Category Archives: Albums

A Smattering of Sounds

I have not added much to the music collection recently, but here is what I have purchased recently…

Sugar Ray – 14:59
I have been a closet Sugar Ray fan for some time, not a huge fan I declare, but nonetheless I appreciate their upbeat songs and sense of humour. This album starts off with a short and amusing track called “New Direction” which is basically a death metal song with Mark McGrath (he was funny in Sharknado) attempting to do metal growls but ends up coughing. The rest of the album is a mixture of pop, rock, and ballads that will make you feel like getting into a convertible car with your mates, turn up the tunes and wave your arms about as you drive along a beach road on a hot day, stopping for an ice cream with your loved one, then having a huge water fight.

Burial – Rodent
Burial is a one man band from London who makes some of the finest ambient dubstep you will ever hear. He decided a few years ago to only release singles instead of making full albums, which I think is a good idea. I hadn’t checked up on his work for a while, so I went to Bandcamp last week and found a few new releases and bought this one. Like all of his work it is atmospheric and very chill stuff. I like a lot. Best listened to in the dark with headphones.

Emapea – Zoning Out Volume 1
I did a search on Bandcamp for “dubstep” and chanced upon this release. I had never heard of Emapea (from Poland) before, but as Bandcamp made this available as a pre-release for only one dollar I thought I may as well order it. It was released two days ago and I am now listening to it. It is a mixture of hip hop and chill, mostly instrumental. Worth much more than a dollar I must say, and is now $10 as a normal release.

And that is all for now, not much, but all good stuff.

Album count 2018: 21

A smörgåsbord of music purchases

In the last couple of weeks or so I have gathered seven CD albums. Here they are in no particular order:


U2 – All That You Can’t Leave Behind
I started collecting U2 albums last year for no reason. I am not a huge fan of U2, but some of their stuff is quite good. This, their tenth album, is quite listenable but nothing overly special.


R.E.M. – Reveal
Another band I have been filling in the discography blanks is R.E.M. This is their twelfth album, released in 2001. It sounds like R.E.M., a good thing.


Franz Ferdinand – Franz Ferdinand
I bought this and the following two CDs at Hard Off (a secondhand shop place) in the 100 yen bin. I have not listened to this yet, but I am thinking it will be quite decent.


Third Eye Blind – Blue
I pretty much know nothing of this band, I was just familiar with the name, so I thought for 100 yen I might as well check it out. I have not listened to the whole album yet, but I did have a quick listen to snippets and thought it sounded quite all right.


Veruca Salt – Eight Arms to Hold You
As with Third Eye Blind I thought this would be worth checking out. I have only listened to snippets with this too, but it seems worthy.


R.E.M. – Around the Sun
I learned last Thursday that a Book Off I occasionally go to were having 50% off all CDs under 500 yen in the weekend, so I made a trip there on Sunday and bought this and the next album. I have not listened to this yet, but reviews on the internet are not too good, so I may be disappointed unfortunately. A quick listen reveals little, but it may not be that bad.


The Chemical Brothers – Surrender
I have been looking around for this album for quite some time as it is one of the last albums I need for my Chemical Brothers collection. I have heard this before and it is fabs just like all of their other albums. I just need Born in the Echoes, their latest album, to complete their album discography.

Album count 2018: 18

Eleven Holiday Discs

Over the holiday period I was busy hunting around for music in both Tokyo and here in Nagano. Here is what I bought:


Manic Street Preachers – From Despair to Where EP
The Manics are one of my all-time fave bands, so I try to buy everything they have released when I come across something. The title song is from their second album, and I have the rest on a compilation of rarities and B-sides, but it is good to have the original disc too.


Rancid – Rancid
This Rancid’s second eponymously titled album, released in 2000, with their first being released in 1993. I have not listened to it yet, but Rancid’s sound does not change much.


Public Enemy – Muse Sick-N-Hour Mess Age
Public Enemy albums are hard to find used, so when I saw this in Book Off in Akihabara (an electronics and entertainment part of Tokyo) I immediately grabbed it before someone else saw it. You really can’t go wrong with Public Enemy.


Passion Pit – Manners
Also in Book Off I found this and thought it would be worth a try as I had heard they are good (actually it is basically only one guy). And indeed it is very good stuff. A nice find.


Voodoo Glow Skulls – Steady As She Goes
VGS are a ska-punk band that I have slowly been collecting albums from. Their sound, like Rancid, does not change much from album to album, which is fine as they make good sounds. Not listened to this yet.


Punk-O-Rama, Volume 4
My days of hunting for Punk-O-Rama CDs has now come to an end with this, the last one I needed to complete the collection of ten releases. In a way I am sad it is over as seeking them out was fun, kind of like going on an Easter Egg hunt, looking for them is more fun than actually consuming them. This one has the usual punky bands like Pennywise, Rancid, and Bad Religion, but for some reason Tom Waits’ “Big in Japan” is on it. No complaints though, I like Tom Waits a great deal…


Tom Waits – Real Gone
I like Tom Waits a great deal, so whenever I see his stuff I pounce on it and clutch onto it like a child holding a precious teddy bear. An added bonus is that the Book Off I got this at here in Nagano had half-price off all CDs that were 500 yen or under, so I got this for 250 yen…double bonus! Good stuff it is too.


R.E.M. – Up
R.E.M. are another band I am slowly collecting albums from. I have heard this album before, and it is decent.


