Saturday, December 30, 2017

Top Ten Pearl Jam Moments of 2017, #1

The Hall of Fame Induction

Usually, a single show wouldn't stand out as the greatest moment of the year, but in 2017, this was it.  Pearl Jam played ONE show.  With Pearl Jam not planning on taking a stage until March, this also creates the longest gap between Pearl Jam shows since 2010-11.  Oh man, were we desperate for live music.

And Pearl Jam deli ... OK, they didn't REALLY deliver.  Pearl Jam played 4 songs.  One song for each year we've been waiting for a new album.  Yeah, I'm sure the Rock Hall dictates how long you can play, but still.  2017 marks the least number of live Pearl Jam songs played in their history.

Those of us in the U.S., we're settling in for a drought, but Europe ... 2018 is your year!

Friday, December 29, 2017

In Memoriam, Chris Cornell

Yesterday's selection for the Top Ten Pearl Jam Moments, was admittedly inflated a bit, but we were looking for a way to include a fitting good-bye to one of the band's greatest friends.  There is no shortage of Pearl Jam fans who also love Chris Cornell, and many were broken this year, when the singer unexpectedly ended his own life following a Soundgarden show in Detroit.

His family stated that he was struggling with an addiction to Ativan, a high-dosage of which may have lead to his death.  With no note left behind, it was surely not something the singer had planned.  We can only guess that he suffered greatly that night.

So, since, surely, no member of Pearl Jam was untouched by Cornell's death, we pause today, when we would usually be celebrating Pearl Jam, to pay tribute to a friend and think of his family and ours.  Drug addiction is sweeping our nation, and suicides are the leading cause of death in the United States.  If you suffer, reach out.  If you think someone is suffering, talk to them, don't hesitate.  We all need each other, today and into 2018.

Good-bye, Good Friend.  You are loved.  You are missed.

Suicide Prevention Lifeline: - 800-273-8255 in the U.S.

Red Mosquito Members say good-bye:
Chris Cornell, The Start of Everything
Cornell, A Feeling of Loss
"Part of Seattle Died:' Reflecting On Chris Cornell's Death
Chris Cornell: Not Everyone Escapes

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Top Ten Pearl Jam Moments of 2017, #2

All The Singles Things

Fans of the movie Singles were pretty amped up two years ago when the movie was reissued in 2015 with a Record Store Day release of Citizen Dick's Touch Me, I'm Dick single on vinyl, but the rumors of a full soundtrack reissue fell through.

This year, Cameron Crowe made up for the slight.  In April, we got a reissue of the Singles soundtrack on vinyl and a Super Deluxe edition on CD which included a second disc loaded with 18 new tracks, including one Singles Blues 1, a track written and performed by Mike McCready.  That album was paired with a Record Store Day release of Pearl Jam's State of Love and Trust / Breath 7".

Then, later this year, in November, the Poncier demos, five tracks recorded by Chris Cornell during the filming of the movie were released on collectible color-variant 12" vinyls and cassettes.  It made a sad but fitting tribute to our lost friend.

Each individual item may have made our list, but put together, they are pushed near the top of our 2017 list, as we pile them all together and love each piece of this collection.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Top Ten Pearl Jam Moments of 2017, #3

Let's Play Two

Back in July, fans started to notice an interesting item on Amazon, some sort of Live at Wrigley Field item.  Was it a boxed set?  A film?  A bootleg?

It turns out, it was everything.  Pearl Jam hit theaters in October with Danny Clinch's film, Let's Play Two featuring footage shot over the course of Pearl Jam's two-night stand at Wrigley Field in 2016.  Gorgeously cut between footage of performances, interviews with the band members (mostly Ed), and footage of the Cubs' 2016 World Series win, Let's Play Two was a must-see moment of the year.

And Pearl Jam made it easy.  Let's Play Two was released in theaters all over the world, played on FSN, streamed on Amazon, and was finally released as DVD or BluRay.  You can even relive the music with the soundtrack on CD or vinyl or with either of the two bootlegs from 2016, which were finally released once the movie's press junket had run its course.

There are some that say this movie was so great, that it should hit #1.  They're not wrong, but we have other ideas.  Come back and check out our Top Two choices starting on Wednesday, December 27th.

Top Ten Pearl Jam Moments of 2017, #4

Ed Tours Europe

... and a bit of the U.S.

In a year when Pearl Jam played less live music than ... well, ever, Eddie Vedder picked up the slack a little bit with 13 shows in Europe, 3 shows in the U.S., and a couple of other scattered appearances, private shows, and even a quick performance with some fans outside Wrigley.

