This was another strong year in buying music. There was the first month [June] with no incoming titles since I began this blog… but there was also a month of a serious music feast in October. I was saving as much cash as possible for visits to the West Coast for the first time in 42 years, I wanted to build up as much of a spending budget as possible for those all-powerful Amoeba stores in California. I visited all three of them and they were certainly packed with goodness. Were they the best stores I have ever been in? Not quite, but noting to sneeze at for 2014!
This year also saw a reduction in the numbers of releases contemporary to 2014 that I bought; primarily due to the dramatic reduction in the quality of last year’s Anniversary Sale at Harvest Records. I bought only a tenth of what I did in 2013! So the year end album list is only for eight titles!
2015 Album List
- Dieter Meier: Out Of Chaos – Dieter Meier impressed with a jazzy solo album that was darkly humorous and suave [his stock in trade] but one which largely downplayed electronics for jazz, proving that he is an artist no matter what his setting. A rewarding piece of work from a performer not afraid to show some growth and change.
- Simple Minds: Big Music – The best outing in 30 years from one of my favorite bands ever. More on this to come.
- Eno•Hyde: Someday World – A thoroughly delightful collaboration between Eno and Karl Hyde of Underworld. Their followup album appeared six weeks later! I still need that one.
- Wrangler: LA Spark – Benge of John Foxx + The Maths has formed a side project with Phil Winter, and …saints preserve us, Stephen Mallinder [ex-Cabaret Voltaire]. It is very, very good as it picks up as an alternate universe look at Cab Volt had they stayed on Rough Trade and not cleaned up their act [too much]. More on this to come.
- John Foxx + Steve D’Agostino: Evidence of Time Travel – An instrumental of dark electronics from the master. He’d touched on this style before, but never so deeply and with such focus. A perfect partner for his bandmate’s Wrangler.
- Johnny Marr: Playland – Sophomore album from guitar slinger to the stars shows he still doesn’t need those other bums to make crisp rock music.
- The Decayes: Aquarium – The latest album in 30 years by the semi-legendary California combo enshrined on Nurse With Wound’s infamous list. This is the furthest thing from the band’s LAFMS roots with a grooving melange of West Coast Jazz and a touch of Surf. A playful balm for sore ears!
- John Foxx – B-Movie [Ballardian Video Neuronica] – This arrived a few days ago and I have not had the chance to listen to it! Mea culpa!
Total titles purchased: 165
Total cost: $953.12
Average cost: $5.77/title
– LP: 16
– 12″: 12
– 10″: 1
– 7″: 2
– stand alone: 1
– bundled: 6
Here’s the data on a graph.
Close to last year’s overall stats. Costs remained flat even without a huge influx of $1.00 titles thanks to the dearth of desirable titles in the basement of Harvest Records last year for their frankly unimpressive 10th Anniversary Sale. Fortunately, the prices at Amoeba in the used bins were almost as inexpensive.
The big news was a huge uptick in downloads as your Monk has edged slightly forward to embracing the new paradigms. Many of these were the consequence of winning a $50 iTunes gift certificate, it must be admitted. Still, the year’s end did see us renting a movie online [cue stinger] as the library movie disc we were watching was damaged and we were caught up in the film we were watching and wanted [gasp] immediate gratification.
Vinyl remained pretty consistent overall, with huge dropoffs for the 7″ format. That’s not surprising as most 7″ singles that I want to buy are not on these shores any more. More to the point, they are 30-40 years old and not just sitting in stores by this time. If I don’t have them by now, it’s too late – I missed them. I finally bought one of those newfangled LPs bundled with a CD [Dieter Meier] since I thought it would be cool to have an autographed LP copy of that title… and the price encouraged it.
There were a lot of DVDs this year. Three of them were from John Foxx! Only one of them [John Foxx’s “In The Glow”] was a stand alone disc with the other six having been bundled with CDs. The Simple Minds “Live @ Glasgow Hydro SSE” being a LTD ED mega-deluxe autographed 3D package that cost a packet, though it was the only way to get the uncut complete concert. Since it was recorded about three weeks after I saw them, it’s as close as I can get to relive the vibe. The [much cheaper] mass market DVD/Blu-Ray cut some of the best songs out of the show, and some formats lack the full concert on CD. As with all DVDs, I’ve only seen two of these so far [“In The Glow,” Big Music bonus DVD]. I tend to have them for years before finally watching them.
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