The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

Archive for September 23rd, 2011

Reissue Theory: R.E.M., “Dead Letter Office: 25th Anniversary Edition”

with 12 comments

Welcome to another installment of Reissue Theory, where we reflect on notable albums and the reissues they may someday see. As we mourn the passing of one of the most beloved American rock bands of the last few decades, we look at their all-too-often ignored early B-sides, compiled only once on disc – and how those rarities could make for a nice deluxe package down the line.

R.E.M. is dead. Long live R.E.M.

The Athens, Georgia-based band announced their split Wednesday, after just over 30 years of consistent recording and touring. While some have reacted with shock, others with snark and others still with solemn acceptance as they reflected on a great band, it’s nigh-impossible to deny the band’s place in rock history.

While some may certainly debate the moment the band seemed to lose their way creatively – their signing from I.R.S. Records to Warner Bros., a string of increasingly mainstream rock-friendly albums in the mid-1990s, the retirement of drummer Bill Berry in 1997 – to step on the memory of R.E.M. would be to forget something they had a pretty active hand in: the emergence of “college rock.” As much as this author loves the synths and sequencers of 1980s pop, the band was one of the go-to guitar-based rock bands of the decade, in not only the country but the world as well. (Also on the shortlist: The Smiths, U2 and The Replacements.) And that, of course, opened the door for a new wave of guitar-oriented music in the decade to come, much of which is being celebrated in the reissue world this year.

The group has had a surprisingly large amount of compilations and reissues over the years. In the early 1990s, EMI expanded the I.R.S. catalogue in Europe, adding a handful of bonus tracks to each album. Major compilations of the I.R.S. (2006’s And I Feel Fine…The Best of the I.R.S. Years 1982-1987) and Warner Bros. (In Time: The Best of R.E.M. 1988-2003) have been released, with a full-course retrospective, Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage: 1982-2011, coming from Warner this November.

And, since 2008, the band’s back catalogue has been reissued again, as deluxe 25th anniversary sets. (UMe, controllers of I.R.S.’s early catalogue distribution, handled the deluxe sets of Murmur (1983) and Reckoning (1984), pairing the original album with an unreleased live show, while EMI put out the new versions of Fables of the Reconstruction (1985) and Lifes Rich Pageant (1986), each appended with a bonus disc of demos.)

It’s entirely plausible that the 25th anniversary series will continue next year with Document, the band’s final album for I.R.S. and the one that delivered stunning crossover success with the Top 10 hit “The One I Love.” But moving to that album would unfairly ignore a vital set in the band’s discography – hence, today’s celebratory Reissue Theory.

Take a trip to Dead Letter Office after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

September 23, 2011 at 12:44

Come to the Pop Market, Part Two: Box Sets Planned For Brubeck, Holiday, Weather Report and Mahavishnu Orchestra

with 3 comments

Yesterday we reported on eight new box sets drawn from the Columbia and RCA Victor archives and available through Sony’s PopMarket site.  While those titles dedicated to Earth Wind & Fire, Electric Light Orchestra, Leonard Cohen, Paul Desmond, Dexter Gordon, Wynton Marsalis, Woody Shaw and Nina Simone are all currently available or due for release shortly, another batch is already on the schedule for November.

On November 11, Legacy Recordings opens the vaults to the rich legacy of jazz at Columbia Records , offering the following new releases:

  • The Dave Brubeck Quartet, The Complete Columbia Studio Albums Collection;
  • Billie Holiday, Lady Day: The Complete Billie Holiday on Columbia 1933-1944;
  • Mahavishnu Orchestra, The Complete Columbia Albums Collection; and
  • Weather Report, The Jaco Years: The Complete Columbia Albums Collection.

Hit the jump for details on what’s included in each set! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

September 23, 2011 at 11:37