Utada Hikaru, First Love (15th Anniversary Edition), March 10
Utada Hikaru was a teen-ager when she released her debut album in 1999. My how they grow up, and damn am I old.
Juanes, Loco de Amor, March 11
Around the time Juanes released his third album, Mi Sangre, I was more in the frame of mind for rock en Japonés than rock en Español, but streaming services have allowed me to catch up and rekindle my interest.
Cocco, Pas de Bourée, March 12
Cocco releases are few and far between these days, so a mini-album after three years is better than nothing.
Kylie Minogue, Kiss Me Once, March 18
Kylie Minogue takes a Duran Duran approach to albums — the scaffolding is much the same, but the details differ from one album to the next. That makes comparing Fever to X, or Body Language to Aphrodite unproductive. So too I imagine with this album.
Royal Wood, The Burning Bright, March 18
Yeah, Royal Wood has a great voice and his songs are rather good. But allow me to be shallow and mention that he’s really, really pretty.
The Bad Plus, The Rite of Spring, March 25
This trio made arrangements of Gyórgi Ligeti etudes. They have the moxie to tackle Stravinsky.
Inventions, Inventions, April 1
Matthew Cooper of Eluvium + Mark Smith of Explosions in the Sky = post-rock super duo.
Emmylou Harris, Wrecking Ball (Deluxe Edition), April 8
I wouldn’t have started listening to country music if it weren’t for this album. The Deluxe Edition includes outtakes and a documentary DVD of the making of the album.
Matt Alber, Wind Sand Stars, April 14
Matt Alber has been two for two in making the year-end Musicwhore.org Favorite Edition list. Will he make it three for three?
Natalie Merchant, Natalie Merchant, May 6
I’m hoping the mirth Natalie Merchant displayed at her show with the Seattle Symphony in 2011 makes its way to her second album for Nonesuch.
It’s been four months since the last post. I’m distracted as usual, but in reality, this year has been incredibly slow to start. The first quarter really didn’t have very many releases to draw my attention, and it’s only in the last month that things have started to pick up.
Utada Hikaru is still officially on hiatus, but she took some time off to dash off a theme song for the latest Evangelion movie. The digital release of this two-track single happened back in late November, and it even included the US.
Sasagawa Miwa, Machi no Kaori, Jan. 16
It looks like Sasagawa Miwa is easing back into her label relationship with Avex Trax, following up the August release of Oroka na Negai with another mini-album. The title in kanji can be read “tokai no kaori”, but the furigana reading indicates “tokai” should be read “machi”.
Camper Van Beethoven, La Costa Perdida, Jan. 22
Wait, what … you mean to say the last time Camper Van Beethoven released an album was eight years ago. And I actually remember being excited about the band’s reunion, and that was a decade ago.
Björk, Bastards, Feb. 5
Biophilia spawned quite a number of remixes which are compiled on this release.
Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell, Old Yellow Moon, Feb. 26
I didn’t warm up to Emmylou Harris’ duet album with Mark Knopfler mostly because I’m no fan of Knopfler. I’m more intrigued by this duet album with Rodney Crowell because of his history with Harris. He was an original member of her legendary Hot Band, and this album is being produced by Brian Ahrens, who helmed Harris’ earliest albums.
Tokyo Jihen, HARD DISK, Feb. 27
Well, this is a pickle. I have just about every Tokyo Jihen release. And now there’s word of a disc of extras? And a USB drive with a new song? But I have to re-purchase every album to get them? I missed out on the wonderful remastering of the MoRA boxed set because I wanted to minimize the redundancy of my Shiina Ringo collection, so is there a similar incentive here? Bah.
I started this entry on July 29. It’s now September. A few of the albums I meant to mention have already been released. I’m just going to keep them here.
Dead Can Dance, Anastasis, Aug. 16
I debated whether to go to the duo’s show in Redmond and ultimately decided against it. For one, I’m broke, and for another, I’ve only started exploring Dead Can Dance’s back catalog. For the longest time, Spiritchaser was the only album of theirs I owned. I’ve since added Aion and the latest, Anastasis, which seems more Aion than Spiritchaser.
Tokyo Jihen, Shinyawaku, Aug. 29
I posited that Tokyo Jihen albums are like Star Trek movies — the even-numbered ones are better than the odd-numbered ones. I’m going to ignore the flotsam of color bars, which is an EP and thus not technically an album, and say Shinyawaku follows the pattern. Although a collection of b-sides, it possesses some of the band’s most interesting moments, some of which should have appearned on their albums.
I would have gotten this preview out sooner, but two titles frustrated me in a search for information. Major labels need to be austere these days, which means US fans of artists with bigger international profiles are a second thought. Sure makes my job harder, but you gotta go where the money is.
I haven’t done a new release preview in a long time. I was shocked I didn’t cover anything for June, till I realized I would have only reported on the new Tokyo Jihen album. (I probably could have also mentioned the new discs by John Adams and Nico Muhly.)
But it looks like labels are now lining up their fall releases.
So much news kept popping up on Bounce and other places, I couldn’t even squeeze the time to post them on the Facebook page.
My new job is really kicking my butt but in a good way.
Still, I feel self-conscious for letting so much time pass between entries. So many albums I’ve overplayed on my playlist but too much inertia to let you know about them. When will I accept the backlog will never be cleared out?
New releases are only going to compound the problem. What else is new?
Cocco’s first new album in three years comes out on Aug. 11, and it’s titled Emerald, reports Bounce.com. This album is the first Cocco has produced herself, with Takamune Negishi, Curly Giraffe and RYUKUDISCO contributing. A limited edition first pressing includes a DVD with videos for "Nirai Kanai", "Dugong no Mieru Oka" and "Kinuzure". Cocco also recently published a novel titled after her single "Polomerria". Here’s the track list for Emerald:
Still kind of waiting for this reunion to pay off …
Sasagawa Miwa, miwaTale, June 23
UA, KABA, June 23
iLL, Turn A, June 23
I found out about Sasagawa Miwa’s next EP, miwaTale, from a CD Japan e-mail, so folks outside of Japan don’t need to worry about limited availability. If it pop ups on the Evil Sharing Networks, I may check it out, but looking back, Jijitsu and Mayoi Naku are all I really need from her. And the "Tomenaide" single.
UA explores covers once again with KABA. Her previous cover album, cure jazz focused on standards. This time, she’s covering Japanese artists and a few western artists, including Red Hot Chili Peppers, Fiona Apple, Björk and Radiohead.
I never really warmed up to iLL, and a collaboration album with the likes of Mukai Shuutoku, ACO, Base Ball Bear and RYUKUDISCO probably won’t make me start. Still curious, though, but not about the POLYSICS track. Never about POLYSICS.