Category Archives: Albums

A Disparate Assemblage of Melodies

John Lennon – Imagine
There is no real need to introduce or comment on this album. Oh no, there isn’t!

Pearl Jam – Pearl Jam
Pearl Jam are not a fave band at all, but I like them nonetheless. I have not fully listened to this yet, but what I have heard seems like typical PJ stuff.

Trainspotting soundtrack
An excellent soundtrack from a fabs film.

Buck Futtons – Street Horrrsing
Looking through my music collection I came across Slow Focus, the third album by this band, and thought that it is such a great album that I must get their first album. So that I did. It does not disappoint.

Buck Futtons – Tarot Sport
Looking through my music collection I came across Slow Focus, the third album by this band, and thought that it is such a great album that I must get their second album. So that I did. It does not disappoint.

Pennywise – Land of the Free?
I have several other Pennywise releases, so when I found this I thought I may as well get it, even though I would not say they are an essential band to listen to. Their music though is decent enough, if you like this kind of thing.

Album count 2017: 116

Seven Discs of Mixed Delight and Thrift

Radiohead – Amnesiac
This was cheapo in the cheapo section at Book Off (there are two sections basically, the over-priced section which I never buy stuff from, and the “under 500 yen” section). Being a Radiohead album in the cheapo section meant I had to purchase it there and then. I am not a huge Radiohead fan, but this album is decent.

Braids – Native Speaker
I found this at a DVD rental place, which recently dropped their DVD rental price from 100 yen down to 75 yen (not including new releases), which is 55 yen cheaper than the price of a can of Coke from a vending machine. They also have a used CD section which has some good stuff at reasonable prices from time to time. I saw this album and thought I would give it a go. I am listening to it as I type and it is not too shabby.

Transvision Vamp – Velveteen
I had this CD back in the day (around 1989) and when I saw it in Book Off, in the cheapo section, I thought I would have another listen. Turns out though that this was crap, I guess I forgot. It just has not aged well, that is for sure.

We Are Scientists – Brain Thrust Mastery
Looking through my vast music collection I came across my other We Are Scientists albums and thought that it was time for another as I rather like them. I have not listened to this yet, but I suspect it will be worthy.

Pulp – Different Class
James, Hana, and I went to a large second-hand shop a couple of weekends back called “Hard Off”, which you may have guessed is part of the Book Off group. It is a large shop full of over-priced junk mostly, but there is a decent bargain CD shelf with stuff priced at 100 yen. This was there along with the Coolio CD I will mention next. Yet to spin this one yet.

Coolio – Gangsta’s Paradise
This is Coolio’s biggest selling album, but apart from the title track and one or two of the other 16 songs this is pretty crappy. But, it was only 100 yen.

Potishead – Dummy
Cheapo section purchase again. Pretty good too.

Album count 2017: 110


I have bought only four CDs recently, but unfortunately due to the spreadsheet record of my music collection not being complete I have doubled up on two of them.

I bought The Offspring’s “Splinter” album and Green Day’s “Bullet in a Bible” (a great live album) only to find out they are already sitting on my shelf. I keep a record of everything I buy, and when I go CD hunting I check whether I have an album or not, thanks to Google Sheets. I am bummed, but it will be fun giving those two CDs away to any of my university students who might like them.

I did not double-up on the following though:

¡Forward, Russia! – Life Processes

I have not listened to this yet, but I think it will be good. I first heard this band on the fantastic soundtrack of the game “Burnout Dominator” on PSP many years ago, along with a few other good bands like Billy Talent and Saosin.

The Beatles – Yellow Submarine

James and I went to Book Off on Sunday and I was chuffed to find this for only 280 yen. “Yellow Submarine” is one of my all-time favourite songs, such a simple, sing-a-longable, and happy song in the history of happy songs. There are also some other great Beatles tracks as well.

The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
I already have this on CD, but when I found it on vinyl I could not pass it up, especially as it is a Japanese pressing. It is in very good condition too. While I do have a turntable, it hooks up to my computer only, so one day when I get an amp, and large speakers I will be be able to appreciate it the way intended. Still, it is nice to look at the cover and admire the nice grooves.

