Archives

Purchase log, 2019-09-24

[Torche - Harmonicraft]

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
  • Brandi Carlile, By the Way I Forgive You
  • Interpol, Turn on the Bright Lights
  • Kraftwerk, Trans-Europe Express
  • Madonna, Remixed and Revisited
  • Men at Work, Business As Usual
  • Modern English, After the Snow
  • R.E.M.: Essential R.E.M.: In the Attic
  • Simon and Garfunkel, Bridge Over Troubled Waters
  • Soundgarden, Screaming Life / Fopp
  • Torche, Harmonicraft
  • Torche, Meanderthal

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Purchase log, 2019-09-17

[Art of Noise - Re-works of Art of Noise]

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
  • Sassyblack, Ancient Mahogany Gold

Vinyl

  • Torche, Admission

Catalog

CD
  • Art of Noise, Re-Works of Art of Noise
  • Charlie Robison / Jack Ingram / Bruce Robison, Unleashed Live
  • Common, Like Water for Chocolate
  • Grizzly Bear, Yellow House
  • Kanye West, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
  • The Cult, Sonic Temple
Vinyl
  • Johnny Cash, American Recordings
  • Rick Springfield, Tao
  • The Xx, Xx

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Purchase log picks, July 2019

[Hans Abrahamsen - Schnee]

Hans Abrahamsen, Schnee

Seattle Symphony performed this piece as part of its [untitled] series, and I couldn’t stop thinking about it.

Sonic Youth, Confusion Is Sex / Kill Yr. Idols

I’ve read a number of record guides, and very few of them recommend this album. They are wrong. Confusion Is Sex is probably the closest Sonic Youth has gotten to its modern classical roots, and I like it a lot.

Duffy, Rockferry

On Facebook, I posted this controversial stance: Duffy > Adele. Maybe I like Rockferry because it’s not piped into every restaurant and waiting room.

Johnny Cash, American IV: The Man Comes Around

I scored when I found a copy of this album with a DVD of the video for “Hurt” at the thrift store. Then I heard the rest of it, and … wow.

Torche, Admission

This album entered the Favorite Edition list on pretty much the first listen.

Various Artists, Living In Oblivion, Vol. 1

I had a copy of this album, but the booklet got water damaged in a refrigerator leak. So I gave it away. Welcome back.

Washed Out, Within and Without

Part of me wishes the cover of the album were homoerotic, but the music on it is great.

Anderson .Paak, Ventura

I’ve heard of Anderson .Paak but not from Anderson .Paak, so a $2 copy of this album at Goodwill, unopened, seemed like a low-risk way to find out who he is. I’m impressed.

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Purchase log, 2019-07-16

[Torche - Admission]

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
  • Torche, Admission

Catalog

CD
  • Alabama Shakes, Boys & Girls
  • Bangles, A Different Light
  • Clannad, Atlantic Realm
  • Elliott Smith, Figure 8
  • Fleetwood Mac, Behind the Mask
  • Front 242, Tyranny for You
  • Gabby Pahinui and Atta Isaacs, Two Slack Key Guitars
  • Grandaddy, The Sophtware Slump
  • Hapa, In the Name of Love
  • John Zorn, The Classic Guide to Strategy, Volumes One and Two
  • Johnny Cash, American IV: The Man Comes Around
  • Lorde, Pure Heroine
  • Morrissey, You Are the Quarry
  • Mumford and Sons, Babel
  • R.E.O. Speedwagon, Hi Infidelity
  • SING LIKE TALKING, DISCOVERY
  • Skrillex, Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites
  • The Style Council, Confessions of a Pop Group
  • Tricky, Maxinquaye
  • Various Artists, Every Band Has a Shonen Knife Who Loves Them
Vinyl
  • ABBA, The Singles: The First 10 Years
  • Cyndi Lauper, She’s So Unusual
  • Krzysztof Penderecki, Violin Concerto (Isaac Stern, Minnesota Orchestra, Stanislaw Skrowaczewki)
  • Leonard Bernstein, Leonard Bernstein Conducts His Symphonies (New York Philharmonic)
  • New Jersey Percussion Ensemble, Percussion Music
  • Stephen Sondheim, Company (Original Cast Recording)
  • The Alarm, Strength

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Looking ahead, June-July 2019

[John Luther Adams - Become Desert]

MONO, Hymn to the Immortal Wind (Anniversary Edition), June 14

I’m not usually a sucker for fancy packaging, but the limited edition vinyl reissue looks gorgeous. Also, this album really is MONO’s best.

