Posts Tagged ‘Wilco’

Wilco - Summerteeth

Summerteeth, released 20 years ago this week, is Wilco’s contribution to a common trope in pop music history: The prettiest songs are often about the ugliest subjects. Summerteeth exists as part of that lineage. It’s the most gorgeously ornate album Wilco ever made, and also the most disturbing.

Tweedy wrote the songs that became Summerteeth at what should have been the happiest time in his life. Rather than sabotaging his music career, the breakup of Uncle Tupelo — his massively influential country-punk partnership with childhood friend Jay Farrar had liberated him to pursue a vision entirely his own. He’d married his longtime girlfriend, Sue Miller, the owner of Chicago music venue Lounge Ax, and together they were raising a young son. The 1996 double-LP Being There had established Wilco as arguably the most talented and ambitious band in alt-country and helped Tweedy escape his reputation as Farrar’s plucky sidekick.

“I dreamed about killing you again last night, and it felt alright to me.” That’s a hell of a way to begin a song, and a hellish way. Just when the sleepy acoustic guitar chords out front of “Via Chicago” have lulled you into a stupor, Jeff Tweedy arrives to announce his shrugging approval toward the prospect of murdering someone he loves.

Eventually the Wilco frontman moves on to increasingly abstract imagery, from “I painted my name on the back of a leaf/ And I watched it float away” to “And crawling is screw faster lash/ I blow it with kisses.” The song builds from those initial chords into a vast soundscape that encapsulates Wilco at their best — that unparalleled ability to pile layers of beauty onto a simple folk song and then artfully rip it to shreds. At climactic moments, Tweedy launches into a slipshod guitar melody like Stephen Malkmus soloing over a disintegrating memory. Following it through to the finish is thrilling, but to get there you have to endure a whole verse of bloody, explosive details. It’s no wonder Tweedy writes in his new memoir Let’s Go (So We Can Get Back) that the album containing “Via Chicago” is “the record that’s hardest for my wife to listen to.”

Yet he writes, “I was probably as unhappy as I’d ever been. I was insecure, homesick, and drug-addled.” Even worse, “I had more love in my life that I’d ever had, and I was still lonely.” Furthermore, Tweedy was frustrated that Wilco had been pigeonholed as an alt-country band, a perception reinforced by Mermaid Avenue, a collaborative album with Billy Bragg setting music to unused Woody Guthrie lyrics. Being There had blown open the possibilities of what Wilco could be, but most of the listening public still saw the band a certain way. “People assumed we had this sort of identifiable, philistine range of influences,” Tweedy wrote, “and we, in our heads, knew that wasn’t the case.”

To upend those expectations, Wilco made their idea of a bubblegum record. The rootsy pop-rockers and ballads that populated 1994 debut A.M. were still in the mix, as were the formal and stylistic experiments that made Being There such a leap in terms of breadth and quality. But now Tweedy and his sideman Jay Bennett were building these songs into small-scale symphonies: Beach Boys harmonies spilling into every chorus, waves of gorgeous orchestration surging in and out of the frame. By this point they were more chamber-pop than cowpunk or whatever term the readership of No Depression favored that week.

It was a different record born from a different process. In many ways Summerteeth was a dry run for Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and its accompanying saga, be it Tweedy’s embrace of abstract, impressionistic lyrics, the introduction of extensive studio tinkering to tear apart the songs, or tearing apart of the band that came along with it. Drummer Ken Coomer and bassist John Stirratt were largely excluded from the sessions while Tweedy and Bennett popped pills and piled on the overdubs. As Coomer complained to Greg Kot in his Wilco biography Learning How To Die, “There wasn’t really a band, just two guys losing their minds in the studio.”

It’s hard to dispute the results Summerteeth continued a run of masterpieces that began with Being There and continued well into the next decade — but Reprise Records did anyway. That’s another way the album presaged Yankee Hotel Foxtrot: The label asked Wilco to go back and record more accessible music to promote to radio. In this case the band played along, leading to a rare instance of label meddling that worked out really well. The glorious guitar-pop onslaught “Can’t Stand It” is a phenomenal album opener and a frankly underrated entry in the Wilco canon. On the other hand, although you can see why the label didn’t want Summerteeth to begin with the drowsy, depressive, dysfunctional “She’s A Jar,” it’s tough to understand why they couldn’t find a single anywhere else on the tracklist especially when they had one readily available just one track beyond “She’s A Jar.”

On one hand, there’s nothing quite like “A Shot In The Arm” in Wilco’s discography. On the other hand, it’s a great case study for what Wilco were doing on Summerteeth: one of the most beautiful and exhilarating pop songs they’ve ever recorded, and also one of the bleakest. Bennett’s cascading piano ripples, a rock-steady Coomer backbeat, and a Stirratt bass line propel it breathlessly forward while an arsenal of squealing synths collide in the sky like fireworks. All the while, Tweedy alludes to strained relations with his wife and seemingly considers whether a heroin habit might jolt him out of his doldrums. It begins and ends in flicker of synthesizers.

