Showing posts with label Arts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Arts. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

XTC Go2 and Go+ Covers




XTC's Go 2 album and the "extra" EP factored in as well. XTC were a prolific band, always laden with great songs and never at a loss for tracks or brilliance.

After Barry Andrews left the band, they carried on with Dave Gregory.

Wikipedia:

UK LP: V 2108

Side A

No.

Title

Writer(s)

Length

1.

"Meccanik Dancing (Oh We Go!)"  

2:36

2.

"Battery Brides (Andy Paints Brian)"  

4:37

3.

"Buzzcity Talking"  

Colin Moulding

2:41

4.

"Crowded Room"  

Moulding

2:53

5.

"The Rhythm"  

Moulding

3:00

6.

"Red"  

3:02

Side B

No.

Title

Writer(s)

Length

1.

"Beatown"  

4:37

2.

"Life Is Good in the Greenhouse"  

4:41

3.

"Jumping In Gomorrah"  

2:04

4.

"My Weapon"  

Barry Andrews

2:20

5.

"Super-Tuff"  

Andrews

4:27

6.

"I Am the Audience"  

Moulding

3:48

[edit]2001 Remastered CD: CDVX2108

No.

Title

Writer(s)

Length

1.

"Meccanik Dancing (Oh We Go!)"  

2:36

2.

"Battery Brides (Andy Paints Brian)"  

4:37

3.

"Buzzcity Talking"  

Colin Moulding

2:41

4.

"Crowded Room"  

Moulding

2:53

5.

"The Rhythm"  

Moulding

3:00

6.

"Red"  

3:02

7.

"Beatown"  

4:37

8.

"Life Is Good in the Greenhouse"  

4:41

9.

"Jumping In Gomorrah"  

2:04

10.

"My Weapon"  

Barry Andrews

2:20

11.

"Super-Tuff"  

Andrews

4:27

12.

"I Am the Audience"  

Moulding

3:48

13.

"Are You Receiving Me?"  

3:06

[edit]Go+ (Bonus disc included on initial pressing)

  1. "Dance With Me, Germany" [dub version of "Meccanic Dancing (Oh We Go!)"] – 3:17

  2. "Beat the Bible" [dub version of "Jumping in Gomorrah"] – 2:06

  3. "A Dictionary of Modern Marriage" [dub version of "Battery Brides (Andy Paints Brian)"] – 2:27

  4. "Clap Clap Clap" [dub version of "I am the Audience"] (Moulding) – 2:17

  5. "We Kill The Beast" [dub version of "The Rhythm"] (Moulding) – 2:05

And there you have it. White text on a black background, courier type, but very much a send-up of the marketing of music and bands. By the late 1970s, album art was in its heyday. XTC couldn't be bothered, even thought their subsequent records came with fantastic covers.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

A War Upon the Arts is Brewing




One of the inherent dangers of normalizing the Trump Regime is that it will be possible to attack the arts when they reflect the evil that has been unleash on America:

An inflatable pig with Donald Trump's face on the side. Screens that show doctored images of the President throwing up. Photos of Trump with Russian President Vladimir Putin, as a big baby, and as Hitler.

They're just a few of the images music fans can catch on Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters' 54-date North American tour, "Us + Them," which kicked off on May 26 and coincides with the release of Water's first studio album in 25 years, "Is This the Life We Really Want?"

The political nature of his show, Waters told CNN, is a calculated and defiant response to what he calls the "charade" of the American presidency.

In an interview with Michael Smerconish, the 73-year-old Waters said he has no regrets about turning parts of his 2 1/2-hour performance into what the CNN host described as just "as much an anti-Trump rally as a rock concert."

"It would be a lot easier to be on tour if I wasn't doing any of this, if I didn't have opinions," said Waters, a longtime Trump critic.

The positions that Waters has taken are no different than they were in the early 1980s. He is an artist who has consistently skewered politics and fascism and cults of personality. The danger for Waters is that his stance on Israel can be weaponized against him. The Trump people could easily paint him as an anti-Semite (quite a few people have tried over the years) and the media will probably let them get away with it.

Why would Waters sit down with a turd like Michael Smerconish? I have no idea. But the demonization of anyone who uses art to explain the damage Trump has done to America is well underway.















Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Robyn Hitchcock




He's everywhere, and what's not to love? Psychedelic album covers, cats, and fantastic shirts on a man who sings and plays guitar while writing his own songs. This is a rare Earth mineral of fine quality that should be held in your hands for all time. 

I would love to see him again, but schedules being what they are, who knows? You should go see Robyn and buy his new album.













