2019 – The Year In Buying Music [part 2]

post punk monk buying statistics for 2019

[…continued from last post]

This was not an efficient year if music acquisition. Once again, I missed the anniversary sale at Harvest Records, where everything is a dollar or less. So that skewed the costs upward a little. But I did have a generous reader send me a cache of rather amazing records out of the goodness of their heart; which never hurts. And a few promos came over the transom. That did not hurt either. I struggle with the accepting promos all of the time. The cheapskate with no money in me wants free promos. Technically, I am “press” after all of these years. But the person who identifies with the struggles of the artist would prefer to pay full retail for everything that I knew came from a struggling artist. And most artists struggle. Almost all of the artists I prefer struggle. That’s just the nature of things. But should I not review something I did not have the money for right now? But they are willing to front me a promo? It’s something I struggle internally with.

If it’s a DL in question, and I sample it and like it, I usually buy it right then and there for the review. I can then put it on my device and listen in the car; a critical factor for writing a review worth anything. Bandcamp usually will let me pay more than asking for a DL release and I always pay up by around 50% since the costs asked often seem low to me. But not always! I bought a DL this year where that was not an option. That’s down to the preference of the artist.

The cheapest thing I bought was a Rolling Stones 2xCD for $0.25. The most expensive was the “New Gold Dream [81, 82, 83, 84]” SDLX box for $49.00 and that was very well timed because that ship is sailing well on its way to three figures a year later. Used media accounted for around 75% of the intake. Down from 85% the previous year. But this was a year of buying more things directly so… good music karma. I got 12 titles from 2019. The same as last year.

2019 Top 12

  1. Gary Daly: Gone From Here
  2. Prince: Originals
  3. Shriekback: Some Kinds Of Light
  4. Barry Andrews: Contaminated Pop
  5. Rain To Rust: Flowers Of Doubt
  6. Simple Minds: Live In the City of Angels DLX ED
  7. Head Noise: Uber Fantastique
  8. Sparks: Please Don’t Fuck Up My World
  9. Anum Preto: Inferno Interno
  10. Gary Daly: Gone From Here Remixes
  11. Graham Parker: Squeezing Out Sparks Solo Acoustic 40th Anniversary
  12. House Of Waters: Rising

gary daly gone from here coverGary Daly of China Crisis gave me the album of the year with his solo album. It was a humane, accomplished selection of tunes given a sensitive and emotive setting. Next, I was probably most excited by the selection of Prince material written for others. Sure, sure. The Kenny Rogers tune was still a Kenny Rogers tune, but the rest of it beguiled, and on material like “Make Up,” I was hearing best of breed Prince for these ears!

The twin suns of Barry Andrews with and without Shriekback had a very productive year in 2019! His solo album was at least a half step away from the Shriek-zone and the latest Shriekback album was hot on the heels of their last one for being very satisfying modern Shriekback. Which means that they are a finely tuned music machine at this point. Carl Marsh really brought his game to the table strongly and went neck-and-neck with Andrews for carrying the beast forward with great material that couldn’t be said to be dominated by either writer; the ideal situation for me as a fan of both. The last three songs were simply amazing. Such clarity of vision at building a powerful mood.

rain to rist flowers of doubt coverHead Noise uber fantastique coverAnum Preto inferno interno cover

There were three indie releases with the right stuff that reached my ears this year. I like to hear a new generation having a try at the sound that I find so beguiling after 40+ years. I need to pay heed to those musicians knocking on my virtual door because there are probably more people in their rehearsal rooms ready to make the kind of music I want to listen to now than at any other period in the last 30 years.

simple minds - live in the city of angels 4xCD coverPerennial faves Simple Minds released a full recording of one of their concerts last year along with almost every song rehearsed for the tour on four discs. I would not mind that being done by this band for every major tour. Old favorites like “Glittering Prize” were seriously deflated with pallid takes while personal favorite “I Travel” got a new lease on life for my ears. And I didn’t think there was anything wrong with the original arrangement. The rest fell in between, but even the worst here was miles better than anything on “Live In The City of Light.” And having Cherisse Osei drumming was a big change from the sound of Mel Gaynor for so many years. If anything, her lighter, percussive attack recalled Mike Ogletree’s brief time at the stool, and was of interest to me.

sparks - please don't fuck up my world coverAnd Sparks have released the single of the year with a song that is increasingly sitting next to Jarvis Cocker’s “Running The World” on a very short shelf of vitally relevant tunes that reflect life in the 21st century with brutal clarity.