He hints at those tensions again on “Pieholden Suite,” a lush multi-part sequence that really earns that “suite” designation: “There’s a whisper I would like to breathe into your ear, but I’m too scared to get that close to you right now.” And again on “We’re Just Friends,”, If love’s so easy, why’s it hard?” And again on the heartbreaking “How To Fight Loneliness,” a lounge-ready acoustic slow-drift that concludes the best strategy for battling alienation is “just smile all the time.” Punchy rock tracks “I’m Always In Love,” “Nothing’severgonnastandinmyway (Again),” and “ELT” course with stress and frustration beneath their cheery veneers. “Can’t Stand It” toggles between strutting Stones-lite verses with a carefree party vibe and a euphoric chorus smothered in keyboards and church bells, yet Tweedy spends the song lashing out at the randomness of both God’s love and his own. Yet again, he evokes a personal life that’s falling apart: “You know it’s all beginning to feel like it’s ending.”

Not everything on the album is so dark. Summerteeth concludes with a stretch of music that feels like a redemption arc. There’s real tenderness in the lullaby “My Darling” and the lazy back porch reverie “When You Wake Up Feeling Old.” The title track finds some kind of resolution as it breezes from snappy twang to sighing rhapsody, though even the apparent reconciliation is oblique enough to keep listeners guessing. And on gentle closing track “In A Future Age,” Tweedy buys into the possibility of change, bookending his album-opening cries that “Your prayers will never be answered again!” with a call to “turn our prayers to outrageous dares.” Yet despite things generally looking up at the end, the album remains a document of Tweedy at one of his lowest moments.

He writes in his memoir that the darkness explored on Summerteeth, while very real, was not autobiographical in the strictest sense. He discusses writing “Via Chicago” and other songs from the era in a fragmented style he compares to mosaic and collage. “When I write in this mode, I write for myself first, pretending that the audience isn’t even there, and will never be there,” he explains. “I can get things off of my chest, I can invent versions of myself that are better than I believe I am … or worse, are even downright awful and murderous. I can expose shadow selves that I believe I should keep my eye on. I can admit things about myself without really having to take ownership of anything.”

In other words, when “She’s A Jar” reaches its twist ending and Tweedy declares, “She begs me not to hit her,” he’s not actually confessing to domestic violence. He’s singing about a fictionalized version of himself, or maybe as a different character entirely, as a way to air out the more disquieting corners of his psyche. Which is not to say it’s wrong to be repulsed by these images or to wish that Tweedy, as the album’s ostensible protagonist, had not verbalized them.

Summerteeth occupies a weird space in Wilco’s history. It stands alone among their output, a product of personal crises and creative friction that would have ended the band if they’d carried on forever. There are people who’ll (wrongly, but earnestly) tell you that actually, this is the best album Wilco ever made. Others see it as the beginning of the end of the band they once loved, a rough draft for future glories. Whatever you make of Summerteeth, I can attest from experience that the album helped Wilco to become for a generation of listeners what the Clash and the Minutemen had been for Tweedy.

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Wilco may have set a high water mark for experimental Americana with 2002’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and 2004’s A Ghost is Born, but frontman Jeff Tweedy has spent the intervening years slowly inching away from the abstract and obtuse elements of those LPs, in favor of more direct and explicit songwriting. Warm, his first proper album under his own name, marks the exceptional culmination of that approach. Written in the wake of his father’s passing, and as Tweedy enters his 50s, these deeply intimate and skeletal songs consider what it means to remain in the present, what it means to be a link in a family chain, and what it means to appreciate the joys of life even as darkness threatens to swallow us whole.

Rarely has Tweedy conveyed so much emotion with such sparse arrangements. On standout track “How Hard It is for a Desert to Die,” each vivid note of his acoustic guitar carries remarkable emotional heft. On opening track “Bombs Above,” he recounts his battle with opioid addiction in a near-whisper—“I’m taking a moment to apologize,” he sings—backed by knotted guitars and his elder son, Spencer, gently thumping the drums. Even “Let’s Go Rain,” a major-key jangle and the album’s most accessible track, utilizes its sunny melody as a foil for an allegory of total destruction, and the deception makes it all the more chilling.

On “War on War,” from Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, Tweedy proclaimed, with then-typical abstraction, that “You have to learn how to die / If you want to want to be alive.” Throughout Warm, he conveys his gratitude for that life with a clarity and solemnity that, finally, brings that sentiment into sharp focus. “I don’t believe in heaven,” he sings on the album’s title track. For Tweedy, heaven, and hell, are right here on earth.

