Archive: January 2009

The Slush Pile, or purging the playlists

At some point, I’m going to have to make a trip to the store and pick up something for the commute to work. I’ve had the same CDs in the pack for quite a while now, and it’s time for something new.

But I’m not inclined to stock up on new listening without first doing a bit of housekeeping on the current listening. So these albums will have to go into the slush pile.

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Year of gay

In my summary of 2008, I mentioned how I managed to find a number of gay musicians I actually liked. Most of the stuff that gets the attention of the gay press focus more on outness than the music itself. I mentioned a few albums without really getting into details, which I shall rectify now.

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新作モラトリアム (New work moratorium)

I’ve been posting considerably less lately because I’m pretty much prioritizing Eponymous 4 above everything else right now. In fact, I’m going to start on Monday posting files from my first full-length album over at the official web site. I haven’t yet decided whether to release it commercially online, but I figure I may as well since I’m deducting my music gear as business expenses on my taxes.

I’m also busy trying to move all my sites to CodeIgniter, so I don’t have to develop both the framework and the site at the same time.

That means posting to the blog is pretty much squeezed out. Of course, I’ll pipe up when something on Bounce catches my attention, but the radio silence is going to continue for just a bit longer.

By the way, my brother and I are planning to go to Japan in November 2009, and while I’ve made noises about skipping SXSW before, this year may indeed be one I miss. The cash I sink into the Austin economy for those five days must be reallocated for the trip because I don’t forecast much financial growth in 2009. So don’t count on much coverage of the festival itself, but I’ll do what I can beforehand.

SXSW line-up, second pass

When the music festival line-up for SXSW 2008 was announced, I couldn’t contain my excitement at the thought of a Steve Reich showcase or a performance by Wing. The festival line-up for 2009 doesn’t have that kind of revelation. I did, however, spot a few acts of gay interest in this year’s list:

Jay Brannan

Margaret Cho

The Cliks

Gentleman Reg

Grizzly Bear

Grant Hart

los super elegantes

Grizzly Bear is really the only must, must, must-see band for me in the entire list, and if they do a free show somewhere in town that week, I’d probably go to that and forego the wristband this year. (Recession recession recession.)

Two songwriters from Honolulu are also performing at SXSW.

John Cruz

David Tamaoka

I must be getting old because I don’t see anything on that list that screams "hipster buzz Pitchfork worship". No hint of a classical showcase at all, and nothing off-the-wall like Wing. I think I may not regret not getting a wristband. But the day party list that goes around each year? I’m keeping my eye out for that.

SXSW announces complete line-up

SXSW announced its complete line-up for the 2009 music festival, subject to change, of course. Here are the bands from Japan traveling all the way to Texas, some previously mentioned:

Asakusa Jinta

BO-PEEP

Cubismo Grafico Five

Dirty Old Men

Futumono Satisfaction

GAGAKIRISE

Geeks

Grapevine

HONEY SAC

ok city ok

quaff

Sonpub

Special Thanks

Stereopony

Tokumaru Shugo

Not on that list but announced by the SXSW Asia site are FLiP, SA, SPARTA LOCALS and the Emeralds.

Lineup announced for SXSW Japan Nite 2009

I’m supposed to be taking a vacation trip to Japan with my brother later in 2009, and in order to save cash, I’m considering skipping SXSW 2009 this year. But I thought I should wait till the Japan Nite line-up has been announced before I make a decision. It would pretty much take Tokyo Jihen or MASS OF THE FERMENTING DREGS to get me to SXSW this year.

And now that the line-up has been announced, I think I may actually skip this one, the first in 10 years.

That’s not to say there aren’t some interesting bands on the docket. I wouldn’t mind seeing SPARTA LOCALS or Grapevine or even detroit7 again. But I think this year, I need to strict with the finances. Maybe I’ll skip the wristband and try my luck paying at the door. Hah.

Here’s the schedule:

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Looking ahead: January 2009-March 2009

I really went down the rabbit hole this past holiday, so I missed mentioning a number of new releases coming up. In fact, enough news came down the proverbial pipe to warrant an actual round-up of upcoming albums. I usually bad mouth first quarter releases, but as the recording industry continues to get clobbered — and thus become chickenshit about actually releasing stuff — the first quarter is almost becoming the hidden treasure trove of the release year.

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Utada Hikaru releases new English-language album in March

Yesterday, I got an e-mail from Island Records pointing me to a stream of her upcoming English-language single, "Come Back to Me". (Not an m-flo cover, but damn, that would be cool.) Now, Bounce.com reports Utada’s next English-language album is set for a March 24 release in the US and March 4 release in Japan. Timbaland once again collaborates with Utada on the new album, which has not yet been titled. It’s been four years since her English debut, Exodus.

The new single is pretty low-key ballad, not as lush as her most recent Japanese releases but not over-produced like anything on Exodus. It’s refreshingly uncluttered, actually.