While most considered last year’s RSD selections to be somewhat lackluster for sought-after catalogue releases, we DID see quite a few 20-year reissues on standard release dates, honoring that 1996 output. Last year alone, 6 out of the 20 predicted albums found their way onto vinyl either for the first time, or the first time in a long time. Hence, we follow in the footsteps of that previous article, recycling old ideas, hopefully making them fresh again.
So here we go: 20 albums, from 1997, that need a vinyl pressing in 2017. The albums, again, are broken down into two categories:
2) White whale, impossible-to-find, impossible-to-afford, only-made-in-scarce-quantity.
1. The Aquabats — The Fury of The Aquabats
Tucked right inside of a short-lived, yet extremely popular 3rd wave of ska were a bunch of California-based, costumed weirdos playing bouncy, almost-vaudevillian circus music. They’d create their own mythology while they went along, defeating on-stage evil villains like “The Sandfleas,” “The Cat With Two Heads” and “Space Monster M.”
Their small club shows were the stuff of legend, and the fact that ANY portion of their full length LP catalogue (including their most popular album, The Fury of The Aquabats, which featured a then-unknown Travis Barker behind the drum kit) has yet to see release on the decidedly nerd-centric vinyl format, has us wondering who, exactly, is steering this ship?
2. Edwin McCain – Misguided Roses
Whether you were dancing with your 7th grade crush at the after-school “President’s Day Junior Jr. Prom” or making out with your college girlfriend in your Honda Civic, “I’ll Be” was your soundtrack. Wouldn’t you love to relive those days? How about those 8/10 times you were rejected? The song works no matter the outcome.
3. Smash Mouth – Fush Yu Mang
You can say what you want about Smash Mouth….no seriously. Go ahead. I’d love to hear it.
4. Lisa Loeb – Firecracker
Long before hipster girls started Instagram accounts to show off their entrepreneurial Etsy (Vintage-but-actually-crap-bought-from-a-thriftstore) accounts, there was Lisa Loeb. A lonely, Velma-type (minus your grandmother’s haircut), she sang songs that felt like a coffee shop’s open mic night discovery…oh wait…I think that’s actually how it happened.
5. Hanson – Middle of Nowhere
Perhaps the weirdest fad to come out of 1997 (and trust me, that is truly saying something) were three blonde-haired brothers from Tulsa. They rollerbladed their way into our hearts, making me wonder, “how did we get from Nirvana to this?” But seriously… wouldn’t it just be glorious to break “Mmmbop” out at a party where people were jamming, like, to Young the Giant?
6. Blues Traveler — Straight On Till Morning
Brookvale Records absolutely killed when pressing the first four Blues Traveler’s albums on vinyl. Straight On Till Morning was the final record to feature all of their original members, as their bass player would succumb to a drug overdose around the time of its release. A 20th anniversary pressing would be a fitting tribute to Bobby’s legacy. The artwork for Morning is probably some of the most lush, gorgeous art to come out of the ’90s, and I would love to see a glitter-filled, clear blue pressing to match the original artwork.
7. Cherry Poppin’ Daddies — Zoot Suit Riot
Ah, the short-lived swing revival of the late ’90s. There were really three bands at the top of the pile: CPD, Royal Crown Revue, & Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. Maybe some things were meant to stay “uniquely left in the ’90s,” but I can see SRCVinyl or Enjoy The Ride continuing their theme of pressing the biggest catalogue releases (Goldfinger, Reel Big Fish, etc.) from California ska/punk label Mojo Records during that era. Cherry Poppin’ Daddies still has an audience, and this would really be the last of the “great albums” to be released on LP from the Mojo era.
8. Five Iron Frenzy – Our Newest Album Ever
This band from Denver, Colorado, who sported a cult following, might finally see their much-adored, full length back catalogue on vinyl due to a massively successful Kickstarter reunion campaign and subsequent touring. One of the hidden gems of the ska/punk era, this band has evolved substantially over the years (congruent with many of the “still-around” 3rd wave ska bands), but people still clamor on the daily for the back catalogue to be put to wax. Hopefully, a label like SMLXL Vinyl will take a chance on their complete discography.
9. Chumbawamba — Tubthumping
Somewhere, lost in the sands of time, is a band that sang songs that remind us of the good times. They sang the songs that remind us of the better times.
10. Marcy Playground – Marcy Playground
Last year, I mentioned Local H and how my dad used to say “Bound for the Floor” was written by “Lazy Assholes.” Still, we managed to still see As Good As Dead get a pressing in 2016…could these lazy assholes be next? I can almost nearly smell the sex and candy, yeah.
*Runner Ups: Big Head Todd & The Monsters “Beautiful World” | Save Ferris “It Means Everything”
| Savage Garden “Savage Garden” | Dog’s Eye View “Daisy” | The Refreshments “ The Bottle & Fresh Horses” | Coal Chamber “Coal Chamber” | Sister Hazel “…Somewhere More Familiar” | Jimmy’s Chicken Shack “Pushing the Salmanilla Envelope” | Backstreet Boys “Backstreet Boys/Backstreet’s Back” | & Creed “My Own Prison”.
