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Archive for November 23rd, 2011

Pet Shop Boys Flush “Format” with New B-Sides Compilation

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Add another catalogue set for 2012 to the list: this winter will see the release of the Pet Shop Boys’ second B-sides compilation, spanning the past 15 years of their recording career.

As reported by our dear friends at Slicing Up Eyeballs, the Boys (who are also working on a new LP for the new year) revealed to Varsity, Cambridge University’s paper, their intent of releasing a new B-sides set, following the tradition of 1995’s Alternative, the group’s first two-disc set of rarities from 1986 to 1994.

Within days, a track list was announced, showcasing tracks such as a 1995 remake of “In the Night,” the original of which was itself one of the group’s first B-sides (to “Opportunities (Let’s Make Lots of Money)” in 1985); a demo of “Confidential,” a song written for Tina Turner’s Wildest Dreams album in 1996 and the group’s 2006 cover of “In Private,” a song written for Dusty Springfield in 1991 and here presented as a duet with Elton John.

The set is slated for a February 6 release in the U.K., although no pre-order links have shown up yet. In the meantime, enjoy the track list after the jump.

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Written by Mike Duquette

November 23, 2011 at 20:05

Entering the Culture Factory: New Reissue Label Launches with Robert Palmer, Paul Williams’ “Paradise”

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Despite the spurious reports of the “death of the CD,” the reissue biz is still thriving on the little silver platter, offering up all manner of deluxe editions for the discerning customer.  (That means you, dear reader!)  In 2011, we’ve seen the launch of such heavyweights-to-be as Real Gone Music, Omnivore Recordings and RockBeat Records, and we’re now happy to welcome another name to the fold.  Culture Factory USA quietly launched this past September, with releases from Mink DeVille, Moon Martin, Kim Wilde and the Motels.  This month brings deluxe audiophile reissues of five consecutive albums from the late rock/jazz/soul giant Robert Palmer as well as a cult classic soundtrack from the pen of Mr. Paul Williams.

Each Culture Factory reissue contains the original album sequence plus a Japanese-style OBI strip and a “vinyl replica deluxe” design.  The CD labels are adorned with period label art, and the titles have been remastered using 96 kHz/24-bit technology (although playback in that high resolution is not possible as these are standard “redbook” 44/16 compact discs).  Though Culture Factory’s website is currently on the sparse side, to be kind, each title so far has been available from the label itself on at very reasonable prices, especially compared to the high stickers being charged by Amazon proper.

In the heady atmosphere of 1970s Hollywood, the new breed of film auteurs taking the town was finally able to follow some rather radical muses.  This impulse of exploration led to the cult classic Phantom of the Paradise, a rock musical written and directed by Brian De Palma.  At the time of Phantom’s filming, De Palma was perhaps best-known for his Hitchcock-inspired 1973 thriller Sisters (with a score by no less than Bernard Herrmann!), and films like Carrie (1976) and Scarface (1983) still to come.

Phantom took clear inspiration from early Hollywood horror and most notably the film adaptation of Gaston Leroux’s Phantom of the Opera, much as De Palma had channeled Hitchcock in past efforts.  The film follows Winslow Leach (William Finley), whose rock treatment of the Faust legend catches the attention of the demonic producer known as Swan, portrayed by songwriter Paul Williams.  After getting his head caught in a vinyl press (!), Leach is transformed into the scarred Phantom.  But rather than the Paris Opera House, Winslow’s Phantom haunts The Paradise, Swan’s hot new concert palace.   In the words of critic Robert Horton, “the movie seems to predict the Studio 54 scene, MTV, and punk rock–the last, especially, in the figure of Beef, a screeching singer played by the unhinged Gerrit Graham.  [Williams’] performance is a reminder of his peculiar, self-spoofing presence… Comedy, musical, horror film, ’70s artifact–this movie isn’t quite definable, and that’s what’s wonderful about it.”  The original 10-track soundtrack album, released on Williams’ then-home of A&M, preserves his freewheeling score which draws on both pop and glam sounds, with some tracks recalling Alice Cooper’s theatrical horror-rock sound.  Williams performs three of the songs himself.  The only drawback to Culture Factory’s reissue is that it wasn’t out in time for Halloween!

Hit the jump for information on the Robert Palmer reissue series, plus track listings and discographical information! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

November 23, 2011 at 10:22