November’s bumper roll-call also features Patrick Cowley, Peggy Lee, PJ Harvey, Michael Jackson, Seal, Soft Cell, The Flaming Lips, David Bowie, 2manyDJs, Donna Summer, Tina Turner, That Petrol Emotion and Natalie Imbruglia
Life is a wonky puzzle of sex and horror these days. Everything is terrible and so all we can turn to are dogs, penguins and squirrels (or cats, if they’re your bag – those fuckers gave me asthma). Sometimes the only thing we have that brings us together is pop music. And pop music in November is a big deal. It’s EVERYWHERE. So that’s my ‘how’s you? I’m alright babe’ intro done, so let’s crack on with it…
Divine Symmetry is a 4CD/Blu-ray box set (and a 1LP coming in February) which takes an alternative journey through the incredible David Bowie masterpiece Hunky Dory. It collects tracks and artefacts from the 12 months leading up to the release of it in December 1971, with 48 previously unreleased tracks/demos from the period, and new alternative mixes of Hunky Dory itself by original co-producer Ken Scott. There are also two books accompanying Divine Symmetry – a 100-page hardback book featuring exclusive memorabilia and photos alongside a 60-page replica composite of Bowie’s notebooks from the era featuring handwritten lyrics, costume drawings, recording notes and set lists. It is, obviously, fabulous, and lifts the bonnet on one of the greatest albums ever.
In further Bowie action, the physical editions of the soundtrack to Moonage Daydream are issued this month as a 2CD thing (a 3LP to follow next year too) and features reswizzled versions and dialogue and the like from the film. If you’ve not seen the film, it makes for a fascinating audio collage montage thing of all things Bowie and one to get a bong out to. If you’re that way inclined. Man.
Part of the celebrations of 100 years of Peggy Lee, the long outta print album Norma Deloris Egstrom From Jamestown, North Dakota which was first released in 1972 and was her 40th(!) album and last for Capitol Records is coming back out. There are the 10 original album master tracks, plus seven bonus tracks consisting of five alternate takes, a session outtake, and an Oscar-nominated Best Original Song from the same era, which will all be making their digital debut to coincide. It’s her most personal album – the title was her original birth name (fancy that!) with masterpieces like A Song For You, Just For A Thrill, Superstar, The More I See You and I’ll Be Seeing You. Peggy Lee was a giant and this album is a masterclass that ranked her up with her peers, so this is all very good news.
One act who are “quite good” are The Human League who regular viewers might have ascertained that I’m rather into. I know, I’ve kept that quiet. They’re releasing a box set of their albums on vinyl entitled The Virgin Years. Now, some quibbles have been made about the fact that it doesn’t feature the first two Ware-assisted albums and only focuses on the MKII variation of the group. Which is fair enough, yet I sense there’s something of a Kraftwerkian aesthetic happening, and it might also be something to do with rights. I dunno, I’m just a humble minstrel. So anyway, it features the greatest album ever made (I know I say this a lot, but in this case, I’m being straight up) Dare, import EP Fascination, Hysteria, Crash and Romantic? No sign of Love & Dancing (which you could say ‘yeah but that’s The League Unlimited Orchestra’) but there’ll be no nonsense here. It’s a sensational box with each album on coloured vinyl and one for any futurist looking for a stocking filler.
Fabulous news all Steely Dan heads! There’s going to be a year-long reissue programme of all their albums! It kicks off with the 50th anniversary reissue of their debut Can’t Buy A Thrill, which is an absolute banger, and features the tracks Do It Again, Reelin’ in the Years and Dirty Work. It’s coming out remastered and all that on 180g vinyl and SACD and UHQR which is on 45rpm and there’s literally very few of them left on pre-order. The campaign is going to run through their whole catalogue throughout 2023 and so keep ‘em peeled. Don’t panic. I was like you too, then I was indoctrinated into the Dan and now *grins manically* I’ve never looked back!