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Jeff Tweedy Previews His First Proper Solo Album with Twang-Tinged Single "Some Birds"

Jeff Tweedy  has shared “Some Birds,” the first single off his forthcoming solo album Warm, due out November. 30th through dBpm Records. The record, recorded at Tweedy’s legendary Chicago studio The Loft, will be his first proper album of entirely new solo work, and will feature liner notes by the acclaimed author George Saunders.

“Some Birds” finds Tweedy up to his old Uncle Tupelo tricks once again. The rusted alt-country of No Depression has, throughout the years, alternately been Tweedy’s boon and bane some of Wilco’s best work occurred when he was running as far away from roots rock as he could. But when he’s on his own, that naturalistic style of songwriting feels, well, natural.

Like Wilco’s collaboration with Billy Bragg, or Tweedy’s own cover of Dylan’s “Simple Twist of Fate” off the I’m Not There soundtrack, “Some Birds” just feels right. His reedy voice seems to be made for lap-steel slides and clomping acoustic vamps. That’s not to say he’s gone all “beer, trucks and broken hearts,” though—he’s still got his deadpan wit and an eye for good imagery. “Some birds just sit / useless, like a fist,” he sings to start. “I lean on the wall / like a broom, confused / by the scope it all,” he adds later, his metaphors always dangling for a few moments, leaving you wondering just how a fist is useless, or how a broom can be confused. It’s comfortable but funny, lived-in but not tired.

According to Tweedy, “Some Birds” is “like a lot of songs on Warm, being a confrontation between self and shadow self simultaneously feeling I’m to blame and not to blame, present and gone, and utterly confused, but determined to hold someone accountable.”

Official video for “Some Birds,” the lead single off Jeff Tweedy’s solo album Warm.

Tweedy will be touring this fall in support of his new record. Check out the “Some Birds” video

Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy has announced he will release a memoir, titled Let’s Go (So We Can Get Back), on November 13th via Penguin/Random House.

The book’s subtitle bills it as “A Memoir of Recording and Discording with Wilco, Etc.” and its 304 pages promise to delve deep into Tweedy’s past—from his childhood in Bellville, IL, to the Chicago music scene that birthed his most famous outfit—and the music that the iconic singer-songwriter has penned over the years, whether with Wilco, Uncle Tupelo or as a solo artist, plus thoughts on his family, including Tweedy’s sons Spencer and Sam.

Let’s Go (So We Can Get Back) is now available here (UK).

Tweedy also has a number of solo tour dates coming up this fall. He plays next at the Rocky Mountain Folks Festival in Lyons, CO, this weekend.

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Wilco’s debut album, A.M., was released 20 years ago .

A.M. is the debut album of Chicago based alt-country rock band Wilco, released on March 28th, 1995. The album was released only months after the breakup of Uncle Tupelo, another alt-country band that was the predecessor of Wilco. Prior to the release of the album, there was debate about whether the album would be better than the debut album of Son Volt, the new band of former Uncle Tupelo lead singer Jay Farrar. Only days after the breakup, Tweedy had decided to form a new group. He was able to retain the lineup of Uncle Tupelo sans Farrar, and rechristened the new band as Wilco.

In mid-May, the band began to rehearse songs in the office of band manager Tony Margherita, and hired producer Brian Paulson, who produced Anodyne. Wilco first recorded demo tracks for the album at Easley studio in Memphis, Tennessee in June. Stirratt recommended the studio based on previous experience as a member of The Hilltops, and Jeff Tweedy had heard of the studio through a Jon Spencer Blues Explosion recording. Reprise Records, a subsidiary of Warner Brothers, signed Jeff Tweedy after hearing the tapes, and recording for the album continued through August.

Although A.M. was released before Son Volt’s Trace, critical reviews were modest and initial sales were low. The album was later regarded as a “failure” by band members, as Trace became a greater commercial success. It was the band’s last album to be recorded in a purely alternative country style, as following the record the band began to expand their sound across multiple genres. It is also the only Wilco album to feature Brian Henneman of The Bottle Rockets as a lead guitarist. Recorded June–Autumn in 1994 . Brian Henneman had to leave the band shortly after recording the album, and was replaced by former Titanic Love Affair guitarist Jay Bennett. Jeff Tweedy also attempted to create a more collaborative environment than Uncle Tupelo, requesting songwriting contributions from other members. John Stirratt submitted three songs, hoping to become a secondary songwriter for Wilco. However, although the songs were recorded as demos, only one (“It’s Just That Simple”) was selected to appear on the album, and was the only Stirratt song to appear on any Wilco album.

