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Sparks Announce “Tangible Object” for October Release

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Sparks BoxEssentially quirky rock heroes Sparks have announced a “tangible object” – a new five-disc, swag-packed box set – for release through Universal Music’s U.K. arm in October.

New Music for Amnesiacs: The Ultimate Collection collates just about the entire experience of the band founded and fronted by hyperactive frontman Russell Mael and his Chaplin-mustached, scowling keyboard brother Ron. The set spans four discs, starting from the early art-rock of breakthroughs like Kimono My House and U.K. hit “This Town Ain’t Big Enough for Both of Us” to their reinvented state as an electronic duo in the ’70s and ’80s, collaborating with the likes of Giorgio Moroder, Harold Faltermeyer and Reinhold Mack – all the way up to their most recent pop album, 2008’s Exotic Creatures of the Deep. (The conceptual “radio musical” The Seduction of Ingmar Bergman (2009) is not excerpted, having been meant to hear as a whole.)

While audio rarities are few, the box does feature an unreleased version of “Tryouts for the Human Race” from 1979’s No. 1 in Heaven, as well as a bonus disc with two rare single tracks released in conjunction with the band’s latest tours: “Islington N1,” to promote a 21-night concert series in London in 2008 where Sparks played every album in chronological order; and “Two Hands, One Mouth,” released for a European tour of the same name in 2012 – the Maels’ first live appearances as just a duo.

The main four discs are packaged in a hardback book with 64 pages of liner notes and rare photos, while the fifth disc has its own custom wallet. Also included in the box is a generous helping of bonus ephemera, including replica tickets, tour passes, a new sticker and badge and “never-before-seen proof-sheet photo outtakes of the Big Beat (1976) photo session shot by renowned photographer Richard Avedon and adorned with a replication of Richard Avedon Studio’s return address sticker addressed to the Maels at their New York hotel.”

Packaged as an “intangible object,” made with “impossible-to-download technology created by the Mael brothers,” New Music for Amnesiacs is available exclusively through the Universal Music box set store and will be available October 21. Hit the jump for the full track breakdown!

New Music for Amnesiacs: The Ultimate Collection (Universal Music (U.K.), 2013)

Disc 1

  1. Wonder Girl
  2. Roger
  3. High C
  4. Girl from Germany
  5. Batteries Not Included
  6. Whippings and Apologies
  7. This Town Ain’t Big Enough for Both of Us
  8. Amateur Hour
  9. Equator
  10. Talent is An Asset
  11. Barbecutie
  12. Propaganda
  13. At Home, At Work, At Play
  14. Never Turn Your Back on Mother Earth
  15. Something for the Girl with Everything
  16. Alabamy Right
  17. Hospitality on Parade
  18. Happy Hunting Ground
  19. Looks, Looks, Looks
  20. Get in the Swing
  21. Miss the Start, Miss the End
  22. Big Boy
  23. Nothing to Do
  24. Looks Aren’t Everything
  25. Tearing the Place Apart

Disc 2

  1. Goofing Off
  2. Over the Summer
  3. The Number One Song in Heaven
  4. Beat the Clock
  5. Tryouts for the Human Race (Unreleased Version)
  6. When I’m with You (Single Version)
  7. Young Girls (Single Version)
  8. Tips for Teens
  9. Funny Face
  10. I Married a Martian
  11. Angst in My Pants
  12. I Predict
  13. Mickey Mouse
  14. Eaten by the Monster of Love
  15. Cool Places
  16. Popularity
  17. I Wish I Looked a Little Better
  18. Pretending to Be Drunk
  19. A Song That Sings Itself

Disc 3

  1. Music That You Can Dance To
  2. Change
  3. Let’s Get Funky
  4. Singing in the Shower – Les Rita Mitsouko with Sparks
  5. So Important
  6. A Walk Down Memory Lane
  7. Madonna
  8. National Crime Awareness Week (Psycho Cut)
  9. Gratuitous Sax & Senseless Violins
  10. When Do I Get to Sing “My Way”
  11. (When I Kiss You) I Hear Charlie Parker Playing (Radio Edit)
  12. Tsui Hark (feat. Tsui Hark & Bill Kong)
  13. Let’s Go Surfing
  14. Propaganda
  15. Pulling Rabbits Out of a Hat
  16. This Town Ain’t Big Enough for Both Of Us (with Faith No More)
  17. Bullet Train
  18. It’s a Knockoff
  19. The Calm Before the Storm

Disc 4

  1. Concerto in Koch Minor (Wunderbar)
  2. The Rhythm Thief
  3. How Do I Get to Carnegie Hall?
  4. My Baby’s Taking Me Home
  5. Suburban Homeboy
  6. I Married Myself
  7. Dick Around
  8. Perfume
  9. The Very Next Fight
  10. Metaphor
  11. As I Sit Down to Play the Organ At the Notre Dame Cathedral
  12. Good Morning
  13. Lighten Up, Morrissey
  14. Strange Animal
  15. Photoshop
  16. I’ve Never Been High
  17. I Am a Bookworm

