Sweet Mother McCree! This is the first year in over two decades when I have apparently bought more than ten albums released in the current year!!! This is so not the way I roll!! Being the Post-Punk Monk, I’m usually transfixed on the Fresh New Sound of Yesterday®. But thanks to the annual Harvest Records Anniversary Sale, I’ve gotten enough to make for a satisfying “hey, I’ve got to think about this” top ten.
- Visage: Hearts + Minds – The Visage album was something I was very wary of but it rolled over me like a Soviet tank! Everyone contributing did a great job, but special kudos to Robin Simon for that wonderful guitar! One of the all time great comebacks by a band I never thought would ever do it. Heck, for two decades, I didn’t even want them to do it!
- B.E.F.: Dark – Martyn Ware is a genius. The singers, performances and arrangements he’s overseen here made this labor of love on his part vie constantly with the new Visage for this summer’s high rotation.
- Pere Ubu: The Lady From Shangai – Fantastic work from veterans who can still deliver.
- Karl Bartos: Off The Record – Kraftwerk with the humanity still intact.
- Molly Nilsson: The Travels – New wonderful songs from this Swedish synthpop singer.
- Solyst – Lead – Incredible tribal/ethnic/krautrock synthesis from Kreidler’s drummer.
- Hugh Cornwell: Totem + Taboo – Another great Hugh Cornwell album, this time with sympathetic “recording” from Steve Albini. Strong and vibrant stuff.
- Hans-Joachim Roedelius + Lloyd Cole: Selected Studies v. 1 – Mind boggling teamup works like crazy. Gorgeous music so far outside of Cole’s milieu it’s not funny. For Roedelius it’s business as usual.
- Johnny Marr: The Messenger – Solid rock music from classic team player gone solo.
- John Foxx + Belbury Circle: Empty Avenues – Another new tributary in the mighty John Foxx career, this time with a late 60’s pre-psych pop thrust.
Sparks: Two Hands, One Mouth Live In Europe – The first Sparks live album has just the Mael Brothers hitting their history for a radical duo revisit into their catalog. Similar to “Plagiarism” in that hearing these new arrangements only heightens my esteem of their work. I think they could arrange for banjo and mouth harp next and I’d still be impressed.
OMD: English Electric – Good songs/theme. Two classics [“Your System,” “Final Song”] a killer opener [the Kraftwerk pastiche “Metroland”] but the production and arrangements on the other songs all blend together in a miasma of soft synth hell. Disappointing even though they think they are trying hard. I think that the band and I have two completely different standards of what that means.
Duds …Albums I bought and sold off very quickly.
Total titles purchased: 145
Total cost: $836.01
Average cost: $5.76/title
– LP: 10
– 12″: 14
– 10″: 1
– 7″: 11
– bundled: 1
Wow! What a difference from last year. The overall numbers are up and the costs have plummeted. I have numbers for all years I’ve made this blog. Let’s throw that data on a graph.
That’s a huge improvement over last year, and in terms of cost per title, an incredible peak. Just marvel at the distance between the point for 2013 in each line; the gulf between cost and titles grew significantly with average cost per title plummeting from $8.04 last year to $5.76 this year! I blame Harvest Records. Their Anniversary sale saw my numbers skyrocket in August as I bought first and asked questions later. A dollar per disc is pretty unbeatable. But in October I matched it. A chance visit to a nondescript thrift store in Georgia revealed more dollar discs! Memo to self: stop in more thrift stores!
This year there were more LPs. Including a title that was a 2013 LP only release, by The Three O’Clock. Their live album from 1982 was just another Three O’Clock brick in the wall that saw the band reform to play Coachella and other live dates, issue a new compilation of mostly unreleased versions of tracks, and this album. It sold out quickly and is approaching three figures in the gray market… and my mint copy is still in its shrink wrap… giving me bad ideas while I wait for the cash to buy a new stylus!
The one cassette I bought this year was the only way to get a physical copy of the new Alligator Indian EP! Proof that the Ironic Hipster Cassette Trend® may be poised to sweep not-ironic-enough 180g vinyl aside! Already, Harvest Records has a significant stock in the sad, unloved compact cassette format. It bears mentioning that the tape came with a download code! Stay tuned for the even more ironic Return Of The Wax Cylinder Wave® in 2014!!
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