Music Features, Spotlights

Reissues Roundup: Franz Ferdinand, Goldfrapp, Suicide, Kraftwerk



March’s spotlight also falls on Tinariwen, War Child, Broadcast, Pink Floyd, John Barry, Dennis Bovell, Bon Iver and much else besides

Reissues Roundup: March 2022

Reissues Roundup: March 2022

It’s March and the non-stop forever that is popular music is possibly our only comfort during all this shitshow of modern life. All we have is each other and a collective sense of good and love and niceness. This is your safe space, viewers. A place where you can take your mind off everything for a few minutes at least, and you can search, find and buy some of the stuff I waffle on about. 

*

Franz Ferdinand - Hits To The Head

Franz Ferdinand – Hits To The Head

Reissue Of The Month

You know you’re probably getting on a bit when you’re at a point in your life when Franz Ferdinand are still considered a new band. Absurd as it is, that there’s been very few acts that have arrived as fully formed as FF did back almost 20 years ago, but everything seemed so appealing about them, like a gang that you wanted to hang out with. Even as similar contemporaries have bloated or disappeared, Alex and chums kept a tight grip on what was most important, and built a fantastic catalogue to match, so Hits To The Head is a greatest hits collection that every home should have.

They’re all here: Michael, Ulysses, No You Girls, Do You Want To and of course Take Me Out. With two new tracks Curious and Billy Goodbye, this 20-track (and all the best comps should be 20 tracks long) collection is genuinely all-killer. An actual 2LP, 1CD round-up to die for (although a deluxe with a bonus disc of their remixes from the likes of Erol Alkan, Daft Punk, Vince Clarke and Justice would’ve been nice, and even some of their covers of LCD Soundsystem, David Bowie and Blondie, but hey – that’s the modern way of demand and nonsense). ANYWAY, Hits To The Head – It’s absolutely brilliant. They’re absolutely brilliant. Yaroo!

*

Electribe 101 - Electribal Soul

Electribe 101 – Electribal Soul

When is a reissue not a reissue? Well, it’s not a phone-in, it’s when it’s a brand-new album. Ah, but wait! What if that album is described as fabled and previously unreleased? Well then, I can tell you I’ve sat through enough previously unreleased stuff in order to bring you this monthly shower of joy to know that if something has been languishing around for three decades, it’s both new but old – you get me? Look tl;dr and all that, I’m talking about Electribe 101’s album Electribal Soul, which was recorded in 1991.

Had it been attached to a reissue of the imperial debut that was Electribal Memories (yeah, about that…) then I’d be inclined to view it as that. Instead, what happens here is that Electribal Soul, or at least the tracks that make up this album, have gone on to attain a sort-of mythical status – the sort of awe and oooh that The Beach Boys’ Smile accrued over the years. Billie Ray Martin has utilised odd lyrics and bits and bobs on songs in the intervening years, but to hear this as a whole is like welcoming an old friend back.

The dancefloor dimensions of the debut are warmer and more, yes, soulful with Billie giving it some of her distinctive lungery – the night-ride of Space Oasis; the glowing futurism palettes of Conquering Tomorrow; the smoky torchery of Deadline For My Memories; the neon glides of Throbbing Gristle cover Persuasion – it’s all so perfect and you wonder why it was left in a vault for so long. It’s the sound of an old friend reminding you there was a time when you could have had it all… and… well, I’m welling up here now. Put simply: it’s possibly the best old/new album you’ll hear this year.

*

Various - 1 Love

1 Love

War Child’s HELP album from 1995, which corralled all the greats – Blur, Radiohead, Oasis, Portishead, Orbital, Suede etc – to record a song in 24 hours, was one of the great moments in pop culture where everyone put aside any petty rivalries to create something that genuinely helped. Following that album’s reissue last year was the equally ace It’s A Cool Cool Christmas. Now, this month sees the arrival of another four collections that have been issued over the years, and each one has some pretty special gear.

