Monthly Archives: October 2018

Purchase log, 2018-10-16

[Morton Feldman - The Viola in My Life]

I catalog my music purchases on Collectorz and Discogs, but they don’t give me a sense of change over time. So I’m noting them here weekly as well.

Catalog

CD
  • Alban Berg, Wozzeck (Claudio Abbado, Vienna Philharmonic)
  • Bob Dylan, The Times They Are A-Changin’
  • Digable Planets, Reachin’ (A New Refutation of Time and Space)
  • Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Pictures at an Exhibition
  • French Frith Kaiser Thompson, Live, Love, Larf & Loaf
  • John Adams, Century Rolls
  • John Coltrane, Sun Ship
  • Megadeth, So Far, So Good … So What!
  • Roxy Music, For Your Pleasure
  • The National, Boxer
Vinyl
  • Morton Feldman, The Viola in My Life / False Relationships and the Extended Ending

Reissues

CD
  • Johnny Hates Jazz, Turn Back the Clock (Deluxe Edition)

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VInyl find: Bobby Long, A Winter Tale

[Bobby Long - A Winter Tale]

Yeah, I confess — I bought this album because of the cover.

Sonic Boom Records holds an annual clearance sale where new, unopened vinyl records are steeply discounted. I stopped when I spotted Bobby Long’s A Winter Tale as I flipped through the stacks. “Hmm, he’s … photogenic,” I mumbled to myself.

Having never heard of him, I made a note to check out his music later.

Bobby Long is a Brit, but his music is Americana. He signed with ATO Records in 2010 and released two albums and two EPs on the label. I found it remarkable that he managed to snag the attention of a large indie label such as ATO, rather than graduating up to that level.

Then I found out he’s buds with actor Robert Pattinson of the Twilight movies. One of his songs, “Let Me Sign”, wound up on the Twilight soundtrack. That would help.

A few streams and two days later, I went back to Sonic Boom and picked up A Winter Tale and its follow-up, Wishbone, for $5 each.

These kinds of … “impulse” purchases are prone to a Halo Effect, so it’s tough to gauge the effect of the cover art on my opinion.

I can say this much — he’s not bad.

Long’s rough-hewn voices comes from the Tom Waits school of delivery, and his writing is as rustic as anything you’d find on a Whiskeytown album. But he wouldn’t knock Jason Isbell or Sturgill Simpson off of any critics’ lists.

If any criticism can be lobbied at Long, it would be his music is probably too safely Americana. Subscribers of No Depression journal would probably eat it up. I’m not sure how much of a blip he would register outside that demographic.

Wishbone is the better album, but its cover photo is not as … compelling.

All that aside, Bobby Long turns out to be a satisfying discovery.

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Purchase log, 2018-10-09

[Wayne Horvtiz - The Snowghost Sessions]

I catalog my music purchases on Collectorz and Discogs, but they don’t give me a sense of change over time. So I’m noting them here weekly as well.

New releases

CD
  • Wayne Horvitz, The Snowghost Sessions

Catalog

CD
  • Beyonce, Dangerously in Love
  • Bill Frisell, Quartet
  • Charles Mingus, Pithecanthropus Erectus
  • D’Angelo, Brown Sugar
  • Love, Forever Changes
  • Ponga, Ponga
  • Soundtrack, Grease

Vinyl

  • Camper Van Beethoven, Take the Skinheads Bowling
  • Doctors’ Mob, Sophomore Slump

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The Ones That Nearly Got Away: Television, Marquee Moon

[Television - Marquee Moon]

If ever I had an on-again, off-again relationship with an album, it’s Marquee Moon by Television.

Kronos Quartet introduced me to the band when they covered “Marquee Moon” for the compilation album Rubáiyát.

I didn’t get around to listening to the actual album till the early 2000s, when file sharing and a record store job made access to music easy. At the time, the likes of Interpol, the Killers and Franz Ferdinand were repackaging Joy Division, Duran Duran and Gang of Four (respectively) to much acclaim.

Television was a commonly cited influence and a gap in my knowledge of pop culture. So using my employee discount at Waterloo Records, I bought a copy of Marquee Moon.

I eventually sold it back to the store because I needed cash, but I had miscalculated my attachment to the album.

Marquee Moon had the disadvantage of being a garage rock influencer, and my tenure at Waterloo eventually soured me on the genre. That is, my co-workers played way too much garage rock, and I dislike it to this day.

But the album had already sunk its hooks into my subconscious. Over the subsequent decade and a half I would not own it, certain riffs would play in my head. The stuttering open of the title track, for one. The cadence on the word “Evil!” another.

If I encountered a track from Marquee Moon playing in the wild, I would start humming along as if the album had always been a part of my youth. It was an odd reaction to a work I relinquished but was unwilling to reacquire for more than what I originally paid.

I would eventually spot a used copy of a remastered version, and I’ve welcomed Marquee Moon back into my collection. Then I played it in its entirety and remembered why I may have let it go.

Marquee Moon was not designed for the compact disc format. The epic length of the title track makes sense as a conclusion to Side A, but it’s less effective when building to a mid-point. On CD, the subsequent tracks seem to lose steam. On vinyl, it feels like a reset.

Tom Verlaine’s voice is an acquired taste. The Kronos cover of “Marquee Moon” seemed to lack a clear melody. Listening to Verlaine’s delivery serves as an explanation.

But it’s tough not to be lured in by the guitar interplay between Verlaine and Richard Lloyd or by the funkiness of Fred Smith’s bass lines.

I may not feel much sentimentality for Marquee Moon, but I’m certainly charmed by it.

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Purchase log, 2018-10-02

[Janelle Monáe - Dirty Computer]

I catalog my music purchases on Collectorz and Discogs, but they don’t give me a sense of change over time. So I’m noting them here weekly as well.

New releases

CD
  • Craig Armstrong, Sun On You
Vinyl
  • Janelle Monáe, Dirty Computer

Catalog

CD
  • Amuro Namie, SWEET 19 BLUES
  • Backstreet Boys, Millennium
  • Bill Frisell, In Line
  • Eminem, The Marshall Mathers LP (Explicit)
  • Freedy Johnston, Can You Fly
  • Huun-Huur-Tu, 60 Horses in My Herd
  • John Adams, Doctor Atomic Symphony / Guide to Strange Places
  • John Adams, El Dorado
  • k.d. lang, Absolute Torch and Twang
  • Lisa Gerrard, The Mirror Pool
  • Lou Harrison, Scenes from Cavafy
  • Love and Rockets, Earth, Sun, Moon
  • Semisonic, Feeling Strangely Fine
  • Shakira, MTV Unplugged
  • Shudder to Think, 50,000 B.C.

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