Nov. 19, 2008 12:00

Chinese Democracy trumped by Byrne & Eno, Barry Manilow



The Music Guy John James can be reached via cyberspace at

For those of us who grew up thumbing through endless peach crates of vinyl LP records in colorful, dank and dusty storefronts, the thrill of the hunt for coveted slabs of licorice pizza is still alive and forever under the skin. We may not feed the turntable as often or stumble in and out of the long lost mom-n-pop record stores of an earlier era, but the hunger is there. Downloading a selection from iTunes isn’t the same as examining a wall of import seven-inch singles, finding the new bass player for your band in the aisles or hearing Miles Davis for the first time on a battered tube-amp stereo. The memory of a simpler, more joyful time before music was just computer files brings a silent pang to my heart, an experience that I’m sure leaves many young ears wistful for a time they’ve heard about, yet never truly touched. Between 2003 and 2006, an estimated 900 record stores here in the US flipped over the “closed” sign at the door for the last time. Ah, but geezers, vinyl addicts and young whippersnappers rejoice! The Black Dog Publishing house of London has just issued a 142-page love letter to that magical age in Old Rare New: The Independent

Record Shop. Told through essays and conversations with record junkies all over the planet and lavishly illustrated with album jackets, vintage labels and photographs of walls of wax, the sense of community, discovery and obsession is a heady feast of 78s, eight-track tapes and gatefold albums, opening like layers of an onion down to a carefully balanced LP in one’s fingertips and the soft, loving drop of the needle. Highlights include reflections by Chan Marshall (Cat Power), Devendra Banhart, James Lavelle and Byron Coley. If you miss the church of the indie record store, this is your new Bible. Further worship is encouraged with an appendix of indie shops both stateside and in the UK…

Television Alert: 

“The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” hosts Nickelback tonight, Tenacious D on Thursday, Scott Weiland on Friday, the Jonas Brothers on Monday and the Killers on Tuesday; “The Late Show with David Letterman” welcomes the return of Guns N’ Roses tonight, Neil Diamond on Thursday and Kanye West on Monday; “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” boasts Margot & the Nuclear So So’s this evening, Brian Wilson on Thursday and the All- American Rejects on Friday overnight; “The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson” features Sarah McLachlan this evening overnight; and “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” gets chatty with Pink and Bette Midler on Monday.

Aceyalone — The Lonely Ones (Decon) with guest Treasure Davis

The Almost — No Gift to Bring (Tooth & Nail) produced by Tim McTague of Underoath

Audio Fiction — Audio Fiction (Liminal Records) full-length debut from this retro’80s quartet fronted by Kristin Wilson Ryan

Jeff Beck — Performing This Week Live at Ronnie Scott’s (Eagle) recorded last year in London, this 16-track collection features a gorgeous, jaw-dropping run at the Beatles’ “A Day In the Life”

Bullet for My Valentine — Scream Aim Fire: Deluxe Edition (Jive/Zomba) packed with three new studio recordings and a bonus DVD with videos and five episodes of their own road documentary “Bullet TV”

David Byrne & Brian Eno — Everything That Happens Will Happen Today (Todo Mundo) their first collaboration in almost 30 years, a deluxe edition designed by Sagmeister Inc. features four bonus tracks, a hardbound book and short film

Coldplay — Viva La Vida: Prospekt’s March (Capitol) two-CD set deluxe edition adds a new EP and an Osaka Sun remix of “Lovers In Japan” and guest Jay-Z on “Lost ”

Rivers Cuomo — Alone 2: The Home Recordings (Universal) demos and other oddities going back to 1992, featuring a cover of the Beach Boys’ “Don’t Worry Baby” and material from the mysterious Weezer rock opera, Songs From the Black Hole

Death Cab for Cutie — Narrow Stairs (Barsuk) 180-gram vinyl LP edition with a bonus seven-inch single of demos

Death Cab for Cutie — Something About Airplanes (Barsuk) 10th-anniversary reissue of the band’s debut, featuring new artwork and a bonus disc of an early Seattle concert

