Oozing jazz vibes, Tom Waits croaking, The Breeders pounding and the Holy Church is in session.
This week’s round up of the best of yesteryear starts on 31st August 1993 and The Breeders’ Last Splash. Man alive, what a belter; a proper era-defining album that sounds sharp and essential on this crisp Monday morning. 4AD have really gone to town here with a proper fan package to celebrate the big 30th birthday. The album has been remastered from the original analogue tapes – previously thought to be lost – a process which also brought to light two unreleased tracks (‘Go Man Go’, a track that Kim co-wrote with Black Francis, and ‘Divine Mascis’, a version of ‘Divine Hammer’ with lead vocals provided courtesy of Dinosaur Jr.’s J Mascis). The album now spans two 12” 45rpm discs, plus an exclusive, one-sided etched 12” disc containing the two forgotten tracks. The iconic sleeve art by the late visionary designer Vaughan Oliver has also been gloriously reimagined by his long-time design partner Chris Bigg.
A legit classic and a very, very nice way to add it to your collection.
Alain Goraguer’s cult La Planète Sauvage soundtrack has a handsome reissue this week via Decca. Released in 1973 (where the feature-length animated film caused a sensation and won the Special Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival), it’s a hazy and quietly psychedelic jazz score. If you don’t know it, you’ll certainly recognise it across the numerous samples it has provided over the years. Such a vibe.
This anniversary edition (must be a fiftieth!) is mixed from the recently discovered multi-track tapes, including 7 previously unreleased tracks and 3 alternate mixes. Produced under the expert supervision of Patrick Goraguer, Alain's son, this is released in a deluxe gatefold sleeve (including a special illustrated zine), pressed on ‘blue giant’ colour double vinyl.
We have a triple of Tom Waits reissues today, with his eighth, ninth and tenth studio albums on the 1983-1987 run that brought us Swordfishtrombones, Rain Dogs and Frank's Wild Years. The trilogy really pushed his artistry across wild instrumentation and Franks Wild Years’ is especially theatrical (it is a score to a stage play of the same name). So many amazing moments, but it’s the feeling that he was just fearlessly on his own trip that makes this part of his career so special.
Bella Union have gone to the Beach House vaults this week with new 2023 reissues of the duo’s self-titled debut and following Devotion albums. The production and energy across their later works are hugely impressive, but there was something so spooky and magical about this first pair for us. Low-key classics.
XL Recordings keep the Basement Jaxx reissues flowing with the Mercury Prize nominated Kish Kash. Featuring Siouxsie Sioux, Dizzee Rascal and Lisa Kekaula amongst others and this 2023 edition is pressed on limited Red & White double vinyl.
Lastly for today… Brothers, sisters, testify! Soul Jazz have reissued Holy Church Of The Ecstatic Soul - A Higher Power: Gospel, Funk & Soul at the Crossroads 1971-83. The compilation draws upon the extensive links between black American gospel music and soul music, casting spotlights onto some of the many important (and also little-known) gospel artists who walked the line between sacred music and soul, funk and disco in the 1970s and early 1980s. It takes less than a minute for someone to get down on their knees, this really is a stacked set. It’ll satisfy your soul.
Okay, the week ain’t looking too bad!