Friday, November 11, 2011

Rarities #49: Radiohead - The King Of Limbs Newspaper Edition (2011)

Radiohead released The King Of Limbs, their eighth studio album, in February this year. It is their second album since leaving EMI, and their first in four years since 2007's In Rainbows, which was also self-released and was controversial at the time for allowing fans to pay whatever amount they felt like for the digital album. This collector's Newspaper Edition was shipped to fans in May.

I have not opened the package yet, and probably will not do so for some time. But from what I know, it contains one CD, two clear vinyls, a newspaper and a sheet of 625 tiny pieces of artwork. Everything is packed within oxo-degradable plastic wrapping, or ODB plastic, which according to the remarks on the packaging, says that "this material will outlive the owner." Do we need another reminder that we will die and not be able to take these expensive collector's items with us?


Monday, November 07, 2011

Rarities #48: Nirvana - Nevermind 20th Anniversary Super Deluxe Box Set 4CD+DVD (2011)

Nirvana's landmark Nevermind album was released on 24 September 1991 and it has become one of the most celebrated rock albums of all time, selling over 30 million copies worldwide and producing the anthem for disillusioned youth - Smells Like Teen Spirit. Many journalists have also written about how the album knocked Michael Jackson's Dangerous album off from the #1 spot, signalling the transition from pop to grunge music.

Nevermind is one of my favourite albums ever, simply because of the simplicity of the songs. Each song is just straight to the point, tight, power-packed and compact. There are no frills, just good old drum, bass, guitar, vocal and harmonies. The music still packs a punch as as it did 20 years ago without sounding dated, because it doesn't have any keyboards. And the songs are so catchy you can sing along to the chorus and bang your head out.

It is hard to pick out a favourite from an entire album of killer tracks, but my mine is In Bloom. I think it's because the drum part is really interesting, with a good mix of quaver, triplet and semi-quaver beats. It's fun to play.

To commemorate the 20th anniversary of Nevermind, the album was remastered and re-released recently as a 1CD set, 2CD set, 4LP vinyl set and 4CD+DVD Super Deluxe box set. This box set is limited to 40,000 sets worldwide only, making it a rarity and must-have item for all collectors.

The first CD is the original album remastered, together with nine B-sides. These were the original B-sides from the four singles that were released - Smells Like Teen Spirit, Come As You Are, Lithium and In Bloom. 

CD Two contains eight tracks from the Smart Studio Sessions (pre-Geffen demos), eight tracks from the Boombox Rehearsals (album demos) and another two from the BBC Sessions. 14 of these were previously unreleased.

CD Three contains the Devonshire Mixes, which is the entire album produced and mixed by Butch Vig, as opposed to the final released album that was produced by Butch and mixed by Andy Wallace. This mix of the album has never been released before.

The fourth CD is a live recording of the Paramount concert originally recorded on 31 October 1991, all 19 tracks including an early version of Rape Me. The DVD contains the same Paramount concert, plus the music videos of the four singles. This DVD, Live At The Paramount, is also available for sale separately on DVD and Blu Ray. This is the only known Nirvana concert shot to film, and to experience the 1080p high-definition picture and 5.1 surround sound, you'll need to get the Blu Ray version, which is not included here.

The material on CD Three and CD Four are exclusive to this Super Deluxe box set only. They're not available on the 2CD set or 4LP vinyl set, making this an extra treat for the fans.

The package also contains a 90-page special collector's hard cover book, containing lots of rarely and never-seen-before photos, documents and artifacts from the Nevermind era. There is also a giant, double-sided poster, one side being a Smash Hits magazine replica.

The 90-page hardbound book


The four CDs

The giant poster

Smash Hits magazine replica on the other side of the poster

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