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Release Round-Up: Week of April 22

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Joe Satriani - CompleteJoe Satriani, The Complete Studio Recordings (Epic/Legacy)

The guitar whiz’s complete studio output from 1986 to 2013 is collected in a 15-disc box set or chrome-domed USB head(Amazon U.S. /Amazon U.K.)

ABBA Gold 40ABBA, ABBA Gold: Greatest Hits – 40th Anniversary Edition (Polydor/UMe)

Two best-selling ABBA compilations, 1992’s ABBA Gold and its 1993 sequel More ABBA Gold, are paired up with a third disc of single B-sides. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Yes - The Yes AlbumYes, The Yes Album (Panegyric)

The prog group’s breakthrough third LP gets expanded and remixed in surround by Steve Wilson, who worked similar magic on Close to the Edge and XTC’s Nonsuch.

CD/DVD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
CD/BD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

SkylarkingXTC, Skylarking: Corrected Polarity Edition (Ape House)

Speaking of XTC, the band’s Todd Rundgren-produced 1986 effort, presented with intended album art and running order (with “Dear God” integrated into the track list), was remastered for vinyl in 2010; now, that superior presentation makes its way to CD. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

TotoToto, Toto Hydra Turn Back (Rock Candy)

Get ready to “Hold the Line” with these new remasters from Rock Candy of Toto’s first three albums (their debut includes a 12″ mix of “Georgy Porgy”).

Toto: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
HydraAmazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Turn Back
Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Porky's RevengeVarious Artists, Porky’s Revenge: The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Varese Sarabande)

The third, flop installment in the Porky’ franchise nonetheless had a killer soundtrack assembled by Dave Edmunds and featuring contributions from George Harrison, Jeff Beck, Willie Nelson and more. Joe’s full article will run later today! (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Written by Mike Duquette

April 22, 2014 at 08:26

Big Day: XTC’s “Skylarking,” with Improved Sound, to Get CD Reissue

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XTCFour years after it was upgraded for vinyl, XTC’s Skylarking will get the same sonic upgrade on CD next month.

XTC’s ninth (and arguably best) album found them working an uneasy alliance with producer Todd Rundgren, with whom singer-songwriter Andy Partridge found himself frequently at odds with (despite Partridge’s lasting respect for Rundgren’s work on the album). But a spate of killer songs by Partridge (“Summer’s Cauldron,” “Earn Enough for Us”) and vocalist/bassist Colin Moulding (singles “Grass” and “The Meeting Place”) recalled The Beatles and The Kinks at their most pastoral, which greatly resonated with fans of all stripes.

What got them new fans, though, was a track that was initially left off the album. Partridge’s “Dear God,” a cutting demolition of theism, was relegated to the flipside of “Grass,” but American DJs put the song in considerable rotation (within the Top 40 of Billboard‘s Mainstream Rock charts), enough for Geffen Records (the band’s Stateside label) to repress the record with the track included.

Skylarking took on new weight in 2010, when Partridge’s Ape House label remastered and reissued the album, making two significant tweaks: reinstating the originally intended artwork that Virgin Records refused to use (included after the jump, so as not to offend more sensitive readers), and, thanks to remastering engineer John Dent, correcting a strange, previously-undetected error from the original master. As explained in a statement:

Somewhere, possibly in the transfer from the multi-channel tape to the stereo master, a polarity had been reversed. This is not the same thing as a reversed left/right channel which puts a stereo picture out of phase & makes the sound unlistenable, but a much more difficult to pin down event that can be triggered by something as simple as a badly wired plug in the overall system which, nonetheless, removes some of the punch & presence from a finished recording.

This bright new master of Skylarking will finally make it to compact disc on April 14. The press release promises an eventual 5.1 surround mix by engineer Steven Wilson, who gave the band’s Nonsuch the similar treatment last year – but with one caveat: “when & if the multi-track tapes can be found.” While we wait for that to happen, pre-order the new CD after the jump.

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Written by Mike Duquette

March 17, 2014 at 09:53

Posted in News, Reissues, XTC

Release Round-Up: Week of October 22

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TFF The Hurting boxTears for Fears, The Hurting: Deluxe Edition (Mercury/UMe)

The landmark debut album from the U.K. hitmakers celebrates its 30th anniversary with a new double-disc deluxe edition stocked with rare single-only material and a deluxe box set version with a bonus disc of John Peel sessions and the In My Mind’s Eye live concert film on DVD.

2CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
3CD/1DVD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Van Morrison - Moondance BoxVan Morrison, Moondance: Expanded Edition (Warner Bros./Rhino)

Though Van would rather you not buy this box, it features his classic 1970 album (newly remastered and in a new 5.1 surround sound mix on the Blu-Ray) plus three discs of session outtakes.

