Music Features, Spotlights

Reissues Roundup: Robert Palmer, Whitney Houston, The Auteurs

February’s picks also include Mogwai, Imagination featuring Leee John, a-ha, Haircut 100, A Flock Of Seagulls, Bananarama, The Strokes, Farid El-Atrache, Mull Historical Society, 10cc and Small Faces

musicOMH Reissues Roundup February 2023

musicOMH Reissues Roundup February 2023

February! Oh yeah. It’s a month alright. You’re just itching to GET ON WITH IT after an endless January, aren’t you? I know I am, viewers. So, let’s open up the spreadsheet and gaze upon this month’s treats…


Robert Palmer - The Island Records Years

Robert Palmer – The Island Records Years

One nice and fairly regular thing that happens on social media is occasional ‘Bloody Nora, Robert Palmer was fucking amazing, wasn’t he?’ chats. It’s a lovely hobnob of posts where various people rave about gems from his catalogue – his funk with The Meters, being a bit Numan in the Bahamas, recording in Urdu, hanging with loads of legends in general – and imagine where and what he’d be doing now. I mean, the sheer breadth of his catalogue and way with a cover version, and allowing himself to infuse and not pisstake like some tourist, showing that rather than being some arriviste ASDA Bryan Ferry, he was an avatar of aheadness and just as important.

Now, as if to prove this – and what people knew all along – here comes Robert Palmer / The Island Records Years 1974-1985, a 9CD box set of Bob’s Island gear featuring the nine albums he made for the label between 74-85, plus bits and bobs and B-sides from each set. There was some consternation with previous reissues that they sounded a bit shit, and despite sterling work from reissuers in the past, Palmer’s estate had poo-poohed any major deep dive, however this set has been newly remastered and lovingly put together complete with sleevenotes from onion-knower Daryl Easlea. It’s a welcome round-up that looks sexy af (much like Palmer did) and does his legend justice.


Haircut One Hundred - Pelican West

Haircut One Hundred – Pelican West

And it’s a joyous welcome to the Haircut 100 whose triumphant debut Pelican West was 40 last year. It was, and remains, a magnificent album that has been long overdue a remastered bells-n-whistles blow-out. Well good news boppers, IT HAS COME! Yus, a super deluxe edition has arrived with a 4LP and 4CD option, containing the seminal album alongside a disc of 12-inch mixes and B-sides, the demos for their unfinished second album with Heyward (who left exhausted and when there was some kind of conspiracy brewing to oust him) and a live set from Hammersmith Odeon from the spring of 1982.

The 4LP omits the live show, should you need that, but tbh it’s all magnificent so BUY BOTH. Pop on your favourite shirts and sou’westers and sailor hats and relive one of the jolliest – and pretty damn funky – pop sensations of all time. Plus, it’s got sleevenotes from – him again – Daryl Easlea who has interviewed the whole band and looks gorgeous (the package that is, not Daryl. Although he’s quite a looker himself). Perfection.


Your Limbs Rise Again - The Story Of The Bat Cave Night Club 1982-1989

Your Limbs Rise Again – The Story Of The Bat Cave Night Club 1982-1989

I am fortunate enough not to have children of my own who would be likely to ask me “Daddy, did you go to The Batcave?” as my answer would be “No, sweetheart, for I was about 13 years old and it looked terrifying. Although I did meet your ‘uncle’ at some joint a few years later and I understand it made The Batcave look quite tame. Come, settle down as I tell you all about how dreadful the music was at The Hoist…” AHEM.

Anyway, a frankly brilliant compilation comes this month in the form of Young Limbs Rise Again: The Story Of The Batcave Nightclub 1982-1985. It’s a stunning 90-track 5CD set, or 62-track 6LP encounter. Those who merely fancy a dabble will be interested in a 20-track 2LP highlights package, but that’s tourism for you. The Batcave may have only had a brief life, attracting people who enjoyed wearing fishnet bodysuits and weren’t too fussed about how their make-up look as long as their hair was high, but it was the coalescent of what the basics basically class as goth, and yet was a stew of a much wider range of ingredients that continues to live on today.