Best Reissues

There were some amazing reissues this year! I got three reissue titles. I guess I don’t buy too many because more reissues these days are vinyl only. There’s not much point in that by my perspective. In most cases, I already have the LPs, thank you very much! I saw two albums on vastly separate ends of the commercial spectrum both get reissued in perfect packages; yet either disc was something I really thought would never happen! For that reason the top two are tied for this year.

The Passions Sanctuary US CD coverskafish reissue CD coverstephen duffy I love my friends deluxe reissue cover

  1. The Passions: Sanctuary DLX RM/Skafish: Skafish DLX RM
  2. Stephen Duffy: I Love My Friends DLX RM

Both The Passions and Skafish got ideal reissues; they sounded and looked great and allowed me to enjoy CDs of material that were only on wax in my Record Cell; an ideal situation. For The Passions, I only ever found the [superb] bonus material to buy on wax! In fact, earlier this year, I had bought a second copy of the great “African Mine” 2×7″ in the hopes that the vinyl would sound better than the copy I’ve had for decades. The “Sanctuary” album had thus far evaded my grasp so I was thrilled to finally hear such a great album.

I had bought the Skafish albums this century, confident in the idea that I would make my own CDs of them as I could not imagine anyone else doing the job. What I did not take into consideration was the tenacity of the artist himself, Jim Skafish. First he spent time battling with I.R.S. for the rights to his masters. Then he swam upstream to possibly remaster from vinyl before securing a tape master and the talents of a pro to put it on CD, with the help of a very successful crowdsource campaign. Now he wants to release more for the benefit of our ears and minds. Bring it on, I say!

I was happy with my 90s CD of Stephen Duffy’s great “I Love My Friends” album but obviously I was in the bliss of ignorance. Last year the album was re-issued in the form the artist had originally wanted with a bonus CD of contemporaneous material making a great thing even better! And the label putting it out took its name from a Duffy song! Could it get any more perfect?

So last year, I concluded by saying “I’d like to buy only things I really want to the tune of maybe $700-800 tops” and I managed to hit way below that mark at less than $650 spent, so I’m sated on that level. There was only one month with no purchases but rare was the month where spending topped $100. That feels great. I wish I could spend more time digitizing records that I already have but last year saw no vinyl played for the last nine months of the year. But this is poised to change this year. Hopefully. And I dearly wish I could find a little time to make a few CDs. The last few years have seen Click Repair software making the de-noising process almost instantaneous to my astonishment. But between the lack of pricey archival media, and the almost two years of buying upgraded hardware and software with which to make CDs [not to mention many other personal priorities taking precedence], the vast reduction in the time needed to remaster vinyl to make CDs [it’s the design process that is now the longest part of the equation] has yet to pay me any dividends.

– 30 –

About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | remastering vinyl • record collector • satire • non-fiction
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21 Responses to 2019 – The Year In Buying Music [part 2]

  1. I always enjoy these posts and you have inspired me to finally track my acquisitions for 2020. How’s that for a resolution? Cheers.


    • postpunkmonk says:

      Jeremy Shatan – I think there’s a lot more satisfaction in mindful consumption instead of the mindless alternative! I started keeping records of music purchases in 1983 and stopped when I had a lull during 1993 (I moved and bought an expensive computer that year so not much music buying) and never got back on the horse until I began this blog (almost) a decade ago. I cannot tell you how satisfying it is to view the visual grid of “every purchase made during this blog” that is always the next level of drop down on the latest year’s cover grid under purchases. It always makes me feel great to see all that’s there.


  2. negative1ne says:

    Hi Mr. Monk,
    Some tidbits from my spending:
    Cheapest item :
    Chosen Few* vs Tears For Fears – Everybody Wants To Rule The World (CD, Maxi) – $0.99
    It’s a weird mashup, cover version of the song. Not bad, but not great.

