Best Reissues 2017

 

Neil Young / Hitchhiker

Stoned, 70’s-prime Neil just blowing off 10 songs into a recorder.  As an animal this is Neil’s natural habitat, and the ease at which he rattles off classics and unheard songs is incredible.

 

Can / The Singles

For me, Can has always been about the monolith albums in their often-long and cosmically  extended form.  This compilation is the re-definition of a band, as a singles machine, and an incredible one at that.  An alternate history if you will, where Can acts more like Booker T. and the MG’s than Yes.

 

Various Artists / Pop Makossa: The Invasive Dance Beat of Cameroon 1976-84

Funk and disco work their way into the musical lexicon of Cameroon.  The joy is in the transmutation process, as western musical styles collide with the deep musical lineage of Africa.  Extended grooves with exceptional base action, at times this reminds me of the band listed above..

 

Circus Devils / Laughs Best

Unbeknown to most everyone, the best band Robert Pollard has been in for the last 10 years was Circus Devils.  Basically the King-Crimson-esque-catch-all for any and all weird musical ideas generated by Bob and orchestrated by the Tobias brothers.  As well as releasing their final album this year, they released this one-disc best-of that will leave you asking: “where have I been for all of their records ?!?”

 

Gal Costa / India

From 1973, Gal weathers the post-Tropicalia diaspora with dense tracks and covers.  Imagine an early 70’s Stevie Wonder album but with Brazilian rhythms and instrumentation.  Fascinating, lush and other-worldly.

 

The Replacements / For Sale: Live at Maxwell’s 1986

There’s a wonderful part in the notes where the soundman says the secret to getting a great ‘Mats live recording is to: “not let them know they’re being recorded.”  I’m guessing nobody told them about this (maybe why it was shelved for thirty years).  Ragged, glorious and oh-so-human, the impeccable set list covers their early Twintone stuff as well.

 

Lal and Mike Waterson / Bright Phoebus

The old weird Britain.  The Waterson siblings voices might be an acquired taste, but anyone who likes their folk music ancient, strange and exuberant should make haste to hear this anomaly from 1972.

 

Native Meets Lee Scratch Perry / Black Art Showcase 1977

If Perry and his Black Ark Dub World are a universe to explore, then this was a planet I didn’t know existed.  Not roots so much as a truly psychedelic, almost garage-reggae album.

 

Various Artists / Acid Nightmares

Why compilations were invented.  Listening to every one of these midwest sludge-rock, early 70’s stoner jams in full album form would probably drive you over the edge, BUT by picking only the choicest cuts from this stable of semi-satanic doomsayer, you instead get one of the greatest heavy comps known to humankind.

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