There’s absolutely no way we could list all of our favorite reissues of the year. So many great records are coming out all the time now so we listen to as much as we can and this list represents the records that stayed on the turntable the longest. You can purchase most of these in our brick-and-mortar shop in Oxford or in our online shop. You can also call us up to buy anything over the phone. Enjoy the records!

Check out our “Best Records of 2017” list here.

In no particular order:

The Replacements For Sale: Live at Maxwell’s 1986 (Rhino)

This oft-bootlegged, now greatly enhanced 29-song recording finds the Replacements on the brink of a crucial turning pointlike a final college bender before entering the working world. WithFor Sale, we get the bastards forever young.


Fat Possum presents Worried Blues 10 LP set

For a limited time get an exclusive letterpress poster when you purchase the whole set. Posters are limited to 50 copies. You can purchase online right here.

In the 1960s, blues scholar Gene Rosenthal and musicologist John Fahey scoured the Mississippi Delta in search of blues legends, some of whomlike Mississippi John Hurt, Skip James, and Bukka Whitehadnt recorded in decades. When they found them, Rosenthal would put their music to tape, releasing many of the recordings on his Adelphi Records. But those recordings have long been out of print and difficult to find. Cut to last year, when Oxford, MississippisFat Possum Recordsacquired the original tapes from Rosenthal, restoring them and then digitizing them for the soon-to-be-releasedWorried Blues, a collection of ten albums, with each devoted to a different artist.

The collection is an absolute gold mine, highlighting lesser known artists such as Houston Stackhouse and Honeyboy Edwards, as well as providing a unique glimpse into the work of titans such as R.L. Burnside, whom Rosenthal recording playing acoustically in 1969, longbefore Burnside enjoyed an electrical resurgence in the 1990s. The job to restore the tapes was painstaking, including several instances when the masters had to be baked to 110 degrees to ensure that the brittle tapes wouldnt snap in the transfer process. But it was worth the effort. Many of these guys were still in their prime, says Fat Possums co-founder Matthew Johnson. Blues records usually have one or two great songs, but these are fantastic as a whole. -Garden & Gun Magazine


Bob Dylan Bootleg Series Vol. 13: Trouble No More (Columbia)

2 CD version, 4 LP version, or Deluxe 9 disc version can be purchased here.

The latest chapter in Columbia/Legacys highly acclaimed Bob Dylan Bootleg Series showcases the music Dylan wrote and performed during one of the most surprising, controversial and inspired periods of his career.

As the 1970s ended and the 1980s began, Dylan responded to the changing of the decades with a three album trilogySlow Train Coming(1979),Saved(1980) andShot of Love(1981)of spirit-filled songs of praise, worship and devotion. These songs were as deeply personal and packed with poetics as any Dylan had ever written, but the force of conviction and power of faith evident in these performances baffled segments of Dylans fanbase (just as Dylans going electric had alienated folk purists in 1965).

The previous two volumes in Columbia/Legacys Bob Dylan Bootleg Series each took home the Best Historical Album Grammy Award for its respective eligibility year:Bob Dylan The Cutting Edge 1965-1966, The Bootleg Series Vol. 12in 2017 andBob Dylan The Basement Tapes Complete, The Bootleg Series Vol. 11in 2016.

The live concerts from this crucial epoch in Dylans history contain some of the most intensely jubilant and transcendent performances of his career.Bob Dylan Trouble No More The Bootleg Series Vol. 13 / 1979-1981offers fans and music lovers the opportunity to fully experience for the first time this extraordinary chapter in Bob Dylans musical journey.


Tokyo Flashback (Black Editions)

A long-awaited sampler of 8 artists who drive the Tokyo psychedelic scene. A breathtaking trip through the blown-out psychedelic wilderness of 1990’s Japan. The iconic Tokyo Flashback compilation brought light to one of the most fiercely original and vital musical undergrounds of the 20th century. A beautifully packaged double-LP set housed in a slipcase.

Originally released in 1991 on CD only, the deluxe LP was remastered by Pete Lyman at Infrasonic Sound, features the original liner notes translated to English for the first time, and new artwork by Rob Carmichael at SEEN Sudio.

