Wednesday , February 21 2024
Revisiting past glories with R.E.M. and Def Leppard and new music from Regina Spektor and more...

New Album Releases June 23, 2009: R.E.M., Def Leppard, Dream Theater, Pete Yorn, Shawn Colvin, Regina Spektor, Lemonheads, Ginuine

The probationary period continues and for the second consecutive week, we have a list packed with great new releases heading to stores today. 

Reckoning (Deluxe Edition)

R.E.M. continues their re-issue campaign with this deluxe edition of their second album, Reckoning.  They follow the pattern established with the re-issue of Murmur last fall by pairing the remastered album with a live show from the album's corresponding tour.  With Murmur, we got a 1983 show from Toronto.  For Reckoning, we get a 1984 show from Chicago that was recorded for broadcast.  This Chicago set is notable because we get to hear early runs at songs that would later appear on Fables of the Reconstruction and Lifes Rich Pageant.

The live set is the main attraction here.  For some fans, this is a chance to hear the band as they remember them from their earliest days.  For others, this is a history lesson and a chance to trace the progression of these early days for the old IRS label to the superstardom that was to come.  Some listeners will hate the remastering.  It's probably a fair bet that if you hated the Murmur remaster, you'll hate the sound for Reckoning as well.  I found the Murmur remaster a mixed bag.  There are aspects of the music that were unmurked and clarified, but an awful lot of loudness and compression were added. 

Some are a little disappointed that bonus tracks that have appeared on import versions of the album haven't been added to either Murmur or Reckoning.  There's room to do it, so it's disappointing that they didn't but the vintage live show is attractive enough to make this a must have.  Besides, I still haven't found my harborcoat and I can't go outside without it.

Def Leppard
Pyromania (Deluxe Edition)
Adrenalize (Deluxe Edition)

With these twin releases, Def Leppard's three most commercially successful albums have been given the deluxe treatment (Hysteria got the expanded treatment in conjunction with its 25th anniversary).  Hear me now, world:  I'm excited about the Def Leppard deluxe sets and I'm not afraid to admit it.

The Pyromania deluxe is the better of the two and not just because Pyromania is the superior album.  The Pyro deluxe adds a second disc containing a live show at the L.A. Forum from the 1983 tour in support of the album.  This is a chance to go back in time and hear the twin guitars of Steve Clark and Phil Collen, to hear Rick Allen before his accident, to hear Joe Elliott back when he could (presumably) hit the high notes.  Unlike the R.E.M. recent remasters, I have some hope for Pyromania.  For one thing, Robert John "Mutt Lange" was a lot more attentive to sonic detail when the album was recorded the first time.  Second, I actually like the Hysteria remaster.  I don't know for a fact yet that the same personnel were used for both but I'm hoping so.

As for Adrenalize, we don't get a show from the '7-Day Weekend' tour on our bonus disc.  Instead, we get some b-sides, random live tracks, and covers.  Some fans will have collected this when the album was initially released.  For the rest of us, we'll be hearing some of this for the first time.  It's not as cool as the Pyromania set, but there will be some worthwhile material here.  Adrenalize is also not half the album Pyromania was and I'm willing to bet some of this material won't have aged as well, either.  Some of Adrenalize will hold up, though.

Dream Theater
Black Clouds & Silver Linings

I know what you're thinking, and… oh, hell, what's the point?  I consider myself a casual Dream Theater fan.  I love the musicianship.  I don't always love the vocals.  The lyrics tend to hit me somewhere in between.  These guys are frighteningly skilled as musicians, though.  I saw them live in 1994 and I still remember Mike Portnoy's drum solo.  It's almost sickening to behold. 

With that in mind, your friends from Dream Theater have cooked up something cool for their latest album.  There is a 3-CD Special Edition of this record.  The first disc is the album.  Disc 2 is a collection of six covers.  Disc 3 is an instrumental mix of Black Clouds & Silver Linings.  Oh, I think we might have to have one of those.  That's really cool.

