Archives

Favorite Edition 2022 Year Half

[TwoSet Violin - Fantasia]

Whenever I do a Google search for the best albums of the current year, I don’t recognize most of the results. So it becomes a game: how many of these best albums are made by artists I do recognize, and do I own any of them?

I have to confess a bit of disappointment when there’s an overlap between my tastes and that of the critical consensus.

These days, my favorite lists pretty much hew close to artists who’ve occupied the list before, so the lack of overlap is more an indication of my fossilizing tastes.

2022 is faring no different.

  • Utada Hikaru, Bad MODE: This album is definitely in the upper tier of favorite Hikki albums. Maybe right behind ULTRA BLUE, which says tons.
  • Kendrick Lamar, Mr. Morale and the Right Steppers: “We Cry Together” is compellingly uncomfortable and probably most of the reason this album is on this list. Also, I find this album far more engaging than DAMN.
  • The Linda Lindas, Growing Up: It sounds like there’s a bit of professional polish on this album, but it’s not enough to dull the band’s rough edges. I’ve rediscovered the Donnas recently, and part of me thinks I would have liked the Donnas more if they had been even remotely indignant as the Linda Lindas.
  • TwoSet Violin, Fantasia: Hey guys, some of us olds wouldn’t mind even a FLAC download somewhere.
  • Midnight Oil, RESIST: Billed as the final album, RESIST is every bit as urgent as a Midnight Oil album at the start of the band’s career. It’s just unfortunate that the world is not listening. Still.
  • Tears for Fears, The Tipping Point: Like Duran Duran’s FUTURE PAST, The Tipping Point finds Tears for Fears sound much like themselves without being too beholden to the past.
  • UA, Are U Romantic?: Imagine the Horizon EP with an updated sound. This EP is the most melodic we’ve heard from UA in a while.

Catalog

  • Black, Wonderful Life: I wish this album was a bigger deal in the States. It’s too bad I had to discover it through a thrift shop purchase.
  • Cave-In, Antenna: I vaguely remember this album being somewhat controversial among my metalhead co-workers at Waterloo Records in the early 2000s.
  • Mieczyslaw Weinberg, Violin Concerto / Sonata for Two Violins (Gidon Kremer): Kremer performed the concerto with the Seattle Symphony, and I came away from that concert impressed. After hearing this recoding, I understand Kremer championing the work of Weinberg, a friend of Dmitri Shostakovich.
  • Paula Cole, This Fire: It’s too bad Paula Cole became the Sound of the WB Network. I didn’t take this album seriously at the time of its release, despite admiring Cole’s backing vocals on Peter Gabriel’s Real World Live. This Fire is a far stranger album than its big hits would indicate.
  • Viktor Vaughan, Vaudeville Villain: It’s fucking MF DOOM.
  • Kraftwerk, Techno Pop (a.k.a. Electric Café): Kraftwerk is the first band I’m discovering on vinyl instead of CD. Rather than wait for a CD to show up at the thrift store, I’ve been picking up the band’s albums as used records. I probably like this album the most because of the Sprockets skit on Saturday Night Live.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Purchase log picks, second quarter 2022

[Cave In - Antenna]

Cave In, Antenna

I remember this album causing a bit of controversy among my record store co-workers at the time of its release. Cave In had recorded a number of metal albums till Antenna, which was the band’s major label debut. Antenna does not hide its commercial ambitions, and some of those said co-workers did not like this change in creative direction. Listening back to it, I have to say I really like it, which probably means I would not be the target market for their more metallic work.

Kraftwerk, Techno Pop (a.k.a. Electric Café)

You would think I would already have owned the entire Kraftwerk discography by now, and yet, they are the first band in decades that I’ve discovered through used vinyl instead of used CD. Yeah, I’ve dabbled with downloads of their albums in the past, but I’ve taken an earnest interest in them now. Techno Pop, a.k.a. Electric Café, is one of my favorites, mostly because of the Saturday Night Live skit Sprockets.

