932 in Nice, France – has offered us much, much more.

Un Autre Homme, Une Autre Chance (Another Man, Another Chance) arrived from director Claude Lelouch (the director of A Man and a Woman, and the director with whom Lai has had one of the longest-lasting director/composer teamings in film) in 1977.  Like so many other films released that year, it languished in the shadow of George Lucas’ game-changing Star Wars, with the year an altogether stellar one for the movies: Saturday Night Fever, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, The Goodbye Girl and Annie Hall all arrived during that fruitful 12-month period.

The melodic, hypnotic score to Another Man, Another Chance is arriving on CD for the very first time courtesy the fine folks at Kritzerland.  Lai’s score, much of which was arranged by Gabriel Yared (Academy Award winning composer of The English Patient), beautifully illustrates Lelouch’s Old West story starring Genevieve Bujold as a French baker’s daughter who leaves her homeland at the end of the Franco-Prussian War and travels by sea with her husband to America.  There, she meets a widowed veterinarian, portrayed by James Caan, in the frontier town.  After a distressing prophesy comes true, he and she are brought together.  In The New York Times, Janet Maslin wrote, “The plot sounds like vintage James Michener, give or take a couple of generations, and indeed it has the makings of a good yarn.”  Maslin had kind words for both Bujold and Caan even if she was harder on the film itself, and questioned why Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony punctuated so many scenes.  Perhaps she would have preferred more of Lai’s delicious original score!

Kritzerland’s Another Man, Another Chance follows the original import LP program, though the track titles have been renamed to correspond with the actual titles found on the original French two-track stereo tape boxes.   The fully remastered, 1,000-unit limited edition soundtrack is available for pre-order now at Kritzerland for $19.98 plus shipping, and although officially scheduled for the second week of October, pre-orders usually average arrival of four weeks early.  Hit the jump for the press release and track listing! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

August 29, 2011 at 11:10

Wes Montgomery’s Verve Years “Movin'” to CD on New Box Set

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Hip-o Select announced their latest box set release just before the weekend: a massive chronicle of legendary guitarist Wes Montgomery’s output for Verve Records.

Montgomery was already an influential jazz player in the late ’50s and early ’60s when signed to Riverside Records. His thumb-picked guitar stylings influenced countless axe men, from Pat Metheny to Jimi Hendrix, and his plethora of recordings from the era give even the most seasoned fans much to treasure. But when he joined Impulse! Records founder Creed Taylor at Verve, something interesting happened: Montgomery began to infuse his jazz style with a more traditional pop bent, adding brassy and string-infused arrangements from the likes of Don Sebesky and Oliver Nelson and covering more pop-oriented material, including Little Anthony and The Imperials’ “Going Out of My Head” (his performance would win a Grammy) and the Sherman brothers’ classic “Chim Chim Cher-ee” from Walt Disney’s Mary Poppins. Though Montgomery would be taken from the music world not long after signing with A&M, passing away from a heart attack at the too-young age of 45, his music has lasted more than a lifetime.

And on Movin’: The Complete Verve Recordings, every note of this fertile two-year period is covered. The five-disc set includes all eight of Montgomery’s original Verve albums and a host of bonus material. While none of the bonus content is unreleased, owing to Verve’s heavy output of posthumous releases and CD bonus tracks, 82 tracks is a lot of ground to cover, and with sleek packaging and new liner notes from writer Marc Myers, you can be sure you’re getting the real deal on this set.

The box is available September 27, and can be pre-ordered after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

August 29, 2011 at 10:09