Anthony De Mare, Pianos and Vocals (Music of Meredith Monk and John Cage)
Given how well De Mare sequenced the pieces on this album, I bet recitals featuring these works would have been amazing.
Easterhouse, Waiting for the Redbird
Contenders is the album that has remained in print, but Waiting for the Redbird appealed to me more as it played on the turntable.
Janet Jackson, Janet Jackson
The Janet we know today began with Control, and it’s the furthest Miss Jackson will go in live performances. Of the two albums that preceded it, this self-titled debut has the better songs.
Justin Timberlake, Futuresex / LoveSounds
I think I reacted more to the production of this album than to the actual songs.
Kacey Musgraves, Same Trailer Different Park
I didn’t find Golden Hour terribly impressive, but I didn’t want to dismiss Kacey Musgraves out of hand. So I picked up Same Trailer Different Park when I found it at the thrift store. That’s when I understood.
I didn’t realize just how much Kalapana’s first album dominated radio broadcast in Hawaii during the 1970s. I picked up a vinyl copy of the album on a whim, having grown up with the name but not necessarily the music. It turns out I heard them a lot when I was still too young to care about building a music collection.
I’ve been fascinated by the third mode of limited transposition since we covered them in a music theory class I took in 2017. The Turangalîla Symphony is one of those works you’re told to know, even if takes you a while to get around to listening to it. The 2-disc vinyl edition of this recording includes Toru Takemitsu’s November Steps, which gets dropped on subsequent CD reissues.
My prior exposure to Big Country, I’m sorry to say, was when Girl Talk mashed up “In a Big Country” with “Whoomp! (There It Is)”. I rather like how Scottish this album is without being crossover about it.
eX-Girl, “The crown of Dr. Keroninstan”
The vinyl reissue of Kero! Kero! Kero! prompted Kirilola to bring eX-Girl back from Planet Kero. I have to admit some degree of envy when the band announced its return to SXSW.
I grew up listening to some really awful Hawaiian music, pumped mostly into elevators and department stores. I picked up this self-titled debut at the thrift store, curious to see why it gets such breathless accolades in Hawaii media. I’m hoping someone emerges as the Astor Piazzola for Hawaiian music, and Hapa has so far come closest.
Robert Palmer, Pressure Drop
Palmer continues the funk workout of Sneakin’ Sally Through the Alley, augmenting it with explorations into other genres, notably the reggae of the title track.
The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Time Out
It’s unfortunate when a single track from an album overshadows the rest of it. For the longest time, I’ve avoided Time Out because of “Take Five.” How silly of me. “Blue Rondo a la Turk” is damn awesome.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs, It’s Blitz
It’s not the nuclear blast of Fever to Tell, but it’s still a good listen.
I bought this album back in high school, before I had any inkling of how to listen to jazz. I didn’t understand it and sold it for cash. Now that I’ve had rudimentary schooling in jazz, I picked it up again at the library book sale. I get it now.
Johnny Cash, American Recordings
I remember the accolades heaped upon this album at the time of its release, but I hadn’t gotten into country music yet. So I had no interest in Johnny Cash. Now that I know more about his life and music, I see what all the fuss was about.
This album was listed in the book 1,000 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. I found a copy of it at the thrift store. I liked it enough.
PJ Harvey, Rid of Me
To Bring You My Love gets the highest praise among PJ Harvey’s albums, but I couldn’t get into it. I much prefer Rid of Me.
Pop Will Eat Itself, This Is the Day … This Is the Hour … This Is This!
This album got good reviews in all the magazines I read as a teenager, but I hesitated on getting it. I would eventually find a ratty vinyl copy selling for cheap decades later. Teenaged self should have been the one to take that plunge.
Sly and the Family Stone, Stand!
Too many tracks on this album have been licensed to sell products, but somehow, that doesn’t seem to diminish them. Or maybe we’re just more chill about music licensing these days.
Tom Tom Club, Tom Tom Club
I totally forgot that “Wordy Rappinghood” was a Tom Tom Club track. I dug that track so much as a kid, I annoyed everyone around me by singing it.
Weezer, Weezer (Teal Album)
The meticulousness this covers album takes in reproducing the originals is ridiculous and admirable.
Sometimes, you just can’t argue with conventional wisdom.
Del tha Funky Homosapien, No Need for Alarm
There’s something about beats made around 1993 that I really dig.
James Blake, Assume Form
The Colour in Anything made me approach Assume Form with caution. It turns out this album is vying for a spot on the year-end Favorite Edition list.
James Tenney, Postal Pieces
It’s amazing how much music can be generated by scores that fit on postcards.
Jeremy Denk, c.1300-c.2000
This survey of Western classical music spanning seven centuries is another album vying for a spot on the year-end Favorite Edition list.
Lou Reed, Transformer
“Satellite of Love” and “Walk on the Wild Side” are obvious choices for why this album should be in my collection, but really, it’s because it has “Perfect Day”, which Duran Duran covered on Thank You.
Phoenix, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
I dismissed Phoenix back in 2009 as that band in the car commercial. Thing is, “Listzomania” is damn catchy, as is the rest of the album.
Sly and the Family Stone, Greatest Hits
Most of this collection consists of tracks from Stand! It also includes “I Wanna Take You Higher”, which Duran Duran also covered on Thank You.
I remember seeing Guadalcanal Diary albums filed in a section of Jelly’s Books and Music reserved for “modern rock”, the precursor of “alternative rock” that would distinguish itself from “classic rock”. I wouldn’t explore the band’s albums till nearly 30 years later. Of their four albums released in the ’80s, 2 x 4 is one of the two essentials, the other being Walking in the Shadow of the Big Man.
Perfume Genius, No Shape
I’ve stayed away from Perfume Genius because the 30-second samples I’d hear of various tracks made me conclude I’d be bored at full-length. No Shape garnered a lot of favorable press in 2018, and the thrift store price point convinced me to jump in. I’m glad I did.
Robert Palmer, Secrets
You should own this album for “Doctor, Doctor” alone, but like the rest of Palmer’s early output, this album is reliably funky.
SUPER JUNKY MONKEY, AIETOH
SUPER JUNKY MONKEY albums can get intense for their length, so this four-track EP is the perfect encapsulation of the band. I grabbed this release from the Evil Sharing Networks in the early 2000s and pined for the day I could afford to order it from overseas. Nearly 20 years later, I would get it on Amazon Marketplace for under $5.
Toto IV gets most of the accolades, and while Hydra didn’t capture the mind share of its predecessor, it has some solid tracks, including one of my favorite Toto singlse, “99.”