Sunday, March 12, 2006

Upcoming Releases

Was doing my semi-regular scan of future releases on CDUniverse (which probably does the best job of tracking these out of all the online shopping sites, and also has some decent deals if you buy in advance -- though once the cd is released the prices go up), and came across a new Dumptruck anthology, the cleverly-titled Haul Of Fame (out March 14, 2006). Looks like a nice overview from a great (and sadly underappreciated) band. Dumptruck were among the better of the mid-80s college radio jangle-pop bands, sporting some nice country & punk tinges around the edges (and probably beating Uncle Tupelo to the punch). Their first 3 albums -- which were great, I should add -- were all re-released last year with remastered sound and bonus tracks, but some of their later albums, when they had sunk pretty far into obscurity, are long out of print. Haven't quite lined this up with the original albums to see how well-represented each album is, but just eyeballing the tracklist, it looks like a commendable job. For those who miss the early days of R.E.M. and the Long Ryders and Tupelo, you'll definitely want to check this out.

Also noticed while scanning the future releases that Goth forerunners Bauhaus are being treated to a run of live albums from their 2005 reunion tour. Can't say I'm a huge fan (though they had a handful of great singles that helped elevate them above the ranks of a mere second-tier Joy Division); but it's fascinating to see that there's enough of a market to support this sort of thing. Are there really that many angst-ridden throwbacks sucking on clove cigarettes and reading Camus that a dozen Bauhaus reunion shows can be justified? Apparently so. These appear to be put out by Instant Live, the outfit that puts out instant souvenirs from selected concert runs. (Other artists available on their website: Hall & Oates and the Cult, neither of which I'd realized were touring again... God help us all.) I note this here just because, if acts well past their prime doing the reunion thing think they have enough juice to (financially) support these albums, why can't other bands get in on the act? A few have tried, from the Pixies to the post-Garcia Dead to The Who, but not many bands seem to be jumping on the bandwagon, and very few who are still on the early end of their careers. I, for one, would kill to see bands like Wilco or Yo La Tengo do something like this.

Of course, what I'd really like to see, as I've noted before, are more archival releases. Every reissue you see these days has a few live tracks tacked on as bonus tracks; other bands have included entire concerts as bonus discs (including the recent Springsteen Born To Run box, Pavement's Slanted & Enchanted reissue, Dumptruck, the Who, etc.). If they have that much great material just sitting around gathering dust, why the hell aren't they offering it to fans?


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