The Replacements have announced a new box set of alternate versions of the songs that comprised its penultimate album, Don’t Tell A Soul. Across four discs, an LP, and a cassette, the new set, entitled Dead Man’s Pop, presents Don’t Tell A Soul as it was originally intended, according to the press release over at Rhino.
Some of the alternate takes include the notoriously debauched and drunken sessions with producer Tony Berg at Bearsville Studios from 1988, as well as the infamous sessions later that same year mutual fan with Tom Waits!?!
Despite refusing to perform its breakout album for the 25th anniversary of Parklife, Blur is acknowledging the occasion by re-releasing a vintage line of merchandise, as well as a 10″ record of a previously unreleased live BBC session. No word yet on a special edition of the album itself.
The show refusal dates back to April of this year, where lead singer Damon Albarn voiced his concern over the Brexit situation, saying: “Say we got to the point of having a second referendum, then I would be happy to play that record as a celebration and as a way of reminding ourselves of a time when we had an idea of Britishness that wasn’t political.”
Maybe the band will soften on the idea as these releases roll out. That record deserves to be celebrated.
Janet Weiss announced today that she is leaving Sleater-Kinney because the band is heading in a “new direction.” This will no doubt be devastating news for many, as Sleater-Kinney won’t be the same without her. Weiss’s drumming style helped define the band’s raucous sound, as it evolved from wailing indie-punk to an explosive power trio.
Weiss’ statement reads diplomatically enough, but one can’t help but wonder what precipitated such a decision. There is speculation that the band’s radical new sound with producer St. Vincent at the helm has colored her attitude towards the music- her bored expression in recent publicity photos, notwithstanding.
To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the release of Joy Division’s unimpeachable debut, Unknown Pleasures, the band has commissioned a visual campaign whereby a new video will accompany each track- all with different directors. The latest addition is the reimagining of “Insight” directed by Makato Nagahisa, best known for this year’s We Are Little Zombies.
Creating a visual companion to music that fans have internalized for decades is no small task. Anton Corbijn carried a similar burden in 1988 when he directed the post-humous video for “Atmosphere” to coincide with the release of Substance. Corbijn didn’t stray far from the band’s gloomy image, whereas these latest videos seem to play fast and loose with visual poetic license.
Prince’s estate has been a bit of a PR shambles since the star’s sudden death in April of 2016. The lack of any discernible will has led to a never-ending legal battle between Prince’s family and the banks appointed to care for the business dealings of the musician’s vast estate. Despite the financial squabbles, the estate has managed to eke out a few posthumous releases that one would assume even hardcore fans have to admire. Sadly, this is unlikely since Prince’s elite hardcore fans are an admittedly miserable and impossible lot to please, complaining endlessly about any and everything to do with the man. These releases speak more to spreading the legacy to potential fans as well as to those who already identify as “fams”- the term Prince applied to his followers as he found “fan” (short for a fanatic) to be derisive.
Madonna’s roll-out for her new album, Madame X, has not been without controversy but not the usual brand. Faced with a relentless barrage of ageist condescension for daring to turn 60, much less continue to make music, Madonna has unsurprisingly struggled to connect with any of her new singles. So, it’s not without a pinch of cynicism that she has released an elaborate storyline video for her latest single, “God Control,” protesting gun violence. Piggybacking woke activism is not exactly a tactic without questionable baggage. Is Madonna genuinely concerned about mass shootings in America? Is she exploiting the tragedy at the Pulse nightclub for her own promotional gain? Probably a little from Column A and a little from Column B. But the gratuitousness of her “message” can’t help but be met with a raised eyebrow. The video itself is beautifully filmed by Jonas Akerlund, and the song is kind of a Daft Punk-ian banger, mixing vocoder disco with impressively catchy faux symphonic strings. The rapping breakaways, however, are undeniably cringeworthy.
Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke has released his latest solo album, ANIMA, to streaming services. The physical edition comes out July 19. Yorke continues to explore his nervous dread of modern life over skittering, twitchy beats. It’s cautiously optimistic music that requires an attentive listener, despite being enveloped in existential unease.
Director Paul Thomas Anderson, who worked with Radiohead on the video for “Daydreaming,” has directed a short film to coincide with ANIMA’s release and features Yorke and actress Dajana Roncione. It is streaming now on Netflix.