Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Other Record Store Day 2011 Releases

Generally, I try to keep things positive here, so in that spirit I wanted to point out a few of the Record Store Day 2011 releases that do look cool to me, and that I will pick up if I can.

The one I really want is the Television Live At The Old Waldorf 2 LP set. This was originally released as a 5,000 copy limited edition CD by Rhino Handmade several years ago. It promptly sold out, and I really regret missing the boat on it the first time. It is available as a download from iTunes (and probably other places), so the music is available. But for me, music on a hard drive never totally cuts it, and damn it, I want this on LP. Am I a hypocrite for wanting this on vinyl (even though I have the music in some form already) while criticizing the Beach Boys 78 RPM set? Possibly. But, want it I do. (In the words of the great philosopher David St. Hubbins: "It's such a fine line between stupid and clever.") Live At The Old Waldorf is limited to 3,000 copies, so hopefully my local record store gets a copy or two.

Another interesting looking release is Big Star's Third (Test Pressing Edition). For those who don't know the history of this album, it originally appeared as a very limited edition test pressing that was never released commercially. Several years later the album was issued by PVC on LP with a different track listing and song order, but many prefer the way the album was originally intended to be sequenced. If I can find this, I'll buy a copy, but it's limited to a pressing of 1,000. I expect this one to be difficult to obtain and quickly fetch big collector dollars on eBay. Such is life.

Another promising release is a new single by The Fleet Foxes, "Helplessness Blues" b/w "Grown Ocean," I have no idea if either of these songs will show up on their upcoming album release, but I am very much looking forward to hearing new music from this band.

Finally, there is Rhino's "audiophile" reissue of Fleetwood Mac's Rumours, pressed as both a 2 LP 45 RPM set and a standard 33.3 RPM set. I think this is only getting grouped in with Record Store Day releases by circumstance because it was supposed to have been released years ago, but got held up for one reason or another. The LP was cut by Steve Hoffman and Kevin Gray (who cut the best sounding version of Joni Mitchell's Blue I have ever heard, along with many other fantastic sounding LPs).

Much as I respect Hoffman and Gray's work, I'm a little nervous about hearing this album remastered, because I love how the original LP sounds so much already. When I drop the needle in the groove of the original album a million memories and sensations from 1977 wash over me. It's like my own personal 33.3 RPM time machine. The sound of this one really defined its era, for better or for worse (I love it). Still, I'm looking forward to hearing this album presented in a different way (I imagine with no compression and limited EQ). I don't doubt the 45 RPM version will sound spectacular, but I really don't care for 45 RPM sets (the sides are too short), and have an order in for the 33.3 version instead. The 33.3 version is not a limited pressing, so it should be no problem to get a copy. The 45 RPM set is limited, so if you want it, act fast.

There are some other releases that look interesting, but that I will probably pass on.

It's good to see The Flaming Lips first 5 Warner LPs get reissued on premium vinyl (especially given what some of the original LPs go for on eBay), but I'm not made of money, and will happily settle for the CDs I already own.

Shuggie Otis's Inspiration Information: World Psychedelic Classics 2 is getting a limited 2 LP repressing by Luaka Bop. I already own a copy of that, and can't recommend it highly enough. The 2 LP set I own sounds much better than the CD to my ears (less compressed, less harsh EQ, etc.). And, of course, the music on this release is absolutely essential; funky, soulful, weird, inventive, passionate, it is absolutely one of my all time favorites, and the Luaka Bop set also adds the best tracks from the nearly as good Freedom Flight. Grab one if you can!

It also looks like the dB's have a new single coming out called "Picture Sleeve" as well, hopefully that means there will be more new music from this legendary combo around the bend.


Mark TDoLore said...

Rumours has the same effect on me. No other record gives me such crystal-clear memories. And I love that record for it.

I also like how the original sounds. When I saw the 45 RPM was being released, I was put off...just another way to cash in. Now I'm intrigued.

Pete Bilderback said...

Hi Mark. I have mixed feelings about 45 RPM audiophile reissues in general. While they do tend to sound terrific, for me personally the who gestalt of a 33.3 record works on a very basic level. 15 to 20 minutes of music with a short break in the middle...I dunno, maybe it's just what I'm used to, but it works for me.

But these releases appeal to folks who want the very best sound, and I don't think it's entirely fair to look at them merely as a crass attempt to cash in.

I'm certain that mastering engineers Steve Hoffman and Kevin Gray took the opportunity to remaster this album with the very best equipment, and without compromise, very seriously. I'm looking forward to hearing the results.