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.
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.
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.
Janelle Monáe, Dirty Computer: I also liked the Emotion Picture that accompanied the release of this album.
Christine and the Queens, Chris: Those dance moves!
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.
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.
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.
Seattle Symphony with Roomful of Teeth, Berio: Sinfonia: This piece was awesome to hear live.
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.
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.
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.