June 11, 2008


Every time that I read that a popular band is going to exclusively release their album within the confines of a single retailer’s walls, I tend to get a little pissy.  In the Monday edition of the Wall Street Journal (06/09/08), it is revealed that AC/DC will provide Wal-Mart with exclusive sales rights of their upcoming album.  This is done in conjunction with Sony, whom the band is under contract to.  The idea that I would have to hunt down a copy, perhaps even driving miles to acquire one – or even paying shipping fees should I need to purchase over the internet – is a ludicrous one.  What makes this deal even worse is that AC/DC hasn’t put any of their music online to iTunes…no downloading.  Personally, I simply don’t care what any of the reasoning is as to why a band would make the acquisition of their music a tougher one.  The only one who gets the clear deal is the winning distributor (in this case, Wal-Mart).  The band likely gets a few more bucks as do the labels, but the fans…well, sorry fans.

As far as I know, I’m sure that most who are AC/DC fans are going to get this album.  It’s just that some may have to jump an extra hurdle or two to get one.  So why be exclusive?  What about the fans accessibility to the music?

All of this comes on the disclosure that labels have suffered a 16.5% decline in physical CD sales in 2008 thus far.  WOW!!  Of course, we all know that physical sales are diminishing but it still never stops being a shock to see the steady decline numbers when they become available.  Wal-Mart has already said that they are further reducing their music shelf-spaces, which is already stocked with just the sure sellers.  Typically, this means bad things to the experimenter (purchasers) and the under-sellers (anyone not Mariah Carey), who develop a small following but are still quite good.

I provide as an example, Babyshambles.  A small contingent of fans loves their music but you just have to find their music in other places because 1) there are precious few indie stores and co-ops left in the marketplace, and 2) Wal-Mart and Best Buy ain’t gonna sell ‘em.

Now what?!

Me?  I’m not buying an AC/DC album in protest.  I didn’t buy The Eagles’ last one nor Journey’s last because of their exclusivity arrangements (although I might not have purchased the Journey one anyway as there is a disc of re-recorded versions of classic songs previously sung and popularized with Steve Perry.  To me, this is a foolish attempt to erase a legacy.  Yes, their new singer is quite good but let’s leave the classics alone, ok guys?).

I despair on days like these.

By the way, our next band ‘peak’ analysis will be for Van Halen.  This should be fun as there are two definitive periods of VH, the Diamond Dave years and the Hagar years (we won’t bother with the Cherone year, or VHIII).  While we’re putting the wraps on the Springsteen discussion, roll the Van Halen peak around in your minds as this could get ugly…but fun!  Next, I’ll obscure it up a bit with a look at Hot Tuna, a side project with Casidy and Kaukonen from Jefferson Airplane).

And <gulp>, I have reviews but don't have the time to put them together. I PROMISE to release a lot on Friday. I also have a new As The Disc Spins by Lindsay in hand but his is a page that is still in production. I'll do my best for a Friday post but it could be Monday.

Back on Friday.

Many of the emails went into serious discourse in their evaluation of U2's recording career. Many actually chose several albums as representative of the best of U2 (their peak). We even had people offer U2's worst and, surprisingly, Joshua Tree ended up in a few of those although Pop ruled in that regard. And I had one email ask a VERY legitimate question, which will lead to our next bit of fun (and I REALLY like this one). The respondent asked why many people had it in them to be able to criticize and easily choose U2's highs and lows but no one ever seems to pick on Bruce Springsteen. Therefore, we'll ask this interesting question next - Which is Springsteen's peak album? Mine was Darkness on the Edge of Town with a caveat. Had The River been a single LP, it would have qualified ("Drive All Night" is unreal...and REAL). I had trouble with Springsteen from that point forward although there are a few genuine songs on Born in the USA ("I'm on Fire," "Glory Days," "My Hometown"). Send us your essays (because that is what you have been sending me; why stop now?) and I'll report the results on Friday. Since we're at it, and a reader picked this choice, if you have one that you'd like to see the answer to, give me a suggestion. But I could see this for many bands. Maybe Led Zeppelin next...?

