Tag Archives: F

For The Holidays: Projekt’s CDs of Holiday Music Are Ethereal Delights

As Christmas begins to round the corner, it’s likely that some of you have already begun to spin holiday music choices. I know I have. And like many of you, I have favorites. Several of my all-time favorites are actually from the same label.

Between 1995 and 2001, Projekt Records released three richly curated Holiday sets, all known as Excelsis. The three volumes were sub-headed to distinguish themselves. Between the three sets are 38 songs, none of which can be properly classified. Many of the tracks found on these three volumes are re-imagined traditional classics, and some are  new compositions.

All the contributing artists are from the Dark Wave genre, moved along with great supportive effort from the Projekt label owner, Sam Rosenthal. And while the music is gothic in nature (as were many of the original old traditionals), they are surprisingly beautiful and completely memorable.

Volume One is sub-titled A Dark Noel. But do not be deterred by the title (if it would threaten to deter you), the music transcends all expectations of sound. On the first volume (issued in 1995), you’ll be treated to a stunning version of “Welcome Christmas” by Love Spirals Downward, which features the beautiful vocals of Suzanne Perry , This Ascension’s haunting “Carol Of The Bells”, the unmatched sounds of Lycia, with their unique rendition of “We Three Kings”,  Area’s incredible version of “O Come Emmanuel”, and a fantastic bar period piece by Faith and the Muse of “A Winter Wassail”.

Volume Two, sub-headed as A Winter’s Song, is filled with equally captivating music. Of the album’s fifteen tracks, my favorite stand-out is “In The Bleak Midwinter”. But the album is generously populated with other songs like Julia Kent’s string instrumental of “What Child Is This?”, Lycia’s “O Little Town of Bethlehem”, The Crüxshadows’ version of the Lennon classic, “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)”, and Thanatos’ version of “Silent Night”.

Volume Three – a prelude – was a response to the popularity of the previous two releases, but only issued as a nine-track Maxi-CD. Nevertheless, it beautifully caps off a rare and memorable trilogy of sets that you may not have heard the contents of. It displays Lynn Canfield’s lovely “Edelweiss”, “Aspen Glow” by Lovespirals, Frolic’s enchanting “Angels We Have Heard On High”, and an alternate version of “Silver and Gold” (first heard on the second volume) by  Faith & Disease.

Of the three CDs, the first one is completely sold out in physical form. However, it can still be purchased digitally here in a ‘name your price’ offering (here). The others are still available (here, and here).

Please understand that you WILL be surprised by what you hear. I highly recommend all three volumes!

 

The Damned, Stiff Singles 1976-1977 7″ Vinyl Box In January

When the musical climate began to shift after 1975, The Damned were one of the few bands out in front of the trend. They released Damned Damned Damned in 1976 on Stiff Records, a growing influential label that also gave stage to Elvis Costello and a host of other popular rising talents. The debut album gave us “New Rose” followed by “Neat Neat Neat”. There was no doubt that a new style was coming and these mentioned singles were a strong forerunner of the genre of punk rock! Stiff Records ran its course after about ten years, ceasing operations in 1986. However, it lit the way for Ian Dury, Lene Lovich, Nick Lowe, The Pogues, Devo, and many others before shutting its doors.

The Damned released five singles (with B-sides) for Stiff Records in the UK before leaving the label. The first was the previously mentioned gem, “New Rose”, flip-sided by a non-album track, “Help”. Their second single, “Neat Neat Neat” helped push the single trend further with a flip side of two cuts, “Stab Your Back”, and “Singalonga Scabies”. If you still have those, then you’re quite the collector. But if you don’t, BMG along with Pledge Music, will release a Boxed set of 7″ vinyl singles with the original Stiff label. The Box is being called The Damned, Stiff Singles 1976-1977.  In addition to the vinyl singles, there will be a Damned embroidered patch.

The singles included are as follows:

Single1:

A – New Rose
B – Help

Single2:

A – Neat Neat Neat
B – Stab Your Back
B – SingalongaScabies

Single3:

A – Problem Child
B – You Take My Money

Single4:

A – Don’t Cry Wolf
B – One Way Love

Single5:

A – Stretcher Case Baby
B – Sick Of Being Sick

The Damned, Stiff Singles 1976-1977 Box is scheduled for January 26, 2018.

The Damned are currently recording a brand new album expected o be released in 2018 at some point!

 

New Echo & The Bunnymen Set, The Stars, The Oceans & The Moon, In 2018

In the ’80s, Echo & The Bunnymen provided their music in what I often call the richest vein in Rock history (1976-1985). Formed in 1978, with a first label issue in 1980 (Crocodiles), and their major label debut, the self-titled Echo & The Bunnymen, the band enjoyed hits like “The Pictures On My Wall” (1980), “A Promise” (1981), and sustaining well into the ’80s with hits like “Lips Like Sugar” (1987), and “The Game” (1987).  In fact, Rolling Stone Magazine’s oft consulted 500 Greatest Albums of All Time pegged the band’s second release, Heaven Up Here (1982) as important enough to be included.

Over time, Ian McCulloch would leave to a solo career, and the band would become a shell of itself. Nevertheless, things being what they are, McCulloch would come back with Will Sergeant, and briefly with Les Pattinson. Together, they would release What Are You Going To Do With Your Life? (1999), Flowers (2001), Siberia (2005), The Fountain (2009), and Meteorites (2014).

On May 18, 2018, core members McCulloch, and Sergeant, (as Echo & the Bunnymen) will release their next studio set, The Stars, The Oceans & The Moon. The new album will consist of Echo & The Bunnymen classics reformed and reimagined with strings. It’s an album that McCulloch says he had to do for himself. We just get lucky enough to join in. Additionally, there will be some new songs as well. All in all, here will be fifteen tracks (unknown at this point).

The Stars, The Oceans & The Moon will be released on CD, 2LP, DD, and Cassette. Extra bonuses include 2LP picture discs, if ordered though band’s online store.