Known Johnson

April 29, 2007

Check your mail, Keneally fans

Filed under: Music,News — Tom @ 11:19 am

I’m always happy to find a puffy package in the mail box. In fact, it’s become my usual way of getting music these days, having gotten fed up with just not finding my particularly brand of stuff locally all that regularly anymore. But yesterday was extra-pretty cool: the puffy package in question marked the arrival of the long awaited remastered, expanded editions of guitarist Mike Keneally’s first two albums, hat. and Boil That Dust Speck numbers 354 and 145, respectively (hand-signed and numbered by the man himself, of course!)

The good news is that these are some of the best reissues I’ve ever seen. Very often, when old albums are reissued, they resort to poor scans of album artwork, resulting in blurry booklet photos and text (take the Atlantic-years Rush remasters (Presto through Test For Echo) – these look absolutely awful.) Not in this case – these almost look better than the originals, especially in the case of hat. AND they include some brand new, hand-written follow-up liner-notes that fill in the gaps.

I watched a bit of the hat. DVD last night and was really impressed – these were clearly well thought-out and lovingly put together. The recording-session footage is eye-opening – it’s thrilling to watch musicians like this putting incredibly complex music such as this together and having fun, and the 2006 reunion of the hat. band was nice to see, but it certainly illustrates that there’s a real chemistry between Keneally and current bassist Bryan Beller that just isn’t there with Doug Lunn, talented as he is. There’s also a ton of interviews and 30 audio tracks on the DVD that I simply ran out of time to check out, but those will be fun to explore another day.

The Dust Speck DVD has a 90 minute making-of feature that should be interesting, but I’ll have to set aside an evening to dive into that. That’s in addition to 20 alternate mixes and unreleased tracks, plus a Drop Control session (Keneally’s former band) that was originally intended to somehow be fit in the middle of Dust Speck‘s running order, but the album material was simply too long for it to work out.

Ladies and gentlemen of the music industry, THIS is how reissues should be done. Unless the band has absolutely nothing else to offer, there is no excuse not to append old releases with extra material – on a separate disc! This makes me need these and want to need these, and makes owning them fun. Yeah, the upgraded sound is nice, but when you get hours of extra stuff, that really makes it all worthwhile.

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8 Comments »

  1. I’m so very jealous. I want these reissues, but it’s been hard for me to set aside 60 bucks (or however much it’ll come to) for these discs (I have a wedding to save up for). Still, I’m sure I’ll get these eventually.

    However, I am definitely passing on the FOURTH(!) set of Elvis Costello CD reissues.

    Comment by chris — April 30, 2007 @ 7:06 am | Reply

  2. Yeah, they’re not cheap, but I placed my order way back in the fall when they started, so now it’s kind of like Christmas – the price is practically forgotten. đŸ™‚

    Those Costello reissues are a complete waste of time. OH, so THIS time they’re being reissues WITHOUT bonus tracks, so the big deal is that they’re back to being the original albums. WOW! Where can I get these fantastic deals?! The only thing I’m looking forward to with this campaign is a supposed reissue of Live At The El Mocambo, but so far all I see is mention of a European release of that, and that’s only rumored.

    Comment by Tom — April 30, 2007 @ 10:51 am | Reply

  3. Yeah, I would definitely get the El Mocambo disc. I used to own it and it’s excellent. It was released back in the mid-nineties as part of the initial Rykodisc reissues, but all my Ryko Costello discs were stolen in 2001 when my apartment was burglarized (a burglary that I’m convinced was financed by Rhino in order for me to get the next batch of reissues).

    Oh, and I broke down and ordered the Keneally special editions today. Those bonus discs sound great!

    Comment by Chris — April 30, 2007 @ 1:04 pm | Reply

  4. I didn’t know El Mocambo was ever out on CD! I hope this isn’t just a nasty rumor – I’d really like to hear this whole show.

    You’re going to love the Keneally discs, Chris. There are just some things that are worth the extra money, and these are definitely worth it for fans. They’ve totally reinvigorated my interest in these albums.

    Comment by Tom — May 1, 2007 @ 10:00 pm | Reply

  5. […] « Check your mail, Keneally fans […]

    Pingback by lookout for hope | static on your frequency » Blog Archive » Overlooked Alternatives: Rush, Mike Keneally — May 1, 2007 @ 10:19 pm | Reply

  6. Rykodisc kicked off their Elvis reissues with a box set called “2 1/2 Years,” which was the first three Elvis albums (My Aim is True, This Year’s Model, Armed Forces) and El Mocambo as a “bonus disc.” It’s an amazing live set. Definitely worth owning.

    So far, the only thing about these Universal reissues that really interests me are the fact that they’re in Digipak, which I believe is the first I’ve ever seen of EC in that package format. I’m a packaging snob and I have to admit that I love Digipak (although I know that many people hate it).

    Still, I ain’t buying ’em.

    As far as the Keneally discs go…I’m very excited about this. I also believe that, like you, the reissues will renew my interest in these early albums, particularly hat, which which I honestly never really fell in love with. I’m a firm believer in the theory that Keneally gets better as he gets older. hat is a fun album, but it tends to be a little too ‘slight’ for my tastes.

    Can’t wait! Can’t wait! My package shipped out on Tuesday, so I should be getting it soon.

    Comment by chris — May 3, 2007 @ 6:53 am | Reply

  7. i have the boil that dust speck special edition and it is mind blowing. The making of is great and i really like the audio stuff but i don’t often sit down and listen to it on dvd. if you haven’t got it yet, get it.

    i just ordered the hat special edition yesterday and it already shipped. i can’t wait till it shows up.

    Comment by sam — June 19, 2007 @ 8:44 am | Reply

  8. oh, and you other people, stop fucking babbling about elvis costello!

    Comment by sam — June 19, 2007 @ 8:45 am | Reply


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