Tuesday, July 31, 2012

"a hauntological last hurrah"--The Quietus reports on The Ghosts of Bush House, a project in which a  fellow who works as a studio manager tat he BBC World Service, which is being decimated by huge cuts, went around its soon-to-be-closed HQ at Bush House on the Strand and recorded nocturnal atmospheres and reverberationa, which he then wove them into a H-ological mood-piece. He also worked in elements taken from "the World Service’s ancient reel-to-reels", an echo perhaps of My Life in the Bush of Ghosts.  This chap usually goes by the moniker Robin the Fog but the artist name he's going by for this project is The Fog Signals.

"I was working a lot of nightshifts... and as a result would often have the place largely to myself during the small hours of the morning. On my journeys around Bush House...  I used to love listening to all the sounds around me: the creaks and rumbles of the old building echoed up and down the stairwells and through the corridors, even the most mundane of noises suddenly taking on a new significance in the half-light. Like so many historic buildings around London, Bush House is constructed of Portland Stone, which is a wonderfully resonant material to work with... the stone construction of the walls coupled with the high ceilings gave you this extraordinary reverb. I would whistle to myself on the landings and then listen as the whistle fluttered round the space for what seemed like an eternity, transforming as it did so into something much stranger, as if the building was adding a few tones of its own. I liked to think these were the sounds Bush House made when it thought nobody was listening!

"No artificial echo or electronic effects were used in the making of the album... These are genuinely the sounds of the space."

Ghosts of Bush's chimes with the H-ological preoccupation with the Public Sphere as something that's faded away, something to mourn... but also to celebrate/cherish/protect as per Danny Boyle's Olympics ceremony.

"I’m an ardent believer in the World Service and in public service broadcasting in general. It’s an incredible ambassador for British affairs and is renowned for its integrity and trusted the world over."

"The nicest compliments of all have been those who compared it to the produce of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, an organization which has been a huge influence on my work and which I always used to fantasize about joining, despite its closing almost a decade before I joined the BBC."

You can listen to and name-your-price purchase The Ghosts of Bush House here. "All proceeds will be donated to BBC Media Action (formerly The World Service Trust), helping in their mission to 'harness the power of media and communication to help reduce poverty and assist women, children and men to claim their rights'."

Monday, July 30, 2012

Never heard this, or even heard of this, until today. Retro angle: covering one band in the style of another (Stones somewhere between Sticky Fingers and Exile)

Friday, July 27, 2012

RIP İlhan Mimaroğlu

audio interview with  İlhan Mimaroğlu

this seems to be one of the templates, musically / vibeologically, if not the video particularly

and i guess we're sons and daughters of a loop da loop era in a different sense now - time circles, retrochronia, deja voodoo

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

When Yesterday Comes 
and won't stop coming, and coming, and coming...

Bourgeoiseaux with a deep reading of Erika Spring's Eighties-ism (including a cover of Eurythmics's "When Tomorrow Comes")

including the idea of the Eighties As the Decade that Owns Glamour, the music as re-blog syndrome, and Baudrillard's "precession of simulacra"...

Patrick Bateman/American Psycho and Phil Collins's "I Don't Care Anymore" rear their ugly heads too

as does Destroyer's Kaputt

(how i remember the queer feeling that came over me listening to that for the first time,  hearing those very precise guitar-texturings and chord sequences modeled exactly on Prefab's Steve McQueen -  this sweet sickly poisoned pleasure filled my body)

more thoughts from Lindsay Zoladz at Pitchfork

listen to the Erika Spring EP here

further reading: Jean Baudrillard - Simulacra and Simulations - II. History: A Retro Scenario

Sunday, July 22, 2012

"I used to think this obsession was mine alone. But now nearly everyone I know — and by that I mean everyone who spends vast, barren tundras of time at her computer — goes to Web sites like these to escape, destress, perk up, calm down, feel something, not feel something, distract themselves and (they don’t call it “lifestyle pornography” for nothing) modulate pleasure and arousal. A friend of a friend calls his addiction to sites like these “avenues for procrastination,” but I think there’s something else involved. Like other forms of pastiche — the mix tape, the playlist, the mash-up — these sites force you to engage and derive meaning or at least significance or at the very least pleasure from a random grouping of pictures. Why not dive into an alternative world full of beauty and novelty and emotion and the hard-to-put-your-finger-on feeling that there’s something more, somewhere, where you’re not chained to your laptop, half dead from monotony, frustration and boredom?"

