David Bowie - The Next Day Extra - 3 Disc Special Version....

So here we are, and roughly 9 months after its original release here comes a limited deluxe etc re-issue. I'll be glad to have these extra tracks, remixes and 'God Bless The Girl' on proper CD, but really, is it necessary? Or in the best interest of the fans etc... I will buy, but will feels a little aggrieved in doing so. Details below anyway...

Simple, Free Image and File Hosting at MediaFire

Here the blurb from DB's facebook post...


“And another day…” 

Some of you may have heard vague whisperings about this release, but DavidBowie.com has just posted all the exciting details regarding a 3-disc version of David Bowie’s brilliant The Next Day album.

Called The Next Day Extra, the set includes the original 14-track CD, a 10-track CD of bonus tracks and a DVD of the four promotional films made for the album: Where Are We Now?, The Stars (Are Out Tonight), The Next Day and Valentine’s Day.

The 10-track bonus CD includes four previously unreleased tracks, two new mixes and God Bless The Girl, the track that was only released on the Japanese issue of The Next Day. The remaining three tracks gather up the bonus tracks from the deluxe version of the album.
Here’s the tracklist for The Next Day Extra…

01 Atomica
02 Love Is Lost (Hello Steve Reich Mix by James Murphy for The DFA)
03 Plan
04 The Informer
05 Like A Rocket Man
06 Born In A UFO
07 I’d Rather Be High (Venetian Mix)
08 I’ll Take You There
09 God
 Bless The Girl
10 So She 

The whole thing comes in a tasty new Barnbrook package with a lyric booklet and a book of stills from the promo films.

In addition to the physical release of The Next Day Extra, there will be a 7-track digital EP bundle featuring these tracks…

01 Atomica
02 Love Is Lost (Hello Steve Reich Mix by James Murphy for The DFA)
03 The Informer
04 Like A Rocket Man
05 Born In A UFO
06 I’d Rather Be High (Venetian Mix)
07 God Bless The Girl
See DavidBowie.com for the press release and a mock-up of the package. http://smarturl.it/TNDextraPR

23rd September – 29th September – Acquisitions #4

Only a couple of purchases this week, Kings Of Leon ‘Mechanical Bull’ and Nirvana ‘In Utero – 20th Anniversary Deluxe Edition’. Not even downloaded anything this week though I did get to Fleetwood Macs first night at the O2.  

So, too it then with Kings of Leon and ‘Mechanical Bull’, their sixth album would you believe. And the good news is it’s their best since the 3rd, 2007’s ‘Because Of The Times’. The production and arrangements are less synthetic than the last two supposedly more commercial albums. The songs have a simpler touch; there are better tunes to be heard than on those albums too. I only bought the standard edition as I wasn’t expecting much from this, having barely played the last two, but having enjoyed this album I was able to get the two bonus tracks via the means of t’internet. It’s not their best, in fact it’s only their fourth best out of six albums buts it’s decent. I’ve only played this once so far, but it will be listened to again which is more than I can say for ‘Come Around Sundown’.

Simple, Free Image and File Hosting at MediaFire

That’s a fair few words for not a lot of opinion, that because most of my opinion has gone on this week’s other purchase, the Nirvana 20th anniversary edition deluxe 2 disc version of ‘In Utero’. So let’s be plain here, ‘In Utero’ is probably in my top ten albums of all time and is by far my most played Nirvana album. I loved the 20th anniversary edition of ‘Nevermind’, you could really plot the development of the band from indie heroes to global ‘rock’ stars, the demos showed development and craft. The re-master made a noticeable difference to the sound. Less so here. I’m the sort of person upon whom purchasing a release like this will sit down and compare the original to the re-master. Here, I could hear no discernible difference. Far more popular with me was the new 2013 Steve Albini mix, the vocals were clearer, everything a little crisper, a less muddy sound overall. Not exactly essential, but I enjoyed listening to this new ever so slightly different mix of the album. The demos however don’t reveal much. Most of the songs were born out of studio jams, and though the band were clearly on their groove the resulting mostly instrumental demos hold little interest for me. The bonus tracks on disc one are great though, nothing new apart from the two original Albini mixes presented (which any Nirvana internet hunter will have already heard, I’ve had the original Albini mix on my iPod for years), but it’s great to have the b-sides and charity album etc tracks collected in one place and it has to be said in the case of these songs, sounding better than ever. Many reviews of this release have played upon the fact that Nirvana had a lot of humour within them as a collective, but make no mistake, this album is not,  never was and never will be a light listen. It’s heavy, screechy and screamy and what happened next can be traced back to feelings expressed in these songs. Final gripe is the pricing. Whereas ‘Nevermind’ 20th box set could be got for about £50 on release this one as a box set is pushing £100. Yet if you buy the two disc set and the simultaneously released ‘Live & Loud’ DVD you’ll have only spent about 30 quid, and all you’ll be missing is the ‘Live & Loud’ audio disc and the book. No lyrics in the two disc version either, which the original album had. Still, the haul through the Nirvana vaults should be over now, leaving the music to stand on its own. As I’ve said, one of the great albums, but only an OK re-issue. 

