Elvis Costello & The Attractions – Get Happy (1980/2015) [HDTracks 24-192]

Elvis Costello & The Attractions – Get Happy!! (1980/2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz | Time – 48:13 minutes | 1,84 GB | Genre: Rock
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | @ Hip-O/Elvis Costello

The fourth album by Elvis Costello, his third with the Attractions, Get Happy!! is notable for being a dramatic break in tone from Costello’s three previous albums, and for being heavily influenced by R&B, ska and soul music. The cover art was intentionally designed to have a “retro” feel, to look like the cover of an old LP with ring wear on both front and back.It was placed at No. 11 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 100 greatest albums of the 1980s.

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Elvis Costello & The Imposters – The Return Of The Spectacular Spinning Songbook!!! (2011/2012) [HDTracks 24-96]

Elvis Costello & The Imposters – The Return Of The Spectacular Spinning Songbook!!! (2011/2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 1:16:02 minutes | 1,57 GB | Genre: Rock
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | @ Hip-O/Elvis Costello

Prolific singer-songwriter Elvis Costello spun another pivotal outing at The Wiltern in Los Angeles on May 11 and 12, 2011. This recording marked the triumphant return of “The Spectacular Spinning Songbook,” an artistic and innovative endeavor, which put fans in control. Each spin outlined a song that would be performed in the set list. The British icon first introduced this game-show type wheel in 1986 at the Beverly Theatre. The performance showcased exhilarating renditions of beloved hits and rarities including “Watching The Detectives,” “Man Out Of Time,” and “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding?”. This musical experience was unlike any other and is available as a pristine hi-res download.

A weighty box set containing one concert in three different formats — CD, DVD, and 10″ vinyl — The Return of the Spectacular Spinning Songbook!!! gained some notoriety in the week prior to its release when Elvis Costello claimed its “price appears to be either a misprint or a satire.” True, the $262 price tag is steep — particularly for an album that offers 16 songs on its CD and 19 on its DVD, some overlapped, some not — but some die-hard fans with deep wallets will surely find the replica of the Spectacular Spinning Songwheel appealing and the musical contents, which are penciled in for a separate affordable release sometime in 2012, are strong. Costello & the Imposters are in high spirits, jumping out of the gate with “I Hope You’re Happy Now” — a tune whose 1986 vintage dates from the original Spinning Songwheel tour, legendary among Costello fanatics for its loose, unpredictable nature — then tearing into Nick Lowe’s “Heart of the City,” one of two unexpected covers here (the other being the Rolling Stones’ “Out of Time”). Other pleasant surprises rear their heads — notably Susanna Hoffs taking lead on “Tear Off Your Own Head (It’s a Doll Revolution),” a song the Bangles recorded after Elvis — but he still finds time for such staples as “Everyday I Write the Book,” “Watching the Detectives,” “I Want You,” “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding,” and “Radio, Radio,” so it’s not entirely a stroll through the darkest corners of Costello’s past, something that undoubtedly makes that high price tag sting just a little bit more. But disregard the cost of The Return of the Spectacular Spinning Songbook!!! for a moment and focus on the music: it’s an enjoyable set that is absolutely worth the price when it’s available at a lower suggested retail, and for those wealthy Costello fanatics, this big box is a handsome collectable. –AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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Elvis Costello & The Attractions – Trust (1981/2015) [HDTracks 24-192]

Elvis Costello & The Attractions – Trust (1981/2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz | Time – 41:51 minutes | 1,59 GB | Genre: Rock
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | @ Hip-O/Elvis Costello

Trust is an album by Elvis Costello and the Attractions. It is Costello’s fifth album, and fourth with the Attractions. It was also his fifth consecutive album produced by Nick Lowe, who handled production on all songs except “Big Sister’s Clothes” (which the liner notes make clear by stating that Lowe was “not responsible” for it).

Following the frenzied pop-soul of Get Happy!!, Elvis Costello & the Attractions quickly returned to the studio and recorded Trust, their most ambitious and eclectic album to date. As if he were proving his stylistic diversity and sophistication after the concentrated genre experiment of Get Happy!!, Costello assembled Trust as a stylistic tour de force, packing the record with a wild array of material. “Clubland” has jazzy flourishes, “Lovers’ Walk” rolls to a Bo Diddley beat, “Luxembourg” is rockabilly redux, “Watch Your Step” is soul-pop, “From a Whisper to a Scream” rocks as hard as anything since This Year’s Model, “Shot with His Own Gun” is Tin Pan Alley pop, “Different Finger” is the first country song he put on an official album, and that’s not even counting highlights like “New Lace Sleeves” and “White Knuckles,” which essentially stick to Costello’s signature pop, but offer more complex arrangements and musicianship than before. In fact, both “complexity” and “sophistication” are keywords to the success of Trust — without delving into the minutely textured arrangements that would dominate his next pop album, Imperial Bedroom — Costello & the Attractions demonstrate their musical skill and savvy by essentially sticking to the direct sound of their four-piece band. In the process, they recorded, arguably, their most impressive album, one that demonstrates all sides of Costello’s songwriting and performing personality without succumbing to pretentiousness.

