Cardboard tombstones

In the wake of the Ellington 100, lesser zombie boxed sets walk among us

External Sod Tornado Bowl: Guided by Voices Errata. In anticipation of the imminent death of GbV founder Robert Pollard--an 83-year-old former schoolteacher from Dayton, Ohio--TVT Records has announced the release of some 1,243 GBV songs recorded in various Midwestern basements since 1934. The set will be made available on a limited-edition package of two 5-inch CDs, or a quadruple 7-inch vinyl single with a hand-screened, numbered fold-out sleeve, designed and printed by Rolling Stone's David Fricke. "These thousand-some gems are typically concise and brilliant," says Jon Eremy, vice-president of Necrophilia at TVT. "The weird thing is, the recording quality actually gets worse as time goes on. This clearly reflects the long-term effects of certain low-cost beverages available in backwater Ohio." Pollard, found doing karate-kick exercises at his home in Dayton, adds that "the really weird thing is that I'm only 33--have been for years--and I've got about 2,000 more songs that I'm giving to Matador."

Voodoo You Think You Are? The Remains of Jimi Hendrix. September 2000 will mark the 30th anniversary of Hendrix's drug death in London. Now that Jimi's father Al has control of his boy's recordings, MCA will finally release its long-awaited, 50-disc Hendrix box to coincide with the tragic anniversary. Because of the size of the box, advance copies were sent out to critics in March--and every single disc was blank. The reason, explains MCA's Bruce Gary, senior VP of despair and extramarital relations, "is that Jimi's music has been reissued so often--most songs, at least 83 times--we just couldn't find anything new." Suggested list price: $504.34. Rolling Stone's David Fricke contributed 258 pages of liner notes.

Shabooh-boo: The Michael Hutchence 40. Michael Hutchence of INXS would have turned 40 on January 22, 1960--if only he hadn't loved himself a little too much in November 1996. Atlantic Records is honoring the man's memory by releasing this 19-disc box, which contains the complete INXS catalog, several hours' worth of unreleased material, and four discs' worth of love songs Hutchence was working on during the year leading up to his death. Among the tracks: "I Love Me For Sentimental Reasons," "All I Wanna Do is Make Love to Me," "I Touch Myself," and "Love Hurts." According to Atlantic president of exploitation and sincerity, Keith Gelsen, the box, which contains liner notes by Rolling Stone's David Fricke, will be wrapped in a leather belt.

From the Womb Untimely Ripp'd: LeAnn Rimes at Six Feet Under. Not scheduled for release until 2006, this ambitious 502-disc set will be a real-time recording of Rimes' path from teen superstar to failed actress to washed-up musician to drug addict to overdose victim. Planned segments include various fights with overbearing, jealous parents; several failed attempts to master the art of Tae-Bo; an excruciating three-disc suite of various appearances on Nash Bridges and Walker, Texas Ranger; a contentious téte-a-téte with producers of VH1's Behind the Music; and a poignant coda of Rimes crying for two weeks straight before the final, eternal silence. "The loss will be incalcuable," says Mike L. Angelo, vice-president of artist imaging at Curb Records. Angelo adds that Britney Spears will play Rimes in a planned TV movie based on the box, with Rolling Stone's David Fricke scheduled to script the film.

Additional reporting was provided by Keven McAlester.

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