Archives

Looking ahead, Sept.-Oct. 2020

[Emmylou Harris - Wrecking Ball]

Mikami Chisako, Emergence, Oct. 7

Mikami reset her post-fra-foa solo career in 2018 with a second debut album, confidently titled I AM Ready! This album looks like a continuation of its predecessor’s brighter sound.

Kronos Quartet, Long Time Passing, Oct. 9

Subtitled “Kronos Quartet and Friends Celebrate Pete Seeger”, this album looks like a follow-up to 2017’s Folk Songs, with fewer Nonesuch label mates collaborating.

Tears for Fears, The Seeds of Love (Deluxe Edition), Oct. 9

This album didn’t take off in the same manner as Songs from the Big Chair, but I liked it nonetheless. The 4-disc super deluxe edition is tempting, but I’m fine with the 2-disc version. I don’t need the vinyl reissue because I bought it the first time around.

Sam Amidon, Sam Amidon, Oct. 23

Amidon returns to mostly traditional material on this self-titled album, described as “the fullest realization to date of his artistic vision.”

Mr. Bungle, The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny Demo, Oct. 30

Mr. Bungle goes back in time to re-record their first demo tape.

U2, All That You Can’t Leave Behind (Deluxe Edition), Oct, 30

I really liked this album when it came out, mostly because Pop was insufferable. I revisited it with the vinyl reissue and found it doesn’t age well. I will probably still get some version of this deluxe edition.

Duran Duran featuring Andy Wicket, Dreaming of Your Cars: 1979 Demos Pt. 2, Oct. 30

The first set of demos with Andy Wickett on vocals featured embryonic versions of what would become Duran Duran canon. On this follow-up, “Tel Aviv” is the only recognizable title, which doesn’t mean it sounds remotely familiar. Colored vinyl is already available for order, but a CD release is slated for October.

Vinyl

Emmylou Harris, Wrecking Ball, Oct. 16

The deluxe edition of Wrecking Ball was released during Record Store Day. This reissue serves up just the album and is available as part of Rhino’s Rocktober series.

Peter Gabriel, Secret World Live, Nov. 6

I couldn’t make the leap of following Paula Cole’s solo career, but her backing vocals on this live album is the real highlight

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Purchase log, 2020-09-01

[Robyn - Robyn]

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
  • Mandy Barnett, A Nashville Songbook
Vinyl
  • John Wesley Harding, The Man with No Shadow

Catalog

CD
  • Julius Eastman, Unjust Malaise
  • Steely Dan, Aja
Vinyl
  • Charlie Puth, Voicenotes
  • John Coltrane, Coltrane
  • L7, Bricks Are Heavy

Reissues

Vinyl
  • Ben Watt with Robert Wyatt, Summer Into Winter
  • Guided By Voices, Hold on Hope EP
  • Krzysztof Penderecki / Don Cherry, Actions
  • Robyn, Robyn
  • Throwing Muses, Purgatory / Paradise
  • Tyler, the Creator, Cherry Bomb
  • U2, 11 O’Clock Tick Tock
  • Various Artists, Studio One Rockers

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Purchase log picks, December 2019

[Deltron 3030 - Deltron 3030]

Soundtrack, Les Miserables ( Original French Concept Album)

I was never as much a fan of Les Misérables, compared to its contemporaries by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Stephen Sondheim. The music wasn’t as tuneful as Lloyd Webber or as complex as Sondheim. I did appreciate the production when I saw it in New York City in 1993.

Fast forward 25+ years later, and I happened across a recording of the original French concept album, stashed with the London cast recording. After hearing it in French, the music makes so much more sense. The melodies are fashioned for French, and while the English translation captures the main plot points, it doesn’t flow the way it does in the original language.

I propose future productions of Les Misérables have supertitles in translation but remains sung in French.

Deltron 3030, Deltron 3030

I’ve picked up Del tha Funkee Homosapien’s two Elektra albums this past year, but neither prepared me for the opera that is Deltron 3030.

Band of Susans, Love Agenda

I’m not sure why a world that could accommodate My Bloody Valentine and Ride could not also fit in Band of Susans. Perhaps it’s because they hewed closer to Sonic Youth than to the shoegazers. Love Agenda has the distinction of having Page Hamilton as a full-time member before he left to form Helmet.

Conlon Nancarrow, Complete Studies for Player Piano

In the past two years, I managed to acquire all four volumes of Nancarrow’s Complete Studies for Player Piano on the 1750 Arch label, half of them in the past month. The sheer impossibility of these pieces makes listening to them a joyous occasion. At least one of these studies sound like 8-bit video game effects.

