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Release Round-Up: Week of July 31

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Frank Zappa, Official Reissues #1-13 (Zappa/UMe)

The iconoclastic musician’s catalogue is back in print thanks to a new agreement with Universal, and his first 13 albums (most of them newly remastered from the original analog masters) are available today. Joe gave us a great breakdown of what’s what on these new masters, which also has convenient links to both these new titles and the forthcoming second wave of remasters next month.

Blur, Blur 21 (Virgin/EMI)

21 refers not only to the legendary British band’s lifespan to date, but the amount of discs in this collection: all seven studio albums expanded with bonus discs (which are available separately, if that’s your thing), plus another four discs of rarities and three mostly live DVDs.

Neil Diamond, Hot August Night: 40th Anniversary Edition (Geffen/UMe)

Hard to believe it’s been 40 years since Neil’s second, terrific live LP was issued! This two-disc edition adds four unreleased tracks, offering just about every minute of that fateful night at LA’s Greek Theatre.

Elvis Presley, I Am An Elvis Fan (RCA/Legacy)

The latest Elvis compilation was fan-sourced, leading to some slightly different track choices than your typical Elvis fare, including a nice handful of live cuts from the latter half of the King’s career.

Charles Mingus, The Complete Columbia & RCA Studio Albums Collection / The Thelonious Monk Quartet, The Complete Columbia Studio Albums Collection / Weather Report, The Complete Columbia Albums 1971-1975 (Columbia/Legacy)

PopMarket’s latest complete boxes showcase some of the best jazz/fusion players to ever grace the Columbia label, and there are some great surprises in these boxes, including two rare tracks in the Mingus box and the first-ever domestic release of a Japanese live album in the Weather Report set.

20/20, 2o/20/Look Out! ; Clover, Clover/Fourty Niner ; Jimmy Griffin, Summer Holiday: Expanded Edition ; Sanford & Townsend, Smoke from a Distant Fire/Nail Me to the Wall ; Charles Bukowski, Charles Bukowski Reads His Poetry ; Jackie Gleason, Music for Lovers Only (Real Gone)

A diverse selection of releases from the eclectic reissue label: “The Great One,” the future Bread frontman, an American poet, a future Elvis Costello backing band and more!

Various Artists, Good Vibrations: The Beach Boys Songbook (Columbia/Sony Music Japan)

A quirky compilation from Japan (on Blu-Spec CD, no less) featuring some intriguing Beach Boys covers from the likes of Todd Rundgren, The Tokens, Andy Williams and others.

I Don’t Know Where, But It Sends Me There: “Good Vibrations: The Beach Boys Songbook” Arrives

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2012 has been a big year for The Beach Boys, and the fun, fun, fun shows little sign of abating any time soon. While we still wait for more details on the possible U.S. arrival of a series of reissued original albums, Sony Music Japan is celebrating with a unique tribute to America’s band. Good Vibrations: The Beach Boys Songbook is a 25-track compilation drawn mostly, but not exclusively, from the Sony family of labels including Columbia, RCA Victor, Arista, Buddah and Bang, and offers a number of lesser-known tracks from many familiar artists. All of the songs chosen just prove the depth of the Beach Boys’ catalogue.

There have been plenty of Beach Boys tribute compilations over the years, from Risky Business Records’ 1995 Got You Covered! Songs of the Beach Boys (with Glen Campbell, Pat Boone and The Surfaris on its roster) to Sanctuary’s 2002 Brit-centric Guess I’m Dumb: Songs of the Beach Boys (featuring P.P. Arnold, The Ivy League and Tony Rivers & The Castaways). The new Good Vibrations shares tracks with both of those, actually, but also offers some rarely-anthologized tracks from a wide range of artists including The Cowsills, Paul Davis, Melissa Manchester, Nick DeCaro, California Music, Petula Clark and more!

The emphasis, naturally, is on the songs of Brian Wilson; he’s the man responsible for writing each of the songs on Good Vibrations with the exception of two renditions of Bruce Johnston’s “Disney Girls.” The nostalgic song first appeared on The Beach Boys’ 1971 Surf’s Up as “Disney Girls (1957).” It’s heard from both Johnston himself, dating to his 1977 solo album Going Public, and from “Mama” Cass Elliot on her 1972 self-titled LP. Johnston makes a number of appearances on the new compilation. He and Carl Wilson both joined Elliot on her “Disney Girls,” and as one-half of the duo Bruce and Terry (with Terry Melcher), he appears on “Hawaii” and “Help Me, Rhonda.” Johnston and Melcher were also key voices in the Rip Chords, and that group is represented with three of the Beach Boys’ best “car songs,” “409,” “Shut Down” and “Little Deuce Coupe.” Johnston and Melcher also produced California Music’s 1974 “Don’t Worry, Baby” for their Equinox label. Certain songs are heard in multiple versions; “409,” “Shut Down” and “Don’t Worry, Baby” are all also heard in The Tokens’ recordings.

