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FALL ARTS 2015: Triumphant returns?

Janet, Adele, Beiber and others prep fall releases

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Duran Duran returns Sept. 18 with its 14th studio album. (Photo by Stephanie Pistel)

Leading the pack for highly anticipated new releases this fall is British songstress Adele, who will reportedly release “25” in November. She’s been working with hitmakers Danger Mouse, Max Martin, Tobias Jesso Jr. and Ryan Tedder, so the heavy guns are out to make sure it’s a worthy follow-up to the mega-smash “21.”

The other big pop releases this fall are due from Justin Bieber, whose as-yet-untitled album is expected sometime in November, and dance/pop icon Janet Jackson, who will release “Unbreakable,” her first new album in over seven years, on Oct. 2.

In addition to these, there are plenty of other new releases on the horizon that should appeal to just about any taste. Animal Collective is issuing a new live album recorded in D.C. earlier this summer, “Live at 9:30,” which is available for digital download or in a limited edition vinyl set. On Sept. 11, piano-rocker Ben Folds is back with “So There” and acclaimed blues guitarist Gary Clark Jr. returns with “The Story of Sonny Boy Slim,” along with new offerings by ‘90s folk-pop staple Jewel and pop vocalist Leona Lewis. Norwegian legends a-ha also returns five years after announcing their retirement with a comeback album, “Cast in Steel.” Grammy-winning UK singer/songwriter Jess Glynn is out with her solo debut album “I Cry When I Laugh” also on the 11th.

Sept. 18 is a big release date, with British pop legends Duran Duran back with their 14th studio album, “Paper Gods.” The album is produced by Mark Ronson and Nile Rodgers, and includes the first single “Pressure Off,” featuring a guest appearance by Janelle Monáe. Lana Del Rey returns with her eagerly anticipated third album “Honeymoon,” and Mac Miller is back with “Good A.M.” Also due on the 18th is the latest by new wave revivalists Metric, “Pagans in Vega,” and the latest solo album by Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour, “Rattle That Lock.” Speaking of legendary guitarists, Keith Richards will hit on the same date with his third solo effort, “Crosseyed Heart.”

Sept. 25 is perhaps the biggest day of the fall for big new releases. The British electronic dance duo Disclosure will follow-up its acclaimed debut “Settle” with “Caracal,” and once again they feature talented guest vocalists — this time Sam Smith is joined by Lorde, the Weeknd and Miguel. The Scottish synth-pop group Chvrches release their second album “Every Open Eye.” The outrageous electro-punk pioneer Peaches is back with “Rub.” New Order returns with “Music Complete,” their first new studio album in a decade. New albums by Kurt Vile, the Dears, Darkstar, Los Lobos, Silversun Pickups, the Game, the Dead Weather and Widespread Panic are also expected Sept. 25.

EDM superstar Avicii will follow-up his smash 2013 release “Time” with “Stories,” due Oct. 2. Pop vocalist Matt Nathanson also returns on Oct. 2 with “Show Me Your Fangs.” ‘90s rockers Collective Soul hits the same day with “See What You Started by Continuing,” along with British post-punk revivalists Editors, “In Dream” and songwriter John Grant’s latest “Grey Tickles, Black Pressure,” the follow-up to 2013’s acclaimed “Pale Green Ghosts.” Girls Names, Children of Bodom, Autre Ne Veut, Eagles of Death Metal and Wavves also have new releases due on the 2nd.

Legendary songstress Tori Amos will release the cast recording to the musical she co-wrote with Samuel Adamson, “The Light Princess,” on Oct. 9. Progressive rockers Coheed and Cambria will release their latest on the same date, “The Color Before the Sun.” Also due that day are new offerings by Toby Keith, Selena Gomez, a live album by Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, and the latest by electronic indie-pop group City and Colour, “If I Should Go Before You.”

Later in the fall we can expect new albums by Carrie Underwood, “Storyteller,” indie-folk heroine Joanna Newsom, Vanessa Carlton, Rod Stewart, the return of ‘90s R&B combo SWV, the first album by New Zealand rockers the Chills in two decades, Puscifer, and Seal. Also expected are big-name titles from Bloc Party, Christina Aguilera, Crystal Castles, Panic! At The Disco, Deftones, PJ Harvey, Don Henley, Rihanna, Drake, Santigold, Frank Ocean, Gwen Stefani, Incubus, Haim, Tim McGraw, Grimes, Demi Lovato, Gorillaz, Jennifer Nettles, Kanye West (possibly 2016), M.I.A., Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, T-Pain, T.I., Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, TLC, Kings of Leon, GZA, James Blake, Metronomy, and Cee Lo Green, none of which have official release dates yet.

