Reissues aren't particularly unusual these days. Once in a while they are even worth buying. But too often it just seems to be a case of "pump up the bass and overall volume and the punters will buy anything".
MARRS - Pump Up The Volume - http://youtu.be/w9gOQgfPW4Y
Then there's the conundrum that faces me quite regularly. How many versions of an album do I really need? If it was good the first time around then is an "upgrade" really necessary. And is it really an upgrade?
Some re-issue packages are lovingly packaged with a million extra versions of songs including demos, live versions and alternate takes. For the true fan that can be a lot of fun and can justify some of the price hikes. But the same album, with no extras with a digital remaster isn't really that exciting I don't think. As DJ Guz pointed out via an article he sent me, 70's recording engineers DID know what they were doing and the bands generally had to approve the mix prior to release. So if you're listening on vinyl why bother? I can understand that early CD releases weren't great in terms of quality but even then, for most people listening in the car, on headphones or their home theatre system they will hear precious little difference.
I hear you asking yourself, "what got him started on re-issues again?" Well, it's Iron Maiden. They are a great band that I love but they are huge fans of a re-release. The latest offering (coming in October) are vinyl re-issues of their 80's catalogue. We're talking about 8 albums and 19 7" singles. That's a lot. All on heavyweight 180g black vinyl and re-cut from the original analogue master tapes.
I have these albums. All on CD, some on tape, some on vinyl too. And in the case of some I have alternate vinyl versions too. So am I excited about this release? Yes, and I am a SUCKER. I won't buy the singles, even though the artwork makes it almost worth it, but if they've done a good job of transferring from master to vinyl then there's a couple I'm keen on. But wait, there's an impressive box to put them all in...oh dear, there goes my money!
Iron Maiden - The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner - http://youtu.be/Z7aq8fz36Bs
J Mascis released a solo album four days ago. Whether it's in the shops here yet remains to be seen. He has a seriously credible resume from being in Dinosaur Jr and this solo album seems to have polarised reviewers and listeners alike. The few tracks I've heard are really very good I think. J has a particular vocal sound that you're going to like or not (it reminds me of Cobain in quiet moments). If you're thinking that you like the overdriven whoosh guitar sounds of Dinosaur Jr then this might not be for you as it's mainly acoustic stuff. But I thought it sounded really fresh, light and very listenable. I'll buy it.
J Mascis - Wide Awake - http://youtu.be/D4ea-11BUbA
Staying with the acoustic theme for a minute, this is a very recent release as well. I'll be seriously impressed if anyone out there can let me know who did this song originally (without using a search engine or phoning a friend!) - any takers? This version is just stellar. The real accent, the relaxed instrumentation and just the groove.
Robyn Hitchcock - The Ghost In You - http://youtu.be/52DUrv1gCUw
Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers have a new album, "Hypnotic Eye". My few spins of this LP indicate that, like all Tom's stuff, that you get quality, radio friendly rock full of hooks and a hint of glitter. "Forgotten Man" opens with a wonderfully shimmering electric guitar and whilst it doesn't sound particularly different to anything else he's put out the toe tapping and head nodding are almost impossible to avoid.
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers - Forgotten Man - http://youtu.be/du1afxe74VE
That's enough for another week. I've got a bike to ride. And a new one on order! Woo hoo!
"...I'm on the hard grind..." - Rhinobucket (1994)