"Permanent: Joy Division 1995" CD (Qwest) / V/A "A Means To An End: The Music Of Joy Division" CD (Virgin)
All right, so "Permanent" mostly collects songs you probably already have. However, it features a new mix of "Love Will Tear Us Apart," which of course makes it essential to J.D. completists. While this does include some of Joy Division's finest moments, it leaves off "Decades," which is undeniably one of the band's most important songs. "Permanent" is interesting, but really only for people who don't already own the band's previous records. By this token, "A Means To An End" is more interesting, if only because it offers reconstructions of Joy Division songs, each with an artist's individual stamp. Bands like Girls Against Boys, Codeine, further, Versus, godheadsilo and face to face take on some of Joy Division's notable songs, often with surprising results. Codeine slows the already languorous "Atmosphere" down to an even more lethargic tempo, changing the synthesizer washes to swooning guitar chords as Steve Immerwahr's plaintive voice makes the song even more poignant. Stanton-Miranda (featuring Yo La Tengo's Ira Kaplan) rework "Love will Tear Us Apart" as some sort of folkified, vaguely samba-styled pop song while face to face begin "Interzone" as an unholy heavy metal song and quickly change it to a melodic, speedy, punk rave-up. It may not be crucial aluminum, but it sure is fun to listen to these bands play tribute to one of the greatest bands of the last 20 years.