Music » Features

A rock snob buyers' guide for the 2009 holidays



All families have that one music snob who's just impossible to shop for, and for music aficionados, jingle-bell time is a swell time for racking up the year's goody-filled album reissues. Below you'll find a list of 2009 deluxe editions that are sure to satisfy nearly any finicky rock lover.

Nirvana, Bleach Deluxe Edition
It's hard to believe that Nirvana is only five years away from their inevitable induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. To celebrate the 20th anniversary of their debut LP Bleach, Sub Pop has digitally remastered the record—which was originally cut for a mere $606 that forever changed rock 'n' roll— on CD and 180-gram vinyl. The cherry on top: an unreleased live album titled Live at Pine Street Theater, recorded in Portland in 1990.

The Rolling Stones, Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out! The Rolling Stones in Concert 40th Anniversary Deluxe Box Set
The original edition of this live album—recorded over two nights at Madison Square Garden in 1969—captured the Stones swagger in all its loose rock 'n' roll glory, perhaps better than any other recording the band ever made. In addition to a remaster, this 40th anniversary reissue includes a second disc of outtakes and a third disc of recordings culled from opening sets by B.B. King and Ike and Tina Turner. Also included are a 56-page book and a replica poster from the shows. Pick your jaw up off the floor and high tail it to the record shop for this one. Stat. The cherry on top: a DVD of backstage footage, courtesy of Gimme Shelter directors the Maysles brothers.

U2, The Unforgettable Fire 25th Anniversary Edition
Love or hate U2, they're a band you can always count on to take their efforts over the top. The Unforgettable Fire saw U2 start a career-long off-and-on relationship with producers Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois, and broke them into the mainstream with the hit "Pride (In the Name of Love)"—priming them for the astronomical success of The Joshua Tree. This monster re-up is stocked with a remaster of the original 1984 album, a disc of B-sides and outtakes—including two previously unreleased tracks—a DVD featuring music videos, a making-of documentary and live footage. The cherry on top: a 56-page hardback book featuring liner notes by The Edge, Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois.

Devo, Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! and Freedom of Choice Deluxe Editions
Depending on who you ask, art-rock godfathers Devo are either one of the greatest and most innovative bands of all time, or just one of New Wave's most memorable one-hit wonders. Both camps will be satisfied with the band's reissues of the two records that best of exemplify both aspects of their legacy—their quirky 1978 debut Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! and 1980's classic Freedom of Choice. The cherry on top: a "Mongoloid"/"Jocko Homo" 7-inch that accompanies the limited edition color vinyl version of ...Are We Not Men?.

Isaac Hayes, Shaft OST, Hot Buttered Soul, Black Moses and Juicy Fruit Deluxe Editions
While none of the 2009 Isaac Hayes reissues are of the super-duper box set variety—the Shaft reissue is digitally remastered but only contains one bonus track, a remix of the theme song—they all contain Hayes' inimitable voice. That alone is worth it. Cherry on top: the cross-shaped fold-out art of Black Moses.

The Dukes of Stratosphear, 25 O'Clock and Psonic Psunspot
In 1985, under the pseudonym The Dukes of Stratosphear, XTC's Andy Partidge, Colin Moulding and David Gregory—along with Gregory's brother Ian—recorded an album and EP lovingly lampooning their favorite '60s psychedelic influences. Band members assumed such aliases as Sir John Johns, Lord Cornelius Plum and The Red Curtain, and for a period of time denied their involvement in the project. Despite being conceived as parody, the albums are every bit as fantastic as XTC's earnest homage to psychedelia, 1986's Skylarking. This year, Partridge released both the album and EP—complete with bonus tracks and liner notes—on his label Ape House, marking the first time the long coveted records have been available on CD.

Radiohead, Kid A, Amnesiac and Hail to the Thief Reissues
Radiohead's 2000 release Kid A was a decisive move not to be the biggest band in the world, but that didn't keep it from debuting at No. 1, or its sequel, so-to-speak, Amnesiac, from debuting at No. 2 less than a year later. By the time of 2004's Hail to the Thief, the band had comfortably settled into their status as art-rock's pre-eminent superstars—as well as Miley Cyrus' favorite group. Each of the post-OK Computer reissues comes with a treasure trove of outtakes, B-sides and live tracks. The cherry on top: a plentiful reminder that this decade has, in fact, yielded some classic rock music.


Add a comment