Looking ahead: July 2006-Sept. 2006

With ICE magazine joining the dearly departed, I must now rely on the scattershot offerings of various other websites to pull together these "Looking Ahead" entries.

That’s always been the case for Japanese releases, but it was so much more convenient for US releases with ICE around. For the most part, I’m relying on Pause and Play for domestic stuff and of course, Bounce and various e-commerce sites for Japanese releases.

I tried to organize these previews in two-month chunks, but I’ll take whatever information as it comes.

UA x Kikuchi Naruyoshi, cure jazz, July 19

The celebrity humor website Fametracker attempted to compare the versatility of Meryl Streep against the versatility of duct tape. The verdict? A draw. UA is something of a Meryl Streep for music (or duct tape, whatever you prefer.) Techno? Got your Mondo Grosso right here. Rock? Got your AJICO right here. Movies? Got your Mizu no Onna right here. UA’s collaboration with saxophone player Kikuchi Naruyoshi should further distance her from the pop machinations of her early career.

Utada Hikaru, UH4 – Utada Hikaru Single Clip Collection Vol. 4, Sept. 27

This site hasn’t really covered music DVDs all that much, but I’m really liking Ultra Blue — the singles from this album are some of Utada’s best. That doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be great videos, but since with hubby Kizuaki Kiriya (presumably) behind the lens, at the very least they’ll be visually interesting.

Quruli, Best of Quruli: Tower of Music Lover, July 26

Q: What happens when a band that releases good albums finally puts out a dud?

A: Remind listeners of the past.

In reality, a best-of collection for Quruli is long overdue, especially after six albums and numerous singles, and in a way, I’m glad to be reminded of Quruli’s best work — because Nikki and a Rip Slyme collaboration has me scratching my head at the band’s direction.

Hem, Funnel Cloud, Sept. 5

I hope that Libery Mutual commercial kicks into high-gear come September. Hem already offered up the rarities collection No Word from Tom earlier this year, so an album of new material is like Christmas twice in a year.

OutKast, Idlewild, Aug. 22

The fact the namesake Outkast movie, My Life in Idlewild, is being released at the tail of the summer season makes me wonder just how (good|bad) it will be. Still curious nonetheless.

Janet Jackson, 20 Years Old, Sept. 26

I was all ready to jump into consumer action and get Damita Jo in the wake of Nipplegate, but I did something stupid — I actually listened to it beforehand. Yes, I know — it’s foolish to pine for the Janet of 1986 and 1990, in the same way it’s foolish to pine for the Sting of 1985 and 1987. Back when both artists made, you know, good music.

The Art of Noise, And What Have You Done with My Body, God?, Aug. 8 (UK)

If there’s one thing that keeps me coming back to the Art of Noise is the daffy text on its packaging. And What Have You Done with My Body, God? is a boxed set of rare tracks and demos. I wouldn’t mind coming across the BBC radio documentary about Anne Dudley, though.

Art-School, TBD, Sept. 6

Let’s hope it’s not a Paradise Lost redux.

Sasagawa Miwa, "Oborotzukyo", Aug. 30

Spitz, "Mahoo no Kotoba", July 12

Yuki, "Fugainaiya", Aug. 9

Just thought it’s worth mentioning upcoming singles from artists previously covered here. I don’t think the Spitz single is a cover of the Do As Infinity song, though.