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In Case You Missed It: INXS’ Wembley Show Lives Anew in Digital Reissue

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INXS Wembley 1991If you’ve ever wondered why so much INXS catalogue activity centers solely around 1987’s Kick, there’s something new and different for you available: a live concert from the early 1990s, instead.

The Australian band have recently released Live At Wembley Stadium 1991 to digital retailers. This 22-track album features audio from the band’s July 13, 1991 concert at London’s famed stadium, which exactly six years prior held a rapt audience for Live Aid. Their Summer XS tour promoted the previous year’s release of tenth studio album X, another polished collaboration with Kick producer Chris Thomas that yielded more global success with singles like “Suicide Blonde” and “Disappear” becoming worldwide Top 10 hits.

Fans will recognize this program as identical to what was released on the videotape Live Baby Live that same year. A live album of the same name was recorded throughout the tour, and added one new studio track, “Shining Star.” (That same track features here, as well.) The audio from that video is here newly remastered by producer Mark Opitz, who produced the band’s Shabooh Shoobah (1982), Welcome to Wherever You Are (1992) and Full Moon, Dirty Hearts (1993) as well as the original Live Baby Live album.

So far, only iTunes seems to be the place you can get Live At Wembley Stadium 1991, although the band’s official site is selling a two-disc edition of the set, ostensibly to tie into the recent Australian broadcast of INXS: Never Tear Us Apart, a miniseries about the country’s favorite musical sons (the critical reception of which actually bought Kick and a recent compilation back into the country’s Top 10). The track list for this vintage show is below.

INXS, Live At Wembley Stadium 1991 (Petrol Electric, 2014)

  1. Guns in the Sky
  2. New Sensation
  3. I Send a Message
  4. The Stairs
  5. Know the Difference
  6. Disappear
  7. By My Side
  8. Hear That Sound
  9. Original Sin
  10. The Loved One
  11. Wild Life
  12. Mystify
  13. Bitter Tears
  14. Suicide Blonde
  15. What You Need
  16. Kick
  17. Need You Tonight
  18. Mediate
  19. Never Tear Us Apart
  20. Who Pays the Price
  21. Devil Inside
  22. Shining Star

All tracks except Track 22 recorded live at Wembley Stadium, London – 7/13/1991
Track 22 first released on Live Baby Live (EastWest 9031 75630-2 (AUS)/Atlantic 82294 (U.S.), 1991)

Written by Mike Duquette

February 26, 2014 at 15:26

Posted in Digital, INXS, News, Reissues

Bruce Springsteen Remasters Announced – with a Twist

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Born to RunIt’s one of the biggest headlines catalogue music fans have been waiting decades to hear – if not necessarily in the context they’d like.

Today, Bruce Springsteen announced ten of his albums from across his entire discography have been newly remastered from the original analogue tapes by Bob Ludwig. The list includes five classic LPs – Springsteen’s first four albums Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. (1973), The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle (1973), Born to Run (1975), Darkness on the Edge of Town (1978) and Born in the U.S.A. (1984) – and five recent ones – We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions (2006), Working on a Dream (2009), The Promise (2010), Wrecking Ball (2012) and the just-released High Hopes. While Born to RunDarkness and the Darkness-era outtakes set The Promise were all significantly improved for remastered box set treatments in recent years, this marks the first time that anything has been done to the first two albums (as manager Jon Landau had alluded to earlier this yearor the celebrated Born in the U.S.A. since they were first transferred to CD some three decades ago.

These albums, mastered by Ludwig under the personal supervision of Springsteen and his engineer Toby Scott, were indeed sourced from the original tapes, newly transferred by Jamie Howarth of Plangent Process. The Plangent Process playback system is lauded for its ability to correct pitch errors and other distortions in the magnetic tape over time, allowing for what may be the most detailed take on Springsteen and The E Street Band’s sound.

Now: all of this is great news so far, which was an attempt to steel you against the not-so-great news: these 10 masters so far currently only exist as Mastered for iTunes titles. While the MFiT process as a guideline starts with 96 kHz/24-bit resolution masters – well beyond the quality of a compact disc – these masters will be ostensibly compressed to some degree in order to fit as an AAC file.

