December’s batch of new-but-olds also stars big movie soundtracks, Belinda Carlisle, The Waterboys …and the return of Dudley and his Futurist Desk
Greetings ratfans. There’s a ‘last-minute gift ideas’ vibe to this month’s round-up. Some genuinely brilliant stuff and belated anniversaries that have probably been mucked up by the vinyl delays and general outside world hassles. Oh well, pop never stops, am I right? Let’s get on with it…
Bonjour la classe! What’s one of the most important rock documentaries of all time? I’ll give you a clue, it’s Depeche Mode’s 101. I know, I’m as shocked as you are, but helpfully I come armed with some facts. Released in 1989, Depeche Mode’s 101 documentary saw legendary filmmakers DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus following the band and some competition-winning fans across America in support of their Music For The Masses album.
The Mode were pretty big in the America, but the movie helped them look even bigger, and the footage of the fans is seen as a pioneer in reality footage. While Moders (Depeches?) have long wanted the entire concert – the original film didn’t feature much tbh – Pennebaker pointed out that he was making a documentary and not a concert film, actually, he insists that an entire recording of the show doesn’t exist.
However, the group were slightly more canny, and recorded the whole concert for an accompanying live album which went to Number 5. Now 101 comes in an upgraded new set, with a blu-ray, 2XDVD and 2CD set, a 40-page photo book, a replica of the film’s original poster and offers for 4K downloads and 24-bit audio files too. If you just fancy the DVD or blu-ray by themselves then you have that option too. This set Includes three previously unseen bonus performances of A Question Of Lust, Sacred and Something To Do plus the official promotional video for Everything Counts, and extras from the 2003 release of the film. So that’s all good news, isn’t it?
Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On is 50! Yes, that’s right. And what do we do when an album hits a significant birthday? Why, we repress it on heavyweight vinyl in a new package with extra unseen photos and add a second disc of bonus tracks and single mixes in mono, that’s what. Obviously, What’s Going On (Motown/ Ume) is a timely masterpiece every home should have a copy of, so if you don’t have one, I suggest you get on this.
It’s been mastered from the original tape reels and the second disc includes three stripped versions of the title track and a demo, and the mono single mixes are on vinyl for the first time since their original release.
The last album by The Doors with Jim Morrison, LA Woman, is coming out as a 50th anniversary affair this month. Recorded under a week, it’s the one with Riders On The Storm on along with Love Her Madly and, um, some others, and it now comes in a 1LP & 3CD box, armed with bonus goodies such as demos and session tracks among the two hours of unreleased recordings such as She Smells So Nice and their version of Baby Please Don’t Go.
It’s remastered in a Dolby Atmos mix for streaming purposes too, which I’m sure will delight or confuse viewers. The package had originally been earmarked for a five-disc set for the album’s 40th anniversary which was eventually cancelled because they thought no one could be arsed. But no! People are very much arsed about The Doors it would seem, as previous packages appear to have gone down quite well, so hoorah!
Gorillaz’ debut album reached 20 early this year, and to celebrate, the cartoon icons 2D, Murdoc, Russel and Noodle are putting it out again. A new super deluxe doodah of Gorillaz now comes out as an 8LP set that comprises over four hours of music and includes the original album alongside the never-before-released Demoz, plus G-Sides, Laika Come Home (first time on vinyl) and Live At The Forum, 2001.
It comes in a folio style hardback book with black binding with silver hot-foiled Gorillaz logo (look, I’m copying and pasting that, but trust me it looks fancy) and there’s a ton of unseen photos and artwork to boot. It’s an ideal gift to wave under someone who fancies you’s nose.
Another album celebrating 20 years is The Invisible Band by Travis. The title was a bit of a gag on the fact that the band were a bit, um, invisible despite how big they actually were BITD – with a pair of million-selling albums, Brit Awards and a general ‘quite big’ aura about them, they could still go gently about their business without being chased down the street.
Now, The Invisible Band is coming out as a special limited-edition box set, which features the album and B-sides across ultra-clear vinyl 2XLP sets and the 2XCD set adds six bonus demos and live numbers. Both format sets will be available individually too. Home to the Top 3 hit Sing, alongside Flowers In The Window and Side, The Invisible Band spent a month at Number 1 following the huge success of The Man Who, and Travis became the byword for a sort-of post-Oasis indie feelings type sound, albeit one that saw Coldplay make hay and become huge with. Anyhoo, it’s genuinely quite a lovely album to hear again after all this time.
