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I’ve Got Your Letters: Rivers Cuomo Announces “Alone III,” “Pinkerton” Diaries Set

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Until recently, you may have been wondering what to get the Weezer fan in your life for the holidays. After all, the long-running, hysterically polarizing pop/rock band haven’t released any albums this year, after four albums put out since 2008 (including two in 2010: Hurley, their first for Epitaph Records, and Death to False Metal, an outtakes compilation on longtime homebase Geffen). There was, of course, also the deluxe edition of beloved sophomore effort Pinkerton from a year ago.

At the end of last week, frontman Rivers Cuomo announced the long-awaited release of Alone III: The Pinkerton Years 1994-1997 - and super-deluxe fans are going to find it’s worth the wait.

The third entry in Cuomo’s series of solo demos covers the furtive years in which Weezer released their first two albums, 1994’s self-titled debut and 1995’s Pinkerton – still their best works – and provides fans with a host of long-coveted material. Cuomo responded extremely to the runaway success of Weezer’s debut, crafting his already-complex demos into a planned space-rock concept album, Songs from the Black Hole. He also retreated from the rock star lifestyle, enduring a painful surgery to adjust the length of his left leg (it was almost two inches shorter than the right from birth) and studying for an English degree at Harvard University. Ultimately, Black Hole was scrapped for Pinkerton, an intensely personal set of songs that sputtered critically and commercially at first, but has since been regarded as Weezer’s greatest work and a watershed moment in ’90s rock.

The generous 26-track compilation includes early versions of various Pinkerton tracks and B-sides, including “Getchoo,” “Tired of Sex,” “You Gave Your Love to Me Softly” and “No Other One.” (There’s also an early version of favorite B-side “Susanne,” released in 1994 and used as the closer to Kevin Smith’s cult favorite Mallrats a year later.) Longtime devotees of the band are going to enjoy a six-song suite of demos from Songs from the Black Hole, the band’s much-adored, unreleased concept album scrapped in favor of Pinkerton as well as another song cycle called the “Fulton Avenue Suite.” (Black Hole demos have surfaced on previous Alone compilations.)

But Alone III isn’t just a disc. It’s only going to be available online, packaged with an elaborate 237-page book, The Pinkerton Diaries, featuring, in Cuomo’s words, “a collection of my journals, emails, letters, photos, and school papers — so you get an inside look as to exactly what I was thinking [when I wrote Pinkerton].” Anyone who’s bought the previous Alone sets knows Cuomo’s penchant for lengthy, intense liner notes, so those looking for a deeper perspective on the man’s mind from around this time is going to get at least twice more than they could ever expect.

There’s no word on whether or not a smaller set will be made available featuring the music and less book, but the deluxe set – basic, limited hand-numbered copies at $75, as well as a swag-filled extra set for $135 – is available to order now, with an expected ship date of December 12.

Check the demo track listing after the jump.

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Written by Mike Duquette

November 14, 2011 at 12:11

Short Takes: Queen Prep Collector’s Single, Weezer Ready “Pinkerton Demos” and a Rush of Reissues

