Archives

Looking ahead, June-July 2019

[John Luther Adams - Become Desert]

MONO, Hymn to the Immortal Wind (Anniversary Edition), June 14

I’m not usually a sucker for fancy packaging, but the limited edition vinyl reissue looks gorgeous. Also, this album really is MONO’s best.

John Luther Adams, Become Desert (Seattle Symphony, Ludovic Morlot), June 14

I’m not sure a recording will capture the surprise when a men’s chorus emerges from the texture of the orchestra — behind you. Perhaps in surround sound?

Renée Fleming, Lieder, June 14

An album of Brahms, Schumann and Mahler. I’ll pass.

The B-52’s, Cosmic Thing (Expanded Edition), June 28

It took a while for me to warm up to the B-52’s rougher early work because my first exposure to the band was the slick and polished Cosmic Thing.

Torche, Admission, July 12

I have three of the band’s four albums, which gives me enough familiarity with their work to look forward this upcoming release.

The Flaming Lips, King’s Mouth, July 19

Oh, so this was an actual new album? When I spotted it on Record Store Day, I assumed it was another one of their oddball projects.

NUMBER GIRL, Kanden no Kioku, July 24

A new live album! Or rather, raiding the archive to capitalize on the reunion.

Vinyl

Midnight Oil, Armistice Day: Live at the Domain Sydney, June 14

Oh, man, was I ever glad to catch Midnight Oil live on The Great Circle tour.

Solange, When I Get Home, late June

Solage’s Blonde to the Endless that was A Seat at the Table. How’s that for a difficult analogy?

Everything But the Girl, Amplified Heart, July 5

I’m surprised this album hadn’t been reissued on vinyl before now. Could we get a repress of Walking Wounded too?

NUMBER GIRL, SCHOOL GIRL DISTORTIONAL ADDICT, Aug. 7
NUMBER GIRL, SAPPUKEI, Aug. 7
NUMBER GIRL, NUM-HEAVYMETALLIC, Aug. 7

The Jet Set Records vinyl reissues in 2015 were pretty much sold out before they hit the stores, so jump on these pre-orders if you want to hear NUMBER GIRL in glorious analog.

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Looking ahead, May-June 2019

[Shiina Ringo - Sandokushi]

Sting, My Songs, May 24

I had high but cautious hope for 57th and 9th. That will learn me.

Shiina Ringo, Sandokushi, May 27

This album adds six new tracks to the seven already released in various downloads and singles. Does anyone else get the sense Ringo-chan is phoning it in? I would think a 20-year anniversary would warrant a big reissue campaign in addition to a new album.

Eluvium, Piano Works, May 31

The deluxe edition vinyl release of this new album of piano works includes a sheet music book of Eluvium’s keyboard works.

Madonna, Madame X, June 14

Rebel Heart turned out better than I expected, but that seems to be the exception than the rule in recent years.

Prince, Originals, June 21

This compilation brings together demos of songs Prince wrote for other singers. I wonder if in the distant future we’ll hear The Family with Prince’s vocals.

Sigur Rós, Ágætis byrjun (Deluxe Edition), June 21

I like Sigur Rós, and Ágætis byrjun is a fine album. I’m not sure I love it enough for 4-CDs or 7-LPs.

Vinyl

James Blake, Assume Form, May 31

I hesitated on getting James Blake’s latest album till I found an unopened copy at the thrift store for $3. It’s turned out to be one of the better releases of 2019.

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Looking ahead: April-May 2019

[NUMBER GIRL - OMOIDE IN MY HEAD 1 ~BEST & B-SIDES~

I didn’t have a chance to update the March-April 2019 preview when these releases were announced.

Kronos Quartet with Mahsa and Marjan Vadat, Placeless, March 22

This album is already available on streaming services, which means I’ve had a chance to listen to it. Unfortunately for Kronos and the Vadats, the new Solange album has also monopolized my attention.

Henryk Górecki, Symphony No. 3 (Beth Gibbons, Krzysztov Penderecki, Polish National Radio Symphony), March 29

I don’t know about this one. Portished has never been a band I could internalize, and while I like Górecki’s third symphony, its reputation has become a bit outsize. I’m wondering how Penderecki got roped into it.

Emerson String Quartet and Evgeny Kissin, The New York Concert, April 12

The works on this program are tamer than what I normally pursue, but I like both the Emerson and Kissin.

Björk, Vespertine: A Pop Album as an Opera (Nationaltheater Mannheim), April 12

I’m willing to give this one a chance, if only because Vespertine is one of the few Björk albums I no longer own. I couldn’t get into it when it came out, so I welcome a chance to hear it in another context.

