Archives

Looking ahead, November-December 2020

[Alice in Chains - Facelift]

Onitsuka Chihiro, HYSTERIA, Nov. 25

Syndrome was a return to form for Onitsuka Chihiro, and the pre-release singles seem to indicate she’s retracing those steps.

Sigur Rós, Odin Raven Magic, Dec. 4

It’s not so much a “new” album as a “new-ish” album. This orchestral collaboration premiered in 2002 and finally sees a release 18 years later.

Sturgill Simpson, Cuttin’ Grass, Dec. 11

Simpson returns to his indie roots with a survey of his early works filtered through a bluegrass lens.

Vinyl

Alice in Chains, Facelift, Nov. 13

Nirvana may have ushered in alternative rock in 1991, but Alice in Chains had softened the ground a year before with their major label debut, which turns 30 years old in 2020.

Soundtrack, Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi (Spirited Away), Nov. 20

A big vinyl reissue campaign of Joe Hisaishi scores for Miyazaki Hayao films finally reaches Spirited Away.

Spice Girls, Forever, Jan. 22

I don’t even have this album on CD, but I already have the other albums on vinyl. Might as well be consistent. I’m sure the thrift store will have a CD copy at some point.

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Looking ahead, Sept.-Oct. 2020

[Emmylou Harris - Wrecking Ball]

Mikami Chisako, Emergence, Oct. 7

Mikami reset her post-fra-foa solo career in 2018 with a second debut album, confidently titled I AM Ready! This album looks like a continuation of its predecessor’s brighter sound.

Kronos Quartet, Long Time Passing, Oct. 9

Subtitled “Kronos Quartet and Friends Celebrate Pete Seeger”, this album looks like a follow-up to 2017’s Folk Songs, with fewer Nonesuch label mates collaborating.

Tears for Fears, The Seeds of Love (Deluxe Edition), Oct. 9

This album didn’t take off in the same manner as Songs from the Big Chair, but I liked it nonetheless. The 4-disc super deluxe edition is tempting, but I’m fine with the 2-disc version. I don’t need the vinyl reissue because I bought it the first time around.

Sam Amidon, Sam Amidon, Oct. 23

Amidon returns to mostly traditional material on this self-titled album, described as “the fullest realization to date of his artistic vision.”

Mr. Bungle, The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny Demo, Oct. 30

Mr. Bungle goes back in time to re-record their first demo tape.

U2, All That You Can’t Leave Behind (Deluxe Edition), Oct, 30

I really liked this album when it came out, mostly because Pop was insufferable. I revisited it with the vinyl reissue and found it doesn’t age well. I will probably still get some version of this deluxe edition.

Duran Duran featuring Andy Wicket, Dreaming of Your Cars: 1979 Demos Pt. 2, Oct. 30

The first set of demos with Andy Wickett on vocals featured embryonic versions of what would become Duran Duran canon. On this follow-up, “Tel Aviv” is the only recognizable title, which doesn’t mean it sounds remotely familiar. Colored vinyl is already available for order, but a CD release is slated for October.

Vinyl

Emmylou Harris, Wrecking Ball, Oct. 16

The deluxe edition of Wrecking Ball was released during Record Store Day. This reissue serves up just the album and is available as part of Rhino’s Rocktober series.

Peter Gabriel, Secret World Live, Nov. 6

I couldn’t make the leap of following Paula Cole’s solo career, but her backing vocals on this live album is the real highlight

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Looking ahead, August-October 2020

[Johnny Hates Jazz - Wide Awake]

SARS-CoV2. Silicon Valley companies would give their left tits to emulate the kind of disruption you’ve wrought.

The spring release schedule was slowly coming together when the virus shredded the calendar. Dates have always been subject to change, albeit never with this level of uncertainty.

Mandy Barnett, A Nashville Songbook , Aug. 21

Barnett has a wonderful voice that often has served unspectacular music, so the things that would sink this album are uninspired arrangements. A single of “It’s Now or Never” bodes none too well.

