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    Vinyl Releases of the Week: November 2, 2011

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    OK Beach Boys fans, your holy grail awaits: after 45 years of anticipation, the Smile Sessions are being released, and they’re being released on vinyl!! But don’t let that overshadow the rest of this week’s releases. Sony Legacy ups the ante even more with a new Journey compilation and a Steve Perry reissue, U2 and Jethro Tull release deluxe anniversary box sets, and Bob Dylan leads a Hank Williams tribute. Plus, Ryan Adams comes out of retirement, Coldplay’s new album gets the vinyl treatment, and Sun Records gets the Chris Isaak treatment. Did someone say holidays?!

    Beach BoysThe Smile Sessions (Capitol)
    Calling this “much anticipated” is a vast understatement; “The most famous unfinished album in rock and roll history” is more like it. Indeed, the Beach Boys’ SMiLE project has become a legend of almost mythical proportions. These legendary 1966-’67 sessions, intended to make up the even greater follow-up to the Beach Boys’ 1966 masterpiece Pet Sounds, have been gathered here and packaged in a double gatefold featuring the original 1967 LP art. This is the first time a cohesive SMiLE featuring the group’s original recordings has been issued in official form.

    JourneyGreatest Hits Vol. 2 (Sony Legacy)
    This new collection features several hits that didn’t make it onto Journey’s 1988 Greatest Hits album, as well as album tracks and rarities from 1978 to 1996. 180-gram double LP pressing is packaged in a gatefold jacket and includes a digital download. The original Greatest Hits LP will also be reissued as a gatefold double 180-gram vinyl LP. In the words of Steve Perry, who oversaw the project: “I truly forgot how sonically exciting and just plain better these Journey tracks sound back where they originally lived…on vinyl. The stereo separation, the center imaging, and the sonic depth of the tracks themselves is more true to what we all loved about these original final mixes. All the instruments and voices, to me personally, sound so damn good that all I want to do is reach for the volume and turn it up!”

    Steve PerryStreet Talk (Sony Legacy)
    180-gram meticulously re-mastered reissue of the Journey frontman’s multi-platinum 1984 solo debut, overseen by Perry himself. Features the hits “Oh Sherrie” and “Foolish Heart.” Includes an exclusive download of the specially mastered-for-vinyl digital files.

    Jethro TullAqualung 40th Anniversary Collector’s Edition (EMI)
    This limited-edition collector’s edition celebrates the 40th anniversary of the British rock band’s definitive 1971 album, Aqualung, with two CDs, a DVD, Blu-Ray, and 180-gram vinyl LP. The LP features the album’s new stereo mix (previously unreleased) pressed on heavyweight vinyl and packaged in an original replica gatefold sleeve.

    U2Achtung Baby Vinyl Box Set (Universal)
    In celebration of this pivotal album’s 20th anniversary, Universal Music has issued a special anniversary edition of Achtung Baby in multiple physical formats. In addition to a very limited “Uber Deluxe Edition” featuring six CDs, four DVDs, a double vinyl LP, five clear 7-inch singles in their original sleeves, and a pair of Bono’s trademark sunglasses, there is also a 4xLP vinyl box set available, which features a double vinyl pressing of the album plus two translucent blue LPs of remixes.

    Chris IsaakBeyond the Sun (Vanguard Records)
    On Beyond the Sun, Chris Isaak acknowledges his great debt to the Sun Records sound and his great love for its artists. Recorded by Isaak at Memphis’ Sun Studios, he captures the original rock ‘n’ roll label’s spirit with his Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins, and Jerry Lee Lewis covers, as well as with a few new Isaak originals. Double vinyl LP pressing.

    ColdplayMylo Xyloto (Parlophone)
    Coldplay’s fifth studio album, the follow-up to 2008’s Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends, is a pop-oriented concept album set in an urban dystopia that follows the love story of Mylo and Xyloto. It features synth and co-writing assistance from co-producer Brian Eno—so you know it’s got incredible spacey atmospheres in addition to Chris Martin’s soaring vocals and melodic piano hooks. It also features a guest vocal from Rihanna. Pressed on 180-gram vinyl. (Also, check out the deluxe “pop-up” package featuring a 180-gram graffiti picture disc.)

    Various ArtistsThe Lost Notebooks of Hank Williams (Third Man Records)
    From Jack White’s Third Man Records comes this Hank Williams tribute. The project stemmed from unused lyrics that Williams left behind, which were then set to music by Bob Dylan (who spearheaded the project), Norah Jones, Jakob Dylan, Levon Helm, Merle Haggard, Patty Loveless, Lucinda Williams, Sheryl Crow, Alan Jackson, Vince Gill, Holly Williams, and White himself. 180-gram vinyl LP.

    Ryan AdamsAshes & Fire (Capitol)
    Last month, Ryan Adams returned from a two-year hiatus with his thirteenth studio album, and now it’s available on vinyl. Ashes & Fire features production by the legendary Glyn Johns (the Beatles, Bob Dylan, the Clash, the Who, the Rolling Stones) as well as guest vocals and piano from Norah Jones and keys from Benmont Tench of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

    The DecemberistsLong Live the King (Capitol)
    An EP of B-sides from the Decemberists’ early-2011 release, The King Is Dead. Opening with the acoustic tale “E. Watson” (indeed about the murderous late-19th century Florida plantation owner, Edgar Watson), the EP veers towards Americana and includes a cover of the Grateful Dead’s “Row Jimmy.”

    Indigo GirlsBeauty Queen Sister (Vanguard)
    The new album from the Grammy-winning folk-rock duo was recorded in Nashville with producer Peter Collins (who helmed their classic ’90s albums Rites of Passage and Swamp Ophelia) and features some of the city’s best talent.

    HelmetMeantime (Original Recordings Group)
    Reissue of Helmet’s 1992 breakthrough album, recorded with the legendary Steve Albini (who would record Nirvana’s In Utero shortly after). This influential alt-metal album features the band’s most well-known song “Unsung” and was certified gold in 1994. 140-gram vinyl pressing.

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