Known Johnson

October 17, 2006

Overlooked Alternatives: the Tragically Hip, Manic Street Preachers, Primus

Filed under: Music,Overlooked Alternatives — Tom @ 12:14 pm

The week in hard to find things, apparently – one set of easy to find US releases and a couple of albums that aren’t technically out in the US make it difficult for us music lovers to get our hands on these things. I really don’t get why, in this day, the labels do things like making releases available only in certain markets.

I remember years ago stumbling upon import releases that I’d only read about in magazines. Before the internet, my only hope of finding this stuff was that my local indie store or, maybe, Tower Records would manage to get in one copy at an extra-exorbitant price. And I’d grab ’em whenever I saw these things because it was unlikely that a US release would happen anytime soon, if ever. Of course, the internet made those experiences redundant – Amazon stocks almost everything, and if they don’t, the artist’s own website will surely direct you to their own shop where you can get what you can’t easily find. Not to mention good old downloading, for those of us without a conscience.

But here’s the thing: people do still want to buy CDs and own them. And they want to be able to find and buy them easily – at good prices. I, and I’m sure many others, really figured that the internet would permanently put to rest the days of imports because, frankly, it was a stupid notion. One release for all the world makes a lot more sense than multiple versions all over the place and at different times. But here I am telling you in 2006 that exactly that is going on – more music is being released like it’s 1992 again and there’s no telling that these albums are going to see release in the US. Only today people have that other option that the labels hate. They only encourage it with behavior like this. People are going to find a way to get the music they want, and if you make it even slightly difficult for them, they’re going to take the path of least resistance. That said, maybe with at least one of these I can steer a few sales back toward the band . . .

The Tragically Hip – World Container: If you ask me, the Hip’s management, label, someone in charge made a major mistake with this album. They’ve allowed it to be released everyone but the US this week while the US release date hangs in limbo – there is absolutely no information to be found about when or even if this great Canadian quartet’s latest album will be released in the states. In the meantime, US fans will do exactly as I did – purchase the album through Canadian means, such as the officially sanctioned Maple Music. Very frustrating indeed.

And the music? I don’t know much there, either – another big mistake: absolutely no promotion whatsoever, because I only found out about this today, release day, and I generally keep up on this stuff, being one of my favorite bands. All I know is that the man who is popularly known as “the one who ruined Metallica,” Bob Rock, produced it. Let’s hope the results here are only positive.

Manic Street Preachers – Everything Must Go (Deluxe Edition): After guitarist Richie Edwards disappeared following the release of their fantastic Holy Bible, it looked pretty grim for the Manics. But the managed to pull it together again for another album, and this is the result. It’s nowhere near as manic nor as interesting, but it is an intriguing and, in spots, really beautiful piece of work. This three-disc deluxe package is a wonderful way to celebrate it – lots of bonus tracks on the two audio discs and a DVD with videos, live tracks, and a documentary.

That said . . . I realize the Manics are a pretty obscure group in the US, but their previous album, Holy Bible, got a similar “deluxe” treatment and US release, so why is it that this one is not being released in the US? Were the DVD in NTSC format, which all PAL players can use, there would be no issue, but it’s a PAL format disc, making this an expensive investment with 1/3 less payoff for US buyers.

Primus – They All Can’t Be Zingers (best-of) Blame It On The Fish (DVD): Look at that, something you actually can buy here in the US! Primus releases a long-awaited best-of in the form of this 16-track, career-spanning disc. Not much to be said – it hits all the right spots for those who don’t want to commit to an entire discography. Best Buy, of course, has the usual bonus this week – an extra disc with 4 live tracks and a super-low price of $7.99.

Blame It On The Fish is a live DVD culled from the 2003 reunion tour.


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