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Looking ahead: November-December 2022

[Kylie Minogue - Impossible Princess]

Spice Girls, Spiceworld (Deluxe Edition), Nov. 4

This album was definitely rushed to capitalize on the Spice Girls’ fame, so you wouldn’t be faulted for perceiving it as Spice the Sequel. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

The Flaming Lips, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots (Deluxe Edition), Nov. 25

For a 2002 album, Yoshimi definitely deserved its spot on critics’ year-end lists, but next to The Soft Bulletin, it didn’t quite satisfy the same itch.

Sigur Rós, () (Deluxe Edition), Nov. 25

I’m getting this deluxe edition because I’m a fan of the band, but I don’t really like this album.

Shiina Ringo, Hyakuyaku no Cho, Nov. 30

We’ve already had a tribute album, so let’s see what a remix album yields.

Vinyl

Kylie Minogue, Impossible Princess (Anniversary Edition), Oct. 21

Impossible Princess was never released in the US, but at least you can stream it now. For its 25th anniversary, the album gets a vinyl reissue. I’m hoping it’s not going to be as difficult to acquire as Fever vinyl reissues.

Death Cab for Cutie, The Photo Album (Deluxe Edition), Oct. 28

Death Cab for Cutie already released this deluxe edition digitally, and the vinyl edition is essentially the only physical version of this reissue. As a compact disc devotee, I’m disappointed, but if the enclosed download code gives me access to the Bandcamp FLAC files, I can get over it.

Duran Duran, Hammersmith Live ’82, Nov. 25
Marshall Crenshaw, Marshall Crenshaw (Deluxe Edition), Nov. 25
The Dead Milkmen, Metaphysical Graffiti, Nov. 25

For the past few years, Record Store Day Black Friday hasn’t been as financially ruinous as the main spring event, but this year, I’ll be braving the crowds for Duran Duran, Marshall Crenshaw and the Dead Milkmen.

Information Society, Peace and Love (Anniversary Edition), Dec. 2

I remember learning about the release date of this album back in 1992 and thought there would be a big push to promote it. Then I forgot about it. Evidently, so did Tommy Boy. It’s a rather underrated album.

Soundtrack, BLEACH, Dec. 14

Yes, I subscribed to Hulu just to catch BLEACH: Thousand Year Blood War. And yeah, the moment this title was announced, I put in a pre-order.

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Purchase log, 2020-02-04

[Black Sabbath - Paranoid]

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
  • Ben Watt, Storm Damage

Catalog

CD
  • Band of Susans, Hope Against Hope
  • Dirty Three, Whatever You Love, You Are
  • Matsuda Seiko, area62
  • Ponga, Psychological
  • Soundtrack, This Is Spinal Tap
Vinyl
  • Black Sabbath, Paranoia
Blu Ray
  • Shiina Ringo, Electric Mole
  • Tokyo Jihen, Ultra C

Reissues

CD
  • Neneh Cherry, Raw Like Sushi

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Favorite Edition 2019 Year Final

[Sturgill Simpson - Sound and Fury]

I’m old enough now that I can no longer be mistaken for someone remotely connected to the zeitgeist. A phrase I would often employ was, “I know of them, but I’ve not heard from them.” These days, the first part of that phrase is a stretch.

That said, I’m surprised by the number of R&B titles that have crept into my playlist rotation. I’m still a rockist at heart, but rock is loosening its grip on my attention.

  1. Sturgill Simpson, Sound & Fury: How was Sturgill Simpson ever going to top A Sailor’s Guide to Earth? He didn’t. He veered so drastically in a different direction that the albums can’t be compared. None of his albums can be compared to each other.
  2. Torche, Admission: Torche can be found under the metal section of most music stores, but when I play their albums, I hear post-rock.
  3. Weezer, Weezer (Teal Album): It’s a karaoke album, but a painstakingly created one.
  4. Jeremy Denk, c.1300-c.2000: It’s a tall order to compile eight centuries of music into a single program.
  5. John Luther Adams, Become Desert: It was also stirring to hear this piece live.
  6. Cocco, Star Shank: We hear hints of clouds covering the sunniness of Cocco’s later work.
  7. BBMAK, Powerstation: I will not lie — I’ve anticipating this album for most of the year, and I do not care who knows.
  8. Shiina Ringo, Sandokushi: This album is a glorious mess.
  9. Solange, When I Get Home: Similar to Sound and Fury, this album is confounding and fascinating at the same time. There’s nothing on here that matches the tunefulness of A Seat at the Table, and it would be too disruptive to the album’s flow if there were.
  10. Jamila Woods, Legacy! Legacy!: “Basquiat” was playing on the in-store system at Sonic Boom, and it pretty much clinched my decision to get this album.

