Summer usually starts to be slim-pickin's time by about now, but somehow the good stuff just keeps coming. It's been quite a good year for music, actually. I'm not one to stumble into the grumbling about particular years being worse than others – every year has tons of great new stuff coming out, you just have to keep your eyes and, of course, more importantly, ears open. But, again, this year seems to be particularly strong. I think I might be looking forward to the relatively quiet week next week (big holidays have a tendency to cause those, you know.)
Ryan Adams – Easy Tiger: After what seems like an eternity in Adams-land – 18 months without a single new release – he's back with what many critics are calling one of his best. I've already seen rumors of three releases for the year, not including a box set of rarities, so, if true, he's going to try and make up for lost time, apparently. In the meantime, I'm really looking forward to hearing this one – Cold Roses and Jacksonville City Nights were a couple of the highlights of 2005.
So let me run down your options – you can buy it at:
1. Ryan's website, where you'll get a bonus disc with the live, in-studio track "These Girls"
2. Best Buy is where you'll get a bonus Lost Highway sampler, along with a download code for the Best Buy exclusive bonus track, "I'll Keep the Change."
3. Starbucks, who knows…supposedly an extra track and a video track (still waiting for specifics)
4. iTunes, where you'll get an immediate download of "Two," a bonus track, "What Sin Replaces Love (Live from 'The Henry Rollins Show' on IFC), the bonus video, "Two," a digital booklet and access to preorder ticket sales through Ticketmaster.
5. Borders, additional online content.
6. CIMS stores, where you'll get what I was talking about above (a three-song live DVD and lithograph).
7. Overseas, where you'll get a UK/EU bonus track, "Nobody Listens to Silence," and HMV, where you get a limited-edition cardboard (horray) slipcase.
8. Japan, where the UK bonus track has an additional friend in the track "Alice." (Use Babelfish to translate if you like)
9. VINYL – I have been e-mailing all over trying to find out the specifics of this vinyl release and there are only a few things that I know for sure: the first pressing is on orange vinyl and comes with a poster. I do not know for sure whether there will be the UK bonus track (I think there will be – Ryan's vinyl pressings in the past normally have the bonus track if time allows) nor do I know whether there will be a printing after the orange vinyl edition (though I also think there will be). Everything I read suggests that there are 2000 orange copies for the entire world, which leads me to believe that since they are being pressed in Nashville, there is only one pressing and it's a US version. Specifics are very very hard to come by. (Thanks for that go to Sixtywatt).
Pearl Jam – Live At The Gorge (7 CD Box Set): I'll admit that I don't listen to Pearl Jam like I used to, but I still enjoy hearing them from time to time, especially live material where their songs can really come alive in the right instances. This set should be pretty interesting – 100 songs spread out over three complete live shows recorded in 2005 and 2006, one of which opens with an acoustic set. Sure, you may have many of these on the official bootlegs, but these come in gorgeous packaging and at a great price – Circuit City is the store to beat this week as they've priced this one at $29.99.
The Trio Of Doom: A great name for this one-off outing of John McLaughlin on guitar, Jaco Pastorius on bass, and Tony Williams on drums. I can only tell you what I've read about 'em: the group came together to play at a festival in Havana, Cuba back in 1979. They wound up with only 25 minutes of stage-time, recorded it, and then found most of it unusable, so they re-recorded the songs in a studio with an overdub of crowd noise, and a few of the tracks eventually wound up on albums representing the festival. Until now, the entire set has not been released, and now we get both the live set and the untouched studio set (sans overdubbed crowd.)