I mentioned last week how summer was winding down and soon the new release schedule would be picking up, right? Right. Well, this week is the week it would be picking up, apparently, because there is a LOT of stuff coming out — I'm not even covering it all (I have to have some priorities, you know,) but there's plenty more where this comes from.
Bob Dylan – Modern Times: I'm not fooling anyone – this hardly qualifies as overlooked, but I wanted to mention it to make note of the various bonuses that are to be had this week. Most importantly, the album is being offered in two CD versions — a single disc in very minimal packaging and a more lavish package with a DVD including "Cold Irons Bound" (shot live on the film soundstage during the making of the film Masked and Anonymous) "Blood In My Eyes," "Things Have Changed," and "Love Sick" (from the Grammy Awards). Those of you excited to see that Grammy's version of "Love Sick" might be upset to find out that the infamous Soy Bomb incident has been edited out. I'm pretty upset, too — that was a truly unique moment in television history. I understand not wanting to give Soy Bomb even more exposure, but this is history now, and editing the footage is messing with history.
As for the various bonuses, they're not earth-shattering, but some of you may want some of this. First off, Circuit City is offering a special CD of Dylan's XM "Theme Time Hour" disc centered around baseball-themed songs, the big draw being an a capella rendition of "Take Me Out To The Ball Game" by Dylan. The catch? You have to buy Modern Times AND another Dylan CD in order to get this disc. BOO. I can hear this in my head and it puts a smile on my face. The problem here is that the people who really want this disc likely have all the Dylan they need and so they won't need to buy another Dylan disc. Real dumb promotion — not to mention that the price of their CD/DVD set is $10 higher than Best Buy. Best Buy is giving away a 100-page book of Dylan artwork with purchase of the album, and if you want that DVD, it'll set you back a measly $12.99. And guess what? Circuit City doesn't price match, if that's what you were thinking of doing.
Ty Tabor – Rock Garden: Being a King's X fan has been one of the most simultaneously rewarding and frustrating fan experiences you can have. One the one hand, the band, via side projects and official projects, turns out a lot of music. On the other hand, it's hard watching them struggle and need to have so many side projects to stay afloat. However you look at it, it seems like we get something from at least one of the three guys in the band at least once a year. This time around it's near legendary guitarist Ty Tabor with another disc of his hook-laden, heavy Beatles-influenced metal.
Ty's also got a number of other unusual and experimental projects available for the more daring amongst you at his site, but if you're looking for stuff like what he does with King's X, Rock Garden is what you want to pick up.
Pete Yorn – Nightcrawler: I can't possibly get away without mentioning Yorn's new disc, as my wife's a big fan and has been looking forward to this. Reports say he's going for a leaner, more natural rock sound, driven possibly by having notable producer Butch Walker at the helm (and check out his fantastic '70s throwback solo album, Butch Walker And The Let's Go Out Tonites for an example of why this guy is such a strong man to have behind the board when you want that sound). Guests include Dave Grohl, Leon Russell, and the Dixie Chicks. That's an interesting combination of sounds right there.
A complaint, however: This is another disc falling victim to the "multiple bonus track" scheme that labels are foisting upon us. Okay, so I got real excited about the Def Leppard bonus track scenarios for Yeah! earlier this year, but, well, fine, I was a geek about that. This is just crappy — it's a trend that needs to be stopped before it completely destroys fan confidence in buying music. The labels are practically driving fans to steal the music because how many of us can really afford to buy 2-5 versions of albums that come out to get all the songs they release? Regardless, plan to track down exclusive bonus tracks each at Best Buy and FYE-related stores and an exclusive download at Circuit City, so far that I've found. There may actually be more — and just wait for the Barenaked Ladies' new album — I read there are a LOT of bonus track scenarious built into that one.
Pete Townshend – Who Came First (Remaster): For whatever reason, Townshend has decided to reissue his relatively recently remastered catalog again, this time rereremastered and with bonus tracks for once. One of the unusual releases in this lot, however, is the previously long out of print Who Came First, his first solo album from 1972. Initially issued on CD by Rykodisc, it had come with six bonus tracks, and here comes with three more tracks for a total of eighteen. I'll be keeping my copies of Empty Glass and All The Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes (unless I hear these re-remasters are absolutely fantacular or something) but I'm excited to finally have a chance to hear Townshend's long-missing first album.