Category Archives: NEWS

Happy Birthday Brian Wilson

Happy birthday to Brian Wilson. Read Robert Schneider of the Apples In Stereo on the Beach Boys’ Smile in MAGNET here.

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Happy Birthday Nick Drake

Happy birthday to Nick Drake. Read Bill Barbot of Jawbox on Nick in MAGNET here.

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Happy Birthday Paul McCartney

Happy birthday to Paul McCartney. Read our review of Pure McCartney here.

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In The News: Deer Tick, Cage The Elephant, Courtney Barnett And Kurt Vile, Oh Sees, Avey Tare, Dears, Gogol Bordello, Ramones And More

On September 15, Deer Tick is releasing two new albums, Deer Tick Vol. 1 and Deer Tick Vol. 2 (both on Partisan). According to the band, Vol. 1 is folk-driven roots rock, while Vol. 2 is punk-inspired garage rock … Cage The Elephant will issue Unpeeled, an unplugged live album, this summer via RCA … Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile will release an LP later this year via Matador … On August 25, Oh Sees (formerly Thee Oh Sees) are issuing Orc via Castle Face … Alison Moyet‘s latest album, Other, is out June 16 on Cooking Vinyl … On July 21, Domino will release Eucalyptus, a new solo LP by Animal Collective’’s Avey TareBen Sollee‘s Ben Sollee And Kentucky Native is out August 11 via Soundly Music … Okovi, the new album from Zola Jesus, is due September 8 on Sacred Bones … Out now is Times Infinity Volume Two (Dangerbird), the latest from the DearsGogol Bordello‘s Seekers And Finders is out August 25 via Cooking Vinyl … Manchester North Of England, out July 28 on Cherry Red, is a seven-CD set featuring the Buzzcocks, Joy Division, Fall, New Order, James, Happy Mondays, Stone Roses, Oasis, Morrissey, Charlatans and more … RCA/Legacy will release Elvis Presley‘s A Boy From Tupelo: The Complete 1953-1955 Recordings on July 28 … A 40th anniversary, three-CD reissue of the RamonesLeave Home is out July 14 from Rhino … The RaspberriesPop Art Live (Omnivore) is a two-CD set recorded in 2004 and is due out August 18 … Santana and the Isley Brothers have teamed up for Power Of Peace, out August 4 on Legacy … The Judds: All-Time Greatest Hits, featuring 21 songs from the ’80s and ’90s by the Judds, is out June 30 via Curb … On July 7, acclaimed ’80s documentary Gospel According To Al Green is coming to Blu-ray and DVD; the 96-minute film celebrates the career of soul legend Al Green … Sword guitarist Kyle Shutt will release Doom Side Of The Moon, a metal tribute to Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side Of The Moon, on August 4 … Bright Phoebus, an influential 1972 folk album by Lal And Mike Waterson, will be reissued by Domino on August 4 … Carla Bruni‘s latest, French Touch, is out October 6 via Verve/Barclay/Universal Music France … On August 18, Judy Dyble (Fairport Convention) and Andy Lewis will release Summer Dancing Album (Acid Jazz) … Curanderos (a.k.a. Bardo Pond and Kohoutek) is issuing its self-titled solo album August 11 via Fire … Less Art is Riley and Ed Breckenridge (Thrice), Ian Miller and Jon Howell (Kowloon Walled City) and Mike Minnick (Curl Up And Die), will release its Strangled Light debut July 28 … Lifehouse will release its first-ever best-of compilation, Lifehouse: Greatest Hits, via UMe on July 14.

