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Bruce’s greatest hits

by John James

Merge Records keeps on giving to those who pony up for the label’s rather unique SCORE! 20 th Anniversary Box Set with the fourth in Superchunk’s live Clambake series, Sur La Bouche: Live In Montreal 1993. Next Tuesday the concert from their On the Mouth tour is available online at the www.mergerecords.com store, but comes free as another bonus for subscribers to the box-set series that mails its first CD this month. Blazing a creative new

trail between physical objects in the hand and the digital delivery of new treats, Merge is meeting the challenges of the post-traditional record industry head-on. The concept is both simple and thrilling. Subscribers receive a smart, custom box to collect the flow of 17 CDs (or more) that will fill it up over the next 12 months, as well as a 350page book documenting the cover art of every Merge release since day one. The main body of the box is 14 compilations personally selected from the Merge vaults, each by a variety of curators including Peter Buck of REM, Miranda July, David Byrne and comedian Amy Poehler. Another clever CD has the label feeding upon itself, with currently signed artists covering older songs from the label’s catalog. On the digital side, it looks like a bountiful year already, with a bonus poster by Andrew Kuo and another free Superchunk rarity, a cover of Sebadoh’s “I Believe In Fate” from 1991. Neil Young, Leonard Cohen and the Kinks? Count me in! The Strokes’ bassist, Nikolai Fraiture, lists the three as influences on his upcoming solo album, The Time of the Assassins By Nickel Eye. Due Jan. 27, the Rykodisc CD and vinyl edition features guests Regina Spektor and Nik Zinner, with Fraiture backed by the UK band South. An early listen is available now in the limited edition 7-inch single, “Brandy of the Damned.” Another fresh slice of wax for neglected turntables arrives this week from Fat Possum Records and the King Khan & BBQ Show. The swampy and raw Canadian duo would make Hazil Adkins proud, hunchin’ up a possessed fever to melt the snow off any juke joint. The 7-inch single, “Animal Party,” comes in a nice gatefold sleeve with a 16-page coloring book of Mathieu Trudel’s illustrations of partying pigs and a zebra in high heels.

Television Alert: “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” presents Lady Gaga on Thursday, Eagles of Death Metal on Friday and the All- American Rejects on Monday; “The Late Show with David Letterman” hosts Okkervil River tonight and Airborne Toxic Event on Tuesday; “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” boasts Lady Antebellum on Thursday overnight; “Last Call with Carson Daly” features Tom Freud with Ben Harper on Tuesday; “Jimmy Kimmel Live” offers Gabe Dixon Band tonight, Lenka on Thursday and Zac Brown Band on Friday overnight; and ringing in Motown Records’ new anniversary box set, Tavis Smiley sits down with founder Berry Gordy on Thursday and Friday.

New Releases Coming Tuesday, Jan. 13: (and like the winds, young grasshopper, are subject to change…) Damon Albarn & Jamie Hewlett — “Monkey Bee” (Vinyl Factory) digital-only single with Kwes and Diplo working out their own remix of the song, taken from the stage show Monkey: Journey to the West Lily Allen — The Ska EP (Hyphy Records) import-only 7inch single, covering the Specials’ “Blank Expression” and “Gangsters” — live with guests Lynval Golding and Terry Hall Animal Collective — Merriweather Post Pavilion (Domino) early vinyl edition release on two 180-gram LPs, plus a digital download card Antony & the Johnsons — Crying Light (Rough Trade) their third album, featuring songs “Dust And Water” and “Epilepsy Is Dancing”

Ayreon — Timeline (Inside Out/SPV) beckoning back to the dreamtime and the Dark Ages, this tastefully packaged CD-sized box set holds three retrospective CDs, a richly enhanced DVD, fold out poster and 56-paged booklet Big Shanty — Sold Out… (King Mojo) following up last year’s pick of Blues Album of the Year by Real Blues magazine, this snarlin’, ornery return features guests Col. Bruce Hampton and Hydra’s Spencer Kirkpatrick Box of Frogs — Box of Frogs & Strangeland (Renaissance) both their 1984 and 1986 albums on one CD, from original members of the Yardbirds and vocalist John Fiddler CMU — CMU & Space Cabaret (Esoteric) long lost reissues that originally appeared on the influential Transatlantic Records label in 1971 and 1973, featuring vocalist Larraine Odell and sparkling psychedelic guitar lines that recall Eddie Hazel and Steely Dan Copper Sails — Hiding Place (Copper Sails) mixed by the legendary Mitch Easter, a terrific choice to capture the melodic Virginian quartet’s new album and the majestic tumbleweed track, “Spinning” Crooked X — Crooked X (Capitol) debut from this teenage band from Coweta, Ok. opening for KISS in Stockholm and staring in the MTV reality show “Start a Band, Rock the World” Eliane Elias — Bossa Nova Stories (Blue Note) lush, beat perfect fantasia of classics and must hear covers of Gershin’s “They Can’t Take That Away From Me” and Stevie Wonder’s “Superwoman” Frost — Experiments in Mass Appeal (Inside Out/SPV) new from Jem Godfrey of Atomic Kitten, backed by the return of John Jowitt and Andy Edwards of IQ The Gourds — Haymaker! (Yep Roc) down home, rambunctious boogie with an NRBQ swing, getting weird and wonderful with the outsourced dilemma of “Luddite Juice” Hed PE — New World Orphans (Suburban Noize) with guests Tech N9ne, Kottonmouth Kings and Dirtball, the CD is available in three different covers with exclusive bonus tracks on each Kreator — Hordes of Chaos (SPV) produced by Moses Schneider, the ’80s metal kings storm America in April and May Late Of The Pier — Fantasy Black Channel (Astralwerks) debut EP from these Nottingham electro giants, getting gushing reviews in the UK press with nods to MGMT, Gary Numan and the Darkness Marsupilami — Marsupilami (Esoteric) remastered reissue of this acid fusion debut from 1970, led by brothers Fred and Leary Hasson Kylie Minogue — Boombox (EMI) remix collection with Fischerspooner, Knuckleheadz and Mylo My Dear Disco — Dancethink LP (mydeardisco.com) enhanced with a video for “White Lies,” this is a synthesizer love fest for reminiscent New Romantics with deep blue shades of R&B — evident in their super-pop cover of Stevie Wonder’s “All I Do” with chills of Adele, Yaz, Eye To Eye and the SOS Band Newlydeads — Dreams From a Dirt Nap (Full Effect) new solo album from Taime Downe of Faster Pussycat Jeb Loy Nichols — Parish Bar (Compass) featuring a bonus digital download and a frameable art print tucked alongside the 180-gram audiophile LP edition Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band – Greatest Hits (Columbia) you’ve got to shop at Wal-Mart to pick up this exclusive 12-track collection The Derek Trucks Band — Already Free (Columbia) featuring two new songs and a cover of Bob Dylan’s “Down In the Flood” TV On the Radio — “Dancing Choose” (4AD) import-only 12inch single with remixes by Prefuse 73 and Telepathe UKZ — “Radiation” (ukzband.com) all new digital EP debut from electric violin and keyboard master Eddie Jobson, with Trey Gunn of King Crimson and Aaron Lippert of Expanding Man Underworld: Rise of the Lycans — original motion picture soundtrack (Lakeshore) packed with new remixes of songs by Thrice, the Cure, Deftones, Black Light Burns and Genghis Tron various artists — The Roots Of Hip Hop (Harte Recordings) featuring the Famous Hokum Boys’ “Terrible Operation Blues” and Champion Jack Dupree’s “Slow Boogie”

John James can be reached via cyberspace at yeahyeah@cinci.rr.com

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