Bell Biv Devoe, Poison

When Poison showed up on the Record Store Day 2022 List, I immediately launched Spotify to determine if it were something for which I would want to budget. I was a teen-ager at the time of the album’s release, and I distinctly remember dismissing it as something cooler kids would like. I have since grown to appreciate new jack swing, and yes, I bought this album when RSD rolled around.

Manu Chao, Clandestino

I sold a lot of copies of this album when I worked at Waterloo Records, but I had no curiosity to find out why it was so popular. A few months into the job, I quickly sensed that Austinites on the whole did not like the same things that I liked. But I picked it up for $0.10 at Lifelong Thrift Shop, and I understand now why it’s still a popular album. Chao threads a lot of genres into his music, but he doesn’t get too clever, lest he falls into the Sting trap.

Kendrick Lamar, Mr. Morale and the Right Steppers

The entire album is great, but “We Cry Together” is fucking devastating.

The Linda Lindas, Growing Up

“Racist Sexist Boy” could have just been a flash in the pan, but oh damn, the Linda Lindas got that righteous indignation down pat.

TwoSet Violin, Fantasia

Eddy Chen and Brett Yang are common period guys through and through. I don’t look to them to advocate for Brian Ferneyhough or Peter Sculthorpe. So this EP of original music composed by Jordan He is absolutely on-brand for the duo — contemporary but rooted very much in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Purchase log, 2021-03-08

[Adam Neely - in this moment]

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
  • Anne-Sophie Mutter, Recital 2000
  • Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong, Ella and Louis
  • Faith No More, Album of the Year
  • Giacomo Puccini, La Bohème (Maria Callas)
  • Johnny Hartman, Unforgettable
  • Joshua Bell, Mendelssohn Beethoven Violin Concertos (Sir Roger Norrington, Camerata Salzburg)
  • KRS-One, Return of the Boom Bap
  • The Rolling Stones, Aftermath
  • Tom Waits, The Heart of Saturday Night
  • William Byrd, Gradualia: The Marian Masses (William Byrd Choir)
Vinyl
  • Joy Division, Closer
  • Kraftwerk, Radio-Activity
Files
  • Adam Neely feat. Martina DaSilva, “Castaways”
  • Adam Neely, “in this moment”

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Purchase log, 2022-02-08

[Kraftwerk - Computer World]

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
  • Air, Pocket Symphony
  • Aterciopelados, Gozo poderoso
  • Autechre, Untilted
  • Baz Luhrmann, Something for Everybody
  • Bill Frisell, Ghost Town
  • Bob Dylan, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan
  • Carol Nethen, A View from the Bridge
  • Cocteau Twins, The Pink Opaque
  • Daft Punk, Musique, Vol. 1: 1993-2005
  • Duffy, Endlessly
  • Esperanza Spalding, Radio Music Society
  • Four Tet, Everything Ecstatic
  • Garbage, Version 2.0
  • Gary Numan, “Cars” (1993)
  • Simon and Garfunkel, Bookends
  • Trentmøller, The Last Resort
  • Soundtrack, 2001: A Space Odyssey
Vinyl
  • Kraftwerk, Computer World

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Purchase log, 2022-01-11

[Soundtrack - Lost in Translation]

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
  • Bill Calahan, Apocalypse
  • Camper Van Beethoven, Camper Van Beethoven
  • The Rolling Stones, Tattoo You
Vinyl
  • KMD, Mr. Hood
  • Kraftwerk, The Man-Machine

Reissues

Vinyl
  • Soundtrack, Lost in Translation

Tags: , , , , , ,

Purchase log, 2021-09-14

[CZARFACE / MF DOOM - Super What?]

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
  • Czarface / MF Doom, Super What?
Vinyl
  • Art of Noise, Noise in the City: Live in Tokyo 1986

Catalog

CD
  • Alison Moyet, Singles
  • Can, Tago Mago
  • Cracker, Kerosene Hat
  • Funkadelic, Funkadelic
  • Grizzly Bear, Friend EP
  • John Coltrane, Crescent
  • John Coltrane, Impressions
  • Keith Jarrett, Solo Concerts: Bremen / Lausanne
  • Kraftwerk, Computer World
  • Linda Ronstadt, Greatest Hits
  • Living Colour, Live at CBGB’s
  • Nas, Illmatic
  • Robbie Williams, Life Thru a Lens
  • Slick Rick, The Great Adventures of Slick Rick
  • Sugababes, One Touch
  • Whiskeytown, Strangers Almanac
  • Soundtrack, Heavy Metal
Vinyl
  • Gaudeamus String Quartet, Crumb: Black Angels / Raxach: String Quartet No. 2 / De Leeuw: String Quartet No. 2