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  • With a new batch of reissues out in the U.K. and an upcoming retrospective exhibition running in London later this month, Queen’s 40th anniversary campaign is going strong. The same week that said exhibition, Stormtroopers in Stilettos, opens at the Old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane, Island will release a two-track downloadable single of “Keep Yourself Alive (Long Lost Retake)” b/w “Stone Cold Crazy.” The A-side, from a proposed 1975 single in the U.S., was released on Hollywood Records’ 1991 reissue of Queen (1973) in America and will make its U.K. debut on Island’s forthcoming deluxe edition of A Night at the Opera (1975). (2,000 copies of this single will be pressed to 7″ vinyl and will make their way to America as part of Record Store Day on April 16.)
  • Remember how UMe was planning a third volume of Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo’s Alone demo series? It didn’t make much sense to release that compilation alongside so many other Weezer catalogue projects, but the project is finally coming soon. A YouTube clip posted by Cuomo featured him showing off final proofs for an accompanying book, The Pinkerton Diaries; in that clip, he says Alone III will be released in March.
  • Rush fans have some forthcoming catalogue releases to get excited about: Richard Chycki, the band’s current engineer, is working on new reissues of Moving Pictures (1981) and Vapor Trails (2002). The latter will be newly remixed, following two tracks from the album Chycki remixed for 2009’s Retrospective 3 compilation; meanwhile, Moving Pictures, which spawned hits “Tom Sawyer,” “YYZ” and “Limelight,” will be presented in a 5.1 surround sound mix! No further release information has been given, although Chycki discusses each set on his official Web site.
  • In spite of all the absolute craziness surrounding Warner Bros.’ Tim Burton/Danny Elfman box set, there may be another incentive for purchasing it. The USB accompanying the 16-disc, insanely enormous box – already known to replicate the contents of the box in its entirety – is also going to feature an extra 20 tracks that haven’t been announced or available anywhere else. Here’s the place to order one if you just can’t take it anymore.
  • Those previously-reported deluxe editions of some Kinks titles are going to be followed up with more reissues. NME reports planned reissues for Arthur (Or, the Decline and Fall of the British Empire) (1969) and Muswell Hilbillies (1971) are slated for May, while Face to Face (1966) and Something Else by The Kinks (1967) will get the deluxe treatment in July.

Written by Mike Duquette

February 8, 2011 at 13:41

Release Round-Up: Week of November 2

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Another week, another batch of reissues!

Wings, Band on the Run: Special Edition (Concord)

After reissues of John Lennon’s solo catalogue and the Apple Records discography, another Beatles-oriented campaign kicks off with a new reissue of Band on the Run, Paul McCartney and Wings’ classic LP. It’s the first of his classic discs to be re-released on Concord, and will be available in a wide variety of formats. (Best of all, it’s the first drop in the bucket – an insert inside the sets confirms upcoming reissues of more McCartney and Wings sets.) (Official Site)

Weezer, Pinkerton: Deluxe Edition / Death to False Metal (Geffen/UMe)

With Weezer no longer a part of the Geffen roster, UMe begins mining the pop-rock band’s considerable back catalogue (after a 10th anniversary reissue of the band’s 1994 debut). This week brings a similar deluxe edition of 1995’s Pinkerton, long thought to be the band’s crowning achievement, and a compilation of outtakes, Death to False Metal. (Official Site)

Various Artists, The Sound of Music: 45th Anniversary Edition (RCA/Legacy)

To time with the film’s debut on Blu-Ray, Sony reissues The Sound of Music yet again, with a rendition of “My Favorite Things” by Glee star Lea Michele as a bonus track. (Amazon)

Pet Shop Boys, Ultimate Pet Shop Boys (EMI)

A slim, single-disc distillation of the PSB discography, with a new track, “Together.” A deluxe edition adds a DVD full of goodies, including all the band’s live BBC performances and their acclaimed set at Glastonbury back in June. (Amazon U.K.) Read the rest of this entry »

In Which We Keep Fishin’ for Weezer Catalogue Info

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With the track list for Geffen/UMe’s deluxe reissue of Weezer’s Pinkerton announced, the question still stands: where’s the rest of the track lists?

It’s been confirmed time and again that Universal has two more sets of Weezer rarities and ephemera due, possibly by the end of the year. Death to False Metal is the long-gestating outtakes compilation spanning the band’s Geffen years, while another set of frontman Rivers Cuomo’s demos, set to cover the time surrounding the making of Pinkerton, is on its way as well.

But what will they feature? Metal has a release date of November 2, the same day as the deluxe Pinkerton, so a track list can’t be far off. Not much has been heard about Alone III, though; according to Weezer archivist Karl Koch, the compilation came from an aborted super-deluxe version of Pinkerton, so it’s likely waiting in the wings, too. But is three Weezer sets too much for the holiday season – particularly with a new album already in stores?