I know how it is. You’re ambling your way down the street trying not to catch the eye of one of those charity people wanting a moment of your time in exchange for a direct debit and a slice of your soul. But wait! What if it wasn’t a chugger and it was in actual fact someone wanting to spread the gospel about a new box set by The Fall? A 12CD box set called 1970s that includes practically everything they did during that decade? How could you resist being lured by ‘includes the albums Live At The Witch Trials, Dragnet, a disc of singles and sessions, another of out-takes and eight – count ‘em – discs of live performances?’ Unfortunately for you that is unlikely to occur, but rest assured the next time you encounter someone in a branded cagoule wanting to raise awareness of CRIME TEENS, you can PRETEND they’re talking about this tremendous box set. That would be jolly.
The Police issue their 1981 album Ghost In The Machine on… picture disc this month. It comes with a slightly reshuffled tracklisting with extra tracks I Burn For You, Once Upon A Daydream and Shambelle added, and for those that are into that sort of thing, Stewart Copeland’s counting in on the tracks Spirits In The Material World, Rehumanise Yourself, One World (Not Three) and Hungry For You. No other formats have been mentioned as yet, so, there you have it.
Donna Summer’s 10th album, called, um, Donna Summer, is celebrating its 40th anniversary in style this month. Basically, it was Quincy Jones’ last production before knobbing Michael Jackson’s Thriller and it’s a stunning set of numbers featuring the hits Love Is In Control (Finger On The Trigger) and State Of Independence (and if you ever fancy a Bloody Nora, look up the credits as to who sings on that. We’re talking the likes of Lionel Richie, Dionne Warwick, Diana Ross, Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder). It comes as a transparent blue and red colour 2LP or 2CD mediabook thing, with additional edits and remixes.
Talking of Thriller, it’s coming as a 40th anniversary edition too. The hit-rinsing mega-album that apparently is the biggest-selling album of all time (look it probably is tbh, but I am also aware that a LOT of bollocks has been bandied around as to its actual sales figures), it’s coming out as a 2LP and 2CD, Ultradisc and SACD. There’s no confirmation as to what exactly is on the second disc, but as long as they steer clear of the debacle that was the 25th anniversary with fucking Akon, Fergie and Kanye on it, then it should be marvellous.
Soft Cell’s iconic Non-Stop Ecstatic Dancing was also 40 this year. Released as a stop-gap mini-album while Marc and Dave were in the process of having their heads bent by massive success, it was full of reswizzles of a handful of tunes, plus newbie What, and also included the incredible Cindy Ecstasy-assisted mix of Memorabilia. It’s coming out as a limited blue vinyl and deserves a place in your heart and home.
Forty years ago, Cherry Red released Pillows And Prayers, which at the snipular price of 99p, was a purse-friendly entrée into the world of the label that had among its wares such treats as Marine Girls, Felt, Thomas Leer, Ben Watt, The Monochrome Set and Quentin Crisp. There was also a second volume in 1984 but that was Japan-only (not tracks by Japan, you understand as that would’ve been odd it was just issued there) and they’re featured here alongside a tranche of extras across 3CDs. Obviously, it’s not 99p anymore, but hey that’s inflation for you, right kids?
Voice Of The Beehive’s splendid debut album Let It Bee is being reissued in honour of celebrating 35 years on the planet. It’s a terrific album with the likes of Don’t Call Me Baby, I Say Nothing, Man In The Moon, I Walk The Earth and Just A City on it. I recall seeing them around this time and owning a polka dot shirt, so there’s a little bit of detail of ancestry for you. It’s back out on LP and 2CD with 27 extra tracks of B-sides, demos, sessions and live action. Oh man, listening to all this again has thrown me right back.
Tina Turner’s catalogue is having a bit of moment, as her 1986 album Break Every Rule is being reissued and expanded on 3CD/2DVD set, or if that’s a little too much, there’s a more concise 2CD offering as well as a 1LP. The follow-up to the rather ace Private Dancer, it wasn’t as hit-packed shall we say, but she was on phenomenal form in general even if the eight(!) tracks that were released as singles would do well in a round of Pointless. She also brought along songwriting and input from Eric Clapton, David Bowie, Bryan Adams, Mark Knopfler, Phil Collins and Steve Winwood as most albums in 1986 seemed to feature them all or a variation thereof. Alongside the remastered album comes B-sides, remixes etc and the third CD features – it says here – her Guinness World Record performance in front of over 180,000 fans at the Maracanã in Rio de Janeiro, which also makes up one of the DVDs, and the other DVD is a live show from Camden Palace and videos of the singles.