U2, U2-3

This Record Store Day Black Friday reissue captures U2 at its most youthful. Not a hint of the slickness that would become their hallmark can be found on these three early tracks. The deluxe edition of Boy included U2-3 as bonus material.

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Purchase log, 2019-12-03

[U2 - U2-3]

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
  • MONO, Before the Past
Vinyl
  • Midnight Oil, Breathe Tour ’97

Catalog

CD
  • Patsy Cline, The Patsy Cline Collection
Vinyl
  • Gram Parsons, GP
  • Run-D.M.C., King of Rock
  • The Dukes of the Stratosphear, 25 O’Clock
  • The Housemartins, London 0 Hull 4
  • Wendy Carlos, Beauty in the Beast

Reissues

Vinyl
  • CHAI, Wagamamania
  • U2, U2-3
  • Soundtrack, Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas

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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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Favorite Edition Rewind: 1980

[ABBA - Greatest Hits, Vol. 2]

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.

If my 8-year-old self were in control of this list, the soundtrack to Xanadu would occupy the top spot. The only other title he might have recognized would be Diana. And he would have questioned the inclusion of AC/DC.

  1. U2, Boy
  2. David Bowie, Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)
  3. Kate Bush, Never for Ever
  4. Diana Ross, Diana
  5. X, Los Angeles
  6. Grace Jones, Warm Leatherette
  7. Killing Joke, Killing Joke
  8. Talking Heads, Remain in Light
  9. AC/DC, Back in Black
  10. Emmylou Harris, Roses in the Snow

Other favorites from the year:

  • The Police, Zenyatta Mondatta
  • Soundtrack, Xanadu
  • ABBA, Super Trouper
  • The B-52’s, Wild Planet

The roots of my collecting bug are anchored in 1980.

I would bug my mom to buy me 7-inch singles. I was told I didn’t have the sufficient capacity to judge whether a full album would be worth the purchase price. My mom wasn’t about to drop cash on a set of songs if only one of them would entertain me.

So I amassed quite a lot of singles — “Tell It Like Is” by Heart, “A Lover’s Holiday” by Change, “Stomp!” by the Brothers Johnson.

I was, however, a pest about ABBA. The age of eight seems to be the right level of maturity for ABBA to sink its sugary hooks into an impressionable mind. My niece was crazy for Mamma Mia, the movie musical, right around the age I bugged my parents to get me their Greatest Hits, Vol. 2. The first volume didn’t have “Chiquitita.”

Video games interrupted my interest in music for four years, so it makes me wonder in how much more trouble I’d be today without that disruption.

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Favorite Edition Rewind: 1981

[Go Gos - Beauty and the Beat]

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.

If there were a year I was least interested in music, it would be 1981. And it was a remarkable turn of events, because I had amassed quite a 7-inch collection the year before.

  1. Duran Duran, Duran Duran
  2. Lou Harrison, Three Pieces for Gamelan with Soloists / String Quartet Set
  3. Eurythmics, In the Garden
  4. U2, October
  5. The Police, Ghost in the Machine
  6. ABBA, The Visitors
  7. Black Flag, Damaged
  8. Brian Eno and David Byrne, My Life in the Bush of Ghosts
  9. Bucker and Garcia, Pac-Man Fever
  10. Rick Springfield, Working Class Dog

Other favorites from the year:

  • Go-Go’s, Beauty and the Beat
  • Gang of Four, Solid Gold
  • Grace Jones, Nightclubbing

1981 marked the start of my fascination with the classic video games of the era. I would also take an interest in computers and programming. My parents actively discouraged me from pursuing either interest, but it would not stop me from sneaking away to the arcade when we went to the local malls.

That didn’t mean I was totally unaware of music. Of the titles on this list, I would have listened to the Police, ABBA, Rick Springfield, the Go-Go’s and Buckner and Garcia. And I would have definitely seen Grace Jones in the press.

If there was one album I really wanted to get at the time, it would have been Pac-Man Fever by Buckner and Garcia, mostly for the maze patterns on the inner sleeve that would have help you to win the game.

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Favorite Edition Rewind: 1983

[Duran Duran - Seven and the Ragged Tiger]

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.

The 1983 Favorite Edition list is not terribly cosmopolitan. And why should it? I would have been 11 years old at the time, and pre-teens, even precocious ones, aren’t renowned for sophistication.

  1. Eurythmics, Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)
  2. Clannad, Magical Ring
  3. U2, Live Under a Blood Red Sky
  4. David Bowie, Let’s Dance
  5. Duran Duran, Seven and the Ragged Tiger
  6. R.E.M., Murmur
  7. Huey Lewis and the News, Sports
  8. The Police, Synchronicity
  9. 10,000 Maniacs, Secrets of the I Ching
  10. The Waitresses, Bruiseology

Other favorites from the year:

  • Toto, IV
  • Culture Club, Colour By Numbers
  • Violent Femmes, Violent Femmes
  • Cyndi Lauper, She’s So Unusual
  • The Pointer Sisters, Break Out

MTV was the big driver of music in this era, but I wouldn’t have known it because my parents refused to subscribe to cable. The household wouldn’t welcome cable TV till well after I had moved out after college … in 1997.