Time will tell, but in the meantime, ridiculously thorough fan site Weezerpedia has posted potential track lists for each of the remaining sets that look mighty tantalizing (although they go best with a grain of salt, as they lack citations). They are yours, after the jump.

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Written by Mike Duquette

September 29, 2010 at 14:15

“Pinkerton” Deluxe Edition Details Unveiled

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With the release of the surprisingly strong Hurley from those crazy pop-rockers Weezer, it’s a delight to see Rivers Cuomo and company back in the public eye. Sure, everyone likes to come down on their more recent material – say, everything after their self-titled “Green Album” in 2001 – for being overly polished and lacking the depth of their excellent first two records, but the fact that Cuomo can pen so many catchy pop hooks on a single album is admittedly stunning. And this year, the band’s longtime home Geffen Records (which Weezer only recently left for indie label Epitaph earlier this year) will release a deluge of material revisiting some of the more prolific years in the band’s career.

We’ve known about the planned titles for awhile: both a long-discussed compilation of unreleased material, Death to False Metal (previously titled Odds and Ends), and a deluxe edition of 1995’s monumental Pinkerton are planned for a November 2 release, while another volume in Rivers Cuomo’s home demo series – Alone III: The Pinkerton Years – is also planned for an as-yet undetermined future release.

Details have now come out for the Pinkerton reissue, which will feature all the relevant B-sides from the era as well as a few long-requested unreleased tunes. Check out the track listings after the jump. (Annotation comes courtesy of the insanely devoted Weezerpedia.)

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Written by Mike Duquette

September 28, 2010 at 10:33

Weez Like to Know What’s on This Set

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A substantiative update from Weezer webmaster/archivist Karl Koch about the planned catalogue efforts of one of the most intriguing bands of the past few decades was posted on the band’s Web site back in August. It’s making the rounds now, and while it should have Weezer fans excited, it might make them a bit confused as well.

Longtime Weezer fans know that the band – who just signed with indie label Epitaph after 15 years with Geffen and have a new, ridiculously-packaged record due out next week – were planning two catalogue titles with their old label: a deluxe edition of sophomore record Pinkerton (1995) – considered to be the band’s crowning achievement – and a compilation of outtakes called Odds and Ends. In his post, Koch provides news on both, as well as some other titles that others might not have expected. Keep fishin’ for info after the jump.

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Written by Mike Duquette

September 9, 2010 at 11:44

Weezer Going Back to the Good Life

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A hat tip to Pause & Play for posting the Amazon pre-order link for a Deluxe Edition of Pinkerton, the sophomore LP by alt-rock stalwarts Weezer, coming from Geffen and UMe.

When it was released in 1996, Pinkerton was ill-received by critics and fans expecting a traditional follow-up to the band’s excellent self-titled debut, which featured hooky garage-pop with Ric Ocasek of The Cars in the producer’s chair. By contrast, Pinkerton - initially conceived as a space-rock opera called Songs from the Black Hole and recorded between breaks in lead singer Rivers Cuomo’s first year at Harvard – was a darker affair with a less radio-friendly sound and an almost disturbing amount of lyrical introspection. Of course, since then, those flaws have been seen as high points (especially in the wake of the emo subgenre), and many of those same critics now consider Pinkerton a classic.

There’s no firm word on the material that will be added to this deluxe reissue – at least eight B-sides, live cuts and remixes were included on CD singles at the time, and many of those Black Hole demos were released on two demo compilations Cuomo oversaw some years ago – but hopefully the set will be as satisfying as Geffen’s reissue of Weezer’s first record was back in 2004. And The Second Disc will surely have a lot more to report before the expected release date of October 5.

Written by Mike Duquette

June 5, 2010 at 00:42

Posted in News, Reissues, Weezer

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