Other favorites of the year:

  • Kim Gordon, No Home Record
  • Michael Kiwanuka, KIWANUKA
  • James Blake, Assume Form
  • Sassyblack, Ancient Mahogany Gold
  • Anderson .Paak, Ventura
  • NUMBER GIRL, Kaiden no Kioku
  • The Drums, Brutalism
  • Ty Herndon, Got It Covered

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Purchase log, 2019-12-17

[Various Artists - Rubáiyát]

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

Vinyl
  • Shiina Ringo, Sandokushi
Blu Ray
  • Shiina Ringo, Seiteki Healing Sono Go~Nana

Catalog

CD
  • Bob Mould, The Last Dog and Pony Show
  • Digital Underground, Sex Packets
  • Lana Del Rey, Norman Fucking Rockwell!
  • Midnight Oil, Earth and Sun and Moon
  • Mumford & Sons, Sigh No More
  • Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto (New York Chamber Symphony, Gerard Schwarz)
  • Old 97s, Satellite Rides
  • Philip Glass, Low Symphony (Brooklyn Philharmonic, Dennis Russell Davies)
  • Roxette, Look Sharp!
  • Stephen Sondheim, Sweeney Todd (2005 Broadway Cast)
  • Sting, If On a Winter’s Night …
  • Tag Team, Whoomp! (There It Is)
  • Taylor Swift, Speak Now
  • Technotronic, Trip on This: The Remixes
  • Various Artists, Living In Oblivion, Vol. 2
  • Various Artists, Rubáiyát: The Originals
Vinyl
  • Chic, Risqué
  • Conlon Nancarrow, Complete Studies for Player Piano, Vol. 2
  • Conlon Nancarrow, Complete Studies for Player Piano, Vol. 4
  • Foreigner, Agent Provocateur
  • Hüsker Dü, Land Speed Record
  • Sonic Youth, Confusion Is Sex
  • Soundtrack, This Is Spinal Tap

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Purchase log picks, November 2019

[Leila Josefowicz - Solos]

Shiina Ringo, Newton no Ringo ~Hajimete no Best Han~

Oh, it’s just a compilation with a bunch of bonus tracks. Surely, it just rehashes what we’ve heard over the last 20 years? Not so fast. A number of early tracks have been remixed in a way that actually brings new character to what Shiina calls her youthful works. As for the new songs? Well, if you’re not a fan of the most recent albums, these tracks aren’t going to dissuade you.

Michael Kiwanuka, KIWANUKA

I picked up Michael Kiwanuka’s debut album from the thrift store and was immediately impressed. I sought out his second album and didn’t warm up to it as much. That planted some hesitancy on picking up this latest album, which turned out to be unfounded. This album takes Kiwanuka in a new direction.

LCD Soundsystem, Sound of Silver

I really dig the “Drunk Girls” video, but I can’t say I remember much about This Is Happening. The band’s debut, Sound of Silver, is often touted as their best work, so I gave it a chance when I spotted it in the thrift shop. Conventional wisdom turns out to be correct.

Leila Josefowicz, Solos

I picked this album up because of the Ysaÿe Sonata No. 3 for solo violin. It’s a monstrous piece.

Yvonne Elliman, Rising Sun

Yvonne Elliman will be known as a disco singer, but after her run as Mary Magdalene in the original cast of Jesus Christ Superstar, she tried her hand at a more conventional folk-rock sound. As with Love Me, Rising Sun demonstrates how underrated Elliman is.

Peter Moon Band, Cane Fire!

Back in college, I tried to explore Hawaiian music, but my rockist bias against the genre would be difficult to overcome. Still, I picked up Cane Fire! on the recommendation of people more versed in the genre than I was, and … I was still too much of a snob to give it fair shake. Three decades have tempered that snobbery, and it turns out Cane Fire! really stands out.

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Looking ahead, October-November 2019

[Shiina Ringo - Newton no Ringo]

Kim Gordon, No Home Record, Oct. 11

Kim Gordon’s music career spans numerous decades, but only now does she release a solo album. Of course I’m curious.

The Police, Every Move You Make: The Studio Recordings, Nov. 8

I bought a used copy of Message in a Box, so I really don’t need this set. I want it, but I don’t need it.

Shiina Ringo, Newton no Ringo ~Hajimete no Best Ban~, Nov. 13

Many popular Japanese artists release multiple career-spanning retrospectives. Shiina Ringo releases her first after 20 years.

Sam Amidon, Fatal Flower Garden EP, Nov. 15

Billed as “A Tribute to Harry Smith,” this 4-track, 7-inch EP features Amidon performing songs from Smith’s Anthology of American Folk Music.

Clannad, In a Lifetime Anthology, March 13, 2020

No details have emerged yet of this career-spanning compilation, but the Brennans embark on a farewell tour to support it. They will be missed.

