Your basket is empty

Categories :

Albums

From
CD€23.49

Pop - Released March 25, 2013 | Virgin Catalogue

A 36-track anthology, Celebrate: Greatest Hits covers Simple Minds from the band's 1978 debut through 2009's Graffiti Soul. There's also a pair of decent exclusive tracks, "Blood Diamonds" and "Broken Glass Park," recorded specifically for the set. Fanatics could pick apart the track selections, but this provides a high-quality overview of the band's output. Their rapid development from 1978 through 1982 -- a period represented with the likes of "Chelsea Girl," "I Travel," "Love Song," "Promised You a Miracle," and "Speed Your Love to Me" -- was unlike that of any of their peers. The assortment of material taken from the band's later albums is evenhanded, including "Alive and Kicking," "All the Things She Said," "Belfast Child," "Let There Be Love," and "She's a River," all of which reached the Top Ten in the U.K. © Andy Kellman /TiVo
From
CD€34.99

R&B - Released January 1, 2013 | Virgin Catalogue

From
HI-RES€19.49
CD€13.99

Trip Hop - Released January 1, 2012 | Virgin Catalogue

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Hi-Res Audio
The first masterpiece of what was only termed trip-hop much later, Blue Lines filtered American hip-hop through the lens of British club culture, a stylish, nocturnal sense of scene that encompassed music from rare groove to dub to dance. The album balances dark, diva-led club jams along the lines of Soul II Soul with some of the best British rap (vocals and production) heard up to that point, occasionally on the same track. The opener "Safe from Harm" is the best example, with diva vocalist Shara Nelson trading off lines with the group's own monotone (yet effective) rapping. Even more than hip-hop or dance, however, dub is the big touchstone on Blue Lines. Most of the productions aren't quite as earthy as you'd expect, but the influence is palpable in the atmospherics of the songs, like the faraway electric piano on "One Love" (with beautiful vocals from the near-legendary Horace Andy). One track, "Five Man Army," makes the dub inspiration explicit, with a clattering percussion line, moderate reverb on the guitar and drums, and Andy's exquisite falsetto flitting over the chorus. Blue Lines isn't all darkness, either -- "Be Thankful for What You've Got" is quite close to the smooth soul tune conjured by its title, and "Unfinished Sympathy" -- the group's first classic production -- is a tremendously moving fusion of up-tempo hip-hop and dancefloor jam with slow-moving, syrupy strings. Flaunting both their range and their tremendously evocative productions, Massive Attack recorded one of the best dance albums of all time. © John Bush /TiVo
From
CD€19.49

Pop - Released January 1, 2012 | Virgin Catalogue

From
HI-RES€19.49
CD€13.99

Trip Hop - Released January 1, 2012 | Virgin Catalogue

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
From
CD€23.49

Electronic - Released January 1, 2012 | Virgin Catalogue

"Best of the bunch is EXIT, a beauty of Cold War paranoia, broody synths and relatively concise songs." © TiVo
From
CD€27.99

Rock - Released January 1, 2012 | Virgin Catalogue

From
CD€23.49

Electronic - Released January 1, 2012 | Virgin Catalogue

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
"The liquid propulsion of the title track, rippling with aquatic effects and layered washes of synthetics, remains a classic of primitive ambience." © TiVo
From
CD€19.49

Dance - Released January 1, 2012 | Virgin Catalogue

"SECOND LIGHT reminds us they were bold studio innovators...and the album today sounds like a potent early expression of newly self-confident multicultural Britain." © TiVo
From
CD€19.49

Rock - Released January 1, 2012 | Virgin Catalogue

After creating a marvelous electronic debut, Glenn Gregory, Ian Marsh, and Martyn Ware decided to tamper with their winning formula a bit on Heaven 17's 1983 follow-up to Penthouse and Pavement. The result, which added piano, strings, and Earth, Wind, & Fire's horn section to the band's cool synthesizer pulse, was even better, and The Luxury Gap became one of the seminal albums of the British new wave. The best-known track remains "Let Me Go," a club hit that features Gregory's moody, dramatic lead above a percolating vocal and synth arrangement. But even better is the mechanized Motown of "Temptation," a deservedly huge British smash that got a shot of genuine soul from R&B singer Carol Kenyon. Nearly every song ends up a winner, though, as the album displays undreamed-of range. If beat-heavy techno anthems like "Crushed By the Wheels of Industry" were expected of Heaven 17, the melodic sophistication of "The Best Kept Secret" and "Lady Ice and Mr. Hex" -- both of which sound almost like show tunes -- wasn't. If there's a flaw, it's that while the band's leftist messages were more subtle and humorous than most of their time, they still seem rather naïve. But the music, which showed just how warm electro-pop's usually chilly grooves could be, is another matter entirely. [Note to collectors: there were differences in the original British and American pressings of the album. The 1997 reissue by Caroline follows the order of the British pressing, adding some extended remixes.] © Dan LeRoy /TiVo
From
CD€13.99