The album’s title is intended to reference Top 40 radio stations, and the tracks reflect a straightforward country-rock sound. The band members felt that they needed to establish themselves outside of the Tupelo fanbase. However, Tweedy later stated that in actuality, they were “trying to tread some water with a perceived audience.” Tweedy wrote a song about the Uncle Tupelo breakup, but decided that he didn’t want any material on that subject matter to appear on the album (It can be argued, however, that first single “Box Full of Letters”, as well as “Too Far Apart” allude to the dissolution of Farrar and Tweedy’s friendship and working relationship.) Tweedy attributes some of the straightforwardness of the album to his use of marijuana at the time. Shortly after the album, Tweedy stopped smoking pot, to which he credits the introspectiveness of further albums.

Wilco began touring before the album was released. Their live debut was on November 27th , 1994 at Cicero’s Basement Bar in St. Louis, a venue where Uncle Tupelo had first received significant media attention. The band was billed for that concert as Black Shampoo, a reference to a 1970s B-movie, and the show sold out.  Wilco continued to tour for two hundred shows, culminating in show at the South by Southwest Music Conference in Austin, Texas in March 1995. A.M. was released on Reprise Records on March 28th, 1995.

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There’s a whole lot to love about Wilco’sThe Whole Love”. It’s a career-spanning set of songs that appeared in the fall of 2011. Start with “Art of Almost” (you should be starting with this song, unless you have the album on shuffle.) The opening cut is the group’s most ambitious, confrontational piece since the Jim O’Rourke days. Plus, there’s the infectious “I Might,” the lovely, shuffling title track—all great. If The Whole Love has a weakness, it’s that the album spends so much time exploring the stylistic terrain of Wilco’s career to date that it never quite establishes an identity of its own. Plus, at 55 minutes and some change, Whole Love sags in its latter half. But man, “Art of Almost.” What a song

Has Wilco ever sequenced as perfect a coupling as “Art of Almost,” the band’s theme song, and the driving organ-pop number “I Might”? Those are 11 minutes to get lost in the music. The album ends with the 12-minute anti-epic “One Sunday Morning,” containing some of Jeff Tweedy’s best lyrics. You have to find your own meaning, but “One Sunday” seems inspired by a troubled father-son relationship, with Tweedy’s somber delivery over lovely piano accompaniment eventually leading to an understated jam that follows the tone of the proceedings. The album’s a little soft in the middle, but it includes a song that predicted Diamond Rugs (“Standing O”) and one (“Black Moon”) that cuts through Townes Van Zandt’s backyard on the way to the symphony.

Image result for WILCO – Troubadour Los Angeles ” 12th November 1996 poster

Last December Wilco issued a deluxe 4 CD edition of their classic 1996 album “Being There”. Among the treats of this version were discs 4 and 5: the first official release of their November 12th, 1996 performance at Los Angeles iconic Troubadour, previously held in common consensus as one of Wilco’s shortlist essential live recordings circulating among fans. Now Wilco is issuing Live At The Troubadour 11/12/96 on its own as a 2 LP set April 21, 2018 for Record Store Day. Rhino/Reprise will press 5000 copies in the US, 8500 worldwide, marking the first time it’ll be available on vinyl (and as a self-contained set on any format).

It includes the following tracks:

Tracklist :  Sunken Treasure, Red-Eyed And Blue, I Got You (At The End Of The Century), Someone Else’s Song, Someday Soon,
Forget The Flowers, New Madrid, I Must Be High, Passenger Side (Punk Version), Passenger Side, Hotel Arizona,
Monday, Say You Miss Me, Outtasite (Outta Mind), The Long Cut, Kingpin, Misunderstood, Far, Far Away,
Give Back The Key To My Heart,Gun,

 

Wilco - Star Wars

On July 16th, Wilco shocked their fans in the best way possible: by releasing Star Wars, the band’s first album in four years, for free on their website, with no advance warning. The album is Wilco’s best in at least a decade, full of loose, poppy rockers like “Random Name Generator” and “The Joke Explained.”  After recording the basic tracks himself in the Wilco loft in Chicago, frontman Jeff Tweedy brought in the other members of the band separately to play on them. The process has proved so productive that Tweedy says he’s already halfway finished with the next Wilco album. “I have a whole lot of material,” he says.

It’s kind of an extension of the thought process behind, I don’t know, staying in touch with some sort of wild energy as much as possible and some sort of an irreverence. But that painting of that cat hangs in the kitchen at the [Wilco] loft, and every day I’d look at it and go, “You know, that should just be the album cover.” Then I started thinking about the phrase “Star Wars” recontextualized against that painting — it was beautiful and jarring. The album has nothing to do with Star Wars. It just makes me feel good. It makes me feel limitless and like there’s still possibilities and still surprise in the world, you know?