Album count 2017: 103 (not including doubles)

It Was Fifty Years Ago Today! The Beatles: Sgt. Pepper & Beyond

While this was a good documentary about The Beatles, the title is rather misleading.

It starts off looking at their touring years, the end of the touring years, the Maharishi (they did not have good things to say him after they moved on from all that business), the Apple Boutique, and a few other sundry things. What it does not do is look in depth at how Sgt. Peppers was made, or even feature any music whatsoever from the album. There are a few photos, possibly from the recording of the album, but no proper footage. So that was a disappointment.

However, the rest of the documentary was interesting, and there were plenty of interviews which included Steve Diggle (The Buzzcocks, he is a big fan), Brian Epstein’s ex-secretary, John Lennon’s sister, Patty Boyd’s sister, a fan club member, Pete Best, and a few other people in the know. There were no interviews with either Paul or Ringo, except for archive stuff.

Quite a lot of time was spent on the album cover, which was interesting, but not overly so. There was some good gossip about John and Paul, the most interesting for me was that John was bit of a lazy bum, and Paul was the one who was more into getting psychedelic elements into their music.

So it was a bit of a mess really, but a well made one that still managed to be interesting.

Date watched: October 8th
Score: 7.5/10
Film count 2017: 114

Seven Silver Shimmery Discs

I decided to remedy the glut of music CD purchasing by going out and seeking new music from my fave outlets of used music, and I had a rather successful hunt. Here they are in no particular order…

Bassnectar – Vava Voom
Quite a score this one. I snapped it up at a Book Off that is way across town (there are six in all around the city), a place that I have visited only once before. Whats more, it was in the 280 yen (just a bit more than the price of two cans of Coca Cola from a vending machine) section, so I was most chuffed. There was a lot of decent stuff there, but this one was a surprise to find as I have never seen a Bassnectar CD used. Bassnectar is a dude who plays dubstep, a genre of music I got into a few years back after I saw this video…

The Orb – u.f.orb
Also at the above mentioned Book Off, and in the same section, I found this which I instantly clutched onto as I really wanted to listen to The Orb, a band I have never really paid attention to, but I felt they are gold.

Suicidal Tendencies – Freedumb
The last 280 yen CD from the same shop was this. I have been listening to Suicidal Tendencies for a very long time. I remember having a tape of their first album which I played over and over again on my Sony Walkman. Great album that. This one was released in 1999 and is more of the same from them, but it is not too bad.

NOFX – I Heard They Suck Live!
This was also 280 yen at my local Book Off (280 and 500 yen CDs are mixed together in the same section). I have seen it there for months, so decided I would give it a home. NOFX are a hardcore punk band and are OK but nothing great. I have not listened to it yet.

Brian Eno – Neroli
Also at the local Book Off was this one, which I just had to have, and also at 280 yen. It consists of one 57 minute song which is the kind of song you would play just before bedtime as it is calming and dreamy. Excellent.

The Libertines – Up the Bracket
The Libertines are a band I like, but not as much as other bands of their ilk. This is their first album, and is a good listen.

The Offspring – Ixnay on the Hombre
My The Offspring collection is now almost complete with this album, their fourth. Good stuff, very The Offspring.

And that brings my total to 100 CDs purchased this year, and a grand total of 885 CDs sitting to my right, a sight I always take great pleasure in looking at.

Music count 2017: 100

Arch Sum Inspiral Shamen

My music purchasing recently has taken a dip with only three discs and one download to report on.

The first is Inspiral Carpets’ The Beast Inside album. I had never really heard much of them, despite this album being released in 1990. Unfortunately though this did not grab me much, it just felt too ordinary.

Arch Enemy is a Swedish melodic death metal band that I rarely see used CDs of. The lead singer of the band was Angela Gossow (they have a new singer now) who I consider to be the best female vocalist of all time, as well as one of the best vocalists overall. Good album this, lots of melodic guitar to head-bob to.

I have wanted to check out Shamen for quite some time, so when I found this I was chuffed. Pretty good stuff too.