Fancy a career round-up of the fantastic That Petrol Emotion? Of course you do. Entitled Every Future Has A Beginning: An Anthology 1984 – 1994, it is a 7CD set featuring their five studio albums (Manic Pop Thrill, Babble, End Of The Millennium, Psychosis Blues, Chemicrazy and Fireproof plus B-sides, live gear, demos, sessions and remixes (including a blinding Boy’s Own reswizz of Abandon) this, astonishingly, is the first time someone’s gone to the effort to compile the band’s work into a lovingly put together package. It’s bloody wonderful, that’s what it is.
Another super collection is The Soup Dragons’ Raw TV Products – Singles & Rarities 1985-88. It’s a 1LP burst of be-cardiganed garage indie pop joy featuring Hang Ten!, Soft As Your Face, Head Gone Astray and more numbers that groovers of a certain age would recall catching a glimpse of on the Indie Chart rundown on The Chart Show. It comes with notes by the lovely Pete Paphides too, which has got to be a boon for any discerning purchaser.
It’s 30 years since The Cure released Wish, and just by handy coincidence they’ve gone all out with a new reissue to complement their already exemplary reissues. Robert Smith has gone to town on a 3CD/ 2LP deluxe (the vinyl comes in November, alongside a picture disc version for Black Friday Record Store Day), with an amazing 31 extra tracks (24 of which are previously unreleased) of demos, B-sides and tracks from the originally mail order only Lost Wishes cassette (which is also available separately on their site). (It’s all very (brackets) this isn’t it?). Anyway, if you’re a bit of a square and the thought of loads of extra excitement is too much for you, there’s a 1CD option too.
Dark Entries are the one-stop label for fruiting around and general amazingness, and this month – well, the download has been available a little while – they are issuing Forbidden Overture’s Turned On! A bathhouse fantasy from 1982, Turned On was one of many soundtracks by film giant Steve Scott and gay superstar Al Parker. Anyway, after a bit of detective work, the label discovered that Forbidden Overture were basically Man Parrish(!) and Turned On consists of two 27-minute pieces with one passage that, in the words of Scott, “It took us about two weeks to find the right piece for the jockstrap scene. But it’s like anything else—you know when it’s right.” And you can’t argue with that, eh readers?
Another bit of ManDisco joy from Dark Entries comes in the form of Malebox, which is six previously unreleased pumpers from the archives of Patrick Cowley. Recorded from 1979-1981, these numbers take the forms of all of what Cowley was known for, with If You Feel It and Love Me Hot, which were both early Paul Parker demos, among the lowdown dirty disco sleazin’ we know and love. It’s a CD. It’s an LP. It’s bloody essential, and will be released on November 12, the 40th anniversary of Cowley’s tragic early death. Head to Dark Entries’ Bandcamp and scoop it up and eat it, pig.
I recall one merry time in a Tesco Disco Express when I was sourcing some milk while grooving to my iPod and bellowed ‘SOLITARY BROTHER!’ to the looks of disgust and bemusement of fellow shoppers. That’s about the dimensions of my Seal anecdotes, however I can now expand on that with news of the reissue of Seal’s ace debut album (the one called Seal, not the follow-up that was also called Seal) from 1991. Seal was properly huge at the start of the ’90s (well he still is, standing about 7ft) and his debut sold squillions and gained him Brits and Ivors galore. Featuring magic such as Crazy, Future Love Paradise and his rerecording of Killer, the album is finally back out on vinyl as – get this – a 2LP/4CD box set containing the original album in a 12×12 book type thing. The CDs have the album, a disc of rarities, a disc of remixes and a previously unreleased live performance from The Point in Dublin. It’s quite a thing, all told.
