As has been noted, we’re now deep into the doldrums of summer and the release schedule is indeed looking a little thin . . . but that doesn’t mean some interesting stuff isn’t out.
Longwave: There’s A Fire – Where their debut album made pretty obvious the influence 80s alterna-pop had on them (U2 came immediately and strongly to mind,) this sophomore release (following a couple of EPs) witnesses the band developing a more individual sound that, while still showcasing some of their favorite influences, allows the band to mature. This could be a breakthrough year for the band – they likely won’t be huge, but they might be a name more people recognize.
Can: Future Days, Soon Over Babaluma, Landed, Unlimited Edition – Mute records continues its efforts to reissue the entire Can catalog with four more albums offered in chronological order. The first four, which were released late last year, showed a stunning improvement in sound quality, not to mention being offered as hybrid SACD, for those of you with the proper home theater equipment to take advantage of the format. There’s little doubt the sound quality improvement on these four will be just as impressive, but as much can’t be said for the music. The sad thing with Can and this chronological campaign is that it makes the band’s decline pretty obvious. This set represent a band right at the peak of their creative arc that slowly declines with each subsequent album. However, Can was such an unusual outfit that even these “lesser” offerings are still pretty intriguing. It’s when we get to the next set of releases where I might suggest buyers take some caution in diving in unprepared . . .
Brian Eno: Nerve Net, The Shutov Assembly, Neroli, The Drop – Yet another set of beautiful Eno remasters, but depending on your interest in the man’s music, these might not be highly necessary. I would suggest any Eno fan pick up at least Nerve Net, which was his first vocal work in nearly 20 years, and which makes a nice companion piece to his excellent new vocal album, Another Day On Earth that was released two weeks ago. Nerve Net comes packaged with a couple of bonus tracks in the form of remixes, which is a first for the Eno reissues. These discs represent Eno melding his ambient side with touches of his pop side, resulting in some unusual, and not always entirely successful, moody pieces.
Megadeth: Greatest Hits – When a band has more than one “best of” in their catalog, it’s usually because one skimped on a portion of the band’s catalog that was really pretty signficant. This one, however, only fills in a few gaps of the previous best-of, Capitol Punishment, while mirroring a lot of the other material. As such, they at least have put together a special package, if you’re willing to pay extra, that includes a DVD with 6 or 7 tracks of live footage, a “mega mix” video (footage for this is taken from all of the band’s previous videos,) and a glimpse of the two-DVD retrospective that will be coming out in the fall. The band’s legacy would have been much better commemorated with a two-disc best of where each album could have been represented by more than just the singles. That is, of course, the name – “greatest hits” – but it really should have been so much more.