Simple, Free Image and File Hosting at MediaFire

I was also lucky to catch Fleetwood Mac at the O2 on the 24th. I say lucky, unfortunately Christine McVie did not appear on stage with them this night, but it was still a great gig. The band were clearly loving it (hard to tell with John McVie but the other three were buzzing) and the performances were superb. Stevie Nicks sang her heart out and was most endearing whilst Lindsey Buckingham showed what a master of his instrument he is and was basically a little mad. In fact, a lot mad, though I like him even more because of it. Highlight for me was ‘Tusk’ which I filmed and you can (rather shakily and nearly completely) see below. C’mon guys, get a new album out, your public demands it!

Simple, Free Image and File Hosting at MediaFire

Simple, Free Image and File Hosting at MediaFire

And that was it this week. I have revisited the Manics album and thoroughly enjoyed it on 2nd listen, also very much enjoyed the demo disc versions too. Also listened to a Kylie recording of a Prefab Sprout track (more on that next week, also a new Sprout album only two weeks away) and Green Gartside (Scritti Politti) version of Nick Drake’s ‘Fruit Tree’ from the ‘Way To Blue’ tribute project. Very nice too. 

16th September – 22nd September – Acquisitions #3

As said last time out no real acquisitions to speak off this week, however never knowing when to shut up I’m gonna talk about some stuff I’ve listened to over the week, namely The Clash ‘Sandinista’ and ‘Combat Rock’, Prince ‘The Black Album’ and Passengers ‘Original Soundtracks 1’.

On the download front, Tom Odell ‘Long Way Down’, Helghyer ‘The Mage, The Wiseman and The Lioness Part 1’ and a quick peek at Nirvana ‘In Utero 2013’.

So starting with a couple of old albums that found their way back to my ears this week. Firstly and least successfully Passengers 1995 Island album ‘Original Soundtracks 1’, basically a U2 side project with Brian Eno.  The songs were intended as accompaniments to largely imaginary films. A sizeable hit was scored with ‘Miss Sarajevo’ a fairly normal song featuring Pavarotti. It’s probably the best thing here, the remainder is largely forgettable, and a not very promising lead up to what this project’s main purpose was, the next U2 album, ‘Pop’, now largely regarded as their weakest album. It irks me a bit when people say ‘how can U2 be considered good with pompous git Bono as their front man?’ Firstly what’s wrong with a pop star wanting to be involved in good causes? Surely that’s better than a pop star just sitting at home and counting their millions? And U2 have always been capable of rolling out a corker every now and then. Having said that, the Passengers album includes no corkers, and is a relative low point for both U2 and Eno. If you ever think of listening to it again, then don’t, unless you need inspiration for an afternoon nap.

Simple, Free Image and File Hosting at MediaFire

Prince’s ’The Black Album’ was originally intended to be his 10th album and ended up being his 16th after the record company got cold feet in ’87 because of the albums more risqué than usual content. Prince himself seemed to get cold feet over the release as well and was also instrumental in withdrawing the album upon its original release date. The album is Prince’s most funk heavy album, and is basically fantastic. Yes it’s rude, there’s swearing and it’s basically psychopathic in places, but it’s a classic Prince album. Seek it out.

Simple, Free Image and File Hosting at MediaFire

As mentioned I’ve also worked my way through a couple of Clash albums from the 'Sound System’ box set that I reviewed last week. As I mentioned then the sound on these re-masters is quality so I’m gonna just quickly re-assess the albums. ‘Combat Rock’ was the LP that truly broke the band in America and just about literally broke them too. It’s a great album, containing a couple of genuine stadium hits and some truly original highpoints. Away from the rock bluster 'Straight To Hell’ and ‘Death Is a Star’ are bleak cinema noire classics, the kind Passengers could only dream of. The pop and rock though no longer revolutionary is spot on (‘Car Jamming’ & ‘Atom Tan’). A real shame the band imploded before they could recoup and flex their collective muscle again.