Autumn is a great time for archival releases, and this year is no exception. Save up your funds for a couple big ticket items coming in September. On the 25th, British supergroup Queen will issue an 18-LP set of all their albums on deluxe colored vinyl called “The Studio Collection,” but be prepared to pay about $450. The same day,  David Bowie will unleash the first of a series of lavish box sets: “Five Years (1969 to 1973),” which will included remastered versions of all of his album releases during that period as well as a two-disc set of rarities and b-sides. Velvet Underground will release a massive 45th anniversary edition of “Loaded” on Oct. 30. A deluxe two-disc 20th anniversary edition of Alanis Morissette’s iconic “Jagged Little Pill” is set for release on Oct. 30 (yes, it’s been 20 years!). It will include a remastered version of the original album plus a selection of unreleased tracks selected personally by Morissette from her archives. Garbage will also celebrate the 20th anniversary of their self-titled debut with a deluxe three-LP edition complete with a bonus disc containing b-sides.

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Music & Concerts

DC Different Drummers Jazz Band to perform ‘Oasis’

Performance by combo ‘2nd Independence’ scheduled

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The DC Different Drummers Jazz Band will perform on Sunday, Oct. 16 at 3 p.m. at Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Central Library.

This concert, titled “The Oasis,” will feature the 20-person big band playing jazz pieces in a variety of styles, from swing to bossa nova to jazz fusion and more. There will also be a performance from the improvisational jazz combo, 2nd Independence.

Admission is free and more details are available on the event’s website

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Music & Concerts

D.C.’s live music venues are jumpin’ again

Lizzo, B-52s, and Bob Mould all coming to town this fall

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Lizzo brings her ‘Special Tour’ to D.C. this fall. (Photo by DFree/Bigstock)

As summer comes to a close, many venues across the DMV are gearing up for their fall entertainment rosters. Below is a list of must-see music acts in the upcoming months.

Mary J. Blige brings her “Good Morning Gorgeous” tour to Capital One Arena on Sunday, Sept. 18 at 7 p.m. Tickets start at $69.50 at Tickmaster.com.

Pet Shop Boys and New Order bring their “Unity Tour” to Columbia’s Merriweather Post Pavilion on Wednesday, Sept. 21 at 6:30 p.m. Tickets range from $29.50-169.50 at Merriweather’s website.

7th Annual Law Rocks Washington DC will be on Thursday, Sept. 22 at 6:30p.m. at 9:30 Club. Law Rocks toured first to D.C. in 2015 and has raised more than $615,000. Eight bands of musically brilliant legal professionals will be rocking out to support local nonprofit organizations. Tickets are available on Law Rocks’s website

Don’t miss out performer Lil Nas X at the Anthem on Sunday, Sept. 25 at 8 p.m.

Lizzo performs her “Special Tour” at Capital One Arena on Tuesday, Sept. 27. Tickets start at $69.50 at ticketmaster.com.

Panic at the Disco performs its “Viva Las Vengeance” tour at Capital One Arena on Saturday, Oct. 1 at 7 p.m.; tickets at ticketmaster.com.

The legendary B-52s kicked off their farewell tour earlier this summer and it comes to D.C.’s Anthem on Saturday, Oct. 1 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets at the Anthem site.

Two Feet: Fall Tour 2022 will be on Monday, Oct. 7 at 7 p.m. at 9:30 Club. Brothel will be the opening act. Tickets cost $25 and can be purchased on 9:30 Club’s website.

Santigold will be performing as part of her Holified Tour on Tuesday, Oct. 11 at 8 p.m. at the Fillmore in Silver Spring. Tickets start at $35 and can be purchased on the Fillmore’s website.  