Which, of course, begs the question: will these new remasters be available in some other capacity? Certainly services like HD Tracks would post the remasters as lossless files. And of course, there’s the idea of remastered CDs – a practice that Springsteen’s catalogue – which, alongside that of Prince’s, is probably the most glaring in this respect – has largely evaded over the years. (That doesn’t even consider if other albums – say, The River (1980) or Nebraska (1982) – will be restored by Ludwig and company.)

We’ve reached out to Sony Music for comment on the matter of possible physical releases of these new Bruce Springsteen masters, which would certainly be one of 2014’s bigger stories on the catalogue/reissue beat were it to happen. When we find out, we’ll make sure you, our treasured reader, is kept in the know.

Until then? As a wise man once said, “Show a little faith – there’s magic in the night.”

Written by Mike Duquette

February 18, 2014 at 12:18

Short Takes: Digital Updates on Billy Joel, Black Sabbath and More

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When not releasing intriguing physical products, sometimes labels like to do neat things to spice up their digital offerings, making complete discographies available or taking advantage of Apple’s “Mastered for iTunes” initiative. Here’s a few notable digital-oriented stories we’ve caught wind of in recent days!

52nd Street Billy Joel

  • He’s a living legend, a multiplatinum bestseller, a Kennedy Center honoree and – in 2014 – the first musical franchise at New York’s Madison Square Garden. This week, Legacy Recordings calibrated Billy Joel’s resurgence into a newly-streamlined offering on iTunes. All of the Piano Man’s studio and live albums have been Mastered for iTunes, and the 2011 Complete Albums Collection is available for digital purchase as well. (This box does, of course, not entirely live up to its title: several live albums, including KOHUEPT (1987) and 2000 Years: The Millennium Concert (2000), are omitted in favor of a bonus disc collecting tracks from compilations and other rarities, many found on the My Lives box set of 2005.)

    But it’s not only about digital treats for Joel: next week, Showtime will premiere a new documentary about Joel’s sojourn to the Soviet Union to perform live in 1987 – one of a few Western acts to penetrate the Iron Curtain. A Matter of Trust: The Bridge to Russia combines new interviews with rare and unreleased concert and behind-the-scenes footage of Joel, his band and his family in what was a very strange land to an American in the late ’80s. (I’d be surprised if we didn’t see a release of this film, perhaps paired with the original KOHUEPT concert film released on videotape back in the day.)

We Sold Our Soul for Rock N Roll

  • Hot off the success of their latest album, last year’s 13 (which reunited most of the band’s classic lineup), metal gods Black Sabbath have also been treated to a fancy new iTunes store. The Mastered for iTunes treatment is only bestowed on the albums with the original lineup of vocalist Ozzy Osbourne, guitarist Tony Iommi, bassist Geezer Butler and drummer Bill Ward – that’d be 1970’s self-titled debut to 1978’s Never Say Die, plus the compilations We Sold Our Soul for Rock ‘N’ Roll (1976) and Greatest Hits 1970-1978 (2006) – but it looks like the original albums are all there. (A digital box set collecting those MFiT titles is also available.)

Romantics

  • They’re best known for a pair of New Wave/MTV-friendly singles – 1979’s “What I Like About You” and 1983’s Top 5 hit “Talking in Your Sleep.” But Legacy Recordings has made all five of The Romantics’ albums for Nemperor Records (now part of the Epic Records family) available on iTunes, Amazon and Spotify. Digital newcomers National Breakout (1980), Strictly Personal (1981) and In Heat (1983) – which spun off “Talking in Your Sleep” – join 1980’s self-titled debut and their Nemperor swan song Rhythm Romance (1985) on all digital providers.

Si Se Puede

  • On March 11, in honor of legendary activist Cesar Chavez’s birthday at the end of the month (and a forthcoming biopic starring Michael Peña as the labor leader), Fantasy Records will digitally release a Chavez tribute album, Sí Se Puede!, for the first time. This 1976 LP, which donated money to Chavez’s United Farm Workers, marked the recording debut of East L.A. band Los Lobos, two years before their proper debut LP and a decade before attaining international acclaim on the soundtrack to La Bamba.

