Friday’s Forthcoming Releases [Part I]


RICEBOY SLEEPS 'Riceboy Sleeps' [Release Date 20/07/2009]

CD: Known primarily for his haunting falsetto and other-worldly presence as the singer in Sigur Rós, Jon Thor (Jónsi) Birgisson has – together with his partner Alex Somers – been exhibiting artwork and staging exhibitions under the name Riceboy Sleeps for two or three years now. A couple of months back the early fruits of the musical side of this collaboration surfaced in physical form for the first time, with the track 'Happiness', on the exemplary 'Dark Was The Night' red hot compilation. Among such company as Antony Hegarty, Arcade Fire, Sufjan Stevens and many more high and mighty names besides, it says something that Jónsi & Alex's sparse and haunting instrumental contribution was picked out by many people who-ought-to-know as the apex of the record – especially given that the track was neither finished nor mastered when the deadline came around. Now, however, the full-length 'Riceboy Sleeps' album (the name having migrated from artist moniker to album title) is finished and ready for release. and, as with 'Happiness', it is set to subtly redefine expectations of slow and elegiac instrumental music in 2009. 'Riceboy Sleeps' is human in a profound and verging-on spiritual way. It says nothing, literally, and yet living through its 68-minutes you emerge feeling much has been revealed. Its slowly evolving abstract landscapes are both edifying and life-affirming. The record works as a whole, and exists in a contemplative dream-state, unconstrained and mesmeric, seemingly outside time. The record, however, is more active than its apparent antecedents in the ambient output of Brian Eno, and other deliberately low-impact works. 'Riceboy Sleeps' is awash with both tension and stimuli, as well as being frequently, and stunningly, beautiful. A piece like 'Daniell In The Sea' feels as natural as breathing, or more precisely like being able to breath fresh air after a long period spent in stagnant confinement. in fact both 'Daniell…' and 'Sleeping Giant' appear to feature actual breathing, albeit through some kind of underwater respirator. This filtering function of making the world seem at once alien and as-new, is perhaps the strongest sensations to be derived from listening to 'Riceboy Sleeps'. Jónsi & Alex's artwork has always been intoxicated with the notion of innocence (as in many ways is his work in Sigur Ros, although the only musical comparisons here would be with the band's most blissed-out atmospheric songs), so it is perhaps not surprising that this washed-clean sensation should ring clear from this startling record. Played solely on acoustic instruments in iceland [and featuring long-time string collaborators Amiina, as well as the Kopavogsdaetur choir] and then endlessly toyed with on solar-powered laptops in a raw food commune in some far corner of Hawaii, 'Riceboy Sleeps' has a suitably, uh, "organic feel" to it; the wave-like lapping of its tidal flow buried beneath analogue hiss, crackle, pulse and distortion; the creaking of rigging and sometime indeterminate falling delicately over; and, on 'Howl', ruminative animal chirrups, grunts, snorts and purrs. Sometimes it feels like a record coming back at you across the seas of time, with ancient washington phillips-style tumbling musical figures and stumbling crescendos as slow as a sunrise, or a weightless mantra-like choir singing from somewhere in the middle ages down the centuries.


WILCO 'Wilco [The Album]' [Release Date 29/06/2009]


LP [+CD]:

Wilco's seventh disc, 'Wilco (The Album)', took shape quickly in January 2009 after the band travelled to Auckland, New Zealand to participate in an Oxfam International benefit project. The band began cutting tracks for the new album, producing it themselves with the help of engineer Jim Scott. The sextet completed the disc at its Chicago studio and performed some of the new material in April at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. 'Wilco (The Album)' combines the intimacy of its previous studio disc, 'Sky Blue Sky' (2007), with the experimentation of 'A Ghost Is Born' (2004) in a set that boasts strong melodies and gorgeous, often unabashedly pop arrangements. Wilco have clearly laid out the welcome mat to admirers of all aspects of their career; in fact, the disc opens with 'Wilco (the song)' in which Tweedy & Co offer their fans "a sonic shoulder to cry on" promising, "Wilco will love you baby". Drummer Glenn Kotche calls it "A great, upbeat song professing our love for our fans". That said, Tweedy's lyrics remain frank and fascinating; Rolling Stone calls them "Sly, insightful and often heartbreaking". As with 'Sky Blue Sky', most of the tracks are concise in shape; 'Bull Black Nova', however, features a dramatically building arrangement and thrilling guitar crescendo, more duel than jam. It's followed by the gentler 'You And I', a duet between Tweedy and Canadian singer-songwriter Feist, the album's first single, and 'You Never Know', a gloriously anthemic track. The disc culminates with 'Everlasting Everything' a piano-driven ballad with delicate sonic nuances that lyrically celebrates love's endurance.


ROB THOMAS 'cradlesong' [Release Date 29/06/2009]


"Expertly crafted with depth and a lolloping of funk" – Q. "Rob has the tunes and the looks" – Glamour. "Rob is hot, pure smoking move out of the way gorgeous" – Attitude.