1CD remaster: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
2CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
4CD/1BD:  Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Fisherman's BoxThe Waterboys, Fisherman’s Box: The Complete Fisherman’s Blues Sessions 1986-1988 (Parlophone)

This six-disc set features every take from the making of this celebrated album from Mike Scott’s band. A deluxe version features the original album on vinyl and a further bonus disc of songs that influenced the album – all of which will be broken down in full in a post later today!

6CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
7CD/1LP: Amazon U.K.

Chrysalis FB bannerTen Years After, Recorded Live: Expanded Edition / Robin Trower, State to State: Live Across America 1974-1980 / UFO, “Hot ‘N’ Live”: The Chrysalis Live Anthology 1974-1983 (Chrysalis/Rhino)

These three hard-rockin’ releases from the Chrysalis vaults are ready to purchase this week – or you can win them from us!

Ten Years After: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Robin Trower: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
UFO: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

XTC - NonsuchXTC, Nonsuch: Expanded Edition (Panegyric)

The band’s 1992 album, featuring modern rock hit “The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead,” features a new stereo and surround mix by Steven Wilson, plus a host of audiovisual extras.

CD/DVD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
CD/BD: Amazon U.K.

Sparks BoxSparks, New Music for Amnesiacs: The Ultimate Collection (Universal U.K.)

One of the pioneering acts in quirk rock have a swag-filled five-disc career-spanning box set tangible object in the market. (Amazon U.K.)

Woody Guthrie American Radical PatriotWoody Guthrie, American Radical Patriot (Rounder)

A stunning 6CD/1DVD/1LP box set includes, for the first time, all of Guthrie’s historic recordings for Alan Lomax, plus scores of rarities – including a rare early Bob Dylan recording, too. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Freddie Tribute BDQueen, The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert: Deluxe Edition (Eagle Rock)

The life of the late Queen frontman was celebrated in one of the greatest benefit concerts of all time – and this expanded version features, for the first time on DVD or Blu-Ray, tribute performances from the first half of the concert.

3DVD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
BD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Monro RaritiesMatt Monro, The Rarities Collection (Parlophone)

Three discs of rarities from the legendary crooner; most were originally released on The Rare Monro and/or Matt Uncovered: The Rarer Monro, but many have been sonically upgraded, with more rarities included herein! (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Laura Nyro - SmileLaura Nyro, Smile: Expanded Edition (Iconoclassic)

Nyro’s 1976 release, issued after a four-year absence, is expanded with three rare demos. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Love to Love You DonnaDonna Summer, Love to Love You Donna (Verve)

Classic Donna Summer tracks, newly remixed by modern dance acts and producers, plus an unreleased collaboration between Summer and longtime producer Giorgio Moroder.

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

TLC 20TLC, 20 (Epic)

A new compilation from the acclaimed ’90s R&B girl group features a new track, “Meant to Be,” penned by R&B singer Ne-Yo. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Virgin Records Celebrates “40 Years of Disruptions” with New Compilation, Picture Discs

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Virgin 40Virgin Records, one of England’s most iconic labels, turns 40 this year – and they’re celebrating with a new compilation full of hits from their storied existence.

The Virgin label was largely the brainchild of one young businessman named Richard Branson. The London-born Branson began his career selling records by mail order and later opening a shop on Oxford Street. The Virgin label was blessed with early success thanks to a willingness to sign acts that major U.K. labels were keen to dismiss. This netted them a smash hit with their very first release, Mike Oldfield’s captivating instrumental “Tubular Bells,” as well as a place in cultural history as the label who’d ultimately made the strongest commitment to punk band The Sex Pistols, after EMI and A&M each dropped the band. (It was Virgin who’d pressed the commercial version of their No. 2 hit “God Save The Queen” as well as their sole studio album, Never Mind The Bollocks Here’s The Sex Pistols.)

The decades to come found Virgin succeeding with all sorts of genres: MTV-ready pop/rock (Culture Club, The Human League, The Spice Girls), groundbreaking alt-rock and New Wave (Simple Minds, XTC), multi-generational rock (Genesis and its two most famous frontmen, Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins; The Rolling Stones, for a time) hip-hop and dance (Soul II Soul, Neneh Cherry, Daft Punk, Massive Attack) and more, all the way up to the present (recent critical and commercial hits include tracks by Swedish House Mafia, Emili Sandé and CHVRCHES).

