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Concert Edition 2019

Perfume, Paramount Theatre, April 10, 2019
Perfume, Paramount Theatre, April 10, 2019

Jeremy Denk, Meany Hall, Jan. 15

Denk had yet to release his latest album, c.1300-c.2000, when he performed at Meany Centre. So he chose to focus mainly on Beethoven. The program did include John Adams’ I Still Play, which he wrote for retired Nonesuch Records president Bob Hurwitz.

Carolyn Shaw, Piano Concerto, Seattle Symphony, Benaroya Hall, Feb. 2

I think Shaw lost me in the second movement of her piano concerto, when the opening melody in the piano repeated. And repeated. And repeated. The first movement established this piece wasn’t minimalist, so why become one in the second movement?

Sergei Prokofiev, Symphony No. 7, Seattle Symphony, Benaroya Hall, Feb. 16

When I first started exploring classical music, I bought a cassette tape with Sergei Prokofiev’s Classical Symphony and Lieutenant Kije Suite. His Symphony No. 7 was tacked onto the album to fill out space, so I listened to it quite a lot. I haven’t explored other Prokofiev symphonies, but I have a fondness for the seventh.

Amadeus Live, Seattle Symphony, Benaroya Hall, Feb. 23

I had planned to attend the Seattle Symphony’s performance of Heiner Goebbels’ Surrogate Cities, but it was scheduled on the day I was flying back from London. The concert was rescheduled a day earlier, and I traded my ticket for Amaedus Live. I was glad to learn it was the theatrical cut.

Emerson String Quartet, Meany Hall, March 6

The program on this concert included the Barber Adagio, a Razumovsky quartet by Beethoven and the Britten’s String Quartet No. 3. I particularly looked forward to the Britten quartet, having stumbled across recordings of his quartets at the thrift shop.

Morsel Trio, Good Shepherd Center, March 8

My violin teacher (Luke Fitzpatrick) and my music theory T.A. (Daniel Webbon) had pieces on this program.

Michael Tilson-Thomas, San Francisco Symphony, Benaroya Hall, March 19

I’ve known about Michael Tilson-Thomas for years, and I even have a number of his recordings as a pianist. So I wanted to hear him with the San Francisco Symphony before he ends his tenure in July 2020. The centerpiece of the concert was Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony. I love the first movement of the piece, but I’ve never really internalized the remained of it.

untitled 2, Seattle Symphony, Benaroya Hall, March 22

Pierre Boulez never struck me as a person you’d really want to meet in real life, and that impression has spilled over into his music. So I don’t think I really heard a piece by Boulez until this concert. It wasn’t as grating as I was expecting it to be.

Perfume, Paramount Theatre, Apr. 10

I’m sure there were parts of this concert that were … prefabricated, but I didn’t mind. It was visually stunning, and Perfume were entirely gracious to Seattle fans. If I hadn’t gotten out of the hospital a few days before, I probably would have stood in the excessively long line at the merchandise table.

Joël-Françios Durand, Trope de:Bussy, Seattle Symphony, Benaroya Hall, Apr. 13

I listen to a lot of modern classical music, but I still sometimes feel odd listening to works from people I’ve met. Prof. Durand was my music theory instructor for one quarter back in 2016.

George Walker, Sinfonia No. 5, Seattle Symphony, Benaroya Hall, Apr. 20

When the orchestra finished playing the premiere of George Walker’s Sinfonia No. 5, one audience member didn’t even wait for conductor Thomas Dausgaard to signal for the applause. It was a pretty monstrous piece.

Alexander String Quartet and Joyce Yang, Meany Hall, May 22

Samuel Carl Adams has followed his father’s footsteps into the world of composition. His father is John Adams. Alexander String Quartet and Joyce Yang performed a piece by the younger Adams, and he sounds nothing like his father. In fact, I would like to hear more from Sam Adams.

untitled 3, Seattle Symphony, Benaroya Hall, June 7

A reimagning of Schubert and Schumann. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

In the Spotlight: Bolcom, Jolley, Poteat & Hausmann, Octave 9, June 11

Seattle Symphony transformed its education space into a high-tech venue to showcase more experimental programming. I’m looking forward to attending concerts in this new space.

Torche, Highline, Sept. 15

Sturgill Simpson made me realize I was getting too old for rock shows, so I almost decided against seeing Torche, despite loving the new album. Then I saw they were playing at a venue that is a 6-minute walk from my apartment. I’m glad I went.