Essentially, The Batcave was the antidote to the post-futurist era and not fancying dressing up in some Blitz-era chic, and more about attracting anyone who was a bit of a freak. The set is divided into three CDs which contain a playlist from a typical night, with Sisters Of Mercy, The Cure, The Cult, Associates, Banshees, B-52’s, Adam & The Ants, SPK, Bunnymen, Human League and The Japan, the fourth disc contains toe-taps from acts that actually played at the club, with The Specimen, Christian Death, Lords Of The New Church, Propaganda, Marc & The Mambas and Flesh For Lulu, and a fifth CD has tracks of the glam rock roots of the scene, with The Sweet, Roxy Music, T Rex, Velvet Underground and Suicide among them. It’s so completely up my street that I feel I want to slip into a rubber leotard, don a frightwig and sip Pernod menacingly. It’s an essential document that helps slot The Batcave into its rightful position as one of club culture’s finest moments alongside the likes of Billy’s and The Blitz (and tbh The Blitz’s legend of ‘Oh Steve Strange wouldn’t let you in if he didn’t like the look of you, but those of us who did all became designers and pop stars while moodily hoofing Sobraines to Kraftwerk records’ is kinda overdone in comparison). So yeah. Get crimping your hair, dig out your Max Factor and start dancing like you’re emerging from cobwebs, freaks – YOUR TIME IS NOW.

Imagination featuring Leee John - 40 Years

Imagination featuring Leee John – 40 Years

Another 40 year-type knees-up comes in the form of Imagination featuring Leee John’s mammoth marvel called, um, 40 Years, which is a 17CD traipse through their career. From the classic debut Body Talk via the iconic Night Dubbing through to Retropia, it’s a whopping 189 tracks, many of which are previously unreleased. Imagination and Leee deserve all the love and respect quite frankly, for their input and influence on pop in general, from inventing Jolley & Swain as the go-to producers for the likes of the Spandaus and Bananarama, and practically inventing house music way ahead of schedule. This box is essential. BEYOND essential even. Get yourself this history lesson, you’ll thank me.

A Flock Of Seagulls

A Flock Of Seagulls – A Flock Of Seagulls

Another turn who’ve ‘gone ruby’ as no one has ever said, are A Flock Of Seagulls whose self-titled debut gets the expansions this month. Originally released in April 1982, the Liverpool-based ‘gulls were primarily known for lead singer Mike Score’s terror-hair and for being a far bigger deal in America than they were over here. Their debut sold shedloads over there and didn’t do too badly once their Wishing number became a big hit (which was actually on the second album) but Space Age Love Song was a Top 34 smash, and the key hit I Ran ended up Top 3 in the US. Fancy that! Anyway, this is coming out as an orange vinyl and a 3CD set with sessions, demos and the like on it. Fill your boots.


The Strokes - The Singles 06 25 2001 - 09 06 2006

The Strokes – The Singles 06 25 2001 – 09 06 2006

The Strokes: The Singles Volume 01 is perhaps an interesting title for a box set by the New York janglers who wandered into our lives two decades ago, what with their output hardly being a flood over the years. It’s a 10-pack of 7-inch singles going from The Modern Age through to You Only Live Once and all pressed on black vinyl with the original artwork yada yada and a reminder what all the fuss was about in the first place.

James Last - Non Stop Dancing Box

James Last – Non Stop Dancing Box

Let me just dip into the postbag and see if there are any requests… Oh, this is one is from some called ‘Your Editor’ and he’d like to know if I was going to cover the Neutral Milk Hotel box set. Cover? What with – concrete? Well, ‘editor’, I’m far more interested in the James Last Non-Stop Dancing box set which is a 20CD affair covering Hansi’s, um, Non-Stop Dancing output over the years.

Did you know that after each show on his tour, he’d put on a FULL BANQUET for his whole orchestra? And that he’s sold over 200 million records worldwide? And that his range of Non-Stop Dancing albums were full of gems such as his version of Hawkwind’s Silver Machine? He was also one of my dad’s favourites, and due to James Last’s habit of releasing something like 300 albums during his lifetime, it meant I was always handy for a gift at Christmas or birthday. Even though my dad’s birthday was in the same week as Father’s Day, you could rest assured old Hansi would have knocked up some Your Favourite Romantic Moods effort in the days beforehand. I THINK YOU’LL FIND THAT’S FAR MORE IMPRESSIVE THAN NEUTRAL FUCKING MILK HOTEL. 