Branson would ultimately sell Virgin to EMI in 1992 to keep other parts of his business empire afloat; the iconoclastic entrepreneur found success in everything from air travel to publishing to music festivals (Europe’s V Festival) to record stores (the late Virgin Megastores) to mobile phones to…well, even more interesting stuff (Branson plans to be aboard the inaugural Virgin Galactic flight – a commercial space trip – this year.) The label continues to exist, now of course under the Universal Music Group family.

Virgin Records: 40 Years of Disruptions plans to honor the label’s indomitable spirit across two discs, along with a bonus EP of current Virgin artists covering some classic tracks, including cuts by John Lennon, Peter Gabriel, Massive Attack and others. The set is in stores today, amid a swath of exhibitions in honor of the label around the U.K. area. The label is also selling a handful of their most beloved titles, including singles and albums, as limited edition vinyl titles (many of which are picture discs). The full list is available at Universal’s Uvinyl page.

As always, you can check out the track list and buy the set after the jump.

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Steven Wilson Prepping Surround Mixes for Yes and XTC, More King Crimson On the Way (UPDATED 8/6)

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Yes - Close to the EdgeUPDATE (8/6/2013): After the jump, you’ll find full specs on the newly expanded and remixed Close to the Edge, due out in October! And don’t forget our post on Nonsuch from earlier this week.

ORIGINAL POST (6/24/2013): Porcupine Tree’s Steven Wilson has been one of the most prominent proponents of surround sound in recent memory.  The singer/songwriter/guitarist/producer has spearheaded deluxe editions of classic albums from Hawkwind, King Crimson, Jethro Tull and Emerson Lake and Palmer with stunning new 5.1 mixes, and made his own acclaimed 2013 solo album The Raven That Refused to Sing available in high-resolution surround formats, as well.  Over the weekend, Wilson confirmed on his official Facebook page that more exciting projects are on the way from the catalogues of two more iconic bands: Yes and XTC.

Panegyric, the label releasing DGM’s definitive series of King Crimson reissues, will release “archive CD/DVD-A and CD/Blu-ray editions” by both groups, beginning this September with XTC’s Nonsuch (1992) and continuing in October with Yes’ Close to the Edge (1972).  The Yes release will be joined by a new King Crimson title, The Road to Red, focusing on the band’s final North American tour of 1974.

After the jump, we have details on all three titles! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

August 6, 2013 at 16:09

Then She Appeared: XTC’s “Nonsuch,” Newly Remixed and Ready for October Release

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XTC - NonsuchAs previously reported, Nonsuch, the twelfth album by XTC, is getting reissued this year with a new surround mix by Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree and a host of audiovisual extras.

Featuring production by early Elton John producer Gus Dudgeon and some of the best pastoral power-pop songwriting by band brain trust Andy Partridge and Colin Moulding, including the U.S. Modern Rock chart-topper “The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead,” “The Disappointed,” “Wrapped in Grey” and many more, Nonsuch remains something of a bittersweet note for fans of the quirky trio. Fed up with what they felt was U.K. label Virgin’s shoddy promotion of the record, XTC went on strike for seven years, returning in 1999 with Apple Venus Volume 1. (Dave Gregory, third member of the band since 1984’s The Big Express, quit during the recording sessions; Partridge and Moulding released Wasp Star (Apple Venus Volume 2) the following year.)

While Partridge and Moulding seemed to have put XTC to bed by the middle of the decade, this new package will feature new standard stereo and 5.1 surround mixes by Wilson – whose Emerson, Lake & Palmer remixes were lauded by many (including our own Joe Marchese – and Wilson’s got plenty more where that came from in the coming months). Partridge provided input into the new mixes, and, with Moulding and Gregory, fully approved them, also contributing new liner notes.

But the excitement doesn’t end there. Nonsuch will be presented as a CD/DVD-A with the new mixes as well as a CD/Blu-ray set featuring more extra material. (On all versions, the CD is expanded by one track: a demo, “Didn’t Hurt a Bit,” previously heard on a 2000 CD single.) Extras for the CD/Blu-ray (which, like the CD/DVD-A, is region free!) are:

  • Instrumental mixes of the album in DTS-HD Master Audio stereo (24bit/96khz)
  • Demos and worktapes from Partridge and Moulding, featuring songs used for and written contemporaneously to the album
  • Rare footage from the Nonsuch sessions at Chipping Norton Studios
  • Promo videos for “The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead” and “The Disappointed”

Both versions are on track for an October 7 release and can be pre-ordered from Partridge’s APE House label here (CD/DVD-A) and here (CD/Blu-ray).

Written by Mike Duquette

August 5, 2013 at 12:11

Posted in Blu-Ray, DVD, News, Reissues, XTC

Start of a New “Movement”: EMI Releases New Peel Sessions Compilation

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Last week’s revelation that American media conglomerate Clear Channel had let go of dozens of local radio DJs made music fans yearn for the simpler times of when jockeys weren’t limited to playlists from on high and could shape the public’s music taste in a positive way.

