Five Albums You Should Be Listening To Right Now: Out-of-Print Edition

Hard-to-find classics from Neil Young, half of Fleetwood Mac, and more. 

by James Eldred

Each week, titans of the mediasphere give Nerve their music recommendations. This week: shamefully out-of-print picks from James Eldred of music blog The Lost Turntable.

Albums go out of print for any number of reasons. Labels go under, artists disavow work as misguided experimentation, or arcane legalities prevent a rerelease. And in the case of these five albums, that sucks. 

1.Various Artists, Urgh! A Music War Original Soundtrack (1982)

Filmed around the world with no sense of continuity, Urgh! A Music War is a bizarre, bare-bones concert film that presents the best new wave, synth-pop, and punk that the early ‘80s had to offer. The soundtrack collects nearly all of the songs from the film, and includes amazing live performances from some of the most influential acts of the era (Joan Jett, The Police, Gang Of Four), as well as a few of the more obscure cult acts as well (Au Pairs, 999, Magazine). The movie can be bought today the Warner Archive website, but the soundtrack will most likely be forever out-of-print, thanks to the number of artists and labels involved.

Listen: The Au Pairs, “Come Again”

 

2. Nicks & Buckingham, Buckingham Nicks (1973)

This is the album that got Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham hired byFleetwood Mac, but for some reason it hasn't seen a proper rerelease since the mid-‘70s. And that’s a shame, because cuts like “Crying In The Night” and “Long Distance Winner” easily stand up to the best tracks that the Nicks/Buckingham-era of Fleetwood Mac had to offer. And while “Crystal” would be re-recorded with Fleetwood Mac for their 1975 self-titled record, the sparse, quiet version found here is far superior.

Listen: “Crying in the Night”

 

3. The Comsat Angels, Waiting For A Miracle (1980)

Somewhere between the bleak dissonance of Joy Division and the dark but commercial sound of Echo & the Bunnymen was The Comsat Angels. While the group never found the success of their contemporaries, their 1980 debut remains a must listen if you can track a copy down. Full of excellent tunes like the stand-out title cut and the single “Independence Day,” it served as just as much an influence on acts like Bloc Party and Interpol as Joy Division did. Renascent Records re-released the album with bonus tracks a few years ago in the U.K., but since then the album has once again fallen out of print.

Listen: “Independence Day”

 

4. Neil Young, Trans (1982)

Neil Young dipped his toes in the new-wave pool with his 1981 album Re-ac-tor, but on Trans he jumped in headfirst, complete with electronic drums and what sounds like an endless array of synthesizers. He even went as far as to mask most of his vocals behind a wall of vocoder effects (which made most of his lyrics incomprehensible). Honestly, as a Neil Young record it's pretty terrible, but as a new-wave record it's pretty great. Trans remains out of print in America, but a release in the next volume of Young's Archives series seems likely. (Import copies aren't that hard to find, in the meantime.)

Listen: “Sample and Hold”

 

5. Game Theory, Lolita Nation (1987)

“Pop” albums don't come any less accessible than Game Theory's Lolita Nation. It's seventy-four-minutes long; the lyrics are obscure at best; and for every piece of power-pop perfection, there's a bizarre, sound-collage experiment to match it. But when you take it all in and let it settle, you can only come to one conclusion: this album is a masterpiece that only gets better with age. It's one of the greatest albums ever made. Period. Sadly, it's been out of print since the band's label went belly-up in 1991, and there seems to be no hope for a re-release anytime soon.

Listen: “Dripping With Looks”

 

Need someone to make sweet, soon-to-be-out-of-print music with? Try Nerve Dating.

Commentarium (14 Comments)

Mar 28 12 - 4:24pm
M

A fellow Neil fan gave me a music mix when for my life abroad and included "Computer Age" from Trans in it. Took four years of happy listening until I figured out what the hell it was.

Mar 28 12 - 4:38pm
tmp

That is one more Game Theory reference than I was expecting to read today. But if there were any justice in the world, that band would be everywhere.

Mar 28 12 - 10:55pm
ana

Urgh! A Music War! was an important part of my teen years. Every so often I remember it and poke about trying to find a copy somewhere. I do hope when i do it lives up to my fond memories . . .

Mar 31 12 - 11:02pm
andrea

I own it--an exboyfriend burned me a copy-- it's pretty awesome. I love the live songs by XTC.

Mar 29 12 - 9:54pm
dirtydozen

What about Cruzados' self-titled record? A spaghetti western in a a rock-and-roll record. If the Del-Lords can make it back in print, so should Cruzados...

...prefer "Everybody's Rockin' " or "Landing on Water" as Neil's lost-period selection...but in that category, there's a flavor for everyone, hey?

Mar 30 12 - 5:11pm
raoulduke

Neil Young 'Time Fades Away'. Never released on CD (and probably never will; it's the Leon Trotsky of Young's catalog), damn near impossible to find on vinyl, even Neil hates it. Musically it's okay for a live album; as a document of the darkest period in a young musician/songwriter's life; it's amazing.

Mar 30 12 - 8:06pm
Roger

All of them are available in that evil torrent empire...

Mar 31 12 - 2:12pm
E3

The backstory on Buckingham Nicks is that it went out of print relatively quickly, due to mediocre sales. Within a few years, sudden wealth allowed the two of them to buy the rights from the record company and they each own 50%. As a result, it has never been released on CD, only vinyl & cassette. I have a copy on vinyl and have digitized it, but would by happy to buy it on disc. According to Nicks, she's been trying to talk Lindsay Buckingham into re-releasing it for ages. He agrees, but wants to remaster it, and has yet to find the time to do that. They've expressed an interest in reconvening the original band and doing a Buckingham Nicks tour.

Apr 01 12 - 1:16pm
scrutney

game theory's lolita nation is available to listen to on miller's site...loudfamily.com
it's obviously a needle drop transcription so perhaps even he doesn't own a copy on cd.
i do and it truly is an amazing album.

Apr 04 12 - 5:44pm
trow125

Actually, it is from the CD -- I'm the webmaster of loudfamily.com, and I just ripped my CD and put it up on the web site.

Apr 01 12 - 10:23pm
Very Ho-hum Collecti

I'm familiar with all the above albums and the reasons they're out of print is because they're not that good. (They don't suck, they're just very mediocre.)

Apr 04 12 - 6:17pm
The Joker

I kinda agree, except for the last one. Lolita Nation really is a brilliant album!

Apr 05 12 - 10:34am
ATL

Lolita Nation is a classic.

Apr 18 12 - 6:06pm
20hours

Really not trying to be a downer here, but if you are going to call your column "Five Albums You Should Be Listening To Right Now" then you should really stick to what people can (legally) get their hands on, you know, so they can actually 'listen to it right now'. I've actually discovered a few really cool bands from this column but this particular edition just smacks a little too much of 'I am so much cooler than you'. Maybe you are (or maybe you're not) but if you're going to share then don't be ridiculous while doing. k, thanks, bye.