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Throwbacks: Reissues from Cocteau Twins, Punk Rockers, more

Lou Reed
Digging in the crates: old sounds from Cramps, Cocteau Twins, Los Punk Rockers, more
Critic Randall Roberts digs for new old stuff from Cramps, William Tyler, Cocteaus and more

In a never-ending quest to honor the holy day of nostalgia known as "Throwback Thursday," below are a few reissues of note that have recently arrived on the market. 

Cocteau Twins, Blue Bell Knoll (LP & MP3 combo). The Cocteau Twins' swan song was released just as a new generation of shoe-gazers buzzing on Robin Guthrie's blissful sheets of guitars was harnessing his ideas to travel deeper and louder. This new vinyl reissue has received positive reviews, and has just been repressed in a much better version than the 1988 original. It offers an MP3 download as well. The band's longtime label 4AD has also just repressed "Heaven or Las Vegas," the band's 1990 follow-up. 

Los Punk Rockers, "Los Exitos de los Sex Pistols" (Munster). Here's a weird one for you. In 1978 a Spanish band, upon hearing the punk music of the Sex Pistols, recorded its own versions of their songs -- under the band name the Punk Rockers. Loud, raucous and off-kilter, the tracks rock in their own way, a cracked mirror held to a moment, the refraction offers a new glimpse at something you thought you knew. Want proof? Listen to Los Punk Rockers' version of "Anarchy in the U.K."  

William Tyler, Blue Ash Montgomery (Lightning). One of the best instrumental albums of last year was Nashville guitarist William Tyler's "The Impossible Truth." The guitarist, perhaps best known for past work with Lambchop and the Silver Jews, is a remarkable player with a voracious musical appetite, and this new issue of previously unreleased extended experiments offers further proof. Fans of John Fahey and Sandy Bull will find much to love here. The selections are available for streaming on Bandcamp if you'd like to try before you buy. 

Various Artists, "The Beats from Badsville, Vol. 2." (Stag-O-Lee). Few rockers had better taste in twisted rockabilly and weird sounds as the Cramps, whose cofounder, the late Lux Interior, and his wife Poison Ivy brought to life dozens of old Americana jams. (Youngsters may know them from Lorde's T-shirt.) A second volume of the "Beats from Badsville: Classics from Lux and Ivy's Vinyl Mountain" series delivers four sides worth of songs from their collection. Fans of frantic Jack White stylings will find much to enjoy.

Also: It's probably pretty easy to find used on vinyl, but if you're one of those kinds, the original score to "Ghostbusters" has just been repressed by Legacy on LP. Those of a totally opposite personality may like to know that an interpretation of "Metal Machine Music," Lou Reed's notorious noise album from the early 1970s, has been recorded and released by a group called Zeitkratzer. It's predictably intense. And some of longtime Los Angeles pianist and composer Herbie Hancock's funkiest and most infectious work was released on Warner Bros. in the '60s and '70s; it has been gathered on the cleverly titled "The Warner Bros. Years." 

Follow Randall Roberts on Twitter: @liledit

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