Power Up! Look Out! This Dance’s About Over!: 155 Rekkids That Have Given Me Pleasure This Year When I Really, Really Needed It!

New developments?
1) Dezron Douglas and Brandee Younger made their record on an iPad in their apartment while sheltering in place; that fact, and the gentleness of the recording have it shooting up my chart.

2) There’s some serious experimental noise coming out of Memphis–and that’s really no surprise.

3) Aesop Rock just gets better with age.

4) Could be the best improvisors in the world–the band Cortex among them–are from Norway.

5) My former student Jessica Kittle TOLD ME Kali Uchis was an artist of exploding potential.

6) AC/DC have made a strong record. Just when you thought they were done….

7) I was struck by a countryish song called “Black Like Me” I heard on a writer’s playlist three months ago and forgot to see who the artist was. So THAT’S Mickey Guyton! Very good to know!

8) The music writer Chuck Eddy is unafraid to tread confidently out on limbs. He recently did this on behalf of a group I hadn’t heard of called Hot Country Knights. The band name and album cover made me chuckle, and I sampled it purely for that reason, without asking Chuck about them. The songs? “Chuckle” isn’t a strong enough word. Hey…if you need some laughter in your life and you sometimes pine for ’90s country, you might wanna take a flyer yourself. Check out Chuck’s blog here.

9) If you know who Madlib and Karreim Riggins are, you will have to proceed directly to their “black classical music” collab project, Jahari Massamba Unit.

10) A couple historical dudes named Mingus and Hendrix are benefiting from very impressive excavations of legendary live performances they once delivered. You can benefit as well.

Living to Listen’s 100 Favorite New Releases of 2020, January 1 to November 30

(Items new to the list are bolded.)

  1. Kahil El’Zabar: America, The Beautiful
  2. Run The Jewels: RTJ 4
  3. Gil Scott-Heron and Makaya McCraven: We’re New Again–A Reimagining
  4. SAULT: Untitled (Black Is) 
  5. 79rs Gang: Expect the Unexpected
  6. Princess Nokia: Everything is Beautiful
  7. Fire! Orchestra: Actions
  8. Dezron Douglas & Brandee Younger: Force Majeure
  9. Serengeti & Kenny Segal: AJAI
  10. Neptunian Maximalism: Éons (band name and album title of the year, based on music’s justification of same)
  11. Marx Lomax II: The Last Concert—Ankh & The Tree of Life
  12. Mark Lomax II: The 400 Years Suite
  13. The Third Mind: The Third Mind
  14. Jyoti: Mama You Can Bet!
  15. Hamell on Trial: The Pandemic Songs
  16. Boldy James & The Alchemist: The Price of Tea in China
  17. Roisin Murphy: Roisin Machine
  18. Fiona Apple: Fetch the Bolt Cutters
  19. Anna Högberg Attack: lena
  20. Tee Grizzley: The Smartest
  21. Aesop Rock: Spirit World Field Guide
  22. The Good Ones: RWANDA, you should be loved
  23. Kahil El’Zabar: Spirit Groove (featuring David Murray)
  24. Bob Dylan: My Rough and Rowdy Ways
  25. Ashley McBryde: Never Will
  26. Zeal and Ardor: Wake of a Nation (EP)
  27. Princess Nokia: Everything Sucks
  28. Shabaka and The Ancestors: We Are Sent Here By History
  29. Lido Pimienta: Miss Colombia
  30. Bettye LaVette: Blackbirds
  31. Mike & The Moonpies: Touch of You–The Lost Songs of Gary Stewart
  32. Cornershop: England is a Garden
  33. Elizabeth Cook: Aftermath
  34. Body Count: Carnivore
  35. Open Mike Eagle: Anime Trauma Divorce
  36. James Brandon Lewis and Chad Taylor: Live in Willisau
  37. Cortex: Legal Tender
  38. Various Artists: Memphis Concrete Presents Sound in Geometry Series, Volume 1—On Triangles
  39. James Brandon Lewis: Molecular
  40. Charles McPherson: Jazz Dance Suites
  41. Kali Uchis: Sin Miedo (del Amor y Otros Demonios)
  42. SAULT: Untitled (Rise)
  43. Various Artists: New Improvised Music from Buenos Aires
  44. The Human Hearts: Day of the Tiles (EP)
  45. Kesha: High Road
  46. DJ-Kicks / Various Artists: Mr. Scruff
  47. Little Simz: Drop 6 (EP)
  48. K. Michelle: All Monsters are Human
  49. Drakeo the Ruler & JoogSzn:Quit Rappin
  50. Joel Ross: Who Are You?
  51. KeiyaA: Forever, Ya Girl
  52. Rob Mazurek & Exploding Star Orchestra: Dimension Stardust
  53. Bobby Rush: Rawer Than Raw
  54. Hot Country Knights: The K is Silent
  55. AC/DC: POWER UP
  56. Thiago Nassif: Mente
  57. Luke Stewart: Luke Stewart Exposure Quintet
  58. Bette Smith: The Good, The Bad, and The Bette
  59. Florian Arbenz & Greg Osby: Reflections of The Eternal Line
  60. Irreversible Entanglements: Who Sent You
  61. Carlos Nino and Miguel Atwood-Ferguson: Chicago Waves
  62. Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids: Shaman!
  63. City Girls: City on Lock
  64. Moses Sumney: grae
  65. Apollo Brown & Che Noir: As God Intended
  66. Al Bilali Soudan: Tombouctou
  67. JD Allen: Toys / Die Dreaming
  68. No Age: Goons Be Gone
  69. Steve Earle: Ghosts of West Virginia
  70. Ammar 808: Global Control / Invisible Invasion
  71. Jeff Parker: Suite for Max Brown
  72. Junglepussy: Jp4
  73. Alicia Keys: ALICIA
  74. Grimes: Miss Anthropocene
  75. Dehd: Flower of Devotion
  76. Mickey Guyton: Bridges (EP)
  77. The Ridiculous Trio: The Ridiculous Trio Plays The Stooges
  78. Burna Boy: Twice as Tall
  79. Conway the Machine: From a King to a God
  80. Mr. Wrong: Create a Place
  81. Various Artists: Eyes Shut, Ears Open–A Burning Ambulance Compilation
  82. Moor Jewelry: True Opera (EP)
  83. Teodross Avery: Harlem Stories – The Music of Thelonious Monk
  84. Asher Gamedze: Dialectic Soul
  85. Optic Sink: Optic Sink
  86. Laraaji: Sun Piano
  87. Tiwa Savage: Celia
  88. Jinx Lennon: Border Schizo Fffolk Songs for the F****d
  89. Gard Nilssen’s Supersonic Orchestra: If You Listen Carefully, The Music is Yours
  90. Beauty Pill: Sorry You’re Here (EP)
  91. Steve Arrington: Down to the Lowest Terms—The Soul Sessions
  92. Jahari Massamba Unit: Pardon My French
  93. Swamp Dogg: Sorry You Couldn’t Make It
  94. Julianna Barwick: Healing is a Miracle
  95. Black Thought: Streams of Thought, Vol. 3—Cane and Abel
  96. Speaker Music: Black Nationalist Sonic Weaponry
  97. Lori McKenna: The Balladeer
  98. Old 97s: Twelfth
  99. Theo Parrish: Wuddaji
  100. Mars Williams: An Ayler Christmas, Volume 4

