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Release Round-Up: Week of October 15

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Unplugged ExpandedEric Clapton, Unplugged: Expanded and Remastered Edition (Reprise/Rhino)

The guitar god’s ’90s comeback was done on an acoustic. The Grammy-winning, best-selling album and the acclaimed episode of MTV Unplugged from which it was taken are paired up and considerably expanded, more than two decades later. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

King Crimson, The Road to Red (Panegyric)

Holy crumbs, this 21CD/1DVD/2BD set is a massive tribute to King Crimson’s Red album, including new stereo and surround mixes of the album and 16 soundboard-quality live sets in a box that puts the deluxe edition concept in its place. (Amazon U.S.Amazon U.K.)

Paul Simon Complete packshotPaul Simon, The Complete Albums Collection / Over the Bridge of Time: A Retrospective (1964-2011) (Legacy)

American tunes shine on both this exhaustive box set of Simon’s solo career, featuring expanded editions of all of his studio albums (including the U.K.-only The Paul Simon Song Book from 1964 and both Rhino and Legacy-era bonus tracks on Graceland), as well as the double-live Paul Simon’s Concert in the Park and 2011’s acclaimed So Beautiful or So What. A single-disc compilation boils his career down to its basest elements, from Simon & Garfunkel to the present.

The Complete Albums CollectionAmazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Over the Bridge of TimeAmazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

James Booker - ClassifiedJames Booker, Classified: Remixed and Expanded (Rounder)

One of only two releases in the short but incredible lifetime of this New Orleans pianist, the man who mentored Dr. John and Harry Connick, Jr. is the focus of a new documentary – and this, his last proper studio album, is greatly expanded and remixed for a new generation to enjoy.

CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
2LP: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Ring Ring DeluxeABBA, Ring Ring: Deluxe Edition (Polydor/Universal U.K.)

The legendary dance quartet’s first album gets expanded with a DVD of rare performances and a host of even rarer pre-ABBA songs. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

ZTT Organization of PopVarious Artists, The Organization of Pop: Music from the First Thirty Years of ZTT Records (ZTT/Razor & Tie)

A double-disc compilation – the first in ZTT’s new U.S. distribution deal with Razor & Tie – featuring hits from Frankie Goes to Hollywood, The Buggles, The Art of Noise, Seal and more. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Al Hirt - Sound of ChristmasAl Hirt, The Sound of Christmas (Friday Music/Relayer)

The trumpet virtuoso’s 1965 holiday album, expanded and remastered by Friday Music, its first time on CD in over two decades. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Taylor Dayne PlaylistBasia / Deborah Cox / Taylor Dayne / Exposé / Lita Ford / The Jeff Healey Band / The Jimi Hendrix Experience / Incubus / MercyMe / Mobb Deep / The Alan Parsons Project / The Partridge FamilyPlaylist: The Very Best Of (Legacy)

Another wave of the ol’ reliable series from Legacy. Key points: rare original single mixes abound on Basia, Deborah Cox, Taylor Dayne and Exposé’s volumes; Hendrix’s is a converted version of the famed Smash Hits compilation, and Partridge fans will enjoy the first-ever release of “Breaking Up is Hard to Do” in stereo. All Amazon U.S. links are posted above!

Deep Purple Rhino boxDeep Purple, The Complete Albums 1970-1976 (Warner Bros./Rhino)

This ten-disc set compiles all of the band’s original Mk. II, Mk. III and Mk. IV-era studio and live albums. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Slaves to the Rhythm: ZTT Celebrates 30 Years with New Two-Disc Compilation (UPDATED 9/17)

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ZTT Organization of PopTo mark their three wild, wonderful decades on the bleeding edge of U.K. pop and rock, ZTT Records will release a new two-disc compilation in October.

The Organization of Pop: Music from the First Thirty Years of ZTT Records collects 28 tracks that run the gamut of ZTT’s influence, from Frankie Goes to Hollywood to Propaganda, 808 State to The Buggles, Grace Jones to Seal, The Art of Noise to The Frames. The huge hits – Seal’s “Kiss from a Rose,” Frankie’s “Relax,” The Art of Noise’s “Moments in Love” – come together on the first disc, while some of the lesser known cuts and buried treasures (The Buggles’ “We Can Fly from Here,” later covered by Yes in 2011, and The Frames’ “Say It to Me Now,” later re-recorded by band frontman Glen Hansard for the soundtrack to the acclaimed Once, in which he starred in 2007) appear on the second. That disc also includes three unreleased tracks by Nasty Rox, Inc., Das Psycho Rangers and The Art of Noise with guest raps by acclaimed MC Rakim.

