Saturday, February 27, 2021

Reissues and Represses on the Radar

I don't know about you, but being an old guy, I try to recapture moments from my youth by buying records from that simpler time. That's why my annual list of best reissues is always at least as long as the one featuring new releases. If you're an indie-pop fan of a certain age, perhaps there is something below here for you. Some of these are just coming out, and others are just around the corner. Let's start with a quick rundown of the represses.
Hands down my favorite release from last year was 'Strum & Thrum: The American Jangle Underground 1983​-​1987,' and the vinyl edition sold out very quickly. Captured Tracks has come to the rescue with a black-vinyl repress that should arrive in March. If you missed it the first time around, preorder now.

Spinout Nuggets sold out of the "If Not Now, When?" b/w "Yellow Pills" singles by Jetstream Pony last year, but the the label is now offering the 7" in a new shade of green. That one should be available as of yesterday.

At the end of 2019, Dolly Mixture got the reissue treatment twice with 'Demonstration Tapes' and 'Other Music.' Both, of course, disappeared immediately. 'Demonstration Tapes' has popped up again in the same double-vinyl format and with the same "new" cover. You can find it in a few places, including Monorail in Glasgow. Absolutely essential material covering 1979-1983.

On to the reissues. The Clean are one of my favorite bands from Flying Nun, and Merge Records has done an outstanding job releasing their music (both new and old) to Americans for nearly two decades. (I don't mean to slight Captured Tracks. Their reissue of 'Vehicle' in 2013 was perfection.) Merge is at it again with vinyl versions of the 1996 album 'Unknown Country' and 2009 album 'Mister Pop.' One listen to "In The Dreamlife U Need A Rubber Soul" from 'Mister Pop' will have you realizing if this indeed turns out to be their last long player, they did not go out with a whimper. These two LPs hit the shelves March 26, and there are some good bundle deals directly from the label.

Firestation Records continues to mine pop gems from indie's golden age. I was so pleased last year when the Church Grims, one of my favorite bands from Glasgow's Egg Records, got a good going over by the German label. Lightning is about to strike twice in one place because there will be a retrospective from another Egg band I adore, the jangly Remember Fun. 'Contentment' comes our way April 16 as a vinyl 14-track edition or 18 tracks on CD. I had no idea there were that many songs from Remember Fun in existence. Everything I do have will be there, including the songs on the "Train Journeys" EP Matinée Recordings put out in 2001, the song the band did in 1987 on the Sha La La split flexi they shared with Emily, as well as the song that appeared on the Egg sampler "A Lighthouse in the Desert" in 1989. I'm looking forward to the two live songs the most because I have never heard Remember Fun on stage before. I'm also betting the demo for "Cold Inside" is going to be something special. Preorders are being accepted now.

If you love your copy of the Loft's compilation 'Magpie Eyes 1982-1985' but always wished for more, get happy because Cherry Red has blown it out to two discs and 30 tracks with 'Ghost Trains & Country Lanes – Studio, Stage And Sessions 1984-2005.' Don't worry, the Creation recordings are there. Other highlights include 10 songs recorded at the Living Room on June 8, 1984, a Janice Long session from later that same year (she did love them so!), unreleased songs from 2005 (yes, 2005!) and a Gideon Coe session with the reunited band in 2015. At a great price like this, there is no reason to wait. You know you're getting this one. Preorder here.

Last Night From Glasgow is on quite a roll, and that includes their reissue arm Past Night From Glasgow. After they release 'Star Wars' from BMX Bandits (covered on these pages earlier in the month) comes 'I've Seen Everything' from Trashcan Sinatras. The 1993 album, originally released by the excellent Go! Discs, will come out on a variety of colored vinyl, but the shades are going quickly. Even though this one doesn't come out until September, you should jump all over this one. LNFG says this album is selling faster than any one in their history. For you die hards, there is also a book available. 'The Perfect Reminder' is chock full of interviews and photos from the band, fans and others.

