- Sam Smith, Gloria
- Neutral Milk Hotel, Everything Is
- Neutral Milk Hotel, “Little Birds”
- Neutral Milk Hotel, “You’ve Passed / Where You’ll Find Me Now (Early Versions)”
Tags: andrew lloyd webber, chanticleer, dixie chicks, eponymous 4, gustav mahler, midnight oil, mr. bungle, pj harvey, propellerheads, purchase log, roger daltrey, sam smith, soundtrack, the old 97s, u2, whitney houston
Washington State is under a stay-at-home order till May 4, which means I’m not going to be shopping for music at a local record store till then — assuming the order doesn’t get extended.
Prior to No Shape, I’ve been ambivalent about Perfume Genius. I would hear excerpts of previous albums and not feel much compulsion to listen to more. I picked up No Shape from the thrift store mostly because it had garnered a lot of acclaim. And I liked it enough to look forward to this next release.
Bob Hurwitz retired as president of Nonesuch in 2017, and for his send-off, a number of artists wrote piano works for him. The title piece, written by John Adams, was Hurwitz’s reply when someone asked him if he still plays piano.
Matthew Cooper of Eluvium and Mark Smith of Explosions in the Sky reunite for their first new album since 2015.
I like this album enough to want this vinyl reissue, but I didn’t like it enough to get the deluxe edition a few years back.
I usually wait until concrete release dates are announced before listing an album in these previews, but in the last few days, a number of artists have made announcements worth noting.
I didn’t think I would miss Tokyo Jihen, but I realized I did when their reunion was announced.
I like Gaytheist, but I don’t follow them as closely as I do other bands. So it’s an automated announcement from Bandcamp that informed me of this release.
Roberta Flack’s debut album turns 50. “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” was No. 1 on the week I was born.
When was the last time Rufus Wainwright did a rock album? Right around the time I moved to Seattle in 2012.
I enjoyed The Thrill of It All more than In the Lonely Hour, so I’m hoping this next album continues that trajectory.
The Nashville Sound was good, but it didn’t monopolize my attention the way Southeastern or Something More than Free did. So my anticipation for this album is a bit on the cool side.
I think I’m more excited over another tour than I am about the new album and EP. At the same time, things are so fucked up that Midnight Oil is the right band for these times.
Aside from the title, details are scant about the next Janet album, but she’s already announced a tour.
The new decade doesn’t start till the end of of 2020, if you use the modified Julian calendar upon which scientists and the Naval Observatory rely. Pop culture writers are not scientists. Would you consider U2’s debut album a product of the ‘70s? Boy was released in 1980, and it would seem odd to lump it in the decade that gave us disco.
So even though science tells us the albums of 2020 should be counted in this review of the decade, we’ll save them for next decade. Besides, we didn’t give 2010 that accommodation last decade.
Tags: d'angelo, eponymous 4, favorite edition, frank ocean, janelle monae, jarell perry, jason isbell, john luther adams, kendrick lamar, lin-manuel miranda, parquet courts, sam smith, sleater-kinney, solange, sturgill simpson, tokyo jihen
After Sturgill Simpson’s November 2016 concert at the Paramount, I knew my days of rock music concert-going were waning. That was two hours on my feet, and I recognized I had little of the stamina that got me through those kinds of shows in my 30s.
So in 2018, I limited my concerts to classical events. Mostly.
The most interesting piece on the program wasn’t the west coast premiere of Igor Stravinsky’s Funeral Song — it was Gyorgi Ligeti’s Violin Concerto.
This performance was the second time I heard the Shostakovich Eighth Quartet at the Seattle Chamber Music Festival. The second movement gets me every time.
Pretty much a single chord for an hour, but it was surprising to hear the choirs enter from behind me.
I’ve been attending untitled concerts since their inception in 2012. Not all of the programs sink in, and I can’t honestly remember what the Nikoleav and Rastakov pieces on the program sound like.
The premiere of Andrew Norman’s Cello Concerto was postponed, and the replacement pieces on the program didn’t interest me. So I traded my ticket for Kullervo.
I performed at this concert! And I premiered one of my own pieces! It’s called Feldman and Messiaen at the Airport with Eno, and it’s scored for violin, ukulele, melodica and piano. I gave myself the violin part, which consisted of playing a single note for 8 counts every few seconds.
I must have been exhausted after the spring I’ve had because I don’t remember a single note played that evening.
Based on his studio albums thus far, you would think Smith would be something of a sad sack, but he made those songs of heartbreak sound positively rousing at Key Arena. I just wished the teenagers sitting next to me didn’t shine their phone screens in my face.
