Here Comes The New Album, Same as the Old…
If it’s November, it must be time for the Christmas music market. And sure enough, all the groups I’ve written major books about are celebrating the occasion with new releases – of old material. R.E.M. just released R.E.M. Live, their first ever live album, though for those of us with boxes full of bootleg cassettes and videos like TourFilm, that comes as a surprise. Echo & The Bunnymen are being graced by two new old releases: the self-evident Live In Hollywood from one of the more recent line-ups, and the double CD, The Killing Moon: The Best of Echo & The Bunnymen, which is smart enough to justify itself with live cuts from the group’s peak, Womad (1982), the Albert (1983) and Crystal Days (1984). And next week, The Who unleash a long-awaited documentary DVD, Amazing Journey, and also a live album, The Very Best of The Who Live in Concert 1969 -1976, available only through the group’s web site.
Amidst all this regurgitation, props to Mick Jones formerly of The Clash, for continuing to make new music with Carbon/Silicon – and for giving so much of it away at the group’s website. The group have finally gotten around to releasing an American album, The Last Post, through Caroline Records. I can strongly recommend the track “Really The Blues.”
But if we are going to focus on old music, R.E.M. fans may particularly enjoy the thirty-second snippet of “Catapult” that just found its way online at remring, as produced by Stephen Hague, of New Order and Pet Shop Boys fame. The session, instigated at IRS’s insistence in 1982, even though the group knew perfectly well they were going to keep working with Mitch Easter for their debut album, has long been kept under wraps. No wonder: even in this brief segment, you can hear Hague pulling out all the production stops. It’s far from unlikable, just not the way the band needed or wanted to go. Now, who’s going to unveil the rest of this session?