Looking ahead

Updating discography information in the old artists directory was one of the most time-consuming, tedious tasks in maintaining Musicwhore.org. And yet, even I find myself missing the convenience of seeing upcoming releases.

So I guess I have to do this manually now.

No problem. At least now I can editorialize on some of those releases. Here are a few releases I’m looking forward to (not that I’ll manage to buy any or all of them) …

Kate Bush, Aerial, Nov. 8

It’s been 12 years since Kate Bush released an album, which is ample time for me to become an actual fan of hers. My first introduction to Bush was The Sensual World, which wasn’t her best albums. But between then and now, I got seduced by “Wuthering Heights” and eventually The Whole Story then The Kick Inside then Hounds of Love then …

A friend of mine kept saying, “Kate Bush needs to release a new album and save the world from Tori Amos.” Twelve years is too long a time to leave the world under the sway of Tori Amos. Too long.

Aerial will be released as a double album on Nov. 7 in the UK, and Nov. 8 in the US.

Enya, Amarantine, late November 2005

Five-year waits between Enya albums is normal, so Amaratine is pretty much on schedule. Enya’s previous album, A Day Without Rain, found the reclusive Irish songstress writing brighter songs, but clocking at 35 minutes, the album felt anticlimactic. But Enya has essentially recorded the same album time and again since her debut in 1988, so what arrives in late November should brook no surprise.

Hajime Chitose, “Kataritsugu Koto”, Nov. 23

If this doesn’t lead to a third album, I will be very sad. And when the hell is her traditional stuff going to be more widely available internationally?

Quruli, Nikki, Nov. 23

Quruli had a busy year in 2004, with a 30-date nationwide tour, appearances in the US and a fifth album to release and to promote. I wouldn’t have been surprised if the activity behind Singer Songer this year pushed another Quruli album back, but come November, the versatile indie rock trio puts out its sixth album. These Japanese labels are real task masters, aren’t they?

Madonna, Confessions on a Dancefloor, Nov. 14

I still hold out hope some artistic mind meets with Madonna’s iron will to replicate the experience of Ray of Light. Not the album itself, but the feel of an ambitious performer delivering work that can’t help bring out artistry, not commerce. Because really — what the fuck was up with American Life?

Dirty Three, Cinder, Oct. 11

I don’t actually own any Dirty Three albums, but I have listened to She Has No Strings Apollo and Whatever You Love You Are, and I’ve been impressed with the group’s slow-burning music. This time around, the instrumental group adds vocals, provided by Chan Marshall/Cat Powers. I’m interested in hearing this one as well.

Explosions in the Sky, How Strange, Innocense, Oct. 11

I liked The Earth Is Not a Cold, Dead Place a lot more than I anticipated. It’s not the kind of thing I’d like to listen to during a shift at a record store, but during a traffic jam, it’s really good. These guys toured with mono, who pretty much do the same thing, so RIYL …

Tokyo Jihen, “Shuraba”, Nov. 2

I’m more curious about this single than anticipating it. It’s the first release without PE’Z pianist Hiizami Masayuki and guitarist Hirama Mikio. They were replaced by keyboardist Izawa Ichio and guitarist Ukigumo. I can’t say Tokyo Jihen won me over with its first album last year, but anything that immediately followed Karuki Zaamen Kuri no Hana would pale by comparrison.

Hatakeyama Miyuki, “Ai no Melody”, Nov. 23

It looks like Chor-Diary, Hatakeyama Miyuki’s label, parted ways with Toshiba-EMI, which had distributed the label’s releases. For Hatakeyama’s first single since the restructuring, the label has teamed up with Avex Trax’s Rhythm Zone. Hatakeyama sharing the same roster as m-flo? Doesn’t compute.

Somewhat related, Aozora Records, which handles Yaida Hitomi’s releases, is also changing partnerships from Toshiba-EMI to Avex Trax. Pattern?

PE’Z, Chitose Tori, Nov. 16

So that’s what Hajime Chitose’s name means! (Or could mean)

I’ve listened to two PE’Z albums now, and while I don’t think the band’s writing adds anything new to the jazz vocabulary, its performances rock out harder than most rock bands. It’s that energy that makes PE’Z the big band cousins of the Bad Plus.

UA, Nephews, Oct. 26

UA has done quite a bit of work aside from her prolific studio albums, and Nephews collects a number of these extras. It’s the best of the rare, and I won’t know how tempted I’ll be to get it until the track listing is finalized.

Sasagawa Miwa, “Himawari”, Oct. 5

It may be re-recording of her first indie single, but it’s Sasagawa Miwa. I’ve been jonesing for a new release by her since the release of her second album in January 2005.

Mikami Chisako, I’m here, Oct. 19

I hope this doesn’t suck as badly as Watashi wa Anata no Uchuu. Maybe she only had one really good album in her.

Depeche Mode, Playing the Angel, Oct. 18

The band’s last album, Exciter, totally didn’t live up to its name. It wasn’t a very excitable album in the least, but its sense of introspection was different for the group. You could say it felt optimistic. I’d be curious to see whether these notoriously dreary lads continue with its more mature sound.