Liner Notes by Brian Chozick
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Local: Bet on heavy metal fun
In the mid ’80s he was in full makeup, with a bleached-blonde nest of hair and plenty of fringe, yelling about how he wasn’t going to take it. In the ’90s he formed Widowmaker and hosted a radio show dedicated to heavy metal. He was last spotted on Broadway in “Rocktopia,” but no matter how many hats Dee Snider has worn, he has always been touring and keeping alive the music of Twisted Sister, along with music from his four solo albums. Be grateful he likes to venture out on his own, as he is touring the country — including El Paso — in support of his latest “For the Love of Metal.” The new disc still rides his old metal road but with a very modern sound, thanks to some very special guests. Members of Killswitch Engage, Lamb Of God, and Arch Enemy all make appearances. The Thanksgiving food coma should be long over, so head to Speaking Rock Dec. 1.
Black Friday Record Store Day
“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas” if you are a Rolling Stones fan because BMG is rolling out the 40th anniversary reissue of Keith Richards first ever solo outing, the holiday-themed “Run Rudolph Run” — but I am getting way ahead of myself. Independent record stores across the nation will band together to fight giant retailers on Black Friday. When it comes to some extremely special pieces, they’ve unleashed more than Santa’s sack could ever hold.
Box sets and collections:
Dave Matthews returns after a few years’ absence with his series of live shows. His two separate 4-LP sets both come from Virginia with 1993 and 1994 being on tap. Anthrax spreads their love over three blue, pink, and purple platters from their recent concert in Glasgow. Type O Negative expands their Bloody Kisses release by an entire extra slab of wax, adding unreleased and remixed tracks all on 180 gram. The Byrds have beefed up their “Sweetheart of the Rodeo” by three extra records, so that now includes 28 bonus tracks, demos, outtakes, rehearsal versions and tracks by Gram Parsons’ pre-Byrds band. Then there are the colossal sets from Soul Asylum and Toad the Wet Sprocket. The first up packages their time served with label Twin Tone into a 5-LP collection with a bonus 20-page book with liner notes and previously unseen photos and memorabilia. The other spreads three releases over five pieces of vinyl with “Fear,” “Dulcinea,” and “Acoustic Dance Party” all represented, none of which have been on vinyl, and all are remastered. All are housed in a black 12”x12” box with custom foil-stamped logo on the front cover and a textured fabric top.
Unique colors, recordings & packaging on special vinyl
Alice Cooper lets us hear his live show from 2015 with “Live From The Astroturf Full Performance,” which includes a double-sided 24”x36” poster, a 11”x11” 16-page booklet/program, six trading cards, and each silver foil board gatefold jacket will be stamped and numbered. Cheap Trick once again cracks open the vault with “The Epic Archive Vol. 2 (1980-1983),” offering rare live versions, an instrumental, demos and rare B Sides. Madonna celebrates her 20th anniversary of “Ray of Light” with a clear pressing. The 2018 version of the Stone Temple Pilots with lead singer Jeff Gutt delivers a live recording on bright red vinyl with 3D artwork and glasses. Making their first appearance on the vinyl format include: Collective Soul’s “Hints, Allegations and Things Left Unsaid” on 180-gram opaque red. Sheryl Crow’s “Tuesday Night Music Club” gets its debut. The Violent Femmes’ “Permanent Record: The Very Best of Violent Femmes” will hit the bins on a Coke-bottle clear record; and Sublime goes above and beyond with packaging on their debut vinyl pressing of “Greatest Hits” with a bonus flexi disc and a matchbox-style jacket. Jazz even gets into the game with a very unique Herbie Hancock LP, “Flood” (which was never commercially available) from a show in Tokyo in 1975. The blues is here with a pair of Muddy Waters gems as well.
7-inch and 12-inch singles
A slew of singles find their way to record store shelves this year with unique colors, songs and sleeves. Guns N’ Roses are back with a 30-year-old track that is this year’s rock radio hit “Shadow of Your Love” on red vinyl and previously only available in the super deluxe box. A Perfect Circle’s “So Long, And Thanks for All the Fish” is coupled with their unreleased AC/DC cover remake of “Dog Eat Dog.” A posthumous release by Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell with the unheard “When Bad Does Good” is backed with a live number from his other band, Temple of the Dog. The B-52’s Fred Schneider provides a trio of tunes on “Head On a Leg” with a run of only 450. Garbage’s annual contribution is “Destroying Angels” with their rendition of David Bowie’s “Starman” on the flip side. Paul McCartney pulls two selections off his new disc “Egypt Station,” each being hand-numbered. As far as 12-inch platters, there is Lone Justice’s “Western Tapes, 1983,” a collection of rare demos. Outkast takes “Rosa Parks” to another dimension by including a radio edit, instrumental and acapella versions. The Breeders reissue their highly coveted 1992 EP “Safari.”
Wacky, bizarre, and more
Although many feel picture discs aren’t the best to listen to, they sure are fun for the eyes. Appearing on the format is Devo with the seminal “Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!” Also: Frank Zappa’s 50th anniversary mono album “We’re Only in it for the Money” and a re-formed Smashing Pumpkins with brand new material on “Shiny and so Bright Vol. 1…” A few just have to be seen to be believed: A brilliant Ronnie James Dio logo die-cut with the classic “Holy Diver” live. Weezer continues with their dead-on impression of Toto with their “Africa” 7-inch. Lastly, the overhaul picture disc treatment is given to the innovative 1972 X-rated animated film “Fritz the Cat.”
All of these are being released in extremely limited pressing numbers, ranging from as many as 7,000 to as few as 375. Most will disappear very quickly. This was only a small sampling of what is being offered. So slim down on a ramen-and-water diet if needed to fatten your wallet by Nov. 23.
Brian Chozick is owner of Tumblin’
Dice Music. Drop him a line at
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