Jack Ingram, Ridin’ High … Again, April 26

I’ve been wondering what’s up with Jack Ingram. I stopped following him when he decided to make friends with country radio, but he left that behind at the end of his Big Machine contract. His 2016 album, Midnight Motel, is breezy and off-the-cuff, so I’m curious to hear what’s next.

NUMBER GIRL, OMOIDE IN MY HEAD 1 ~BEST & B-SIDES~, May 1

More time has passed since NUMBER GIRL’s break-up than the band was ever together, and a large portion of the band’s discography is out of print. So on the heels of their reunion tour, this collection of singles and b-sides gets reissued for a generation who missed out the first time.

Mikami Chisako, re:life / Utopia, May 22

Wow, she really is back.

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Looking ahead, March-April 2019

[... And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead - Madonna]

Onitsuka Chihiro, Syndrome (Premium Edition), March 20

Aside from a poster and a photo book, this premium edition of Syndrome also includes a second disc of the entire album without vocals. Karaoke! It’s also housed in an LP-sized jacket. I say, just stick a vinyl version of the album in that jacket!

Weezer, Weezer (The Teal Album), March 8

I’m usually ambivalent about Weezer, but this album is actually fun. It’s been available on streaming services for a while now.

Gang of Four, Happy Now, March 29

I might check this out when it’s released, but I have to admit I haven’t even listened to Complicit yet. The band’s previous album, What Happens Next, was one of the last I downloaded from eMusic before I canceled my subscription.

Idlewild, Interview Music, April 5 (UK)

Idlewild dropped off my radar right around the middle of the last decade, so I’m not sure if they’ve got successively safer with each album or if they reverted back to the brashness of Hope Is Important.

The Drums, Brutalism, April 5

I think I’m still following the Drums because Jonny Pierce synthesizes post-punk in a way more sophisticated than Interpol, the Killers or the Strokes ever did.

Massive Attack, Mezzanine (Deluxe Edition), April 19 (UK)

I picked this album up from the thrift store in 2018. I like it, but enough to drop money on a deluxe edition?

BBMak, TBD, April 26

Don’t judge. I’ll be in London when this album comes out. HMV will probably be shuttered by that time.

Vinyl

… And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, Madonna, March 5

I missed out on the 2013 reissue of this album, so I’ve already placed my pre-order.

Mikami Chisako, I AM Ready!, March 6

I won’t lie — I would rather see fra-foa’s Chuu no Fuchi reissued on vinyl, but I AM Ready! was enjoyable. Maybe enjoyable enough to get on vinyl?

Utada Hikaru, “Face My Fears”, March 6

I’m getting this less for the new song and more for the English version of “Chikai”, going by the title “Don’t Think Twice”. “Chikai” is probably the most rhythmically confounding song Utada has written.

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Looking ahead, January-February 2019

[Jeremy Denk - c.1300-c.2000]

The site will take its usual January break starting next week, so this entry is my last chance to point out some upcoming releases.

Jeremy Denk, c.1300-c.2000, Feb. 8

I’ll be seeing Jeremy Denk in concert in a few weeks, but he won’t be performing the sprawling program of this two-disc set spanning seven centuries of music.

Vinyl

Mindy Smith, One Moment More, Jan. 29

Mindy Smith is so far the only country music singer whose voice reminds me of Harriet Wheeler of the Sundays.

Prince, Musicology, Feb. 8
Prince, 3121, Feb. 8

Musicology was heralded as a return to form, but I found it less interesting than 3121. But even 3121 was less interesting than The Gold Experience, which I would consider getting on vinyl. But really, when is the Love Symbol album getting reissued?

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Looking ahead: November 2018-January 2019

[Kate Bush - The Red Shoes]

Just in time for the holiday season, a whole slew of box sets make it on the release calendar.

Thought Gang, Thought Gang, Nov. 2

So essentially a Julee Cruise album, minus Julee Cruise? David Lynch and Angelo Badalamanti recorded the material on this album from 1992-1993, but only now does it become public.

Midnight Oil, Armistice Day: Live at the Domain, Sydney, Nov. 9

You can’t watch a Midnight Oil performance without wanting to be Rob Hirst when you grow up.

Kate Bush, Remastered on CD 1, Nov. 16
Kate Bush, Remastered on CD 2, Nov. 30

Kate Bush’s early works suffered the fate of many albums rushed to a CD release — the vinyl masters were used without any consideration of the medium’s expanded dynamic range. Fans have been clamoring for better sound, and in fell swoop, Kate unleashes her entire catalog remastered.

ASIAN KUNG-FU GENERATION, Hometown, Dec. 5

Yeah, it seemed about time for a new AKFG album.

MONO, Nowhere Now Here, Jan. 19

Tamaki on vocals? Electronics? Are they going glitchy like tourmates Low?