Hope

Hope

First up was 1 Love (Red), which came out in 2002 to celebrate the NME’s 50th anniversary, which followed the premise of the music paper’s Ruby Trax from 1992, getting acts to cover a Number 1 single. While I’m sure there’s an audience for Stereophonics’ cover of Nothing Compares 2 U, there’s also Sugababes re-doing Adamski’s Killer, Faithless & Dido doing Dub Be Good To Me and the elegance of McAlmont & Butler’s take on Back For Good.

Help! A Day In The Life

Help! A Day In The Life

Hope followed in 2003, in conjunction with Daily Mirror, as a response to the Iraq war, with exclusives from David Bowie and Paul McCartney. Among the highlights were New Order’s cover of Jimmy Cliff’s Vietnam, The Charlatans doing Curtis Mayfield’s You Gotta Have Peace as well as George Michael’s take on Don McLean’s The Grave. Help! A Day In The Life followed in 2005, and starred some then white-hot names of that period such as Kaiser Chiefs, Gorillaz, The Coral, Keane, Bloc Party and – ask your parents – Mylo, celebrating 10 years since the first edition.

War Child - Heroes

Heroes

Finally, Heroes saw various legends requesting which acts they’d like to record a cover of one of their songs, so you get Scissor Sisters doing Roxy Music’s Do The Strand, TV On The Radio doing Bowie’s Heroes, Peaches demolishing Iggy Pop’s Search & Destroy, Lily Allen reworking The Clash’s Straight To Hell, Franz Ferdinand doing Blondie’s Call Me and Hot Chip’s version of Joy Division’s Transmission. They’re a great set of some rare, and in some cases still unavailable elsewhere, tracks for any fans of the people involved, and fascinating time capsules of when The Like, Darius and Tom McRae all rubbed shoulders with massive acts, and what’s more, the ace War Child charity still benefits. They’re all making their vinyl debuts this month, in 2LP red or black vinyl editions. 

*

Dennis Bovell - The Dubmaster

Dennis Bovell – The Dubmaster

I’m sure the internet could inform me of his actual height, but as far as I’m concerned, Dennis Bovell has always been a GIANT. This month sees a fantastic compilation entitled The DuBMASTER: The Essential Anthology (which I guess is a bit like Taskmaster but with heavier bass) celebrating his productions since the late ’70s.

A 38 track 2CD or 24-track 2LP shines a light on some of the finest things he’s done or had a hand in since he emerged, with Matumbi, from his own Blood Ah Go Run, Caught You In A Lie and Za-Ion, to I-Roy’s Get Up Stand Up, Captain Morgan & His Merry Men’s Tom Hark, and perhaps one of the best records of all time, Janet Kay’s Silly Games, which is also here in its Silly Dub version. It’s as good excuse as any just to obtain Silly Games really, if you’re looking to own genuine high points of civilisation. It’s not called the Essential Anthology for nothing, babe.

*

Suicide - Surrender

Suicide – Surrender

Let’s discuss Suicide now. No, calm down. I haven’t gone heavy. I am of course referring to the legendary New York duo. Martin Rev and Alan Vega formed Suicide in 1970, using then-primitive drum machines and electronics to, um, generally wind any up audience they performed to. Seriously, axes thrown, boos, walk outs, violence, waving motorcycle chains onstage – they lapped it up.

Not only did they set the blueprint for the electronic duo, they also used the term ‘punk music’ in 1970, and so in many ways they invented EVERYTHING. Their self-titled debut in 1977 is far more punk than anything actual punk came up with tbh – don’t @ me.

So yes, having pitched their tent in the ‘influential, yet unlistenable to squares’ rather than the ‘hugely successful chart act’ field, this new compilation Surrender (2LP or 1CD) is not a hits collection by any means, but rather an introduction to their world. And what a world. With tracks such as the oppressively hot Ghost Rider and the glimmering Diamonds, Fur Coat, Champagne, this is a brilliant and handy one-stop shop for all your Suicide needs. If you’ve got all these tracks already, then it’s a great in-car accompaniment to drive a hatchback at terrifying speed into a wall to.

