All posts by Greg Bueno

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.

Catalog

  • 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.

Reissues

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

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

Catalog

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

Reissues

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

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

Catalog

CD
  • 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
Vinyl
  • Beyoncé, Beyoncé
  • Kanye West, 808s and Heartbreaks
  • Weezer, Weezer (Blue Album)

Reissues

Vinyl
  • 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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Purchase log picks, November 2020

[Whitney Houston - Whitney Houston]

SUPERCAR, OOKeah!!

SUPERCAR’s vinyl reissue campaign from 2017-2018 gave me an excuse to explore the band’s first three albums. The campaign didn’t include a pair of albums released in 1999, OOKeah!! and OOYeah!! So they’ve escaped my attention till now. I prefer OOKeah!! over OOYeah!!, although the latter include “Be”, a song with a darkly humorous video that can only come from Japan.

So, when can we get these albums reissued on vinyl?

Kylie Minogue, DISCO

Kiss Me Once was one of the last albums I downloaded from eMusic, and I skipped Golden altogether. So I approached DISCO with a fair amount of caution. Oh, she’s back.

PJ Harvey, Dry

Friends tried to get me into PJ Harvey by playing To Give You My Love. I would have gotten on board much sooner if they had played Rid of Me or Dry instead. I am, however, eagerly waiting news for a vinyl reissue of Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea.

Drive-By Truckers, Plan 9 Records, July 13, 2006

I’ve subjected myself to 3-LP live albums before, but this one is a scorcher from start to finish. I still see some copies of this Record Store Day exclusive in the wild, so you should get it if you spot it.

Whitney Houston, Whitney Houston

I disliked Whitney Houston growing up. Her songs were played to death on the radio, and just about every track on this album was released as a single. So how did I end up liking it more than 30 years later? The non-single tracks are actually pretty decent. Paired with the big showstoppers, Houston’s self-titled debut holds together exceptionally well. I didn’t even mind hearing the old singles again.

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Purchase log, 2020-11-24

[PJ Harvey - Dry]

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
  • Dirty Vegas, Dirty Vegas
  • Dixie Chicks, Wide Open Spaces
  • Hilary Hahn, Mendelssohn and Shostakovich: Violin Concertos
  • Hiroshima, Providence
  • PJ Harvey, Dry
  • The Sugarcubes, It’s-It

Reissues

Vinyl
  • Emmylou Harris, Wrecking Ball (clear vinyl)

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Purchase log, 2020-11-17

[Kylie Minogue - DISCO]

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

CD
  • Jónsi, Shiver
  • Kylie Minogue, DISCO

Catalog

CD
  • Bill Evans and Jim Hall, Undercurrent
  • Guided By Voices, Alien Lanes
  • Killing Joke, Night Time
  • Sia, 1000 Forms of Fear
  • The White Stripes, De Stijl

Reissues

CD
  • John Luther Adams, The Become Trilogy (Seattle Symphony, Ludovic Morlot)
Vinyl
  • Alice in Chains, Facelift
  • PJ Harvey, 4-Track Demos
  • PJ Harvey, Dry

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Purchase log, 2020-11-10

[Peter Gabriel - Secret World Live]

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

CD
  • Duran Duran featuring Andy Wickett , Dreaming of Your Cars: 1979 Demos, Part 2

Catalog

CD
  • SUPERCAR, OOKeah!!
  • SUPERCAR, OOYeah!!
Vinyl
  • Marshall Crenshaw, Marshall Crenshaw
  • Rolling Stones, Emotional Rescue
  • Sheena Easton, Sheena Easton
  • Stephen Sondheim, Follies In Concert

Reissues

Vinyl
  • Peter Gabriel, Secret World Live

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