Shawn Colvin

I can't tell you how many hours I spent listening to Shawn Colvin's A Few Small Repairs when it first came out. For most people who remember this record at all, they remember "Sunny Came Home" (a line from said song gave the album its name).  My introduction to the album was "Get Out Of This House."  It was the time of Lilith Fair and there were so many great female singer/songwriters and artists flourishing at that time.  While No Doubt and Alanis Morisette sold more, Shawn Colvin's thoughtful storytelling and great voice were much more my speed.  Oh, God, the memories of this record.  Talk about an album that needs to be re-issued in Deluxe form!  

Colvin has continued to work and release great material since Repairs, and returns this week with a new live album and she's playing songs from across her great career.  This is necessary.


Blogcritics writer extraordinare Clayton Perry has interviewed two artists behind a couple of our new releases.  Ziggy Marley served as executive producer of the set B is for Bob, a collection of Bob Marley songs re-imagined for children and Clayton recently discussed that project with him.  Clayton also has an interview with Ginuine, whose new album is called A Man's Thoughts

Another of our great music writers, Mark Saleski, has already written about the new Regina Spektor album, Far, in his weekly Friday Morning Listen column.

A Man's Thoughts

The Lemonheads

The Mars Volta

Regina Spektor


Pete Yorn
Back & Fourth

Old Crows/Young Cardinals

The Weirding

The Bats
The Guilty Office

Ambivalence Avenue

Jay Brannan
In Living Cover

Tom Brosseau
Posthumous Success

Chase Long Beach
Gravity Is What You Make It

3614 Jackson Highway

Climax Blues Band
Back to Back: Sense of Direction/Stamp Album [Bonus Tracks]

Al Cohn/Joe Newman/Freddie Green
Mosaic Select: Al Cohn, Joe Newman & Freddie Green

Shawn Colvin

Christina Courtin
Christina Courtin

Deer Tick
Born on Flag Day

Def Leppard
Adrenalize [Deluxe Edition]

Def Leppard
Pyromania [Deluxe Edition]

Dinosaur Jr.

Dream Theater
Black Clouds & Silver Linings

Kurt Elling
Dedicated to You: Kurt Elling Sings the Music of Coltrane and Hartman

Eryn Non Dae
Hydra Lernaïa

Fast Life Youngstaz

Cartin Finch
Bach: Goldberg Variations

Foreign Born
Person to Person

David Frizzell/Shelly West
The Very Best of David Frizzell & Shelly West

Elizabeth Futral
Bach: Solo Cantatas

Future of the Left
Travels with Myself and Another

Girls at Our Best

Carving out the Eyes of God

God Help the Girl
God Help the Girl

Stefan Goldmann
Stravinsky: Le Sacre du Printemps [Stefan Goldmann Edit]

Isaac Hayes
Hot Buttered Soul [Bonus Tracks]

Patterson Hood
Murdering Oscar (And Other Love Songs)

Hot Chocolate
Every 1's a Winner

Jets Overhead
No Nations

Michael Johns
Hold Back My Heart

Elisabeth Leonskaja
Chopin: Piano Works [Hybrid SACD]

Love Is All
Last Choice

The Marvelettes
Forever: The Complete Motown Albums, Vol. 1

Eugene McGuinness
Eugene McGuinness

John Mellencamp
Life Death Love and Freedom [Deluxe Tour Edition] [CD/DVD]

Tift Merritt
Buckingham Solo

Mount Eerie

Alexi Murdoch
Away We Go

Laura Nyro
Mother's Spiritual

Brian Olive
Brian Olive

Maria João Pires

Original Soundtrack
I Love You, Beth Cooper

Original Soundtrack
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen [Original Soundtrack]

John Powell
Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs [Score]

Reckoning [Deluxe Edition]

Royal City
Royal City

The Sa-Ra Creative Partners
Nuclear Evolution: The Age of Love

Spooky Tooth
Lost in My Dream: An Anthology 1968-1974

Sunset Rubdown

Al B. Sure!
Honey I'm Home

Otis Taylor
Pentatonic Wars and Love Songs

A Casual Affair: The Best of Tonic

Beacons of Ancestorship

The Woggles
Tempo Tantrum

About Josh Hathaway

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