Though he gained a lot of press for taking a knee at his show in Tennessee in support of NFL players who were being criticized by Trump, the real, true highlight of Ed's 2017 was the debut of a new song called Share the Light at the Ohana Festival in September.

Is this a new Pearl Jam song?  The start of Ed's third solo album?  Listen to the song below and make your own decision.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Top Ten Pearl Jam Moments of 2017, #5

The Avocado Remix

Sure, we discussed the reissues already, but none of the material reissued this year made quite the same splash as the remix of Pearl Jam's eponymous album, otherwise known as Avocado.  Avocado was Pearl Jam's first foray into recording without a contract, named because this album was truly them.

From the start, fans balked at what they called the brickwalling of the album, which came out at a time when many artists were pushing the volume to eleven and drowning out subtler sounds by pushing all tracks all the way up.

Everyone was very hopeful that the album would fix that, and when some fans noticed that Spotify was hosting a new mix that highlighted many of the under-appreciated, softer moments of the album, there was hope.  Once the album started arriving on doorstops, some claimed that the remix was not much better than the original, and definitely less impressive than what was now called the Spotify Mix.  All of this, was complicated by the fact that no one knew where the Spotify Mix came from, and no one could compare it to a lossless digital format, since the band doesn't make any of their reissues available as CDs or FLAC files.

So, what was the end result?  Fighting, arguing, and zero consensus.  This was easily, the most contested minutia on or board for the last three months.  If you love Pearl Jam (the album OR the band) you'll probably want to complete your collection with a vinyl remix, or at the very least, go hunt down some FLAC files of the Spotify Mix.  If Pearl Jam doesn't give you a digital format, Pearl Jam fans will.

Top Ten Pearl Jam Moments of 2017, #6

Again Today

After four years or waiting, Pearl Jam finally recorded a new song.  No, they didn't WRITE a song, (unless you count the, yet to be released, contribution to the Basmati Blues soundtrack, Obey the Law of the Heart, and we DON'T), but they did record a song.

Early this year, Pearl Jam recorded a cover of Brandi Carlile's Again Today for her album, Cover Stories, featuring covers by many artist and released to benefit War Child.  The song is great, and could have been lifted off of Backspacer (which was recorded around the same time), but frankly, we were hoping for something new from the minds of Pearl Jam to come out of the studio.

You can pick up the album at Carlile's site or on Amazon.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Top Ten Pearl Jam Moments of 2017, #7

Vault #7, Soldier Field 1995

After years of being unable to get the vinyl copies of this show put out by KPNT, and then more years of only being able to find bootlegged versions of that vinyl, Pearl Jam has decided to wipe out the bootleggers with an official version of this classic show on vinyl.

Pearl Jam took the original multi-track tapes from July 11, 1995 and mixed and mastered the show for vinyl. Unfortunately, Pearl Jam tells us that some songs are missing on the multi-track tapes, so we're getting digital versions of the "missing tracks" from the original broadcast.

As of the writing of this post, the packages are arriving on doorsteps, and we expect digital and CD versions to be available soon.  Keep checking the Ten Club for more information.

Top Ten Pearl Jam Moments of 2017, #8

Last year, we were underwhelmed by the reissuing of No Code and Yield.  A couple of things makes this year's announcement a little more newsworthy, so ...

The Remasters

Binaural and Riot Act, long since out-of-print and hard to find, have been remastered and reissued by the Ten Club.  Pearl Jam (Avocado), which fans have complained about for year, got a remix by Brendan O'Brien.  There is much, MUCH debate about whether the new mix is better, worse, or even different.  Fans have even ripped the songs from Spotify, which is said to be a different, superior mix.  We encourage you to pick up some albums at Ten Club or on Amazon to determine for yourself.

More?  How about reissues of all the vinyl singles from those albums, including two, never-before-released-on-vinyl singles, and a reissue of the original mix of Ten?

More? How about a limited edition of 500 boxed sets that include all 10 Pearl Jam studio albums?

Pearl Jam did manage to release a lot of great reissues this year.  However, in all that reissuing, there are no unreleased demos and songs.  Being that this is a bunch of cleaned up versions of stuff we already own, there are a lot more cool things that happened this year.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Top Ten Pearl Jam Moments of 2017, #9

The Glamour and the Squalor and Cavedweller

As is often the case, when Pearl Jam is silent, the individual bandmembers are more vocal.  That was the case again in 2017 when we had the release of two solo efforts in September.

First was the score for The Glamour and the Squalor composed by Mike McCready.  Though not compiled in the same fashion that an album would be, this is the closest we've ever gotten to a Mike McCready solo album.  Then, later in the year, Matt Cameron announced his first foray into solo work with Cavedweller.  