Tokyo Flashbackincludes some of the earliest recordings by Keiji Haino, High-Rise, Masaki Batohs Ghost, White Heaven, Fushitsusha, Kousokuya and Marble Sheep.


Gal Costa India (Mr. Bongo)

Indiais a subtle yet revolutionary statement, one in which Costa stands her ground by remaining her uncompromising self. Brave, generous, and genuine, the nine performances marvel across the record like Vaganova ballet. Groundbreaking, ndia boasts a sense of elegant futurism, one that includes the proto-new wave defiance of Relance; the graceful swoon of bossa-nova spells Da Maior Import璽ncia and Desafinado; and the art-rock fusion of Passarinho and Pontos de Luz. A consummate interpreter, Costa treasured the material of her peers and predecessors with an adventurous sense of gratitude and wonder. The results were, however, always unmistakably her own. -Aquarium Drunkard


Beck Mutations (Bong Load)

This reissue is exactly like the original Bong Load version–includes bonus 7″ single and booklet. Purchase here.

According to party line, neitherBecknor Geffen ever intendedMutationsto be considered as the official follow-up toOdelay, his Grammy-winning breakthrough. It was more likeOne Foot in the Grave, designed to be an off-kilter, subdued collection of acoustic-based songs pitched halfway between psychedelic country blues and lo-fi folk. The presence of producerNigel Godrich, the man who helmedRadiohead’s acclaimedOK Computer, makes such claims dubious.Godrichis not a slick producer, but he’s noCalvin Johnson, either, andMutationshas an appropriately clean, trippy feel. There’s little question that with the blues, country, psych, bossa nova, and folk that comprise it,Mutationswas never meant to be a commercial endeavor — there’s no floor-shaker like “Where It’s At,” and it doesn’t trade in the junk culture that broughtOdelayto life. Recording with his touring band — marking the first time he has entered the studio with a live band — does result in a different sound, but it’s not so much a departure as it is a side road that is going in the same direction. None of the songs explore new territory, but they’re rich, lyrically and musically. There’s an off-the-cuff wit to the songwriting, especially on “Canceled Check” and “Bottle of Blues,” and the performances are natural, relaxed, and laid-back, without ever sounding complacent. In fact, one of the nifty tricks ofMutationsis how it sounds simple upon the first listen, then reveals more psychedelic layers upon each play.Beckis not only a startling songwriter — his best songs are simultaneously modern and timeless — he is a sharp record-maker, crafting albums that sound distinct and original, no matter how much they may borrow. In its own quiet, organic way,Mutationsconfirms this as much as eitherMellow GoldorOdelay.


Gillian Welch The Harrow & The Harvest (Acony Records)

We have been working and waiting 20 years to bring you our music on phonograph record. It took a while, because we wanted to do it the right way, the absolute best way humanly possible, and I believe thats what weve done. No sonic stone was left unturned, no nuance let fall by the wayside. There is honestly nothing else I can imagine hoping to hear out of the original tapes. It is all there in the groove. As people whose lives were changed by the sound of music coming off turntables, we humbly invite you to include us in your record collection. Gillian Welch


R.E.M. Automatic for the People 25th Anniversary

The 25th anniversary reissue offers a disc of live tracks, and a full set of demos and early versions–interesting historical documents for the completest. But the real joy of the reissue is how it prompts those of us who have moulded ourselves around it, or had it play for years almost subconsciously in the distance, to reconsider its place in our lives: to hold it up to the light and see that it is miraculous.


Link Wray s/t (Light in the Attic)

Recorded in a shaky makeshift chicken shack in rural Maryland, Link Wrays eponymous 1971 solo album is a compelling and forward-looking piece of honest, handmade Americana. This album is vastly different from his previous work, foregoing instrumentals entirely. Instead, Wray, left with only one lung following a bout with tuberculosis in 1956, gives us his raw voice, full of spit and vinegar, as he blends elements of country, rock n roll, roots, folk and gospel marked with fuzzy guitar and booming percussion. He kicks off with a track, La De Da, that may be the greatest song the Stones never wrote. Elsewhere, the single Fallin Rain channels Dylan at his most political, with lyrics about stabbings and shootings and young men dying all around. Link Wray proved to be the only album that the guitarist issued in his own name to hit the American charts during his nearly 50-year recording career. Although it didnt receive much critical acclaim at the time of its release, Link Wray has seen a resurgence in recent years and developed a cult following, with artists from Nick Cave to The Neville Brothers recording versions of its tracks.

