Tuesday, March 01, 2011

New releases round-up: Queen, Ron Sexsmith, Eisley

I still have grand memories of seeing Queen back in the late 1970s and early 1980s. In fact, the first band I ever reviewed for my high school newspaper was Queen!

That said, check out the latest news on the legendary band's 40th anniversary celebration.

QUEEN’S 40TH Anniversary Celebration Kicks Off with Deluxe Reissues


Queen’s 40th anniversary is now upon us, and the band plans to pull out all the stops to celebrate this historic occasion. “2011 is an important year for Queen,” said Brian May “and there will be a lot of activity.” Adds Roger Taylor, "I can’t believe it’s been that long and that we are still around in such a big way. I’m amazed and grateful!” This yearlong event will be marked by a series of releases, re-releases, special limited-edition items and events around the world.

It was in March 1971 that bassist John Deacon joined May and Taylor’s buzzed-about London group, which had changed its name from Smile to Queen nine months earlier, following the addition of multitalented singer/pianist Freddie Mercury, thus completing the classic lineup. The four simpatico musicians proceeded to take the world by storm. The band has released a total of 18 chart-topping albums and 18 #1 singles, while selling more than 300 million albums worldwide, making them one of the biggest rock acts of all time. They’ve received seven Ivor Novello awards in the U.K., were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001, the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2003, the UK Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004, and even received their own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, in October 2002.

As live artists, Queen literally conquered the world. Acknowledged as one of the greatest stadium bands of all time, Queen performed over 700 concerts, reaching into every corner of the world. They achieved rock history by being the first band to open up South America and the Eastern Bloc, with world record- breaking concerts in Argentina, Brazil and Hungary.

This is a timeless band whose music retains such immediacy and undiminished power that new fans continue to discover and embrace it, along the way inspiring a host of diverse artists from Lady Gaga (who took her name from Queen’s “Radio Ga Ga”), and Katy Perry, through to the Foo Fighters. It’s worth noting that Queen’s videos have collectively generated well north of 300 million views online—a remarkable figure that figures to expand exponentially with the launch of a dedicated Vevo channel this spring, in yet another iteration of the anniversary rollout.

As the centerpiece in the 40th anniversary celebration, Queen’s entire 15-album studio catalog is being reissued in a series of deluxe editions. Every note is being tweaked, every piece of artwork is being cleaned, freshened up and resourced, wherever necessary, with the legendary Bob Ludwig doing the remastering, working from the original source material. The albums will be released in three waves, staggered over the next year, with the first wave—comprising the first five LPs—coming this May.

Each studio album will be released in a new two-CD edition, the first containing the updated, remastered original LP, the second disc packed with rarities—and we don’t use the term lightly. Some of these gems have never before seen the light of day, even in crappy bootleg form. To cite a particularly fascinating example, five first-album demos recorded at London’s De Lane Lea Studios in December 1971 were pulled from the only existing copy on the planet—an acetate from May’s personal archives. Not even his bandmates had a copy.

“A huge amount of work has already been put in behind the scenes to unleash a completely newly mastered set of the original Queen LPs and CDs,” May noted. “I know our fans will appreciate the attention to detail, bringing the early albums closer than ever to the magic of the vinyl originals, but with the benefit of up-to-the-minute quality technology.”

In other anniversary activity, the gallery exhibition “Stormtroopers in Stilettos” opens in London on Feb. 25, with plans in place to tour the exhibit around the world. According to May, this unprecedented event “will highlight in some innovative ways the growth of the ‘Early Queen.’” On April 12, Hollywood will reissue Queen’s debut single, “Keep Yourself Alive” b/w “Son and Daughter,” on seven-inch vinyl in a limited edition coinciding with Record Store Day. And on April 19, the label will issue the band’s Greatest Hits II for the first time in North America. This classic collection includes the rock standards “Under Pressure” and “Radio Ga Ga,” plus many other classics from the second half of Queen’s run, including the worldwide smashes “I Want It All” & “Innuendo.” Additionally, the “Queen on Vinyl” reissue program will be completed this year with the release of the final five studio albums.

In the UK, Queen’s Greatest Hits 1 holds the record of being the biggest selling album of all time ahead of albums by The Beatles, Oasis, Dire Straits, and Abba.

This is just the beginning of what promises to be a treasure trove of must-have pieces for Queen fans. More will be revealed in the coming months, so stay tuned.

Bonus Tracks on the First Five Studio Albums:

QUEEN (1973)

1. Keep Yourself Alive (De Lane Lea Demo, December 1971)

2. Great King Rat (De Lane Lea Demo, December 1971)

3. Jesus (De Lane Lea Demo, December 1971)

4. Liar (De Lane Lea Demo, December 1971)

5. The Night Comes Down (De Lane Lea Demo, December 1971)

6. Mad The Swine (June 1972)

QUEEN II (1974)