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Elvis Costello & The Attractions – Punch The Clock (1983/2015) [HDTracks 24-192]

Elvis Costello & The Attractions – Punch The Clock (1983/2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz | Time – 45:29 minutes | 1,84 GB | Genre: Rock
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | @ Hip-O/Elvis Costello

Punch the Clock is an album released in 1983 by Elvis Costello and the Attractions. It was Costello’s eighth album, his seventh with the Attractions since 1978. The album featured Costello’s first US Top 40 hit, “Everyday I Write the Book.”In 2014, NME ranked it at number 345 in its list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

Perhaps frustrated by the lack of commercial success Imperial Bedroom encountered, Elvis Costello enlisted British hitmakers Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley to produce its follow-up, Punch the Clock. The difference between the two records is immediately noticeable. Punch the Clock has a slick, glossy surface, complete with layered synthesizers, horns, studio effects, and the backup vocals of Afrodiziak. The approach isn’t necessarily a misguided one, since Costello is as much a pop musician as he is a singer/songwriter and many of the best moments on the record — “Everyday I Write the Book,” “Let Them All Talk” — work well as shiny pop singles. However, the problem with Punch the Clock is that Costello is entering a fallow songwriting period; it is his least consistent set of original songs to date. The best moments, the antiwar ballad “Shipbuilding” and the eerie pseudo-rap “Pills and Soap,” are as articulate and effective as any of his past work, but frequently Costello falls short of meeting his standards, particularly when he’s trying to write a song in the style of his older songs. Nevertheless, the sheen of the Langer and Winstanley production makes Punch the Clock a pleasurable listen. Costello’s uneven writing means that only portions of the album are memorable. –AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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Elvis Costello & The Attractions – IbMePdErRoIoAmL (Imperial Bedroom) (1982/2015) [HDTracks 24-192]

Elvis Costello & The Attractions – IbMePdErRoIoAmL (Imperial Bedroom) (1982/2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz | Time – 49:52 minutes | 2,10 GB | Genre: Rock
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | @ Hip-O/Elvis Costello

Imperial Bedroom is a 1982 album by Elvis Costello and the Attractions. It was the second Costello album, after Almost Blue, not produced by Nick Lowe. Production duties were handled by Beatles engineer Geoff Emerick. “I wanted to try a few things in the studio that I suspected would quickly exhaust Nick’s patience,” as Costello put it in the liner notes to the 1994 Rykodisc reissue.

It was voted as the best album of the year in The Village Voice Pazz & Jop critics poll. In 1998 readers of Q magazine named it the 96th greatest album ever. In 1989, it was ranked No. 38 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of The 100 Greatest Albums of the 80s. In 2003, the album was ranked number 166 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.In 2012, Slant Magazine listed the album at No. 59 on its list of “Best Albums of the 1980s”.The album reached number 6 in the UK charts and number 30 in the USA but the singles were less successful. “You Little Fool” and “Man Out of Time” each briefly appeared in the UK Singles Chart, but neither charted in the USA.

Having gotten country out of his system with Almost Blue, Elvis Costello returned to pop music with Imperial Bedroom — and it was pop in the classic, Tin Pan Alley sense. Costello chose to hire Geoff Emerick, who engineered all of the Beatles’ most ambitious records, to produce Imperial Bedroom, which indicates what it sounds like — it’s traditional pop with a post-Sgt. Pepper production. Essentially, the songs on Imperial Bedroom are an extension of Costello’s jazz and pop infatuations on Trust. Costello’s music is complex and intricate, yet it flows so smoothly, it’s easy to miss the bitter, brutal lyrics. The interweaving layers of “Beyond Belief” and the whirlwind intro are the most overtly dark sounds on the record, with most of the album given over to the orchestrated, melancholy torch songs and pop singles. Never once do Costello & the Attractions deliver a rock & roll song — the album is all about sonic detail, from the accordion on “The Long Honeymoon” to the lilting strings on “Town Cryer.” Of course, the detail and the ornate arrangements immediately peg Imperial Bedroom as Costello’s most ambitious album, but that doesn’t mean it’s his absolute masterpiece. Imperial Bedroom remains one of Costello’s essential records because it is the culmination of his ambitions and desires — it’s where he proves that he can play with the big boys, both as a songwriter and a record-maker. It may not have been a commercial blockbuster, but it certainly earned the respect of legions of musicians and critics who would have previously disdained such a punk rocker. And, perhaps, that’s also the reason that he abandoned this immaculately crafted style of work on his next album, Punch the Clock. –AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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Elvis Costello & The Attractions – Get Happy!! (1980/2015) [HDTracks 24-192]