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In The News: Arcade Fire, War On Drugs, matt pond PA, Luna, Mogwai, Dälek, Fall, Hot Water Music, Frank Zappa, Nick Lowe And More

The new Arcade Fire album, Everything Now, is due July 28, with a tour in support this fall … On August 25, Atlantic will issue the fourth War On Drugs LP, A Deeper UnderstandingRainer Maria, the first album from Rainer Maria in more than a decade, is out August 18 via Polyvinyl … August 11 sees the release of matt pond PA‘s 14th LP, Still Summer … A Sentimental Education, a covers album by Luna featuring songs by the Cure, Velvet Underground, Fleetwood Mac, Bob Dylan, David Bowie and more, is out September 22 via Double Feature … On September 1, Temporary Residence Ltd will issue Mogwai‘s Every Country’s SunA Giant Dog‘s latest, Toy, is out August 25 via Merge … Dälek returns September 1 with Endangered Philosophies (Ipecac) … Joan Osborne‘s Songs Of Bob Dylan is out September 1 … New Facts Emerge, the 32nd album by the Fall, is out July 28 via Cherry Red … Hot Water Music’s Light It Up is out September 15 on Rise … The Jim Jarmusch-led SQÜRL will release EP #260 on July 14 … Tapete is issuing the TelescopesAs Light Return on July 7 … 10th Of Seas, the new album by David Barbe (Sugar, Deerhunter, Drive-By Truckers), is out August 18 via Orange Twin … Frank Zappa & The Mothers Of Invention’s Absolutely Free celebrates its 50th anniversary with an expanded vinyl version on September 29 via Zappa/UMe … Barefoot In The Head by Chris Robinson Brotherhood is out July 21 on Robinson’s Silver Arrow label, with a tour to follow this fall … On November 3, Legacy/Roy’s Boys will issue A Love So Beautiful: Roy Orbison With The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra by the late Roy Orbison … Six 1982-1990 Nick Lowe albums—Nick The Knife, The Abominable Showman, Nick Lowe And His Cowboy Outfit, The Rose Of England, Pinker And Prouder Than Previous and Party Of One—will be reissued via Yep Roc on July 14 … In July, Rhino celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Summer Of Love with reissue/compilations by the Monkees, Grateful Dead and more … Out now is the 25th anniversary edition of Ice Cube’s second album, Death Certificate (Interscope) … Also celebrating a 25th birthday is k.d. lang’s debut LP, Ingénue, out July 7 on Nonesuch … The Commodores‘ 1977 self-titled fifth studio album is getting a vinyl LP release from UMe on June 16 … On July 28, Omnivore will reissue Arthur Alexander‘s 1972 self-titled sophomore album, with six bonus tracks … Also on Omnivore, Alex Chilton‘s A Man Called Destruction returns in expanded edition on August 25 … Columbia/Legacy is releasing a 20th anniversary edition of Shawn Colvin‘s A Few Small Repairs on September 15.

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In The News: Guided By Voices, Grizzly Bear, Broken Social Scene, Liars, Big Star, Paul Simon, Tom Petty, Randy Newman, Nickelback And More

Guided By VoicesHow Do You Spell Heaven, Robert Pollard’s 101st studio album, is out August 11 via GBV Inc … On August 18, RCA is issuing Grizzly Bear’s fifth LP, Painted Ruins … Sup Pop will release Beach House’s B-Sides And Rarities on June 30 … Hug Of Thunder, Broken Social Scene’s first album in seven years and featuring contributions from all 15 original band members, is out July 7 via Arts & Crafts … Liars return in August with a new album on Mute … Stax/Concord/Craft will issue Best Of Big Star, a new 16-track compilation that spans all three of Big Star’s LPs and features rare edits of a number of songs … Paul Simon’s The Concert In Hyde Park is out via Legacy as a two-CD/DVD or Blu-ray package on June 9 … UMe has released eight individual Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers albums—Damn The Torpedoes, Full Moon Fever, Hard Promises, Into The Great Wide Open, Let Me Up (I’ve Had Enough), Long After Dark, Pack Up The Plantation Live! and Southern Accents—as stand-alone vinyl titles … On July 7, Rhino will release vinyl versions of Nickelback’s Silver Side Up, The Long Road and All The Right ReasonsRed Hot: A Memphis Celebration Of Sun Records is a compilation benefiting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital out June 16; co-produced by Luther Dickinson (North Mississippi Allstars) and Tamara Saviano, the album features Dickinson, Valerie June, Amy LaVere, Alvin Youngblood Hart and others … Rhino/Concord starts a year-long tribute to the Stax label with the Stax Classics series, beginning this summer with collections by Otis Redding, Carla Thomas, Sam & Dave and Booker T. & The M.G.’sDark Matter, Randy Newman‘s first album of new material since 2008, is out August 4 on Nonesuch… Sisters Shelby Lynne and Allison Moorer will release Not Dark Yet on August 18 via Silver Cross/Thirty Tigers, featuring covers of songs by Nick Cave, Nirvana, Townes Van Zandt, Bob Dylan, Killers, Merle Haggard and more … Dead Cross’ self-titled debut will be released August 4 by Ipecac; the band features Dave Lombardo (Slayer), Mike Patton (Faith No More), Justin Pearson (Locust) and Michael Crain (Retox) … Also on August 4, Joyful Noise is issuing the debut solo album from Melvins drummer Dale Crover, The Fickle Finger Of Fate.

