Showing posts from 2014

Third Man Records Vault exclusives, Part 22: Jack White "Live From Bonnaroo 2014"

I recently received the 22nd set of exclusive vinyl items offered to platinum members of Third Man Records’ Vault service. 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 as well. The Vault service promises to deliver exclusive vinyl-only records (one full-length album and one 7” single) to its platinum members every three months. According to the postal service, my package was sent on December 13th. I received it on the 17th. This twenty-second set of items revolves around Jack White’s epic 27-song concert at the Bonnaroo rock festival on June 14th of 2014. The concert is captured on vinyl on a 3-LP set, and presented visually on DVD. There is no 7-inch single included in this package. It’s packaged just like a commercial boxed set, with a seemingly bottomless treasure trove of goodies inside. The box’s cover art features a cleverly designed lenticul

Big Star / Teenage Fanclub 1993 split single

Earlier this month, Omnivore Recordings released a Big Star live recording titled Live In Memphis in both audio and visual formats. It captures the reformed '70's band in a concert from October of 1994, at the New Daisy Theatre in the city of Big Star's founding. Original singer-guitarist Alex Chilton and original drummer Jody Stephens were joined by Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow from the Posies (replacing Chris Bell and Andy Hummel). This concert was performed a year-and-a-half after the same lineup appeared at the University of Missouri for the official Big Star reunion in the spring of '93 . Live In Memphis shows them in finer form, after they had more time to rehearse and develop better chemistry. Chilton still was not able to sing some of his old songs as well as he once could -- for example, "September Gurls" and "The Ballad Of El Goodo" might have been better handled by one of the two Posies guys. Otherwise, Live In Memphis is a long-over

Phil Rudd's 2014 solo album "Head Job"

Troubled times continue for the Australian metal band AC/DC. Earlier this year, founding member Malcolm Young was forced to retire due to illness. And now, the band’s long time drummer Phil Rudd has been arrested in New Zealand. Rudd was initially charged with attempting to hire someone to kill two people, but that charge has now been withdrawn due to insufficient evidence. (Insert your own “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” joke here). However, Rudd is still being charged with threatening to kill yet another person, and also faces drug-related charges. The timing of this turn of events is very unfortunate, not only because AC/DC are about to release Rock Or Bust , their first album in six years, and are about to go on tour next year. (As of this writing, the band says that those plans will not be affected by Rudd’s arrest). But the timing is also odd because Rudd just recently released a solo album titled Head Job in Australia, just a few short months ago. Head Job is the first-ever

Third Man Records Vault exclusives, Part 21

This week I received the 21st set of exclusive vinyl items offered to platinum members of Third Man Records’ Vault service. 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 as well. The Vault service promises to deliver exclusive vinyl-only records (one full-length album and one 7” single) to its platinum members every three months. According to the postal service, my package was sent on October 24th. I received it on the 27th. This twenty-first set of items includes a live double-LP from the White Stripes recorded in Japan in 2000, and a single with two new studio tracks from the Dead Weather. The live White Stripes double-LP Live Under The Lights Of The Rising Sun captures two October 2000 club shows performed in the Shinjuku district of Tokyo, Japan, marking Jack and Meg White’s very first overseas concerts. (The cleverly designed gatefold sleeve

Taylor Swift tops Canadian iTunes chart with eight seconds of white noise

Eat your hearts out, hipsters! All of you hipper-than-thou alternative and indie artists who release recordings of white noise and think you're so cool and defiantly anti-mainstream for doing it -- guess what? Taylor Swift, of all people, has now one-upped all of you, without even trying. This past week, Ms. Swift (accidentally) achieved a new avant-garde milestone: she briefly had a #1 hit on the Canadian iTunes chart with something called "Track 3", which only consisted of eight seconds of white noise. And how did the American country-pop darling pull off this feat? The existence of "Track 3" was caused by an iTunes glitch, which made it appear to be an actual recorded musical track from Swift's soon-to-be-released new album titled 1989 . The accidental eight seconds of TV-static-like sound then became the top selling track on Canadian iTunes. Don't believe me? Here is the MSN article:

White Duck "In Season" (1972) released on CD - in South Korea

I have just learned that White Duck's In Season , the rare 1972 album on which John Hiatt made his recording debut , is now available on CD in South Korea. The distributor is Big Pink Music, which specializes in CD-sized album replicas of rare '60's and '70's singer/songwriter, country and folk LP's. It makes perfect sense that a label with that name and specialty would take an interest in White Duck, because the band bore some musical resemblance to The Band, as well as to the Flying Burrito Brothers, although their tone was more upbeat than either. This is the first time that In Season has ever been issued on CD anywhere. (Thanks to Perfectly Good Cigar: The Unofficial German John Hiatt Page for this information). In Season was the second and final album from White Duck. (Their self-titled debut album White Duck from 1971 has also been reissued in South Korea by Big Pink, but Hiatt was not involved with that album -- and I do not recommend it). Hiatt

The Great Awakening "Amazing Grace" (1969)

This one goes under the better-late-than-never file. A decade ago, I reviewed the 2-CD set titled Message To Love: The Isle Of Wight Festival 1970 , the soundtrack album to the 1996 documentary film about the event, on my website . The CD set contained an instrumental recording of "Amazing Grace" by a band called the Great Awakening, because that recording was played over the PA system at the 1970 festival. But the CD liner notes provided no information about who the Great Awakening were. At the time, I could not find information anywhere about the band, finding only an article in Relix magazine saying that they were "rumored to consist of a well-known but mysterious guitarist". I went so far as to speculate (incorrectly) here on this blog that David Gilmour from Pink Floyd may have been the rumored mysterious guitarist. Fortunately, the information superhighway has accumulated more information over the last ten years. After I was recently reminded of the subj

Doors documentary "Feast Of Friends" coming to DVD and Blu-Ray

This week, it was announced that the long-lost 1968 Doors documentary titled Feast of Friends will be officially released on DVD and Blu-Ray on November 10th by Eagle Rock Entertainment. This will be the first time the much-bootlegged film will be properly issued. According to an Entertainment Weekly article , the set will also be loaded with extra features: The DVD/Blu-Ray edition includes not only a complete cut of the film but a companion compilation of outtakes called Feast of Friends: Encore , plus a 1968 Doors doc produced for British television called The Doors Are Open , as well as a 1967 performance of filmed for a Canadian TV pop-music variety show where they drop a full 10-minute version of “The End” on a group of stunned Torontonians. Here is an official trailer: As it’s been presented in bootleg form, Feast Of Friends runs approximately 38 minutes, consisting of concert footage and behind-the-scenes glimpses of the band members. The first third of the short ci

Interview albums by Phil Collins and Lou Reed

If you flip through the bins at a used record store -- something I hope you are still able to do in your area -- then it is possible that you may find a few interview albums among the regular LP stock. Interview LP's were sent to radio stations in the '70's and '80's, and were not intended for retail sale (and you will usually see stamps or stickers that say so on the packaging and/or record). Interview albums contained spoken-word statements by recording artists that could be used to make it sound as if the artist was being interviewed at a local radio station. Some interview albums contained full question-and-answer audio, along with sound clips of music from the albums that were being referenced (read: promoted). Other interview albums contained no music, and only the artists' answers to suggested questions. This type of interview album was designed so that the DJ at a local radio station could be made to sound like he or she was interviewing the artist in pe

Zee "Identity" (1984) w/Richard Wright

Following up on my recent post about the two solo albums by Richard Wright , the late keyboardist of Pink Floyd, I also wanted to point out an obscure side project which Wright recorded while he was temporarily ousted from Pink Floyd. Zee was a duo consisting of Wright and Dave (De) Harris, the singer/guitarist who had fronted the new wave band Fashion on their 1982 album Fabrique (aka Height Of Fashion ). Zee's only album was Identity , released in Europe in 1984. On Identity , Wright and Harris co-produced (with Tim Palmer) and co-wrote all of the songs; both of them are credited with keyboards, percussion, and Fairlight synthesizer (which is used quite prominently). But Identity comes across as being mainly the project of Dave Harris, who wrote the lyrics, sang the lead vocals, and played guitar. Still, the music tends to have a bit more in common with Floyd’s art-rock than with the intense dance-pop of Fashion. Despite the mostly electronic instrumentation, most of the song

