With so many new albums coming out this summer, you might be wondering, why all the reissues? But with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and Paul McCartney touring, a better question would be, why not more reissues? Greats from every era are getting the re-vamp treatment, and they’re not just for grandpa’s record player anymore:
1. American Football – American Football
The 1999 album that helped give rise to emo as a genre gets a deluxe re-vamp 15 years later, complete with expanded liner notes, an extra disc’s worth of B-sides and some one-off shows to appease the band’s now cult following. The sometimes dissonant, time-signatures-be-damned guitar style of Steve Holmes was clearly echoed in the bridges of bands like Hawthorne Heights and Silverstein, and looking at the album cover, you’re not quite sure whether the sound comes from some kid’s attic stereo or the nocturnal birds outside it. Either way, American Football remains the perfect companion to a midsummer night’s drive.
2. Oasis – Definitely Maybe
Twenty years ago, Oasis shook the American consciousness in a way no British band had since the days of The Beatles, Rolling Stones and Kinks. The band’s debut album precipitated 15 years of unabashed guitar music—some, including Noel Gallagher, arguing that that the songs were unabashedly recycled from the work of earlier bands. And while Definitely Maybe didn’t churn out the hits of its immediate follow-up, (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?, it provided a smooth transition after the shock of Kurt Cobain’s suicide: a quiet, composed angst after the glamorous fury of the ’80s and the gritty grunge of the early ’90s. This three-disk volume includes live and demo cuts, plus quite a frenetic cover of their predecessor’s “I Am the Walrus.”
3. Miles Davis – Take Off: The Complete Blue Note Albums
Blue Note Records announced its 75th Vinyl Initiative back in March, but they’ve been at the turntables for the past two years, remastering jazz greats from Blakely to Rollins to Ellington for vinyl and digital formats. Through October 2014, they’ll be releasing five albums per month, with the aim “to protect the original intentions of the artists, producers and engineers… [that which] were best represented by the sound and feel of their first-edition vinyl presses.” In Davis’ sometimes lively, but always expressive Young Man with a Horn, Vol. 2 and Vol. 3, we get Kirk Silsbee’s text commentary and cuts not heard together since the early ’50s.
4. R.E.M – Unplugged: 1991-2001
The two MTV sessions from Athens’ mourn-rock quartet each get two discs on this vinyl and compact treatment, including 11 performances not included in the original television broadcast. As the name, and subsequent craze of stripped-down performances suggests, the small-scale appearance provided artists with a personal way to present their music to audiences. R.E.M. has gone above and beyond in the years since their breakup; recently releasing over 150 of their rarities on vinyl to accompany the digital release of the Unplugged sessions. It’s a purist’s dream, and a hipster’s nightmare.
5. The Doors – Weird Scenes Inside the Gold Mine
For such an influential group, it’s difficult to believe that The Doors only recorded together for five years, after which undisputed leader (and custodian of poetic darkness) Jim Morrison finally succumbed to his problems with alcohol and drugs. In celebration of Record Store Day and observance of keyboardist Ray Manzarek’s death over a year ago, the memorial LP has been released on CD for the first time, bringing the hazy, tonal cymbals and guitar on “The End” to a different generation. Morrison’s voice escalates and ebbs over the instruments like a specter—not a light listen by any means, but definitely worth the venture.