[…continued from last post]
Albums Of The Year
- The Blow Monkeys: Journey To You
- Steven Jones + Logan Sky: European Lovers
- Shriekback: 1000 Books
- Nik Bärtsch: Entendre
- Jack Hues: Electro Acoustic Works 20:20
- Harold Budd: I Know this Much Is True
Only six albums released this year entered the Record Cell, and the clear standout was the 40th anniversary Blow Monkeys album, “Journey To You.” Dr. Robert’s songs and production touched on so many of the band’s influences and touchstones to create an album that was peak after peak. The band and the various guest artists sounded lavish here. This album sounded like no expense was spared instead of the product of a crowdsource campaign. As fantastic as I thought that the last one was, this one was just even better! We’ll get to the review …eventually since I still have the 2nd half of the Blow Monkeys Rock G.P.A. looming in the road ahead at PPM.
As clearly great as my top pick was, that didn’t mean that the competition for the next two slots wasn’t fierce. Steven Jones + Logan Sky [with Jan Linton guesting] continue to amaze me with bursts of growth of the kind I have not heard since the heady days of early Simple Minds. Their latest album was clearly their finest yet as they took their game to a new level. After their last two albums represented a late period peak for the prolific and vital Shriekback, their latest album finished off their modern trilogy of classics with an often somber meditation on the way forward through this Hellstorm of The Now with as even a selection of Andrews/Marsh songs as I’ve ever heard.
EPs Of The Year
- The Metamorph: Return To Splendour
- Head Noise: Consequential Quasars
- Jack Hues: Canterbury Live EP
The EP of the year was dead simple! The Metamorph was the first new 10″ I bought since OMD’s History Of Modern [Part 1]” over a decade ago. It certainly lived up to its title! The Metamorph is another analog synth player [who doesn’t even use computers at all in his production] and is perhaps known by the name Gavin Brick. Long-time readers will recognize his comments here at PPM over the years but he’s moving up in the world of synth music with sales and popularity in excess of his stature here as one of the “regulars.” Fascinating collaborations are in the pipeline and currently…my lips are sealed, but fans of analog synths should watch out as The Metamorph is clearly going places.
Singles Of The Year
- Tot Taylor: This New ABBA® Record
- The Anitpodeans Vs. Icehouse: Hey Little Girl
- Todd Rundgren + Sparks; Your Fandango
- Anum Preto: Além Do Bem E Do Mal
- Anum Preto: Ponto De Mutação
- The Blow Monkeys: One More Time [The Pump Remix]
- The Metamorph: The Man on The 99th Floor
- Kraftwerk: Heimcomputer 2021
- Gary Kemp + Steven Wilson + Mike Garson: Waiting For The Band [Steven Wilson Remix]
- Duran Duran: Five Years
Leave it to songwriting supremo Tot Taylor to encapsulate the angst of the now in the most elegant fashion imaginable. I can imagine no other single more representative of 2021 than “This New Abba Record!” And The Antipodeands re0-invigorated an Icehouse classic in the best possible, Post-Modern remix way with “Hey Little Girl.” Todd Rundgren linked back up with Sparks after a half century layoff and sounded like he had a great time of it with the playful “Your Fandango.”
Brasil’s Anum Preto continues to mine a rich vein of guitar-based Post-Punk very successfully with his singles that just keep coming. And The Blow Monkeys toss an old collector of theirs a bone with a now rare remixed single from their number one album [see above] “Journey To You.” The Metamorph cleansed his palate with a dark little instro before returning to splendour. Kraftwerk remixed a 40 year old record. Gary Kemp took another step into the Prog world with Steven Wilson remixing his single about Bowie, and his New-Ro rivals Duran Duran managed to massacre a seminal “Ziggy Stardust” cut to commemorate Bowie’e being gone for…yes, five years. Strangely enough, Mike Garson also guested on this release!
