Swing Out Sister, Blue Mood, Breakout and Beyond: The Early Years, Aug. 12
This 8-disc boxed set covers Swing Out Sister’s first three albums, supplementing them with B-sides, remixes and a live album. I like two of the three albums from that era — It’s Better to Travel and Kaleidoscope World — so I’m curious but not entirely tempted.
R.E.M., Chronic Town EP, Aug. 19
This 40th anniversary edition would be the first time the Chronic Town EP is released as its own separate CD. It was previously released as part of Dead Letter Office, a compilation of B-sides and rare tracks. I have to admit I didn’t find Dead Letter Office compelling, save for the Chronic Town tracks. So I welcome this reissue.
Madonna, Finally Enough Love: 50 Number Ones, Aug. 19
Madonna returns to Warner Bros., bringing along the albums she recorded during her time away from the label. This compilation of remixes marks the new business arrangement.
Blondie, Against the Odds: 1974-1982, Aug. 26
Blondie has always struck me as a band for which I am the target market, but I own only Parallel Lines and The Best of Blondie. This boxed set includes all six studio albums, plus a few extra discs of rarities. I’ve been on a boxed set kick lately, so … sure why not?
Santigold, Spirituals, Sept. 9
Santigold releases her first full album since 99 Cents, which was released in 2016, and I Don’t Want: The Gold Fire Sessions, a mixed tape released in 2018. It’s also the first release of her own label, Little Jerk Records.
Death Cab for Cutie, Asphalt Meadows, Sept. 16
I passed on Death Cab’s previous album, Thank You for Today. Given the band’s Pacific Northwest roots, they’re still something of a big deal in the area, but I do find myself reacting to this album news similar to a non-Duranie learning about a new Duran Duran album.
Steve Reich, Runner / Music for Ensemble and Orchestra, Sept. 30
Runner would be the second Steve Reich release on Nonesuch in 2022. I can’t say Reich / Richter really grabbed my attention. Nonesuch hinted that a boxed set similar to John Adams’ Collected Works is in the works for Reich.
Charlie Puth, CHARLIE, Oct. 7
I still can’t believe a Subway commercial got me into Charlie Puth.
Christine and the Queens, Redcar les adorables etoiles, Oct. 28
TIL the translation of this album title is “Redcar the adorable star”, and Redcar is an alter ego of Christine.
David Bowie, Earthlng, Aug. 12
I hadn’t yet done a deep dive into the works of David Bowie when this album was reissued for Record Store Day. So yes, I missed out. But I bided my time. For a figure as large as Bowie, these things don’t stay out of print forever.
Moby, Everything Is Wrong, Aug. 12
Moby is reissuing a number of early albums on colored vinyl, and while I like Everything Is Wrong, I’m more of a fan of Animal Rights. So I was a bit surprised to see Animal Rights was left out. Then I visited Moby’s online store and discovered it still sold the 2016 reissue of Animal Rights. Yeah, I ordered it. And yeah, I’m probably going to pick this one up as well.
… And You Will Us Know By the Trail of Dead, IX, Sept. 9
Music on Vinyl reissues are always hit or miss when it comes to availability in the US.
This EP finds UA going back to a more pop sound, very reminiscent of HORIZON.
The Lindas Lindas, Growing Up, June 3
This album is already available on streaming services, and it’s a burner.
Patty Griffin, Tape, June 10
Patty Griffin’s debut album, Living With Ghosts, was pretty much her demo tape. I admit I haven’t followed Griffin since the mid-2000s, but I am curious to see more of her lo-fi side.
… And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, XI: BLEED HERE NOW, July 15
… Trail of Dead was the last rock show to which I attended before SARS-CoV2 slammed the world shut. It feels like yesterday.
Ty Herndon, Jacob, July 15
Ty Herndon has been talking up this album since before writing and recording had finished. He’s a mainstream singer at heart, so I’m not expecting a makeover on the level of Emmylou Harris’ Wrecking Ball. But he does seem to be swinging for the fences on this one.
Perfume, PLASMA, July 27
The pandemic has really messed up my sense of time. FUTURE POP was released in 2018, and I saw Perfume in concert the following year. Like the … Trail of Dead album, it doesn’t seem that long ago.
Cracker, Cracker, May 27
Cracker’s self-titled debut album turns 30 years old in 2022, and the album hasn’t see a vinyl reissue in all that time.
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.
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.
I started running out of things to say just as the SARS-CoV2 spread in the US, and when the lockdown happened, I threw myself into recording a pair of cover albums. I wasn’t buying much music, nor listening to anyone other than myself. By the time I finished making the albums, stores were opening up, and my music buying eventually resumed.
But I still don’t have much to say.
That doesn’t mean I’ve run out of opinions. So here are my favorites of the year so far.
Sam Sparro, Boombox Eternal
Timo Andres / Brad Mehldau / Jeremy Denk / Randy Newman, I Still Play
Perfume Genius, Set My Heart on Fire Immediately
Jason Isbell and 400 Unit, Reunions
The Streets, None of Us Are Getting Out of This Life Alive
Fiona Apple, Fetch the Bolt Cutters
… And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, X: The Godless Void and Other Stories