Vinyl

Everything But the Girl, Walking Wounded, Nov. 8

Yes, please. Thank you.

Shiina Ringo, Sandokushi, Dec. 11

Rule of thumb for Shiina Ringo vinyl releases: place a pre-order because they will be gone.

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Purchase log picks, June 2019

[Frida - Something's Going On]

Amanda Shires, To the Sunset

I gave this album a cursory preview when it first appeared in mid-2018, but I didn’t follow up till now. Shires’ husband, Jason Isbell, sang the album’s praises, and he’s right — To the Sunset is ambitious.

John Luther Adams, Become Desert

I went to the Saturday world premiere of this work in 2018, so it was pretty much guaranteed a spot on this list.

Frida, Something’s Going On

This album would be akin to Janet Jackson’s Control in the way Frida distances herself from ABBA.

Shiina Ringo, Sandokushi

No, this album won’t dislodge Shiina’s first three albums off the pedestal, but it’s her most diverse since Karuki Zaamen Kuri no Hana, and Shiina on an off-day is still many leagues interesting than most artists at their apex.

Soundtrack, Macross: Ai Oboete Imasu Ka?

My experience with anime can be divided in two: before “Do You Remember Love?” and after “Do You Remember Love?” I will always treasure Robotech for introducing me to Japanese animation, but that show really did butcher the source material.

Madonna, Madame X

The singles preceding Madame X‘s release did not do the album justice. It’s a far more ambitious work than the singles let on.

Re-Flex, The Politics of Dancing

The Politics of Dancing is a reliably 80s synth album, but that title track is an unshakable earworm. Cherry Red in the UK is giving it an expanded reissue in July 2019.

Roger Daltery, Under a Raging Moon

This album is steeped in the ’80s, which is probably why it appeals to me so much.

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Favorite Edition 2019 Year Half

[Jamila Woods - Legacy! Legacy!]

One of these years, I’m not going to have a big enough pool from which to draw a mid-year Favorite Edition list. This year got close.

  • Weezer, Weezer (Teal Album): The big criticism of this cover album is the slavish reproduction of the originals, as if Weezer did nothing to inject its own personality in these songs. The studio geek in me, however, marvels at such a feat. It may be a karaoke exercise, but it’s a painstaking one, not unlike art students reproducing the masters.
  • Jeremy Denk, c.1300-c.2000: It’s a tricky proposition to distill seven centuries of music in a single program, but Denk takes an admirable stab at it. I have no objections to his choices.
  • James Blake, Assume Form: Blake’s previous album was lengthy and not terribly engaging. He rights the ship on this one.
  • John Luther Adams, Become Desert: Where Become Ocean explored the Seattle Symphony’s lower and middle registers, Become Desert hovers almost exclusively in the upper ends.
  • Shiina Ringo, Sandokushi: Shiina’s first three albums looms large over the rest of her work, Tokyo Jihen included. Sandokushi is a fascinating mess — lots of seemingly disparate songs threaded together as a single program. It’s jarring but coherent, and probably the best summation of her style thus far.
  • Jamila Woods, Legacy! Legacy!: Like Parquet Courts’ Wide Awake, Legacy! Legacy! was playing on a record store sound system and made me stop to find out who is Jamila Woods.
  • Solange, When I Get Home: There are no obvious singles on this album, which is fine because it’s not intended to be a singles album.
  • Madonna, Madame X: A quotation of Tchaikovsky’s signature work could have backfired, but when the Nutcracker interrupts “Dark Ballet,” it doesn’t feel forced. The singles preceding the release of Madame X didn’t hint at this kind of creative stretch.
  • The Drums, Brutalism: Jonny Pierce tones down the Joy Division influence and brings forth the beats.

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Purchase log, 2019-06-18

[Shiina Ringo - MoRA]

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
  • John Luther Adams, Become Desert
  • Madonna, Madame X
Vinyl
  • James Blake, Assume Form
  • Midnight Oil, Armistice Day: Live at the Domain Sydney

Catalog

CD
  • Bruce Springsteen, Tracks
  • Chuck Prophet, No Other Love
  • Hank III, Risin’ Outlaw
  • InfoMatik, Identify
  • John Coltrane, Live in Seattle
  • Kid Koala, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Lounge Lizards, Voice of Chunk
  • Shiina Ringo, MoRA
  • Stephen Sondheim, Follies
  • Whitney Houston, I’m Your Baby Tonight
  • Soundtrack, Captive
Vinyl
  • Sonny Rollins, Saxophone Colossus
  • Soundgarden, Badmotorfinger

Reissues

CD
  • Marvin Gaye, You’re the Man
  • MONO, Hymn to the Immortal Wind (Anniversary Edition)
Vinyl
  • Art of Noise, In No Sense? Nonsense!

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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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