Vinyl

Brian Eno, Ambient 1: Music for Airports, Nov. 16

I was wondering when this album was going to get reissued on vinyl.

The Police, Every Move You Make: The Studio Recordings, Nov. 16

In addition to the five studio albums remastered at 45 r.p.m., this box also includes a disc of rarities. I just might find an old copy of Message in a Box instead.

Kate Bush, The Red Shoes, Nov. 16
Kate Bush, Aerial, Nov. 30
Kate Bush, Remastered in Vinyl, Nov. 30

The remastered releases also include vinyl issues, but in the UK, the records will be available in four boxed sets as well as individually. One box set includes remixes and covers. I don’t feel the need to upgrade the vinyl I already have, but I’ve had my eye on The Red Shoes and Aerial.

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Looking ahead, October-November 2018

[Bill Frisell - Nashville]

Quite a number of interesting vinyl reissues and deluxe editions coming down the pike …

Cher, Dancing Queen, Sept. 28

I think some gay cultural norm dictates I should show interest in this convergence of iconography, and I do, albeit more from an anthropological standpoint.

Johnny Hates Jazz, Turn Back the Clock (Deluxe Edition), Oct. 5

“Shattered Dreams” is an awesome single, and Turn Back the Clock was a decent album — something I’m glad I encountered but couldn’t consider a must-have. And yet I’m looking forward to this deluxe edition release.

Camouflage, Voices and Images (Deluxe Edition), Oct. 19

I actually like this album more than Turn Back the Clock, and the limited pressing of 1,500 copies for the CD (500 for vinyl) is nudging me to pre-order.

Sasagawa Miwa, Houjou -BEST ’03~’18-, Oct. 31

Has it really been 15 years since Sasagawa Miwa’s debut? This best album contains 10 previously released tracks, 3 new songs and a new version of “Himawari”.

Art of Noise, In No Sense? Nonsense! (Deluxe Edition), Nov. 2

This album doesn’t lend itself to singles as easily as In Visible Silence, but it’s a worthwhile, challenging listen, a period where the band pushed the limits of technology and music.

Dead Can Dance, Dionysus, Nov. 2

Dead Can Dance has always struck me as a band I should have been digging in high school, but at the time, their albums were available only as imports.

Hajime Chitose, Hajime Uta ~Chitose Hajime Amami Shimauta Shu~, Nov. 14

Hajime Chitose returns to her roots as a shima uta singer on this 7-track mini album.

Mikami Chisako, I AM Ready!, Nov. 28

Mikami Chisako starts anew with music reminiscent of fra-foa’s second album, if the YouTube clips on her official site are any indication. I have to admit I’ve missed her, and Chuu no Fuchi is still one of my favorite albums. It’s criminal that it’s out of print.

Vinyl

Living Colour, Time’s Up, Sept. 28

I’d be all over this reissue from Megaforce Records if I hadn’t already found an original pressing a number of years ago. This album doesn’t seem to have had the same impact as its predecessor, but it some ways, it expands and perhaps improves upon Vivid.

YEN TOWN BAND, Montage, Nov. 3

I’ve never encountered a vinyl reissue from YEN TOWN BAND that didn’t immediately sell out.

Utada Hikaru, Hatsukoi, Nov. 7

Any chance for a vinyl reissue of ULTRA BLUE?

Bill Frisell, Nashville, Nov. 9

Bill Frisell had always incorporated Americana, country and folk into his music, but Nashville is the strongest statement of those influences, resulting in one of his most accessible albums. Robin Holcomb shows up on two covers.

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Looking ahead, August-November 2018

[Perfume - Future Pop]

A few titles didn’t get included in the last round-up of new releases, and the release schedule for late autumn hasn’t quite yet coalesced. So this list is thinner than I prefer.

Perfume, Future Pop, Aug. 15

We probably reached peak Perfume two albums ago, if the cool reception to COSMIC EXPLORER is any indication. Imaginative videos can’t quite make up for the weakness of the last few singles, but will either stop me from placing a pre-order? Unlikely.

Blood Orange, Negro Swan, Aug. 24

How did I miss news about a new album by Dev Hynes?

[Checks date of Instagram post.]

Oh, he announced it when my mom was in town and caught the flu, about a week before I would become briefly unemployed. Has it really been two years since the release of Freetown Sound?

Mandy Barnett, Strange Conversation, Sept. 21

I’ve Got a Right to Cry is a classic album that has been relegated to bargain bins and thrift store shelves. The Owen Bradley-produced album probably did too good of a job calling up the ghost of Patsy Cline, whom Barnett has portrayed on stage.

