Oasis,"Definitely Maybe" (Big Brother Recordings)
Oasis' memorable debut set,"Definitely Maybe" was first unleashed on an unsuspecting world in 1994, and Big Brother Recordings have decided to mark the 20th anniversary of this momentous event by releasing a greatly expanded version of the multi million selling album. The real appeal of this newly remastered 3 CD package lies in its rare and exclusive bonus content however,which includes tracks recorded in such diverse locations as a Paris record store and Manchester Academy as well as an early version of the "Royle Family" theme song "Half The World Away" captured live in the intimate surroundings of Noel Gallagher's Tokyo hotel room.
Brigitte DeMeyer,"Savannah Road"
Devotees of superior Americana will presumably already be well acquainted with Brigitte's music,which has been variously described as "acoustic soul" or a rare blend of old Fleetwood Mac and Norah Jones,and her latest self produced offering is certainly steeped in the cultural ethos of America's Deep South. DeMeyer penned all but two of the 13 tracks in close collaboration with guitarist Will Kimbrough, whose stylish instrumental contribution underpins subtly compelling narratives such as "Home Ground," "Build Me A Fire" and "Savannah Road" itself.
Carl Palmer,"Do ya wanna play Carl?" (Wienerworld MVD 6206A)
The notion of an anthology devoted to the back catalogue of a prog rock drummer may not be everyone's idea of a good time,but this mildly cerebral celebration of Carl Palmer's career to date should certainly appeal to devotees of his work with ELP. The much maligned trio dominate the 2 CD set with some fine examples of their highly lucrative marriage of rock and classical forms led by "Tank," "Toccata" and "Fanfare for the Common Man," and the compilers also showcase Carl's contributions to offerings by Mike Oldfield, Atomic Rooster and Asia,including the latter's 1982 hit,"Heat of the Moment."
Grant Hart,"Good News for Modern Man" (Wienerworld MVD6102 A)
"Good News for Modern Man" was the former Husker Du drummer's second studio album, first released in 1999 and providing an excellent shop window for the multitalented Mr. Hart's skills as a musician and songwriter. This eclectic solo project found Grant wearing his influences proudly on his sleeve as he assembled a memorable musical package which blended elements of everything from sixties girl group pop to rockabilly and Britpop to create fine tracks such as "Think It Over Now" and "Nobody Rides for Free."
Laibach,"Spectre" (Mute CDSTUMM358)
The long awaited follow up to Laibach's acclaimed 2006 album "Volk" finds the controversial Slovenian band in typically forthright mood as they present their challenging world view via rousing tracks such as "Eurovision" and "Resistance is Futile." Laibach's name may have become synonymous with harsh guttural vocals and thundering industrial rhythms over the years but a little sweetness and light is beginning to illuminate their sound from time to time these days too , most notably here on "We Are Millions" and "Koran."
Billy Bragg,"Live at the Union Chapel London" (Cooking Vinyl)-
The atmospheric Union Chapel in Islington provided the venue for a very special Billy Bragg concert in June 2013, as the Bard of Barking and his impressive band regaled their London audience with some choice extracts from his recently released album,"Tooth & Nail" and a generous helping of classic creations from his illustrious back catalogue. Bragg's approach to music-making may be a little more mellow and folksy these days but the passage of time hasn't dimmed the impact of emotionally charged ditties such as "Between The Wars" or "Never Buy The Sun," and this splendid CD/DVD package closes with Billy's solo rendition of the entire "Life's A Riot With Spy Vs.Spy" album.
Rachel Sweet,"B-A-B-Y" (RPM Retro D 939)-
The precocious Miss Sweet was just sixteen years old when she recorded her debut album,"Fool Around," for Stiff Records in 1978,leaning heavily on the creative input of mildly eccentric writer-producer Liam Sternberg of "Walk Like An Egyptian" fame. The venture wasn't an unqualified success but the contents certainly repay closer investigation,and they make an appearance here alongside the rest of the quirkily memorable material that this gifted native of Akron,Ohio recorded in tandem with The Rumour and The Blockheads during her two year sojourn with Stiff, including fine tracks such as "Wildwood Saloon,""Truckstop Queen" and "It's So Different Here."
The Albion Dance Band,"I Got New Shoes Revisited" (Talking Elephant TECD 235)-
Many of England's finest folk-rock performers have passed through the Albion Band's ranks since Ashley Hutchings assembled the original line-up in 1971 to provide the instrumental underpinning for his then wife Shirley Collins' "No Roses" album,and this 1988 offering featured telling contributions from vocalist Polly Bolton and Show of Hands' Phil Beer. Hutchings remained firmly at the helm however,wielding his trusty bass and penning seven of the tracks as the band served up a beguiling blend of eclectic songs and rumbustious dance tunes,with "Trip To Bath" and the poignant "I Only Wanna Dance With You" emerging as the best of the bunch.