‘Sandinista’ is the sprawling fourth triple album that is both regarded as a classic in its own right and as an album that would’ve make a great single album. Both schools of thought are spot on. It’s a great set as it is, it’s ‘floors’ only add to its appeal. Who needs a new version of debut album track ‘Career Opportunities’ sung by two of Blockheads keyboardist Mickey Gallagher’s sons? Yet take it away and the LP is missing something. It does contain some of my favourite Clash tracks; the reggae influence in particular asks why there is no Clash reggae/dub compilation? As messy as it is it’s a great album, a snapshot in time of a band that had already transcended their own time. You can pick up the new re-mastered  version for £8-10. You should do this.

Simple, Free Image and File Hosting at MediaFire

As far as downloads go, I legitimately downloaded for zilch Helghyer’s ‘The Mage, The Wiseman and The Lioness Part 1’. I was intrigued by the facebook ad blurb of the EP containing traces of the singer’s Cornish heritage etc, what with Phil Burdett’s forthcoming Cornish inspired album. The EP is decent enough (slightly kooky singer songwriter acoustically tinged) and I’ll certainly listen further to see what else she can come up with. Promising if not amazing.

I sought out Tom Odell’s ‘Long Way Down’ after hearing epic hit ‘Can’t Pretend’ in the changing rooms at the gym. Allegedly ‘discovered’ by Lily Allen and a Brit winner before he had an album out, I was initially put off of Odell because of the hype surrounding him. A bit snobbish I suppose. 'Can’t Pretend’ drew me in with wistful hooks and major/minor melody, and the rest of the album has its moments too. Very Coldplay, serious singer songwriter stuff but I shouldn’t have been so dismissive.

Simple, Free Image and File Hosting at MediaFire

I also downloaded disc two of Nirvana’s 20th anniversary deluxe edition of ‘In Utero’, basically because I was too damn impatient to wait for it to turn up. I’ll comment properly when I receive my actual physical copy but basically it sounds like the bottom of the barrel is being reached. There’s nowhere near the depth of quality and intrigue that was found in ‘Nevermind’s similar anniversary release two years back. Please let Kurt rest in peace now Geffen, there can't be anything else left to exhume.

Simple, Free Image and File Hosting at MediaFire

So next week, ‘In Utero’ in more detail, Kings Of Leon’s new album, no doubt some more Clash albums re-acquainted with and who knows what else?

7th September – 15th September - Acquisitions #2 - incl The Clash 'Sound System'

CD's - The Clash 'Sound System' box set, The Strypes 'Snapshot', Goldfrapp 'Tales Of Us', The Arctic Monkeys 'AM', & the Manic Street Preachers 'Rewind The Film - Deluxe'.

Downloads - Elvis Costello & the Roots 'Wise Up Ghost', Janelle Monae 'The Electric Lady' and Volcano Choir 'Unmap' & 'Repave'.

Well, quite a big week for releases, though now the Manics album turned up early I'm not expecting anything next week. So, to start off with the big one, the Clash's 'Sound System' the nearly exhaustive ('Cut The Crap' gets conveniently written out of history) career retrospective in a slightly mad ghetto blaster style cardboard box.

Simple, Free Image and File Hosting at MediaFire

What really got me wanting this box set was Mick Jones enthusing over the audio re-mastering. And the relief is that the re-mastering is a job well done, ranging from simply crisper and heavier at least to a massively more open and revealing sound, some tracks sounding like completely different recordings. With three discs of non album recordings including some never officially released label demo sessions, a DVD with rare live recordings and all the official promo video's and a plethora of cardboard, paper and tin memorabilia, this is a must have for any saddo like me that must have the latest and best sounding versions of timeless classics. If the £80-£100 seems too much you can for £30 get all the albums proper in a smaller box. In audio terms its well worth it, if you already own this stuff perhaps you need to think about getting it again, but still, a highly recommended release. Also if you get a chance get to 'Black Market Clash' the Clash pop up shop and exhibition open only until September 22nd in Soho. Here's a link to some pics of that on my Facebook page. . 

Arriving with the Clash set were three other new release discs. Firstly, the debut album from the Strypes, one of the youngest bands I have ever seen live but already competent and confident in their own abilities. The great things about this album is that the groups own songs are the standouts, and the covers they do include serve to complement the originals, not show them up for being inferior. If this group continue to develop and grow as they have done so far then they're gonna be superstars by the time they start hitting twenty. 

Simple, Free Image and File Hosting at MediaFire

Here's a video I shot of them playing their heroes Dr Feelgoods 'Roxette' at a recent gig on Canvey Island alongside the Feelgood's Wilko Johnson and John B Sparks.