Barnett recently did a duet with Kenny Chesney, which … whatever. But I would still check out this album because I’ve Got a Right to Cry is an album that just doesn’t wear out, even after nearly two decades.

Jason Isbell and 400 Unit, Live from the Nyman, Oct. 19

It’s easy to marvel at how effortlessly it seems Jason Isbell spins his tales, but when he shreds on stage, it’s a sight to behold.

Fastball, All the Pain Money Can Buy (Deluxe Edition), Nov. 9

Oh, hey, it looks like part of my wish is coming true — All the Pain Money Can Buy is headed for a vinyl release, albeit saddled with bonus material for its 20th anniversary, which I’m pretty sure I’ll be getting anyway.

Vinyl

Janelle Monáe, Dirty Computer, Sept. 28

Yes, please.

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Looking ahead, August-September 2018

[Steve Grand - Not the End of Me]

So many gay male artists are releasing new music this summer, it makes me wonder why they all didn’t put everything out in June. But muses can’t be rushed. Nor marketing plans.

Steve Grand, Not the End of Me, July 6

I listen to a lot of really serious music. I need Steve Grand to stop me from being too melancholy.

Luciano Berio, Sinfonia (Roomful of Teeth, Seattle Symphony, Ludovic Morlot), July 20

I went to the Saturday performance of this piece on the recommendation of my music theory professor.

Jake Shears, Jake Shears, Aug. 10

I’ve never really cottoned to Scissor Sisters, even though they seem to be in my wheelhouse.

Death Cab for Cutie, Thank You for Today, Aug. 17

The first two albums of Death Cab’s major label of phase made me wonder if they would follow R.E.M.’s downward creative trajectory in a similar fashion, but Codes and Keys and Kintsugi actually stemmed that tide. I’m not encouraged by the band’s comparison of this new album to Narrow Stairs, however.

Julee Cruise, Three Demos, Aug. 17

I loved Floating Into the Night, so I’m curious to hear these early drafts. A reissue of The Voice of Love also arrives the same day.

Troye Sivan, Bloom, Aug. 31

I was nowhere near the target market for Blue Neighborhood, but I liked it anyway.

Craig Armstrong, Sun on You, Sept. 7

Craig Armstrong is known more for his film scores, mostly because few of his studio albums get US releases. Here’s hoping a streaming release makes up for that drought.

Renée Fleming, Broadway, Sept. 7

A Broadway album? With Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Tell Me on a Sunday”? And a song from Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music that isn’t “Send in the Clowns”? OK, Renée Fleming, I’ll bite.

Prince, Piano and a Microphone 1983, Sept. 14

Sure, I’m curious enough to check out this set of demos, but what I’d like to know is when the vinyl reissue campaign will get to the Love Symbol album.

Vinyl

U2, Achtung Baby, July 27
U2, Zooropa, July 27

Zooropa is an odd album in the U2 canon, recorded in a spontaneous rush with experiments that work (“Numb”) and some that fail (“Lemon”). Despite a lavish repackaging, Achtung Baby had not yet been reissued in stand-alone black vinyl.

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Looking ahead, June-July 2018

[Utada Hikaru - Hatsukoi]

I started a new job on May 21, and I’m still getting adjusted to a new routine. I’m not ready to say the hiatus has ended just yet, but I can say new entries should resume before the end of summer. Till then, here’s a preview of upcoming releases.

Emmylou Harris, Ballad of Sally Rose (Deluxe Edition), June 1

I have listened to a lot of Emmylou Harris, and I can say this album is my least favorite. But its underdog status makes me curious about what didn’t make the album. Also, the current CD pressings sound awful, and I hope the remastering rectifies that.

Clannad, Turas 1980, June 8

This live album contains songs never recorded in the studio by the band.

Utada Hikaru, Hatsukoi, June 27

In retrospect, Fantôme was something of a downer. The singles preceding the release of Hatsukoi indicate a bouncier direction. Utada comes full circle title-wise — hatsukoi is the Japanese translation of “first love”.

Guns N’ Roses, Appetite for Destruction (Deluxe Edition), June 29

This album hadn’t already received a deluxe edition treatment? I’m not shelling out for anything more than the 2-disc edition.

Leo IMAI, V L P, July 11

I really enjoyed Film Scum, and it’s too bad the full album was only available at his live shows. I look forward to this album nonetheless.

Vinyl

Anne Dudley, Anne Dudley Plays the Art of Noise, June 22

This album receives a physical release in the UK and a digital release in the US. I was impatient and got the Japanese release last year, and Dudley employs some real studio wizardry to interpret the Art of Noise acoustically.

Fishbone, The Reality of My Surroundings, July 13

Trips to Goodwill have allowed me to rediscover this band.

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