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’m not sure other music writers would agree that 1998 is an important year in music for the ’90s. 1991 saw Guns N’ Roses cap the era of hair metal and Nirvana usher the unfortunately-named alternative rock. But it didn’t have Neutral Milk Hotel.
Igor Stravinsky, Le Sacre du Printemps/Symphony in Three Movements (Zubin Mehta, New York Philharmonic Orchestra)
Mazzy Star, She Hangs Brightly
Bill Frisell, Where in the World?
Fishbone, The Reality of My Surroundings
Kronos Quartet, Lutoslawski: String Quartet
Black Sheep, A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing
Hamada Mari, Tomorrow
My Bloody Valentine, Loveless
Painkiller, Guts of a Virgin
Mr. Bungle, Mr. Bungle
Slint and My Bloody Valentine are additions 2004-me would have made. 1991-me would have side-eyed 2004-me.
And he would have scoffed at 2018-me for including Black Sheep, after emitting a gasp at seeing Fishbone on the list at all.
He would have begrudgingly nodded at the additions of Metallica and Hamada Mari, and he would have been curious about Electronic. And he would have gone out and found Painkiller the first chance he got.
The fact I can actually post a preview entry this early in the year makes me hopeful we won’t see a repeat of last year’s lopsided schedule.
Igor Stravinsky, Chant Funébre / Le Sacre du Printemps, Jan. 12
This album featuring a newly discovered work by Igor Stravinsky comes out a week after I’ll have heard the Seattle Symphony perform it. I’ll own yet another version of The Rite of Spring, though.
Sasagawa Miwa, Atarashii Sekai, Jan. 31
Last time I checked in with Sasagawa Miwa, she was moving in a jazz direction.
Rhye, Blood, Feb. 2
The singles preceding this album release make me think I ought to place a pre-order.
Steve Reich, Pulse / Quartet, Feb. 2 (vinyl on March 30)
The cover of this album almost fooled me into thinking Reich had gone back to ECM. For proof, compare the Reich cover with John Surman’s forthcoming album Invisible Threads on ECM:
Kronos Quartet and Laurie Anderson, Landfall, Feb. 16
Anderson contributed to Kronos’ Fifty for the Future initiative, and they’ve included the piece in recent concerts. I’m curious to hear more of this collaboration.
My Bloody Valentine, Loveless, Jan. 18 (UK)
Kevin Shields sure went to a lot of trouble remastering this album for vinyl, when it wasn’t really recorded for analog in the first place.
SUPERCAR, HIGHVISION, March 30
SUPERCAR, ANSWER, March 30
I became a SUPERCAR fan just as the band changed its sound, so the recent vinyl reissues of Three Out Change!! and JUMP UP allowed me to discover its early work. I’m coming around to the idea that maybe that first era was better than what followed.
Shiina Ringo, Gyakuyunyuu ~Kuukoukyoku~, March 30
Have you seen how much the Shiina Ringo vinyl reissues from 2009 are going for on the secondhand market? I’ve got mine pre-ordered.