Elvis Costello & The Attractions – Get Happy!! (1980/2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz | Time – 48:13 minutes | 1,84 GB | Genre: Rock
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | @ Hip-O/Elvis Costello

The fourth album by Elvis Costello, his third with the Attractions, Get Happy!! is notable for being a dramatic break in tone from Costello’s three previous albums, and for being heavily influenced by R&B, ska and soul music. The cover art was intentionally designed to have a “retro” feel, to look like the cover of an old LP with ring wear on both front and back.It was placed at No. 11 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 100 greatest albums of the 1980s.

Get Happy!! was born as much from sincere love for soul as it was for Elvis Costello’s desire to distance himself from an unfortunate verbal faux pas where he insulted Ray Charles in an attempt to get Stephen Stills’ goat. Either way, it resulted in a 20-song blue-eyed soul tour de force, where Costello doesn’t just want to prove his love, he wants to prove his knowledge. So, he tries everything, starting with Motown and Northern soul, then touching on smooth uptown ballads and gritty Southern soul, even finding common ground between the two by recasting Sam & Dave’s “I Can’t Stand Up (For Falling Down)” as a careening stomper. What’s remarkable is that this approach dovetails with the pop carnival essayed by Armed Forces, standing as a full-fledged Costello record instead of a genre exercise. As it furiously flits through 20 songs, Costello’s cynicisms, rage, humor, and misanthropic sensibility gel remarkably well. Some songs may not quite hit their targets, but that’s part of the album’s charm — it moves so fast that its lesser songs rush by on the way to such full-fledged masterpieces as “New Amsterdam,” “High Fidelity,” and “Riot Act.” Get Happy!! bursts with energy and invention, standing as a testament to how Costello, the pop encyclopedia, can reinvent the past in his own image.

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Elvis Costello & The Attractions – Blood & Chocolate (1986/2015) [Qobuz 24-192]

Elvis Costello & The Attractions – Blood And Chocolate (1986/2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz | Time – 47:48 minutes | 1,91 GB | Genre: Rock
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: Q0buz | @ Hip-O/Elvis Costello

Released only seven months following the rootsy King Of America, Blood & Chocolate was received as a more conventional, typical Elvis Costello album. Featuring the Attractions and produced by Nick Lowe, recorded live off the floor in London, Blood & Chocolate peaked at number 16 on the British chart.

Elvis Costello returned to the Attractions as quickly as he abandoned them, hiring the band and old producer Nick Lowe to record Blood & Chocolate, his second record in the span of one year. Where King of America was a stripped-down roots rock affair, Blood & Chocolate is a return to the harder rock of This Year’s Model. Occasionally, there are hints of country and folk, but the majority of the album is straight-ahead rock & roll: the opener, “Uncomplicated,” only has two chords. The main difference between the reunion and the Attractions’ earlier work is the tone – This Year’s Model was tense and out of control, whereas Blood & Chocolate is controlled viciousness. “Tokyo Storm Warning,” “I Hope You’re Happy Now,” and “I Want You” are the nastiest songs he has ever recorded, both lyrically and musically – Costello snarls the lyrics and the Attractions bash out the chords. Blood & Chocolate doesn’t retain that high level of energy throughout the record, however, and loses momentum toward the end of the album. Still, it’s a lively and frequently compelling reunion, even if it is a rather mean-spirited one.

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Elvis Costello & The Attractions – Almost Blue (1981/2015) [Qobuz 24-192]

Elvis Costello & The Attractions – Almost Blue (1981/2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz | Time – 32:37 minutes | 1,25 GB | Genre: Rock
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: Q0buz | @ Hip-O/Elvis Costello

Elvis Costello’s 1981 album Almost Blue, his foray into the world of traditional country & western music, is full of covers by country legends like Hank Williams, George Jones, Charlie Rich and Merle Haggard. Warmly received by many critics who agreed that Costello and his band did a credible job interpreting this quintessential American material, the album peaked at number seven in the UK and yielded a top 10 British hit with Jerry Chesnut’s song Good Year For The Roses.

