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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
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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
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Pop - Released January 1, 2012 | Virgin Catalogue

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Trip Hop - Released January 1, 2012 | Virgin Catalogue

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Rock - Released January 1, 2012 | Virgin Catalogue

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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
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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
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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
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Pop - Released January 1, 2012 | Virgin Catalogue

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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
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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
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World - Released January 1, 2011 | Virgin Catalogue

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Rock - Released January 1, 2011 | Virgin Catalogue

Four CDs round up the complete and utter Lindisfarne tale, from their arrival on the mainstream scene with 1970's still stunning Nicely Out of Tune through the following year's flirtation with stardom via Fog on the Tyne, and on through the sadly diminishing returns that were Dingly Dell and Roll on Ruby. Yes, the story would continue later in the '70s, and on and off since then, too. But the first incarnation of the band was the one that mattered the most, and those first two albums remain quintessential early-'70s folk-rock, with neither folk nor rock having much to do with any of it. Lindisfarne are, perhaps rightfully, best judged by their two biggest hits, the sad mystery of "Lady Eleanor" and the singalong joy of "Meet Me on the Corner." Add "We Can Swing Together," "No Time to Lose" (amazingly, a mere B-side at the time) and "Fog on the Tyne," and Lindisfarne could have been the new Faces if only Alan Hull had wanted to be the next Rod Stewart. But pop fame and fortune sat awkwardly on the group's shoulders, which is why Dingly Dell was the original lineup's final shout. The band split, some to form Jack the Lad; the rest to continue as a revamped soft rock Lindisfarne whose presence here (the final disc) really does spoil the proceedings somewhat. Better to end with the concert disc that takes 1973's Lindisfarne Live album, expands it to take in the entire evening's entertainment, and reveals Lindisfarne to have been one of the most entertaining live acts of their era. That, and a near-full album's worth of bonus material drawn from period singles, compilations, and mispressings ensure this is a must-have box set, even for fans who think they already own all the Lindisfarne they could ever need. © Dave Thompson /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 2011 | Virgin Catalogue

For his first solo album, John Lydon decided to tentatively explore electronica without leaving behind the guitar growl that made the Sex Pistols' 1996 reunion a success. The guitars are woven into the electronic dance beats throughout Psycho's Path, which occasionally results in some exciting juxtapositions. However, it too often sounds like Lydon doesn't know how to follow through on his ideas; at worst, he sounds as if he's grasping for the ideas himself. Even with its faults, Psycho's Path sounds more alive and ambitious than the last handful of Public Image Limited albums, and certainly more vital than the Sex Pistols reunion, so it is a respectable comeback of sorts. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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World - Released January 1, 2011 | Virgin Catalogue

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Rock - Released January 1, 2011 | Virgin Catalogue

3 stars out of 5 -- "It's ironic that music made around 30 years ago, purporting to represent the future with sonic technology, is now one of the most popular strains of nostalgia worship." © TiVo
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R&B - Released January 1, 2011 | Virgin Catalogue

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Rock - Released January 1, 2011 | Virgin Catalogue

Combining the sun-soaked harmonies of the Beach Boys, the West Coast rock of Neil Young, and the jangly Brit-pop of Teenage Fanclub, Dublin five-piece the Thrills were briefly Ireland's biggest guitar band in the mid-noughties, but adhering to the law of diminishing returns, they now reside in the same largely-forgotten '60s revivalist scrapheap as the Zutons, the Coral, and the Magic Numbers. Hoping to jog people's memories is this official EMI compilation, 2002-2007, which, considering it arrives four years after their self-imposed hiatus, is likely to be their last. Unsurprisingly, their 2003 Mercury Music Prize-nominated debut album, So Much for the City, dominates the track list with six contributions, including the Monkees-referencing Top 20 single "Big Sur," the infectious surf-pop of "One Horse Town," and the shuffling alt-country of "Hollywood Kids." While Conor Deasy's breathless and often croaky vocal tones are an acquired taste, it's not difficult to see why the band's tales of escapism and Tony Hoffer's happy-go-lucky production struck such a chord with rainswept U.K. audiences. The funky "Whatever Happened to Corey Haim?", the piano-laden melancholy of "Not for All the Love in the World," and the angular Strokes-esque jig of "The Irish Keep Gate-Crashing" suggest 2004's Let's Bottle Bohemia was unfairly maligned, but unfortunately its other inclusion, "Faded Beauty Queens" (featuring R.E.M.'s Peter Buck on mandolin) was more indicative of its formulaic "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" sound. Despite the setback, the band's sunny disposition was still very much apparent on 2007's third effort, Teenager, and while it might have been all but ignored by hardcore fans, it's a much bolder record than its two predecessors, as evident on the likes of the nu-folk-tinged "Restaurant," the indie-disco anthem "The Midnight Choir," and the Coldplay-esque lead single "Nothing Changes Around Here." With bands like Fleet Foxes now providing a more authentic Americana experience, it's debatable whether 2002-2007 will inspire much call for a full-scale reunion, but it's still a well-crafted and affectionate homage to sunnier shores which is well worth checking out by those who abandoned ship second time round. © Jon O'Brien /TiVo
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World - Released January 1, 2011 | Virgin Catalogue

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Reggae - Released January 1, 2010 | Virgin Catalogue

So ubiquitous was UB40's grip on the pop-reggae market that it may have been difficult for younger fans to comprehend just how their arrival shook up the British musical scene. They appeared just as 2 Tone had peaked and was beginning its slide towards oblivion. Not that it mattered, as few would try to shoehorn the band into that suit. However, the group was no more comfortable within the U.K. reggae axis of Steel Pulse, Aswad, and Matumbi. Their rhythms may have been reggae-based, their music Jamaican-inspired, but UB40 had such an original take on the genre that all comparisons were moot. Even their attack on the singles chart was unusual, as they smacked three double-A-sided singles into the Top Ten in swift succession. By rights, the second 45 should have acted as a taster for their album (it didn't, coming several months too soon), while the third should have been a spinoff (it wasn't, boasting two new songs entirely). Regardless, both sides of their debut single -- the roots-rocking indictment of politicians' refusal to relieve famine on "Food for Thought" and the dreamy tribute to Martin Luther "King" -- were included, as well as their phenomenal cover of Randy Newman's "I Think It's Going to Rain Today" off their second single. The new material was equally strong. The moody roots-fired "Tyler," which kicks off the set, is a potent condemnation of the U.S. judicial system, while its stellar dub, "25%," appears later in the set. The smoky Far Eastern-flavored "Burden" explores the dual tugs of national pride and shame over Britain's oppressive past (and present). If that was a thoughtful number, "Little by Little" was a blatant call for class warfare. Of course, Ali Campbell never raised his voice -- he didn't need to. His words were his sword, and the creamier and sweeter his delivery, the deeper they cut. Their music was just as revolutionary, their sound unlike anything else on either island, from deep dubs shot through with jazzy sax to the bright and breezy instrumental "12 Bar," with its splendid loose groove transmuted later in the set to the jazzier and smokier "Adella." Meanwhile, "Food" slams into the dance clubs, and "King" floats to the heavens. It's hard to believe this is the same UB40 that later topped the U.K. charts with the likes of "Red Red Wine" and "I've Got You Babe." Their fire was dampened quickly, but on Signing Off it blazed high, still accessible to the pop market, but so edgy that even those who are sure there's nothing about the group to admire will change their tune instantly. © Jo-Ann Greene /TiVo