1. White Queen (Live at Hammersmith Odeon, December 1975)

2. See What A Fool I’ve Been (BBC Session, July 1973 - 2011 Remix)

3. Seven Seas Of Rhye (Instrumental)

4. See What A Fool I’ve Been (B-side Version, February 1974)

5. Nevermore (BBC Session, April 1974)


1. Now I’m Here (Live at Hammersmith Odeon, December 1975)

2. Flick Of The Wrist (BBC Session, October 1974)

3. Tenement Funster (BBC Session, October 1974)

4. Bring Back That Leroy Brown (A Cappella Plus)

5. In The Lap Of The Gods… Revisited (Live at Wembley Stadium, July 1986)


1. Keep Yourself Alive (Long-Lost Retake, June 1975)

2. Bohemian Rhapsody (Operatic Section A Cappella)

3. I’m In Love With My Car (Guitar & Vocal Version)

4. You’re My Best Friend (Backing Track)

5. ‘39 (Live at Earl’s Court, June 1977) TBC

6. Love Of My Life (Live Single Version, June 1979)


1. Tie Your Mother Down (Backing Track)

2. Somebody To Love (Live at Milton Keynes, June 1982)

3. You Take My Breath Away (Live in Hyde Park, September 1976)

4. Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy (Top Of The Pops, July 1977)

5. Teo Torriatte (Let Us Cling Together) (HD mix)

For more information, visit:



Today being Tuesday, there are several new releases out today. One I want to highlight is the new album from Canadian singer-songwriter Ron Sexsmith. I've been listening to the stream on AOL Music for several days and this album is terrific - already one of my favorites of 2011.

Here is some information on the two new discs. Happy listening everybody.

When Ron Sexsmith headed into the studio with legendary Metallica producer Bob Rock to record his outstanding new album, Long Player Late Bloomer, the collaboration seemed unlikely but instantly blossomed into a supportive, creative partnership. "Bob got me out of my comfort zone," says Sexsmith. "I've made all these Lars von Trier records," he laughs; "I see this record as my action movie!"

Prior to recording the album, Ron knew Bob Rock by his reputation as a hard rock producer - and from his role as the voice of reason in 'Some Kind of Monster,' the rockumentary that chronicled Metallica in a tumultuous period - and was skeptical about partnering with him. "I only saw Bob as a hard rock producer," he says.

But when he learned that Michael Buble had teamed up with Bob on his multiplatinum-selling album, Crazy Love, the pieces started to fall into place. Ron sent Bob some of his songs. Bob loved them. So they headed into the studio with a top-shelf ensemble of musicians - guitarist Rusty Anderson (Paul McCartney), bassist Paul Bushnell (Elton John, No Doubt), keyboardist Jamie Edwards (Aimee Mann), and drummer Josh Freese (Devo, Nine Inch Nails) - and made some magic. "He got me to try things that I normally would have scoffed at such as really belting out my vocals."

Long Player Late Bloomer is out March 1 on Ronboy Rhymes, and Sexsmith will be touring this spring.

For more information, visit http://www.ronsexsmith.com

Eisley's new album "The Valley," their first in four years, is out today on Equal Vision Records. And people are loving it:

"An uplifting yet hard record that is perfectly fitted for life's sadder moments, one that consoles and documents without self-pity. For a band that has been through the ringer on almost every conceivable level, Eisley have survived, emerging from their sea of tears with one of the best albums of 2011." -- The Big Takeover

"The tunes are imminently enjoyable and the interplay among the DuPrees' voices is always thrilling. Here, the good thing for listeners was the bad thing for band members; the breakups lend a lyrical and affective heft to the proceedings. And 'Ambulance' may well be the best breakup song of the year, equal parts fragility, grace, pain and resilience." -- Under The Radar

"'The Valley' is equally intimate and gorgeous as it is rough and realistic.... Even when I write that 'The Valley' is the band's best album yet, it still feels like a huge understatement - like I'm not giving the album enough credit. Just believe this: 'The Valley' is an album that will stick with you." -- AbsolutePunk

"Eisley comes off as more orchestrated, more mature, and more inspiring than ever.... Sherri and Stacy DuPree have ridiculously clear, angelic voices that even sound pretty when they're fuming.... This album presents proof that music can help get anyone through anything." -- Creative Loafing Tampa

"You'd have to be a hardhearted bastard not to feel the romance in the love-besotted harmonies of singers Stacy and Sherri DuPree.... There's such a palpable sadness to the DuPree sisters' vocals, they could make a rainbow of kittens sound brutal." -- Boston Phoenix

"A collection of emotive, soaring tracks that veer towards Death Cab for Cutie and Laura Veirs with their anthemic, vocal focus." -- Metromix

"It's rather easy to find someone who can belt a note or carry a tune, but when you find a creative set of minds that can form the blossoming musical bouquet as these five have, you really have something special." -- Bring On Mixed Reviews

Tonight (Tuesday, March 1)
Good Records
1808 Lower Greenville Ave.
Dallas, TX 75206
(214) 752-4663
http://www.goodrecords.com/6:00 p.m. - free - all ages

EISLEY at SXSW 2011:
March 16: Paste magazine party @ 508 E 6th St, 7 p.m.
March 16: SXSW showcase @ Barbarella Patio, 611 Red River St, 11 p.m.
March 17: Equal Vision Records party @ Dirty Dog Bar, 505 E 6th St, 4 p.m.
March 18: PureVolume House, 504 Trinity St, 4 p.m.

No comments: