lection Day is right around the corner, and you know what that means: time to run down the list of this week's new releases and cool reissues. It's also Halloween season, which is why there's a Christmas-related album on this week's list. Or it's why there's a new KISS album. Or something.
Vince Guaraldi Trio / A Charlie Brown Christmas (Remastered & Expanded)
THEY SAY: Newly remastered edition of the soundtrack to the beloved A Charlie Brown Christmas special.
WE SAY: Call us cynical, but we hate Christmas music. There are only two Christmas records that we can stand to listen to. One is Nat "King" Cole's The Christmas Song, and the other is Vince Guaraldi's jazzy Charlie Brown score. It's mellow enough to have on in the background and it isn't overly "Christmasy." This new edition features three bonus tracks.
KISS / Monster
THEY SAY: New album from perennial over-the-top rockers KISS, and the first new KISS album since 2009's Sonic Boom.
WE SAY: Like almost all 30-plus-year-old bands, KISS's recent recorded output is a far cry from the classic records from their heyday. And considering that this record features only half of KISS (no Peter or Ace), it's every bit as good as you'd expect it to be. Which is to say, if you're a hardcore KISS fan you'll be overjoyed, and if you're not, you'd be better off listening to Love Gun.
The Supremes / I Hear a Symphony (Deluxe Edition)
THEY SAY: Double-disc reissue of The Supremes' 1965 pop masterpiece.
WE SAY: Hip-O Select is quickly outpacing Rhino to become the premiere reissue label, and this limited edition double-disc Supremes reissue is a perfect example of why. Disc one has both the mono and stereo versions of the album with alternate mixes and unreleased tracks, and disc two has a previously-unreleased concert recorded at Detroit's Roostertail in 1966.
Hank Williams / Lost Concerts
THEY SAY: Live recordings of the legendary country singer, recorded in 1952.
WE SAY: The two concerts on this disc, one from Niagara Falls and one from West Grove, PA, represent the only two live concert appearances of Hank Williams ever to be recorded. The sound quality of the first show is excellent, considering when it was recorded, but the second concert is clearly an audience tape. Still, it's a great thing to be able to hear one of the greatest songwriters of all time performing live at the peak of his powers.
Various Artists / Athens, Ga.—Inside/Out
THEY SAY: Reissued soundtrack to the reissued documentary film covering the Athens, GA music scene at the beginning of the 1980s.
WE SAY: Nice to see this documentary soundtrack back in print, and released on CD for the first time. Featuring classic performances from R.E.M., Pylon, Bar-B-Q- Killers and other Georgia bands, Inside-Out captures the excitement of a regional scene at the height of its hipness.