Showaddywaddy - 50th Anniversary Anthology

Showaddywaddy – 50th Anniversary Anthology

You wanna know who else is better than Neutral Milk Sodding Hotel? Showaddywaddy. Yeah, you heard. Actually, there are thousands of acts far better than Neutral Bloody Milk Hotel, but we’re focusing on the ‘waddy right now and they have a new box set called Anthology celebrating 50 years. They may have served the look of some cheeky be-crepe-suited tinkers who’s operate some waltzers in a travelling funfair, but they were one of the biggest acts of the late ’70s, and their Hey Rock & Roll single (one of the first records I ever owned in a bundle – alongside Sparks’ This Town Ain’t Big Enough For The Both Of Us and Cozy Powell’s Na Na Na – bequeathed to me by my oldest sister when she moved out) pisses over the whole legacy of Neutral Milk Bastard Hotel. I hope that helps, Mr editor. (‘Your Editor’ is very sorry he asked, and won’t ever do that again. – Ed)


Jon Savage's 1980-1982 The Art Of Things To Come

Jon Savage’s 1980-1982 The Art Of Things To Come

Someone who knows how to put a compilation together is Jon Savage. He’s been involved in some brilliant collections for Ace over the years, and his latest 1980-1982 The Art Of Things To Come is a mine through that amazing period (well, all the periods Sav has focused on have seemed amazing in retrospect really, he is not shabby form-wise) with toe-taps from The Associates, Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five, The Human League, Grace Jones, New Order, Yello, The Peech Boys and Zapp. It’s a 35-track 2CD blast, and special mention to including the 12-inch versions of crackers such as Soft Cell’s Bedsitter which was INCREDIBLE. Remember, Soft Cell made their 12-inch versions first and then edited down to chart-molesting singles. So yep, futurism in all its stripes and modes are on display here. Well done Jon Savage. Yet again.

Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston has been in the news lately. Well, an iffy film about her life has anyway. So that’s occasion enough to reissue her first two albums on vinyl again. Yaroo! Her self-titled debut and follow-up Whitney are back out in both orange or black vinyl (debut) or blue or black (Whitney). Jesus Christ it’s easy to forget how incredible these albums were/ are. But they are and so if you haven’t got them and fancy them, snap ‘em up.

Mogwai - Come On Die Young

Mogwai – Come On Die Young

One of the greatest – and most alcoholic – nights of my life was seeing Mogwai at ATP in 2000. They’d curated the weekend and among the delights of a Belle and Sebastian fan-orgy on my chalet roof, Aphex Twin apparently DJing with some sandpaper and Sonic Youth arriving onsite with all their tunes left at the airport, it could also feasibly be the finest festival weekends of my life.

Anyway, you’re not here for my autobiography, the reason I’m banging on about Mogwai is that they’re reissuing their first two albums – Mogwai Young Team and Come On Die Young – and by jingo what a pair they are. Naturally, the vinyl is coloured – in this case MYT is blue and CODY is white – and this jamboree is in celebration of it being approximately 25 years since they were released (or at least a sort-of midway point between the two). They both come in bundles of some variation or the other on their D2C site, but truly – they are worth ALL the fuss. They are a pair of phenomenal albums with barely a chorus between them. Sometimes that’s all you need.


Now, as February is looking like a sharp-dressin’ mod-fest, I’ve called upon my good friend Ray – well accustomed to making impressions – direct from the hamlet of Modley Mod, where he keeps the sharpest post office and garden market emporium to discuss some modernism. Take it away Ray!

Small Faces - Small Faces

Small Faces – Small Faces

“Hello Ian, and good day viewers. Let me start with the dads of all mod – Small Faces. They’ve got a couple of vinyl reissues this month, with their 1967 self-titled collection – aka The Immediate Album – coming in white vinyl, and the genuinely incredible Ogdens’ Nut Gone Flake from 1968 in a tasty gold edition. As a connoisseur of such things, Ogdens slightly edges it for me with its barmy whimsy of Stanley Unwin linking the tracks with nutjob narration and for featuring Lazy Sunday and Song Of A Baker. They’ve both been remastered, which is good news for any of you cats who spent early ’90s summers listening to budget versions while stoned out of their gourd.

