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Archive for September 16th, 2013

Ava Cherry Takes A Ride On A “Streetcar Named Desire”

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Ava Cherry - Streetcar Named Desire“Black people don’t do new wave.  She’s supposed to be doing soul,” Ava Cherry recollected of radio’s reaction to her 1982 Capitol Records single “Love to Be Touched.”  Yet not only did Cherry – the former model, stalwart background vocalist and onetime muse to David Bowie –  do new wave, but she did it with fervor and flair.  With production from Bob Esty (Donna Summer’s “Last Dance,” Barbra Streisand’s “The Main Event”), Cherry’s sophomore solo album Streetcar Named Desire, produced by Bob Esty (Donna Summer’s “Last Dance,” Barbra Streisand’s “The Main Event”), has just come to CD in a new, deluxe edition from Gold Legion.  It adds one outtake, two bonus remixes and a new essay chockablock with tasty morsels, such as the one above, from the album’s key participants.  Streetcar failed to set the charts on fire all those years ago, but time has finally caught up with Ava Cherry’s genre-bending pop.

That this was no ordinary album was clear from the first notes of an overture-style composition by Mark Isham, “Having Been Near.”  It pointed the way towards his eventual film scores and set the stage for Cherry’s entrance on the album’s title track.  (Isham plays a major role on Streetcar and also closes it with the instrumental bookend “Having Been Far.”)  The entire LP features the music of synth-pop foursome Zoo Drive – Paul Delph (keyboards), John Goodsall (guitar), Doug Lunn (bass) and Ric Parnell (drums).  Esty applied an organic process to both songwriting and recording between himself, Cherry and Zoo Drive, lending Streetcar a feel that sets it apart from many of the era’s more sterile productions.  Despite the prevalent, of-their-time electronic textures, this is a “band” album.  Most of the album’s lyrics were written by Cherry and Esty, with various permutations of the Zoo Drive line-up contributing to the music and/or lyrics of more than half of the album’s tracks.  New wave gloss melds with greasy funk, pure pop, harsh rock, and jazz in the singular arrangements overseen by Esty.   (Cherry is “a post-punk rocker,” opines the critic of the New York Recorder as reprinted here.)  The album’s myriad influences might have worked against its initial chances for success, but in retrospect, they now distinguish it.

Read more after the jump!  Plus: the full track listing and order links! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

September 16, 2013 at 16:13

Posted in Ava Cherry, News, Reissues, Reviews

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Lamb of God’s “Palaces” Burn Brighter with New Anniversary Edition

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Lamb of God As The Palaces BurnIf you’re a fan of metal band Lamb of God, here’s some good news about them that doesn’t involve the legal system: their third album, As the Palaces Burn, is getting the deluxe treatment for its 10th anniversary this November.

The Richmond, Virginia-based, thrash/groove metal-inspired quintet recorded two albums in 1999 and 2000 (the first under the name Burn the Priest) before engaging with audiences on the road for two years. At the end of their tour, they harnessed that burgeoning live energy into As the Palaces Burn, a major breakthrough with critics from Rolling Stone (who praised their “meticulously crafted metal assault”) to Revolver (who named the album the best of 2003).

Since the release of As the Palaces Burn, Lamb of God have gone from strength to strength, from Grammy nominations to the success of their seventh, most recent album, Resolution, in 2012. The band attracted some unfortunate press in recent times, after a fan in Prague died of injuries sustained by climbing on (and falling off of) the stage at one of the band’s shows in 2010. (Frontman Randy Blythe was in fact arrested on manslaughter charges; this summer, he was acquitted.) Now, though, with a plan to re-enter the studio next year and a multi-format reissue of one of their most beloved albums, Lamb of God look to be doing pretty well.

The 10th anniversary edition of As the Palaces Burn will feature an all-new remix of the original album by producer Josh Wilbur (who helmed the band’s last two albums) and three previously unreleased demos from the album sessions. The CD version will include a bonus DVD documentary on the making of the album, while the LP edition (pressed on red smoke/swirl vinyl) will feature the remixed album with a digital download of said remix plus the bonus tracks. The band’s official webstore also features several merchandise bundles, with extras including shot glasses and new printings of original band T-shirts.

As the Palaces Burn re-ignites in November. Amazon links are not yet live, but the full audio track list is after the jump.

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Written by Mike Duquette

September 16, 2013 at 14:31

Milk It: Nirvana Lines Up Another Reissue Exclusive At Target

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In Utero TargetIn what appears to be a repeat of a successful formula and a sign of what it takes to get even the biggest catalogue releases to big box retail shelves, Universal will again pair with Target stores for an exclusive version of a Nirvana reissue.

Following 2011’s exclusive single-disc expansion of Nevermind – which put the first disc of the deluxe edition in its own jewel case, allowing fans to buy simply the remastered album and all the original B-sides in one set instead of any of the unreleased outtakes – Target will do the same for the forthcoming In Utero expansion next week. The remastered disc will feature the eight bonus tracks featured in the other deluxe formats, including six contemporaneous B-sides and two unreleased mixes of “Heart Shaped Box” and “All Apologies” by album producer Steve Albini. (Scott Litt remixed those songs and “Pennyroyal Tea” for singles.)