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In The News: Radiohead, National, Cornelius, Rancid, Evan Dando, Can, Cars And More

On June 23, Radiohead will release OKNOTOK—featuring a remastered OK Computer, eight b-sides and three previously unreleased songs—via XL … Sleep Well Beast is the seventh studio album from the National, and it’s out September 8 on 4AD … Cornelius will release Mellow Waves, his first album in 11 years, on July 21 via Rostrum … Trouble Maker, the ninth studio LP from Rancid, is out on Hellcat/Epitaph, on June 9 … Evan Dando’s Baby I’’m Bored has been reissued by Fire as a two-CD set featuring ’unreleased tracks, singles, b-sides and rarities … The Singles (Mute), which compiles all 23 singles from the legendary Can, is out June 16 … Lo Tom is David Bazan (Pedro The Lion), Trey Many (Velour 100, Starflyer 59), TW Walsh (Pedro The Lion, Soft Drugs) and Jason Martin (Starflyer 59), and the band will issue its self-titled debut on Barsuk on July 14 … Expanded editions of the CarsCandy-O and Panorama will be available July 28 via Rhino … Third Man is releasing Hamburg Tapes 1967 by the Monks, featuring five unheard tracks from the cult group, on June 23 … Checkered Past/Bloodshot has reissued Firewater debut Get Off The Cross … We Need The Wood For The Fire on vinyl … Craft Recordings will reissue Thelonious Monk And John Coltrane‘s Complete 1957 Riverside Recordings as a vinyl boxed set on June 9 … Out now is Baby Blue Eyes … May The First Voice You Hear Be Mine, a 20-track collection from Frank Sinatra curated by daughter Tina … On June 30, Eagle Rock will reissue Heart’s 2002 homecoming concert film Alive In Seattle on DVD … Sweet Apple—featuring J Mascis, John Petkovic, Tim Parnin and Dave Sweetapple—will release Sing The Night In Sorrow on July 28 via Tee Pee … On July 21, Legacy will release Billy Ocean—Here You Are: The Music Of My Life, featuring 10 new performances and five old-school hits from Billy Ocean … Beth Ditto will release debut solo album Fake Sugar via Virgin on June 16 … Engelbert Humperdinck 50: The Legend Continues, a two-CD best-of comp from Engelbert Humperdinck, is out now via Decca/UMe … The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart will issue fourth album The Echo Of Pleasure on July 14 via its Painbow label … On June 9, A&M/Interscope/Deutsche Grammophon will release The Complete Studio Collection, featuring all 12 solo albums by Sting, on 180-gram heavyweight vinyl.