Johnny Hates Jazz, Wide Awake, Aug. 21

Magnetized was a favorite in 2013, so I’m looking forward to this long-awaited follow-up.

Prince, Sign O the Times (Deluxe Edition), Sept. 25

I’m actually going to settle for the remastered regular edition. I’m still waiting for any news on the Love Symbol album.

Jónsi, Shiver, Oct. 2

Does Sigur Rós even record albums any more? I know they’ve released collaborative projects, but what about a boring, traditional album with at least 10 tracks and a total running time around 40 minutes? No? I guess a Jónsi solo album it is.

The Replacements, Pleased to Meet Me (Deluxe Edition), Oct. 25

I might check this one out, but I’m totally dropping cash on deluxe editions for Tim and Let It Be.

Kylie Minogue, DISCO, Nov. 6

Intriguing though the idea of Kylie in Nashville may have been, I couldn’t actually bring myself to get Golden. In fact, I’ve passed over the last two albums. I’m hoping DISCO is not the third.

Vinyl

Guided by Voices, Alien Lanes (25th Anniversary), Aug. 21

I had this album on CD, but I didn’t keep it. Then I downloaded it from eMusic. Why am I interested in this vinyl edition?

PJ Harvey, Rid of Me, Aug. 21

I nearly bought a bootleg version of this album on vinyl.

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Looking ahead, May-July 2020

Washington State is under a stay-at-home order till May 4, which means I’m not going to be shopping for music at a local record store till then — assuming the order doesn’t get extended.

Perfume Genius, Set My Heart on Fire Immediately, May 15

Prior to No Shape, I’ve been ambivalent about Perfume Genius. I would hear excerpts of previous albums and not feel much compulsion to listen to more. I picked up No Shape from the thrift store mostly because it had garnered a lot of acclaim. And I liked it enough to look forward to this next release.

Various Artists, I Still Play, May 22

Bob Hurwitz retired as president of Nonesuch in 2017, and for his send-off, a number of artists wrote piano works for him. The title piece, written by John Adams, was Hurwitz’s reply when someone asked him if he still plays piano.

Inventions, Continous Portrait, July 10

Matthew Cooper of Eluvium and Mark Smith of Explosions in the Sky reunite for their first new album since 2015.

Rescheduled

  • Rufus Wainwright, Unfollow the Rules, July 10
  • Sam Smith, TBD (formerly titled To Die For), Fall 2020

Vinyl

Everything But the Girl, Temperamental, May 8

I like this album enough to want this vinyl reissue, but I didn’t like it enough to get the deluxe edition a few years back.

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Looking ahead, March-May 2020

[Tokyo Jihen - News]

I usually wait until concrete release dates are announced before listing an album in these previews, but in the last few days, a number of artists have made announcements worth noting.

Tokyo Jihen, News, April 8

I didn’t think I would miss Tokyo Jihen, but I realized I did when their reunion was announced.

Gaytheist, How Long Have I Been on Fire, April 10

I like Gaytheist, but I don’t follow them as closely as I do other bands. So it’s an automated announcement from Bandcamp that informed me of this release.

Roberta Flack, First Take (Deluxe Edition), April 10

Roberta Flack’s debut album turns 50. “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” was No. 1 on the week I was born.

Rufus Wainwright, Unfollow the Rules, April 24

When was the last time Rufus Wainwright did a rock album? Right around the time I moved to Seattle in 2012.

Sam Smith, To Die For, May 1

I enjoyed The Thrill of It All more than In the Lonely Hour, so I’m hoping this next album continues that trajectory.

Jason Isbell and 400 Unit, Reunions, May 15

The Nashville Sound was good, but it didn’t monopolize my attention the way Southeastern or Something More than Free did. So my anticipation for this album is a bit on the cool side.

Midnight Oil, The Markarrata Project, Summer 2020
Midnight Oil, TBD, Late 2020

I think I’m more excited over another tour than I am about the new album and EP. At the same time, things are so fucked up that Midnight Oil is the right band for these times.

Janet Jackson, Black Diamond, TBD

Aside from the title, details are scant about the next Janet album, but she’s already announced a tour.

