Tag Archive for 'Tom Petty'

(Upcoming Release) Tom Petty : An American Treasure Career-Spanning Box Set Out 9/28 : A Deeper Dive

The big news from the Tom Petty camp is the announcement of a new 60-track career retrospective called Tom Petty: An American Treasure. It comes in three physical formats, one is a 4 CD version that includes an 84-page hardcover book (available only through tompetty.com) there is also a 4 CD version without the hardcover book. Additionally, there is a 6-LP version of it that doesn’t include the hardcover book, which comes out on Black Friday Record Store Day on 11/23, coincidentally (though likely not– it is probably an “RSD First” release, which means it is a regular release, and not limited to RSD).

The box set has a mixture of album tracks, outtakes and alternative versions and live tracks. In some ways this box set is the sequel to the 1995 Playback box set which focused on studio songs, outtakes, unreleased and b-sides. This set mixes in some live tracks like the 2009 The Live Anthology did. An American Treasure is a fairly complimentary addition to those collections.

With the assistance of posts on Steve Hoffman Forums and Mudcrutch Farm Tom Petty forums, I started taking a look at what is on this box in greater detail. There is some disappointment from folks due to the 18 album tracks and the bit of overlap with the Playback boxset and tracks that were available on Highway Companion bonus downloads. That said, there is a treasure trove of new stuff here. The album tracks are kind of deeper tracks from albums that haven’t been focused on before. And– surprise– no “Free Fallin'”!

Here is a breakdown (so to speak) of the new tracks on here. This is the full track list, so I’ve included the album tracks, but didn’t provide any commentary on those. I also provide some thoughts about possible future archive releases.

CD 1

Surrender (Previously unreleased track from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers sessions—1976) – The first place we heard this song in any form was on 2000 release Anthology: Through the Years.  The version on this compilation was a new recording of the song created specifically for this release (and was the last studio recording of Howie Epstein before his death, according to Wikipedia). In 2009 we got a version on The Live Anthology as a live performance from June 11, 1983 from Irvine Meadows. In 2010 a studio version of this song was added to the Deluxe Edition reissue of Damn The Torpedoes. We don’t know yet whether the version here is the same version that was included on that reissue, since Damn The Torpedoes was, according to Wikipedia, recorded between 1978 and 1979.

Listen To Her Heart (Live at Capitol Studios, Hollywood, CA—November 11, 1977)
Anything That’s Rock ‘N’ Roll (Live at Capitol Studios, Hollywood, CA—November 11, 1977)

These two tracks came from a radio broadcast on KWST FM 106 in Los Angeles. This recording has been floating around as a widely-traded bootleg.

When The Time Comes (Album track from You’re Gonna Get It!—May 2, 1978)
You’re Gonna Get It (Alternate version featuring strings from You’re Gonna Get It! sessions—1978) Unheard version from what I can tell.

Radio Promotion Spot (1977)

Rockin’ Around (With You) (Album track from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers —November 9, 1976)

Fooled Again (I Don’t Like It) (Alternate version from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers—1976)

Breakdown (Live at Capitol Studios, Hollywood, CA—November 11, 1977) See above.

The Wild One, Forever (Album track from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers—November 9, 1976)

No Second Thoughts (Album track from You’re Gonna Get It!—May 2, 1978)

Here Comes My Girl (Alternate version from Damn The Torpedoes sessions—1979) Not on the Deluxe Edition of Damn The Torpedoes!

What Are You Doing In My Life (Alternate version from Damn The Torpedoes sessions—1979) Not on the Deluxe Edition of Damn The Torpedoes!

Louisiana Rain (Alternate version from Damn The Torpedoes sessions—1979) Not on the Deluxe Edition of Damn The Torpedoes!

Lost In Your Eyes (Previously unreleased single from Mudcrutch sessions—1974) On the 1995 Playback box set, we got a few Mudcrutch sessions tracks (“On The Street”, “Depot Street”, “Cry To Me”, “Don’t Do Me Like That”, “I Can’t Fight It”) but this is a new one. There is a bootleg that collects all of the Mudcrutch sessions from 1974 and 1975 which doesn’t include the Playback tracks, but does include this (other Mudcrutch songs that haven’t seen official release: “Another Lonely Night, “Don’t It Get Weird”, “You’re Driving me Crazy”, “She’s A Screamer”, “Parade of Loons”, “Makin’ Some Noise”, “You Don’t Care”, “Don’t Bring me Down”, “Save Me”, “Don’t Make It Any Easier”, “Long way From Home”, “Once Upon a Time Somewhere”, “Country Girls Run Dry”)

CD 2

Keep A Little Soul (Previously unreleased track from Long After Dark sessions—1982) The first single from this box set, and is the download you get for the pre-order.

Even The Losers (Live at Rochester Community War Memorial, Rochester, NY—1989) No songs from this show are on The Live Anthology, so this is an unheard track.

Keeping Me Alive (Previously unreleased track from Long After Dark sessions—1982) A version of this song is on Playback. Is this a different take?

Don’t Treat Me Like A Stranger (B-side to UK single of “I Won’t Back Down”—April, 1989) Not part of the b-sides on Playback.

The Apartment Song (Demo recording (with Stevie Nicks)—1984) From Playback.

Concert Intro (Live introduction by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, The Forum, Inglewood, CA—June 28, 1981)
King’s Road (Live at The Forum, Inglewood, CA—June 28, 1981)
Clear The Aisles (Live concert announcement by Tom Petty, The Forum, Inglewood, CA—June 28, 1981)
A Woman In Love (It’s Not Me) (Live at The Forum, Inglewood, CA—June 28, 1981)

In 1981 during the Hard Promises tour, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers played a three-night run at The Forum in Inglewood, CA: June 28-30th. Tracks from this run have appeared before. The two duet tracks with Stevie Nicks on the live album Pack Up The Plantation: Live (“Insider” and “Needles and Pins”) were from one of those nights (I haven’t found setlists for those shows yet). The Live Anthology has a bunch of songs from those nights:

“Ladies and Gentlemen…”, “Nightwatchman.” (June 30, 1981)
“A Thing About You” (June 28, 1981)
“Breakdown” (June 30, 1981)
“A Woman In Love (It’s Not Me)” (June 29, 1981)
“The Waiting” (June 28, 1981)
“Good, Good Lovin'” (June 30, 1981)
“I Need To Know” (June 29, 1981)

In my opinion, at the risk of redundancy, they could do a Grateful Dead style boxset encompassing all three nights, since clearly they have very high quality recordings of those nights.

Straight Into Darkness (Alternate version from The Record Plant, Hollywood, CA—May 5, 1982) A version we haven’t heard.

You Can Still Change Your Mind (Album track from Hard Promises—May 5, 1981)

Rebels (Alternate version from Southern Accents sessions—1985) As someone on the Mudcrutch board observed,  the sessions for Southern Accents were “problematic” and Petty broke his hand punching a wall during them in frustration. Maybe this will be a very different version of “Rebels” due to all of the recording they did trying to get the album completed.

Deliver Me (Alternate version from Long After Dark sessions—1982) This is a new outtake we haven’t heard.

Alright For Now (Album track from Full Moon Fever—April 24, 1989)

The Damage You’ve Done (Alternate version from Let Me Up (I’ve Had Enough) sessions—1987) Another new version we’ve not heard.

The Best Of Everything (Alternate version from Southern Accents sessions—March 26, 1985) 

Walkin’ From The Fire (Previously unreleased track from Southern Accents sessions—March 1, 1984) New version.

King Of The Hill (Early take (with Roger McGuinn)—November 23, 1987) – Interesting inclusion. Petty co-wrote this with Roger McGuinn for his Back From Rio album.

CD 3

I Won’t Back Down (Live at The Fillmore, San Francisco, CA—February 4, 1997) Tom Petty performed an epic 20-night sold out run from January 10th to February 7th, 1997 at The Fillmore in San Francisco. This was the 20th anniversary of the band.  We also have some songs on The Live Anthology from this run:

“Diddy Wah Diddy” (2/1/97)
“I Want You Back Again” (2/7/97)
“Friend of the Devil” (2/7/97)
“Jammin’ Me” (2/7/97)
“Goldfinger” (1/31/97)
“County Farm” (2/4/97)

Similarly to the run of shows at The Fillmore in 1981, we could get a boxset of these shows. That would be pretty amazing.