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In The News: HAIM, Phoenix, Cheap Trick, Ryan Adams, Yonder Mountain String Band, Alex Chilton, David Bowie, Natalie Merchant And More

HAIM returns July 7 with Something To Tell You (Columbia), the trio’s much-anticipated sophomore LP … Ti Amo is the new Phoenix album, and it’s out June 9 via Loyaute/Glassnote … We’re All Alright! is the 18th studio album from the legendary Cheap Trick, due out June 16 via Big Machine … Out now is Ryan Adams’ 17-track Prisoner B-Sides (Pax Am/Blue Note) … Yonder Mountain String Band’s first new album in two years, Love. Ain’t Love, is out June 23 … Take Me Home And Make Me Like It is an LP of previously unreleased rehearsals and alternate takes from Alex Chilton‘s 1975 sessions for Singer Not The Song; it’s out on Munster June 16 … To celebrate the film’s 30th anniversary, David Bowie and Trevor Jones’ soundtrack to Labyrinth has been reissued on vinyl by UMe … Laibach’s Also Sprach Zarathustr is out via Mute on July 14 … On June 23, Nonesuch will release The Natalie Merchant Collection, a 10-CD set featuring all eight of Natalie Merchant’s solo LPs, a new album and a collection of rarities … The new Suburbs album, Hey Muse!, is out June 23 … Glenn Morrow’s Cry For Help‘s self-titled album is out via Rhyme And Reason on June 23 … The first new Terminals LP in a decade, Antiseptic, is out via Ba Da Bing … Amanda Palmer & Edward Ka-Spel (Legendary Pink Dots) have issued their first collaboration album, I Can Spin A Rainbow … The five-CD American Epic: The Collection and the single-disc American Epic: The Soundtrack (Legacy/Columbia/Third Man/Lomax) feature music associated with acclaimed documentary series American EpicMichael McDonald, who appeared with Thundercat at this year’s Coachella, will issue his first album in almost 10 years, Wide Open, via BMG on September 16 … ZZ Ward will release The Storm on June 30 via Hollywood.

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In The News: Matthew Sweet, Jeff Tweedy, John Coltrane, Shabazz Palaces, Bob Marley, Allen Ginsberg, Tom Petty, Waxahatchee And More

Matthew Sweet returns with new studio album since 2011 Tomorrow Forever on June 16 via Honeycomb Hideout/Sony/RED. It’s a 17-track CD/double LP … Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy will release Together At Last, a new solo acoustic collection, June 23 via dBpm … On June 9, Rhino will release Trane: The Atlantic Collection, featuring nine songs from recording John Coltrane made for Atlantic between 1959 and 1961. The next week, mono LP reissues of Giant Steps, Olé Coltrane, Coltrane Plays The Blues, Bags & Trane and The Avant-Garde will be available, with a mono CD version of Giant Steps due July 7 … Shabazz Palaces will release Quazarz: Born On A Gangster Star via Sub Pop on July 14 … Island/UMe celebrates the 40th anniversary of Bob Marley & the Wailers’ classic Exodus with four separate versions of the LP new month. Exodus 40: The Movement Continues (featuring the original album and a Ziggy Marley “restatement” of the LP with be available as both a two-CD set and a three three-CD package, featuring Exodus Live). Also available will be a limited-edition gold-vinyl version of the original LP, plus a super-deluxe four-LP, two-seven-inch set that includes the original album, Exodus 40, Exodus Live, Punky Reggae Party and more … The Sword has released its first live album, Greetings From…, via Razor & Tie … On June 23, 311 will issue 12th studio album Mosaic (BMG) … Allen Ginsberg’s 1970 Songs Of Innocence And Experience will be released on CD for the first time June 23, with a second disc of rarities and previously unissued songs … Matthew Ryan has released new LP Hustle Up Starlings, produced by the Gaslight Anthem’s Brian Fallon … Six Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers albums—She’s The One, Echo, The Last DJ, Highway Companion, Mojo and Hypnotic Eye—are available again as stand-alone vinyl titles via Warner Bros. … Glen Campbell’s final studio album, Adiós, will be released June 9 via UMe … Waxahatchee’s fourth album, Out In The Storm, will be released July 14 on Merge … Rhino celebrates the 20th birthday of Third Eye Blind’s self-titled debut June 9 with an expanded version of the LP that includes several unreleased recordings … Omar Souleyman’s new LP, To Syria, With Love, is out June 2 via Mad Decent … Willie Nile pays tribute to one of his idols with Positively Bob: Willie Nile Sings Bob Dylan, out June 23 via River House … Boomiverse, the third solo album by OutKast’s Big Boi, is out next month via Epic … UMe will issue expanded editions of Status Quo’s Blue For You, Just Supposin’ and Never Too Late on June 2 … ABBA’s classic Gold: Greatest Hits will receive a limited-edition reissue on gold-colored 180g vinyl on June 30 … Sarah Jaffe’s Bad Baby is due out July 7 via Kirtland.