Pop - Released January 1, 2012 | Virgin Catalogue

From
CD€27.99

Reggae - Released January 1, 2012 | Virgin Catalogue

Part of Universal's Classic Album Selection series, this box set from renowned British pop-reggae outfit UB40 features five complete albums, including their 1980 debut, Signing Off, 1981's Present Arms, 1982's UB44, 1983's Labour of Love, and 1984's Geffery Morgan. © James Christopher Monger /TiVo
From
CD€13.99

Pop - Released January 1, 2012 | Virgin Catalogue

Julian Lennon did an about-face on Mr. Jordan, abandoning the polished mainstream pop of his first two albums for a darker, more rock-oriented sound. Lennon also changed his style of singing, choosing a deeper timbre that was eerily reminiscent of David Bowie -- which was appropriate, because the thick guitars that dominated the album were reminiscent of a kinder variation on Bowie's early-'70s hard rock. Although Lennon's new sound was promising, he only came up with one song, the minor hit "Now You're in Heaven," that could support his musical visions. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
From
CD€17.99

Rock - Released January 1, 2011 | Virgin Catalogue

Fans generally acknowledge the classic era of Tangerine Dream as coinciding with their Virgin years, which this collection rounds up nicely, opening with two landmarks, Phaedra and Rubycon, then including the group's broadening of scope and direction with the live Ricochet, Stratosfear, and Cyclone. This was directly after the early avant-garde years, consisting of experimental, arrhythmic work like Atem and Electronic Meditation, and before the Hollywood years, when Edgar Froese and co. began composing work for movie scores like Risky Business. Phaedra and Rubycon have not dated at all since their early-‘70s recording, despite Froese, Peter Baumann, and Chris Franke’s early adoption of Moog technology, along with Mellotron and other electric or electronic instruments. Along with the full LPs in their most recent remastering, the collection also rounds up single edits and 7” versions when they were originally available. © John Bush /TiVo
From
CD€17.99

