The Smiths deluxe box set available for pre-order from Rhino

An impressive limited edition box set of the albums and singles by The Smiths is currently available for pre-order from Rhino Entertainment. Packaged in an individually numbered, trunk-style box, the deluxe edition is limited
to 4,000 pieces worldwide. It is scheduled to be released on October 25, 2011.

It contains all eight The Smiths albums on both CD and vinyl,
accompanied by all 25 of the band’s singles on 7″ vinyl (including rare and
deleted artwork). The set also includes: 12″ art prints of all eight album
sleeves; a poster featuring the artwork for the albums and singles; expanded
liner notes by renowned author Lois Wilson; and The Complete Picture, a DVD of
the band’s music videos.

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Phil Spector Presents The Philles Album Collection includes mini-replica LP sleeves

The forthcoming box set Phil Spector Presents The Philles Album Collection will include six mini-replica LP sleeves for the first six original Philles albums released from 1962-1964. The CDs included in the set are:

  • The Crystals Twist Uptown (1962, with Uptown, There’s No Other Like My Baby, and more);
  • He’s a Rebel by The Crystals (1963, with He’s A Rebel, He’s Sure the Boy I Love, He Hit Me (It Felt Like A Kiss), and more); 
  • Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Day by Bob B. Soxx and the Blue Jeans (1963, with Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah, Why Do Lovers Break Each Others Heart? and more); 
  • The Crystals Sing The Greatest Hits, Volume 1 (1963, with Da Doo Ron Ron and more – plus 4 songs with the Ronettes’ vocals); 
  • Philles Records Presents Today’s Hits (1963, by the Crystals, Bob B. Soxx and the Blue Jeans, the Ronettes, Darlene Love, the Alley Cats); and
  • Presenting the Fabulous Ronettes featuring Veronica (1964, with Walking In The Rain, Do I Love You?, (The Best Part Of) Breakin’ Up, Be My Baby, Baby, I Love You, and more)
Also included is a brand-new CD of Spector’s never-before-compiled instrumental B-sides.
The set is scheduled to be released by Sony Legacy on October 18, 2011 and is currently available for pre-order on and at

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Young Man with the Big Beat: The Complete ’56 Elvis Presley Masters unpackaging video

Here is video that demonstrates the unpackaging of Young Man with the Big Beat: The Complete ’56 Elvis Presley Masters, the forthcoming 55th anniversary Elvis box set from Sony Legacy. The 5-CD set is scheduled to be released on September 27, 2011. It is currently available for pre-order on

Posted by: zeefritz

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Controversial Steve Reich WTC 9/11 album cover to be changed

reichs-wtc911_03.jpgAccording to an announcement by composer Steve Reich on the Nonesuch Records website today, the controversial cover for the forthcoming WTC 9/11 Kronos Quartet album (right) 
will be changed.

The album cover received immediate negative reactions from the public due to a highly altered photograph of the second jet heading into the World Trade Center during the September 11 terror attacks.
In fact, during the years I have been the editor of this album art blog, I have never received so many email messages from people outraged over an album cover. Two weeks ago, I predicted that the album cover would go down in history as one of the worst of all time. I can only imagine the kind of feedback that Nonesuch Records received.
While he did not apologize for the cover, Reich he stated that the cover had become a distraction.

As a composer I want people to listen to my music without something distracting them. The present cover of WTC 9/11 will, for many, act as a distraction from listening and so, with the gracious agreement of Nonesuch, the cover is being changed.

When the cover was being designed, I believed, as did all the staff at Nonesuch and the art director, that a piece of music with documentary material from an event would best be matched with a documentary photograph of that event. I felt that the photo suggested by our art director was very powerful, and Nonesuch backed me up. All of us felt that anyone seeing the cover would feel the same way.

In a previous statement, Nonesuch Records president Robert Hurwitz defended the album cover and compared it to a 1989 album that featured a Civil War Era photograph by Matthew Brady.


In 1989, Nonesuch released a record called The Wound-Dresser, with a photograph by Matthew Brady of one of the hospitals that is described in John Adams’ composition of that name, a piece that depicted another period of profound suffering during another terrible moment of our history, the Civil War. Should we not have used that image? Where do we draw the line?

I think the answer to Hurwitz’ question is not as difficult as he would like us to think. You simply draw the line at where an album cover is offensive to large numbers of people. Imagine the album cover that I created below being released only a decade after John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Like the WTC 9/11 cover, I used an image of the actual event an applied a gloomy sepia tint. There can be no doubt that the public would have been outraged by such an album cover just 10 years after the killing.

In 1973, Kennedy’s widow was still alive. The wound was still fresh. Even though the images of the event had appeared in magazines, newspapers, and on TV, it was clear that they were being used as information and not to sell a commercial product.
Certainly, a photograph taken during the Civil War would not be controversial. Everyone who was personally impacted has been dead for many decades. Even the Kennedy cover I created would not get much of a reaction these days. It has been almost 50 years since Kennedy was shot. Perhaps his daughter and other family members would be offended. However, the wound has healed for most Americans.
I am happy that Reich has decided to change the cover. I predicted that would be a likely outcome. Hopefully, the new cover will serve to honor the victims and their families.

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Watch the Throne package shot released

Today, Island Def Jam Music Group released a package shot of the deluxe edition of Watch the Throne, the forthcoming album by Jay-Z and Kanye West. The deluxe version will be available exclusively through Best Buy stores from August 12 to 22, 2011.

