(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) Pieta Brown Releases 180g Vinyl Version of “One and All” 11/29/2010

Just ahead of the shopping holidays, Red House Records and Pieta Brown have announced a 180g vinyl version of her latest album One and All which was released on April 6th this year on CD. As I’ve pointed out earlier, this album and the previous EP Shimmer marks a sort of coming home for Pieta as Red House was the original label started with Greg Brown, and is also where The Pines have been for the last two albums.

Based on the conversation I had with the gentleman taking phone orders at Red House, this marks the first vinyl put out by Red House since the early 90’s to the best of his recollection. He said that Red House had licensed a recording for vinyl recently, but this is the first that Red House has done under its imprint.

For this foray back into vinyl, I think Red House is getting the release right– pick a relatively high-profile artist like Pieta Brown, issue it on audiophile-appeasing 180g vinyl, and they are offering new packaging for the release. This cover seems to be based on the poster I got with the CD release back in April which I think is pretty striking. I think the label is testing the vinyl waters a bit, the gentleman I talked to on the phone hinted at a Pines release possibility as well!

One and All 180g vinyl is available for pre-order right now through Red House for $23 (plus shipping).

Click Here to read my review of One and All.

Click The Red House Logo to Order:
Red House Records Online Store

Click Here for Pieta Brown’s official web site

Click Here for Pieta Brown’s Facebook Fan Page

Neil Young 180g Vinyl “Official Release Series” Box of First Four Albums; Speculation On The Next Box

With the eventual release of the Neil Young Archives Volume One  this year which spanned the years 1963 to 1972, that meant that it was time for Warner’s to work on the remasters of Neil’s releases on vinyl. Most of his popular (sold lots of) back catalog and all of his recent releases have been in print in vinyl for a number of years, but with the work done to release the Archives releases it was time to revisit the vinyl.

On December 1st, a limited edition (3000 worldwide) box set of 180g LP’s entitled Neil Young Official Release Series Discs 1-4 will be released and is a remastering of the first four solo Neil Young albums: Neil Young from January 1969, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere from May 1969, After the Gold Rush from August 1970, and Harvest from February 1972. These four albums are from the same period of time represented by the Archives Volume One.

The records were mastered by Chris Bellman at Bernie Grundman Mastering (source) and pressed by Furnace MFG by their German partner Pallas Group (source) on 180g vinyl. Furnace MFG handled the packaging of the LPs and the box, lovingly recreating the cover art and gold-foil-stamping the serial number on each. In the case of the Harvest LP, they located the last manufacturer in the US that can still make hand-glued gatefold covers to carefully reproduce the original cover. According to the press release, “once the box sets are gone, this limited edition configuration will no longer be available,” which I would take to mean that there will be individual 180g pressings of these releases available. Confusingly, a couple of online retailers seem to be touting that they have the individual 180g LP’s for sale, but I’m also seeing a “standard” vinyl release, which seems to be a 140g pressing, which is confirmed by the Musicangle.com article referenced above.

In keeping with the  perpetual delay of the original Archives series, we’ve already experienced one delay with the vinyl box– the original release was going to be 11/24, however there was an e-mail sent out by Warner Brothers late last week that said the new ship/release would be 12/1. Not a big deal, but with all of the press given to the delays surrounding the Archives, this announcement seems ominous– hopefully for no reason.

In any event, this is a respectible effort on the part of Warner/Reprise and really appealing to vinyl collectors. Clearly, Neil Young’s catalog is an important one, and these four albums are landmark releases for him establishing him as one of the great songwriters of our time. At $149.98 plus shipping it is a significant investment. If you break down the 180g individual releases– all of the records are around $22 except for Harvest, which is $34– the box set adds a $50 premium on top.