Ocean Colour Scene - Yesterday Today 1992-2018

Ocean Colour Scene – Yesterday Today 1992-2018

“Moving up a decade or three, those groovers Ocean Colour Scene are unleashing a box set called Yesterday Today that covers the period 1992-2018. Across a whopping 15 CDs, from the self-titled baggy-adjacent debut right up to 2013’s Painting with their ten (count ‘em!) albums and another five discs of B-sides, demos and whatnot. It looks like being a pricey old month for the Ocean-goers as there’ll also be a 5LP colour vinyl edition box of their first three – they’re saying ‘classic’ but let’s not get ahead of ourselves here – albums such as the chart-toppers Moseley Shoals and Marchin’ Already.

British Mod Sounds Volume 2 The Freakbeat & Psych Years

British Mod Sounds Volume 2 The Freakbeat & Psych Years

“The fabulous chief modhead Eddie Piller has been busy conjuring up a follow-up to last year’s British Mod Sounds, with the groovin’ British Mod Sounds Of The 1960s Volume 2: The Freakbeat and Psych Years. This purple vinyled 6LP or 4CD set contains your boys David Bowie, Fleetwood Mac and The Who alongside future stars such as Jimmy Page and Marc Bolan in their early roles as ace faces. There’s also space for the absolutely cracking Vacuum Cleaner by Tintern Abbey plus Fleur De Lys, The Craig and Wimple Witch lower down the ‘bill’. It’s a far out, freakin’ out, world of jet-jivin’ squall-splendour and other mod-esque phrases I’ve decided to invent to describe it.

The Sound Of Tardam Records - Do It All Night!

The Sound Of Tardam Records – Do It All Night!

“And finally in my Mod Round-Up, Do It All Night is a compilation by Acid Jazz, collecting together a selection of numbers released on the Italian label Tardam. The label was invented in 2014 and has since become a source of swift and swaggering soul, mod and ska movers from turns such as The Mighty Typhoons, Working Voodoo Club and The Spinshots. It also looks exquisitely groovy with a retro-looking sleeve too. Thoroughly recommended.

“But as our Godfather Weller says ‘I’m still a mod, I’ll always be a mod, you can bury me a mod.’ And who am I to argue with him? (Seriously, don’t. He’s quite handy.)”

Erm, thanks Ray! That was a gloomy note to end on but whatever.


The Pale Fountains - From Across The Kitchen Table

The Pale Fountains – From Across The Kitchen Table

Back at the end of 1982, Liverpool’s Pale Fountains seemed ready and dressed for success when they swooped into the charts with the joyous Thank You. It had all the hallmarks of being a Top 10 smash, yet petered out at a measly 48, which was a shame. However, it did appear on the Ronco BOGOF Raiders Of The Pop Charts that DID reach the top spot, so swings and roundabouts there. The Pales (The Faints?) were notable for being the first sighting of Michael Head, who’d go on to invent Shack, Red Elastic Band and The Strands and various other highly acclaimed turns. The line-up also included Andy Diagram who went off and joined James. Anyway, this month sees the long-awaited vinyl reissues of their pair of albums 1984’s Pacific Street and 1985’s Ian Broudie-produced …From Across The Kitchen Table, which are absolute gems, let me tell you now.


Intrigue: Steven Wilson presents: Progressive Sounds In The UK Alternative Music 1979-1989

Steven Wilson brings us Intrigue, which in itself sounds like a perfume, but wait! There are semi-colons! Intrigue: Steven Wilson presents: Progressive Sounds In The UK Alternative Music 1979-1989, which is a long-winded way of collecting together the sort of sounds by acts whom had they came out in 1975 would’ve been labelled as prog, but by a post-punk accident of birth, weren’t considered as such.