Monday, December 26, 2016

Mojave 3 Puzzles Like You Digipack Covers




This is a wonderfully packaged album from Mojave 3 called Puzzles Like You. I can't believe it has already been ten years. 

All of the Mojave 3 releases that I have are a treat to behold. This one is a fantastic example as to why their stuff is special.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The House of Love Babe Rainbow Covers





This album is a masterpiece.

Babe Rainbow

has a fantastic cover--a real winner, if you ask me. I have a soft spot for this album because, back when it was released, I completely missed it. I had the 1990 album, aka, "Butterfly" and, after that, nothing. This was because the House of Love sort of fell off the world for me, but, really, it was just a case of not knowing about this album and what the band was doing. To say that they were underappreciated is an understatement.


They were neglected to death, in other words. And

Babe Rainbow

is one of the most neglected masterpieces of the 1990s. Lost in the sucking swirl of grunge, it ran into a marketplace that wasn't ready for beautiful guitar music. Had Guy Chadwick, et al, simply droned on and screamed about mother, they might have had a chance. Instead, they gave us

The Girl With the Loneliest Eyes

, one of the purest pop songs ever written. Every track on the album is a keeper, by the way. I could mix this whole album up on an iPod and never wonder why those tracks are there.


Acquire this one. It should--it deserves--the reissue treatment, as do all of the other House of Love albums. I would love to see these put back out there with B-sides and live tracks and all, simply because this is crucial music.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The Replacements Tim Covers




The Tim album by the Replacements is pretty much the apex of the band--the high point that happened at exactly the moment when they were recorded about as poorly as possible while making the best music of their lives. If this album sounds bad, that's because it does. Tommy Erdelyi was a terrible choice for a producer and the fact that Tim sounds worse than Hootenanny is, well, one more thing to bitch about.

It was the end of the Bob Stinson era and the beginning of the corporate sell-out era, but the drinking and the shenanigans would continue well on through to the end. The songs would never be as good.

The real crowning glory of this era of the band is found on two of the cuts contained on this album. Bastards of Young and Here Comes a Regular are two sides of the same broken heart, and you could build the quintessential novel of the Eighties around those two songs, weaving them in and out of whatever plot full of fuckups and failed glory you could imagine. There are brilliant songs scattered throughout their career, but these two are the two best songs they ever did.

I have never been able to figure out the cover, though. It has an industrial feel to it, with the band portraits designed to make them indie darlings. There were ideas behind it, but how do they match up to the words "a picture on a fridge that's never stocked with food?" And why didn't someone just put that image on the front and call it a day? 

Primal Scream Country Girl Covers




This is where I really, really started to get into Primal Scream again.

This single has a fantastic cover. Country Girl is a classic rave up. Live, this song brings down the house. The cover here is classically presented with a dark and sinister top and bottom bar, just like a scene from a letter-boxed film. I love what they did with this package.

Ten years? Really? It feels like it just came out.

Monday, December 12, 2016

James Laid Cover




The single from James called Laid was easily one of the best things to come out in 1993; I would say that it was definitely a high point for the band that experienced so many highs and had so many great singles.

The design for this one somewhat mars the impact of the single; the cover is difficult to read and I would definitely have flipped what's on the back for the front. I love the close up stitching as a motif and I like the detail in the cloth and the colors. This is not the first time I have liked the back cover more than the front cover, but it won't be the last, either.

Oasis Live Forever Cover

This single broke Oasis wide open, and helped vault their debut album into the stratosphere. Live Forever was more than just some Britpop throwaway. It rose above the genre and defined the Oasis phenomenon. Every subsequent single rode this wave of optimism in the face of bullshit, lies, and blank stares.

The sleeve features the childhood home of John Lennon on Menlove Avenue, and it is one of those fantastic collaborations between Microdot and Michael Spencer Jones. How many singles put the lyrics on the back? Am I right?

Oasis Be Here Now Alternate Cover

Be Here Now has been reissued, and I'll figure out how to get a copy of that in due time. 

This is what could have been an alternate cover, which I regard as a greatly flawed masterpiece that could have been fixed if someone would just do two things:

1. Remove all of the ecstatic choruses that were added when everyone was on cocaine

2. Shorten the songs by at least a minute each

3. Include the cover versions of songs recorded during the sessions and dump the filler tracks

None of that's ever going to happen, but oh well. As reissues go, this is a chance to hear the Mustique demos, which should have been their own album, of course. Why tack them on here? The demos would make a tremendous album on their own.

Here's the best way to look at mid-period Oasis. Separate the first two albums and their B-sides from everything else. They comprise the best one-two punch in the history of music. Nobody has a better first and second album than Oasis.

