For music fans of a certain stripe, Christmas — and its Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping splurges — is a great time of year: It’s when you get the people you love to buy you those pricey multi-disc box sets you couldn’t quite cough up for yourself during the year. Here at Slicing Up Eyeballs, we can appreciate that, so we’ve compiled this wish list of the best box sets and reissue packages released this year by ’80s college rock faves like Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Smiths, R.E.M., Bauhaus and many more. (And if you absolutely must shop for non-musical items, we’d recommend these Pixies shoes.)
ARTIST: The Stone Roses
RELEASE: The Stone Roses: Collectors Edition
BACKSTORY: The 20th anniversary reissue of the Roses’ debut came in multiple formats, but the real gem is the 3CD/1DVD/3LP/USB drive Collectors Edition, which includes B-sides, non-album singles, demos (including the previously unreleased “Pearl Bastard”) and “Blackpool Live” on DVD.
LIST PRICE: $119.99
BUY IT: The Stone Roses: Collectors Edition via Amazon.com
RELEASE: The Unforgettable Fire
BACKSTORY: This 25th anniversary reissue comes in four versions, but the Super Deluxe Edition is the real prize. It features a second CD of bonus tracks, including two previously unheard songs, “Disappearing Act” and “Yoshino Blossom.” There’s also a DVD with concert footage and videos.
LIST PRICE: $69.98
BUY IT: Super Deluxe Edition via Amazon.com
BACKSTORY: This, er, gigantic box set features all five of the band’s albums on CD, DVD and Blu-ray, plus an unreleased 1991 concert on both Blu-ray and DVD. The limited-edition version also features all five albums on vinyl. Plus, it’s significantly cheaper to buy it through manufacturer Artist in Residence.
LIST PRICE: $175, $495
BUY IT: Minotaur: Deluxe Edition and Limited Edition via A+R
ARTIST: Depeche Mode
RELEASE: Sounds of the Universe: Deluxe Box Set
BACKSTORY: This limited 3CD/1DVD box set contains the synthpop legends’ 2009 album, plus outtakes from the record as well as demos from older discs, plus a making-of DVD.
LIST PRICE: $99.98
BUY IT: Sounds of the Universe: Deluxe Box Set via Amazon.com
Box sets from the R.E.M., Kraftwerk, The Smiths, Erasure and more after the jump…
RELEASE: Live at the Olympia
BACKSTORY: This 39-song, 2CD live album was culled from five nights of “working rehearsals” in 2007. This special edition box set not only features the two CDs, but also includes a 60-minute documentary on DVD, the live album spread across four LPs and a 24″x36″ tour poster.
LIST PRICE: $99.98
BUY IT: Live at the Olympia: Special Edition via Warner Bros.
RELEASE: The Catalogue
BACKSTORY: The eight mostly classic albums featured here — Autobahn, Radio-Activity, Trans Europe Express, The Man-Machine, Computer World, Techno Pop, The Mix, Tour De France —were reissued individually this fall, but also were just compiled in this new box set.
LIST PRICE: $159.98
BUY IT: The Catalogue via Amazon.com
RELEASES: In the Flat Field: Omnibus Edition, Mask: Omnibus Edition
BACKSTORY: The new Beggars Archive series has issued multidisc Omnibus Editions of Bauhaus’ first two LPs. The In the Flat Field set features the 1980 debut, plus singles, B-sides and more. Released in 1981, the sophomore effort Mask is expanded into a three-disc set, including the original album, singles and B-sides, and a live show recorded in 1981.
LIST PRICE: $24.98
BUY IT: In the Flat Field: Omnibus Edition via Amazon.com, Mask: Omnibus Edition via Amazon.com
ARTIST: The Cult
RELEASE: Love: Omnibus Edition
BACKSTORY: This deluxe four-disc box set from Beggars Archive features the band’s breakthrough 1985 album, a disc of B-sides and remixes from the record’s three singles (”She Sells Sanctuary,” “Rain” and “Revolution”), a disc of demos and a live album recorded at London’s Hammersmith Odeon during the Love tour, plus a 48-page book with previously unseen photos and commentary from band founders Ian Astbury and Billy Duffy.
LIST PRICE: $39.99
BUY IT: Love: Omnibus Edition via Amazon
ARTIST: The Smiths
RELEASE: Singles Box
BACKSTORY: This import box set includes reissues of Morrissey & Co.’s first 10 U.K. singles — 1983’s “Hand in Glove” through 1986’s “Bigmouth Strikes Again” — plus two bonus discs, featuring the 1985 “Barbarism Begins at Home” single and a second “This Charming Man” disc with rare mixes.