The magnificent Ride are releasing 4 EPs, which – ah you’re ahead of me there – their first four incredible EPs for Creation – Ride, Play, Fall and Today Forever as a 2LP/1CD job lot. Those EPs, man did I rinse those across 1990/ early 91, and those songs! Drive Blind! Chelsea Girl! Like A Daydream! Taste! Sennen! They were absolutely fantastic. So good I bought the entire range of merch on their Norwich date (one of each, dude, not the whole stock) and they signed my poster afterwards because I was so IN LOVE. Look I’m coming over a bit unnecessary now, but the very thought of this album is making me giddy and giving me flashbacks to a simpler time of fringes and basically stalking their every move whenever they traveled east of London. They’re also reissuing Nowhere (one of the greatest debuts of all time – @ me and I’ll ignore you) and Going Blank Again on blue and orange vinyl respectively.
You know what the biggest-selling soundtrack of all-time is? No, it’s not that one it’s actually The Bodyguard. And guess what, it’s 30 years old this year. Indeed, both the Whitney Houston-starring film and soundtrack monster is being rereleased this year to celebrate this anniversary, as well as the release of the Whitney biopic on Boxing Day. Quite an odd album tbh, it was basically half a Whitney Houston album, and those songs (I Will Always Love You, I’m Every Woman, Queen Of The Night, Run To You, I Have Nothing and Jesus Loves Me) went into reality show iconography as well as the success of that song ended up buying Dolly Parton an entire housing estate. Or something. Side two isn’t shabby but you’d be hard pressed to recall it off by heart. ANYWAY. It’s coming out on red or black vinyl, even though original copies are hardly scarce out there.
PJ Harvey brings her reissue campaign to a close this month with B-Sides, Demos And Rarities, a 59 track collection spanning decades, with most of the songs previously unavailable physically or digitally, and 14 tracks either previously unreleased or in previously unreleased versions. It comes as 6LP or 3CD package and features loads of unseen photos from longtime collaborator Maria Mochnacz. It’s a fitting finale to her remastering and demos spree, and if anything, it’s all worth it for the fantastic Naked Cousin alone. Here’s hoping this means she’s on her way back. Back. BACK with some new stuff because she’s brilliant.
The Prodigy’s massive-selling Fat Of The Land album is a quarter of a century old this year, and so they’ve offered to reissue it as a 2LP silver disc job. Starring the global smashes Breathe and Firestarter (as well as Smack My Bitch Up which is amazing but you can’t really say that these days oh look, I just have) it turned them into very large potatoes indeed. It’s a limited edition job by the looks of it, so if that’s what you’ve been itching for, then we really want to see those fingers.
Reef’s very good chart-topping album from 1997, Glow, is back out on vinyl. It may still be a bit overshadowed by TFI Friday for some, what with it containing Place Your Hands, but it was a deeply enjoyable round of George Drakoulias-produced muscular rock with fellow hits Come Back Brighter and Consideration helping make it very listenable.
Natalie Imbruglia is reissuing her 1997 album Left Of The Middle on blue vinyl. It’s the one with the superhit Torn on, and went on to sell seven million copies (worldwide, that is, otherwise it would be the biggest-selling album of all time here). It wasn’t out on vinyl originally and was reissued briefly in 2016, but seeing as she’s celebrating 25 years ‘in the pop game’ it’s only fair to re-toot it on this occasion.
Another 25th anniversary comes in the form of Echo & The Bunnymen’s Evergreen, which arrives on vinyl for the first time. The album marked something of a back. Back. BACK situation for the Bunnymen, who’d imploded messily a few years prior, and sort-of carried-on-but-didn’t as Electrafixion. Evergreen saw them back in the charts with Nothing Lasts Forever (featuring Liam Gallagher on backing vocals no less) and reigniting themselves alongside such contemporary characters such as The Verve and Oasis. The album comes in a green vinyl (but of course) and there’s a 2CD edition with a second disc of extras such as B-sides (or rather tracks from 2CD single sets) as well as sessions and live stuff.
