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Favorite Edition 2021 Catalog

[Riz Ahmed - The Long Goodbye]

It’s been five years since I discovered the media section of Lifelong Thrift Shop, and I’m at a point where I’m making fewer discoveries. These days, I pick things up because they pique my curiosity, and I anticipate I’ll be re-donating a lot of the albums I bought in the past year.

Still, the vast majority of my listening these days is catalog, as the Favorite Edition Year Final will make clear. In the past, I might have scoffed at someone as new and popular as Olivia Rodrigo. Now? I shrug and follow the mantra, “Let people like things.”

There’s a lot of music out on which I missed when I sought the dopamine hit of finding a new favorite band.

  • Riz Ahmed, The Long Goodbye: Rogue One is probably my favorite movie in the Star Wars extended universe, and Riz Ahmed is big part of why. I’m usually skeptical of Hollywood actors making music, but The Long Goodbye is amazing. It’s a breakup record, but with an entire country. The interludes don’t even feel that arch.
  • Linda Ronstadt, Mad Love: “Hurt So Bad” drew my attention this album, which I then discovered had some solid post-punk credentials on it. I still don’t think calling it her “new wave” album is entirely accurate, though.
  • The Fixx, Reach the Beach: I bought this album on the strength of “One Thing Leads to Another” alone, but I was surprised to find “Save By Zero” on there.
  • Kelela, Take Me Apart: I love that today’s R&B artists draw on influence outside the genre. This album feels more like Utada Hikaru.
  • Laurie Anderson, Big Science: I have two other Laurie Anderson albums that did not answer the question why she’s so lauded. Then this album popped up at the thrift store, and it became clear.
  • Alexander O’Neal, Hearsay: This album did well at the time, and it’s definitely a fine production by Jam and Lewis.
  • Test Pattern, This Is My Street: Man, I want an entire physical release of this Documentary Now! parody of Stop Making Sense.
  • Brothers Johnson, Light Up the Night: Sure, this album was made in the last throes of disco, but there is some mighty fine playing here. And “Stomp!” is timeless.
  • Electric Light Orchestra, Time: I’m definitely not the target market for the orchestral classic rock of ELO, but this album was essentially the band’s detour into new wave. And I’m all for that.
  • A Taste of Honey, Twice as Sweet: Yes, this album concludes with “Sukiyaki”, but the 9 tracks preceding it are no slouch.

Other favorites:

  • Big Pig, Bonk
  • fIREHOSE, If’n
  • Arditti Quartet, Arditti
  • Control Machete, Artillería Pesada, Presenta …
  • Prefab Sprout, Two Wheels Good (a.k.a Steve McQueen)

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Purchase log picks, July 2021

[Prefab Sprout - Steve McQueen a.k.a Two Wheels Good]

Kesha, Rainbow

This album has a lot of attitude, which it should given Kesha’s well-publicized legal battles. It’s fundamentally a pop album, with rock and country providing a gritty sheen.

ZZ Top, Afterburner

Eliminator has the bigger hits, but Afterburner is the better album.

Prefab Sprout, Two Wheels Good (a.k.a Steve McQueen)

Prefab Sprout is one of those bands about whom I knew without actually hearing their music. So it was nice to discover they fell somewhere between Yaz and ABC in their pursuit of a jazzy new wave sound.

TV on the Radio, Return to Cookie Mountain

I didn’t get TV on the Radio at first. The few excerpts I heard seemed unfocused and tuneless. But I picked up their albums from thrift shop to see if I could eventually understand. By then, I had listened to more hip-hop and R&B and realized the band is Black af. A decade and a half ago, my rockist collection had little room for Black voices.

Aceyalone, All Balls Don’t Bounce

I confess to sacrilege — I didn’t pay attention to the lyrics on this album. The beats are too damn distracting.

The National, Trouble Will Find Me

The National is one of those bands I like, but I would not consider myself a fan. I would seem demographically suited to be one, given the rest of my collection, but I just haven’t been convinced enough to jump in two-footed. But I do like Boxer and this album.

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