Welcome to this week's Release Round-Up!
Def Leppard, The Early Years 1979-1981 (Bludgeon Riffola)
On Through the Night:
High N' Dry:
Def Leppard revisits their first years with a new box set covering the group's first three years together. The Early Years 79-81 covers the Sheffield group's first studio recordings and unheard live performances. The band's debut and sophomore studio albums, 1980's On Through The Night and 1981's High N' Dry, have been newly remastered for this collection by the band's longtime engineer Ronan McHugh, and will be paired with three bonus discs: a previously unreleased, newly mixed live show from a 1980 gig in Oxford, a collection of studio material and B-sides (including the group's first EP from 1979 and two unreleased performances from a studio session with Thin Lizzy/Marillion producer Nick Tauber), and a disc of live recordings by the BBC (including a controversial set at the Reading Festival in 1980). (For the many fans coveting just the new remasters of the two albums, they will be available on CD and vinyl!) Read more here.
David Bowie, Is It Any Wonder? (Parlophone)
A six-song EP arrives from the late David Bowie on vinyl and CD, available exclusively through his webstore and Rhino.com. Is It Any Wonder? has a half dozen previously unreleased tracks from the period of 1995-1997. As of this writing, DavidBowie.com is sold out but Rhino.com still has limited quantities available in both physical formats. A streaming/digital version of the title is also available. Read more here!
The Village People, The Album Collection 1977-1985 (Demon Music Group) (Amazon U.K.)
True to its name, The Village People's The Album Collection 1977-1985 includes the complete discography from the infamous sextet, issued primarily on the Casablanca and later RCA Victor labels. A total of nine albums are featured, including the double-disc Live and Sleazy. All discs are packaged in miniature replicas of their original album sleeves; both Live and Sleazy and 1980's Can't Stop The Music retain their original gatefold designs. However, there are almost no bonus tracks, save for a remix of 1985's "Sex Over The Phone" included when the group's final original album was issued on CD nearly 15 years later. (This means "America," the closing track for In The Street, the American edition of 1982's Fox On The Box, is missing in action. A 3CD compilation, released under Edsel sublabel Crimson's Gold product line, offered some rare 12″ versions that this set lacks.) Read more here!
Game Theory, Across the Barrier of Sound: Postscript (Omnivore)
Omnivore Recordings' celebration of '80s indie band Game Theory continues with Across The Barrier of Sound: Postscript. This release premieres a clutch of sessions recorded in 1989-90 by a revamped Game Theory lineup featuring Michael Quercio of The Three O'Clock. Across The Barrier of Sound: Postscript brings together studio recordings, demos, home recordings, and live material. Crucially, 23 of the CD set's two-dozen tracks are previously unreleased. These include tracks that would be revisited on band members' later projects, plus covers of Brian Eno's "Needle In The Camel's Eye" and The Nazz's "Forget All About It." The LP configuration features 14 highlights from the CD collection. Omnivore is offering an exclusive color vinyl variant in their online storefront, while other retailers will stock the standard black vinyl. No matter the format, fans are in for a treat with this rare glimpse of what may have been. Read more here!
The Textones' Carla Olson has a second volume of Have Harmony, Will Travel on which she's joined by a guest vocalist on each track. Her friends on these brand-new and archival tracks include Peter Noone, Timothy B. Schmit, Terry Reid, Mare Winningham (a star on Broadway in the Bob Dylan musical Girl from the North Country), and the late Percy Sledge and Gene Clark.
Renaissance's 1974 album is expanded on this new 3CD/1DVD edition boasting a remastered version of the original album (from a fresh transfer of the master tapes), outtakes and singles, a complete concert, and high-res stereo and 5.1 surround mixes. Watch this space for a more in-depth look at this title. Out today in the U.K. and next Friday in North America.
Embrace, Drawn From Memory / If You've Never Been (Craft Recordings)
Craft Recordings has a pair of vinyl LPs from Britpop's Embrace originally released in 2000 and 2001. Watch this space later today for more details!
Gordon Lightfoot is back with his first album of new material since 2004's Harmony. Solo features just voice and guitar on 10 original compositions written in 2001-2002 by the legendary troubadour and recorded at Hamilton, Ontario's Grant Avenue Studio.
The former Blood Sweat & Tears frontman brings his blues and soul sound to a new studio album that's promised to tackle such hot-button issues as gun violence, climate change, the youth justice system, and politics. Tracks include "The System," "God's Country," "Never Again," and "Dear Mr. Obama."
The singer-songwriter's latest release follows up his 2019 covers album California Son and features a duet with Motown veteran Thelma Houston on "Bobby, Don't You Think They Know?" Available on CD, LP, and digital formats.
While Dolly Parton's musical 9 to 5 (featuring the classic title song, "Backwoods Barbie," and a whole score of new Parton songs) didn't last long on Broadway in 2009, it's been enjoying a successful London revival at the Savoy Theatre. This new cast album preserves the revised version of the show that had been packing in audiences there, and even includes some surprises from Dolly herself. Also available on streaming/digital platforms.