Then there was two great albums by already well established bands. The Arctic Monkey's 'AM' is a mighty thing indeed, a short, short, punchy and direct set that is quite possibly their best so far. It sort of reminds me of when Muse went a bit funky around the time of 'Supermassiveblackhole', it has the same swagger and stride, the songs are great with superb hooks and lyrically the Arctic Monkeys very rarely ever let you down. So confident in fact they can consign songs as great as this to single b-side status....

Simple, Free Image and File Hosting at MediaFire

And finally on this week’s physical releases, Goldfrapp's 'Tales Of Us'. If you were a fan of 'The Seventh Tree', their less electronic more almost folky album from 2008 (which I was) then you will love this one. The feel is lusher with fuller orchestration then their previous non electronic album, the song writing is top quality throughout, it's a very fully realised effort. I'd personally be quite happy if this direction was explored further rather than a return to electro pop. Great album, here's the single 'Drew'.

Simple, Free Image and File Hosting at MediaFire

And then finally, finally for CD's on Saturday the Manics new album landed on my doormat, the deluxe edition which I'd pre-ordered from the bands website was also signed by the three members of the band. The album starts off lively enough, it too is a softer, acoustic, folky affair. There are guest vocalists, most notably Richard Hawley on the title track. However, they're not a band at the peak of their powers, the album weakens towards the latter parts, it's not the weakest Manics album to date but it's nowhere near the best, it is a brave step for the band, and it's very well produced with a great sound, there's just not enough memorable tunes. Hopefully it'll grow on me with repeated plays. Like most recent Manics deluxe editions the album is also included in demo form in full, also with 5 tracks from an o2 show in December 2012.

Simple, Free Image and File Hosting at MediaFire

Also on my radar this week has been, a), Elvis Costello and the Roots 'Wise Up Ghost'. I've never downloaded a Costello album before buying before, but with fewer and fewer moments of joy on his recent albums now seemed like a good time to try before I buy. 'Wise Up Ghost' has a nice feel, it's a warm album, and many tracks are re-works of older Costello songs, given a new lick of paint musically and lyrically. The standout track for me was 'Stick Out Your Tongue', a reworking of the classic 'Pills & Soap'. I'll probably purchase this at some point, maybe when it drops in price a bit. B), I've also listened to both Volcano Choir (Bon Iver's Justin Vernon and friends) albums. The older 'Unmap' was the more difficult one to get through, the newie 'Repave' a more straightforward listen. Not as complete a listen as the last Bon Iver album, but worth a go anyway. C), I've also downloaded Janelle Monae's new album, having read so many good things about it. I've not listened to it yet though a cursory browse suggests it could well be a future purchase. 

Finally a read of a NME.com feature, '50 Of The Most Hauntingly Beautiful Cover Versions', lead me to downloading a clutch of the songs and adding some favourites of my own in compiling a cover versions CD. This is the track listing for that CD.

1) Feist - Secret Heart
2) Johnny Cash - First Time Ever I Saw Your Face
3) Arctic Monkeys - Baby I'm Yours
4) Bat For Lashes - I'm On Fire
5) Amy Winehouse - Someone To Watch Over Me
6) Bon Iver - I Can't Make You Love Me
7) Cat's Eyes - The Crying Game
8) Elliott Smith - Jealous Guy
9) Eddie Berman & Laura Marling - Dancing In The Dark
10) Grizzly Bear - He Hit Me (And It Felt Like A Kiss)
11) The Smashing Pumpkins - Landslide
12) Dave Edmunds - Born To Be With You
13) Hanne Hukkleberg - Break My Body
14) Elbow - August And September
15) Kate Bush - Rocket Man
16) Deacon Blue - I'll Never Fall In Love Again
17) Pavement - Killing Moon
18) Frankie Goes To Hollywood - San Jose
19) Cassandra Wilson - Wichita Lineman
20) David Gilmour - Hushabye Mountain

If anyone can name all the originals to my satisfaction I'll send them a copy. That's it, may not be be anything to write about next week, though a week's a long time so who knows.....

30th August – 6th September – Acquisitions #1 - incl Glasvegas 'Later...When The Tv Turns To Static'

CD’s: Glasvegas ‘Later…When The Tv Turns To Static’, Babyshambles ‘Sequel To The Prequel’, Phillious Williams ‘Stay Ugly Beautiful’, Charlotte Gainsbourg ‘5:55’ and Songdog ‘Bacharach & Kerouac (All You Gotta Do Is Press Play)’.

