Thursday , February 22 2024
A full slate this week, including two must haves...

New Album Releases 10/27/09: U2, R.E.M., Creed, Michael Jackson, Train, Tegan and Sara, Devendra Banhart

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.  While you were sleeping, two of the best gifts of the Christmas 2009 season arrived in stores and I've already pulled both.  To everyone who has me on their Christmas list, feel free to send cash instead because you will be hard pressed to find anything I want more than what I added to my music collection this week.

Live at The Olympia

This set follows almost none of my "rules" for what a live album should be and yet it's one of the best live albums ever, and this is coming from a guy who loves and buys live albums.  Yes, it's that good.  Yes, you need it.

Live at The Olympia is taken from the band's five-night stand in Dublin, road-testing new material for the album that would become Accelerate.  In addition to road-testing the new, they played some rarities that haven't been played in a decade or more.  More than once, lead singer Michael Stipe reminds the audience "This is not a show."  He's right.  It's not.  This is not a conventional tour souvenir live record.  This is a care package to longtime fans of the band.  If you discovered R.E.M. in the '80s and got off somewhere in the '90s, I have two words for you:  "Wolves, Lower."  This is your invitation to return to the fold.  Run, don't walk.  Buy this one now!

The Unforgettable Fire (Super Deluxe Edition)

Oh, glory!  Be once again bathed in the majesty of U2's first grand experiment, the first record they would make with Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois.  The Unforgettable Fire is being re-released in four packages:  a single CD including only the remastered album, 2 CD, including the remastered album and a disc of remastered rarities, B-sides, and remixes, a Super Deluxe box set  2 CD/1DVD package that includes both CDs and a DVD of documentaries and live footage from the UnFire era, and a vinyl LP re-issue.  I went with the Super Deluxe.  I've listened carefully to both CDs and will be sitting down with the DVD this weekend.  


The Edge again supervised the remastering and once again, this is a rare example of good remastering in the modern digital age. 

A few words on some of the other releases out this week.  The bad news:  Creed has reunited for a tour and have now unleashed a new album.  The good news?  I don't think Scott Stapp has had any more kids, so maybe we won't have a sequel to "With Arms Wide Open."  See?  Ever the optimist.  You people only think you know me.  In addition to the reunited Creed, we have new music from a reunited Train. 

I suppose we should touch on the Michael Jackson This Is It package.  This is a soundtrack to a movie that was never supposed to happen, and much of this set is a repackaging of Jackson's hits.  There is a glorified demo being touted as a "new single."  If you're a completist, that will be enough to draw you in.  If not, stick with your Essential Michael Jackson and let this one go. 

Here's a full rundown of this week's new releases:

Devendra Banhart
What Will We Be

Broadcast & the Focus Group
Broadcast & the Focus Group Investigate Witch Cults of the Radio Age

Full Circle

Gov't Mule
By a Thread

Heavy Trash
Midnight Soul Serenade

Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson's This Is It

Dolly Parton
Dolly [RCA/Legacy]

Live at the Olympia [2CD/1DVD]

The Swell Season
Strict Joy

The Unforgettable Fire [Super Deluxe Edition]

Cosmic Egg


Matias Aguayo
Ay Ay Ay

Tony Allen/Jimi Tenor
Inspiration Information, Vol. 4

Congregation of the Damned

Between the Buried and Me
The Great Misdirect

Setting the Paces

James Brown
Live at the Garden [Expanded Edition]

Sara Davis Buechner
Jazz Nocturne: The Collected Piano Music of Dana Suesse

A Day to Remember

Dave Douglas
A Single Sky

Melissa Etheridge
A New Thought for Christmas [Deluxe Edition]

The Blind Boys of Alabama

The Blind Boys of Alabama

Rosie Flores
Girl of the Century

Garage a Trois
Power Patriot

Egberto Gismonti

Sarah Lee Guthrie & Family
Go Waggaloo

Everette Harp
First Love

Twelfth Night

Hudson Mohawke

Paavo Järvi
Holst: The Planets; Britten: The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra

Jay Dee
Dillanthology 3: Dilla's Productions

Jack Johnson
En Concert

Fela Kuti
The Best of the Black President [Deluxe]

Los Lobos
Los Lobos Goes Disney

Nils Lofgren
Cry Tough

Del McCoury
Family Circle

Brian McKnight
Evolution of a Man

Lorrie Morgan
A Moment in Time

Diamonds & Studs

Mother Hips
Pacific Dust

Joe Nichols
Old Things New


James Sinclair
Charles Ives: Decoration Day; Fourth of July; Thanksgving

Bryn Terfel
Scarborough Fair

Emily Osment
All the Right Wrongs

What We All Come to Need

Pink Martini
Splendor in the Grass

Kenny Rogers
Kenny Rogers: The Greatest Duets

Carly Simon
Never Been Gone

The Best of 1968-1977: Fresh from the Time Coast

Squirrel Nut Zippers
Lost At Sea

Rod Stewart

Stephen Stills
Live at Shepherd's Bush

If on a Winter's Night…

The String Cheese Incident
Trick or Treat: Best of the String Cheese Incident

Taylor Swift
Fearless [Platinum Edition]

Talk Normal

Chip Taylor
Yonkers, NY

Tegan and Sara

Save Me, San Francisco

Trans-Siberian Orchestra
Night Castle

Triple C's
Custom Cars & Cycles

Various Artists
John Zorn: Femina

Various Artists
Panama! 3: Calypso Panameno, Guajira Jazz and Cumbia Tipica on Theisthmus 1960-1975

Various Artists
Rainy Day Mind: Ember Pop 1969- 1974

Barry White

Weird Al Yankovic
The Essential "Weird Al" Yankovic

About Josh Hathaway

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