Thursday, December 22, 2016

Favorite Reissues of 2016

When you're an old guy like me, hanging on to the past like a washed-up small-town prom king, reissues are as at least as important as the new releases. Fortunately, it was another banner year for this fogey. There were a few fantastic box sets from Cherry Red, particularly if you were a fan of indie pop, punk or shoegaze, but there is no doubt my favorite label for looking back goes to Firestation Records. I picked up eight obscure and jangly reissues from the German label this year. Four of them made this list, and three just missed the cut. Apologies to Spy, Emily and the Man Upstairs.

There are two bands here that had blowout reissues campaigns in 2016. Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet had three albums released with bonus tracks via Yep Roc, and Crowded House had a whopping seven albums get the deluxe-edition treatment. I love them all, but for the purposes of this list, I chose one favorite from each of them. You'll notice there is a tie for the top spot. I decided to go that way because the best song I heard this year was "Wonderful Lie" by Glasgow's the Hardy Boys, but I just couldn't bring myself to give a brilliant but measly four-song 12" from '89 the gold medal when every other spot on the list is at least a full album (or more).

A few of these bands may be new to you. Where I could, I linked to an order page that might give you more information about the album. Also, just past the list, you can find a few songs to stream. As always, I would love to hear what reissues you fancied this year, too.

20. Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet - 'Savvy Show Stoppers'
19. Various Artists: 'Action Time Vision'
18. The Nivens - 'From A Northumbrian Mining Village Comes The Sound Of Summer'
17. Commotion Upstairs - 'Tomorrow Never Comes'
16. Haircut 100 - 'Pelican West Deluxe Edition'
15. Super Furry Animals - 'Fuzzy Logic: 20th Anniversary Edition'
14. Various Artists - 'Still in a Dream: A Story of Shoegaze 1988-1995'
13. Crowded House - 'Together Alone Deluxe Edition'
12. Big Star - 'Complete Third'
11. Otis Redding - 'Live at the Whisky A Go Go: The Complete Recordings
10. The Bangles - 'Ladies And Gentlemen... The Bangles!'
9. Various Artists - 'C87'
8. Math and Physics Club - 'In This Together'
7. Game Theory - 'Lolita Nation'
6. Hipflasks - 'A Lovely Scar'
5. The Chills - 'Kaleidoscope World'
4. Simple Minds - 'New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84) Super Deluxe Boxset'
3. Josef K - 'It's Kinda Funny'
1. The Monochrome Set - 'Volume, Contrast, Brilliance... Vol. 2'
1. The Hardy Boys - 'Wonderful Lie'


McPop said...

Hi Brian, I thoroughly enjoy your year-end lists. I clearly have some catching up to do as the only ones I have on your list are Bangles, Chills, Game Theory and C87 (all of which are fantastic by the way). Crowded House 'Together Alone' vinyl reissue is on my Christmas wishlist. Love that album, it may be my favorite in their awesome discography. I haven't sprung for any of the deluxe CD editions yet. Are they worth it? I'm looking forward to your best albums of 2016 list (I'll try to post mine in the comments). Happy Holidays, Matt

Brian said...

I always enjoy when you share your favorites too. I know for a fact you got me to buy EZTV last year and had me quite jealous about your East Village purchase a year or two ago. I'll try really hard to keep this short on your question about Crowded House. These reissues remind me of Costello and the Ryko blowouts in '93/'94. I love Crowded House to the point that I want to have everything. For most, it's too much. In most cases, the bonus discs are almost entirely demos. That's die-hard fan stuff. The packaging is beautiful. I have all of their albums (vinyl until Together Alone), and it would be nice to have Together Alone in the superior format. It's my favorite. Will make a nice gift under the tree, Matt. I plan to go with the two-disc sets through Together Alone, but I'm not quite there yet.

friend of rachel worth said...

know what you mean re the Crowded House reissues - there does come a point where you do wonder what value another version of fingers of love adds. However they are such things of beauty and there are a load of great live versions of tracks they were trying out that didn't make the final lp cuts that make them as a collective my reissues of the year. (It's Immaterial push them close though)

Dirk said...

Mind you, there wasn't a single one amongst those which I didn't find absolutely supreme: fantastic!

The Swede said...

Hipflasks only made Number 6? Surely some mistake! I'm kidding of course. Some of these artists I'm well acquainted with, others less so. There's catching up to be done!
I didn't do a reissues/compilation list, but off the top of my head I've really enjoyed Jacob Miller - 'Who Say Jah No Dread', Lizzy Mercier Descloux - 'Press Color' and Bert Jansch - 'Avocet'. Compilation wise, two in particular spring to mind. 'Running The Voodoo Down (Explorations In Psychrockfunksouljazz 1967-80)' and 'Venezuela 70 (Cosmic Visions of a Latin American Earth, Venezuelan Experimental Rock in the 1970s)', both incredible albums.