2016 – The Year In Buying Music [part 2]

monk-in-wuxtry

Wuxtry, Decatur was all that and more in 2016.

[…continued from previous post]

So the influx of new music was almost too much by year’s end for me. I have still yet to have given some of the things that i got in the last four months of the year a good listening. Nevertheless, a year-end-list is required by law, yes? Even though 95% of all I buy is decades old? Well, I comply!

2016 Album List

A mighty thirteen albums released this year were purchased and here’s how I rank them.

  1. David Bowie: Blackstar – This one caught my ear and would not let it go for at least three months straight. Never have I been so happy to buy an album on the day of release – a decadence for me. This time, for one last time, it allowed me to hear this album as something other than David Bowie’s final album. Money can’t buy that sort of experience ever again. It didn’t hurt that Bowie went out on a real artistic high water mark. This album was the achievement after the warm-up exercise that was “The Next Day.”
  2. Visage: Wild Life Ltd. CDX – If I’m now missing Bowie, I’m still missing Visage! Their late-in-the-game burst of growth and achievement [which was almost frantic in its intensity] let forth a final burst of radiation with this consolidating “greatest hits” package. The primary disc had the only blend of Visage singles, both new and old, on the market. It was the other six discs that cleaned out the archives! I’m still in the midst of listening to these recordings and remixes, but I remain dazzled by the results.
  3. Shriekback: Peel Sessions + Singularities – This self-released archival disc was strong enough to the point where if it was the first Shriekback one had heard, that it would serve to instill fandom in the neophyte listener.
  4. Mari Wilson: Pop Deluxe – Pop thrush Mari Wilson made an album of covers that deserves a place on the shelf next to the last British Electrical Foundation album in terms of having a number of game-canging, definitive interpretations on it.
  5. John Cale: M:FANS – John Cale was going to reissue his challenging 1983 opus “Music For A New Society.” He then realized that there was more to do than just remastering and pressing it up. He next re-recorded the album in a radically different version. Fascinating.
  6. Brian Eno: The Ship – Warp Records – A different blend of the ambient and the vocal on the same record from Captain Eno. His cover version of the Velvet Underground’s “I’m Set Free” has been a long-time coming from this artist who famously cited the VU as the flashpoint for innumerable bands.
  7. Dr. Robert: Out There – Andalusian solo excursion from the Blow Monkeys singer. The casual vibe with a handful of local sidemen still manages to pack a punch outside of his usual band environs.
  8. OMD: Dazzle Ships/Architecture + Morality Live @ RAH – OMD have issued a live recording of their best/worst selling albums. Andy McCluskey manages to imbue “International” with all of the heartbreak it deserves, even after 32 years.
  9. Billie Ray Martin: The Soul Tapes – The normally electro BRM took a side trip into early 70s soul sounds with a pair of covers sitting snugly amid the modern ringers.
  10. John Foxx: 21st Century: A Man, A Woman and A City – The John Foxx compilation that shone a spotlight on the current century’s output from the tireless electro pioneer. All this and the first John Foxx/Gary Numan teamup – finally.
  11. Bryan Ferry: Live 2015 – Ferry finally made a live solo album from his latest “Avonmore” tour.
  12. Various: Electronic Sound Covers Collection Volume.02 – CD came with a magazine and featured some amazing cover versions that I was unaware of – sometimes in either sense.
  13. Tiga: No Fantasy Required – I’d read a strong review of this on The Quietus, so I took a chance…and found it wanting. Pleasures so minor they didn’t exist.

2016 EP list

There were a lot of EPs this year. More than in longer than I can remember. Let’s hear it for the format that always keeps ’em wanting more!

  1. John Foxx + The Maths: The Bunker Tapes – Dazzling electro-kosmiche live soundtrack work that heralded the return of JF+TM.
  2. Various: He’s A Liquid – A Foxx-curated cover project that allowed Benge’s other band, Wrangler, to have a crack at the classic Foxx canon!
  3. ПРЕДСМЕРТНАЯ КАДРИЛЬ: ГОРЕТЬ КРАСИВО – This Ukrainian band contacted me by the form on this blog. Wisely, as it turned out since I felt that their take of Post-Punk with threads of goth pointing to the path taken by The Chameleons was just the sort of tonic I had been needing.
  4. Steven Jones + Logan Sky: Maria – The ex-Visage keyboardist teamed up with fellow electro fan Steven Jones [as well as ex-Visage vocalist Lauren Duval] for this neat slice of DM-influenced synthpop. The cover of “Strangelove” was much deeper and stranger than any that had come before.
  5. ABC: Christmas…With Love EP – Shocker ABC xmas EP dropped the ball on the A-side, but came through on the acoustic live tracks like a champ.
  6. LP: Death Valley – This lady opened up for Bryan Ferry and had her EP at the merch table. The big-voiced Laura Pergolizzi has written hit material for others, but her own career was served this go-round.

2016 Reissue List

  1. It’s Immaterial: Life’s Hard Then You Die DLX RM – This is how a DLX RM is done… to perfection! Fascinating band, stimulating era, and thorough curation…together equal the Apollonian ideal of a reissue.
  2. The Cucumbers: The Fake Doom Years – Thanks goodness The Cucumbers themselves took matters into their own hands to give us the Fake Doom Years! Their skewed pop has not dimmed in the slightest in the intervening decades.
  3. John Foxx: The Complete Cathedral Oceans – Not necessary to Record Cell unless one wanted a complete John Foxx collection – and I’m guilty as charged. Stunning package enhanced by my wife managing to get one of the 30 artist proof copies!
  4. John Foxx: Burning Car – A newly expanded version of the Japanese EP of “Metamatic” era rarities, given another fantastic Barnbrook cover.
  5. John Foxx: Electronic Sound Presents 12 Original Tracks By John Foxx – Another magazine CD. A rare Foxx comp with nothing previously unreleased on it, but it’s in the Record Cell, thanks to my wife.
  6. Various: Sherwood At The Controls Volume 2: 1985-1990 – On-U Sound – While I have loved everything touched by Adrian Sherwood and all of the On-U Sound work I’d heard in the past, this compilation failed to gel for me.

What shocks me as I review this was that there were no new 12″ singles last year. Actually, Heaven 17 released one I am dying to hear, but since I had not bought in it 2016, it won’t make my year-end-list at this point. Alas, much of the best material I buy each year is ages old, and therefore verboten for the infamous “year-end-list.” It sort of renders them moot in the grand scheme of things, but I persist. Going into 2017, I’d like to see a slight paring back of music bought in the upcoming year. Last year I bought a release for every post made in the year [210] and that’s a bit too much stuff. I know for a fact that I can be just as satisfied having spent half the money that I did last year, so let’s see if we can move it in that direction a little. If I look at 2016, there were many months with few titles balanced by months of drowning in music. I’d like to reign in the focus a bit and spend more effort getting the things on my want list in lieu of cheap available thrills.

– 30 –

About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | media design • record collector • satire • non-fiction
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11 Responses to 2016 – The Year In Buying Music [part 2]

  1. Echorich says:

    Mari Wilson’s Pop Deluxe is certainly one of the best albums of 2016. Mari’s version of 24 Hours From Tulsa is career defining! It speaks volumes to her ability to interpret and own a song.
    The Heaven 17 single is a must!
    John Foxx’s two offereings this year filled my home with music for weeks.
    I’m glad you enjoyed Dr. Robert’s album. I have to admit it wasn’t immediate in the way his last solo effort was, but it is just wonderful singer/songwriter work.

    Like

    • postpunkmonk says:

      Echorich – His last solo album… can you believe that I still don’t have “Five In The Afternoon” yet!? There seem to be scant copies out in the world. Amazon usually had it over the last dozen years at $50 and up when I looked. The only Dr. Robert albums I don’t have are the P.P. Arnold one and “Bethesda.”

      Like

      • Echorich says:

        Well there is something really special about Birds Gotta Fly, It gave me hope that there would me more TBM someday – and my faith was redeemed in with The Devil’s Tavern 7 years later. I think the last few TBM albums have quite a lot of the solo Robert Howard about them as well. Lost in Rasa from Out There is just gorgeous…

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        • postpunkmonk says:

          Echorich – Why does The Doctor look like Prince on the cover of “Bird’s Gotta Fly?” Both my wife and I can’t shake the thought that we’re listening to The Purple One whenever that’s on.

          Like

  2. nick says:

    Happy New Year Monk !! You never fail to suprise me with your choices….perhaps i just don’t know you well enough [ remember Fuzzbox ? ] – i’m talking Tiga ! I love his trashy electronics but i didn’t think even a review would send you his way….is it the Lene Lovich connection with this album ?

    Like

    • postpunkmonk says:

      nick – The Lene Lovich DNA jumped out at me on 1st [and only] listen. True enough. It was the rave in The Quietus that did it for me. I’ve noticed that the broad editorial aesthetic of the site has a lot of congruency with my own tastes. I would have expected more from a guy with the brass to once pastiche Ferry’s most coke-encrusted album cover ever, but it seemed missable. Maybe another spin before I discard it?

      My year-end choices are usually skewed because I almost always wait years to buy anything. Relatively few current releases darken my Record Cell. Ask me ten years after any year what the best releases were.

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  3. SimonH says:

    Agree with every word re Blackstar. I’m so glad I had it for two days before Bowie died. I’ll always remember the last play on Sunday night, not knowing what would come the next morning.
    I have to confess I’m buying far too much stuff, once upon a time it was more new releases than old/reissues but gradually that’s changed. Partly, I have at the back of my mind the need to buy now or regret later when the prices have shot up.
    Oh well, I guess it’s a first world problem to have too much music and not enough time…

    Like

  4. Tim says:

    Album of the year is Alpha – Loving Nobody.
    Technically it came out in 2015 but Corin was only selling it via his webpresence.
    It finally was released in the States in 2016 as a truncated mp3 release via Amazon and other digitaltaiers.

    2nd Case, Lang, Viers
    3rd ABC’s Lexicon of Love II.
    4th Mari Wilson Pop Deluxe
    5th Avalanches – Wildflower

    Worth investigating – Westworlld soundtrack for the interesting takes on the Stones and Radiohead.

    Best box – Marc Almond – Trails of Eyeliner

    Best live and mix sets – Julia Fordham 4th quarter releases (please do a remix set for the second album!).

    Disappointment of the year – Pet Shop Boys with NOT Super.

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