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Favorite Edition 2018 Year Final

[Parquet Courts - Wide Awake!]

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.

  1. 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.
  2. Janelle Monáe, Dirty Computer: I also liked the Emotion Picture that accompanied the release of this album.
  3. Christine and the Queens, Chris: Those dance moves!
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Seattle Symphony with Roomful of Teeth, Berio: Sinfonia: This piece was awesome to hear live.
  8. 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performing his gamelan transcriptions with Benjamin Britten, and I kind of wish Muhly and Bartlett had also done the unpublished scores.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.

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Purchase log, 2018-10-30

[Camouflage - Voices and Images]

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.

Catalog

CD
  • Bob Dylan, Time Out of Mind
  • Childish Gambino, “Awaken, My Love!”
  • Godley & Creme, The History Mix, Volume 1
  • Megadeth, Rust in Peace
  • Morphine, Cure for Pain
  • Nakamori Akina, CRUISE (Remastered)
  • Tracey Thron, A Distant Shore
  • Yaz, Upstairs at Eric’s

Reissues

CD
  • Camouflage, Voices & Images (30th Anniversary Edition)
Vinyl
  • Julee Cruise, The Voice of Love

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Favorite Edition 2018: Year half

[Janelle Monáe - Dirty Computer]

It’s time we turn this list around. Instead of tracking the favorite new releases of 2018, I’ll start with my favorite catalog discoveries. The vast majority of my listening these days is old music that’s new to me, so let’s pretend no longer I have a read on anything current.

Catalog

  • Patti Smith, Horses: PJ Harvey sure owes a lot to Patti Smith. The first time I played Horses, there were moments I thought I was listening to Polly Jean. This album confounded me, thus forcing me to play it multiple times, each time engaging me more than the last. Smith has been described as the godmother of punk, and I half expected a proto-Sleater-Kinney. Nah, man. That’s not it at all.
  • The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Are You Experienced?: Maybe it’s because of Emmylou Harris and Kronos Quartet that made this album feel instantly familiar, or maybe its influence extends as far as the arm of Sauron.
  • Roxy Music, Avalon: Smooth
  • Bruce Springsteen, Nebraska: This shit is dark.
  • Joni Mitchell, Court and Spark: Without some schooling in Charles Mingus and John Coltrane, I wouldn’t have understood how ground-breaking this album is. Otherwise, the cheap imitations it spawned would have been my only reference.
  • Fugazi, The Argument: I didn’t think anything could top 13 Songs or Repeater, but this album comes damn close.
  • Dwight Yoakam, Guitars Cadillacs Etc. Etc.: Honky-tonk AF
  • Benjamin Gibbard / Andrew Kenny, Home, Vol. 5: Even after 15 years, this split EP holds together well.

New Releases

  • Janelle Monáe, Dirty Computer: This is the album I wished The ArchAndroid was. I still think she hasn’t yet recorded her Shousou Strip.
  • Laurie Anderson and Kronos Quartet, Landfall: I found myself engaged in this album more than I expected.
  • Various Artists, Adam to Eve no Ringo: Shiina Ringo is one of the best songwriters, because the strength of her writing cuts through even the most ordinary interpretation of her songs.
  • Thomas Bartlett and Nico Muhly, Peter Pears: Balinese Ceremonial Music: It’s an improbable concept album based on transcriptions of Balinese gamelan music by English composer Colin McPhee. In execution, it’s a stronger concept than the Planetarium album Muhly did with Sufjan Stevens, Bryce Dessner and James McAlister.
  • Steve Grand, not the end of me: Grand has gone through some serious shit since his debut album, and this sprawling sophomore effort lays it all out.
  • Utada Hikaru, Hatsukoi: Check out the rhythmic modulation on “Chikai”. She does some amazing obfuscation with the downbeat.
  • Igor Stravinsky, Chant Funèbre / La Sacre Du Printemps: It seems Funeral Song didn’t really answer the question of how Stravinsky bridged his Scriabin-influenced early work with the Firebird and all that came after.
  • Tracey Thorn, Record: Tracey Thorn returns to the dancefloor, thank deities.

