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Archive for January 15th, 2013

Duran Duran’s TV Mania Project Resurrected for Release in Spring

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MedazzalandAs previously reported, TV Mania – the short-lived, little-heard side project of Duran Duran’s Nick Rhodes and former guitarist Warren Cuccurullo – is finally getting a release after years in the vault.

The concept sounds surprisingly relevant: a musical treatise on an overly media-saturated couple, culled from snippets of original studio creations and found sound. But it’s not something crafted by an upstart artist in 2013 – it was finished nearly 15 years ago, before the Internet really took hold on pop culture. And it was made in part by a group who’d been on the edge of pop and dance music since the early ’80s. Duran co-founder Rhodes and Cuccurullo (a featured session/touring member since 1986 and the permanent guitarist since 1990) were experimenting heavily with new sonic landscapes in the studio, and eventually crafted the “social junk-culture triptych opera” Bored with Prozac and the Internet? in the late ’90s. Their approach factored heavily into the Duran sound at the time, between TV Mania’s credited production on Medazzaland (1997) and Pop Trash (2000) and vocalist Simon Le Bon’s bout of writer’s block at the time.

Ultimately, of course, the TV Mania album was never released, likely due to the band’s waning commercial fortunes at the time of recording, followed by a sudden upsurge for the band, albeit without Cuccurullo, as the original five-man lineup reunited in 2001. (Rhodes, Le Bon, bassist John Taylor and drummer Roger Taylor remain part of the group, with Dom Brown as unofficial guitarist since 2006.)

But after years of Rhodes saying a release of the project would be a superb idea, it’s finally happening. The keyboardist recently found the original master tapes, thought to be lost, and will release them on vinyl and digitally March 11. Remixes will be commissioned of key tracks (at least one with Cuccurullo’s participation), and a limited edition vinyl box released by The Vinyl Factory (with whom Duran collaborated on a special edition of their last album, All You Need is Now) will feature collectibles including a personal Polaroid photo from Rhodes and a note from Cuccurullo.

Pre-order links have yet to go live, but the official track list for the standard album is below:

TV Mania, Bored with Prozac and the Internet? (The Vinyl Factory (LP)/The Orchard/Beatport (digital), 2013)

  1. What About God?
  2. Euphoria
  3. Beautiful Clothes
  4. You’re Dreaming Pal
  5. Paramount
  6. What’s in the Future?
  7. I Wanna Make Films
  8. Yoghurt and Fake Tan
  9. Grab the Sun
  10. Using a Hidden Camera – Eyes in the Sky
  11. People Know Your Name

Recorded approximately 1995-2000. Produced by TV Mania, Mark Tinley and Anthony J. Resta. Mixed by Bob St. John.

Written by Mike Duquette

January 15, 2013 at 15:07

Posted in Duran Duran, News, Reissues

Grammy Time: Music’s Biggest Night Honored with Annual Compilation

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Grammys 2013We’re just a few weeks from the 55th Annual Grammy Awards – or as I like to call it, “how many times can my music geek friends and I make cutting jokes on the Internet?” – and, as is customary, next week will see the release of a compilation of Grammy-nominated songs for your perusal.

The 22-track compilation, distributed this year by EMI, has quite the cross-section of cuts from what is a rather diverse year for the awards ceremony. Altogether, six different artists – Dan Auerbach of the indie-blues group The Black Keys, power-pop upstarts Fun., folk phenom Mumford & Sons, rising rapper/R&B singer Frank Ocean and 21st century hip-hop statesmen Jay-Z and Kanye West – are all tied for most nominations this year, with six apiece. A host of current stars and future greats are up for the most prominent awards, including Kelly Clarkson, Taylor Swift, Jack White Australian singer/songwriter Gotye, R&B crooner Miguel and more.

2013 Grammy Nominees also includes a track by last year’s champion Adele (who took home six trophies for her 2011 smash 21 and is nominated for Best Pop Solo Performance for her Live At The Royal Albert Hall CD/DVD) and one from the one and only Boss, Bruce Springsteen, who is not only a three-time nominee this year but will receive the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences’ prestigious MusiCares Person of the Year Award at a ceremony held the night before the Grammys telecast.

Get your copy of the CD January 22 and watch the awards at 8 p.m. on Sunday, February 10 on CBS. Pre-order links and a detailed summary of each track’s Grammy nominations are after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

January 15, 2013 at 14:08

Mary Wells’ Early Motown Albums Collected in Mono on New Release

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Mary Wells - The One and Two Lovers

The third major Mary Wells release in recent months has arrived courtesy Ace Records’ Kent label.  The One Who Really Loves You/Two Lovers combines Wells’ second and third Motown long-players on one remastered CD, with every track taken from the original mono masters for the first time in the compact disc era.

