Welcome to this week's Release Round-Up, featuring a selection of the week's best new titles!
Omnivore brings The Left Banke's 1978 reunion album - featuring Steve Martin Caro, Tom Finn, and George Cameron - to CD for the first time, and adds a previously unreleased 2001 session from Michael Brown, Caro, and Finn. Scott Schinder provides the liner notes, and Michael Graves has remastered the audio. The original Strangers on a Train album is a fascinating curio, presented here with all the right context. Schinder confirms that Finn insisted the recordings were never intended as finished masters, but while they lack the ornate production and polish of the group's era-defining '60s work, they nonetheless offer a tantalizing glimpse of The Left Banke that might have been. "Heartbreaker" and the title track epitomize melodic power pop - more akin to the bands influenced by The Left Banke than to the original group - with big hooks, shiny harmonies, and crisp guitars. Ballads aren't entirely absent, either, with standouts such as the bittersweet, yearning "Lorraine;" the lush yet driving, Badfinger-esque likes of "And One Day" and "Yesterday's Love;" and the sweeping "I Can Fly" recapturing the Left Banke magic. The six Brown-written and helmed cuts (all previously unreleased) beautifully channel the band's original, baroque sound and wistful quality, with Caro's vocals as expressive as ever. Read more here!
Cherry Pop delivers a deluxe 2-CD expanded edition of Easton's fifth studio album, 1984's A Private Heaven. With the original EMI America album (featuring hit singles "Strut" and the Prince-penned and co-produced "Sugar Walls") joined by six 12-inch mixes, three B-sides, and twelve previously unreleased tracks, this set is a substantial addition to the Easton catalogue. Out today in the U.K. and next Friday in North America. Read all about it here.
The Ophelias, Bare Bodkin (Independent Project Records)
The reactivated IPR label has dug into its vaults for two deluxe editions this week, both packaged in the label's distinctive, hand-crafted style. The Ophelias made a splash out of their native San Francisco in 1985 with a psychedelic spin on the folk song "Mister Rabbit" before going wide in 1987 with their debut self-titled debut album on Strange Weekend Records. A signing to Rough Trade U.S. followed, as did two more LPs and an EP for the label. They earned fans including Rolling Stone scribe David Fricke who found that the band belonged to the "delightfully manic minority" of true psych bands of the '80s. IPR has revisited their 2017 digital compilation Bare Bodkin on CD, digital, and vinyl formats. Bare Bodkin features 15 wild, literate, and unexpected tracks (5 of which were previously unreleased) which warrant comparisons to Bowie, Bolan, Barrett, and Beefheart. Fricke provides the notes in the booklet, enclosed within the foldout package along with two credit inserts. The CD, remastered by Philip Shaw Bova in 2021 for this release, is housed within a custom sleeve.
Shiva Burlesque, Mercury Blues (+ Skulduggery) (Independent Project Records)
IPR revisits Shiva Burlesque's second, and final, album in a 2-CD expanded edition. 1990's Mercury Blues, originally issued on the Fundamental label, featured co-founders Jeffrey Clark and Grant-Lee Phillips along with drummer Joey Peters, Paul Kimble on bass, and Greg Adamson on cello. The California band existed at the crossroads of post-punk and folk but failed to find commercial footing in a Los Angeles scene dominated by hair metal and nascent grunge. IPR's reissue adds ten demos, all of which are previously unreleased. The foldout package contains a booklet with new liner notes by David Fricke, and the CDs are housed in protective custom sleeves. Josh Bonati has remastered,
Judy Collins releases her 29th studio album, and it's a very personal one: every song on Spellbound is a self-written original composition. Her collaborators on the song cycle include c0-co-producer Alan Silverman, singer-songwriter Ari Hest, multi-instrumentalist Thad DeBrock, bassist Zev Katz, and drummer Doug Yowell. It's packaged in a digipak featuring a 16-page booklet with the artist's own liner notes and lyrics. Available on CD and digital/streaming.
Tears for Fears' first studio album in nearly two decades, The Tipping Point, arrives today on CD, LP, and digital formats containing ten new songs including singles "The Tipping Point," "No Small Thing," and "Break the Man." Target's exclusive CD and vinyl editions have two bonus tracks ("Let It All Evolve" and "Secret Location") while Barnes and Noble's exclusive vinyl edition is an opaque red pressing.
Singer-songwriter-pianist Spencer Day returns with a new album paying homage to the greats of the classic Broadway songbook with a fresh yet faithful jazz vibe. Broadway by Day features reimagined takes on songs from A Chorus Line ("One," "What I Did for Love"), Hello, Dolly! ("It Only Takes a Moment," featuring Jane Monheit), Annie ("Maybe"), The King and I ("Getting to Know You"), Evita ("I'd Be Surprisingly Good for You"), Jesus Christ Superstar ("I Don't Know How to Love Him"), Follies ("Losing My Mind"), Carousel ("If I Loved You," featuring Dave Koz), and more. Day co-produces the set with Alex Frank. Available on CD and digital formats.