We have more details after the jump, including track listing with discography and a pre-order link!

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

July 23, 2012 at 09:55

Short Takes: McCartney Readies “Rockshow,” Rundgren’s Live “Healing”, Jay and the Americans’ “Magic Moment” Revisited

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As we kick off another week, we’re catching up with a few news items that almost slipped between the cracks!

  • Earlier this year, RockBeat and S’More Entertainment released Todd: Live, preserving on both CD and DVD editions a live performance by Todd Rundgren of his 1974 classic album Todd.  But Todd only told half of the story!  Joined by Utopia’s Kasim Sulton (bass), The Cars’ Greg Hawkes (keyboards), The Tubes’ Prairie Prince (drums), Guitar Player Magazine’s editor Jesse Gress (guitar), Bobby Strickland (sax) and a full choir, Rundgren’s performance of Todd was part of a double bill.  The second half of the evening consisted of the singer bringing to life his 1981 opus Healing. Today, the live Healing joins Todd with CD and DVD releases.  The semi-concept album is one of Rundgren’s most personal efforts.   Side One of the original album loosely tells a parable about a man who discovers he has healing powers, and the second side is a “soundtrack to that story” in Rundgren’s words.  Interested?  You can order the CD of Healing Live here, and the DVD here.

  • Jay and the Americans somewhat paradoxically entered the 1970s not looking forward, but rather looking back.  The group behind such pop perennials as “Come a Little Bit Closer,” “Cara Mia” and “Only in America” had endured personnel and management changes by 1969, and also faced the changing tastes in music.  Knowing the value of a great song, however, the group self-produced Sands of Time, dedicated to disk jockey Alan Freed and dedicated to revivals of songs from just a few years back, though that few years must have seemed like a lifetime.  The gamble paid off.  Sands of Time yielded the group’s Top 10 first hit in over three years thanks to Mort Shuman and Doc Pomus’ “This Magic Moment.”  The No. 6 chart placement even bested the Drifters’ original by ten places!  The U.K.’s BGO Records has joined Sands of Time with its 1970 follow-up Wax Museum and Capture the Moment from later in 1970.  Wax Museum scored another Top 20 hit with the band’s recording of Phil Spector, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil’s “Walkin’ in the Rain” (originally waxed by the Ronettes) while other songs came from the pens of Pomus and Shuman, Carole King and Gerry Goffin, and Burt Bacharach and Hal David.  The third offering in BGO’s set, Capture the Moment, was largely self-penned and very much in a folk-rock vein, and features future Steely Dan members Donald Fagen and Walter Becker on string and horn arrangements.  Sands of Time/Wax Museum/Capture the Moment is available now!

Hit the jump to see what Paul McCartney has planned for 2013!  It’s never too early… Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

June 19, 2012 at 09:59

Couldn’t I Just Tell You: Shout! Factory Premieres Vintage Rundgren and Utopia Concert

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We kicked off our week here at Second Disc HQ yesterday with a veritable smorgasbord of Utopia news, and today that feast grows even more bountiful!  The Shout! Factory label is joining the ranks of Edsel, Esoteric and Rockbeat as yet another purveyor of all things Rundgren.  Live at Hammersmith Odeon ’75 has been set for release on April 10, and the 10-track CD (also available as a digital download) captures the first U.K. concert of the band then billed as Todd Rundgren’s Utopia.  Recorded by the BBC on October 9, 1975 and widely circulated ever since, the Shout! Factory release marks the concert’s first commercial issue.  The set features the line-up of Rundgren (guitar/vocals), Willie Wilcox (drums/vocals), Roger Powell (keyboards) and John Siegler (bass).  Once Kasim Sulton replaced Siegler in 1976, the “classic” line-up was in place.  Hammersmith Odeon is also notable for the presence of Luther Vandross on backing vocals, joined by Anthony Hinton of Vandross’ early group Luther. 2012 looks to be another promising year for Rundgren-related reissues, with Esoteric Recordings soon delivering Utopia’s “lost album” Disco Jets following a wealth of classic Bearsville releases from Edsel.  Rundgren has also recently signed with the Cherry Red imprint with the intention of delivering a new studio effort.