Reissue Of the Year
- Fashiøn: Fabrique Deluxe [CD boxed set]
- Gleaming Spires; Walk On Well Lighted Streets DLX RM
- Gleaming Spires: Songs Of The Spires DLX RM
- Gleaming Spires: Welcoming A New Ice Age DLX RM
- John Foxx: Church [violet LP]
- Ultravox: Vienna [2.0 Steven Wilson mix = Wilson instrumental] 2xCD
- John Foxx: The Garden [green LP]
The top four reissues were far ahead of the pack this year, but my ardor for Fashiøn’s “Fabrique” knows no bounds and I certainly never expected this box to manifest outside of my own home! So it must get the top slot, but the reissue program for cult artists Gleaming Spires showed what is possible with the willpower and a willing indie label like Omnivore Recordings to make everything perfect! Long lost New Wave material came springing back into vibrant new life as a result.
Ultravox in its many forms filled out the reissue list. John Foxx released colored vinyl LPs, but “Church” was a new compilation of material that had been curated from unreleased material of the ’80-’81 period. And following their BSOG of “Vienna” last year, Ultravox and Steven Wilson found room to release the Wilson 2.0 mix of the seminal album along with an instrumental version that those hard core Foxx Only fans might be able to come to grips with!
One big trend for me this year was the huge amount of DL files I got! 29! Almost as many as the number of CDs I bought!! This was far more download music that I had ever gotten in the past, where 5-7 releases might be the norm. Most of this is down to increasing amounts of promo coming across my transom, as well as the fact that Bandcamp is a great environment to buy music that exists no other way.
Another astonishing trend were readers and commenters sending me records and CDs! No kidding! Almost half of the total music intake this year were gifts. While some were from friends and my loved one, almost as many were from commenters and readers of PPM and for that I salute you. And half of this free music were from my good friend Mr. Ware, who is thinning out his collection and just Messaged me earlier today sending some more that I had passed up in person late last year when given the brief “take what you want.” The generosity of PPM readers like Keith is legendary, but if it takes sending me the CD to finally have me hear [and write about] a band like Rational Youth, then it’s a great thing, yes? Anyone who bothers to send me something will hopefully see me reviewing it for their troubles.
Last year I was hoping to spend less and ultimately managed to do that very successfully. I must admit… I’m getting very concerned about some of the things that were on the want list last year that were not acted upon. Physical releasees are so curtailed these days that scarcity and quickly rising aftermarket prices are commonplace. And there’s the long-standing lists of releases by acts I am in the [long-term] planning stages to make REVO projects from. Many that have haunted me for the last 20 years are now in my rear view mirror, but there’s always those Invaders singles! They never seem to be for sale in America much, and some [like “Backstreet Romeo”] are hard to get any place!
Since I can’t imagine spending any less on music going forward, expect next year’s list to have a bigger budget. I read about phenomena like cheap CDs people are practically giving away, but this is definitely not happening in my region of America and the Vinyl Bubble continues to expand [until it bursts]. One of the albums I bought this year [Harold Budd] had LP as the only physical format it was selling in after first appearing the year prior as a DL. Let’s hope that there’s less of that going forward, but I doubt it.
Hi Mr. Monk,
Here is my graph of purchases:
I didn’t buy much if any new music this year,
but I did get a lot of items I’ve been looking
for for quite awhile.
