August 12, 2020

Various Artists – For the Throne – Columbia

By Kristi Kates | July 27, 2019

While most of the definitive music from HBO's Game of Thrones series has been of the instrumental/orchestral variety (most notably, the show’s main title theme by Ramin Djawadi), there are plenty of music celebrities among GoT’s massive fan base, so it’s a worthwhile experiment to see how modern pop/rock artists might interpret the show’s themes. The result: a success. The whole set is very evocative of the show and its settings, but the real standouts are “Turn on Me” by The National, the booming “Pray (High Valyrian)” by Muse’s frontman Matthew Bellamy, Mumford and Sons’ “Devil in Your Eye,” Ellie Goulding’s pensive “Hollow Crown,” and The Lumineers’ “Nightshade.” *** ½

Paul McCartney – Amoeba Gig – Capitol
While the album title sounds like some sort of psychedelic ’60s reference, it’s actually way more literal, referring to the Hollywood record store (Amoeba Music) at which McCartney played an unannounced free gig a few years ago. The vibe here is warm and enthused, as unsuspecting customers were suddenly treated to a couple dozen Beatles and McCartney hits, plus the likes of Ringo Starr and Woody Harrelson, who were hanging out with the regular folks. Good sound quality and, of course, all of those familiar tunes (“The Long and Winding Road,” “Blackbird,” “Get Back,” “Let It Be”) make this a fun and nostalgic listen. *** ½

David Bowie – Space Oddity 50th Anniversary – Parlophone
50 years after Bowie’s original “Space Oddity” single was released, the track remains relevant, even in our current times of reduced space travel, thanks in part to a dedicated fan base, new generations finding Bowie’s music, and a cover of the song by actual astronaut Chris Hadfield. This special boxed set, which boasts two edits of “Space Oddity” and lesser-known B-side “Wild Eyed Boy,” also includes standout photos of Bowie and a double-sided poster. *** ½

Gomez – Liquid Skin: 20th Anniversary – V Records
Also in the “let’s reissue one of our landmark albums” club are English band Gomez, which is re-releasing its sophomore set on its 20th anniversary. This two-CD set will include the original album’s tunes, plus a whopping 19 unreleased tracks, both alternate versions and a short stack of live versions recorded at the Fillmore in San Francisco. You want the band’s first hit “We Haven’t Turned Around”? It’s here, along with equally worthy tunes like “Blue Moon Rising,” “Someday,” and “Revolutionary Kind.” ** ½


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