 "Perhaps there’s a neurological component to all this; to the sudden rise of the mood board as mood regulator, a kind of low-dose visual lithium. And have no fear, the new field of neuroaesthetics, which investigates the neural basis for aesthetic experience, is all over it....  what we’re seeking while idly yet compulsively cruising Pinterest is really just the reliably unpredictable jumble of emotions that their wistful, quirky juxtapositions evoke...

"There’s a German word for it, of course: Sehnsucht, which translates as “addictive yearning.” This is, I think, what these sites evoke: the feeling of being addicted to longing for something; specifically being addicted to the feeling that something is missing or incomplete. The point is not the thing that is being longed for, but the feeling of longing for the thing. And that feeling is necessarily ambivalent, combining both positive and negative emotions. A paper titled “What Is It We Are Longing For?” ... breaks down these “life longings” into essential characteristics. They target aspects of our lives that “are incomplete or imperfect”; involve “overly positive, idealized, utopian imaginations of these missing aspects”; focus on “incompleteness on the one hand and fantasies about ideal, alternative realities on the other hand”; result in a “temporarily complex experience” combining “memories of the past, reflections on the imperfect present and fantasies about an idealized future” (this is called “tritime focus”); and that “make individuals reflect on and evaluate their life, comparing the status quo with ideals or successful others.

"In other words, your average Pinterest board or inspiration Tumblr basically functions as a longing machine."  

see also: a dude kidding himself  

Saturday, July 21, 2012

"Fashioned with a veneer of innocence yet painfully burdened with knowledge... Giving myself up to it, the way I'd surrender to Dionne Warwick singing Burt Bacharch, is impossible."

That's from a David Toop review of a record by Cornelius (from The Wire, January 2002) that prefigures some of the concerns of Retromania and specifically the chapter on Japanese pop culture and mimesis


Thursday, July 19, 2012

more thoughts about the catalogue > current phenomenon



there's an album 1982: Dishonourable Discharge coming soon

but if 1982 is the time coordinate, that tracks me as much of Shockabilly as Bad Brains

[via Ad Hoc]

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Nothing to do with "retro" at all really, but a deliciously mordant piece at the New Yorker by Jeffrey Toobin, arguing that Mitt Romney has "a record of consistency in his commitment to retroactive retirement"

Monday, July 16, 2012


following their Monumental Retro-Avant-Garde show at the Tate, Laibach continue in the retro-repro zone with new compilation-not-compilation Reproduction Prohibited

from the press release
Opening with their interpretation of Mute’s first release, The Normal’s Warm Leatherette (here translated as Warme Lederhaut, Laibach premiered the track at the Short Circuit presents Mute festival, Roundhouse in May 2011), the tracklisting demonstrates Laibach’s unique take on the cover version.

From the sublime, Laibach’s interpretation on The Beatles Across The Universe would melt even the toughest of hearts, to their bombastic cover of Europe’s Final Countdown, this is a window into Laibach’s own view of pop music, and to the humour that permeates their work.

Reproduction Prohibited features two tracks from Volk (2006), Laibach’s album of reinterpretations of national anthems which uncovers the violence and the pop intrinsic in the national anthem, surely the ultimate pop song. Here Germania reinterprets Das Lied der Deutschen, originally written in 1797 and used after World War I as the national anthem of the German Empire at the time of the Weimar Republic, while Anglia uses John Bull’s God Save The Queen as its inspiration.

Mama Leone, perhaps not familiar to many in its original version, sold over 20 million copies when it itself was covered by Bino in the late 70s. B Maschina, written and performed by popular Slovenian rock group Siddharta, who asked Laibach to remix or remake their song, was originally released on 2003’s WAT. An additionally remixed version is also featured in the soundtrack to IRON SKY (directed by Timo Vuorensola), a dark science fiction comedy about Nazis invading earth in 2018, after escaping to the Dark Side of the Moon in 1945.

Pop references itself when Laibach take on Juno Reactor’s God Is God, which was itself influenced by Laibach’s cover of Austrian group Opus’ Live Is Life, included here in English ‘symphonic’ version (titled Opus Dei), and in German version, translated as Leben Heisst Leben. Laibach’s version of God is God was also released before Juno Reactor’s released their own, so many people still believe that Laibach’s version is the original one and Juno’s version a cover. 

Elsewhere on the album, Laibach tackle The Beatles and Queen. Taken from Laibach’s album Let It Be, Across The Universe and Get Back both feature, and Queen’s hit song One Vision is here translated into a German Geburt Einer Nation (The Birth of the Nation). The choice of a language, title as well as the genre of interpretation here all reveal themselves as powerful instruments!