“What’s more fun than a surprise?” Jeff Tweedy asked cheekily on instagram as he introduced us to Wilco‘s ninth studio album. In a year when fans of another Star Wars were being incessantly teased, this album dropped out of nowhere, no endless teaser trailers required. Instead it was free to download,

The album’s got a great sound—jagged guitar (courtesy Nels Cline), distorted vocals—but a critical shortage of great songs. “You Satellite” rules and “Random Name Generator” is formidable enough to make Jeff Tweedy feel like a shapeshifter rock star, but much of the album feels unfinished, like sketches for something that might’ve been great, a perception that’s fairly amplified by the album’s brief length and lazy title. The best thing you can say about Star Wars is that it injected some spontaneity, some aggression back into Wilco’s music. The album thrilled fans when it was surprise-released for free in 2015, following the longest gap between Wilco albums to date. But it’s already been eclipsed by the superior Schmilco. Wilco’s weakest effort isn’t bad at all, justwell, underwhelming

Kitsch kitty cover art and silly title aside, the fuzzed up, lean rock on Wilco’s most concise album in years took plenty of unexpected turns. Tweedy worked largely alone, the band adding the gloss and grit to finished arrangements and basic tracks. The result is at times wild and weird but always Wilco.

Rhino isn’t holding back this Record Store Day, planning more than 30 special vinyl releases for Saturday, April 21st, to be sold at all participating retailers. Interestingly, several releases are companion pieces to recent general reissues, offering bonus content from different re-releases and box sets as standalone vinyl. Several singles and oddities are in the mix, from a 12″ of The Notorious B.I.G.’s “Juicy,” to a rare “short version” of Prince’s 1999, featuring only seven tracks from the album on one LP. Picture discs from Yes, Whitesnake, and Cheech & Chong are part of the line-up, and outtakes will be used to create alternate versions of Van Morrison’s Moondance and Fleetwood Mac’s Tango In The Night.

Most interesting for collectors are not one but two reproductions of rare Madonna vinyl releases outside the U.S., the vinyl debut of a promo collection by British hip-hop artist The Streets, unreleased mid-’80s masters from Miles Davis and a pair of vinyl sets covering new and old remixes by The Cure.

Among these titles, announced on Tuesday, now stand alongside previously announced RSD exclusives for Led Zeppelin (their first) and David Bowie. More RSD info is at the organization’s official site, while breakdowns of all Rhino’s new titles are below.

Air, Sexy Boy (12″ Picture Disc) (Parlophone)
Celebrate the 20th anniversary of the French synth duo’s debut, Moon Safari, with this shaped picture disc of the band’s first single. It features art from the original 12″ sleeve. (6000 copies)

Cheech & ChongUp In Smoke (40th Anniversary Picture Disc) (Rhino)
This marijuana leaf-shaped disc features the title track to the comedy duo’s first film (the soundtrack of which is being reissued by Rhino the same week) plus an unreleased version with an extra Spanish verse from Cheech Marin as well as a scratch ‘n’ sniff sticker! (4500 copies)

John Coltrane, My Favorite Things, Part I & II (Atlantic)
This U.S.-only single reissue was first included in a Coltrane mono box set. (1000 copies)

The Cure, Mixed Up and Torn Down: Mixed Up Extras 2018 (Elektra)
Long desired by fans of The Cure, the group’s 1990 remix album will be released as a 2LP picture disc set alongside another double picture disc featuring 16 new remixes of Cure tracks by frontman Robert Smith. The band is celebrating their 40th anniversary this year, so hopefully this is the first in a wave of commemorative titles! (7750 copies each)

Miles Davis, Rubberband EP (Warner Bros.)
This four-track 12″ disc features the title song to an unreleased 1985 album, intended to be Miles’ first for Warner Bros. Records after a lengthy tenure on Columbia. It features a new remix featuring Ledisi, a completed version of the track finished by Randy Hall and Zane Giles, and cover art painted by Davis. (6000 copies)

The Doors, Live At The Matrix Part 2: Let’s Feed Ice Cream To The Rats, San Francisco, CA – March 7 & 10, 1967 (Elektra)
This 180-gram, individually numbered sequel to last year’s RSD release features a set from the band at San Francisco’s The Matrix, which was last heard on a 50th anniversary edition of The Doors’ self-titled debut. (13,000 copies)

Fleetwood Mac, The Alternate Tango In The Night (Warner Bros.)
As is becoming tradition for Record Store Day, this album brings together demos and outtakes from last year’s box set version of Fleetwood Mac’s hit 1987 album. (8500 copies)

The Grateful Dead, Fillmore West, San Francisco, CA 2/27/69 (Grateful Dead/Rhino)
A 4LP box set edition (with fourth side etching) of a beloved Dead show, which has been out of print since its release in The Complete Fillmore West 1969 CD box set in 2005. (9000 copies)

Hawkwind, Dark Matter: The Alternative Liberty/U.A. Years 1970-1974 (Parlophone)
A 2LP collection in a gatefold jacket featuring rare tracks from the 2011 compilation Parallel Universe. (5000 copies)

Jethro Tull, Moths (Parlophone)
This six-track 10″ EP is tied to the 40th anniversary of Heavy Horses, recently reissued by Rhino. (6500 copies)