I hope you enjoyed this one as much as I did.

To access the previous site and catch up, click here.



Black Sabbath - The Rules of Hell - 5CD Box

The upcoming Black Sabbath collection called The Rules of Hell will be a 4-set collection of albums that include all of the Dio-era music.  Those albums include Heaven and Hell (1980); Mob Rules (1981); Dehumanizer (1992); and the 2CD live set called Live Evil (1982).  All of these albums are re-mastered for the first time and slip-cased into a Deluxe Box.  The booklet will contain plenty of new goodies including photos, new interviews, and extensive liner notes.  This 5CD Box will list at $54.98 MSRP but can likely found for less.  This set comes from Rhino in affiliation with Reprise Records and Warner Brothers Records.  The Rules of Hell is planned for release on July 22.  Watch for the band to go on tour beginning August 6 in a 17-date August tornado tour.  Check out their tour site



Lovelane Entertainment will release an alternative Rock title from Brad Caleb Kane called This Day in History scheduling for a release date of July 29.

Lost Highway Records will release Pass It Around by Donavon Frankenreiter, planning for the album to come out on August 19.  The single from the album is called “Life, Love & Laughter” and is scheduled for June 17.

Interscope Records have The Captain and The Kid by Elton John (old news, I know) coming on LP on July 29.

Coming off a successful reunion tour, James have reawakened the public consciousness to just how good they are with the release of their newest album, Hey Ma, recently released (April 7, ’08).  Decca will release the single “White Boy” off that new album on June 24.  Not only do I wholeheartedly encourage you to pick up this album, but also to go back and familiarize yourself with their extensive back catalogue.  James rocks the Earth!!

Vagrant Records will release Confidence Man by Matt Pryor on July 29 on CD.

MySpace Records will release a DVD for the band Pennywise called Reason to Believe, planning a release date of August 5.

Mercury will release a 12” vinyl single from Portishead of “The Rip.”  This is slated for July 8.
Fontana International will release four Sparks classics on DD, all scheduled for June 24.  The titles include Big Beat; Indiscreet; Propaganda; and Kimono My House.  All fun albums.  Don’t overlook these gems…if you don’t have them.

BBE/Caroline Records will move the 3LP release of Off Track Vol 2: Queens, a collection album from Kon & Amir from the last date of June 24 to the new date of July 8.  Also moved is the 2CD, 7-track The Maniacal Vale by Esoteric.  That is being released by Season of Mist and will go from June 24 to July 8.  To keep track of Esoteric and their upcoming new album, head on over to the Season of Mist website.  To check out the band, head to their MySpace page.

Watch for an Anthology from Megadeth just around the corner.

Capitol Records will release from Glen Campbell, a standard CD, a Limited Edition CD, and a vinyl LP version of Meet Glen Campbell, an album of covers newly recorded by the Country star.  The Limited Edition CD and the LP is currently scheduled for August 5 but will likely be moved to August 19.  I’ll update this as I discover dates.



Review - Elvis Costello and The Imposters - Momofuku - CD
This latest from Elvis Costello and 3/4 of the original Attractions (now named The Imposters) is a monumental release that has to be hear dto be believed. I'm recommending the hell out of it, particularly if you have any love - any love at all - for early Elvis Costello. From what I understand, Momofuku is the creator of the ramen noodle. Here it is folks, the review of Momofuku from our boy, Elvis Costello.  






Copyright 2002-2008 Matthew Rowe.
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212 Frech

"Even though most of the people I knew in my youth are gone, I still reach out to them..." Norman Maclean - Paraphrase

"...we should enjoy every sandwich." -- Warren Zevon
"Buy the ticket, take the ride." -- Hunter S Thompson
"...you best wake up 'fore tomorrow comes creepin' in...: -- Mark Farner (Grand Funk Railroad)
"We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful what we pretend to be." -- Kurt Vonnegut
"Because they wouldn't let me go for three..." -- Woody Hayes (OSU)
"Show me peaceful days before my youth has gone" -- Neil Diamond (Serenade)