*

Pink Floyd - The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn

Pink Floyd – The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn

I was on record once for claiming Pink Floyd were a load of old shit. I can clarify that now by dismissing my statement as a load of old shit. I do hope that now we can move on from this having realised my error, and reflected upon it while in police protection, I knew that Pink Floyd were in fact utterly brilliant, and my giddygoating was of no help whatsoever. Anyway, The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn is 55 this year, and there’s a new vinyl edition based on the remastered mono tapes that were tidied up in 2017.

The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn is tremendous. Take for example Lucifer Sam – the best song written about a cat ever – which I’ve had on a playlist for centuries, and played on a loop one particularly stressful afternoon going up Stoke Newington on a bus (recommended). Astronomy Domine? Oh Christ. It’s the track you want to hear while you’re on both your best and worst come-up, really. If that doesn’t work, then wrap your mind around Interstellar Overdrive, which is just unhinged and the sound of being chased around a leafy courtyard by a tomato soup. It’s psychedelic, fragile olde English whimsy and poetically cosmic but also punk as fuck.

The secret? Syd Barrett, basically. Once people got wind of this album, pop became inundated with scratchy wooh ‘I’ve developed a long-term relationship with an otter called Madeline who is also a shortbread. ELOQUENT! TANGERINE! ZODIAC! CARAMAC!!!’ and stuff about gnomes, celery, buses and anything else that sounds ominous while en route to a drug-induced breakdown. How can that, in all honesty, be flung aside as a load of old shit? To reiterate: Pink Floyd are not a load of old shit.

*

Broadcast - Maida Vale Sessions

Broadcast – Maida Vale Sessions

Speaking of far out, the late, great and utterly superb Broadcast are back with a string of reissues this month. Well, sort of. Broadcast were superb. A layman could micromanage their entire existence as ‘listening to the United States of America album while the theme from Picture Box plays backwards’, or ‘an orphan listening to Delia Derbyshire’s more outré experiments while trapped under a psychedelic ice’, or even ‘a late ’60s French music workshop haunted by a malevolent ironing board’. You know, laymen can be canny like that.

Broadcast - Microtronics Volumes 1 & 2

Broadcast – Microtronics Volumes 1 & 2

But the dimensions of the full Broadcast experience were something that no one has ever really come near before or since, and seeing as we lost their singer Trish Keenan 11 years ago, they effectively ceased to operate. A couple of these releases were originally released as tour-only items, so to your average non-Broadcast-er, they’re effectively new gear.

Broadcast - Mother Is The Milky Way

Broadcast – Mother Is The Milky Way

The Maida Vale Sessions features four sessions recorded for John Peel between October 1996 and August 2003, which is a handy catalogue-adjacent release. Microtronics is a collection of fake library music that the group (never a band – ‘band’ sounds so square here) issued as tour-only 3-inch CDs.

Another tour-only CD from 2009, Mother Is The Milky Way, in collaboration with Julian House, is a 20-minute EP which combines electronics and sound collage, like Pentangle by way of a discarded pentagram found in a flood-damaged greengrocers. It’s all very much essential gear.

*

Wait up. I can detect a waft of scented candle – it can only mean one thing: Dudley’s been out on the pull and decided to pay the office a visit. Alright Dudley, what you got for us this month?

Kraftwerk - Remixes

Kraftwerk – Remixes

“Thank you, Ian, and I’ll thank you not to dismiss my sage candle choices, Mr ‘asphyxiated after Malin & Goetz cannabis-scented slow burn’. Yes viewers, it’s a BUMPER month over on the Futurist Desk this March. Let’s start with the futurists all other futurists call ‘Dads’ aka Kraftwerk.

