Monthly Archives: December 2020

Purchase log picks, December 2020

[Animotion - Animotion]

Animotion, Animotion

I owned this album on vinyl, but I never played Side B all that much because the two hit singles were the two first tracks of the album (“Obsession”, “Let Him Go”). This album also had to compete with Duran Duran, Tears for Fears and ABC for my attention, and it didn’t fare well. Eventually, I would sell the record for cash.

I picked it up again at the thrift store and actually gave Side B a few spins. As a whole, the album holds together incredibly well. I went so far as to find the expanded edition reissued by Cherry Red on CD.

Big Black, Songs About Fucking

The arm of Big Black stretches long.

Richard Goode, Beethoven: The Complete Sonatas

Nonesuch offered a priced-down reissue of this boxed set for $25 to celebrate Beethoven’s birthday. That same week, I spotted a used copy of the original boxed set selling for that exact amount.


On Twitter, I said, “I find Sam Hunt simultaneously fascinating and disappointing.” The disappointing part are the bro country lyrics. The fascinating part is the use of hip-hop beats in country, which I hear is actually a thing.

Bruce Springsteen, Letter to You

Spike Lee has been described as someone who doesn’t know how to end his films. I sometimes feel the same about Bruce Springsteen. This album does drag after a while, but the stronger moments rank up there with his most renowned works.

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By the numbers: 2020

[Bruce Springsteen - Letter to You]

In the past, I would try to write about every album I encountered. These days, I listen to a lot of stuff, but I’ll only post an entry if something sparks a memory.

As these statistics demonstrate, I’m leaving a lot out of this blog.

First and last purchases of the year

The first and last purchases of the year are determined by the date of order. Pre-ordered items not yet shipped have already been taken into account.

  • First purchase: Gary Numan, The Pleasure Principle on vinyl.
  • First purchase of a 2020 release: … And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, X: The Godless Void and Other Stories on CD.
  • Last purchase of a 2020 release: Bruce Springsteen, Letter to You on CD
  • Last purchase: XTC, Go 2 on CD.

Purchases by format

FormatNew releaseReissueCatalogTotal
CD Single0000
Total items bought6238304407


New release
Initial release within the calendar year.
Originally released prior to the calendar year but reissued within the calendar year.
Initial release prior to the calendar year.

Top catalog release years

YearNumber of items purchasedYear-over-year change

Top artists

Single titles purchased in multiple formats are counted individually.

ArtistNumber of items purchased
Jason Isbell6
Various Artists6
PJ Harvey5
Philip Glass4
… And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead4
Guided By Voices4


  • For the second year in a row, soundtracks make up a lot of my purchases from the past year, and like last year, they’re less about the score and more about the show.
  • Jason Isbell owns his own record label, so when SARS-CoV2 hit, he pivoted from live performance to releasing live recordings on Bandcamp.
  • The PJ Harvey vinyl reissue campaign has also drawn my attention to her works.
  • It looks like I’ve expanded beyond the late ’80s in my catalog purchases. It could also just be a symptom of limited purchasing opportunities due to SARS-CoV2.
  • Collectorz Music, the software I use to track my collection, added a count column to its interface, which has made compiling this entry so much faster.

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Purchase log, 2020-12-22

[Big Black - Songs About Fucking]

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

  • Sturgill Simpson, Cuttin’ Grass, Vol. 1: The Butcher Shoppe Sessions


  • Andrew Lloyd Webber, Sunset Boulevard (Premiere American Recording)
  • Animotion, Animotion
  • Aretha Franklin, Aretha Sings the Blues
  • Big Black, Songs About Fucking
  • Justin Townes Earle, Harlem River Blues
  • Ludwig Van Beethoven, The Complete Sonatas (Richard Goode)
  • Sonic Youth, Bad Moon Rising
  • Sonic Youth, Sonic Death
  • Suzanne Ciani, Seven Waves
  • The Sisters of Mercy, First and Last and Always
  • The Sisters of Mercy, Floodland
  • Various Artists, Tom’s Album
  • A Taste of Honey, Twice as Sweet
  • Franz Ferdinand, Franz Ferdinand
  • The Knack, Get the Knack
  • Yes, 90125

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Favorite Edition 2020 Year Final

[Sam Sparro - Boombox Eternal]

Twenty years ago, I was on the receiving end of an economic slump. I’ve gone through two more slumps since then, and I’ve so far dodge the bullet in both cases.