Link, along with brothers Vernon and Doug began playing together professionally in 1942, their rowdy instrumental single Rumble charting at number 16 in 1958. Following a string of hits on Philadelphia-based Swan Records, Vernon began to serve as the familys producer, eventually starting his own studio; first in the basement of his home and thenafter his wife Evelyn complained about the noisein a converted shack on the property. It was there that Link, Vernon and producer Steve Verroca found a sound that marked a return to simplicity. This carefully remastered reissue will take you right back to that chicken shack, and to sessions so electric you can almost feel the atmosphere.


The Meters A Message From The Meters: The Complete Josie, Reprise & Warner Bros. Singles 1968-1977 3 LP Set (Real Gone Music)

How would you like to hear a new sideor should we say sidesof the worlds greatest funk band? This 3-LP, 40-track collecton presents the A and B-side of every single that organist Art Neville, guitarist Leo Nocentelli, bassist George Porter, Jr., and drummer Joseph Zigaboo Modeliste cut for the Josie, Reprise & Warner Bros. label, virtually their entire singles output (all but two co-produced by the late, great Allen Toussaint) save for a few odds n ends issued mostly overseas. That means that you not only get every hit along with its hard-to-find B-side but also the rare single mixes, including the especially rare original mono single mixes of the 1968-1971 Josie sides, very few of which have appeared on vinyl since their original 45 release (the first three LP sides are all mono; the last three, featuring the later Reprise and Warner Bros. singles, presents all stereo single mixes). These songs represent the mother lode of New Orleans funk, classic tracks like Sophisticated Cissy, Cissy Strut, Look-Ka Py Py, Chicken Strut, Hand Clapping Song, Hey Pocky A-Way, and more. And, with liner notes by Bill Dahl featuringquotes from Nocentelli, Neville, and Porter, this 3- LP set offers the best vinyl retrospective to date of this enormously influential band. And hows the sound? Well, after extensive and exhaustive tape research, we were able to come up with original tape sources for all but five of these single sides, and the remasteringby Mike Milchner at SonicVisionis tight. Now available in a lower-priced black vinyl version for crate-diggers everywhere!


Paul Major’s Feel the Music Vol. 1 (Anthology Recordings)

Paul Majorpioneering record dealer and frontman of the bandEndless Boogiehas spent over a half-century immersed in the weirdest albums cast aside by the music industry, honing a world-renowned knowledge of the most unique, rare, and uncannily strange tunes of the rock and roll era.Feel the MusicVol. 1compiles the fruits of his hard-won expertise, presenting cuts chosen by Paul from the far reaches of psychedelia, lounge, and loner folk: twelve utterly singular takes on musical expression, yielding a somehow cohesive and sublime whole.

Paul is a longtime champion of Real People musicians, one-of-a-kind artists operating wholly outside the industry, and this compilation gives us ample evidence of these distinct forms of genius. Though it moves through genres as diverse as the broken-down blues rock ofRay Harlowe & Gyp Fox, the ethereal psych-folk ofJustyn Rees, the earnest schmaltz of balladeersSebastian,andDarius, and the unclassifiable eeriness ofJerry Solomon,Feel the Musicis permeated by a genuine feeling of no-holds-barred creativity and an unbridled love of musical expression. Listeners attuning themselves to these twelve parallel universe radio hits will undoubtedly come away feeling the same.

Includes 12-track LP and download code, plus a folded obi-style insert featuring Paul Majors handwritten track descriptions and eye-popping art from his legendary record catalogs.


Chris Bell I Am the Cosmos (Omnivore)

We still have copies of the clear vinyl first pressing. Purchase here.

Unreleased for over 15 years,I Am the Cosmosis nevertheless an enduring testament to the brilliance ofChris Bell; lyrically poignant and melodically stunning, this lone solo album is proof positive of his underappreciated pop mastery. While cuts like “Get Away,” “I Got Kinda Lost,” and “Fight at the Table” recall the glowing, energetic power pop ofBell’s earlier work, the majority of the songs onI Am the Cosmosare more reflective and deeply personal; the title track is a harrowingly schizophrenic tale of romantic despair, while other cuts like the lurching “Better Save Yourself” and the lovely “Look Up” are infused with a spiritual power largely missing from hisBig Starmaterial. The album’s highlight, “You and Your Sister” — which features backing vocals from none other thanBell’sBig StarmateAlex Chilton— is simply one of the great unknown love songs in the pop canon, a luminous and fragile ballad almost otherworldly in its beauty.