“This month sees them a-issuing Remixes, which – and I’ll put you out of your misery here – is a collection of remixes. It’s a 3LP and 2CD round-up of the reswizzles that they’ve issued over the last two decades. With contributions from François Kervorkian, William Orbit, Étienne de Crécy, Orbital, Underground Resistance, DJ Rolando and Hot Chip. It’s already been out on streaming channels, but seeing as Ralf and whoever else it is these days are off on a tour this year, they’re sticking it out as a physical item. And yes, while we’d all like them to come up with something new rather than endlessly buggering about with their catalogue, there’s not really any need. As I said to my conquest the other evening, once you’ve achieved greatness, why continue to bother with lesser, increasingly pale imitations? Hahaha.

I Start Counting - Refused

I Start Counting – Refused

“While I’m here, let me recommend the I Start Counting reissues of two albums of unreleased tracks and demos from 1985 and 1986, Re-fused and Ejected. A duo comprised of David Baker and Simon Leonard. I Start Counting formed in 1982 and signed to Mute in 1984, and *copies and pastes this* their history with the label started much earlier when in 1979 Simon Leonard jumped on stage to break up a tussle between Daniel Miller and Robert Rental at a Paris performance of The Normal & Robert Rental. Amazing.

I Start Counting - Ejected

I Start Counting – Ejected

“Anyway, after a couple of albums, they turned into Fortran 5 to issue a trio of albums and then became Komputer in 1996. These two releases were originally issued on Independent Label Market day last year as a limited pair of signed cassettes and were on Bandcamp, but will now be more widely available on CD and streaming.

Goldfrapp - Felt Mountain

Goldfrapp – Felt Mountain

“Before I go, allow me to outstay my welcome with news of Goldfrapp’s debut album Felt Mountain arriving this month, on gold vinyl and CD. The duo are eventually going to tour it later this year after all that pandemic put paid to original 20th anniversary plans. Felt Mountain was a strange old affair, taking in classical music, movie soundtracks, ’60s French pop, Weimar Republic cabaret and some whistling, but it set out the stall for the duo and their ensuing voyage through spook-folk, mucky glam disco and general amazingness.”

Thanks for that Dudley, and I say this with the greatest of respect, but there’s a time in a gentleman’s life when a neon pink fishnet bodysuit just looks silly.

“It’s called making an impression, dear boy. You should try it sometime.” 

*

Can The Glam

Can The Glam

Glam rock was brilliant, wasn’t it? This isn’t up for debate. To prove this fact further is Can The Glam, a 4CD clamshell – GLAM CLAM – set of 80 tracks from the known and, um, lesser-known areas of the genre. For every T-Rex, Suzi Quatro, Mud, Slade, Alvin Stardust and The Glitter Band there were the likes of Bitch, Crunch, Ritz, Bearded Lady, Streakers and Angel.

Just in case you needed some extra colour on some of these poor footpeople of the Glampocalypse, there’s an 8,000-word piece with lowdowns on each track. It’s utterly fabulous, obviously, and as a long-time fan of Chicory Tip’s Cigarettes, Women and Wine, it’s a thrill to hear it all remastered and glorious among such company. 

Karen Dalton - In My Own Time

Karen Dalton – In My Own Time

Celebrating 50 years since it was released, Karen Dalton’s In My Own Time comes out this month in a new expanded edition courtesy of Light In The Attic. Trying to describe Dalton’s life in a handful of words is tough for a carefree and cheery column such as this, but it wasn’t particularly fun. She had a voice immersed in the tones of the greats such as Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday, and while a writer of her own compositions, rarely was in the mood to perform them.

A doyen of the Greenwich folk scene, her career went skew-whiff due to being divorced twice before she was 21, substance abuse and losing some teeth in a fist fight between two boyfriends. She eventually died homeless and of Aids. As much as the backstory may sound traumatic, the music really isn’t, and among her fans was one Bob Dylan who said she was his favourite singer. Available on LP, CD, MC, and – this will tickle you – 8-Track, it’s armed with nine extra tracks made up of six previously unreleased live performances from The Montreux Golden Rose Pop Festival (May 1971) and Beat Club, Germany (April 1971). Whatever way you take your sounds, grab it. Its reputation is well worth your time. 