Elvis Costello’s “country record” is usually written off as a vanity project, but Almost Blue is quite a bit more than that. It’s one of the most entertaining cover records in rock & roll, simply because of its enthusiasm. The album begins with a roaring version of Hank Williams’ “Why Don’t You Love Me” and doesn’t stop. Costello sings with conviction on the tear-jerking ballads, as well as on barn burners like “Tonight the Bottle Let Me Down.” It’s clear that Costello knows this music, and it’s also clear who he learned it from: Gram Parsons. Costello covers Parsons’ “Hot Burrito No. 1” and “How Much I Lied,” and all of the music on Almost Blue recalls Parsons’ taste for hardcore honky tonk and weepy ballads. It’s to Costello’s credit that he made a record relying on emotion to pay tribute.

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Elvis Costello & The Roots – Wise Up Ghost And Other Songs (2013) [HDTracks 24-44,1]

Elvis Costello & The Roots – Wise Up Ghost And Other Songs (2013)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 55:54 minutes | 663 MB | Genre: Rock
Studio Master, Official Digital Download  – Source: HDTracks | @ Blue Note Records

Since its existence was first hinted at by ?uestlove as an aside during an interview in January,Wise Up Ghost is one of the most anticipated releases of 2013. An exciting and unexpected collaboration between the legendary Elvis Costello and hip-hop grandmasters The Roots, this album will almost certainly take its listeners to a new and exciting place.

 

Most of the sessions took place in secret at Feliz Habitat Studios in the dead of night, while others were in plain sight at Costello’s Hookery Crookery Studios. Elvis described the record as “the shortest distance between here and there” and containing “both rhythm and what is read”. Ahmir (?uestlove) says, “It’s a moody, brooding affair, cathartic rhythms and dissonant lullabies. I went stark and dark on the music, Elvis went HAM on some ole Ezra Pound sh*t.”

In addition to the fabulous Roots crew and friends, the record features a guest vocal appearance on “Cinco Minutos Con Vos” from La Marisoul, lead singer of the Los Angeles group, La Santa Cecilia.

The album was produced by longtime Roots associate, Steven Mandel together with Elvis Costello, and Ahmir “?uestlove” Thompson.

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Elvis Costello & The Attractions – Goodbye Cruel World (1984/2015) [HRA 24-192]

Elvis Costello & The Attractions – Goodbye Cruel World (1984/2015) 
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz | Time – 44:18 minutes | 1,79 GB | Genre: Rock
Official Digital Download – Source: highresaudio.com | @ Universal Music

This may be the most maligned item in the Costello catalogue — not least by Costello himself who opens his liner notes with ‘Congratulations! You have just bought our worst album!’ It’s certainly the oddest album Costello and the Attractions ever made together, but that’s not always a bad thing: Tracks like ‘The Home Truth,’ ‘Love Field’ and the single ‘The Only Flame in Town’ show a move toward the deeper, more challenging song structures that Costello would master in the ’90s. The Clive Langer/Alan Winstanley-produced album includes other notable tracks such as ‘I Wanna Be Loved’, a cover tune with a scorching vocal performance, and ‘The Comedians,’ which was covered by no less an authority than Roy Orbison.

The extended-play tracks shed more light on this phase of Costello’s development, with tracks like ‘Baby It’s You’ (a duet with old mate Nick Lowe) and ‘Turning the Town Red’ showing a more carefree pop feel than anything on the official album. More significant are a pair of tracks from Costello’s first-ever solo tour, with ‘Worthless Thing’ and ‘The Only Flame in Town’ given a more direct lyrical emphasis. Fans can also take note of a rare Richard Thompson cover, ‘Withered & Died’, plus a ‘lost’ Costello single: ‘I Hope You’re Happy Now’ which would show up with a radically different arrangement on BLOOD & CHOCOLATE.

 

During the making of Goodbye Cruel World, Elvis Costello was undergoing a multitude of personal problems, including a divorce, that resulted in a number of poor production decisions and ill-conceived, unformed songs. Like Punch the Clock, Goodbye Cruel World was produced by Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley, the top British hitmakers of the ’80s. Consequently, most of the record suffers from a stiff, synthesized production that instantly dates the record. In some cases — like the duet with Daryl Hall, “The Only Flame in Town,” and the cover of the lost Hi R&B gem “I Wanna Be Loved” — the songs benefit from the shiny, streamlined production but it obscures the merits of the finest songs on the album. “Room with No Number,” “The Comedians,” “Sour Milk-Cow Blues,” and “Peace in Our Time” all cry out for a simple, stripped-down presentation, but they’re weighted down with stylized sounds and trendy synthesizers; however, once the sound of the album settles in, the strength of these songs is apparent. The remainder of Goodbye Cruel World isn’t as memorable, primarily because Costello’s uninspired vocals and the Attractions’ muted performances fail to make the weaker songs musically compelling. –AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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