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Showing posts from 2018

Stone Temple Pilots "Live 2018" (Record Store Day Black Friday 2018)

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For Record Store Day Black Friday 2018, the '90's alternative rock band Stone Temple Pilots issued their first live album ever, titled Live 2018. The album featured the band's new lead singer Jeff Gutt, who made his studio debut with STP on the self-titled Stone Temple Pilots album earlier that year. The live LP, pressed in red vinyl, was limited to 5,000 copies worldwide. The cover art featured 3-D images on the front and back cover, with the requisite 3-D glasses packaged inside with the record. It's a good thing the record comes with visual assets, because the record itself suffers from a fatal technical flaw.



The majority of the song selections come from the band's Scott Weiland-fronted '90's heyday, except for two songs -- "Meadow" and "Roll Me Under" -- from the 2018 album. Except for singer Gutt, the rest of the band's original lineup remains unchanged, consisting of Dean DeLeo (guitar), Robert DeLeo (bass), and Eric Kretz (…

Iggy And The Stooges "Rare Power" (2018 Record Store Day Black Friday release)

On Record Store Day Black Friday in 2018, Columbia/Legacy issued a vinyl LP titled Rare Power, containing nine rare tracks related to Iggy And The Stooges’ 1973 pre-punk classicRaw Power. Five of the tracks were outtakes from that album’s sessions; two tracks were alternate Iggy Pop mixes of album tracks, and one track was recorded during a 1973 rehearsal. Those eight tracks were previously included on a Limited Deluxe Edition of Raw Power which was only available through the Iggy And The Stooges website in 2010. The other track on Rare Power is a previously unreleased remix of “Gimme Danger” by TV/film/app music composer Josh Mobley. The LP was limited to 3,000 copies. Rare Power will not disappoint fans of Raw Power, as it contains a generous helping of the same garage-based hard rock that pre-figured the punk rock ethos.

The outtakes offer more of the primitive pre-punk nihilism found on Raw Power. “I’m Hungry”, “I Got A Right”, and “Hey, Peter” possess the type of dumb, reckless …

Alice Cooper "Live From The Astroturf" LP (2018 Record Store Day Black Friday release)

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The original Alice Cooper band played a surprise reunion show on October 6, 2015 at the indie music store Good Records in Dallas, Texas. Four-fifths of the original lineup – singer Vincent Furnier (whom we now know as Alice Cooper the solo artist), rhythm guitarist Michael Bruce, bassist Dennis Dunaway, and drummer Neal Smith – performed for a crowd of approximately 200 people. Ryan Roxie took the place of original lead guitarist Glen Buxton, who passed away in 1997. The seven songs performed by this lineup made up the longest set the original band had performed in 40 years. For the Black Friday Record Store Day in 2016, a limited edition 7-inch single was issued, containing two songs ("I'm Eighteen" and "Is It My Body") from that performance. Two years later, on Record Store Day Black Friday in 2018, a full-length 12-inch LP was issued under the same title Live From The Astroturf, with the same cover art, containing the full concert. The LP was limited to 3,00…

Garbage with John Doe and Exene Cervenka "Destroying Angels" (2018 Record Store Day Black Friday single)

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For Record Store Day Black Friday 2018, the alternative rock band Garbage released a 7-inch, 33 1/3 RPM single titled "Destroying Angels", the A-side of which the band co-wrote, co-produced, and co-recorded with John Doe and Exene Cervenka of the veteran L.A. punk band X. The single was pressed in magenta and white vinyl, and was limited to 3,000 copies.

The A-side "Destroying Angels" is an eerie Gothic murder ballad done in the Garbage way, with heavy electronic textures added to the sounds of piano, violin, drums and accordion. Lead singer Shirley Mansion sings most of the verses, building tension with the gruesome storyline, until Doe and Cervenka join in on the bridges and the chorus to add an additional dimension of spookiness. (Doe also played the bass). It's a vivid piece of musical Grand Guignol.

