The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

Archive for April 24th, 2014

Burn, Baby, Burn! Career-Spanning Anthology Arrives For The Dictators

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Dictators - Faster LouderWho will save rock and roll?

The Dictators posed the question on their 2011 reunion album D.F.F.D. (that’s “Dictators Forever, Forever Dictators,” in case you were wondering), but many listening might have felt that The Dictators themselves could have been the saviors. Yet despite recording three well-received albums between 1975 and 1978, and gaining such high-profile fans as Bruce Springsteen and Little Steven Van Zandt, The Dictators’ anarchic, acerbic brand of rock-and-roll never garnered the group mainstream success. But Raven Records believes in The Dictators, and has just celebrated the band with its first-ever career-spanning, multi-label anthology. Faster…Louder: The Dictators’ Best 1975-2001 draws on all four studio albums for a fast and furious introduction to the group Van Zandt asserted was “the missing link between The New York Dolls and punk.”

Vocalist/bassist/chief songwriter Andy Shernoff joined lead guitarist Ross “The Boss” Friedman, rhythm guitarist Scott “Top Ten” Kempner, drummer Stu Boy King and lead vocalist “Handsome” Dick Manitoba in the first lineup of The Dictators. This quintet unleashed The Dictators Go Girl Crazy! on Epic Records in 1976, produced by Murray Krugman and Sandy Pearlman, known for their work with hard rockers Blue Öyster Cult. With its humorously biting lyrics and full-throttle garage-style musical attack, Girl Crazy is often considered one of the building blocks of the punk sound. Six tracks are culled from Girl Crazy for Raven’s anthology, including “California Sun,” one of the original LP’s two covers. (The other was “I Got You, Babe,” nodding to the punks’ affection for – and satire of – sixties pop.) Of Shernoff’s originals included here, “(I Live For) Cars and Girls” was the songwriter’s tribute to Brian Wilson; “Master Race Rock” wasn’t quite as malevolent as the title might indicate, opening with “Hippies are squares with long hair/And they don’t wear no underwear” and going from there!

After a brief breakup, The Dictators reconvened with Manitoba, Friedman and Kempner joined by drummer Richie Teeter and bassist Mark “The Animal” Mendoza. Shernoff stayed on to play keyboards and write most of the group’s 1977 Asylum debut Manifest Destiny. Four tracks, including a live cover of The Stooges’ “Search and Destroy” from CBGB’s, are reprised here. Though the musicianship was as savage as ever, Manifest presented a more diverse hard-rock sound encompassing arena rock, punk, metal, and even power ballads. One more album followed for Asylum, 1978’s Bloodbrothers, from which five songs have been extracted. Shernoff once again handled the lion’s share of songwriting, even enlisting an uncredited Bruce Springsteen for a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it vocal cameo on “Faster and Louder,” the track which gives this compilation its title. “Slow Death” was a cover of the Flamin’ Groovies’ anti-drug song from 1972.

Don’t miss a thing – hit the jump to continue reading! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

April 24, 2014 at 12:47

WE HAVE OUR WINNERS! Will The New, Remastered “Porky’s Revenge” Soundtrack Be YOURS?

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Written by Joe Marchese

April 24, 2014 at 10:16

Hold On to Your Friends: Morrissey’s “Vauxhall and I” to Be Expanded

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Vauxhall and IOn June 3, Morrissey is picking up where he left off.  Parlophone Records will follow the February CD/DVD reissue of 1992’s Your Arsenal with the next album in his considerable catalogue, 1994’s Vauxhall and I.  Like Your Arsenal, the remastered CD of Vauxhall will be packaged with a previously unreleased live concert performance, this time also on CD.

Vauxhall and I was a very different animal than its predecessor.  Since the release of Arsenal, the artist had suffered the loss of that album’s producer, Mick Ronson.  He paired with producer Steve Lillywhite (U2, Big Country) for Vauxhall.  Lillywhite crafted a spare, often acoustic aesthetic to match the dark, somber and introspective songs written by Morrissey with his collaborators Alain Whyte and Boz Boorer.  Whyte and Boorer both contributed guitar to the LP and were joined by Jonny Bridgwood on bass and Woodie Taylor on drums.  The result was a stripped-down, elegiac, less heavily guitar-oriented LP.

Parlophone’s press release describes it as follows: “Vauxhall and I signaled an acceptance of ageing amidst the tyranny of time, casting off the shackles of the past, with a will to embrace the future. Along the way the album visits a cast of characters, including, references to Brighton Rock – gorgeous, exhilarating album opener ‘Now My Heart Is Full’ – those whom disregard all social conventions and ‘take life at five times the average speed’ (‘Spring-Heeled Jim’) and rejected romantics (‘Billy Budd’ – also a Herman Melville character). It also lays waste to ignorant and selfish tourist whom are ‘jaded by stagnation’ (‘The Lazy Sunbathers’), the unthinking and unquestioning (‘Why Don’t You Find Out For Yourself’ – later covered by The Killers), and tackles the inevitable loss of innocence (‘Used To Be A Sweet Boy’), amongst other inimitable themes.”

Despite the personal nature of the material, however, the artist scored an unexpected hit.  Lead single “The More You Ignore Me, the Closer I Get” became his only song – either solo or with The Smiths – to chart on the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S., where it reached No. 46.  It also reached No. 1 on the Modern Rock Tracks chart. In his native United Kingdom, the track went all the way to No. 8, and was the artist’s only Top 10 of the decade.    The album itself was also a success.  In the U.S., it made the Top 20 of the Billboard 200; in the U.K., it became Morrissey’s second No. 1 album after his 1988 solo debut Viva Hate.

After the jump, we have more on Vauxhall and I including pre-order links and the full track listing of both CDs! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

April 24, 2014 at 09:55

Posted in Morrissey, News, Reissues