While we’re talking about it, they did another residency at The Fillmore in 1999, from March 7th to the 16th. The nights of the 15th and 16th created the High Grass Dogs : Live at The Fillmore film.

Gainesville (Previously unreleased track from Echo sessions—February 12, 1998) Too new to be included in Playback— but I’m looking forward to hearing other tracks from the under-appreciated album.

You And I Will Meet Again (Album track from Into The Great Wide Open—July 2, 1991)
Into The Great Wide Open (Live at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Arena—November 24, 1991) 

No 1991 tour songs at all on The Live Anthology.

Two Gunslingers (Live at The Beacon Theatre, New York, NY—May 25, 2013) This is the same version that was on the Highway Companions fanclub download Live 2013 and on the Kiss My Amps Vol. 2 Record Store Day vinyl release.

Lonesome Dave (Previously unreleased track from Wildflowers sessions—July 23, 1993)
To Find A Friend (Album track from Wildflowers—November 1, 1994)
Crawling Back To You (Album track from Wildflowers—November 1, 1994)
Wake Up Time (Previously unreleased track from early Wildflowers sessions—August 12, 1992)
Grew Up Fast (Album track from Songs and Music from “She’s the One”—August 6, 1996)

Oh boy. The hopeful amongst the Tom Petty faithful are now looking at 2019 as the 25th anniversary of Wildflowers to get the expanded version with “All The Rest.” So, now we have what is likely some of the tracks that would have been included in the promised expanded edition of Wildflowers here in this box set. I just hope Wildflowers: All The Rest comes out before I die.

I Don’t Belong (Previously unreleased track from Echo sessions—December 3, 1998) More cool unheard stuff from Echo.
Accused Of Love (Album track from Echo—April 13, 1999)
Lonesome Sundown (Album track from Echo—April 13, 1999)

Don’t Fade On Me (Previously unreleased track from Wildflowers—sessions—April 20, 1994) See above.

CD 4

You And Me (Clubhouse version—November 9, 2007) This is a song from The Last DJ. The Clubhouse is the Heartbreakers rehearsal and gear storage space. I’m sure there’s lots of interesting recordings from The Clubhouse we haven’t heard.

Have Love Will Travel (Album track from The Last DJ—October 8, 2002)
Money Becomes King (Album track from The Last DJ—October 8, 2002)

Bus To Tampa Bay (Previously unreleased track from Hypnotic Eye sessions—August 11, 2011) Oooh. Hypnotic Eye outtakes!!

Saving Grace (Live at Malibu Performing Arts Center, Malibu, CA—June 16, 2006) The 2006 tour was a strong one– it also generated the “Live From Gatorville” show and they played Bonnaroo.

Down South (Album track from Highway Companion—July 25, 2006)

Southern Accents (Live at Stephen C. O’Connell Center, Gainesville, FL—September 21, 2006)
Insider Live (with Stevie Nicks at O’Connell Center, Gainesville, FL—September 21, 2006)

“Live From Gatorville” or “One 30th Anniversary Concert from Gainesville, FL” which was a pay-per-view (I think) and then the bonus DVD included with the “Runnin’ Down A Dream” documentary. These songs are from this. We got a bunch of songs from this show on The Live Anthology: “I’m A Man”, “Mary Jane’s Last Dance”, “Southern Accents” (so this is repeated here)

Two Men Talking (Previously unreleased track from Hypnotic Eye sessions—November 16, 2012)
Fault Lines (Album track from Hypnotic Eye—July 29, 2014)
Sins Of My Youth (Early take from Hypnotic Eye sessions—November 12, 2012)

Cool to hear more from the Hypnotic Eye sessions.

Good Enough (Alternate version from Mojo sessions—2012)
Something Good Coming (Album track from Mojo—July 15, 2010)

I would have thought that there would be more alternate and outtakes from Mojo, since it seemed like they were jamming more. Nevertheless, it will be cool to hear something from those sessions.

Save Your Water (Album track from Mudcrutch 2—May 20, 2016)

Like A Diamond (Alternate version from The Last DJ sessions—2002) 

Hungry No More (Live at House of Blues, Boston, MA—June 15, 2016) This was previously released on the Highway Companion club download The Very Best Performances of the 2016 Mudcrutch Tour live Mudcrutch compilation.

An American Treasure seems like a really thought out tribute to Tom Petty, even though it’s kind of a mixed bag. The inclusion of album tracks and other tracks that have been released elsewhere makes it not exactly a perfect collection for die-hard fans of Petty. The album tracks it does have, don’t include any hits, so it’s not really for the casual fan either. For a Tom Petty completist like me, it’s one to add to the collection, even if it is kind of a compromise.


(Upcoming Release) Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers 1993 “Greatest Hits” Reissued on 2 LP 180g on 7/29/2016

TPH - Greatest HitsFrom the Under the Radar department: I happened to notice on Amazon yesterday that Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers‘ 1993 Greatest Hits was getting the 180g vinyl treatment. Though some might deem it unnecessary to reissue this again, it has only ever existed on vinyl as a foreign pressing. While this compilation is the greatest-selling release in Petty’s catalog at 12 Million copies, it is one that exists only because of an exit strategy that Petty needed to get out of his contract with MCA.

It’s easy to see why this compilation is so popular, Petty’s stint with Shelter/MCA from 1976 to 1993 produced the biggest and most beloved singles and albums of his career. But, by 1993 Petty was already secretly signed to Warner/Reprise by Mo Ostin and Lenny Waronker, and holding the critically-acclaimed Rick Rubin-produced Wildflowers to be the first release on his new label– a result of his increasing disappointment with MCA and in particular label head Al Teller’s handling of his catalog. Petty instructed his manager Tony Dimitriades to meet with Teller and negotiate getting out of his contract without fulfilling the last record due the label, and certainly not giving MCA Wildflowers— what Petty considered to be an artistically important one. Dimitriades recounts the negotiation in Warren Zanes’ book “Petty: The Biography”

“I get to the point and tell [Al Teller] that Tom doesn’t want to give him the last album. Al says, ‘What do you mean he doesn’t want to give us the last album?’ I say, ‘He’s not going to give it to you. He wants to leave. He’s unhappy.’ We’re in this restaurant, you know? And Al says, ‘You can’t do this to me!’ But I could. The artist we were talking about was a guy who chose to file for bankruptcy rather than deliver an album.”

Dimitriades and Teller negotiate and arrive at a greatest hits release (one that they were already planning) with the stipulation that Tom and the Heartbreakers record a new song for it. An idea that Tom hated since he didn’t understand the idea of a new song being on a greatest hits. Conveniently, the song was “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” which became a greatest hit, too.

In 1995 Seagram bought 80% of MCA and rebranded it Universal Music Group and fired Teller in November of that year. In 2003 the MCA catalog was absorbed by UMG label Geffen, which explains why, in 2008, the reissue of Greatest Hits was on Geffen instead of MCA. The 2008 reissue dropped the Thunderclap Newman cover of “Something In The Air” in favor of “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” and gave it a new cover.

This new vinyl reissue of Greatest Hits restores the 1993 track list, but uses the 2008 cover– a symptom of it being on Geffen Records, now I expect. They also add the song “Anything That’s Rock n Roll” which was on the UK version of the 2008 reissue.

Side A
1. American Girl
2. Breakdown
3. Anything That’s Rock n Roll
4. Listen To Her Heart
5. I Need To Know
6. Refugee

Side B
1. Don’t Do Me Like That
2. Even The Losers
3. Here Comes My Girl
4. The Waiting
5. You Got Lucky

Side C
1. Don’t Come Around Here No More
2. I Won’t Back Down
3. Runnin’ Down A Dream
4. Free Fallin’

Side D
1. Learning To Fly
2. Into The Great Wide Open
3. Mary Jane’s Last Dance
4. Something In The Air

(Upcoming Release) Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – Kiss My Amps Live Vol. 2 for RSD 2016

Kiss My Amps II

With Record Store Day 2016 fast approaching (April 16th), I wanted to post about a few releases that I’m interested in. I already posted about the Son Volt Live at the Bottom Line previously. Tom Petty has been a supporter of RSD from the start with special reissues of his first two albums and a vinyl-only (plus download) live compilation titled Kiss My Amps for Black Friday RSD 2011.