Written by Mike Duquette

January 23, 2014 at 17:31

Here They Come! Complete Paul Revere & The Raiders Catalogue Now Available Digitally

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Country Wine Plus

Back to work today? Take your mind off the daily grind and enjoy a great soundtrack, with this week’s surprise premiere digital release of the entire Columbia Records discography of Paul Revere & The Raiders.

Previously only officially represented through several compilations, including the band’s entry in Legacy Recordings’ Essential series and 2010’s triple-disc Complete Columbia Singles (originally released on the Collector’s Choice label), fans can now stream and download the baker’s dozen of LPs the group cut for Columbia, from 1965’s Here They Come! to 1972’s Country Wine, featuring hits like “Kicks,” “Hungry,” “Him or Me – What’s It Gonna Be?” and “Indian Reservation.”

As an added bonus, several of the discs feature bonus cuts – notably Country Wine…Plus, the band’s final Columbia album expanded with a host of non-LP material and released on the Raven label in 2011 – and the group’s double-disc rarities compilation Mojo Workout, released in 2000 on Sundazed Records, also makes its digital debut. With this much killer ’60s garage rock, it would be fairly accurate to say that kicks are not nearly as hard to find as they previously were.

We’ve had some intermittent trouble tracking down links for every title, but below we’ve collated all that we can gather of these albums on iTunes, Amazon and Spotify for your listening pleasure!

Here They Come! (Columbia CS 9107, 1965) (iTunes / Amazon / Spotify)

Just Like Us! (Columbia CS 9251, 1966) (iTunes / Amazon / Spotify)

Midnight Ride (Columbia CS 9308, 1966) (iTunes / Amazon / Spotify)

The Spirit of ’67 (Columbia CS 9395, 1966) (iTunes / Amazon / Spotify)

Revolution! (Columbia CS 9521, 1967) (iTunes / Amazon / Spotify)

A Christmas Present…and Past (Columbia CS 9555, 1967) (iTunes / Amazon / Spotify)

Goin’ to Memphis (Columbia CS 9605, 1968) (iTunes / Amazon / Spotify)

Something Happening (Columbia CS 9665, 1968) (iTunes / Amazon / Spotify)

Hard ‘N’ Heavy (with Marshmallow) (Columbia CS 9753, 1969) (iTunes / Amazon / Spotify)

Alias Pink Puzz (Columbia CS 9905, 1969) (iTunes / Amazon / Spotify)

Collage (Columbia CS 9964, 1970) (iTunes / Amazon / Spotify)

Indian Reservation (Columbia C 30768, 1971) (iTunes / Amazon / Spotify)

Country Wine…Plus (Columbia KC 31196, 1972) (iTunes / Amazon / Spotify)

Mojo Workout (SMSP 11097, 2000) (iTunes / Amazon / Spotify)

Written by Mike Duquette

January 2, 2014 at 14:41

Motown Rarities Uncovered on Vinyl Box, Digital Outtakes Set

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Motown 7sMotown aficionados have a lot of fun stuff to dig through on a number of formats, with the recent release of a box set collecting 14 rare cuts on vinyl and a new, copyright law-busting compilation of 52 previously unavailable outtakes from some of the label’s biggest names.

Recently issued in the U.K., The Motown 7s Box: Rare and Unreleased Vinyl seems to take more of a tack about “tracks unreleased to vinyl” than “never-before-released tracks on vinyl.” Everything here has been made available in some way, shape or form, including rare studio cuts from Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, The Supremes, The Four Tops and even David Ruffin, The Spinners and Kim Weston. But perhaps only one of them, Frank Wilson’s “Do I Love You (Indeed I Do),” ever made it to vinyl before CD. (That original single is, in fact, one of the rarest in the world.) Producer Richard Searling offers track-by-track liner notes on the box, though no official mastering information is supplied.