There are 58 tracks across a 4CD and 7LP editions, and a lightweight 2LP with 19 tracks. It features the sort of pastoral-facing, almost prog stylings of act who’d sooner stick their head into a lawnmower than wear one on their head Peter Gabriel-y. Turns such as The Stranglers, Simple Minds, The Cure, and curiously The Specials’ Ghost Town and Sisters Of Mercy’s This Corrosion. And yet when you think about the dimensions of those tunes, it’s a VERY thin line from going the full Roger Dean. Anyway, it’s a very good and fantastically curated variety of moods, space and structure.

Bananarama - Wow!

Bananarama – Wow!

Look! It’s only coming out via HMV, but it’s an iconic release from an iconic outfit – and yes, I appreciate iconic has lost all meaning these days, but we’re talking about fucking Bananarama here, so there – ANYWAY, Bananarama’s ICONIC album Wow is being reissued on white vinyl and is the sort of thing that if you don’t own it, then we can’t be friends. So, here’s your chance. I mean it. You can send me nudes, hotshot, but I also require proof and RECIEPTS.


Now Yearbook 80-84

Now Yearbook 80-84

From Wow to NOW (look, we established this isn’t amateur hour some months ago) and here at the NOW Desk *moves chair slightly* we’re well and truly up for it. Firstly, Now Yearbook 1980-1984: The Final Chapter – Extra! is a 63-track 3CD hoovers up pretty much all the ‘where was…?’ furore from the online factions, offering the jolly juxtaposition of The Human League’s Boys & Girls alongside Belle & The Devotions’ Love Games. Whereas the original Yearbooks went for the headline hits, this is FAR from shabby when it’s got Do Nothing, Hey DJ, My Way Of Thinking, Sgt Rock, Love Hangover, Car Trouble, Easier Said Than Done, European Son and Cambodia on it. Tremendous!

Now Yearbook 86

Now Yearbook 86

Right, I’ve previously gone on record as thinking that 1986 was a pretty useless pop year – worst of the decade even – and yet, Now’s 80-track 4CD/ 43-track 3LP 1986 Yearbook is wooing me into thinking otherwise. Obviously, any year that has The Lady In Red, In The Army Now, Spirit In The Sky, So Macho and Every Loser Wins is setting off on a ghastly note, but there was also Love Missile F1-11! E=MC2! Human! I Can’t Wait! I’ve Been Losing You! Walk This Way! Panic! Rock Me Amadeus! Rise! Word Up!! Manic Monday! Take My Breath Away! Breakout! Digging Your Scene! Maybe the year in general was a bad scene as I was dealing with depression at the time and therefore my fondness was obscured by that. If there’s opportunity for Trouble Funk’s Good To Go or Das Psych-Oh! Rangers’ Homage To The Blessed on the Extra edition, I’ll send the Now team a chocolate orange. But yes, 1986 at a distance of 37 years then: I didn’t end up killing myself and popwise it was genuinely good after all. Hurrah all round!

Now Dance The 80s

Now Dance The 80s

And further superlatives are to be hurled in the direction of Now Dance: The 80s, which is a superb compilation of highlights from the first three Now Dance albums from 1985, 1986 and 1989. When Now began to reissue the original series on CD, there were enquiries from the onliners (them again) about whether these would be reissued similarly. To counter that – and any unavailable-to-license-from-now-sniffy-publishers meant that recreating the original tracklist of reswizzles in full may be awkward – this is a 48-track 4CD and 26-track 3LP of WONDER. The powerhouse that was Philip Bailey & Phil Collins’ Easy Lover (Extended Dance Remix), the cosmic forces of Stephen Tin Tin Duffy’s Kiss Me (Mixe Plural), the JAM that was Eddy & The Soulband’s Theme From Shaft (Hot Pursuit Mix), the aaaaaaaaAAAAAAAAH BABY! that was Don’t Leave Me This Way (12″ Extended Version) by The Communards (with Sarah Jane Morris), the THUNDER of Cookie Crew’s Got To Keep On (12” Version), plus Buffalo Stance, Move Closer, Keep On Movin’, Pull Up To The Bumper, Funky Cold Medina, Solid, Hangin’ On A String, People Hold On and more besides. It even pays homage to the 1986 edition with the cover art too (well the 1985 sleeve looks a bit iffy these days what with a snoozing lady in various positions). God, this will make a LOT of people very happy indeed. Magic stuff as always.


Can The Glam 2 - Teenage Glampage!