The B-side is an equally intriguing cover of David Bowie's "Starman" by Garbage, without the duo from X. The band recorded this cover of the …

Molimo (1971) and Tomorrow Morning (1974)

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Before Ace Frehley met Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons in 1972 and became the original lead guitarist for Kiss, Ace was a member of an unsigned band called Molimo. This six-piece band, named after an obscure African musical instrument, bore more musical resemblance to the Jefferson Airplane than to anyone else. They had a Grace Slick-like singer in Christine Murphy, and a male vocalist (Tom Ellis) who interacted with her in the Airplane's style. Molimo recorded a three-song demo acetate for RCA in 1971. This demo recording disappeared from RCA's vault, but was unexpectedly discovered in a barn full of vinyl records in upstate New York four decades later in 2014. It then sold for over $4,000 on eBay. Although the acetate recordings do show some good musicianship, particularly from Frehley and keyboardist Roy Singer, the three short demo tracks -- which are quite distorted due to the age and condition of the acetate -- are not very prepossessing. The California-style hippie rock f…

Mallard: Captain Beefheart's Magic Band without Beefheart

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The mid-‘70’s band Mallard was formed by former members of Captain Beefheart’s Magic Band, after they had become fed up with working with the avant garde artist when he briefly went mainstream in 1974. Initially made up of guitarist Bill Harkleroad (aka Zoot Horn Rollo), bassist Mark Boston (aka Rockette Morton), percussionist Art Tripp III (aka Ed Marimba), and a vocalist named Sam Galpin, Mallard recorded two albums that were released in the United Kingdom. Mallard (1975) and In A Different Climate (1976) did not possess nearly the same amount of quirkiness as the works of the band members’ former leader, but they did display unique musicianship just the same.

The self-titled Mallard is a surprisingly rustic set of country-blues tracks, sometimes laced with a healthy dose of funk rhythm. It sounded as if these Magic Band refugees had fled from Southern California in favor of a wider open area of the American South, not unlike the musical route taken by Little Feat after its founde…

Rarebird's Beatles Reviews

Reprinted from the web page at Rarebird's Rock and Roll Rarity Reviews, originally created in 1999.

Reviewed on this page:
Beatles "The Beatles Christmas Album" (Apple SBC 100) 1970 Beatles "The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl" (Capitol SMAS-11638) 1977 Beatles "Love Songs" (Capitol SKBL 11711) 1977 Beatles "Rarities" (Capitol SHAL-12060) 1980 Paul McCartney "Unplugged (The Official Bootleg)" (Capitol C2-96413) 1991 Beatles "Live at the BBC" (Apple C4 8 31796 4) 1994 Beatles "Baby It's You" EP (Apple 8 82073 2) 1995 Beatles "Free As A Bird" EP (Apple 8 82587 2) 1995 Beatles "Real Love" EP (Apple 8 82646 2) 1996
In each of the years from 1963 to 1969, the Beatles issued a flexi-disc recording of a Ch…

Third Man Records vinyl exclusives, Part 37: Jack White “Live At Third Man Records ||| Nashville & Cass Corridor” (2018)

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The 37th set of exclusive vinyl items offered to Platinum members of Third Man Records’ Vault service was mailed out to the members in September of 2018. 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 Platinum members every three months.

The 37th Vault package consisted of a 3-LP live album by Jack White titled Live At Third Man Records ||| Nashville & Cass Corridor. The set documented two performances at the two Third Man Records locations in Nashville and Detroit in the spring of ’18, which celebrated the release of White’s third solo album titled Boarding House Reach. The LP’s were packaged in a die-cut sleeve with interchangeable graphics, inspired by the cover art from Led Zep’s Physical Graffiti and the Stones’ Some G…

The other Velvet Underground...from Australia

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If you search on Discogs -- not to mention Google -- for information about a certain musical group, you will often find that more than one artist has used the name you are searching for. But, seriously...who would have thought that more than one band called themselves the Velvet Underground?

There was once an Australian band by that name, who were entirely unrelated to the seminal American band led by Lou Reed. This band was formed in 1967, and disbanded in 1972 -- which means that they existed concurrently with the American Velvet Underground, although they claimed to be unaware of that band's existence. They said that they (like their American counterpart) took their name from Michael Leigh's 1963 nonfiction novel about aberrant sexual behavior.

