The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

Archive for August 27th, 2013

La-La Land Re-Enters “The Matrix,” Draws “Wyatt Earp” for Milestone Release

leave a comment »

Wyatt EarpLa-La Land’s latest releases celebrate the ongoing legacy of the music of Warner Bros. Pictures, from modern Westerns to ultramodern action flicks – not to mention another landmark in the label’s own discography.

For its 250th release, La-La Land has greatly expanded James Newton Howard’s score to Wyatt Earp, Lawrence Kasdan’s 1994 drama about the real-life lawman starred Kevin Costner as the titular Earp and co-starred Gene Hackman and Dennis Quaid. Despite its star power, it was considerably less successful than Tombstone, Hollywood’s other adaptation of the Earp legend. (Costner in fact bowed out of that picture over creative disagreements and, reportedly, used some of his towering influence in the business to reduce its chances of being made. Unfortunately for him, that didn’t seem to work.)

But one thing is certain: Newton Howard’s grandiose score remains not only one of the film’s highlights, but an important latter-day entry in the scoring of Western films. And for the first time, it’s presented in its full form: a triple-disc set that not only includes the complete, unedited score, but an entire disc of early and alternate versions, album edits and other bonus ephemera. Tim Grieving contributes in-depth liner notes to this title, limited to 3,000 units and, like the label’s expansion of Rosewood, specially labeled with Warner’s 90th anniversary symbol to represent the studio’s ongoing milestone.

Matrix ReloadedThat Warner tradition is also on display with La-La Land’s other score reissue of the week: a two-disc expanded presentation of Don Davis’ action-packed score to 2003’s The Matrix Reloaded. The no-holds-barred sequel to the wildly successful sci-fi/action film created by Lana and Andy Wachowski featured Keanu Reeves once again as Neo, the all-powerful freedom fighter leading his human cohorts (including Laurence Fishburne and Carrie Anne Moss as Morpheus and Trinity) against the corrupt machines and their real-life simulation program, The Matrix. Along the way, Neo will come face to face once more with his archenemy, the nefarious program Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving), who has become even more powerful since their last encounter.

While Reloaded and its sequel, The Matrix Revolutions, were heavy on big concepts that at times threatened to derail the awesome visuals and high-concept set pieces, the music of Don Davis was one of a great many highlights from the entire series. For both sequels, the composer joined forces with a number of electronic and trance artists, including Juno Reactor, Rob Dougan and Fluke, to create a markedly different score than what was heard in The Matrix. While this double-disc presentation is not complete (several score tracks were unable to be used due to licensing restrictions), it is the most complete set from the film on the market, and features for the first time several of Davis’ original, pre-electronic cues. Limited to 3,500 copies, Reloaded is ready to order today as well.

Order links and full track lists for both titles are waiting for you after the jump!

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

August 27, 2013 at 16:21

“The Bells Ring,” Again: New Wave Outfit Swimming Pool Q’s Reissue A&M Works on Deluxe Compilation

with 2 comments

Swimming Pool Q'sHere’s a surprising treat from earlier in the summer: New Wave outfit The Swimming Pool Q’s recently re-released their two albums for A&M Records with a host of bonus content.

The Atlanta-based quintet – anchored by multi-instrumentalist Jeff Calder and guitarist Bob Elsey (the band’s principal songwriters) and singer/keyboardist Anne Richmond Boston – enjoyed local success on the DB Records label (alongside acts like Pylon and Love Tractor) before making the jump to the majors with their 1985 self-titled album on A&M. Propelled by a catchy MTV hit, “The Bells Ring,” The Q’s were a little darker than their jangly brethren down south, which was good enough for Lou Reed, who had the band open for him while touring the New Sensations album.


But the band never enjoyed the same kind of college-rock breakthrough as others on the Georgia rock scene, and A&M dropped them after a second album, Blue Tomorrow. Another EP for DB and a 1989 album for Capitol, World War Two Point Five (neither of which featured Boston), was followed by a lengthy hiatus. The band reformed to promote an expanded reissue of their first DB album in 2001, and a new album, 2003’s The Royal Academy of Reality, soon followed.