Brian Eno 45 RPM vinyl reissues of Another Green World, Taking Tiger Mountain by Strategy, Before and After Science, and Here Come the Warm Jets (Virgin Records)

These four limited edition gatefold 2LP vinyl editions are presented over two 180GM discs which play at 45rpm for optimum sound quality. High resolution mastering from the best known sources and half-speed cutting were supervised by Miles Showell at Abbey Road Studios. Each album contains an Obi, Download Voucher and Abbey Road Half Speed Master certificate.


Jessie Mae Hemphill (Mississippi Records)

Includes excellent booklet. Purchase here.

Compilation of great recordings by Jesse Mae Hemphill. Mississippi Hill Country blues at their finest. Jessie Mae rocks out on the electric guitar with minimal percussion. By far some of the best blues recorded in the 80s. Jessie Mae is the granddaughter of the great Sid Hemphill and the torch bearer of one of the most beautiful traditions in the world of music.


Pastor T.L. Barrett and the Youth for Christ Choir SINGS! Like a Ship…(without a sail) (Numero Group)

Finally! A nice-price version of this underground, gospel scorcher.

Recorded in 1971 by a 27-year-old pastor and an after school program choir, Like A Ship is a stirring and powerful meditation on the wayward aftermath of the Civil Rights Movement. Tracked with the help of Chess/Cadet maestros Gene Barge, Phil Upchurch, and Richard Evans , the album is a mix of euphoric gospel and Mayfield-esque politcal soul, with sleigh bells, hand claps, and jazzy piano stabs. Sampled by T.I., Kanye, and Khlaid, Barrett created a rapturous, crossover gospel classic that’s still wildly relevant.


Husker Du Savage Yung Du (Numero Group)

After a huge screw up by the distributor we are hoping to have copies of this epic box set by late December.

Experience the punishing sonic origins of a punk icon. Collected here for the first time, and skillfully remastered from original board tapes, demos, and session masters, this collection is an authoritative chronicling of the wellspring and maturation of Grant Hart, Greg Norton and Bob Mouldthree St. Paul teenagers who’d go on to become the most heralded trio of the American punk underground. Follow the H羹skers to their earliest gigs in 1979, through extensive road dog touring, and to the start of their partnership with West Coast tastemaker SST in 1983 via a 108-page hardbound book crammed full of photos, flyers, and a sprawling essay with participation from the band. Spread across four LPs, 47 of the 69 songs compiled here are previously unissued, and includesIn A Free Land,Everything Falls Apart, and an alternateLand Speed Record.


Alice Coltrane The Ecstatic Music of (Luaka Bop)

Coltrane self-released the songs on cassette, producing only a few hundred copies of each for ashram members: 1982sTuriya Sings, 1987sDivine Songs, 1990sInfinite Chants, and 1995sGlorious Chants.Turiya Singsthe finest among them, with appealingly distant strings, as if Coltrane were mystically levitating above her lo-fi arrangementsmarked the first time she sang on tape (because, she said, God had asked her to). Made with the humble intentions of nourishing her community, Coltranes ashram music was naturally lost in time.

With the Luaka Bop labelsEcstatic Musiccompilation, selections from the tapes are widely available at last. These sublime ensemble recordings reflect not just the result but the process of deep enlightenment. Coltrane, performing with ashram members, illuminates Hindu devotionals with meditative Indian instrumentation, a sparkling Oberheim OB-8 synthesizer, droning Wurlitzer lines, and full-bodied singing evoking the Detroit church choirs of her youth. This was one of the greatest composers of the 20th century bringing a completely unusual confluence of experience (classical training, Baptist church playing, jazz, improv) to prayer songs worshipping Krishna and Rama. With their widened musical scope, they feel more like prayers for humanity. Pitchfork Best New Music


Three 6 Mafia Most Known Unknown (Omert Inc)

The Omerta Inc. reissue ofMost Known Unknownis an absolutely gorgeous package. It comes in a textured sleeve which reproduces the original album art, but the texture and matte finish add a little something extra to the whole thing. When you open up the sleeve and take out the LPs, though, thats when things get really impressive. The promo photos of the deluxe vinyl version limited to 300 copies, individually hand numbered in gold pen on 180-gram purple splatter looked nice, but the product is so amazing in person, its hard to do it justice. Its one of the best-looking splatters Ive ever seen. Really,Im half-convinced I keep spinning it because I just want to look at it on the platter.


