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Morrissey

Bona Drag (20th Anniversary Edition)

(EMI; US: 5 Oct 2010; UK: 4 Oct 2010)

Review [28.Oct.2010]

10



Morrissey
Bona Drag (20th Anniversary Edition)


I am writing this to say in a gentle way, thank you but ‘YES’. I will live my life as I will undoubtedly die, listening to Morrissey’s finest hour, this divinely poetic and hopelessly romantic compilation of the Mozfather’s early A’s and B’s. The gang’s all here alongside six not entirely unlovable new recruits, perky ‘n’ chipper despite being lost down the back of the sofa for 20 years. Now and whenever you need it, Bona Drag comes around to your place at 5am, wakes you up and throws its sweet and tender arms around you. Bring flowers, bring wine. Girls and boys, this is music for lovers, so fall in and pucker up. Matt James


 

 



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Bob Dylan

The Witmark Demos: 1962-1964 (Bootleg Series Vol. 9)

(Columbia; US: 19 Oct 2010; UK: 18 Oct 2010)

Review [18.Oct.2010]

9



Bob Dylan
The Witmark Demos: 1962-1964 (Bootleg Series Vol. 9)


Bob Dylan might have been on the cusp of fame when he casually recorded his new material at his publishing company’s no-frills office studio, but more than four decades later the artistic strides he made in two short years is staggering. The scenario simply boggles the mind: Dylan showing up with guitar and harmonica, setting up in front of the crude recording equipment, and with every visit performing a new batch of songs that would become classics, if not standards in American music. As remarkable as these intimate performances are, they were made for practical purposes: sheet music would be made of the recordings, and if an artist was interested in covering a song, an acetate of the demo would be made as a reference. With Peter, Paul and Mary and Judy Collins doing just that in 1963, with many more to follow, it paid off hugely for Dylan. Today, though, The Witmark Demos serve as a wonderful snapshot of a young, prolific artist just starting to emerge as an unparalleled genius. Adrien Begrand


 

 



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Neu!

NEU! Vinyl Box (Limited Edition)

(Gronland; US: Import)

8



Neu!
NEU! Vinyl Box (Limited Edition)


Those looking for a more complete story to Neu! won’t find it in this box set’s most coveted items, reissues of the bootleg quality rehearsal tape Neu! ‘72: Live in Dusseldorf and the reunion session of Neu! ‘86 (itself illegally bootlegged at one point as Neu! 95). The former is pretty much a soundboard jam session whose twinkle is difficult to capture beyond the tapes hiss. The latter hardly fits into the Neu! canon, though its Neu-wave is still wildly exotic compared to the other sounds of 1986 that critics have accused the band of selling out to. That set is also sounds like most fun the band ever had, though it was recorded during a period of legal and personal acrimony that left the sessions ultimately incomplete, making the recording a bit of a ruse. Hence, the real meat of this box is the trilogy of those three official Neu! albums and who would ask for anything more? If the cheap pop art and Klaus Dinger’s definitive stripped motorik drive suggest anything, it’s that Neu! were an outfit of crisp simplicity. They left the clutter and post WW2 debris to Ashra Tempel and Faust. Neu! was about completely stripping the canvas to its bare necessity, and showing how something “new” could be put there. It’s no wonder then that those three albums proved the blueprint for techno’s futurist impulses and architectural proclivities. Timothy Gabriele


 

 



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The Jam

Sound Affects (Deluxe Edition)

(Polydor; US: Import; UK: 8 Nov 2010)

7



The Jam
Sound Affects (Deluxe Edition)


Decidedly a more instrumentally-minded remaster, with the guitars and drums pushed up in the m ix, the Deluxe Edition rerelease of the Jam’s Sound Affects emphasizes everything that fans of the band have been championing for years… and more. These songs have always had the drive and muscle to move crowds, but what’s obvious from Tibor Pecsi’s remaster is that it’s never really been about Paul Weller’s singing or lyrics, but the dynamics between the three members that make them one of the greatest British bands to have ever existed. Songs like “Set the House Ablaze” and “That’s Entertainment” find new life with this new attention to detail. Weller and Foxton’s guitars and Rick Buckler’s drums never rang with so much clarity. It’s now more obvious to new listeners how completely in sync the three members were with each other. The bonus disc offers some songs that have been included on previous releases such as Extras, but not at the level of quality found here. “Liza Radley” and “The Dreams of Children” have both been released before, but now benefit from 21st century technology—making this edition the definitive copy of Sound Affects available, and thus, a definitive addition to any collection. Matthew Werner


 

 



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Orange Juice

Coals to Newcastle

(Domino; US: 16 Nov 2010; UK: 8 Nov 2010)

Review [15.Nov.2010]

6



Orange Juice
Coals to Newcastle


For an influential band whose sound can be heard throughout indie-pop, the early ‘80s Scottish group Orange Juice has been relatively unheard lately, their music hard to collect. Coals to Newcastle puts an end to that search by giving us everything at once. With all the albums and singles, unreleased songs, BBC sessions and a DVD, it really does feel like everything. In 2010 their music holds up well, both the early guitar-driven post-punk and the funk-and-soul-influenced pop after. The lyrics have bite, tenderness, and a persistent sense of humor. It’s music of melancholy, discontent and self-criticism, but is sharp about it, a quality tough to replicate, more so than their sound or even Edwyn Collins’ seemingly one-of-a-kind voice. They’re the type of band that inspires cult followings, that makes you want to scrawl their lyrics on walls. I can imagine a new cult forming… that is, if the youth of today buy deluxe boxsets. Dave Heaton


 
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