Category Archives: Shorties

Beatles Red and Blue Albums Remastered

The Beatles - 1962-1966 (Red) RemasteredThe Beatles - 1967-1970 (Blue) Remastered

For many music fans who were born after the Baby Boom, myself included, the introduction to the Beatles came through two double-album collections, The Beatles 1962-1966 and The Beatles 1967-1970, the Red and Blue albums. Containing a total of 54 selections approved by the former Beatles in 1973, these compilations dug deeper into the catalog than oldies radio or many of our parents ever acknowledged. I can remember taping the vinyl from the library and playing “I Am The Walrus” repeatedly. It felt like I was entering into a magic world, years before I would ingest any illicit substances. Down the rabbit hole, as it were, into the world of obsession and fandom.

I’m pretty sure that kids these days no longer consume music the same way I did, but hopefully curious kids wondering where to start with the Beatles will get ahold of these songs somehow, and dig in. EMI will reissue both collections on October 19, using the 2009 remasters. The liner notes have been expanded, but there won’t be any bonus tracks.

Beatles: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, wiki

Inspiration for Don Draper: Darrin Stephens

BewitchedDon Draper‘s inspiration has finally been revealed! While working on this week’s Mad Men write up (it’s coming, I promise) I came across yet another fascinating clue related to the inspiration that brought us Don Draper. It’s something Mad Men fans and advertising knobheads like me debate and ruminate over as we sip Old Fashioneds and browse the vintage shops. Everyone from Draper Daniels to George Lois has been deemed the Draper model, but this newest entry might be my favorite: Darrin Stephens from Bewitched.

This week’s Slate review has this gem from reader comments:

Steve D. caught Harry Crane’s suggestion that Don meet with Bill Asher in L.A, noting that Asher was “director & later producer of the old sitcom ‘Bewitched,’ which debuted in the fall of 1964. Asher was married to Elizabeth Montgomery, the show’s star. Darrin Stephens, the husband in the show, was a young Madison Ave. advertising executive at the ad agency of McMann & Tate. Darrin was in the ‘creative’ dept. & his boss was Larry Tate, slightly older than Darrin & silver-haired. Darrin was married to a beautiful blond. She was a witch. Hmmmm … any of this sound familiar?”

Now that is amazing cultural referencing within the plotline. God damn the Mad Men writers are good.

Weezer Goes Indie, Signs to Epitaph

EpitaphLast night, Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo tweeted the news:

Hey, Weezer is happy to announce our signing to @epitaphrecs and release of new album “Hurley” on September 14.

Having fulfilled its contract with DGC/Geffen/Interscope/UMG after seven albums, Weezer was free to go. It’s certainly a different atmosphere in the music industry these days from what it was in 1993 when they signed with DGC, the subsidiary label that David Geffen spun off in 1990 as a major label home for weirdos like Sonic Youth and Nirvana. Between the releases of the Blue album and Pinkerton, Geffen stepped down as head of his own label. Then during the band’s hiatus before the Green album, the label was acquired by Universal Music Group and merged into Interscope. It’s a whole new world today with essentially no incentive for an established group to sign a new contract with a major label.

It must feel good for Rivers to see his band on the punkier Epitaph label as opposed to its more dignified Anti- subsidiary, which has gained a reputation for signing old people mature acts.

Do you think sportswear company Hurley had to pay for naming rights to Weezer’s new album? Rolling Stone describes Hurley‘s sound as “Sixties Pop.” We’ll see…

Weezer: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, wiki

Complete Elvis Presley Masters Box Set

Complete Elvis Presley Masters

This is so hardcore. So remember earlier this year when we wrote about how they had gone back and worked on audiophile-quality remasters of all 711 of the master recordings Elvis Presley released in his lifetime, but the only place you could purchase them all together was via a corny collection from the Franklin Mint? Back then I whined, “it would be great if they could release a nice, chronologically sequenced box with good liner notes.” Well, my wish was somebody’s command because that’s exactly what they’re releasing: The Complete Elvis Presley Masters Collection Limited Edition.

The first run is limited to 1,000 copies and includes 30 discs (including all 711 master recordings plus 103 additional rare recordings — see complete tracklist below), a 240-page hardbound book, individually numbered display case, and an individually numbered certificate of authenticity. It ships on or before October 19, 2010. It costs $749 plus tax and $14.99 shipping. That’s steep, even for thirty CDs. But oh man, what a collection! Hopefully, a more reasonably priced second run will be released after the first run sells out…

Update: Some sharp-eyed fans on the Steve Hoffman forums have noticed that the collection is missing the song “Let’s Forget About the Stars,” recorded for the Charro soundtrack and issued on Let’s Be Friends in 1970. Oops!

Update #2: ElvisNews.com counters: Despite a typo on the official Sony Website and the Sony Press Release, we can now officially state that the 30 cd box set THE COMPLETE MASTERS is indeed… complete, including “Let’s Forget About The Stars” and “Big Boots”.