Though Wells’ time at Motown was relatively brief, her star burned brightest there.  The first true superstar to emerge from Hitsville, she was also the first of the company’s artists to earn a Grammy Award nomination. Though she departed Berry Gordy’s empire in 1965 with dreams of Hollywood stardom at 20th Century Fox Records, she’ll always be remembered for a potent string of collaborations with songwriter/producer Smokey Robinson: “The One Who Really Loves You” (No. 8 Pop/No. 2 R&B), “You Beat Me to the Punch” (No. 9 Pop/No. 1 R&B), “Two Lovers” (No. 7 Pop/No. 1 R&B) and a little song called “My Guy” (No. 1 Pop/No. 1 R&B).  “The One Who Really Loved You” opened the 1962 album of the same name, and Smokey also provided two other songs for the 10-track platter: “Two Wrongs Don’t Make a Right” and the aforementioned “You Beat Me to the Punch.”  The effervescent album was cobbled together from sessions dating back as far as 1961, and followed the typical Motown album template of 10 songs drawn from recent singles plus covers of Jobete (Motown’s publishing arm) copyrights.  The album boasts material written by Berry Gordy (“She Don’t Love You”), William “Mickey” Stevenson (“Strange Love,” “You’re My Desire”) and Brian Holland (“I’ve Got a Notion”) as well as Wells herself (“Drifting Love”).  “You Beat Me to the Punch” was the most recent title included on the album, recorded not long after the release of “The One Who Really Loves You.”

After the jump: much more, including the track listing and order link! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

January 15, 2013 at 13:10

Don’t Cry For Me, Princess Leia: John Williams, Andrew Lloyd Webber Go Disco

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Midney Evita EmpireWhat do a beloved Broadway musical and an iconic sci-fi epic have to do with dance music pioneer Boris Midney?  Plenty, as it turns out.  Midney, a producer and arranger who came to prominence in the disco era with his expansive 48-track productions, recorded under a number of guises:  Caress, Beautiful Bend, Masquerade, Double Discovery, to name a few.  And The Demon Music Group’s Harmless Records imprint indeed does have a double discovery!  On January 26 in the U.K. and one week later in the U.S., an expanded reissue of two era-defining disco platters will arrive in one package: 1979’s Evita, recorded under the Festival name and known to many simply as Disco Evita, and the following year’s reinvented The Empire Strikes Back, released under Midney’s own name.

Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s 1976 concept album Evita, based on the life and times of Argentina’s controversial First Lady Eva Perón, starred Julie Covington in the title role.  Covington led a cast that also included Mike d’Abo and Paul Jones of Manfred Mann, future Les Miserables star Colm Wilkinson, pop crooner Tony Christie and actress/singer Barbara Dickson.  The success of Evita was immediate, with Covington earning the No. 1 spot on the U.K. pop charts with her stirring rendition of “Don’t Cry For Me, Argentina.”  A stage production directed by Harold Prince and starring Elaine Paige followed in the West End in 1978, and Prince’s production arrived in New York the following year with Patti LuPone in the title role.  Impresario Robert Stigwood, an early champion of Lloyd Webber and Rice’s work, produced Evita in both London and New York, and through his RSO Records, had further designs on the musical.

Stigwood enlisted Boris Midney to create a disco version of the Evita score, which was released on RSO in 1979 under the name of Festival.  Festival’s Evita continued the musical’s success streak, becoming a No. 1 Billboard Disco Album and yielding 12-inch, club-ready mixes of a special medley (over 20 minutes, spread on two sides of a single) and of “Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina.”  Harmless’ reissue appends both sides of the “Evita: Special Dance Music Version” as well as the 7-inch mix of “Argentina” and the song’s Mexican 12-inch mix.  Due to the success of the so-called Disco Evita, Stigwood enlisted Midney to turn his attention not to another rock opera, but to a space opera instead.

Mike picks up the story of Midney’s The Empire Strikes Back after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

January 15, 2013 at 09:51

Release Round-Up: Week of January 15

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Lost SirensNew Order, The Lost Sirens (Rhino) (Amazon U.S./Amazon U.K.)

A cadre of outtakes from the Waiting for the Siren’s Call sessions, this marks the last New Order material with original bassist Peter Hook.

Johnny Mathis - A Special Part of MeJohnny Mathis, A Special Part of Me: Expanded Edition (Amazon U.S./Amazon U.K.) (Funkytowngrooves)

FTG’s latest R&B expansion has a Michael Jackson connection: the future King of Pop co-wrote for Mathis “Love Never Felt So Good” with Paul Anka!

Talk Talk Natural OrderTalk Talk, Natural History: The Very Best of Talk Talk 1982-1988 (Amazon U.S./Amazon U.K.) / Natural Order 1982-1991 (Amazon U.S./Amazon U.K.) (Virgin/EMI)

Not only a CD/DVD reissue of Talk Talk’s first compilation, but a new set, assembled by frontman Mark Hollis, featuring lesser-known and rare tracks from the band.

Eddie MoneyEddie Money, Eddie Money (Amazon U.S./Amazon U.K.) / Life for the Taking (Amazon U.S./Amazon U.K.) / Playing for Keeps (Amazon U.S./Amazon U.K.) / No Control (Amazon U.S./Amazon U.K.) (Rock Candy)

Available in the U.K. now and Stateside next week: the Money Man’s first four Columbia albums, newly remastered and repackaged by Rock Candy.

Marcos Valle - Marcos Valle

Marcos Valle, Marcos Valle (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.) /Garra (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

This pair of 1970 and 1971 albums found the Brazilian bossa nova legend exploring new sonic terrain.  Light in the Attic tells the whole story with these remastered deluxe reissues!

J5 DVDThe Jackson 5, The Jackson 5ive: The Complete Series (Classic Media) (Amazon U.S.: DVD, Blu-Ray)

The entirety of the (probably ridiculous) Rankin-Bass J5 cartoon comes to DVD and, for some reason, Blu-ray!

Written by Mike Duquette

January 15, 2013 at 08:00