The Swimming Pool Q’s newest project, The A&M Years 1984-1986, was funded with the help of fans on Kickstarter, and is available in two distinct packages. One is a simple two-disc set featuring remastered versions of both albums, The Swimming Pool Q’s and Blue Tomorrow. The other is a four-disc set that adds a bonus CD and DVD of rare and unreleased material. These include single remixes from New Wave/alt-rock heavy-hitters Mike Howlett and Scott Litt as well as several studio versions of long-unreleased live favorites. Thirteen promo clips, rare television appearances and homemade featurettes feature on the accompanying DVD.

This intriguing portion of New Wave history is available to order now; a full track listing and Amazon links are after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

August 27, 2013 at 12:30

Review: The Beach Boys, “Made in California”

with 10 comments

Beach Boys Made in California BoxIf everybody had an ocean…

Rarely have five simple words in pop music held such promise.  The message at the time was an invitation squarely aimed at teens: “If everybody had an ocean, across the USA/Then everybody’d be surfin’ like Califor-ni-a…”  But ultimately, the promise and California dream embodied by Hawthorne, CA’s native sons came to mean so much more than mere surfin’.  The sound of The Beach Boys – Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Carl Wilson, Dennis Wilson, Al Jardine, David Marks, Bruce Johnston, Blondie Chaplin and Ricky Fataar – has crossed generational and genre lines for over five decades.  The group’s ocean of possibility has led to works of great beauty, joy, melancholy and triumph – in other words, the human experience.  It’s not bad for a group who began in primitive fashion, marrying doo-wop vocalizations to a basic melody as they exhorted, “Surfin’ is the only life, the only way for me, now, surf, surf, with me!”  The story of that band – from “Surfin’” to 2012’s Top 5 LP That’s Why God Made the Radio and beyond – is told on the new 6-CD box set Made in California (Capitol/UMe B0018509-02).  “Box set” isn’t quite accurate, though – try “book set,” as Made in California is cleverly designed in the style of a high school yearbook, complete with inscriptions from Brian, Mike, Al, Bruce and David, advertisements from merchants of days gone by, articles including a high school essay written by Brian, and numerous photographs.  In fact, the band’s (near-) entire story is told in their own words – including quotes from the late Dennis and Carl.  (Emphasis on “near” as the yearbook skips from the early 1980s to the 2012 reunion!)

We’re goin’ to the beach right after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

August 27, 2013 at 11:27

Let Him Sing and We’re Happy: Parlophone Readies The “Alternate” Matt Monro

with 4 comments

Alternate MonroMatt Monro (1930-1985) made one of his first major splashes under the pseudonym of “Fred Flange,” adding the requisite touch of Sinatra to Peter Sellers’ 1959 comedy LP Songs for Swingin’ Sellers.  Good as he was at being Sinatra, however, he was even better at being Matt Monro.  Producer George Martin picked up on this, and the rest is history.  Monro began his tenure at EMI signed (like Sellers) to Parlophone, later became an artist for EMI’s famous U.S. Capitol label, and still later saw releases on EMI’s Columbia label and EMI proper.  But in 2012, the assets of the troubled EMI were broken up, with Capitol Records going to UMe (Universal Music Enterprises) and Parlophone to WMG (Warner Music Group).  Numerous questions arose, and here at Second Disc HQ, we wondered: what would become of the gold-standard Matt Monro catalogue program shepherded by Monro’s daughter Michele Monro and audio engineer Richard Moore through projects including The Singer’s Singer, The Man Behind the Voice, Words and Music, and the Rare Monro series?  At last, we have an answer, and it brings Matt Monro full circle to Parlophone.

On September 16, WMG’s Parlophone label will unveil Alternate Monro, a 27-track anthology almost entirely consisting of unreleased performances from Matt’s Parlophone and EMI U.K. years.  On his website, Moore chronicles the fascinating backstory behind the compilation, revealing that “all plans the Monro Estate had [for future releases] have had to be scrapped.  Michele Monro and I put our heads together and discussed various releases that we could put together from the archives of the old EMI U.K. [now WMG’s Parlophone Label Group].”  The result is Alternate Monro, another treasure trove of rare and never-before-released material from the legendary vocalist.  The concept is a simple yet potent one: to present alternate takes and versions of familiar songs, all remastered to the highest standard by Moore and many completely remixed, as well, for optimum sound.  Even the Capitol years (which yielded the signature song “Born Free”) are represented thanks to four songs recorded for the U.S. Air Force’s Public Service program Serenade in Blue.  All tracks, other than the U.S.A.F. tracks which were transferred from the U.S.A.F.’s original vinyl copies, were transferred from original session or mixdown tapes for this project.