The Organization of Pop, for now, is actually exclusive to the U.S., making it one of the first ZTT titles released in the States under their new licensing deal with Razor & Tie. A “London version,” entitled (what else?) The Organisation of Pop, has been promised by the label in 2014, along with another volume of The Art of the 12″ and a CD/DVD edition of the Frankie Goes to Hollywood compilation Frankie Said.

Expect The Organization of Pop in stores October 15. The Amazon U.S. link and track list (courtesy of Slicing Up Eyeballs) are after the jump.

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Written by Mike Duquette

September 17, 2013 at 12:30

Razor & Tie Hires a Bunch of Stiffs (and ZTT, Too)

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ZTT Stiff logos“If It Ain’t On Stiff, It Ain’t Worth a F***!” declared a famous slogan for the venerable punk and New Wave label. This month, that worth-a-f*** spirit extends to catalogue label Razor & Tie, who today announced a brand-new licensing agreement in North America with both Stiff and equally iconic British label ZTT.

Stiff, of course, was best known for putting out early works by The Damned (their “New Rose” is considered by some scholars to be the first punk rock single), Kirsty MacColl (some of her early singles appeared on the recent compilation A New England), Ian Dury and, of course, Elvis Costello. (Costello famously controls his own masters, having distributed them in the United States on the Columbia, Rykodisc, Rhino and UMe labels between 1978 and the present, in varying configurations of “deluxe.”)

Just as exciting, of course, is Razor & Tie’s partnership with Zang Tuum Tumb Records, the quirky U.K. dance-pop label celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. Early singles “Relax” by Frankie Goes to Hollywood and “Moments in Love” by The Art of Noise redefined pop music for the 1980s (the former was famously banned by the BBC for its saucy lyrical content), and latter-day bands like 808 State and Propaganda remain favorites by discerning rock lovers to this day.

ZTT has seen a great deal of U.K. catalogue work since The Second Disc started in 2010, with expanded reissues of works by Frankie Goes to Hollywood, The Art of Noise and others earning general acclaim among catalogue connoisseurs.

While exact details for either label’s physical reissue plan have yet to be ironed out, Razor & Tie’s strategy, according to a statement, includes “newly expanded editions this year,” “licensing opportunities for the catalog” and “new, direct to consumer ZTT Records and Stiff Records online merch stores which will feature an array of newly created, limited-edition items including classic logo shirts and much more to be announced soon.”

Written by Mike Duquette

March 5, 2013 at 15:59

The Art of the 12-Inch, Part Deux: Unheard Paul McCartney Collaboration Included Among ZTT Treasures

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What do you do?  No one else can dance like you!  So what’s all the fuss?  There ain’t nobody that spies like us! 

It’s not often that we get the opportunity to write about Paul McCartney, forever fab, and Art of Noise, pioneering British synth-pop duo, in the same sentence.  But Salvo Records and ZTT are giving us just that chance with this week’s U.K. release of The Art of the 12-Inch, Volume Two.  Okay, it’s not that much of a stretch, as Art of Noise’s Anne Dudley contributed synthesizer to McCartney’s 1984 Give My Regards to Broad Street soundtrack album, and was later enlisted to write arrangements for his 1986 Press to Play.  And it was on that latter album where Dudley’s Art of Noise mates got involved.  McCartney wrote the title song to John Landis’ 1986 comedy Spies Like Us and planned to include it on Press to Play.  Macca’s interest in synthesizers, electronic sounds and avant-pop was nothing new; he would introduce many of those sounds into his McCartney II solo album and continue to explore that realm as late as 2008’s Electric Arguments, his third collaboration as “The Fireman” with the artist known as Youth (a.k.a. Martin Glover).

Ian Peel, curator of the new Salvo set, recalled, “McCartney called in the Art of Noise to remix the track [‘Spies Like Us’] in the summer of 1985.  It was a mad, cut-and-paste retake that turned the song – McCartney’s last U.S. Top Ten hit – into a left-field electronic collage.”  (Peel knows of what he speaks, as author of The Unknown Paul McCartney, a 2001 account of the musician’s more outré experiments.)  Paul and Linda McCartney joined Dudley, JJ Jeczalik and Gary Langan for what sounded like “a very experimental session,” in Peel’s recollection.  The 12-inch vinyl mix was released in November 1985 but has so far eluded any of McCartney’s archival projects.  McCartney gave his consent to the track to make its CD debut on the second volume of Salvo’s The Art of the 12-Inch, but then the plot thickened!

