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Release Round-Up: Week of April 15

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Bee Gees - Warner Bros. YearsBee Gees, The Warner Bros. Years 1987-1991 (Warner Bros./Rhino)

A new five-disc box collates the Bee Gees’ E.S.P. (1987), One (1989) and High Civilization (1991) – the first two of which have bonus tracks – and 1991’s One for All live concert, released for the first time on CD. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Nas - IllmaticNas, Illmatic XX (Columbia/Legacy)

Queens’ favorite MC celebrates his landmark debut with a newly-expanded edition of the 1994 album with a bonus disc of rare remixes and unreleased tracks.

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

Donna LorenDonna Loren, These Are The Good Times: The Complete Capitol Recordings (Now Sounds)

Donna Loren is well-known for her appearances on television’s Shindig! and in the famous series of sixties Beach Party films, but Now Sounds’ new collection reveals her talents as a top-tier pop vocalist!  This expansive collection premieres previously unreleased material, and includes productions from David Axelrod and Steve Douglas, and arrangements by Jack Nitzsche, Billy Strange and H.B. Barnum – plus appearances by The Beau Brummels, Glen Campbell and the L.A. Wrecking Crew!  Look for Joe’s review Wednesday! (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Black Sabbath boxBlack Sabbath, The Complete Albums 1970-1978 (Rhino)

A simple, compact box of all of Sabbath’s Ozzy-era albums. Perfect one-stop shopping! (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Instant Funk Witch DoctorInstant Funk, Witch Doctor: Expanded Edition (Big Break Records)

The band’s second album for Salsoul, which followed up the hit single “I Got My Mind Made Up,” is remastered and expanded with three bonus tracks by BBR. (Amazon U.K. / Amazon U.S.)

Lettermen First Four AlbumsThe Lettermen, The First Four Albums and More / Various Artists, Hard-to-Find Jukebox Classics 1963 (Eric)

Eric Records takes it back to the ’60s pop era with a two-disc compilation of albums from The Lettermen (including hit versions of “The Way You Look Tonight” and “When I Fall in Love,” plus 10 bonus tracks) and a set of rare singles and rarer mixes from 1963 (including the stereo debut of The Surfaris’ “Wipe Out”).

The Lettermen: Amazon U.S. (TBD) / Amazon U.K.
Hard to Find Jukebox ClassicsAmazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Written by Mike Duquette

April 15, 2014 at 07:47

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

Metal, Rated “XXX”: Roadrunner Marks Three-Decade-Plus Mark with Four-Disc Box Set

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Roadrunner Box SetOne of the top labels in straight-up rock and heavy metal, Roadrunner Records, will celebrate their more than 30 years in the business with a new box set, XXX: Three Decades of Roadrunner Records, in October.

From its inception in 1980, Roadrunner was often toward the forefront of metal, from traditional heavy and thrash metal in the 1980s and early 1990s to the fast-paced tracks and nu metal stylings of the late ’90s. Along the way, they’ve opened up their roster to all kinds of hard rock, serving as a solid home base for veterans and upstarts alike. Mercyful Fate, King Diamond, Type O Negative, Dream Theater, Megadeth, Slipknot, Nickelback, Korn, Rush, Porcupine Tree, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Dresden Dolls and Heaven & Hell (the late ’00s project by Ronnie James Dio, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Vinny Appice – essentially, the Dio-led version of Black Sabbath) have all called Roadrunner home at one time or another.

And of these and more will be featured on this themed, 54-track box set, divided into four discs: Foundations, featuring early heavy metal cuts from the label’s early days; Horns Up, a summary of Roadrunner’s output in the late 1990s and early 2000s; And Metal for All, featuring recent metal releases (including the 2004 label supergroup Roadrunner United) and Rock for the Ages, featuring everything that rocked in between. XXX: Three Decades of Roadrunner Records will also feature liner notes from Decibel writer Chris Dick, including interviews and quotes with label founder Cees Wessels as well as King Diamond, Max Cavalera of Sepultura and Soulfly, Matt Heafy of Trivium and more.

XXX: Three Decades of Roadrunner Records will be available October 1. Hit the jump for the usual full track list and (so far, just an Amazon U.K.) pre-order links!