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Jon Spencer: Fuck these squares!

Jon SpencerJon Spencer rules. Eye Weekly recently asked the Blues Explosion man if he regrets wearing “rubber pants” in the 100-degree Chicago heat at the Pitchfork Festival. His response his classic Spencer:

No! I don’t know what the fuck is up with these squares today. I’m in a rock ‘n’ roll band and I was there to play rock ‘n’ roll. I didn’t go there to work on my tan or play hacky-sack. Jesus Christ, what’s this world coming to? Everybody gets so upset about me trying to look good! I’m getting to be an old man, but I’ve got a job, and I’m going to do it the best I can. Fuck these squares.

Awesome. Spencer also points ramps up his feud with Chicago critic Jim DeRogatis (“this fucking asshole”), and I gotta say: I tend to get a kick out of DeRo’s vitriol but in this case the dude is way off. To simply dismiss the Blues Explosion as “blackface parody” and “making fun of black music” is to virtually ignore the entire history of rock and roll. Spencer’s oversized self-aggrandizement has certainly always been tongue-in-cheek, but to question his sincere love for the foundation of this music is preposterous and shameful.

Jon Spencer fucking is rock and roll, man! How can you fail to see that? Dang!

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, wiki

Photo by Jolie. See AMP’s JSBX photos, too.

Neil Young Hints at Archives Volume 2

Homegrown is alright with meFrom a new post on Neil Young‘s N Y Times, we learn that work on the second volume of the Archives project is well underway. Volume 2 is said to contain “even more content than Volume 1, with many unreleased tracks.” Included will be “rebuilt” versions of three unreleased studio albums: Chrome Dreams (1977), Homegrown (1975), and Oceanside-Countryside (???), as well as “Odeon-Budokan live.” Before Volume 2 hits the shelves, all four of these albums will be “released in vinyl from analog masters as they originally were created for that format.” Interesting…

Chrome Dreams and Homegrown are both fairly well documented with many of their songs trickling out across Zuma, American Stars ‘N Bars, Rust Never Sleeps, Hawks & Doves, and Decade. Oceanside-Countryside is rumored to include the pre-overdub versions of material that ended up on Comes a Time.

Odeon-Budokan Live was a live Crazy Horse album produced by David Briggs and Tim Mulligan but never released. These shows from March 1976 in Japan and London were professionally filmed as well. See the complete set lists below…

Neil Young: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, wiki

Via ND.

Continue reading Neil Young Hints at Archives Volume 2

These covers smell Phishy

Seeing Phish in Maryland at the Merriweather Post Pavilion got me thinking about one of my favorite musical topics: covers. And Phish is the master of the cover.

They are known for doing whole albums by other bands on Halloween. They’ve done Talking Heads‘s Remain in Light and Velvet Underground’s Loaded. In 2009, they did Exile on Main Street. I’m not sure if this cover is from that night, but it’s brilliant:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yrbdtsLSy0Y&w=560&h=315]

Follow the jump for a few more examples of inspired cover choices…

Continue reading These covers smell Phishy

Cool Band: Vanish Valley

Vanish ValleyIt’s summer on the west coast, which means we have absolutely perfect days that dim into the most beautiful sunsets followed by breezy nights where the air is sweet with campfires and acoustic guitars. Yes, I am in a mood for smart folk-rock kissed with a taste of California sun. Vanish Valley fits the bill so well that I may throw everything else out the window for the rest of this fast vanishing summer.

Andrew McAllister (formerly of Conrad Ford/Tarnished Records) has assembled a group of musicians for something he’s calling a “song cycle” titled, Vanish Valley. The truth is he’s gathered some friends to record a simple, sweet, brief album that should remind you of the sunshine warming your jeans when the cold rain of autumn falls again.

MP3: Vanish Valley – “Prettiest Girl in California”

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Early Fortune and Maltese video found: No Dice

Video: Fortune & Maltese & The Phabulous Pallbeaers – “No Dice” (live at the Blind Pig in 1994)

This is awesome. Recently discovered early footage from one of the earliest F&M shows. Sixteen years later, rumor has it that Freddy and Mike have finally started the task of remastering all of their old material. Stay tuned!

Fortune and Maltese: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, wiki, MySpace.

Apple Records Remasters (Badfinger, et al) Due October

Apple RecordsApple Records and EMI will be releasing remastered versions of key albums from the Apple Records catalog, including Badfinger, James Taylor, and Billy Preston.

“Each of the 15 albums in this bumper batch of Apple Records releases has been digitally remastered at EMI’s Abbey Road Studios in London by the same dedicated team of engineers behind The Beatles’ recent remastered catalogue releases of 2009.”

Wait, they’re passing over 1971’s The Radha Krsna Temple (SAPCOR 18)? That wouldn’t have happened if George was alive.

Full press release below…

Continue reading Apple Records Remasters (Badfinger, et al) Due October