*

Linx - The Ultimate

Linx – The Ultimate

Linx were one of the best and fairly reasonably underrated pop-facing funk acts of the early ’80s. At a time when so many new acts were coming through, the duo of David Grant and Peter ‘Sketch’ Martin enjoyed a handful of chart hits such as You’re Lying and Intuition during ’81/’82 before ceasing operations, when Sketch joined 23 Skidoo and Grant went solo.

A hotbed of Britfunk, an earlier line-up even featured Junior Giscombe on backing vocals prior to the slimming down into a chart-bound exercise. They only managed two albums, but Cherry Red have found enough material such as remixes and rarities to fill a very decent 4CD package, some of which appear on CD for the first time. Seriously though, that whole era of Britfunk was stealthily as influential on British pop as new wave and synthpop was, so it’s good to see that resource starting to get tapped. 

*

Iron Maiden - The Number Of The Beast

Iron Maiden – The Number Of The Beast

Forty years ago this month saw the release of Iron Maiden’s defining and – fuck it – iconic The Number Of The Beast album. To celebrate it, the band are reissuing it on cassette and… er, that’s it. To be honest though, they’ve reissued it enough over the years, so bunging it out on cassette for Peak 1982 teenage metal energy is a canny move in these tape nation times. It’s not a limited edition of 666 copies or anything. I checked. 

The Creation - Making Time The Best Of

The Creation – Making Time The Best Of

If, like me, you’re a fan of the Great Pottery Throwdown, then the music of The Creation will not be a stranger to you – as will bursting into tears at a pot – as their Makin’ Time is the show’s theme tune. The band were never a big commercial deal during their ’66-’68 heyday, but have gone on to be cited as an influence on numerous generations ever since.

Like a wonkier freakier The Who, tracks such as Through My Eyes were covered by The Sex Pistols, and How Does It Feel To Feel was essayed by Ride during the ’90s, indeed on Creation records (who co-opted the band’s name for the label). Now’s your chance to be inspired yourself as Makin’ Time (The Best of The Creation) is a 2LP/ 2CD round-up, with the added bonus of being on splatter vinyl. It includes the hits plus highlights from their studio reunions in 1987 and 1996, along with full annotation by Alan Robinson.

*

Bon Iver - Bon Iver

Bon Iver – Bon Iver

There are various approaches you can take to the music of Bon Iver. Some may say that a bloke getting over the breakdown of a relationship by decamping to a shed in the woods to make a boohoo album needed a stern talking to, as it was nothing that a couple of bottles of prosecco and a bag of giant Wotsits could help avoid. Others are simply enraptured by the delicacy and intricacies of a bold new songsmith, and have grown in such a number to reward him with things as a couple of chart-topping albums.

Anywho, the self-titled second album is celebrating its, um, 11th anniversary this year by being issued as a 10th anniversary edition. Yaroo! etc. It’s now back. Back. BACK as a double white vinyl which features five songs from their AIR Studios session, where Justin Vernon and Sean Carey perform the songs as a duo, and there’s an essay by Phoebe Bridgers too. Simply put, you can’t fuck with Holocene tbh, and any passing new fans from Vernon’s work with Taylor Swift will see why she worked with him. 

The Lemonheads - It's A Shame About Ray

The Lemonheads – It’s A Shame About Ray

I’ve never been too good with names but I remember faces. Sigh. What a slight treat The Lemonheads’ second album It’s A Shame About Ray was. I’m here to not only tell you it’s 30 years old this year, but also – seeing as this is a reissue/ compilation column – to bring news that it’s coming out as an anniversary edition.