Speaking of Coldplay, or more significantly their lungsmith Chris Martin, he’s only gone and helped Femi Kuti compile a box set of his dad Fela Kuti’s music. Entitled Box Set 5, it contains seven vinyl albums covering Why Black Man Dey Suffer, Noise for Vendor Mouth, Kalakuta Show, Excuse O, Ikoyi Blindness, Original Sufferhead, and Overtake Don Overtake Overtake.
The box comes with a 20-page book featuring introductions from Femi and Chris alongside essays on each by Chris May. It’s not impossibly priced either, so should you feel tempted to delve into the many albumed world of Fela Kuti, this is a good round-up to kick off with.
Essiebons Special 1973–1984: Ghana Music Power House is a compilation celebrating the work of Dick Essilfie-Bondzie, who was a bit of a giant in African music. For most of the 1970s Essilfie-Bondzie’s Dix and Essiebons labels were synonymous with the best in modern highlife, and his roster was a who’s-who of highlife legends.
This was a far more exciting world for Dick, having studied at business school in London at the age of 20, and returning to Ghana to work in government, for him the music was never far away and so he opened West Africa’s first pressing plant in 1967, thus combining both his head for business and music. So, a birrova dude then. Essiebons Special 1973–1984 collects 14 tracks together by the likes of Ernest Honny, Black Masters Band, Seaboy and Joe Meah together on 2LP or 1CD options, and it’s bloody joyous.
Up for a bit of highlife? You bet. The 1976 album Best of Vis-A-Vis In Congo Style is being reissued this month and is a right corker. Best of Vis-A-Vis In Congo Style fused Ghanaian highlife with Congolese rumba, the popular dance music based on the Hispanic style of son Cubano, which had gained popularity throughout Africa during the 1960s and 70s.
Not only that, but Best of Vis-A-Vis In Congo Style will be reissued simultaneously with another Vis-A-Vis 1977 highlife album Do Wo Ho Ni. The Vis-A-Vis catalogue – 13 albums released between 1975 and 1982 – is among one of the most sought after in African music, and is now gradually coming out on vinyl after being lovingly tidied up and remastered.
Can were bloody fantastic. This isn’t up for a debate, sunshine, I’m just serving solid gold actual fact to you. To celebrate being really rather brilliant, Mute are issuing the second of their live collections (Live In Stuttgart 1975 came out earlier this year) in the form of Live In Brighton 1975. It’s been remastered from the original tapes, with Can’s Irmin Schimdt at the helm of the project alongside producer and engineer Rene Tinner, and now comes in 3LP and 2CD options and is mind-blowingly good.
The fantastic era of The Waterboys and their Fisherman’s Blues/ Room To Roam phase is celebrated on a new 5CD/1DVD and book set (or a simpler 5CD/1DVD clamshell affair) entitled Magnificent Seven. The set collects the highlights of the seven-piece band that toured Fisherman’s Blues and made Room To Roam, and there’s a wealth of bonus material with 80 unreleased tracks and no end of rare photos and band ephemera from the era in the book, plus a 50,000 word essay by Mike Scott.
The DVD contains two complete 1989 audience films of Glastonbury and Milan, home movies and professional footage at Spiddal House during the making of Room To Roam, plus films shot on Waterboys visits to Spiddal in 2010 and 2012. The actual Room To Roam album is also being reissued on double vinyl on the same day, so it’s quite the package for either major fans or those who just love the original album. Well done The Waterboys.
One of the greatest labels of all time, Heavenly Records, have put together a couple of volumes of Heavenly Remixes, which showcases world class reswizzling from their 31 years of existence. The first part features tracks such as Espiritu’s Los Americanos (Mother mix), Moonflowers’ Get Higher (Get Dubber mix) and Baxter Dury’s Miami (Parrot & Cocker mix), while the second part has Doves’ Jetstream (Lindstrøm mix), Working Men’s Club’s Valleys (Graham Massey Acid mix) and the spectacular Filthy (Monkey Mafia mix) by Saint Etienne. Both out as double vinyl or single CDs, and well worth every penny.
U2 had already put out a 20-year anniversary edition of Achtung Baby back in 2011, and having possibly gone the full bells and whistles with that set (it cost half a million and was as big as the moon) they have decided to issue their best album (don’t @ me, you know I’m right) as either a double black or red/blue vinyl edition in celebration of 30 years.