The Archives Volume 2 is reputed to be released in 2010 and should represent the second decade (1973-1982) if they stay with the established pattern. Interestingly, this would mean that the subsequent box would be a real lunker at ten LPs if he chooses to keep Time Fades Away unreleased. I would suspect that he will leave it unreleased based on the first Archives. There was a soundtrack associated with the 1972 film Journey Through The Past which he opted not to reissue, which isn’t a huge loss. The film exists as a disc in the Archives, however. This is further substantiated by the fact that Time Fades Away was remastered with HDCD in 1995 according to the Wikipedia article, and was subsequently shelved.

The recorded output represented by Archives Volume 2, then would be On the Beach (1974), Tonight’s The Night (1975), Zuma (1975), American Stars n Bars (1977), Comes A Time (1978), Rust Never Sleeps (1979), Live Rust (1979), Hawks & Doves (1980), Reactor (1981), and finally Trans (1982). Trans will be the first appearance of Neil’s controversial Geffen years. I’m not sure if any of these releases were gatefold, so I’d estimate this box to cost over $220. Live Rust was two LP’s so it will likely cost more than the other releases.

Likely, though, the sheer weight of a 10-180g-LP box would prevent one monolithic box and will probably come out as two 5-LP boxes. This is possible since the contents of the current box is designated simply by “Discs 1-4,” so there could be an Official Release Series Discs 5-9 and Official Release Series Discs 10-14.

Click Here to order the Neil Young Official Release Series Discs 1-4 from BecauseSoundMatters.com

Tortoise Announce Fall Dates in Support of Beacons of Ancestorship

Tortoise’s Beacons of Ancestorship— their sixth official studio album– arrives in stores and online on Tuesday, June 23rd.  The release was available online for pre-order as CD, LP and mp3 and a special set of packages of the CD and LP release that included a folded poster of Beacons and a very limited brass belt buckle with the “TRTS” logo with the eye that was used on the hoodies. Apparently the buckles were only available to the first 75 preorders. The LP’s– which are 180g virgin vinyl which was mastered by Ray Janos at Stirling Sound— are sold out online, but thre should be copies available at your favorite indie record stores. It sounds like there will be a future re-repressing, too. At this moment there are still some CD+buckle packages left on the site.  See the “artist’s rendering” below. I’m going to need to run to WalMart and get a belt with the snaps so I can rock this thing!

The Tortoise touring machine is getting ready to jam econo in support of the new album. They’ve been playing some sporadic shows already and are hitting some festivals, but the fall tour is already starting to shape up with some Midwestern dates starting in September and October.

Notably (for me anyway) Iowa is getting its first tour date in a very long time. The show is going to take place at the very cool Voices Warehouse Gallery in Dubuque, IA. It has a similar artsy space feel as CSPS in Cedar Rapids.  I saw Bo Ramsey there in October of 2006. I called Tim McNamara who handles setting the shows up and there will be more information coming soon about tickets and the possibility of other opening acts. 10/3 ends up being the end of the season for the gallery and last year they had a number of acts playing. I’ll post an upcoming show article when I get more details.

Tortoise Tour Dates:
Sat. July 11 — Los Angeles, CA @ Troubadour
Mon. July 13 — San Francisco, CA @ Great American Music Hall
Wed. July 15 — Austin, TX @ The Mohawk
Fri. July 17 — Chicago, IL @ Pitchfork Music Festival
Sun. July 19 — Washington, DC @ Black Cat
Mon. July 20 — Philadelphia, PA @ Sanctuary at First Unitarian Church
Tue. July 21 — New York, NY @ Le Poisson Rouge
Fri. July 24 — Tokyo, Japan @ Fuji Rock Festival
Fri. Aug. 14 — St. Malo, France @ La Route Du Rock
Sat. Aug. 22 — Hasselt, Belgium @ Pukkelpop
Tue. Sep. 29 — St. Louis, MO @ Firebird
Wed. Sep. 30 — Kansas City, MO @ Beaumont Club
Thu. Oct. 1 — Omaha, NE @ Waiting Room
Fri. Oct. 2 — Minneapolis, MN @ Cedar Cultural Center
Sat. Oct. 3 — Dubuque, IA @ Voices Warehouse Gallery

