Thursday, August 7, 2014 - 4:10pm

This week, we’re offering a 180-gram vinyl reissue of the sophomore full-length effort by the Waterboys, the first one featuring songs recorded with what is generally viewed as the definitive lineup of the group: Mike Scott, Anthony Thistlethwaite, Kevin Wilkinson, and Karl Wallinger, who would later go on to form his own band, World Party.

Sharing its title with an Edna O’Brien novel which Mike Scott, who named the album and wrote the title track, has never actually read, the first sessions for A Pagan Place took place in November 1982, but they only featured Scott, Thistlethwaite, and Wilkinson. By the time the band returned to record the remainder of the album, almost a year had passed (the second sessions didn’t take place until September 1983), and in addition to having added Wallinger to the lineup, the band had also released their self-titled album and scored their first chart hit with “A Girl Called Johnny.”

Wednesday, August 6, 2014 - 3:51pm

Fans of the Original Album Series box sets, rejoice: we bring unto you our latest effort, this time spotlighting five albums from the late ’70s / early ‘80s period of Jethro Tull’s discography. You will please note that this spotlight shines strictly upon the band’s studio output, which is to say that you’ll have to look elsewhere if you’re interested in obtaining a copy of their 1978 live album, Bursting Out. You may also wish to recall that there are some critics who would argue that this timeframe will literally provide you with the highest of Tull’s creative highs as well as the lowest of their lows, but, hey, everybody’s got their own opinion. (Personally, we find that there are merits to all of the albums included in the collection...but, of course, that’s just the sort of thing a label would say.)

If you don’t happen to have the Jethro Tull discography memorized, here’s the quintet of albums that you’ll find in this Original Album Series set:

Wednesday, August 6, 2014 - 3:33pm

New this week in the Rhino Room at iTunes:

Chic & Aristofreeks, Le Freak Remixes EP: Who or what is Aristofreeks? Well, to quote directly from their SoundCloud profile, “Aristofreeks is the name of the funky beast that comprises DMC mixing championship finalist Max Martire and the internationally renowned musical chameleon Lenny Ibizarre.” If you’re questioning if these upstarts have got the goods to remix such a classic song, then you’ll be interested to learn that they’re contributing to a new single, “Everybody Get On Up,” by Next Step, a group consisting of former Chic singers Norma-Jean Wright, Luci Martin, Alfa Anderson and featuring Kathy Sledge of Sister Sledge. Hello, instant dance-floor credibility!

Various Artists, Woodstock – Music from the Original Soundtrack and More / Woodstock 2: Just in time to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the musical festival to end all music festivals – or, at the very least, the one to inspire more people than any other to claim they were there whether they actually were or not – both the original soundtrack (and more) from the original film and its sequel have been added to our digital catalog.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014 - 12:56pm

From 1977 through 1993, the Thompson Twins – who in their commercial heyday were, as those who lived through the ‘80s know quite well, composed of three individuals, none of whom were related – were one of the more successful of the so-called “new wave” bands, earning seven top-40 hits during the course of their career, three of them hitting the top 10 (“Hold Me Now,” “Lay Your Hands on Me,” and “King for a Day”).

In 1989, after releasing five albums on Arista Records, the band made the jump to Warner Brothers, recording another two albums,Big Trash and Queer, before evolving into a new musical entity called Babble, but after recording two albums in this guise (The Stone and Ether), Tom Bailey and Alannah Currie – the stalwarts between the two groups, not to mention husband and wife at the time– decided to leave Babble behind them.

With Big Trash and Queer having recently joined Rhino’s digital catalog, we caught up with Bailey by phone and asked him to reflect on those albums, the transition from Thompson Twins to Babble, his semi-retirement from the music industry for the better part of the last two decades, and what led him to finally begin the process of stepping back in, as he’s doing this summer as part of the line-up of the Retro Futura tour.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014 - 12:23pm

If you were to merely take a cursory glance at the track listing of the new Herbie Hancock compilation, The Warner Bros. Years (1969-1972), it’s possible that you could find yourself thinking, “The guy couldn’t manage more than 19 tracks in four years?”

Actually, the number’s even lower than that: if you took a slightly longer look at the track listing, you’d see that three of the inclusions are the single versions of album tracks, while two others are edits of songs released on promotional singles which have remained commercially unavailable until now. But there’s one very important thing that you’re not taking into account if you’re being in any way dismissive of this material: the three albums contained within this set – Fat Albert Rotunda (1969), Mwandishi (1971), and Crossings (1972) – are among the greatest piano-led jazz recordings on the late ‘60s and early ‘70s.