Bruderschaft, written by Laibach is included here as a double twist cover. Laibach were invited to cover a Kraftwerk song for a compilation. But instead doing a straight Kraftwerk cover, the band decided to rearrange Laibach’s own - original - song from 83’, known as Brat Moj (Brother of Mine) in German, with the carefully reconstructed Kraftwerkian sounds.

The CD cover art of the ‘An Introduction To…Laibach’, titled ‘REPRODUCTION PROHIBITED’ was painted by member(s) of the group in 1981 as the interpretation of the famous Rene Magritte’s work, ‘Not to be Reproduced’, from 1937. 

The mirror, a fragile and sometimes distorted reflection of reality, was of great interest to Magritte, as it is to Laibach.  When viewing one of his images, or when listening to Laibach’s covers, there is a sense that a content, placed within a frame/the context, might, by a twist of perception, be seen as a reflection in the mirror, a perception that suddenly turns the space of the picture/song inside-out. 

By quoting and interpreting this significant work by Magritte, Laibach offer a clear tool, if not a perfect key, how to solve the riddle of understanding their method, their philosophy and their humour in cover versions, as we hear them on this album.

WARME LEDERHAUT – cover of The Normal’s Warm Leatherette
BALLAD OF A THIN MAN – cover of Bob Dylan
GERMANIA – Version of German national anthem, from the album Volk 
ANGLIA – Version of British national anthem, from the album Volk
MAMA LEONE – originally recorded by schlager legend Drafi Deutscher, made famous by Bino  
B MASHINA – remixed version featured on Iron Sky OST, written by Tomi Meglic (Siddharta)
BRUDERSCHAFT – Laibach composition, from Trans Slovenia Express Vol. 2
GOD IS GOD – by Juno Reactor, originally inspired by Life Is Life, from Jesus Christ Superstars
FINAL COUNTDOWN – classic Laibach cover, originally recorded by Europe
ALLE GEGEN ALLE – originally recorded by labelmates DAF
ACROSS THE UNIVERSE – originally recorded by The Beatles
GET BACK – originally recorded by The Beatles
LEBEN HEISST LEBEN – cover of Opus’ Live Is Life, from Opus Dei
GEBURT EINER NATION – cover of Queen’s One Vision, from Opus Dei 1987
OPUS DEI – cover of Opus’ Live is Life

“The cover version can be seen as a cynical populist tactic by artists lacking in originality, a gesture of contempt or as a respectful example of good taste and seriousness. Laibach's open rejection of originality makes the first view irrelevant and the new originals are too ambivalent to be either entirely contemptuous or totally respectful. A Laibachised song is sometimes more kitsch, sometimes more serious and sometimes more emotional than the “old original” it is based on. Laibachisation re- and de-animates a song, reviving it for long enough to dispatch it again.” – Alexei Monroe, author of Interrogation Machine: Laibach and NSK, from the Reproduction Prohibited sleevenotes

Friday, July 13, 2012

"In With The Old" -- Phil at, er, The Phil Zone, on the catalogue records outselling current releases phenomenon

Which he argues is really down to the fact that "music is no longer the driver of a youth culture which in itself no longer seems to have any inherent, coherent sense of direction", which he further relates to "the process that affects all physical and biological phenomena on Planet Earth, which is the process of entropification - the natural movement to a state of randomness and disorder."

He wonders if the concept of entropy figures in Retromania, and it does, if somewhat shifted in emphasis, as hyper-stasis. But unlike Phil's great description of cultural entropy as "a voidal stasis in which endless diversity is experienced as uniform blandness" the difference here is the hyper-ness: the roil of micro-genres that keep emerging but never quite take-off (but equally, never go away  completely... instead they rise and dip away and rise again (look at black metal's serial ascents to prominence across 20 years of existence, or the strange trajectory of grime).


One of the few 21st Century candidates when it comes to linearity in the old fashioned sense (musical evolution, audience expansion, crossover into unconquered territories) is dubstep. The original fans of course see the path taken by the sound through wobble into brostep as a devolution. But (c.f. rave>jungle and techno>gabba in the 90s, or indeed the history of metal itself), devolution is still a form of linearity.

Bass-tardisation is a direction. In this case (brostep), it is also -- as a centripetal, scene-forming/genre-conforming drive -- a force working against entropy. In favour of massification. Just look at the scale of the raves in America now.  