Bugs Bunny on Broadway, Seattle Symphony, Benaroya Hall, Oct. 5

I wasn’t going to miss hearing What’s Opera, Doc? performed live. Even the 3-d animated new shorts weren’t too bad.

untitled 1, Seattle Symphony, Benaroya Hall, Oct. 18

This first untitled concert of the 2019-2020 season showcased works for brass, and alternated between early and modern music. At the end of the concert, I was asked what I thought. I answered, “It was more conservative than I prefer.”

John Williams, Violin Concerto, St. Louis Symphony, Powell Hall, Nov. 3

I debated whether to take in a St. Louis Symphony concert while I was attending WordCamp US. A Sunday matinee seemed like a good option for someone navigating an unfamiliar city without a car. The light rail and bus system got me to the concert hall, which has a really nice sound. James Ehnes was the soloist for the Williams concerto, and yes, it’s unmistakably John Williams. For an encore, Ehnes did Ysaÿe’s Sonata No. 3.

Sleater-Kinney, Paramount Theatre, Nov. 23

I chose to sit in the mezzanine for this show because, yes, Sturgill Simpson.

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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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Purchase log, 2019-04-30

[Icicle Works - Five Albums]

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.

It was my birthday last week, so I spent it in London, getting more study scores than records. A few of these titles were bought with birthday cash beforehand.

New releases

CD
  • Dead Can Dance, Dionysus

Catalog

CD
  • Beat Furrer, Aria / Solo / Gaspra
  • Beat Furrer, Stimmen / Face De La Chaleur / Quartett / Dort Ist Das Me
  • Carlo Gesualdo, O Dolce Mio Tesoro
  • Everything But the Girl, Eden (Deluxe Edition)
  • Everything But the Girl, Love Not Money (Deluxe Edition)
  • Icicle Works, 5 Albums
  • Perfume, JPN
  • Robert Palmer, 5 Classic Albums
  • The Human League, Dare
  • Utada Hikaru, “Face My Fears”
  • Yaz, Three Pieces
Vinyl
  • 10,000 Maniacs, Hope Chest: The Fredonia Recordings
  • Craig Armstrong, Sun on You
  • Enya, “How Can I Keep from Singing?”
  • Perfume, Future Pop
  • Various Artists, Tom’s Diner

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Purchase log, 2019-01-15

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
  • Deee-Lite, Infinity Within
  • George Antheil, Ballet Mecanique (Maurice Peress, New Palais Royale Orchestra)
  • Perfume, Triangle
  • T. Rex, Electric Warrior
  • The Pointer Sisters, Break Out
Vinyl
  • Buffalo Daughter, New Rock
  • Robert Palmer, Secrets

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Favorite Edition Rewind: 2008

[Santigold - Santigold]

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.

The Favorite Edition 2008 spurred this exercise to revisit lists from 10 years ago. While the Favorite 10 has only one change, the other favorites include a number of new discoveries.

  1. Santigold, Santigold
  2. MASS OF THE FERMENTING DREGS, MASS OF THE FERMENTING DREGS
  3. The Magnetic Fields, Distortion
  4. Emmylou Harris, All I Intended to Be
  5. ASIAN KUNG-FU GENERATION, World World World
  6. Girl Talk, Feed the Animals
  7. Sam Amidon, All Is Well
  8. Leo Imai, Fix Neon
  9. Nico Muhly, Mothertongue
  10. Spangle call Lilli line, ISOLATION

Other favorites from the year:

  • Matt Alber, Hide Nothing
  • ZAZEN BOYS, ZAZEN BOYS 4
  • Utada Hikaru, HEART STATION
  • Perfume, GAME
  • Jennifer Koh, String Poetic
  • Janelle Monáe, Metropolis: The Chase Suite
  • Chris Walla, Field Manual

It took me a year and a half to get around to Santigold. I’m not sure why I hadn’t, and I can’t remember what finally spurred me to do so. I’m just glad I did. Chris Walla, unfortunately, must make way.

Perfume, Jennifer Koh and Janelle Monáe are retroactive entries, replacing hey willpower, Bob Mould and VOLA AND THE ORIENTAL MACHINE.

I must have really been tough on Utada Hikaru’s HEART STATION — it didn’t even rank at the time.

Competition for this list was tough. Matt Alber and ZAZEN BOYS could have squeezed into the Favorite 10, and even Janet Jackson and R.E.M. turned out some decent work that year. The cup runneth over.

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Favorite Edition Rewind: 2016

[Sturgill Simpson - A Sailor's Guide to Earth]

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.

The 2016 list has actually undergone a revision, so this list consolidates the two entries, with some slight changes.

