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Under the Radar’s Holiday Gift Guide 2019 Part 14: Music Reissues and Box Sets (Part Two)

Revisited Classic Albums and Rarities from Prince, Kate Bush, Stereolab, Depeche Mode, Nirvana, The Beatles, and More

Dec 21, 2019 Holiday Gift Guide 2019
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Welcome to Part 14 of Under the Radar‘s Holiday Gift Guide 2019. This one is centered on music reissues and box sets and is part two of our reissues guide (check out part one here). Also, this is the final part of our 2019 Holiday Gift Guide!

In terms of our Holiday Gift Guide 2019 we have already posted a guide about video games and two drinks related guides, one for coffee, beer, and wine and another for cocktails. Then we posted part one of our collectibles guide. After that we posted part 5 of our 2019 guide, which was about technology. Part 6 was the first part of our DVD/Blu-ray guide. And then part 7 was about board games. Part 8 was about toys for kids. Part 9 featured kid-friendly DVDs/Blu-rays, books, and board games. Part 10 was all about books and graphic novels. Part 11 was the second part of our collectibles guide. Part 12 was the second part of our Blu-ray/DVD guide. Part 13 was part one of our reissues guide. And don’t forget that Under the Radar print magazine subscriptions also make a great gift. Plus donating to the charity of your choice in the name of the gift receiver is also a good way to go.

Alphaville: Forever Young: Super Deluxe Limited Edition (Rhino/Warner)

RRP: $23.86

Forever Young is the debut album by the German synth-pop band Alphaville, who were named after the 1965 French New Wave film directed by Jean-Luc Godard. The 1984-released album probably remains their best known and features two of their biggest songs, title track “Forever Young” and “Big in Japan.” The Super Deluxe Limited Edition features a remastered version of the album on both CD and vinyl. There are two bonus CDs, one featuring B-sides and remixes and another featuring demos. Then there’s a DVD featuring four music videos and the new 60-minute documentary Never Grow Up - The Story of Forever Young. Alphaville may not have remained young, but singer Marian Gold still fronts a version of the band, with their most recent album released only two years ago (2017’s Strange Attractor), and Forever Young is worth revisiting. This would make a good gift for Gen-X friends that grew up on the band. (Buy it here.)

The Band: The Band: 50th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition (Universal Music)

RRP: $99.84

The Band’s self-titled second album, released in 1969 and sometimes known as The Brown Album, gets a Super Deluxe Edition reissue in honor of its 50th anniversary. It includes the album on Blu-ray Audio, two CDs, and two 180-gram LPs. Also included in the complete audio of their Woodstock performance, a documentary on the album, the “Rag Mama Rag” 7-inch single, and collectible lithographs by Elliott Landy. (Buy it here.)

Tyler Bates and Joel J. Richard: John Wick Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, John Wick Chapter 2 Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, and John Wick Chapter 3- Parabellum Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Varese Sarabande)

RRP: $26.99 (each)

Fans flock to the John Wick films for the expertly filmed car chases and gun fights, as well as Keanu Reeves’ badass performance as the retired assassin out for revenge. But all of that action is backed up each film’s score. Tyler Bates and Joel J. Richard have scored all three films and Varese Sarabande have now put them all out on vinyl. (Buy John Wick here. Buy John Wick Chapter 2 here. Buy John Wick Chapter 3 here.)

The Beatles: Abbey Road - 3LP Anniversary Edition (Universal)

RRP: $86.93

When photographer Iain Macmillan snapped John, Paul, George, and Ringo walking across the street on a zebra crossing outside London’s Abbey Road Studios, did he know that he was creating the image for one of the most famous album covers in history? Macmillan only had 10 minutes to get the photo and only snapped six frames, with Paul McCartney selecting the final image. The music on Abbey Road is just as iconic (“Come Together,” “I Want You (She’s so Heavy),” “Here Comes the Sun,” etc.) and in honor of its 50th anniversary its been reissued in various forms, including this 3LP set that includes the original album and two LPs of different takes and mixes from the original sessions. (Buy it here.)