View The Masterplan as the real "third" album and Be Here Now as a compilation of B-sides. If you flip them around, you can see The Masterplan as a solid third album of great songs. Mash them together if you want. The song The Masterplan alone is the greatest B-side in all of music history. Noel's ridiculous, obstinate temper at that time made The Masterplan a B-side when it should have been a single. It should have been the first track from Be Here Now, backed with Acquiesce, Stand by Me, and Half the World Away.

Alas, who would ever listen to a blogger?

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Echo and the Bunnymen A Promise Cover

Another old favorite, and why not?

The cover for the 45 rpm single for the song A Promise borrows from the cover art and theme of the album Heaven Up Here. This is an excellent use of the method of tying in the single to the album.

Sleeper Inbetweener Single Cover


Sleeper's

Inbetweener

Single features a fantastic piece of commercial art, and it works on so many levels.


The song, in and of itself, is a novel set to music, and it is so intelligently rendered as to demand the sort of packaging and artwork seen here.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Echo and the Bunnymen Never Stop EP


I find it hard to believe that there aren't more (and better) images than this of Echo and the Bunnymen's Never Stop EP. I have cleaned this up and I tried to enhance it a bit. Somewhere, I can probably dig out a better version.

The Greatest Comeback Album Ever

It's easy to forget just how reviled they were.

Mother Jones Magazine: Let me read you a recent quote from Randy Newman: "I used to be against world peace until U2 came out for it. Then the scales just fell from my eyes.... And when they're singing with those black people? Do you know that black people just love their music? Bono's conducting those black people and they're doing just what he says!...
BONO: I had heard that. Randy Newman is a very funny man, though I think he's written far funnier lines than those.
MJ: Are you interested that criticisms like his have been leveled a lot lately, particularly at "Rattle and Hum?"
B: I suppose. What's uninteresting about that is that we are such an easy target, from the word go, because we perform from our own point of view. I sing about the way I see things. Some people write songs about the way characters see things. Some artists perform with a wink. That's just not the way with U2. When people perform from their gut -- when John Lennon sang a song called "Mother" -- that was not a hip thing to do. He was exposing himself. It's performers like that I admire.... If you're going to spend your whole life worrying about dropping your guard and exposing yourself, worrying that working with a gospel choir might look like imperialism, that would be dumb.
MJ: But the criticisms I read of the film are that it was too guarded. Let me read, if I could, another criticism ....
Well, I'm really not interested.
MJ: I just want to give you the opportunity to respond ....
B: What this suggests is that the music is not enough. That is my expression -- the music -- and within that music I can take my clothes off. Not for the press, not for the TV shows, not for the film. That film was about music, and in that music was everything that we have to say and offer. Now people want it made easy for them. They want it spelled out. Why can't people just accept the music? You know the real reason? It's that people don't listen to the music anymore, and a lot of critics don't.... I think our fans know all the songs on our albums, and I don't think many critics do. I really don't.
MJ: Were there any criticisms that did sting, that hit home, that taught you anything?
B: No. I must say I was generally very disappointed in the community of critics. It's funny. I would've thought that what people would have expected us to do would've been to put out a double live LP, and cash in on "The Joshua Tree," and make a lot of money for very little work. That is what big rock bands do.
When we didn't do that, I expected people to recognize that. When we put the records out at low price, stripped away the U2 sound, then just went with our instincts as fans, and just lost ourselves in this [American R&B] music, in a very un-self-conscious way...
MJ: But if the LP has been unfairly and stupidly criticized by people who aren't listening carefully ...
B: No. It's not even that. It's that the spirit of it has been completely and utterly missed. The spirit of it is unlike any record of a major group, for a long time. That spirit is the very essence of why people get into bands and make music. And it's not about being careful. And it's not about watching your ass....

Achtung Baby

is the result of being torn apart and reduced to having to plead for understanding. I don't think people understand that context. This is the album that only an angry band could make and that's why it still resonates.


U2 needs to make another one of these and come back, fully, into the world with some anger instead of some wry comments about the bar scene.

The Church Gathering Speed Bootleg Cover


Bootlegs offer a glimpse of the past. In this case, the cover of this Church bootleg is far more interesting than the poorly recorded music inside. The tin can through which the sound has been passed failed to do anything other than reduce the band to a stifled growl.


The cover features a photo of the band I have not seen before. This is the Richard Ploog era, and it begins with all of them looking like they are ready to conquer the world.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The Church Live in North America






The Church are bringing their latest show back to North America (they toured extensively last summer and fall). They'll be playing The Blurred Crusade and then Further/Deeper live.