Reissues and Past Recordings Freshly Excavated

  1. Various Artists: Daora–Underground Sounds of Urban Brasil
  2. Wussy: Ghosts
  3. Various Artists: Turn Me Loose, White Man
  4. Thelonious Monk: Palo Alto
  5. Charles Mingus: @ Bremen 1964 & 1975
  6. Jimi Hendrix: Live in Maui
  7. Hallelujah Chicken Run Band: Take One
  8. Pylon: Pylon Box
  9. Various Artists: Hanging Tree Guitars
  10. Various Artists: Saint Etienne Present Songs for the Fountain Coffee Room
  11. Milford Graves & Don Pullen: The Complete Yale Concert
  12. King Ubu Orchestru: Concert at Town Hall – Binaurality Live 1989
  13. Luiz Carlos Vinhas: O Som Psicodelico De L. C. V.
  14. Oneness of Juju: African Rhythms 1970-1982
  15. Junior Byles: Beat Down Babylon (Deluxe Reissue)
  16. Various Artists: Soul Love—The Black Fire Records Story 1975-1993
  17. Sun Ra: Unity—Live at Storyville NYC October 1977
  18. Peter Stampfel and The Bottlecaps: Demo ‘84
  19. Various Artists: La Locura de Machuca—1975-1980
  20. Lee Scratch Perry with Seskain Molenga and Kalo Kawongolo: Roots from the Congo (reissue)
  21. Victor Chukwu: Akalaka / The Power
  22. Dennis Gonzalez: Forever the Falling Stars
  23. The Heshoo Beshoo Group: Armitage Road
  24. Various Artists: Strum and Thrum—The American Jangle Underground 1983-1987
  25. Hiroshi Yoshimura: Green
  26. Milton Nascimento: Maria Maria (reissue)
  27. Jon Hassell: Vernal Equinox (reissue)
  28. The Awakening: Hear, Sense, and Feel
  29. Bessie Jones: Get in Union
  30. Tony Allen: No Accommodation for Lagos
  31. Black Unity Trio: Al-Fatihah
  32. Various Artists: All Aboard! The CN Express—Rock Steady and Boss Reggae Sounds 1967-1968
  33. The Pogues: BBC Sessions 1984-85
  34. Ranil: Stay Safe and Sound!
  35. Various Artists: Love Saves the Day—A History of American Dance Music Culture 1970-1979
  36. TEST: TEST and Roy Campbell, Jr.
  37. Joe McPhee: Black is The Color
  38. Various Artists: Look Out! The San Diego Scene 1958-1973
  39. Various Artists: Stone Crush—Memphis Modern Soul 1977-1987
  40. Walter Bishop Jr.: Coral Keys
  41. Observer All Stars & King Tubby: Dubbing with the Observer (reissue)
  42. Roky Erickson / 13th Floor Elevators: You and Me and I (Live)
  43. Bryan Ferry: Live at the Royal Albert Hall, 1974
  44. Fela Kuti: Perambulator
  45. No Trend: Too Many Humans/Teen Love (reissue)
  46. Pharoah Sanders: Live in Paris 1975
  47. Nina Simone: Fodder on My Wings
  48. Yabby You & The Aggrovators: King Tubby’s Prophecies of Dub (reissue)
  49. Various Artists: Léve Léve – Sao Tomé & Principe Sounds ‘70s-‘80s
  50. Various Artists: Soul Jazz Records Presents Black Riot—Early Jungle, Rave, and Hardcore
  51. Lee Scratch Perry: Play On, Mr. Music
  52. Various Artists: Maghreb K7 Club–Synth Rai, Chaoui & Staifi (1985-1997)
  53. Brother Theotis Taylor
  54. Black Ark Players: Black Ark In Dub
  55. Prince: Sign O’ The Times (Deluxe Edition)
  56. The Replacements: Pleased to Meet Me (Deluxe Edition)

Living to Listen’s Top Platters for 2020 (So Far): Hey, Instead of Watching Election Results, Dive into this List and Don’t Come Up Until You’ve at Least Sampled Them All!