David Bowie with John “Hutch” Hutchinson: Clareville Grove Demos (Parlophone)

RRP: $13.69

The David Bowie reissue train shows no sign of halting, with all sorts of rarities recently pulled out of the vaults. The Clareville Grove Demos is a 7-inch box set that collects early demos Bowie recorded as a duo with John “Hutch” Hutchinson in January of 1969 in Bowie’s flat in Clareville Grove, London. The songs were recorded live to tape and include an early version of his most famous song, “Space Oddity.” (Buy it here.)

David Bowie: Space Oddity - 50th Anniversary Edition (Parlophone)

RRP: $29.98

In honor of its 50th anniversary, “Space Oddity” is getting a separate 7-inch box set. The first 7-inch includes the original mono single edit of the song on the A-side, with the B-side being the original mono mix of “Wild Eyed Boy From Freecloud.” The second 7-inch includes new 2019 mixes of both songs by longtime Bowie collaborator Tony Visconti. (Buy it here.)

David Bowie: Spying Through a Keyhole - Demos and Unreleased Songs (Parlophone)

RRP: $17.21

Spying Through a Keyhole is another Bowie 7-inch box set. It includes four 7-inches and contains nine previously unreleased tracks, all demos. It includes two versions of “Angel Angel Grubby Face,” including one with alternate lyrics, and the first ever recorded demo of “Space Oddity.” (Buy it here.)

David Bowie: Conversation Piece (Parlophone)

RRP: $78.22

Conversation Piece is the most extensive of the recent David Bowie reissues. Across five CDs it collects early home demos, the Mercury demos, BBC radio sessions, and two versions of his debut album (sometimes titled David Bowie and sometimes titled Space Oddity). There is the original 1969 stereo mix of David Bowie and a new 2019 mix of the album by Tony Visconti. It also features a 120-page hardback book featuring extensive sleeve notes and a ton of beautiful photos. Of the new mix of David Bowie, Visconti had this to say in a press release: “It was so much fun to find hidden gems of musicianship with more time to mix the second time around, a guitar twiddle here, a trombone blast there, Marc Bolan’s voice in a group choir and more detail in general that we overlooked all those years ago when the label gave us a week at the most to mix this album. And in the details you will find 22 year old David Bowie, who would soon take the world by storm.” (Buy it here.)

Kate Bush: Remastered in Vinyl I, Remastered in Vinyl 2, Remastered in Vinyl 3, and Remastered in Vinyl 4 (Rhino/Parlophone)

RRP: $149.99 (for Vol. 1), $154.95 (for Vol. 3), $104.95 (for Vol. 4)

Under the Radar‘s most recent print magazine was our My Favorite Album Issue, in which we spoke to musicians and actors about their all-time favorite album. While various Joni Mitchell albums were chosen, the single album that was most cited as an artist’s favorite was Kate Bush’s Hounds of Love, picked by three different musicians.

“The construction of the whole thing is perfect, and exactly what I still try to do with my own concept-y records, which is: front load it with bangers and then sneak in your weird song cycle at the end,” San Fermin’s Ellis Ludwig-Leone wrote of the album for us.

“Every track is just like a world in itself and doesn’t seem to bear any relation to normal musicianship,” commented The Divine Comedy’s Neil Hannon in his interview about Hounds of Love.

And Sleater-Kinney’s Corin Tucker also picked the album, saying in our interview: “I think that you hear the influences of that album on music today and that she really was a pioneer of all this incredible songwriting and technology and meshing together of rock instruments with electronic music.”

Hounds of Love is included on Remastered in Vinyl, Rhino’s four volume box set series collecting all of Bush’s albums on vinyl, ranging from 1978’s The Kick Inside to 2011’s 50 Words for Snow. Vol. 4 features 12-inch mixes, B-sides, and covers. (Buy Vol. 1 here. Buy Vol. 2 here. Buy Vol. 3 here. Buy Vol. 4 here.)

Depeche Mode: Black Celebration |The 12 Singles - Numbered Limited Edition and Music For the Masses | 12” Singles - Numbered Limited Edition (Rhino/Warner)

RRP: $81.05 (Black Celebration), $104.22 (Music For the Masses)

Rhino’s series of reissuing Depeche Mode’s 12-inch singles in handsome vinyl box sets continues. The Black Celebration box set includes 12-inches for “Stripped” and two each for “A Question of Lust” and “A Question of Time.” Each includes B-sides, remixes, and live tracks. The album came out in 1986 and was followed by 1987’s Music For the Masses. That box set includes two LPs each for “Stangelove,” “Never Let Me Down Again,” and “Behind the Wheel,” as well as one record for “Little 15.” Again each has assorted B-sides and remixes. There’s no silence to enjoy here, only great music from these 1980s legends still going strong decades later. (Buy Black Celebration here. Buy Music For the Masses here.)

