Sunday, December 23, 2012

Top 10 reissues of 2012

This year was full of wonderful expansive editions, reissues, remastered versions of classic albums from the 80s, 90s, and 2000s. The Smashing Pumpkins dominated this list with their reissued versions of their albums. Many included bonuses such as rare bsides, live dvds, etc... These are mostly for diehard fans who were already fans of the album, but it's a nice intro to new fans as well. Check it out.

 10. Smashing Pumpkins - Pisces Iscariot
A bsides collection, originally released in 1994, this collected the bsides and assorted tracks from the Siamese Dream era of the band. This includes the remastered album, a 2nd cd of cover songs, alternate versions of the songs, demos from various studios. a DVD of a basement jam from 1988! and even a casette tape of their first demo. Extremely expansive and prolific!
09. Interpol - Turn on the Bright Lights

Brooklyn-based Interpol get a 10 year anniversary reissue for their debut album Turn on the Bright Lights. This album was one of the most acclaimed of the early 2000s. The band has released ok to downright unlistenable albums since then, but this remains their shining hour. Along with the original remastered album, is a 2nd disc of b-sides, demos and an early EP.

08. Rage Against the Machine - Rage Against the Machine

One of the most important records of the 90s. This marks the bands 20 year anniversary for this album and it comes in the form of this remastered album. Disc 1 has the remastered album and disc 2 contains bsides from that era, and early demo tracks. It's a nice look into songs like Bombtrack and Killing in the Name. Also included is a DVD with live concert footage and music videos.

07. REM - Document/Life's Rich Pageant
Both of these albums were released before REM became household names with songs like Losing My Religion and Everybody Hurts. These two albums were a taste of things to come. Included with Lifes Rich Pageant is the Athens demos, some rough drafts of early songs which would later appear on the album, on the Document reissue is a live concert from Holland from 1987.

06. Velvet Underground - Velvet Underground and Nico

Perhaps the most influential band in history, behind the Beatles, The Velvet Underground return this year with a reissue of their acclaimed 1967 album. Yes, it has been reissued before, but this 6 disc version has a little bit of everything from this era. You get the stereo and mono mixes from the album, Nico's Chelsea Girl album, the Scepter Studios Sessions, which includes demos of the songs from the album, and the last two discs includes a live concert from this era, which is a rarity. A very extensive box set from a legendary band.

05. Sugar - Copper Blue
Former Husker Du frontman Bob Mould would return in the 90s as a powerpop and punk icon. This Sugar record is one of the best of that era. If I Can't Change Your Mind would become a radio staple and this record would sell more than any previous Husker Du album. Also included is the Beaster EP, demos and a live concert. Bob Mould also toured this year in support of this album where his band played it in its entirety.

04. My Bloody Valentine - Loveless
My Bloody Valentine's 2nd album is full of bliss and distortion. This is the best way to describe this record to newcomers. Feedback is all around this record and one song flows into the next. Leader Kevin Shields has not released anything new since this record. It's been 20 years with constant rumors of new music from this but this record remains their masterpiece. Many of the bands on Projekt Records (Love Spirals Downwards, Mira, Autumn's Grey Solace, Tearwave) owe a huge debt to this album. This 2cd reissue has the original album and a remastered version by Kevin Shields.

03. Smashing Pumpkins - Mellon Collie & The Infinite Sadness
Mellon Collie & the Infinite Sadness was a major album when it was first released. A double CD at a time when many bands were not even attempting anything close. This new reissued 5 CD version expands on those original 28 tracks, including many songs which would later appear on The Aeroplane Flies High box set, instrumental and different vocal takes on songs that were on the original Mellon Collie album, and bsides, many of which were not heard until now. Also included is a live concert from that era. If you are a completest like me, get this album.

02. The Smiths - Complete
Coming from Manchester (the same scene which gave us the Buzzcocks, Joy Division, New Order, Happy Mondays and other great bands), The Smiths quickly became one of the most influential bands in British history, acquiring a cult-like fanbase due mostly to Morrissey's lyrics and Johnny Marr's innovative guitar playing. Though they only lasted for 5 years from 1983-1987, they were very prolific and you can find all their work here. Included are their 4 studio albums, a live album, and 3 compilation albums, which had many fan favorites all on vinyl and CD. If you want the complete picture of The Smiths, get this set.

01. Smashing Pumpkins - Gish/Siamese Dream
The Smashing Pumpkins debut album, and 2nd album, co-produced by Butch Vig, gets an expansive reissue in 2011, but it came late in the year so I'm reviewing it now. Coming from Chicago, Smashing Pumpkins sounded like no other band and still sound fresh today. Ever the perfectionist, it has been rumored that Billy Corgan played all the guitar and bass on both albums. Both are very intense, strong albums, these albums had psychedelic flourishes, My Bloody Valentine-like fuzzy guitars and one of the best drummers on earth in Jimmy Chamberlin. Both include a remastered version of the album, a 2nd CD of demos and alternate tracks, and bsides, a live concert DVD and it comes in a beautiful box with new artwork.

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