It doesn’t mean I don’t feel skittish.

All that to say that my disposable income had not diminished this past year, despite the economic devastation SARS-CoV2 has wrought, and I’m thankful I can even compile a list.

  1. Sam Sparro, Boombox Eternal: I’m not sure why I feel nostalgic for a style of music I actually disliked when I was younger, but Sparro nailed it.
  2. My Very Own Familiar, Dear Listener: Lawnchairs for the Apocalypse: I may have a bit of a bias since a friend of mine is in this band.
  3. Timo Andres / Jeremy Denk / Brad Mehldau / Randy Newman, I Still Play: A fitting tribute to Nonesuch emeritus executive Bob Hurwitz, for whom the pieces on this album were commissioned.
  4. … And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead, X: The Godless Void and Other Stories: No signs of mellowing out even after 25 years.
  5. Perfume Genius, Set My Heart on Fire Immediately: I thought it was going to be hard to top No Shape.
  6. Jason Isbell and 400 Unit, Reunions: Isbell has been on such a sustained winning streak that it seemed at some point he needed to stumble. He hasn’t.
  7. Fiona Apple, Fetch the Bolt Cutters: I’m not even a Fiona Apple fan, and I like this album.
  8. Kylie Minogue, DISCO: My first Kylie purchase since Aphrodite. I wasn’t on board for the last two albums.
  9. Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, The Beethoven Connection: I like this idea of exploring Beethoven-adjacent composers to puzzle out how they influenced Beethoven himself.
  10. Mr. Bungle, The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny Demo: Straight up hardcore.

Other favorites of the year:

  • Brooklyn Rider, Healing Modes
  • The Streets, None of Us Are Getting Out of This Life Alive
  • Mandy Barnett, A Nashville Songbook
  • Jónsi, Shiver

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Favorite Edition 2020 Catalog

[Ned Doheny - Hard Candy]

Last year, I may have complained about getting too many albums from Lifelong Thrift Shop, where I had started volunteering. SARS-CoV2 pretty much ended my volunteer work for this year, but I intend to resume once the pandemic subsides. I still make weekly visits, this time as a customer.

At least it’s afforded me to take a deeper dive into albums I do get.


  • Ned Doheny, Hard Candy: Does anyone else get a super homoerotic vibe from the cover?
  • Charlie Puth, Voicenotes: I just found him totally adorable in the Subway ads.
  • Robyn, Body Talk: I’m a latecomer to Robyn, but I see why she is popular with the gays.
  • Anton Reicha, Reicha Rediscovered, Vol. 1 (Ivan Ilić): Two volumes of an expected five have been released, so where are the other three?
  • Nakamori Akina, AKINA BOX, 1982-1989: This purchase pretty much seals my place in the Nakamori vs. Matsuda rivalry.
  • Various Artists, Studio One Rockers: Dawn Penn’s “No No No” is one of those tracks I loved but never knew who sang till recently.
  • The Damned, Machine Gun Etiquette: I love those thrift shop purchases that turn out to be keepers.
  • Gary Numan, The Pleasure Principle: I have “Cars” on a 7-inch single, and it only took me another 40 years before listening to the entire album.
  • SUPERCAR, OOKeah!!: I thought I had caught up on owning SUPERCAR’s studio albums, but this album along with OOYeah!! slipped through the cracks. Of the simultaneously-released pair from 1999, OOKeah!! is noisier with stronger writing.
  • The Dismemberment Plan, Change: I’m waiting for Emergency & I to show up at the thrift shop.


I actually bought more vinyl reissues this year than remasters or deluxe editions.