Perusing the track list of Hammersmith Odeon, you might notice some similarities to that of Another Live, recorded just a couple of months earlier with the six-piece Utopia group of Rundgren, Powell, Wilcox, Siegler, Moogy Klingman and Ralph Schuckett.  Both concerts saw “The Wheel,” “Heavy Metal Kids,” Roger Powell’s “Mister Triscuits” and Jeff Lynne’s “Do Ya” all performed.  Hammersmith Odeon, interestingly, offers both “Do Ya” and the Rundgren original “Open My Eyes,” first recorded by The Nazz.  It’s been said that Rundgren covered “Do Ya” as a response to Lynne’s band The Move covering his “Open My Eyes.”  The Hammersmith set also takes in songs from select Rundgren solo albums, including “When the Sh*t Hits the Fan/Sunset Boulevard/Le Feel Internacionale” (A Wizard, A True Star), “The Last Ride” and “Sons of 1984” (Todd, also original home of “Heavy Metal Kids”) and “Couldn’t I Just Tell You” (Something/Anything).  “Freedom Fighters” originated on the 1974 Todd Rundgren’s Utopia album and “The Wheel” on Another Live.

Hit the jump for more, including the track listing and pre-order link! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

March 14, 2012 at 09:57

Love in Action: Todd Rundgren Goes “Back to the Bars,” To “Mink Hollow” and Beyond

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Welcome back to our Rundgren Round-Up, spotlighting the final installments in Edsel’s series of the complete Bearsville Todd Rundgren and Utopia reissues!

On 1978’s Back to the Bars, Todd Rundgren was in gentle, intimate mode, feeding off audiences in New York, Los Angeles and Cleveland eager to hear his most accessible tunes on a “retrospective” tour.  For this look back at a near-decade’s worth of music making, Rundgren enlisted the classic Utopia line-up of Kasim Sulton, Willie Wilcox and Roger Powell, as well as many special guests including Moogy Klingman, Spencer Davis, John Siegler, Ralph Schuckett, Daryl Hall, John Oates and Stevie Nicks!  These two discs (originally two LPs, reissued on two CDs) reveal the dream set list for many of the fans that still flock to Rundgren’s concerts.  With no slight intended to Rundgren’s more adventurous (and ultimately quite rewarding) work, the pop classics on these two discs haven’t aged a day.

There’s nothing “Cliché” about Rundgren’s performances on Back to the Bars, as no two are alike thanks to his famously freewheeling vibe while performing live.  Utopia shines on the infectious “Love in Action” (with Powell clearly enjoying his wild synth solo) and neo-Philly soul of “Real Man”  There’s plenty of soul, too, on “Sometimes I Don’t Know What to Feel” as well as a jazzy, impassioned reading of “The Last Ride.”  On “The Range War,” Rundgren veers into country-and-western territory with a twangy vocal as Spencer Davis accompanies on harmonica.

You might believe you can fly when you hear the heartfelt and simple rendition of Jule Styne, Betty Comden and Adolph Green’s tender “Never Never Land” from Broadway’s Peter Pan, which segues into the hard-rocking “Black Maria,” offbeat “Zen Archer” and “just plain foolish” medley, in the artist’s words.  Here, Rundgren and his band tackle Curtis Mayfield (“I’m So Proud”), Smokey Robinson (“Ooh Baby Baby”), Thom Bell (“La La Means I Love You”) and finally “I Saw the Light.”  Looking back in 2012, the latter song has earned its place among those other acknowledged classics.  The album concludes with an all-star jam on “Hello, It’s Me” (what else?) welcoming Rick Derringer, Hall and Oates, Stevie Nicks (!) and others to the stage.  There are no real spotlights, but it’s a fun valedictory nonetheless.   Following the song, Rundgren comments, “We don’t stop here…” and Todd’s voice trails away to the fade!  Though the album did stop there, there’s no doubt the audience would have been more than happy to spend the night (whether or not you think they should)…

There’s plenty more after the jump, including track listings with discography, and order links! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