World - Released January 1, 2011 | Virgin Catalogue

From
CD€13.99

Rock - Released January 1, 2011 | Virgin Catalogue

Like it or not, Public Image Limited's First Issue (aka Public Image) was an album that helped set the pace for what eventually became known as post-punk. In England a vacuum had opened up in the wake of the breakup of the Sex Pistols in January 1978, and many punk fans and rival groups were impatient to see what ex-Sex Pistols frontman John Lydon aka "Johnny Rotten" was going to roll out next. Disheartened owing to events in his legal proceedings against the Sex Pistols management company Glitterbest, and disgusted by the punk scene in general, Lydon was determined to create something that was neither punk nor even really rock as it was known in 1978. Working with ex-Clash guitarist Keith Levene, first-time bassist Jah Wobble, and Canadian drummer Jim Walker, Public Image Limited produced an album that represented the punk sound after it had shot itself in the head and became another entity entirely. Embracing elements of dub, progressive rock, noise, and atonality and driven by Lydon's lyrical egoism and predilection towards doom, death, and horror, First Issue was among a select few 1978 albums that had something lasting to say about the future of rock music. And not everyone in 1978 wanted to hear it; contemporary critical notices for First Issue were almost uniformly negative in the extreme. Not all of the material on First Issue was necessarily forward-looking: "Attack" and "Low Life" could almost pass muster as latter-day Sex Pistols songs if it weren't for their substandard production values. These two numbers were recorded late in the project, and on the cheap, as the fledgling Public Image Limited had already been kicked out of practically every reputable studio in London. And there was a bracing song about Lydon's pet peeve, "Religion," presented in both spoken and sung incarnations. It is about as vicious and personal an anti-Catholic diatribe as exists on record, and in its day was considered a high holy turnoff by many listeners. But from there it gets better -- Public Image Limited's debut single, "Public Image," was also included on First Issue, and Keith Levene's guitar part, with its tasty suspensions and held-over-the-bar syncopation, was an important departure from standard punk guitar language absorbed so quickly by others (the Pretenders, U2, the Smiths) that listeners and musicians alike forgot the source of the sound. First Issue's opener, "Theme," was a force to be reckoned with, a grindingly slow dirge with wild, almost Hendrix-like figurations on the guitar and Wobble's floor-splitting foundation. This was punk with the power of Led Zeppelin, but none of the pretension. Lydon's anguished mantra in "Theme," "...and I just wanna die," was the exact reflection of what his generation was thinking about in the wake of the collapse of classic punk. "Annalisa" is the hardest-kicking rocker on the album, with nosebleed-strength guitar from Levene; it is so good that Nirvana in all practical purposes purloined the whole number, with minor alterations, as "Radio Friendly Unit Shifter" on In Utero. But even with all of the calculated controversy seemingly built into the various cuts on First Issue, none attracted quite so much attention as "Fodderstompf." Faced with a serious shortage of material to fill out the album and with its release date looming, Public Image Limited decided to conclude the project with a track 12:55 in length, consisting of no more than a disco beat, chattering synthesizers, a bassline, and Jah Wobble singing, shouting, and screaming the phrase "we only wanted to be loved" in a joke voice. Rock critics savaged the song as a deliberate attempt to rip off the public, but it became hugely popular at the Studio 54 disco in New York; the drag queens and hipsters sang and screamed right along with Wobble out loud on the dancefloor -- nothing like that had ever happened at Studio 54. As it is perhaps the earliest extended dance mix that has little to do with disco or dub, it is apparent that "Fodderstompf" is an obvious precursor to the acid house and techno that began to evolve in the mid-'80s, although it is seldom accredited that distinction. After it was released in December 8, 1978, First Issue peaked at number 22 on the British album charts, and import copies were snapped up in America practically as soon as they were loaded off the boat. But Warner Bros., the American label to which Public Image Limited were signed, was unhappy with the album, particularly in that the label felt the bass was mixed too loudly -- no one had ever recorded the bass so hot on a regular LP before. Public Image Limited protested, but Warner Bros. stood fast and the band ultimately relented; in the early weeks of January 1979 the whole of First Issue was re-recorded for the American market. But the only portion of this project ever to surface appeared on the backside of the U.K. 12" single of "Death Disco" in July 1979, a mix of "Fodderstompf" minus the vocals, retitled "Megga Mix." Warner Bros. never released the remade album, and the remainder of it has since disappeared. By early 1980 Trouser Press was joking that the American issue of First Issue was the "longest rush release in recorded music history," but clearly long before First Issue was a "dead" issue with Warner Bros. Right after the remake session concluded, drummer Jim Walker surprised Public Image Limited by departing with no notice to join the interesting but now forgotten English group the Pack. In came ex-101'ers drummer Richard Dudanski, and by their next album, Metal Box, Public Image Limited had already worked out an entirely different sound and approach. © Uncle Dave Lewis /TiVo
From
CD€13.99

Rock - Released January 1, 2011 | Virgin Catalogue

The Greatest Hits, So Far mines the singles PiL released through 1990. Ten years after its release, it was doubtful that a second volume would surface (the '90s saw one lone studio release, not to mention a John Lydon "solo" record), so thankfully Lydon didn't embarrass himself by titling it "The Greatest Hits, Volume One." That said, not many outfits under the guise of one name can boast a collection of singles so diverse and ranging in quality. And really, the title should be "The Singles, So Far." By attempting to hit upon all the studio releases, bright moments like "Bad Baby," "Banging the Door," and "The Order of Death" get left behind. The distance between 1979's "Death Disco" and 1990's "Don't Ask Me" would be impossible to traverse with the trustiest of vehicles. The back cover of the disc depicts Stonehenge and an earthbound spacecraft, with a howling dog in the middle. That's accurate. With peers mutating from the Pop Group ("Careering") to Information Society ("Warrior"), PiL couldn't possibly expect to concoct a compilation that would appeal to all ears. In that regard, GHSF is more of a Denny's sampler than a thematic banquet spread. (To clarify: "Rules and Regulations" is a cheese stick, not tasty bean pâté.) Whether or not this is a proper first place to go for PiL is up for debate, as it takes a very eclectic head to thrill to both their early discordance and later chart-targeted tunefulness. It's not going to provide a solid idea of where they stood at any point in their existence, but it's just enough to pique further investigation. © Andy Kellman /TiVo