Hit the jump to continue! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

February 21, 2012 at 09:31

Release Round-Up: Week of February 21

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Various Artists, ZTT: The Art of the 12″: Volume Two (ZTT/Salvo)

A double-disc set of rare and unreleased dance mixes of vinyl classics, with a few rarities thrown in for good measure – and, as our post later today will explain, at least one Beatle!

Simple Minds, Simple Minds x5 (EMI)

The first five Simple Minds LPs – all pre-The Breakfast Club – expanded with vintage B-sides and remixes.

Gilbert O’Sullivan, Back to Front: Expanded Edition (Union Square Music/Salvo)

Gilbert’s 1972 sophomore album plus three bonus tracks, including hit single “Alone Again (Naturally).”

André Cymone, André CymoneSurviving in the ’80s: Expanded Editions (Funky Town Grooves)

Blood, Sweat & Tears, In Concert / Phil Everly, Star Spangled Springer / Mel Brooks, Greatest Hits (Wounded Bird)

Some great LPs, all rare or new to CD, coming from Wounded Bird.

Various Artists, Complete Pop Instrumental Hits of the Sixties, Vol. 2: 1961 (Complete ’60s/Eric)

A three-disc set of every instrumental song that ever charted in 1961. The second in a volume of a series we’ve covered before.

Various Artists, David Merrick Presents Hits from His Broadway Hits (RCA Victor/Masterworks Broadway)

Ann-Margret joins John Gary and the Merrill Staton Voices in this vintage tribute to the legendary impresario behind such musicals as Hello, Dolly! and Gypsy.

Diana Ross, Diana Ross: Deluxe Edition (Hip-o Select/Motown)

The latest set from Select is a heavy-duty expansion of Miss Ross’ 1976 album, which featured “Theme from ‘Mahogany’ (Do You Know Where You’re Going To?)” and “Love Hangover,” two classic singles from a classic career. Alternate mixes, rare singles and early versions abound on this set.

Release Round-Up: Week of September 13

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Jimi Hendrix, Winterland / Hendrix in the West / Blue Wild Angel: Live at the Isle of Wight Festival / The Dick Cavett Show (Experience Hendrix/Legacy)

Another wave of Hendrix catalogue titles from Legacy, all of a live nature. The Winterland set captures The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s legendary run at the venue of the same name over four discs (or one, if you’re into the whole brevity thing), while In the West provides an expanded, slightly alternate presentation of the posthumous live LP. The DVDs Blue Wild Angel and The Dick Cavett Show show Hendrix at his live prime, with some special features to boot. Look for reviews of all these sets – Joe’s take on the CDs and my look at the DVDs – very soon! (Official site)

The Beatles, 1 (Apple/EMI)

In case you weren’t one of the tens of millions of people who’ve picked up this compilation since 2000, it’s been remastered (from the 2009 remasters, naturally). (Official site)

Bob Seger and The Silver Bullet Band, Live Bullet / Nine Tonight (Capitol/EMI)

Two killer Seger live albums, remastered and expanded with one bonus track apiece. (Official site)

The Art of Noise, Who’s Afraid of The Art of Noise? (ZTT/Salvo)

The first full-length LP by the influential U.K. act is expanded with unreleased BBC sessions and a DVD of videos and other vault treasures. (Official site)

1991: The Year Punk Broke (Geffen/UMe)

A greatly-expanded presentation of this vintage documentary, spotlighting the rise of Nirvana, Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr., as seen on the road and in the trenches. (Official site)

Motown Gold on The Ed Sullivan Show / The Best of The Supremes on The Ed Sullivan Show / The Best of The Temptations on The Ed Sullivan Show (Hip-O/Sofa Entertainment)

The Sound of Young America and the Toast of the Town, combined on three handy DVD packages. (Official site)

ZTT News: Art of Noise Get Close (to the Reissue)

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Another reissue in ZTT/Salvo’s ongoing Element Series has been announced: the first full-length by The Art of Noise.

Earlier this year, ZTT expanded the group’s debut EP, Into Battle with The Art of Noise, adding a host of vault content meant for their first album but ultimately scrapped. This album – featuring contributions by all five of the original Art of Noise collective (Trevor Horn, Paul Morley, Anne Dudley, Gary Langan and J.J. Jeczalik) – reprises “Beat Box” and “Moments in Love” from that EP, as well as “Close (to the Edit),” one of the best dance tracks based on a Yes song.