Announced with the rest of the Official RSD list for this year is a sequel– Kiss My Amps Live Vol. 2. Volume 1 focused on the Mojo Tour from 2010. Volume 2 focuses on dates in 2013 and is made up of tracks that were given to members of the Tom Petty fanclub Highway Companions as part of their subscription as a digital download. Notably, Kiss My Amps Volume 1 was not made up of the Mojo Tour 2010 download the club got, but were different tracks.

It will be pressed on 180g vinyl and includes covers by The Byrds, Paul Revere and the Raiders/The Monkees, Little Feat and a Traveling Wilburys song. They had to take a track off of it (“Baby, Please Don’t Go”) because the original digital download was 55 minutes and it is tricky to get that much audio per side of an LP and have it sound good. (Even minus the 5:22 of “Baby Please Don’t Go” it’s pretty tight at 49 minutes (24+ per side). Optimally, you want less than 22 minutes per side to get the full bass frequencies.

1. So You Want to Be a Rock N Roll Star (Live Beacon Theatre)
2. I’m Not (You’re Steppin Stone) Live Beacon Theatre
3. Love is a Long Road (Live Fonda Theatre)
4. Two Gunslingers (Live Beacon Theatre)
5. When a Kid Goes Bad (Live Fonda Theatre)
6. Willin’ (Live Fonda Theatre)
7. The Best of Everything (Live Fonda Theatre)
8. Tweeter and the Monkey Man (Live Beacon Theatre)
9. Rebels (Live From Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival)
10. A Woman In Love (It’s Not Me) (Live From Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival)

The standout track on here for me is the 8:46 minute version of “Tweeter and the Monkey Man.” For that track alone, this set is essential.

Bull Moose Records lists this at MSRP of $19.98 with their price being $17.97. So, expect your RSD participating store to have it around these prices.

In other Tom Petty news for RSD, there will be a Mudcrutch 7″ featuring tracks from the upcoming Mudcrutch album 2. The A-side is “Trailer” which is a reworking of the Southern Accents outtake. The original version can be heard on the flipside of the “Don’t Come Round Here No More” 7″ or on disc 4 The Other Sides of the Playback boxset. A really great track, and is worthy of a revisit. The song would have improved the song lineup of Southern Accents, in my opinion.

New Tom Petty Song from Wildflowers Sessions Out – “Somewhere Under Heaven”

Tom Petty - Somewhere Under Heaven

With seemingly very little fanfare a new song was released by Tom Petty today. Titled “Somewhere Under Heaven” it is a song from his planned reissue of his 1994 album Wildflowers. He mentioned this reissue in an interview with Rolling Stone Magazine last year.

Petty has another release that could be out by Christmas: a two-disc reissue of his 1994 Top 10 solo album, Wildflowers, which includes 10 previously unreleased songs. Petty claims one of those finds, “Somewhere Under Heaven,” came as a surprise when he heard it again: “I did not remember writing it, recording it, anything.” He smiles. “And it was really good – uptempo but very unusual, in some strange time signature.”

“Somewhere Under Heaven” will also be on the soundtrack to the upcoming “Entourage” movie. But, you can listen to it on Spotify and download it from Amazon and iTunes as well.

I’m hopeful that this means the expanded Wallflowers possibly titled All The Rest as well as the reissue on vinyl are still on the radar.

 

It’s Time to Play B-Sides Top 20 Albums of 2014

Top 20

Looking back at 2014 and what I listened to, it seems I spent most of the year listening to bands from Iowa. Eight of the Top 20 Albums of 2014 for It’s Time to Play B-Sides are either living in Iowa or have roots here. Some of this is easily explained by the fact that my other music gig is writing reviews for Little Village Magazine, but I had the very good fortune of being a writer during a year with the most Iowa bands putting their best foot forward.

This list sees returns of It’s Time to Play B-Sides regular favorites– Hiss Golden Messenger, Ryan Adams, Pieta Brown and Tom Petty– each turning in what should in retrospect be career-defining releases, in my opinon.

Vinyl continued its march of popularity in 2014– out of this list, only three releases didn’t come out on vinyl. The Jack Lion JAC EP came out on cassette, though (representing the resurgence of that physical media), the Surf Zombies album– though the band has been working towards getting that one put out on vinyl. It’s a… THING! was tracked on tape and would be a natural release on black plastic disc and The Sapwoods album.

Here’s the list– not ranked.

Hiss Golden Messenger – Lateness of Dancers MC Taylor and Scott Hirsh’s post-Court & Spark band Hiss Golden Messenger is back with their sixth or seventh release (depending on how you count self-released titles) and first release on their new label Merge Records. Lateness of Dancers continues the vibe and groove of their last two releases on Paradise of Bachelors but also provides a definitive declaration of purpose. With the association with Merge– a label as big as any independant can be– Taylor and Hirsh are not wasting their opportunity for bigger visibility. It seems like every blog/internet music magazine has declared Lateness of Dancers one of the great albums of 2014, plus the band has been doing some very aggressive promotion landing one of the remaining few musical guest spots on Letterman. 2015 should bring much more widespread touring for Hiss Golden Messenger, which I’m hoping will afford me the opportunity to see the band live.

Jerry David DiCicca – Understanding Land DiCicca is probably better known as the frontman for The Black Swans, which he disassembled after their– pardon the pun– swan song 2012 album Occasion For Song. Under his own name, the solo release for DiCicca continues the very loose country blues vibe he minted in The Black Swans. With some help from some friends including Will Oldham, Kelley Deal and Spooner Oldham DiCicca has made an impressive step away from his old identity as part of The Black Swans. Understanding Land seems to have missed the radar of a lot of places that would normally be championing the kind of quietly beautiful reflective song craft DiCicca has mastered. If you haven’t heard this record, go check it out. I’ll wait here until you get back.

The New Basement Tapes – Lost on the River: The New Basement Tapes To be honest, I’m declaring this a favorite before I’ve had a chance to listen to this as much as the other albums on this list. At first, I was kind of put off by the very calculated concept of The New Basement Tapes: “Hey, we found these lyrics that Bob Dylan didn’t think were worth recording back in 1967 and he still doesn’t want to record them so let’s pull a band together!” The results are very good and the fact that these lyrics were written by Dylan almost 50 years ago doesn’t detract. Though, you probably could have put Elvis Costello, Taylor Goldsmith of Dawes, Marcus Mumford of Mumford and Sons, and Jim James of My Morning Jacket together in a room without Dylan’s lyrics and would have still resulted in a fantastic album.

The Black Keys – Turn Blue Danger Mouse is paired up with The Black Keys for the third time since 2007’s Attack and Release (if you don’t include Blacroc, the hip hop side project), and we again find the duo recording songs slightly outside of their regular sound. The whole Turn Blue record is solid and really radio-friendly and stands up to repeated listens. At times I’m reminded of the latest Beck record (also produced by Danger Mouse), but more satisfyingly varied than Morning Phase.

The War on Drugs – Lost in the Dream While this album has been around awhile, and the brilliant single “Red Eyes” has been all over the place, I didn’t listen to the whole album until this month. The album’s general sound seems to come from the mid-to-late 80’s with it’s synths and either electronic percussion or drums so processed it sounds like it. At times it sounds like outtakes from Lindsey Buckingham’s 80’s albums or the more reaching anthemic sounds of Rod Stewart from the same period. A really enjoyable album.

Stanton Moore – Conversations Stanton Moore is the drummer and one of the founding members of Galactic. This is Moore’s first album as a jazz-bop trio with pianist David Torkanowsky and bassist James Singleton — a style that he has dabbled in live settings but never committed to tape previously. The results are really great and fits in with my regular diet of 50’s and 60’s Blue Note and Prestige sides.