The Church 2016 – Headline North American Tour Dates




4/8/2016   Dallas, TX   Sons of Herman Hall




4/9/2016   San Antonio, TX   Maverick Festival




4/10/2016 New Orleans, LA   House Of Blues




4/11/2016 Athens, GA   Georgia Theater




4/12/2016 Nashville, TN   Mercy Lounge




4/13/2016 Columbus, OH   Skullys Music Diner




4/14/2016 Alexandria, VA   The Birchmere




4/15/2016 Brooklyn, NY   Music Hall Of Williamsburg




4/16/2016 Fairfield, CT   Stage One




4/17/2016 Wilmington, DE   World Cafe @ The Queen




4/19/2016 Northampton, MA   Iron Horse Music Hall




4/20/2016 Londonderry, NH   Tupelo Music Hall




4/22/2016 Sellersville, PA   Sellersville Theater




4/23/2016 Buffalo, NY   The Tralf


4/24/2016 Cleveland, OH   The Music Box Supper Club




4/25/2016 Evanston, IL   SPACE




4/26/2016 Evanston, IL   SPACE



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Friday, February 19, 2016

Out of Control




In case you were wondering, the new Lush single is called "Out of Control" and it is absolutely
brilliant.

 

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bD4O20ePnXo]

I know it's early, but the Lush reunion reminds me of what happened when Suede came back and put out a great record and toured and just sounded spectacular. I am getting the Blind Spot EP--are you?



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Thursday, February 18, 2016

Why Aren't There More Guitars Like This?




It seems like a no-brainer to me:

St. Vincent, otherwise known as Annie Clark, has created a guitar designed specifically for women.

She now joins Albert Lee, John Petrucci, and Steve Morse in the release of a signature guitar with brand Ernie Ball Music Man. Given free rein on the piece's design, Clark set out to create something that would tackle her own past issues with the standard design of the instrument.

"For me a guitar that is not too heavy is really important because I’m not a very big person," she told Guitar World. "I can’t even play a Sixties Strat or Seventies Les Paul. I would need to travel with a chiropractor on tour in order to play those guitars. It’s not that those aren’t great guitars, but they render themselves impractical and unfunctional for a person like me because of their weight."


Clark's model, therefore, is light in its construction with a slim, tapered waist. "I was always finding when I was playing onstage and wearing various stage outfits the guitar would cut across one of the best features of the female body, which is your waist," she continued. "I wanted to make something that looked good and not just on a woman, but any person."

Follow the link and watch the whole video. It's interesting, at least to me, to see someone own their art and try to expand it and share it with others by giving them a tool designed to eliminate a lot of the issues created by the fact that the guitar was originally designed and marketed to men.


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Monday, February 15, 2016

The Psychedelic Furs Forever Now Reissue Covers

























I would like to do something on the first five Psychedelic Furs albums because they're all very vital pieces of rock and roll history. I realize that there were seven major label releases, but I think they could have ended before Book of Days. Really, after Mirror Moves, what was left for them?

The third release was Forever Now and I'm going to get this one out of the way because I think it has one of the most God-awful covers of the 1980s. It has always sort of bothered me, and I realize I'm probably the only one who has this issue with it, but, oh well.

The music inside? Excellent stuff. The cover? Bleh.

I just think the patterns and designs that mar the cover photo are too much. The stars and diamonds are too distracting. Pink and green isn't an awful color motif but when you lay that over a blurry black and white photo, it just doesn't work for me. There is probably nothing wrong with it, but that's how I see the cover. I see it as too busy and too distracting. Their other album covers are all much more appealing. I think All of This and Nothing is probably the best cover. Nothing could be more different than this one.


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Johnny Marr and the Healers Bangin' On










This is a great way to package a single and promote something and give fans a pretty good value. The idea of the CD single often ends up going south for a lot of bands. But Johnny Marr and the Healers have a great thing going with this, the Bangin' On single.

The elements are very simple. Three songs are fine (I consider anything with four songs an EP, or extended play single, but that's not a hard and fast rule--that's just my rule), and there's over fifteen minutes of music here. The cover is artsy, and gets a little busy, but when tied into the artwork for the back (and the band photo) as well as the CD labeling itself, well, we're talking a home run here.

So many singles fail to find these simple elements and make them work. They either get the cover and design wrong (a tendency to go cute or gross or shocking comes to mind) or they fail to offer anything worth buying. I tend to prefer this kind of single--anything with B-sides is perfect. Occasionally, someone will stick three live tracks on a single--I like that, too. I'm not too keen on remixes, never have been. A single with seven remixes is not as interesting to me as something with B-sides or live tracks, but, again--that's just me being weird.


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