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Robyn Hitchcock

Positively New Tunes

By John M. James · November 7th, 2007 · Yeah Yeah Yeah
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In a day when busloads of undeserving artists are graced with lackluster "best-of" collections every leap year and box sets compile every lost toot and whimper, finally, Robyn Hitchcock, an singer/songwriter of the most magical, surreal third-eye supposition, gets his due. Next week the Yep Roc Records imprint releases the five-disc I Wanna Go Backwards box, the first of twin box sets that plucks three choice albums from his catalog, slathers each with creamy, associated outtakes and demos and ices the dripping layer cake with two CDs of B-sides. Selecting three fan-favorite albums of solo work, the enhanced offering of the enigmatic Black Snake Diamond Role from 1981, the pensive I Often Dream of Trains from 1984 and the haunting Eye from 1990 are terrific jumping off points for the uninitiated. Wildly imaginative with a kinky, down-the-rabbit-hole obsession with insects, fish, plants, masks and other earthy humus, Hitchcock's wit and image associations are socially progressive, brutally honest and seductively mad. Known lovingly for his rambling observations live between songs, more of his dada-esque tilt can be found inside with an excerpt from an upcoming novel, cartoons and poetry. Too timid to slide into the full box set or the coveted eight-LP vinyl version? All three expanded albums are being reissued individually. Going from highbrow to lowbrow, another high-profile CD release is bypassing traditional record stores for an exclusive mall destination. Next week, Victoria's Secret is the only place to find The Spice Girls' new Greatest Hits package, featuring two new songs and a tease for their upcoming tour. Reuniting and appearing on CBS television's Victoria's Secret Fashion Show on Dec. 4, the album comes with a variety of offerings including bonus remixes, karaoke tracks and even a "gift" bracelet. In a day when busloads of undeserving artists are graced with lackluster "best-of" collections every leap year and box sets compile every lost toot and whimper, finally, Robyn Hitchcock, an singer/songwriter of the most magical, surreal third-eye supposition, gets his due. Next week the Yep Roc Records imprint releases the five-disc I Wanna Go Backwards box, the first of twin box sets that plucks three choice albums from his catalog, slathers each with creamy, associated outtakes and demos and ices the dripping layer cake with two CDs of B-sides. Selecting three fan-favorite albums of solo work, the enhanced offering of the enigmatic Black Snake Diamond Role from 1981, the pensive I Often Dream of Trains from 1984 and the haunting Eye from 1990 are terrific jumping off points for the uninitiated. Wildly imaginative with a kinky, down-the-rabbit-hole obsession with insects, fish, plants, masks and other earthy humus, Hitchcock's wit and image associations are socially progressive, brutally honest and seductively mad. Known lovingly for his rambling observations live between songs, more of his dada-esque tilt can be found inside with an excerpt from an upcoming novel, cartoons and poetry. Too timid to slide into the full box set or the coveted eight-LP vinyl version? All three expanded albums are being reissued individually. ... Going from highbrow to lowbrow, another high-profile CD release is bypassing traditional record stores for an exclusive mall destination.

Next week, Victoria's Secret is the only place to find The Spice Girls' new Greatest Hits package, featuring two new songs and a tease for their upcoming tour. Reuniting and appearing on CBS television's Victoria's Secret Fashion Show on Dec. 4, the album comes with a variety of offerings including bonus remixes, karaoke tracks and even a "gift" bracelet.

Television Alert
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno hosts PJ Harvey Wednesday and The Shins Thursday. The Late Show with David Letterman welcomes Missy Elliott Wednesday, Norah Jones Thursday and Alicia Keys Monday. Late Night with Conan O'Brien boasts Phil Lesh of the Grateful Dead Wednesday and Motion City Soundtrack Thursday. Jimmy Kimmel Live cuddles up with Coheed and Cambia on Thursday. And The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson presents The Who's Roger Daltrey on Tuesday.

