Say what you will about the uber expensive nature of album reissues or their added rarities that you may or may not care about, but sometimes reissues are good and much needed. Some of 2020’s best reissues will come via Matador Records’ Revisionist History series, which is putting out essential albums from 1990s rock greats like Pavement, Yo La Tengo and Guided By Voices (plus Chavez, Mary Timony and Bailter Space later this year). And perhaps most excitingly, PJ Harvey is reissuing her entire catalog on vinyl after several of her full-lengths had been out of print for decades. All that is on deck for 2020, plus reissues from Prince, Elliott Smith and others. Check out 10 essential album reissues coming out this summer and fall.
PJ Harvey: Dry (July 24), Rid Of Me (Aug. 21), To Bring You My Love (Sept. 11)
Earlier this year, PJ Harvey announced an extensive reissue series, which will see her entire back catalog released on vinyl over the course of a year. Each of her studio full-lengths will also have an accompanying demos album, available both digitally and on vinyl. The details for her first three album reissues have already been confirmed. Several of these studio albums have been out of print for decades, and this marks the first time her album demos have been released in a standalone format.
Spoon: Telephono, Soft Effects EP (July 24), Girls Can Tell (Aug. 14)
Matador Records has announced a Spoon reissue series entitled Slay on Cue. For starters, they’re reissuing Spoon’s 1996 debut album and 1997 Soft Effects EP on vinyl and CD for the first time since their original release, both out on July 24. They’ve also reissued three other Spoon albums on CD and vinyl—A Series Of Sneaks (1998), Kill The Moonlight (2002) and Transference (2010)—which are available on the indie label’s online store now. In addition, they’re reissuing 2001’s Girls Can Tell on Aug. 14 and releasing a fan-curated compilation, All The Weird Kids Up Front (Mas Rolas Chidas), on Aug. 29 for Record Store Day.
Roberta Flack: First Take (July 24)
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of her debut album, Roberta Flack is sharing a remastered edition of First Take, along with 12 never-before-released demos from 1968. It will be released in 2CD/1LP format on July 24. Among the tracks on the 13-song bonus disc are renditions of Miles Davis’ “All Blues” and Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell’s “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” This remastered release also includes liner notes by music aficionado David Nathan and two essays by pianist/vocalist Les McCann.
Guided By Voices: Alien Lanes (Aug. 21)
Matador Records will release a 25th anniversary edition of Guided By Voices’ classic 1995 album Alien Lanes. To match the album cover, this new reissue will be pressed on blue, green and red multicolored vinyl, making it the first non-exclusive color vinyl edition of this release. It will be available on Aug. 21 and limited to a one-time press of 2,500 copies. “We were fearless at the time we recorded Alien Lanes,” Robert Pollard said of the album. “That’s why it bristles with insane energy and confidence. We were still riding the high accolades of Bee Thousand and probably should have succumbed to the critical pressure of a worthy follow-up.”
Pavement: Wowee Zowee (Aug. 21)
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of Pavement’s third album Wowee Zowee, Matador is reissuing the record alongside a limited edition, three-song picture disc. The picture disc is shaped like the speech bubble from the original album cover and will contain “Sensitive Euro Man” and “Brink of the Clouds/Candylad,” which were first released on Wowee Zowee: Sordid Sentinels, the expanded 2006 CD. You can purchase the picture disc by itself or in a bundle with the 12-inch reissue of Wowee Zowee, both available on Aug. 21.
Elliott Smith: Elliott Smith (Aug. 28)
For the 25th anniversary of Elliott Smith’s self-titled second album, Kill Rock Stars is releasing an expanded reissue on Aug. 28. The package will include the newly-remastered original album, plus a bonus disc of the earliest-known recording of Smith performing as a solo act, which took place at Portland’s Umbra Penumbra. It also includes a 52-page coffee table book of handwritten lyrics, two dozen previously-unseen photographs and more. Kill Rock Stars is also releasing a series of cover versions of Elliott Smith tracks, featuring artists like Bonny Light Horseman, Marisa Anderson, MAITA, Prateek Kuhad and Califone. The reissue will be available in various formats: 2LP/book, 2CD/book, WAV and MP3.
Yo La Tengo: Electr-O-Pura (Sept. 4)
Yo La Tengo’s 1995 seventh studio album, Electr-O-Pura, will be reissued as a double LP with gatefold sleeve via Matador Records on Sept. 4. It’s cut from the original master and will be pressed on two LPs for the first time, making it the highest quality vinyl version of this album.
The Cranberries: No Need to Argue (Sept. 18)
The Cranberries’ 1994 sophomore album, No Need to Argue, is getting an expanded remastered reissue, featuring a variety of b-sides, demos and live tracks—including the never-before-released tracks “Yesterday’s Gone,” recorded unplugged for MTV in 1995, and “Serious,” which had only been available via low quality live bootleg. The 2CD edition of the reissue will also include previously-unseen photographs taken during the time of the album’s original release. Both the 2LP and the 2CD editions include a 5,000 word essay about the album, written by the band’s archivist Eoin Devereux.
Prince: Sign O’ The Times (Sept. 25)
Earlier this year, the Prince estate began an extensive reissue project. Albums like the long-out-of-print The Rainbow Children (2001) and One Nite Alone (2002), plus official live albums recorded in between those two albums have all been reissued. Now, they’re adding his 1987 album Sign O’ The Times to the pile. The classic album will be remastered and released in a wide variety of formats via Warner Records: Super Deluxe edition (8CD/1DVD or 13LP/1DVD), Deluxe edition (3CD or 4LP) and Remastered edition (2CD or 2LP). Plus, Third Man Records is releasing an accompanying seven-inch singles box set.
The Replacements: Pleased to Meet Me (Oct. 9)
The Replacements announced a deluxe box set for their 1987 album Pleased to Meet Me via Rhino. It will include 29 never-before-released tracks, including their final recordings with guitarist Bob Stinson. It will be released on 3CD/1LP format, and also includes a 12-inch hardcover book with rare pictures and a history of the album from Bob Mehr, the author of Trouble Boys: The Trust Story of the Replacements, plus a paper placemat—a replica of the original Pleased To Meet Me promo item from 1987.
Lizzie Manno is an associate music editor, Coldplay apologist, bread obsessive and lover of all things indie, punk and shoegaze at Paste. Follow her on Twitter @LizzieManno