Primal Scream – XTRMNTR
I found this yesterday in Book Off, and with 50% off I thought it would be more than worth buying. I have had a quick listen to a couple of songs, and it sounds good enough.



U2 – How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb and October
Well, it looks like I am collecting U2 albums now, as today I bought both of these albums at Mandai (20% off today). I listened to Boy a couple of days ago and enjoyed listening to their early stuff again. So choosing October was easy. I dilly-dallied a bit before buying HTDAAB, but after looking it up online I found that it had favourable reviews, and twenty percent off certainly helped (both were dirt cheap anyway). So I am looking forward to listening to both.

Album count 2018: 11

Note: I actually bought 13 CDs but doubled-up on R.E.M.’s Out of Time album, and Broken Social Scenes’s Forgiveness Rock Record. I checked my spreadsheet on Google Drive to see if I already had the R.E.M. album while I was in the store, and thanks to not adding it I thought I did not have it. And I was convinced I did not have the Broken Social Scene album, so I did not bother to look it up, which if I did I would have seen it listed. Poop.

Final Musical Purchases of 2017


Browsing around on Bandcamp I came across a manic release by a punk called Xylitol and their EP named “​.​.​.​Is Toxic to Pigs​?​?​”. A brief listen to the sample caused me to instantly purchase a download. It’s pretty nutty stuff.


And the final purchase of the year is R.E.M.’s 10th album (and also their longest album) New Adventures in Hi-Fi from Book Off. I have not listened to it yet, although I did look up the first track of the album on YouTube. It seems quite different for R.E.M., so I am looking forward to listening to the rest of it.

That brings this year’s music purchases to a total of 130, a nice round number, but behind last year’s all-time record of 148. I must do better next year.

Album count 2017: 130

A Quintet of Unabated Aural Stimuli

The end of the year is rapidly approaching, meaning I have to buy as many CDs as I can to meet my quota of a whole lot of music. Last year I reached 148 CDs which I am just not going to be able to top this year. Dang.


U2 – Boy
I have been looking out for this album, so when I found it at Mandai for 220 yen I was most chuffed.

The cover though threw me off at first. I thought maybe it was some kind of bootleg CD or something. It turns out the cover is the U.S. version “due to the record company’s fears that the band would be accused of encouraging paedophilia” (Wikipedia). The boy on the genuine cover is now a photographer, quite a decent one too.

I have not listened to this yet, but a few of the songs are very well known U2 songs.


Punk-O-Rama
Looking through my Punk-O-Rama collection I realised I did not have the first one. This had to be remedied as soon as possible, so I found it used on Amazon, for 1 yen plus 350 yen postage, and ordered it.

All that remains is volume 4, then I will have the entire collection to brag about. I have also not listened to this yet, I have quite a backlog of music to get through.


Bad Religion – No Control
I found this at Book Off for 280 yen, and is pretty much what you would expect from Bad Religion. It is decent.


Punk-O-Rama, Vol. 7
Even more Punk-O-Rama, purchased at Book Off for 280 yen, which for me is a major score.


Rancid – Let’s Go
This one comes with a story.

Yesterday I dropped off at the local Book Off on the way back from somewhere. On my last visit to Book Off I saw a CD compilation called “Rock Against Bush, Volume 1” and considered buying it, but Punk-O-Rama Vol. 7 was given priority, so I thought I would buy it this time. When I got home I found that there should have been a music CD in the case as well as a DVD, but in place of the CD was a DVD from volume 2 of “Rock Against Bush”.

So, I took it back and they said I could get my money back or choose something else, so I quickly rummaged through the CDs and found this Rancid album for the same price (280 yen as usual). I also got several 50 yen discount coupons in the deal, so it worked out well in the end. I have not listened to this, but no hurry.

Album count 2017: 128

A Medley of Musical Glee and Felicity

Before James and I went to see Star Wars last week, we dropped off at a nearby Book Off Bazaar (a super-sized version of Book Off) to run around and buy stuff. James headed for the books, and I headed for the “280 yen or under” CD section. It didn’t take long to choose the following…


Snoop Dogg – R&G (Rhythm & Gangsta): The Masterpiece
One of Snoop’s better albums.


British Sea Power – Valhalla Dancehall
I had never heard of this band before, so after looking them up on my phone I decided to give them a go. From Wikipedia: The wide-ranging nature of their material has led critics to liken their sound to a variety of groups, from The Cure and Joy Division to the Pixies and Arcade Fire. Not bad, but not essential.


Punk-O-Rama, Volume 10
This is the last in the series of punk/hardcore compilations that I have been collecting over the years. There are 26 tracks on the CD, and there is also a DVD with 21 music videos. Unlistened to at the moment, but it will be the same-old.


Rancid – Indestructible
Rancid are a ska punk band that have been around since 1991, but I only got into them recently (they are on a few Punk-O-Rama CDs) and I find them to be quite decent.


Foo Fighters – Wasting Light
I like Dave and the rest, they are a warm-and-fuzzy kind of band who can do no wrong. And they make great videos.


Suede – The Drowners
There was a bargain bin at Book Off Bazaar and I found this in it for 108 yen, amongst a lot of crap. The title song is apparently considered to be the beginning of the Britpop movement, along with Blur’s Popscene song. A very decent buy.


The Kooks – Konk
And yesterday, I dropped off at a Book Off to have a quick recon. I have their first album, so I thought I would give this, their second album a go. I have not listened to this yet, and from what some reviews say, it might be a little disappointing. But, for 280 yen I am not complaining.

Album count 2017: 123

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

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