Other articles at playbsides.com about Tortoise

B-Sides in the Bins #37 – Cedar Rapids Best Buy 11/11/08

The Police - Certifiable Vinyl

The Police – Certifiable : Live in Buenos Aires (3 LP, Cherrytree/A&M Records B0011945-01, 2008) ($24.99) You’d think with all of the time that I spend reading about music, things like this wouldn’t take me by surprise. Thank goodness for the Sunday BestBuy flier which informed me that today there would be an exclusive Police Live CD/DVD of their live concert from Buenos Aires called Certifiable. The Police played there two nights, December 1 & 2, 2007. I can’t find anything that tells me which “especially hot night” (quote from the press release) it was. There would be a limited 180g 3 LP version of this album. Well, sort of limited, the flier said “a minimum of three per store” and according to this Wikipedia article, there are 962 stores. When I called this morning, Cedar Rapids had five copies. When I got there a guy was there with a copy under his arm chatting with an employee about digging his turntable out for the first time in ten years recently and listening to Quadrophenia by the Who. The records weren’t on the shelves, so I had to ask this employee where the records were. He had to go to the warehouse to get it. This guy wanted to pull on my ear for a bit about how excited he was to listen to vinyl again after all these years.

The three records are in a massive gatefold with a collage of photos from the tour. In addition to the records, there is a single sheet with another collage of photos and a code for an mp3 download. The resulting download are 256Kbps mp3’s which is acceptible. The mp3’s are handled by same folks who do the downloads for the new Beck and the new Ryan Adams.

Click Here for the Police Certifiable Page

Click Here for the Best Buy Exclusive Certifiable Page

B-Sides in the Bins #34 – Highway to Hell : Retail Confusion With AC/DC Black Ice Vinyl

My family has been fans of AC/DC since Dad brought Back in Black home in 1980. At the time we had a black GMC Suburban with red cloth interior and Dad wanted to put vanity license plates on it that said “BAKNBLK.” This Suburban would be traded on another one later and its next owner was appropriately enough a funeral home! When Dad brought Back in Black home, I initially didn’t like it– I was more into The Moody Blues and The Beatles, I guess. During my Honda Express-riding Jr. High years I gained the appreciation for all-things metal, and that included AC/DC. John, who was born 1976, pretty much grew up with AC/DC. As a result he has been an AC/DC fan for most of his music-appreciating years. John’s vanity plate he’s been moving from vehicle to vehicle since his first car is “HWY2HEL.” Or, “Highway to a ‘Bad Word'” according to his daughter!

When I heard that there would be a vinyl pressing of the new AC/DC Black Ice album that would be available to Independent record retailers, I knew that this would be a cool gift for him for his birthday. In the past I bought him the 180g version of Back in Black (I got it at Hot Topic of all places!), as well as an Australian version of High Voltage on vinyl that had some different tracks on it.

I figured– incorrectly as it turns out– that because of the Wal-Mart exclusive nature of the CD version of Black Ice, that there would be decent availability of the 180g vinyl pressing at other record stores since the only way a retailer that wasn’t Wal-Mart could have the biggest new releases on a major label would be by stocking the vinyl. Trying to track this down in Eastern Iowa turned out to be a comedy of errors!

The first place I called was what I considered to be my mainstay record store– The Record Collector in Iowa City.

“Record Collector.” the young girl on the phone answered.

“Do you have the new AC/DC album Black Ice on vinyl?” I asked, trying to be as specific as possible.

“The new AC/DC album is only available at Wal-Mart” she answered in an obviously-rehearsed tone.

“Yes, that’s right. The new AC/DC on CD is available at Wal-Mart, but the vinyl pressing is available at Independent record stores.”

She conferred with someone else off the phone about it, “Uh, we won’t be carrying that. We only sell used vinyl.”

This was pretty confusing to me since I have seen and purchased new vinyl there in the past. In fact, I was looking at some very cool Sundazed repressings of Skip Spencer’s “Oar” solo LP. I wondered if I should call back when the owner Kirk might be working.