Motown Unreleased 1963Meanwhile, digital retailers have started carrying Motown Unreleased 1963 another copyright-savvy compilation of Motown outtakes from five decades past. (Outside the U.S., copyright law governs that recordings not issued within 50 years lapse into public domain, prompting rights holders to quickly issue collections from Bob Dylan to, this week, The Beatles and The Beach Boys. A similar volume from Motown cropped up last year, too.)

While it’s open to interpretation as to what, if any, true finds exist on the set, many of Motown’s best are featured herein on recordings you’ve never heard before, from The Miracles, The Supremes (a cover of “Funny How Time Slips Away”!), Stevie Wonder (alternate and early takes of “Fingertips” and “Blowin’ in the Wind”), The Temptations and even lesser-known acts on the roster, including Labrenda Ben and The Contours.

After the jump, you’ll find order links and full specs on each of these unique sets.

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Written by Mike Duquette

December 18, 2013 at 17:19

The Beatles and The Beach Boys Beat The Boots On “The Big Beat 1963” and “Bootleg Recordings”

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Beatles - Bootleg Recordings1963 was a landmark year for the favorite sons of Hawthorne, California.  During those twelve months, The Beach Boys released three Top 10 studio albums (Surfin’ USA, Surfer Girl and Little Deuce Coupe) and launched three Top 10 singles (“Surfin’ USA,” “Surfer Girl,” and “Be True to Your School”).  Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Carl Wilson, Dennis Wilson, the outgoing David Marks and returning Al Jardine were perfecting their harmony-laden brand of surf rock and setting the stage for the next step in the band’s evolution.  Within one year, The Beach Boys’ music had grown leaps and bounds in sophistication with the likes of “All Summer Long,” “I Get Around” and “Fun, Fun, Fun.”  And greater stylistic changes would come with the fast and furious speed of any of the cars about which the band had so ardently sung.

Across the pond, 1963 was an even more key year for a certain quartet from Liverpool.  On March 22, The Beatles’ Please Please Me arrived on the Parlophone label.  On November 22, With the Beatles followed.  Both records topped the U.K. Albums chart, and songs like “Please Please Me,” “From Me to You,” “She Loves You,” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand” dominated the U.K. Singles charts during the year.   By the time Capitol Records’ Meet the Beatles arrived in the U.S. on January 20, 1964, John, Paul, George and Ringo were names known the world over, and “Beatlemania” was the word on everybody’s lips.

Now, however, the crucial music of 1963 is being revisited in two unusual digital-only compilations from Capitol Records.  Following in the footsteps of such projects as Bob Dylan’s The 50th Anniversary Collection or the multiple volumes of Motown Unreleased 1962, Capitol is issuing The Big Beat 1963 for Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys, and Bootleg Recordings 1963 for The Beatles.  The impetus for these iTunes-exclusive releases is a simple one: to protect these recordings from entering the public domain in Europe.  Recent changes to copyright law in the E.U. have extended the copyright term of a recording from 50 to 70 years, but only if that recording has been released.  In other words, if a recording is not officially released within 50 years of its creation, it will fall into the public domain when the next (51st) calendar year begins.  If it is released, the term extends another 20 years.

Many would like to see the vintage recordings included in these sets released as physical titles with the usual bells and whistles, and indeed, these are intended as stopgap releases only.  It’s likely that these types of releases will become more common with each passing year; whether Capitol (and other labels) will reissue the material in a more deluxe manner down the road is still a matter of speculation.  After the jump, we’ll take a look at the recordings on both The Big Beat and Bootleg Recordings 1963!

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Written by Joe Marchese

December 17, 2013 at 11:35

Black Oak Arkansas Rarities Sail Under the Radar

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Black Oak ArkansasSurprise! While we were focusing on the biggest of box sets over at The Second Disc, Atlantic quietly released a disc of unreleased vintage material from Southern rockers Black Oak Arkansas.