Now, as these things invariably are, it comes armed with bonus tracks and the like from the era. The original album was only about half an hour long, and had Mrs Robinson tagged on to it when that became a hit. Now, it’s a double vinyl and CD with a second disc of B-sides, demos and acoustic versions. There’s a Rough Trade violet vinyl edition too, so fill your boots.

Sonic Youth - In Out In

Sonic Youth – In Out In

Sonic Youth news now, and having been a big fan of the Youth, at the ‘buying anything I didn’t recognise at Rough Trade’s Covent Garden branch when I was getting Grand Royal t-shirts at Slam City upstairs’ level of Sonic Youth fan, it’s hard to believe that there’s much left in an archive to issue, but oh boy there sure is, and the band’s estate(?) has been quick to bring us gems from the files in recent years.

In/Out/In compiles various unreleased jams from 2000-2010, and there’s a track described as a ‘a gentle springboard of Venusian choogle’ as well as a ‘draping white sheets of noise over your head then descending into a gauzy maw of car-alarm guitars and ambient-yet-disruptive turbulence that eventually subsides into a smoky coda’ which is the sort of description that makes this column look pretty square. Understandably pre-orders for the very limited vinyl have gone mental, although check your local retailers on them, but there’s also a CD or MC version available. Failing that, Bandcamp is everyone’s friend on this occasion. 

Tindersticks - Past Imperfect: The Best Of

Tindersticks – Past Imperfect: The Best Of

Past Imperfect: The Best of Tindersticks ’92-’21 is the title of a new compilation that celebrates 30 years of, well, Tindersticks. It seems unfathomable that Tindersticks have been going 30 years, seeing as they always seemed like old souls, and the voice of Stuart Staples suggested a man who has seen some shit in his life, but there you go.

They’ve been mostly collaborating with French director Claire Denis on the soundtracks for seven of her films in recent years, but I personally know some people who will travel the planet to see them perform, such is their love for their south London Gainsbourgisms – a full-on ride or die type relationship – whereas some other people might hear Vic Reeves’ pub singer muttering about damp woodchip.

Hopefully if you’ve not encountered them before, and the sheer wealth of their catalogue appears terrifying, Past Imperfect is as good a place as any to start, featuring gems such as City Sickness, Sometimes It Hurts and Rented Rooms. It comes as a 20-track 2LP or 2CD, or there’s a limited 4LP/3CD version which adds a bonus Live At Glasgow City Halls 5th October 2008 recording. 

*

The Chi-Lites.jpg - The Best Of

The Chi-Lites.jpg – The Best Of

An essential slice of marvellousness comes this month with The Chi-Lites‘ Too Good To Be Forgotten: The Best Of. Now this is proper Big Sister Soul magnificence – Have You Seen Her?, Homely Girl, You Don’t Have To Go, (For God’s Sake) Give More Power To The People – fantastic numbers all, as well as Are You My Woman? (which was sampled on Crazy In Love) and the possibly-not-about-that-but-maybe-is Stoned Out Of My Mind.

Available as a 12-track 1LP or a 38-track 2CD, which covers their 40+ year career. First formed in 1959, Marshall Thompson is the only one original remaining member left, having gone through something like 20 different members over time like some kind of soul The Fall, and the vagaries and fashions of that expanse of time are well represented on the CD compilation, but the vinyl is gold standard. Highly recommended. 

Dusty Springfield - Dusty Sings Soul

Dusty Springfield – Dusty Sings Soul

Ace Records have quite the brace of treasures on offer this March with three compilations saluting music giants. First up, Dusty Sings Soul which collects together some of Dusty Springfield’s finest soulful moments from across her EPs and album tracks beyond that of just Dusty In Memphis. God, what a voice she had.