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Record Store Day 10

A highly selective look at what yesterday’s 10th anniversary Record Store Day had to offer

Like drunks recalling their teen frat antics or Asbury Park-ers remembering every Bruce sighting, everybody in the label and the vinyl record biz has a Record Store Day start story: the decisions as to what studio and/or live rarities to make available, what color its stock would, what thickness all it would come in, what new tunes to pull out, and who would rep the damned thing. (This year. St. Vincent was the RSD hostess-with-the-most-est with its honoree being, ugh, Elton John.) Luckily, within all that informational folderol, no one has forgotten about the music (maaaaaaaaan), as it not only has remained the focus of RSD, but it holiest reason—find something great and impossible-to-get after April 22, keep it at 180 mg and make it in swirly red and white-toned vinyl. Here’s a purely subjective, highly selective list of some of the most fascinating RSD vinyl-only opportunities.

Bob Seger System “2+2=?” seven-inch, yellow (Third Man)
There’s a lot of reasons to love this frizzy garage-rocking first single from Bob Seger. First, it’s groovy growling Bob before he went epic and smooth. Secondly, this single was one of the first manufactured at Third Man’s new pressing plant in Detroit, Seger’s hometown. Lastly, it’s salty Seger singing for a cause: anti-Vietnam protest with lyrics like, “It’s true I am a young man, but I’m old enough to kill/I don’t want to kill nobody.”

Moondog Moondog LP, white vinyl (Columbia)
The most exquisitely odd of avant-garderners, Moondog—“the Viking of Sixth Avenue” as he was known in minimalist circles—recorded this stirring, subtle symphonic 1969 album with the producer behind the horny Chicago (James William Guercio). Its tones are majestic and the songs dedicated to bop master Charlie Parker led the charge for that jazz saxophonist’s revival.

The War On Drugs “Thinking Of A Place” 12-inch single (Atlantic)
Philadelphia’s slow burning indie act has been MIA since 2014’s epic Lost In The Dream, and this new song is both stunningly ghostly and contagiously melodic.

Patti Smith “Hey Joe” (Version)/”Piss Factory” seven-inch (Rhino)
Patti Smith was still Downtown NYC’s headiest poetess in 1974 rather than the pre-punk rocker she would become known as months after this single’s release. Along with borrowing its ire from guitarist Roy Buchanan’s take (and not that of Hendrix), Smith’s “Hey Joe” is famous (and dated, but happily) by spoken text regarding heiress-turned-Symbionese Liberation Army pawn Patty Hearst’s indoctrination into the cause. Whoa.

The Bevis Frond Triptych two-LP, white vinyl (Fire America)
The lost and lovely lo-fi psychedelic sound of Nick Saloman’s Frond is welcome here, especially the grand eloquent “Tangerine Infringement Beak”—a nearly 20 minutes-long monster. Weirdly enough, they also do a version of “Hey Joe.” Must be the water.

