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Favorite Edition 2018: Year half

[Janelle Monáe - Dirty Computer]

It’s time we turn this list around. Instead of tracking the favorite new releases of 2018, I’ll start with my favorite catalog discoveries. The vast majority of my listening these days is old music that’s new to me, so let’s pretend no longer I have a read on anything current.

Catalog

  • Patti Smith, Horses: PJ Harvey sure owes a lot to Patti Smith. The first time I played Horses, there were moments I thought I was listening to Polly Jean. This album confounded me, thus forcing me to play it multiple times, each time engaging me more than the last. Smith has been described as the godmother of punk, and I half expected a proto-Sleater-Kinney. Nah, man. That’s not it at all.
  • The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Are You Experienced?: Maybe it’s because of Emmylou Harris and Kronos Quartet that made this album feel instantly familiar, or maybe its influence extends as far as the arm of Sauron.
  • Roxy Music, Avalon: Smooth
  • Bruce Springsteen, Nebraska: This shit is dark.
  • Joni Mitchell, Court and Spark: Without some schooling in Charles Mingus and John Coltrane, I wouldn’t have understood how ground-breaking this album is. Otherwise, the cheap imitations it spawned would have been my only reference.
  • Fugazi, The Argument: I didn’t think anything could top 13 Songs or Repeater, but this album comes damn close.
  • Dwight Yoakam, Guitars Cadillacs Etc. Etc.: Honky-tonk AF
  • Benjamin Gibbard / Andrew Kenny, Home, Vol. 5: Even after 15 years, this split EP holds together well.

New Releases

  • Janelle Monáe, Dirty Computer: This is the album I wished The ArchAndroid was. I still think she hasn’t yet recorded her Shousou Strip.
  • Laurie Anderson and Kronos Quartet, Landfall: I found myself engaged in this album more than I expected.
  • Various Artists, Adam to Eve no Ringo: Shiina Ringo is one of the best songwriters, because the strength of her writing cuts through even the most ordinary interpretation of her songs.
  • Thomas Bartlett and Nico Muhly, Peter Pears: Balinese Ceremonial Music: It’s an improbable concept album based on transcriptions of Balinese gamelan music by English composer Colin McPhee. In execution, it’s a stronger concept than the Planetarium album Muhly did with Sufjan Stevens, Bryce Dessner and James McAlister.
  • Steve Grand, not the end of me: Grand has gone through some serious shit since his debut album, and this sprawling sophomore effort lays it all out.
  • Utada Hikaru, Hatsukoi: Check out the rhythmic modulation on “Chikai”. She does some amazing obfuscation with the downbeat.
  • Igor Stravinsky, Chant Funèbre / La Sacre Du Printemps: It seems Funeral Song didn’t really answer the question of how Stravinsky bridged his Scriabin-influenced early work with the Firebird and all that came after.
  • Tracey Thorn, Record: Tracey Thorn returns to the dancefloor, thank deities.

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Purchase log, 2018-06-26

[Enigma - MCMXC a.D.]

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.

I spent the last week in Alexandria, VA for work, so I visited a number of record stores in the Washington, DC area.

Catalog

CD
  • David Bowie, Aladdin Sane
  • David Bowie, Heroes
  • David Bowie, Hunky Dory
  • David Bowie, Low
  • David Bowie, Station to Station
  • David Bowie, Young Americans
  • Fugazi, Steady Diet of Nothing
  • Metallica, Ride the Lightning
  • Ramones, Ramones
Vinyl
  • Chris Isaak, Chris Isaak
  • Ensemble of the Bulgarian Republic / Phillipe Koutev, Music of Bulgaria
  • Enigma, MCMXC a.D.
  • Fugazi, The Argument
  • Fugazi, Steady Diet of Nothing
  • Kanye West, The College Dropout
  • Lucy Shelton, Messiaen: Poèmes pour mi / Fauré: La chanson d’Eve
  • Minor Threat, Minor Threat
  • Christopher Rouse / Donald Erb / Joan Tower, The Infernal Machine / Ougon Badagris / Sequoia (Leonard Slatkin, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra)
  • Arnold Schoenberg / Richard Strauss, String Quartet Concerto (After Handel) / Divertimento, Op. 86 (After Couperin) (Gerard Schwarz, New York Chamber Symphony; American String Quartet)

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Purchase log, 2018-05-08

[Anton Bruckner - Symphony No. 9]

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.

The monthly $0.10 CD Sale at Lifelong Thrift Shop was particular fruitful where classical music is concerned.

