Xmas: Four Days Away 

Heads up, procrastinators. Here are a few of 2005's big-shot reissues to acquire at the last possible second.

Talking Heads, Brick (Rhino), $149.98 From the brooding robo-funk of 1977's "Psycho Killer" to the joyous world-pop of 1988's "(Nothing But) Flowers," Talking Heads were unceasingly buoyant and brilliant, and this full retrospective will compel you to bug out with joy. All seven studio albums, remastered, fattened with bonus tracks and slapped on Dual Discs with TV performances and other ephemera on the DVD sides. Reissue of the year whether you're into rock, pop, world, funk, soul, new wave, punk, or experimental.

Can, Future Days, Soon Over Babaluma, Unlimited Edition, Landed (Spoon), $16.98 apiece

Revel in your pretentiousness. The second wave of lovingly repackaged classics from these critic-beloved German art rockers hit hipsters hard this summer, with profoundly improved sound quality that renders every jaw-dropping polyrhythmic avalanche perfectly. (No extra tracks or goodies, though.) Need just one? Future Days is equal parts soothing and unsettling, and thoroughly beautiful.

The Eccentric Soul Series (Numero), $19.98 apiece

A tiny Columbus, Ohio, label (Capsoul) and an equally unknown Chicago imprint (Bandit) have each gotten single-disc tributes, bursting over with energetic, ebullient soul classics that never were but might've been. Buy the Capsoul one and crank up "Sock It to 'Em Soul Brother" as you wait for Volume 3 in early '06.

Patti Smith, Horses 30th Anniversary Edition (Arista), $29.98

Whether you find her orgasmic punk-poetry transcendent or aggravating, Patti's influential grip -- lyrically, sonically, visually -- has only widened and tightened since '75. This two-disc set tacks her cover of "My Generation" to both the original album and a live London performance this year (with Flea on bass!). Useful if you've forgotten how to spell "Gloria."

Bruce Springsteen, Born to Run 30th Anniversary Edition (Sony), $39.98

Yeah, sure, three discs, including a 1975 full concert DVD and a "making of" documentary. Very nice, but unnecessary. Justifying this is simple: Take any opportunity you can to revisit the title track, featuring the greatest One! Two! Three! Four! count-off in rock 'n' roll history.

Children of Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the Second Psychedelic Era (Rhino), $64.98

The ever-expanding, garage-obsessed Nuggets empire remains the gold standard for reissue/compilation/box set nerds. This one uses four discs to deconstruct both the '80s you heard (the Bangles, the La's) and the '80s you should've (the Fleshtones, Teenage Fanclub).

One Kiss Can Lead to Another: Girl Group Sounds Lost and Found (Rhino), $69.98

Four discs full of sad, sassy, vitriolic, hopeful, hopeless, jubilant, and rousing tunes about boys, focusing on mid-'60s doo-wop and such while throwing bones to gospel, soul, garage-rock, and country (Dolly Parton, etc.). All housed in 2005's most elaborate packaging: mock-compact carrying cases for the discs, faux-diaries for the liners, a bitchin' hatbox for the whole shebang. Outstanding.


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