Select Items from 2021 – A sampling
Both of these were $100+ since they’re hard to find,
and I’ve been looking for them for years
BIG COUNTRY – Rarities VII Damascus Sessions CD
Big Country – Rarities IX Live CD Album 2011 Track Records
This 3rd album was hard to come by also (Still need the Japanese
version) from the band Previously known as ‘Curiosity Killed the Cat’
Curiosity – Back To Front (CD, Album)
This 2nd album from the retro-electro group is worth checking out
Ekkoes – Kinetik (CD, Album)
Never thought this would show up used
Haircut One Hundred – Live At The IndigO2 28th Jan 2011 (2xCDr)
Got tons of promo CD’s from many groups
Didn’t have any of these before
Depeche Mode – Delta Machine (2xCD, Album, Dlx)
Depeche Mode – Exciter (CD, Album, RP + DVD-V, Copy Prot., Multichannel, P)
Depeche Mode – Some Great Reward (CD, Album, RP + DVD-V, Copy Prot., Multichannel, P)
Depeche Mode – Sounds Of The Universe (Box, Dlx, Ltd, Num + CD, Album + 2xCD + DVD-V, Mul)
Depeche Mode – Spirit (CD, Album + CD + Box, Dlx)
Depeche Mode – LiVE SPiRiTS SOUNDTRACK
Depeche Mode – Ultra CD DVD Dave Gahan Martin Gore Deluxe NOT Region One OL
Haven’t listened to most of these yet
Duran Duran – All You Need Is Now (CD, Album, Ltd + DVD, Ltd)
Duran Duran – Astronaut (CD, Album + DVD, NTSC, Reg)
Duran Duran – Greatest (CD, Comp + VCD + Box, Ltd, Num)
Duran Duran – Liberty (Box, Promo + CD, Album + Cass, Album)
Duran Duran – Liberty (CD, Album + CD, Mini)
Duran Duran – Ordinary World / Decade (CD, Single, Promo + CD, Comp, Promo)
Duran Duran – Paper Gods (CD, Album, Dlx)
Duran Duran – Paper Gods (CD, Album, Dlx with stickers)
Duran Duran – Red Carpet Massacre (CD, Album + DVD-V, Copy Prot., NTSC + Box, Spe)
Duran Duran – Thank You (2xCD, Album, Ltd)
Hard to find
Go West – 3D (Box, Album + 3xCD, EP)
Human League* – Hysteria (CD, Album, RE, RM, Pap) -> SHMCD
Different color ink – puffy case
NewOrder* – Republic (The Limited Run..) (CD, Album, Ltd, Blu)
Was missing these ones
Pet Shop Boys – Elysium / Further Listening 2011–2012 (CD, Album, RE + CD, Comp + RM)
Pet Shop Boys Release: Further Listening 2001-2004 (3CD)
Simple Minds – Once Upon A Time (Box, Comp, Sup + CD, Album, RE, RM + 2xCD, Comp, R)
Simple Minds – Rejuvenation 2001-2014 (Box, Comp + CD, Album, RE + CD, Album, RE + CD, Al)
Holy grail and great boxset
Ultravox – Moments From Eden (10″, EP, Red + CD, EP + Ltd)
Ultravox – Vienna [Steven Wilson Stereo Mix] (CD, Album, RE + CD, Album)
Another hard to find triple digit boxset $300
Underworld – Barbara Barbara, We Face A Shining Future (CD, Album, Dlx, Boo)
Underworld – Barking (CD, Album + DVD-V, PAL, Reg)
Underworld – The Riverrun Series (CDr, CD-ROM, Promo + 3xFile, MP3, Mixed, 192)
Now onto the vinyl world, which is the bulk of what I Get
2 great pictures discs and a crazy Compilation from Peru
Flock of Seagulls – A Flock of Seagulls PICTURE DISC vinyl lp
Flock Of Seagulls – Listen (LP, Album, Ltd, Pic)
Flock Of Seagulls – The Best Fly Of: A Flock Of Seagulls (LP, Comp)
Was missing this French version
Frazier Chorus – Sue (LP, Album)
French pressing – with french version of pocket calculator
Kraftwerk – Computer World (LP, Album)
Super rare spanish version, over $150
Kraftwerk – Electric Cafe (Edicion Espanola) (LP, Album, Gat)
As far as 12 inches go
This one was around $300
French promo with exclusive mixes
Bjork – Isobel (2×12″, Maxi, Promo)
These were affordable:
Frazier Chorus – Cloud 8 – The Paul Oakenfold Remixes (12″, W/Lbl)
Frazier Chorus – Nothing (12″)
Frazier Chorus – Nothing (Chad Jackson Remixes) (12″, Promo, W/Lbl)
Frazier Chorus – Nothing (Paul Oakenfold Mixes) (12″, W/Lbl)
