Sunday, July 27, 2008

This Means War

As I mentioned in my previous post, U2 is going to be getting a few more of my bucks over the next couple of months and it started last week when I picked up the deluxe remastered edition of their third album, War. I am getting all three but I had to order the other two because they weren't in – which actually might be a good thing – it will spread them out for me.

First of all, the packaging is very nice. I liked the big box deluxe version of Joshua Tree very much and this, while it is a smaller (and cheaper) version it complements that one well – there is a booklet inside a slipcase which holds the two CDs as well as a number of pages of pictures, essays and information. Edge has notes on many of the tracks from the bonus CD and there are lyrics along with any notes about single releases. The sound on the remastered version of the original is fine – although there was nothing revelatory.

The bonus CD, though, is much better that I anticipated. Of the three bonus CDs this is the one I was least excited about because a look at the setlist indicates that four versions of "New Year's Day" and three of "Two Hearts Beat As One." I wasn't real excited about that. But it turns out that I really like them – the dance mixes are actually quite different and have a cool vibe to them. The other tracks are OK. One was already on the b-sides from 1980-1990 and the others are interesting but far from essential.

But the real find is the two live tracks that close out the CD, "I Threw A Brick Through a Window/A Day Without Me" and "Fire." These show a youthful U2 in full force back when they opened shows for others and had to proves themselves to the crowd in 30 minutes – and they do a fabulous job.

If you're a U2 fan then this is a must – a great version of a great album. I'm looking forward to the other two CDs more than ever now – I hope they arrive soon!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

A great time for U2 fans

As I write this on my new Palm Centro as I'm sitting in an airplane somewhere between Michigan and New Jersey on a quick trip to visit my mom. Ever since I got an iPod and noise-cancelling headphones I've enjoyed listening in planes and in airports. I don't read well in moving vehicles so listening is just right.

It also gives me a bit of time to reflect on some of the listening I've been doing lately. It's been a while since we've had new U2 to listen to but that will soon change. This is going to be an exciting fall for U2 fans. This week the band released remasters of their first three albums each with a bonus disc of extras (which I won't be able to get until I return home.). But those of us who check iTunes on Tuesday mornings were surprised to find the audio from the Joshua Tree Bonus DVD now available as an album on iTunes called Live From Paris. Many of those on the internet who follow the band suggest that this is what they should have released instead of Rattle and Hum. They may be right. I listened on this flight and it's great.

All this should be enough to keep us happy until September when the long awaited DVD and CD remaster release of Under a Blood Red Sky happens.

Then, in November the NEW album hits - their first since How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb in 2004! The has been little news about it except for a few hints here and there but I've enjoyed every one of their albums before so I'm really looking forward to it.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

More free music

If you like free music - and who doesn't? - then you need to go check out Derek Webb's website. Derek discovered that giving music away in exchange for email addressed increased attendence at his shows, merchandise sales and even sales of the albums he is giving away.

So he created NoiseTrade to showcase lesser-known artists - in the past two weeks they've gone from just over 20 albums to over 40, including ones by Derek, Sandra McCracken and Sixpence None the Richer.

Friday, July 11, 2008

New Music from Sixpence None the Richer

Go to NoiseTrade to find the new EP from Sixpence None the Richer and other music - pay what you like or tell three friends!

Monday, July 07, 2008

Ringo's birthday

Today is Ringo Starr's birthday - although I suppose using his last name was utterly unnecessary. He turns 68 today and he had an interesting wish - he asked if everyone would flash a peace sign and say (shout, whisper, think ... whatever) "peace and love" at 12 noon wherever they happened to be.

This happened quite off the cuff when some TV program asked him what he wanted for his birthday and his answer just "just more peace and love." He then went on from there to say something like "why don't we all just..." and there you have it.

Ringo's old band certainly did a lot to promote peace and love in the 60's and I was one of those people who grew up thinking that peace and love are a pretty good idea, overall. So, Ringo, thanks for the music. Just in case I forget I've timed this so that it pops up right at noon.

Peace and Love.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Still watching Father's Day videos

I got some DVDs for Father's Day and I'm still working my way through them but here is a quick update:
  • Serenity - it is not often that TV shows that didn't even get a complete first season turn out to be major motion pictures but this is a case where it happened. The show was Firefly, which I got for Christmas from Bethany and Meredith. They only made 14 episodes of Firefly, a space western which was pretty cool. In fact, they only aired 11 of the 14 episodes - but, as is the case with some TV shows, this one found it's footing after a few episodes and then got better as the season went on. By the time I got to the end of the season I was looking forward to seeing the movie, named after the spaceship they flew on.
    The movie did what many movies do compared to TV shows - the budget is bigger, the effects are better and the plot is also bigger. But Joss Whedon did this one up well, making it bigger than a regular episode but yet not so big that it felt unnatural in comparison to what went before. I really enjoyed it and I recommend both the series and the movie.
  • Spiderman 3 - I reviewed this film when I saw it in the theater and , while it may be my least favorite of all three Spiderman films it is still enough fun that when it went cheap enough I knew I would enjoy it - I did.
  • The Indiana Jones Trilogy - one more film to watch yet (although I saw them all a number of years ago) - I'm also looking forward to the disc of extras and the making-of documentary.
All in all, an excellent Father's Day once again!