Reissues: Alt-Rock Classics Get the Vinyl Treatment

It’s always great to see new music being released on vinyl. Equally exciting is the current selection of reissues of older material being offered by labels such as Rhino and 4 Men With Beards. Hardcore collectors may scoff, but for the average listener, the chance to own one’s favorite albums on pristine vinyl at a reasonable price is often too good to pass up.

In most cases, I prefer to seek out the original issue of a record, but some titles are simply too difficult to find without resorting to eBay or similar auction sites. Sellers will often jack up prices if they know a particular disc is hard to come by. Such is the case with many indie rock, shoegaze, or Britpop acts from the mid-’80s to the early ’90s. This was a time when the vinyl market was slowly dying out in favor of CDs. By the time grunge hit, vinyl was being pressed in very small quantities, if at all. The discs that were pressed became increasingly rare (and expensive) over the years.

Thankfully, some choice records from this era are starting to show up as vinyl reissues. Plain has issued LPs from Ween, Spiritualized, Flaming Lips, and My Bloody Valentine among others. Rhino released Ride’s first full length album Nowhere in December. Warner’s Original Recordings Group has been working their way through the Nirvana and Sonic Youth back catalogs, and recently released a new pressing of Teenage Fanclub’s celebrated Bandwagonesque. Swervedriver’s first two albums have even shown up again courtesy of Hi Speed Soul.

Established indie labels have also taken to reissuing their own catalogs. Matador and Merge have done an excellent job with artists like Pavement and Superchunk respectively. UK labels Fire and Too Pure have made several classics from their vaults available, including titles by Spacemen 3 and Stereolab.

Fans of ’60s and ’70s soul, folk, psychedelic, punk, and new wave have been in luck for some time now, as many excellent reissues have touched on these genres. It’s nice to see more ’80s and ’90s bands joining the ranks. In this column, I hope to review some of the best of what is currently available. I’ll try to keep it as diverse as possible: expect some ’70s funk and German psych, ’80s post-punk, and good old fashioned indie rock to show up here.

Feel free to leave a comment and let me know what forthcoming reissues you’re excited about, and what your favorites have been so far.

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