Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Sparks band news

BMG Records will release Past Tense, a career-spanning collection by Sparks, on Nov. 8. From 1967’s “Computer Girl” (recorded under the name Urban Renewal Project) to 2017’s “Check Out Time 11AM” (from the Hippopotamus sessions), PAST TENSE: THE BEST OF SPARKS runs the gamut of influential pop music by the Brothers Mael.

With sleeve-notes by Simon Price*, each track was hand-picked by Ron and Russell Mael to best epitomise the era of Sparks from which they are drawn. 

The pair are currently putting the finishing touches to their new studio album, due for release in 2020. There is an upcoming documentary by the British film director Edgar Wright, Meanwhile, filming commences this month on Annette – the movie musical written by Sparks, directed by Leos Carax, and starring Adam Driver and Marion Cotillard.



Formats and tracklisting


Disc One-

Computer Girl
Wonder Girl
(No More) Mr. Nice Guys
Girl from Germany
Beaver O'Lindy
This Town Ain't Big Enough for Both of Us
Amateur Hour
Here In Heaven
Never Turn Your Back On Mother Earth
Something for the Girl With Everything
Get in the Swing
In The Future
Looks, Looks, Looks
I Want To Hold Your Hand
Big Boy
I Bought The Mississippi River
Those Mysteries
Tryouts for the Human Race
Beat the Clock

Disc Two-

The Number One Song in Heaven
When I'm With You
Tips for Teens
Funny Face
Angst in My Pants
I Predict
Sherlock Holmes
Cool Places (with Jane Wiedlin)
I Wish I Looked A Little Better
With All My Might
Music That You Can Dance To
So Important
Singing In The Shower (with Les Rita Mitsouko)
National Crime Awareness Week (Psycho Cut)
When Do I Get to Sing 'My Way'
(When I Kiss You) I Hear Charlie Parker Playing - Radio Edit
Let's Go Surfing

Disc Three-

Pulling Rabbits Out Of A Hat
The Calm Before The Storm
It's A Knockoff
The Rhythm Thief
My Baby's Taking Me Home
Suburban Homeboy
Dick Around
Islington N1
Good Morning
Lighten Up, Morrissey
Two Hands, One Mouth
Piss Off (Sparks original demo)
Johnny Delusional (FFS)
Missionary Position
Edith Piaf (Said It Better Than Me)
I Wish You Were Fun
Check Out Time 11AM

For more info:

As if that weren't enough for fans, there's more...

A quarter century after its original release, Sparks’ 16th studio album Gratuitous Sax & Senseless Violins is to be reissued on CD & vinyl by BMG on Nov. 15. The original remastered album is accompanied by a disc of bonus tracks and rarities and Sparks have opened the vaults to share previously unreleased demos and recordings.

After a few years working on the as-yet-unrealised Mai The Psychic Girl film project - with both Tsui Hark (whose vocals appear on this record) and Tim Burton -, collaborating with Scottish band Finitribe on 1993’s National Crime Awareness Week, and producing demos for Star Trek regular and future Sparks drummer Christi Haydon, Ron and Russell Mael returned to the pop forum and the charts in 1994 with Gratuitous Sax & Senseless Violins. The first song written for the album “When Do I Get To Sing ‘My Way’” (originally titled ‘Punch And Judy Show’) would go on to become the number one radio song of ‘94 in Germany and a top 40 hit in the U.K.

Disc 2 of this 25th anniversary collection comprises B sides, remixes and live recordings while disc 3 includes the unreleased tracks from the Christi Haydon EP and, uniquely for Sparks, a selection of demo tracks or "orphan songs."

“In the period before Gratuitous Sax & Senseless Violins, we’d written and recorded a lot of demos, uncertain of where things were heading. Sometimes the writing process creates an angle. Sometimes it doesn’t. These orphan songs, the ones that weren’t chosen for further refinement and development at the time, now have found their angle. Hence in the batch that is included in this package are some of our sadly abandoned children that we thought you might like to meet. One song, “That’s Entertainment,” is sung by former Sparks bass player Les Bohem; “This Angry Young Man (Ain’t Angry No More),” and “Mid-Atlantic,” have two versions, one with Ron doing the vocals before handing it off to me. Yes, Ron “sings”. Please meet this little-known family of ours from pre-Gratuitous Sax & Senseless Violins.” - Russell Mael.

Order Gratuitous Sax & Senseless Violins here:

original album remastered

Gratuitous Sax
When Do I Get To Sing "My Way"
(When I Kiss You) I Hear Charlie Parker Playing
Frankly, Scarlett, I Don't Give A Damn
I Thought I Told You To Wait In The Car
Hear No Evil, See No Evil, Speak No Evil
Now That I Own The BBC
Tsui Hark
The Ghost Of Liberace
Let's Go Surfing
Senseless Violins

Disc Two
Mixes and versions

National Crime Awareness Week (Complete Psycho) produced by Finiflex
When Do I Get To Sing "My Way" (The Grid Radio Edit) Remixed by The Grid
(When I Kiss You) I Hear Charlie Parker Playing [Bernard Butler's Fashionable World Of Fashion Mix] remixed by Bernard Butler
Now That I Own The BBC (Live BBC Acoustic Version)
When Do I Get To Sing "My Way" (Vince Clarke Remix)
She's An Anchorman
Little Drummer Boy Unreleased studio version
Beat The Clock (Live in Concert) Live at Shepherds Bush Empire, London. 17 November 1994
National Crime Awareness Week (13 Minutes In Heaven) produced by Finiflex
When Do I Get To Sing "My Way" (Sticks & Stones Remix) remixed by Keith Marantz & David Longoria at The Steamroom
(When I Kiss You) I Hear Charlie Parker Playing [The Beatmasters' Full-Blown Dub] Remixed by The Beatmasters
Now That I Own The BBC (Motiv 8 Extended Vocal Mix) remixed by Motiv 8
When Do I Get To Sing "My Way" (Pro-Gress Mix) Remix & additional production by Pro-Gress for D.E.F.
National Crime Awareness Week (The Janet Leigh Mix) remixed by Steve Bates

Disc Three
Unreleased demos

1. Where Did I Leave My Halo?
2. She's Beautiful (So What)
3. Mid-Atlantic
4. The Farmer's Daughter
5. This Angry Young Man Ain't Angry No More
6. Bob Hope
7. She's An Anchorman (Demo)
8. Love Can Conquer All
9. That's What I Call Paradise
10. This Angry Young Man Ain't Angry No More (Ron Vocal Version)
11. Mid-Atlantic (Ron Vocal Version)
12. That's Entertainment (feat. Les Bohem)

Unreleased tracks from Christi Haydon EP 
(with vocals by Christi Haydon)

13. Katharine Hepburn
14. Titanic
15. Othello
16. Holiday
17. Boris The Spider

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