March 13, 2012 at 12:27

City In His Head: Todd Rundgren’s Utopia Reissues Continue From Edsel

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Todd Rundgren’s tenure at Albert Grossman’s Bearsville Records label took him from his days as a singer/songwriter/self-described Runt in 1970 through his cutting-edge avant garde experiments, both solo and with his band Utopia, culminating in 1985’s A Cappella, rejected by the label and eventually released on Warner Bros. instead.  The U.K.’s Edsel label has recently completed its catalogue overhaul for Rundgren, including the entirety of his tenures at Bearsville and Warner.  The most recent batch of titles has just recently hit stores, consisting of nine albums on four CD sets: Rundgren’s The Hermit of Mink Hollow/Healing/The Ever Popular Tortured Artist Effect and Back to the Bars and Utopia’s Todd Rundgren’s Utopia/Another Live and Adventures in Utopia/Deface the Music/Swing to the Right.  Taken individually or a set, these albums represent some of the most restlessly creative, dynamic and just plain odd pop and rock created during the latter half of the 1970s and first half of the 1980s.

The earliest albums in this batch are Todd Rundgren’s Utopia (1974) and Another Live (1975), both recorded with the six-person “Utopia Mark II” line-up and combined as one 2-CD set.  (“Mark I” referred to a short-lived touring unit.)  Though Rundgren consented that he put his own name above the band’s for “obvious commercial reasons,” the music within its grooves was anything but commercial.  With Kevin Ellman (drums), Moogy Klingman (keyboards), Jean-Yves “M. Frog” Labat (synthesizers), Ralph Schuckett (keyboards) and John Siegler (bass/cello), Rundgren indulged his wildest sonic fantasies on Todd Rundgren’s Utopia.  With shifting tempi and a sound influenced as much by fusion jazz as by prog rock, TRU might be the place where the Mahavishnu Orchestra meets The Mothers of Invention.  Though its four individual tracks are lengthy (from 15 minutes to 30 minutes; only the four-minute “Freedom Fighters” is an exception), Rundgren explains in Paul Myers’ liner notes that there was very little jamming in the studio; these pieces were actually intricately structured, and created in the studio from individual segments.

“Freedom Fighters,” the album’s lone concession to song-oriented rock is a tough, metallic anthem, but the pop-ish backing vocals augur for Utopia’s future.  The likes of “Love is the Answer” would have to wait, though.  The album’s centerpiece is undoubtedly “The Ikon,” which took up the entirety of the original LP’s second side, clocking in at over one half-hour.  A prog mini-musical, the suite offers songs in miniature, with some catchy melodies featured over the prog workout as it builds to an intoxicating, swirling finale.  On the way, “The Ikon” is alternately childlike and futuristic, with even a bit of a country feel in one segment!  Clearly Rundgren wasn’t about to be boxed into one style, even with Utopia still more or less a “side project” to his solo career.  Another Live would show another dimension of the band.

Like TRU, Another Live featured collaborative songs written by band members in various combinations alongside Rundgren solo compositions.  Largely recorded in New York’s Central Park in August 1975, the album introduced a modified (but still not final) Utopia line-up, with Roger Powell replacing M. Frog, and Willie Wilcox replacing Kevin Ellman.  Soon, the band would transform into a tight four-piece unit, but for this concert, the six-man fusion group was augmented by trio of backing vocalists for an eclectic sequence of songs.  The first side of the original LP wouldn’t have shocked fans of the first album, with three long pieces.  “Another Life,” “The Wheel” and “The Seven Rays” weren’t exactly standard song forms, but nor were they 15-30 minute suites, either.  Rundgren anticipates a famed later song with the lyric “Sometimes you just don’t know what to feel” in the quiet, acoustic “The Wheel” while flourishes of trumpet and glockenspiel add a wholly new dimension to the Utopia sound.  This laconic track was extended with an audience sing-along.  “The Seven Rays” was on the rock/soul border, less structured than “The Wheel” with more room for instrumental improvisation.

A couple of well-chosen covers illustrate Rundgren’s restless muse.  “Something’s Coming,” the Leonard Bernstein/Stephen Sondheim song from West Side Story, gets a true rock makeover, perhaps even something of which the forward-thinking Mr. Bernstein (who had dabbled in rock sounds himself in his concert piece Mass) would have approved.  Jeff Lynne is channeled on an energetic version of The Move (and later ELO)’s “Do Ya,” while Rundgren reprises the clattering “Heavy Metal Kids” and appropriately triumphant “Just One Victory.”