Danny Elfman: Pee-wee’s Big Adventure / Back to School Original Motion Picture Scores (Varese Sarabande)

RRP: $17.93

Oingo Boingo frontman and composer Danny Elfman’s long working relationship with director Tim Burton began early in both of their careers. 1985’s Pee-wee’s Big Adventure was Burton’s first feature film and only Elfman’s second score (and first for a major studio). Varese Sarabande has reissued the score on vinyl. Since it only takes up side one of the vinyl, on side two is Elfman’s score for the 1986 film Back to School. The comedy starred Rodney Dangerfield as an adult who goes to the same college as his son. Elfman and Oingo Boingo also appeared in the film, performing “Dead Man’s Party.” (Buy it here.)

Jonathan Fire*Eater: Tremble Under Boom Lights (Third Man)

RRP: $16.39

Tremble Under Boom Lights was an EP by Jonathan Fire*Eater released in 1996. The Washington, D.C. band only lasted from 1993-1998, but after their breakup three of its members (Paul Maroon, Matt Barrick, and Walter Martin) went on to form The Walkmen, alongside two members of The Recoys, Peter Bauer and Hamilton Leithauser. Third Man’s vinyl reissue of Tremble Under Boom Lights includes the five original tracks, along with five bonus tracks. (Buy it here.)

Love Unlimited Orchestra: The 20th Century Records Albums (1973-1979) (Mercury/Ume)

RRP: $31.34

Love Unlimited Orchestra was Barry White + the female vocal trio Love Unlimited + a 40-piece orchestra. This box set collects their albums for 20th Century Records. (Buy it here.)

Curtis Mayfield: Keep On Keeping On - Studio Albums 1970-1974 (Rhino)

RRP: $56.31

Keep On Keeping On collects the soul legend’s first four studio albums: Curtis (1970), Roots (1971), Back to the World (1973), and Sweet Exorcist (1974). It’s available either on four CDs or as a 4-LP set. (Buy it here.)

David Newman: Heathers: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Varese Sarabande)

RRP: $23.45

David Newman’s Heathers score gets reissued in honor of its 30th anniversary on “very neon green vinyl.” In the words of Winona Ryder’s Veronica Sawyer: “How very.” (Buy it here.)

Nirvana: MTV Unplugged In New York - 25th Album Anniversary Edition (Geffen/UMG)

RRP: $37.85

Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged performance is the gold standard for the Unplugged series. In honor of its 25th anniversary it’s been reissued via 2-LPs on 180-gram vinyl that includes five bonus rehearsal performances. (Buy it here.)

Orchestral Manoeuvres In the Dark: Souvenir (Republic)

RRP: $42.49

One of Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (aka OMD)‘s most famous songs, “If You Leave,” was written on the fly to help save the ending of a movie. In the original ending for John Hughes’ 1986 film Pretty in Pink, Andie (Molly Ringwald) ends up with her quirky best friend Duckie (Jon Cryer), but test audiences didn’t buy it and so a new ending was shot where she finds true love with Blaine (Andrew McCarthy) instead, even if Duckie thinks Blaine’s name sounds like a “major appliance.” This meant that OMD had to write a last minute new song for the climax and they wrote their classic song “If You Leave” in less than 24 hours, before they had to go on tour. In the film it plays during a prom scene and seems to be a never-ending song, stretching across the whole climax. Souvenir collects all of the band’s hits, including “If You Leave,” “Enola Gay,” and more across three LPs. (Buy it here.)

Prince: Originals (Warner)

RRP: $25.56

Originals is a new posthumous Prince album that collects his demos of songs he eventually gave to other artists. Almost all of the 15 tracks are previously unreleased and it includes Prince’s original versions of such iconic songs as “The Glamorous Life” (later recorded by Sheila E.), “Manic Monday” (later done by The Bangles), and “Nothing Compares 2 U” (later recorded by both The Family and Sinéad O’Connor). It comes in an edition with two LPs and one CD. When Prince passed away in 2016 he left behind a huge vault filled with unreleased material and so we can probably expect new albums from him for years to come. But for now it’s quite a treat to hear the Purple One’s initial versions of these songs. (Buy it here.)

