Wilco – Alpha Mike Foxtrot: Rare Tracks 1994-2014 (2014) [PonoMusic 24-44,1]

Wilco – Alpha Mike Foxtrot: Rare Tracks 1994-2014 (2014) 
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 04:40:36 minutes | 3,04 GB | Genre: Rock
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Source: PonoMusic | © Nonesuch Records

Nonesuch Records released two new Wilco collections on November 17 in conjunction with the influential Chicago band’s 20th anniversary: Alpha Mike Foxtrot, a four-disc box-set of rare studio and live recordings collected from the band’s extensive audio archives, and What’s Your 20?, is a two-CD compilation of essential tracks culled from the band’s previously released studio recordings.

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Television – Marquee Moon (1977/2015) [PonoMusic 24-192]

Television – Marquee Moon (1977/2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192kHz | Time – 46:20 minutes | 1,62 GB | Genre: Rock
Official Digital Download – Source: PonoMusic | ©  Elektra Records

Marquee Moon is a revolutionary album, but it’s a subtle, understated revolution. Without question, it is a guitar rock album — it’s astonishing to hear the interplay between Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd — but it is a guitar rock album unlike any other. Where their predecessors in the New York punk scene, most notably the Velvet Underground, had fused blues structures with avant-garde flourishes, Television completely strip away any sense of swing or groove, even when they are playing standard three-chord changes. Marquee Moon is comprised entirely of tense garage rockers that spiral into heady intellectual territory, which is achieved through the group’s long, interweaving instrumental sections, not through Verlaine’s words. That alone made Marquee Moon a trailblazing album — it’s impossible to imagine post-punk soundscapes without it. Of course, it wouldn’t have had such an impact if Verlaine hadn’t written an excellent set of songs that conveyed a fractured urban mythology unlike any of his contemporaries. From the nervy opener, “See No Evil,” to the majestic title track, there is simply not a bad song on the entire record. And what has kept Marquee Moon fresh over the years is how Television flesh out Verlaine’s poetry into sweeping sonic epics. –AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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Steely Dan – Gaucho (1980/2014) [PonoMusic 24-96]

Steely Dan – Gaucho (1980/2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 00:38:13 minutes | 874 MB | Genre: Rock
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: PonoMusic | Artwork: Front Cover | © Geffen Records

Released in 1980, Gaucho was Walter Becker and Donald Fagen’s seventh and last album as Steely Dan until the release of Two Against Nature in 2000.

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Neil Young – Bluenote Cafe (2015) [PonoMusic 24-192]

Neil Young – Bluenote Cafe (2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192kHz | Time – 02:26:24 minutes | 5,27 GB | Genre: Rock
Official Digital Download – Source: PonoMusic | ©  Reprise Records

Bluenote Café is a live album by Canadian singer-songwriter Neil Young, released on November 13 2015 on Reprise. The album is volume eleven in Young’s Archives Performance Series, and features performances from Young’s 1987-1988 American tour in support of his seventeenth studio album, This Note’s for You (1988), with his then-backing band, The Bluenotes.

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Miles Davis – Workin’ With The Miles Davis Quintet (1959/2016) [PonoMusic 24-192]

Miles Davis – Workin’ With The Miles Davis Quintet (1959/2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/192 kHz | Time – 42:17 minutes | 1,93 GB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: Pono Music | @ Concord Music / Universal Music

Trumpeter Miles Davis led several sessions for Prestige Records between November 1955 and October 1956 with his legendary “first” quintet, featuring tenor saxophonist John Coltrane, pianist Red Garland, bassist Paul Chambers, and drummer Philly Joe Jones. The sessions represent an incomparable musical legacy. Impeccably engineered by Rudy Van Gelder, the music was released on five albums that provide a unique glimpse at how five brilliant instrumentalists coalesced into one of the most extraordinary ensembles in modern jazz. Workin’ presents an easygoing program that balances ballads with the blues and includes quintet performances of originals by Davis (“Four,” “Half Nelson”), Coltrane (“Trane’s Blues”), and Dave Brubeck (“In Your Own Sweet Way”); an interpretation of the standard “It Never Entered My Mind” without saxophone; and a piano-trio version of Ahmad Jamal’s “Ahmad’s Blues.” Coltrane’s melancholy solo on Brubeck’s tune and Garland’s spry excursion on Coltrane’s are two of this classic’s many highlights.

