Best-ofs suck, the reissue is perhaps the most beautiful thing ever, live albums are usually things not yet found. Sometimes they can be poorly attended concerts now hailed as a groundbreaking performances, or can open up our eyes to a totally new sound a band can produce. Compilations are on the fence. They can be pretty annoying, like "The Smiths Singles Box!", or "NOW! 152" or they can be quite interesting: "NY No Wave". Apart from doubling as my Christmas List, here are some great repackagings, inspired groupings, exciting rediscoveries, and other galvanizations from the last decade.


50. Zero: A Martin Hannett Story - Factory Records was a shit ton of cool people, here is one of their stories.
49.
New Thing! Deep Jazz from USA - Dusty Grooves underground 70s jazz platter: Rashied, Shepp, Alice Coltrane, and the Chicago Underground scene.
48.
Strangley Strange, But Oddly Normal: An Island Anthology (1962-1972) - Perfectly named, this box set chronicles the early years of Island Records, a label later home to guys like Tom Waits and groups like Pulp.
47.
Galaxie 500, the Peel Sessions - It's easy to be hungry for more Galaxie 500, but hard to decide which Peel Session to put on this list.
46.
This Heat - Out of Cold Storage - #$@()____?
45.
Suicide Live 1977-1978 - Year long look at an incredible live act in Alan Vega and Martin Rev.
44.
Josef K, Entomology - Post-Kafka-post-punk which won't bug you.
43.
Naked City, Complete Studio Recordings - Literally everything by Naked City...because punk-jazz-fast-third-stream comes in spurts.
42.
Raymond Scott, Manhattan Research Inc. - Cool electronic music comp, cartoony and soothing all at once.
41.
Talking Heads Brick - Damn that TELEVISION: Every album.
40.
The Zombies Live at the BBC, 2003 - Baroque pop rocks out, sounds a little like the Animals.
39.
Gas: Nah Und Fern - Wolfgang Voight's alter-ego Gas not only sounds like fuzzy dark wave ambient minimalism, but birthed a techno label, see #20.
38.
Jesus and Mary Chain: The Power of Negative Thinking - Massive rarities and B-sides comp.
37.
Miles Davis - Live at the Filmore East (March 7, 1970): It's About That Time/ Complete In a Silent Way Sessions/Complete Jack Johnson Sessions/Complete On the Corner Sessions/Seven Steps: Complete Columbia Album Collection - holy. fucking. shit.
36.
Mudhoney, Superfuzz Big Muff Deluxe Ed. - So this is a reissue, but it includes the best songs by the band from the original EP as well as lost tracks and live jaunts.
35.
Victrola Favorites: Artifacts from Bygone Days - Although it is remastered and on CD, this does capture that interesting, unique sound from a bunch of differing genres.
34. Mojo Presents: Beloved - Included with a damn good issue of Mojo, I was happy to see this disc include McCarthy, as well as others.
33. Les Savy, Inches - 1995-2004 in singles.
32.
Leonard Cohen Live at the Isle of Wight 1970 - Complete with inter-set quips and visionary one-liners.
31.
Pole 123 - Stefan Betke's first 3 albums of dub-based glitches and near-silence.
30.
Jerome's Dream Completed 1997-2001 - Even if you hate screamo you've gotta give this guy credit for what he's doing to his voice.
29.
The Life Aquatic Studio Sessions - Seu Jorge@bowie.net
28. London is the Place for Me Vol. 1-4 - Calypso never sounded so good.
27.
Indian Summer, Science 1994 - The best crescendos and soft/loud shadings of the mid-1990s...Emo 101.
26.
New Order: Singles - Apart from this albums massive collection of canonical synth-wave, the first five tracks on this collection are some of the most impressive music every recorded.
25.
Creation Records: International Guardians of Rock and Roll - Creation was big, big sounding and big in thier reach of genres. Along side heavy hitters JAMC, House of Love, and Oasis comes The Pastels, Meat Wiplash, and other hidden gems.
24.
Home Schooled: The ABCs of Kid Soul - Picking up where The Jackson 5 and Foster Sylvers leave off.
23.