Midori Takada Through the Looking Glass (Palto Flats)

Considered a Holy Grail of Japanese music by many, Through The Looking Glass is Midori Takadas first solo endeavor from 1983, a captivating four-song suite capturing her deep quests into traditional African and Asian percussive language and exploring contemplative ambient sounds with an admirably precise use of marimba. The result is alternatively ethereal and vibrant, always precise and mesmerizing, and makes for an atmospheric masterpiece and an unparalleled sonic and spiritual experience.

The fully licensed reissue is available both in its original form as a single 33rpm LP and a limited 45rpm 212 (this version is exclusive to WRWTFWW,) both cut directly from the original studio reels (AAA), at Emil Berliner (formerly the in-house recording department of renowned classical record label Deutsche Grammophon) for the 45rpm DLP, and at the equally famous Frankfurter SST Studio for the LP. It is also available in CD format for the first time. All versions come with liner notes, with extended quotes from Ms. Takada.

The Japanese composerMidori Takadas newly reissued album is anassimilation of musical modes from around the world. It belongs in the pantheon alongside Steve Reichs most notableworks. -Pitchfork


The Grateful Dead Cornell 77 (Rhino)

宇he single best rock performance anywhere, anytime, by anyone.

There was just some kind of magical connection this night between the band members and the band and the audience some texture, or some type of cosmic or celestial force is in the room.

This show is, was, and always will be Mecca.

The Grateful Dead played more than 2,000 concerts, but none continues to spark interest and provoke discussion quite like the bands performance at Cornell Universitys Barton Hall on May 8, 1977. It is one of the most collected, traded, and debated concerts by any band ever, has topped numerous fan polls through the years, and was a favorite of the groups longtime archivist Dick Latvala, who stated: Enough cant be said about this superb show. Even Uncle Sam got into the act in 2011 when the recording was deemed so important to the history and culture of the United States that a copy was added to the Library of Congress National Recording Registry.


Joe Henderson with Alice Coltrane The Elements (Jazz Dispensary)

The Elementsoriginally released in 1973 on Milestone arrived during a time of discovery for Joe Henderson, a time to set aside the post-bop instrumentation and repertoire he was identified with and branch out into other realms. What transpired is in a league all its own. Present in the four-part improvisation that makes up the album, “Fire”, “Air”, “Water” and “Earth” are elements of spiritual jazz-fusion and beyond – celestial, cosmic, and trance-inducing in nature. Alice Coltranes contributions on harp and piano set the tone as she weaves sublime chordal textures through the layers of improvisation. Assisting Henderson and Coltrane were a group of sympathetic explorers– violin original Michael White, bass giant Charlie Haden, and the multifaceted percussionist Kenneth Nash. Latin American, Indian, and Native American strains enter the mix as Henderson applies the heat and mercurial invention of his more conventional work to these open-ended settings. While the music is enhanced with overdubbing in spots, the true magic ofThe Elementsemanates from the musicians’ collective genius at listening and responding to each other a gift of extreme magnitude.


R.L. Burnside Long Distance Call: Europe 82 (RSD release from Fat Possum Records)

For the first time, the 1982 recordings in Groningen, Netherlands with Leo Bruin have arrived on vinyl. Here you find R.L. Burnside, alone with only his guitar and his voice. Showing off his skills even in his younger days, in the vein of John Lee Hooker and Fred McDowell.


Paris, Texas soundtrack

We still have blue vinyl copies. Purchase here.

