Friday, August 5, 2016

Reissue Roundup

Time to catch up on some reissues that have caught my eye. A few of these came out earlier in the summer, and some should be marked on our calendars for later in the year. Let's start with the ones you can buy right now:

Josef K - 'It's Kinda Funny'

Les Disques du Crépuscule has assembled all of the band's singles on one lovely piece of vinyl, even the B-sides. Yes, that includes the Crépuscule and Postcard offerings. As you can see, the art from the 'Sorry For Laughing' single has been used for the album cover. Seeing it in the 12" size after all of these years is startling but cool.

Paul Haig - 'Metamorphosis'

While we are on the subject of Josef K (and Les Disques du Crépuscule, for that matter), 'Metamorphosis' is a two-disc collection of Paul Haig's singles, demos and experimental tracks from between 1981 and 1983. Haig's liner notes take you through this interesting time in his career before he signed with Island. If you are a fan, you may know quite a bit of the work on disc one, such as "Justice" and "Running Away"/"Back Home" (12" version), but even you seasoned veterans are bound to find something new on the second disc or rarities, like the electronica of 'Drama.'

The Bangles - 'Ladies and Gentlemen... the Bangles'

Earlier this year, I beamed as I shared a couple of favorites from my vinyl collection... the first single and EP from the Bangles. Now you can own them, too. This 16-track collection of remastered rarities, demos and live recordings concentrates on the band's earliest recordings before they were signed to a major label. This has been available as a digital download for ages, but Omnivore Recordings has taken the extra step to release it on CD. I got it for the demos, and it was well worth it. This is one you need to have on the shelf.

Velvet Crush - 'Pre-Teen Symphonies'

Omnivore has a couple of other reissues that have piqued my interest, but I'll just tell you about one more today. As you no doubt know by now, the '90s isn't my favorite decade for music, but Velvet Crush is an exception, particularly the 1994 album 'Teenage Symphonies To God.' It's a power-pop classic, produced by my hero Mitch Easter. If you can't get enough of that one, you will surely be interested in 'Pre-Teen Symphonies,' a look at the creation of the band's most revered album. There are eight demos and eight live tracks taken from their 1994 show at Cabaret Metro in Chicago. You'll fall in love with Velvet Crush all over again.

The Chills - 'Kaleidoscope World'

What can I possibly say that hasn't already been said? So many fans of the Chills were introduced to the band with this compilation of early works that first came out in 1986. It's an absolute must for fans of the Dunedin Sound and bands that adopted their indie guitar pop aesthetic in ensuing years. The eight-song album has grown through subsequent reissues, and this incarnation has a whopping 24 tracks! If you haven't yet fallen for the charms of the Flying Nun label, this is a great spot to dip your big toe. The double album with expanded gatefold (or CD) should be out Aug. 19.

14 Iced Bears - '14 Iced Bears'

I never pass on an opportunity to promote something from the C86 era. At the time, outside of some nice words in the press and the backing of one John Peel, 14 Iced Bears seemed like a bit player, but the Brighton band's legend continues to grow. There have been at least three comprehensive compilations (I own two myself), and they are rarely forgotten when labels celebrate that golden age of indie pop with box sets and such.

The folks at Optic Nerve Recordings have taken a different and more comprehensive tack with this reissue series. They are releasing the actual albums with a bevy of bonus tracks included. I have snatched several vinyl reissues by Optic Nerve, including ones by the Monochrome Set, McCarthy, Girls at Our Best and Wolfhounds, to name a few, and I'm always so impressed by the love and care they put into these packages. The 1988 self-titled debut of 14 Iced Bears will be a double album that includes the singles that preceded it. Frankly, bonus tracks "Inside," "Balloon Song" and "Come Get Me" are worth the price alone. Follow-up album 'Wonder' will be receiving the same treatment. Although the 1991 effort was a radical shift in sound, both of these albums are worth the wait. Look for them around Nov. 11.


Echorich said...

Great selection. If I was going to own any Bangles record, and it really hasn't happened to date, I would likely go for that compilation. The Josef K/Haig sets are just brilliant!!

Brian said...

Echorich, I understand your trepidation about Bangles, but the early stuff, including even the first album, is quite good. Of course, Josef K and Haig should be bought first. The Robster, Adam and a couple of others would probably say you're safe buying even more from the gals. There are some big fans around here.

The Swede said...

The hits just keep on coming! The only combo from this fine bunch that I'm not familiar with is 14 Iced Bears. Hopefully you'll share a couple more tunes by them around the time of release.
(I must just thank you again for introducing me to Community Radio. Loving that album.)