Known Johnson

January 23, 2008

The Breakdown: Super Furry Animals

Filed under: Music,News,The Breakdown — Tom @ 12:53 pm

Things are going to be a little different around here from now on. The Breakdown is no longer what it used to be. I’ve decided to not keep a full list going from week to week for various reasons, the biggest of which are that I simply don’t have time to follow the new releases like I used to, and I found more often than not that I wound up writing extensive pieces for albums that I would have liked to use for a full review later on. I also used a lot of my time for reviewing for this one piece – as I said, I don’t have a ton of time for writing on this site anymore, so when I do so, it needs to be focused, and this is just not my main focus anymore. However, all is not lost. I will be contributing shorter pieces to a larger collective new release list put together by Glen Boyd at Blogcritics.org, the first of which went up this week. Instead of three good lists of new releases happening there every week we now will have one great list (Mark Saleski is also retiring his Tuesday Morning Purchase piece.) When I contribute something, which probably won’t be every week, I will post my piece here as well within a day or two. As always, there will continue to be new music content going on here, but things are lessened because I’m focused on keeping KnownJohnson updated daily because of my involvement in Blog365. I’m really enjoying it and I hope you’re all heading over there to keep up to date on all the really exciting, you know, stuff of my life.

Here’s my first installment in the new New CDs list at Blogcritics, in complete, unedited form:

Super Furry Animals – Hey Venus!: Things fall through the cracks, whether it be a tiny band that many don’t notice or a major artist that many write off as a has-been. For whatever reason, the publicity machine churns is fueled by certain combinations of factors that few really understand, and so much good music goes unnoticed. Take Super Furry Animals, for example. They’re not that strange that the mainstream can’t get into them and yet . . . they’ve never really taken off, especially here in the US. But a rabid fanbase they do have, there’s no doubt about that. Perhaps that’s why they seem to have been part of an experiment of sorts.

Maybe as a sign of “things to come,” this album came out back in the early fall on vinyl and mp3, with the CD release held off for months – but only in the US. Obviously it was a marketing strategy – we’re seeing it all over the place in varying ways, mostly with live albums and their accompanying DVDs being separated by months to encourage buyers to pick up both rather than just one. This one, however, stings just a bit for those who fell for the mp3 side of things (the vinyl buyers get the whole “analog sound quality” thing to balance it out, however.)

Now that it’s coming out on CD, however – and here’s the “ha ha – burn!” – it’s coming with a second disc of extra songs, five to be exact (one is a video, however.) Ooohh – feel the sting. Are they worth the extra investment? Well, I don’t really recall finding any casual SFA fans – people either want it all or nothing when it comes to this band. Few aren’t going to want these, but, as these things go when it comes to die-hard fans, some may already have them as singles b-sides.

As has been the case with the previous Super Furry reissues, those “leftover tracks” found on singles are really just songs they couldn’t fit logically into the flow of the album – not necessarily throwaway songs. We fans seem to make out pretty well with this band, even if maybe Love Kraft didn’t quite meet the high expectations many had. Word is that Hey Venus! makes up for lost time.

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