Disc 5

  1. Islington N1
  2. Two Hands, One Mouth

Disc 1, Tracks 1-3 from Halfnelson (Bearsville, 1971/1972)
Disc 1, Tracks 4-6 from A Woofer in Tweeter’s Clothing (Bearsville, 1973)
Disc 1, Tracks 7-10 from Kimono My House (Island, 1974)
Disc 1, Track 11 was the B-side to “This Town Ain’t Big Enough for Both of Us” (Island, 1973)
Disc 1, Tracks 12-15 from Propaganda (Island, 1974)
Disc 1, Track 16 was the B-side to “Never Turn Your Back on Mother Earth” (Island, 1974)
Disc 1, Tracks 17-21 from Indiscreet (Island, 1975)
Disc 1, Tracks 22-23 from Big Beat (Columbia (U.S.)/Island (U.K.), 1976)
Disc 1, Track 24 from Big Beat: 21st Century Edition (Island (U.K.), 2009)
Disc 1, Track 25 from expanded edition of Big Beat (Island Masters (U.K.), 1994)
Disc 2, Tracks 1-2 from Introducing Sparks (Columbia (U.S.)/CBS (U.K.), 1977)
Disc 2, Tracks 3-4 from No. 1 in Heaven (Elektra (U.S.)/Virgin (U.K.), 1979)
Disc 2, Track 5 previously unreleased
Original versions of Disc 2, Tracks 6-7 from Terminal Jive (Virgin (U.K.), 1980)
Disc 2, Tracks 8-10 from Whomp That Sucker (RCA (U.S.)/Why-Fi (U.K.), 1981)
Disc 2, Tracks 11-14 from Angst in My Pants (Atlantic, 1982)
Disc 2, Tracks 15-17 from In Outer Space (Atlantic, 1983)
Disc 2, Tracks 18-19 from Pulling Rabbits Out of a Hat (Atlantic, 1984)
Disc 3, Tracks 1-3 from Music That You Can Dance To (MCA (U.S.)/Consolidated Allied (U.K.), 1986)
Disc 3, Track 4 from Marc and David (Virgin, 1988)
Disc 3, Tracks 5-7 from Interior Design (Fine Art, 1988)
Disc 3, Track 8 from non-LP single (Finiflex (U.K.), 1993)
Disc 3, Tracks 9-13 from Gratuitous Sex & Senseless Violins (Logic, 1994)
Disc 3, Tracks 14-16 from Plagiarism (Oglio (U.S.)/Virgin (U.K.), 1997)
Disc 3, Tracks 17-19 from Balls (Oglio (U.S.)/Recognition (U.K.), 2000)
Disc 4, Track 1 from “Suburban Homeboy” CD single (Lil’ Beethoven (U.K.), 2003)
Disc 4, Tracks 2-6 from Lil’ Beethoven (Palm Pictures (U.S.)/Lil’ Beethoven (U.K.), 2002)
Disc 4, Tracks 7-11 from Hello Young Lovers (In the Red (U.S.)/Gut (U.K.), 2006)
Disc 4, Tracks 12-16 from Exotic Creatures of the Deep (Lil’ Beethoven, 2008)
Disc 4, Track 17 previously unreleased – recorded 2010
Disc 5, Track 1 from non-LP single – Lil’ Beethoven (U.K.), 2008
Disc 5, Track 2 from non-LP 10″ single – Lil’ Beethoven (U.K.), 2012

Written by Mike Duquette

August 14, 2013 at 11:36

Posted in Box Sets, News, Sparks

5 Responses

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  1. Now there, THERE, is a Boxed set!

    Matt Rowe

    August 14, 2013 at 11:44

    • Technically, yes… there is a boxed set. But it could have used a bit of editing (5 songs each from the last 3 albums?) and more rarities, B-sides or better choice deep cuts. THERE is my opinion!


      August 19, 2013 at 02:28

  2. ^ You said it, Matt!!!!!! I have to say – what an underrated duo! I just saw them this spring in NYC for the first time (fan since Kimono My House) and I was so blown away – one of the best shows I have ever seen!


    August 15, 2013 at 10:26

  3. £100? I don’t think so, Universal & RnR.


    August 15, 2013 at 16:13

  4. What a missed opportunity, too much for the casual observer and the fan will have all of discs 1 – 4. There’s at least half a dozen discs worth of rarities and unreleased stuff that could have been mined for it, without B Sides and live stuff from their career. £100 for Disc 5, I think not.


    August 16, 2013 at 16:15

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