John Luther Adams, Become Desert (Seattle Symphony, Ludovic Morlot), June 14

I’m not sure a recording will capture the surprise when a men’s chorus emerges from the texture of the orchestra — behind you. Perhaps in surround sound?

Renée Fleming, Lieder, June 14

An album of Brahms, Schumann and Mahler. I’ll pass.

The B-52’s, Cosmic Thing (Expanded Edition), June 28

It took a while for me to warm up to the B-52’s rougher early work because my first exposure to the band was the slick and polished Cosmic Thing.

Torche, Admission, July 12

I have three of the band’s four albums, which gives me enough familiarity with their work to look forward this upcoming release.

The Flaming Lips, King’s Mouth, July 19

Oh, so this was an actual new album? When I spotted it on Record Store Day, I assumed it was another one of their oddball projects.

NUMBER GIRL, Kanden no Kioku, July 24

A new live album! Or rather, raiding the archive to capitalize on the reunion.

Vinyl

Midnight Oil, Armistice Day: Live at the Domain Sydney, June 14

Oh, man, was I ever glad to catch Midnight Oil live on The Great Circle tour.

Solange, When I Get Home, late June

Solage’s Blonde to the Endless that was A Seat at the Table. How’s that for a difficult analogy?

Everything But the Girl, Amplified Heart, July 5

I’m surprised this album hadn’t been reissued on vinyl before now. Could we get a repress of Walking Wounded too?

NUMBER GIRL, SCHOOL GIRL DISTORTIONAL ADDICT, Aug. 7
NUMBER GIRL, SAPPUKEI, Aug. 7
NUMBER GIRL, NUM-HEAVYMETALLIC, Aug. 7

The Jet Set Records vinyl reissues in 2015 were pretty much sold out before they hit the stores, so jump on these pre-orders if you want to hear NUMBER GIRL in glorious analog.

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Purchase log, 2018-12-18

[James Ehnes - Howard, Kernis: Violin Concertos / Tovey: Stream of Limelight]

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
  • Bruce Springsteen, Springsteen on Broadway
  • James Ehnes, Howard, Kernis: Violin Concertos / Tovey: Stream of Limelight

Catalog

CD
  • A Flock of Seagulls, A Flock of Seagulls
  • Hole, Celebrity Skin
  • Hole, Live Through This
  • Meat Puppets, Too High to Die
  • Morrissey, Viva Hate
  • Mudhoney, Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge
  • Public Enemy, Apocalypse 91 … The Enemy Strikes Back
  • Rabbits, Lower Forms
  • Rolf Lislevand, Diminuito
  • The Doors, The Doors
  • The Smashing Pumpkins, Pisces Iscariot
  • The Who, Tommy
  • Torche, Torche
  • Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Fever to Tell
  • Soundtrack, Good Night, and Good Luck. (Dianne Reeves)

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Favorite Edition Rewind: 2015

[Gaytheist / Rabbits - Gay*Bits]

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.

2015 started strong with the return of Sleater-Kinney, and it stayed strong all the way through the release of the Hamilton cast recording. That said, the list goes through quite a number of changes, consolidating some stragglers and bouncing a few titles off.

  1. Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton: An American Musical
  2. Kendrick Lamar, To Pimp a Butterfly
  3. Sleater-Kinney, No Cities to Love
  4. Jason Isbell, Something More Than Free
  5. Torche, Restarter
  6. Björk, Vulnicura
  7. Deebs and Jarell Perry, Shift
  8. Steve Grand, All-American Boy
  9. Janet Jackson, Unbreakable
  10. Gaytheist/Rabbits, Gay*Bits

Other favorites from the year:

  • Software Giant, We Are Overcome
  • Miguel, Wildheart
  • Madonna, Rebel Heart
  • Duran Duran, Paper Gods
  • Enya, Dark Sky Island
  • The Weeknd, Beauty Behind the Madness
  • Courtney Barnett, Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit
  • ASIAN KUNG-FU GENERATION, Wonder Future
  • Andrew Norman, Play
  • Troye Sivan, Blue Neighborhood

The Favorite 10 sees one title switched out — Gaytheist and Rabbit’s split EP for Miguel’s Wildheart. Father John Misty, Takaakira Goto, Seattle Symphony and Kronos Quartet make way for Andrew Norman, Troye Sivan and Software Giant.

Eight years into 2010s, 2015 is so far turning out to be my favorite year for the decade. The hierarchy of the list gives a false sense of preference — some of the albums outside of the Favorite 10 got as much play time as those at the top of the list.

Duran Duran and Enya could have occupied spots in the Favorite 10 if the field weren’t so crowded.