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Purchase log, 2018-03-13

[Tracey Thorn - Record]

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

CDs
  • Tracey Thorn, Record

Catalog

CDs
  • Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band, Trout Mask Replica
  • Elvis Costello, Brutal Youth
  • M.I.A., Arular
  • Madonna, MDNA
  • Robert Palmer, Sneakin’ Sally Through the Alley
  • Radiohead, In Rainbows
  • The Roots, Things Fall Apart
  • Stephen Sondheim, Company (Original Cast Recording)

 

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Looking ahead: March-April 2018

[Tracey Thorn - Record]

The release calendar is thinning out for me, which isn’t to say it’s not picking up.

Do As Infinity, ALIVE, Feb. 28

It’s been so long since I’ve paid attention to Do As Infinity that I almost didn’t recognize Owatari Ryo without the spiky blonde highlights. I still have a soft spot for this band. I don’t know why.

Tracey Thorn, Record, March 2

We’ve had two Ben Watt albums, so it’s high time for Tracey Thorn to offer a third post-EBTG disc. Also, is she a fan of the Art of Noise? Because that cover looks familiar.

[Art of Noise - In Visible Silence LP inner sleeve]

ART-SCHOOL, In Colors, March 7

I fell off the ART-SCHOOL bandwagon when it became apparent the years have eroded Kinoshita Riki’s voice.

THE BACK HORN, Joukei Dorobou, March 7

I shouldn’t be surprised THE BACK HORN has been around 20 years when Cocco celebrated the 20th anniversary of her debut. Utada Hikaru and Shiina Ringo are only a year away from theirs.

Perfume, “Mugen Mirai”, March 14

The last two singles weren’t terribly impressive. Have we reached peak Perfume? I’m probably one of the few people who liked COSMIC EXPLORER.

ASIAN KUNG-FU GENERATION, BEST HIT AKG 2, March 28
ASIAN KUNG-FU GENERATION, BEST HIT AKG Official Bootleg “HONE”, March 28
ASIAN KUNG-FU GENERATION, BEST HIT AKG Official Bootleg “IMO”, March 28

This second volume of greatest hits from ASIAN KUNG-FU GENERATION covers the albums from Landmark to Sol-Fa 2016. The official bootlegs bring together tracks compiled by Goto Masafumi on playlists published on the AKG blog. I think I’m covered.

Kylie Minogue, Golden, April 6

What little press I’ve encountered about this album made a big deal of the fact it was recorded in Nashville. I can’t say Nashville strikes me as diverse a music scene as Austin or Seattle, but the city has a music infrastructure that can absolutely accommodate Kylie.

Royal Wood, Ever After Farewell, April 6 (Canada)

Royal Wood also recorded his new album in Nashville, but his style of music is a natural fit for the city. I’m just hoping I don’t have to wait another year for an international release.

Vinyl

Annie Lennox, Diva, March 2

I’m ambivalent about this album, and yet I’m pretty sure I’m going to pick it up on release day. That is the draw of Annie Lennox’s voice.

Art of Noise, In Visible Silence (Deluxe Edition), March 2

I do not need to buy another copy of this album on vinyl.
I do not need to buy another copy of this album on vinyl.
I do not need to buy another copy of this album on vinyl.

Nakamori Akina, NEW AKINA Etrangér, May 2
Nakamori Akina, Fushigi, July 4
Nakamori Akina, CRUISE, July 4
Nakamori Akina, Cross My Palm, July 4

These vinyl reissues were announced last year, then summarily canceled. I’m most interested in Fushigi and CRUISE, but I get the impression I could save cash seeking out second-hand copies. I did find NEW AKINA Etrangér at Everyday Music, though.

Eurythmics, Peace, Oct. 28

Eurythmics vinyl reissues are scheduled throughout the year, but I snatched up original pressings the first time around. Peace, however, is the 1999 reunion album that has never been issued on vinyl.

 

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