This Just In: Compilations, Sort Of…

We’re all fairly used to “Best Of” compilations of well-known artists. Sometimes they’re spot-on, but a lot of times they fall flat, eschewing deep cuts for the tracks we’ve all heard a million times. And hey, that’s probably the point with things coming from radio-play camps anyway. Luckily, small labels and obscure artists typically get better compilation treatment with things like live tracks, b-sides, lost reels, previously-short-run editions and singles that never were. Here are a few (sort of) compilations from artists worthy of something more intricate than a simple “Best Of”.

Irma Thomas – In Between Tears LP:
“After relocating from New Orleans to Los Angeles, soul queen Irma Thomas largely disappeared from public view for a few years. But a series of singles produced by Jerry Williams (a.k.a. Swamp Dogg) on the indie Canyon, Roker and Fungus labels led to this eight-track release in 1973. Williams had proven himself a talented musician and producer, and in the latter capacity he leaves behind the absurdist humor of his own records to bring Thomas a helping of Southern soul and West Coast funk. Thomas’ new material, much of it written by Williams, has plenty of bite, but it’s more personal than broad. The wistful drama of her early Minit and Imperial sides had given way to something heavier, more worldly-wise, weary and womanly. When she sings of broken relationships, it’s from the experience of being spurned rather than the hope of being accepted, and when she takes stock of her life, she’s not afraid to highlight problems with the balance sheet. The transition from her earlier work is particularly apparent in a remake of ‘Wish Someone Would Care’ which evolved from heartbroken yearning to mortally wounded. Alive’s 2013 reissue adds two bonus tracks, including the pre-album B-side ‘I’ll Do it All Over You.’ This little-known album caught Thomas in a fiery and outspoken mood, and its return to print makes a welcome addition to her better-known releases.” -No Depression


Rodan – Fifteen Quiet Years LP:
“Fifteen Quiet Years is a celebratory document four years in the making; a repository for all the important Rodan recordings that fans of Rusty have long wished they could unearth. The collection includes the 1994 BBC Peel session, together with all of Rodan’s long-out-of-print 7″s and compilation tracks. In 2009, Bob Weston, Jeff Mueller and Jason Noble lovingly re-mastered the tracks at Chicago Mastering Service. All formats of the album include a digital download of 10 bonus live recordings selected by Jason, Jeff, TJO and Kevin from their extensive personal archives. The packaging was designed by Jason Noble and Jeff Mueller, and has been letterpress printed by Jeff Mueller at his own Dexterity Press studio.” -Quarterstick


Lussuria – American Babylon 2LP:
“Hospital Productions present a very necessary vinyl edition for one of the most effective industrial/ambient collections in their catalog, and one of the label’s most sought-after. Over the course of three cassettes (limited to just 99 copies) issued in 2012, Lussuria (‘Lust’ in Italian) drip-fed these eight tracks of opiated, phantasmic SM atmospheres into the musical bloodstream, duly hailed by many as one of the most crucial set of tracks released in 2012. Reflecting the ritualistic appeal of late ’70s and early ’80s Italian industrial à la Cicciolina Holocaust, Sermonizer, or MB, crossed with the epic claustrophobia of early material from The Cure and the decadent, voyeuristic compulsion of Pasolini flicks so enamoured by Coil, the enigmatic Lussuria has conceived nothing short of a dark ambient masterpiece for our times. It’s a De Quincey or De Sade-like meditation on a perceived American condition that percolates far beyond its borders, matching the militant oppression of Vatican Shadow with martial pomp of opener “Keys to Unlock Paradise (Roman Showers)” and the cold-sweating tension of “Queen of Swords Reversed,” while ambient interzones such as “Viper Room Vigil” and “Mondo Narcotico” relieve the suppression effectively as a loosened tourniquet. In his role as the dark interpreter, Lussuria acts as informant from the netherworld, relaying the eschatological drone vision of “Under” and the backmasked bacchanalia of “Coiled Serpent Shedding” to fanged ears on the other side, culminating with two furtive dispatches in the coruscating half-light of “Nicotine Incense Trepan Redux,” and the uncannily poignant video-diary entry set to numbed pads and raging black metal noise inferno that closes American Babylon. So many attempt this sound, yet its putative pleasures remain just out of grasp to most. Not so with Lussuria. Mastered and cut by Matt Colton at Academy.”


Some more (sort of) compilations amidst new releases, reissues and restocks…
Actress – R.I.P. LP
Al Green – Let’s Stay Together LP
All Tiny Creatures – Dark Clock LP
Big Star – Nothing Can Hurt Me 2LP
Bjork – Debut 2LP
Bob Marley & The Wailers – Rasta Revolution LP; Lee Perry Masters LP
Chris Corsano/Bill Orcutt – The Raw And The Cooked LP
Christian Death – Only Theatre Of Pain LP
Crass – Ten Notes On A Summer’s Day LP
David Yow – Tonight You Look Like A Spider LP
De La Soul – 3 Feet High And Rising 2LP
Deltron 3030 – s/t 2LP
DJ Q-Bert – Breaktionary Vol. 1 LP
Explosions In The Sky – Those Who Tell The Truth… LP
Fall – Re-mit LP
Fever Ray – s/t LP
Flume – s/t LP
Funkadelic – Standing On The Verge Of Getting It On LP
Grouper – Dragging A Dead Deer Up A Hill LP; The Man Who Died In His Boat LP
Hailu Mergia – Hailu Mergia & His Classical Instrument LP
Hausu – Total LP
Jaco Pastorius – s/t LP
Jimmy Cliff – KCRW Session LP
Justin Walter – Lullabies & Nightmares LP
Kate Bush – Hounds Of Love LP
Killing Joke – Revelations 2LP
Kraftwerk – Tour De France 2LP
Iasos – Celestial Soul Portrait 2LP
Locrian – Return To Annihilation 2LP, CD
Loveliescrushing – Shiny Tiny Stars LP
Lusine – Lucky 12″
Lust For Youth – Perfect View LP
Marvin Gaye – Let’s Get It On LP
MF Doom – Operation Doomsday 2LP
Modest Mouse – Sad Sappy Sucker LP; The Fruit That Ate Itself LP
Moondog – Viking Of Sixth Avenue LP
Mount Kimbie – Cold Spring Faultless Youth LP
Near Paris – s/t LP
Nicolas Jaar – Space Is Only Noise LP
O.D.B. – Return To The 36 Chambers LP
Palms – s/t LP
Patti Smith – Horses LP
R. Stevie Moore – Glad Music LP
Radical Face – Ghost Towns LP
Replacements – Songs for Slim LP
Rose Windows – The Sun Dogs LP
Royal Trux – 3 Song EP 10”
Sebadoh – Secret EP 10”
Shannon & The Clams – Dreams In The Rat House LP
Sixth Station – Deep Night LP
Smith Westerns – Soft Will LP
Son House – Father Of Folk LP
Sonic Youth/ICP/The Ex – In The Fishtank 9 LP
Thelonious Monk – Misterioso LP
Toy Love – s/t LP
Tunng – Turbines LP
Upsetters – Blackboard Jungle Dub LP
Vangelis – Blade Runner OST LP
Various – Anthology Of Noise Vol. 2 2CD
Various – Brazilian Guitar Fuzz Bananas 2LP
Various – Cumbia Beat Vol. 1 & 2 2LP
Various – Ecstasy Of Gold Vol. 1 & 2 2LP
Various – King Bullard Version: Songs of the BOS Label LP
WHY? – Black Waters Flexi 7”