One of the top touring acts of the early 1970s, Black Oak Arkansas – with its triple-guitar lineup and idiosyncratic vocal style of Jim “Dandy” Mangrum – earned a great deal of acclaim in studio and on the road. Earlier this year, Mangrum reunited with original members Rickie Lee “Risky” Reynolds (rhythm guitar), Jimmy Henderson (guitar) and Pat “Dirty” Daugherty (bass) and returning latter-day members Johnnie Bolin (drums since 1985), George Hughen (bass since 1985) and guitarists Hal McCormack (since 2003) and Buddy Church (since 1989) to record five new tracks for Atlantic (their first major label home), including lead single “Plugged In and Wired” and a cover of Bob Dylan’s “I Shall Be Released.”

[yyoutube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8mLdBoiKvUk]

But Back Thar N’ Over Yonder is only a third new; the remaining tracks are drawn from three years of sessions with legendary producer Tom Dowd at the famed Criteria Studios in Miami – all never before released. It’s a new chance to discover the oft-underrated power of Black Oak Arkansas – who, in frontman Mangrum, many have seen a prime influence for some of the biggest frontmen in rock in the ’80s, including David Lee Roth and Axl Rose.

In addition to Back Thar N’ Over Yonder, Atlantic has also digitally released The Complete Raunch N’ Roll Live, a 2007 title from Rhino Handmade that expanded the original 1973 live album Raunch N’ Roll to two discs featuring two shows from 1972. Taken together, there’s a lot of boogie rock to get you going, even a month after its release.

Check out the specs for both and place your orders after the jump!

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Written by Mike Duquette

November 12, 2013 at 12:25

From “Love Lost” to “Found Love”: New Digital Compilation Showcases Arthur Lee’s Rarities

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Found LoveHere’s one for the “in case you missed it” file: Arthur Lee and Love’s early ’70s recordings for Columbia Records were recently released in full as a digital album.

Found Love: The Lost ’71 Sessions finds Lee and the then-current Love lineup – bassist Frank Fayad, guitarist Craig Tarwater and drummer Don Poncher – considerably removed from the expansive psychedelia of Da Capo and Forever Changes, embracing a much darker, bluesier, Hendrix-ian sound. The album, provisionally titled Dear You, was never released, though much of its material would linger around Lee’s repertoire for some time. (Versions of some of these tracks ended up on Vindicator, Lee’s 1972 solo album, and the 1973 rarity Black Beauty, released on LP by High Moon Records; an expanded CD release has been long in development by the same label.)

The frustratingly short, occasionally brilliant discography of Lee and Love, coupled with a great deal of late-period critical acclaim for his work before his passing in 2006, makes this material certainly worthy of the ears of any Love fan, old or new. Previously only available on LP (or truncated CD) by Sundazed Records, Found Love makes this little-known period of Lee’s career available to all as a digital title (and, at $5, is not a bad impulse buy).

The full track list is below, and iTunes and Amazon links are here and here.

Found Love: The Lost ’71 Sessions (Columbia/Legacy, 2013)

  1. I Can’t Find It
  2. Product of the Times
  3. Everybody’s Gotta Live
  4. Midnight Sun
  5. He Knows a Lot of Good Women
  6. C.F.I.
  7. Find Somebody
  8. Good & Evil II
  9. Looking Glass
  10. Trippin’ & Slippin’/Ezy Rider
  11. He Knows a Lot of Good Women (Alternate)
  12. Find Somebody (Alternate)
  13. Midnight Sun (Alternate)
  14. Product of the Times (Alternate)

This compilation previously released as Love Lost – Sundazed LP 5281, 2009. Tracks 1-10 released as CD version of same title – Sundazed SC 11207.

Written by Mike Duquette

August 7, 2013 at 11:29

Geldof Goes “Back to Boomtown” with New Compilation

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Back to BoomtownBefore millions of children of the ’80s knew Bob Geldof as the Irishman behind a wave of international charitable rock, including Band Aid and Live Aid, he made a name for his home country as a hub for rock with the punky band, The Boomtown Rats. More than 25 years after their last performance, The Boomtown Rats are reforming for a new album and tour – and they’re starting things off with a new compilation in September.

