Last year, new releases made up 7 percent of my music purchases. This year, that number ticks up to … 8 percent. For a while there, I didn’t know if I would find enough titles to make a Favorite 10, but I did.
- Parquet Courts, Wide Awake!: When you visit multiple record stores and ask what is playing, you probably ought to buy that album if the answer is the same at each store.
- Janelle Monáe, Dirty Computer: I also liked the Emotion Picture that accompanied the release of this album.
- Christine and the Queens, Chris: Those dance moves!
- Various Artists, Adam to Eve no Ringo: I didn’t realize the cover of “Sid to Hakuchuumu” was by MIKA, the singer “discovered” by Perez Hilton. MIKA’s circumspection about his sexuality drew a lot of attention and some controversy. I checked out his music as a result of the brouhaha and found little that was remarkable. That said, he nails the French interpretation of this very Ringo track.
- Steve Grand, Not the End of Me: I don’t know if it’s intentional, but I hear a bit of Matt Alber’s swoon on some of the quieter moments on this album.
- Kronos Quartet and Laurie Anderson, Landfall: Take all the swagger and posturing out of hip-hop, and it would probably sound a lot like Laurie Anderson.
- Seattle Symphony with Roomful of Teeth, Berio: Sinfonia: This piece was awesome to hear live.
- Nico Muhly & Thomas Bartlett, Peter Pears: Ceremonial Balinese Music: Oddly enough, I found a recording of Colin McPhee performing his gamelan transcriptions with Benjamin Britten, and I kind of wish Muhly and Bartlett had also done the unpublished scores.
- Yore, EP1: Recent press seems to obscure the fact Yore released music under his own name, so we’ll stick with that preference and just mention this EP finds him moving in a direction more akin to Cocteau Twins or even Utada Hikaru.
- Utada Hikaru, Hatsukoi:Her sound has gotten darker since her comeback.
Other favorites from the year:
- John Coltrane, Both Directions at Once
- Leo Imai, VLP
- Mikami Chisako, I AM Ready!
- Craig Armstrong, Sun on You
- Tracey Thorn, Record
- Renee Fleming, Broadway
- Igor Stravisnky, Chant Funebre / Le Sacre du Printemps
- Eponymous 4, Travis
OK, I’m being a bit cheeky including my own album, Travis, on this list. I finished recording it in 2016, so I’d been sitting on it for more than a year. In all that time, I’ve not gotten sick of hearing it day in and day out, and when I compare it with other albums I’ve recorded, it sounds like a proper, professional work.
So yeah, I think my album is one of the best to be released in 2018. You can check it out at the Eponymous 4 Bandcamp store.
Tags: christine and the queens, craig armstrong, eponymous 4, favorite edition, igor stravinsky, janelle monae, john coltrane, kronos quartet, laurie anderson, leo imai, mikami chisako, nico muhly, parquet courts, renee fleming, roomful of teeth, seattle symphony, shiina ringo, steve grand, thomas bartlett, tracey thorn, utada hikaru, various artists, yore
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.
- Mikami Chisako, I AM Ready!
- 808 State, Utd. State 90
- Anthrax, Sound of White Noise
- Death from Above 1979, You’re a Woman, I’m a Machine
- Giovanni Palestrina, Missa pro defunctis / Motets (Chanticleer)
- Helmet, Strap It On
- Jean Grae, This Week
- Jesu, Jesu
- M.I.A., /\/\ /\ Y /\
- mclusky, The Difference Between Me and You Is I’m Not on Fire
- Peter Gabriel, Secret World Live
- The Jesus and Mary Chain, 21 Singles
- Kate Bush, Before the Dawn
- Simon and Garfunkel, Sounds of Silence
- Sinéad O’Connor, Am I Not Your Girl?
- Soundtrack, Star Wars
- Soundtrack, The Rocky Horror Picture Show
- Talking Heads, Little Creatures
- Talking Heads, Stop Making Sense
- Kate Bush, Remastered Part II
- Kate Bush, Remastered in Vinyl III
Tags: 808 state, anthrax, death from above 1979, helmet, jean grae, jesu, kate bush, m.i.a., mclusky, mikami chisako, peter gabriel, purchase log, simon and garfunkel, soundtrack, talking heads, the jesus and mary chain
Quite a number of interesting vinyl reissues and deluxe editions coming down the pike …
Cher, Dancing Queen, Sept. 28
I think some gay cultural norm dictates I should show interest in this convergence of iconography, and I do, albeit more from an anthropological standpoint.
Johnny Hates Jazz, Turn Back the Clock (Deluxe Edition), Oct. 5
“Shattered Dreams” is an awesome single, and Turn Back the Clock was a decent album — something I’m glad I encountered but couldn’t consider a must-have. And yet I’m looking forward to this deluxe edition release.
Camouflage, Voices and Images (Deluxe Edition), Oct. 19
I actually like this album more than Turn Back the Clock, and the limited pressing of 1,500 copies for the CD (500 for vinyl) is nudging me to pre-order.
Sasagawa Miwa, Houjou -BEST ’03~’18-, Oct. 31
Has it really been 15 years since Sasagawa Miwa’s debut? This best album contains 10 previously released tracks, 3 new songs and a new version of “Himawari”.
Art of Noise, In No Sense? Nonsense! (Deluxe Edition), Nov. 2
This album doesn’t lend itself to singles as easily as In Visible Silence, but it’s a worthwhile, challenging listen, a period where the band pushed the limits of technology and music.
Dead Can Dance, Dionysus, Nov. 2
Dead Can Dance has always struck me as a band I should have been digging in high school, but at the time, their albums were available only as imports.
Hajime Chitose, Hajime Uta ~Chitose Hajime Amami Shimauta Shu~, Nov. 14
Hajime Chitose returns to her roots as a shima uta singer on this 7-track mini album.
Mikami Chisako, I AM Ready!, Nov. 28
Mikami Chisako starts anew with music reminiscent of fra-foa’s second album, if the YouTube clips on her official site are any indication. I have to admit I’ve missed her, and Chuu no Fuchi is still one of my favorite albums. It’s criminal that it’s out of print.
Living Colour, Time’s Up, Sept. 28
I’d be all over this reissue from Megaforce Records if I hadn’t already found an original pressing a number of years ago. This album doesn’t seem to have had the same impact as its predecessor, but it some ways, it expands and perhaps improves upon Vivid.
YEN TOWN BAND, Montage, Nov. 3
I’ve never encountered a vinyl reissue from YEN TOWN BAND that didn’t immediately sell out.
Utada Hikaru, Hatsukoi, Nov. 7
Any chance for a vinyl reissue of ULTRA BLUE?
Bill Frisell, Nashville, Nov. 9
Bill Frisell had always incorporated Americana, country and folk into his music, but Nashville is the strongest statement of those influences, resulting in one of his most accessible albums. Robin Holcomb shows up on two covers.
Tags: bill frisell, camouflage, cher, dead can dance, johnny hates jazz, living colour, looking ahead, mikami chisako, sasagawa miwa, the art of noise, utada hikaru, yen town band