Chart topping, multi-platinum singer/songwriter, Rob Thomas will release his new single and sure fire radio hit 'Her Diamonds' on June 22nd and album 'cradlesong' on June 29th. The new release is the follow up to the success of Thomas' debut solo album 'Something To Be' which yielded the hit single 'Lonely No More' which spent an incredible 10 weeks on the UK chart. 'cradlesong' is a rock record that pulses with excitement and energy in every song. Another prime example of Thomas's gift of turning deeply personal experiences and observations into universal truths, 'cradlesong' is filled with the unmistakable melodies and distinctive vocals that can only be quintessential Rob Thomas. It hooks you in on the first listen and is already being hailed as the feel good album of this summer. The first release from the album 'Her Diamonds' is a rolling crescendo building into the captivating chorus; a classic, evocative Rob Thomas track full of passion and instantly recognisable moments demonstrating why he is on the most successful and prolific songwriters of a generation.


THE SMITHS 'Singles Box' [Release Date 29/06/2009]

CD Single Box:

Rhino UK are proud to present a CD version of the highly popular 'Singles Box'; A clamshell card box containing the first ten UK-issued Smiths singles in original picture sleeves, featuring the original 12" single tracklistings, apart from the first single 'Hand In Glove', which appears in it's mega-rare "negative" sleeve. Two singles are exclusive to this box set; The rare Francois Kevorkian-mixed 'New York' 12" version of 'This Charming Man' which had a limited issue in December 1983 and the German import-only 12" version of 'Barbarism Begins At Home' from 1985. The box is completed with a poster featuring the single artworks. All singles utilise newly re-mastered audio by Frank Arkwright overseen by Johnny Marr, and feature many non-album tracks, including the hard to find B-side live BBC tracks recorded at the Oxford Apollo in 1985.


SHAWN COLVIN 'Live' [Release Date 29/06/2009]


"I've been doing this a long time" declared Shawn Colvin upon the release of her 2006 Nonesuch debut, 'These Four Walls', "and it's great to feel like I'm doing my best work now". This new live solo set reconfirms that feeling. The three-time Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter combines material from two decades worth of recordings and makes it all sound even more deeply insightful and compellingly up to date, recent songs like 'Fill Me Up', the yearning opening track of 'These Four Walls', and the tougher, bleaker 'I'm Gone', seem as much like old favourites now as 'Sonny Came Home', Colvin's career-making Top 40 success, and 'Shotgun Down The Avalanche', from her 1989 major-label debut, 'Steady On'. Along with original songs from five studio albums, Colvin performs covers of Robbie Robertson's 'Twilight' and Gnarls Barkley's 'Crazy'. With the latter, she transforms what was a funky, sing-along smash into something dark, brooding and bluesy – and she performs it with utter conviction to a rapt audience. She ends on a sweeter, more hopefully romantic note with a version of Talking Heads' 'This Must Be the Place', which she made her own years ago on the 1994 'Cover Girl' collection. Colvin culled these 15 tracks from three sold-out nights at the new San Francisco location of famed Oakland jazz club Yoshi's last July. The simplicity of Colvin's performance makes for an engrossing, intimate experience. Her deft acoustic-guitar playing is as eloquent in this unadorned setting as her vocals and her lyrics, which are stripped of sentimentality but stocked with hard-earned wisdom. Aside from the occasional 'Thank you', Colvin avoids between-songs patter – though she manages a funny, memorable retort to an audience member's joking request for 'Free Bird' at encore time. Since joining Nonesuch, Colvin has racked up the accolades. Reviewing 'These Four Walls', the Sunday Times described her as "One of America's warmest and wisest songwriters". In May, Colvin resumes her acclaimed 'Three Girls and Their Buddy Tour' of the US with fellow singer-songwriters Emmylou Harris and Patty Griffin and guitarist Buddy Miller. Following those shows, Colvin will stay on the road, alternating solo dates with an opening slot on Jackson Browne's American tour.

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ROD STEWART 'COLLECTORS 2-CD EDITIONS' [Release Date 29/06/2009]

Atlantic Crossing:

Rhino UK presents the re-mastered and re-issued 'Atlantic Crossing' – a two CD collection of Rod's eponymous original 'American' album with new liner notes, a bonus track plus bonus CD of completely unreleased bonus material! 1975: The Faces had disbanded. Rod Stewart had moved stateside and signed to the ever prominent Warner Bros Records. Despite being six solo LP's in, 'Atlantic Crossing' marked a new era for the prolific young Scot. Charting in the USA in the top 10 and hitting the UK number one spot for five weeks in August '75, the album contains the classic hits 'Sailing' and 'This Old Heart Of Mine'. The bonus CD features three previously unissued studio outtakes featuring The MG's and an entire alternate version of 'Atlantic Crossing' which has also never been released.

A Night On The Town:

Rhino UK presents the re-mastered and re-issued A Night On The Town – a two CD collection of Rod's second "American" album with new liner notes, an extra track plus bonus CD of completely unreleased and unheard material! 1976: After the global success of his seventh studio and debut Warner Bros album 'Atlantic Crossing', Rod Stewart kept up the momentum by releasing fan-favourite 'A Night On The Town'. Charting at number 1 in the US chart and hitting the UK number one spot for two weeks in July '76, the album contains classic hits such as 'Tonight's The Night' and 'The First Cut Is The Deepest'. The album has been re-mastered and given a bonus track. The bonus CD features a previously unissued studio outtake and an entire alternate version of 'A Night On The Town' which has also never been released.

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