All posts by Greg Bueno

Favorite Edition 2019 Year Final

[Sturgill Simpson - Sound and Fury]

I’m old enough now that I can no longer be mistaken for someone remotely connected to the zeitgeist. A phrase I would often employ was, “I know of them, but I’ve not heard from them.” These days, the first part of that phrase is a stretch.

That said, I’m surprised by the number of R&B titles that have crept into my playlist rotation. I’m still a rockist at heart, but rock is loosening its grip on my attention.

  1. Sturgill Simpson, Sound & Fury: How was Sturgill Simpson ever going to top A Sailor’s Guide to Earth? He didn’t. He veered so drastically in a different direction that the albums can’t be compared. None of his albums can be compared to each other.
  2. Torche, Admission: Torche can be found under the metal section of most music stores, but when I play their albums, I hear post-rock.
  3. Weezer, Weezer (Teal Album): It’s a karaoke album, but a painstakingly created one.
  4. Jeremy Denk, c.1300-c.2000: It’s a tall order to compile eight centuries of music into a single program.
  5. John Luther Adams, Become Desert: It was also stirring to hear this piece live.
  6. Cocco, Star Shank: We hear hints of clouds covering the sunniness of Cocco’s later work.
  7. BBMAK, Powerstation: I will not lie — I’ve anticipating this album for most of the year, and I do not care who knows.
  8. Shiina Ringo, Sandokushi: This album is a glorious mess.
  9. Solange, When I Get Home: Similar to Sound and Fury, this album is confounding and fascinating at the same time. There’s nothing on here that matches the tunefulness of A Seat at the Table, and it would be too disruptive to the album’s flow if there were.
  10. Jamila Woods, Legacy! Legacy!: “Basquiat” was playing on the in-store system at Sonic Boom, and it pretty much clinched my decision to get this album.

Other favorites of the year:

  • Kim Gordon, No Home Record
  • Michael Kiwanuka, KIWANUKA
  • James Blake, Assume Form
  • Sassyblack, Ancient Mahogany Gold
  • Anderson .Paak, Ventura
  • NUMBER GIRL, Kaiden no Kioku
  • The Drums, Brutalism
  • Ty Herndon, Got It Covered

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Purchase log, 2019-12-17

[Various Artists - Rubáiyát]

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

Vinyl
  • Shiina Ringo, Sandokushi
Blu Ray
  • Shiina Ringo, Seiteki Healing Sono Go~Nana

Catalog

CD
  • Bob Mould, The Last Dog and Pony Show
  • Digital Underground, Sex Packets
  • Lana Del Rey, Norman Fucking Rockwell!
  • Midnight Oil, Earth and Sun and Moon
  • Mumford & Sons, Sigh No More
  • Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto (New York Chamber Symphony, Gerard Schwarz)
  • Old 97s, Satellite Rides
  • Philip Glass, Low Symphony (Brooklyn Philharmonic, Dennis Russell Davies)
  • Roxette, Look Sharp!
  • Stephen Sondheim, Sweeney Todd (2005 Broadway Cast)
  • Sting, If On a Winter’s Night …
  • Tag Team, Whoomp! (There It Is)
  • Taylor Swift, Speak Now
  • Technotronic, Trip on This: The Remixes
  • Various Artists, Living In Oblivion, Vol. 2
  • Various Artists, Rubáiyát: The Originals
Vinyl
  • Chic, Risqué
  • Conlon Nancarrow, Complete Studies for Player Piano, Vol. 2
  • Conlon Nancarrow, Complete Studies for Player Piano, Vol. 4
  • Foreigner, Agent Provocateur
  • Hüsker Dü, Land Speed Record
  • Sonic Youth, Confusion Is Sex
  • Soundtrack, This Is Spinal Tap

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Favorite Edition 2019 Catalog

[Hans Abrahamsen - Schnee]

In June 2019, I took the plunge back into music retail by volunteering at the Lifelong Thrift Store. This immediate access to the store’s CD stock has reshaped my listening habits. I bring back so many discs from my visits to the store, it’s rare that I’ll listen to something more than once. It makes finding new favorites a challenge.