Deer Tick — War Elephant (Partisan) hot off tour with the Felice Brothers, this CD reissue from 2007 is also available on two-LP vinyl

The Fireman — Electric Arguments (MPL/ATO) Sir Paul McCartney’s alter ego is back with producer Martin “Youth” Glover, a founding member of Killing Joke

Goldfrapp — Seventh Tree (Mute) special edition reissue with new artwork, bonus videos and live tracks recorded this past June at the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill-on-sea

Good Charlotte — The Greatest Remixes (Daylight/Epic) dance floor versions from knob-twisters Teddy Reilly, Junior Sanchez, Trouble Maker, White Tie Affair and Joseph Hahn of Linkin Park

Guns N’ Roses — Chinese Democracy (Geffen) get in line for a free Dr. Pepper! — in the making since 1994, Best Buy is the only place to find the most anticipated album in memory

Daryl Hall & John Oates — Live At The Troubadour (Shout! Factory) DVD and two-CD set filmed over two nights earlier this year

Juno: Deluxe — original motion picture soundtrack (Rhino) two-CD edition with the second disc comprised of the Juno B-Sides: Almost Adopted Songs, previously only available as a digital download

The Killers — Day & Age (Island) featuring the single “Human”

Barry Manilow — The Greatest Songs of the Eighties (Arista) putting his vocal stamp on WHAM’s “Careless Whisper” and the Kenny Rogers/Dolly Parton duet “Islands In the Stream” with Reba McEntire

Moby — Last Night Remixed (Mute) featuring the Freemasons, the Shapeshifters, Seamus Haji and Holy Ghost!

Nada Surf — LP Box Set (Barsuk) five studio albums pressed in a limited edition of 1,000 vinyl LPs, plus a reproduction of their first seven-inch single, bonus B-sides and a download code

Paramore — The Final Riot! (Fueled By Ramen) live CD/DVD set filmed this past summer

The Punisher: War Zone — original motion picture soundtrack (Lionsgate) featuring new music from Rob Zombie and the winner of Clear Channel’s Unsigned Artist Contest earlier this year, plus previously unreleased tracks from Rise Against and Senses Fail

The Rapture — Tapes (!K7 Records) personally selected mix CD with Vaughan Mason & Crew’s funky “Bounce, Rock, Skate, Roll” and Richie Havens’ “Going Back To My Roots”

REM — Murmur: Deluxe Edition (IRS/Universal) expanded to two CDs, this remastered reissue from 1983 boasts new liner notes by Don Dixon and Mitch Easter, a live concert from Toronto, and a cover of the Velvet Underground’s “There She Goes Again”

Rush — Snakes & Arrows Live (Zoe Vision/ nthem) three-DVD set filmed with 21 High Definition cameras over two nights in the Netherlands last year

Supersuckers — Get It Together (Mid Fi Recordings) all new from the original Seattle party monsters with Reverend Horton Heat’s former drummer, Scott Churilla and a bonus live DVD

Scott Weiland — Happy In Galoshes (Soft Drive/New West) sophomore solo album from the Stone Temple Pilots’ frontman, with guests from No Doubt and production by Steve Albini

White Zombie — Let Sleeping Corpses Lie (Geffen) four-CD box set collecting all of their 64 studio recordings going back to 1985’s Gods On Voodoo Moon EP, which was only produced in an edition of 300 pressings, up through every tribute album rarity, B-side and soundtrack selection, plus a bonus DVD of videos

Wicked Lake — original motion picture soundtrack (13th Planet/Megaforce) complied by Al Jourgensen, the CD collects 15 tracks by Prong, Ministry, RevCo, Hemlock and False Idols

various artists — Heroes (Astralwerks) nifty tribute collection benefiting War Child’s aid to children in war-torn countries across the planet, with invited artists selecting a song of their own and another artist to cover it, highlighted by Beck’s rendition of Bob Dylan’s “Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat” and the Kooks’ stab at the Kinks’ “Victoria”

John James can be found via cyberspace at

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