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Favorite Edition 2019 Catalog

[Hans Abrahamsen - Schnee]

In June 2019, I took the plunge back into music retail by volunteering at the Lifelong Thrift Store. This immediate access to the store’s CD stock has reshaped my listening habits. I bring back so many discs from my visits to the store, it’s rare that I’ll listen to something more than once. It makes finding new favorites a challenge.

Catalog

  1. Hans Abrahamsen, Schnee: Seattle Symphony performed this piece as part of its [untitled] series, and I was so fascinated by it, I had to own a recording.
  2. Ali Wong, Baby Cobra: I heard Baby Cobra was a really good comedy special, but I didn’t realize Wong had filmed the special in Seattle. And I’ve known about Wong back when Chelsea Lately was on the air. I could have seen this show live, dammit.
  3. Easterhouse, Waiting for the Redbird: The classic rock station in Honolulu back in the late ’80s would play an occasional “modern rock” track. I may have caught Easterhouse’s “Come Out Fighting” once on that station, but it was enough to make me curious about the band — a curiosity I would not explore till more than 30 years later.
  4. Kalapana, Kalapana: I didn’t realize how pervasive this album was on Hawaii pop radio when I was growing up. I was 3 years old when this album was released, but it would continue to dominate the airwaves as I grew more aware of my surroundings.
  5. Infomatik, Technologies: Sometimes, the Internet does forget.
  6. My Bloody Valentine, Isn’t Anything: I missed out on the 2018 vinyl reissue of this album, so I settled for a bootleg pressing.
  7. Robert Palmer, Secrets: This album was the pivot between the blue-eyed funk of Palmer’s early work and his embrace of a more new wave sound. It’s also one of his finest.
  8. Rick Springfield, Tao: I’m a sucker for albums that forgo gaps and fades between tracks.
  9. Boston, Boston: This album is against what punk music rebelled, but I like it anyway.
  10. Roberta Flack, First Take: Stop underrating Roberta Flack!

Reissues

This year was pretty slim on reissues. To be honest, I haven’t gotten through Massive Attack’s Mezzanine and Sigur Rós’ Ágætis byrjun.

  • Re-Flex, The Politics of Dancing: I can’t believe this album isn’t a towering classic of ’80s new wave. Cherry Pop thankfully gives it the deluxe treatment it deserves
  • The Replacements, Dead Man’s Pop: The Matt Wallace mix of Don’t Tell a Soul is ahead of its time. The drier sound would not become fashionable till after 1991, but heard today, Dead Man’s Pop feels contemporary.
  • Janet Jackson, Control: The Remixes: I didn’t realize how much I loved the mixes featured in Janet’s videos.

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Purchase log picks, August 2019

[Rick Springfield - Tao]

My Bloody Valentine, Isn’t Anything

Loveless casts a big enough shadow over My Bloody Valentine’s work that it made me hesitant to explore the remainder of the band’s catalog, lest it fail to live up. That is not the case with Isn’t Anything, and I regret not ordering the remastered vinyl when I picked up Loveless a year ago.

Rick Springfield, Tao

A five-disc bargain box set of Rick Springfield albums got a discount on Amazon Prime Day, and I fully succumbed to FOMO when I bought it. I’ve always liked “Celebrate the Youth”, but it turns out Tao is Springfield’s most ambitious album of his 80s work. If you must own a second Springfield album — the first being Working Class DogTao would be the one.

NUMBER GIRL, Kanden no Kioku

I hate to admit it, but … I’ve listened to the four studio albums of NUMBER GIRL enough times to want more variety from the live albums. Still, NUMBER GIRL is that rare band where their live albums are hotter than their studio work.

Janet Jackson, Control: The Remixes

I didn’t realize how much I prefer the remixed version of “Let’s Wait a While” till I heard it on this reissued compilation. I’m also reminded of how awesome “The Pleasure Principle” is.

Missy Elliott, Da Real World

I’ve read a number of lukewarm reviews for this album, and compared the work preceding and following it, I could see how it might seem not up-to-snuff. But that’s not saying much. It’s still a solid album and light years ahead of The Cookbook.

Re-Flex, The Politics of Dancing (Revised Expanded Edition)

I’m not sure how this album has been relegated to the vinyl dollar bin. It’s damn awesome and ripe for rediscovery.

Band of Susans, The Word and the Flesh

I remember reading about Band of Susans in Pulse! magazine and wondering if I would ever encounter any of their albums out in the wild. It took 30 years, but it happened.