Catalog

  1. Hans Abrahamsen, Schnee: Seattle Symphony performed this piece as part of its [untitled] series, and I was so fascinated by it, I had to own a recording.
  2. Ali Wong, Baby Cobra: I heard Baby Cobra was a really good comedy special, but I didn’t realize Wong had filmed the special in Seattle. And I’ve known about Wong back when Chelsea Lately was on the air. I could have seen this show live, dammit.
  3. Easterhouse, Waiting for the Redbird: The classic rock station in Honolulu back in the late ’80s would play an occasional “modern rock” track. I may have caught Easterhouse’s “Come Out Fighting” once on that station, but it was enough to make me curious about the band — a curiosity I would not explore till more than 30 years later.
  4. Kalapana, Kalapana: I didn’t realize how pervasive this album was on Hawaii pop radio when I was growing up. I was 3 years old when this album was released, but it would continue to dominate the airwaves as I grew more aware of my surroundings.
  5. Infomatik, Technologies: Sometimes, the Internet does forget.
  6. My Bloody Valentine, Isn’t Anything: I missed out on the 2018 vinyl reissue of this album, so I settled for a bootleg pressing.
  7. Robert Palmer, Secrets: This album was the pivot between the blue-eyed funk of Palmer’s early work and his embrace of a more new wave sound. It’s also one of his finest.
  8. Rick Springfield, Tao: I’m a sucker for albums that forgo gaps and fades between tracks.
  9. Boston, Boston: This album is against what punk music rebelled, but I like it anyway.
  10. Roberta Flack, First Take: Stop underrating Roberta Flack!

Reissues

This year was pretty slim on reissues. To be honest, I haven’t gotten through Massive Attack’s Mezzanine and Sigur Rós’ Ágætis byrjun.

  • Re-Flex, The Politics of Dancing: I can’t believe this album isn’t a towering classic of ’80s new wave. Cherry Pop thankfully gives it the deluxe treatment it deserves
  • The Replacements, Dead Man’s Pop: The Matt Wallace mix of Don’t Tell a Soul is ahead of its time. The drier sound would not become fashionable till after 1991, but heard today, Dead Man’s Pop feels contemporary.
  • Janet Jackson, Control: The Remixes: I didn’t realize how much I loved the mixes featured in Janet’s videos.

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Purchase log, 2019-12-10

[Les Miserablés - Original French Concept Album]

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
  • ACO, Sing Sing Sing

Catalog

CD
  • Antonio Salieri, Piano Concerto in B-Flat Major / Concerto in C Major for Flute and Oboe (I Solisti Veneti, Claudio Scimone)
  • Band of Susans, Love Agenda
  • Baths, Cerulean
  • Deltron 3030, Deltron 3030
  • Donkey, Slick Night Out
  • Eagles, Hotel California
  • Fleetwood Mac, Tusk
  • Franz Josef Haydn, String Quartets, Op. 71, Nos. 1-3 (Kodály Quartet)
  • Franz Josef Haydn, String Quartets, Op. 76, Nos. 4-6 (Kodály Quartet)
  • Jamila Woods, HEAVN
  • McCoy Tyner, Sahara
  • The Band, Music from Big Pink
  • The Band, The Band
  • Tsuji Ayano, CALENDAR CALENDAR
  • William Grant Still, Oregon Festival of American Music Presents William Grant Still
  • Soundtrack, Les Miserablés (Original London Cast)
  • Soundtrack, Les Miserablés (Original French Concept Album)
Vinyl
  • Big Country, The Crossing
  • Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Lift Yr. Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven!
  • John Coltrane, Om
  • Midnight Oil, Earth and Sun and Moon
  • Missy Elliott, Supa Dupa Fly
  • S’Express, Original Soundtrack
  • The Zombies, Odessey & Oracle
  • Soundtrack, Love, Simon

Reissues

CD
  • Prince, 1999

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Concert Edition 2019

Perfume, Paramount Theatre, April 10, 2019
Perfume, Paramount Theatre, April 10, 2019

Jeremy Denk, Meany Hall, Jan. 15

Denk had yet to release his latest album, c.1300-c.2000, when he performed at Meany Centre. So he chose to focus mainly on Beethoven. The program did include John Adams’ I Still Play, which he wrote for retired Nonesuch Records president Bob Hurwitz.

Carolyn Shaw, Piano Concerto, Seattle Symphony, Benaroya Hall, Feb. 2

I think Shaw lost me in the second movement of her piano concerto, when the opening melody in the piano repeated. And repeated. And repeated. The first movement established this piece wasn’t minimalist, so why become one in the second movement?

Sergei Prokofiev, Symphony No. 7, Seattle Symphony, Benaroya Hall, Feb. 16

When I first started exploring classical music, I bought a cassette tape with Sergei Prokofiev’s Classical Symphony and Lieutenant Kije Suite. His Symphony No. 7 was tacked onto the album to fill out space, so I listened to it quite a lot. I haven’t explored other Prokofiev symphonies, but I have a fondness for the seventh.

Amadeus Live, Seattle Symphony, Benaroya Hall, Feb. 23

I had planned to attend the Seattle Symphony’s performance of Heiner Goebbels’ Surrogate Cities, but it was scheduled on the day I was flying back from London. The concert was rescheduled a day earlier, and I traded my ticket for Amaedus Live. I was glad to learn it was the theatrical cut.