Led by the irascible, verbose Geldof, The Boomtown Rats – which featured guitarists Garry Roberts and Gerry Cott, keyboardist Johnnie FIngers, bassist Pete Briquette and drummer Simon Crowe – became the first Irish band to top the U.K. charts with 1978’s “Rat Trap,” produced by Robert John “Mutt” Lange. The next year, follow up “I Don’t Like Mondays” – a heartwrenching New Wave tune about a school shooting, was a worldwide Top 5 hit (save for the U.S., where it scraped to No. 73 after a boycott of sorts due to the song’s content.) Cott left the band in 1981, after which the Rats continued as a quintet increasingly in the shadow of Geldof’s increasing public stature. After the band’s final performance in 1986, Geldof pursued a solo career with Briquette in tow and Fingers became a highly in-demand producer in Japan.

Back to Boomtown: Classic Rats Hits features all of the band’s biggest hits, including “I Don’t Like Mondays,” “Like Clockwork,” “Rat Trap,” “Banana Republic” and more, as well as two new tracks by the current band lineup (Geldof, Roberts, Briquette and Crowe) bookending the disc. (The digital version will be slightly more comprehensive, including a song apiece from the band’s final two albums, 1982’s V Deep and In the Long Grass (1984).) The Boomtown Rats are on tour in England, Ireland and Scotland in October and November.

The new compilation is out September 9. Hit the jump for the full track list and order links!

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Written by Mike Duquette

July 31, 2013 at 15:20

No. 1 with a Bullet: Boston Hardcore Band Anthologized with New Digital Compilation

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Bullet LaVoltaThe world of rock and roll is littered with captivating tales of what-ifs and alternate routes that pushed a musician in one direction instead of another. One such captivating story of late is that of Jason Everman, a seemingly unassuming Army Ranger today who at one point was a member of the Seattle grunge scene, playing in both Nirvana and Soundgarden before both rocketed to success in 1991.

What’s particularly interesting about that New York Times piece on Everman, other than its subject, is the byline: it was penned by Clay Tarver, himself a rock guitarist who was part of a great unsung band of the 1990s: Bullet LaVolta. The Boston-based hardcore punk outfit was one of many bands who made the jump to a major label in the early years of the decade, as labels started to catch onto new and unusual shifts in rock music at the time. (The band also featured two other members who’d find interesting successes down the line: vocalist Kurt “Yukki Gipe” Davis would later become an employee of music video game developer Harmonix Music Systems and have his latest band, The Konks, featured in the first entry in the Rock Band series, while drummer Todd Phillips formed the band Model/Actress with ex-Brainiac bassist Juan Monostereo.)

After a successful EP and LP on the independent Taang! label, RCA signed Bullet LaVolta and released their final album, Swandive, produced by Dave Jerden (engineer on Talking Heads’ Remain in Light and David Byrne and Brian Eno’s My Life in the Bush of Ghosts as well as producer for Jane’s Addiction and Alice in Chains). Its street date? September 24, 1991 – the same day Geffen released Nirvana’s major-label debut Nevermind. (In what may be one of the most stunning bills of the decade, both bands shared the stage that night at local Boston club Axis, with The Smashing Pumpkins as the opening act.)

For whatever reason, Bullet LaVolta’s Swandive, with its hardcore riffs and clean production, was received much better by critics than fans, who would fly their flannel for the grunge movement over the next several years. (The band would decide to split within the year.) Now, over two decades later, RCA/Legacy celebrates the band with a new digital-only compilation, Force Majeure: The RCA Anthology (’90-’92). The 18-track set features a newly-remastered versions of Swandive, Gimme Danger (a part-live/part-studio EP released on Metal Blade Records and featuring a cover of KISS “Detroit Rock City”), a B-side cover of The Dead Boys’ “Sonic Reducer,” a 1992 live in-studio performance from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s WBMR-FM and an unreleased demo recorded at the famed Ft. Apache studio in 1990. As an additional bonus, the set also features the original promo video for lead single “Swan Dive,” directed by Kevin Kerslake, hailed as “the Scorsese of grunge.”

Force Majeure: The RCA Anthology (’90-’92) is available now from Amazon; the set’s stunningly low price is as good as any an impetus to rediscover one of the best “side routes” in ’90s rock. Hit the jump for order links and the full track list!

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Written by Mike Duquette

July 17, 2013 at 11:40