Saturday, December 29, 2012
Top Reissues, Box Sets, Compilations of 2012
The Jam - 'The Gift Box Set'
Blur - 'Blur 21: The Box Set'
fIREHOSE - 'lowFLOWs: The Columbia Anthology ('91-'93)'
Simple Minds - 'X5'
Sugar - 'A Box of Sugar'
Various Artists - 'Teenage Kicks: '1977-1981, The Music That Changed Everything'
10. 'Athens, Ga. - Inside/Out'
Finally back in print, the 1987 soundtrack to the documentary on the town's thriving music scene includes five bonus tracks and the movie on DVD. R.E.M. made this a must buy, but there are some great performances by Pylon, Kilkenny Cats, Flat Duo Jets, Time Toy, Bar-B-Que Killers, Dreams So Real, and Love Tractor. I still have this on vinyl, but I have never owned the movie before now.
9. Roxy Music: 'The Complete Studio Recordings: 1972-1982'
All eight albums are here. Discs nine and 10 are full of B-sides, remixes and unreleased material. There is quite a bit of debate as to the sound quality. The claim is it's a huge step up from the 1999 remasters. Many have complained they are "quiet." I'm no expert, but perhaps we have become accustomed to our reissues being loud just for the sake of it. That's a discussion for another time.
8. Aztec Camera - 'High Land, Hard Rain,' 'Knife,' 'Love,' 'Stray,' 'Dreamland,' 'Frestonia' (sold separately)
The entire band's discography is remastered and released in the same hard-cover book form as the Everything But the Girl reissues. Some remain single discs, while others are two-disc sets. Aztec Camera is a favorite of mine, but the inconsistency of the albums keeps these reissues from rating higher. Here's a quick look at the bonus material.
7. The Servants - 'Small Time/Hey Hey We're the Manques'
It took 20 years, but the followup to 'Disinterest' finally sees the light of day. As a bonus, most of the band's early demos are included.
6. Hoodoo Gurus - 'Gold Watch: 20 Golden Greats'
These Aussies are the perfect best-of band. "I Want You Back," "Come Anytime" and "Like Wow - Wipeout!" are all all here.
5. Josef K: 'Sorry For Laughing'
The shelved full-length Postcard album from 1980 is finally released in its entirety... and on vinyl to boot! Found this one under the tree on Christmas morning.
4. Everything But the Girl - 'Eden,' 'Love Not Money,' 'Baby the Stars Shine Bright,' 'Idlewild' (sold separately)
The duo's first four albums get the deluxe two-disc treatment. Lots of BBC Sessions, B-sides and unreleased home recordings are housed in disc-sized hardcover books with extensive liner notes. If you are an EBTG novice, these expensive import versions are probably not for you. The good news is fans like me traded in their old single discs. So, there should be lots of cheap used copies at your mom-and-pop shop.
3. The English Beat - 'The Complete Beat'
You probably have the three studio albums, but discs four and five are chock full of Peel Sessions, 12" versions and a live performance. The booklet is a nice read, too.
2. The Hit Parade - 'Pick of the Pops (Vol. 1)'
It wasn't easy, but I have managed to find all but two of the band's albums. This 20-song compilation plugged a couple of holes for me. If you're a fan of C86, you're going to love the jangle of Julian Henry.
1. Big Country - 'The Crossing: 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition'
If, like me, you have the B-sides and the 'Rarities IV' demos disc, then you have most of the bonus songs on this two-disc set. Still, it's my pick because I bought it in Glasgow the afternoon it came out. That night, I saw the band perform the album in its entirety at Barrowland. It was one of my best days ever. So, I may have a wee bit of bias.