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Music Gift Guide: The Moz, Panda Bear, and Ol' Dirty Bastard in a pear tree 

Reissued CDs, vinyl, food stamp cards, and holiday box sets

The Smiths: The Smiths: Complete


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The Smiths invented indie rock as we know it. Warbling in a Manchesterian falsetto that suggested an admittance of self-defeat, Morrissey's lyrics mingled feelings of impenetrable anguish with ironic snark and gonzo black comedy. A difficult collaborator, Moz never quite jibed with his cockney guitarist Johnny Marr or ace rhythm section, Mike Joyce and Andy Rourke. Yet they crafted four albums of pop sublimity. The Smiths: Complete box set remasters and repackages those albums along with compilations such as 1984's Hatful of Hollow and 1988's Rank. Early classics ("Girl Afraid," "I Don't Owe You Anything") are seated next to Louder Than Bombs' "Shoplifters of the World Unite," a furious indictment of government neglect. Where exactly the Smiths reached peak powers has long been a source of contentious debate - was it the twisted vegan confessional Meat Is Murder or the friskier, more musical Queen Is Dead? - but this marathon box set is close to definitive. (Rhino)
— M.T. Richards


Panda Bear: Tomboy Deluxe Box Set


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When Panda Bear's Tomboy arrived in April 2011, it was a graceful next step following the successes that mastermind Noah Lennox had scored with his previous solo album, Person Pitch (2007), and Animal Collective's Merriweather Post Pavilion (2009). The album is instantly familiar as Lennox's serene voice guides blissed-out threads of guitar, synthesizer, and looped beats in "You Can Count On Me" and "Last Night at the Jetty." The unabashed Brian Wilson-worship he previously embraced is now obscured in airy, atmospheric sound. Through a pair of headphones, the beaded textures in "Surfers Hymn" and "Afterburner" reveal hidden worlds of noise and melody behind the album's bold façade. Limited to 5,000 copies, the deluxe box set boasts an expanded mix of Tomboy, spread out over two LPs, two more LPs of single mixes, unreleased instrumentals, and a cappella versions of songs, plus a bonus track, "The Preakness." (Paw Tracks)
— Chad Radford

Ol' Dirty Bastard: Return to the 36 Chambers Deluxe Reissue


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The late Russell Tyrone Jones was a maniac, the loosest cannon in the Wu-Tang ranks and certainly the most enigmatic. Consequently, he was one of the most entertaining rappers of all time. Ol' Dirty Bastard's batshit nutty, projectile-spittle flow first got its solo dues on 1993's Return to the 36 Chambers, a wild and furious affair with a cover featuring a doctored image of Jones' government-issued food stamp card. Now that record has been reissued on CD and LP with some quirky odds 'n' ends, including a vintage tour poster, extended liner notes and - here's the kicker - a laminated food stamp card. Yes, ODB's short life was fraught with pain; and maybe he wasn't a model citizen. But the guy holds a unique spot in the annals of hip-hop, and this instant classic has only gotten filthier - and better - over the years. A fantastic stocking stuffer for any Wu disciple. (Get On Down)
— Gabe Vodicka

Buy local at Criminal Records, Wax n' Facts, Moods Music and Decatur CD

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