If there’s a grievance to be had with the reissue market, and if there wasn’t I wouldn’t have opened the door, it’s that there’s way too much emphasis on expanding albums that were, for the most part, well enough on their own. Surely the packaging and extra live bonus discs attached to Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures and Closer reissues are tempting, even impressive, but I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels irritated at being marketed something I already have, especially as a tie-in with a movie. That isn’t to say it was a bad move; marketing-wise, it’s a pretty smart move. Even so, it’s a much more enticing purchase for those who haven’t already picked up earlier pressings of these records. And that’s fine by me; I’d much rather She Wants Revenge fans delve into the real thing than continue listening to Ian Curtis karaoke.
For all my grumpy gripes with newly repackaged, yet still in print albums, I’m still a sucker for a classic album dug out from the archives and given a proper re-introduction. The lesser known the album, the better, but that makes a harder sell, which is likely the reason that Pylon’s discography has remained out of print for so long. One would think that Michael Stipe’s seal of approval would be enough to resurrect the Athens, GA band’s works, but it was actually the fine folks at DFA who finally brought Pylon’s debut Gyrate back to life with the expanded reissue, Gyrate Plus.
Gyrate Plus finds the band’s original album bookended by the opposite halves of the Pylon!! EP, making for a slightly different, but even more kick ass listening experience. As cool and exotic the bassy rumble and dub textures of “Volume” are, it’s hard to deny that the wiry single “Cool” makes a more triumphant opening statement. Yet, aside from the additional tracks (which are most certainly worth having), Gyrate Plus excels on its own merits, reminding listeners of just how incredible and peculiar a band Pylon truly were. The most abrasive and sexy of the Athens, GA set, they had few peers, yet helped launch a now legendary scene. Their sheer power can be heard on tracks like the catchy “Precaution,” the robotically droning “Driving School” or the hard driving “Danger.” These songs need no fancy-pants packaging; they speak, sneer and shimmy for themselves.
The extras don’t hurt though, from the bonus tracks and artwork to the liner notes provided by Michael Stipe (of course), Fred Schneider of The B-52’s, and Gang of Four’s Hugo Burnham. DFA does Pylon right on Gyrate Plus, which is extremely heartening, given the wealth of great early ’80s post-punk that deserves some extra reissue attention far more than, say, the new Interpol album. America finally gets a second chance to dive into Pylon’s sexily primal post-punk world, and they’d better not miss it this time.
Jeff Terich is the founder and editor of Treble. He's been writing about music for 20 years and has been published at American Songwriter, Bandcamp Daily, Reverb, Spin, Stereogum, uDiscoverMusic, VinylMePlease and some others that he's forgetting right now. He's still not tired of it.