When Joni Mitchell hit the big 7-1 back on November 7, we put together a playlist in celebration of the famed Canadian singer-songwriter, talked a bit about her life and times and general awesomeness, and oh so casually mentioned how we were only a few short weeks away from the release of a new four-disc box set bearing “about as Mitchell-esque a title as you could hope for.” Well, the wait is over: Love Has Many Faces: A Quartet, A Ballet, Waiting to be Danced is now in stores…and, c’mon, were we right about that title, or were we right?
As our press release for the collection revealed, the collection was first conceived as the music to a ballet about love, but after spending 18 months trying to distill everything she’d written about love—and the lack of it—down to a single disc, Mitchell opted to abandon the ballet. “I wanted the music to feel like a total work—a new work,” she explains in the liner notes to the set. “No matter what I did, though, at that length, it remained merely a collection of songs.”
It’s been a good year for fans of Athens, Georgia’s favorite sons…or didn’t you see our 73 posts about the release of R.E.M.’s Unplugged: The Complete 1991 and 2002 Sessions? Okay, so that’s a slight exaggeration, but just in case you haven’t heard about it…
No, no, we’re only joking. This time we’re here about a different release by the band, and this one is even more exciting: it’s REMTV, a six-DVD set that’s just hit stores and digs deep into the connection between R.E.M. and MTV by providing hours upon hours of footage of Michael Stipe, Peter Buck, Mike Mills, and Bill Berry from their earliest appearances all the way up through their dissolution in 2011. Heck, it’s not even limited to MTV: there’s also a pair of performances by the band on Nickelodeon’s Livewire from way back in 1983, their VH-1 Storytellers episode from 1998, and their 2008 appearance on The Colbert Report, all thoughtfully included as a result the various networks all being members of the Viacom family.
Not to toot our own horn, but we honestly can’t imagine that it won’t be at the top of every R.E.M. fan’s holiday gift list…unless, of course, they’re so excited about the prospect of watching it that they just have to run out and buy it for themselves. And that’s a very real possibility once you’ve checked out the list of contents, which includes live performances, award show highlights, television appearances, and – here’s the cherry on top – REM on MTV, a brand new documentary by Alexander Young which details the shared history between the band and the network.
If you thrilled to the sounds of shoegaze in the 1990s, wept when Ride disbanded, and have been treating the possibility of the band ever reuniting like a daydream, then it’s time to smile: guitarist Andy Bell, singer Mark Gardener, bassist Steve Queralt and drummer Laurence Colbert are apparently now in a different place, as they’ve announced that they’re getting back together and doing a series of tour dates while even going so far as to tease the possibility of the foursome writing and recording some new music together.
"It's going to be really cool,” Bell assured New Musical Express. “As we were all still friends, we always thought when the time was right we'd do it. And now the time is right."
"I guess it's something that's something that's always been there, chipping away like some little devil on your shoulder," Gardener told XFM. "There's a lot of unfinished business there. I can't imagine anything better than playing with Ride again."
Many a Genesis fan could be heard giggling with glee when we released the band’s career-covering compilation R-Kive a short time back, but the fun has only begun for those of you who’ve enjoyed the collective efforts of Phil Collins, Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford, and – back in the old days – Peter Gabriel and Steve Hackett: we’re rolling out some new reissues of the band’s catalog, and the first wave is in stores now.
If you remember the box sets we released back in 2008 – we’re talking about the Genesis 1970-1975, Genesis 1976-1982, and Genesis 1983-1998 collections – and you’ve spent the intervening years since they hit record store shelves grousing about the fact that you owned some of the albums in the sets but not all of them and didn’t want to plunk down the dough to pick them up because of that… Actually, we can see the steam coming out of your ears from here, but cool down: at long last, you can finally get the 2008 mixes of the albums done by Nick Davis and the band.
New this week in the Rhino Room at iTunes:
Mike + The Mechanics, Mike + The Mechanics / Living Years / Word of Mouth / Beggar on a Beach of Gold / Rewired / Hits: It’s hard to gauge exactly who was aware of it and who wasn’t, but for the past several years, one of the more notable absences from iTunes – at least here in America, anyway – has been the back catalog of Mike + The Mechanics. What started as Mike Rutherford’s side project from Genesis quickly turned from a studio lark into a major commercial success in the US when the group’s self-titled 1985 debut produced two top-10 singles with “Silent Running (On Dangerous Ground)” and “All I Need Is a Miracle,” and when they returned with their sophomore effort, 1989’s The Living Years, they took their homeland by storm as well, with the title track hitting #2 on the UK singles chart and topping the US charts. After that, though, the Mechanics lost favor in the States – another grunge-related tragedy? – and never found top-40 success again…but don’t think that means that you shouldn’t investigate all of these digital reissues.