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Archive for the ‘Ben Folds’ Category

Short Takes: Folds Dishes on Rarities, Elfman on the Box, Carly Simon and More

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  • Ben Folds has previously hinted at a vault-clearing project of some type, and he elaborated on the set in a recent interview on Australia’s Triple J Radio. According to Folds, the set will comprise three discs’ worth of rarities, live material and a hits compilation. The centerpiece of the material, Folds said, is newly-discovered tapes – originally feared lost when a flood damaged his Nashville studio – of rough mixes intended for a fourth Ben Folds Five album. He said the set would arrive in late November (no word on a label, though his onetime home of Epic and/or Legacy would be a natural fit as catalogue goes).
  • You’ve heard a lot of talk from us about the Tim Burton/Danny Elfman box set. Why not hear some from the composer himself? Our friend Mike Ragogna (a name reissue buffs might recognize for production and liner notes for several of the major labels) interviewed Elfman for his regular Huffington Post column, which you can read here.
  • Matt Rowe took to another platform other than MusicTAP for this one: in this article, he notes that Carly Simon signed a new deal earlier this year with BMG Chrysalis that includes a new agreement for back catalogue distribution. He further postulates that next year marks the 40th anniversary of Simon’s signature song, “You’re So Vain,” and the album it came from, No Secrets (1972). Could Matt be on to something?
  • Finally, if you’re in the New York City area, you might want to check this out: Pop Market, our favorite purveyor of Sony-distributed box sets, is setting up a pop-up store in Soho through the end of June! Located at the Morrison Hotel Gallery on Prince Street, the store will feature deals much like the website along some neat in-store events in June. Hours will be Wednesdays and Fridays from noon to 8 pm, Thursdays and Saturdays from noon to 7 pm and Sundays from noon to 6 pm through June 30.

Written by Mike Duquette

May 25, 2011 at 13:43

Reissue Theory: Majosha, “Shut Up and Listen to Majosha”

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Welcome to another installment of Reissue Theory, where we reflect on notable albums and the reissues they could someday see. As a modern-day piano man starts digging through the archives, we take a look at one of his steps on the path to critical acclaim.

Exciting news seems to be developing for fans of singer/songwriter/pianist Ben Folds: he recently tweeted a picture taken at his Nashville home of what appears to be the beginning of some research for an archival project. Folds’ wife, Fleur, elaborated that the artist was digging through tapes that would stretch all the way from Folds’ childhood to his days with beloved band Ben Folds Five.

One wonders if this archiving process will cover the first professional band Folds was ever a part of: the indie outfit known as Majosha. Though the band remains woefully obscure to all but the most hardcore Folds fans, the brief output of the group was in fact a strong hint of the talent Ben had, and the enduring listenability of his future commercial output.

The Majosha story begins after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

April 14, 2011 at 20:48

Posted in Ben Folds, Features, Majosha, Reissues

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Reissue Theory: Solo Folds

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Could this man have been the heir to Randy Newman’s hysterically biting throne?

The Second Disc’s coverage of Randy Newman’s reissues from last week got your catalogue correspondent thinking about the possibilities lately that Folds – the definitive indie-pop pianist and one-time leader of Ben Folds Five, one of the best acts of the 1990s – should have ascended to that same jaunty position Newman commanded in the prime of his pop career. Sadly, this didn’t happen – and admittedly, it isn’t hard to see why.

As a songwriter, Folds knew how to create a narrative that could draw pure emotion out of you. Casual fans know (and in many cases over-exaggerate the virtues of) “Brick,” the band’s most commercially-successful single despite being an incredibly tragic, true-life tale of Folds taking a high-school girlfriend to get an abortion. Dig deeper through the Ben Folds Five discography (all three albums and one compilation worth) and you’ll discover plenty of other biting tunes that fuse you-are-there lyrics with eminently hummable melodies (“Steven’s Last Night in Town,” “Underground,” “Don’t Change Your Plans”).

It’s a fascinating output, and simultaneously an upsetting reminder of how far the guy’s gone. Proper solo debut Rockin’ the Suburbs, released a year after the Five imploded, continued that trend of well-written, occasionally ornate pop songs, but it was lost on most audiences thanks to an unfortunate release date (September 11, 2001). Folds went indie for a string of EPs in 2003 and 2004, but some of the songs felt too dashed-off or bloated. Songs for Silverman (2005) had its moments, but not enough. And his most recent effort, Way to Normal (2008), was elevated by material that wasn’t on the record; Folds leaked “fake” versions of several of the songs that were brilliantly anti-funny.

And that’s just the music; Folds is even more insufferable as a personality, making ridiculous videos on ChatRoulette and judging ridiculous music shows for NBC. None of these things have polarized much of his fan base, though, making one wonder what Folds would have to do to alienate listeners – and if he should consider doing it, just for kicks.

Folds’ newest record, Lonely Avenue, is set for release in September on a new label, Nonesuch Records (his first effort away from Epic Records, his home for 15 years). Encouragingly, it features lyrics from another, less-tired pen: that of Nick Hornby, the British author/music enthusiast famous for novels like High Fidelity and Fever Pitch. Time will tell if Hornby becomes the much-needed Bernie Taupin to Folds’ Elton John, but in the meantime, it might do well for Epic to start considering what they can do with Folds’ catalogue. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

June 29, 2010 at 14:53