Catalog

CD
  • Anton Bruckner, Symphony No. 4 (Herbert Karajan, Berlin Philharmonic)
  • Anton Bruckner, Symphony No. 9 (Christoph Dohnányi, Cleveland Orchestra)
  • Benjamin Britten, Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo / Music of Bali / British Folk Songs (Benjamin Britten; Peter Pears)
  • Benjamin Britten, String Quartets Nos. 1 & 3 / Alla marcia / Three Divertimenti (Sorell Quartet)
  • Clara Schumann, Complete Works for Piano 3 (Jozef De Beenhouwer)
  • Dmitri Shostakovich / Sergei Prokofiev, Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5 / Prokofiev: The Love for Three Oranges (Eugene Ormandy, Philadelphia Orchestra)
  • Dmitri Shostakovich, Symphony No. 6 / Theme and Variations / Scherzo / Suite “Alone” (Gennadi Rozhdestvensky, USSR Ministry of Culture Symphony Orchestra)
  • Dmitri Shostakovich, Symphony No. 7 (Yuri Temirkanov, St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra)
  • Emerson String Quartet, Bach: The Art of Fugue
  • Fugazi, The Argument
  • Gustav Mahler, Symphony No. 1 (Sir Georg Solti, Chicago Symphony Orchestra)
  • Percy Grainger, Themes of Grainger (Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields Chamber Ensemble)
  • Peter Lawson, American Piano Sonatas, Vol. 1
  • Sam Smith, The Thrill of It All (Deluxe Edition)
  • Samuel Barber, Music of Samuel Barber (Leonard Slatkin, St. Louis Symphony)
  • Samuel Barber / Charles Ives / Aaron Copland, Barber: Adagio for Strings / Ives: Symphony No. 3 / Copland: Quiet City (Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Sir Neville Marriner)
Vinyl
  • Madvillain, Madvillainy
  • New Order, Technique
  • Sam Smith, The Thrill of It All (Deluxe Edition)
  • The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Are You Experienced

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Purchase log, 2018-03-20

[Roxy Music - Avalon]

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.

This past weekend was the annual Big Book Sale by the Friends of the Seattle Public Library, so I should have enough music to last me for weeks, right? Right.

Catalog

CDs
  • Anita Baker, Giving You the Best That I Got
  • Beastie Boys, Check Your Head
  • Victor Borge, Live(!)
  • Glenn Branca, Symphony No. 2: Peak of the Sacred
  • Cameo, Word Up!
  • Capercaillie, Secret People
  • John Coltrane, Giant Steps
  • John Coltrane, Meditations
  • John Coltrane, My Favorite Things
  • John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman, John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman
  • Eazy-E, Eazy-Duz-It
  • Bill Evans Trio, Waltz for Debby
  • Fugazi, End Hits
  • Peter Gabriel, Shaking the Tree
  • Guns N’ Roses, G N’ R Lies
  • Heart, Bad Animals
  • The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Are You Experienced?
  • Ketsumeshi, Ketsunopolis 4
  • LL Cool J, Mama Said Knock You Out
  • Milt Jackson and John Coltrane, Bags and Trane
  • Joni Mitchell, Court and Spark
  • Morrissey, The Best of Morrissey
  • Mother Love Bone, Mother Love Bone
  • Nirvana, Incesticide
  • Robert Palmer, Clues
  • Prince, Musicology
  • R.E.M., Dead Letter Office
  • Radiohead, The Bends
  • Rage Against the Machine, Rage Against the Machine
  • Einojuhani Rautvaara, Symphony No. 7: Angel of Light / Annunciations
  • Sonny Rollins, Saxophone Colossus
  • Roxy Music, Avalon (Remastered)
  • Soundgarden, Ultramega OK
  • Bruce Springsteen, The Rising
  • They Might Be Giants, Flood
  • TLC, Ooooooohhh… On the TLC Tip
  • Värttinä, Seleniko
  • Soundtrack, Pride and Prejudice
DVD
  • Tokyo Jihen, Dynamite Out

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Looking ahead: MONO, … Trail of Dead, U2

[MONO - Rays of Darkness]

I forgot to include a few titles from the last round-up.

U2, Songs of Innocence, Oct. 14

Yeah, I’m old enough to have actually downloaded this album from the iTunes, and yes, I know exactly who U2 is. Giving away an album for free can really backfire if the album in question doesn’t spur a fan to buy a physical copy. I may drop the cash because Songs of Innocence is better than No Line on the Horizon. Unfortunately, it’s as forgettable as anything the band has produced since the end of the last century.

MONO, The Last Dawn, Oct. 28
MONO, Rays of Darkness, Oct. 28

I’m rather glad MONO has finally realized that their orchestral sound can only go so far, and I look forward to hearing the reportedly rawer sound. But two albums?

… And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, IX, Nov. 4

What can I say? I’m a sucker for the grandeur.

Fugazi, First Demo, Nov. 11

As a latecomer to Fugazi, the news of a release of music I’ve so far not yet encountered is pretty much equivalent to saying it’s a new album.

And these releases just hit retail:

John Luther Adams, Become Ocean

Part of me was really tempted to catch the premiere of this work by the Seattle Symphony, but I’m not as familiar with John Luther as I am with John Coolidge. NPR First Listen previewed the album, and skeptic though I may be of accolades — including a Pulitzer — this one was well deserved.

yMusic, Balance Problems

I think my fascination with New Amsterdam Records has cooled off a bit, but the label still grabs my attention from time to time. This collection includes pieces by Nico Muhly, Timo Andres and Sufjan Stevens. What? No Bryce Dessner or Richard Reed Parry?

 

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