Top 10 Reissues of 2012

Top 10 Reissues of 2012
This year saw its fair share of amazing new music, but at the same time, we couldn't help but get swept up in reissue nostalgia. More than ever, labels are pouring their hearts, souls and budgets into re-releasing the music of yesteryear they hold dear, bundling it all up with essential extras, lavish new art and some killer new packaging. There were a lot of amazing reissues in 2012, and here are just some that turned our heads.

Top 10 Reissues of 2012:

10. Robert Turman

(Spectrum Spools)

In 2012, Emeralds member John Elliott's Spectrum Spools expanded its focus to bring more than just killer new synth records, dipping its toes into the world of reissues as well. High among the unearthed gems was Flux, the underrated 1981 masterwork of American avant-gardist Robert Turman. Originally issued as a now impossible to find cassette, the double-LP re-release features six sprawling neo-classical séances, constructed from minimal piano, drum machines, tape loops and kalimba. The results are meditative to the extreme, with Flux standing as one of Spools' most chilled-out and calming offerings — not to mention one of its finest accomplishments thus far. (B.T.)

9. The VSS

Nervous Circuits + 25:37
(Sargent House)

Originally, the two-and-a-half-year lifespan of '90s synth-punks the VSS yielded just under two dozen songs scattered on a few vinyl releases, with their 1997 LP Nervous Circuits clearly being the crown jewel of their catalogue. Now, the late 2012 vinyl re-release through Sargent House packaged it all together, showcasing the band's dark and art-damaged sound — which synthesized '80s post-punk, '90s post-hardcore and a touch of grunge into something altogether new and frightening— in all its glory. (G.A.)

8. Sugar
Reissue Campaign
(Merge Records)

Bob Mould had a pretty big year on his own, having released his strident and assured new solo LP Silver Age, but Merge's loving reissues of the classic indie rocker's '90s output with fuzz-pop players Sugar serves to remind us of the dude's consistency throughout the ages. Whether it was the one-to-three punch that packaged the thunderous pop hooks of their debut Copper Blue with follow-up EP Beaster and a live LP, or by revisiting the still fun and frenetic File Under: Easy Listening, this reissue campaign preserves some of Mould's sweetest tunes. (G.A.)

7. GZA
Liquid Swords: The Chess Box
(Get On Down)

No disrespect to Raekwon, who had his own mid-'90s classic Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... repressed onto a purple plastic cassette, but the GZA trumped the Chef with his meatier Wu-related reissue. On top of the regular album and an instrumentals disc, the newly pressed version of Liquid Swords let us sort out the mysteries of chessboxing with a chess board built into the package. (G.A.)

6. Lee Hazelwood
The LHI Years: Singles, Nudes, & Backsides (1968-71)
(Light in the Attic)

Initially coming out as a Record Store Day 2012 release, The LHI Years kicked off Light in the Attic's much-deserved Lee Hazelwood reissue campaign with a bang. Collecting some of his choicest solo cuts and duets, the lengthy 17-track set is the best Hazelwood starter guide you could ever ask, shining a stunning light on the perpetually mustachioed and grossly underrated American songwriting great. It also helps that the collection comes packing some extensive liner notes, as well as some downright beautiful art. See that red bit at the bottom of the cover where the artist name and album title are? That slides away, revealing, well, use your imagination. (B.T.)