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Favorite Edition 2020 Year Half

[Sam Sparro - Boombox Eternal]

I started running out of things to say just as the SARS-CoV2 spread in the US, and when the lockdown happened, I threw myself into recording a pair of cover albums. I wasn’t buying much music, nor listening to anyone other than myself. By the time I finished making the albums, stores were opening up, and my music buying eventually resumed.

But I still don’t have much to say.

That doesn’t mean I’ve run out of opinions. So here are my favorites of the year so far.

New releases

  • Sam Sparro, Boombox Eternal
  • Timo Andres / Brad Mehldau / Jeremy Denk / Randy Newman, I Still Play
  • Perfume Genius, Set My Heart on Fire Immediately
  • Jason Isbell and 400 Unit, Reunions
  • The Streets, None of Us Are Getting Out of This Life Alive
  • Fiona Apple, Fetch the Bolt Cutters
  • … And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, X: The Godless Void and Other Stories
  • The Chicks, Gaslighter

Catalog

  • Charlie Puth, Voicenotes
  • Robyn, Body Talk
  • Nakamori Akina, AKINA BOX 1982-1989
  • Various Artists, Studio One Rockers
  • The Damned, Machine Gun Etiquette
  • Les Rythmes Digitales, Darkdancer

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Purchase log picks, July 2020

[Les Rythmes Digitales - Darkdancer]

Fiona Apple, Fetch the Bolt Cutters

The amount of acclaim surrounding this album made me think it might overcome my general ambivalence about Fiona Apple. And yes, I like it. Is it the weirdest album I’ve ever heard? Not by a long shot. But any artist aiming to make their own Karuki Zaamen Kuri no Hana is fine by me.

Les Rythmes Digitales, Darkdancer

At the time of its release, Darkdancer drew comparisons to’80s music. I didn’t hear it, but in retrospect, I still had a lot to learn about the decade up in which I grew. I gave up this album when cash got tight, but I welcomed it back with a purchase at the thrift shop.

Post Malone, Hollywood’s Burning

I picked up this album from Goodwill for $2. I see the youth mentioning him a lot, so I wanted to find out why. I found myself liking it more than I expected.

Nakamori Akina, AKINA BOX, 1982-1989

I downloaded this boxed set from the Evil Sharing Networks months back, but the pandemic gave me time to take a deep enough dive that I dropped a non-trivial amount of cash to own it outright. I used birthday money.

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Purchase log, 2020-05-05

[Nakamori Akina - AKINA BOX]

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
  • Nakamori Akina, AKINA BOX, 1982-1989
Vinyl
  • … And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead, X: The Godless Void and Other Stories
  • Bruce Springsteen, The Rising
Files
  • Torche, Part Time Punks Sessions
  • TOUMING MAGAZINE, 4 TRACKS EP
  • Wayne Horvitz, Simple Facts

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Purchase log, 2019-06-04

[Eluvium - Pianoworks]

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
  • Eluvium, Pianoworks
  • Shiina Ringo, Sandokushi

Catalog

CD
  • Arnold Schoenberg, Pierrot lunaire / The Book of Hanging Gardens (Jan DeGaetani)
  • Bill Laswell, Invisible Design II
  • David Del Tredici, I Hear an Army / Night Conjure-Verse / Syzygy / Scherzo
  • David Del Tredici, Steps / Haddock’s Eyes
  • Guided By Voices, Mag Earwhig!
  • Israel Kamakawiwo’ole, Facing Future
  • MONO and World’s End Girlfriend, Palmless Prayer / Mass Murder Refrain
  • Olivier Messiaen, Turangalîla Symphony (Toronto Symphony, Seiji Ozawa)
  • Robert Palmer, Double Fun
  • The Highwaymen, Highwayman
  • Soundtrack, Macross: Ai Oboete Imasu Ka?
Vinyl
  • Anthony Braxton, Anthony Braxton with Robert Schumann String Quartet
  • Charles Mingus, Pithecanthropus Erectus
  • Dolly Parton, Best of Dolly Parton
  • Go-Go’s, Beauty and the Beat
  • Ornette Coleman, Dancing in Your Head
  • Skeleton Key, Obtainium

Reissues

Vinyl
  • Nakamori Akina, Cross My Palm

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Purchase log, 2019-01-08

[SUPER JUNKY MONKEY - AIETOH]

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
  • Corey Hart, First Offense
  • Dead Can Dance, Dead Can Dance / Garden of the Arcane Delights
  • Nakamori Akina, NEW AKINA Etranger
  • SUPER JUNKY MONKEY, AITEOH
Vinyl
  • LOVE PSYCHEDELICO, LOVE PSYCHEDELIC ORCHESTRA

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Favorite Edition Rewind: 1986

[Nakamori Akina - Fushigi]

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.

In 2008, my collection tapered off with releases before 1987. I went so far as to call 1986 an uninteresting year. I’ve since had time to explore the year in greater depth.