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Vinyl Watch: Black Sabbath, Death Cab Box Up Remastered LPs on Wax

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Black Sabbath vinyl boxThere are only two weeks left until Christmas, but that doesn’t mean there’s a shortage of interesting catalogue projects around the way. Two recently-released vinyl boxes pack up a good chunk of two very diverse discographies for your perusal, with boxes for rock legends Black Sabbath and indie darlings Death Cab for Cutie available now.

The import-only Album Box Set by Black Sabbath, released today by Sanctuary Records, features all of the band’s albums for Vertigo/Warner Bros. with Ozzy Osbourne as frontman. (That’s Black Sabbath and Paranoid (1970), Master of Reality (1971), Volume 4 (1972), Sabbath Bloody Sabbath (1973), Sabotage (1975), Technical Ecstasy (1976)and Never Say Die! (1978), as well as 1980’s Live at Last…) Not merely content to present the original albums remastered on vinyl and replicated down to the last insert and sleeve, Sanctuary has also thrown in a copy of the band’s first single, “Evil Woman,” backed by non-LP B-side “Wicked World,” as well as a hardbound book replicating all of the band’s tour programs from that era. Order this box through Amazon U.S. or Amazon U.K. now.

Death Cab vinyl boxAlso available to order online only is a box set devoted to the early works of Washington alt-rock band Death Cab for Cutie. The Barsuk Years chronicles everything the band put out for the independent Seattle label before signing with major label Atlantic, as well as the band’s first release, the cassette-only demo You Can Play These Songs with Chords (1997). That album, in its vinyl debut, is exclusive to the box, along with exclusive vinyl editions of the Forbidden Love and Stability EPs from 2000 and 2002. Proper albums Something About Airplanes (1998), We Have the Facts and We’re Voting Yes (2000), The Photo Album (2001) and breakthrough disc Transatlanticism (2003). All but that final disc have been newly remastered by Roger Seibel at SAE to maintain a sonic quality consistent with that final disc. Limited to 1,500 signed, numbered boxes, The Barsuk Years is available here through the Artist in Residence imprint.

Written by Mike Duquette

December 11, 2012 at 10:29

Release Round-Up: Week of December 11

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The World is a Ghetto 40War, The World is a Ghetto: 40th Anniversary Edition (Hip-O Select/Avenue)

The Cisco Kid can be a friend of yours with this remastered edition of the 1972 funk classic, boasting four unreleased bonus tracks. (Amazon U.S. / U.K.)

Interpol Bright Lights 10Interpol, Turn On the Bright Lights: 10th Anniversary Edition (Matador)

The New York band’s breakthrough album, which saw them rise to the top of the critically-acclaimed indie rock pile, is expanded for its 10th anniversary with a bonus disc of rare and unreleased tracks and a DVD of music videos and two live concerts. (2 CD/1 DVD: Amazon U.S. / U.K. ; 2 LP/1 DVD: Amazon U.S. / U.K.)

The Jam, The Gift: Deluxe Edition (Polydor/UMe)

A U.S. cut-down version of last month’s hefty deluxe box set, featuring the first two discs of said box (the original album and non-LP B-sides on one disc, a clutch of rare and unreleased demos on the other). (Amazon U.S. / U.K.)

PPMInJapanPeter, Paul & Mary, Live in Japan 1967 (Rhino)

This release, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the beloved folk trio, includes Deluxe: Live in Japan, a regional-only album making its domestic CD debut, and a bonus disc of 12 unreleased tracks from the same performance. (Amazon U.S. / U.K.)

Black Sabbath vinyl boxBlack Sabbath, Vinyl Album Box Set (Sanctuary)

This U.K. box features newly remastered, replicated versions of all the Ozzy Osbourne-era Black Sabbath albums, recreated down to the inserts, plus a hardbound book of replica tour programs and a copy of the band’s first 7″ single, “Evil Woman.” Plus, a download code is included to take all those songs on the go! (Amazon U.K. / U.S.)

Finally, we cap off this short release week with the latest reissues on hi-res formats and vinyl:

Big Brother and The Holding Company, Cheap Thrills (Amazon U.S. / U.K.) / Joe Walsh, But Seriously, Folks (Amazon U.S. / U.K.) (24KT Gold CDs) (Audio Fidelity)

Television, Marquee Moon (180-Gram LP) (Rhino) (Amazon U.S. / U.K.)