Overeem’s Top 90 Fresh Fonograph Records of 2020

I was distracted by the past during October, having taken a DEEP-ASS dive into the dawning of disco (late-’73 to mid-’75) that revealed many joyous obscurities and reduced my tension and foreboding regarding this month. Many of my music-loving peers are flipping for Bruce Springsteen’s newest; I have only played the opening track, and stopped listening before it was over–it’s just the way I am, but his set-up has grown tiresome with me, even though the whole idea behind Letter to You seems designed for me, given the year I’ve been having. In addition, several hot new jazz records have dropped (by James Brandon Lewis–his second of the year–Angel Bat Dawid, Mary Halvorson, the Afrosynth production house, the fascinating Takuya Kuroda, and Kahil El’Zabar–his second of the year) that I haven’t given a fair amount of time to. But four newbies I’ll swear by (I may have over-self-started re: the Zeal and Ardor EP) pushed older records out of the Top 30, and revisited a few items that had paled a bit pushed them down the list as well.  Those two massive reissue box sets are at the bottom of my old-stuff list mainly because they’re too damned expensive for the common man, given much of their contents have been available before, more cheaply–but they are still listenable front to back, something you can’t always say about such white elephants.  If only the Prince box had included the Sign O’ The Times concert film…

Note: BOLDED ITEMS are new to the list.

  1. Run The Jewels: RTJ 4
  2. Gil Scott-Heron and Makaya McCraven: We’re New Again–A Reimagining
  3. SAULT: Untitled (Black Is) 
  4. 79rs Gang: Expect the Unexpected
  5. Princess Nokia: Everything is Beautiful
  6. Boldy James & The Alchemist: The Price of Tea in China
  7. Fire! Orchestra: Actions
  8. Body Count: Carnivore
  9. Serengeti & Kenny Segal: AJAI
  10. Neptunian Maximalism: Éons (band name and album title of the year, based on music’s justification of same)
  11. Marx Lomax II: The Last Concert—Ankh & The Tree of Life
  12. Mark Lomax II: The 400 Years Suite
  13. The Third Mind: The Third Mind
  14. Jyoti: Mama You Can Bet!
  15. Hamell on Trial: The Pandemic Songs
  16. Kahil El’Zabar: America, The Beautiful
  17. Kahil El’Zabar: Spirit Groove (featuring David Murray)
  18. Roisin Murphy: Roisin Machine
  19. Open Mike Eagle: Anime Trauma Divorce
  20. Anna Högberg Attack: lena
  21. Tee Grizzley: The Smartest
  22. The Good Ones: RWANDA, you should be loved
  23. Various Artists: Hanging Tree Guitars
  24. Fiona Apple: Fetch the Bolt Cutters
  25. Shabaka and The Ancestors: We Are Sent Here By History
  26. Bob Dylan: My Rough and Rowdy Ways
  27. Ashley McBryde: Never Will
  28. Charles McPherson: Jazz Dance Suites
  29. SAULT: Untitled (Rise)
  30. Zeal and Ardor: Wake of a Nation (EP)
  31. Princess Nokia: Everything Sucks
  32. Joel Ross: Who Are You?
  33. Lido Pimienta: Miss Colombia
  34. Bettye LaVette: Blackbirds
  35. Mike & The Moonpies: Touch of You–The Lost Songs of Gary Stewart
  36. James Brandon Lewis and Chad Taylor: Live in Willisau
  37. James Brandon Lewis: Molecular
  38. Various Artists: New Improvised Music from Buenos Aires
  39. The Human Hearts: Day of the Tiles (EP)
  40. Little Simz: Drop 6 (EP)
  41. K. Michelle: All Monsters are Human
  42. Drakeo the Ruler & JoogSzn:Quit Rappin
  43. KeiyaA: Forever, Ya Girl
  44. Bobby Rush: Rawer Than Raw
  45. Thiago Nassif: Mente
  46. Luke Stewart: Luke Stewart Exposure Quintet
  47. Bette Smith: The Good, The Bad, and The Bette
  48. Florian Arbenz & Greg Osby: Reflections of The Eternal Line
  49. Irreversible Entanglements: Who Sent You
  50. Kesha: High Road
  51. Carlos Nino and Miguel Atwood-Ferguson: Chicago Waves
  52. Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids: Shaman!
  53. Cornershop: England is a Garden
  54. Elizabeth Cook: Aftermath
  55. City Girls: City on Lock
  56. Moses Sumney: grae
  57. Apollo Brown & Che Noir: As God Intended
  58. Al Bilali Soudan: Tombouctou
  59. JD Allen: Toys / Die Dreaming
  60. No Age: Goons Be Gone
  61. Steve Earle: Ghosts of West Virginia
  62. Ammar 808: Global Control / Invisible Invasion
  63. Jeff Parker: Suite for Max Brown
  64. Junglepussy: Jp4
  65. Alicia Keys: ALICIA
  66. Grimes: Miss Anthropocene
  67. Dehd: Flower of Devotion
  68. The Ridiculous Trio: The Ridiculous Trio Plays The Stooges
  69. Burna Boy: Twice as Tall
  70. Conway the Machine: From a King to a God
  71. Mr. Wrong: Create a Place
  72. Various Artists: Eyes Shut, Ears Open–A Burning Ambulance Compilation
  73. Moor Jewelry: True Opera (EP)
  74. Teodross Avery: Harlem Stories – The Music of Thelonious Monk
  75. Asher Gamedze: Dialectic Soul
  76. Optic Sink: Optic Sink
  77. Laraaji: Sun Piano
  78. Tiwa Savage: Celia
  79. Jinx Lennon: Border Schizo Fffolk Songs for the F****d
  80. Gard Nilssen’s Supersonic Orchestra: If You Listen Carefully, The Music is Yours
  81. Beauty Pill: Sorry You’re Here (EP)
  82. Steve Arrington: Down to the Lowest Terms—The Soul Sessions
  83. Etuk Ubong: Africa Today
  84. Swamp Dogg: Sorry You Couldn’t Make It
  85. Julianna Barwick: Healing is a Miracle
  86. Black Thought: Streams of Thought, Vol. 3—Cane and Abel
  87. Speaker Music: Black Nationalist Sonic Weaponry
  88. Lori McKenna: The Balladeer
  89. Old 97s: Twelfth
  90. Theo Parrish: Wuddaji