I got a sinking feeling. I wasn’t sure how I was going to be able to buy this in time for when I’d see John if I had to order it on-line and it was less than a week before I’d see him. The other local options for new vinyl had dried up over the last couple of years. I remembered hearing that Real! Compact Discs and Records was back in business. I had been a frequent shopper there during the late 80’s but hadn’t shopped there since I moved back to Iowa in 1997. In fact, I think it might have been out of business for a while. I noticed that Bo Ramsey thanked Real! in the liner notes to Fragile, so I figured they must be in business. A quick google turned up the phone number…

“Real Records” the man on the phone answered.

“Do you sell new vinyl?” I asked hopefully.

“Yep. that’s why we are called ‘Real Records'” he cracked.

I was trying to ascertain if they had new records, not just used, but whatever.

“Do you have the new AC/DC Black Ice vinyl?”

“Wal-Mart is the only place that carries the new AC/DC.”

“Well, that’s true– Wal-Mart has the new AC/DC CD, but there is a vinyl pressing that indie record stores can carry.”

He checked his distribution lists, and said “Oh, yeah, we might be getting that next week.”

“Well, I was hoping to pick it up this week as a birthday gift, thanks anyway. By the way, what’s the deal with the Record Collector? I called there and they said they don’t sell new vinyl. I’m pretty sure I’d seen new vinyl there in the past.”

“I don’t know. I’ve been hearing from other people that they haven’t been able to find anything there.”

“Well, that’s too bad. It’s been one of my favorite record stores forever. By the way, will you be getting the Ryan Adams vinyl for Cardinology?”

He checked his lists again, “yes, it looks like we will be getting that next Tuesday. It seems to have pushed back a week.”


So, at least it looks like I should be visiting Real! some time in the future.

The next place I called was BestBuy. I’d seen vinyl there recently– notably the new Coldplay Viva La Vida. It seemed to me that if there was a big-box retailer battle between BestBuy and Wal-Mart what better field of war than the new AC/DC? After navigating through their phonejail menus I got a human.

“BestBuy, home of the Geek Squad. How may I help you?”

“Can I speak with some one in CD’s and DVD’s?”

“How can I help you?”

“Would you happen to have the new AC/DC album Black Ice on vinyl?”

“The new AC/DC album is only available at Wal-Mart” he offered helpfully. This was beginning to sound like a phone prank.

Well, I was stuck with this one. Should I explain the vinyl situation, or just assume that if they had the vinyl he would have mentioned it?

“OK, thanks” I said choosing the latter.

I remembered that I had purchased the 180g Back in Black at Hot Topic in Lindale Mall, so I gave them a shot.

“Hot Topic” a guy answered.

“Do you sell vinyl?” I asked.

“What are you looking for??” It occurred to me that based on the clothing one can purchase at Hot Topic, I wasn’t specific enough by asking about “vinyl.”

“I’m sorry, I mean vinyl records.”

“Oh! Yeah, we sell records.”

“Do you have the new AC/DC Black Ice?

“No, we don’t have that. You should try Wal-Mart. They are carrying that.”

The rest of the conversation involved me educating him on the vinyl version of Black Ice. I’m sure he appreciated it.

My last hope would be that Mad City Music Exchange in Madison, WI would have it. They are close enough that I shouldn’t have to worry about overnight shipping either. I gave them a call.

“Mad City” the guy on the phone answered.

“Hi, do you have the new AC/DC Black Ice on vinyl?”


Frankly, I didn’t know what to say! I gave him a brief version of my trials of trying to find this record. I left it that I’d call him the next day to confirm. He said that he typically visits the post office twice a day so the next day he should be able to get it sent out. I called, and we talked about shipping options. He wasn’t sure what the shipping would have been for 2-day, so I gave him my credit card information and asked him to let me know.

What I found out talking to Dave Zero is that he’s the new owner of Mad City Music Exchange taking over for the previous owner who’d had it since 1986. Here is an article from the Isthmus about Dave buying the store from last December. It’s clear that Dave is very focused on keeping the customer happy and I think went way out of his way to get me the record and he even checked up to make sure that I got it in time. As a result, I ordered Ryan Adams and the Cardinal’s new Cardinology in the limited edition clear red vinyl and unique artwork from him, and I got that this week.