Madonna, The First Album and You Can Dance (Sire)
Two exciting Madonna titles are due for Record Store Day: first, a picture disc version of Madonna’s 1983 debut, reissued in 1985 after the success of Like a Virgin. This set replicates the original Japanese packaging, down to the sticker. Then there’s a red vinyl reissue of her 1987 remix album, featuring the poster and obi from the European vinyl release. (14,000 copies and 12,000 copies)

Van Morrison, The Alternative Moondance (Warner Bros.)
Constructed from alternates and outtakes from the deluxe edition of Van’s 1970 album, this LP features unreleased mixes of “And It Stoned Me” and “Crazy Love.” (10,000 copies)

The Notorious B.I.G., Juicy 12″ (Bad Boy)
A clear/black marble swirl vinyl reissue of Biggie’s defining single. (9000 copies)

Prince, 1999 (Warner Bros.)
A quirky reissue of an ex-U.S. single-LP, seven-track cutdown of Prince’s breakthrough 1982 double album, with a different cover, even. (13,000 copies)

Ramones, Sundragon Sessions (Sire)
These early mixes of tracks from Leave Home were first heard in the 40th anniversary box set of the album and appear on vinyl for the first time. (10,000 copies)

Lou Reed, Animal Serenade (Sire)
A 3LP edition of Lou’s 2003 live album, its first appearance on vinyl. (7500 copies)

The Stooges, The Stooges (Detroit Edition) (Elektra)
This 2LP set was first made available only at Third Man Record shops (it was compiled by the label’s own Ben Blackwell), but now this collection, featuring the band’s 1969 debut album and handpicked rarities from Rhino’s 2010 deluxe edition, is available at all indie stores. (8000 copies)

Various Artists, Twin Peaks: Music From The Limited Event Series and Twin Peaks: Limited Event Series Soundtrack (Rhino)
These two picture discs feature soundtrack and score, respectively, from the acclaimed 2017 revival of David Lynch’s television series, including Roadhouse band performances and original compositions by Angelo Badadamenti. (11,000 copies and 10,000 copies)

Whitesnake, 1987 (30th Anniversary Edition) (Parlophone)
A picture disc version of the rock group’s recently reissued hit LP, featuring “Here I Go Again.” (6500 copies)

Wilco, Live At The Troubadour 11/12/96 (Reprise)
The premiere 2LP edition of a live set included in the deluxe edition of the alt-country act’s Being There, reissued last year. (8500 copies)

Yes (Atlantic)
The legendary prog-rock’s ninth album, released in 1978, gets a picture disc release. (5400 copies)

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The Rolling Stones  –  On Air

On Air is a collection of rarely heard radio recordings from The Rolling Stones formative years. The songs, including eight the band have never recorded or released commercially, were originally broadcast on bygone UK BBC shows such as Saturday Club, Top Gear, Rhythm and Blues and The Joe Loss Pop Show between 1963 and 1965. These flashbacks offer an insight into the band as a vital and constantly surprising live unit. Such was the frequency with which they visited BBC studios in the 60’s, the group constantly set out to offer listeners something different. As well as songs that never appeared on singles or albums, there are seven tracks that were debuted over the airwaves before featuring on albums or EPs.

The group’s take on familiar R&B staples like Roll Over Beethoven, Memphis, Tennessee and Beautiful Delilah (all originated by Chuck Berry) illustrate the verve and energy the Stones regularly brought to their live shows. The BBC would urge them to perform their current singles, and while happy to do so they also relished the opportunity to showcase a fuller picture of their prowess as Britain’s foremost blues outfit, packing clubs and ballrooms night after night.

Among the tracks, first heard ringing out of transistor radios over a period of just under two years, is Come On, the group’s debut single and also the first number laid down for the iconic Saturday Club, hosted by the late, legendary Brian Matthew. Other highlights include the strutting Fannie Mae(originally recorded by bluesman Buster Brown in 1959), Tommy Tucker’s Hi Heel Sneakers, and Bo Diddley’s Cops And Robbers. Nestling among the illustrious and well-chosen cover versions, are raw and vibrant renditions of Stones Jagger / Richards originals, such as (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction, The Last Time and The Spider And The Fly in a form closer to the thrilling immediacy of the band’s live shows than on vinyl. These recordings bring the listener as near as possible to the excitement of the era without actually being there in person. If last year’s collection of new recordings of past masters Blue and Lonesome presented the Stones returning to their roots after more than 50 years, On Air is the perfect “sister” compendium, a lovingly curated and restored treasure trove that puts the listener front and centre in the eye of the original storm. To help recapture the spirit of the songs when they were first performed, the tapes have gone through a process called “audio source separation”, which involved de-mixing the transcripts and allowing engineers at Abbey Road access to the original instrumentation and voices within each track, so that they could be rebuilt, rebalanced and remixed to achieve a fuller, more substantial sound. The end result is the Stones at their most passionate and intense, transporting listeners back to the band’s lean and hungry years when their standing as household names was already assured, and global domination was just 12 bars away.