Even though I already have it on vinyl and on CD with bonus tracks, this one will be tough to resist. The always reliable Optic Nerve Recordings have announced the reissue of 'Pleasure' by Girls at Our Best! The double album (yellow/magenta colored vinyl disc 1 and turquoise/magenta disc 2) includes the original tracks plus singles and B-sides housed in a gatefold sleeve. The inner sleeves have lyrics, photos and an interview by The Mouth Magazine. You may recall back in 1981 the first 10,000 copies included a "pleasure bag" containing two postcards, sticker and stencil. Optic Nerve ups the ante with four postcards, two stickers, stencil, reproduction tour poster, reproduction promo posters for the “Go For Gold” and “Politics"/"It's Fashion” singles, press photo and press flyer. That's just the physical stuff. Don't forget Judy Evans. When it comes to fronting a band, she's right up there with Debbie Haynes in my book. I know I'm going to break down and get this one. Might as well just hit the preorder button right now.

I have a few more suggestions, but I'm running out of gas. I'll try to pick it up again next week. In the meantime, save your shekels.


Charity Chic said...

I think Craig from Plain or Pan might be involved in the Trash cans book
Hopefully Strum and Thrum is available in UK too to avoid postage

Charity Chic said...

Strum and Thrum ordered.
Thanks for the heads up

Brian said...

Thanks for letting me know, CC. Makes it all worth it. I already know how you feel about the music. Now prepare yourself to be wowed by the presentation. My pal Duncan just found this in a record shop in New Zealand. Must have been quite a feeling fo happen upon it. I got mine on the final RSD drop back in the fall. Waited in line in the cold. Came with orange vinyl. Didn’t care about that al all... just wanted it as quickly as possible and it beat the street date by a month or so. Enjoy and take care.

Brian said...

Will have to touch base with him. Wondering if he is someone behind the creation of the book or a fan that contributed a recollection. Either way, very cool. He’s quite a talent.

Rol said...

Liking the sound of some of those, Brian, particularly The Loft, Jetstream Ponies & the last bunch. Can't go wrong with the TC Sinatras either. So much music, so little time.

Brian said...

Tough to keep up, Rol, but a problem I don’t mind having.

Walter said...

A great post Brian and so many bands I really like. Thanks for making the list of further purchases longer;-)) As I missed the first release Strum & Thrum I order the re-pressing now.

Dan Destiny's Silver Dawn said...

It's heartening to see the Clean getting such respectful treatment in the US through Merge and Captured Tracks; I agree, Brian, they are a very special band. I wonder, have you listened to any of the David Kilgour's solo records? LPs like 'Here Come the Cars', 'Sugar Mouth' and 'Frozen Orange' come highly recommended. Flying Nun did a beautiful vinyl reissue of 'Sugar Mouth' a couple of years ago that is worth seeking out.

Talking of Flying Nun bands, I've just purchased tickets to see the Chills again in May. Can't wait!

Brian said...

Walter, Nice to hear from you, Walter. Glad I could remind you to get Strum & Thrum. I remember you liking it last year.

DDSD, As a Yank, I envy you for being able to see any live show in May, and I'm sure the Chills in New Zealand is always something special. Got a long way to go before that will happen here. Our school district just announced school will remain 100 percent remote for the rest of the year for middle and high school, meaning it will be at least 19 months of no in-person learning (early March 2020 - September 2021 at best). Can't imagine the Chills coming here for a looooong time. I have a mess of the Clean but nary a one Kilgour solo album. I'll get in touch with you about where I should go first.

JTFL said...

Why weren't The Loft/Weather Prophets giant international pop stars? Unfair!

Brian said...

So good to hear from you, JTFL. Gives me a chance to thank you for those two wonderful
REM-related interviews over at JC’s place. My comments at his blog always end up at his spam folder. As for the Loft, their wounds were self-inflicted and just as I think they were about to hit it big. The Weather Prophets, on the other hand, should have been huge! That may have been label issues more than anything. Pete Astor still remains one of my heroes, and his recent solo albums have been really good. Keep in touch.