Some bits found on sweet deals at the clearance sale at the local Borders. . .
David Bowie — Space Oddity 40th Anniversary Deluxe Edition (1969/2009)
You know what? I like David Bowie as a confused folk rocker. I do recall hearing the proper album in full many years ago whilst working at the used record store. But I was just into other stuff back then, so its great nuances didn't stick out like that back then. Of course, the title track is an all time classic (even though I've always preferred the lesser heard re-recorded version from the Scary Monsters sessions). But I, like many people, knew not much else from the rest of the album. When I went and properly revisited it, I rediscovered a wonderful folk rock opus. Sure, not unique at all when you consider what else was coming about in 1969. But, sheesh, Bowie is Bowie. He just has something about him that can't be denied. Maybe it's his sense of melody that makes something like the nine minute 'Cygnet Committee' a lot more engaging than it may appear to be initially. I also love that the majority of the material here is acoustic-guitar based. The proper album on disc one is a somewhat slow, meditative affair (explaining why I like it so much), while disc two indulges in pure dorkery of the highest order. One of the initial demos of the title track is included and it's just pure fun hearing the primitive synthesizers. BBC sessions, non album singles and differing single takes of album cuts round out disc two. And, with stuff like 'London Bye Ta Ta' you hear the Bowie that was in the making. A really fantastic highlight of the whole thing is the previously unheard 'Conversation Piece' which sounds, oddly enough, like a less rockin' Neil Young. It's already gotten numerous spins from me and I imagine it will spark a new re-interest of sorts to Bowie in general (even though I love him already; I guess consider him neglected).
Radiohead — Amnesiac Deluxe Edition (2001/2009)
Even though I have my reservations about releasing a "deluxe" edition of an album less than ten years after it was initially released (I imagine Capitol was pissed that they didn't re-align), I have to admit that having disc two of this thing is mighty grand. To have all of the album's eight (!!!!) b-sides in one place is definitely handy. 'Worrywort', 'Fog' and 'Cuttooth' are just godlike. It's no secret that Amnesiac is, by far, my vote for best Radiohead album. So this deluxe edition just seals the deal for me. B-sides? All fantastic. Live stuff? Revelatory. Although, why was the version of 'Like Spinning Plates' from I Might Be Wrong — Live Recordings included? (Smart guy: "Because it's epic, jackass" Me: "Oh, right"). Really just makes me think even higher of what is clearly a masterpiece. Closest Thom and the boys have yet come to being as awesome as the 80's post-punk bands they worship.
London riots: I lament you.