I did wonder a year or so back whether the days of the reissue was numbered, killed off by the fact that so much old music is now archived on Spotify and YouTube. But nope, this year has seen some seminal reissues. Some have propelled fantastic bands back into the spotlight (The Three O’Clock) others are wonderfully comprehensive
round ups of labels and genres (Scared To Get Happy/There’s a Dream). Almost all are beautifully, packaged and come with copious sleeve notes. Interesting to note too how much great stuff is being reissued on vinyl. Here’s hoping that this carries on in 2014.
1 The Three O’ Clock – The Hidden World Revealed/Aquarius Andromeda
A wonderful reminder of just how good (and how influential) the original Paisley Underground band were. This essential collection mixes some of their best known songs with alternative versions, hard to find tracks, rehearsal takes and more. The tracks from that seminal debut EP Baroque Hoedown have never sounded better. It is also available on vinyl too.
2 Lee Hazlewood Industries – There’s a Dream I Have Been Saving
A incredible excavation of the LHI archives which includes several albums by Lee himself alongside the best of (or the whole shebang if you buy the deluxe version) the eclectic music the label issued. The Hazlewood albums include quite possibly his finest (Cowboy In Sweden) and the hard to find covers-ish album Forty. Not everything Hazlewood laid his hands in the late 60s is quite in the same league as his solo stuff, but it is fantastic to have tracks liked Ann Margaret’s glorious psych screamer You Turned My head Around, Suzi Jane Hokom’s classic pop tune Come On Sunshine and tons of others from also rans like The Hamilton Streetcar, The Aggregation and The Kitchen Cinq all in the same place. Comes with a really superb book too.
3 The Primitives – Everything’s Shining Bright
Even before Crash burst the charts open for Coventry’s finest they had several years of creating addictive pop music under their belts. Everything’s Shining Bright rounds up all of their early singles including the long lost anthem Found A Way To The Sun, alongside tracks from the unreleased first take of their debut album as well as some corking live tunes. Along with Lovely, which also got the deluxe reissue treatment in 2013, it underlines just how great the band were.
4 Scared To Get Happy – Various
The Nuggets style boxed set of British 80s indie was crammed with so many great songs and forgotten 45s that it was an essential purchase. Not everything fits the jangle pop template either and great to see the likes of Bad Dream Fancy Dress and Rosemary’s Children getting some well deserved recognition. It is interesting too how strong disc five is – a very real statement that contrary to accepted wisdom British indie didn’t hit the buffers at the end of the decade.
5 Orgone Box – Centaur
Is it a reissue or a new album? The vinyl only Centaur sits somewhere in-between as it contains tracks from the power poppers legendary debut, some of which have been remastered, some of which have been re-recorded and some left untouched. A great version of one of the best lost pop albums of this or any decade.
6 The House Of Love
Maybe this is the future for reissues. Optic Nerve has released the 50 track version of the House of Love’s debut which came out last year on Cherry Red on seriously audiophile vinyl over five discs in a stunning, lavish package. The label was also responsible for some other great 80s indie vinyl reissues including the wonderful Monochrome Set collection Volume, Contrast, Brilliance. Available here.
7 The Fourmyula – Inside the Hutt
Who knew that Kiwi 60s pop could be this much fun? This anthology of a much under rated band includes the track Nature – a lovely floating psych ballad – think 23rd Turnoff’s Michelangelo – that regularly tops lists of best Kiwi songs ever.
8 The Cleaners From Venus – Volume Two
Part two of Burger Records exhaustive trawl through the Martin Newell/Cleaners From Venus 80s back catalogue. Much of this was originally released on cassette which perhaps explains why these glorious 60s inspired tunes aren’t as widely known as they deserve be. For the aficionados the rarities collection A Dawn Chorus, which includes early Newell classics like Sylvie In Toytown and Young Jobless is a revelation. While In The Golden Autumn contains some of the man’s best 80s tunes like the wonderfully shouty Renee, Who Is Driving Your Car?
9 Belle & Sebastian – The Third Eye Centre
It is measure of the brilliance of the band that this collection of B sides, strays and bonus tracks includes two songs that pretty much dwarf everything on the band’s last Write About Love album. Suicidal Girl is a punchy slice of 80 power pop while Blue Eyes Of A Millionaire is gorgeously constructed soulful gem with a wonderfully uplifting chorus.
10 Mabel Joy – Wish I Was
A very long lost country influenced indie gem from the early 90s. Sumptuous performances, clever arrangements, a singer who could pretty much out croon all of his contemporaries and songs with melodies as stirring as The Go Betweens and Doll By Doll. This album really needs to be rediscovered.