11 great reissues of 2011

Sound of Siam

Okay, this technically came out in 2010, but it would be criminal to leave off this list as it was possibly the record I listened to most this year.  Various strands of Thai music from 1964-75.  Musical influences are identifiably American, but the music is completely otherworldly.  I will have to write a post just about how much I enjoy this compilation.  It has literally and concretely altered the way I process and relate to music…..now nothing is the same.

Boddie Recording Company: Cleveland, Ohio

It’s no secret that most Numero releases are great to excellent, but Boddie really over-delivers.  Boddie produced over 300 recordings and served as both studio and pressing plant in Cleveland from 1958-1993.  The three discs represent a glorious fraction of their output; funk, soul, doo-wop, gospel, it’s all here.  The liner notes are copious and the packaging is amazing.  Prepare to invest some serious joyful time on this one.

(Numero released anther great Eccentric Soul collection this year: The Nickel and Penny Labels, that would be featured here if Boddie wasn’t so overwhelming!)

Disco Inferno – the Five EP’s

Utterly unlike anything else.  Cold and icey or warm and alive. One minute they sound like the Go-Betweens, and the next like This Heat.  There’s elements of many of the sounds I enjoy, just assembled in a way that I’ve never heard. Whatever I was listening to in the early 90’s couldn’t have been as exciting as this….

Beach Boys – Smile

Can I throw all those bootlegs away now?  (Not exactly).  Sonically, this actually delivers a much clearer picture than I was imagining.  You know what’s coming, but the spacing, timbre and arrangement sound mildly different.  The sequencers at Capitol actually did a great job on the 2-disc version, with some session highlights, and most importantly an accapella montage…

Jergen Muller – Science of the Sea

Gentle synths invoke undersea wonder.  Muller set out to make his own aqua-world soundtrack in the late 70’s, pressed up 100 copies of this gem, and then waited to be rediscovered.  Maybe not the best music for exercising, but I would recommend for anything else……

Shin Joong Hyun – Beautiful Rivers and Mountains

Guitarist, producer and south Korean superstar, Shin masterminded many slabs of melody-rich rock and pop.  The usual massive Light In the Attic liner notes help flesh out the story, but the variety of styles and sounds is the real draw…….

Bollywood Bloodbath

Let’s thank Finders Keepers for for mining this rich well.  A spooky, sometimes bombastic onslaught of rock, disco, and ghetto electronics will leave you scratching your head, in the best possible way.  Bombay’s soundtrack scene was an enterprise unto itself, and this is just the wacky horror subset!  (If this sort of madness floats your boat also check out Solla Solla, and/or Hindi Horrorcore.)

Paul McCartney – McCartney II

Usually rock stories only have a small degree of truth to them.  However after ingesting this totally forward-thinking 1980 anomaly from Macca, I totally believe that YES: he just holed up in his garden shed with synthesizers and weed.  Hindsight can certain make the sublime ridiculous and vice-versa…..

Kate and Anna McGarrigle – Tell My Sister

Back in my record-store days, folk connoisseurs would tell me how amazing and important these siblings are.  Though now history primarily notes one of them for mothering some famous people, their music is exquisite.  This set collects their first two records and an extra disc of demos that really flesh out this compelling body of well-crafted, lovely and honest music.

This May Be My Last Time Singing : African American Gospel on 45 RMP 1957-1982

Mike McGonigal’s collection of gospel 45’s.  Know that only about half of this actually sound like the “church” your sonically thinking of.  Who knew fervor came in so many styles….

Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon

What? Yeah really.  I learned that my problem wasn’t with Dark Side (it was a byproduct of Kansas City 70’s radio), but with my cultural relationship to this album in particular.  Good news, enough time has passed that I love this album, it’s all the best bits of Floyd scaled down and compacted into their perfect record.

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