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New Releases for December 25, 2015 – January 1, 2016
CDs + Vinyl:
The Max Levine Ensemble – Backlash, Baby CD/LP (Lame-O)
Sometime around the turn of the century a small gang of boys grouped together in the noble pursuit of transcending suburban boredom through the traditional performance of punk rock songs. Three of these young products of white America never moved on from this adolescent rebellion phase, and some 15 years later The Max Levine Ensemble continue to rock basements, bombed out buildings and other holes in the fabric of the status quo, with lofty aspirations of creating moments of pop catharsis for angsty teenagers and maybe shaking punk rock from the mediocrity of its ritualistic lulls.
Opeth – Deliverance And Damnation [Reissue/2002/2003] 2xCD+2xDVD-A (Music Nations/The End)
Originally released separately in 2002 and 2003 respectively, these sessions were written and recorded together and are now issued together as an expanded, singular piece. Includes new stereo and 5.1 mixes by Steven Wilson and Bruce Soord.
Rachel Platten – Wildfire CD (Sony)
Third album from the singer/songwriter. “Rachel Platten was a ray of sunshine on the otherwise gloomy pop radio airwaves in 2015. She encouraged everyone to keep their chin up with surprise top 10 hit ‘Fight Song’ and kept the empowerment coming with serotonin-raising anthem ‘Stand By You.’” — Idolator
DVDs + Blu-ray:
The Wiz Live! DVD (Universal Studios)
NBC’s musical television production of The Wiz starring Queen Latifah, Mary J. Blige, David Alan Grier, Ne-Yo, and Cirque du Soleil.
This Week’s Vinyl Exclusives:
John Wesley Coleman III – Greatest Hits LP (Super Secret)
Austin’s self-proclaimed “trash poet” John Wesley Coleman III incorporates his heady musings and witticisms with analog slacker rock. He takes inspiration from the Southern swagger of Dwight Yoakam and George Jones, the classic rock of Rolling Stones’ Exile On Main Street, the punk rock turbulence of Iggy and the Stooges and The Ramones.
Dyke Drama – Tender Recognition 12” (Salinas)
Stripped down rock ‘n’ roll from this Olympia, WA project with Boston roots.
El Vy – Return To The Moon LP+MP3 (4AD)
Recently released on CD – now available on vinyl. El Vy (pronounced like a plural of Elvis; rhymes with ‘hell pie’) is the musical collaboration between Matt Berninger, vocalist and lyricist of The National, and Brent Knopf, the Portland musician and producer best known for his work in Menomena and his more recent band, Ramona Falls.
High Dive – New Teeth LP (Salinas)
The second proper-full length from this Bloomington, IN queer-positive pop-punk quintet High Dive.
Joan Jett – The First Sessions LP (Blackheart Records)
Originally offered for RSD 2015, The First Sessions is now widely available on vinyl. Demos from ‘79 — Joan’s first crack at solo material after The Runaways dismantled.
Joy Division – Love Will Tear Us Apart [Reissue/1980] 12” (Vinyl Lovers)
This special edition features all three versions of the song that transformed Joy Division from mere band into legend. In addition to the original single version, we have two versions remixed by American producers Don Gehman (the ‘radio version’) and Arthur Baker. The remaining tracks include “These Days” (which appeared on the original “Love Will Tear Us Apart” single), along with “Transmission” (their debut single released in 1979) and “Atmosphere” (originally released as a France-only single) in 1980.
The Octopus Project – Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter Original Soundtrack LP (Robot High School)
Based in Austin, TX, The Octopus Project’s creative output so far includes five studio albums, innumerable remixes and collaborations, original scores for film, television and video games, and self-designed merchandise ranging from stereoscopic posters to handmade stuffed animals. Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter is the band’s latest scoring collaboration with filmmakers David and Nathan Zellner. The spare, haunting soundtrack took home the Special Jury Award for Musical Score at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.
Tinariwen – Live In Paris LP+MP3 (ANTI-)
Recently released on CD – now available on vinyl. Traveling to exotic lands is nothing new for Tinariwen. The Saharan blues band have performed the world over bringing their signature mix of hypnotic rock guitar with the traditional instruments and vocal stylings of their native Tuareg roots to their adoring fans. But this night in Paris would be different, and this live recording captures the magic.
The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die – Harmlessness 2xLP+MP3 (Epitaph)
Released last September on CD – now available on vinyl. Founded by guitarist/singer Derrick Shanholtzer-Dvorak, guitarist/singer Tyler Bussey, and bassist Josh Cyr in 2009 in the post-industrial mill town of Willimantic, Connecticut, The World Is A Beautiful Place’s early records were atmospheric, impressionistic tone-poems, balanced somewhere between the twilit emo of American Football and Christie Front Drive and the pensive, mood-heavy post-rock of The Appleseed Cast and Yo La Tengo. Their new album, Harmlessness, is a breakthrough for a band that has built a following crafting striking melodies, poignant narratives, and confident, compelling songs out of their own complicated and imaginative aesthetic. It ranges from the hushed folk of opener “You Can’t Live Here Forever” to the epic, grandiose “Mount Hum” – spanning the bedroom pop of the band’s salad days to the sweeping scope of 2013’s Whenever, If Ever, and beyond.