Game Theory – Blaze of Glory (reissue) Normally I wouldn’t include a reissue in this list. But, I’ll make an exception for the reissue campaign that Omnivore is undertaking of the entire Game Theory catalog that is nothing short of a miracle if they can keep it up. Scott Miller, the leader of both Game Theory and The Loud Family passed away unexpectedly in 2013, breaking the hearts of his devoted followers (which includes yours truly). The now-defunct label Alias Records attempted a reissue campaign that underwent some modifications (even re-recorded parts) by Scott Miller who was publicly never satisfied with the original early recordings (of which 1982’s Blaze of Glory is included). Even though I’m a devout fan of anything Scott Miller worked on and consider myself a collector, I did not have Blaze of Glory in its original incarnation (aka the “trash bag” version since the original packaging was a white trashbag with a sticker on it). I had the few manipulated or re-recorded tracks he included in the final Enigma Records compilation Tinkers to Evers to Chance and the Distortion of Glory Alias compilation which also included the two 1983 EP’s Pointed Accounts of People You Know and Distortion. These were also lovingly reissued by Omnivore for Black Friday Record Store Day as colored 10″es.  This release of Blaze of Glory comes from the original master tapes, so unless you had the 1982 trash bag version of the album, you’ve never heard this mix before. The remaster sounds really great and sets the bar really high for the rest of the catalog to come. The album represents the very seeds of the future sound of the band. In some ways the album sounds very much a product of its time leaning heavily in the treble space (though this version brings some of the bass back) and incorporating buzzy synths and stuttering rhythms, but also not sounding like anything else at the time. Scott’s trademark turns of phrase and heartache are already established.

The digital download version includes 15 bonus tracks of demos, songs from the pre-GT band Alternative Learning, live tracks and some really early audio experiments from Scott. Having been a member of the Game Theory online community at large since the late 90’s, I’m very aware of the potential mountain of bonus material available for the rest of the releases coming down the line, so this campaign has few peers when it comes to the archives to draw from.

Teledrome – self-titled I stumbled upon the Canadian record label Mammoth Cave quite by accident as I was searching for an original pressing of Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet’s Saavy Show Stoppers LP (“Having an Average Weekend” is the theme music to the 80’s and 90’s sketch comedy show Kids in the Hall) only to find that Mammoth Cave reissued it! Back in March the label sent out a link for a free download of Teledrome’s debut album (EP?) and I was hooked! Brooding android pop drawing from the dawn of synth pop sounding like Gary Numan or Ultravox. I’ve heard it compared to Ariel Pink as well. 10 track, 20 minutes. The vinyl is a 45 RPM 12″ and I’ll probably wear the shit out of it. Amazing record I can listen to over and over again.

Ryan Adams – self titled Lots has been written about the return of Ryan Adams– the short version is he’s addressed his health issues, gotten clean, opened his own recording studio, taken control of the business side of his art and is re-energized to work and has released an album that draws from his stated influences of 80’s rock. The album draws from the big guitar sounds of the 80’s and sounds a lot like an album that could have come out at that time– the lead single “Gimme Something Good” could just as easily have been on a Bryan Adams album (many have pointed out the similarities of the album art to Reckless). The whole album beginning to end is a fantastic listen and stands up to repeated listens and is a compliment to Love is Hell, in my opinion, which was one of the first albums I listened to from him. So far, there has only been one formal single from the record, and XM has been playing it in regular rotation. I could see a couple more singles making it in 2015. In the meantime, Ryan is also doing a limited edition monthly 7″ single release of outtakes and studio noodling that has turned out some really great tracks as well.

Springtime Carnivore – self titled I wrote about this release here. Greta Morgan of Gold Motel is back under her new solo moniker Springtime Carnivore. It’s everything I loved about Gold Motel– the sunny harmonies and melodies coupled with a darker wall-of-sound production. Be sure to catch some of the videos she’s put out in support of the record, too. Here’s the article I wrote for Play B-Sides about it.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – Hypnotic Eye Petty decides to return back to a driving guitar sound and delivers the first #1 album of his career. In some regards this album is a reaction to his previous album Mojo. I really liked Mojo, but I think that his audience was turned off by the meandering bluesy sound of it. In my opinion Hypnotic Eye kind of uses Mojo and the Mudcrutch albums as a stylistic launching point. No one can argue with the incredible success Tom and the Heartbreakers have had over four decades. It’s incredible to think that he’s had hit singles in every decade of his career. I can’t think of any other band that has pulled that off for as long. Which isn’t to say he hasn’t had some albums that were, well, kind of lacking, and many of those were in this last decade. The Last DJ, Highway Companion and Echo were not great records. Though, I would put Hypnotic Eye up there with the amazing and underrated She’s The One Soundtrack and Wildflowers— the previous Rick Rubin produced albums from 1996 and 1994. Incidentally, both of these albums are getting reissues.

Greylag – self-titled Portland-based trio’s debut LP on Dead Oceans. Dead Oceans is the label for Califone these days, so that’s how I found out about Greylag. Their album sounds like a perfect melding of Jeff Buckley and Led Zeppelin III— which, now that I write it might seem redundant considering Jeff Buckley always sounded like he was influenced by Led Zeppelin III to me. Another album I can play on repeat and never tire of. I can’t wait to see what this band does going forward.

As I mentioned above, quite a few of my top list are either Iowa or Iowa-Related bands. I wrote reviews for Little Village for all of these albums, and I’ll include the link to that as well:

TWINS – Tomboys on Parade The sophomore release from TWINS finds the band tightening up what was already an impressive review of power pop influences. The word is out and they’re already touring nationally as ambassadors for the really exciting music scene that Iowa has recently. In my Little Village review of Tomboys on Parade I said the album has “sublimely polished nuggets of pop, washed in harmonies and falsettos, packed in backbeat and propelled by galloping guitars and sparkling arpeggios. The album is a damn fine slice of pop pie, and the vinyl version will spend a lot of time on my turntable.

The Sapwoods – Peaks and Valleys Another Cedar Falls band The Sapwoods steps up their game with their second album. In my LV review I said, “a timeless, straightforward and no-nonsense approach to songwriting. Guitar anthems go unapologetically for the melodic hook, carrying lyrics that focus on day-to-day concerns of the human condition.” The Sapwoods have a classic midwestern rock sound that is less like Cheap Trick and more like Wilco.

Kelly Pardekooper – Milk in Sunshine Kelly is the next generation of the Eastern Iowa Country Blues tradition– he says his influences are Bo Ramsey and Greg Brown and on his latest album Milk In Sunshine he incorporates both– Bo plays on the record and Kelly covers both a Ramsey and a Brown song on the vinyl version of the new album. The CD and digital download of the album includes all of the new songs that are Milk in Sunshine proper but also include a collection of “greatest hits”– songs that have been licensed for television. If you haven’t bought any of Kelly’s albums to date, you owe it to yourself to pick this release up. You can read my review of Milk in Sunshine here.

Pieta Brown – Paradise Outlaw Pieta Brown was invited to record at Justin Vernon’s April Base studio in Eau Claire, WI. The resulting album enhances the atmospheric aspects of her work– an organically beautiful record. Here is my review in Little Village of Paradise Outlaw.

Bedroom Shrine – No Déjà Vu I had the opportunity to hear part of Bedroom Shrine‘s debut album on the American Dust EP, and there isn’t a better way to describe this record than “dusty.” In my review in Little Village, I said, “a window obscuring its songs with a sooty lo-fi patina. At times, the fluttery tape hiss that drags in the middle of the albums’ tracks add to No Déjà Vu’s complex palette of tone and sound.”

Jack Lion – JAC EP Another record I can listen to any time– it’s a great immersive headphones record for me– jazzy trumpet, bass and drums fused with electronics. Kind of like if Miles Davis met up with Four Tet. The band admits that one of its influences is the Norwegian band Jaga Jazzist, with which it shares some similarities. Here is my review for Little Village for the JAC EP.

Lake Street Dive – Bad Self Portraits – 2014 was the year where Lake Street Dive broke onto national awareness starting with an appearance on The Colbert Report and their update on classic R&B. The connection to Iowa is through LSD’s upright bass player Bridget Kearney, but really they are a Boston band. Here is my review of Bad Self Portraits.

Surf Zombies – It’s a… THING! Local guitar legend Brook Hoover released the fourth album from his instrumental surf band Surf Zombies and his 2nd album with members of The Wheelers and The Blendours helping out. As a long-time fan of instrumental and surf rock I look forward to new releases from Surf Zombies! Word on the street is that they’re about ready to release a new album in 2015! Here’s my review of It’s a… THING! for Little Village Magazine.

 

B-Sides in the Bins #57 – Record Collector, Iowa City 8-13-11 : An Explosion of 90’s Rock!

