Archive for the ‘Region crazy’ Category

Ultravox! – ‘Frozen Ones’ West German 7″ single (Island, 11 815 AT), 1977

Monday, June 24th, 2013

One to sate the sweet tooth of any fan of all things 7″ and collectable in the world of Ultravox, this was a West German only release that paired a fairly raucous LP cut, ‘Frozen Ones’, along with an exclusive remix of one of Ultravox’s finest moments on the flip side, in the shape of ‘Man Who Dies Everyday’ – and all finished off nicely in a unique picture sleeve design – manna from heaven for scratching that collector’s itch – if you can find a copy, as it’s not too easy to come by.

Ultravox! 'Frozen Ones' West German 7 inch single front sleeve design

^ Ultravox! 'Frozen Ones' West German 7 inch single front sleeve design

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Japan – ‘Nightporter’ Japanese 12″ ‘Pic Label’ series single (Virgin, VIP-4181), 1982

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

In a previous post, I looked at the UK single release of ‘Nightporter’, which saw a 7″, 12″ and unique DJ edit 7″ editions. Another notable issue is the Japanese 12″ 6-song ‘Pic Label’ series EP (Virgin, VIP-4181). Retaining the same design for the front as the UK 12″ release, the rear featured a band pic along with the titles for the featured songs – which gathered together a number of edits and non-LP tracks that had surfaced originally on UK singles. Of note, despite being a 12″ single, it is the 5’02” remix that is featured, as per the regular UK 7″ single, as opposed to the longer 12″ remix you might have expected to find. Similarly, despite being titled as ‘Long Version’, ‘Ghosts’ as featured on this release is in fact the same 7″ edit as per the UK single release. Finishing off side one, ‘The Art of Parties’ is the live ‘version’ that first appeared on the flip side of the ‘Ghosts’ 7″. Side two features a couple of tracks from the ‘Gentlemen Take Polaroids’ 7″ single along with ‘Life Without Buildings’, the superb B side of the original ‘Art of Parties’ single release.

Side One:

  1. Nightporter (Remix) (5:02)
  2. Ghosts (Single Edit – listed as ‘Long Version’) (3:52)
  3. The Art Of Parties (Version) (5:33)

Side Two:

  1. The Experience Of Swimming (4:02)
  2. Life Without Buildings (6:39)
  3. The Width Of A Room (3:14)

One of the most striking features is of course the large sized picture labels, which make this release all the more appealing, even if by this time the band themselves probably would have felt they’d moved on from such obviously pop-star trappings.

Japan - 'Nightporter' Japanese pic label 12 inch single

^ Japan - 'Nightporter' Japanese pic label 12 inch single

Japan - 'Nightporter' Japanese pic label 12 inch single - rear sleeve design

^ Japan - 'Nightporter' Japanese pic label 12 inch single - rear sleeve design

Japan - 'Nightporter' Japanese pic label 12 inch single - insert

^ Japan - 'Nightporter' Japanese pic label 12 inch single - insert

Japan - 'Nightporter' Japanese pic label 12 inch single - side A label design

^ Japan - 'Nightporter' Japanese pic label 12 inch single - side A label design

Japan - 'Nightporter' Japanese pic label 12 inch single - side B label design

^ Japan - 'Nightporter' Japanese pic label 12 inch single - side B label design

Gang of Four – ‘Another Day/Another Dollar’ US Special Edition 12″ EP (Warner Brothers, MINI 3646, 1982)

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

‘Another Day/Another Dollar’ is a 12″ vinyl EP by Gang of Four, released in January 1982 in the US. It gathers together stray tracks previously unreleased in the US from the two UK singles that were issued immediately before and after 1981’s ‘Solid Gold’ LP – plus some exclusive material in the form of a couple of live recordings, again of ‘Solid Gold’ tracks, only available on this EP.

Another Day/Another Dollar front cover design

^ Another Day/Another Dollar front cover design

For me, this period of the Gang of Four was absolutely spot on – whether it be the funk stylings bringing that extra edge to proceedings while the caustic intensity of Andy Gill’s guitar interrupts as much as it drives, or the multi-vocal barrage – in particular the ‘To Hell With Poverty’/’Capital (It Fail’s us now)’ single was something special. Sadly, it marked the last outing for Dave Allen on bass from this original line-up, who would depart during a US tour.

Another Day/Another Dollar rear cover design

^ Another Day/Another Dollar rear cover design

Having long been out of print, the EP saw a second life in the mid-’90s with re-issues that combined ‘Solid Gold’ and ‘Another Day/Another Dollar’ onto single CDs, first with a US release on the ‘Infinite Zero’ label, then on EMI in the UK.

Another Day/Another Dollar side one label design

^ Another Day/Another Dollar side one label design

Side One:

  1. To Hell With Poverty (Extended Version)
  2. Capital (It Fails Us Now)
  3. History’s Bunk! 2:57

Side Two:

  1. Cheeseburger (Recorded live at the Hammersmith Palais, London, March 30 1981)
  2. What We All Want (Recorded live at the Hammersmith Palais, London, March 30 1981)
Another Day/Another Dollar side two label design

^ Another Day/Another Dollar side two label design

Specimen – ‘Batastrophe’ US Mini-Album (Sire, 1-25054, 1983)

Friday, March 30th, 2012

Ahhh, the mini-album. Here in the UK these tended to be fairly few and far between, more of a custom delicacy. An act would normally have precise intent to indulge in such a format – something more than an EP (which were the more popular format), but not the full-on assault of an album. Think of something such as the wonderful ‘Chimera’ by Bill Nelson, for example. But overseas… well. These territorial releases would be (more often than not) a chance to glue together several earlier single releases, 12″ remixes or the like into a more substantial offering. The most common markets to proffer these goodies would be Japan, the US and Canada. And I’ve certainly featured a few examples in the past, such as these Japanese examples from Flying Lizards and  John Foxx and an Australian Ultravox! item.