    Most expensive Vinyl 7″:
    Kraftwerk – Autobahn (7″, S/Sided, Single, Blu) – €14.99
    This is a single sided blue 7″ vinyl, that came with a German magazine interview.
    It’s a new edit, that was unreleased, or maybe created for this.

    Most expensive non-boxset (Compilation):
    Frankie Goes To Hollywood – Bang! … Hard On (The Greatest Hits & The Complete ZTT Videos) – €29.00
    It’s a German exclusive CD / DVD compilation, with nothing new on it.
    I bought it because its a limited edition, and comes with a bonus CD-single
    of ‘Watching the Wildlife’, which is interesting, because it was never released
    in that format, only on vinyl.

    I also, ended up spending $30 on just a copy of that single from another seller,
    for a friend thats a huge fan of the band also, as a Christmas gift. [Did not
    include in expenditures].

    Questionable release and a real one:
    ABC – Ocean Blue / Poison Arrow (2×7″, Dou) – this is a real release,
    with them combining old and new singles in a PVC sleeve

    ABC – Vanity Kills (7″, Single + 7″, Single, Pic) – this is just 2 7 inch
    singles shrink wrapped together. never appeared anywhere else.
    (there is a real 2 single PVC release, but i don’t have it yet).

    oldest single:
    Simple Minds – Life In A Day (7″, Single, Red injection labels) – from 1979
    for some reason, this gap existed in my collection.

    actually, this is just as old
    Earth, Wind & Fire With The Emotions – Boogie Wonderland (7″, Single) – from 1979
    nice instrumental edit on the b-side

    canada rules:
    Blancmange – Don’t Tell Me (12″, Single)
    Big Country – Where The Rose Is Sown (12″, Single)
    Both of these canadian only releases, have die cut covers which no other
    release had.

    most expensive 12 inch:
    Talk Talk – I Believe In You (12″, Single) $17.99
    also got the matching 7 inch which i was missing also
    (only had the cd-single)

    Talk Talk – I Believe In You (7″, Single) €7.00

    best surprises:
    Dolby’s Cube – Get Out Of My Mix / Get On Out Of My Mix (7″, Single)
    Had a new acapella mix on the b-side, that i never knew existed.

    Don Henley – All She Wants To Do Is Dance (Remix Edit) (12″, Single, Promo)
    didn’t know about this promo mix either.

    The Shamen – Destination Eschaton (CD, Single, Promo)
    had a promo remix edit without the rap on it.

    Bought the New Order – Movement super deluxe off Amazon,
    but cancelled due to seller out of stock, and repurchased for
    cheaper off Discogs. Awaiting delivery this year. – $75



    • postpunkmonk says:

      negative1ne – Wow! I think I knew about the 2002 German Bang!/Hard On CD/DVD combo but I did not know that it also came with the ex post facto “Watching The Wildlife” CD-5 with those [I think] otherwise vinyl only remixes! I had a 2K SPN “Maximum Joy” 2xCD and the “Hard On” DVD so I never investigated further. The first CD singles I bought in 1986 were “Rage Hard” and “Warriors Of The Wasteland” and I waited in vain for that third single, which I never even bought on vinyl until 1994, I think! You are talking about the 2002 GER special ed. right? Or is there a reissue not on Discogs yet?

      What’s the cat. no. on that Dolby’s Cube single? There is a 7″ with those titles [plain cover] but the B-side is 7:00 long!

      Sometimes the Canadian pressings had nice cover printing. I have the CAN ABC “King Without A Crown” 12″ which looked like the UK CD5 cover, only the red was replaced with gold foil for a very different look to the gold foil UK 12″ [which I would still want…]. Has there ever been a more beautiful cover?

      You didn’t have the red injection labels for “Life In A Day” but you had the blue, right? I can’t go for label color variations for most collections. Only my Mari Wilson collection has injection/paper label variants, but collecting Mari Wilson is relatively easy so you have to go that deep!


      • Tim says:

        COVET that sleeve! Could you by chance scan that and shoot over to me a higher res version of it? I would love to use that to tag some music files that I have.
        Weird tracklisting how the live tracks are broken up between side 1 and 2.