Emerson String Quartet, Meany Hall, March 6

The program on this concert included the Barber Adagio, a Razumovsky quartet by Beethoven and the Britten’s String Quartet No. 3. I particularly looked forward to the Britten quartet, having stumbled across recordings of his quartets at the thrift shop.

Morsel Trio, Good Shepherd Center, March 8

My violin teacher (Luke Fitzpatrick) and my music theory T.A. (Daniel Webbon) had pieces on this program.

Michael Tilson-Thomas, San Francisco Symphony, Benaroya Hall, March 19

I’ve known about Michael Tilson-Thomas for years, and I even have a number of his recordings as a pianist. So I wanted to hear him with the San Francisco Symphony before he ends his tenure in July 2020. The centerpiece of the concert was Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony. I love the first movement of the piece, but I’ve never really internalized the remained of it.

untitled 2, Seattle Symphony, Benaroya Hall, March 22

Pierre Boulez never struck me as a person you’d really want to meet in real life, and that impression has spilled over into his music. So I don’t think I really heard a piece by Boulez until this concert. It wasn’t as grating as I was expecting it to be.

Perfume, Paramount Theatre, Apr. 10

I’m sure there were parts of this concert that were … prefabricated, but I didn’t mind. It was visually stunning, and Perfume were entirely gracious to Seattle fans. If I hadn’t gotten out of the hospital a few days before, I probably would have stood in the excessively long line at the merchandise table.

Joël-Françios Durand, Trope de:Bussy, Seattle Symphony, Benaroya Hall, Apr. 13

I listen to a lot of modern classical music, but I still sometimes feel odd listening to works from people I’ve met. Prof. Durand was my music theory instructor for one quarter back in 2016.

George Walker, Sinfonia No. 5, Seattle Symphony, Benaroya Hall, Apr. 20

When the orchestra finished playing the premiere of George Walker’s Sinfonia No. 5, one audience member didn’t even wait for conductor Thomas Dausgaard to signal for the applause. It was a pretty monstrous piece.

Alexander String Quartet and Joyce Yang, Meany Hall, May 22

Samuel Carl Adams has followed his father’s footsteps into the world of composition. His father is John Adams. Alexander String Quartet and Joyce Yang performed a piece by the younger Adams, and he sounds nothing like his father. In fact, I would like to hear more from Sam Adams.

untitled 3, Seattle Symphony, Benaroya Hall, June 7

A reimagning of Schubert and Schumann. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

In the Spotlight: Bolcom, Jolley, Poteat & Hausmann, Octave 9, June 11

Seattle Symphony transformed its education space into a high-tech venue to showcase more experimental programming. I’m looking forward to attending concerts in this new space.

Torche, Highline, Sept. 15

Sturgill Simpson made me realize I was getting too old for rock shows, so I almost decided against seeing Torche, despite loving the new album. Then I saw they were playing at a venue that is a 6-minute walk from my apartment. I’m glad I went.

Bugs Bunny on Broadway, Seattle Symphony, Benaroya Hall, Oct. 5

I wasn’t going to miss hearing What’s Opera, Doc? performed live. Even the 3-d animated new shorts weren’t too bad.

untitled 1, Seattle Symphony, Benaroya Hall, Oct. 18

This first untitled concert of the 2019-2020 season showcased works for brass, and alternated between early and modern music. At the end of the concert, I was asked what I thought. I answered, “It was more conservative than I prefer.”

John Williams, Violin Concerto, St. Louis Symphony, Powell Hall, Nov. 3

I debated whether to take in a St. Louis Symphony concert while I was attending WordCamp US. A Sunday matinee seemed like a good option for someone navigating an unfamiliar city without a car. The light rail and bus system got me to the concert hall, which has a really nice sound. James Ehnes was the soloist for the Williams concerto, and yes, it’s unmistakably John Williams. For an encore, Ehnes did Ysaÿe’s Sonata No. 3.

Sleater-Kinney, Paramount Theatre, Nov. 23

I chose to sit in the mezzanine for this show because, yes, Sturgill Simpson.

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Purchase log, 2019-12-03

[U2 - U2-3]

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
  • MONO, Before the Past
Vinyl
  • Midnight Oil, Breathe Tour ’97

Catalog

CD
  • Patsy Cline, The Patsy Cline Collection
Vinyl
  • Gram Parsons, GP
  • Run-D.M.C., King of Rock
  • The Dukes of the Stratosphear, 25 O’Clock
  • The Housemartins, London 0 Hull 4
  • Wendy Carlos, Beauty in the Beast

Reissues

Vinyl
  • CHAI, Wagamamania
  • U2, U2-3
  • Soundtrack, Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas

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Purchase log picks, November 2019

[Leila Josefowicz - Solos]

Shiina Ringo, Newton no Ringo ~Hajimete no Best Han~

Oh, it’s just a compilation with a bunch of bonus tracks. Surely, it just rehashes what we’ve heard over the last 20 years? Not so fast. A number of early tracks have been remixed in a way that actually brings new character to what Shiina calls her youthful works. As for the new songs? Well, if you’re not a fan of the most recent albums, these tracks aren’t going to dissuade you.