The Australian Velvet Underground hardly had the same historical significance as Reed's influential band, but they did have some: Malcolm Young, the co-founder-to-be of AC/DC, was a member of the Australian Velvet Underground …

Vinnie Vincent - "Euphoria" and "Speedball Jamm"

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Steve Perry of Journey is not the only long-lost arena rock musician of the ‘80’s who returned to the public eye in 2018. Another one is Vinnie Vincent (real name: Vincent Cusano), who was a member of Kiss for a brief but significant time in that band’s history. Replacing Ace Frehley as their lead guitarist in 1982, Vincent joined Kiss shortly before they temporarily stopped wearing their trademark makeup, wearing an Ankh design on his painted face. Vincent was on board for the band’s public unmasking, and for their 1983 comeback album Lick It Up, on which he co-wrote 8 of the 10 tracks. But Vincent’s agenda reportedly clashed with those of Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons, who fired him from Kiss before their next album was recorded. Vincent went on to form his own band called the Vinnie Vincent Invasion, who recorded two hair-metal albums in 1986 and 1988, before the second album’s lineup split from Vincent to form the band called Slaughter.

Vincent kept a low profile for most of the…

Steve Perry "Against The Wall" - the unreleased 1988 solo album

Here is some news that I never expected to report: Steve Perry is back from oblivion! The former Journey vocalist, who sang the lead on almost all of the San Francisco arena-rock supergroup’s well-known hit songs, is about to release his third solo album, titled Traces, on October 5, 2018. This is Perry’s first solo album since For The Love Of Strange Medicine in 1994, and his first studio work since the weak but platinum-selling 1996 Journey album Trial By Fire. After the recording of the latter album, Perry was sidelined by a hip injury suffered in a hiking accident. Perry was then unable to tour with Journey because he put off having the necessary surgery, and the band subsequently replaced him. Perry is now finally returning to the recording business after two decades of invisibility. And, now that he has publicly resurfaced in the internet age, Mr. Perry has launched an official website and opened social media accounts.

There was also a long hiatus – a decade, to be exact – bet…

Third Man Records vinyl exclusives, Part 36: Captain Beefheart “Trout Mask Replica" (2018 reissue)

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The 36th set of exclusive vinyl items offered to platinum members of Third Man Records’ Vault service was mailed out to the members in June of 2018. 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 (one full-length album and one 7” single) to its platinum members every three months.

The thirty-sixth Vault package contains a vinyl reissue of Captain Beefheart’s 1969 double-LP Trout Mask Replica, as well as a reissue of that album's only 7-inch single, “Pachuco Cadaver”. The double-LP is pressed in “180-gram fruitcake fish-scale colored vinyl”, and was remastered from safety masters stored for decades in producer Frank Zappa's family vault. The single is pressed in white vinyl. I chose to skip this quarter’s Vault package, as I do not feel a need to own a deluxe vinyl reissue of …

The Cure “Torn Down: Mixed Up Extras 2018”

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For Record Store Day 2018, The Cure issued a 2-LP picture disc titled Torn Down: Mixed Up Extras 2018. Limited to 7,750 copies worldwide, this album is a companion piece to the 1990 remix album Mixed Up (which received its own remastered vinyl reissue for that same Record Store Day). Where Mixed Up generally featured remixes of the Cure’s better-known songs, Torn Down consists of new 2018 remixes of 16 of the goth-rock band’s lesser-known tracks. One song was selected for remixing from each of the Cure’s studio albums released between 1979 and 2008, along with “Never Enough” from Mixed Up and “Cut Here” from the 2001 Greatest Hits album. Torn Down will be available on regular black vinyl on June 15th, and the 16 tracks will make up the third disc of the upcoming 3-CD reissue of Mixed Up, also coming June 15th.

The 16 remixes on Torn Down essentially give modern facelifts to decades-old tracks, putting them more in line with contemporary alternative music. A noticeable trend here is …

Awolnation "Live In Vienna" (2018 Record Store Day single)

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For Record Store Day 2018, the L.A. alternative rock band Awolnation released a 7-inch vinyl single titled Live In Vienna. Limited to 1,000 copies, Live In Vienna featured two songs recorded live at Supersense in Austria. What is Supersense, you ask? It is a venue owned by an analog recording enthusiast by the name of Florian “Doc” Kaps. The single’s sleeve describes it this way:

"Supersense in Vienna is a hidden gem in the heart of Europe, which remains one of the only places in the world to offer this unique style of recording. At Supersense artists engage in an antiquated, authentic and rare method of recording a unique, live performance in an intimate environment. The sound immortalized on vinyl.”