XTC, Coat of many Cupboards - For a band that sounded thier best cleaned up and mastered, these early versions, demos, and live sets really show the songwriting prowess of Andy Partridge.
21.
Liquid Liquid, Slip In And Out Of Phenomenon - A look at the seminal no wave-dance punk group over the course of 3 LPs.
20.
Kompakt Total 4/8 - With each passing year, Cologne-based label Kompakt would drop thier Total compilation, 4 and 8 had standout tracks, but each one poses a new way of looking at minimalism. 19. Messthetics - Hyped to Death's insane catalog of post-punk niche comps is growing and growing and you cannot go wrong with anyone of them.
18.
African Scream Contest - In a market flooded with non-western geo-comps, this one stands out, not just because of its name, but also due to that mean organ sound.
17.
Bob Dylan, The Bootleg Series Vol. 4, Live 1966/Vol. 6, Live 1964 - Before and during going electric.
16.
Can You Dig It: The Music and Politics of Black Action Films - Penultimate collection, cc: Issac Hayes/Bobby Womack/Quincy Jones.
15. Nirvana Live at Reading - Wheelchair, grunge, forever bootlegged, finally mastered, includes DVD.
14.
Louis Armstrong The Complete Hot 5 and Hot 7 Recordings - The biggest and best New Orleans style jazz package you can by used online.
13.
Dead Moon, Echoes of the Past - Sub-Pops 2 disc nod to NW DIY underground punk. 12. DFA Records Presents: Compilation #1/#2 - In these two comps, we see DFA's James Murphy, Tim Goldworthy, and many others reaching deep into their catalog, reinventing it, and packaging it with some hard to find favorites.
11.
Factory Records Communications 1978-1992 - This comp spans a period of time which many of us have come to enjoy, and does it in Madchester...why no scene kid should be complete with out it.
10.
The Clean Anthology - New Zealand's little population gave us this influential group which seems to be at the trunk of the indie tree.
9.
ESG, A South Bronx Story - Minimal dance-punk funk rediscovered.
8. Roky Erikson: I Have Always Been Here Before - The 13th Floor Elevators comprise only a fraction of this massive comp, which spans into Roky's devil-rocker career of '60s nostalgia. We Sell Soul by The Spades is SUCH a good song.
7. Rockin’ Bones: 1950s Punk and Rockabilly - 4 discs worth of people who hated Truman and his bomb and didn't like Ike...score 1 for every song you can find the Cramps covered.
6.
Orange Juice, The Glasgow School - So shimmery and charming were the Scots, this will unexpectedly open the floodgates to such melodrama as Josef K and The Monochrome Set.
5. Enter the Vaselines* - This awesome box set not only piles together their entire stupid stuff, but them in their most interesting form: live. *Includes Live in London.
4.
Albert Ayler Holy Ghost - Over and over, we see jazz greats repackaged according to live appearances, label runs, instrumental periods, ect. Finally Albert Ayler has gotten 9 discs of what he deserves, including one with interviews.
3.
Modest Mouse, Build Nothing Out of Something/Sappy Sad Sucker - Sandwiching their masterpiece Antarctica came 2 great retrospective albums, helping us all discover the lost lo-fi aurora of MM.
2.
The Wipers Box Set - Portland's understated group is right next to The Replacements and Husker Du in the intelli-punk batting order.
1.
Joy Divison Live at the Factory, '79/Live at University of London Union, '80/Live at High Wycombe Town Hall - These live Joy Division recordings may take a back seat to the much anticipated reissues of Unknown Pleasures and Closer, but the live bonus discs should nary be over looked. They are among the most-listened to tracks I own.

3 comments:

Jeff E. Winner said...

Thanks for including our Raymond Scott compilation — hard to believe it's been almost 10 years since we released it!

Tyler Bisson said...

Jerome's Dream
yes.
absolutely ridiculous

Joce. said...

I think the Zombies are better than the Animals, but I'm Mad Again still wins my heart.

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