Best of all would be the releases that brought something new to the party. Not simply content with just cobbling a few old singles together, these would include a couple of otherwise unavailable tracks, or new versions/mixes. ‘Batastrophe’ by the Specimen is just such an example. Although the band had a fair repertoire to draw on, while they lived the first time around, they released very few records – not even so much as an album. ‘Batastrophe’ is as close as it would come in their first life.

Specimen 'Batastrophe' US Mini-Album front cover design

^ Specimen 'Batastrophe' US Mini-Album front cover design

Featuring the four tracks from the band’s first couple of UK released singles (‘Returning From A Journey’/’Kiss Kiss Bang Bang’ and ‘The Beauty Of Poisin’/’Tell Tail’), ‘Batastrophe’ came with the added lure of two otherwise unavailable tracks in the form of the anthemic, jaunty ‘Syria’ and ‘Lovers’ and packaged in a unique Jon Klein kover. ‘Lovers’ was originally destined to be the B side of ‘Beauty of Poisin’, according to Jon Klein, but the record company (London) felt ‘Lovers’ could be a potential future single and so it was held back and the band were off to another studio to record what would be the eventual B side, ‘Tell Tail’, sans Jonathan Trevisick by then.

Specimen 'Batastrophe' US Mini-Album back cover design

^ Specimen 'Batastrophe' US Mini-Album back cover design

The tracks have since surfaced on a couple of CD re-issues in the late 90s, ‘Azoic’ and ‘Wet Warm Clingfilm Red Velvet Crush’, and since then Specimen have regrouped in a couple of formations. As of 2012 however, Specimen are working on a new album, ‘Wake The Dead’ and are making use of the PledgeMusic funding model to finance its recording and distribution. You can read more about that here: http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/specimen. Having heard a few of the tracks live already it should be a truly vile experience of the highest order and now is the time to fund it!

Specimen 'Batastrophe' label design side 1

^ Specimen 'Batastrophe' label design side 1

Specimen – ‘Batastrophe’ US Mini-Album (Sire, 1-25054) 1983

Side One:

  1. The Beauty Of Poisin
  2. Syria
  3. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

Side Two:

  1. Returning From A Journey
  2. Tell Tail
  3. Lovers
Specimen 'Batastrophe' label design side 2

^ Specimen 'Batastrophe' label design side 2

Ultravox ‘New Europeans’ Japanese LP (Chrysalsis/Toshiba EMI Ltd, WWS-81465)

Saturday, April 24th, 2010

Insert (front) and label

^ Insert (front) and label

The Japanese record industry, much to the delights of collectors such as I, always seems to have acted with impunity when it comes to its releases, never shying away from taking a grab-bag approach to compile releases which probably have the artists themselves holding their faces in horror. Yes, we are talking about these albums and mini-albums that have no equivalent releases elsewhere and the early ’80s in particular was  a great period for this. This gem is just such an example, being a full length album that collated a number of Ultravox (mark II) tracks from single releases of 1980 and 1981 which had hitherto mostly not seen an album format release.

Front cover design

^ Front cover design

Although there is nothing here that you can’t get hold of any number of other releases now, wrapped in a suitably stylish sleeve design (an adaptation of the the design used for the single release of ‘The Voice’ and which would subsequently be adapted again for the ‘Rage In Eden’ re-issue when problems with its original sleeve prompted a redesign) this was if nothing else a very stylish release which never saw the light of day in this format in any other region.

Tracklist:

Side One:

  1. The Voice (7″ Single Version)
  2. I Never Wanted To Begin (7″ Single Version)
  3. Paths And Angles
  4. Passionate Reply
  5. All Stood Still (Live at Crystal Palace)

Side Two:

  1. Private Lives (Live at Crystal Palace)
  2. Herr X
  3. Alles Klar
  4. Waiting
  5. New Europeans

The tracks all come from the following UK released singles; ‘Sleepwalk’, ‘Vienna’, ‘All Stood Still’ (7″ only), ‘The Thin Wall'(7″ only), ‘The Voice’.

Rear cover design

^ Rear cover design

Other than gifting it the title, why is ‘New Europeans’ there then, you may ask, since it never saw light of day on any of the UK single releases? It was released as a 7″ single A side in Japan, in a unique picture sleeve design.

Although a good selection, it might leave completists a tad disappointed – neither of the B sides from the ‘Passing Strangers’ single (‘Face to Face’ and ‘King’s Lead Hat’), nor ‘Keep Talking’ from the ‘All Stood Still’ 12″ are included (perhaps on the reasons of sonic quality for the latter, its source being a rather rough rehearsal tape recorder after all). Still, lets not quibble – if it were to accommodate those tracks too you’d be talking about a double album, given the limitations of vinyl duration. (Though you could argue that it would allow for opening up to also include 12″ mixes (e.g. ‘All Stood Still’, ‘I Never Wanted to Begin’ and even the 7″ edit of ‘All Stood Still’ too.)

As you’d expect, the release also comes with a custom lyric insert and an obi strip on the outer cover, the insert with a great picture of the ‘Rage In Eden’ era group working that’30s/ ’40s noir chic look good and proper. As is customary with many Japanese releases of this era, the lyrics have suffered a bit from the lack of any original lyric sheet to copy from – so there are some rather, ahem, ‘unique’ interpretations to be found on some lines!

Label design and rear of insert

^ Label design and rear of insert