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Miles Davis – Steamin’ With The Miles Davis Quintet (1961/2016) [PonoMusic 24-192]

Miles Davis – Steamin’ With The Miles Davis Quintet (1961/2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz | Time – 40:07 minutes | 1,92 GB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: PonoMusic | © Concord/Prestige

Although chronologically the last to be issued, this collection includes some of the best performances from the tapes which would produce the albums Cookin’, Relaxin’, Workin’, and ultimately, Steamin’. A primary consideration of these fruitful sessions is the caliber of musicians — Miles Davis (trumpet), Red Garland (piano), John Coltrane (tenor sax), and Philly Joe Jones (drums) — who were basically doing their stage act in the studio. As actively performing musicians, the material they are most intimate with would be their live repertoire. Likewise, what more obvious place than a studio is there to capture every inescapable audible nuance of the combo’s musical group mind. The end results are consistently astonishing. At the center of Steamin’, as with most outings by this band, are the group improvisations which consist of solo upon solo of arguably the sweetest and otherwise most swinging interactions known to have existed between musicians. “Surrey With the Fringe on Top” is passed between the mates like an old joke. Garland compliments threads started by Davis and Coltrane as their seamless interaction yields a stream of strikingly lyrical passages. There are two well-placed nods to fellow bop pioneers Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie on a revision of their “Salt Peanuts.” Philly Joe Jones’ mimicking cymbal speak — which replicates Gillespie’s original vocals — is nothing short of genius. This rendition is definitely as crazy and unpredictable here as the original. Thelonious Monk also gets kudos on “Well, You Needn’t.” This quintet makes short work of the intricacies of the arrangement, adding the double horn lead on the choruses and ultimately redefining this jazz standard. Although there is no original material on Steamin’, it may best represent the ability of the Miles Davis quintet to take standards and rebuild them to suit their qualifications.

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John Lee Hooker – It Serves You Right To Suffer (1966/2013) [PonoMusic 24-96]

John Lee Hooker – It Serves You Right To Suffer (1966/2013)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 32:37 minutes | 642 MB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: Pono Music |  © Impulse! Records/Geffen Records

Anyone hearing this 1966 album for the first time may well be startled at the unfiltered passion and power of John Lee Hooker in his earlier days; a surprise when comparing Hooker’s later recordings with those made in the 1960s. His unmistakable raw voice has fully matured here, but his incantory style of singing appears markedly finer and more flexible. And then there is the perfect gem of a rhythm group whose sinewy sounds fill the grooves with merciless gravitational force: Barry Galbraith on second guitar, Milt Hinton on bass, William Wells on trombone and David “Panama” Francis on drums.

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Ben Harper – The Will To Live (1997/2016) [PonoMusic 24-192]

Ben Harper – The Will To Live (1997/2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 54:02 minutes | 2,12 GB | Genre: Rock
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: PonoMusic | © Virgin Records

Ben Harper’s third release, 1997’s The Will To Live, broadens his sound from the folk-inflected songs of his earlier work to include elements of funk, blues, reggae and rock, a recipe Harper would return to over the years. While not a major success in the US at the time, the album garnered good reviews and includes Harper’s first UK charted single, Faded.

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The Doobie Brothers – The Best Of The Doobies (1976/2016) [PonoMusic 24-192]

The Doobie Brothers – The Best Of The Doobies (1976/2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/192 kHz | Time – 00:46:24 minutes | 1,76 GB | Genre: Rock
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: PonoMusic | Front Cover | © Warner Bros. Records

Best of The Doobies is the first greatest hits album by The Doobie Brothers. The album has material from Toulouse Street through Takin’ It to the Streets, and is also a diamond record. The album was first released by Warner Bros. Records in November 1976 and has been re-released numerous times.

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Rob Thomas – …Something To Be (2005) [PonoMusic 24-48]

Rob Thomas – …Something To Be (2005)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/48 kHz | Time – 50:03 minutes | 644 MB | Genre: Rock
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: PonoMusic | © Atlantic Records

…Something to Be is the debut solo album from the Matchbox Twenty lead singer Rob Thomas. The album was released on April 5, 2005, and it debuted at No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard 200 albums chart, knocking out Mariah Carey’s The Emancipation of Mimi. This marked the first time that a male artist from a rock or pop group has debuted at number one with his first solo album since Billboard introduced the chart 50 years ago.

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