The main attraction here is probably the announcement of the ‘digital box set’ which has 50 tracks with numerous remixes and B-sides. Anyway, give it a listen, it’s quite brilliant. If you recall that The Joshua Tree was sequenced to have the best four tracks at the start, this follows that blueprint and THEN has Mysterious Ways and The Fly following. So yeah. A fabulous album. There’s a poster too.
Dee-dee-doo-dooo-waa, skerbeedle-dee-doo doo-bah-bah! Ah Jamiroquai. Led by the be-hatted jazz-funkian eco-warrior Jay Kay, who now seems to have settled into a life of driving fast cars and wallpapering his listed mansion with cash these days, having – let’s face it – put in the hours back in the day. He’s celebrating the 25th anniversary of his third album Travelling Without Moving (Sony), by having it reissued as a double heavyweight 180g yellow vinyl set, complete with a new updated cover and sleevenotes. BAA-BAA-be-doo-doo-wah etc.
The Now Yearbook Extra 1983 is a 3CD companion set to this year’s bumper Yearbook edition, offering 60 tracks that aren’t necessarily the first that compilers reach for when putting together these albums.
It’s been done with a lot of love and affection by people who know their pop onions. Among the lesser-spotted gems include Tears For Fears’ The Way You Are, Echo & The Bunnymen’s imperial Never Stop, Soft Cell’s even more imperial Soul Inside, New Order’s Confusion, Agnetha Fältskog’s The Heat Is On, Creatures’ Right Now and even Kenny Everett’s Snot Rap.
Continuing their run of magnificence, the Now team have branched out into a vinyl-only effort called Now Presents… The 1970s, a strictly limited 5LP box set offering a year per side. From Simon & Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Troubled Water to Buggles’ Video Killed The Radio Star via Virginia Plain, I Want You Back, All The Young Dudes, Amoureuse, This Town Ain’t Big Enough For Both Of Us, I Feel Love, Uptown Top Ranking, Hong Kong Garden and Heart Of Glass, it’s a swoonsome fish purse of absolutely swingorilliant Big Sister Pop, alright, however be quick groovers, for it’s a limited edition and likely to have sold out by the time you read this.
One of the 00ze’s most underrated albums was Now Here Is Nowhere by Secret Machines. Well, it’s not like it wasn’t rated at the time, but it seems to been cruelly overlooked in the ensuing years. It was one of the first albums to be available online long before it became physical, which in 2004 was akin to witchcraft, but was an avatar of aheadness as to the direction the industry was heading. But yeah, it’s absolutely brilliant, a fantastic hybrid of prog, shoegaze, a tickle of Komische and generally all-round dimensional power rock, and back out as a 2LP.
By jingo, do you remember The Long Blondes? Well, you bloody should, as for a brief period back in the mid 00ze they were quite the thing for those interested in slightly exotic indie disco (exotic as in fronted by a woman, the magnificent Kate Jackson) and were produced by Sheffield pop royalty aka Steve Mackey from Pulp.
Anyway, they’re reissuing their 2006 album Someone To Drive You Home ‘pon double coloured vinyl, which has been all remastered and fancied up, and the second disc features B-sides from the singles off the album. It’s one 15th anniversary that I can truly get behind, and, really, an album that should’ve been far bigger than it was. Now, if we’re talking reissuing amazing albums by mid-00ze acts lost to time, I want some news on The Rakes coming back. Back. BACK on my desk in the next fortnight or I’ll cancel Christmas. You heard.
You know how it is. You wait 35 years for a politically charged album originally released on London Records in 1986 to arrive, and then two turn up at once. What are the chances! First up are The Communards, the band formed by a pre-Reverend Richard Coles and the then-ex Bronski Beat lungsmith Jimmy Somerville, whose modus operandi, the Rev recalls now, was the rather brilliant “We wanted to bring down Thatcher by doing cover versions of ‘70s disco classics and a sort of supper club jazz music. It perhaps seems a rather over ambitious project now, but at the time it was a brilliant idea.”
Their self-titled debut album is coming back out this month, which contained the singles Don’t Leave Me This Way, So Cold The Night, Disenchanted and You Are My World, and the new vinyl edition is a double set that adds B-sides to make it 16 tracks, and there’s also a 2CD offering which comes with a Janice Long session as well as some firing remixes. There are some bundles available on their webstore, which includes t-shirts and a bonus CD single of the 12-inch Gotham City Mega Mix of Don’t Leave Me This Way. AaaaaaaaAAAAAH BABY!