Hit the jump for more, including full track listings, discography and order links! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

March 12, 2012 at 11:00

Release Round-Up: Week of March 6

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Mark Lindsay, The Complete Columbia Singles (Real Gone)

Joe calls this collection of the Paul Revere and The Raiders frontman’s solo single sides “one of (Real Gone’s) finest and most consistently enjoyable releases to date.” If that doesn’t get your catalogue muscles moving, it may be time to check your pulse!

Clannad, TimelessThe Essential Clannad (RCA/Legacy)

Alternately given both titles (the package has the latter while the sticker atop the disc has the former), this double-disc overview of one of Ireland’s favorite rock bands features a heap of Celtic tradition alongside guest vocals by Bono, Bruce Hornsby and Steve Perry.

Fats Domino, The Imperial Singles Volume 5: 1962-1964 (Ace)

The fifth and final volume from Ace of Fats’ Imperial single sides.

’til tuesday, Voices Carry: Expanded Edition (Hot Shot Records)

Boston-based ’80s rockers – best known as the first spotlight for lead singer/songwriter Aimee Mann’s talents – see their first, most successful album reissued by new Cherry Red imprint Hot Shot, with three single mixes as bonus tracks.

Rick Nelson, The Complete Epic Recordings (Real Gone)

Another victory for Real Gone: all of Rick Nelson’s late ’70s solo material for Epic Records, much of it released for the first time on CD, in the U.S. or both!

Todd Rundgren, Back to the BarsHermit of Mink Hollow/Healing/The Ever-Popular Tortured Artist Effect ; Utopia, Todd Rundgren’s Utopia/Another Live Adventures in Utopia/Deface the Music/Swing to the Right ; Roger Powell, Air Pocket / M. Frog, M. Frog (Edsel)

A whole lot of Todd Rundgren reissues.

David Sylvian, A Victim of Stars 1982-2012 (EMI)

Released last week in the U.K. and available on our shores now, this two-disc set collects the best of the Japan frontman’s solo work, with one new track.

Written by Mike Duquette

March 6, 2012 at 08:27

The Road to Utopia: M. Frog and Roger Powell of Rundgren’s Classic Band, Reissued

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Bearsville is back!  Even as Edsel Records has been tackling Todd Rundgren’s catalogue, both solo and with Utopia, the enterprising label hasn’t stopped there.  This month has brought two releases related to the Rundgren mystique but still capable of standing on their own considerable merits.  Roger Powell may be the most well-known of Utopia’s keyboard/synthesizer players, but he was actually preceded in the band by Jean Yves “M. Frog” Labat.  Both Labat and Powell recorded solo albums at Bearsville, and so the former’s M. Frog and the latter’s Air Pocket have been joined together on one disc by Edsel.

Though it comes first on the new CD, Roger Powell’s Air Pocket arrived in 1980, seven years after M. Frog’s solo album.  Like much of Utopia’s best work, Air Pocket is atmospheric, shimmering, ethereal, and futuristic.  Largely self-created by Powell, it does feature some special guests, such as John Holbrook (rhythm guitar and also the album’s engineer), Mark Styles (RMI keyboard computer), Clive Pozar (drums) and a certain Mr. Rundgren (E-bow guitar solo).

The first side of the original LP betrayed the pop influence of the changing Utopia, with fully developed songs still true to Powell’s spacey synthesizer sound; the second side emphasized more esoteric instrumental compositions.  Each and every track was written entirely by the artist, who also produced this unique effort.  Of the more accessible tracks, “Windows” is a very Utopia-like soft rock song with prominent harmonies (one could easily hear Todd having contributed) and oblique lyrics that lend an air of mystery.  “Emergency Splash-Down” boasts a harder-edged, jagged melody (“Warning light flashes/Emergency splashdown/It’s every man for himself now!”).  Rundgren makes his presence known via a subtle but recognizable guitar solo to the brief “Morning Chorus.”

Though there’s a coherence of sound among the album’s ten tracks, each song also has enough dynamics to keep the album interesting.  “March of the Dragonslayers” is a rather playful cut, though it doesn’t sound medieval at all, despite its title!  (Another title just begging to be a prog-rock song, “Dragons ‘n Griffins,” appears a couple of tracks later!)  Its B-side, a then-modern update of the surf-rock hit “Pipeline,” has been appended to this reissue.