The variety of radio shows from which the material is compiled is testament to the special relationship the Stones had with the BBC from the very beginning of their recording career. The music speaks for itself, but ‘On Air’ also serves as an important historical artefact, and an essential of the group’s impressively evergreen canon. On Air offer a unique insight into the formative days of The Rolling Stones a few years before ‘The Greatest Rock ‘n’ Roll Band in the World’ became a reality this was a band playing the music they loved so much – Blues, R&B, Soul and even the odd country song. Performing these songs night after night in clubs and dancehalls meant they are all honed to perfection and performed with the genuine love and affection that The Stones have for their musical heritage.

The Rolling Stones’ On Air marks the first wide release of any of the band’s live BBC sessions, recorded during the beginning of their storied career.  An audio companion to the recently published book of the same name, On Air features a bevy of tracks recorded between 1963, when the group appeared on Saturday Club just months after the release of their debut single, a cover of Chuck Berry’s “Come On,” and 1965, when the band returned to the show armed not only with more great blues and soul covers but a new original, “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.”  Available in 1CD and 2CD formats, as well as a 2LP vinyl edition (which replicates the contents of the 1CD version).

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Muddy Waters  –  Electric Mud

Third Man Records reissue of Muddy Waters’ fifth studio album Electric Mud, which comes as a continuation of Third Man’s partnership with Universal Music Group and the Estate of Muddy Waters. The album, which Chess originally released in 1968 has not seen a legitimate domestic vinyl release since 2002, despite its enormous influence on generations of blues rockers. It features members of Rotary Connection as Muddy’s backing band and was very controversial upon its release for its fusion of electric blues with psychedelic elements. The album is now recognized as a forward-thinking classic, sampled extensively by artists like The Black Keys and Gorillaz.

Van Morrison  – Versatile

Van the man releases his 38th studio album Versatile, which arrives less than three months after the singer released his 37th studio album Roll With the Punches. While Roll With the Punches, found Morrison reinterpreting the work of blues and soul legends like Sam Cooke, Bo Diddley and Little Walter, Versatile sees the Irish crooner shifting to jazz standards like George and Ira Gershwin’s A Foggy Day and They Can’t Take That Away From Me, Cole Porter’s I Get a Kick Out of You and Unchained Melody, popularized by the Righteous Brothers. Like Roll With the Punches, the covers are interspersed with Morrison originals; the singer penned seven new songs for Versatile, including an arrangement of the traditional Skye Boat Song.

For his second studio album of the year, Van Morrison has turned to the classics.  Versatile features six Morrison compositions alongside jazz vocal standards and other legends of the Great American Songbook.  Of the six Morrison-penned songs, three are originals and three have been previously recorded: “I Forgot That Love Existed,” “Only a Dream,” and “Start All Over Again” – on Poetic Champions Compose (1987), Down the Road (2002), and Enlightenment (1990), respectively.  Flautist Sir James Galway appears on the new Morrison song “Affirmation.”

Neil Young and Promise of the Real  –  The Visitor

In addition to new single Already Great, the 10-track album The Visitor also includes Young’s patriotic Children of Destiny, which the rock legend surprise-released on July 4th. Young recorded that song at Hollywood, California’s famed Capitol Studios alongside Promise of the Real – led by Willie Nelson’s son Lukas – and a 56-piece orchestra; in total, 62 musicians played on the track. The Visitor, also arrives less than a year after Young released his solo Peace Trail in December 2016; earlier that year, Young and Promise of the Real unleashed their double-disc live LP Earth.

Neil Young with the band Promise of the Real for his latest studio album on the same day that he opens his online archives for business.  Songs like “Already Great,” “Fly by Night Deal,” and “When Bad Got Good” show Young as fiercely political and fiery as ever.

U2  –  Songs of Experience 

U2 return with their hotly anticipated new studio album Songs of Experience. Recorded in Dublin, New York and Los Angeles, Songs of Experience was completed earlier this year with its subject matter influenced by Brendan Kennelly’s* advice to Bono, to “…write as if you’re dead”. The result is a collection of songs in the form of intimate letters to places and people close to the singer’s heart: family, friends, fans and indeed himself. Songs Of Experience is the companion release to 2014’s Songs Of Innocence, the two titles drawing inspiration from a collection of poems, Songs of Innocence and Experience, by the 18th century English mystic and poet William Blake. Produced by Jacknife Lee and Ryan Tedder, with Steve Lillywhite, Andy Barlow and Jolyon Thomas, the album features a cover image by Anton Corbijn of band-members’ teenage children Eli Hewson and Sian Evans.

