Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Midnight Oil retrospective coming in April

Always one of my faves. Should be a good one...

Essential Oils, the first double-CD chronology assembled on Australia’s Midnight Oil, contains 36 songs, handpicked by the band, and the tracklist covers every one of the Oils’ 12 studio albums (plus two of their rare 1980s EPs). It will be available April 30 via Columbia/Legacy.

The collection spotlights the band's early development years (1978-1985) on the first disc before moving on to their tenure as a world touring and recording outfit (1987-2002) on the second disc. The songs that won them a global audience here include “Beds Are Burning,” “Dreamworld,” “The Dead Heart,” “Blue Sky Mine,” “Forgotten Years,” “King Of the Mountain,” “Truganini,” and more.

Midnight Oil won audiences with their fierce commitment to social, environmental, anti-nuclear, and human rights causes, especially the plight of Australia’s indigenous Aboriginal native culture.  During the divisive Reagan-Bush era, a period that turned out to be as volatile and disenfranchising as the late-1960s, Midnight Oil’s conscience struck a raw nerve in America.

Nearly 20 years into their career, they earned critical and commercial success in the U.S. (and UK) that would stand them in good stead for their next decade, until their official disbandment in 2002.

From 1978’s “Run By Night” (off their self-titled debut LP on the indie Powderworks label) to 2002’s “Luritja Way” (from their final album, Capricornia), 28 Midnight Oil single sides, and eight well-chosen album and EP tracks are assembled.

“For this collection,” said the band’s guitarist/keyboardist Jim Moginie, “we put our most definitive songs in chronological timeline, so listening feels like a turbo boosted journey at light speed through 25 years of being in Midnight Oil.”

“There’s many more favourites we could have included” added his fellow founding member drummer Rob Hirst, “but we had fun writing and recording all of these and loved playing them live. We also think they show the dynamics and diversity of the tracks we recorded in studios in Australia and overseas, and chart the band’s changing sounds, stories and memberships over a 25 year period.”

“In their time,” writes Rolling Stone magazine Senior Writer David Fricke in his liner notes, “on stage and record, there was nothing in rock – in Australia or anywhere else – like Midnight Oil.”

Fricke cites their “14-album, 25 year campaign against glitz, injustice and complacency, corporate greed and environmental crime, by a band that had everything going against it but believed – stubbornly, rightly – that nothing would stop it.”

From 1988 to 1993, Midnight Oil placed nearly a dozen songs inside the Top 20 of Billboard’s Mainstream Rock and Modern Rock charts, starting in 1988 with “Beds Are Burning,” which has the distinction of being listed in the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame’s 500 Songs That Shaped Rock.

The success of “Beds Are Burning,” and the two singles that followed, “The Dead Heart” and “Dreamworld,” brought RIAA platinum sales (and RIAA gold in the UK) for 1988’s Diesel and Dust, the Oils’ sixth studio album, which spent over one year (55 weeks) on the Billboard 200 albums chart.

“Beds Are Burning” would go on to be listed by the Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) in the Top 30 Best Australian songs of all time, a list that also includes “Power and the Passion.”  In an APRA survey of The Top 10 Best Australian Songs Of All Time conducted in 2001, “Beds Are Burning” was ranked #3 behind the Easybeats’ “Friday On My Mind” and Daddy Cool’s “Eagle Rock.”

Midnight Oil has won 11 ARIA (Australian Recording Industry Association) Awards and was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame in 2006.  Most recently, Diesel and Dust was ranked #1 in the best-selling book The 100 Best Australian Albums by O’Donnell, Creswell and Mathieson (Rizzoli, 2010).

CD ONE – Selections: 1. Run By Night (A) • 2. Cold Cold Change (B) • 3. Back On the Borderline (B) • 4. Wedding Cake Island (C) • 5. No Time for Games (C) • 6. Don’t Wanna Be the One (D) • 7. Armistice Day (D) • 8. Lucky Country (D) • 9. Only the Strong (E) • 10. Short Memory (E) • 11. Read About It (E) • 12. US Forces (E) • 13. Power and the Passion (E) • 14. When the Generals Talk (F) • 15. Best of Both Worlds (F) • 16. Kosciusko (F) • 17. Progress (G) • 18. Hercules (G).
CD TWO – Selections: 1. Beds Are Burning (H, Mainstream Rock #6) • 2. Put Down That Weapon (H) • 3. Dreamworld (H, Modern Rock #16, Mainstream Rock #37) • 4. The Dead Heart (H, Mainstream Rock #11) • 5. Warakurna (H) • 6. Blue Sky Mine (I, Mainstream Rock #1, Modern Rock #1) • 7. Forgotten Years (I, Modern Rock #1, Mainstream Rock #11) • 8. King Of the Mountain (I, Modern Rock #3, Mainstream Rock #20) • 9. One Country (I) • 10. Truganini (J, Modern Rock #4) • 11. My Country (J) • 12. In the Valley (J) • 13. Surf’s Up Tonight (K) • 14. Redneck Wonderland (L) • 15. White Skin Black Heart (L) • 16. Say Your Prayers (M) • 17. Golden Age (N) • 18. Luritja Way (N).
Source index (album unless otherwise noted):
A – from Midnight Oil (originally issued Australia 1978, Powderworks)
B – from Head Injuries (originally issued Australia 1979, Powderworks)
C – from Bird Noises (EP originally issued Australia 1980, Powderworks)
D – from Place Without A Postcard (originally issued Australia 1981, CBS)
E – from 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1 (originally issued Australia 1982, CBS; U.S. 1983, Columbia)
F – from Red Sails In the Sunset (originally issued Australia 1984, CBS; U.S. 1985, Columbia)
G – from Species Deceases (EP originally issued Australia 1985, CBS; U.S. 1990, Columbia)
H – from Diesel and Dust (originally issued Australia 1987, CBS; U.S. 1988, Columbia)
I – from Blue Sky Mining (originally issued Australia & U.S. 1992, Columbia)
J – from Earth and Sun and Moon (originally issued Australia & U.S. 1993, Columbia)
K – from Breathe (originally issued Australia & U.S. 1996, Columbia/W.O.R.K.)
L – from Redneck Wonderland (originally issued Australia & U.S. 1998, Columbia)
M – from The Real Thing (Studio and live recordings, originally issued Australia & U.S. 2000, Columbia)
N – from Capricornia (originally issued Australia 2002, Sony Music & internationally on Liquid 8)

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