A little of Air Pocket might go a long way for listeners less inclined to Utopia’s more far-out explorations, but the album is positively conservative compared to Jean Yves “M. Frog” Labat’s self-titled release, previously available on CD only in Japan.  Like Powell, Labat self-produced his debut effort, but Rundgren was on hand to mix the album.   (In case you’re wondering, Bearsville impresario Albert Grossman had suggested “Maestro Frog” as Labat’s moniker, but only the initial stuck!)  John Holbrook was heavily involved in M. Frog’s album, as well, but he was hardly the only member of the Bearsville family to contribute.  John Simon and Paul Butterfield make appearances, as do Garth Hudson and Rick Danko on “Welcome Home” and Rundgren on both “Suckling-Pigs Game” and “Hey Little Lady.”  In addition to his short-lived tenure as a member of Utopia, Labat also repaid the favor to Rundgren by playing EMS synthesizer on Todd’s 1973 solo album A Wizard, A True Star.

Hit the jump for much, much more including track listing with discography and an order link! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

February 29, 2012 at 10:07

So Esoteric: Todd Rundgren’s Lost “Disco Jets” and a Jim Capaldi Duo Coming Soon

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Longtime Todd Rundgren fans are familiar with the renaissance man’s numerous genre excursions, from pop to rock and everywhere in between: psychedelia, soul, electronica, even metal.  But comparatively fewer fans have heard Rundgren’s one and only full-blown excursion into disco.  Shortly after completing 1976’s Faithful LP, the iconoclastic producer took the members of Utopia into the studio to create the album known as Disco Jets.  Yet the album crafted by Willie Wilcox (drums), Roger Powell (keyboards/vocals), John Siegler (bass/vocals) and Rundgren has never seen release under its original name, although the tracks were included on the Japan-only Todd Rundgren: Demos and Lost Albums compilation.  Esoteric Recordings, a division of the Cherry Red Group, is changing all that with the March 26 release of Disco Jets, continuing its series of latter-day Rundgren and Utopia reissues.  But that’s not all coming from the enterprising label.  Traffic legend Jim Capaldi is celebrated with a pair of his earliest albums, 1972’s Oh How We Danced and 1974’s Whale Meat Again, both due on the same March 26 date.

Roger Powell recalled in 2010 to author Paul Myers that Utopia spent one weekend “cranking out” Disco Jets, basically for the hell of it: “It was a disco spoof, but it was a hoot to record and I remember laughing so hard I cried.”  John Siegler (who departed Utopia shortly after recording the lost album, citing fatigue) opined, “It was not one of our stellar moments.”  Myers, however, believes that the all-instrumental album is hardly worthy of dismissal and is “musically as interesting as anything Utopia ever did.”  It’s not hard to believe; it wouldn’t be the first time (nor the last) that Rundgren would spin musical gold from something intended to be tongue-in-cheek.

Hit the jump for more on Disco Jets, plus two albums from Jim Capaldi! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

February 10, 2012 at 09:52

Release Round-Up: Week of February 7

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Queen, The Works / A Kind of Magic / The Miracle / Innuendo / Made in Heaven: Deluxe Editions (Hollywood)

The last five deluxe reissues of the Queen catalogue, which began last year for the 40th anniversary, are now available domestically (they came out in the U.K. in November). So if you’ve missed these, now’s the chance to get them without importing ’em.

Big Country, The Crossing: Deluxe Edition (Mercury/UMC)

From the U.K., one of the most criminally underrated albums of the ’80s, expanded with B-sides and a bonus disc of rare and unreleased demos.

Pet Shop Boys, Format: B-Sides and Bonus Tracks 1996-2009 (Parlophone)

Two discs of PSB B-sides from 1996 to 2009, a sequel to 1995’s Alternative, which served the same purpose for the band’s early flipsides.

Tony Bennett, Isn’t It Romantic? (Concord)

Bennett’s Improv-era material compiled for lovers, just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Todd Rundgren, A Cappella + Nearly Human + 2nd Wind (Edsel)

Two ’80s and a ’90s album on two discs from the U.K. label.

Goldfrapp, The Singles (Astralwerks)

The great dance-pop duo closes out their major-label contract with a compilation of singles and the by-now requisite pair of new tracks.

John Williams/The London Symphony Orchestra, Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Sony Classical)

A reissue of the original, single-disc soundtrack (with one bonus track from the double-disc Ultimate Edition reissue) to tie in with the 3-D re-release of the film this Friday.

Written by Mike Duquette

February 7, 2012 at 08:03