Friday, December 15, 2017

Favorite Reissues of 2017

Every year I pledge to concentrate my time and money on new releases, and every year I fail miserably. I just have to face it. I'm an old guy stuck in bygone eras. This was a particularly rewarding period for looking back, and I didn't even come close to grabbing all of the compilations, live albums, box sets, lost albums and deluxe editions that I wanted. For example, those Cherry Red box sets on Liverpool, Manchester and post-punk have my name written all over them, but I just didn't have the funds. I had to pass on box sets by Luke Haines, Lloyd Cole and Kitchens of Distinction too, but that hurt a little less because I had quite a bit of that content already. I touted that retrospective on the Orchids, but there was only one song on the set I didn't already own. So, I passed.

As far as my list of oldies but goodies goes, I capped it at 20, but it could have been much longer, especially if I had included all of the albums I bought from Firestation Records. I decided to button up the representation of my favorite indie-archive label at three releases, but know that Keen, the English McCoy, the Pressure Group and a couple of more could have easily made the countdown. As for other honorable mentions, 'Action Painting' by the Creation and the phenomenal multi-disc blowout of Prince's 'Purple Rain' are the first two out on this list. Enough. Let's get on with it.

20. Lost Tapes - 'We Thought It Was Okay At The Time (2013-2015)'
Shelflife collects the early singles of Spain's finest dream-pop duo.

19. Secret Shine - 'Singles 1992-1994'
One of Sarah's stable was awfully close to shoegaze.

18. China Crisis - 'Working with Fire and Steel - Possible Pop Songs Volume Two' (Deluxe Edition)
First three LPs get blown out. This has always been my favorite.

17. Strawberry Switchblade - '1982 4-Piece Demo'
Fascinating 7" chronicles a time before the hits.

16. The Apple Moths - 'Fred Astaire EP'
Firestation's 12" resurrects the 1990 7" and adds three bonus tracks.

15. 14 Iced Bears - '14 Iced Bears'
Debut album becomes a double LP chock full of extras.

14. The Siddeleys - 'Songs From The Sidings - Demo Recordings 1985-1987'
Everything else is out of print. Get it while you can!

13. Michael Nesmith - 'At The BBC Paris Theatre'
Twangy set from '75 captures the former Monkee at his peak.

12. The Replacements - 'For Sale: Live At Maxwell's 1986'
First official live album was "recorded in front of more than 30 people."

11. Smart Remarks - 'Foreign Fields: 1982-1984
Discover a power-pop outfit that once opened for the Replacements.

10. The Beach Boys - '1967 - Sunshine Tomorrow'
'Wild Honey' with a slew of extra curiosities.

9. The Modulators - 'Tomorrow's Coming'
More underground Jersey power pop. Bonus tracks on '84 album too.

8. 14 Iced Bears, Aberdeen, The June Brides ‎– 'Three Wishes: Part Time Punks Sessions'
Legendary radio show captures indie-pop pioneers.

7. The Jazz Butcher - 'The Wasted Years'
Beautiful four-disc box gathers early albums in their entirety.

6. Love Parade - 'Out to Sea'
Firestation unearths long lost jangle from '91.

5. Various Artists - 'C88'
Who knew it was a very good year? Cherry Red did.

4. The Wedding Present - 'George Best 30'
In 2008, Steve Albini helps Gedge rethink a classic.

3. Marshall Crenshaw - 'Thank You, Rock Fans!!'
Let's take a time machine to a show from '82.

2. Look Blue Go Purple - 'Still Bewitched'
Missed these gals the first time around. Thank you, Flying Nun!

1. Various Artists - 'The Test of Time: A Turntable Friend Records Compilation'
German label collects 40 of its indie-pop classics on three heavy pieces of vinyl housed in a dazzling tri-fold sleeve that includes an album-sized scrapbook of the company's history. The packaging is nothing short of perfection.


drew said...

Some very good stuff there Brian. I think that I may (whispers) prefer the 30th anniversary version of George Best over the original. The thing about these end of year retrospectives is that they scare the shit out of you when you realis how much you have spent. Just as well Lynn hasn’t been counting!

Brian said...

Drew, GB30 is a very different listen. I had trouble deciding if I should put it in reissues or new releases. Love it. Not sure if it eclipsed the original, but I hear where you're coming from. Sounds more contemporary and will probably hold up better 30 years from now. Hopefully I'll be able to get back to you on that. I bought a ton of reissues this year, and that's with halting all purchases the last two months due to the laptop debacle. Scary.

McPop said...

Brian, I have #1, 2, 5, 9, 11 and 16 - all are great. I will check out the others for sure.

In addition to the above, I would include the Orchids 2-disc set you referenced on my list as well as The Bodines ‘Shrinkwrap’ EP, Chris Bell ‘I Am the Cosmos’ reissue, The Sneetches retrospective and REM 'Automatic for the People' reissue mainly for the unreleased tracks especially “Mike’s Pop Song.”

Look forward to your list of favorite albums of 2017.

Cheers, Matt

friend of rachel worth said...

The lloyd cole one for me just for the care and attention that obviously went into it. Also petshop boys further lisyening set on the mid period and later lps on how to do a re release ,

Brian said...

Shrinkwrap would be near the top of my list if I had bought it on vinyl this year... as you obviously did. I have had it on CD for several years. While interviewing him earlier this year, I asked Uwe at Firestation if he could stop reissuing on CD and vinyl years apart like that. I was only half joking, Even though I have the early '90s Ryko release of I Am the Cosmos, which I bought on the day it came out, that Omnivore reissue is awfully tempting. If you don't have Elephant Noise and the English McCoy from earlier this year, you may want to put those on your shopping list too. I bet they are right up your alley.

Cole sure does know how to assemble a box set. Has quite a bit of experience. Hope to get to this new one eventually. If you put together a spotify list like you did last year, let me know. That was a very good listen. Cheers.

friend of rachel worth said...

Here you go - some cross over

hopefully that works as a link

have a fabulous xmas and new year