This is a question that comes up a lot between music fans (or at least the ones I talk to). And I always have a hard time answering because, frankly, I always seem to have albums ordered, in transit, downloaded, pre-ordered, bid at auction, swapped and, believe it or not, purchased across the counter at a bricks and mortar record shop.
So what's the last album I bought? The record I most recently made a transaction for was an online purchase of Hagar Schon Aaronson Shrieve's Through the Fire (1984). I must say this is not one I will be waiting to meet the postman for as, being one who judges both books and records by their covers, I give two strikes to the lousy group "name" (HSAS is not an improvement) and the unimaginative sleeve. That said, it's the music that counts in the end and, spurred on by my recent infatuation with Chickenfoot and all things Hagar, this one was coming up again and again and I felt I needed to give it a spin. I've always enjoyed Neal Schon's work with Journey and people recommending this cannot believe I've never heard it (or of it before a week or so ago).
But what most recently made it into my hands? That would have been Saturday's mail. A copy of Steve Vai's Sound Theories Vol. I & II (2007) arrived and immediately hit the stereo. I have been Vai-obsessed ever since catching his Where the Wild Things Are concert film on the Palladium channel one night and have begun snatching up as many of his CDs as I can (and re-appreciating all the Vai I already had in my collection via Zappa, Whitesnake, David Lee Roth and more). Recorded across a series of concerts and edited into "ideal" versions, this reminds me a great deal of similarly fashioned recordings by Frank Zappa. It's a beautiful record, the first disc featuring Vai's guitar complemented by a full orchestra, the Dutch Metropole Orkest. The second disc features the orchestra minus Vai, performing his own arrangements. This is a lot of fun for a Vai fan and also for an admirer of any Modern Day Composers refusing to die.
I will occasionally download music, usually from iTunes, but also only if there isn't a "hard copy" available to be found, purchased, held and shelved. That said, my last iTunes purchase may or may not make a real album as it's purportedly the first single from the long-awaited Dr. Dre Detox album. As I figured it may never really appear I grabbed a copy of "Kush" (2010) while I could (and also because it is simply too fantastic not to have to play right now).
So the last time I walked into a store, picked an album from the shelf and took it home? Just over a week ago I picked up Deep Purple's Burn (1974) and proceeded to love it so much I made it the inaugural post for this blog. A friendly fan of the band has been feeding me recommendations for Deep Purple follow-ups and a small stack arrived last week and will undoubtedly feature here in the future.
Whether it be via mail, internet or local merchant, I am on a mission to keep the recording industry funded. As long as artists are willing to record and share their work, I am willing to shell out some cash to enjoy it. I love how one great record or recommendation leads to another and there's nothing better than finding something new - even if it's over thirty years old.