In June 2019, I took the plunge back into music retail by volunteering at the Lifelong Thrift Store. This immediate access to the store’s CD stock has reshaped my listening habits. I bring back so many discs from my visits to the store, it’s rare that I’ll listen to something more than once. It makes finding new favorites a challenge.
Hans Abrahamsen, Schnee: Seattle Symphony performed this piece as part of its [untitled] series, and I was so fascinated by it, I had to own a recording.
Ali Wong, Baby Cobra: I heard Baby Cobra was a really good comedy special, but I didn’t realize Wong had filmed the special in Seattle. And I’ve known about Wong back when Chelsea Lately was on the air. I could have seen this show live, dammit.
Easterhouse, Waiting for the Redbird: The classic rock station in Honolulu back in the late ’80s would play an occasional “modern rock” track. I may have caught Easterhouse’s “Come Out Fighting” once on that station, but it was enough to make me curious about the band — a curiosity I would not explore till more than 30 years later.
Kalapana, Kalapana: I didn’t realize how pervasive this album was on Hawaii pop radio when I was growing up. I was 3 years old when this album was released, but it would continue to dominate the airwaves as I grew more aware of my surroundings.
Infomatik, Technologies: Sometimes, the Internet does forget.
My Bloody Valentine, Isn’t Anything: I missed out on the 2018 vinyl reissue of this album, so I settled for a bootleg pressing.
Robert Palmer, Secrets: This album was the pivot between the blue-eyed funk of Palmer’s early work and his embrace of a more new wave sound. It’s also one of his finest.
Rick Springfield, Tao: I’m a sucker for albums that forgo gaps and fades between tracks.
Boston, Boston: This album is against what punk music rebelled, but I like it anyway.
Roberta Flack, First Take: Stop underrating Roberta Flack!
This year was pretty slim on reissues. To be honest, I haven’t gotten through Massive Attack’s Mezzanine and Sigur Rós’ Ágætis byrjun.
Re-Flex, The Politics of Dancing: I can’t believe this album isn’t a towering classic of ’80s new wave. Cherry Pop thankfully gives it the deluxe treatment it deserves
The Replacements, Dead Man’s Pop: The Matt Wallace mix of Don’t Tell a Soul is ahead of its time. The drier sound would not become fashionable till after 1991, but heard today, Dead Man’s Pop feels contemporary.
Janet Jackson, Control: The Remixes: I didn’t realize how much I loved the mixes featured in Janet’s videos.
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 traveled to Austin for the record convention this past weekend. I didn’t find much of what I wanted, but I did find a lot of what I didn’t know I wanted. This list includes purchases at Waterloo Records and End of an Ear.
Jamila Woods, Legacy! Legacy!
Kronos Quartet with Masha and Marjan Vadat, Placeless
a-ha, Hunting High and Low
Bill Frisell, Before We Were Born
Dwight Yoakam, Buenas Noches from a Lonely Room
Grizzly Bear, Shields
Johnny Cash, At Folsom Prison
Joy Division, Closer
Robert Palmer, Pride
Robert Palmer, Some People Can Do What They Like
Shovels & Rope, Swimmin’ Time
Tomita, The Planets
Witold Lutoslawski, Symphonies / Concertos / Vocal and Choral Works
Branford Marsalis Quartet, Crazy People Music
Everything But the Girl, Everything But the Girl
Franz Josef Haydn, Streichquartette, op. 20, 2 & 4 (Quarteto Esterhazy)
Giovanni Palestrina, Pope Marcellus Mass / Stabat Mater / Three Motets (Pro Cantione Antiqua, Bruno Turner)
Janet Jackson, Janet Jackson
Johnny Cash, At Folsom Prison
Kacey Musgraves, Same Trailer Different Park
Marilyn Manson, Antichrist Superstar
Megadeth, So Far … So Good … So What!
Olivier Messiaen, La Nativité du Seigneur (Jennifer Bate)
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 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.”