New Releases Coming Tuesday
Babyshambles ­ Up the Shambles: Live In Manchester (Eagle Rock) DVD filmed in 2004, with guest Dot Allison of One Dove; Lurrie Bell ­ Let's Talk About Love (Aria B.G. Records) tasty guitar work from the Chicago bluesman, featuring a cover of Willie Dixon's "Earthquake and Hurricane"; Boys Like Girls - Boys Like Girls: Deluxe Edition (Columbia) expanded reissue featuring an AOL Sessions cover of Frou Frou's "Let Go" and an acoustic take on "Hero/Heroine"; Boyz II Men ­ Motown: A Journey Through Hitsville USA (Decca) all-covers tribute featuring an a cappella rendition of Stevie Wonder's "Ribbon In the Sky"; The Dillinger Escape Plan ­ Ire Works (Relapse) with new drummer Gil Sharone and hot off tour with A Life Once Lost and Genghis Tron; The Doors ­ Perception (Rhino) 12-CD box set in audiophile-friendly 5.1 Surround Sound; Duran Duran ­ Red Carpet Massacre (Epic) long awaited return featuring material co-written with Justin Timberlake and Timbaland; Easy Star All-Stars ­ Radiodread (Easy Star) reissue of this dynamite "Radiohead meets Dub" cover project from last year, now available in a colored vinyl two-LP set with two new remixes by Mad Professor; Ana Egge ­ Lazy Days (Grace/Parkinsong) backed by two members of the Lounge Lizards, 10 interesting covers receive her folksy interpretation, including selections by The Kinks, Sandy Denny, Harry Nilsson, Gene Autry, The Zombies and Arcade Fire; Stace England & the Salt Kings - Salt Sex Slaves (Rankoutsider) with guest twang from Jason & the Scorchers' Jason Ringenberg, this Folk-Boogie opus tells the tale of slaves, a kidnapping and the production of -- and desire for -- salt in olden days Illinois; Aretha Franklin ­ Jewels In the Crown: All-Star Duets with the Queen (Arista) with George Benson, George Michael, Mariah Carey, John Legend, Mary J. Blige, Fantasia and Keith Richards; David Gray ­ Greatest Hits (ATO) featuring two new songs; Hellyeah ­ Below the Belt (Epic) live concert DVD featuring bonus studio footage, interviews and music videos; The Hives ­ The Black and White Album (Interscope) with knob twisting by Jacknife Lee, Timbaland and The Neptunes; Alicia Keys ­ As I Am (J Records) with guest John Mayer, also available with a bonus DVD; The Killers ­ Sawdust (Island) B-sides collection with guest Lou Reed on "Tranquilize," a cover of Joy Division's "Shadowplay" and a new Christmas single, "Don't Shoot Me Santa"; LCD Soundsystem ­ 45:33 (EMI) previously only available as a download, this physical release of the Nike-commissioned heart-pumping "athletic mix" CD features bonus B-sides; Led Zeppelin ­ Mothership (Atlantic/Rhino) two-CD greatest hits package, also available in a four-LP vinyl set and a "deluxe" edition featuring a bonus DVD of rare footage from their legendary concerts at the Royal Albert Hall, Madison Square Garden, Earls Court and Knebworth; Margot At the Wedding ­ original motion picture soundtrack (Lakeshore) with music by Steve Forbert, Blondie, Stephen Bishop, Alice Cooper and Jack Black; Nelly ­ Brass Knuckles (Universal) with guests Lil Wayne and Pimp C; Os Mutantes ­ Mutantes Live: Barbican Theater, London (Luaka Bop) born alongside The Beatles in 1964, this two-CD or DVD documents the godfathers of Brazilian psychedelia reuniting last year with special guest Devendra Banhart; Primes ­ Facades and Pink Forms (Postfact Records) bristling, chirping bleep-blop beats from Vancouver; Queensryche ­ Take Cover (Rhino) all covers project highlighted by their metallic stab at U2's "Bullet the Blue Sky," Pink Floyd's "Welcome To the Machine" and Black Sabbath's "Neon Knights"; Shaggy ­ Intoxication (Big Yard/VP Records) with guests Mischieve, Collie Budz and Akon; The Silver Seas ­ High Society (Cheap Lullaby) in between Ron Sexton, Prefab Sprout and Jellyfish, this Nashville quartet effortlessly spins gentle daydream Pop that feels like an old friend; Streetlight Manifesto ­ Somewhere In the Between (Victory) featuring former members of Catch 22 and One Cool Guy; James Taylor ­ One Man Band (Hear Music) CD and DVD set; "Little" Louie Vega ­ Back In the Box (NRK Music) two CDs of personally selected dancefloor faves from the DJ's special crate of House classics; Wire ­ Read & Burn 03 (Pink Flag) all new, four-song CD EP; Various Artists - Psychopathics from Outer Space: Part 3 (Psychopathic) Area 51 meets juggalos, featuring new tracks from Insane Clown Posse, Blaze, Boondocks and Twiztid.

 
 
 
 

 

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