Kevin Bryan reviews the best new music releases.
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 three-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.
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 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 two-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 multi-talented 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 1960s 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.