Every Friday our NoiseTrade New Music Tip Sheet highlights three recommended picks from that week’s batch of new releases that we think are worth checking out at your local record shop or via your preferred online music distributor of choice.
R.E.M. (as Bingo Hand Job)
Live at the Borderline 1991
Each year, Record Store Day offers an incredible amount of vinyl releases and sprinkled among the plethora of reissues and albums making their wax debut are some truly wonderful never-before-released gems that audiences have been wanting for years. This year, R.E.M. is leading the charge on the “FINALLY!” front with their release of Live at The Borderline 1991, a surprise acoustic concert from the Out of Time era where they performed under the pseudonym Bingo Hand Job. Coming off of the exhausting world tour for Green, the band decided not to officially tour for Out of Time, though they still traveled to London for some promotional appearances on UK radio and television. Just for fun, the band also played a couple loose acoustic shows over two nights at The Borderline (a very small, 200-seater club), where they were joined by auxiliary instrumentalist Peter Holsapple and special guests Billy Bragg and Robyn Hitchcock. Featuring new songs, catalog tracks, and a couple really cool covers (“Moon River,” “Jackson/Dallas,” and “Love Is All Around”), it’s really incredible to finally have the show’s recording making its official debut after years of living only on the bootleg circuit.
Live! Woodstock ’94
One of the most enduring images of Woodstock ’94 is the incredible amount of rain and mud that made appearances during most of the performances. Memorable images of muddied Nine Inch Nails and Primus were in a lot of Woodstock ‘94’s media coverage, but perhaps the most iconic mud-caked band associated with the event is Green Day, who started an all-out mudfight with the audience during their song “Paper Lanterns” and whose bassist Mike Dirnt was mistaken for a fan and roughly tackled by security onstage, knocking out one of his teeth and requiring emergency surgery. Their performance (both auditory and aesthetic) at Woodstock ‘94 certainly helped the continual juggernaut of their album Dookie that had been released about six months prior and this live recording of their blistering nine-song set from the iconic event shows that it was as much the music as the mud that made it so memorable. Previously, the single track of “When I Come Around” appearing on the Woodstock 94 compilation album was the only official release from their set, so it’s an awesome thing to finally have their full show released in double honor of 50 years of the original Woodstock and 25 years of Woodstock ’94.
The Basketball Diaries (Soundtrack)
While this year’s Record Store Day batch of soundtracks hosts some really nice entries from the 1990s (The Crow, Malcolm X, New Jack City, I Know What You Did Last Summer, Office Space, Coneheads), the real standout is the first-ever vinyl release of the soundtrack to the 1995 film The Basketball Diaries about the life of punk poet and musician Jim Carroll. While the soundtracks to Singles and Reality Bites often get the lion’s share of attention when “Greatest Alt-Rock Soundtracks of the ‘90s” gets discussed, I’ve always maintained that The Basketball Diaries should be right up at the top as well. Featuring tracks from Pearl Jam, PJ Harvey, Soundgarden, The Posies, Green Apple Quick Step, and Flea of Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Basketball Diaries soundtrack not only serves to provide the perfect musical grit to go along with Carroll’s story, but it’s also a fantastic snapshot into the pre-commercialized sonic spaces of early-to-mid ‘90s alternative music. Along with the heavy hitters, the soundtrack also provides a few selections from Graeme Revell’s moody score and Carroll’s chaotic “People Who Died” track from the early ‘80s that got some revived radio airplay around the movie’s release. Appropriately enough, the RSD vinyl will be pressed on “basketball orange” wax as well.