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Archive for June 19th, 2012

This Surely is a Dream: Marcy Playground Prep Rarities for New Compilation

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While many music fans’ knowledge of alt-rock band Marcy Playground begins and ends with their 1998 Top 10 hit “Sex and Candy,” those who do follow the band will be excited to know the group’s putting out a collection of rarities and outtakes this month.

Lunch, Recess & Detention – named for singer/songwriter John Wozniak’s “three things I was never late for” – is a 19-track compilation combining outtakes (including alternate takes of songs that appeared on the band’s Shapeshifter (1999) and MP3 (2004) albums), four previously released B-sides and seven new recordings, including a new version of “Sex and Candy” and covers of Neil Young (“The Needle and the Damage Done”), Leonard Cohen (“Hallelujah”) and Procol Harum (“A Whiter Shade of Pale”).

Lunch, Recess & Detention will be out digitally next Tuesday and on CD July 17. Both will feature track-by-track annotations from the band. The band will tour this summer with several of their contemporaries, including Everclear, Sugar Ray, Lit and Gin Blossoms. Hit the jump to check out the track list and place your orders.

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Written by Mike Duquette

June 19, 2012 at 18:03

For Your Pleasure: Roxy Music Unveil Massive Box Set, New Reissue Campaign (UPDATED 6/19)

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Roxy Music, arguably the original New Romantics, are coming back in a big way on the catalogue side of things in 2012, with a new box set and additional surprises to follow.

Primarily comprised of singer Brian Ferry, guitarist Phil Manzanera, keyboardist Brian Eno, saxophonist Andy McKay and drummer Paul Thompson (with an almost-consistently shuffling lineup during their active years, including England’s greatest fill-in Paul Carrack of Ace, Squeeze and Mike + The Mechanics), Roxy combined the twin elegances of Beatlesesque rock and Bowie-ish glam to rapturous critical and commercial acclaim. None of their studio albums missed the U.K. Top 10, and they amassed 13 Top 20 singles. (Although Eno would leave the band in 1973 for a wildly influential career as a producer, his influence was long felt.) The group split up in 1983, with Ferry and the others embarking on solo careers, but reconvened in 2001 (minus Eno) for a tour and have performed on and off ever since. (The 66-year-old Ferry, ironically enough, made headlines in the entertainment press recently for marrying his 29-year-old girlfriend, who had previously dated one of Ferry’s sons.)

As initially announced, The Complete Recordings 1972-1982 will present all eight of the band’s studio albums, from Roxy Music to Avalon, each digitally remastered and expanded with a host of non-LP B-sides and remixes, 12 of which are making their debut on CD. Initially, the package was due to feature four DVDs presenting the music in “high-resolution audio, transferred digitally from the original analogue masters.” (According to the link at the top, the DVDs would have featured the albums in 96/24 LPCM stereo.) However, the set will now only feature 10 compact discs: the original albums will be presented on their own, while the bonus content will form the final two discs. (Thanks to super reader Rich for elucidating for us!)

The set is out on August 6, and will, according to a press release, be the first in a series of catalogue activities to commemorate the band’s 40th anniversary. Have a look at the track list and make your pre-orders after the jump!

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Written by Mike Duquette

June 19, 2012 at 16:42

Review: The Beatles, “Yellow Submarine” on Blu-Ray and DVD

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Picture yourself in a boat on a river…with tangerine trees and marmalade skies…

Now, picture the evocative imagery of The Beatles’ most mind-bending lyrics transferred to a silver screen world where imagination and wonder run rampant.  The result might be something like the 1968 animated film Yellow Submarine.  Out of print for some time on DVD, Yellow Submarine has just returned to DVD and Blu-Ray (5099962146098) in a painstakingly restored new edition from Apple Corps and EMI/Capitol.

When Yellow Submarine arrived in cinemas, it wasn’t the first animated evocation of the Fab Four, having been preceded by a Saturday morning program on the ABC network which ran from 1965-1967.  Although the television show and the film shared the same producer (Al Brodax) and director (George Dunning), the big-screen project was far more ambitious on a stylistic level.  It was ready-made not only for children, but for a counterculture that would soon adopt Walt Disney’s ahead-of-its-time Fantasia as a psychedelic experience.  The film, written by Brodax, Lee Minoff, Jack Mendelsohn and Erich Segal, centered on the “unearthly paradise of Pepperland,” a world where “nothing is real.”  The central conflict was set up directly and simply enough for kids to understand: the evil Blue Meanies wish for the multi-colored Pepperland to “go blue.”  (Was it intentional that some of the Blue Meanies wore Mickey-esque mouse ears?)  Could The Beatles save the day with the powers of peace, love and music?

The visual style of art director Heinz Edelmann is established early on, with Pepperland populated by colorful trees, giant free-standing hands, and words like “LOVE” as three-dimensional sculptures.  Everything comes to life in Pepperland; even comic book-style explosions are rendered visually.  Though the animation didn’t attempt to compete with the more lush offerings of the Disney studio, the film compensated with its unbridled imagination and off-kilter humor, something it shared with the “limited animation” pioneered by studios such as UPA.  All four Beatles are surprisingly well-delineated with their familiar personas, especially sad-sack everyman Ringo.  It’s a wonder that the characters are so well-defined, because the film is rather slow and lacking in a conventional plot sense.  John Clive (John), Geoffrey Hughes (Paul), Peter Batten (George) and Paul Angelis (Ringo) all vocally capture their respective Beatles, and the real group is, of course, heard in the musical sequences.  The animation most resembles a living collage, taking in live-action footage, stills and special effects for a unique look and feel.  Nothing is sacred in the Yellow Submarine world; at one point, the entire film image is literally “sucked up” by a fantastic creature, perhaps with a tip of the hat to the pioneering work of Chuck Jones in cartoons like “Duck Amuck.”

