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Next Week in Music | Oct. 28-Nov. 3 • The Short List: 3 New Albums & 3 Box Sets

Some old classics go up against some future (maybe) classics this week.

It’s that time of year when the box sets, anthologies, reissues and compilations start to outnumber the new releases. This week, I’ve got three big new titles and three big old titles on the list — including the 25th Anniversary of R.E.M.’s Monster, which was the first album that had some sort of downloadable content which I tried to access with my dialup Internet connection — I believe I gave up trying to download the massive file (which was probably about 5K) after a couple of hours of watching my computer grind away. We’ve obviously come a long way since. Whether it’s for the best is debatable — unlike the undeniable merits of these fine releases:

Bob Dylan
Travelin’ Thru, 1967–1969: The Bootleg Series Vol. 15

THE PRESS RELEASE: “The latest chapter in Columbia/Legacy’s highly acclaimed Bob Dylan Bootleg Series revisits Dylan’s pivotal musical journeys to Nashville, from 1967 to 1969, focusing on previously unavailable recordings made with Johnny Cash and unreleased tracks from the John Wesley Harding, Nashville Skyline and Self Portrait sessions. Disc 1 finds Dylan in Columbia Studio A in Nashville recording alternate versions of compositions written for John Wesley Harding (Oct. 17 and Nov. 6, 1967) and Nashville Skyline (Feb. 13-14, 1969) while introducing a new song Western Road (a Nashville Skyline outtake). Discs 2 and 3 are centered around Dylan’s collaborations with American music icon Johnny Cash including the much sought-after Columbia Studio A sessions and on-stage performances at the Ryman Auditorium (May 1, 1969) for the recording of the premiere episode of The Johnny Cash Show (originally broadcast on ABC-TV on June 7, 1969). Disc 3 closes with tracks recorded on May 17, 1970 with Grammy Award-winning bluegrass banjo legend Earl Scruggs for the PBS television special, Earl Scruggs: His Family and Friends (originally aired January 1971).”

Jeff Goldblum & The Mildred Snitzer Orchestra
I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This

THE PRESS RELEASE: “With last year’s debut – which was met with glowing reviews and landed the Hollywood icon a No.1 jazz album in the UK, US, Germany and Australia – Jeff Goldblum was described as performing an important service by “reminding us that jazz should be allowed to be fun”. With playing that is “as loose and improvisational as his acting.” Goldblum yet again brings his on-screen charisma and eccentricities to the piano, with a style that is totally unique. Goldblum has assembled an extraordinary gang of vocalists from all walks of musical life, some of whom reveal their jazz voices for the very first time. Acclaimed singer-songwriter Sharon Van Etten stars on the first single, Irving Berlin’s classic number Let’s Face The Music and Dance. Also joining Jeff is Brit Award and Mercury Prize nominee Anna Calvi, for a mash-up of Wes Montgomery’s Four on Six and Marianne Faithful’s Broken English. The 1954 Frank Sinatra hit Don’t Worry ‘Bout Me features Grammy Award-winning Fiona Apple, Sonny & Cher favourite The Beat Goes On is sung by American singer-songwriter Inara George, and the 1939 hit If I Knew Then is recorded here with one of LA’s most in demand jazz singers, Gina Saputo. In between the variety of world-class vocalists, instrumental tracks such as Herbie Hancock’s Driftin’ and Lalo Schifrin’s The Cat show off the band’s dazzling jazz licks.”

Miranda Lambert

THE PRESS RELEASE: “When people listen to this record, I want them to know that I see them and hear them,” says Miranda Lambert. “I feel you, because I’m just a girl from East Texas, writing about all the things that go on in my world and in the worlds of people around me. I want people to get along, you know, just be who you are, own it and move on from the moments you couldn’t live in.” Her first collaboration with producer Jay Joyce, Wildcard moves from fraught, taut rock & roll to gentle folk, classic Wurlitzer country and a bit of funky gospel with Lambert’s signature wit and tongue-in-cheek humor permeating throughout.”

Jeff Lynne’s ELO
From Out of Nowhere

THE PRESS RELEASE:Rock & Roll Hall of Famer and music legend Jeff Lynne, whose music has touched fans deeply across three generations now, has found himself in recent years at the peak of his powers as a songwriter, musician and producer. The forthcoming album From Out of Nowhere shows Lynne finding new facets to his signature sound, at once drawing on his globally loved legacy and forging new paths in both sounds and emotions. Once again, he plays nearly every note of the music on guitars, bass, piano, drums, keyboards and vibes, as well as singing all of the lead and layered harmony vocals. Steve Jay, who also engineered the album, adds some percussion. The very existence of the album is an unexpected joy, as much for its creator as for his fans. “From Out of Nowhere — that’s exactly where it came from,” Lynne says. “That’s the first one I wrote for this album and it’s kind of like that.” It’s a song about hope and salvation. Lynne often found himself turning to a sense of optimism, which is a theme recurring throughout the album, saying “Everybody’s got to have a bit of hope.”

Monster 25th Anniversary

THE PRESS RELEASE: “When Monster was released in September 1994, the members of R.E.M. were at a crossroads in their career. Singer Michael Stipe, guitarist Peter Buck, bassist Mike Mills and drummer Bill Berry were decompressing from the massive commercial and critical success of 1991’s Out of Time and 1992’s Automatic for the People. In just a few years, the Athens, GA, four-piece had become one of the biggest, most recognizable bands in the world, thanks to hits like Losing My Religion, Man on the Moon and Everybody Hurts. It had also been six years since the group had toured. By the time that work began on Monster, they were itching to end their self-imposed hiatus and get back on the road. The band was also looking for a sonic shake-up. While R.E.M.’s last two albums were full of ballads, acoustic rock songs and intricate arrangements, the group was ready to record something grittier, brasher and highly playable on stage. In his liner notes, we read that Monster “had no precedent in the band’s catalog,” and R.E.M. had “never been this distorted and dirty, or this glam or this flirty.” Buck recalls, “We were trying to feel like a different band … We wanted to get away from who we were.”

The Rolling Stones
Let it Bleed 50th Anniversary Box

THE PRESS RELEASE:The Rolling Stones’ groundbreaking multi-platinum selling album Let It Bleed was originally issued in late 1969, charting at #1 in the UK and #3 in the US. This 2 LP/ 2 HybridSuper Audio CD set was entirely remastered in both stereo and mono by Grammy-winning engineer Bob Ludwig at Gateway Mastering. The collection also comes with a reproduction of the 1969 7” mono single of Honky Tonk Women/You Can’t Always Get What You Want, in a picture sleeve. Also included are three 12” x 12” hand-numbered replica-signed lithographs printed on embossed archival paper, and a full-color 23” x 23” poster with restored art from the original 1969 Decca Records package. An 80 page hardcover book that includes an essay by journalist David Fricke and never-before-seen photos by the band’s tour photographer Ethan Russell is part of the set.”