Unbiased reviews of new vinyl releases, audiophile reissues, and more

Monday, November 30, 2009

Neil Young: Original Release Series discs 1-4 -- 140 gram vinyl review

As part of the Neil Young Archives reissue campaign that started with the Performance Series releases of Live at the Fillmore East, Live at Massey Hall, and Sugar Mountain: Live at Canterbury House, Reprise continues with reissues of Young's first four albums on vinyl.

Each of the first four titles are available either individually on regular weight 140 gram vinyl or in a limited edition numbered boxset containing all four titles on 180 gram vinyl (available exclusively through NeilYoung.com and BecauseSoundMatters.com). For this review, I compared each of the 140 gram versions to early original U.S. pressings as well as a few of my favorite imports and reissues.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Elvis Costello -- My Aim Is True MFSL 180 gram vinyl

Mobile Fidelity has just released My Aim Is True, the first of three promised titles from Elvis Costello. With this 1977 release, Costello mixed elements of pub rock, rockabilly, and reggae and delivered them with a punk attitude that would come to define a large segment of the popular music scene of the late Seventies and early Eighties, with artists like Joe Jackson following in his footsteps.

Costello is backed on his debut effort by the band Clover--except on the single, Watching the Detectives, where he plays with what would become his regular backing band, The Attractions. Detectives was not included on the original UK Stiff album release, but was added just in time for the U.S. Columbia release. This Mofi pressing is likely one of the only vinyl releases to both use the original analog tapes and include *Detectives.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Short Spin: The Gil Evans Orchestra -- Out of the Cool Impulse 45 RPM 180 gram vinyl

Analogue Productions has finally started releasing titles from their highly anticipated Impulse jazz 45 RPM series. Following the success of their 45 RPM Blue Note jazz series, Analogue Productions, along with a new label, Original Recordings Group (ORG), have each embarked upon campaigns to reissue Impulse jazz titles on 45 RPM 180 gram vinyl.

ORG released their initial Impulse titles in April of this year, including the truly exceptional Live at the Village Vanguard. Among the initial titles just released by Analogue Productions is the 1962 classic from The Gil Evans Orchestra: Out of the Cool.

In preparation for this review, I compared the now out-of-print 33 RPM 180 gram stereo reissue from Alto Analogue, as well as an original Rudy Van Gelder mastered stereo Impulse pressing (which was generously loaned to me by Bay Area analog guru and owner of The Analog Room, Brian Hartsell).

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Neil Young: Official Release Series Discs 1-4 Remastered Vinyl and Boxset Coming November 24, 2009

Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere [Vinyl]

(Everybody Knows This is Nowhere, 1969)
If you are here for reviews of the Neil Young Official Release Series Discs 1-4, please click here to find the Full Reviews.

As part of the Neil Young Archives reissue campaign that started with the Performance Series releases of Live at the Fillmore East, Live at Massey Hall, and Sugar Mountain: Live at Canterbury House, Reprise continues with upcoming vinyl releases of Young's first four albums.

Remastered vinyl editions of Neil Young, Everybody Knows This is Nowhere, After the Goldrush, and Harvest will be released on November 24, 2009. The self-titled 1969 debut release will again feature the original cover art, which was changed shortly after the first vinyl pressings were issued forty years ago.

(After the Goldrush, 1970)

The vinyl will be remastered from the original analog master tapes by Chris Bellman, of Bernie Grundman Mastering. Bellman, who has mastered all of Young's recent vinyl titles, including Greatest Hits, as well as the three live Archives Performance Series titles, has received near-unanimous praise for his job on these titles, and based upon his stellar work on each of them, I have high hopes for these remastered releases as well.

Harvest, 1972)

The vinyl will be pressed at the Pallas facility in Germany, which is well known for producing ultra-premium vinyl pressings that are flat, clean, and are virtually silent during playback. Each album will be available individually on regular weight 140 gram vinyl. A numbered boxset limited to 3000 copies worldwide, containing 180 gram pressings of each title will also be available exclusively through NeilYoung.com and BecauseSoundMatters.com. Both vinyl versions will use the same mastering and pressing plant.
Stay tuned for a full review of all four remastered releases!

Click here for the review of Sugar Mountain: Live at Canterbury House Vinyl

Click here for the review of Live at Fillmore East and Live at Massey Hall Vinyl

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Short Spin: David Gray -- Draw The Line Vinyl

Ok, I admit it. I'm middle-aged. The problem with David Gray's latest release, Draw the Line, is that nearly every song reminds me of that fact. There are basically two kinds of pop songs that move me: those that make me feel young, and those that remind me of what it was like to be young. Those that succeed in the latter category often evoke bittersweet images--or some conflict in the listener between what is and what used to be--childhood memories, forgotten places, or lost loves. Draw the Line is unfortunately much more bitter than sweet, with its mostly mid-tempo compositions evoking images closer to lost opportunities, ailing parents and divorce.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Short Spin: Crosby, Stills & Nash -- CSN Demos 180 gram vinyl


On the heels of the outstanding archival release by Stephen Stills, Just Roll Tape, Crosby, Stills & Nash have again gone back to the vaults with Demos, a collection of unreleased demo tracks recorded between 1968-1971. And like Just Roll Tape, the songs have an unvarnished quality to them that allows you to experience something new and different from songs that you've become intimately familiar with over the past three decades.