Brian Eno — Discreet Music/Music For Films/Music For Airports/On Land
In four albums made between 1975 and 1982, Eno gave ambient music a name and a cohesive identity. Remastered on to a pair of 45rpm discs per album, these subtle, scarcely-there works are ideal to take the edge off Christmas family gatherings, like a kind of sonic valium. And having to get up and change them over every 15 minutes will prevent one slumping irretrievably into a sherry-induced torpor.
Yazoo — Four Pieces
Yazoo are the best band Vince Clarke has been in (don’t @ me, Depeche Mode fans) and Alison Moyet is the finest singer any synth-pop group ever had. There isn’t much by the duo — two albums, two LPs of remixes and some BBC sessions — but it’s almost all here in this box set and it’s pure gold dust: emotion, invention and truly banging tunes.
Stereolab — Peng!/The Groop Played ‘Space Age Bachelor Pad Music’
In the early 1990s Stereolab plugged indie music into the then unfashionable sounds of krautrock, bossa nova and yé-yé (that would be 1960s French pop), and suddenly made it seem so much more exotic and alive. Their first two studio releases are reissued on indie kid-friendly clear vinyl just about in time for the rest of the world to catch up. One for the striped-jumpered, bowlie-haircutted person in your life.
Manic Street Preachers — This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours
Its immediate predecessor, Everything Must Go, is remembered as their blockbuster album but this was their biggest record by far. Twenty years on it stands up very well indeed, and a gatefold double-LP edition is the weighty format its heft deserves.
50 YEARS AGO…
The Beatles (aka The White Album) Anniversary Edition v The Rolling Stones’ Beggars Banquet (50th Anniversary Edition)
Apple Corps/ABKCO Records
Relive the Beatles-Stones rivalry through the medium of luxury vinyl. The strangest and most radical Beatles album features in a lavishly appointed box set with a new mix by Giles Martin, and — this is the true unearthed treasure — two further discs of the beautiful and fascinating acoustic ‘Esher demos’, recorded in George Harrison’s Surrey bungalow.
The second greatest Stones album (surpassed only by their follow-up, Let It Bleed) is fleshed out with a mono 12in Sympathy For The Devil single in the album’s original ‘toilet’ gatefold cover and a contemporaneous Mick Jagger interview. Recorded over the phone. On to flexi disc. Just as it first appeared. In Japan. Out-obscure that, you Fabs.