      • negative1ne says:

        Hi Mr. Monk,

        First off, for the Frankie Collection, its this one:
        Watching The Wildlife
        CD2-1 Watching The Wildlife (Animal Lust) 3:50
        CD2-2 The Waves (Animal Fat) 2:56
        CD2-3 Watching The Wildlife (Hotter) 9:06
        CD2-4 Wildlife (Voiceless) 5:10
        I think these mixes have appeared on other collections
        by now.

        The Dolby’s Cube/Thomas Dolby single is as you mentioned,
        and i have transferred it to ewwwtube, in case anyone searches
        for it.

        ABC did have some interesting covers in the UK and other
        countries, but the US seemed to get the first version, but include
        the limited edition mixes on it. The UK had 2 gold foil ones for
        ‘King without a crown’, Simple minds also had a gold foil, and
        a gold foil mirrored one for ‘alive and kicking’.

        as far as simple minds go, i have a pretty good run of
        every 12″ and limited 12″ they’ve released, and about
        90% of the 7″ singles (UK ones mainly). there are
        some that i didn’t have at all, and i’m not pursuing
        all the variants. i didn’t have the ‘life in a day’ at all.
        i do try to find every ‘promised you a miracle’ 7 inch
        i can though, i have UK, US, US promo, and a black European
        cover. along with at least 6 different 12 inch versions
        of it also..

        just had my first vinyl order this year including:
        7″ picture disc yes – owner of a lonely heart
        12″ depeche mode – depeche mode – everything counts US (had UK)
        12″ talk talk – today (I never had this, sad, i know…)

        and just brought to my attention
        12″ talking heads – slippery people/making flippy floppy US
        which has 2 extended mixes which are vinyl only, and
        longer than the extended versions on the US cassette,
        and remastered cd.

        so, things to look forward to this year..



  3. SimonH says:

    You put me to shame Monk! Have bought far too much as usual, but there are signs of a slow down, so I think 2020 will be different.
    I have reluctantly subscribed to Amazon Music HD. I don’t really like the streaming experience for various reasons, but it has it’s place and ideally will filter out some of my less essential purchases.


  4. SimonH says:

    I know! I have to say it will never be my first choice, it’s an odd way to listen to music for me and of course totally normal for most! What it has done is avoid the odd purchase that would have turned out to be a mistake. Also I never download, so for hearing Sparks’ single say, it’s my only real option.


  5. Tim says:

    2020 is off to an interesting start.
    There’s new PSB in January, the singles so far..2 of 3 of.the a-sides are weak (Dreamland landing squarely as a contender for worst track by them ever) shored up by incredible b-sides.
    Erin Moran’s “A Girl Called Eddy” returns after 14 years in the wilderness the same week.The lead video promoting the album shows her thankfully in consistent form and conspicuously wears Prefab Sprout’s “Two Wheels Good” as a point of reference.


    • postpunkmonk says:

      Tim – Erin Moran? The Happy Days girl?


      • Tim says:

        I think that Erin Moran is dead, just like Abe Vigoda.
        Same name diff person.
        The s/t GCE album is one of THE BEST albums to come out since 2000. It’s produced by Richard Hawley and has his stamp all over it, think Dolby and mid career Prefab Sprout and you’re not far off. I love me some Richard Hawley and his work on her album created something better and more consistent than some of his own!
        She’s apparently a Sprouts fan, the new video very conspicuously shows Steve McQueen right off the bat in the video and they are namechecked in the press for the new one. In a parallel universe I am dreaming of her being the new Wendy on a Sprout album produced by Richard Hawley. Yeeeeessssss……


  6. SimonH says:

    Really looking forward to the Girl Called Eddy album, had given up hope!


  7. I have at least four items on your top 12, but this post reminded me that I haven’t ordered the Skafish reissue yet — nor the Passions! This must be corrected forthwith! I too enjoyed the Gary Daly album very much, as well as Stephen Duffy’s “I Love My Friends.” The new year also already has a small wealth of reissues and superdeluxii (hey! I coined a word maybe!) that are on my list, so I would not be surprised if I end up spending a bit more on music this year than in 2019.


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