Reissues and Past Recordings Freshly Excavated

  1. Various Artists: Daora–Underground Sounds of Urban Brasil
  2. Wussy: Ghosts
  3. Various Artists: Turn Me Loose, White Man
  4. Thelonious Monk: Palo Alto
  5. Peter Stampfel and The Bottlecaps: Demo ‘84
  6. Various Artists: Saint Etienne Present Songs for the Fountain Coffee Room
  7. Milford Graves & Don Pullen: The Complete Yale Concert
  8. King Ubu Orchestru: Concert at Town Hall – Binaurality Live 1989
  9. Luiz Carlos Vinhas: O Som Psicodelico De L. C. V.
  10. Oneness of Juju: African Rhythms 1970-1982
  11. Junior Byles: Beat Down Babylon (Deluxe Reissue)
  12. Various Artists: Soul Love—The Black Fire Records Story 1975-1993
  13. Sun Ra: Unity—Live at Storyville NYC October 1977
  14. Various Artists: La Locura de Machuca—1975-1980
  15. Tony Allen: No Accommodation for Lagos
  16. Various Artists: All Aboard! The CN Express—Rock Steady and Boss Reggae Sounds 1967-1968
  17. The Pogues: BBC Sessions 1984-85
  18. Ranil: Stay Safe and Sound!
  19. Lee Scratch Perry with Seskain Molenga and Kalo Kawongolo: Roots from the Congo (reissue)
  20. Dennis Gonzalez: Forever the Falling Stars
  21. Hiroshi Yoshimura: Green
  22. Milton Nascimento: Maria Maria (reissue)
  23. Jon Hassell: Vernal Equinox (reissue)
  24. The Awakening: Hear, Sense, and Feel
  25. Bessie Jones: Get in Union
  26. TEST: TEST and Roy Campbell, Jr.
  27. Joe McPhee: Black is The Color
  28. Various Artists: Stone Crush—Memphis Modern Soul 1977-1987
  29. Walter Bishop Jr.: Coral Keys
  30. Observer All Stars & King Tubby: Dubbing with the Observer (reissue)
  31. Roky Erickson / 13th Floor Elevators: You and Me and I (Live)
  32. Bryan Ferry: Live at the Royal Albert Hall, 1974
  33. Fela Kuti: Perambulator
  34. No Trend: Too Many Humans/Teen Love (reissue)
  35. Pharoah Sanders: Live in Paris 1975
  36. Nina Simone: Fodder on My Wings
  37. Yabby You & The Aggrovators: King Tubby’s Prophecies of Dub (reissue)
  38. Various Artists: Léve Léve – Sao Tomé & Principe Sounds ‘70s-‘80s
  39. Various Artists: Soul Jazz Records Presents Black Riot—Early Jungle, Rave, and Hardcore
  40. Lee Scratch Perry: Play On, Mr. Music
  41. Various Artists: Maghreb K7 Club–Synth Rai, Chaoui & Staifi (1985-1997)
  42. Brother Theotis Taylor
  43. Black Ark Players: Black Ark In Dub
  44. Prince: Sign O’ The Times (Deluxe Edition)
  45. The Replacements: Pleased to Meet Me (Deluxe Edition)

My Imaginary Top 100 Ballot Submitted to Rolling Stone for its “500 Greatest Albums of the Rock and Roll Era” (NEAR-FINAL DRAFT–I still haven’t even gotten off the couch to scan the stacks for insane omissions.)

This is a work in progress. Finally at least, I am following my own questionable rules. What I’m striving for is a balance between the canon, which deserves critical attack but is not always in error, and my own lifelong habits–I know this music like the back of my hand, and if I return to something over and over, that’s no minor thing. Eventually, I will post a more stable list. Stable–that’s hilarious.

Rules:

*I must have returned to the album on a very regular basis–thus, it is a favorite.

*The album satisfies my gestaltist persnicketyness: as a whole, it is very effective.

*Compilations (*) are allowed ONLY if the artist represented made no consensus-approved CLASSIC album-as-album.

*10 single-artist compilations maximum are allowed.

*5 single-artist box sets (#) are allowed BUT they count toward the compilation maximum, and I must have returned to them repeatedly.

*Unlimited various artist compilations ($) are allowed.

*Unlimited various artist box sets (@) are allowed, but I must have returned to them repeatedly.

*5 “twofer” (%) CDs maximum are allowed ONLY if they were legitimately released in that form.

*1 album maximum may be included for each artist (if they appear otherwise in a group formation, that’s cool).

*Style: the album must have a pinkie-toe dipped in the pond of rock and roll.

*Span: 1954-2019.

The List:

  1. The 5 Royales – Dedicated to You
  2. King Sunny Ade – Juju Music
  3. Beatles – “Yesterday” and Today
  4. Big Star – Radio City
  5. Black Uhuru – Red
  6. James Brown – Live at the Apollo
  7. Chuck Berry – The Chess Box *#
  8. Captain Beefheart and The Magic Band – Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller)
  9. Joe “King” Carrasco and the Crowns – s/t
  10. James Carter – The Real Quiet Storm
  11. Ray Charles – The Birth of Soul *#
  12. Chic – Real People
  13. The Clash – London Calling
  14. The Coasters – 50 Coastin’ Classics*
  15. Ray Condo & The Ricochets – Swing Brother Swing
  16. Elvis Costello – King of America
  17. The Cramps – Bad Music for Bad People
  18. Culture – Two Sevens Clash
  19. Miles Davis – Jack Johnson
  20. Dead Moon – Echoes of the Past*
  21. Bo Diddley – s/t
  22. The Dirtbombs – Ultraglide in Black
  23. The Drifters – The Drifters’ Golden Hits*
  24. The Drive-By Truckers – The Dirty South
  25. Bob Dylan – Highway 61 Revisited
  26. Joe Ely – Honky Tonk Masquerade
  27. Eric B. & Rakim – Follow the Leader
  28. Roky Erickson – I Have Always Been Here Before*
  29. Tav Falco & Panther Burns – Midnight in Memphis
  30. The Fall – I Am Kurious Oranj
  31. Flipper – Generic
  32. Flying Burrito Brothers – The Gilded Palace of Sin
  33. Aretha Franklin – Spirit in the Dark
  34. The Go-Betweens – Tallulah
  35. The Grateful Dead – Workingman’s Dead
  36. Al Green – Call Me / Livin’ for You %
  37. Merle Haggard – A Working Man Can’t Get Nowhere Today
  38. Jimi Hendrix – Are You Experienced? (UK version)
  39. Howlin’ Wolf – Howlin’ Wolf / Moanin’ at Midnight %
  40. Linton Kwesi Johnson – Making History
  41. George Jones – Burn the Honky Tonk Down *
  42. King – We Are King
  43. The Kinks – Something Else by The Kinks
  44. Bettye LaVette – I Got My Own Hell to Raise
  45. Jerry Lee Lewis – Live at the Star Club
  46. Love – Forever Changes
  47. Bob Marley and The Wailers – Live!
  48. Mekons – Rock n Roll
  49. M. I. A. – Kala
  50. The Minutemen – Double Nickels on the Dime
  51. Joni Mitchell – Blue
  52. Van Morrison – Moondance
  53. Motörhead – Orgasmatron
  54. Muddy Waters – Hard Again
  55. Willie Nelson – Spirit
  56. New York Dolls – s/t
  57. Nirvana – MTV Unplugged
  58. The Nomads – Outburst
  59. Lee Scratch Perry – Roast Fish, Collie Weed, and Cornbread
  60. PJ Harvey – To Bring You My Love
  61. The Pogues – Rum, Sodomy & The Lash
  62. Prince – Dirty Mind
  63. Professor Longhair – Crawfish Fiesta
  64. Public Enemy – It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back
  65. Purple Mountains – s/t
  66. Ramones – It’s Alive!
  67. Otis Redding – Dictionary of Soul
  68. Lou Reed – New York
  69. Smokey Robinson & The Miracles: Greatest Hits, Volume 2*
  70. The Rolling Stones – Exile on Main Street
  71. Sonny Rollins – Sunny Days, Starry Nights
  72. Rosalía – Malamente
  73. Jimmy Rushing – With the Big Brass / Rushing Lullabies %
  74. Sonny Sharrock – Ask the Ages
  75. Billy Joe Shaver – Live at Smith’s Olde Bar
  76. The Sir Douglas Quintet – The Best of the Sir Douglas Quintet*
  77. Sly & The Family Stone: …there’s a riot goin’ on
  78. Huey Piano Smith – Having a Party with Huey Piano Smith and the Clowns
  79. Sonic Youth – Daydream Nation
  80. The Staple Singers – The Best of the Vee-Jay Years *
  81. Gary Stewart – Out of Hand
  82. Rod Stewart – Every Picture Tells a Story
  83. Swamp Dogg – Total Destruction to Your Mind
  84. James Talley – Woody Guthrie and Songs of My Oklahoma Home
  85. Howard Tate – Get It While You Can
  86. Tracey Thorn – Record
  87. Various Artists – The Doo Wop Box @
  88. Various Artists – Girl Group Sounds: One Kiss Leads to Another
  89. Various Artists – It Came from Memphis, Volume 1 $
  90. Various Artists – Nuggets: Original Artyfacts (box version) @
  91. Various Artists – Sweet Soul Music $
  92. Various Artists – Tropicalia: A Brazilian Revolution in Sound $
  93. Velvet Underground – 1969 Velvet Underground Live
  94. Tom Waits – Swordfishtrombones
  95. Keith Whitley – I Wonder Do You Think of Me
  96. Lucinda Williams – S/T
  97. Wussy – Attica
  98. X – Wild Gift
  99. X-Ray Spex – Germfree Adolescents
  100. Neil Young – Rust Never Sleeps

Face-first Into the Fire: The Best Albums of 2020, 75% of the Way Across the Coals

I have found 80 albums of freshly recorded music (and 40 archival releases launched in 2020) to be substantial fuel to keep me moving forward through this mire. The bolded items (and those represented in the above slide show) are new to the list. Dig in, my curious friends.