Written by Mike Duquette

December 11, 2012 at 07:33

Release Round-Up: Week of June 5

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The Beatles, Yellow Submarine (Blu-Ray) (Apple/EMI)

Take a trip back to Pepperland with the Fab Four’s animated film, now available as a feature-laden Blu-Ray Disc. The 1999 Yellow Submarine Songtrack remix album is also added to the Beatles remaster canon. (Keep a close eye on our giveaway; we’re announcing a winner very soon!)

Paul Simon, Graceland: 25th Anniversary Edition (Legacy)

A man walks down the street, sees many configurations of the Graceland reissue (namely a CD/DVD featuring newly released outtakes and the new documentary Under African Skies – also separately available on DVD and Blu-Ray – and a four-disc box set which adds an entire 1987 concert from the Graceland tour on DVD) and gets pretty darn excited.

David Bowie, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders from Mars: 40th Anniversary Edition (EMI)

Ziggy falls to earth once again, albeit just as a newly-remastered CD with no bonus content; the bonuses are on the LP/DVD combo, which features out-of-print and unreleased surround mixes.

Jerry Goldsmith, Star Trek: The Motion Picture – Limited Edition (La-La Land Records)

Available to order later today (around 4 p.m. EST), this three-disc edition is the definitive word on Jerry Goldsmith’s iconic score for the first Trek film, with the complete score, alternate and rejected cues, the original LP program and many other audio treasures. (If you haven’t yet, do check out the first part of our interview with the set’s co-producer Mike Matessino, and check back for part two later this week!)

Michael Jackson, I Just Can’t Stop Loving You (CD Single) (Epic/Legacy)

Available only at Walmart stores in the U.S., this CD single, backed with the unreleased demo “Don’t Be Messin’ ‘Round,” kicks off the Bad 25 campaign.

Maroon 5, Songs About Jane: 10th Anniversary Edition (A&M/Octone)

Weeks away from the release of their fourth studio album, a double-disc version of Maroon 5’s first breakthrough album, featuring demos and unlockable video content, is now available.

Sugar, Beaster: Deluxe Edition (Edsel)

The latest in the Sugar reissue campaign (seminal debut Copper Blue was reissued last week) is an expansion of the band’s second release, an EP, with a bonus DVD of performance clips.

Heart, Strange Euphoria (Epic/Legacy)

A 3 CD/1 DVD box chronicling the highs of Ann and Nancy Wilson’s lengthy careers, with hits and rarities in equal measure.

Lenny Kravitz, Mama Said: 21st Anniversary Deluxe Edition (Virgin/EMI)

Kravitz’s sophomore album, featuring hit single “It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over,” expanded with non-LP B-sides, live material and archival demos.

America, Perspective / In Concert, The Flying Burrito Brothers, Close Up the Honky Tonks, Atlanta Rhythm Section, Are You Ready! (BGO)

Some hidden gems from some of the best ’70s and ’80s rockers, all of which are either rare or new to CD.

Kylie Minogue, The Best of Kylie Minogue (EMI Catalogue)

A simple, compact collection of Kylie hits. A special edition features a DVD of music videos.

Black Sabbath, Iron Man: The Best of Black Sabbath (Sanctuary U.K.)

A bare-bones Sabbath compilation.

The Association, The Complete Warner Bros. and Valiant Singles Collection (Now Sounds)

Every last one of The Association’s singles for the Valiant and Warner Bros. labels are collected on two CDs!  Watch for full coverage of this collection soon!

Never Say Die: New Black Sabbath Compilation Coming to U.K. in June

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It’s been a winding road for Black Sabbath fans, likely anxious over the band’s somewhat perilous reunion late last year. Original members Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward announced their plans late last year to tour and release a new album in 2012 – a plan that’s been semi-sidelined by Iommi undergoing treatment for lymphoma and contractual disagreements with Ward. Only three dates have been announced for the band this year, including a pair of overseas gigs and a stint at Lollapalooza in August.

That said, Sanctuary, the controller of the band’s catalogue in Europe, is planning a modest push for new fans with the release of a new compilation this summer. Iron Man: The Best of Black Sabbath is a 14-track disc featuring material from six of the band’s first eight albums, all of which featured Osbourne as lead vocalist.

If you’ve purchased the many, many releases of the band’s back catalogue, there’s certainly nothing here you don’t already own. But new fans might want to spin “Paranoid,” “Iron Man,” “Snowblind” and other killer cuts, and they’ll have a shiny new disc with which to do so when this appears in shops on June 4.

Check out the track list after the jump.

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Written by Mike Duquette

May 14, 2012 at 12:41

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