  1. Sturgill Simpson, A Sailor’s Guide to Earth
  2. Henryk Górecki, Symphony No. 4
  3. MONO, Requiem for Hell
  4. Solange, A Seat at the Table
  5. A Tribe Called Quest, We Got It From Here … Thank You 4 Your Service
  6. Perfume, COSMIC EXPLORER
  7. Drive By Truckers, American Band
  8. Shaprece, COALS
  9. Cocco, Adan Ballet
  10. Colvin & Earle, Colvin & Earle

Other favorites from the year:

  • Utada Hikaru, Fantôme
  • Ty Herndon, House on Fire
  • Eluvium, False Readings On
  • Santigold, 99 Cents
  • Explosions in the Sky, The Wilderness
  • Blood Orange, Freetown Sound
  • Colin Stetson, Sorrow: A Reimagining of Gorecki’s Third Symphony
  • John Adams, Scheherazade.2

The 10 favorites remain the same, while Utada Hikaru and Ty Herndon get bumped down. ANONHI, Pixies and De La Soul get bumped off completely.

I included Pixies because Head Carrier was an improvement over Indie Cindy, but it wasn’t stellar enough to hold onto its position. Albums by ANONHI and De La Sol were good, but over time, they couldn’t hold onto to their status as favorites.

As I mentioned before, lists from this decade probably won’t see much shifting, as my focus continues to move to exploring catalog. Most of the 2016 releases I bought after the year had passed were vinyl issues.

A Bruce Springsteen compilation accompanying the release of his autobiography did set me on a course to explore his earlier albums.

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Purchase log, 2018-08-21

 

[Julee Cruise - Three Demos]

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
  • Duran Duran, The Ultra Chrome, Latex and Steel Tour
  • Perfume, Future Pop
Vinyl
  • Steve Grand, not the end of me
  • Julee Cruise, Three Demos

Catalog

CD
  • Claude Debussy, Images (1894) / Estampes / Images, Series I and II (Paul Jacobs)
  • Led Zeppelin, untitled (fourth album)
Vinyl
  • Aretha Franklin, Who’s Zoomin’ Who?
  • Soundtrack, Who’s That Girl?

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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: March-April 2018

[Tracey Thorn - Record]

The release calendar is thinning out for me, which isn’t to say it’s not picking up.

Do As Infinity, ALIVE, Feb. 28

It’s been so long since I’ve paid attention to Do As Infinity that I almost didn’t recognize Owatari Ryo without the spiky blonde highlights. I still have a soft spot for this band. I don’t know why.

Tracey Thorn, Record, March 2

We’ve had two Ben Watt albums, so it’s high time for Tracey Thorn to offer a third post-EBTG disc. Also, is she a fan of the Art of Noise? Because that cover looks familiar.

[Art of Noise - In Visible Silence LP inner sleeve]

ART-SCHOOL, In Colors, March 7

I fell off the ART-SCHOOL bandwagon when it became apparent the years have eroded Kinoshita Riki’s voice.

THE BACK HORN, Joukei Dorobou, March 7

I shouldn’t be surprised THE BACK HORN has been around 20 years when Cocco celebrated the 20th anniversary of her debut. Utada Hikaru and Shiina Ringo are only a year away from theirs.

Perfume, “Mugen Mirai”, March 14

The last two singles weren’t terribly impressive. Have we reached peak Perfume? I’m probably one of the few people who liked COSMIC EXPLORER.

ASIAN KUNG-FU GENERATION, BEST HIT AKG 2, March 28
ASIAN KUNG-FU GENERATION, BEST HIT AKG Official Bootleg “HONE”, March 28
ASIAN KUNG-FU GENERATION, BEST HIT AKG Official Bootleg “IMO”, March 28

This second volume of greatest hits from ASIAN KUNG-FU GENERATION covers the albums from Landmark to Sol-Fa 2016. The official bootlegs bring together tracks compiled by Goto Masafumi on playlists published on the AKG blog. I think I’m covered.

Kylie Minogue, Golden, April 6

What little press I’ve encountered about this album made a big deal of the fact it was recorded in Nashville. I can’t say Nashville strikes me as diverse a music scene as Austin or Seattle, but the city has a music infrastructure that can absolutely accommodate Kylie.

Royal Wood, Ever After Farewell, April 6 (Canada)

Royal Wood also recorded his new album in Nashville, but his style of music is a natural fit for the city. I’m just hoping I don’t have to wait another year for an international release.

Vinyl

Annie Lennox, Diva, March 2

I’m ambivalent about this album, and yet I’m pretty sure I’m going to pick it up on release day. That is the draw of Annie Lennox’s voice.

