The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

Archive for March 30th, 2012

Just The Way He Is: Starbucks Brews Billy Joel “Opus Collection”

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Though Billy Joel retired from the business of writing and recording new pop music in 1993 following his River of Dreams, and has largely kept his word in the ensuing almost-twenty years, the music legend has hardly lowered his profile.  Since River of Dreams, Joel, now 62, has written an album’s worth of classical compositions, overseen a hit Broadway musical, staged lucrative tours and issued numerous live albums and career-overview collections.  As recently as last week, Joel’s catalogue was celebrated by the contestants on television’s American Idol.  Starbucks Entertainment is the latest partner of Joel’s to jump into the fray with the release of an Opus Collection entry devoted to the superstar.  Previous artists in the series have included Paul Simon, Bonnie Raitt and John Lennon, putting the Long Island boy in splendid company, indeed.

Over sixteen tracks, Billy Joel: Opus Collection draws on eight of the artist’s Columbia Records releases, from 1973’s breakthrough Piano Man to 1993’s River of Dreams.  Typical of these collections, the disc is aimed at casual fans (read: there’s nothing new here) and completists, but isn’t a strict “greatest hits” compilation either, blending key favorites with successful singles.  Five tracks, or nearly one-third of the disc, hail from 1977’s best-selling The Stranger, including “She’s Always a Woman,” “Vienna,” “Just the Way You Are,” “Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song)” and “Scenes From an Italian Restaurant.”  Represented by two tracks apiece are 1973’s sophomore effort Piano Man, 1976’s Turnstiles, 1978’s jazz-inflected 52nd Street and 1989’s Storm Front.  Rounding out the set are songs from Glass Houses (1980), An Innocent Man (1983) and River of Dreams (1993).  Among the all-time Joel favorites here are “New York State of Mind,” “My Life” and “Honesty.”  1971’s debut Cold Spring Harbor, 1974’s Streetlife Serenade, 1982’s The Nylon Curtain, and 1986’s The Bridge are Joel’s only studio albums overlooked on this anthology.

Hit the jump for more, including the full track listing with discography, and order link! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

March 30, 2012 at 14:03

Shining Like a “Ruby”: Kaiser Chiefs to Release New Compilation

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Indie rockers the Kaiser Chiefs are set to release their first career-spanning collectionSouvenir: The Singles 2004-2012, this summer.

The Leeds-based quintet formed in 1996 under the name Parva, and released one album on Beggars Banquet’s short-lived Mantra label. After their label shuttered, they rebuilt from the ground up, writing new, New Wave and punk-inspired songs under the Kaiser Chiefs moniker (named for the South African football club). Their buzzworthy live sets got them a deal with B-Unique Records (distributed by Universal Music on both sides of the Atlantic), and favorable reviews from the NME led to commercial and critical acclaim, including an Ivor Novello Award for Best Album and BRIT Award and Mercury Prize nominations. While critical marks have not been as consistently high for subsequent albums, the band continue to attract a devoted live following, as well as a healthy collaboration with notable rock producers, including Stephen Street, Mark Ronson and Tony Visconti. And their biggest hit, the U.K. No. 1 “Ruby,” was a hit for U.S. fans when it was included in the popular Guitar Hero series of video games.

The single-disc, 16-track set collates all the singles from the Leeds band’s four albums for B-Unique. Their native Top 10 hits, including “Ruby,” “Oh My God,” “I Predict a Riot,” “Never Miss a Beat” and “Every Day I Love You Less and Less,” are all here. There’s also a new track, “Listen to Your Head,” which the group has added to live setlists for awhile now, and for U.K.-based collectors, there’s also “On the Run,” a track released on Start the Revolution Without Me, the band’s fourth album in the United States, released only about a month ago. (This material, plus more, was released in 2011 as The Future is Medieval in England.)

Souvenir is out on June 4 in the U.K. and a day later in the U.S.; the full track list is after the jump.

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Written by Mike Duquette

March 30, 2012 at 11:18

Bowie, McCartney, Joplin, Springsteen, Clash, Davis, Small Faces, More Lead Record Store Day Pack

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We’re just three weeks away from Record Store Day on April 21, and following individual announcements from fantastic labels like Omnivore Recordings, Concord Records, Sundazed Music and Rhino/Warner Bros., we can finally reveal the full line-up of RSD-related goodies!

These limited editions, available at independent music retailers across the U.S. and even internationally, are primarily vinyl releases in various formats (7-inch, 10-inch, 12-inch, etc.) and range from replicas of classic albums to EPs and singles premiering exclusive content.  Some of our favorite artists here at TSD HQ are represented, including David Bowie, James Brown, Dave Brubeck, Miles Davis, Lee Hazlewood, Janis Joplin, Buck Owens, Paul Revere and the Raiders, Bruce Springsteen, and even the “odd couple” pairing of Neil Young and Rick James as members of Motown’s The Mynah Birds!  All told, there’s plenty for fans of rock, pop and jazz on offer this year!

Without further ado, hit the jump for our exhaustive list of RSD releases related to the catalogue artists we celebrate each and every day here at The Second Disc.  For those in need of a checklist, you can find a downloadable PDF here of the complete list, and this official Record Store Day list also includes all of the releases of a more recent vintage.  Sound off below on which title you are most eagerly awaiting, and thanks for supporting your local independent record retailer! Read the rest of this entry »