Hey gang! Sorry for the lack of updates lately…I’ve been busy with a lot of things the last couple of weeks so I haven’t been able to post too much. I’m just going to call it now and start fresh on 12/1. See you then!
Hi gang, sorry for pushing another fly-by entry your way, but I’m feeling super distracted this morning and I want to get some writing work done today, so…here, have a recent video from They Might Be Giants, featuring songs about coffee that were apparently planned but mostly unused for a Dunkies ad campaign.
[PS: Speaking of whom, I recently bought a twelve-pack of a special run of donut-flavored beer put together by Harpoon and Dunkin, featuring Boston Kreme stout, pumpkin, coffee porter, and jelly donut IPA. It’s…actually kind of tasty!]
While the events of 2020 has put a lot of entertainment on the backburner, even including the regular release schedule of albums, it hasn’t exactly put the kibosh on the usual round of reissues and remasters. These are usually planned well in advance, of course, with most of the remastering production done over the course of the time leading up to it.
Here are a few of my favorites that have dropped this year!
Porcupine Tree, In Absentia (Deluxe Edition), released 28 February. This release of their stellar 2002 record features recent remasters — a day job lead singer/guitarist Steven Wilson has been busy with for the last few years — and numerous demos and rarities.
The The, See Without Beeing Seen, released 27 March. Cassette copies of one of Matt Johnson’s early teenage projects recorded before 1981’s Burning Blue Soul were unearthed, prepped and made widely available for the very first time. It may not be as professional as his later work, you can definitely hear the seeds of his signature style.
Paul McCartney, Flaming Pie (Archive Collection), released 31 July. Paul’s 1997 album was deeply inspired by two things: the Beatles’ Anthology project and his relationship with Linda as she fought cancer. It’s full of lovely classic Macca pop songs and features an abundance of guests such as Ringo, Steve Miller, and Jeff Lynne. This reissue features numerous demos, single sides, and the six-part ‘Oobu Joobu’ radio show he’d put on as part of the album’s promotions.
Prince, Sign ‘o’ the Times (Super Deluxe Edition), released 25 September. I posted about this one earlier, and I can’t say enough about how amazing it is. It somehow manages to fit the remastered 1987 album, the multiple 1986 projects that led up to it, and a full live show.
John Lennon, Gimme Some Truth, released 9 October. This is not so much a ‘greatest hits’ collection but an extended selection of hits, singles and deep tracks, all of which have been remastered with ‘Ultimate Mixes’, and they sound so much clearer than I’ve ever heard them.
The Replacements, Pleased to Meet Me (Deluxe Edition), released 9 October. The Mats’ 1987 record (the first one of theirs I’d bought, by the way) gets the remaster / reissue here with rough mixes and demos. It’s one of their poppier albums and a fun listen.
Elvis Costello, Armed Forces (Super Deluxe Edition), released 6 November. Elvis’ third album was his breakthrough record and remains a fan favorite. There’s not too much new and unreleased in this collection, but it gathers as much related music from the 1978-79 era and drops it in one place, and it sounds great.
First off, I should say that 1) I’m quite the latecomer to K-Pop. I’ve been well aware of it, but never paid all that much attention to it until relatvely recently, and 2) I am so not a gamer, so I have little to no background or interest in League of Legends.
That said, I cannot seem to get enough of the LoL virtual spinoff band K/DA (its name of course being a reference to a player’s kills, deaths and assists), as a part of Riot Games’ plan to include more original music in the LoL universe. It features Miyeon and Soyeon from the k-pop band (G)I-DLE as well as soloists Madison Beer and Jaira Burns playing the in-game characters Ahri, Akali, Evelynn and Kai-Sa respectively.
The 2018 single “Pop/Stars” came to my attention due to a few gifs of featuring a masked Akali (the tomboyish ninja assassin) rapping in a subway car, and after falling down the YouTube rabbit hole, I found the video and was blown away by the creative animation.
Sure, they’re eye candy for the gamer boys, but damn if this song didn’t get stuck in my head on a daily basis! I’d put it on my mp3 player that I brought to the gym and found myself playing it on repeat. It wasn’t just a great video, it was a damn fine pop song with some tight production work. It sounds absolutely amazing in headphones, so I imagine it would sound great on high-end speakers as well. It ended up on my end-of-year mix and I still throw it on now and again. And yes, it got me interested in (G)I-DLE as well!
League of Legends continued to release a few more tunes and videos to coincide with their World Championship event (2019 saw the badass track “GIANTS” by True Damage, and 2020 featured “Take Over” by Worlds 2020), but apparently the K/DA track proved to be so popular that it was announced they would release more music as a virtual band.
In late August of this year they dropped the news that a new EP would be released, and released the lead single “The Baddest” soon after. And wouldn’t you know, this song got stuck in my damn head as well! While it’s merely a lyric video with minimal animation, it’s still a great track and has already gotten over a million watches on YouTube.
The accompanying EP, All Out, was released this past Friday (11/6) and it features the above song as well as the follow-up single “More”, which returns us to another high quality virtual band setting and featuring another LoL in-game character, Seraphine, as a special guest. It’s another visual feast with all kinds of eye candy but also a lot of fun blink-and-you’ll-miss-it drop edits (such as Akali causing Serpahine to bust up laughing near the end). And just like the previous singles, “More” is a hell of a fine earworm. This one’s going on my year-end mix, of course.
The rest of All Out is just as fun and worth checking out if you have the time!