Richard Wright solo albums

By now, you've probably heard the news that a new Pink Floyd album, titled The Endless River , is set for release this fall. The official press release describes the album, which will be the Floyd's first in 20 years, as "an album of mainly ambient and instrumental music based on the 1993/4 Division Bell sessions which feature David Gilmour, Nick Mason and Richard Wright". The way that the news originally was leaked was by a way that could not have been used the last time the Floyd released an album: via Twitter. On July 5th, Gilmour's wife Polly Samson casually tweeted : "Btw Pink Floyd album out in October is called "The Endless River". Based on 1994 sessions is Rick Wright's swansong and very beautiful." (Update: the album is now scheduled to be released on November 10th). There is at least one word of Samson's tweet that would not quite fit its proper definition. A "swan song" is defined by Merriam-Webster as "the

Secret Seven “Hold On To Love” (1983)

After the unfortunate 1981 demise of the sadly unnoticed Distractions, lead singer Mike Finney worked with a short-lived band called the Secret Seven, who released only one single in the U.K. in 1983. Finney shared vocal duties with Julie Middles, the ex-wife of Manchester music journalist Mick Middles; the Seven also included producer/guitarist Martin Hayles, sometime Distractions drummer Bernard Van Den Berg, a bass player named A.J., percussionist Danny Cummings, and keyboardist Don Garbutt. Their sound bore no resemblance to that of Finney’s former band. Where the Distractions’ educated new wave approach made their 1980 album timeless, the Secret Seven’s 1983 single was clearly a product of its exact time period. Based on the single’s two tracks, The Secret Seven (or Secret 7, as it was spelled on the disc’s center label) played new-wave-era dance pop, certainly slicker and less wistful than the music of the Distractions. At its core, the A-side “Hold On To Love” was born from t

Tame Impala: "Live Versions" differences

Tame Impala, the neo-psychedelic Australian band led by Kevin Parker, released a full-length live LP titled Live Versions on Record Store Day in 2014. The LP was limited to 5,000 copies, 500 of which were pressed in translucent green vinyl. Its nine tracks were selected from a 2013 Chicago concert. Most of the songs are drawn from the band's first two full-length studio albums Innerspeaker (2010) and Lonerism (2012). The music of Tame Impala loses none of its dreaminess in the live setting. Listening to Live Versions gives one a feeling of floating in outer space. Tame Impala's sound is at once cosmic and melodic, almost hiding a melancholy pop sense behind an otherworldly wall of psychedelic sound. Tame Impala's studio recordings are usually made by Kevin Parker alone; when the full band plays live, they often add new dimensions to the original songs, augmenting them with extended jams and other effects. The tracks on Live Versions were selected because they feature

Third Man Records vinyl exclusives, Part 20: Jack White "Lazaretto"

Last week I received the twentieth set of exclusive vinyl items offered to Platinum members of Third Man Records’ Vault service. 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 as well. The Vault service promises to deliver exclusive vinyl-only records (one full-length album and one 7” single) to its Platinum members every three months. According to the postal service, my package was sent on June 2nd. I received it on the 4th. This twentieth set of items includes a vinyl LP edition of White’s 2014 studio album Lazaretto , a 7-inch single containing demo versions of two of its tracks, and a bonus book to supplement the album. First of all, I want to say that I was very excited to receive this package six days before the album’s official release date of June 10th. The album came with a download card so that the member could obtain mp3’s of the tracks,

Patti Smith's "Hey Joe" single (1974)

What was the first punk rock song? This is a hard question to answer, because there is much debate about where and when punk rock began. Many people hold the belief that the punk rock movement was born in June of 1976 when the Sex Pistols played a legendary "gig that changed the world" in Manchester. Others will argue that the movement's real beginnings stretch back to the late '60's, when such artists as the Velvet Underground, the Stooges, and the MC5 paved the way for future innovators and troublemakers who thumbed their noses at fashion. And others will say that punk rock's seeds were planted a few years earlier still, by the '60's garage-rock bands whose songs were compiled on the Nuggets compilations. In fact, the liner notes written for the original Nuggets double-LP released by Elektra in 1972 contained what is believed to be the first known use of the term "punk-rock". Those notes were written by music-critic-turned-musician Len

Fifteen years! (And, no, rock isn't dead).

Where does the time go? It has now been 15 years since the day I "went live" with my website, Rarebird's Rock and Roll Rarity Reviews , on May 31st of 1999. The internet and the music world have both changed a great deal since then, but I've tried to keep my website about out-of-print rock and roll albums as simple as it was in the beginning. I never thought I'd say this, but I actually think that my website has grown too large in size. The original idea was for the site to consist of about 10 different artist pages. But ideas just kept coming to me, and so the site came to have over 35 artist pages. Starting in 2003, I began using a different approach by creating pages that spotlighted one album instead of multiple albums by one artist. Again, the idea was to create about ten of those pages -- but now, there are more than twenty. I suppose that having too much inspiration is a good problem for a webmaster to have. However, I don't plan to add many more page

Flying Burrito Brothers "Devils In Disguise"

I recently added a review of the 2012 U.K. release Devils In Disguise to my Flying Burrito Brothers page . According to, the album is about to be released on CD in the U.S. on May 6th, and on limited-edition vinyl on May 19th. It is reportedly an unofficial and unauthorized release. Devils In Disguise is a live album recorded in Philadelphia in 1971, around the time of the release of the self-titled third album. The lineup consisted of Chris Hillman, Bernie Leadon, Rick Roberts, Al Perkins (replacing “Sneaky Pete” Kleinow on pedal steel) and Michael Clarke. This CD is sourced from a popular bootleg, which in turn was sourced from a July 1971 live radio broadcast on WMMR-FM. (The first track, “Six Days On The Road”, fades in at the middle). This concert finds the post-Kleinow, pre-Country Gazette quintet performing very much in an old-fashioned country mode, mostly in contrast to the relative slickness of the third album. The exceptions are Gene Clark’s “Tried So Hard” an

Garbage with Brody Dalle "Girls Talk" - Record Store Day 2014 single

On Record Store Day 2014, Garbage released a 10-inch single, limited to 4,000 copies, pressed in green translucent vinyl. It contains two previously unreleased tracks. The A-side, “Girls Talk”, is a duet between Shirley Manson and former Distillers and Spinnerette frontwoman Brody Dalle. (Manson also appears on Dalle’s new solo debut Diploid Love ). The B-side, “Time Will Destroy Everything”, is an outtake from the sessions for Garbage’s 2012 album Not Your Kind Of People . Eric Avery, the original Jane’s Addiction bassist, is credited with playing bass on the single. The single is a worthwhile item that Garbage fans certainly will want to track down. “Girls Talk” is a potent, profane screech against gossiping women, with Manson’s and Dalle’s vocals becoming increasingly angry as the song goes along. It’s definitely a punk rock song in spirit, although the producers/musicians in the band give it a sophisticated kind of unsettledness. (This “Girls Talk” is not to be confused with the

Mazzy Star - "I'm Less Here" (Record Store Day single)

After ending a 17-year recording hiatus with their 2013 album Seasons Of Your Day , the alternative dream-pop duo Mazzy Star -- vocalist Hope Sandoval and guitarist David Roback -- next issued a 7-inch vinyl single on Record Store Day in 2014, consisting of two previously unreleased tracks: "I'm Less Here" and "Things". Colm Ó Cíosóig, the drummer from My Bloody Valentine and Sandoval’s collaborator in the Warm Inventions, is also credited with playing on the single. The RSD single was pressed in “Coke bottle clear” transparent vinyl, and was limited to 3,000 copies. “I’m Less Here” is a song that the duo has previously performed live under the name “It Speaks Of Distance”. The song certainly does speak of that, as Sandoval’s eerie vocal icily addresses the emotional detachment between her and a lover. Roback’s guitar gives the song an ominous acoustic folk backdrop. The B-side “Things” has a dreamy, reverb-heavy guitar sound, combining with Sandoval’s gentle

Remembering Kurt Cobain's impact, 20 years after his death

Today marks the 20th anniversary of the day when Kurt Cobain, the lead singer, guitarist, and songwriter of Nirvana, was determined to have died at his home in Seattle from a self-inflicted gunshot wound on April 5th, 1994. His body was found three days after that date, on April 8th. It’s hard to believe that two decades have passed since then, because I can remember that latter date very well. When I was at work earlier that day, Cobain had actually been on my mind. About one month earlier, Cobain had apparently made another suicide attempt when he was hospitalized in Rome after overdosing on pills. Nirvana had planned to play at the Lollapalooza festival that year, but it then became doubtful that Cobain would be well enough to tour and perform. I remember wondering to myself how that whole situation would turn out. Sadly, my question was answered when I got home from work that day and heard the news that Cobain had taken his own life. Upon hearing the news of her son’s death, Coba