Merry Christmas and Happy New Year EP

by Jimi Hendrix

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(Experience Hendrix)

Albums made up of vault finds come out all the time, so why not singles? The king of posthumous repackages celebrates the holidays, appropriately enough, with a reissue—this EP first came out 11 years ago. It features the negligible Electric Ladyland outtake "Three Little Bears," first released on 1972's War Babies, and a December 1969 Band of Gypsys rehearsal tape that medleys "Little Drummer Boy"/"Silent Night"/"Auld Lang Syne," presented twice, at 4.5 and 7.5 minutes, presumably for radio's convenience, or someone's. Go for the longer one: It's loose, rather nicely so, and will pair nicely with your third glass after the kids have finally gone to bed and Santa's work is finished.

"Pass It On (Pt. 1)"/"Tomorrow's Sun"

by Eddie Hooper


The Soundway label, responsible for the Nigeria Special reissue series, focuses on Guyana for this balmy disco 12-inch, originally recorded in 1980 by a singer better known for his soca sides. "Pass It On" is a coconut-oil-scented rubdown with each-one-teach-one lyrics; the bass break has a little fire, but for the most part, those calming Fender Rhodes chords put the sunset right in mind's view. "Tomorrow's Sun" is a bassier groove, darker in tone color. But its essentially static quality, highlighted by a percussion break in which nothing revs up or even changes, gives it a much lighter cast that's far more in touch with Hooper's lyric: "A little faith keeps me moving on."

"Cocaine Cool"

by Laid Back

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(Brother Music)

In 1983, Denmark synth-pop duo John Guldberg and Tim Stahl accidentally hit the big time with a ridiculous B-side called "White Horse," which featured the immortal lyric "If you want to be rich/You've got to be a bitch/Rich [long pause] bitch," over a machine whomp that Prince might have admired (and, judging from the beat of "Erotic City" in 1984, did). This "lost" song, first cut at the same session as "White Horse" and nixed by their label (apparently a chorus that goes "I'm cocaine, cocaine cool" sent the wrong message back then), it's been recently completed, very deliberately in approximation of their big hit. It pays off, too: Sleaze this shameless is timeless.