Pop - Released January 1, 2011 | Virgin Catalogue

Download not available
There is no easy and clean way to anthologize Scritti Politti. Within a couple years of surfacing, Green Gartside and his shifting array of associates switched from scrawny and inscrutable post-punk to pristine and R&B-laced sophisti-pop. Scritti vanished for a decade, reappeared in the late ‘90s with a tentative misfire, and then, after a seven-year absence, came back again with an understated, vaguely singer/songwriter-y gem. Absolute focuses on the Virgin albums -- 1985’s Cupid & Psyche (a masterpiece), 1988’s Provision, and 1999’s Anomie & Bonhomie -- and frontloads the material from them, which takes up over two-thirds of the disc. After that, it gets a bit random, with post-punk era highlight “Skank Bloc Bologna,” three highlights from 1982’s Songs to Remember, the 1991 non-album single “She’s a Woman” (a Beatles cover, featuring Shabba Ranks), and two new burbling electro-pop numbers. It’s neither a straightforward singles comp nor a thorough collection of highlights, but it’s somewhere in between and makes for a representative introduction. © Andy Kellman /TiVo
From
CD€13.99

Rock - Released January 1, 2011 | Virgin Catalogue

As opposed to the axis of throbbing bass and guitar slashings of Metal Box, The Flowers of Romance is centralized on razor-sharp drums and typically haranguing vocals. No dubwise grooves here -- bassist Jah Wobble was kicked out prior to the recording for ripping off PiL backing tracks for his solo material. And growing more disenchanted with the guitar, Keith Levene's infatuation with synthesizers was reaching a boiling point. His scythe-like guitar is truly brought out for only one song. Stark and minimal are taken to daring lengths, so it's no surprise that Virgin initially balked at issuing the heavily percussive record. "Four Enclosed Walls" opens with something of a mechanical death rattle and John Lydon's quavering warble, framed by backwards piano and Martin Atkins' spartan, dry-as-a-bone drumming. His rapier-like drums seem to serve a similar purpose to Levene's guitar on Metal Box. An unsteady drum pattern and fragile, wind chime-like guitar from Levene shape "Track 8," a bleak look at sexual relationships. Lydon adds color with pleasant imagery of Butterball turkeys and elephant graves. "Under the House" and "Francis Massacre" are the most violent tracks due to Atkins' machine gun firing and Levene's chilling atmosperics. Lydon lashes out at zealous fans on the only bottom-heavy tune, "Banging the Door": "The walls are so thin/The neighbors listen in/Keep the noise down." Perhaps the band's most challenging work (in the avant garde sense), it's just as "love it or hate it" as Metal Box; it'll either go down a treat or like a five-pound block of liverwurst. [The UK version adds three bonus tracks: an instrumental version of "The Flowers of Romance," "Another," (essentially "Graveyard" with vocals) and "Home Is Where the Heart Is." The latter two can be found on Plastic Box.] © Andy Kellman /TiVo
From
CD€13.99

Rock - Released January 1, 2011 | Virgin Catalogue

PiL's fourth album took three years to reach fruition for a number of reasons. The initial recordings included the nucleus of John Lydon and Keith Levene; Martin Atkins was asked to stay, bringing bassist Pete Jones to help out. After those sessions and a few shows, both Levene and Jones exited. Lydon recruited a lounge act spotted at a New Jersey hotel and took them on tour. Upon re-entering the studio, Lydon and Atkins wiped the departed members off the tapes from the prior recordings, employing faceless session hacks to fill in. This resulted in one of Lydon's worst outings, the most tentative and least powerful of PiL's recordings. A thin, shrill, wheezing horn section replaces much of Levene's guitar, and the basslines sound dreadful. "This Is Not a Love Song," though accessible enough for the charts, is best left in the year of its origin. Surprisingly for Lydon, the colorful tune has a simple beat and is easy to dance to, but lacks guts. "The Pardon," like a couple other songs on the record, sounds like a bad Flowers of Romance outtake with "modern" production. With Atkins' relentless clippity-cloppity drums and Lydon's bite-free stream-of-consciousness rambling, it eventually fades into the background as a nagging drone. Closer "The Order of Death" saves the record from being a total wreck, a moody instrumental with a repetitive vocal hook and a creepy synth line. Levene, who at that point owned half of the Public Image Limited name, released the version of This Is What You Want... with him and Jones present as the pseudo-bootleg Commercial Zone, on the short-lived PiL Records. It actually preceded the official version's release by months, and a second issue followed later in the year with a slightly different track listing. © Andy Kellman /TiVo