Suggestive of both the imagery of Wim Wenders movie Paris, Texas and the desert itself, Ry Cooders score is a peaceful, poetic journey into the soul of an acoustic guitar. Paris, Texas, Brothers, and Nothing Out There open the album as meditative blends of guitar twang and scratching ambient effects. The songs move at a pretty, slow place, and the opening track sees Cooderplucking his guitars strings and letting that sound vibrate into thin air; its a motif that he returns to repeatedly throughout the score. Theres a bit of both humor and mystery to the stillness and the echoing, edgy sound effects that crop up. Cancion Mixteca includes a memorable turn on vocals by Harry Dean Stanton, singing in Spanish. No Safety Zone is almost completely ambient in its ethics, with fleeting experimental guitar playing, as the song works more as a mood-setter than a traditional song. I Knew These People begins with an extended segment of dialogue from the film before Cooders somber guitar creeps in. The effect of the dialogue makes the track a fine, artistic statement, but the moment works better in the context of the movie than as a track on an album. The dialogue comes from a scene where the characters played by Stanton and Nastassja Kinski have a particularly emotional meeting. The majority of the score is delicate and stunningly pretty. The overall sense is that Cooder was reaching for spare, emotional movements. The score is stark, quiet, and as uplifting as it is sad. Cooder makes the music sound as modern and stylish as acoustic music can sound. The album is at once alien and organic. Since I Knew These People includes dialogue from Paris, Texas, the score works best for people who have seen the movie, but its still a powerful and immensely evocative journey for those whose experience with the material is the album alone.


Radiohead OK Computer: OKNOTOK 1997-2017 (XL Recordings)

Twenty years on, Radiohead revisit their 1997 masterpiece with a deluxe reissue. The bonus material includes familiar B-sides and a few previously unheard recordings that hint at an intriguing road not taken.


Little Bob and the Lollipops Nobody But You (Mississippi Records)

Great retrospective of Lil Bob and the Lollipops’ discography. Classic Louisiana swamp soul/R&B, recorded in the early to mid-1960’s. Includes the popular dance floor fillers ‘I Got Loaded’ and ‘Stop’ as well as some real beautiful obscurities. Ballads and stompers to make life better. Old school ‘tip on’ cover.


Sun Ra The Magic City (Virtual Label)

“For me, The Magic City is about the most important recording Sun Ra ever released: so many unprecedented ideas unveiled in one album.” Christopher Trent, co-author, Earthly Recordings of Sun Ra

“If any one piece was intended to be Sun Ra’s monument, it is The Magic City.” Robert L. Campbell, co-author, Earthly Recordings of Sun Ra

This landmark Sun Ra album, now reissued in a definitive stereo edition on LP/CD and digitally, marks the launch of the new COSMIC MYTH RECORDS label. Cosmic Myth will reissue Sun Ra’s SATURN Records catalog under official license from Sun Ra LLC, comprised of the artist’s heirs, using the best available audio sources and meticulous remastering techniques.

“With supplemental material from the original tapes, the best possible sound and detailed research, this could be the single-disc reissue of the year.” NYC Jazz Record, Oct. 2017

Jazz Dispensary funk/soul/jazz reissues

The Jazz Dispensary Top Shelf Series is an album-centric program focused on delivering the best possible listening experience. From the quality of the music to the sonic purity of the pressing, we aim to deliver a hefty dose of aural couch-lock. Highlighting complete original albums from the Jazz Dispensary vaults with a focus on rare and previously unavailable titles, each album is pressed on 180-gram audiophile quality vinyl and housed in a faithfully reproduced old-school style jacket.

Townes Van Zandt Rear View Mirror (Fat Possum)

Now available on vinyl. We have the limited, pink-vinyl version…while they last!

In 1990,Townes Van Zandtwas working on a three-CD retrospective for which he was re-recording much of his repertoire. That album never appeared, but in 1993, the tiny Austin-based Sundown label releasedRear View Mirror, a 17-track album running nearly 58 minutes and containing newly recorded versions ofVan Zandtsongs dating back to 1968. Though a cover note claims “unique instrumentation,” that seems to consist of only of an occasional second guitar and a fiddle. (Sparse applause indicates the recording had been made in a club.) Many ofVan Zandt’s best-known songs are included — “Pancho & Lefty,” “If I Needed You,” “To Live Is to Fly,” “Tecumseh Valley,” and others — and while this is not the best set of recordings of those songs, the tendency ofVan Zandt’s albums to go out of print might mean this is the only one you would find in your nearest record bin, in which case the album is highly recommended.