U2 is garnering acclaim for this newest studio album, a follow-up to 2014’s Songs of Innocence.  

Wilco, A.M. / Being There

Wilco revisits its first two albums this week.  A.M., the band’s 1995 debut, is expanded on 1 CD or 2 LPs with eight previously unreleased bonus tracks, including “When You Find Trouble,” the last track recorded by Jeff Tweedy’s previous band, Uncle Tupelo.  The band’s sophomore double album, Being There, morphs into a 5-CD or 4-LP box set by pairing the original album with a disc of 15 unreleased outtakes and alternates plus a clutch of live material recorded in Los Angeles just after the release of the original album. (The vinyl includes a radio set for KCRW-FM, while the CD box has that, plus a lengthy show recorded at The Troubadour a day before that appearance, on November 12th, 1996.)

Sex Pistols, Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols: 40th Anniversary Edition

UMG revisits the long out-of-print 2012 Super Deluxe Edition of The Sex Pistols’ album in a smaller format still boasting 3 CDs which include the original studio album with 1977 B-sides, a disc of outtakes, and one disc of live material. A DVD has 1977 footage of the band playing live from the infamous boat party held on the River Thames, London, the Winter Gardens, Penzance in Cornwall and the Happy House, Stockholm, Sweden.  A 48-page booklet rounds out the set.  Available today in the U.K., and next Friday in the U.S.

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The Skids  –  Scared to Dance

Deluxe Expanded Edition of the debut album by The Skids. Originally released in March 1979 the album spent ten weeks in the UK National Charts, eventually peaking at No.19. The hit singles Sweet Suburbia (No.70), The Saints Are Coming (No.48) and Into The Valley (No.10) are all featured. This three CD edition contains the original album expanded with nine bonus tracks, a second disc with 12 previously unreleased 1978 studio demos (long sought after by collectors of the band) and a third disc with the complete show from a late `78 show at the legendary London Marquee from which the B-side T.V. Stars (Albert Tatlock!) was taken. Each disc comes in its own cardboard wallet and is housed in a clam shell box featuring original album artwork. A 20-page booklet contains lyrics to the album, pictures of all relevant singles and detailed liner notes.

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Hater  –  Red Blinders

Rough Trade Shops top tip.You can imagine John Peel’s hurriedly inaccurate summation of a cold and unforgiving Swedish winter as he juxtaposes the big-jumper-like welcoming warmth of Hater. Their lush and tempered guitars are an almost Marr-approved Smiths-like foil for Caroline Landahl’s beautifully accented and accentuated vocal – it’s a heartwarming brew. Hater are new to the game. Last year’s well-received debut album, You Tried earned comparisons to Alvvays, The Pretenders and even Jefferson Airplane, eclectic for sure, but that’s just incidental. Their new EP distinguishes their very own super polished and intricate guitar-led dreamy pop. Featuring their first single for Fire, the wonderfully forlorn and truly lovesick Blushing (we’ve all been there) and Rest with its haunting monosyllabic guitar break, a super-clean chiming motif that seems like a closing salvo before it regains momentum and brings proceedings to a suitable climax, welcoming back Landahl for one last chorus. The echoey eeriness of Red Blinders could have come right out of the bubble blowing indie pop hey days of the early ‘80s, while Penthouse is a chunkier c86 groove with a wind blowing through its motorik rhythm.

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The Lovely Eggs  –  Cob Dominos

Repressed on their own Lovely Eggs imprint. Described as unhinged, strange, bizarre, cuckoo and howling mad; but with a growing army of fans including Radio One’s Huw Stephens and Art Brut’s Eddie Argos you’d be crazy not to fall in love with their underground grunge-pop sound. Inspired by everyday life, coupled with a fierce ethos that music should be about magic and art and feeling and fun, the Lancashire duo have more in common with writer Richard Brautigan and artist David Shrigley than they do with their musical peers.

Big Country, – We’re Not In Kansas (The Live Bootleg Box Set 1993-1998)

One of the Scottish alt-rock group’s lesser-known periods is examined in this band-approved 5CD set of recordings of live shows across the U.S. and Europe during their second decade.

Other Re-Issues Releases This Week on Vinyl and CD

Suicide – The First Rehearsal Tapes – Superior Viaduct
Olafur Arnalds – Eulogy For Evolution – Erased Tapes
Bob Dylan & The Band – The Basement Tapes – We Are Vinyl
Bob Dylan & The Band – Before The Flood – We Are Vinyl
The Specials – The Specials – Chrysalis
Special AKA – In The Studio – Chrysalis
Tom Waits – Glitter & Doom Live – Anti
Morbid Angel – Kingdoms Disdained – Silver Lining
Andy Human & The Reptoids – Kill The Comma 7″ – Emotional Response
Protomartyr – Under  Color Of Official Right – Hardly Art