You wait ages for a 25th anniversary reissue to arrive and suddenly you’re up to your neck in the fuckers, eh readers? For Spiceworld, the second Spice Girls album, is being reissued this month too! The vinyl comes as a silver version or even a picture disc or a 2LP, plus as a 2CD or 2MC offering. They’ve thankfully ceased going barmy on the individual editions that came with last year’s Spice reissue, but there’s still some eye-watering WTF gear such as a stressball available on their site. The second disc of the CD contains 15 extra bits and bobs such as the much-desired Step To Me alongside live tracks, whereas the second MC and LP only contains 10 extra tracks. So, they’re out to get your money one way or another.
The Flaming Lips are reissuing their splendid Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots masterpiece as 6CD and 5LP 20th anniversary box sets, with the pair of them featuring demos, B-sides, radio sessions and wonky covers. First released in 2002, the band’s 10th album propelled them into the upper echelons of wearing animal costumes on Top Of The Pops and general far-outness and featured the wonderful items such as the epic Do You Realize?? The CD variant has 100 tracks with at least half of them previously unreleased and is quite reasonable pricewise as far as epic box sets go. The LP option has 56 tracks, of which 40 are unreleased, but isn’t coming out until April which is a bit of a bummer, but that’s the demand for vinyl for you. Anyway, snap it up.
It is 20 years since 2manydjs issued As Heard On Radio Soulwax Pt 2. In all honesty it had been knocking around a while as a bootleg and there were at least another dozen or so mixes on their website, but this was probably the most iconic and greatest of them all, whizzing through a giddying array of genres and bangers to create the ultimate mix. Anywho, it’s being issued as 2LP and 1CD with the original sleeve – the image sans bag is actually Elton John outside Langan’s Brasserie, and recent reissues had him tippexed out because copyright issues. Essential stuff, pop pickers.
Over on the NOW Desk, it’s all very giddy as the new kid on the Yearbook rota is 1985, which brings 79 tracks across 4CDs (or 45 tracks on 3LP) with Take On Me, Saving All My Love For You, Since Yesterday, Kiss Me, 19, White Wedding, Body Rock, You Spin Me Round, There Must Be An Angel Playing With My Arse, Shout, Duel, The Word Girl, The Belle Of St Mark, She Sells Sanctuary and Welcome To The Pleasuredome on it. It’s bloody wonderful.
A 3LP for the ages arrives just in time for any awkward in-laws this Christmas with the 41-track Now That’s What I Call Rock. All your rockular anthems are covered, with a cast list featuring U2 (Where The Streets Have No Name), The Rolling Stones (Start Me Up), Fleetwood Mac (Don’t Stop), ZZ Top (Gimme All Your Lovin’), Wings (Jet), Slade (Cum On Feel The Noize), Motörhead (Ace Of Spades), Meat Loaf (Bat Out Of Hell!), Deep Purple (Smoke On The Water) and the mighty Judas Priest (Living After Midnight). RIGHT ON.
Oh, and the latest reissue from the early Nows, Now 13, arrives this month with the bangers of late 1988 personally throwing me back to my days on the Our Price frontline. Man, they SOLD. You can’t argue with She Makes My Day, Big Fun, A Little Respect, Teardrops, The Harder I Try, You Came, Rush Hour and more. It’s one of the most iconic sleeves too.
No Dudley this month – the fucker is hibernating, apparently – which is a shame as he’d LOVE Music For New Romantics, a 3CD of soundtracks for effeminate futurists to wave a frill or two to. It’s all quite ace to be honest, if you ever frequented the likes of Blitz, The Wag and Rum Runner and thrown shapes to such superbness as Iggy Pop, Lou Reed, Roxy Music, Donna Summer, Japan, Gary Numan, The Human League, OMD, Grace Jones, Spandau Ballet, Tom Tom Club, Visage, A Certain Ratio and New Order then this is right up your street. Compiled by DJ Chris Sullivan (of Blue Rondo A La Turk fame, no less) it’s a 59-track compendium that will fair make you sob for your misspent youth of Boots No.7 and dressing like a pirate. Or something.