It is presently unclear if the two-disc In Utero will sit on shelves alongside its Target-exclusive partner, as was the case for Nevermind. A cursory look at big box retailer shelves often turns up little in the way of deluxe reissues; Target’s last non-exclusive packages of such kind, to this writer’s memory, were probably Universal’s reissues of U2’s Achtung Baby and The Rolling Stones’ Some Girls. (A Target edition of Michael Jackson’s Bad 25 had a bonus DVD, and a spring sale involved gift card incentives with the purchase of specially marked, previously-released entries in Sony’s Legacy Edition product line.)

All formats of In Utero hit stores next Tuesday, September 24. If a remastered, expanded one-disc set is what you want, pre-order the Target version after the jump.

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Written by Mike Duquette

September 16, 2013 at 11:17

Posted in News, Nirvana, Reissues

A Match Made In “Hell”: Cherry Red Revisits Meat Loaf and Ellen Foley

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Meat Loaf LiveAin’t no doubt about it: Ellen Foley achieved classic rock immortality via her role on “Paradise by the Dashboard Light,” opposite Meat Loaf on his 1977 album Bat Out of Hell.  Foley was the girl “glowing like the metal on the edge of a knife” in Jim Steinman’s rock opera in miniature, with Meat Loaf as the boy “praying for the end of time” and the end of their time together.  All these years later, Foley and the former Marvin Lee Aday are together again – on CD shelves, at least, thanks to two new reissues from two imprints of the Cherry Red Group.  Hear No Evil Records has just released a remastered edition of Meat Loaf’s 1987 Live at Wembley, while Lemon Recordings has offered a 2-CD set of Foley’s first two LPs, Nightout and Spirit of St. Louis.

Meat Loaf’s Live at Wembley arrived on Arista Records in September 1987, drawn from two concerts held at the storied London arena on March 1 and 2, 1987.  It was the follow-up to the previous year’s Blind Before I Stop, the singer’s first album to wholly abandon the grandiose, theatrical production style of the colossally successful Bat Out of Hell.  To achieve this, German producer Frank Farian was enlisted to produce.  Farian, then best known as the creator-producer of Boney M. and today better remembered as the notorious figure behind Milli Vanilli, updated Meat Loaf’s sound by adding metallic synthesizers to the deafeningly loud guitars and abandoning Spectorian pomp in favor of eighties metal and even Euro-disco.   The album wasn’t a success; it was Meat Loaf’s first to miss the Top 10 in the U.K., and failed to chart entirely at home.  But it did yield three charting singles in the U.K. with “Rock ‘n’ Roll Mercenaries” (No. 31), “Special Girl” (No. 81) and the title track (No. 89).  Meat Loaf could still draw impressive crowds in England, and so the decision was made to record the Wembley stand on his 20/20 world tour of 1987 for his first commercially-released live album.  The robust-voiced singer was joined by his band Neverland Express, consisting of Chuck Burgi (drums), Steve Buslowe (bass/vocals), Frank Doyle (keyboards), Paul Jacobs (piano), Bob Kulick (lead guitar), Alan Merrill (guitar/vocals) and siblings Amy and Elaine Goff (vocals).

Today, Meat Loaf’s live albums number six (not counting live videos/DVDs), the most recent of which is 2012’s Guilty Pleasure Tour.  But Live at Wembley is notable for featuring a number of songs unavailable on other live releases.  As Meat was still ostensibly promoting the album, three tracks from Blind Before I Stop appear on Live at Wembley, including the carnal title track, the Rick Derringer co-write “Masculine” and a duet with bassist Buslowe on “Rock ‘n’ Roll Mercenaries.” (The liner notes repeat the story that John Parr, Meat Loaf’s duet partner on the studio version of the song, was angry that Meat neglected to introduce him to the Wembley crowd and stormed offstage.  Buslowe is credited with the Live vocal.)  1984’s Bad Attitude was tapped for the Top 20 U.K. single “Modern Girl,” and the title song of 1983’s Tom Dowd-helmed Midnight at the Lost and Found also made an appearance.  (A live “Midnight” can also be heard on 1996’s Live Around the World.)  The remainder of Live at Wembley, save an album-closing oldies medley of “Johnny B. Goode/Slow Down/Jailhouse Rock/Blue Suede Shoes,” was drawn from Bat Out of Hell.

The Bat songs remain the core of any Meat Loaf concert today, and here, you’ll hear a 10-minute take on “Paradise” as a duet with Amy Goff, an almost-as-long “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad” with some furious fretwork by Bob Kulick, a joyful “You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth,” and the storming, epic title song with Meat Loaf in pyrotechnic vocal mode.  These renditions largely adhere to the original arrangements, though the tight band takes enough liberties with an aggressive rock edge to give them a different flavor.

Malcolm Dome supplies new liner notes for Live at Wembley, part of a generously-illustrated booklet filled with tour and album advertisements and images.  Andy Pearce has remastered.  As with the previous CD edition, Hear No Evil’s reissue includes the full original LP plus the 2-track EP bundled with it, of “Masculine” b/w the “Rock ‘n’ Roll Medley.”  The original performances boasted much longer sets than the 75 minutes preserved on disc; the complete concerts as recorded by Fleetwood Mobile Recording and Meat Loaf’s co-producer Tom Edmonds remain unreleased.

The newly spruced-up Live at Wembley is available now, and you can order it after the jump!  Plus: the scoop on Lemon’s Ellen Foley reissue package! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

September 16, 2013 at 10:02