This 24-track CD selection finds space for gems such as Every Ounce Of Strength, Am I The Same Girl and I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself as well as the ebullient and ecstatic I Can’t Wait Until I See My Baby’s Face (which Saint Etienne fans may recognise as being sampled on Nothing Can Stop Us) as well as the song I wanted at my wedding, but ended up being used for my lovely bud’s nuptials instead, the break-tastic euphoric Love Power.

John Barry - The More Things Change

John Barry – The More Things Change

I’ve probably said ‘essential’ enough already, but there you go again: essential. Next up is a Bob Stanley-curated John Barry collection entitled The More Things Change: Film, TV & Studio Work 1968-1973, which illuminates the man’s career alongside the Bond stuff, with Midnight Cowboy, The Persuaders and Walkabout themes and also has space for his Ready When You Are, JB, which makes its CD debut, and as someone who spent many a manky Sunday morning at a car boot sale picking up anything with John Barry’s name on it, it’s a delight to see it all in one place here.

You Showed Me: The Songs Of Gene Clark

You Showed Me: The Songs Of Gene Clark

Finally, as part of the label’s Songwriters series, Gene Clark gets his moment with a variety of interpretations of his songbook. With tracks from Linda Ronstadt, Flamin’ Groovies and Byrds, there’s Flesh & Blood-era Roxy Music’s Eight Miles High, This Mortal Coil’s Strength Of Strings, and one of Paul Weller’s underrated collaboration nuggets guesting on Death In Vegas’ So You Say You Lost Your Baby. 

Richard Thompson - Guitar, Vocal

Richard Thompson – Guitar, Vocal

Another songwriter of note, Richard Thompson, is issuing a 45th anniversary edition of his (Guitar, Vocal) A Collection Of Unreleased and Rare Material 1967-1976 album, which offered then-unreleased material such as the odd cover and exploration from his time in Fairport Convention, as well as solo and with Linda Thompson.

The original release coincided with his and Linda’s retirement from the music business, having fair put the hours in over the previous ten years. Needless to say that whole retirement nonsense was knocked on the head a couple of years later and he’s gone on to make another 22 albums since. Phew. It’s repressed here as heavyweight double vinyl and acts as an alternative best of to a period of rude musical health.

*

Tinariwen - The Radio Tisdas Sessions

Tinariwen – The Radio Tisdas Sessions

To nomadic Berber tribes now and the news that Tinariwen are reissuing their first two albums – The Radio Tisdas Sessions and Amassakoul – on vinyl in 2LP sets as well as CDs with new liner notes, bonus tracks and a general upgrading all round. It’s sort of a 20th anniversary affair, as Tisdas came out in 2001 and Amassakoul 2004.

Tinariwen - Amassakoul

Tinariwen – Amassakoul

Originally recorded in Bamako, Mali, these albums opened up the rest of the planet to Tinariwen, who against all odds – such as wars and making albums in a studio powered by solar panels – took their blend of West African traditional music and electrified rock ’n’ roll to Coachella, WOMAD, Later and the like, as well as hoovering up Grammys and famous fans along the way. If you’ve not done so before, then take this opportunity to let Tinariwen into your life.

*

Now That's What I Call '70s Pop

Now That’s What I Call ’70s Pop

Let’s wander over to the Now Desk, um, now, and see what delights they have for us. Hurrah! Now That’s What I Call ’70s Pop is a cheery 92-track compendium of exactly what it says on the tin. We all have an idea of what we term ‘pop’ but this is pop in its purest terms. It’s Jackie magazines, dishy pin-ups, iron-on transfers, caravan holidays, Pan’s People telling dogs off, carefree joyful wonder and choruses. There’s nothing thinky or prog here, or 23-minute solos by someone with a cape on, no, but that’s not dismissing that either because always remember that Pop Music Is Important.

Now Yearbook '82

Now Yearbook ’82

This is Love Is In The Air and Don’t Go Breaking My Heart. It’s Tiger Feet, Sugar Baby Love, Sorry I’m A Lady and Chanson D’Amour. It’s Hold Me Close, Y Viva Espana, A Glass of Champagne and Silly Games. It’s stuff your dad liked and your mum toe-tapped to. The stem of popular is pop, and all manner of styles from reggae, glam, light disco, rockabilly, Wombles and singalong family groups used pop as their trojan horse to be bought by millions.