The other London Records act in this month’s scenario are The Redskins, whose sole album Neither Washington Nor Moscow is back out on vinyl. There’s a 4XCD box set which expands on the original album with remixes, B-sides, demos, early pre-London singles and live tracks – including some recorded with Billy Bragg and Jerry Dammers – and there’s sleevenotes and bon mots from the members of the band who’ll still talk (lead singer, the rather gnnnfgy Chris Dean, seems to have absconded from showbiz altogether) alongside Bragg and Paul Morley. What it lacks in Hi-NRG reswizzles, it makes up for in INTENSITY, yeah? Ah, bless The Redskins, they were soulful, they were punky, and they sounded like they were on the brink of kicking your head in. Which is all one required back then when one was trying to smash the system, right comrade?
The Redskins would probably be right on board with Belinda Carlisle’s Live Your Life Be Free. I’d like to think so anyway. Why am I wanging on about Belinda Carlisle, you ask? (Well, okay, you weren’t, but do play along.) It is because she’s reissuing her 1991 album as a triple vinyl expedition in honour of its 30th anniversary. It’s quite the cracker really, if you’re onboard the Carlisle train that is. If you’re not, then you’re an old square. The original hit-rammed album is accompanied by two bonus LPs that feature fourteen bonus tracks: two non-album B-sides and 12-inch mixes, four of them unreleased at the time, and three 7-inch edits. It even comes in a box, and if you’re an Amazon exclusive kind of cat, you can get it in green vinyl too.
The gentle yet possibly quite prickly Norwegian duo Kings Of Convenience are reissuing their first two albums Quiet Is The New Loud and Riot On An Empty Street on vinyl this month. The albums originally came out in 2001 and 2004 respectively and are both quietly wonderful, garnering much acclaim at the time, and Quiet… even went silver in the UK thanks to numbers such as I Don’t Know What I Can Save You From (go and track down the Röyksopp mix of it, it’s fantastic), Toxic Girl and Winning A Battle, Losing A War. Riot… also went silver and features Feist on a couple of tracks as well as the lovely single Misread. Highly recommended.
The recent trend in reissuing soundtracks on vinyl shows no signs of abating, and there’s a couple of interesting ones out this month. First up, The Matrix, which most people have an opinion on. I went to see it on a date and it was so bloody loud I got one of the worst headaches of my life because my ‘potential suitor’ wanted to sit at the fucking front. Yeah, it didn’t last.
Anyway, some say that The Matrix has done as much damage to society as the infantilism of Harry Potter or Star Wars with their range of homewares for babypeople, inasmuch as the whole ‘red/ blue pill’ has become some sort of arsehole detector. You could imagine some QAnon-adjacent nutbag loving the selections here while they object to rational common sense or, you know, logic. Anyway, The Matrix: Music From The Motion Picture features the usual suspects Rage Against The Machine, Ministry and Rammstein as well as curios like Meat Beat Manifesto and Rob D. It comes as a clear with red and blue swirl vinyl edition because obviously.
Music from Vanilla Sky is probably far more palatable. This was mainly due to Cameron Crowe being the writer and director, and he’d also done Almost Famous and that was quite ‘someone knows their stuff’ as regards music chosen. Despite having Tom Cruise in it, Vanilla Sky’s soundtrack works well on its own as a listen.
There’s some enticing numbers such as The Monkees’ Porpoise Song, Sigur Rós’ Svefn-G-Englar, The Chemical Brothers’ Where Do I Begin and two tracks by R.E.M., plus the title track by Paul McCartney was even nominated for an Academy Award in 2001 so it’s all very tasteful and a decent array of songs.
I’d planned on introducing Janine from our new Italian Horror Prog Newsdesk for this next album, but unfortunately, she’s gone a bit funny and taken to spewing demonic blood inbetween reciting incantations in Latin and lashing out at passers-by with her toxic tongue, and well, I hope she’s going to clear that up themselves as I was on my hands and knees clearing up after her ‘sacrifice event’ from last week.
In the meantime, let me tell you about Goblin, the fantastic Italian prog outfit who’ve got a limited edition 10LP box set out this month called The Horror Original Soundtracks: LITA 20th Anniversary Deluxe Edition. It features Profondo rosso, Suspiria, Zombi, Patrick, Buio Omega, Contamination, Non ho sonno, Phenomena, Tenebre and an exclusive Rarities set. It’s on (naturally) blood red transparent vinyl.