  1. The Art of Noise, In Visible Silence
  2. Janet Jackson, Control
  3. Soundtrack, Megazone 23 Song Collection
  4. Paul Simon, Graceland
  5. XTC, Skylarking
  6. The Smiths, The Queen is Dead
  7. Prince & the Revolution, Parade
  8. Nakamori Akina, Fushigi
  9. Duran Duran, Notorious
  10. Club Nouveau, Life, Love and Pain

Other favorites from the year:

  • Anita Baker, Rapture
  • Bananarama, True Confessions
  • Fishbone, In Your Face
  • Run DMC, Raising Hell
  • Peter Gabriel, So
  • John Adams, Harmonielehre
  • Enya, Enya
  • Dwight Yoakam, Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc. Etc.
  • R.E.M., Lifes Rich Pageant
  • Pet Shop Boys, Please
  • Kronos Quartet, Music of Sculthorpe, Sallinen, Glass, Nancarrow, Hendrix
  • The Human League, Crash

If you told Younger Me that Older Me would like So and Raising Hell, Younger Me would wretch. At the time, Run DMC and Peter Gabriel were so ubiquitous, I felt I would never need to hear “Walk This Way” or “Sledgehamer” for the rest of my life.

One advantage of growing older is no longer caring about looking at all fashionable.

Younger Me would have been puzzled by the inclusion of Dwight Yoakam on the extended list, to which Older Me would have to tell Younger Me to wait 9 years.

Younger Me: Oh, I was wondering whether I should get that Human League album. Is it really that good?
Older Me: Yeah, but I don’t think you’d quite appreciate it at your station in life. Wait a few years.
Younger Me: Really? How many?
Older Me: 30.

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Favorite Edition Rewind: 1989

[De La Soul - 3 Feet And and Rising]

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.

It shouldn’t be a surprise the largest expansion in my collection focuses on the late 1980s, i.e. my high school years. The Favorite 10 list from these years won’t see much change, as 1989 demonstrates, but the expanded lists risk becoming ridiculously long.

  1. The B-52’s, Cosmic Thing
  2. Camper Van Beethoven, Key Lime Pie
  3. Julee Cruise, Floating Into the Night
  4. Faith No More, The Real Thing
  5. Steve Reich, Different Trains/Electric Counterpoint
  6. Fugazi, 13 Songs
  7. Emmylou Harris, Bluebird
  8. Tears for Fears, The Seeds of Love
  9. Madonna, Like a Prayer
  10. Janet Jackson, Rhythm Nation 1814

Other favorites from the year:

  • The Replacements, Don’t Tell a Soul
  • Hoodoo Gurus, Magnum Cum Louder
  • All About Eve, Scarlet and Other Stories
  • XTC, Oranges and Lemons
  • De La Soul, 3 Feet High and Rising
  • Nirvana, Bleach
  • Pixies, Doolittle
  • Wayne Horvitz / The President, Bring Yr Camera
  • John Zorn, Spy Vs. Spy
  • Bulgarian State Radio and Television Female Vocal Choir, Le Mystère de Voix Bulgares, Vol. 2
  • Nakamori Akina, CRUISE
  • Depeche Mode, 101

Fugazi displaces The Replacements, who made a shot for the charts by cleaning up their sound.

I saw this ad in Pulse magazine and scoffed at it:

[I came in for U2. I came out with De La Soul]

Today, I nod my head and say, “Yeah, that’s about right.” But it took 30 years before I had enough life experience to understand how breathtaking 3 Feet High and Rising is.

Nevermind introduced me to Nirvana like the rest of the world, but I prefer Bleach.

The events in Nakamori Akina’s life at the time CRUISE was released overshadowed the maturity of the album. It’s not ground-breaking the way Fushigi is, but it’s an album that could have only been recorded after it.

I saw Depeche Mode in concert in 2017, and 101 ruined my experience of it. I had been listening to 101 in the weeks leading up to the concert, and understandably, the band stacked the set list more toward recent work than “the hits”.

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Purchase log, 2018-10-30

[Camouflage - Voices and Images]

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
  • Bob Dylan, Time Out of Mind
  • Childish Gambino, “Awaken, My Love!”
  • Godley & Creme, The History Mix, Volume 1
  • Megadeth, Rust in Peace
  • Morphine, Cure for Pain
  • Nakamori Akina, CRUISE (Remastered)
  • Tracey Thron, A Distant Shore
  • Yaz, Upstairs at Eric’s

Reissues

CD
  • Camouflage, Voices & Images (30th Anniversary Edition)
Vinyl
  • Julee Cruise, The Voice of Love

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Purchase log, 2018-07-10

[Nakamori Akina - Fushigi]

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
  • Black Sabbath, Paranoid
  • Childish Gambino, Because the Internet
  • David Bowie, Earthling
  • Dead Can Dance, The Serpent’s Egg
  • Drive-By Truckers, Southern Rock Opera
  • Drive-By Truckers, The Dirty South
  • Fishbone, Fishbone
  • Fishbone, Truth and Soul
  • Frederic Chopin, 24 Preludes, Op. 28 / Sonata No. 2, Op. 35 / Polonaise, Op. 53 (Evgeny Kissin)
  • Herbie Hancock, Maiden Voyage
  • John Coltrane, Ballads
  • Lee Morgan, The Sidewinder (Rudy Van Gelder Edition)
  • Miles Davis, Birth of the Cool
  • New Jersey Percussion Ensemble, Percussion Music
  • Queen Latifah, All Hail the Queen
  • Sigur Rós, “Svefn-g-englar”
  • The Beatles, Rubber Soul
  • The Pogues, If I Should Fall from Grace with God
Vinyl
  • Simple Minds, New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84)
  • The Drums, Portamento

Reissues

Vinyl
  • Nakamori Akina, CRUISE
  • Nakamori Akina, Fushigi

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