I made a quick run to Iowa City last week– mostly with the intention of picking up the August issue of Little Village Magazine so I could have a hard copy of the review I wrote for it (Rockygrass band Finnders & Youngberg’s new album FY5). While I was there, I stopped into the Record Collector to see if there was anything worth picking up. Of course, there was. One great aspect about the Record Collector is that they have a pretty extensive used vinyl section that has a lot of 90’s college rock in it! Like a lot of collectors, I seem to be spending a lot of collecting time rebuying things I bought back in high school and college– I’m building an R.E.M. collection for example, and finding obscure releases like Love Tractor. I came away with some really great nostalgia releases on this trip:

Angry Samoans – Yesterday Started Tomorrow (EP, PVC Records, PVC 6915, 1986)($20) I kind of spent a lot on this particular release. Anyone who hung out with me in high school got to hear this EP a lot. Back then, the only way I was exposed to most new music was through KUNI the closest public radio station (now part of Iowa Public Radio), and I would wait anxiously for Night Music to start. In fact, I used to tape it so that I could listen to it the next day in hopes of finding some new gems. One early find was the Angry Samoans through their great song “It’s Raining Today.” Though I didn’t know it at the time, The Angry Samoans were contemporaries of seminal LA punk bands like X, The Circle Jerks and Black Flag, which I became aware of through late-night showings of “Urgh! A Music War” and “The Decline of Western Civilization.” Though, Yesterday Started Tomorrow was a departure in sound for the band– choosing to embrace its love of 60’s garage rock. A great record that still holds up today.

Love Tractor – Themes From Venus (LP, DB Recs, DB92, 1988)($5.00) An obscure band– likely only known from people who lived in Georgia at the time or people who saw the documentary Athens, GA Inside/Out. A band I’m always keeping an eye out for. I’ve managed to pick up three LP’s of their vinyl career thus far. Themes From Venus was a return to their original label home DB Recs after a one-record stint at minor-major label Big Time Records which had distribution by BMG and RCA in the US with their album This Ain’t to Outerspace Ship and it’s single– a cover of  “Party Train” (almost the precursor to “Love Shack” by the B-52’s!) Love Tractor started as a band that only occasionally had vocals, but over time that changed. Maybe they learned how to sing and play their instruments? Here is “Venus” from Themes From Venus.

The dB’s – The Sound of Music (LP, IRS Records, IRS-42055, 1987)($7.00) I became familiar with The dB’s when they opened for R.E.M. on the Document tour in Davenport at Palmer Auditorium. Though The dB’s are known for the writing partnership of Peter Holsapple and Chris Stamey– much in the tradition of Chris Bell and Alex Chilton of Big Star or Chris Difford and Glenn Tillbrook of Squeeze– The Sound of Music was post Stamey’s departure from the band. Holsapple tried to carry the mantle of The dB’s for two more albums before they gave it up. The album is a blend of jangly Byrdsian guitar power pop with country influence like a lot of bands at the time — we call it Americana I suppose these days, but back then it was just rock. I always loved “Never Say When.” These days both Stamey and Holsapple have solo careers and release the occasional album together.

Tom Petty – Full Moon Fever (LP, MCA Records, MCA-6253, 1989)($7.00) Firstly, big props to Record Collector for pricing this record very reasonably. Recently, I was visiting one of my other favorite record shops and they were asking $40 for a copy of this record– not nearly in this nice of shape either! The justification by the kid behind the counter who did the pricing at that store was that there are copies of this on eBay going for $40. Sadly, they will probably get that price for it from someone who isn’t willing to do a bit of searching. As it is, I’ve seen nice copies on discogs.com for less than $20. Plus, it is just a matter of time before the big remastering project that is well underway for Petty’s catalog will eventually hit this record and create a completely new 180g version with bonus tracks. Anyway, what is there really to say about this record that hasn’t been said– HUGELY successful release from Petty during the period when Jeff Lynne of ELO had infiltrated a bunch of camps with his production: The Traveling Wilburys, George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, Roy Orbison. So, you end up with these guys all hanging out and working on each other’s records as well as collaborating on the Traveling Wilburys. If you see Petty in concert these days, he seems to do more songs from this album than almost any other in his catalog. All the big hits: “Running Down A Dream,” “Yer So Bad,” “Free Fallin’,” “I Won’t Back Down.”

Ultra Vivid Scene – Joy 1967-1990 (LP, 4AD/Columbia C4 6227, 1990)($8.00) This was one of those “holy shit!” moments flipping through the bins. One of my very favorite albums coming from the astonishingly fertile 4AD camp in the early 90’s. The Pixies blasted the doors open and bands like UVS, The Cocteau Twins, The Breeders and Lush found themselves with major label deals in the US. UVS is pretty much the project of Kurt Ralske. He had three albums as UVS before moving on to other things. These days he seems focused on graphic arts. This album was the breakthrough for him and largely due to the single “Special One” which featured prominently Kim Deal from the Pixies, as did the video for it which got some MTV rotation. Kurt was a lucky, lucky man in 1990.

Stuff I put back: Camper Van Chadbourne, plus a reissue of Blind Joe Death by John Fahey on Takoma– apparently a recent reissue.

It’s Time to Play B-Sides Top 20 Albums of 2010

Welcome to the first Top List for It’s Time to Play B-Sides. I’ve considered doing one of these lists every year since 2006, but never before have I had a year filled with as many really great albums that have compelled me to compile a year-end list. 2010 has been a pretty busy year for me as far as music has been concerned. Some fantastic concerts and events and some really interesting local (Eastern Iowa) releases have come out. This list represents releases that spent the most time on my playlist– in some cases I have had direct working relationships with the bands and that certainly was a factor in their appearance in the list, but nothing appears on this list that I didn’t feel very strongly about and in almost every case these were releases I was recommending to others either verbally or in print whether it was here at Play B-Sides or at Radio Free Chicago, or The Little Village.

One thing I’d like to point out is the number of strong releases from Iowa artists this year– this list doesn’t include a comprehensive list of Iowa releases, but I’m proud to include some music from my back yard.

This list is roughly in order of rank– rather than reverse order, I’m listing top to bottom. Truthfully, though narrowing this list to 20 was a tough act, and I left some albums off that I really enjoyed, but these are the albums that I think really struck me this year.

1. Tired Pony – The Place We Ran From –  No album this year has moved me as much as this one has. Brilliant work by Peter Buck and Gary Lightbody who are the core members of Tired Pony. Sounds the way I hope the new R.E.M. album will. “Dead American Writers” is easily one of my favorite songs from this year as well (even if it has a confoundingly bland video). Here is my review at Radio Free Chicago on The Place We Ran From.

2. Hiss Golden Messenger – Bad Debt – MC Taylor released what is the second album for Hiss Golden Messenger this year. Titled Bad Debt, it is a collection of “spirituals” in as much as it deals with the matters of faith. It was recorded during the dead of last winter in his kitchen to a cassette recorder– just Taylor and his acoustic. The results are a stark and chilling introspection and really one of my favorite albums this year. The simple approach of this recording lays bare the amazing singer and songwriter that Taylor is. Here is my article on Bad Debt.

3. Death Ships – Maybe Arkansas EP – Although I’m convinced that Dan Maloney– constant frontman for former Iowa City band Death Ships— doesn’t like the songs on this EP based on the fact that he didn’t play any of them the last two times I saw him perform live at The Mill– this is still one of the strongest releases from this year. It’s a little unfair to call this a 2010 release for a number of reasons– first the songs were recorded some time back in 2006, I think and have kind of lingered in Dan’s archives until last year when he was planning to release an EP of them. The EP was finally released this year. To be fair, I guess Dan has moved on to writing songs for the followup to his last full album, so I’m sure he’s less excited about these songs than the prospect of newer songs. Still, this is a fantastic collection of songs and it would be a shame to let these songs die without people hearing them, in my opinion. Read my review of Maybe Arkansas.

4. Arcade Fire – The Suburbs – I’ll come right out and say it– I was not really a fan of Arcade Fire’s first album Funeral. I have friends who really loved it, but it didn’t really move me. Neon Bible was interesting to me mostly because Calexico covered “Ocean of Noise” on an import 7″ and I really liked “Keep the Car Running.” When the buzz started around The Suburbs, I wasn’t sure what to expect. The first “leaked” track was “Month of May” which showed a distinctive change in sound for the band, but I was still skeptical. In what proved to be a genius move by the band and the label, they made the album $3.99 at amazon.com the day of release– so I downloaded it. It quickly took over my playlist and even today, I’ll listen to this album a couple of times a week. Significant holding power for me. On my short list for acquiring on vinyl.

