An Aural Binary of Putrid Reckonings

I have only two purchases to write about this time around.

R.E.M. – Reckoning

After the recent disappointing purchases I decided to be much more careful about choosing new music, spending more than the usual 280 yen per CD (this was 500 yen) and this one is a result of that new directive.

This is R.E.M.’s second album, one that I had not even heard one song from before. And it is very good, very R.E.M.

A fine addition to the R.E.M. collection, and a good start to my new and improved music selection process.

Carcass – Reek of Putrefaction

I had this album on vinyl a long time ago, and I now wish I still had it…why oh why did I sell it?

This is Carcass’ first album and is much maligned due to it’s terrible recording. From Wikipedia:

Reek of Putrefaction was recorded in four days at Ritch Bitch Studios in Birmingham. According to guitarist Bill Steer, the studio’s engineer “ruined” the record, especially its drum tracks. Carcass had only had a few hours available of mixing, so they had to release the LP as it was to meet the label’s deadline. The band were “everything but happy” with the end result, declared Steer.

When the master recording was first sent to the pressing plant, the original vinyl LP had to be pressed at lower volumes, because the bass frequencies were so low (sometimes reaching 25 Hz) that they were in danger of rendering higher frequencies inaudible.

Indeed it sounds pretty bad, but in a way it adds to the atmosphere of the album. But, when I saw on Bandcamp that there is a “Full Dynamic Range Edition” I had to get it to see what that is all about. Earache (the record label) are re-releasing their back catalogue by taking the original tapes and instead of fiddling about with all of the buttons, knobs, and sliders to try to make the sound better, have instead preserved the original dynamic range as recorded. The reason for all the fiddling back in the day was due to something called the “loudness war“, which is something I had not heard of before.

Anyway, this new recording does sound a little better, but not as much as I would have hoped. There are 22 tracks on topics such as detruncation, fermenting innards, and excretions of various things.

This is a classic grindcore album, certainly not to most people’s tastes, but I am an avowed Carcass fan, and John Peel called it the best album of 1988, so there you go.

Music count 2018: 70

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

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

First musics of the year

Today Hana asked me if we can go to Mandai as she wanted to try a U.F.O. catcher. As it turns out she was lucky, on her second try she got a pretty nice Disney watch and necklace box set. James bought some Duel Masters game cards.

And I bought Public Enemy’s Flowers of Romance album, and R.E.M.’s Monster album.

Flowers of Romance is pretty hard going, quite experimental and not like their other stuff. John Lydon shrieks a lot, and there are a lot of drums just banging away sometimes. Not something I will listen to very often, perhaps once a year.

But Monster is good, I am listening to it as I type. I listened to Automatic for the People last week, and it brought me back to the days when it came out. I remember listening to the singles on the radio which was pretty much constantly on all stations. Perhaps I pretended to myself at the time that I didn’t like them, but I probably actually did, i certainly do now.

Album count 2015: 2

This is the first ditty off the album, a well known song.