Frazier Chorus – Nothing (Paul Oakenfold Mixes) (12″ #2, W/Lbl)
Frazier Chorus – Sloppy Heart (12″)
Frazier Chorus – Sloppy Heart (12″, W/Lbl)
Frazier Chorus – Walking on Air – U.K. testpressing promo 12″ EP vinyl
was glad to get some rare ones ($75, $100)
Heaven 17 – Captured / Unseen (12″, Ltd)
Heaven 17 – Designing Heaven (2×12″, Promo)
Heaven 17 – Illumination / Pray Work in Progress 12″ single LTD Signed
lots of new order remasters
New Order – Blue Monday (2020 Remaster)
New Order – Temptation (12″ Vinyl Single)
New Order – Thieves Like Us (2020 Remaster)
New Order – Confusion (2020 Remaster)
New Order – Murder (2020 Remaster)
New Order – Restless (12″, Single, Ltd, Gre)
New Order – Singularity (12″, Single, Ltd, Pur)
New Order – Tutti Frutti (12″, Maxi, Ltd, Yel)
New Order – Tutti Frutti (12″, Single, Ltd)
New Order – The Perfect Kiss (12″)
New Order – The Perfect Kiss (12″, Single, Bla)
New Order – The Perfect Kiss (12″, Single, Blu)
New Order – The Perfect Kiss (12″, Single, Pin)
New Order – The Perfect Kiss (12″, Single, Yel)
old record store day exclusive $150
New Order / Joy Division – Ceremony / In A Lonely Place (12″, Ltd)
bought 30+ ones for Depeche Mode, including 18 German Red vinyl
found 7+ different colors for new order – procession UK single
bought 10+ for pet shop boys
bought 5 different duran duran – wild boys picture covers
bought 20+ ones from Thompson Twins
bought 20+ ones from Ultravox
Electronic – Prodigal Son (10″, Promo, W/Lbl)
F.G.T.H.* – Two Tribes (10″, S/Sided, Promo, W/Lbl, Tur)
this ones rare $70
New Order – Waiting For The Siren’s Call (Mash Up) (10″, S/Sided, Promo, W/Lbl)
Various – Debut LP Magazine – Issue 11 (10″, Comp)
I managed to find several UK ultravox tourbooks, and this
one came with a DVD-V
Ultravox Brilliant official 2012 tour programme with DVD Region 0 PAL
Finally, the vinyl boxsets
A duplicate boxset to open, and the latest from Depeche Mode
Depeche Mode – Speak & Spell The 12″ Singles (Box, Comp, Ltd, Num + 12″, Single, RE, RM + 12″, S)
Depeche Mode – Ultra The 12″ Singles (8 X 12″ 180 Gram Vinyl Singles – Numbered, Vinyl Box Set)
A Flock Of Seagulls – Listen (LP, Album + 12″ + Ltd)
The mega vinyl boxset
Heaven 17 – Play To Win: The Virgin Albums [New Vinyl LP] Colored Vinyl
Bargain clear sets
Midge Ure – Orchestrated (2xLP, Album, Ltd, Cle)
Midge Ure – Soundtrack The Singles 1980-1988 (LP, Comp, Ltd, Cle)
Very rare metallic cover – $150
New Order – Brotherhood (LP, Album, Met)
Been wanting to get this for awhile – $150
New Order – Singles (4xLP)
Got a cheap used copy – $40
Pet Shop Boys – Introspective (Album, Ltd + 12″, Single + 12″, Single + 12″, Sing)
Mega vinyl boxset, and cool Film tin boxset
Simple Minds – Rejuvenation 2001-2014 (Box, Comp, Dlx + LP, Album, RE, Cle + LP, Album, R)
SIMPLE MINDS – NEAPOLIS PROMO PRESS 11 INCH TIN BOX/GLITTERBALL EPK/Promo cd’s
Maybe next year, I will buy some newer items.
But I was glad to find these and more this year.
negative1ne – As I expected, there are quite a few items I’ve (fortunately) had since release as I could not afford them now. As well as a few I used to have and sold off (lots of redundant ‘collectoritis’ DD things from the ‘91-‘95 when I was just buying everything I could get from DD because it was “there” and I had too much money. Sounds familiar!
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Hi mr monk,
Well, your average yearly expense was much higher than mine. And you did have a lot of the original releases. For me, I guess I’m glad to get it now, than never. Although its a mixed bag, with the average 12 inch and 7 inch (non limited editions), being a lot cheaper to get now from the UK, compared to back then.
