Welcome to this week’s Release Round-Up!
David Bowie, Loving the Alien (1983-1988) (Parlophone)
The fourth annual volume of Parlophone’s ongoing series of box sets dedicated to the late David Bowie, Loving the Alien (1983-1988), arrives on 11 CDs or 15 vinyl LPs. This lavish set is filled with more exclusive material than any of its predecessors, as only three studio albums are included, all in newly remastered editions: Let’s Dance (1983), Tonight (1984), and Never Let Me Down (1987). They’re joined by a 2018 version of Never Let Me Down with completely new instrumentation, the remastered live set Glass Spider: Live Montreal ’87, the previously unreleased Serious Moonlight live album recorded in Vancouver in 1983, a new collection of period remixes entitled Dance, and the fourth volume of odds-and-ends series RE:CALL. It’s all packaged in typically lavish style. Read more here!
The first-ever Monkees Christmas album arrives with new vocals from Micky Dolenz, Peter Tork, and Michael Nesmith plus two vintage tracks from Davy Jones. Production is handled by Adam Schlesinger (Good Times!), Christian Nesmith, and Jonathan Nesmith. In addition to holiday favorites, new yuletide tunes have been penned for the group by Schlesinger, Rivers Cuomo, Andy Partridge, Scott McCaughey, Michael Chabon, and Peter Buck. The most infectiously festive album of the year is all wrapped up in a new Michael Allred cover! Target has an exclusive edition out next Friday (10/19) with two bonus tracks, “Christmas Is My Time of Year” and “Riu Chiu.” Read more here!
A revitalized Elvis Costello returns with his first album since 2013’s Wise Up Ghost with The Roots, and his first with The Imposters since 2008’s Momofuku – and it’s already a strong contender for the year’s finest album. Co-produced with Sebastian Krys, Look Now is, in Costello’s words, an “uptown pop” record, and as such, features one song co-written with Carole King (the sleek, funky “Burnt Sugar Is So Bitter”), and three songs co-authored with Burt Bacharach (the beautifully haunting trio of “He’s Given Me Things,” “Photographs Can Lie,” and “Don’t Look Now”). Solo Costello originals are here, too, such as the dramatic, soul-flecked “Suspect My Tears” and “Unwanted Number,” both of which will be familiar to longtime fans. Filled with ravishing character studies rendered in pop, soul, and rock-and-roll, Look Now is available on Deluxe CD, vinyl, and digital. The Deluxe Edition CD adds a four-song EP on the second disc, including the physical premiere of “You Shouldn’t Look at Me That Way” from the movie Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool.
Alex Chilton’s path crossed with Peter Holsapple’s in 1978 at Memphis’ Sam Phillips Recording Service. Chilton promised to show the younger artist “how it’s done,” and this collection brings together the never-before-released recordings made by both men during the chaotic sessions. Holsapple tells the whole story in his liner notes, aided by Memphis historian Robert Gordon and the period photographs of Pat Rainer. Available on CD, LP, and digital. Get more details here!
The Kinks’ Dave Davies has unearthed 13 previously unreleased solo tracks originally recorded between 1971 and 1979 which showcase another side of the guitarist.
The Emmy-nominated 1966 television special It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown was the third overall for Charles M. Schulz’s Peanuts series and the second to be holiday-themed, after A Charlie Brown Christmas. It earned a whopping 49 share in the ratings and was so successful that CBS re-aired it every year through 2000, with ABC picking up the tradition after that. Yet despite a beloved score by Vince Guaraldi (who else?), a soundtrack album to Great Pumpkin has never been released in any audio format – until now. Craft Recordings has the first-ever soundtrack release on CD, with a new introduction from executive producer Lee Mendelson and liner notes by Guaraldi historian Derrick Bang. Mono audio is from the actual television special soundtrack, as tapes for the recording sessions no longer exist. Read more here!
The guitar god releases his first Christmas album today, and brings his singular touch to holiday favorites like “Away in a Manger,” “White Christmas,” and “Jingle Bells” as well as the original song “For Love on Christmas Day.” Available on CD and vinyl.
The beloved pop crooner returns with a new yuletide offering featuring his silken renditions of “Please Come Home for Christmas,” “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve,” and more. Available on CD and digital.
The instantly recognizable voice of Michael McDonald graces a new collection of Christmas songs including duets with Jonny Lang, Twinkie Clark, Amy Holland, and Jake Shimabukuro. Songs include “That’s What Christmas Means to Me,” “Winter Wonderland,” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” Available on CD and digital.