Necrot are an olde school death metal band from California. After checking up on the monthly best metal on Bandcamp I found this band and liked what I heard, so bought it. I am very pleased with my purchase, paying $7 for a lifetime of aural enjoyment from this album.

Album count 2017: 93

Some Stone Cold Beasties and other Gold

Last week there was a three-day holiday in Japan know as Obon holiday, a Japanese Buddhist holiday where one honours one’s ancestors by inviting them to your house and chilling out for a few days. It is not an official national holiday, but most private companies take three days off (public servants have to continue working). So we went on a one-night trip to Nikko to see the “Three Wise Monkey” shrine in Nikko, which I recommend visiting. Whilst there I wanted to visit the local Book Off to check out their CD stock. I walked out of there with a smile on my face and the following three CDs at very reasonable prices:

The Stone Roses, The Stone Roses
This was a good find as this is a superb album and I did not have it in my collection (I had it years ago). It also came in a unique cover that is “carbon neutral”, so it is made of recycled cardboard with the only plastic being the CD itself. However, it was made in the E.U., so I wonder how they made it carbon neutral when shipping it to Japan? I did my part though by buying it used. Excellent album of course.

The Beastie Boys, Some Old Bullshit
Another pleasing find as it helps to complete my Beastie Boys anthology. This is their earlier punky stuff, which is acceptable but not as good as their later work. As a side note, I have taught our budgie “Cookie” to say “What’cha want” after the Beastie Boys song on Check Your Head. He says it very well.

Goldie, Saturnzreturn
I was most pleased with this find as Goldie stuff is hard to find used. Unfortunately though this album is a bit overdone with the first track clocking in at 60 minutes long. The rest of the songs are shorter but nothing stand-out.

Franz Ferdinand, Tonight
Back home in Nagano, and after a somewhat stressful lesson with four noisy kids, I dropped by Book Off to get a fix. I have not listened to this yet though. I listened to another of their albums that I bought recently and was pleasantly surprised, so hopefully this one is as good.

R.E.M., Out Of Time
My recent coming out of the closet as a R.E.M. fan continues with this purchase. It has familiar tracks like “Shiny Happy People” and “Losing My Religion” (Wikipedia: The phrase “losing my religion” is an expression from the southern region of the United States that means losing one’s temper or civility, or “being at the end of one’s rope.”), so is one of their most mainstream releases. Upon listening to it though I think I will really dig it.

Andrew W.K., Close Calls With Brick Walls
I had been wanting to get an Andrew W.K. album for some time, but was a bit apprehensive. But, this was cheap and I thought I may as well give it a go. Big mistake unfortunately as this is very mediocre and forgettable. I still wouldn’t mind getting his first album, but not any of the others. Reviews for this on the Internet though are generally positive.

Vans Warped Tour ’05
This is the 10th Warped Tour compilation, of which I have none of the others. It is a double CD with 50 tracks in all, mostly from bands I have never heard of, but a few familiar names like Dropkick Murphys, MXPX, The Academy Is… (one of my all time second-tier fave bands), and Pennywise. I just got this today, James and I cycled to Mandai where I bought this, a nice ride although the rear tyre on my racing bike is making a weird noise which I couldn’t identify… have to fix that. The 2017 Warped Tour included Anti-Flag , the guitarist of which appears on this very compilation.

Sum 41, Happy Live Surprise
This is a Japan release of Sum 41 recorded live in London, Ontario in 2005. It also has a DVD which I am looking forward to watching. This was priced cheaply due to “scratches”, however I cannot see any on either disc at all. There are a few scratches on the label side of the CD, so perhaps that is what they mean. I am listening to this as I type, and it is entertaining, their banter between songs is silly fun.

Addendum: While listening to this I thought it all was very familiar. Turns out this is the same album as their “Go Chuck Yourself” album, but was re-packaged in Japan “due to controversy at the time” according to Wikipedia. Oh well, I got a bonus DVD out of it at least.

Sum 41, Half Hour Of Power
This is labeled as an extended EP, but is really an album I would say (11 tracks), and so might be considered their first album. Unlistened to at this point, but it will be what is expected.

Music count 2017: 89

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