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Purchase log picks, October 2019

[Sturgill Simpson - Sound & Fury]

Sturgill Simpson, Sound & Fury

Like Patti Smith’s Horses, Sound & Fury confounded me. I put the album on repeat, and each listen only heightened my confusion and fascination. Was this My Bloody Valentine reborn as a southern rock band? Was it ZZ Top making the electroclash album it should never, ever record? In the end, it’s just Sturgill Simpson applying his work ethic to fucking with our minds.

Cocco, Star Shank

I don’t think I’ve heard Cocco scream with the kind of abandon she does on this album. It’s almost uncharacteristic now that she’s let a lot more sunshine into her music.

BBMAK, Powerstation

I didn’t realize how much I missed BBMAK till they announced their reunion, and this album does not disappoint.

The Replacements, Dead Man’s Pop

Don’t Tell a Soul was the first Replacements album I ever bought, so I find the over-produced, slick sound comforting. That said, I really dig this original mix by Matt Wallace. Thing is, it would have totally tanked in 1989. Maybe in 1993, it would have made more sense. But not in 1989.

Kim Gordon, No Home Record

Do we really need to pay attention to any other former member of Sonic Youth?

Ali Wong, Baby Cobra

I signed up for Netflix to watch the Sound & Fury anime. I might keep my subscription to watch Baby Cobra.

Kraftwerk, Trans-Europe Express

Kraftwerk strikes me as a band I ought to like, but so far, this album is the only one to connect.

Prince, Dirty Mind

I didn’t think I would like anything Prince recorded before 1999. I think I rather like this more than 1999.

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Purchase log, 2019-10-01

[The Replacements - Dead Man's Pop]

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
  • Sturgill Simpson, Sound and Fury

Catalog

CD
  • Aretha Franklin, Young, Gifted and Black
  • Dolly Parton, Jolene / My Tennessee Mountain Home
  • Dr. Dre, 2001
  • Dusty Springfield, Dusty in Memphis
  • Elvis Costello and the Attractions, Imperial Bedroom
  • Goldfrapp, Black Cherry
  • Gossip, Music for Men
  • Prince, Dirty Mind
  • Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, 100 Days, 100 Nights
  • Scissor Sisters, Night Work
  • The B-52’s, Funplex
  • Tracey Ullman, You Broke My Heart in 17 Places

Reissues

CD
  • The Replacements, Dead Man’s Pop
Vinyl
  • Pinback, Summer in Abaddon

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Purchase log, 2019-06-25

[Prince - Originals]

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
  • Prince, Originals

Catalog

CD
  • Anton Bruckner, Symphony No. 7 (Vienna Philharmonic, Herbert Karajan)
  • Anton Bruckner, Symphony No. 8 (NHK Symphony Orchestra, Lovro Von Matačič)
  • Christopher Rouse, Symphony No. 1 / Phantasmata (Baltimore Symphony, David Zinman)
  • Michael Kiwanuka, Home Again
  • Moritaka Chisato, DO THE BEST
  • Morrissey, Vauxhall and I
  • Roger Daltrey, Under a Raging Moon
  • Stereo MC’s, Connected
  • The Kinks, Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneyground Part One
  • Soundtrack, Amélie
Vinyl
  • Sly and the Family Stone, Stand!

Reissues

Vinyl
  • MONO, Hymn to the Immortal Wind (Anniversary Edition)

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Looking ahead, May-June 2019

[Shiina Ringo - Sandokushi]

Sting, My Songs, May 24

I had high but cautious hope for 57th and 9th. That will learn me.

Shiina Ringo, Sandokushi, May 27

This album adds six new tracks to the seven already released in various downloads and singles. Does anyone else get the sense Ringo-chan is phoning it in? I would think a 20-year anniversary would warrant a big reissue campaign in addition to a new album.

Eluvium, Piano Works, May 31

The deluxe edition vinyl release of this new album of piano works includes a sheet music book of Eluvium’s keyboard works.

Madonna, Madame X, June 14

Rebel Heart turned out better than I expected, but that seems to be the exception than the rule in recent years.

Prince, Originals, June 21

This compilation brings together demos of songs Prince wrote for other singers. I wonder if in the distant future we’ll hear The Family with Prince’s vocals.

Sigur Rós, Ágætis byrjun (Deluxe Edition), June 21

I like Sigur Rós, and Ágætis byrjun is a fine album. I’m not sure I love it enough for 4-CDs or 7-LPs.

Vinyl

James Blake, Assume Form, May 31

I hesitated on getting James Blake’s latest album till I found an unopened copy at the thrift store for $3. It’s turned out to be one of the better releases of 2019.

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Purchase log, 2019-04-16

[Duran Duran - As the Lights Go Down]

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.

Another Record Store Day is in the books, and this year, I found everything I wanted and a few things I didn’t know I wanted.

