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sound bites mattthomas.

SINCE we last met, something completely untoward has happened. I'm not talking about the budget cuts or that terrible woman who got chucked off The Apprentice this week and her new haircut.

No, the unprecedented event to which I'm referring is the decision to re-release the first two Stereophonics albums in special three-CD super deluxe editions.

If you shelled out the pounds 27 for the bumper version of Word Gets Around you're probably enjoying one of the three versions of A Thousand Trees included on that particular tripartite triumph and wondering exactly what point I'm trying to make. Well, it's nothing more or less than this - you are bonkers.

Surely any Phonics' fan worth his or her salt will already have downloaded all the extra bits and bobs? I mean pounds 27 could buy you three copies of the new Circle album Rautatie, out now on Ektro Records, which is

the finest slice of Finnish prog since the last Circle album.

You could have one copy for the house, one for the car an another for your Nordic ice cave. That's what I call a purchase. Mind you, the other record I've been loving recently is also a re-issue but one that was in need of a severe wash and brush up.

In these days of studied angst and Ftse 100-linked eccentricity, Bobby Conn stands out as one of the few real odd-bods left making music.

This re-issue of 1998's Rise Up!

(out November 15 on Fire Records) is a genuinely funny, genuinely rocking record which is rare enough but, more than that, it's a ranting millenarian tract calling to mind a cack-handed Frank Zappa having a really bad day.

Your mileage may vary but if the idea of a bowl-haircut-sporting, loon-pants-wearing Chicago-based pathological liar rampaging his way across genre, subject matter and the sensibilities of polite society sounds at all appealing check it out. It might just change your life.

Away from the lunatic fringe, November 8 will see the release of the debut album from I Blame Coco aka Sting's daughter.

Much as I yearn to dislike his progeny, there's a lot to love about this disc with its blend of electro, pop and some endearingly naff cod-reggae into something that seems bound to be a platform for real-life pop success. The Constant, released on Universal, is annoyingly good, brand new and you could probably play most of it to your gran and she wouldn't get too upset.

Look out for the three-disc re-issue in six months.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Oct 29, 2010
Words:420
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