Various Artists Ciao! Manhattan soundtrack LP (Light In The Attic)
Rather than be a sonic paean to everything silver, Velvet(y) and Warhol-ian, the never-before-released musical portrait behind the ugly 1973 docudrama tale of socialite-gone-to-seed Edie Sedgwick features a whole lot of prairie-dog country (John Philips) as well as Moog compositions by Factory regular Gino Piserchio and glammy ragtime-rock songs (“Citizen Kane”) by Kim Fowley. This LITA gatefold package is an appropriately wonky soundtrack for a magnetically weird film.

Marianne Faithfull Rich Kids Blues LP, silver (Demon)
Now, here’s a silver vinyl album that would’ve made Andy and Edie proud: a spare 1972-recorded set of Faithfull’s flatlined vocal readings of Dylan, Tim Hardin, Phil Ochs and Sandy Denny folkers.

Mayer Hawthorne Party Of One EP, luminescent aquamarine vinyl (BMG/Vagrant)
The suavely soulful and fluidly funky Mayer Hawthorne’s debut digital gets an aptly oceanic-colored first physical release.

Sinn Sisamouth And Ros Serey Sothea “Sinn Sisamouth And Ros Serey Sothea” seven-inch (Dust-To-Digital)
The rarely heard sound of ’50s and ’60s Cambodian crooner Sinn Sisamouth and Ros Serey Sothea is the lilting pop predecessors to all that Dengue Fever possess.

Various Artists Where The Pyramid Meets The Eye: A Tribute To Roky Erickson double-LP (Sire)
One of the first and best tribute albums to a well-deserving artist, this long-out-of-print project from 1990 (put together by legendary promo man Bill Bentley) features ZZ Top, Butthole Surfers, Bongwater and a still vital R.E.M. capturing Roky Erickson’s scary love songs to demons, aliens and assorted lost souls.

Johnny Cash The Johnny Cash Children’s Album LP (Columbia)
The Man In Black gets child-like (hardly) and giddy (not at all) while doing rough-and-tumble country covers of Sesame Street classic “Nasty Dan,” Cash’s own “I Got A Boy (And His Name Is John)” (written about Cash’s only son, John Carter Cash) and frumpy Elvis hit “Old Shep,”

Ken Kesey The Acid Test LP (Jackpot)
How is this not on some amazingly colored trippy vinyl? Timothy Leary’s best buddy/test subject released this privately in 1966 and was meant to recreate a live acid test. Way dated psychedelic stuff, but fun nonetheless.

Hollie Cook “Superstar” seven-inch (Merge)
Esoteric British soul/reggae crooner Hollie Cook debuts her raw, top-ranking balladry not only with a blissed-out cover of the Carpenters’ “Superstar,” but with a spooky dub version of the same song as its b-side. Welcome to America.

Iggy Pop Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall three-LP (Loma Vista)
Together with Queens Of The Stone Age, the creaky-but-caterwauling Iggy Pop played the Berlin-era-inspired new album along with the best of his morose, synth-punkish works co-created with David Bowie. Amazing collection and sterling, scrufy sound.

George Carlin Jammin’ In New York LP (Comedy Dynamics)
Just for laughs (literally), the late lover of words gets a first vinyl release for his HBO special of the same name (from 1992) and presciently teases currently popular notions such as climate change in a bit called “The Planet Is Fine.”

Slick Rick The Great Adventures Of … album, book and seven-inch (Get Down)
The rap overlord of the la-di-da-di drops his 1988 debut here with an 18-page illustrated kid’s sleepy time novella, a CD (WTF!?) of his jittery 1988 debut and a picture sleeve single of the lullabye-est hip-hop jam of the era.

Sex Pistols “Anarchy In The UK” five seven-inch singles, boxed (Rhino)
Four original U.K. 45s and one U.S. replicas of the original 1977 releases showcase “Anarchy In The UK”, “God Save The Queen,” “Pretty Vacant (U.K. version),” “Pretty Vacant (U.S. version)” and “Holidays In The Sun.” Yes, you have these, but any chance to fly the Union Jack in cute in this Johnny Rotten’s anniversary season.

