Exclusive Music, Playlists, Merch & More

Monday, September 29, 2014 - 4:11pm
Joni Mitchell

As our effort to reissue classic albums on 180-gram vinyl continues ever onward, we’re bringing you two very different albums this week: one’s a unique blend of folk, rock, and jazz from a singer-songwriter who’s never been afraid to challenge audiences, while the other is a country-inspired side project from the man who once sang of “Sultans of Swing.”

Joni Mitchell, Hejira: Originally released in November 1976, Mitchell wrote the majority of this album while on a car trip from Maine to Los Angeles, hence the inclusions of songs with titles like “Blue Motel Room” and “Refuge of the Roads.” While not a hit-single machine – only one song, “Coyote,” made even the slightest inroads on that front, and the only place it charted was in Canada, and only at #79 at that – Hejira is generally viewed as one of Mitchell’s classic ‘70s efforts, featuring a more jazz-influenced sound than any of its predecessors but still providing listeners with outstanding material, including the aforementioned favorites as well as “Amelia” and “Black Crow.” It’s perhaps not the best entry point to her career, but for those fans whose musical sensibilities had grown and expanded along with Mitchell’s, Hejira is a very fine piece of work.

Monday, September 29, 2014 - 3:08pm
Mono Mondays

This week’s Mono Mondays release is one of those albums that you can hold up to the faces of any of your snarky hipster friends who try to tell you that the only cool performers are the ones who sing their own songs: when you hear the way Otis Redding sings soul on Otis Blue, you realize that the coolest performers are the ones who can take other people’s songs and make you forget that they ever belonged to anyone else.

Originally released on September 15, 1965, Otis Blue was Redding’s breakout album, the one that took him beyond the R&B charts and into the hearts and minds of mainstream audiences, which makes it all the more amazing that he more or less managed to knock out the entire album in 24 hours. With Booker T. & the M.G.’s, Isaac Hayes on piano, and members of the Mar-Keys and the Memphis Horns behind him, Redding reportedly recorded from10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on July 9, picked up again at 2 a.m. on July 10 (after Booker T. and the boys returned from the local gigs they’d already had booked), and finished up at around 2 p.m.

Monday, September 29, 2014 - 2:41pm
The Monkees (Super Deluxe Edition)

Monkees fans, it’s time to stop singing “This Doesn’t Seem To Be My Day.” We know you’ve been chomping at the bit to find out more specifics about the so-called super deluxe edition of the Monkees’ self-titled debut ever since our pal Andrew Sandoval acknowledged its impending arrival during the band’s official convention earlier this year, but your long wait is at an end: you’re finally getting all the details on the three-disc, 100-track set.

If you’ve ever owned a copy of The Monkees in the past, then you’ll obviously recognize the first 24 tracks on Disc 1, a.k.a. the original mono and stereo albums, and if you’ve enough of a fan that you’ve invested in the various solo efforts by the members, then you’ll also be familiar with quite a lot of Disc 3, which contains Davy’s The David Jones Album (in mono and stereo) and a pair of singles along with some of Mike’s early work, when he was still calling himself Michael Blessing. But don’t worry, there’s plenty of stuff you haven’t heard before, including mono TV versions of songs, alternate takes, remixes, rehearsals, demos, and even a pair of songs by the aforementioned Mr. Blessing that’ve never been released before: “Who Do You Love” and “Get Out of My Life Woman.”

Friday, September 26, 2014 - 2:52pm
Full House

42 years ago today, The J. Geils Band released the first live album of their career, an effort which would provide them with their gold album and increase their profile to the point where, the next time around, they’d find themselves with their first top-10 album.

“Live” – Full House inspired annoyance amongst know-it-all poker fans, who were quick to observe that the five cards pictured on the cover – the jack of spades, the jack of diamonds, the jack of clubs, the king of spades, and the queen of hearts – do not, in fact, constitute a full house. On the other hand, it’s a live album performed in front of a sold-out crowd, a.k.a. a full house, and the queen is winking, so we’re pretty sure she’s in on the joke…even if some too-serious poker aficionados weren’t.

Friday, September 26, 2014 - 2:43pm
Bob Lefsetz

You're not gonna listen to this record. But it's the best Todd Rundgren album you've never heard.

That's the scourge of the Internet, of the modern era, we've got so much information at our fingertips that we don't bother to partake, hell, some people forward links without listening or reading what they're sending on!

So I'm wary you won't listen to "Palookaville." But I love it. And if you remember Todd's run, from that initial LP all the way through let's say "Todd," when "Palookaville" plays you'll smile.

Not that it's imitative. It's just that it's a blend of pop and rock and hooks that seem to be dripping off Burtnik's fingers.

Yes, Glen Burtnik. Who was in "Beatlemania" with Marshall Crenshaw and put out a couple of solo albums on A&M and ultimately joined Styx and a reunited ELO, writing a few hits that keep his bank account flowing along the way, like Patty Smyth and Don Henley's "Sometimes Love Just Ain't Enough."

Friday, September 26, 2014 - 2:29pm
Randy Travis

25 years ago today, Randy Travis released an album which would take him to the top of the Billboard Country Albums chart for the fourth consecutive time, which is a pretty decent track record for someone who’d only released four albums.

Well, actually, that’s not entirely true: in 1978, he released a self-titled album while he was still recording under his real name, Randy Traywick, and it most certainly did not turn out to be a chart-topper. (It didn’t chart at all, in fact.) Still, if you only count the full-length studio efforts hat Randy Travis had released up to that point, then the man was four for four with #1 albums…and, brother, that ain’t bad.