5. Gayngs – Relayted – This is an example of an astonishingly great album that came out of leftfield. Almost any blogger whose opinion I value ranks this as one of the best releases of this year. Smooth, sexy 80’s influenced pop with electronic twiddling interludes by a supergroup of bands from Minneapolis and Eau Claire, WI. The honest-to-goodness legacy to the original Minneapolis sound started by Prince and his minions years ago. Here is an article I wrote about the release.

6. The Right Now – Carry Me Home – A bit of a disclaimer first– I’m the executive producer on the vinyl pressing of Carry Me Home by Chicago R&B band The Right Now, which came out in September. While this might disqualify me from being an unbiased perspective on the album, the fact of the matter is that I loved Carry Me Home from the first time I heard it on CD when it came out in March. I guess, much as Victor Kiam liked Remington razors so much he bought the company, I guess I liked the CD so much I invested in the vinyl! The Right Now is part of a what appears to be a pretty substantial revival in R&B music right now, but in my mind provides a unique spin on the genre in that it draws as much influence from the classic Motown, Stax and Bell sides as it does from more contemporary R&B and funk. In fact, the band might have more in common with The Roots than it does with Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings even though all three bands could be considered to fit in this space. A great record from beginning to end and the band’s live shows are not to be missed. The band is planning to hit the studio in 2011 to start recording the follow up and the songs I’ve heard so far are great as well. Here is an article by the band about the vinyl…

7. Backyard Tire Fire – Good To Be – I loved BTF’s last album and their live shows are high-energy straightforward blues-leaning rock. Good To Be marked the move to a new record label for BTF and Ed Anderson’s blue-collar sensibilities and humor (and production by Steve Berlin of Los Lobos) makes for a great and rocking album from beginning to end. Here’s an article I wrote about the album.

8. Pezzettino – LubDub – Brooklyn-via-Milwaukee singer-songwriter and Accordion Girl Wonder Margaret Stutt, who performs as Pezzettino released her third album LubDub this year which was co-produced and created with Milwaukee HipHop producer Jerry Gruvis aka LMNtlyst. Much as her music and art influences before her, Pezzettino draws inspiration from her own life and each of her albums to date have been autobiographical in nature and LubDub is no different. Although we don’t know who the romantic suitors were in songs like “Cold Hard Chick,” “You and Your Headaches,” and “Only One” we know that they may have been star-crossed. The album, taken in whole, can be seen as a progression of sorts in one woman’s journey in love and loss of it. The album started as a tentative collaboration between Stutt and Gruvis who met at a show in Milwaukee last year. As the songs came together it became apparent that this was to be her follow on to Lion. The album is fun, funky and has a sense of humor along with the pain. LubDub was done as a Kickstarter-funded project to wild success which yielded a wonderful CD+vinyl package with the record itself a brilliant transparent yellow. Here is my article about LubDub.

9. Pieta Brown – One and All – The news of Pieta Brown moving to Red House Records was one that I felt was going to be the beginning of a fruitful relationship. Her one foray into major label land was 2007’s Remember the Sun on One Little Indian Records that ended after one release. None worse for the wear, she packed up her guitar and moved home– home being the record label her father Greg Brown was very instrumental in forming in 1983 and continues to be his label today. One and All is Pieta’s seventh release of her very distinctive lazy soprano floating on the Eastern Iowa sound started largely by constant partner Bo Ramsey– but it seems to me like she’s just getting started– maybe it feels like that to her, too. One and All just came out on 180g vinyl, too! Here is my review of One and All.

10. Cheyenne Marie Mize – Before Lately – Postitively lovely, ethereal album from Ms. Mize who is known for her collaboration EP with Bonnie Prince Billy which was her previous release. This album is stripped down to a minimalistic endeavor drawing to focus her longing vocals. Every time I listen to this album I crush on it all over again. She helpfully puts the entire record up on Bandcamp so you can listen to the whole thing. Check out her wonderful Daytrotter session, too. There needs to be vinyl of this release. Here is my article on Cheyenne Mize.

11. Gold Motel – Summer House – I had not heard of Gold Motel until they made an appearance at the August Codfish Hollow show. Chicago-based band has roots in lead singer Greta Morgan’s previous band The Hush Sound. The album is sunshine on CD– 60’s girl bands meets Debbie Harry. I meant to write a review about this album following the afterglow of this show but didn’t manage to– so, here is a review for Mezzic.com by Indie-Rock’s biggest fan, Ms. Amber Valentine.

12. John Legend and the Roots – Wake Up! – I’ve always respected John Legend although I wasn’t really a fan. The prospects of an album with his Philly brethren The Roots seemed like it could be magic. It was. I hope that this is not the last we’ll hear from this pairing. The 2 LP version of this album is the way it is supposed to be enjoyed.

13. Katharine Ruestow – self-titled EPKatharine Ruestow ends up on my list twice– she’s also part of The Diplomats of Solid sound. This is her first solo effort– a collaboration with Matt Grundstad of Euforquestra. Jazzy, almost Trip Hop sounding pop. Totally worth your digital-download dollar. Click Here to read the review I wrote for Little Village Magazine.

14. The Wandering Bears – self-titled EP – This album came crashing onto my Top List in the last couple of weeks. I was doing research for my review of the Pieta Brown “This Land is Your Music” show. The opening act was a trio from Iowa City known as The Vagabonds. Two of the Vagabonds are also in The Wandering Bears which released an EP earlier this year that really took me by surprise! The sound comes off as a combination of maybe Rilo Kiley and Throwing Muses. Free download, so just go get it.

15. Beth Bombara – Wish I Were You – Around the same time that Pezzettino kicked off her Kickstarter campaign for LubDub, St. Louis musician Beth Bombara kicked off one for Wish I Were You. In fact, before I ever heard any songs for this album I offered up a video of me talking about why I love vinyl to help promote her campaign. I found out about Beth through Arial Hyatt’s publicity website– back when there were fewer artists on it and the odds of finding very talented artists was much greater (my opinion). Her CD Robotic Foundation, was a mainstay in my listening rotation for over a year. Robotic Foundation was an edgy indie rock. Wish I Were You has its edgy moments- particular “Lately”, but the album seems to explore a few different styles drifting between blues, folk and country.  I love the album ending track “Don’t You Know” with it’s strings, banjo and harmony. Beth seemingly is part of like 16 bands in St. Louis, but she really shines as a solo artist here. Click Here to read my article about Beth.

16. Wolfgang Schaefer – self-titled EPWolfgang Schaefer is a relatively new musician on the scene and this is his first release. I met him during the tour this fall where he opened up for Pezzettino and both of them shared his very talented brother Ben on percussion and electronic wizardry. Margaret had been praising Wolfgang’s music, but I foolishly hadn’t followed up on it. Then I saw him perform live and was very impressed with his command of an audience. His music is VERY dynamic, so it’s a trick to keep your typical bar crowd in sway. Finger-picked acoustic guitars propel his hoarse vocals delivering pained recounts of love and loss. My friend Amber wrote a really great review of this EP.

17. The Diplomats of Solid Sound – What Goes Around Comes Around – The Diplomats are back with their second release on Italian soul label Record Kicks. Like last time, the Diplomats are fronted by the female vocals of the Diplomettes who have by name apparently been absorbed into the band since they are not singled out in credit. Name detail aside, the band came back with a really strong release filled with the sounds influenced by the 60’s R&B bands. I feel like the band has grown a bit in their songwriting with this release, too. Read my review at Little Village.

18. Drive By Truckers – The Big To Do – Love this album front to back– great party music with typical tongue-in-cheek lyricism from Patterson Hood and Co. It’s cool to see this band blowing up a bit. I finally got to see them live this year when they opened for Tom Petty in Chicago. “The Fourth Night of My Drinking,” “Birthday Boy,” “Drag the Lake Charlie,” “This F*cking Job,” and “After the Scene Dies” are all instant classics for me. I never got around to writing anything about this release, although I listened to this album a lot in 2010. Here is the fantastic Daytrotter session for Drive By Truckers.

19. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – Mojo – This might be some of my “old guy” coming out a bit. I have been a constant fan of Tom Petty since the 80’s. That said, his last two efforts– The Last DJ and Highway Companion (one a Heartbreakers release and one a solo release) were not as strong or consistent as some of his previous efforts in my opinion. When I started hearing the tracks that “leaked” via videos on line, Saturday Night Live appearances and his XM radio show “Buried Treasures” really started the interest in this release early. Petty stated that for this album they went to the studio loose and welcomed a more jamming approach and this, I feel, really makes for one of the most consistent albums from Petty in a long time. For an artist that could reasonably rest on his back catalog, it is great to see that he’s trying to push the creative envelope.

20. The Budos Band – III – Any release from Daptone Records is worthy of note, but I really love the Afro-Rhythms guitars and Farfisa organ of The Budos Band. The band said that they went into the studio trying to break new ground for the band by braving psychedelic rock and ended up recording an album that sounding like a Budos Band album. After four releases, I feel like this album really shows the band in its element and this album is darker, I feel than the previous releases. Some recent tweets from the band had them soliciting ideas for a new album of psychedelic rock covers for them to tackle which should be interesting. Here is an article I wrote about the album.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Get Their ‘Mojo’ Workin’

The title of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers first collaborative effort in nine years is appropriately-enough Mojo which releases on June 15th. If it seems like we’ve heard from Tom in the last nine years, it is because he had a solo release as well as a “side project.” The “concept album” and last studio release with the Heartbreakers The Last DJ was released in 2002. Highway Companion came out in 2006, and he had a reunion of sorts of his pre-Heartbreakers band Mudcrutch in 2008. It’s important to note, however, that except for the Mudcrutch shows, he tours pretty much exclusively with the Heartbreakers anyway, so even though those releases were considered non-Heartbreakers releases, he never toured with a different band that I know of.

But, it is the Mudcrutch project where Mojo gets its groove-happy roots. Tom was quoted on rollingstone.com, “I knew there was something in the band that hadn’t been brought out. I was listening to early Jeff Beck Group, Peter Green, Muddy Waters and even a little JJ Cale– so that’s kind of the way I was thinking when I was writing.” According to an article in Billboard last week, the album was recorded live in the studio in a similar fashion to the Mudcrutch sessions which add to the immediacy of the tracks I’ve heard so far.

In a pretty smart fashion, the Tom Petty camp has been sneaking out tracks starting with “Good Enough” since the announcement of the album and supporting tour in February. For members of the Highway Companions fanclub who purchased presale tickets for the upcoming tour, they were given free downloads of “Good Enough” and “First Flash of Freedom” (you can listen to it below).

Additionally, Tom previewed Mojo tracks on his XM Radio show “Buried Treasure.” In addition to “First Flash of Freedom” which was played on April 22nd, he also shared the road story track “The Trip to Pirate’s Cove” on April 15th, and “Running Man’s Bible” on April 8th. If you have XM Radio you could hear these songs, and if you are a member of the Highway Companions fanclub, you can stream these shows. If you participated in the pre-sale of the tickets you will also be able to get a free download of the complete Mojo album on 6/15 and will also be able to download a 10-track compilation of songs from the upcoming summer tour.

So, four of the 15 tracks have been “leaked” so far and, in interviews conducted since February we found out about two other tracks. Apparently “Don’t Pull Me Over” is actually a song in a Reggae-style, and a first for the band (at least on album), and the song “I Should Have Known It” is one of three tracks co-written with Heartbreaker/Mudcrutch guitarist Mike Campbell. The other two co-written tracks were the nearly-seven-minute (!!) “First Flash of Freedom” and the nearly-six-minute (!!) “Good Enough.”

I’ve had a chance to hear all four tracks and it was a bit shocking for me. Particularly the acid-trippy nearly Grateful Dead-sounding “First Flash of Freedom” which is pretty much the mission statement for Mojo, I think. It’s sprawling disregard for the typical Heartbreakers economy of melody and composition sort of left me a bit disoriented the first couple of times through! It’s particularly satisfying to hear Campbell flex his soloing muscles on “First Flash” and “Good Enough.” It will be really great to hear what the band does with these songs on tour.

It makes me happy that the nearly-sixty-year old Petty is feeling like it isn’t time to rest on his laurels just yet and is interested in shaking things up a bit. That said, it is a change that isn’t 180-degrees away from his regular sound– no Neil Young Trans, here. The chops he’s bringing out come from the same place the Heartbreakers always come– 60’s blues and rock.

Originally, the album was slated to be released in the Spring, assumedly to coincide with the original May 6th start of the tour. On the 16th, it was announced that the release date of the album was June 15th. At the same time, it was announced that the first nine shows would be moved to the end of the tour which extended the tour into October.

tracklisting for Mojo:

1. Jefferson Jericho Blues
2. First Flash Of Freedom
3. Running Man’s Bible
4. The Trip To Pirate’s Cove
5. Candy
6. No Reason To Cry
7. I Should Have Known It
8. U.S. 41
9. Takin’ My Time
10. Let Yourself Go
11. Don’t Pull Me Over
12. Lover’s Touch
13. High In The Morning
14. Something Good Coming
15. Good Enough

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Summer Tour (from Billboard):

June 5: Oakland, Calif. (Oracle Pavilion)*
June 8: Vancouver, BC (GM Place)*
June 11: Seattle, Wash. (The Gorge)*
June 12: Seattle, Wash. (The Gorge)*
June 15: Calgary, Alberta (Pengrowth Saddledome)*
June 16: Edmonton, Alberta (Rexall Place)*
June 19: Winnipeg, Manitoba (MTS Centre)*
June 22: St Paul, Minn. (Xcel Energy Center)**
June 23: Omaha, Neb. (Qwest Center)**
June 25: Milwaukee, Wis. (Summerfest)***
July 10: Indianapolis, Ind. (Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre)**
July 13: Kansas City, Mo. (Sprint Center)**
July 15: Cincinnati, Ohio (Riverbend Music Center)**
July 17: Chicago, Ill. (United Center)**
July 20: Cleveland, Ohio (Blossom Music Center)**
July 22: Detroit, Mich. (Palace of Auburn Hills)**
July 24: Pittsburgh, Pa. (First Niagra Pavilion)**
July 28: New York, N.Y. (Madison Square Garden) $
July 31: Philadelphia, Pa. (Wachovia Center) $
Aug. 1: Philadelphia, Pa. (Wachovia Center) $
Aug. 11: Atlanta, Ga. (Philips Arena)****
Aug. 12: Nashville, Tenn. (Sommet Center)****
Aug. 14: Darien Lake, N.Y. (Darien Lake Performing Arts Center)****
Aug. 15: Bristow, Va. (Jiffy Lube Live)****
Aug. 17: Hartford, Conn. (Comcast Theater)****
Aug. 19: Boston, Mass. (Comcast Center)*****
Aug. 21: Boston, Mass. (Comcast Center)*****
Aug. 24: East Rutherford, N.J. (IZOD Center)*****
Aug. 25: Toronto, Ontario (Air Canada Center)****
Aug. 27: Saratoga Springs, N.Y. (Saratoga Performing Arts Center)****
Sept. 16: Tampa, Fla. (St. Petersburg Times Forum)
Sept. 18: Raleigh, N.C. (Time Warner Cable Pavilion)
Sept. 19: Charlotte, N.C. (Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre)
Sept. 21: Dallas, Texas (Superpages.com Center)
Sept. 24: Houston, Texas (Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion)
Sept. 26: Phoenix, Ariz. (US Airways Arena)
Sept. 28: San Diego, Calif. (Cricket Wireless Pavilion)
Oct. 1: Los Angeles, Calif. (Hollywood Bowl)
Oct. 2: Irvine, Calif. (Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre)

* with Joe Cocker
** with Drive-by Truckers
*** with ZZ Top $ with Buddy Guy
**** with Crosby, Stills & Nash
***** with My Morning Jacket

B-Sides in the Bins #39 – What I Got For Christmas! (12/24 & 12/25)

Stevie Nicks - Crystal Visions 180g 2 LP

2008 was the year of new vinyl for me. Between my 40th birthday and Christmas I ended up with some cool pieces for the collection. Likely, my family is breathing a collective sigh of relief as I think I was a bit difficult to buy for when someone would get my name from the gift exchange drawing. Since I don’t really buy that much new vinyl for myself– I tend to stick to used– pretty much any title that they would like, I would probably like, too. I got a couple of CD’s as well. I keep my Amazon wish list up-to-date which is pretty helpful for gift selection as well.