It sounds like an intriguing place, much like a European variation of Jack White’s Third Man Records Blue Room. The two Awolnation performances included on this single are of the encouraging “Passion” from their 2018 album Here Come The Runts, and the darker “Hollow Moon (Bad Wolf)…

Def Leppard "Live At Abbey Road Studios" (2018 Record Store Day EP)

On Record Store Day 2018, the British pop-metal band Def Leppard released the 3-song, 45-rpm, 12-inch vinyl EP Live At Abbey Road Studios. Limited to 4,000 copies, the EP contained live-in-the-studio re-recordings of three songs from the band’s catalogue, recorded in May of 2008 at the world-famous studio in London and remixed in December 2017 at singer Joe Elliott’s Joe’s Garage studio in Dublin. These renditions are basically faithful to their original recordings, with less bombast and a bit more directness.

The first track, “C’mon C’mon”, is a selection from the then-new album Songs From The Sparkle Lounge. This more-organic version of the decent rocker is arguably no better or worse than the album version. But this version of “Rock On” – the David Essex song that the band had covered on their 2006 album Yeah! – is preferable to the version on that album, as it is a shade less noisy – although it is still a far cry from the minimalist reggae arrangement of Essex’s 1973 original. …

Belly "Feel" (2018 Record Store Day EP)

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For Record Store Day 2018, the reunited ‘90’s alt-pop band Belly – led by ex-Throwing Muses singer/guitarist Tanya Donelly – released a 10-inch 45-rpm EP titled Feel. Limited to 2,000 copies and pressed in blue “splatter-colored” vinyl, this EP heralds the May 4th release of Dove, which is Belly’s first new album in 23 years. The band has stated that this new album is a more collaborative effort than their earlier works, on which Donelly did most of the songwriting; the songwriting is now collectively credited to the band. Guitarist Tom Gorman produced, with assistance by Paul Q. Kolderie in recording and mixing.

The two tracks on the first side of the Feel EP are both songs from the Dove album. “Army Of Clay” and especially “Human Child” are quite good, suggesting that Dove will lie in the same basic vein as the band’s 1993 debut album Star. These two songs have the same basic guitar-based dream-pop sound, and Donelly’s voice still has the same off-kilter feminine appeal as it did …

(American) Spring (1972)

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A good find for Beach Boys devotees and collectors of girl group recordings is the obscure self-titled album by the female pop duo Spring from 1972. A mostly overlooked side note in the history of the Beach Boys, Spring consisted of sisters Diane Rovell and Marilyn Rovell Wilson – the latter of whom was then married to Brian Wilson. The sisters had previously been two-thirds of a girl group called the Honeys, who often sang background vocals on Beach Boys recordings. During the ‘60’s, the Honeys released five singles, all of which were produced, arranged, and/or written by Brian Wilson.

Spring (who were known as American Spring outside of the U.S. to avoid confusion with British and Canadian bands of the same name) recorded only one full-length album in 1972. Brian Wilson was the album’s executive producer, and was assisted in production by David Sandler and Stephen Desper. Brian also provided harmony and backing vocals (as did Mike Love and Carl Wilson), and he played piano, organ a…

Third Man Records vinyl exclusives, Part 35: Jack White “Boarding House Reach” (2018)

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The 35th set of exclusive vinyl items offered to Platinum members of Third Man Records’ Vault service was mailed out to the members in March of 2018. 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.

The 35th Vault package consisted of a limited edition vinyl LP variant of Jack White’s third solo album, Boarding House Reach, and a 7-inch single with early demos of two of the album’s tracks. The 180-gram LP was pressed in blue-and-black-swirled vinyl, and comes with an exclusive insert containing the lyrics, as well as three exclusive David Swanson photographs from the album’s recording sessions. The Vault-only cover art depicts White’s face in futuristic fashion, printed on holographic foil pap…