Sacred Bones 10th Anniversary vinyl reissues

We have lots of these 10th Anniversary colored vinyl editions in stock.

Here is a great write up and overview of Sacred Bones over on Bandcamp. Go read and listen!

YOKO ONO vinyl reissues (Secretly Canadian)

“Thefirst installmentof Secretly CanadiansYoko Onoreissue series presented a creative partnership, with two albums credited to Ono and her husbandJohn Lennonand a third featuring him in herPlastic Ono Band. The second set, comprising three Ono albums released between 1971 and 1973, shows her gradually breaking free from that association. Though Ono was at least Lennon’s creative equal from the start of this series, it’s fascinating to hear how, as he becomes less involved in each subsequent album, her vision widens and strengthens, both personally and politically.

This development coincides with Onos music becoming broader and more accessible. The 1971 albumFlyis a natural followup to Onos 1970Plastic Ono Band, filled with raucous freak-out jams and conceptual experiments, with lots of Lennon participation. Things take a turn on 1973sApproximately Infinite Universe, which adopts rock, glam, and funk tropes for sociopolitical protest. Later that year, Ono madeFeeling the Spaceduring a split from Lennon, and she embraced pop music in a subversive work of feminist flag-bearing.

On paper, the most experimental of these three Ono albums,Fly, might also be the least ambitious. But there are still plenty of big ideas onFly: one side is a 22-minute soundtrack to an Ono film consisting primarily of her uncategorizable vocals; Toilet Piece is a half-minute of flushing sounds; and all of side three consists of abstract soundscapes made with the Joe Jones Tone Deaf Music Co., a group led by one of Onos comrades in the art collective Fluxus. Still, by this point, Ono was already a well-practiced conceptual artist, meaningFlyis less about stretching than honing.

That honing is consistently interesting, especially on tunes that further the loose, charging avant-rock that Ono first launched withPlastic Ono Bands bursting opener, Why. Midsummer New York and Hirake are spilling blues supporting Onos escalating screams, while on the 17-minute Mindtrain, her rhythmic chants ride a groove that evokes Cans extended jams. Most mesmerizing is Dont Worry Kyoko (Mummys Only Looking for a Hand in the Snow), Onos hymn to a daughter from her first marriage who essentially disappeared when her ex-husband won custody. The songs only words are Snow/Dont worry/Kyoko, but the way Ono stretches them into impressionistic shapes is hypnotizing, as are the sliding riffs from her backing band, whichfor just this trackincluded Lennon,Ringo Starr, andEric Clapton.” -Pitchfork

Prince Purple Rain Deluxe Edition (Warner Bros.)

“A legendary control freak, Prince’s business instincts were always idiosyncratic, from scrawling “SLAVE” on his face and changing his name to an icon (to protest his Warner Brothers contract) to his New Power Generation pop-up shop in Minneapolis (for the year or so it lasted on Lyndale Avenue, I always remember finding it empty when it opened at all save its clerks). In some cases, time proved him prescient: Frank Ocean and others have refined the pop-up, while Prince’s CD giveaways and streaming service holdouts are now standard marketing strategies. As for sitting on decades worth of “vault recordings” of still-unknown quantity and quality, the jury is out, and it’s impossible to know if Prince would have ever green-lighted the release of the early-to-mid-Eighties outtakes included in both the two-disc Deluxe Edition and four-disc Deluxe Expanded Edition ofPurple Rain, his megahit soundtrack LP to the film of the same name. Perhaps it’s best to take them as a gift from an artist you will miss even more after hearing them.” -RollingStone

Elliott Smith Either/Or Expanded Edition (Kill Rockstars)

Either/Or: Expanded Editionfeatures the original tracks carefully remastered from original tapes under the supervision of Larry Crane. The second disc features five live multi-track recordings from the Yo Yo A Go Go Festival in Olympia WA in 1997, as well as three previously unreleased studio recordings and one b-side gem. The double LP is packaged in a gatefold jacket that includes an insert of the original liner notes, a postcard of the original master tapes, and several never-before seen photos. This gorgeous collection is an essential listen for longtime fans and newcomers alike.