There’s plenty for both adults and children.  The older crowd must have delighted at the Goons-esque turns of phrase, the references to Guy Lombardo and The Sound of Music, and the sly asides (Ringo’s “It’s my policy never to read my reviews”).  For the younger set, there are kooky, amusing new characters like the Nowhere Man himself.  The Beatles fly on giant birds, and encounter creatures of every shape and size.  And of course the movie embraces peace and love, emphasizing good over evil as well as brotherhood in its finale, even where Blue Meanies are concerned!  The live Beatles even make a brief appearance at the film’s conclusion, leading a sing-along of “All Together Now.”  In contrast with their animated counterparts, only Ringo is mustachioed in the live footage!

How does the 2012 edition stack up to the 1999 release?  Hit the jump for that, and much more! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

June 19, 2012 at 13:43

Posted in Blu-Ray, DVD, Reviews, The Beatles

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Short Takes: McCartney Readies “Rockshow,” Rundgren’s Live “Healing”, Jay and the Americans’ “Magic Moment” Revisited

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As we kick off another week, we’re catching up with a few news items that almost slipped between the cracks!

  • Earlier this year, RockBeat and S’More Entertainment released Todd: Live, preserving on both CD and DVD editions a live performance by Todd Rundgren of his 1974 classic album Todd.  But Todd only told half of the story!  Joined by Utopia’s Kasim Sulton (bass), The Cars’ Greg Hawkes (keyboards), The Tubes’ Prairie Prince (drums), Guitar Player Magazine’s editor Jesse Gress (guitar), Bobby Strickland (sax) and a full choir, Rundgren’s performance of Todd was part of a double bill.  The second half of the evening consisted of the singer bringing to life his 1981 opus Healing. Today, the live Healing joins Todd with CD and DVD releases.  The semi-concept album is one of Rundgren’s most personal efforts.   Side One of the original album loosely tells a parable about a man who discovers he has healing powers, and the second side is a “soundtrack to that story” in Rundgren’s words.  Interested?  You can order the CD of Healing Live here, and the DVD here.

  • Jay and the Americans somewhat paradoxically entered the 1970s not looking forward, but rather looking back.  The group behind such pop perennials as “Come a Little Bit Closer,” “Cara Mia” and “Only in America” had endured personnel and management changes by 1969, and also faced the changing tastes in music.  Knowing the value of a great song, however, the group self-produced Sands of Time, dedicated to disk jockey Alan Freed and dedicated to revivals of songs from just a few years back, though that few years must have seemed like a lifetime.  The gamble paid off.  Sands of Time yielded the group’s Top 10 first hit in over three years thanks to Mort Shuman and Doc Pomus’ “This Magic Moment.”  The No. 6 chart placement even bested the Drifters’ original by ten places!  The U.K.’s BGO Records has joined Sands of Time with its 1970 follow-up Wax Museum and Capture the Moment from later in 1970.  Wax Museum scored another Top 20 hit with the band’s recording of Phil Spector, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil’s “Walkin’ in the Rain” (originally waxed by the Ronettes) while other songs came from the pens of Pomus and Shuman, Carole King and Gerry Goffin, and Burt Bacharach and Hal David.  The third offering in BGO’s set, Capture the Moment, was largely self-penned and very much in a folk-rock vein, and features future Steely Dan members Donald Fagen and Walter Becker on string and horn arrangements.  Sands of Time/Wax Museum/Capture the Moment is available now!

Hit the jump to see what Paul McCartney has planned for 2013!  It’s never too early… Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

June 19, 2012 at 09:59

Release Round-Up: Week of June 19

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A quick heads-up to our fans: we’ve finally joined modern times and become an Amazon Associate. So if you click on any of our links and add to your collection, you’ll be supporting The Second Disc in our quest to become the best catalogue music site around!

The Ventures, The Ventures On StageWild Things! / Super Psychedelics / Hawaii Five-O (Sundazed)

Four classic Ventures albums, remastered on CD and LP.

Bob Mould, Bob Mould / The Last Dog + Pony Show / LiveDog98 (Edsel)

After the revelatory Sugar reissues, Mould’s late ’90s albums (plus one rare live disc from the same time period) are collated into one last deluxe set from the label.

Can, The Lost Tapes (Mute)

A triple-disc box set of completely unreleased works from the German band.

Ernie Kovacs, Percy Dovetonsils…Thpeaks / Buck Owens, Live at the White House (Omnivore)

The two newest from Omnivore: an unreleased set from iconic comedian Kovacs, and an expanded live album from Bakersfield’s favorite country musician.

BJ Thomas, The Complete Scepter Singles (Real Gone)

Cryin’s not for you with this collection of Thomas’ A and B-sides for the Scepter label.

Kylie Minogue, The Best of Kylie Minogue (EMI)

The U.S. release of Kylie’s newest greatest hits set, available as a deluxe CD/DVD edition.

Written by Mike Duquette

June 19, 2012 at 08:21