By “environmental” they must mean early analog-electro blissful simplicity. Play around the house, and watch the mood of everything and everybody change. This is off-world music that makes my pulse slow. Honestly, the most listened-to-thing this year…
The Fall / Bend Sinister
The last of the second-great-age reissues. Dark, even for the Fall, their precision on near near-mechanical display here. “Living Too Late” and “U.S. 80’s – 90‘s” perfectly capture the collective ennui of 1986, plus a personal fave keeps announcing “it’s M.E.S. in shoulder pads...”
Haruomi Hosono / Philharmony
Another added bonus of the Kankyo Ongaku compilation, was the side trips into the work of Hosono (and even better the first few Yellow Magic Orchestra albums). This gem from 1982 might be the best place to start. Sort of another side of Another Green World, or perhaps a kinder Kraftwerk, or more wild Cluster, it features “Sports Men” which is a super great pop song I played way too much in the car….
Indian Summer/Giving Birth to Thunder
I had one 45 in the early 90’s by these guys, and that was I all I knew. Numero fleshes out the rest of the (albeit way too brief) story with this reissue collecting all their recordings. Technically emo (but still rooted in hardcore math rock intensity) they couldn’t have lasted too long running this hot…
Jobcentre Rejects: Ultra Rare NWOBHM 1980-1985
Under the radar garage, metal and punk from England 1978-82. Imagine the version of Iron Maiden that didn’t get famous. For all the parking-lot-donut-do-ers in cut-off denim vests, these are songs to crush a beer to.
Prince / 1999
Forgot about nasty-electro Prince. I always liked the weird, longer songs that fill out the second side (after the three greatest pop singles ever). The extra stuff is all great and copious, but the best part is remembering how fresh the future sounded in the past.
Various Artists : Sad About the Times
Why compilations were invented. 70’s singer songwriter stuff, which I know, doesn’t sound like something the world really needs more of, BUT this collection of mellow AM gems is cherry-picked for utterly maximum effect. Listen to “Absolute Zero” and tell me you don’t need this in your life : !?
Stereolab / Warner re-issues (all of them!)
(Okay, technically: Transient Random Noise-Bursts With Announcements, Mars Audiac Quintet, Emperor Tomato Ketchup, Dots and Loops, Cobra and Phases Group Play Voltage in the Milky Night, Sound-Dust, Margerine Eclipse.) I still maintain that consistency can be a bands’ worst enemy, because the listener forgets how great the whole picture is without defined highs and lows. The Warner Stereolab albums certainly fall into this category. I know I heard them all when they came out, but they sound so fresh and current now. The best part (besides super b-sides) are demo versions!