The Second Disc

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Archive for the ‘Cotton Mather’ Category

Release Round-Up: Week of February 14

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Barry White, Let the Music Play: Expanded Edition (Hip-o Select/Mercury)

What’s Valentine’s Day without a little satin soul? Numerous bonus tracks abound on a new pressing of this underrated gem of an album.

Captain Beefheart, Bat Chain Puller (Zappa)

The original, intended edition of the Captain’s lost album.

Cotton Mather, Kontiki: Deluxe Edition (The Star Apple Kingdom)

An underrated work of ’90s power-pop, expanded with a bonus disc of rarities and unreleased materials that was funded entirely through Kickstarter!

Pulp, ItFreaksSeparations: Deluxe Editions (Fire)

Before they signed to Island and caught a Britpop wave, Jarvis Cocker and company released these three albums, all newly expanded with rare and unreleased tracks.

Bryan Adams, Cuts Like a Knife / Dio, Holy Diver (Audio Fidelity)

Two classics of the ’80s newly mastered on 24KT gold CDs.

Phoebe Snow, Phoebe SnowJoe Walsh, But Seriously, Folks… (Friday Music)

The latest audiophile vinyl offerings from our friends at Friday Music.

The Beach Boys, Pet Sounds (Mobile Fidelity)

The first MoFi/SACD pressing of a most classic of albums.

Written by Mike Duquette

February 14, 2012 at 07:57

Kickstarting a New Reissue Project

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(Note: I was remiss by not initially thanking Thierry Côté for linking to this story on Twitter. Thanks!)

In the early days of remasters and reissues, the best way for an album to get expanded was to be a critical and commercial success. As time went on, that thankfully wasn’t always the case; reissues could serve as critical reappraisals or reminders of undersold gems by popular performers. Gradually, as the majors tightened their belts, independent labels were on hand to continue work on reissues, particularly the smaller titles that may have slipped through the cracks at a higher level.

But what about the rest of everything? Surely there are some forgotten treasures waiting to be rediscovered or expanded. What’s to become of them? Robert Harrison may have the answer. The Austin, TX-based singer/songwriter/guitarist is perhaps best known for his power-pop band Cotton Mather, which released three albums and two EPs in the late ’90s and early ’00s. Their best-known work may have been 1997’s Kontiki, released to little acclaim in the U.S. but a critical smash in the U.K., where it was championed by Noel Gallagher of Oasis (who arranged the band to open for his ensemble) and NME, who called the band “the most exciting new guitar pop band since Supergrass.”

Harrison has recently spearheaded a reissue of Kontiki, with a bonus disc of outtakes and alternates. But he hasn’t done so through any label. Instead, he’s taken the project to a website called Kickstarter, a platform for creative types to appeal to the public for funding. (Notable, successful uses of the service include a film adaptation of Christian author Donald Miller’s book Blue Like Jazz and an petition to put a statue of Robocop in the city of Detroit.) As with similar projects – including a recent, acclaimed album by indie band The Damnwells – investments are tiered and incentivized. Fans can pledge a minimum of $10, but those who pledge more will receive some nice gifts, from an autograph from Harrison to an executive producer credit and, ultimately, an offer for a free, private concert from Johnson (asking price: $5,000).

As of this writing, with only four days passed since the project began, 87 fans have raised $5,548 – almost half of the project’s $12,500 goal. That’s pretty impressive, and this could well be the future for independent acts with strong catalogues that want to take their reissues directly to the fans. Can you imagine what it would be like if a major label dipped their toe into this pond? It could honestly go either way – but this writer wouldn’t mind seeing others use sites like these in an attempt to get reissues where they belong – into the hands of their supportive fans.

Written by Mike Duquette

March 28, 2011 at 13:07