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Favorite Edition 2015: Year final

[Lin-Manuel Miranda - Hamilton]

I didn’t think a comeback this year could top the return of Sleater-Kinney, but I was mistaken. I didn’t realize how much I had missed Janet Jackson till she returned, and Enya quenched a drought of a similar length (7 years.) Even Madonna turned in work that’s some of her best in a while. I also learned the awful term “PBR&B”, which describes the kind of R&B music to which I seem to be drawn.

  1. Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton: An American Musical: The last time the score of a musical had me riveted to my stereo was The Phantom of the Opera. Not only is the story of Hamilton thrilling to follow, but the hip-hop score is jaw-dropping. Policy debates as rap battles? Maybe that should happen in real life.
  2. Kendrick Lamar, To Pimp a Butterfly: Just about every year-end list will include this album near the top. And I don’t even listen that much hip-hop.
  3. Sleater-Kinney, No Cities to Love
  4. Jason Isbell, Something More Than Free: It’s always great to see an artist with a breakthrough album follow up with something just as strong.
  5. Torche, Restarter
  6. Björk, Vulnicura: So now the question is which do you prefer: Vulnicura or Vulnicura Strings?
  7. Deebs and Jarell Perry, Shift: I like how Jarell Perry keeps pushes the borders of what R&B can do. He’s got great company with Shaprece, Santigold, Miguel and Frank Ocean, WHEREVER THE HELL HE IS.
  8. Steve Grand, All-American Boy: I still don’t understand why people call him a country artist. He sounds nothing like Sturgill Simpson.
  9. Janet Jackson, Unbreakable: Janet returns with her most sonically diverse album since The Velvet Rope.
  10. Miguel, Wildheart: He bragged about being better than Frank Ocean, and I hate to say it, but I think there’s something behind that bravado.

Honorable mention goes to …

  • Madonna, Rebel Heart
  • Duran Duran, Paper Gods: Duran Duran tends to misstep after hitting a home run, but that’s not the case here.
  • Enya, Dark Sky Island: You know what you’re getting with Enya. On a few tracks, she does seem to be dipping a tentative toe into more pop styles, by which I mean less Bach.
  • Courtney Barnett, Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit: Barnett crams a lot of imagery in her songs, but they make for great stories.
  • ASIAN KUNG-FU GENERATION, Wonder Future: When ASIAN KUNG-FU GENERATION take time with their albums, it really pays off.
  • Kronos Quartet, Tundra Songs: No, this isn’t an international crossover album. If anything, it’s some of the most challenging music the quartet has recorded in a while.
  • Seattle Symphony / Ludovic Morlot, Dvorak: Symphony No. 9 / Varese: Ameriques: This album is something of a souvenir for me because I attended this concert, but the live recording of Ameriques would be reason enough to pick it up.
  • Takaakira “Taka” Goto, Classical Punk and Echoes Under Beauty: I didn’t think this album would be very distinct from MONO, but it’s quite a change for Taka and still recognizably him.
  • Father John Misty, I Love You, Honeybear: This album will also appear on a lot of year-end lists, but it didn’t grab me as much as everything else on the list.

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Favorite Edition 2015: Half year

[Björk - Vulnicura]

2015 is turning out to be one of those years where the really good albums suck so much oxygen out of the rest of the release schedule that it’s tough to put together even a speculative list.

That’s a long-winded way to say Sleater-Kinney’s return has pretty much overshadowed everyone else.

  • Sleater-Kinney, No Cities to Love: Sleater-Kinney left at the height of their career, and a 10-year hiatus did nothing to dim that achievement.
  • Björk, Vulnicura: I like Björk best when she’s more beat-oriented because her more introspective work tends to meander. This album is too wrenching to mess around.
  • Madonna, Rebel Heart: I would agree this album is Madge’s best since Ray of Light mostly because it’s head and shoulders above the last few meandering discs she put out, Confessions on the Dancefloor not withstanding.
  • Steve Grand, All American Boy: The rockist in me should rally against everything about this album, but I can’t bring myself to do it.
  • Takaakira “Taka” Goto, Classical Punk and Echoes Under the Beauty: The decidedly non-orchestral direction of MONO’s Rays of Darkness was a welcome direction that I feared this album would be a relapse. It’s not.
  • Kronos Quartet, Tundra Songs: I was bracing myself for more international crossover, but this album is some pretty adventurous and spellbinding music.
  • Torche, Restarter: I liked Harmonicraft, but Gaytheist’s Stealth Beats was more my speed. Then Torche recorded this album.
  • Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell, The Traveling Kind: I hate to say this, but this album is what you would expect from artists with the calibers of Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell. Old Yellow Moon, though, kind of exceeded that.

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