Ironically, as the Clear Channel news spread, EMI prepares the release of a new compilation devoted to one of England’s most famous radio presenters, the late, great John Peel. Peel, a jockey on BBC’s Radio 1 from 1967 until his death in 2004, was a pioneering force on the British music scene, embracing the cutting edge of music in every new decade, particularly the wild punk, reggae, ska and indie sounds that were emerging as the 1970s gave way to the 1980s.

Of course, playing the singles wasn’t enough: Peel frequently invited his favorite new acts to BBC’s Maida Vale Studios to record live sets for his shows. These “Peel sessions” fast became treasured recordings for serious music fans, and while the BBC often erased their tapes not long after they were done airing them, Peel’s tapes have enjoyed years of commercial release, first on his own label, Strange Fruit, in the 1980s, then on various major labels, either as part of standalone releases or bonus tracks on expanded reissues.

Very little of the tracks on this new comp – Movement: BBC Radio 1 Peel Sessions 1977-1979 – are being released for the first time. (At the very least, many of these tracks came out on Strange Fruit EPs and compilations, and are making their debut on a CD distributed by EMI, the project deriving from material commonly controlled by the label and the BBC.) But the idea of a sampler of tracks from such greats as The Jam, Joy Division, The Specials, XTC, Adam and The Ants, The Psychedelic Furs and others is pretty appealing – particularly given EMI’s announcement, which ends with the promise of more Peel compilations in the future.

Movement is available today in the U.K., and the track list is after the jump.

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Written by Mike Duquette

October 31, 2011 at 13:06

News Round-Up: Rhino Cuts, CSNY Live Speculation, XTC Vinyl and More

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  • We hate to start the day off with some bad news, but Rhino is apparently about to experience another depressing surge of layoffs, trade publication Variety reports. From the looks of it, expect a smaller slate of physical titles – even the Handmade stuff, some of which was in the can for years, the article says – and more of an emphasis on digital catalogue maneuvers or (at the very least) more on-demand releases like the Tartare program.
  • Graham Nash mentioned to Billboard about the speculated Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young live set culled from the 1974 tour. No word on the length of the set itself (fingers still crossed for a box) but Nash – who is putting the set together with archivist Joel Bernstein – is pulling for a release this spring. Furthermore, he hopes to follow that up with some more archival live sets – all of which you can read about here.
  • Excited about the forthcoming vinyl reissue of XTC’s Skylarking? Slicing Up Eyeballs has some updates for you: the set will feature all the tracks from the U.K. and U.S. editions (meaning notable Stateside single “Dear God” will appear on the new set) and will feature artwork that was planned for the original LP but rejected by Virgin Records. Read more here.
  • Traffic Entertainment Group has a neat deluxe title coming out next week (September 14) in partnership with Sony: a deluxe reissue of Pete Rock and C.L. Smooth’s hip-hop classic Mecca and the Soul Brother loaded with remixes, instrumental tracks and more. Pre-order it here and take a look at the track list after the jump!

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Written by Mike Duquette

September 9, 2010 at 11:03

News Round-Up: Live CSNY, XTC on Vinyl, Teardrop Expands

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  • An article from The Columbian of Clark County, Washington is making the rounds for noting that a box set is being prepped chronicling the 1974 tour of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Planned to enter stores around the holiday season, the set is said to comprise three CDs and a DVD, culled from eight of the best stops on the tour. The 1974 tour saw CSNY performing after a four-year hiatus; the outdoor-arena shows (among the first of their kind) often stretched to three hours of electric and acoustic performances.
  • A hat tip to the top cats at Slicing Up Eyeballs for this story and the next: XTC’s 1986 LP Skylarking is getting a new reissue on double vinyl. The package corrects a bizarre error present on all the previous pressings of the album: for some reason, the sound polarity on all pressings had been reversed (meaning, to quote the original post, “sound waves that should be pushing out from your speakers are actually pulling them back and projecting from the rear”). A CD reissue has not been announced, nor has a final track list been issued (note that original U.K. pressings did not include the single “Dear God,” although the 2001 remaster appended the song to the end of the disc).
  • Finally, The Teardrop Explodes – Julian Cope’s early-’80s post-punk outfit – are expanding their first LP, 1980’s Kilimanjaro, to a three-disc set due out July 12 in the U.K. from Universal. It includes a disc of B-sides and non-LP tracks and another disc of live BBC sessions. You can read the track list after the jump.

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Written by Mike Duquette

July 1, 2010 at 10:57