A listen to either album will make you wish Mike and Matt wrote more for Pearl Jam.  You might even forgive Matt for The Fixer.

Pick up The Glamour and the Squalor at Amazon and Cavedweller at Amazon or through the Ten Club.

Top Ten Pearl Jam Moments of 2017, #10

It's that time again.  Time to dive back into the Pearl Jam news of the year and figure out what were the most exciting, tragic, and/or newsworthy Pearl Jam moments of the year.  When we started compiling our list, we were pretty pessimistic.  What are we going to write about a band that played exactly FOUR live songs this year and has released exactly ZERO original studio songs in four years.  Is Pearl Jam even a band anymore?

Well, yes, and as it turns out, there were some pretty amazing things that happened in 2017.  Hopefully, rehashing them will get you ready for 2018's European Tour, and (we hope) that new album that is coming out soon.

Of Potato Heads and Polaroids and Pearl Jam Anthology

This year saw us expanding our Pearl Jam library a bit.  First, in May we got Mike McCready's collection of Polaroids in Of Potato Heads and Polaroids, a compendium of photographs snapped my Mike McCready over his years in Pearl Jam.  Scantly narrated and beautifully curated, the book includes photos of friends, family, bandmates, and yes, Mr. Potato Head.

The book is a lot of fun and still available via the Ten Club or Amazon.

Also in May, Pearl Jam announced the release of Pearl Jam Anthology, a transcription of all 130 Pearl Jam album tracks by Hal Leonard Publishing.  Reception of this book and the announcement was, well ... mixed.

The book is unquestionably an enjoyable collection of music you can use to learn and master Pearl Jam's catalogs, but fans were quick to point out that it's missing many classic songs that were never part of Pearl Jam's studio albums (Man of the Hour, Let Me Sleep, Footsteps, and Hold On to name a few), making the subtitle "The Complete Scores" a bit of a misnomer.

Then came some more technical problems.  Fans have complained that the writing is too small or that McCready's solos are not transcribed.  There are even multiple lyrical mistakes.  Add in the six month production delay, and many fans found the hefty $75 price tag on this book to be too high.

It's a great volume for the collector or the musician, but we'll simply link to the Ten Club and Amazon so you can make your own decision.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Ed To Play Two Shows in Brazil

It looks like Eddie Vedder will be extending his stay in South America after Pearl Jam's Lollapalooza shows with two shows of his own.  The Ten Club has announced two Vedder solo shows on March 28th and 29th in São Paulo with Glen Hansard.

For full information on ticket sales including pre-sales for Ten Club members and Citibank members, head to Pearl Jam's website.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

New Pearl Jam Bootleg Boxes

The Ten Club announced that the 2015 and 2016 bootleg series are now available in collectible boxed sets.

The 2015 boxed set includes nine shows (no Global Citizens Festival in New York) and will set you back $125 (+ $10.99 domestic S&H).

The 2016 boxed set includes 24 shows (no Nashville show at Third Man Records) and will cost $325 (+ $10.99 domestic S&H).

Both boxes are expected to start shipping in January 2018.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Pearl Jam Flash Sale

To help you get ready for Christmas, the Ten Club is having a sale.  They've also introduced a couple of nice, new items.
New items include a Pearl Jam/Seattle flag ($40 + $7.99 domestic S+H) that supports ArtsCorps and two Let's Play Two slipmats ($10 + $6.99 domestic S+H).

You can also score a whole mess of apparel and posters at sale prices.  Pearl Jam is calling it a "Flash" sale, but doesn't specify how long it will last.  However, orders for Christmas must be placed by December 8th.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Europe 2018!

Ending the worst kept secret in Pearl Jam history, the Ten Club has announced that Pearl Jam will be touring Europe this coming summer.  Fourteen dates in June and July are listed below.  Fan Club members have received an e-mail giving them four days to enter a drawing for their tickets of choice.  General public ticket sales information is available here.

June 12: Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Ziggo Dome
June 15: Landgraaf, The Netherlands, Pinkpop Festival
June 18: London, England, O2 Arena
June 19: London, England, O2 Arena
June 22: Milan, Italy, I-Days Festival at Area Expo
June 24: Padova, Italy, Stadio Euganeo
June 26: Rome, Italy, Stadio Olimpico
July 1: Prague, Czech Republic, O2 Arena
July 3: Kraków, Poland, Tauron Arena Kraków
July 5: Berlin, Germany, Waldbühne
July 7: Werchter, Belgium, Rock Werchter Festival
July 10: Barcelona, Spain, Palau St. Jordi
July 12: Madrid, Spain, Mad Cool Festival
July 14: Lisbon, Portugal, NOS Alive Festival