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Third Man Records vinyl exclusives, Part 44: The White Stripes “De Stijl XX” (2020)

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The 44th set of exclusive vinyl items offered to members of Third Man Records’ Vault service was mailed out to the members in July of 2020. For those who are unaware, Third Man Records is the label owned by Jack White, who is the leader of the White Stripes, the Raconteurs, and the Dead Weather, and is now a solo artist. The Vault service promises to deliver exclusive vinyl-only records (usually one full-length album and one 7” single) to its members every three months.

The 44th Vault package contained a 2-LP set celebrating the 20-year anniversary of the White Stripes’ 2000 sophomore album De Stijl, along with a DVD containing two White Stripes live performances from that year, and a book of photos taken during that era.




The White Stripes’ second album De Stijl from 2000 found the duo progressing from the minimalist blues-rock of their 1999 self-titled debut album. It was no larger in scale, but was larger in scope, with more variance in its folk-, blues-, and punk-inspired sounds…

Third Man Records vinyl exclusives, Part 43: The Raconteurs “Live In Tulsa” (2020)

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The 43rd set of exclusive vinyl items offered to Platinum members of Third Man Records’ Vault service was mailed out to the members in March of 2020. For those who are unaware, Third Man Records is the label owned by Jack White, who is the leader of the White Stripes, the Raconteurs, and the Dead Weather, and is now a solo artist. The Vault service promises to deliver exclusive vinyl-only records (usually one full-length album and one 7” single) to its members every three months.

The 43rd Vault package contained a triple-LP live set by the Raconteurs, a Blu-Ray disc featuring two live performances by Jack White and Brendan Benson, and a Raconteurs flexi-disc.




The 3-LP set Live In Tulsa – pressed in green, black, and “gold foil” vinyl discs – culls recordings from three concerts performed by the Raconteurs at Cain’s Ballroom in Tulsa, Oklahoma in October 2019. It was certainly not the first live Raconteurs album to be issued through the Vault, but it was the first one to be issued a…

Distractions "Nobody's Perfect" (2020 reissue of 1980 album)

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Something that I’ve wished for for decades has finally happened: the 1980 album Nobody’s Perfect, a rare gem recorded by a short-lived band called the Distractions, has been reissued on CD – at least in the U.K. The album was originally released on Island Records. When it failed to sell, the label dropped the band in favor of U2 – a decision that certainly paid off well for Island, but sadly led to the demise of the Distractions, a new-wave-era band who drew inspiration from all three decades of rock and roll that preceded them. Nobody’s Perfect was the only full-length album recorded by the quintet from Manchester, England during their original existence, and it quickly disappeared from the face of the Earth after its commercial failure. In 2020, Nobody's Perfect was finally reissued in the U.K. by the indie label Man In The Moon, on vinyl LP and in a 2-CD expanded edition.

(Although the band split up in 1981, singer Mike Finney and guitarist Steve Perrin eventually reunited to …

The Stooges (John Cale Mix) (2020)

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The Stooges, the Ann Arbor, Michigan band that launched the career of Iggy Pop, are widely regarded as progenitors of punk rock, much like their fellow ‘60’s fashion-resistors in the Velvet Underground. How fitting it seems, then, that the Stooges’ self-titled 1969 debut album was produced by John Cale, who had recently left the Velvet Underground. The first two VU albums recorded with Cale were groundbreaking creations that inspired legions of musical innovators despite their lack of commercial success; the remaining VU albums recorded after Cale’s departure were mellower and less groundbreaking. It is therefore not surprising that Cale’s original mix of The Stooges was rejected by Elektra Records for being “too raw”. The album was subsequently remixed by Iggy Pop (then known as Iggy Stooge) and Elektra president Jac Holzman for its 1969 release. Cale’s mixes of the songs remained unreleased for over 35 years, until four of them appeared on a 2005 expanded edition of the album, albei…

David Bowie “I’m Only Dancing (The Soul Tour 74)” (2020 Record Store Day LP and CD)

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By now, I’m sure you are aware that Record Store Day 2020 has been postponed until June 20th due to the coronavirus. Certainly this is a sad circumstance, but hopefully we will be able to safely browse through the bins in independent record stores two months from now. Whatever happens, we will get through this terrible pandemic together.

