The Train Kept A Rollin’!
A stunning array of new albums from a diverse range of artists both old and new mark this as the most exciting week in record release history!
Still, writing about another planet entirely--where most musicians make records consisting of handclaps and heavy nostril-breathing--may not make sense in the context of this Yahoo Music blog!
So instead, let's focus on the records released on Earth this week--where, on occasion, good records still sometimes randomly seem to appear, though no one can satisfactorily explain why!
I'm inclined to believe it's purely a function of familiarity! After all, when the week is highlighted by expected big-sellers by artists like Train, Chris Botti, and Jack Johnson, why not visit a record store or buy a download, sit down on your coach, listen to the latest by one of your old music friends, and not focus on man's inhumanity to man, the coming nuclear apocalypse, or why the heck Nicki Minaj just cancelled her Twitter account? Some things are just too harrowing to think about!
Train: California 37 (Aware) There aren't a lot of us out there who suspected that San Franciscan rockers Train would last more than a year or two--especially those of us who once, weirdly enough, perceived them to be little more than a Led Zeppelin cover band--but lo and behold: They hot! Indeed, most of us attribute that to the unprecedented success of "Hey Soul Sister," the fact that their logo is appealingly lower-case, and---not incidentally--the presence of the number 37 on this new album cover! As most of us know, "37" is hip retailer code for "all suckers must buy this" as well as "the subliminal presence of a crown on this album cover hereby dictates you take this recorded product into your home"! I've always felt slightly uneasy about artists from San Francisco--I think you know why!--and this simply seals the deal! Their best album ever? I feel compelled to say...yes!
Grateful Dead: All The Years Combine: The DVD Collection (Shout! Factory) Dave's Picks Volume 1: The Mosque, Richmond, VA 5/25/77 (Rhino limited edition) Speaking of San Franciscan bands, the Grateful Dead and their cultural impact continue to impress deep in the 21st Century: First, and most massively, comes this comprehensive 14-DVD box set from Shout! Factory, which essentially gathers a vast array of Dead footage all in once place, totaling nearly 38 hours' worth of live performances. Featuring the 1977 theatrical film The Grateful Dead Movie, the 1978 Closing Of Winterland set, 1987's never-before-on-DVD So Far, and much, much more on through the early '90s, the collection is well-packaged, features an informative booklet penned by Dead expert Blair Jackson, and is a labor of love in the same manner as, say, the recent Europe '72: The Complete Recordings set, which for its comprehensiveness alone may be the ultimate Deadhead's wet dream.
And that's not all. From Rhino comes the first in a series of new "picks" from Dead expert David Lemieux, following in the footsteps of the previous Dick's Picks collections of years past. Issued in strictly limited edition, the series aims to pick celebrated live performances and offer them up in superior mastered and packaged form. The first is a 1977 set from Richmond; the second, already announced, consists of a Hartford, Ct. 1974 performance recorded scant days after the band's acclaimed Mars Hotel set. Details of this and more can be found here.
Deadmania will also be in evidence this Thursday, when the Second Annual Grateful Dead Meet-Up At The Movies transpires: At select theatres across the country, the band's July 18, 1989 performance at Alpine Valley Music Theatre will be shown in its entirety, which is not only a nifty idea but a pretty forward-thinking approach to gathering the Dead Community together for what by all accounts will be a joyous, Dead-fueled frenzy. Details here.