This is a New Thing that is selling (but it's selling tickets, not records).

It also seems to be serving as the locus of generational identity.  Whether any content will emerge beyond "let's go crazy" and "the parents will find this incomprehensible" is yet to be seen.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

"Old Records Outselling New Records"

according to LA Weekly's Chris Kornelis

Hey, I predicted that in Retromania!  Or rather, speculated about it as a possible future scenario, extrapolating from current trends (i.e. where things were at in 2009-2010).

Judging by Kornelis's piece, it's happened much quicker than I imagined:

"The first six months of the year saw sales of 76.6 million catalog records -- industry-speak for albums released more than 18 months ago -- compared to 73.9 million current albums"

According to Nielsen Soundscan-watcher David Bakula, this has happened because of two factors:
"not having the big blockbuster new releases in the first half, and having very, very strong catalog".
The latter category includes Guns N' Roses' Greatest Hits and  four Whitney Houston albums.

Admittedly, the past has an advantage over the present, because catalogue LP and greatest hits collections are generally budget-priced, compared with full-price new releases. In penny-pinching times, that will incline punters to avoid new albums, or just opt for the track rather than take a punt on the whole LP (see the 10-fold disparity between the five million who downloaded "Somebody I Used To Know" versus the half-million who bought the Gotye album).

It could also be that the kind of people who still bother to buy music (either as physical CDs or legal downloads) are older, and thus skew away from buying new releases in favour of old favourites.


update: Maura Johnston at Village Voice has further thoughts on this topic:

1. Radio and other mass outlets are becoming way more conservative and focusing more on the past.  She notes that places like Target  give prominent display space to greatest-hits collections, big albums from established stars, while new releases get "comparatively puny" exposure. And radio, as
explained by Kornelis in a piece for the Seattle Weekly , is becoming "becoming more cautious with their playlists because of the Personal People Meter, Nielsen's new device for measuring ratings. Its data shows that people are more likely to switch channels when unfamiliar songs come on; the incentive to play new songs is, therefore, diminished from a business-side perspective."

2. The design of digital-music stores encourages people to stick with the familiar. "What with "personalization," spotlighting of the already-popular in order to assist people who might be interested in checking out that Adele lady, and having to cram a lot of information about new releases into a small space... finding truly new music is a tough row for people who aren't completely immersed in music....  Incentives like Amazon's crazy-deep discounting of certain releases only encourage this type of cocooning".

3. News has more of an effect on album sales than almost any music-centric promotional outlet these days. "Two of the five top catalog albums of 2012's first six months had Whitney Houston, who died in February, at their core; her greatest-hits collection sold 818,000 copies, making it the fourth-best-selling album of the year so far (behind Adele, Lionel Richie, and One Direction), and the soundtrack to The Bodyguard sold 202,000 copies....  just look at how record sales for Richie's new album Tuskegee, which is itself a record full of him remaking his old hits with current country stars, were boosted by a special reminding people of its existence airing on broadcast TV"

Maura also points out that Adele's 21, which is 2012's best-selling album even though it came out in 2011, has just flipped over into the "catalogue" category (18 months since release, which in its case was Jan 11 last year). That means that as it continues to sell and sell, the catalogue > current effect will only get worse during the second half of 2012.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

It's inspired by a new play called Maples and Vine that opened in San Francisco in April, whose protagonists have " become allergic to their fast-paced modern lives". After meeting "a charismatic man" who belongs to "the Society of Dynamic Obsolescence" they join a "community of 1950’s re-enactors"  who live in a "compulsively recreated world" that is "permanently ensconced in the year 1955 – the era of Eisenhower, cars with fins, A-line skirts, mayonnaise slathered casseroles and Lucky Strike cigarettes".  The period details are enforced by an Authenticity Committee. 

Along the way the Dandyism post mentions such parallels as the  Society for Creative Anachronism, the early 20th Century lifestyle living artists McDermott and McGough (as mentioned earlier in this blog), Johnny Stokes ("a San Francisco-born gentleman famous for tooling around the city in his vintage 1937 Buick in full Dashiell Hammett fig"),  the Art Deco Society, and the U.K.'s own  Chaps (also mentioned on this blog a while back in the same post as McDermott and McGough) and who are led by one Gustav Temple.   Dandyism notes how some have turned "retro-inspired lifestyles into successful businesses".