There’s also a ton of releases, that I had never known about, that I’m just finding out about now. Even though I bought some when they originally came out. The really limited ones are being documented well on discogs. Thats what I coming up against.
Also, its great to see all the white labels, promos, and test pressings, that I never even knew about before.
Wow!!!!!!!!! That’s a LOT!!!! But for me at least I know most of those bands and the song names :-) I guess music for you is like yarn for me (don’t ask…..).
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Well, I spiked last year. I doubt I will be equaling that total this year. If you noticed, the last 5-6 years were much lower, so if you average it out, it comes out to a few thousand per year, which would have been better, if I can have evened it out. But I didn’t really get serious about collecting until the last 2 years.
How do you find time to listen to all of that? How much time do you spend listening to music everyday? PPM – that might be a great poll…I look at that list and outside of the costs look at the time it would take for me to seriously listen to each song/album/compilation and give it serious consideration (ie, not just going on in background while I’m doing something else). Many of those songs are duplicates, so serious listening would be necessary to ascertain the differences.
It’s like my yarn collection – I have so much and realize I may never use it all. So, I’ve been culling or further refining what I buy so I know I will use it in a project. I also have projects lined up…so I imagine it is the same with serious music collections. Outside of using it in a day job, it would take a lot of time to manage the curation of the collection…and using it or understanding the use is important in that curation.
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Bridget – You’ve hit on why I was thrilled to spend a much smaller amount on music last year. The crux of my conflict in listening to music is that I have so little time for it! I work eight hours a day. I blog during my lunch hour. My only daily M-F music listening is generally in my car for 90 minutes a day commuting to work. I can play CDs and files on my device. All of my time awake from as early as 4 AM to 7 AM is spent on performing small household chores and the act of preparing for work. When I get home the goal is to cook dinner, eat, clean the kitchen and get to bed. My wife splits cooking chores with me. Sometimes we’re both in the kitchen trading duties off to get it done. After dinner, I might have 30-45 minutes to answer comments or email. One night out of dozens, I might listen to a record. Two sides side of a single if I’m lucky.
Let me clarify. Now, as for all time, I play any records I buy generally once. In the pre-computer era, I would make a good quality tape of a record and listen to that. Preserving the quality of the record from wear and tear. For the last 24 years, “playing a record” has meant digitizing it into the computer for eventual cleanup, editing and denoising. To ultimately end up on an archival CD-R as I am geared toward CD-based listening. This act takes TIME. Time I rarely have as a married homeowner. Maintaining our household takes a lot of work. I also like to engage with my loved one. Together we have a social life we keep with friends and neighbors, and we’re also involved with the management of our private road association. Maintaining the one-lane mountain road we live on is as much work as owning a home. And like a household, there’s never enough money in the bank account to achieve any more than a fraction of the work necessary to keep our heads above water. I hope this paints an accurate picture of my situation. Months may pass without me having the time to dedicate 2-4 hours of free time in recording ann album or two worth of music to hard disk.
So vinyl records represent a problem for me. My focus is on making rare music that I’m interested in digitally available to me. My purchase of records from 1985 [when I first got a CD player] to 1990 or so fell off to almost nothing. If it wasn’t on CD I didn’t want it. If it was an act that I really loved, then I might buy something on record by that artist. In 1993 I got my first modern computer and it had CD quality digitization built into it. A few years earlier I knew that CD-R technology was on the way. I began buying records that had not appeared on CD yet with the idea that I would eventually be making my own.
Years into doing this I am now at a point where I digitize and note the source [usually catalog number in the filename of the raw recording] of every record I own by certain artists. There are always unknown variations that there exists no documentation of to surprise and shock me; those “buried treasures,” as I call them. So once I have knowledge of exactly what is on which records, I can actually know what I’ve got, which is the first step in listening to it and [hopefully] enjoying it. Countless were the times that my “complete collection” [I have the collector’s sickness] according to the canon of online knowledge about a certain discography was upended time and time again by new information added to the Discogs database. I try to keep up and no longer assume that a full collection of anything is possible. I have spent the last three months recording every Blow Monkeys single I own and am only about halfway into the stack. I’ve discovered other records by them that I didn’t know that I needed and are now on my want list. Tracks I thought I had were actually misprint information with the wrong versions of tracks on some releases noted incorrectly on the misprinted sleeves. The money to get these is scarce, but the time to actually listen to them is even more scarce. And I’m getting older by the minute.