Can The Glam 2 – Teenage Glampage!

Can The Glam is BACK with a follow-up 4CD compendium of 80 cheery glam stompers under the guise of Teenage Glampage (amazing). The first volume was so brilliant it edged into the Best of 2022 list, and this bad boy does not disappoint either with bangers from Mott The Hoople, Wizzard, The Sweet, Cozy Powell, Geordie and Mud rubbing shoulders with the, um, lesser-known names like Kenny & The Car Parks, Big John’s Rock ‘N’ Roll Circus, Soho Jets, Buster, Hector and Iron Cross. As with volume one, onions have been known for authoritative sleevenotes and it’s a clamshell that won’t break the bank. Aye, yes there’s a crisis going on, but every human being requires a glam knees-up. It’s as exciting as finding out your brother-in-law was actually IN Kenny & The Car Parks. Not that any of mine were. Dammit.

a-ha - Hunting High And Low

a-ha – Hunting High And Low

a-ha’s 1985 debut Hunting High and Low is coming out in a 6LP expansion this month, with the original – they’re saying iconic, but I don’t want the police round here again – classic album, plus two discs of demos made between 1982-84, two discs of singles, 12-inch versions (My word, the 12-inch mix of The Sun Always Shines On TV was MONSTROUS) and a further ‘alternate mixes disc’ completing the set. I only have to look at that tracklisting and I’m bunking off school to smoke St Moritz fags at my friend Paul’s house, and Love Is Reason has embedded itself into my consciousness and become a recurrent earworm even after all these years. But I digress. It’s a near-perfect album, and I can imagine this is the final word on it. Possibly.

Saint Etienne - Good Humor

Saint Etienne – Good Humor

Saint Etienne’s ace Good Humor is 25 years old this May, and to celebrate this landmark, it’s coming out as a new coloured vinyl – a splatter!, if you please. Recorded in Malmo, Sweden under the watchful eye of Tore Johansson, who’d overseen previous work by The Cardigans and the like. While not technically bugled as a reaction against Britpop per se, the deliberate American spelling of the title was a band decision, having grown fed up of the ‘quintessentially English’ nonsense, and came at a time when the spectre of Britpop had gone all a bit cagoule-y and the original architects of it all were steering clear of it and mostly going “Heroin? Yum!” It’s one of the band’s faves too. It was also their first album on Creation proper having been managed by the label, and was delayed by the carnage that was Oasis’ Be Here Now. Anyway, it will tide you over Etienne-wise until the 30th anniversary box set of So Tough – which may or may not be sitting in a pressing plant queue as I speak – (hopefully) arrives.


Jon Hassell - Further Fictions

Jon Hassell – Further Fictions

Further Fictions is a new anthology of Jon Hassell’s two albums The Living City and Psychogeography. The Living City documented a live show at the Winter Garden in New York in September 1989 and was mixed by Brian Eno, while Psychogeography is, and I quote ‘inspired by the increasingly innovative production techniques being used in hip-hop, in particular the hyper-collaged sampledelic barrage of the Bomb Squad’s work with Public Enemy, hearing it as a kind of extension of the tape splicing that Teo Macero brought to his work with Miles Davis. He began to incorporate more of this aesthetic into his own music, playing over loops of his own performances and riffing on angular juxtapositions of noise, rhythm and melody. The resulting sonic stew is a kind of futuristic sci-fi funk with an appropriately melted production aesthetic.’ And you can’t say fairer than that. The 2CD set and 2x2LP individual albums come with a 32-page booklet of notes and snaps.

The Auteurs - People Round Here Don't Like To Talk About It The Complete EMI Recordings

The Auteurs – People Round Here Don’t Like To Talk About It The Complete EMI Recordings

He’d probably chin you if you ever said they were anything to do with the baggage of Britpop, but Luke Haines and the presence of the first two Auteurs albums certainly led the way into a classier type of British indie guitar rock than what nonsense followed, being a refreshing change from grunge bloat and baggy crumbs. Whatever the case, The Auteurs: extremely good, Now comes The Complete EMI Recordings, which is the subtitle of a 6CD set called People ‘Round Here Don’t Like To Talk About It, with 125 tracks including all The Auteurs albums as well as the Baader Meinhof project that Haines had a dabble with. There’s bonus B-sides, acoustic versions, remixes and the like. Having had a rinse of both New Wave and Now I’m A Cowboy recently, I can report that they are still top notch.