As for bonus content, there’s much to offer in terms of audio and video: nine tracks taken from two BBC sessions recorded in 1984 and 1985 (including a version of “Beat Box” “which morphs, only this once, into ‘Video Killed the Radio Star'”) and a DVD of rare videos, unreleased live performances and a two-part documentary. (Unfortunately, Amazon’s U.K. pre-order page states that the DVD is PAL-encoded, making it hard to play if you’re in the U.S.).

The package is available on September 5 in the United Kingdom. Order it at Amazon here and hit the jump for full track details. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

July 29, 2011 at 10:47

Back Into Battle with The Art of Noise

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It’s with great pleasure to find out that The Art of Noise’s debut effort, Into Battle with The Art of Noise (1983), will be reissued as part of ZTT/Salvo’s ongoing Element Series in April. And hardcore Art of Noise fans have a lot to be excited about this new release.

The Art of Noise. Those four words signify a bizarre advent in ’80s pop music – perhaps the ultimate marriage of music and technology (a staple of almost all popular art released that decade), a template upon which much of modern dance music would base itself. It also gave birth to one of the most consciously weird record labels in all of England: Zang Tuum Tumb, a trendsetter in the field of futuristic dance-pop thanks to acts like Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Propaganda, 808 State and Seal.

The original Art of Noise – producer Gary Langan, programmer J.J. Jeczalik, arranger Anne Dudley, producer Trevor Horn and writer Paul Morley – came together not long after making massive strides with production work on ABC’s The Lexicon of Love (with the smash single “The Look of Love“) and the newly-reinvigorated prog band Yes, whose Horn-produced “Owner of a Lonely Heart” was a major hit. Working from scraps of material conceived for Yes’ 90125 and others, many programmed into the then-new Fairlight CMI sampling synthesizer, the quintet developed a nine-track EP, Into Battle with The Art of Noise, which became a critical hit on both sides of the Atlantic (in the U.S., the emerging breakdance scene embraced the jittery, percussive nature of the music; lead single “Beat Box” topped Billboard‘s dance charts).

Horn and Morley would ultimately leave the band after their first full-length album, Who’s Afraid of The Art of Noise? (1984), but those sessions yielded a major hit single in “Close (To the Edit),” a U.K. Top 10 hit and, to quote ZTT’s own release, “a hit record that would take them from behind the locked doors of their studio to the Top of the Pops studio, around the world, and make them a sonic reference point for a generation,” all of which is true. But what few know is Who’s Afraid began as an entirely different record, a more progressive, experimental effort called Worship. For the Element Edition of Into Battle, the Worship sessions are finally freed from the vaults, adding no less than 18 unreleased tracks to this new reissue. While some of the track titles are familiar (namely “Close (To the Edit)”), these tracks are a landmark for Art of Noise fanatics.

The set will be released in the U.K. on April 4. Pre-order it from Amazon here and check out the track list after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

March 17, 2011 at 10:01

Release Round-Up: Week of February 8

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The Beatles, Love (iTunes Version) (Apple/EMI)

Another Beatles album drops on iTunes: the 2006 soundtrack to the Cirque du Soleil attraction – and this version has two previously unreleased bonus tracks. (iTunes)

Miles Davis, Bitches Brew Live (Columbia/Legacy)

The jazz great lights up the Newport Jazz and Isle of Wight Festivals in this vintage compilation (Sony)

The Stan Getz Quintets, The Clef & Norgran Studio Albums (Verve/Hip-o Select)

A three-disc box collating Getz’s early quintet years, much of it unavailable on CD until now. (Hip-o Select) Read the rest of this entry »

More ZTT and All That

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Not only is a deluxe edition of Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s Liverpool prepped for February 2011, but another vault-clearing compilation is on the way from the ZTT label.

Zang Tuum Tumb and The Art of the 12″ is two discs’ worth of rare or unreleased dance cuts from the best acts to ever grace the roster from 1983 to 1989 or so: Frankie, Propaganda, Art of Noise, 808 State and plenty more. It’s also got a handful of those distinctively ZTT short tracks that ended up on the odd single from time to time.

The set is available February 7 (the same day as the Liverpool reissue), and the track list is after the jump.

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Written by Mike Duquette

December 24, 2010 at 13:11