Saturday, November 25, 2017


There are definitely some bad things in this Godforsaken world, but there are some good things too.

On one hand, Donald Trump (probably inspired by Australia) is fucking over refugees, seeking to abolish Internet freedom and escalating actions causing runaway climate change. On the other, there is a reasonable chance his administration could provoke a nuclear war with North Korea and thus end our suffering.

On one hand, the Western Sydney Wanderers have scored in every single first half of their games this A-League season. On the other, they have conceded in every single second half, condemning us a seemingly endless stream of infuriating draws.

On one hand, Tom Waits has not released a new album since 2011, on the other his brilliantly remastered version of 2004's Real Gone has just been made public!

This is very exciting news from the greatest living songwriter and innovative performer. I have a soft spot for Real Gone. Coming out a year or two after I fell in love with Waits' music, it was his first album I bought when it actually came out. Original and innovative (his only album without piano and featuring beatboxing at points) it remains one of his more underrated offerings.

It is also his most political -- and sadly the brilliant anti-war tracks "The Day After Tomorrow" and the the savage "Hoist That Rag" have not got less relevant. In fact, with a landscape of permanent war  (and with the US occupation of Afghanistan now its longest overseas military conflict ever), the sheer timelessness of "The Day After Tomorrow" (written so it could be about any war in history) feels even more poignant.

And let's not even get started on the 10 minute epic of "Sins of the Father", in part a take down of the corruption, venality and incompetence of the then-Bush administration. That is a situation that has only, somehow, degenerated even further.

Announcing the release, Waits' website says of the remastered product: "Some of the new mixes are radical transformations from the original versions and the whole album crackles and steams with fuller intensity and more vivid intimacy."

JamBase says:
Utilizing the original master tapes, Waits and his longtime collaborator and wife Kathleen Brennan prepared the updated version of Real Gone. The new edition is said to be, “a rare look into the creative process of the influential artist taking an opportunity to re-investigate a pivotal work …"

You can hear it at Spotify or stream or buy it here.

And ... well... it sounds fucking amazing. The sound is universally richer, often it feels like more space s have been created the mix or in some places a bit of a jazz vibe created. Other times, entire different sections are either brought out in the mix or seemingly added in. 

The remixing varies in its impact from turning "Shake It" into significantly different (and improved) track, to adding whole new elements at crucial points to expand the sound of already strong tracks (like "Hoist That Rag", the album's stand-out song that now features a horn section that creates a great interplay with Marc Ribot's awesome guitar playing, or "The Day After Tomorrow"), through to songs that sound only lightly touched, like "How's It Gonna End" or "Dead and Lovely".

Overall, it sounds fantastic and there isn't a song made weaker by the process. An already good album has been improved.

Best of all... THIS IS JUST THE START! His 2002 albums Alice and Blood Money have also been remastered and are ready to be released. Next month, a remastered version of Mule Variations is set to come out. So keep an eye on

And OK sure, an album of all-new music would be even better. But you can't have everything BECAUSE THAT'S JUST HOW THE WORLD WORKS, KIDS.

You can have great remastered versions of entire Tom Waits' albums, but then again the world will also keep being destroyed by corporate parasites and also there is still no new Tom Waits album since 2011. So just take what you can while you can because you'll soon be dead, and by "you" I mean the entire planet.


While Australian singer Nick Cave ignores the pleas of Palestinians and plays Israel, Tom Waits has taken a different path.

Waits has re-recorded the piano to his hauntingly melancholic classic "Innocent When You Dream" for British artist Banksy to use at his art installation in the West Bank -- the "Walled Off Hotel", which has the "world's worst views" as it looks out straight onto Israel's Apartheid wall.

Consequence of Sound explains:

Waits re-recorded “Innocent When You Dream”, from his 1987’s Franks Wild Years, to be played aloud at the piano bar at Banksy’s West Bank hotel. He explained in a statement, writing, “The Irish are no strangers to strife and division, and Waits selected this Irish tinged waltz because of its lyrical and wistful mix of regret and dreams for a world without walls.” 
Watch a video of the song being played aloud here.

No comments:

Post a Comment