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Well, 95+ of my collection is old music. so i’ve already heard all of it. I am stuck in the past mostly, so my new music quota is very small, Basically, i’m in the collecting phase of my music hobby. i buy things to have them, look at the artwork, read the books etc. i rarely if ever listen to thing i buy.
that said. there are exceptions: vinyl only, or exclusive tracks do get listened to. I work from home at times, so there is music playing constantly throughout the day. when i do have a job, i listen to music on the way to and from work. so i have plenty of time to catch up on everything.
lastly, i use digital copies of everything, so i always have access to music, no matter what format. if its analog, i rip it, and convert it. sometimes i restore the track, it its noisy.
i also have a ton of craft projects that i was working on, when it got interrupted by a job. i was starting an etsy store called super deluxe packaging. it will be up eventually, it will have reproductions of boxsets, and other packages that they used to make in the past, i bought a cricut cutter, and lots of materials for it, and they have been on backlog since january of last year. so i know the feeling.
for me, the thrill of the hunt, thanks to discogs, has made getting those rare items a LOT easier, and sure, i’m not getting a bargain on some items, but in the end, it all evens out.so there’s that. (well that’s my justification).
i guess all music collectors have their reasons to do what they do. thing is, thanks to mr monks site, i am discovering a lot of music i missed out on originally, and have never heard of. so in a way, that’s prompting the discovery of even more things to get!
If I hear about The Blowjob Monkeys once more I’ll f scream!
john – Welcome to the comments. None on Monday, and probably Tuesday, at least. But by Wednesday I’d take a breather for a few weeks if I were you. Just saying.
Thanks so much Mr Monk for featuring and praising my humble work.
I am very touched and honoured.I can promise you that this year’s releases will be something special (2 new full length LPs and an expanded CD release for “Red Tape”!)
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Gavin – Yay! I missed “Red Tape” but would want a CD anyway!
Merry New Year all,
“Red Tape” is excellent. Well deserved. The cassette was my #3 for 2021.
1. “Sudden Vision Zones” – Ostrofti
2. “Ruthie” – Pastel Hell
3. “Red Tape” – The Metamorph
4. “The Medusa Frequency” – Mike Dickinson
5. “Unity” – The KVB
I didn’t manage to get the 10″ of “Return To Splendour” so only listened online, but I was equally impressed.
Thanks for featuring STEVEN JONES & LOGAN SKY in your list. We aimed to make an album of such quality worthy of being on vinyl.. unfortunately it wasn’t to be, since vinyl has become problematic..
Logan Sky – Never say never! One day I’m certain your supafine “European Lovers” will get the LP pressing of your dreams. I’m confident that it can happen once the “vinyl bubble” issues get resolved. And I’m wondering how you and Mr. Jones can top that one, but I’ve thought that before…
I’m also glad to hear that “Red Tape” was all that and more. That cassette sold out so fast it made my head spin. I’d not gotten the DL yet but now will await the CD.
Happy New year, PPM! Well, I’m not part of the esoteric group here with regard to music knowledge, however, I did avail myself of some of the info in posts here to purchase some music that brings me back to my high school and college days. I purchased the rest of the OMD back catalogue on CD, the So Red is the Rose CD, the Antipodean meets Ice House “Hey Little Girl” extended track and Blondie “Parallel Lines” (always loved that album cover when I was in high school, just didn’t have the funds back then for that type of expenditure). My audio equipment is fairly minimal nowadays (used to have some kick a$$ speakers, etc, but those went with the ex…), so I don’t have huge media requirements. As you know, I also went to the OMD Brighton gig and spent a lot of money on souvenirs. I wore my Maid of Orleans ‘stained-glass-look’ T on the plane to/from the USA. Everyone asked me about it – they loved it. OMD sure hit that design out of the park. I am really looking forward to their Royal Albert Hall gig in March.