It's been more than 20 years since the Eurythmics burst onto the pop scene with their trademark ice-cool techno hit "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" and the album of the same name. They followed that disc in 1985 with "Be Yourself Tonight," which was an even bigger smash, dropping the coolly electronic distance of their first disc in favor of more organic, soulful arrangements spotlighting the range of Annie Lennox's voice. Now, RCA/Legacy has reissued the band's classic first two CDs, which include "Sweet Dreams" and the more organic horn-punctuated "Would I Lie to You?" and its followups, the sweetly cheerful "I've Got an Angel" and the Aretha Franklin duet "Sisters Are Doin' It for Themselves." Both discs include a handful of B-side tracks collected from the band's singles of the mid '80s, and each also includes previously unreleased cover songs recorded then – "Hello I Love You" and "Satellite of Love." So if you miss those synth-pop '80s, these are a great couple of reissues to check out, with new "old" material.
Speaking of new old material, Rhino Records continues to mine the vaults for previously recorded but unreleased live Grateful Dead recordings. The latest find is "Fillmore West: 1969," a three-disc set of unreleased live performances from a four-night stand in 1969. The set finds an early Dead lineup running through "Morning Dew," "Dark Star," "Cosmic Charlie" and more, and features a 72-page booklet.
Rhino also has issued a collection of Bob Dylan songs that Dead leader Jerry Garcia recorded over the years with various lineups, from the Dead to the Jerry Garcia Band to the short-lived Legion of Mary band. "Garcia Plays Dylan" includes "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" and "It's All Over Now Baby Blue."
If you want some country-rock that's more current than the Dead, Nonesuch Records has issued a live disc from Wilco, recorded at Chicago's Vic Theatre in May. "Kicking Television: Live in Chicago" captures the most recent incarnation of the band performing "Shot in the Arm," "Hummingbird," "Wishful Thinking" and more.
Fans of '70s early glam rockers Marc Bolan and T.Rex can now pick up some previously unreleased treasures from the band courtesy of Rhino Records. The label has issued "The T.Rex Wax Co. Singles A's and B's 1972-1977," a two-disc set featuring "Telegram Sam," "Metal Guru," "Children of the Revolution," "I Love to Boogie," and more. Unfortunately, it misses the band's biggest hits, released the year before, including the ubiquitous "Bang a Gong (Get It On)." Also re-issued, with bonus discs of alternate takes are the albums the hits collection draws its material from -- T.Rex's 1972 album “The Slider,” 1974's “Zinc Alloy and the Hidden Riders of Tomorrow”and 1977's Dandy in the Underworld,” released just before Bolan's death in a car accident.
If you're looking for compilations of new bands and new hits, Rhino Records offers "Clubplanet Party Mix," a CD of dance tracks mixed for dance floor play by Crooklyn Clan. It's fairly unambitious as mixes go – really just a collection of hits loosely strung together with “hooked on” type beat between them. Included are Naughty By Nature 's “Hip Hop Hooray,” Tom Tom Club 's “Genius of Love,” Run DMC 's “Walk This Way,” Bananarama 's “Cruel Summer,” Aretha Franklin 's “Respect,” “ Yaz 's “Don't Go,” and more.
A collection of current rock acts comes from Warner Bros. in yet another mix from TV's "The OC." The latest collection, "Music from the OC Mix 5" includes songs from The Subways, Gorillaz, Kasabian, The Shout Out-Louds, Stars, a cover of synthesizer band Alphaville's, 1989 hit "Forever Young," by Australian emo-rockers Youth Group, and the coolest track, "Hide and Seek," an a capella song sung through a vocoder by Frou Frou lead singer Imogen Heap (the song appears on her new solo CD, reviewed below).
Heap released a sadly overlooked solo album (1998's I, Megaphone), before joining forces in 2002 with another multi-instrumentalist, Guy Sigsworth (Madonna), to create the ambient techno duo Frou Frou. After some success with that act, Heap went solo again and financed and released the new project herself by mortgaging her London flat, before RCA came calling. Soon, a song placement on TV's "The OC" got her a renewed stateside following and she suddenly had songs appearing on other TV shows like "CSI" and "Six Feet Under," as well as in the movie "Just Like Heaven."
Finally, Speak for Yourself, the album that started the Heap resurgence, is on the shelves here. If you've heard her before, you know what to expect — evocative, sing-song melodies, ethereal, alternately punchy and then dreamy synthesizers and basslines, and an angelic sense of entrancing otherworldliness.
The first couple of tracks on the new disc sound just like Frou Frou; quietly shuffling rhythms that buoy an amazingly hypnotic vocal presence by Heap. But it's in the fifth song on “Speak for Yourself” that Heap really breaks new ground. It's the song that made American listeners start seeking her out after hearing it on “The OC”, and with good reason. “Hide and Seek” is a strange but beautiful track that hearks back to Laurie Anderson experimentalism, as Heap sings a capella, but changes the tones and adds robotic sounding harmonies with the use of a vocoder. It's indescribable – sterilely computer-augmented, and yet overflowing with subtle emotion.
The album is worth owning for that track alone, but don't short Heap. The more traditional piano-guitar-synthesizer and beatbox tracks on Speak for Yourself paint an aural landscape that is challenging and relaxing at the same time. She is a presence unlike any other, and a singer not to be missed.