“Abbey Road” for Rock Band available today!

Abbey Road

As of today, you can download the Beatles’ final masterpiece, Abbey Road, in its entirety for The Beatles: Rock Band.

For PS3 and XBox 360, the tracks will be offered up in two ways: Fans of Side A but not Side B — if those people actually exist — can buy “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer,” “Oh! Darling” and “Because” as standalone download. However, if you want those three songs and all 16 glorious minutes of the Abbey Road medley, plus all 23 seconds of “Her Majesty,” you can purchase the complete album pack for $16.99. Wii will offer up the three songs plus “You Never Give Me Your Money” as $2 a la carte downloads (”Her Majesty” will run $1) except for the medley, which will be divided into three multi-song downloads at $3.50 each.

But why stop there? Harmonix and MTV Games will release Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band in November and Rubber Soul in November for download.

Personally, I think they should get on Help.


Liam Finn & Eliza Jane: Champagne in Seashells

RIYL: Crowded House, The Beatles, Oasis

Liam Finn, son of Crowded House’s Neil Finn, is back with a five song EP that is somewhat of a follow-up to his critically acclaimed 2008 release, I’ll Be Lightning. And when Paste says that 2008 project “could be an Abbey Road outtake,” quite honestly, where do you go from there? So Finn did the smart thing and teamed up with band mate and fellow Aussie singer/songwriter Eliza Jane Barnes to create something of a diversion. The result is Champagne in Seashells, and it’s not totally what you might expect by pairing a male and female singer/songwriter together. In fact, “Long Way to Go” is more like bouncy hipster fare – you know, the kind of thing you might hear in a clothing store in New York City and think to yourself that you have to find out what that ear candy is you’re listening to. But there is also rainy day brooding as on “Won’t Change My Mind,” and Eliza proves she is every bit worthy of being in Finn’s company when she takes the lead on “On Your Side.”

Liam Finn Eliza Jane

Side project or not, this is a damn good EP and proof that the Finn genes are also, well, damn good. (Yep Roc 2009)

Finn/Jane Website


“The Beatles in Mono” box set getting more love than expected

Within a few years time, I’m sure there will be another influx of Beatles-related reissues, movies, documentaries, video games, etc. Right now, however, it all seems appropriate. Granted, I know hordes of individuals are making bank off the Beatles’ legacy, despite there being only two surviving members. It’s hard to even care though, considering the amazing music they left behind. It’s been a pure joy to watch this Beatles week on VH1. I know everything is tied together with the anticipation of The Beatles: Rock Band and the EMI remasters of their entire catalogue, but it seems fueled by a genuine excitement and gratitude for the music.

While those popular remasters will be in stereophonic sound, receiving less attention is “The Beatles in Mono” box set, which also hits street retailers on September 9th. EMI had originally planned to only release 10,000 copies of the box set for the U.S. market. Unsurprisingly, pre-orders shot through the roof and they’re going to expand that number.

This may be where The Beatles in Mono comes into its own. At first glance, it looks an extravagant frippery: a £240 11-CD box set, featuring perfect miniature reproductions of albums pristinely remastered in a sonic format rendered obsolete almost half a century ago. But until 1969, the Beatles were disinterested in stereo: they oversaw the mono mixes of their albums, then left the rest to George Martin. The box set can thus proudly claim to offer “the closest you can get to hearing the authentic sound of the Beatles”. On the later albums, that amounts to a handful of cosmetic differences: if it’s striking to hear Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds with added psychedelic phasing effects, it doesn’t radically alter your perception of the song. The early albums, however, are transformed.

Hardcore Beatles fans and audiophiles tend to favor the monophonic production of their first four albums over the stereophonic albums that followed. If you care to read more about the debate, check out this link. I have a record player and can notice slight differences in the production of the mono and stereo LPs. Nevertheless, you’ll need a receiver with a channel switcher to get an obvious presentation. If not, a good old pair of headphones will do when comparing both formats of a song.