The 3rd Glasvegas album proper arrived in deluxe format with a DVD containing live performances, interview and videos, all in a lovely book bound presentation, though the contents of the book amount to little more than a lyric book. The album itself, though much better than the second album still sees the band fail to deliver on their early promise, though only just so. Musically this is a more complete offering, the overall sound pushes sonics with reverb and feedback and a generally cacophonous feel. As a whole if flows well and the softer moments sit low fi enough to add to the feel. However lyrically it’s a bit cumbersome (although truly heartfelt) and for me James Allen’s heavy Scottish brogue occasionally get’s to be too much. I’m probably nitpicking, the album as a whole is worthy, it just feels that the band have come up just short again. Except for the bonus DVD that is. The band runs through the new album in a 19th century church somewhere in Glasgow, and a mighty fine thing it is too, the songs benefitting from a softer and subtler presentation.

Simple, Free Image and File Hosting at MediaFire

Also there with a 3rd album (and first for 6 years) are Babyshambles. It’s no letdown but also moves the band on no further than the previous album did. Pete has still produced better post Libs records than Carl despite his well documented issues with, well many things really. There’s gonna be no new fans won but if you’ve followed what’s come before then you’ll like this one too.

Simple, Free Image and File Hosting at MediaFire

Also this week I came across Charlotte Gainsbourg's 2006 CD ‘5:55’ at a boot sale, I think I paid 50p for it. With songs written by Jarvis Cocker, Neil Hannon and Air and produced by Nigel Godrich it can’t fail to be fine thing and is a bargain worth every one of the 50 pennies I paid for it. Also into my possession came a fine Songdog sampler assembled for me by a friend, a double disc best of, beautifully handmade packaging and also a very fine thing. I’ve only got through one disc one of it so far but mightily enjoyed it and I’ll definitely investigate the band further.
Simple, Free Image and File Hosting at MediaFire

Simple, Free Image and File Hosting at MediaFire

CD find of the week though is Phillious Williams’s first proper band CD which I picked up from Leigh On Sea bar/eatery Ten Green Bottles. This version is a limited edition CD with four extra tracks, not sure how the final version being launched in a few weeks time will differ (the main album has just 7 tracks, more of a mini album really) but it’ll be hard to improve on it. I’m already familiar with many of the songs and am well pleased with versions offered up; if you’re fan of anything that’s quality you should go for this. It’s a punk, rock’n’roll, country and spaghetti western hybrid. The version of ‘Teenage Punk Queen’ deserves to be heard everywhere, and though two of the bonus tracks are instrumentals they are indeed superb instrumentals, ‘Ride Boldly Ride’ clocking in at nearly 10 minutes but feeling like half of that. Not just my favourite CD of the week but one of the best this year too. You can get it here ….

or indeed the previously mentioned Ten Green Bottles if you’re that way inclined.

Simple, Free Image and File Hosting at MediaFire

On vinyl I’ve also acquired the new Pixies 10” EP, which I’d burned to CD the moment my FLAC download had arrived at my inbox a couple of days previously. I’m loving these new Pixies tracks. Yes they lack some of the intensity of original Pixies stuff but then again this is what you’d hope the band would sound like if they carried on making music over the last 20 years. There a lot more pop sensibility on display, in fact an almost sunny Californian feel to some of it, but the edge is still there too. Great stuff. Snap up the vinyl while (if) you still can, there’s only 5,000 worldwide.

Simple, Free Image and File Hosting at MediaFire

And finally coming my way via downloads this week. Though first of all I’ll explain my stance on downloads. I don’t agree with something for nothing, artists need income in order to survive and develop and flourish. However a guy like me can only spend so much on music and there’s just so much I read about that I wanna hear. So, I’ll often download, mostly by torrent, things I want to hear but just can’t risk the cash on. If I like it, I’ll buy it, always, as most recently with the mighty fine Daughn Gibson. Or in the case of the Beach Boys new box set, If I’ve already invested heavily in an artist who then releases something containing stuff I already 90% have I may download the bonus stuff. The CD ‘Made In California’ set contains one disc of previously unreleased/unheard or rare stuff, and none of its essential. It’s a fine set in whole, particularly if you don’t own previous Beach Boys box sets. But if you do, then save your money. I’ve also had the Arctic Monkeys new album (which I’d already pre-ordered); I’ve not listened yet but I’ll talk about it when the CD turns up. And I’ve investigatively downloaded the 1975’s debut too, not listened to it either but I may mention it once I have.

So apart from further working towards completing an exhaustive trawl through Martin Stephenson’s complete recordings, that this week is my musically acquired life. Some of this will be in a rapidly approaching podcast.