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Purchase log picks, September 2019

[The Bad Rackets - Full On Blown Apart]

Infomatik, Technologies

This album is one of those extremely rare, regional finds that will either be selling for $0.50 at a thrift store or $30 on Discogs.

Kanye West, 808s & Heartbreak

When this album was first released, my record store co-workers liked it enough to recommend it. Kanye had already gone headlong into celebrity insufferability by then, and I passed. It was that endorsement that prompted me to pick this album up at the thrift store. What I like best is the lack of raps, and thus, the lack of posturing. It’s also restrained, something refreshingly unbecoming of an artist with the size of Kanye’s ego.

The Bad Rackets, Full On Blown Apart

This album is the intersection of garage rock and punk that my Waterloo Records co-workers would play to death. It’s been about 15 years since, so I’m not so severe in my reaction to this kind of music. I’ve also met the band’s drummer, and he’s hotter than a straight guy has any business being.

Art of Noise, Re-works of Art of Noise

At the time of its release, I wasn’t interested in live tracks, which is half of this compilation EP. I was wrong to be so dismissive. Art of Noise had to adapt to a live setting, giving these tracks new facets the studio versions don’t capture. “Hammersmith to Tokyo and Back” is worth the price of the EP alone.

R.E.M., Monster

I skipped this album when it was released. All the pre-release press described Monster in terms that didn’t hold much appeal to me. I didn’t share everyone’s breathless acclaim for Automatic for the People, so I approached Monster with a level of skepticism that stopped me from listening to the album for 25 years. How foolish.

The Cult, Sonic Temple

I read about this album in a lot of magazines back in high school, but I never made the plunge. I like how it’s not quite heavy metal.

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Purchase log, 2019-09-17

[Art of Noise - Re-works of Art of Noise]

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
  • Sassyblack, Ancient Mahogany Gold

Vinyl

  • Torche, Admission

Catalog

CD
  • Art of Noise, Re-Works of Art of Noise
  • Charlie Robison / Jack Ingram / Bruce Robison, Unleashed Live
  • Common, Like Water for Chocolate
  • Grizzly Bear, Yellow House
  • Kanye West, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
  • The Cult, Sonic Temple
Vinyl
  • Johnny Cash, American Recordings
  • Rick Springfield, Tao
  • The Xx, Xx

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Purchase log, 2019-09-10

[Infomatik - Technologies]

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
  • Kronos Quartet, Terry Riley: Sun Rings

Catalog

CD
  • Carole King, Tapestry (Remastered)
  • Infomatik, Technologies
  • Jack Ingram, Live at Adairs
  • John Wesley Harding, The Confessions of St. Ace
  • Kanye West, 808s & Heartbreak
  • R.E.M., Monster
  • The Bad Rackets, Full On Blown Apart
  • The Manhattan Transfer, Brasil
  • The Manhattan Transfer, The Best of the Manhattan Transfer

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Favorite Edition Rewind: 2004

[Madvillain - Madvillainy]

A decade ago, I wrote a series of entries ranking my favorite albums from 1985 to 2004. My collection has expanded greatly since then, particularly in the last five years. So I wanted to see what has changed in 10 years.

The first half of the 2004 list has remained unchanged. The last half has undergone extensive revision.

  1. Arcade Fire, Funeral
  2. Eluvium, An Accidental Memory in Case of Death
  3. Kicell, Mado Ni Chikyuu
  4. Dylan Rice, Wandering Eyes
  5. The Killers, Hot Fuss
  6. Madvillain, Madvillainy
  7. Loretta Lynn, Van Lear Rose
  8. The Streets, A Grand Don’t Come for Free
  9. Mindy Smith, One Moment More
  10. STRAIGHTENER, LOST WORLD’S ANTHOLOGY

Other favorites from the year:

  • Pinback, Summer in Abaddon
  • SUPERCAR, ANSWER
  • Kanye West, The College Dropout
  • ASIAN KUNG-FU GENERATION, Solfa
  • Bonnie Pink, Even So
  • Fuji Fabric, Fuji Fabric
  • Sacha Sacket, Shadowed
  • m-flo, Astromantic
  • The Butchies, Make Yr Life
  • Scissor Sisters, Scissor Sisters
  • ZAZEN BOYS, ZAZEN BOYS II

A lot of these revisions are retrospective. I listened to SUPERCAR’s ANSWER when it was reissued on vinyl, and I didn’t find the album as engaging as I originally thought. I’ve come to like Hot Fuss more as time has passed, and I don’t feel as much attachment to Van Lear Rose.

My growing appreciation for hip-hop means Madvillain and The Streets knock Quruli’s Antenna off the list entirely.

I’m still a bit skeptical about keeping Mindy Smith in the Favorite 10, or bumping STRAIGHTENER into the upper echelon. I picked up Pinback’s Summer in Abaddon from Goodwill out of curiosity, and I have a sense that in short time, it will nudge Smith or STRAIGHTENER down to the extended list.

As we go further back to the start of the Aughts, the extended list grows longer. A lot of great music came out at the start of the century. If the Internet hadn’t splintered the mass market, it might have been a galvanizing golden age of popular music.

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Favorite Edition Rewind: 2013

[Blood Orange - Cupid Deluxe]

A decade ago, I wrote a series of entries ranking my favorite albums from 1985 to 2004. My collection has expanded greatly since then, particularly in the last five years. So I wanted to see what has changed in 10 years.

I relaunched this site in early 2014 to focus more on discovering catalog music than newer artists. As a result, I didn’t get a chance to revise the Favorite Edition 2013 list after I discovered a number of critical favorites.

  1. Jason Isbell, Southeastern
  2. Jarell Perry, Simple Things
  3. Patty Griffin, Silver Bell
  4. Sam Amidon, Bright Sunny South
  5. James Blake, Overgrown
  6. Sigur Rós, Kveikur
  7. Hem, Departure and Farewell
  8. Blood Orange, Cupid Deluxe
  9. Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell, Old Yellow Moon
  10. LEO Imai, Made from Nothing

Other favorites from the year:

  • Rhye, Woman
  • Kanye West, Yeezus
  • Johnny Hates Jazz, Magnetized
  • TV Mania, Bored with the Internet and Prozac?
  • Ty Herndon, Lies I Told Myself
  • Res, Refried Mac
  • Janelle Monáe, The Electric Lady

Jason Isbell had caught my eye with the stark but stunning cover of Southeastern, but I didn’t follow up on that fascination till well into 2014. Nor did I make the connection between Blood Orange and Solange till after 2013 had passed.

Isbell and Blood Orange bumped Johnny Hates Jazz and TV Mania, while Rhye and Kanye West nearly crack the Favorite 10.

I dug The College Dropout, but West can teach Billy Corgan lessons in being insufferable. Yeezus, though, sounded like an indie rock record, so I could overlook the man and focus on the art. I wouldn’t cut him that slack nowadays.

Ty Herndon came out of the closet in 2014, and he was cute enough for me to take a listen to his greatest hits collection, This Is Ty Herndon. I ended up liking it more than I expected, mostly because I really can’t stand country radio.

Lies I Told Myself shows up on this list because it sounds way more confident than anything on This Is Ty Herndon.

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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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