Fairfax Symphony and Orchestra will be performing work from German composer Brahms and Sibelius on Saturday, Oct. 15 at 8 p.m. at Capital One Hall. Jeremy Denk will be on piano, and Christopher Zimmerman will music direct and conduct. Tickets start at $45 and can be purchased on Capital One Hall’s website

Judah & the Lion will be performing on Thursday, Oct. 13 at 8 p.m. at the Fillmore in Silver Spring. Tickets start at $35 and can be purchased on the Fillmore’s website

Grammy Award-winning singer Steve Lacy will be performing on Saturday, Oct. 15 at 8 p.m. at the Fillmore in Silver Spring. Tickets start at $235 and can be purchased on the Fillmore’s website

The Reston Chorale, Piedmont Symphony Orchestra and PSO Rock Band will perform “Bohemian Rhapsody: The Music Of Queen (And Friends)” on Sunday, Oct. 16 at 4 p.m. at Capital One Hall. The music acts will perform some of Queen’s greatest hits, including “We Will Rock You,” “We Are the Champions,” “Under Pressure,” and of course, “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Tickets start at $29 and can be purchased on Ticketmaster

Local gay favorite Bob Mould plays at Wolf Trap on Wednesday, Oct. 19 at 8 p.m.

The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington D.C. will be celebrating the life and legacy of actress Judy Garland with a cabaret titled “Judy” on Saturday, Oct. 22 at 5 p.m. (ASL) and 8 p.m. at Capital One Hall. Fourteen select soloists from the Chorus will share stories as they sing their favorite Judy tunes. Songs include “Over the Rainbow,” “The Trolley Song,” “Come Rain or Come Shine,” “The Man That Got Away,” and “Happy Days are Here Again.” Tickets cost $45 and can be ppurchased on GMCWDC’s website

Morrissey performs at the Anthem on Monday, Nov. 28 at 8 p.m.

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Music & Concerts

New Madonna remix collection solid but not exhaustive

Marred only by a few ’80s omissions, set is blazing history of club music’s evolution

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An all-vinyl edition of Madonna’s new remix collection ‘Finally Enough Love,’ sold out quickly, but the release is still available in several other formats, physical and digital. (Photo courtesy Warner/Rhino)

Madonna, though she has as many hit compilations as one would expect from an artist of her vintage and stature, has always seemed wary of looking back or indulging much degree of nostalgia about her career. 

As polarizing as her later albums sometimes are, one could never accuse her of cashing in, as so many veteran acts do, on tour after tour of the same old set list designed to hit all the obvious musical marks, please the most tepid of fans and make easy millions. But she has almost swung too far the other way. Hits sometimes have felt grudgingly performed at her live shows of the last, oh, 20 years or so, and have, at times, been so radically re-crafted — an approach that can be thrilling when it works, no doubt — the spirit of the original track has been sometimes painfully undercut.

All that to say, it’s fun to see Our Lady of the Remix — for whom in popdom is more deserving of that title? — look back so sumptuously with the Aug. 19 release of “Finally Enough Love: 50 Number Ones,” (☆☆☆ out of four) a new 50-track remix collection available digitally, in a three-disc CD set and a sold-out six-LP vinyl edition, as well as “Finally Enough Love,” a 16-track version on single CD, double vinyl and digitally. The releases are the first since it was announced last summer that Madonna was returning to her original label, Warner Records, in a new deal that would include a series of deluxe catalogue reissues. It celebrates her record-shattering span of 50 No. 1 hits on the Billboard U.S. Dance Songs Club chart, starting with “Holiday”/“Lucky Star” (only “Holiday” is here, though) in 1983 and culminating with “I Don’t Search I Find” in early 2020 from her 2019 album “Madame X.” The collection’s title is taken from that track. For context, those trailing her record of 50 No. 1 hits on that chart are Rihanna (33), Beyonce (22), Janet (20) and Katy Perry (19); Madonna’s record here is the most number ones by an artist/band on any Billboard chart ever.

It’s also especially nice to see since remixes have been so essential to Madonna’s career. The only time she ever released anything remotely akin to this before was either very early (1987’s “You Can Dance” remix album) or oddly random (the 2003 EP “Remixed & Revisited”). 

This collection is not, as one might guess, a collection of her all-time greatest remixes or even necessarily the versions of the songs that charted. Gen. Xers who gobbled up her maxi singles all through the ’90s and beyond will find their stash, if retained, are still the only sources (not counting unofficial YouTube postings) for classics such as the “Shep’s ‘Spressin’ Himself Re-remix” of “Express Yourself” from the “Justify My Love” maxi (also home to the deliciously weird “The Beast Within Mix”), the “Waiting” remix (a non-single) from the “Rain” maxi or any of the varied delights (e.g. “Madonna Gets Hardcore”) on the import “Bye Bye Baby” maxi. 

