Posts Tagged ‘Epic Records’

Owning the distinction as one of the original driving forces behind the short-lived Seattle-birthed but highly influential grunge movement, Pearl Jam administered a brutal blow directly to the nut sack of the international rock establishment when they dropped their dazzling debut record back in 1991. Yet, despite moving in excess of 13 million units and delivering an impressive string of old school classic rock staples (“Alive,” “Even Flow” and “Jeremy”), it can be argued (by me) that 10 isn’t necessarily the crown jewel of the band’s celebrated ten-slab studio catalogue.

Released 25 years ago this week (November 22nd, 1994), via Epic Records, Pearl Jam’s third released set, Vitalogy, burned hotter than its two predecessors, topping the Billboard Top 200 album chart and turning five-times platinum. A collaborative production effort between the band and famed go-to guru Brendan O’Brien , “Vitalogy’s” lo-fi sheen crackled — a detail noticed immediately by those who first experienced the record on vinyl. Thanks to its stripped-down, lean production, Vitalogy stands as Pearl Jam’s most original and uncompromising album. Not that there was anything easy about the album’s recording process, which was carried out in fits and spurts over several months amid Pearl Jam’s grueling tour in support of the previous year’s multi-platinum Vs. album. Sessions were conducted in New Orleans, Atlanta – the base of producer Brendan O’Brien – and Seattle.

While it isn’t a concept album, Vitalogy sounds like one. Death and despair shroud the album, rendering even the explosive celebration of vinyl “Spin the Black Circle” somewhat muted. But that black cloud works to Pearl Jam’s advantage

Accelerated by Dave Abbruzzese’s rib-cracking drum intro, “Last Exit” kicks off the collection furiously — demanding that you sit down, shut up and pay attention. My initial reaction upon first hearing the lead-off single, “Spin The Black Circle,” was something along the lines of, “holy shit!” Decades later, my opinion hasn’t changed, by the way. Driven by Mike McCready and Stone Gossard’s breakneck, in-the-pit guitar riffage, the song is pushed further by Eddie Vedder’s urgent, signature-style vocal performance.

If the accusation is that I’ve remained partial to Vitalogy’s radio tracks over the years, While the delicate “Nothingman” and the garagey “Whipping” still move me, I continue to connect best with the straight up rock crunch of “Corduroy” and the honest purity of “Better Man.”

However, Vedder’s “Not for You” remains my personal favourite of this 14-track litter. Speaking to then-current youth culture, the song opens with beautiful organic keyboards, glossed by Vedder’s transparent vocals. Then, as Vedder veers off the rails, Jeff Ament’s chugging bass groove grabs ya in the nether region while layers of crazed guitar work wash over in a blaze of glory.

I’ve bought several of the band’s albums over the years. Vitalogy is the one Pearl Jam record I rushed to buy on Day One  In sum, Vitalogy — still sounds fresh today as way back. it’s still intoxicating. Still relevant. And 25 years later it still is a great rock record.

Release Date: November 22, 1994
Record Label: Epic Records

Pearl Jam

Newly re-mastered, this anthology features all of Spirit’s recordings for the Ode and Epic labels between 1968 and 1972 and notably includes the entire mono mix of the band’s self-titled debut album (appearing on CD for the first time), the complete soundtrack to the film The Model Shop, along with original 1968 stereo mix of The Family That Plays Together, associated out-takes, singles and alternate mixes undertaken in 1991 for the Time Circle compilation. It Shall Be also includes an illustrated booklet with essay by Malcolm Dome featuring archive interviews with Randy California and Ed Cassidy.

Esoteric Recordings are pleased to announce the release of a new 5CD remastered clamshell box set by the legendary American band SPIRIT. Formed in Los Angeles in 1967 from the remnants of The Red Roosters, SPIRIT was one of the great bands to emerge on the US West Coast in the Psychedelic era. Featuring the talents of 16 year old guitarist Randy California (who had played guitar with Jimi Hendrix in New York the previous year), his step-father drummer Ed Cassidy along with Jay Ferguson (vocals, percussion), John Locke (keyboards) and Mark Andes (bass), Spirit signed to producer Lou Adler’s newly established Ode Records label in late 1967. Their self-titled debut album appeared some months later and demonstrated the breadth and diversity of the band covering psychedelic, rock and jazz influences and featuring such legendary cuts as Fresh Garbage, Uncle Jack, Topanga Windows, Mechanical World , Elijah and Taurus (the subject of a court case decades later when it was alleged Led Zeppelin had taken the musical structure of the piece as a basis for Stairway to Heaven). The band’s follow-up album, The Family That Plays Together, spawned the hit single I’ve Got a Line on You and was one of their finest works thanks to material such as It Shall Be, Aren’t You Glad, Silky Sam and Darlin’ If. Leading up to the recording of 1969’s Clear album Spirit recorded the soundtrack to Jaques Demy’s film The Model Shop. In 1970 Spirit recorded the classic The Twelve Dreams of Doctor Sardonicus for Epic Records, from which the single Animal Zoo was taken and included excellent material such as Nature’s Way, Mr Skin, Space Child, Morning Will Come and Soldier. Sadly the original line- up of Spirit fell apart some months later leaving just Ed Cassidy and John Locke to assemble a new incarnation of Spirit for 1972’s Feedback, which saw brothers Al and John Staehely join the band on bass and drums respectively. Spirit went on hiatus soon after, although California and Cassidy would continue to tour and record as Spirit on and off until California’s untimely death in 1997.

Stevie-Vaughan-Ray-Live-At-Carnegie-Hall-Vinyl-LP-2-Music-On-Vinyl-NEW

Stevie Ray Vaughan celebrated his 30th birthday in style in 1984, turning New York’s Carnegie Hall into a blistering Texas roadhouse for a sold out audience. Backed by Double Trouble (bassist Tommy Shannon and drummer Chris Layton) and featuring an all-star guest list that included Dr. John on piano and organ, brother Jimmie Vaughan on guitar and horn players from Roomful of Blues, it’s easy to hear why Stevie Ray deemed the show his “best birthday ever, forever.” Live At Carnegie Hall is available as a limited 2LP opaque brown vinyl set, exclusively for Record Store Day 2017.

“Live at Carnegie Hall” was the ninth album (and third live album) by the AmericanBlues rock guitarist and his band Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble, originally released by Epic Records in July 1997. The album consists of live selections from their sold-out October 4th, 1984 benefit concert at Carnegie Hall . Backed by a ten-piece for the second half of the event.

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