Mull Historical Society - Archeology Complete Recordings 2000-2004

Mull Historical Society – Archeology Complete Recordings 2000-2004

Mull Historical Society were one of those names that popped up in the NME occasionally back in the early 00ze, and would always do fairly good business in any end-of-year charts. Why this preamble? Well it just so happens that Colin MacIntyre (aka Mull) is issuing a box set called Archaeology: Complete Recordings 2000-2004, which contains 80 tracks such as the first three albums, a host of unreleased rare and/or live tracks and demos and covers (of such things as The Strokes, Ms Dynamite and Radiohead) plus a book of photos and extracts of Colin’s writings. AND THAT’S NOT ALL – those first three albums, Loss, Us and This Is Hope are also coming out on vinyl, with This Is Hope making its vinyl debut if you please. Find out what the fuss was about.


Lighthouse Family - Essential

Lighthouse Family – Essential

Lighthouse Family will now forever be a group I think of fondly after they ‘liked’ my tweet a couple of years ago about ‘enjoying a delicious E to Ocean Drive’. Also, my other half likes them and they were one of the acts that survived my Year Zero clear-out when we first got together. Why am I telling you this? Well, they’ve got a 3CD Essential compilation out this month, which follows the formats of previous releases by Human League, ABC, Heaven 17 and Level 42. ALL the hits plus some very slinky remixes thrown in to boot. Dude, they sold like five million of their first two albums combined in the UK, a three-disc collection operating in the supermarket CD section/ £6 arena is a no-brainer. No E required either. God, imagine getting into that caper now at my age. Shudder.

Tubeway Army

Tubeway Army

They’re celebrating 45 years of Tubeway Army’s debut album this year – well it’s not strictly until November, but preparation is always welcome in popular music. It’s the album with the sleeve that made Gary Numan look like a stencil of a Mekon, but was a bit of a transitional false dawn as halfway through the recording of what was quite a scene of punkish alienation, Gary fell over a Moog (or something) and liked the noise it made, and from that point on became a futurist after he was entranced by the strange and important sound of the synthesizer. Anyway, this repress is on either black or sky-blue vinyl, so… options!

10cc - How Dare You!

10cc – How Dare You!

Beginning what appears to be a year of reissues, the catalogue of 10CC is getting some 180g special treatment, with the first two in this series being 1976’s How Dare You! (which has one of the greatest sleeves ever and contains Art For Art’s Sake and I’m Mandy Fly Me) and 1977’s Deceptive Bends (which had The Things We Do For Love and Good Morning Judge). It all appears to be slightly random release-wise as April sees the reissues of 1975’s The Original Soundtrack and 1978’s Bloody Tourists, fr’instance. So that’s news.

Farid El-Atrache - Nagham Fi Hayati

Farid El-Atrache – Nagham Fi Hayati

Farid El-Atrache’s Nagham Fi Hayati is being reissued on vinyl for the first time in 49 years by amazing French label We Want Sounds. The 1974 album was considered a cornerstone of Arabic Music and doubled as the soundtrack of the eponymous film starring El Atrache and Mervat Amin. Nicknamed ‘the King of Oud’, El-Atrache is one of the giants of Egyptian music. Born in Syria in 1916, El-Atrache moved to Egypt and in the 1930s was hired as an oud player for the national radio station and later as a singer, and began his film career in 1941. Oh, and if you fancy another bonus fact, Nagham Fi Hayati is one of Brian Eno’s favourite albums apparently. Anyway, it’s all gone a little glum now that I discovered he died on Boxing Day 1974 and this was his last film and album during his lifetime.


Okay that’s your lot for February, and I appear to have thrown all my previous rules to the wind and gone on for nearly 5,000 bloody words again. Restraint will be back next month when I look at De La Soul, Dance Craze, Stranglers, Telex, Pink Floyd, Genesis, Mica Paris and more. Or I might go on hiatus for a couple of months as I have a book I really have to finish. Till next time, tigers.

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