1. Pennywise– Full Circle
Considered by many to be one of the top 5 skate punk records of the ’90s, Full Circle has been OOP from Epitaph since ’97. The original pressing lacked the extended version of their classic “Bro Hymn,” with a beautiful, if-not-drunken, piano tribute at the conclusion. If Epitaph has their eyes on the prize, they will do Full Circle as a proper, 20th Anniversary, 2xLP pressing, with the entire side D comprised of that piano track.
2. Aerosmith – Nine Lives
1997 was an absolutely mind-blowing year for the entity known as the “Summer Blockbuster.” Titanic and Armageddon’s soundtracks were absolutely EVERYWHERE on the radio, which meant you basically had a choice between either Celine Dion or Aerosmith on 8/10 stations at any given moment (the other two stations only played Third Eye Blind’s “Semi-Charmed Life” around the clock). Those of us with enough time and space in between our current and past selves will only ever cop to preferring Aerosmith, if we are willing to admit to listening to anything on the radio at all.
3. Live – Secret Samadhi
The band with the lead singer whose last name is harder to spell than any word in the history of forever, Live followed up their massive Throwing Copper with this dark, eclectic little bit of worldly alternative. Ed Kowalczyk truly showed the world what a flippant, nutso artist he could be, and we all sat back, unsurprised. While first pressings of this do exist in the U.S., they scarcely sell for less than $80. With Ed’s eventual “making up” with his former bandmates (after being sued by the other band members for years), it would seem like there is no time like the present to cash in on the Live reunion.
4. U2 – Pop
1997 was the year that I not only saw U2 on my 13th birthday with Rage Against the Machine, but it was also the year U2 really dove off the deep end into experimental electronica….or was it? Some would say Zooropa was their “electronic swan dive into concrete” record… others argue Pop. Either way, the fact that a U.S. pressing of this record cannot be found for under $100 is just criminal.
5. Aqua – Aquarium
Ah…the European bubblegum pop movement…what a short-lived, yet horrific time for music. Along with the “Barbie Girl” phenomenon came an onslaught of Euro cartoon pop nonsense like ATC (“La La La – Around the World”) and Toy Box (“Best Friend”), but we ALL know who was first to the trough. There is only a European picture disc of this available, which sells for almost $200. I would bet money on Urban Outfitters picking this up sooner than later; it’ll be wrapped in plastic. It’ll be fantastic.
6. Collective Soul – Disciplined Breakdown
Breakdown was the very first Collective Soul album to have been released on vinyl; copies of this original pressing now fetch well over $100. This is one of the more popular grunge/alternative hitmakers of the ’90s and has surprisingly not received even the slightest bit of attention from the vinyl community.
7. Misfits – American Psycho
When a band gets paid a pretty penny to reunite for RiotFest in 2016, I don’t care who they are, their discography (however obtuse) is a commodity. The first without Danzig, its availability in the U.S. is next-to-nonexistent. And in spite of literally tens of people claiming ownership over the band’s trademark and publishing, this album is long-overdue on “limited death-colored LP.”
8. Feeder – Polythene
Perhaps best known for their song “High,” which was a cast-off B-side from Feeder’s Polythene era; there has never been a proper full release of the album to include its biggest single (Bone Thugs N Harmony had a similarly-confusing debacle with their hit “Tha Crossroads” which never, in fact, appeared on the album E. 1999 Eternal). When the album was first pressed, “High” was released as a bonus 7 inch for only some copies. Let’s eliminate the confusion, and get the album as one, cohesive piece, as it’s always been meant to be heard.
9. Pedro The Lion – The Whole EP
No one imagined David Bazan being an indie household name when this humble little EP came out on Tooth & Nail Records back in 1997, but now it’s heralded as a classic. As original pressings on 10” vinyl have been selling for over $100 for quite some time now, it would be fun to get a deluxe reissue featuring some demos and B-sides from this infancy-era of Pedro the Lion.
10. Limp Bizkit – Three Dollar Bill, Yall$
Limp Bizkit was first signed to Mojo Records (home of bands like Goldfinger, Reel Big Fish, and the aforementioned Cherry Poppin’ Daddies.), and as a result, I knew plenty of ska-punk kids in the late ’90s who made a very swift transition away from their checkered suspenders, into JNCOs and bleached-out dreadlocks (I was not one of them). The overnight trends of 1997 being right, wrong, or indifferent (let’s also not forget that this was the year the majority of Americans were introduced to “Juggalos”) one thing is “arguably certain”: Nu Metal would not have gone mainstream without the Hollywood panache of Fred Durst. And without Fred Durst, we may not have had Kid Rock or Uncle Cracker; what kind of world would we have left our children to?
*Runner Ups: Guided By Voices “Mag Earwhig!” | The Dandy Warhols “The Dandy Warhols Come Down”| Slick Shoes “Rusty”| Zao “The Splinter Shards the Birth of Separation” | Nofx “So Long and Thanks For All the Shoes” (on neapolitan tri-colored vinyl, of course) | & Mariah Carey “Butterfly.”