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Looking ahead, January-February 2020

[... And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead - X: The Godless Void and Other Stories]

… And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, X: The Godless Void and Other Stories, Jan. 17

When Trail of Dead announced they would take a hiatus after releasing their ninth album, it felt like the right time. They’d been at it for 20 years, and they sure deserved the break. Their return is also nicely timed — I have to say I’ve missed them.

Ben Watt, Storm Damage, Jan. 31

I’m still somewhat surprised Ben Watt has spent his post-Everything But the Girl solo career thus far being a troubadour.

Neneh Cherry, Raw Like Sushi (Deluxe Edition), Jan. 31

I came around to this album quite late, but I’m glad to see it get some deluxe treatment.

CHARA+YUKI, echo, Feb. 14

The closest thing we’ll get to a MEAN MACHINE reunion.

Onitsuka Chihiro, REQUIEM AND SILENCE, Feb. 20

Onitsuka Chihiro commemorates the 20th anniversary of her debut with yet another compilation, this one spanning three major labels.

Sam Sparro, Boombox Eternal, Feb. 21

If the pre-release single “Everything” reflects the remainder of the album, I’m on board.

Clannad, In a Lifetime Anthology, March 13

I probably don’t need this anthology given the depth of my Clannad collection, but I wait eagerly for news of US dates on their farewell tour.

LOVE PSYCHEDELICO, 20th Anniversary Box, March 25

Another band celebrating their 20th anniversary is LOVE PSYCHEDELICO. The 20th Anniversary Box compiles 4 CDs of singles, a Blu Ray or DVD of the duo’s acoustic tour, an LP of acoustic recordings and a score book. I’m tempted by the score book alone. The singles collection will also be sold separately (COMPLETE SINGLES 2000-2019), and the acoustic recordings will be released on vinyl (TWO OF US Acoustic Recording Session at VICTOR STUDIO 302.)

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Looking ahead, October-November 2019

[Shiina Ringo - Newton no Ringo]

Kim Gordon, No Home Record, Oct. 11

Kim Gordon’s music career spans numerous decades, but only now does she release a solo album. Of course I’m curious.

The Police, Every Move You Make: The Studio Recordings, Nov. 8

I bought a used copy of Message in a Box, so I really don’t need this set. I want it, but I don’t need it.

Shiina Ringo, Newton no Ringo ~Hajimete no Best Ban~, Nov. 13

Many popular Japanese artists release multiple career-spanning retrospectives. Shiina Ringo releases her first after 20 years.

Sam Amidon, Fatal Flower Garden EP, Nov. 15

Billed as “A Tribute to Harry Smith,” this 4-track, 7-inch EP features Amidon performing songs from Smith’s Anthology of American Folk Music.

Clannad, In a Lifetime Anthology, March 13, 2020

No details have emerged yet of this career-spanning compilation, but the Brennans embark on a farewell tour to support it. They will be missed.

Vinyl

Everything But the Girl, Walking Wounded, Nov. 8

Yes, please. Thank you.

Shiina Ringo, Sandokushi, Dec. 11

Rule of thumb for Shiina Ringo vinyl releases: place a pre-order because they will be gone.

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Looking ahead: September-October 2019

[BBMAK - Powerstation]

John Coltrane, Blue World, Sept. 27

Unlike 2018’s Both Directions at Once, this album is not so much lost as unreleased. Coltrane recorded a soundtrack for the film Le chat dans le sac, but most of the sessions were not used in the final cut.

Sturgill Simpson, Sound and Fury, Sept. 27

Judging by the first single, I don’t think this album can be called “country.” The fact it will be accompanied by an anime film is about as far from country as anyone gets.

BBMAK, Powerstation, Oct. 11

Finally! A date! Albeit for the digital release. I don’t need an autographed copy of the CD, which is available for pre-order on the band’s site. I’m hoping a normal, vanilla pre-order will be available. Soon.

