The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

Archive for the ‘Sparks’ Category

Sparks Announce “Tangible Object” for October Release

with 5 comments

Sparks BoxEssentially quirky rock heroes Sparks have announced a “tangible object” – a new five-disc, swag-packed box set – for release through Universal Music’s U.K. arm in October.

New Music for Amnesiacs: The Ultimate Collection collates just about the entire experience of the band founded and fronted by hyperactive frontman Russell Mael and his Chaplin-mustached, scowling keyboard brother Ron. The set spans four discs, starting from the early art-rock of breakthroughs like Kimono My House and U.K. hit “This Town Ain’t Big Enough for Both of Us” to their reinvented state as an electronic duo in the ’70s and ’80s, collaborating with the likes of Giorgio Moroder, Harold Faltermeyer and Reinhold Mack – all the way up to their most recent pop album, 2008’s Exotic Creatures of the Deep. (The conceptual “radio musical” The Seduction of Ingmar Bergman (2009) is not excerpted, having been meant to hear as a whole.)

While audio rarities are few, the box does feature an unreleased version of “Tryouts for the Human Race” from 1979’s No. 1 in Heaven, as well as a bonus disc with two rare single tracks released in conjunction with the band’s latest tours: “Islington N1,” to promote a 21-night concert series in London in 2008 where Sparks played every album in chronological order; and “Two Hands, One Mouth,” released for a European tour of the same name in 2012 – the Maels’ first live appearances as just a duo.

The main four discs are packaged in a hardback book with 64 pages of liner notes and rare photos, while the fifth disc has its own custom wallet. Also included in the box is a generous helping of bonus ephemera, including replica tickets, tour passes, a new sticker and badge and “never-before-seen proof-sheet photo outtakes of the Big Beat (1976) photo session shot by renowned photographer Richard Avedon and adorned with a replication of Richard Avedon Studio’s return address sticker addressed to the Maels at their New York hotel.”

Packaged as an “intangible object,” made with “impossible-to-download technology created by the Mael brothers,” New Music for Amnesiacs is available exclusively through the Universal Music box set store and will be available October 21. Hit the jump for the full track breakdown!

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

August 14, 2013 at 11:36

Posted in Box Sets, News, Sparks

Release Round-Up: Week of August 7

with 4 comments

The Beach Boys, Japanese 2012 Remasters (EMI)

Released last week across the sea, these new Japanese remasters of 12 of the boys of summer’s first LPs (spanning from 1963 to 1971 but, alas, incomplete) should be hitting our shores around now. Has anyone had the chance to hear them yet?

Roxy Music, The Complete Recordings 1972-1982 (Virgin)

This 10-disc set, kicking off a planned 40th anniversary celebration of the iconic New Wave pioneers, features new remasters of the band’s first eight albums and two bonus discs of non-LP B-sides and mixes, several of which are making their CD debut.

Johnny Cash, The Greatest: The Number OnesCountry Classics Gospel Songs / Duets (Columbia/Legacy) / Various Artists, We Walk the Line: A Celebration of the Music of Johnny Cash (Legacy)

Lots of love for The Man in Black today: four themed compilations collecting some 60-plus Cash classics (a deluxe edition of The Number Ones features a bonus DVD of performances from The Johnny Cash Show), and a CD/DVD of an all-star 2012 tribute concert featuring Willie Nelson, Lucinda Williams and more.

Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Sexmix (ZTT/Salvo)

A new double-disc set collating many of the U.K. popsters’ cassette singles and other rare mixes. (It should be noted that ZTT has apologized for the use of an alternate mono master of the “Welcome to the Pleasuredome” cassingle – buyer beware and all that.)

Sparks, Shortcuts: The 7 Inch Mixes (1979-1984) Extended: The 12 Inch Mixes (1979-1984) (Repertoire)

Two new compilations from the diverse pop duo: one compiling the band’s second wave of chart hits in Europe, and another collating those songs and singles in their extended and remixed forms.

Bob Dylan, Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits (24 KT CD) (Audio Fidelity)

Bob’s classic first hits set, presented on gold disc.

Various Artists,Jesus Christ Superstar (Verve)

A new remaster of the original rock opera by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice that became an iconic Broadway hit. Featuring vocals from Ian Gillan, Murray Head and Yvonne Elliman.

Written by Mike Duquette

August 7, 2012 at 08:02

The Long and Short of Sparks: Two Compilations Coming from Pop Icons

with 6 comments

Calling all fans of eclectic rockers Sparks: two compilations are coming from Repertoire Records, both collecting their late ’70s and early ’80s single output in two different ways.

On August 13, the German label will release Shortcuts: The 7 Inch Mixes (1979-1984) and Extended: The 12 Inch Mixes (1979-1984), a pair of two-disc sets chronicling every side released by the group, in every size, on every label the band were signed to around the world.

The brothers Mael – Ron and Russell, from Pacific Palisades, California – already had a major round of chart success in the U.K. shortly after forming Sparks in 1972. The single “This Town Ain’t Big Enough for the Both of Us” was a No. 2 hit in England in 1974, sending their breakthrough album Kimono My House to the Top 5 overseas. By the end of the ’70s, the Maels found themselves back in the States and weary of the rock format they had pursued for years. Their switch to electronic-based music had a strong influence on the burgeoning New Wave scene at the time, thanks in no small part to the production work of Giorgio Moroder, whom the brothers had admired since the release of the Moroder-produced “I Feel Love” by Donna Summer.

Sparks’ and Moroder’s first collaboration, 1979’s No. 1 in Heaven, yielded the band their last Top 40 singles in the U.K., “The Number One Song in Heaven” and the Top 10 “Beat the Clock.” Follow-up album Terminal Jive (1980), produced by Moroder and Harold Faltermeyer, yielded a chart-topping smash in France, “When I’m with You.” Sparks later worked with Queen producer Mack on Whomp That Sucker (1981) and Angst in My Pants (1982) and produced themselves on 1983’s Sparks in Outer Space, which saw the band earn the first of several respectably-charting U.S. dance hits through the ’80s and ’90s: “Cool Places,” which featured vocals from fan and former Sparks fanclub president Jane Wiedlin of The Go-Go’s.

Shortcuts features all international A-sides Sparks released during this period in their original single edits along with a generous helping of B-sides. Extended, by similar design, features every 12″ A- or B-side released by Virgin, Atlantic, Ariola, Carrere and Underdog, along with a 1997 extended version of “The Number One Song in Heaven” featuring Jimmy Somerville. Amazon U.S. links will be provided when they go live; ’til then, hit the jump to check out the track lists!

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

July 5, 2012 at 12:12

Posted in Compilations, News, Sparks