Even if you’re a completist of the highest order — and there certainly are folks like that in the Madonnaverse — your experience won’t be sullied or buoyed much by the mixes included or excluded. 

Tons of other remixes here are just slight variations of mixes we’ve heard before. I haven’t been following these releases like a hawk in recent years, but if you collected these in any capacity over the years, there will likely be a fresh balance of familiar and unfamiliar motifs and passages sprinkled throughout. 

Most of the remixes retain the bulk of the lyrics from the album versions and are tight edits (no 10-minute percussion solos). The earlier cuts on disc one are the least radical, a non-surprise considering remixing trends of the ’80s. And while many of these mixes are heretofore unreleased, they are nearly all vintage or, where tweaked, retain the spirit of their album counterparts. There’s no radical thumpa-thumpa version of “Everybody” or “Material Girl,” for example; disc three, containing the newest material, is by far the most pounding/rave-influenced. 

Standouts for me were the loungy, uptempo-yet-chill vibe of the “Underground Club Mix” of “Erotica” (straight from the vintage “Erotica” maxi), the “PSB Maxi Mix Edit” of “Sorry,” (until now, a promo-only mix), the “Eddie Amador Club 5 Edit” of “Give it 2 Me,” (vintage, but never commercially available until now) and “Avicii’s UMF Mix” of “Girl Gone Wild,” which features a spidery instrumental motif that could almost work as a fugal theme.

As a whole, however, there are a few impediments to the way this all goes down, especially if you listen straight through. A few tracks — e.g. the “Sasha Ultra Violet Mix Edit” of “Ray of Light” with its sputtery beat pattern or the loungy, uber-chill vibe of the “Bob Sinclar Space Funk Edit” of “4 Minutes” (this edit of which was only ever previously released on a 12” vinyl picture disc) — give needed contrast to the mostly unrelenting 4/4 beat patterns. But after a while, especially on discs two and three, it all starts sounding like little more than “Hooked on Madonna,” of the famous “Hooked on Classics” series from the ’80s, which set classical themes to dance beats. Of course, some of that is to be expected given the nature of the release, but as an actual experience, it’s occasionally tedious. 

And while the DJs are all obviously talented and at times quite creative, by the middle of disc two, one starts wondering if a wiz/nerd with access to the stems could have almost come up with something just as good on a Yamaha Clavinova or the like. Almost. 

It also moves a lot faster through her catalogue than you might guess. Since classics like “Papa Don’t Preach” and La Isla Bonita” were not No. 1 dance hits, we get to “Like a Prayer” and “Vogue” barely halfway through disc one. 

When a non-Madonna-penned single pops up — Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina” (from “Evita”) or Don McLean’s “American Pie” (from “The Next Best Thing”), they jump out as markedly better examples of songcraft than just about anything Madonna ever came up with herself. Going straight from “Pie” to “Music,” one of M’s most lyrically insipid compositions ever to my ear, is especially painful. For sure, there are dozens of pop masterpieces here, but the covers tend to accentuate the froth on cuts like “Turn Up the Radio” or “Jump.” 

On the brighter side, however, the vocals sound stronger and sweeter than I recalled. Yeah, they’re likely auto-tuned and otherwise studio sweetened, but there were several passages — “Nothing Really Matters,” “Keep it Together,” “Deeper and Deeper” — when it’s clear Madonna is a better studio singer than she ever gets credit for.

Booklets, too, are thorough and nicely done with detailed track info and pics of all her single artwork. 

While there are 50 tracks here, the math is a bit fuzzy. “Angel,” which charted jointly with its flip side “Into the Groove,” is absent as is “Causing a Commotion,” which had a vinyl Record Store Day release back in April, though it’s annoying it’s not here. Because “You Can Dance” topped the chart as an entire album and the Britney duet “Me Against the Music” was not from a Madonna project, there’s a little wiggle room numerically in how this set was curated. 

Madonna’s new remix album ‘Finally Enough Love’ collects vintage mixes of her many hits, but often in slightly different versions from what has previously been commercially available. (Photo courtesy Warner/Rhino)
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