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Purchase log, 2019-08-27

[Ty Herndon - Got It Covered]

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
  • Ty Herndon, Got It Covered
  • Lisa Coleman, Collage

Catalog

CD
  • Bedrich Smetana, Ma Vlast (Dresden State Orchestra, Paavo Berglund)
  • Boiled in Lead, Old Lead
  • Doctors’ Mob, Last One in the Van Drives
  • FKA twigs, LP1
  • Fugees, The Score
  • Glenn Branca, Symphony No. 6: Devil Choirs at the Gates of Heaven
  • John Adams, A Flowering Tree
  • Marvin Gaye, Midnight Love
  • Michael Gordon, Weather
  • My Bloody Valentine, EP’s 1988-1991
  • My Bloody Valentine, Isn’t Anything (Remastered)
  • Rachel’s, Systems / Layers
  • Rachel’s, The Sea and the Bell
  • Whitesnake, Whitesnake
  • Willy Mason, Where the Humans Eat
  • ZZ Top, Eliminator
  • Soundtrack, Agnes of God
Vinyl
  • Anton Webern, The Complete Works, Vol. 1 (Pierre Boulez)
  • Cornelius, Fantasma
  • Everything But the Girl, Baby, the Stars Shine Bright
  • The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Time Out
  • Thelonious Monk, Brilliant Corners
  • Wu-Tang Clan, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)

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Purchase log, 2019-08-20

[Sleater-Kinney - The Center Won't Hold]

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
  • Sleater-Kinney, The Center Won’t Hold

Catalog

CD
  • Andrew Lloyd Webber, Jesus Christ Superstar (Original Broadway Cast)
  • Bill Frisell, Good Dog, Happy Man
  • Branford Marsalis Quartet, Requiem
  • Bruce Springsteen, The Wild, The Innocent and the E Street Shuffle
  • CHVRCHES, The Bones of What You Believe
  • Devo, Greatest Hits
  • Don Byron, Bug Music
  • Information Society, Peace and Love, Inc.
  • LFO, LFO
  • Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam, Spanish Fly
  • Los Amigos Invisibles, Arepa 3000: A Venezuelan Journey into Space
  • Mr. Lif, I Phantom
  • Queen, A Night at the Opera
  • Wye Oak, Civilian
Vinyl
  • Béla Bartók, Mikrokosmos, Vol. 6 / Out of Doors / Sonatina (Stephen Bishop-Kovacevich)
  • Fugazi, End Hits
  • George Crumb, Makrokosmos, Vol. II (Robert Miller)
  • George Crumb, Music for a Summer Evening (Makrokosmos III)
  • Grizzly Bear, Shields
  • My Bloody Valentine, Isn’t Anything
  • Nico Muhly and Teitur, Confessions
  • Re-Flex, The Politics of Dancing
  • Run DMC, Raising Hell
  • Ryan Stout, Touché
  • Sting, 57th and Ninth
  • The Beach Boys, Pet Sounds

Reissues

Vinyl
  • Explosions in the Sky, How Strange Innocence
  • Explosions in the Sky, The Rescue
  • NUMBER GIRL, NUM-HEAVYMETALLIC
  • NUMBER GIRL, SAPPUKEI
  • NUMBER GIRL, SCHOOL GIRL DISTORTIONAL ADDICT

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Purchase log, 2019-08-05

[My Bloody Valentine - Isn't Anything]

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
  • Adiemus, Songs of Sanctuary
  • Ludwig Van Beethoven, The Five Piano Concertos (Rudolf Serkin; Boston Symphony Orchestra, Seiji Ozawa)
  • My Bloody Valentine, Isn’t Anything
  • Yello, One Second
Vinyl
  • John Coltrane, Ascension
  • Martha Argerich, Chopin: The Legendary 1965 Recordings

Reissues

Vinyl
  • Janet Jackson, Control: The Remixes

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Favorite Edition Rewind: 1991

[Slint - Spiderland]

A decade ago, I wrote a series of entries ranking my favorite albums from 1985 to 2004. My collection has expanded greatly since then, particularly in the last five years. So I wanted to see what has changed in 10 years.

I’m not sure other music writers would agree that 1998 is an important year in music for the ’90s. 1991 saw Guns N’ Roses cap the era of hair metal and Nirvana usher the unfortunately-named alternative rock. But it didn’t have Neutral Milk Hotel.