The DELUXE packaging for “WATCH THE THRONE” is high-end art created by acclaimed designer Riccardo Tisci of Givenchy. The softpack, when opened up, turns into a cross-like shape printed on gold mylar with Tisci’s patterns embossed throughout. The package also includes an 18-panel poster that features Tisci’s artwork as well as lyrics to the entire album. The CD is a special edition black colored disc which is not standard with normal packaging. In tune with his codes for Givenchy, Riccardo Tisci created an artwork that channels most of his aesthetics: symmetry, lightness, darkness, sharpness and 3D.

Source: PR Newswire


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U2 set to release five 20th anniversary editions of Achtung Baby

On November 1, 2011, U2 will release five physical editions of the anniversary edition of Achtung Baby in addition to digital download versions. The most impressive of the five will be a limited, numbered “Uber Deluxe Edition” that will include CDs, vinyl and DVDs.

A limited, numbered Uber Deluxe Edition is a magnetic puzzle tiled box which will contain: 6 CDs including the original Achtung Baby album, the follow-up album, Zooropa, B-sides, remixes and re-workings of previously unheard material recorded during the Achtung Baby sessions. 4 DVDs including ‘From The Sky Down’, ‘Zoo TV:Live From Sydney’, all the videos from Achtung Baby plus bonus material. There will also be the Achtung Baby double vinyl album plus 5 clear 7″ vinyl singles in their original sleeves, 16 art prints taken from the original album sleeve, an 84-page hardback book, a copy of Propaganda magazine, 4 badges, a sticker sheet, and a pair of Bono’s trademark ‘The Fly’ sunglasses.


Currently, the 20th anniversary edition box sets are only available for pre-order in the U.K. The 2 CD deluxe edition is available on However, I am certain a few die-hard U2 fans in the U.S. will want those Bono sunglasses.


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Animated cover art for Seun Anikulapo Kuti and Egypt 80 album

Earlier today, music industry publicity and management agency Big Hassle Media tweeted an animated album cover for From Africa With Fury: Rise by Seun Anikulapo Kuti and Egypt 80. The album was produced by Brian Eno, John Reynolds, and Kuti and was released in the U.S. yesterday.

The cover was created by Lemi Ghariokwu, the Nigerian artist and illustrator who is known for designing the original cover images for the albums by Seun’s father, afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti. Lemi has designed over 2,000 album covers for artists such as Bob Marley, E. T. Mensah and Gilles Peterson.

Recently, we have seen similar animated album covers from Coldplay and Bootsie Collins. It is an interesting trend that could lead to more sophisticated animated album cover art.

Posted by: zeefritz


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Dead Can Dance Box Set II available next week

Vinyl 180 is set to release a second Dead Can Dance limited edition box set containing Within The Realm Of A Dying Sun, The Serpent’s Egg, a new release of Aion and the band’s second John Peel Session recorded at the BBC’s Maida Vale studios in June 1984.

The albums include collectible sleeves and are pressed on high quality 180gsm vinyl. As with the first Dead Can Dance box set, the collection comes in a textured box with matt foil-blocked graphics.


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Pink Floyd releasing complete studio album box set

There are several new Pink Floyd CD packages being released in 2011. One of the most impressive is the Discovery Studio Album Box Set. It includes all 14 of the band’s original studio albums, digitally remastered by James Guthrie (co-producer of The Wall), and reissued with newly crafted packaging and booklets created by long-time artwork collaborator Storm Thorgerson. The set will be available on September 27, 2011 and is currently available for preorder on Click the image below for a larger view.

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The Discovery Edition albums are designed as an introduction to the artist, with all booklets including full album lyrics. Each album will also be sold separately.


  • Box set including all 14 Discovery Edition studio albums on CD (16 CDs total)
  • Digitally Remastered by James Guthrie
  • Newly designed Digipaks by Storm Thorgerson
  • 60-page booklet designed by Storm Thorgerson

There is also a teaser for vinyl editions on the official Pink Floyd website. No release date has been given other than “Coming Soon!”

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Kaiser Chiefs ask fans to create their own albums and cover art

English indie rock band Kaiser Chiefs have launched a special website for their new album The Future is Medieval. The website allows those purchasing the album to select the tracks and create custom artwork.

Here’s an excerpt from the official FAQ:

How do I create my own album?

There are 20 tracks to choose from. Each track is represented by an object. Click on an object to preview the track. Then connect the cables to your favourite tracks to add them to your playlist.

When you have selected 10 tracks you can move on to create your own custom album artwork. Just drag the objects onto the artwork area. Change the size, rotate and mess about with them until you have a design you like.

kaiser-create02.jpgTechnically, those purchasing the album are not creating their own artwork.They are using custom clip art created for the album to make their own album cover. However, there seems to be a limitless number of design combinations. The final product can be viewed and purchased by others who visit the gallery on the website.

The website gives a tally of the number of times your creation has been purchased. The albums can also be shared on Facebook and Twitter.

In addition, fans are encourage to sell their album online for a share in the profits! When a copy of an album is sold, £1 is automatically credited to the PayPal account that was used to create and purchase the original. Brilliant!

This is a very interesting marketing concept. I could see Lady GaGa fans going crazy over something like this. She could create a “Haus of GaGa” album creation factory and let her fans paste her head on all kinds of transporation devices.

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