George Harrison: Let it Roll: Songs By George Harrison

When talking about the Beatles, most people think about the two main singer/songwriters in Paul McCartney and John Lennon. But guitarist/songwriter George Harrison was no slouch, and he certainly went on to have many years of success after the big breakup. In fact, Harrison had four Number One singles on the Billboard pop charts, and any fan of his music with or without the Beatles is going to have to own this encompassing collection of the man’s big hits, Let it Roll: Songs by George Harrison. There are tracks like “My Sweet Lord,” “Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth) and “Got My Mind Set On You,” as well as live versions of Beatles classics that he wrote such as “Something,” “Here Comes the Sun” and “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” There are also some of the more obscure beauties, like “All Things Must Pass” and the pure ear candy of “This is Love.” There is also “Marwa Blues,” a stunning instrumental that showcases Harrison’s unique guitar tone and the way that he could, well, make that thing just weep. If you’ve been a fan from the beginning, you probably already own this album, but if you’re less in tune with the man’s work and you love timeless pop, it’s a classic that you just need to have. (LABEL: Capitol)

Amazon link


Dhani Harrison talks up the Beatles’ “Rock Band”

Dhani Harrison…yes, you may know him as George’s son…has been making the press rounds, talking up You Are Here, the album by his band, thenewno2. While doing so, however, it hasn’t exactly required a great deal of arm-twisting to get him to chat about how he had more than a little bit to do with the folks at Apple Corps agreeing to license the Beatles’ music for their very own volume of “Rock Band.” But that’s fair enough, since “Yomp,” a song by thenewno2, was released as downloadable content for “Rock Band” on July 29, 2008, and another track, “Crazy Tuesday,” was released as one of 20 free songs for “Rock Band 2.”

“I basically did that for Apple,” admitted Harrison, “so that they could see it and say, ‘Oh, look, there’s Dhani, he’s a new media kind of person, and this is how he’s selling his stuff. Maybe we should consider doing that with the Beatles, seeing as we don’t have any digital deal or anything.'”

The Beatles’ “Rock Band” evolved out of several meetings Harrison had with Alex Rigopulos, co-founder of Harmonix Music Systems, the developers of “Rock Band.”

“He’s a genius,” said Harrison, “just the loveliest, loveliest guy. We were sitting around one day, and he just said to me, ‘Do you think they would ever go for a Beatle game?’ And I was thinking the same thing to talk to him about! ‘It would be amazing, wouldn’t it?’ I said to him. Actually, I think I said, ‘It would be amazing because I could kick your ass at ‘I Am the Walrus’ while dressed as a wizard in Shea Stadium.’

“Do you know what I mean? Or I could put on the ice skating outfit from ‘Help!’ and then beat you at ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ in the universe somewhere. I don’t know. Just make up whatever you can; ‘I Am the Walrus’ at the Cavern Club, even. Wouldn’t that be fun? And we both just started riffing on that kind of stuff until we both just were in hysterics, and it was obviously a brilliant idea, but I said, ‘Well, that’s never going to happen, is it?’ And he said, ‘No, it’s never going to happen.’ I said, ‘But I should talk to the guys from Apple, anyway. Because it is actually a no-brainer. It is the biggest no-brainer that I’ve ever, ever thought about, and if Apple don’t go for it, then they are shooting themselves in the foot, because someone else is going to do it. Someone else is going to get their own game.

“In the way the media works these days, in the way that music delivery systems work these days, I find it quite often best to be first,” Harrison explained. “If you were the first person ever to design an application for the iPhone and you patented it, you would be very, very better off than we are right now, you know? But you’ve got to be the first one to do it. So I figured that Led Zeppelin or The Stones were going to do it unless we just got on to it. So I got cracking with the guys from Apple. I kind of almost bullied them into believing how amazing it was. They really didn’t need much convincing if you looked to the fourth quarter, the month of December 2007, I think they sold something like 10,000,000 units of ‘Guitar Hero 2’ in just one month, and they are $50.00 each. I said, ‘If you do the math, if you go 50/50 with ‘Rock Band’ and you sell a Beatles ‘Rock Band’ game, that’s a big deal’ you know. And not to mention that, once the game is made, you can just keep adding songs to it. You could do the Bangladesh pack, you could do the ‘Live and Let Die’ pack, you could do the ‘Imagine’ pack…”

Are you salivating yet? Better clean yourself up. You’ve got ’til September 9th until the Beatles’ “Rock Band” hits stores.


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