After his debut last month, our postbag has been full of requests for more of Dudley and his Futurist Desk, so without further ado, and with a face that looks like he’d rather have a refund than a credit note, is the man himself. So, Dudley, what have you got for us this month?
“Well thank you, Ian, and hello futurists! I had rather hoped to have brought you news about Depeche Mode’s 101 reissue, but it appears that SOMEONE got there first. Ahem. However, I do bring news of some important Spanish Industrial noise in the form of a 40th anniversary repress of Esplendor Geométrico’s first album EG-1. Think I’m making them up? You’d be wrong, for they are very real, and pioneers no less!
“Formed from the ashes of El Aviador Dro y sus Obreros Especializados, Esplendor Geométrico – their name was taken from Lo splendore geometrico e meccanico e la sensibilità numerica, a text by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, the author of the Futurist Manifesto (and you don’t get more futurist than THAT, eh readers?) – and were a big deal in the international underground circuit of the cassette label scene – this was before anything as gauche as an indie label arrived in Spain, darling.
“There were only 300 copies of EG-1 made, which were proper DIY, self-produced jobs. Once the Spanish indie scene decided to happen, it was reissued on a variety of labels, and it’s since gone on to be considered something of a classic. There are 500 copies of it being pressed on vinyl by Geometrik on this auspicious occasion, so I suggest you pull your fingers out and grab a copy! Now back to Ian.”
Thanks Dudley, that was brutal, pretentious and a little bit erotic.
“Well, just how I like my men! Hahaha!”
Know when to stop, dear boy. Know when to stop.
He’s the sausage man… The shadow licker… He’s like a shipping tycoon full of promise and cum. Oh yes. Celebrating 20 years as potty-mouthed pop turn and a recent fantastic autobiography, Baxter Dury is issuing a Best of called Mr Maserati. In a just world it would be a Greatest Hits and toe-taps such as Miami, I’m Not Your Dog and Carla’s Got A Boyfriend would’ve spent months at the top of the charts, and this would be battling Adele saleswise, but alas we can’t have nice things. It’s a neat concise collection with highlights from his six albums alongside a new number called DOA, and every home should have at least two copies, maybe even four if your budgets allow.
Matt Berry is celebrating a decade on Acid Jazz with Gather Up. He is! The actor has been gradually keeping his musical career on the go, and has basically done both rather well. With tracks from nine(!) albums, ranging from spooky knotty winter folk to TV themes to phased prog-lite and psychedelia. Depending on your level of interest, there’s several options of Gather Up exploration available. The 4CD and 5LP set includes the highlights alongside a disc of rare items that collects together pre-Acid Jazz stuff such as the MySpace EP from 2010, and there’s demos on a fourth LP (or CD3). Then there’s Live At A Festival which has tracks recorded, um, live at three festivals across 2015. If you don’t fancy the deep dive, a 2LP in red vinyl/1CD basic round-up is also available.
Mantronix’s second album Music Madness is one of those ground-breaking affairs that was very key in the outbreak of hip hop. Originally released in 1986 on Sleeping Bag records, it featured the single Who Is It? and follows this year’s reissue of The Album. It’s quite a thrilling ride albeit more electronic and funk-based than the original hip hop brief. It’s back out on vinyl however which is stupid, but when I say stupid, I mean stupid FRESH. Yeah, get me. Down with the kids as ever.
Hawkwind now, and the endearingly cosmic if slightly unwashed bunch of far out voyagers are celebrating over 50 years with Dust Of Time – An Anthology, which is a 6CD box with 81 tracks spanning their career, complete with a book with a new essay and exclusive interview with Dave Brock as well as a poster. Cor. It’s all the Space Rock one can stomach and should have any casual observers reaching for the band’s full catalogue within the first few tracks.
One of the greatest pop groups to have ever existed, Sweden’s Alcazar, are celebrating (just over) 20 years of their – yes, I’m going there – ICONIC debut album Casino by issuing it on vinyl for the first time. Featuring the hits Crying At The Discotheque, Ritmo Del Amor, Shine On and a cover of The Human League’s Don’t You Want Me that doesn’t want you to de-invent humanity (although their take on Seasons In The Sun just might). There’s also the magnificently titled Tears Of A Clone, which should have been showered with plaudits at the time. Be quick though, pop picklers, as there’s just 1000 pressed, and they’re on magenta vinyl.
So that’s it for the December trolley dash. I think we’re done here, don’t you? Thanks for bearing with me (and Dudley and Janine), it does mean a lot. See you in January.