  1. Run The Jewels: RTJ 4
  2. Gil Scott-Heron and Makaya McCraven: We’re New Again–A Reimagining
  3. Fiona Apple: Fetch the Bolt Cutters
  4. SAULT: Untitled (Black Is) 
  5. 79rs Gang: Expect the Unexpected
  6. Princess Nokia: Everything is Beautiful
  7. Boldy James & The Alchemist: The Price of Tea in China
  8. Fire! Orchestra: Actions
  9. Body Count: Carnivore
  10. Tee Grizzley: The Smartest
  11. Serengeti & Kenny Segal: AJAI
  12. Neptunian Maximalism: Éons (band name and album title of the year, based on music’s justification of same)
  13. Marx Lomax II: The Last Concert—Ankh & The Tree of Life
  14. Mark Lomax II: The 400 Years Suite
  15. The Third Mind: The Third Mind
  16. Jyoti: Mama You Can Bet!
  17. Hamell on Trial: The Pandemic Songs
  18. Kahil El’Zabar: Spirit Groove (featuring David Murray)
  19. Roisin Murphy: Roisin Machine
  20. Drakeo the Ruler & JoogSzn:Quit Rappin
  21. KeiyaA: Forever, Ya Girl
  22. Anna Högberg Attack: lena
  23. The Good Ones: RWANDA, you should be loved
  24. Cornershop: England is a Garden
  25. Shabaka and The Ancestors: We Are Sent Here By History
  26. Bob Dylan: My Rough and Rowdy Ways
  27. Bette Smith: The Good, The Bad, and The Bette
  28. Charles McPherson: Jazz Dance Suites
  29. Florian Arbenz & Greg Osby: Reflections of The Eternal Line
  30. Irreversible Entanglements: Who Sent You
  31. Kesha: High Road
  32. SAULT: Untitled (Rise)
  33. Bobby Rush: Rawer Than Raw
  34. Thiago Nassif: Mente
  35. Steve Earle: Ghosts of West Virginia
  36. Princess Nokia: Everything Sucks
  37. Lido Pimienta: Miss Colombia
  38. Elizabeth Cook: Aftermath
  39. City Girls: City on Lock
  40. Bettye LaVette: Blackbirds
  41. Mike & The Moonpies: Touch of You–The Lost Songs of Gary Stewart
  42. James Brandon Lewis and Chad Taylor: Live in Willisau
  43. Ammar 808: Global Control / Invisible Invasion
  44. Various Artists: New Improvised Music from Buenos Aires
  45. The Human Hearts: Day of the Tiles (EP)
  46. Carlos Nino and Miguel Atwood-Ferguson: Chicago Waves
  47. Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids: Shaman!
  48. Moses Sumney: grae
  49. Apollo Brown & Che Noir: As God Intended
  50. Al Bilali Soudan: Tombouctou
  51. JD Allen: Toys / Die Dreaming
  52. No Age: Goons Be Gone
  53. Jeff Parker: Suite for Max Brown
  54. Alicia Keys: ALICIA
  55. Grimes: Miss Anthropocene
  56. Babe, Terror: Horizogon
  57. Dehd: Flower of Devotion
  58. The Ridiculous Trio: The Ridiculous Trio Plays The Stooges
  59. Burna Boy: Twice as Tall
  60. Conway the Machine: From a King to a God
  61. Mr. Wrong: Create a Place
  62. Little Simz: Drop 6 (EP)
  63. Various Artists: Eyes Shut, Ears Open–A Burning Ambulance Compilation
  64. Moor Jewelry: True Opera (EP)
  65. Teodross Avery: Harlem Stories – The Music of Thelonious Monk
  66. K. Michelle: All Monsters are Human
  67. Asher Gamedze: Dialectic Soul
  68. Laraaji: Sun Piano
  69. Tiwa Savage: Celia
  70. Jinx Lennon: Border Schizo Fffolk Songs for the F****d
  71. Gard Nilssen’s Supersonic Orchestra: If You Listen Carefully, The Music is Yours
  72. Beauty Pill: Sorry You’re Here (EP)
  73. Steve Arrington: Down to the Lowest Terms—The Soul Sessions
  74. Etuk Ubong: Africa Today
  75. Swamp Dogg: Sorry You Couldn’t Make It
  76. Julianna Barwick: Healing is a Miracle
  77. Speaker Music: Black Nationalist Sonic Weaponry
  78. Lori McKenna: The Balladeer
  79. Public Enemy: What You Gonna Do When the Grid Goes Down?
  80. Old 97s: Twelfth

Reissues and Past Recordings Freshly Excavated

  1. Various Artists: Daora–Underground Sounds of Urban Brasil
  2. Wussy: Ghosts
  3. Dennis Gonzalez: Forever the Falling Stars
  4. Various Artists: Turn Me Loose, White Man
  5. Thelonious Monk: Palo Alto
  6. Peter Stampfel and The Bottlecaps: Demo ‘84
  7. Various Artists: Saint Etienne Present Songs for the Fountain Coffee Room
  8. Milford Graves & Don Pullen: The Complete Yale Concert
  9. King Ubu Orchestru: Concert at Town Hall – Binaurality Live 1989
  10. Luiz Carlos Vinhas: O Som Psicodelico De L. C. V.
  11. Oneness of Juju: African Rhythms 1970-1982
  12. Junior Byles: Beat Down Babylon (Deluxe Reissue)
  13. Various Artists: Soul Love—The Black Fire Records Story 1975-1993
  14. Tony Allen: No Accommodation for Lagos
  15. Various Artists: All Aboard! The CN Express—Rock Steady and Boss Reggae Sounds 1967-1968
  16. Ranil: Stay Safe and Sound!
  17. Lee Scratch Perry with Seskain Molenga and Kalo Kawongolo: Roots from the Congo (reissue)
  18. Hiroshi Yoshimura: Green
  19. Milton Nascimento: Maria Maria (reissue)
  20. Jon Hassell: Vernal Equinox (reissue)
  21. The Awakening: Hear, Sense, and Feel
  22. Bessie Jones: Get in Union
  23. TEST: TEST and Roy Campbell, Jr.
  24. Joe McPhee: Black is The Color
  25. Various Artists: Stone Crush—Memphis Modern Soul 1977-1987
  26. Walter Bishop Jr.: Coral Keys
  27. Observer All Stars & King Tubby: Dubbing with the Observer (reissue)
  28. Roky Erickson / 13th Floor Elevators: You and Me and I (Live)
  29. Bryan Ferry: Live at the Royal Albert Hall, 1974
  30. Fela Kuti: Perambulator
  31. No Trend: Too Many Humans/Teen Love (reissue)
  32. Pharoah Sanders: Live in Paris 1975
  33. Nina Simone: Fodder on My Wings
  34. Yabby You & The Aggrovators: King Tubby’s Prophecies of Dub (reissue)
  35. Various Artists: Léve Léve – Sao Tomé & Principe Sounds ‘70s-‘80s
  36. Various Artists: Soul Jazz Records Presents Black Riot—Early Jungle, Rave, and Hardcore
  37. Lee Scratch Perry: Play On, Mr. Music
  38. Various Artists: Maghreb K7 Club–Synth Rai, Chaoui & Staifi (1985-1997)
  39. Brother Theotis Taylor
  40. Black Ark Players: Black Ark In Dub

2020’s 100 Most Super Slabs So Far, January 1 to August 31

Isn’t it fun to pick out new records simply by the fetching quality of their covers? Enjoy this mega-slideshow of fresh rekkids I checked out in August! My favorite 100 releases follow…

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(Bolded items are new to the lists)

