Everything old is new again — eventually. Here are the best compilations and reissues that came out in May, listed in alphabetical order. Just click on the cover pictures to find the original review page (where you can also listen to the album in full):
Joe Keithley is no shithead. The D.O.A. icon surely knows the title of his band’s rarities compilation is slightly misleading — these 21 odds ’n’ sods on this set actually date from 1978 to 1982. But D.O.A. 1978-1982 sounds too much like an obit for an album co-starring late bassist Randy Rampage and guitarist David Gregg. So you can’t blame Joe for fudging the numbers. But make no mistake: He’s not monkeying around when it comes to the numbers in the set list of hits, essentials and rarities.
Sometimes the band name says it all. This no-frills Brooklyn outfit handily live up to their handle — which they quite rightly borrowed from an old John Lee Hooker album — with their epic, hypnotic guitar jams. For those who need an introduction, this two-disc reissue compiles their first pair of ultra-rare vinyl albums from 2005. It’s the sound of the world’s best basement band — on the edge of infinity. Long live the boogie.
The late, great (and still criminally underappreciated) Irish blues-rock singer and guitar hero — who died in 1995 at age 47 after a liver transplant — gets his due in this exhaustive and essential three-disc compilation. Consisting almost entirely of previously unreleased songs, outtakes, guest spots, radio/TV broadcasts and other rarities recorded between 1971 and 1994 — and roughly divided into one disc each of electric, acoustic and live fare — it delivers the blues, the whole blues and nothing but the blues.
A who’s who of iconic singers, songwriters and superstars — from Neil Young and Eric Clapton to Beck, Fiona Apple and Josh Homme — join Jakob Dylan to cover California-rock classics for this soundtrack to the star-studded rockumentary about the legendary Laurel Canyon music scene of the ’60s and ’70s. Imagine being at the coolest jam at the hippest Hollywood party, as heroes and icons revamp timeless tunes by The Mamas and Papas, Beach Boys, Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, Turtles and many others.
Jazz is not dead. But as Frank Zappa once noted, it smells kind of funny. Which might be why events like The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival — along with whatever passes for a jazz festival in your town these days, I’m willing to bet — have started thinking outside the box and incorporating everything from soul, blues, funk and gospel to rock, Cajun and bounce. All of which you’ll find in the Jazz Fest box set, a timely 50-track anthology of classic live recordings celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Crescent City event. No wristband required.