  • Wire Train, In a Chamber / Between Two Words / Ten Women: This 2-CD reissue of Wire Train’s Columbia albums might mark the first time Ten Women has been released on CD.
  • Tears for Fears, The Seeds of Love (Deluxe Edition): Wow, this album is longer than I remember.
  • U2, All That You Can’t Leave Behind (Deluxe Edition): I didn’t spring for the multi-disc edition with B-sides, but the inclusion of a live show did remind me of the only time I saw the band live, which was during the Elevation Tour.
  • Roberta Flack, First Take (50th Anniversary Edition): The bonus material on this expanded edition is illuminating, but it’s clear why they weren’t pursued for the album.
  • Neneh Cherry, Raw Like Sushi: This album so needed a remastering.

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Purchase log, 2020-12-08

[Death Cab for Cutie - The Georgia EP]

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

  • Sam Hunt, SOUTHSIDE
  • Death Cab for Cutie, The Georgia EP
  • Eponymous 4, Shinkyoku Moratorium Eigoban


  • Heart, Greatest Hits / Live
  • Pizzicato Five, Combinaison spaciale EP
  • The National, The National


Box set
  • The Replacements, Pleased to Meet Me

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Concert Edition 2020

[... And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, The Crocodile, Jan. 21]
Conrad Keely of … And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead at the end of the band’s concert at The Crocodile, Jan. 21, 2020

I’ve tuned into a number of live streams since SARS-CoV2 shut down live music worldwide, but I’m not listing them here in this concert overview.

I treated those live streams as background music while I surfed the web. I wouldn’t abide that behavior at a concert, so indulging in it during a live stream disqualifies me from saying, “I saw that performance.”

Looking back, it’s chilling to think I went to these shows when SARS-CoV2 had already begun its community spread.

… And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, The Crocodile, Jan. 21

I left work early so I could rest up before going to this show, and I dodged a shooting that shut down Downtown Seattle. If I left an hour later, I may have been caught up in the mayhem.

This show was the first time I saw … Trail of Dead in a venue not located in Austin. They were as I remembered them, which is amazing after 20 some odd years of following the band. And yes, the stage got trashed at the end.

Seattle Symphony, Dvořák: Symphony No. 8, Benaroya Hall, Feb. 8

Dvořák’s ninth symphony left such an indelible impression on my young teenaged self, I never sought out any of his other orchestral works to avoid disappointment. So I’ve only recently become acquainted with his eighth symphony.

I have a number of Gidon Kremer albums with his Kremerata Baltica, so I was looking forward to hearing him perform, regardless of the work. I’m not familiar with Mieczysław Weinberg, but I came away with a favorable impression of his violin concerto.

Seattle Symphony, Mozart: Concerto for Two Pianos, Benaroya Hall, Feb. 21

I admit I go to Seattle Symphony premieres in the hope of finding a “hit” — a work that I would crave to hear on recording. A lot of times, though, I leave the concert hall without an impression of what I heard. Such is the case with Ryan Wigglesworth’s Piano Concerto.

Seattle Festival Orchestra, Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto, Town Hall Seattle, March 1

The soloist for the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto was my violin teacher, Luke Fitzpatrick. I would hear him rehearse parts of the concerto before my lesson, so I went to this performance to see the final result. He pretty much crushed it. The inclusion of the Amy Beach Celtic symphony did make the program feel longer than it ought to have been.

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Purchase log, 2020-12-01

[Jane's Addiction - Ritual de lo Habitual]

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

  • Onitsuka Chihiro, Hysteria
  • Drive-By Truckers, Plan 9 Records, July 13, 2006


  • Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Slow Riot for New Zero Kanada EP
  • St. Germain, Tourist
  • Supertramp, Breakfast in America
  • The Avett Brothers, The Gleam
  • The Sugarhill Gang, Rapper’s Delight: The Best of Sugarhill Gang
  • U2, The Unforgettable Fire (Deluxe Edition)
  • TV on the Radio, Dear Science
  • Whitney Houston, Whitney Houston
  • Beyoncé, Beyoncé
  • Kanye West, 808s and Heartbreaks
  • Weezer, Weezer (Blue Album)


  • Alice in Chains, SAP
  • Beastie Boys, Some Old Bullshit
  • Fountains of Wayne, Welcome Interstate Managers
  • Jane’s Addiction, Ritual de lo Habitual
  • Milla Jovovitch, The Divine Comedy
  • U2, Boy (40th anniversary white vinyl)

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