I could just update the most recent "Looking Ahead" entry to include the items listed here, but it looks like the first quarter of 2008 actually looks promising. It’s far, far more interesting than what passed for a fall 2007 release schedule. When your Q4 hopes ride on James Blunt, something is really wrong.
envy, Abyssal, Jan. 22 (US)
Hey Willpower, PDA, Jan. 22 (US)
Abyssal was already released in Japan back in November, and Temporary Residence gives it a stateside release on Jan. 22. Cochon Records, meanwhile, brings over the first full-length album by Hey Willpower, titled PDA, which was released in the UK in 2006. I downloaded the Dance EP from eMusic and loved it. Amazon, though, doesn’t seem to have the CD in stock, although the site does have it on vinyl.
Port of Notes, Blue Arpeggio ~Own Best Selection~, Feb. 2
Complain too much is the only really consistent album Port of Notes released. Duet with Birds and Evening glows had their dead spots. With any luck, Hatakeyama Miyuki and Daisuke Kojima whittled away the cruft to leave the gems.
Kronos Quartet with Wu Man, Terry Riley: The Cusp of Magic, Feb. 5
The last Kronos Quartet concert I attended was an overly long program with no intermission, and it included some of the quartet’s most inscrutible commissions from 1993, a number of them which appear on Short Stories. This particular concert ended with an excerpt from Terry Riley’s Sun Rings. I fell asleep.
As beneficial as Riley’s influence has been on Kronos, I can’t say I’ve really warmed up to any of the pieces he’s written for them. One of these days, I might have to revisit Salome Dances for Peace to see if my 35-year-old ears can parse it far better than my 18-year-old ears, but if I haven’t channeled Riley + Kronos at this point, how optimistic should I be for a future revelation?
Quruli, Philharmonic or die, Feb. 20
the brilliant green, Complete Single Collection, Feb. 20
Utada Hikaru, "HEART STATION/Stay Gold", Feb. 20
Furukawa Miki, "Candy Girl", Feb. 20
Damn, Feb. 20 is a busy release day in Japan!
Janet Jackson, Discipline, Feb. 26
I don’t know what Janet Jackson can do at this point to win me back as a fan. She’s been recording the same album since 1993. Whatever it is, it would probably need to be as drastic as Sting singing John Dowland pieces on a lute or PJ Harvey ditching the guitars for a piano.
Leo Imai, Fix Neon, Feb. 27
An excerpt of Leo Imai’s Matsuri Studio-produced single "Metro" is available at the EMI Japan web site. That’s ZAZEN BOYS’ Mukai Shuutoku on guitar and Yoshida Ichiro on bass. The half Swedish-half Japanese singer has a fascinating pop sound — New Wave-ish without sounding New Wave with enough guitars for a dash of post-punk. Bastard child of Kylie Minogue and Black Sabbath, indeed. His MySpace page has more audio samples, including a full-length stream of one track, "Gaining Weight".
iLL, Dead Wonderland, March 5
ASIAN KUNG-FU GENERATION, World World World, March 5
I have to say I miss hearing Nakamura Koji’s voice. If he sings throughout Dead Wonderland, I just might give iLL another chance. That first album was in its own world. I’ll give ASIAN KUNG-FU GENERATION another shot if only because Kita Kensuke also has a great voice.
R.E.M., Accelerate, April 1
I think the last time R.E.M. tried to pick up the pace was with 1994’s Monster, an album I never developed a sufficient interest to listen to. I might check out this album because for so long R.E.M. has been just a sad bunch of fucks.