The record showed up in time for me to give it to John. and I have a diligent store owner to thank in Dave. It really is a beautiful piece. Unlike the CD artwork which are white on black, all of the album graphics are matte black on shiny black gatefold with a very bright red AC/DC logo on it. It makes it a bit tough to read unless you tilt the record, but still a very impressive pressing.

There are other record stores in Madison, but certainly you should make Mad City a stop if you’re in town. Tell them “It’s Time To Play B-Sides” sent you!

B-Sides in the Bins #29 – Boston – Newbury Comics 7/31/08

My last business trip to Boston was happily full of music between seeing Sheryl Crow and getting to run to Newbury Comics before dinner the next night. Thankfully, the restaurant we were going to was just down the street from Newbury Comics. I had hit their website before we went out and they had listed in their Top 100 Vinyl Records sale that Beck’s new album Modern Guilt was on sale as was Endtroducing by DJ Shadow. I was disappointed to find out that these were apparently on-line only, and not in-store. I still picked up a couple of records, though.

Beck – Modern Guilt (LP, DGC Records B0011630-01, 2008) ($14.99) This album just begged to be released on vinyl– from its retro Blue Note-looking sleeve, to the production by Danger Mouse– so I was happy when they announced its release. The record is a hefty 180g slab, and there is a sheet included with lyrics and credits. In addition there is a code to download 320Kbps mp3’s of the album that were ripped from vinyl! I downloaded them promptly and compared them to my other 320Kbps rip from CD. Before the first track “Orphans” you get a needle drop sound and after the last track of side one “Youthless” sound of the needle lifting again. This is repeated for “Walls” and “Volcano” on side two. Cute. The coupon says “This higher quality sound has been taken directly from the vinyl playback — offering a broader sound spectrum to enhance your audio experience.” Well, I don’t know about that. It’s a pretty good rip, but even 320Kbps is compressed. They should have offered .wav’s if they wanted to maintain the fidelity. I read a lot of reviewers complaining about Modern Guilt dismissing it as Beck fronting Gnarls Barkley and other really clever criticisms. This is probably my favorite Beck album next to Sea Change which was another misunderstood Beck album.

Arbouretum/Pontiak – Kale (LP, Thrill Jockey Thrill 201, 2008) ($12.99) This is an interesting release in that the only physical media will be vinyl. Thrill Jockey, consistant with all of their vinyl releases in the last year also includes a coupon for a free mp3 download which is great. BTW: all of the mp3 downloads from the Thrill Jockey store are 320Kbps, so there is someone there who gets it. This is a split release between Arbouretum and Pontiak. This is the third release for both bands. I saw Arbouretum at the Thrill Jockey 15 shows last December and was floored by their live performance and their 2007 release Rites of Uncovering is in regular rotation for me. Both bands try their hand at covering John Cale songs in amongst original songs. Arobouretum tackles “Buffalo Ballet” from Cales very influential and groundbreaking 1974 album Fear. “Buffalo Ballet” is a beautiful song and Arbouretum’s take on it leaves it pretty much in tact other than adding some sludgy distortion goodness to it. (Note to self: go buy Fear) Pontiak takes on two songs “The Endless Plain of Fortune” from Cale’s brilliant Paris 1919 album from 1973 and “Mr. Wilson” from the 1975 follow up to Fear, Slow Dazzle. The original tracks for both bands are great and stand up well against their recent releases. I especially dig the track “Green Pool” from Pontiak in which the slapback echo vocals ride the wave of a circular guitar line and slinky bass to a crest that fits nicely next to their very delicate take on “Mr. Wilson.” “Green Pool” ends waaaay too soon. I hope they jam a bit more than the 3:27 lets them do in a live setting.

I’m still bummed that Pontiak didn’t make their show in Iowa City due to the floods. I’m hoping they’ll be back soon.