Is dandyism itself a form of -- if not retro or revivalism -- then anti-chronistic dissidence from the present, from a world that has lost touch with elegance and refinement?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Saint Etienne, Sassoon, and the Sixties
"Can you be wildly ahead of your time and hopelessly behind it, too?" asks David Colman in this New York Times Fashion & Style section piece  that's sort of about Saint Etienne but mainly about Sarah Cracknell's home in Oxfordshire, which is tricked out with a lot of Sixties artifacts and collectables. Prompting Colman to perorate: "in a world filled with practical, pedestrian stuff, why strive to live in the present? The past is not only prettier, it’s a lot less crowded."

Personally I'd have never have fingered Saint Et as that Sixties-fixated (it's just one of many moments in music they've been drawn to and have drawn from). Or even that retro-y (they've generally had their ears trained on what's going on now in pop just as much as they've rifled through the archives).

Cruel paradox: it's the very mod-ness and modernity and modernism of the Sixties that makes it so alluring, so tempting to pastiche. As Cracknell says: “It’s an era with such a great sense of design, with these crazy things like Vidal Sassoon haircuts and Mary Quant dresses. So stylized, so deliberate. The furniture, too. Or cars!"

That reminded me that when Vidal died recently, I kicked myself for not featuring him in Retromania's chapter on Fashion. He should have been in there right alongside Courreges, Cardin, and Rabanne. As the obituaries and tributes noted, Sassoon was one of the decade's greatest avant-gardists of pop culture and pop couture. The Corbusier of coiffure;  his handiwork and scissorwork as startling and angular and neophilia-inciting as the Philips Pavilion. Indeed his geometric five point cut, introduced in 1963 - the year I was born -- was inspired by Bauhaus. Originally he wanted to be an architect, not a hair stylist.

"Nowness presents!" how appropriate...  nowness becomes then-ness, present-ness becomes the past(iche)

Nitsuh Abebe column from a little while ago that uses Rock of Ages (and the Japandroids record) to talk about the death of rock: 

"These [80s hair metal era] were the decadent final days of an arrangement that now seems nearly as quaint and dusty as the giant front wheel of a penny-farthing bicycle.... If you understand "rock" in those terms, then "rock" is long dead. Don't get me wrong: People have made plenty of wonderful rock music since then. But you'll notice it always has a prefix or an alternate name: It's indie rock, garage-rock, punk-rock, folk-rock, metal, emo, power-pop, etc. It comes from people who cheerfully accept the death of Rock-rock, and are content to occupy artsy anti-commercial niches, to rummage through the deceased's pocket for useful ideas, to bang together its bones to make new sounds, to bionically reengineer the body like the Six Million Dollar Man's, to do whole hilarious Weekend at Bernie's routines with the corpse, or, in particularly bleak cases, to labor with shock paddles over the moldering patient, happily admitting that they're trying to "Bring Rock Back"-- from the dead, one assumes."

Also enjoyed the riffing on the edgeless, degraded version of "camp" that is so ingrained in our culture at this point:

"this is what we do now, we find pop-culture artifacts that Americans remember fondly, trot them out, pose them in funny positions, surround them with winking and giggling and mugging for the camera, dip their pigtails in inkwells, throw things at them, make fun of their hair, and laugh the way children laugh when they've been told a sex joke they do not entirely understand. We call this "camp," which makes it sound sophisticated, but I'm not sure it is anymore: Camp involves a certain sensitivity, whereas this stuff is mostly self-conscious goofery. And it's a surprisingly large component of how we look at pop music once we think we're done with it, as evidenced by the average VH1 countdown show"

what Nitsuh says about the Japandroids record seems to relate to this tenor of  triumphant-yet-desperate embattled-egodrama epic-ness that you can hear in a lot of stuff these days, from "We Are Young" to "Uprising"...    and that does seem to have evolved through emo and alt-rock to end up at a place close to "Don't Stop Believin'" and "We Are the Champions"

Monday, July 9, 2012

at SPIN online, Marc Hogan finds "5 Signs of Retromania" in SoundScan's 2012 Mid-Year Report

the short version

1. Vinyl and Digital Album Sales Increased. Vinyl went up by 14.2 per cent.

2. This Year's Only Million-Selling Album Came Out Last Year. .ie. Adele's 21 . And it's retro-soul.

3. The Top Three Non-Adele Albums Were By Lionel Richie, Whitney Houston, and a Boy Band. LR's Tuskegee sold nearly a million.

4. The Best-Selling Vinyl Album Was the Vinyliest of the Vinyl. i.e Jack White's  Blunderbuss, followed closely by Black Keys's El Camino.

