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What does Vegas think? (8/20a)
This is no ordinary doorstop. (8/19a)
Kids these days... (8/19a)
The biz is getting its game face on. (8/19a)
More speculation over lox and bagels (8/19a)
Seriously, we can't take off any more clothes at the office.
Nothing doing.       
Well, what do YOU want?      
Badly needed.     
Critics' Choice

You’ve doubtless seen our recent rave about Rhino’s mega-deluxe Led Zeppelin Physical Graffiti package, which is stunning both sonically and visually. Here are some other rereleases, remasters, reduxes, and assorted other reissues.

The Replacements: The Complete Studio Albums 1981-1990 (Rhino)

Between the snotty attack of Sorry Ma, I Forgot to Take Out the Trash and the "mature" grandeur of All Shook Down are such freakin' brilliant sets as Let It Be, Tim and Pleased to Meet Me. Paul Westerberg and company essentially wrote the book on balancing classic pop melodies and ragged, punk-infused presentation. This sprawling box is a master class in rock 'n' roll songwriting, boasting such gems as "I Will Dare," "Alex Chilton," "Bastards of Young," "Here Comes a Regular," "Can't Hardly Wait," "Left of the Dial" and the one you put on that mixtape. Extra points for the cleverly "redlined" press release accompanying the package. —SG

Jellyfish: Bellybutton and Spilt Milk (Omnivore)

Since Badfinger got the ball rolling 40-plus years ago, the perpetually downtrodden power-pop genre—aptly described by novelist Michael Chabon as the music of hit records that miss—has been distinguished by a handful of high-charting anomalies from the Raspberries to Cheap Trick amid countless stiffs fashioned by beloved (by a few) commercial misfits. In its continuing effort to make available the complete works on one of the best of these also-rans, the third-generation practitioners Jellyfish, L.A. connoisseur label Omnivore has expanded the band’s two official studio albums into two-CD sets filled with live performances and demos, italicizing its core strengths: the angel-voiced singing drummer Andy Sturmer, dazzling keyboardist Roger Manning (later to join forces with Beck) and their smart, elegant songs. Glorious, gorgeous stuff throughout, though I prefer the Beatlesque purity of the earlier Bellybutton (1991), cut before original lead guitarist Jason Falkner split to form the Greys with Jon Brion. BS 

The Sound of Music: 50th Anniversary

Say what you will—the 1965 Julie Andrews/Rodgers & Hammerstein musical flick boasts some of the most ravishing tunes of the modern musical-theater canon, including the title track, “My Favorite Things,” “Maria,” “Do-Re-Mi,” “Sixteen Going on Seventeen,” “Edelweiss,” “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” and “So Long Farewell.” The package has expanded film score music, an intro by Andrews, rare photos, lyric sheets and other goodies, making it an ideal gift fror the grandma who just discovered Gaga. —SG

The Staple Singers, Freedom Highway Complete (Epic/Legacy)

No group connects gospel to the modern soul tradition like the Staples, and on this live set—recorded at the New Nazareth Church in Chicago—they tear it up on perennials like “When the Saints Go Marching In,” “We Shall Overcome,” “Precious Lord, Take My Hand” (with a spine-tingling lead by Mavis, then 25) and Pops’ own “When I’m Gone.” The 1965 set bristles with the determination and indomitable moral courage of the Civil Rights movement, which drew not only succor but momentum from voices raised in song. —SG

Curtis Knight & the Squires, You Can’t Use My Name: The RSVP/PPX Sessions (Experience Hendrix/Legacy)

A serviceable ‘60s R&B outlet bashing out rock-edged soul tunes that were never hits. So what’s the hook? A flashy young lead guitarist who joined Knight and band for some sessions in 1965 and rejoined him sporadically in the ensuing years. Jimi (then known as “Jimmy”) Hendrix had made some scratch with the Isley Brothers and other bands on the Chitlin Circuit but was hungry for work and signed on to do arrangements and more for Knight. In any case, this collection features some fiery examples of his lead work—from the early days as well as a few sessions from 1967, when Hendrix was already a superstar. The use of Knight recordings to cash in on Hendrix’s name over the years has been a sore subject with the latter’s fans, but these recordings are significant to rock history, and Jimi’s playing is always a joy. —SG

Steve Vai: Stillness in Motion (Legacy Recordings)

The initial release in Vai’s multi-album deal with Sony’s Legacy, Stillness in Motion (available in two-CD and two-DVD configurations) documents the 10/12/2012 show on his epic Story of Light World Tour, which totaled 253 shows and master classes from 2012 to 2014. As with each of the virtuoso guitarist/songwriter/producer’s previous releases, this instrumental guitar extravaganza displays Vai’s signature artistry, humor and no-holds-barred dedication to quality. The DVD set runs over six hours, encompassing a two-and-a-half-hour show and three-and-a-half-hour tour documentary. Following Stillness in Motion, Legacy plans to release an album of new material, which will mark the next chapter of Vai’s remarkable 35-year career, which he began as a music transcriptionist under the wing of the great Frank Zappa. —J.J. Garcia