Jason Isbell and 400 Unit, Jason Isbell and 400 Unit, Oct. 18

I remember when I was really getting into Southeastern, I tried listening to Isbell’s previous albums. At the time, I didn’t really warm up to Sirens in the Ditch or the self-titled album with 400 Unit. I think enough time has passed since then to revisit what I passed over. Also arriving on the same date is Here We Rest. Both albums have been remixed and remastered.

Michael Kiwanuka, Kiwanuka, Oct. 27

I picked up Michael Kiwanuka’s debut, Home Again, from Goodwill for $1.99. I liked it enough to pick up Love & Hate at full price.

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Looking ahead: August-November 2019

[NUMBER GIRL - DESTRUCTION BABY]

Perfume, Perfume the Best “P Cubed“, Sept. 18

One new song out of a 52-track career retrospective? I think I’m fine.

The Replacements, Dead Man’s Pop, Sept. 27

Don’t Tell a Soul was the first album I bought from the Replacements, so I’m interested to hear this period of the band’s history expanded on this boxed set.

Cocco, Star Shank, Oct. 2

Three years is pretty much the average gap between Cocco albums these days, now that she’s diversified into fashion, films, stage acting and literature. So she’s right on schedule.

Vinyl

Explosions in the Sky, The Rescue, Aug. 16
Explosions in the Sky, How Strange Innocence, Aug. 16

Explosions in the Sky wrote and recorded The Rescue in two weeks, and it’s a surprisingly tight album given its self-imposed constraints. Previously available only at the band’s shows, it gets a vinyl reissue for the band’s 20th anniversary.

Pinback, Summer in Abaddon (15th Anniversary Edition), Sept. 27

During my days as a record store employee, I got the impression Pinback was a fairly mellow band. So when I found this album at the thrift store, I was taken aback by how boisterous it was.

NUMBER GIRL, Kanden no Kioku, Nov. 3
NUMBER GIRL, DESTRUCTION BABY, Nov. 3

Just as Universal was starting to neglect NUMBER GIRL’s albums, the band reunites and gives the label a reason to dig into the archives. Oh, thank goodness.

Midnight Oil, Breathe Tour 97, Nov. 29

I’m unclear about whether this album was actually released on Record Store Day 2019. It showed up on the list, only to disappear as the April date approached. But it’s up on Discogs, so … where was it available? And is this reissue vaporware?

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Looking ahead: July-August 2019

[Re-Flex - The Politics of Dancing]

Janet Jackson, Control: The Remixes, July 26

I would not have been interested in remixes when Control came out, but I bet I’ve heard them without realizing I have.

Re-Flex, Politics of Dancing (Deluxe Edition), July 26

The title track alone is probably worth the price of the entire album. It’s a collection of reliably-80s synth pop, heavy on the beats and big on melody. I found this album on CD at the thrift store, and I’m actually heartened to see it reissued.

Sleater-Kinney, The Center Won’t Hold, Aug. 16

I don’t even listen to St. Vincent, and I was excited to hear she was producing the new Sleater-Kinney album. Is that weird?

Ty Herndon, Got It Covered, Aug. 23

Herndon had already teased this album, posting short videos on Instagram of the recording process. He’s already changed the gender references on his big hit, “What Mattered Most.” I’m hoping he doesn’t stop there.

Kronos Quartet, Terry Riley: Sun Rings, Aug. 30

It’s a Terry Riley anniversary year! So of course Kronos commemorates it with a release of a piece they’ve performed in concert for at least a decade.

BBMak, Powerstation, late August

OK, guys, you’ve announced a title and a track list. What about an actual release date?? Part of me wished this album was a track-by-track cover of The Power Station, i.e. the Duran Duran site project with Robert Palmer and Tony Thompson of Chic.

Vinyl

Janet Jackson, Rhythm Nation, July 26
Janet Jackson, The Velvet Rope, July 26

I already have an original pressing of Rhythm Nation, but the length of the album doesn’t allow it to fit well on a single disc. So I would welcome a double LP with improved sound.

The Velvet Rope is Janet’s most underrated album and deserves more attention.

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