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Purchase log, 2021-08-10

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

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
  • Art of Noise, Noise in the City: Live in Tokyo, 1986
  • Drive-By Truckers, Plan 9 Records, July 13, 2006

Catalog

CD
  • Alicia Keys, Songs in A Minor
  • Ashanti, Ashanti
  • Carly Simon, The Best of Carly Simon
  • Shannon Wright, Over the Sun
  • Spiritualized, Let It Come Down
Vinyl
  • Kraftwerk, Autobahn

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Purchase log picks, October 2019

[Sturgill Simpson - Sound & Fury]

Sturgill Simpson, Sound & Fury

Like Patti Smith’s Horses, Sound & Fury confounded me. I put the album on repeat, and each listen only heightened my confusion and fascination. Was this My Bloody Valentine reborn as a southern rock band? Was it ZZ Top making the electroclash album it should never, ever record? In the end, it’s just Sturgill Simpson applying his work ethic to fucking with our minds.

Cocco, Star Shank

I don’t think I’ve heard Cocco scream with the kind of abandon she does on this album. It’s almost uncharacteristic now that she’s let a lot more sunshine into her music.

BBMAK, Powerstation

I didn’t realize how much I missed BBMAK till they announced their reunion, and this album does not disappoint.

The Replacements, Dead Man’s Pop

Don’t Tell a Soul was the first Replacements album I ever bought, so I find the over-produced, slick sound comforting. That said, I really dig this original mix by Matt Wallace. Thing is, it would have totally tanked in 1989. Maybe in 1993, it would have made more sense. But not in 1989.

Kim Gordon, No Home Record

Do we really need to pay attention to any other former member of Sonic Youth?

Ali Wong, Baby Cobra

I signed up for Netflix to watch the Sound & Fury anime. I might keep my subscription to watch Baby Cobra.

Kraftwerk, Trans-Europe Express

Kraftwerk strikes me as a band I ought to like, but so far, this album is the only one to connect.

Prince, Dirty Mind

I didn’t think I would like anything Prince recorded before 1999. I think I rather like this more than 1999.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Purchase log, 2019-10-08

[Cocco - Star Shank]

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
  • Cocco, Star Shank
Vinyl
  • Sturgill Simpson, Sound & Fury

Catalog

CD
  • Balligomingo, Beneath the Surface
  • Butthole Surfers, Electriclarryland
  • David Del Tredici, In Memory of a Summer Day
  • Iron Maiden, Seventh Son of a Seventh Son
  • Iron Maiden, The Number of the Beast
  • Justin Timberlake, The 20 / 20 Experience
  • Meredith Monk, Volcano Songs
  • New Order, Movement
  • Ride, Going Blank Again
  • Saint Etienne, Foxbase Alpha
  • Suzanne Vega, Solitude Standing
  • The Dead Milkmen, Soul Rotation
  • The Ocean Blue, Beneath the Rhythm and Sound
  • The Ocean Blue, Cerulean
  • The Roots, The Tipping Point
  • Thelonious Monk, Underground
Vinyl
  • Kraftwerk, Trans-Europe Express

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Purchase log, 2019-09-24

[Torche - Harmonicraft]

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
  • Brandi Carlile, By the Way I Forgive You
  • Interpol, Turn on the Bright Lights
  • Kraftwerk, Trans-Europe Express
  • Madonna, Remixed and Revisited
  • Men at Work, Business As Usual
  • Modern English, After the Snow
  • R.E.M.: Essential R.E.M.: In the Attic
  • Simon and Garfunkel, Bridge Over Troubled Waters
  • Soundgarden, Screaming Life / Fopp
  • Torche, Harmonicraft
  • Torche, Meanderthal

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,