John Powell: How to Train Your Dragon: Motion Picture Soundtrack (Varese Sarabande)

RRP: $22.99

The How to Train Your Dragon trilogy came to a satisfying conclusion with this year’s How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World. John Powell did the music for all three films and was even nominated for an Oscar for his work on 2010’s first film. That soundtrack has been reissued by Varese Sarabande in a special picture disc version. This would be a lovely gift for How to Train Your Dragon fans also into vinyl, including some kids (there have to be some kids into vinyl out there). (Buy it here.)

Stereolab: Cobra and Phases Group Play Voltage In the Milky Night: Expanded Edition, Dots & Loops: Expanded Edition, and Emperor Tomato Ketchup: Expanded Edition (Duophonic/Warp)

RRP: $28.49 (each)

Stereolab have been back in a big way lately, reforming for shows and reissuing all their albums on vinyl, including 1996’s Emperor Tomato Ketchup, 1997’s Dots & Loops, and 1999’s Cobra and Phases Group Play Voltage In the Milky Night. Each comes with a bonus LP featuring demos and alternate versions. Each also comes with a fold out poster and a download card. Stereolab haven’t released a new album in almost a decade, but hopefully a new album will be in the cards at some point. Until then, their back catalogue still sounds fresh and modern today. (Buy Cobra and Phases here. Buy Dots & Loops here. Buy Emperor Tomato Ketchup here.)

Various Artists: Motown: The Complete No. 1’s (Motown)

RRP: $219.99

The title of this box set says it all. The fact that it takes 11 CDs to collect all of Motown’s #1 singles is a testament to the label’s legacy. It includes classics by Stevie Wonder, The Jackson 5, The Temptations, The Supremes, Marvin Gaye, and many others. Plus it’s beautifully packaged in a box that replicates Motown’s original Detroit headquarters (aka “Hitsville U.S.A.”). (Buy it here.)

John Williams, Varujan Kojian, and The Utah Symphony: The Star Wars Trilogy (Varese Sarabande)

RRP: $16.29

Stars Wars: The Rise of Skywalker may have just been released, finally ending the Skywalker saga after 40 years, but it’s always nice to revisit the original trilogy. In 1983, the same year Return of Jedi, the third and final episode of the original trilogy, was released, Varese Sarabande commissioned The Utah Symphony, as conducted by Varujan Kojian, to re-record some of John Williams’ music from the three Star Wars movies: Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi. Williams gave the album his blessing and wrote the liner notes. Now Varese Sarabande has reissued the album on vinyl. (Buy it here.)

Also Available From Varese Sarabande:

Marco Beltrami: Scream/Scream 2 - Original Scores (Red Vinyl Edition) (Varese Sarabande)

RRP: $22.99

(Buy it here.)

Patrick Doyle: Carlito’s Way - Original Motion Picture Score (Varese Sarabande)

RRP: $39.99

(Buy it here.)

Dave Grusin: The Goonies - Original Motion Picture Score (Varese Sarabande)

RRP: $28.40

(Buy it here.)

Bernard Herrmann: Vertigo - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Varese Sarabande)

RRP: $32.50

(Buy it here.)

Mark Isham: Blade - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Varese Sarabande)

RRP: 24.98

(Buy it here.)

Jerry Fielding: The Bad News Bears - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Varese Sarabande)

RRP: $15.84

(Buy it here.)

Jerry Goldsmith: Gremlins 2: The New Batch - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Varese Sarabande)

RRP: $34.99

(Buy it here.)

Guy Gross: FarScape - Original Television Series Soundtrack: 20th Anniversary Edition (Varese Sarabande)

RRP: $54.99

(Buy it here.)

Joel McNeely: The Last of the Mohicans - Original Motion Picture Score (Varese Sarabande)

RRP: $52.90

(Buy it here.)

Graeme Revell: The Crow - Original Motion Picture Score (Varese Sarabande)

RRP: $28.95

(Buy it here.)

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December 24th 2019

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