I don’t think any album’s tracklist has thrown me into the back of my parents’ Ford Zephyr quite like this has. And I’m not an old ham who thought life was better when you could keep your front door open at night or any of that rubbish, I just appreciate that listening to David Essex does more for one’s morale than, I dunno, The National’s entire catalogue ever will. 

That’s not all! Further to the 1982 Yearbook last month, there’s Yearbook Extra with 62 further treats from that year. It’s STILL not enough to cover what a superb pop year it was, but it gives it a go, with additional The Jam (Bitterest Pill), ABC (Poison Arrow), Culture Club (Time (Clock Of The Heart)) and Soft Cell’s What, Shalamar’s There It Is, Shakatak’s Night Birds, Junior’s Mama Used To Say, Trio’s Da Da Da, The Associates’ Club Country, Monsoon’s Ever So Lonely, Jennifer Holliday’s And I’m Telling You…, The Human League’s Being Boiled. It’s absolutely wonderful. 

*

Nightcrawlers - Let's Push It

Nightcrawlers – Let’s Push It

“Err, your lies again, Err, Nightcrawlers etc” is a familiar sound to anyone who spent approximately an hour in any town centre nightclub during the mid-’90s. The deathless Push The Feeling On has become almost like a Trad Arr rave staple in dance music ever since, turning up in a myriad of tunes over the last 25+ years, and charted again courtesy of Riton reswizzling it in his Friday hit from 2021. Now, Nightcrawlers are issuing their 1995 long player Let’s Push It on vinyl for the very first time, and not just that, it’s a double green deal too.

Passing Nightcrawlers watchers may be surprised to learn that not only was Push The Feeling On massive, but the house music project formed by John Reid actually had another four Top 40 singles on this album – Surrender Your Love, Don’t Let The Feeling Go, Should I Ever (Fall In Love) and the title track single Let’s Push It. We’re not here to say that a formula developed here, but I am genuinely shocked that there’s not a number called Pushing Love Feelings on this. There are three bonus tracks, which include – and this will age you – a Tin Tin Out remix. Fancy that! 

Elvis Costello - Spike The Beloved Entertainer

Elvis Costello – Spike The Beloved Entertainer

If you’re into double green vinyl this March, I should probably mention that Elvis Costello’s 1989 album Spike – his first sans Attractions – is also being released, but not quite ‘for the first time’ as bugled, as there was an original release at the time. However, seeing as back then it was a single album for 64 minutes of music, the quality sounded like it had been remade by really weedy mice, so at least across four sides now, the thing can breathe a bit as well as restoring Coal-Train Robberies in its rightful place after it was omitted from original pressings.

It featured a couple of collaborations with Paul McCartney, including the hit Veronica, as well as the eloquent fury anti-Thatcher toe-tap Tramp The Dirt Down which you can amend to direct at any other greasy bonfire that’s come since. It comes as a limited edition of 2,500 copies, and like Margaret’s days were back then, it’s numbered. Hahahaha.

*

Well, that’s quite enough for a month, I think you’ll find. Join me in April for Roxy Music, Pavement, Suzi Quatro, Daft Punk, Can, T-Rex, Rush, Billy Mackenzie and more. In the meantime, any release news you have, hit me up at @wadeywade.


buy Franz Ferdinand MP3s or CDs
Spotify Franz Ferdinand on Spotify


More on Franz Ferdinand
Reissues Roundup: Franz Ferdinand, Goldfrapp, Suicide, Kraftwerk
Festival Review: Festival No 6 2018
Franz Ferdinand – Always Ascending
London Gigs: 30 October-5 November 2017
Franz Ferdinand @ Somerset House, London