New(er) Stuff

  1. Run The Jewels: RTJ 4
  2. Gil Scott-Heron and Makaya McCraven: We’re New Again–A Reimagining
  3. Fiona Apple: Fetch the Bolt Cutters
  4. SAULT: Untitled (Black Is) 
  5. 79rs Gang: Expect the Unexpected
  6. Princess Nokia: Everything is Beautiful
  7. Boldy James & The Alchemist: The Price of Tea in China
  8. Fire! Orchestra: Actions
  9. Body Count: Carnivore
  10. Tee Grizzley: The Smartest
  11. Serengeti & Kenny Segal: AJAI
  12. Neptunian Maximalism: Éons (band name and album title of the year, based on music’s justification of same)
  13. Marx Lomax II: The Last Concert—Ankh & The Tree of Life
  14. Mark Lomax II: The 400 Years Suite
  15. The Third Mind: The Third Mind
  16. Jyoti: Mama You Can Bet!
  17. Hamell on Trial: The Pandemic Songs
  18. Kahil El’Zabar: Spirit Groove (featuring David Murray)
  19. Drakeo the Ruler & JoogSzn:Quit Rappin
  20. KeiyaA: Forever, Ya Girl
  21. Anna Högberg Attack: lena
  22. The Good Ones: RWANDA, you should be loved
  23. Cornershop: England is a Garden
  24. Shabaka and The Ancestors: We Are Sent Here By History
  25. Bob Dylan: My Rough and Rowdy Ways
  26. Charles McPherson: Jazz Dance Suites
  27. Irreversible Entanglements: Who Sent You
  28. Kesha: High Road
  29. Bobby Rush: Rawer Than Raw
  30. Thiago Nassif: Mente
  31. Steve Earle: Ghosts of West Virginia
  32. Princess Nokia: Everything Sucks
  33. Lido Pimienta: Miss Colombia
  34. City Girls: City on Lock
  35. Bettye LaVette: Blackbirds
  36. Mike & The Moonpies: Touch of You–The Lost Songs of Gary Stewart
  37. James Brandon Lewis and Chad Taylor: Live in Willisau
  38. Various Artists: New Improvised Music from Buenos Aires
  39. Carlos Nino and Miguel Atwood-Ferguson: Chicago Waves
  40. Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids: Shaman!
  41. Moses Sumney: grae
  42. Al Bilali Soudan: Tombouctou
  43. JD Allen: Toys / Die Dreaming
  44. Jeff Parker: Suite for Max Brown
  45. Grimes: Miss Anthropocene
  46. Dehd: Flower of Devotion
  47. Burna Boy: Twice as Tall
  48. Mr. Wrong: Create a Place
  49. Little Simz: Drop 6 (EP)
  50. Moor Jewelry: True Opera (EP)
  51. Quin Kirchner: The Shadows and The Light
  52. K. Michelle: All Monsters are Human
  53. Asher Gamedze: Dialectic Soul
  54. Laraaji: Sun Piano
  55. Jinx Lennon: Border Schizo Fffolk Songs for the F****d
  56. Gard Nilssen’s Supersonic Orchestra: If You Listen Carefully, The Music is Yours
  57. Beauty Pill: Sorry You’re Here
  58. Etuk Ubong: Africa Today
  59. Swamp Dogg: Sorry You Couldn’t Make It
  60. Julianna Barwick: Healing is a Miracle
  61. Conway the Machine & The Alchemist: LULU (EP)
  62. Speaker Music: Black Nationalist Sonic Weaponry
  63. Lori McKenna: The Balladeer
  64. Psychedelic Furs: Made of Rain
  65. Old 97s: Twelfth

Reissues and Past Recordings Freshly Excavated

  1. Wussy: Ghosts
  2. Various Artists: Turn Me Loose, White Man
  3. Thelonious Monk: Palo Alto
  4. Milford Graves & Don Pullen: The Complete Yale Concert
  5. King Ubu Orchestru: Concert at Town Hall – Binaurality Live 1989
  6. Luiz Carlos Vinhas: O Som Psicodelico De L. C. V.
  7. Oneness of Juju: African Rhythms 1970-1982
  8. Junior Byles: Beat Down Babylon (Deluxe Reissue)
  9. Various Artists: Soul Love—The Black Fire Records Story 1975-1993
  10. Various Artists: All Aboard! The CN Express—Rock Steady and Boss Reggae Sounds 1967-1968
  11. Ranil: Stay Safe and Sound!
  12. Lee Scratch Perry with Seskain Molenga and Kalo Kawongolo: Roots from the Congo (reissue)
  13. Hiroshi Yoshimura: Green
  14. Milton Nascimento: Maria Maria (reissue)
  15. Jon Hassell: Vernal Equinox (reissue)
  16. The Awakening: Hear, Sense, and Feel
  17. Bessie Jones: Get in Union
  18. Joe McPhee: Black is The Color
  19. Various Artists: Stone Crush—Memphis Modern Soul 1977-1987
  20. Walter Bishop Jr.: Coral Keys
  21. Observer All Stars & King Tubby: Dubbing with the Observer (reissue)
  22. Roky Erickson / 13th Floor Elevators: You and Me and I (Live)
  23. Bryan Ferry: Live at the Royal Albert Hall, 1974
  24. Fela Kuti: Perambulator
  25. No Trend: Too Many Humans/Teen Love (reissue)
  26. Pharoah Sanders: Live in Paris 1975
  27. Nina Simone: Fodder on My Wings
  28. Yabby You & The Aggrovators: King Tubby’s Prophecies of Dub (reissue)
  29. Various Artists: Léve Léve – Sao Tomé & Principe Sounds ‘70s-‘80s
  30. Various Artists: Soul Jazz Records Presents Black Riot—Early Jungle, Rave, and Hardcore
  31. Lee Scratch Perry: Play On, Mr. Music
  32. Various Artists: Maghreb K7 Club–Synth Rai, Chaoui & Staifi (1985-1997)
  33. Brother Theotis Taylor
  34. Black Ark Players: Black Ark In Dub
  35. Various Artists: Black Ark, Volume 2

7 and 0 Is?: The Best Alblums* of The Year from Hell (so far), Cool August Day Edition (*Blame it on Don Julio)

MY 2020 TOP 40. This shit has for real kept me from losing my mind this month.