5. The Most-Streamed Digital Song Was the Viralest of the Viral. Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe"  -- I don't get why this is a sign of retromania, to be honest. 

in other retro-y news:
MTV's Retro Mania slot includes Daria (proper 90s alt-nostalgia), but also programs as recent as The Hills
That Rock of Ages Eighties-hair-metal/Sunset-Strip-nostalgia-mining jukebox musical got turned into a movie

Friday, July 6, 2012

A New (Old?) Brutalism

Love the retro touch of the "embossed label printer" typography on the cover of Perc's A New Brutality

Overlaid on top of that icon of Brutalist Architecture, Trellick Tower.

Do you remember those embossed label printers? I had one. Everyone had one, it seemed like. Then they just disappeared. Bit like slide rules, rendered obsolete by pocket calculators. But I can't recall what it is was that made the embossed label printers obsolete. 

And Perc's A New Brutality.... well, judging by the preview below, it sounds a bit like an old brutalism.

(You can hear a longer preview here, along with a bunch of Perc mixes and EPs and what not)

90s hard minimal techno, with touches of industrial and Test Dept in dancefloor mode ("Compulsion"). Stark, ascetic, punitive...   Slaphead-severe;  proper faceless techno bollocks...  at times flashing me back to that 1992-93 London club Knowledge....  a more refined and subdued / slower and less banging take on 80 Aum and Meng Syndicate... 

here's a preview selection from last year's similar Wicker & Steel

the embossed label look has a kind of officialdom / bureaucratic, folders/filing cabinets kind of look that reminds me of that whole side of industrial to do with reports, data, documentation, dossiers...  records in the archival or governmental sense as opposed to musical

see also this Perc Trax artist

love the title here -- "Greyed Out Life"

And "Mandate" !

Does this relate to the H-ological reinvocation of the Public?  institutions and planning bodies and research units dedicated to the welfare of the commonwealth... 

Brutalism, as an architectural school, was part of this current...  the "we know best" paternalism of urban planning and coordinated development


bonus beat - Test Dept's Compulsion

"test department" itself sounds bureaucratic...
People have written that I coined this word "retromania", but that's not the case.

I've seen vintage clothes boutiques and retro bric-a-bric shops with  the name

There is also a Def Leppard bootleg that came out in 2010 called Retromania, what looks like a collection of rarities and alternate takes, the title obviously a play on Pyromania. (The band also officially released a rarities/B-sides collection in 1993 called Retro Active).

So the word has been floating around for a while. However I did recently discover, when going through some old pieces of mine, that I wrote a piece in the early Nineties whose working title was "Retromania" (it ended up being printed, by the Guardian, under another headline). But even then I think I was just picking up on a word that was in the air. As coinages go, it's a pretty obvious, occurs-to-many-people-independently type word.

But in other Def Leppard news, I learn (via Marathonpacks) that the group are doing a Gang of Four/Return the Gift and are recording forgeries of old hits like "Pour Some Sugar On Me" and "Rock of Ages", in order to get back at the Universal Music Group, who own their catalogue. Full story at Billboard.

Joe Elliott explained that the dispute is over proper compensation for digital rights (which has resulted in a deadlock where none of Leppard's studio albums are currently available as downloads)

"When you're at loggerheads with an ex-record label who...is not prepared to pay you a fair amount of money and we have the right to say, 'Well, you're not doing it,' that's the way it's going to be. Our contract is such that they can't do anything with our music without our permission, not a thing. So we just sent them a letter saying, 'No matter what you want, you are going to get "no" as an answer, so don't ask.' That's the way we've left it. We'll just replace our back catalog with brand new, exact same versions of what we did."

Shades of Borges!

 And it's challenging too:

"You just don't go in and say, 'Hey guys, let's record it,' and it's done in three minutes. We had to study those songs, I mean down to the umpteenth degree of detail, and make complete forgeries of them. Time-wise it probably took as long to do as the originals, but because of the technology it actually got done quicker as we got going. But trying to find all those sounds...like where am I gonna find a 22-year-old voice? I had to sing myself into a certain throat shape to be able to sing that way again. It was really hard work, but it was challenging, and we did have a good laugh over it here and there."

But that is not the limit of Leppard's retro action"

"Elliott... is also working on a second album of Mott The Hoople-related covers with the Down 'n' Outz, his side-band project with members of the Quireboys that he expects to release in 2013."

A second album of Mott covers?!

I knew Leppard were obsessed with glam 'n ' glitter

They did this rather decent and intelligent version of David Essex's "Rock On" a while ago