So my exposure to music in 1983 was limited to American Bandstand and Solid Gold. For a short while, a syndicated TV show called Prime Time Videos aired on broadcast affiliates, but it would not last.

I was still heavily into Pac-Man, even though my parents refused to welcome a game console or computer into the house. It’s a wonder how I’ve made computer programming my career.

So if this list seems particularly safe, it’s a reflection of the limited avenues of consumption. It’s probably why I have such a voracious appetite now.

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Favorite Edition Rewind: 1987

[Sonic Youth - Sister]

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.

I go on and on about how much I love 1987 that I should just shut up and let the list speak for itself. Unsurprisingly, the Favorite 10 hasn’t changed, saved one correction.

  1. U2, The Joshua Tree
  2. Sting, … Nothing Like the Sun
  3. 10,000 Maniacs, In My Tribe
  4. Sinéad O’Connor, The Lion and the Cobra
  5. Bulgarian State TV & Radio Women’s Choir, Le Mystère de Voix Bulgares
  6. John Adams, The Chairman Dances
  7. Andrew Lloyd Webber, The Phantom of the Opera
  8. Wendy & Lisa, Wendy & Lisa
  9. Guns N’ Roses, Appetite for Destruction
  10. R.E.M., Document

Other favorites from the year:

  • Kronos Quartet, White Man Sleeps
  • Depeche Mode, Music for the Masses
  • Dolly Parton / Linda Ronstadt / Emmylou Harris, Trio
  • The Art of Noise, In No Sense? Nonsense!
  • Swing Out Sister, It’s Better to Travel
  • Hiroshima, Go
  • The Smiths, Strangeways, Here We Come
  • Eurythmics, Savage
  • INXS, Kick
  • Sonic Youth, Sister
  • The Dukes of the Stratosphear, Psonic Psunspot
  • Dead Can Dance, Within the Realm of a Dying Sun
  • Icehouse, Man of Colours
  • In Tua Nua, Vaudeville
  • Johnny Hates Jazz, Turn Back the Clock

I originally listed the cast recording of Into the Woods in the Favorite 10, but I discovered it was actually released in 1988.

The extended list is shorter than the one for 1988, but I’ve actually added fewer titles from 1987 since the original list was compiled. I think I also like these albums more intensely because I had discovered them at the time, and they’ve made a lasting impression.

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Favorite Edition Rewind: 1991

[Slint - Spiderland]

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.

I’m not sure other music writers would agree that 1998 is an important year in music for the ’90s. 1991 saw Guns N’ Roses cap the era of hair metal and Nirvana usher the unfortunately-named alternative rock. But it didn’t have Neutral Milk Hotel.

  1. Smashing Pumpkins, Gish
  2. Nirvana, Nevermind
  3. R.E.M., Out of Time
  4. U2, Achtung Baby
  5. Throwing Muses, The Real Ramona
  6. Soundtrack, Bubblegum Crisis Vocal Collection, Vol. 1
  7. Guns N’ Roses, Use Your Illusion II
  8. Enya, Shepherd Moons
  9. Lou Harrison, Music of Lou Harrison
  10. Elliott Carter, Music of Elliott Carter

Other favorites from the year:

  • Pearl Jam, Ten
  • Igor Stravinsky, Le Sacre du Printemps/Symphony in Three Movements (Zubin Mehta, New York Philharmonic Orchestra)
  • Mazzy Star, She Hangs Brightly
  • Soundgarden, Badmotorfinger
  • Bill Frisell, Where in the World?
  • Fishbone, The Reality of My Surroundings
  • Metallica, Metallica
  • Kronos Quartet, Lutoslawski: String Quartet
  • Black Sheep, A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing
  • Hamada Mari, Tomorrow
  • Electronic, Electronic
  • Slint, Spiderland
  • My Bloody Valentine, Loveless
  • Painkiller, Guts of a Virgin
  • Mr. Bungle, Mr. Bungle

Slint and My Bloody Valentine are additions 2004-me would have made. 1991-me would have side-eyed 2004-me.

And he would have scoffed at 2018-me for including Black Sheep, after emitting a gasp at seeing Fishbone on the list at all.

He would have begrudgingly nodded at the additions of Metallica and Hamada Mari, and he would have been curious about Electronic. And he would have gone out and found Painkiller the first chance he got.

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