What a difference a year makes! This has been the slimmest year in memory for buying new music in possibly the last 20 years. Money is just not there to pursue this “hobby” of mine and coming on the heels of a year like 2011, when the music was especially bountiful, the metaphoric whiplash is profound. Adding insult to injury, is the fact that 20% of these titles were gifts. Happily, one of these titles [Propaganda] was a gift from one of my readers! It looks like those subliminal embeds I’ve added to the site might actually work! How about those breakdowns?
Total titles purchased: 80
Total cost: $643.25
Average cost: $8.04/title
– LP: 5
– 12″: 7
– 10″: 1
– 7″: 6
– stand alone: 1
– bundled: 2
Phew! Not much there to talk about, eh? The big news is that this year I’ve increased the number of downloads by a whopping 50%! Other than that, overall purchases contracted by an even larger 60%. The cost per title increased by roughly 13%, given that three of this year’s big purchases were import DVDs that were co$tly. The big winner here is the John Foxx + The Maths title, which I’ve been waiting almost two years for! It didn’t disappoint, to put it mildly. How about that year-end best-of list I’m contractually obligated to provide?
2012 TOP …7
- John Foxx + The Maths: Evidence
- Paul Buchanan: Mid Air Limited Edition
- Molly Nilsson: History
- Claudia Brücken: This Happened
- The Magnetic Fields: Love At The Bottom Of The Sea
- Joey Ramone: …Ya Know?
- Brian Eno: Lux
Technically, I’m hedging my bets here since a number of the albums I bought this year were 2011 titles, but since Molly Nilsson released her CD in December of 2011, I’m cheating by including it here. But I did enjoy it a lot. Infinitely more than the worst album of the year, which I can’t bring myself to even place on this list at number 8: the ill-starred return of Ultravox with the largely execrable “Brilliant.” This album actually served to sever 32 years of Ultravox fandom on my part. Ouch!
In much the same way, viewing the Gary Numan DVD set that came out this summer also drew a close to 33 years of fandom after being exposed to the music that he’s, uh, generated, since the late 90s. It would take a sea-change he’s incapable of making at this point for me to bother listening to anything current of his now. The grinding metallic noise he’s releasing sounds fatuous to my ears. Unlike, say, Killing Joke’s grinding metallic noise. They drastically trump Numan by coupling said noise with adult content. Memo to self: buy all of the Killing Joke studio albums released since “Pandemonium.”
For the second year in a row, John Foxx + The Maths take the lead with their new album “Evidence,” which shows more enormous growth from their first two albums as they head out into deep space! Close behind was Paul Buchanan with his best album since “Hats!” I’m sure glad I spent the extra money [modest at the time] to get the 2xCD edition, which sold out in no time flat and in fact, is exchanging hands now for heavy three figures on Discogs.com right now.
This year there were a pair of DLX RMS that got quick decisive action on the part of my mouse button finger. Virgin released X5, the first five [technically six] Simple Minds albums, salted with bonus tracks for the first time ever. And these tracks finally included the early Arista 7″ B-sides for the connoisseurs. Making this even more astounding was that the package sold for a pittance. $25 got the listener virtually all of the Simple Minds they needed to survive in this fallen world. Albums which I have relied upon enormously in the last 30+ years; now more than ever. But I have to give the Monk Cup for 2012 to 4ADs comprehensive Colourbox boxed set of god®. $30 netted the listener 4xCDs with everything released by the band and then some. They careened stylistically all over the map, but their strength was essentially, it was all great! Myself, I prefer their electro dub sound, but the pop, reggae, soul, and rock is all very accomplished.
By far the most fascinating title I bought this year was the first cassette I can remember buying in almost 20 years. The NME tape from 1982, “Mighty Reel,” was a pitch-perfect time capsule of that last great year of Post-Punk music! The fact that I was able to get a sealed, unplayed copy of this 30 years after the fact still astounds me! The full tale is here, if you’ve not had the pleasure. I would not say “no” to more of these NME tapes crossing my path at some point in the future, but the likelihood of getting another of these in mint condition is slim to none.
Live shows were plentiful this year. In fact, the number of shows exceeded my budget to attend them all, so I had to carefully pick and choose. The highlight was certainly Harold Budd, but Nick Lowe wasn’t chopped liver either. And I finally got to see Thomas Dolby this year… twice. Cold Cave certainly turned my head in 2011 and I was happy to see them live while they were still touring on that wonderful album at this year’s Moogfest. The last show of the year is tonight, where I get to see The Dexter Romweber Duo. I’ve been seeing Dexter for 22 years now, and he’s a giant to me. I’ve lost track of all of the times I’ve seen him, but it’s been five years since I last saw him and I’ve some catching up to do!
Looking forward to next year, I don’t foresee any changes of the trends that marked this year. It’s still a slim budget for music as far as I can see. What I would like to do is thin the Record Cell out of some of the redundant releases that the collector’s sickness fosters within me in order to pick up some new items of desire. We’ll see where that goes. The overriding factor depressing my intake is that I don’t see records I want in person. I have to buy them mail order. The cost of the records is modest. It’s just that the postage for said discs, is prohibitive. Almost anything I want costs less than $5 but the postage for it from the UK/Europe is easily $10. It gets disheartening spending almost $40 for three discs that have a face value of $22. If postage gets any more expensive, I can only hope that downloads can fill the gaps in my collection. Not only do I save time remastering from vinyl, but the lack of postage is the biggest draw in downloads, from my perspective.
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