Michael Kiwanuka, KIWANUKA

I picked up Michael Kiwanuka’s debut album from the thrift store and was immediately impressed. I sought out his second album and didn’t warm up to it as much. That planted some hesitancy on picking up this latest album, which turned out to be unfounded. This album takes Kiwanuka in a new direction.

LCD Soundsystem, Sound of Silver

I really dig the “Drunk Girls” video, but I can’t say I remember much about This Is Happening. The band’s debut, Sound of Silver, is often touted as their best work, so I gave it a chance when I spotted it in the thrift shop. Conventional wisdom turns out to be correct.

Leila Josefowicz, Solos

I picked this album up because of the Ysaÿe Sonata No. 3 for solo violin. It’s a monstrous piece.

Yvonne Elliman, Rising Sun

Yvonne Elliman will be known as a disco singer, but after her run as Mary Magdalene in the original cast of Jesus Christ Superstar, she tried her hand at a more conventional folk-rock sound. As with Love Me, Rising Sun demonstrates how underrated Elliman is.

Peter Moon Band, Cane Fire!

Back in college, I tried to explore Hawaiian music, but my rockist bias against the genre would be difficult to overcome. Still, I picked up Cane Fire! on the recommendation of people more versed in the genre than I was, and … I was still too much of a snob to give it fair shake. Three decades have tempered that snobbery, and it turns out Cane Fire! really stands out.

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Purchase log, 2019-11-26

[Luke Evans - Luke Evans]

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
  • Alex Cameron, Miami Memory
  • Blood Orange, Angel’s Pulse
  • Luke Evans, At Last
  • Wayne Horvitz, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

Catalog

CD
  • John Adams, Naive and Sentimental Music
  • Prodigy, Music for the Jilted Generation
  • Tyler, the Creator, Flower Boy
Vinyl
  • Bananarama, Bananarama
  • Chic, C’est Chic

Reissues

CD
  • The Police, Every Breath You Take: The Studio Recordings
Vinyl
  • Lisa Stansfield, Affection (Deluxe Edition)
  • Queens of the Stone Age, Rated R
  • Queens of the Stone Age, Songs for the Deaf

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Purchase log, 2019-11-19

[Everything But the Girl - Walking Wounded]

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
  • Angel Olsen, All Mirrors
  • Shiina Ringo, Newton no Ringo ~Hajimete no Best Han~
Vinyl
  • Sturgill Simpson, “The Dead Don’t Die”

Catalog

CD
  • A.A. Bondy, American Hearts
  • Bob Dylan, Nashville Skyline
  • Book of Love, Book of Love
  • Boston, Third Stage
  • Bruce Springsteen, Live / 1975-85
  • Chris Butler, The Museum of Me, Vol. 1
  • Del tha Funkee Homosapien, I Wish My Brother George Was Here
  • Electric Light Orchestra, Out of the Blue
  • Hiroshima, Third Generation
  • Janis Joplin, Pearl
  • Marvin Gaye, Let’s Get It On (Deluxe Edition)
  • Megadeth, Peace Sells … But Who’s Buying?
  • Outkast, Southernplayalisticadillacmusik
  • Radiohead, Pablo Honey
  • Ready for the World, Ready for the World
  • Slayer, Reign In Blood
  • Snoop Doggy Dogg, Doggystyle
  • The Westerlies, Wish the Children Would Come On Home: The Music of Wayne Horvitz
Vinyl
  • Carole King, Tapestry
  • Metallica, … And Justice for All
  • Rodney Crowell, Diamonds and Dirt

Reissues

Vinyl
  • Everything But the Girl, Walking Wounded

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Purchase log, 2019-11-12

[Ornette Coleman - Dancing In Your Head]

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
  • BBMAK, Powerstation
Vinyl
  • NUMBER GIRL, Kanden no Kioku

Catalog

CD
  • Dua Lipa, Dua Lipa
  • Ikue Mori, One Hundred Aspects of the Moon
  • LCD Soundsystem, Sound of Silver
  • Melt-Banana, “Charlie”
  • Ornette Coleman, Dancing in Your Head
  • Raymond Scott, Reckless Nights and Turkish Twilights
Vinyl
  • Anonymous, Love is a Drag
  • Conlon Nancarrow, Complete Studies for Player Piano, Vol. 1
  • Jonathan Elias, Requiem for the Americas

Reissues

Vinyl
  • NUMBER GIRL, DESTRUCTION BABY

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