Thelonious Monk Les Liaisons Dangereuses double-LP (Sam/Saga)
This is the year that jazz came to RSD in a big way, and nothing is better than hearing the mood-swinging genius of the piano’s never-released soundtrack (his only shot at film scoring to boot) for Roger Vadim’s 1960 French film of the same name. This collection is gorgeously executed sonically (Thelonious Monk’s stalwart saxophonist Charlie Rouse smolders across these trembling tracks), and the box is crammed tight with never-before-seen photographs and memorabilia from the recording sessions.

Spoon “Hot Thoughts” 12-inch single (Matador)
The newly resurging soupy Spoon offers up the best song from its new album along with two previously unavailable tracks: “Hot Thoughts (Dave Sitek Remix)” and a swooning cover of Elvis Presley’s “Love Letters.”

The Beatles “Strawberry Fields Forever”/”Penny Lane” seven-inch (Capitol)
Just as it did back in 1967, a single of “Strawberry Fields Forever” and “Penny Lane”—complete with a picture sleeve featuring a Nehru jacket, walrus mustachioed-era Fab Four‚preceded the release of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Sun Ra Arkestra Janus LP, yellow/black vinyl(ORG)
Rare and studiously skronky studio and live material from the toast of Germantown, Pa., is always welcome, but this time out Sun Ra’s space-jazz from between 1963 and 1970 comes in sunburst-and-black-swirled vinyl—just like the sound.

Lillie Mae Forever And Then Some LP, clear with white wisps (Third Man)
Not only has Jack White produced the famously nicotine-stained sound of Nashville-based singer/songwriter Lillie Mae. He’s turned the country howler’s debut disc appropriately smoke-colored for RSD.

Motörhead Clean Your Clock two-LP picture disc (USD)
Recorded in Germany 2015, the late Lemmy is the picturesque star of this package, funny leather hat and literal and figurative warts and all.

David Bowie Cracked Actor (Live In Los Angeles ’74) three-LP (Rhino)
Not to be confused with the 1974 BBC doc of the same name, this riveting live recording comes from the same time and tour that yielded Bowie’s ragged blue-eyed-soul David Live from the Tower Theatre in MAGNET’s hometown of Philadelphia. Only this double package bests the Philly package pound-for-pound in funky chic as it included the Philly Dogs crew (e.g. Luther Vandross) and stunning bass-pumped sound quality (Bowie’s mics dropped off at the Tower). Plus, these L.A. dates happily included a mesmeric take on “John, I’m Only Dancing (Again),” which Philly missed out on, and he doesn’t look like a zombie on this cover. Rhino also released the ultra-rare Hunky Dory-era promo album BOWPROMO for RSD, a white-label joint from 1972 with different mixes of famed tracks like “Oh, You Pretty Things” and album outtake “Bombers”/“Andy Warhol Intro.”

The Cars Live At The Agora, 1978 two-LP (Rhino)
The band often accused of ushering in the sleekest forms of danceable, hit-making new wave, this rough live release shows Ric Ocasek and Co. on the Suicide-influenced tip of its towering sound. Very grouchy.

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band Hammersmith Odeon London ’75 four-LP (Columbia)
If we’re talking live albums, this boxed set is the wooly mammoth lost weekend for Boss vinyl fanatics: his and his crew’s first concert appearance outside of America with Born To Run freshly in their rear-view mirror. This package was released on CD, but the crispness of Bruce’s “Detroit Medley” (“Devil With A Blue Dress On,” “See See Rider,” “Good Golly Miss Molly,” “Jenny Take A Ride”) and the bliss of “Rosalita” paired with the Latin-swinging “Come A Little Bit Closer” and “Theme From Shaft” by Isaac Hayes plus the smoky jazz of “Kitty’s Back” with Van Morrison’s “Moondance”? Too much.

—A.D. Amorosi

Photos after the jump.

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