New releases

Vinyl
  • a-ha, Hunting High and Low: The Early Alternate Takes
  • Bingo Hand Job (i.e. R.E.M.), Live at the Borderline 1991
  • Fleetwood Mac, The Alternate Fleetwood Mac
  • Leann Rimes, Live at Gruene Hall
  • Prince, His Majesty’s Pop Life: The Purple Mix Club
  • Sly and the Family Stone, Woodstock Sunday, August 17, 1969
  • Townes Van Zandt, The Best of Townes Van Zandt
  • U2, The Europa EP

Catalog

CD
  • Boris, Smile
  • Boris with Michio Kurihara, Rainbow
  • Hapa, Hapa
  • Hiroshima, Hiroshima
  • Huey Lewis and the News, Time Flies … The Best of Huey Lewis and the News
  • Peter Gabriel, Peter Gabriel (Security)
  • Sly and the Family Stone, There’s a Riot Goin’ On
  • The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Time Out
  • The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Time Further Out
  • The Who, Quadrophenia
Vinyl
  • Lou Reed, Transformer

Reissues

Vinyl
  • Bruce Robison, Wrapped
  • Duran Duran, As the Lights Go Down
  • Santigold, I Don’t Want: The Gold Fire Sessions
  • Weezer, Weezer (Teal Album)
  • Yaz, Reconnected Live
  • Soundtrack, Hidden Figures
  • Soundtrack, Multiplication Rock
  • Soundtrack, Office Space

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Purchase log, 2019-03-05

[Wire Train - ... in a chamber]

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
  • ABC, Alphabet City
  • Don Johnson, Let It Roll
  • Fujii Fumiya, Angel
  • Iron and Wine, The Creek Drank the Cradle
  • Lady Gaga, The Fame Monster
  • Prince, Come
  • Yazawa Eikichi, FLASH IN JAPAN
  • Various Artists, Schoolhouse Rocks! Rocks
Vinyl
  • Pop Will Eat Itself, This Is the Day … This Is the Hour … This Is This!
  • Rodney Crowell, Ain’t Living Long Like This

Reissues

CD
  • Wire Train, … in a chamber
Vinyl
  • … And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, Madonna

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Looking ahead, January-February 2019

[Jeremy Denk - c.1300-c.2000]

The site will take its usual January break starting next week, so this entry is my last chance to point out some upcoming releases.

Jeremy Denk, c.1300-c.2000, Feb. 8

I’ll be seeing Jeremy Denk in concert in a few weeks, but he won’t be performing the sprawling program of this two-disc set spanning seven centuries of music.

Vinyl

Mindy Smith, One Moment More, Jan. 29

Mindy Smith is so far the only country music singer whose voice reminds me of Harriet Wheeler of the Sundays.

Prince, Musicology, Feb. 8
Prince, 3121, Feb. 8

Musicology was heralded as a return to form, but I found it less interesting than 3121. But even 3121 was less interesting than The Gold Experience, which I would consider getting on vinyl. But really, when is the Love Symbol album getting reissued?

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Favorite Edition 2018 Catalog

[Art of Noise - In No Sense? Nonsense!]

This past year, I started keeping a log of purchases every week, and a cursory look at those entries show how much catalog has taken over my collection.

Like last year, many of these purchases come from Lifelong Thrift Store or Goodwill. A month-long CD sale at Easy Street Records contributed quite a number of titles. I’ve whittled down nearly 600 purchases to a list of Favorite 10.

Catalog

  1. Patti Smith, Horses: The first time I played this album, I didn’t get it. So I played a few more times and became fascinated with it on each play.
  2. Boris, Pink: I remember other Japanese indie rock fans fawning over this album, and it’s taken me 12 years to get around to finding out why.
  3. David Bowie, Scary Monsters: At first I was going to be boring and choose Ziggy Stardust or Let’s Dance as my favorite Bowie album, but this one takes it, hands down.
  4. Bruce Springsteen, Nebraska: I like the story of how this album came about just as much as I like the end result.
  5. Fugazi, The Argument: Fugazi didn’t make a bad album, just less good ones. The Argument would probably be Fugazi’s best album if 13 Songs and Repeater weren’t in the way.
  6. Joni Mitchell, Court and Spark: I went on a Joni Mitchell binge this year, and this album is the only one I really like. Sorry, Blue.
  7. Roxy Music, Avalon: Quite the dapper album.
  8. The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Are You Experienced: It’s weird how familiar this album feels after years of hearing covers by Kronos Quartet, Sting and Emmylou Harris.
  9. The Pogues, Rum Sodomy and the Lash: I didn’t accommodate the Pogues during my Celtic phase of the mid-90s because they were more rock than Celtic.
  10. Wire, Pink Flag: I’m also fond of the self-titled Killing Joke album.

The last half of the year was stuffed with reissues that were of particular interest for me.

