Monday, December 14, 2015

Favorite Reissues of 2015

Because I'm an old guy, I look forward to compiling this list every year almost as much as the new releases, which I hope to have ready later this week. One conspicuous absence you might be wondering about is the 'G Stands for Go-Betweens' box. I didn't pull the trigger. Felt a little too pricey at the time, and I have the studio albums. Eleven months later, I regret that decision. Anyway, here are 13 reissues I have enjoyed in 2015...

Bubbling Under:

Dr. John
'The Atco/Atlantic Singles 1968-1974'
This is the era you gotta have!

Various Artists
'The dB's & Friends: Christmas Time Again!'
The 1986 holiday classic has been expanded to include new songs by Yo La Tengo & Jeff Tweedy, Marshall Crenshaw, Robyn Hitchcock and more, and the dB's tracks have been on my holiday mixes for years.

Strawberry Story
Talulah Gosh-inspired band's tough to find 7" singles, cassettes and flexis are collected on two CDs.

My Top 10:

10. The Ocean Blue
'The Ocean Blue,' 'Cerulean' and 'Beneath the Rhythm and Sound'
The Sire years get the vinyl treatment... and two of these have never been on that format. Thanks to Shelflife for tackling this project.

9. McCarthy
'I Am a Wallet'
Cerebral C86 double album (in red, of course) includes 13 bonus tracks and a slew of extras.

8. The Comsat Angels
'Waiting For a Miracle' and 'Sleep No More'
Missed these dark wavers the first time around but came highly recommended through the years by Echorich and Post Punk Monk. Only have the first two albums so far, but the first seven have been reissued, most as double disc deluxe editions.

7. The B-52's
'Live! 8-24-1979'
All of your favorites from their self-titled debut and a few from soon to be released 'Wild Planet' performed at the Berklee Center in Boston. What a performance!

6. Lush
Everything is here. More than 100 songs across five CDs and housed in a beautiful hardcover book. I bought it for the B-sides and radio sessions. Doesn't come out here in America for five more weeks, but why wait? The price is right at the 4AD store.

5. Various Artists
'Creation Artifact: The Dawn Of Creation Records 1983-1985'
I have just a teeny bit of buyer's remorse because I already had the 'Creation Soup' box, but the sound and presentation of this five-disc set is better, and the demos alone made it worth the splurge.

4. Game Theory
'Real Nighttime'
Omnivore continues to release the '80s paisley underground legend's entire catalog with loads of bonus tracks. I'm not alone in saying this album was their best.

3. Lloyd Cole and the Commotions
'Collected Recordings 1983-89'
If I didn't already have so much of the material in this five-disc plus DVD box, this would be my No. 1. Still, there are 18 unreleased tracks, and the studio albums have never sounded better. The 48-page hardcover book is beautiful.

2. Close Lobsters
'Firestation Towers 1986-1989'
When this came out on Record Store Day, I recommended it but added I wouldn't be buying it because I had everything on it. About six weeks later I saw it in my local mom-and-pop store and felt my heart jump. I held it in my hand for what felt like the longest time. Why buy it? I asked myself this question over and over and decided since I only had 'Foxheads Stalk This Land' and 'Forever, Until Victory!' on CD, it was worth springing for the vinyl box. Yes, it's a sickness.

1. Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs
'Completely Under the Covers'
I have the CD versions of all three 'Under the Covers' albums, but collecting all of the digital bonus tracks through the years made my blood boil. Finally, this vinyl box gave me all of those inspired covers from the '60s, '70s and '80s in one place, and what beautiful pieces of colored plastic these six records are.


Echorich said...

I sprang for The Comsat's Waiting For A Miracle this year. One of the best Post Punk debuts to my mind and a band that, although the suffered a crisis of confidence mid career never managed to disappoint me.
That B-52's concert captured the excitement of music in '79 America.
The Lush Box is the reissue of the year for me!

McPop said...

Hi Brian
Great list. I have your #2, 3 and 4 selections and agree those are outstanding! (Although I picked up 3-CD version of Close Lobsters wish I would've got the vinyl)
I have a feeling I may get one or two of the Ocean Blue reissues for Christmas
As for the Sid and Susie, I bought the three individual CDs when they came out but didn't know about the box set with extra songs. Will have to check this out.

I'm still waffling on whether to spring for the Creation box set

Looking forward to more of your year end lists. Cheers


McPop said...

By the way, probably my favorite reissue acquired this year actually came out in 2006 which is the 2-CD deluxe version of 'Drop Out' by East Village released in Japan. The second disc includes the 'Hotrod Hotel' compilation plus bonus tracks. I'm so glad to finally have this in my collection.

McPop said...

One more thing, I recently ordered but have not yet received the Lucksmiths 2-CD compilation. I've been meaning to check them out ever since your prior enthusiastic entry...looking forward to digging in.

Brian said...

McPop, I must get the name of your financial advisor. That East Village comp costs a fortune. Green with envy. Actually, I didn't even know about Drop Out, although I'm quite familiar with Summershine's Hotrod Hotel. I'll be adding Drop Out to my long list of wants. Thanks for the heads up. The Lucksmiths will be right up your alley. Hate that they called it quits, but what a run. I especially like the Warmer Corners and First Frost albums from the middle of the last decade... and T-Shirt Weather is one of the best singles ever. Both of the above albums are well represented on Cartography for Beginners, if that's the comp you have coming. I know there are a couple of best ofs out there. Great to hear from you!