In a similar vein, albeit a year or so later, The Haçienda 1982 is a 4CD box celebrating 40 years of the – going there – iconic club, compiling the sort that would be rinsed out there. With a tracklist that contains Grandmaster Flash’s The Message, Gregory Isaacs’ Night Nurse, The Birthday Party’s Release The Bats, The Teardrop Explodes’ Colours Fly Away, Loose Joints’ Is It All Over My Face?, Suicide’s Dream Baby Dream and Implog’s incredible Holland Tunnel Drive (which sounds like a hoover exploding). It’s all extremely ace. Twin it with the New Romantics compilation and you’re laughing. Or crying.
Hey if that’s all a bit old, daddio, what about Gary Crowley’s Indie 90s Playback, which is the latest in Crowley’s occasional dives into the terrific tunes that fell down the back of pop’s sofa, such as Lo Fidelity Allstars’ Battleflag, One Dove’s White Love, Manic Street Preachers’ La Tristesse Durera (Scream To A Sigh) (The Chemical Brothers Remix), that Paul Weller Kosmos Lynchmob Beats Mix which is like listening to outer space, Catwalk’s Little Miss Abyss, Soul Family Sensation’s I Don’t Even Know If I Should Call You Baby (Marshall Jefferson Mix), Paris Angels’ Perfume (Loved Up) and Pulp’s My Legendary Girlfriend. It’s 3CDer, and well worth it just for Cola Boy. The only drag a pedant like me can see is the inclusion of The Wonder Stuff’s 1988 hit A Wish Away kicking the thing off. It’s a bit Love-Shackian (if you know, you know).
Leonard Cohen, yeah? He was the dad, wasn’t he. As part of Ace’s Songwriter Series, they’re bringing out a second volume of Len covers (the first one, released in 2018 is one of Ace’s biggest-sellers ever) Songs Of Light & Darkness Written By Leonard Cohen collects 17 tracks on a CD of Len moments be-lunged by others such as k d lang’s Hallelujah, Noel Harrison’s So Long Marianne, The Last Shadow Puppets’ Is This What You Wanted and Fairport Convention’s Closing Time. It’s a Len love-in!
Life Moves Pretty Fast: The John Hughes Mixtapes is the first official compilation of music from the movies of the legendary film maker John Hughes including tracks from classics Pretty In Pink, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, National Lampoon’s Vacation, Sixteen Candles, Weird Science, Some Kind Of Wonderful, Planes, Trains And Automobiles, She’s Having A Baby, The Great Outdoors and Uncle Buck with tracks from Kate Bush, OMD, The Beat, The Specials, BAD, The Dream Academy, Pop Will Eat Itself and Perry Como. It comes in some very sexy editions, such as the Limited edition 74-track 4CD deluxe set + bonus 7-inch single & cassette box, a 73-track red vinyl 6LP, a 25-track black vinyl 2LP and a 74-track 4CD set. It’s knockout.
Hey! Let’s meet the London-based duo of Jack Rollo and Elaine Tierney, who as Time Is Away have been beguiling people with ears for half a decade with mixes, radio shows and the like. They’ve now got their first compilation out the traps this month, containing a variety of poetic and soothsome meanderings from the likes of The Unthanks and the leafy blear of the fantastically named Christmas Decorations, alongside Horvitz Morris Previte Trio, the plucksome melancholy of Gilles Chabenat and Frédéric Paris and more. It’s very autumnal and, well, very ace. Time Is Away presents Ballads: A Colourful Storm is available on 2LP and worth going without several Twirls for.
Okay so that’s the tip of the iceberg November-wise. December feels a little more calm for a change, with Robbie Williams, Neil Young, Fela Kuti, Selecter, Tiger and Four Seasons and maybe one or two strays I forgot from this month, and there’ll be a bonus Christmas column rounding up, well, Christmas stuff. As ever, hit me up at @wadeywade. Till then, don’t have nightmares – do sleep well.