Jurassic 5 – J5 Deluxe Re-Issue (2 CD, 1 DVD, Decon DCN65, 2008) (gift) My daughter got me this from my Amazon Wish List. I totally forgot about this release, so this was a nice surprise! The J5 Deluxe Re-Issue is a reissue of the first Jurassic 5 album from 1997. The original album was released on Interscope and had apparently been out-of-print since 2004 and held up due to contractural disputes. The original album is here along with a second CD full of hard-to-find and previously unreleased stuff. The DVD has a movie from J5’s first world tour, some concert footage from Brixton Academy and the “Concrete Schoolyard” music video. Nice to get back to this– I stopped listening to J5 after Cut Chemist left and they released Feedback, which was not great. When the hell is 2na going to release his solo joint?

Vince Guaraldi – A Charlie Brown Christmas (3 CD Collector’s Edition Tin, Madacy Entertainment TC2 53161) (gift) This was a stocking-stuffer. A festive metal tin holding two Fantasy CD’s– The 2006 remaster of A Charlie Brown Christmas with the bonus tracks, and Charlie Brown’s Holiday Hits which has some of the songs from Christmas, but has songs from A Boy Named Charlie Brown, the wonderful “Thanksgiving Theme” from the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving special, “Great Pumpkin Waltz” from “It’s The Great Pumpkin,” and others. The third disc is the David Benoit Jazz tribute  40 Years – A Charlie Brown Christmas with some notable assistance from The Rippingtons, Chaka Khan, Dave Koz, Brian McKnight, Toni Braxton and Vanessa Williams. A neat collection in a tin that shares the artwork with the 2006 Christmas release, which used the original 1965 artwork. Unfortunately, the liner notes for Holiday Hits don’t do a good job of explaining where the songs that aren’t from Christmas and A Boy Named Charlie Brown came from. A little digging turned some information up. Special thanks to Vince Guaraldi’s Peanuts Song Library at fivecentsplease.org which is the insanely comprehensive Peanuts site.

Tracklisting for Charlie Brown’s Holiday Hits:

1. Joe Cool (2:03) apparently not the version from “He’s Your Dog Charlie Brown.”
2. Surfin’ Snoopy (1:09) from “A Charlie Brown Christmas” where Snoopy is decorating his doghouse (1965)
3. Heartburn Waltz (2:36) from “Be My Valentine Charlie Brown” (1975)
4. Track Meet (2:37) from ? (this song and the next one don’t seem to be in the TV cue list but seem to have been recorded at the same time.)
5. Camptown Races (2:22) from ?
6. Oh, Good Grief (1:56) actually “Schroeder” with Lee Mendelson’s son Glenn’s sixth-grade class singing.
7. Charlie Brown Theme (4:19) on A Boy Named Charlie Brown, but included in a bunch of the specials.
8. Schroeder (1:50) on A Boy Named Charlie Brown
9. Charlie’s Blues (1:20) from “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” (1973)
10. Great Pumpkin Waltz (2:26) from “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” (1966)
11. Thanksgiving Theme (1:59) from “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” (1973)
12. Linus and Lucy (3:03) from A Charlie Brown Christmas
13. Christmas Time Is Here (vocal) from A Charlie Brown Christmas
14. Christmas Time Is Here (inst.) from A Charlie Brown Christmas

Mudcrutch – Extended Play Live! (12″ EP & CD,  Reprise 516850, 2008) (gift) In a similar fashion to the Mudcrutch LP, this EP came with a “full dynamic range” CD. This means that the CD isn’t suffering from the compression that a lot of releases have today. Mudcrutch was the band that Petty along with Heartbreakers Tom Leadon, Benmont Tench and Mike Campbell were in before Tom formed the Heartbreakers in 1976. Rather than succumb to fans requests for releasing Mudcrutch’s “lost album” Tom brought the band back together and recorded a new album which used some of the original tracks recorded for Shelter records. This live EP is made up of songs recorded over three shows in April and May of 2008. I need to go get the Mudcrutch album, too.

Various artists – Music from the Motion Picture Pulp Fiction (LP, MCA 0008811110314, 1994) (gift) This is the first of the new “Back to Black” pressings I have– at least the first with that identified on it. Looking at the Back to Black website, it would appear that the new Police Live album is a Back to Black as well. 180g vinyl in the original packaging– which doesn’t mean a lot since it wasn’t a gatefold cover or anything exciting like that. I wasn’t aware that this soundtrack had been on vinyl originally. One of my favorite movies and certainly soundtrack with its fun blend of surf tunes and 60’s songs. Mastered by Steve Hau at Future Disc Systems.

Stevie Nicks – Crystal Visions… the Very Best of Stevie Nicks (2 LP, Reprise 100363-2, 2007) (gift) All I can say about this is… “wow!” Everything about this release is an audiophile’s dream: 2 180g LP’s in lined paper sleeves housed in a gatefold with beautiful artwork and very flattering photos of Stevie at various points in her career. In addition, there is a 1-page sheet with the credits that is in the pocket with the first LP which also includes Stevie’s notes on each song! The compilation draws mostly from her very successful solo career, but also has some choice Fleetwood Mac tracks. Again we get “Silver Springs” which was rescued from certain obscurity during the Dance tour and album and has been restored to every pressing of Rumours since. We get a recent live version of “Rhiannon” and the 2005 clubby remix of “Dreams” (which apparently has new vocals). We get a couple of live tracks performed with the Melbourne Symphony including “Landslide” and a nine-minute “Edge of Seventeen.” The album is bookended by two versions of “Seventeen”– it opens with the original album version from Bella Donna, and closes with the live version. Although the live version is longer and involves the symphony, it really isn’t dramatically different than the orignal song since it has drums and electric guitars. Half-Speed Mastered by Stan Ricker, Plating and Pressing at R.T.I.

B-Sides in the Bins #32 – Mad City Music – Madison, WI 9/27/08

The Tortoise show at Snake on the Lake started at 3PM in Madison, but Erik, Shawn and I weren’t interested in all of the opening acts, so we decided to hit a record store before meeting up with Tom, our taper friend. We stopped at Mad City Music which I’ve been to a couple of times. The first time Erik and I went there it was for a small Camper Van Beethoven in-store which was really cool.

This was a pretty fruitful trip in that I picked up some amazingly pristine copies of Tom Petty albums. Like freakishly mint, really. No ringwear or sleeve wear of any sort. They looked like they just shipped from the plant and were taken out of the cellophane! In addition to the four records, I bought plastic sleeves for them.

Tom Petty is one of my long-time favorite artists. Of course, this means that I need to keep an eye out for other Tom Petty vinyl… Two of the records were upgrades. I gave the replaced copies to Erik.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – Damn the Torpedoes (LP, MCA 5105, 1979)($3.00) The third album. First Top-40 record for the band, includes “Refugee” and “Don’t Do Me Like That.”

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – Hard Promises (LP, Backstreet BSR 5160, 1981)($3.00) This was an upgrade for me. First record to hit Top-10 for Petty.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – Long After Dark (LP, Backstreet BSR 5360, 1982)($3.00) First record with the late Howie Epstein on bass. The record was an attempt to repeat the formula of success by using Jimmy Iovine as producer. Sadly, it would not pan out. “You Got Lucky” was an MTV favorite, though.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – Southern Accents (LP, MCA 5486, 1985)($4.00) Another upgrade for me. Rae got me my first copy for my birthday in 2006– that one was a corner-cut cutout record. The vinyl was immaculate, though. This was really the record that started my interest in Tom Petty, and probably the song “Rebel.” I started listening to this about the same time I got into the Del Fuegos, which would make sense. Lots of radio and video airplay for this one– “Rebel” and “Don’t Come Round Here No More.” Three songs were co-written with Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics.

What I didn’t buy: Carried to Dust by Calexico on used CD (I got this one on vinyl through Amazon), and two Dumptruck albums For the Country, and Positively Dumptruck on vinyl, and a Love Tractor LP on DBRecs. Jethro Tull’s Crest of a Knave (the album they won a Grammy in 1989 for Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance against Metallica!). If I get back to Mad City and the Dumptruck records are there, I will buy them. Based on the price stickers they’ve been there for a couple of years.

Related Posts with Thumbnails