New Albums in my collection: March 2020

>> Mandy Moore: Silver Landings
An album of introspective and mostly acoustic singer-songwriter material which would sound right at home on the playlist at your favorite college town café (…well, once they reopen someday).

>> Nine Inch Nails: Ghosts V: Together
>> Nine Inch Nails: Ghosts VI: Locusts

These are digital only. A surprise release of two new Ghosts albums, for free! Two different moods are covered in this continuation of the instrumental experiments project. Together is calm and reflective, while Locusts is a bit more ominous. They were created as opposing yet complementary reactions to the uncertain times we’re living in right now.

>> Porcupine Tree: In Absentia
The newly released box set, containing the 2017 album remaster with dynamic range compression and volume limiting removed, available on CD for the first time. Also included are two bonus discs of audio: one with the extra tracks recorded during the sessions but not included on the album, and one with demos. A fourth disc is a blu-ray with a hi-res version of the stereo remaster (with accompanying Lasse Hoile slide show of nightmare fuel from the album’s artwork), as well as the 2003 surround mix from the original DVD-A release, and a feature length documentary chronicling the creation of the album. All housed in a great oversized hardcover book of essays and photos.

>> Renaissance: Turn of the Cards
The latest in the series of Renaissance reissues is one of their landmark albums. A four disc set including the original album remastered (with bonus tracks), and two bonus discs comprising a complete live show from 1974 with a 24-piece orchestra. Also included is a DVD with a new 5.1 mix of the album.

>> Grace VanderWaal: Perfectly Imperfect
>> Grace VanderWaal: Just The Beginning

Here is an example of an artist I liked from what I had heard of them, though I had no idea who they were. Grace VanderWaal did songs for the animated films Next Gen and Wonder Park. I liked both of them, not even realizing they were by the same person. After a little digging, I discovered it was Grace VanderWaal. A singer-songwriter who plays the ukelele and has a big, distinctive voice which belies her age. This is her debut EP and album, recorded when she was twelve and thirteen years old respectively. (She is currently sixteen.) Don’t let her age fool you; this is not Kidz Bop. These are real songs which can appeal to listeners of any age, yet lyrically are relatable to her peers. I had no idea the songs I liked from those films were sung by someone so young.

April Fish Day!

Time to bring back a blog tradition I did for years and years, though I skipped it last year for some reason. And with everything going on in the world right now, some lightheartedness is welcome.

Poisson d’Avril!

Going way back to my high school French class memories, today is my favorite French holiday: Poisson d’Avril! Or as I like to call it, April Fish Day. The old postcard above is something I found in my web travels as I looked for a good image to celebrate. It seems to predate the modern tradition of slapping paper fish onto an unsuspecting friend’s back, though the randomness of it seems to foreshadow the silliness to come.

Here is a translation of the prose on the card:

It is a polite custom
To send in the month of April
Lovely wishes and flowers …
Will you like this fish?