In the meantime, I would like to talk about one of two Record Store Day 2020 releases from the late David Bowie. I’m Only Dancing (The Soul Tour 74) will be issued in both 2-LP and 2-CD editions, in limited quantities. This live double-album mostly documents Bowie’s October 20, 1974 concert at the Michigan Palace in Detroit, with three added encores from his show at Municipal Auditorium in Nashville on November 30th of that year (marked with an asterisk in the track listing below).

The “soul tour” which the title refers to took place in late 1974, during a break in the Diamond Dogs tour. This “soul tour” added then-unreleased songs from the Philade…

David Bowie "ChangesNowBowie" (2020 Record Store Day LP and CD)

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By now, I’m sure you are aware that Record Store Day 2020 has been postponed until June 20th due to the coronavirus. Certainly it is a sad circumstance, but hopefully we will be able to safely browse through the bins in independent record stores two months from now. Whatever happens, we will get through this terrible pandemic together.

In the meantime, I would like to talk about one of two Record Store Day 2020 releases from the late David Bowie. ChangesNowBowie will be issued on both LP and CD in limited quantities. The album's nine tracks were recorded and mixed at Looking Glass Studios in New York in November 1996. Bowie was accompanied by bassist Gail Ann Dorsey, guitarist Reeves Gabrels, and keyboardist Mark Plati. Although the album's physical release has been delayed, it is now available for streaming, one day before the originally planned Record Store Day date. Here is the description from the Record Store Day website:

"CHANGESNOWBOWIE is a 9-track session recorded…

Grey Daze with Chester Bennington

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Before the late Chester Bennington became the frontman for Linkin Park, he was the frontman for an unsigned Arizona-based grunge band called Grey Daze. In April 2020, an album titled Amends is set to be released, containing 11 songs from Grey Daze’s ‘90’s repertoire, using Bennington’s original recorded vocals but with the music rerecorded by surviving Grey Daze members Sean Dowdell (drums, backing vocals) and Mace Beyers (bass), and new guitarist Cristin Davis.

Grey Daze originally self-released two independent CD’s in the ‘90’s: Wake Me (1994) and …no sun today (1997). On both CD’s, Bennington co-wrote the lyrics with Dowdell. These two CD’s have long been unavailable, and have been much-bootlegged in the past two decades following the success of Linkin Park.

The 1994 CD Wake Me mostly has the type of Seattle-style grunge sound which was then fashionable, and is particularly reminiscent of Alice In Chains. The guitarist on this CD was Jason Barnes, and the bassist was Jonathon Kr…

Billie Eilish "Party Favor" (2018 Record Store Day single)

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On Record Store Day 2018, Billie Eilish issued a 7-inch single, pressed in pink vinyl and limited to 2,000 copies, featuring an acoustic version of her song “Party Favor” on the A-side, and a similarly acoustic cover of Drake’s “Hotline Bling” on the B-side. The teenaged alternative pop artist often performs these two songs together live, presumably because cell phones figure prominently in the lyrics of both songs. Now that Eilish has become a chart-topping, Grammy-winning sensation, this limited-edition single has become quite pricey on the collector’s market.

The acoustic version of “Party Favor”, the original version of which appeared on Eilish’s 2017 EP dont smile at me, finds Eilish strumming her ukulele and singing without the studio effects, with mild musical accompaniment by her brother/producer Finneas O’Connell (who makes his own recordings under the name FINNEAS). This track presents a scaled-back variant of the EP’s Lorde-meets-Lana Del Rey aesthetic; Eilish sounds part…