Reissues

  • Art of Noise, In No Sense? Nonsense! (Deluxe Edition): (Who’s Afraid Of …?) The Art of Noise! may have all the hits, but the post-ZTT albums from 1986 and 1987 are the band’s creative peak.
  • Camouflage, Voices and Images (30th Anniversary Edition): This reissue received a limited run in Germany, so pick it up before they’re all gone.
  • Johnny Hates Jazz, Turn Back the Clock (30th Anniversary Edition): The acoustic re-recording of this album works quite well, given how reliant the original was on MIDI.
  • Kate Bush, Remastered Part I and Remastered Part II: It’s apparent on which side Kate takes in the loudness wars, because these remasters do nothing with the volume. In the case of The Red Shoes, it’s actually pulled back. But they sound great, particularly Part I.
  • Julee Cruise, The Voice of Love: I so dug Floating Into the Night that I didn’t think it could be topped. It wasn’t, because The Voice of Love is a different beast.
  • Sasagawa Miwa, Houjou -BEST 03-18-: I passed on the two most recent Sasagawa Miwa albums, but this retrospective does a good job of highlighting the best parts of her output.
  • Frank Ocean, Endless: This album was better than Blonde.
  • Prince, Piano and a Microphone 1983: How about a vinyl reissue of the Love Symbol album?

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Favorite Edition Rewind: 1984

[Thompson Twins - Into the Gap]

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.

And now we enter some new territory. I didn’t start collecting music in earnest till 1985, and I wouldn’t start exploring catalog music till 2005. Raiding thrift shops has allowed me to fill in a lot of history, which is why were expanding the range of this retrospective to as far back as 1978. Today, we start with 1984.

  1. Stephen Sondheim, Sunday in the Park with George
  2. The Replacements, Let It Be
  3. Soundtrack, Amadeus
  4. Andersson / Rice / Ulvaeus, Chess
  5. Art of Noise, Who’s Afraid of? … the Art of Noise!
  6. Madonna, Like a Virgin
  7. Prince and the Revolution, Purple Rain
  8. Bruce Springsteen, Born in the USA
  9. Arvo Pärt, Tabula Rasa
  10. Thompson Twins, Into the Gap

Other favorites from the year:

  • Guadalcanal Diary, Walking in the Shadows of the Big Man
  • Nena, 99 Luftballons
  • Eurythmics, 1984 (For the Love of Big Brother)
  • Sade, Diamond Life

I was much more into arcade video games — the classic era of Pac-Man and Galaga — than music in 1984. The only album I owned from that time is 99 Luftballons. Everything else I would discover later.

My 12-year-old self would not have known what to make of the Replacements or Arvo Pärt. He would have scoffed and wretched over the idea that Madonna or Prince could rank on such a list. They were his brother’s albums, after all.

He certainly did not have the sophistication or patience for two LPs of Mozart, although he might have really liked watching Amadeus.

And he would have definitely protested the inclusion of Bruce Springsteen on the list, all the while gazing lustily after the cover of Born in the USA.

He would have totally understood the Thompson Twins, though.

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Favorite Edition Rewind: 1985

[The Outfield - Play Deep]

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.

This list is the last of the original years covered in my previous survey. The Favorite 10 hasn’t changed, but the extended list has gotten longer.

  1. Tears for Fears, Songs from the Big Chair
  2. Sting, The Dream of the Blue Turtles
  3. Arcadia, So Red the Rose
  4. ABC, How to Be a Zillionaire!
  5. 10,000 Manaics, The Wishing Chair
  6. Clannad, Macalla
  7. Kate Bush, Hounds of Love
  8. Soundtrack, Macross Song Collection
  9. Midnight Oil, Red Sails in the Sunset
  10. Andrew Lloyd Webber, Requiem

Other favorites from the year::

  • Camper Van Beethoven, Telephone Free Landslide Victory
  • Eurythmics, Be Yourself Tonight
  • Hiroshima, Another Place
  • The Pogues, Rum Sodomy and the Lash
  • Simple Minds, Once Upon a Time
  • Sade, Promise
  • Hüsker Dü, New Day Rising
  • The Replacements, Tim
  • The Outfield, Play Deep
  • INXS, Listen Like Thieves
  • Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam with Full Force, Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam with Full Force
  • The Power Station, The Power Station
  • The Family, The Family
  • Prince and the Revolution, Around the World in a Day

Younger Me would approve of most of this list.

He would have gasped at the inclusion of Prince, considering the Sibling Rivalry Collection Race was at its height, and this kind of intrusion would be accompanied by a drubbing.

And he would groaned at the inclusion of The Outfield. Older Me would then advise him to wait 20 years before a real appreciation could begin.

I capped this survey at 1985 because my collection before that year wasn’t extensive enough for much punditry. Weekly visits to thrift shops in the last three years have allowed me to fill in enough gaps to keep going till 1978.

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