LIST PRICE: $79.98
BUY IT: Singles Box via Amazon.com
RELEASES: The 7″ Singles ’88-’91, The 7″ Singles ’91-’95
BACKSTORY: These 10- and 9-record box sets — which Morrissey would prefer you not buy — collect reissued 7-inch singles spanning the ex-Smith’s initial solo foray in 1988 through his post-Vauxhall and I recordings in 1995.
LIST PRICE: $89.73
BUY IT: The 7″ Singles ’88-’91 via Amazon.co.uk, The 7″ Singles ’91-’95 via Amazon.co.uk
ARTIST: The Dukes of Stratosphear
RELEASE: The Complete and Utter Dukes
BACKSTORY: The psychedelic side project from XTC issues this limited-edition box set featuring the 1985 EP 25 O’Clock and 1987 album Psonic Psunspot on both CD and 180-gram remastered vinyl in gatefold sleeves, plus a 7-inch single of “Tin Toy Clockwork Train”/”The Affiliated.”
LIST PRICE: $129.98
BUY IT: The Complete and Utter Dukes via Amazon.com
ARTIST: Siouxsie and the Banshees
RELEASE: At the BBC
BACKSTORY: This UK-only 3CD/1DVD box set collects 84 digitally remastered tracks — rare Peel sessions recordings, live concert performances, TV appearances— spanning “Love is a Void” and “Metal Postcard” in 1977 to alt-rock smashes “Peek-a-Boo” in 1988 and “Kiss Them For Me” in1991. It also features a 30-page hard-bound book with an introduction by Siouxsie Sioux herself, plus extensive liner notes by ex-NME scribe Paul Morley.
LIST PRICE: $58.98
BUY IT: At the BBC via Amazon.com
ARTIST: Jane’s Addiction
RELEASE: Cabinet of Curiosities
BACKSTORY: The band returns with this 3CD/1DVD set, featuring 30 unreleased studio and live cuts from 1986-1990, and a complete 1990 live show from the Hollywood Palladium. The DVD features “Soul Kiss,” as well as some home movies, music videos and unreleased performances.
LIST PRICE: $74.98
BUY IT: Cabinet of Curiosities via Amazon.com
RELEASE: The Innocents
BACKSTORY: The synthpop duo’s 1988 album gets a “21st anniversary” reissue in the U.K., with a deluxe edition that includes a second CD of remixes, B-sides and live cuts, plus a DVD featuring a 1988 concert that originally was released on VHS in 1989.
LIST PRICE: $47.49
BUY IT: The Innocents: Deluxe Edition via Amazon.com
RELEASE: Total Pop! Deluxe Box
BACKSTORY: This 3CD/1DVD box from Rhino features newly remastered versions of all of the band’s singles from 1986 to 2007, live recordings spanning 1987 to 2007 and a DVD of live BBC performances from 1986 to 2005.
LIST PRICE: $54.98
BUY IT: Total Pop! Deluxe Box via Amazon.com
ARTIST: Killing Joke
RELEASE: The Gathering 2008
BACKSTORY: This limited-edition, 40-track, 4CD box set presents live, overdub-free recordings of the reunited band’s two 2008 London concerts — the first shows in the U.K. capital by the group’s original lineup (Jaz, Youth, Geordie and Paul Ferguson) since 1982. The set features the band’s classic first two albums, Killing Joke and What’s THIS For…!, played in their entirety for the first time ever, plus one newly recorded track, “Time Wave.”
LIST PRICE: $51.98
BUY IT: The Gathering 2008 via Amazon.com
ARTIST: Lloyd Cole
RELEASE: Cleaning Out the Ashtrays
BACKSTORY: This four-disc U.K. box set features 59 unreleased songs, original demos, alternate takes, hard-to-find B-sides, covers and more, all spanning the Brit singer-songwriter’s 21-year solo career.
LIST PRICE: $69.98
BUY IT: Cleaning Out the Ashtrays via Amazon.com
RELEASE: Kats Karavan: The History of John Peel on the Radio
BACKSTORY: This 4CD, 73-track set honors the late John Peel with a collection of singles, album cuts and Peel Session recordings. The set is divided by era, covering the 1960, ’70s, ’80s, ’90s and ’00s. The collection features a number of rarities, including, previously unreleased Peel Session recordings by The Cure (”A Forest”) and Elvis Costello (”High Fidelity”).
LIST PRICE: $81.98
BUY IT: Kats Karavan: The History of John Peel on the Radio via Amazon.com
RELEASE: Factory Records: Communications 1978-92
BACKSTORY: This 4CD set from Rhino Records only was released on CD in the U.K. (it’s available via iTunes in the U.S.), but is worth tracking down. It collects 63 tracks — spanning Joy Division to the Happy Mondays to The Royal Family and the Poor and Crispy Ambulance — from the famed Manchester record label and is dedicated to the label’s founder, the late Tony Wilson.
LIST PRICE: $65.98
BUY IT: Factory Records: Communications 1978-92 via Amazon.com