New Tunage – Love That Swell Season!!

New CD Releases, Oct. 27: R.E.M., Tegan & Sara, The Swell Season, Brian McKnight, Pink Martini and more.
R.E.M. “Live at the Olympia” (Warner Bros.)
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame act follows last year’s acclaimed studio set “Accelerate” with a live offering. “Live at Olympia” is the second official concert release of the Athens, GA, band’s nearly 30-year career–the first was 2007’s “R.E.M. Live.” Oddly, both albums were recorded in Dublin, Ireland.
Culled from a five-night residency at the Irish theater in 2007, “Live at the Olympia” features 39 tracks and is available as both a double-CD and as a CD/DVD combo (complete with concert and backstage footage). At that small-venue stand, R.E.M. was road-testing material for “Accelerate”–thus it’s no surprise that many of the “Accelerate” tracks make the cut on “Live at the Olympia.”
The set also includes two new songs not included on “Accelerate”–“On the Fly” and “Staring Down the Barrel of the Middle Distance.” The rest of the track listing is made up of songs from earlier R.E.M. albums, including “Murmur,” “Reckoning” and “Life’s Rich Pageant.”
In related R.E.M. news, a 60-minute documentary film of the band’s same run in Ireland–titled “This Is Not A Show: Live at the Olympia in Dublin”–is being screened in select towns across the US through Nov. 5. A complete list of screening dates can be found at R.E.M.’s website (
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Tegan and Sara “Sainthood” (Sire)
Canada’s twin-sister singer/songwriters are set to release their sixth studio album, which follows 2007’s “The Con.” “Sainthood” was produced by Howard Redekopp and Death Cab for Cutie’s Chris Walla, and its first single is the track “Hell.”
The sisters will support “Sainthood” with a 25-date North American tour that kicks off early next year and runs into early April. The group also has album-release shows set in Los Angeles (10/26) and New York City (10/30-31).
Tegan and Sara also plan to release a three-book set, titled “On, In, At,” in conjunction with “Sainthood.” The books chronicle different time periods from the band members’ lives: the 2008 US national tour, the 2009 Australian tour and a joint writing session in New Orleans for “Sainthood.”
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The Swell Season “Strict Joy” (Anti)
The Oscar-winning outfit, which claimed the Academy Award for Best Original Song for its track “Falling Slowly” in 2008, is back with its third album. The duo–Frames frontman Glen Hansard and Czech vocalist/pianist Marketa Irglova–was last heard on the gold-certified 2007 set “Once,” the soundtrack for the indie film of the same name that featured the pair acting opposite one another in the lead roles. That was also the soundtrack that produced “Falling Slowly.”
The Swell Season will support “Strict Joy” with a month-long headlining jaunt through North America. The 25-city trek kicks off with a Nov. 1 performance in Milwaukee, WI, and concludes with a Dec. 5 concert in Minneapolis, MN.
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Brian McKnight “Evolution of a Man” (Koch)
The R&B star, whose previous outing was the 2008 holiday offering “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” is back with “Evolution of a Man.” The disc, produced by McKnight, features collaborations with Jill Scott and Stevie Wonder. The first single from “Evolution of a Man” is the track “What I’ve Been Waiting For.”
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Pink Martini “Splendor in the Grass” (Heinz)
The Portland, OR-based lounge-music ensemble–a self-described “little orchestra”–returns with a follow-up to 2007’s “Hey Eugene!” The 12-member group, which includes vocalist China Forbes and is led by artistic director/pianist Thomas Lauderdale, also released a concert DVD, “Discover the World: Live in Concert,” earlier this year.
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More new releases:
The Blind Boys of Alabama, “Duets” (Time Life)
Gorgoroth, “Quantos Possunt Ad Satanitatem Trahunt” (Regain)
Euge Groove, “Sunday Morning” (Shanachie)
Sarah Lee Guthrie & Family, “Go Waggaloo” (Smithsonian)
Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society, “Infernal Machines” (New Amsterdam)
Stan Kenton, “Kenton Rarities” (DRG)
B.B. King, Albert King, Earl King, Freddie King, “The Four Kings of Blues Guitar” (Great American)
Chuck Prophet, “Let Freedom Ring” (Yep Roc)
R.A. The Rugged Man, “Legendary Classics, Vol. 1” (Green Street)
Kenny Rogers, “The Greatest Duets” (Time Life)
Stephen Stills, “Live at Shepherd’s Bush” (Rhino)
Tech N9ne, “k.o.d.” (Strange Music)
Various Artists, “Putumayo Presents: Jazz Around the World” (Putumayo)
Z-Ro, “Cocaine” (Asylum)