Wednesday, July 2, 2014 - 3:37pm

In the early 1970s, the Billboard Top 200 was Jethro Tull’s oyster: they started the decade with Benefit going to #11 in 1970, took Aqualung to #7 the following year, and by ’72, they’d made it all the way to the top spot with Thick as a Brick. Today, though, we’re here to talk about their second chart-topping album, which followed immediately on the heels of their first: 1973’s A Passion Play, released on July 6 in the UK and July 23 here in the States.

The process of recording A Passion Play was a bit unique for Tull, starting with the fact that it was the first time they’d recorded a new album with the same lineup as they’d had on the previous album. (To say that the band’s membership had a tendency to fluctuate a bit is rather like saying, “Spinal Tap had a few drummers.”) There was also a problem in the studio in which they’d begun recording the album – the Château d'Hérouville near Paris, home to such classic albums as Elton John’s Honky Château and Pink Floyd’s Obscured by Clouds – which led the band to give up the ghost and shift locations, setting aside the hour or so of music they’d recorded and start anew elsewhere.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014 - 5:47pm

While the realization that this year marks two decades since the release of Pink Floyd’s last studio album may inspire sighs from the band’s fans, this news should help inspire good cheer: not only has a 20th anniversary box set of The Division Bell just hit stores, but Pink Floyd’s official YouTube channel is about to start bulking up its content in earnest.

First, let’s talk about that set. The Division Bell: 20th Anniversary Collector’s Box Set kicks off with a new 2-LP 180-gram vinyl edition of the album, remastered by Doug Sax at The Mastering Lab from the original analogue tapes, including all the full length tracks (originally edited to fit on a single LP), in a gatefold sleeve designed by Hipgnosis/StormStudios. After that, there’s a red 7” vinyl replica of the “Take It Back” single, a clear 7” vinyl replica of the “High Hopes” single, a 12” blue vinyl replica of the “High Hopes” single with reverse laser etched design, the 2011 Discovery remaster of the album, and a Blu-ray disc which includes the album in HD Audio, the previously unreleased 5.1 surround sound audio mix of the album by Andy Jackson, and a new video for the track “Marooned.”

Tuesday, July 1, 2014 - 5:00pm

Remember how, when we told you about Jersey Boys: Music from the Motion Picture and Broadway Musical, we warned you that the publicity train was going to be making another stop this week? Well, consider this the blowing of the whistle, because it’s time for that additional announcement, and it’s a big one... and when we say “big,” we’re talking three new releases which, between them, feature 28 discs worth of material.

Now, is that big, or is that big?

First of all, let’s shine the spotlight on the biggest of the big: Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons – The Classic Albums Box, which contains 18 albums released by the group between 1962 and 1992. We’re not going to get into a debate over the definition of the word “classic,” since hopefully we all know by now that it’s a highly relative concept, but we will tell you what albums are contained within this decidedly substantial set, which comes in a clamshell box:

Wednesday, June 25, 2014 - 5:17pm

New this week in the Rhino Room at iTunes:

112, Peaches & Cream – To kick off this week’s column, we’ve got the first of a few new additions to our digital catalog from the Bad Boy Entertainment archives, and this particular song remains the biggest Billboard Hot 100 hit to date from the Atlanta R&B quartet known as 112, having made it all the way to #4 back in 2001. In addition to the original version the guys did with P. Diddy, you’ll also find the radio and club mixes of the track, which feature Ludacris, as well the club mix of “Dance with Me,” which was actually a #1 hit in Belgium. (True story!)

Faith Evans, You Used to Love Me – Now’s your big chance to revisit Ms. Evans’ debut single in its original form as well as in two separate club mixes and in instrumental form. Remember how they used it to score the scene in Notorious where she catches Biggie with another woman? Good times.

Faith No More, Live at Brixton Academy – Released as the band was still riding high on the out-of-nowhere success of “Epic,” this is the 10-track UK version of the album, which means that it’s actually eight live tracks (“Falling to Pieces,” “The Real Thing,” “Epic,” “War Pigs,” “From Out of Nowhere,” “We Care a Lot,” “Zombie Eaters,” and “Edge of the World”) and two additional tracks taken from the recording sessions for The Real Thing (“The Grade” and “The Cowboy Song”).


Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - 7:22pm

Say, have you heard about this Jersey Boys movie?

Yeah, yeah, we know, there’s been just the teensiest bit of publicity about it, but we hope you’ll forgive us if we offer a little bit more today…and, uh, then some more next week, come to think of it. (Look, it’s kind of a big deal, y’know?) After next week, though, we’re pretty sure we’ll probably be done talking about it…at least ‘til it hits home video, anyway.

Today, though, we wanted to make sure that you were aware that the soundtrack to Jersey Boys is now available for your purchasing pleasure, and – better yet –it feature a mix of the music from Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons that’s featured in the film as well as performances from cast members John Lloyd Young, Erich Bergen, Michael Lomenda, Vincent Piazza, and Kyli Rae. And don’t give us that “but I just wanted the original versions” or “but I just wanted the cast’s versions,” because, what, like you don’t have the options to get those already? (The answer, of course, is “yes, you do.”) Besides, this way, you get a nice healthy blend of the two, which makes for a very nice sampler if you’re looking for a gateway drug into the group’s music, so you’re welcome.