Best Reissues of 2014

(Again, no real order.  See last year’s here.)

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Various / The Sound of Siam Volume 2

Again, something about this music overpowers me, I know it sounds silly, but I can’t really even rationally talk about it.  You investigate….

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Bob Dylan / Complete Basement Tapes

Big deal for me.  I have owned 3 different bootlegs of this stuff.  The sound is raw as hell, but at least it’s audible this time.  Covers, substantially different versions, and moments of WTF make this the most human of musical offerings.

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Various Artists / Darkscorch Canticles

You wouldn’t think a whole compilation of bad hard rock/metal/prog bands from the Midwest would be this good.  There is an evil, heaviness of adolescence that I think will speak to anyone who ever drew a bad pentagram on their notebooks.

download (1)The Chills / BBC Sessions

Given that these guys were making their wonderful chill-rock in Australia in the early 80’s, I always assumed I would never get to hear how they sound live.  Finally, I know, and it’s more rambunctious and thrilling than I imagined.

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Various Artists / the Way Out Label

Jim-Brown-funded Cleveland soul.  The variety kills, the hits are thick, and the story is even better.  Again, this is only ONE entry in the whole Eccentric Soul series.  Numero should get a monument named after them.  The past is only history if it’s known.

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Yo La Tengo / Extra Painful

The most minimal of masterpieces get a sonic clean-up and an extra disc of demos.  Again, not a record I cannot emotionally separate myself from.  For me this album represents light, motion and time.  No mean feat.

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Various Artists / Local Customs: Cavern Sound

Cherry-picked sampling of bands recorded in a cave in Missouri.  Part Nuggets, part country-funk, part mutant soul, Cavern Sounds goes deep.  Again, did I mention Independence, Missouri ?!?

bizarroWedding Present / Bizarro

Part of my infatuation with this is that I played George Best so much, I totally missed this one.  Their second record from 1989 is less jangle and more terror.  Great remaster with all b-sides, Peel Sessions, and a whole live show.

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Various Artists / Native North America Volume 1

Kevin “Sipreano” Howes spent 15 years assembling this music of Indigenous Peoples of Canada and the northern United States.  Another life-affirming glimpse into “Arctic garage rock from the Nunavik region of northern Quebec, melancholy Yup’ik folk from Alaska, and hushed country blues from the Wagmatcook First Nation reserve in Nova Scotia

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Captain Beefheart / Sun Zoom Spark

Great sound; an extra disc of alternates and demos; all good stuff.  But what’s really amazing is if you’ve never heard this era Beefheart before.  These three post-Trout-Mask albums are Beefheart at his challenging-but-still-listenable peak.  There is an alternate universe somewhere where these songs are as common as Led Zep, and I want to live there…

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