Art of Noise, In Visible Silence (Deluxe Edition), March 2

I do not need to buy another copy of this album on vinyl.
I do not need to buy another copy of this album on vinyl.
I do not need to buy another copy of this album on vinyl.

Nakamori Akina, NEW AKINA Etrangér, May 2
Nakamori Akina, Fushigi, July 4
Nakamori Akina, CRUISE, July 4
Nakamori Akina, Cross My Palm, July 4

These vinyl reissues were announced last year, then summarily canceled. I’m most interested in Fushigi and CRUISE, but I get the impression I could save cash seeking out second-hand copies. I did find NEW AKINA Etrangér at Everyday Music, though.

Eurythmics, Peace, Oct. 28

Eurythmics vinyl reissues are scheduled throughout the year, but I snatched up original pressings the first time around. Peace, however, is the 1999 reunion album that has never been issued on vinyl.

 

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Favorite Edition 2017 Catalog

[Nakamori Akina - Fushigi]

2017 marked the largest year-over-year increase in my CD collection, and the biggest recipient of that largesse is the Lifelong Thrift Shop.

I crunched the numbers, and the store provided 168 of the 458 items bought in 2017. At an average of $0.73 per CD and $1.46 per record, I contributed more than $130 to Lifelong coffers. I wouldn’t have made a charitable payroll deduction that large.

The Friends of the Seattle Public Library Book Sale is another source for discount music, and I parted with $75 of my cash to them.

Essentially, weekly visits to the thrift shop has crowded out my interest in new releases. That, and being old.

Reissues

  1. Art of Noise, In Visible Silence: This album started my fascination with the Art of Noise and, more importantly, introduced me to the term musique concrète. It was the weirdest album I encountered in my tween years, and it primed me to discover Kronos Quartet.
  2. Wendy and Lisa, Eroica: A woefully underrated album.
  3. k.d. lang, Ingenue: The MTV Unplugged bonus material didn’t seem like much of an enhancement on paper till you actually listen to it
  4. The Smiths, The Queen Is Dead: The demos don’t stray too far from what eventually appeared on record, but it’s nice to hear how these tracks evolved.
  5. Prince and the Revolution, Purple Rain: I have to admit I was more enamored of the Eroica reissue, despite the bonus material in this special edition.
  6. Deee-Lite, World Clique: I’m usually not a fan of remixes, but the bonus disc on this special edition actually worked.
  7. Moondog, Moondog: I had been curious about Moondog for a long time, and the Record Store Day reissue of his self-titled Columbia debut was a good excuse to fill in a gap finally.
  8. Shawn Colvin, A Few Small Repairs: Yes, you can find this album at Lifelong for $1, but I still like it. And it’s on vinyl to boot!
  9. Emmylou Harris and the Nash Ramblers, At the Ryman: OK, I ended up with two copies of this album on vinyl because I hadn’t anticipated I could get the Ryman special edition when I visited Nashville in August 2017.
  10. Geinoh Yamashirogumi, Symphonic Suite AKIRA: The sequencing of the album had to change to accommodate the limitation of vinyl, but that doesn’t work against it.

Catalog

  1. Nakamori Akina, Fushigi: I have a number of middling Nakamori Akina albums,
    so out of curiosity, I did a search for what’s considered her best work. I wasn’t expecting an album that actually gets nods by the American indie music press. It puts to rest who I like better in the Akina vs. Seiko debate.
  2. The Streets, Original Pirate Material: I so dug “Geezers Need Excitement”, I used it as part of an assignment for an ear training/sight singing class I’m taking.
  3. New York Dolls, New York Dolls: I picked this album up from Lifelong Thrift Shop purely on reputation, and I didn’t expect how prescient it was.
  4. Loretta Lynn, Don’t Come Home a Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ on Your Mind): Don’t let the country weepies fool you — this album is all about how women have to be strong because men are just no good.
  5. Perfume, GAME: It took nearly a decade for me to discover the sublimity of “Polyrhythm.”
  6. The Roots, Game Theory: I want to call this album punk AF.
  7. Low, Things We Lost in the Fire: I’m not sure how much further I want to explore the Low catalog.
  8. Midnight Oil, Head Injuries: For the American Midnight Oil fan who wants to reach back into the Australian catalog, this album is where to start.
  9. Charles Mingus, The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady: Similarly, I’m not sure how much further I want to explore Mingus after hearing this work. I feel everything else would pale by comparison.
  10. Weezer, Pinkerton: This album is the one to own if you can’t stand Weezer fans.
    I don’t think I’d mind Weezer if it weren’t for the fans.

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