What songs can you expect to hear on Alternate Monro?  Just hit the jump for many more details! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

August 27, 2013 at 09:42

Release Round-Up: Week of August 27

leave a comment »

Beach Boys Made in California BoxThe Beach Boys, Made in California (Capitol/UMe)

Six discs of career-spanning tunes – hits and rarities aplenty – from the best band to come out of Hawthorne, California. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Dylan Bootleg 10Bob Dylan, Another Self Portrait (1969-1971): The Bootleg Series Vol. 10 (Columbia)

Revisit one of the most polarizing periods of Dylan’s career with the latest Bootleg Series entry, featuring outtakes from Nashville SkylineSelf Portrait and New Morning. A deluxe version includes Dylan and The Band’s complete Isle of Wight performance and a remastered version of Self Portrait, and a vinyl version also exists.

2CD standard edition: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
4CD deluxe edition: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
3LP vinyl edition: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Sly and the Family Stone - HigherSly & The Family Stone, Higher! (Epic/Legacy)

A four-disc box celebrating one of the pioneers of funk and R&B. Intriguing tracks from the vault and little-heard mono mixes are complemented by a really striking visual presentation, and a healthy book of liner notes. Amazon U.S. has got a six-track bonus disc with the box, and there’s also a highlights disc for the less curious.

4CD box: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
4CD box + bonus disc: Amazon U.S.
8LP box: Amazon U.K.
8LP box + bonus disc: Amazon U.S.
1CD compilation: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Belinda Heaven on Earth DeluxeBelinda Carlisle, Heaven on Earth Runaway Horses Live Your Life Be Free Real: Deluxe Editions (Edsel)

When The Go-Go’s leader went full-on pop, the music world was all the better for it. Belinda’s Virgin discography has now been expanded as 2CD/1DVD sets, Edsel-style.

Heaven on Earth: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Runaway HorsesAmazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Live Your Life Be FreeAmazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
RealAmazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Robert Palmer Pride-RiptideRobert Palmer, Sneakin’ Sally Through the Alley/Pressure DropSome People Can Do What They Like/Double Fun / Secrets/Clues/Maybe It’s LivePride/Riptide (Edsel)

The Robert Palmer Island Records discography is finally remastered and expanded – not as we’d imagine (as two-fers and one three-fer), but at least this late great is getting the attention he so greatly deserves.

Sneakin’ Sally Through the Alley/Pressure Drop: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Some People Can Do What They Like/Double Fun: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Secrets/Clues/Maybe It’s LiveAmazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Pride/RiptideAmazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Mario Lanza - Toast of HollywoodMario Lanza, The Toast of Hollywood (Sony Masterworks)

A new two-disc compilation celebrating MGM’s beloved actor-tenor features six previously unreleased recordings. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Dexter Gordon - Daddy Plays the HornOscar Pettiford, Modern Quintet / Chris Connor, Sings Lullabys For Lovers / Dexter Gordon, Daddy Plays The Horn / Charles Mingus, The Jazz Experiments of Charles Mingus / Nina Simone, Little Girl Blue / Booker Ervin, The Book Cooks (Naxos/Bethlehem)

The first of several batches of reissues from the classic Bethlehem label (additional batches are planned through next summer!) are hitting CD, LP and MP3, back in print after too long. (The above link is being updated with full links as they’re available.)

CHIC Vinyl SinglesCHIC, The 12″ Singles Collection (Atlantic/Rhino U.K.)

Ten tracks of disco goodness spanning the entire, immortal partnership of Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards, on five pieces of vinyl. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Fuel for the FireNaked Eyes, Fuel for the Fire: Expanded Edition (Cherry Pop)

The second and final Naked Eyes LP debuts on CD with rare bonus tracks and unreleased demos for your enjoyment. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)