El Records’ latest box set compiles most of the original studio recordings of the Congolese boys choir Les Troubadours du Roi Bauduoin, and then uses it as a springboard to examine the use of classical music in postwar cinema. At nearly four hours, it is a veritable feast for the ears.
Various Artists: Bob Stanley and Pete Wiggs Present State Of The Union: The American Dream In Crisis 1967-1973 (Ace Records)
This absolutely essential compilation from musicologists and Saint Etienne masterminds Bob Stanley and Pete Wiggs offers a very rare glimpse into how older, mainstream American pop musicians addressed the changing times of the Richard Nixon/Vietnam war era.
Dead Can Dance returned this year with their best album in 25 years, a haunting and dark oratorio about the god of debauchery. It’s easily one of the best albums of 2018.
The first of two offerings in the annual Beach Boys copyright extension series, this alternate version of their album Friends is a beautiful and surprisingly essential collection that offers new depth to one of their most underrated albums.
Texas rocker Bobby Fuller will forever be known for his sole hit and his mysterious death. That’s a shame, as this new compilation shows that he was a versatile and promising young artist.
Dan Loves Patti’, the sole album from Chicago musician Chris Holmes’ studio project Yum-Yum, is one of the truly lost gems of the 1990s, and this reissue is a wonderful reintroduction to a band you probably never heard the first time.
The posies released their major-label debut in 1990 with Dear 23, a slick and earnest record of great promise, yet one that felt oddly empty. This deluxe edition reveals a record that suffered somewhat from sounding too polished, and the rough demos help present the album in a different and perhaps more accurate light.
Scottish trio Cocteau Twins shocked their fan base in 1993 by leaving their longtime label home at 4AD for major label Fontana. This era has always been considered problematic, as it found the mysterious group suddenly sounding not so mysterious. This four disc box set compiles all of their releases for the label, and offers up an important rethink about the band’s final chapter.
Few greatest hits packages serve a band quite as well as this Dinosaur Jr compilation from 2001. This reissue expands that set with a second disc of fan favorites and choice cuts from their post-reunion releases.
Austin rock trio Fastball’s sophomore release was an unapologetically grown-up album, and to everyone’s surprise the record was an unexpected hit in 1998.