Thursday, February 24th, 2005
The Costello Show
It’s annoying when albums are reissued over and over again, ad nauseum, but every once in a while, it’s worth it. Rhino has been putting out all of Elvis Costello’s albums in deluxe double-disc editions, three at a time, over the last few years, even though Rykodisc had done the same, albeit in single-disc form, scarcely a decade and a half ago. How many times can you go back to the well? So while the Rhino packages have looked to be superior to the Ryko editions that I have, I haven’t been persuaded to buy any of them again. Until now.
One of my all-time favourite albums, King Of America, is next to get the Rhino treatment on April 26 and in a move befitting its stature in his catalog, it’s coming out on it’s own – not as part of a trio. While he made his name as the angry young punk of My Aim Is True and This Year’s Model, he’s always had a real fixation with classic American music. His first homage to this influence was the country covers album Almost Blue, which was initially reviled but is now regarded more favourably. 1986’s King Of America, however, was a classic from the get-go. Coming off his best album in years, Blood & Chocolate, Costello decided to enlist a band of crack session players (including Elvis Presley’s guitarist James Burton, Los Lobos’ David Hidalgo and legendary producer T-Bone Burnett) to record an amazing record of roots/folk/soul-rock that features some of his very best songwriting. He also distanced himself from his past work by crediting the album to The Costello Show, listing Declan Macmanus (his birth name) as producer and songwriter and crediting the self-deprecating Little Hands Of Concrete as performer for his instrumental parts.
Because of the length of the original album, the Ryko edition only added five bonus tracks (I think there may have been another edition that had even more material, but I don’t have it). The new Rhino edition does that one several times better, presenting the original album on a single disc but adding 21 additional cuts on the second disc. TWENTY-ONE. There’s demos, live cuts, unreleased material – it’s sure to be a helluva treat. Full details here.
Costello returned to themes of America with his last album, The Delivery Man, which was pretty good but didn’t inspire the same way that King Of America did, but it’s still getting a double-disc reissue. Yeah, it only came out last year, but that never stopped label bean-counters before. A deluxe edition of The Delivery Man will be out on March 1 and feature a second disc containing the seven tracks that first appeared on the Clarksdale Sessions 10″ (yes, vinyl) which came out late last month.
Rock Snob points the way to a couple of new singles available online – there’s a radio rip of “Refugees”, the first single from the still-untitled debut from The Tears’, which is pencilled in for a May 2 release in the UK. It’s not an especially good quality rip, I can’t tell if Bernard’s guitar is effected or just suffering from a low bitrate, but the song’s alright. Brett and Bernard talk about the song with NME.
Also worth listening to is “River (Depot Song)”, taken from the new Longwave album There’s A Fire. It’s due out sometime this Spring and if this track is representative of the record, it’ll be a good one. Production by the legendary John Leckie is also a plus. There’s also some non-album tracks on the website jukebox that are worth a listen. It’s too bad better judgement has gotten the best of me and I’ve decided not to go to their March 16 show at Lee’s Palace… I hope they come back as many times as they did for The Strangest Things (at least three, by my count).
Can’t make The Futureheads show at Lee’s this Sunday? Fret not, you can also see them on April 23 at the Kool Haus with Hot Hot Heat and Louis XIV. I think HHH is headlining, but I’m not sure. Either way, this show will be spastic with a capital spaz.
The SxSW music schedules are up. Oh my God my head is exploding. And now I really wish I was going to be there on the 16th, as well…
Blog Up conducts an interview with Yo La Tengo in two languages! Well, I doubt they asked the same questions in both languages, but still. It’s the first interview I’ve seen that looks like a Canadian cereal box.
np – Asobi Seksu / Asobi Seksu