Even if I don’t rush out and learn about every piece that gets programmed in the [untitled] series, I still like the sense of discovery that comes with seeing unfamiliar music performed live. That said, Hans Abraham’s Schnee was quite the memorable performance.
I didn’t know St. Lawrence String Quartet did a TED Talk on Haydn’s “Sun” quartets, so I wasn’t prepared for the night’s performance to include a lecture. I also didn’t anticipate that I would immediately get into Haydn.
The first half of Brooklyn Rider’s concert featured new works by women, all dealing with the theme of healing. The second half was Beethoven’s op. 132. I bought a CD to help the quartet fund a recording of the pieces featured on the evening’s program.
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.
Do I have new favorites? Which ones have fallen out of favor? This time around, we’ll cover a greater span of time from as recently as last year, all the way to 1978!
We start with last year’s list.
This most recent decade won’t see much in the way of significant revisions, as I explore deeper into catalog releases than following new artists. Wouldn’t it be odd if I discover new artists from 2017 five years from now? Probably not.
Other favorites from the year:
Jason Isbell’s previous two albums ranked high on the Favorite Edition lists of 2013 and 2015, but The Nashville Sound had a tenuous grip on its position in the 2017 list. The late discovery of Sampha and Eluvium gave Isbell the final nudge.
Anne Dudley took up Eluvium’s vacated spot, nearly knocking Living Colour off.
Brandon Stansell makes his first appearance on the list. Stansell performed at the Concert for Love and Acceptance, hosted by Ty Herndon. Like Herndon, Stansell is a country artist, although he’s starting his career out of the closet.
Tags: anne dudley, brandon stansell, bryce dessner, david rawlings, eluvium, favorite edition, gaytheist, james mcalister, jason isbell, kronos quartet, leo imai, living colour, nico muhly, onitsuka chihiro, radwimps, renee fleming, rewind, royal wood, sam amidon, sam smith, sampha, shiina ringo, sufjan stevens
The monthly $0.10 CD Sale at Lifelong Thrift Shop was particular fruitful where classical music is concerned.
Tags: aaron copland, anton bruckner, benjamin britten, charles ives, clara schumann, dmitri shostakovich, emerson string quartet, fugazi, gustav mahler, jimi hendrix, johann sebastian bach, madvillain, new order, percy grainger, peter lawson, purchase log, sam smith, samuel barber, sergei prokofiev
2017 was a rather active year in music, but when it came to new releases, I opted to leave a lot of stuff on the shelf. A decade ago, new albums by Arcade Fire and Grizzly Bear would have been breathlessly awaited. I don’t get the sense either had much staying power beyond their release dates.
As a result, I ended up purchasing a total of 34 new titles, approximately 7 percent of my total buying activity. The remaining purchases? Catalog and reissues. This list, in other words, comes from a small pool of albums.
Sam Smith and Living Colour are the big changes from the mid-year list. The Thrill of It All isn’t as weird as I hoped it could be, but it’s a more appealing album than Smith’s debut.
Shade is the perfect soundtrack for the frustration of living under the current administration. Pre-release press mention the blues as a springboard for the album, but really, Living Colour transform the blues in ways that are nigh unrecognizable.
Other favorites from the year:
Tags: bryce dessner, cocco, david rawlings, duran duran, favorite edition, gaytheist, james mcalister, jason isbell, kronos quartet, living colour, nico muhly, onitsuka chihiro, radwimps, renee fleming, royal wood, sam amidon, sam smith, sampha, shiina ringo, sufjan stevens
A lot of big releases have been announced for fall, but few of them have much interest for me. I like you, Taylor Swift, but I accept I’m not your target market.
I haven’t listened to STRAIGHTENER in years, but I can get behind a tribute album that includes ASIAN KUNG-FU GENERATION, THE BACK HORN, 9mm Parabellum Bullet and the pillows.
I’ll settle for the 2-disc edition with the demos and b-sides. I’m not enough of a fan for the super deluxe edition with a concert recording and a DVD.
Please, please be the album In the Lonely Hour could have been.
I love Björk, but her albums aren’t ones you play for casual listening.
Fred Schneider and Kate Pierson have released solo albums, and Cindy Wilson completes the triumvirate. Honestly? I’m kind of curious what a Keith Strickland solo album would sound like.
I’m a U2 fan, but even I thought pushing Songs of Innocence into my iTunes library was intrusive. I ended up liking the album, but it ranks alongside How to Build an Atomic Bomb and All That You Can Leave Behind in the middle tier of U2’s output. I will listen to this new album regardless. I may even purchase it.
I already grabbed an original pressing of this album a while back, but I’m glad to see it getting a reissue.
Vinyl reissues for the band’s 20th anniversary. 20 years? Really? I’ve already placed an order for Futurama.