MUSIC GIFT GUIDE
Baby, it’s cold outside . . . what better time to stuff the stocking of that special someone with a music-related treat to curl up with and enjoy. If you have a rock, pop, country, hip-hop, or jazz fan on your list, one of these books, box sets, DVDs, reissues, or holiday albums will become a part of the soundtrack for his or her 2016 — and, by extension, yours as well.
Alanis Morissette, “Jagged Little Pill”
You oughta know that this 20th-anniversary edition of Morissette’s breakthrough album — which sold more than 30 million copies worldwide and launched the Canadian singer-songwriter into the pop stratosphere with hits like “Ironic,” “Head Over Feet,” “Hand in My Pocket,” and the hell-hath-no-fury rocker “You Oughta Know” — comes in two versions.
The two-disc set includes the original album and a 10-track disc of unreleased demos. The deluxe four-disc package features those two components, plus a previously unissued 1995 live show from London (with Foo Fighters’ Taylor Hawkins on drums) and the 2005 10th-anniversary commemorative “Jagged Little Pill Acoustic” set.
The project was overseen by original “Pill” producer Glen Ballard, and features never-before-seen photos and other memorabilia from Morissettte’s archives, as well as her musings on the explosive period of her life when she transformed from teen sensation to superstar.
The Beach Boys, “The Beach Boys’ Party! Uncovered and Unplugged” From 1965, “The Beach Boys Party!” presented a wildly different side of the California band. Mixing party-sound snippets with studio recordings, the album had a playful, devil-may-care vibe as the band ran through a series of cover songs. To celebrate the album’s 50th anniversary, this two-CD reissue takes out the overdubbed live effects, and adds 69 songs and dialog tracks from the sessions. (James Reed)
Scott Fagan, “South Atlantic Blues” Never before released on CD (or even digitally), Fagan’s debut is a long-lost classic of psychedelic folk. Ahead of its time for 1968, the album was a beguiling mishmash of soulful and mystical, jangly but also introspective. This reissue restores the album in pristine sound, with five bonus tracks. (Fun fact: Fagan is the father of Stephin Merritt of the Magnetic Fields and other bands.) (J.R.)
The Flaming Lips, “Heady Nuggs 20 Years After Clouds Taste Metallic 1994-1997” Wayne Coyne and company are celebrating the 20th anniversary of “Clouds Taste Metallic,” the Lips’ seventh album, with a deluxe reissue. The three-CD set will include the original album, plus two hard-to-find releases: “The King Bud Laughs (Oddities and Rarities)” and “Due to High Expectations the Flaming Lips Are Providing Needles for Your Balloons.” The third disc features a previously unreleased concert recording from 1996. (J.R.)
Fleetwood Mac, “Tusk” The fractious band’s landmark sonic masterpiece gets yet another makeover with this fresh remaster — available in multiple configurations, from a single disc up to an appropriately elephantine deluxe 5-CD version — that illuminates the mad genius of Lindsey Buckingham and his compatriots as they attempted to follow up the massive “Rumours.” Out Dec. 4. (Sarah Rodman)
Paul McCartney, “Tug of War” and “Pipes of Peace” The Beatle continues to make his way through the revisiting and remastering — and bolstering with bonus material — of his solo back catalog with this pair of early ’80s albums, notable for his hit duets with Stevie Wonder (“Ebony and Ivory”) and Michael Jackson (“Say Say Say”). (S.R.)
Van Morrison, “His Band and the Street Choir” and “Astral Weeks” Get back into the slipstream with these updated versions of two of the Irish singer-songwriter’s seminal early albums. The magnificent “Astral Weeks” includes four alternate-take bonus tracks, while “His Band” offers up five. Morrison fans should also keep an eye out for the box set collecting the work of his earlier band, “The Complete Them.” (S.R.)
Spoon, “Gimme Fiction” A decade on, “Gimme Fiction” remains one of Spoon’s most beloved releases. This 10th-anniversary reissue includes the original album newly remastered from the original tapes, plus a second disc of 12 previously unreleased demos, a digital download of nine more bonus tracks, and a book detailing the making of the album. Available in 2-LP, 2-CD, and digital formats. (Out Dec. 11) (J.R.)
Suburban Lawns, “Suburban Lawns” Take five minutes on YouTube to watch the strange antics of Suburban Lawns, a California art-punk ensemble that time has unjustly forgotten. They were proud weirdos — think the B-52’s by way of Talking Heads. Out of print since 1980, this is the first reissue of their self-titled debut, available on vinyl and CD formats through Light in the Attic. (J.R.)
A Tribe Called Quest, “People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm” Older heads know this classic hip-hop debut, which hits 25 this year, from stem to stern and can spit out the rhymes of “Can I Kick It?” and “Bonita Applebum” at the drop of a needle. The remastered disc includes three new remixes by Pharrell, CeeLo Green, and J. Cole. (S.R.)
David Letterman covers too much familiar turf with the former president on the debut of “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction.”Continue reading »
NBC is bringing back Katie Couric to co-host the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics next month.Continue reading »
Passions were raw as roughly 200 people convened to address fallout from last summer’s controversial “Kimono Wednesdays” program.Continue reading »
We could tell you how beautiful and moving and true-to-New England “Manchester by the Sea” is, but we don’t want to ruin it.Continue reading »
As “Downton Abbey” comes to an end Sunday night, let us pause to praise its most indelible character.Continue reading »
Leave it to Quentin Tarantino to bury a plea for interracial brotherhood inside a bloody, nearly three-hour revenge western.Continue reading »
“Call Me by Your Name” is frank about adolescent love and lust — the ecstasies, jealousies, melodrama, and pain.Continue reading »
Harvard’s Carpenter Center looks at an era when artists used imagination to confront oppression.Continue reading »
Matt Damon first faced criticism in response to an ABC News interview that aired last Tuesday.Continue reading »