  1. Smashing Pumpkins, Gish
  2. Nirvana, Nevermind
  3. R.E.M., Out of Time
  4. U2, Achtung Baby
  5. Throwing Muses, The Real Ramona
  6. Soundtrack, Bubblegum Crisis Vocal Collection, Vol. 1
  7. Guns N’ Roses, Use Your Illusion II
  8. Enya, Shepherd Moons
  9. Lou Harrison, Music of Lou Harrison
  10. Elliott Carter, Music of Elliott Carter

Other favorites from the year:

  • Pearl Jam, Ten
  • Igor Stravinsky, Le Sacre du Printemps/Symphony in Three Movements (Zubin Mehta, New York Philharmonic Orchestra)
  • Mazzy Star, She Hangs Brightly
  • Soundgarden, Badmotorfinger
  • Bill Frisell, Where in the World?
  • Fishbone, The Reality of My Surroundings
  • Metallica, Metallica
  • Kronos Quartet, Lutoslawski: String Quartet
  • Black Sheep, A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing
  • Hamada Mari, Tomorrow
  • Electronic, Electronic
  • Slint, Spiderland
  • My Bloody Valentine, Loveless
  • Painkiller, Guts of a Virgin
  • Mr. Bungle, Mr. Bungle

Slint and My Bloody Valentine are additions 2004-me would have made. 1991-me would have side-eyed 2004-me.

And he would have scoffed at 2018-me for including Black Sheep, after emitting a gasp at seeing Fishbone on the list at all.

He would have begrudgingly nodded at the additions of Metallica and Hamada Mari, and he would have been curious about Electronic. And he would have gone out and found Painkiller the first chance he got.

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Purchase log, 2018-03-06

[My Bloody Valentine - Loveless]

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

Vinyl
  • Shiina Ringo, Gyakuyunyuu ~Koukuukyoku~

Catalog

CDs
  • Andrew Lloyd Webber, Song and Dance (Original Cast Live)
  • Billy Bragg and Wilco, Mermaid Avenue
  • Jeff Buckley, Grace
  • Freedy Johnston, Right Between the Promises
  • Joni Mitchell, Ladies of the Canyon
  • My Bloody Valentine, m b v
  • Robert Palmer, Addictions, Vol. 1
  • Ride, Nowhere
  • R.E.M., And I Feel Fine: The Best of the I.R.S. Years (Deluxe Edition)
  • Roxy Music, Roxy Music
  • Soundgarden, Badmotorfinger
  • Texas, Mother’s Heaven
  • Texas, Southside

Reissues

Vinyl
  • Annie Lennox, Diva
  • My Bloody Valentine, Loveless (2018 Remaster)

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Looking ahead: January-February 2018

[Steve Reich - Pulse / Quartet]

The fact I can actually post a preview entry this early in the year makes me hopeful we won’t see a repeat of last year’s lopsided schedule.

Igor Stravinsky, Chant Funébre / Le Sacre du Printemps, Jan. 12

This album featuring a newly discovered work by Igor Stravinsky comes out a week after I’ll have heard the Seattle Symphony perform it. I’ll own yet another version of The Rite of Spring, though.

Sasagawa Miwa, Atarashii Sekai, Jan. 31

Last time I checked in with Sasagawa Miwa, she was moving in a jazz direction.

Rhye, Blood, Feb. 2

The singles preceding this album release make me think I ought to place a pre-order.

Steve Reich, Pulse / Quartet, Feb. 2 (vinyl on March 30)

The cover of this album almost fooled me into thinking Reich had gone back to ECM. For proof, compare the Reich cover with John Surman’s forthcoming album Invisible Threads on ECM:

[John Surman - Invisible Threads]
[Steve Reich - Pulse / Quartet]

 

Kronos Quartet and Laurie Anderson, Landfall, Feb. 16

Anderson contributed to Kronos’ Fifty for the Future initiative, and they’ve included the piece in recent concerts. I’m curious to hear more of this collaboration.

Vinyl

My Bloody Valentine, Loveless, Jan. 18 (UK)

Kevin Shields sure went to a lot of trouble remastering this album for vinyl, when it wasn’t really recorded for analog in the first place.

SUPERCAR, HIGHVISION, March 30
SUPERCAR, ANSWER, March 30

I became a SUPERCAR fan just as the band changed its sound, so the recent vinyl reissues of Three Out Change!! and JUMP UP allowed me to discover its early work. I’m coming around to the idea that maybe that first era was better than what followed.

Shiina Ringo, Gyakuyunyuu ~Kuukoukyoku~, March 30

Have you seen how much the Shiina Ringo vinyl reissues from 2009 are going for on the secondhand market? I’ve got mine pre-ordered.

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