On their 3rd release in 2011, Japanese experimental rock veterans Boris continue to self-tweak, offering up reinterpretations of past work. While excessive in theory, the new angle they've taken does improve on originals or at least push existing definitions. The most prevalent shift is a digitized anime-like vocal filter, which sometimes works and other times annoys. New Album has enjoyable moments—it gets dreamy, dance-y, shoegaze-y, but sometimes too-Muse-y—and also exposes a great band in need of fresh ideas.
Hard to believe Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett's virtual band concept has spanned more than a decade, resulting in three studio releases, one iPad album, and more than a handful of big time hits. One of the best things about cartoons is that their characters rarely ever age. Musicians, however, do, and it wouldn't be surprising to see Albarn move on...there have been some rumors. Whatever happens next, the stage has been set for this pop-loaded retrospective collection, which balances inescapable slightly radio-killed singles like "Feel Good Inc." with a wide scope of patented genre-benders.
Despite Billy Corgan's best efforts in recent years, The Smashing Pumpkins still have a legacy. This deluxe reissuing—complete with rarities, DVD bonuses, and song-for-song liner notes by Corgan—comes at a time when the band could use a good refresher, better yet, a proper appreciation, as the lasting influence of their first two LPs can be heard everywhere in music today (see our 90s Revival piece). Gish shows a young band, already incredibly tight, figuring out just where they can go sonically, and Siamese Dream is every bit that ambitious realization three years later.
Another record store exclusive that arrived on "Black Friday", Speak Into The Rose gives Wilco fans two new tracks and two alternate takes/demos from their most recent LP. The debuting pair (previously only available on the deluxe CD) contrast the band's various strengths, which is what 2011's The Whole Love did so nicely; the title track takes an instrumental pysch-flight while "Message From Mid-Bar" comes more from the heart with typical Tweedy wordplay. All gets packaged nicely on translucent red wax with some sharp artwork (30 copies included a Tweedy-signed poster), so that's something.
As mentioned above, all sorts of physical goodies are dropping this week with holiday shoppers in mind. And while the idea of Black Friday might be a corporate turn-off, it's also an opportunity to support your local record stores. Here's a few more releases to look for: John Lennon's Imagine (40th Anniversary Box Set), Nirvana's Nevermind - The Singles 10", Pink Floyd's The Wall (Singles Box Set 7"), Pete Townshend's The Quadrophenia Demos, Vol. 1 10", Boyz Noize' The Remixes 2004-2011, The Black Keys' special Lonely Boy 12", and a box of some early Kings of Leon (back when it was good!). See the full list compiled over at Record Store Day's site—hopefully there's some left.
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