Items that are bolded are new to the list. Also, I whittled my list down considerable to 50 instead of 200. I just can’t keep up right now.

I have added quick glib-takes on some new stuff.

1. Run The Jewels: RTJ 4 (has great beats, you can dance, think and act to it)

2. Gil Scott-Heron and Makaya McCraven: We’re New Again–A Reimagining

3. Fiona Apple: Fetch the Bolt Cutters (wearing on me a tad but big points for guts and sheer talent)

4. SAULT: Untitled (Black Is) (lots of folks trying to make their mark in this year of serious social justice demanding, not sure if this isn’t the most irresistible force)

5. 79rs Gang: Expect the Unexpected (one of the greatest Mardi Gras Indian albums ever, and those are never bad)

6. Princess Nokia: Everything is Beautiful

7. Boldy James & The Alchemist: The Price of Tea in China (straight outta Deee-troit, weary like GIVE ‘EM ENOUGH ROPE, but straight-shootin’ with fetching beats)

8. Body Count: Carnivore

9. Anna Högberg Attack: lena (One of the greatest young alto saxophonists alive in the midst of an exciting growth spurt)

10. Serengeti & Kenny Segal: AJAI (on the basis of intricacy and artistic control alone, a future cult classic)

11. The Good Ones: RWANDA, you should be loved

12. Cornershop: England is a Garden

13. Neptunian Maximalism: Éons (band name and album title of the year, based on music’s justification of same)

14. Mark Lomax II: The 400 Years Suite (Lomax is a gift to the country–check out his Friday YouTube lunch-hour meditations, which have left me happily weeping–and this condenses a monumental multi-disc project)

15. The Third Mind: The Third Mind

16. Hamell on Trial: The Pandemic Songs

17. Kahil El’Zabar: Spirit Groove (featuring David Murray)

18. Drakeo the Ruler & JoogSzn:Quit Rappin

19. KeiyaA: Forever, Ya Girl

20. Shabaka and The Ancestors: We Are Sent Here By History

21. Bob Dylan: My Rough and Rowdy Ways (old fucker keeps on keepin’ on with the stickin’ and movin’)

22. Irreversible Entanglements: Who Sent You

23. Kesha: High Road

24. Thiago Nassif: Mente (tropicalia lives!!!)

25. Steve Earle: Ghosts of West Virginia

26. Princess Nokia: Everything Sucks

27. Lido Pimienta: Miss Colombia

28. Mike & The Moonpies: Touch of You–The Lost Songs of Gary Stewart (yeah, that’s right, there are songs Gary wrote and didn’t record, and a band with that name actually does them justice, just by CARING)

29. James Brandon Lewis and Chad Taylor: Live in Willisau

30. Various Artists: New Improvised Music from Buenos Aires

31. Moses Sumney: grae

32. Psychedelic Furs: Made of Rain (he sounded old and jaded in his twenties; thus he’s right at home in 2020)

33. Al Bilali Soudan: Tombouctou

34. Jeff Parker: Suite for Max Brown

35. Grimes: Miss Anthropocene

36. Dehd: Flower of Devotion (A band that reminds me of five bands I can’t name that I love. Rock and roll is like that)

37. Mr. Wrong: Create a Place

38. Little Simz: Drop 6 (EP)

39. Moor Jewelry: True Opera (EP)

40. Quin Kirchner: The Shadows and The Light

41. Nicole Mitchell & Lisa E. Harris: Earthseed

42. Asher Gamedze: Dialectic Soul (an ambitious new voice in South African jazz)

43. Jinx Lennon: Border Schizo Fffolk Songs for the F****d

44. Gard Nilssen’s Supersonic Orchestra: If You Listen Carefully, The Music is Yours

45. Beauty Pill: Sorry You’re Here (not my normal bag, but the other day it ripped open my chest, stuck its fist in, and squeezed)

46. Etuk Ubong: Africa Today

47. Swamp Dogg: Sorry You Couldn’t Make It

48. Julianna Barwick: Healing is a Miracle (it is–I can fucking vouch–and her voice and noise help the process along)

49. Conway the Machine & The Alchemist: LULU (EP) (The Alchemist? Believe the hype)

50. Speaker Music: Black Nationalist Sonic Weaponry (shit-stirring beats, noise, and occasional words that’s just right for right now, man)

 

REISSUES AND PAST RECORDINGS NEWLY BROUGHT TO LIGHT

  1. Wussy: Ghosts
  2. King Ubu Orchestru: Concert at Town Hall – Binaurality Live 1989
  3. Luiz Carlos Vinhas: O Som Psicodelico De L. C. V.
  4. Oneness of Juju: African Rhythms 1970-1982
  5. Ranil: Stay Safe and Sound!
  6. Lee Scratch Perry with Seskain Molenga and Kalo Kawongolo: Roots from the Congo (reissue)
  7. Hiroshi Yoshimura: Green
  8. Milton Nascimento: Maria Maria (reissue)
  9. Jon Hassell: Vernal Equinox (reissue)
  10. Various Artists: Stone Crush—Memphis Modern Soul 1977-1987
  11. Observer All Stars & King Tubby: Dubbing with the Observer (reissue)
  12. Roky Erickson / 13th Floor Elevators: You and Me and I (Live)
  13. Bryan Ferry: Live at the Royal Albert Hall, 1974
  14. Fela Kuti: Perambulator
  15. No Trend: Too Many Humans/Teen Love (reissue)
  16. Pharoah Sanders: Live in Paris 1975
  17. Nina Simone: Fodder on My Wings
  18. Yabby You & The Aggrovators: King Tubby’s Prophecies of Dub (reissue)
  19. Various Artists: Léve Léve – Sao Tomé & Principe Sounds ‘70s-‘80s
  20. Various Artists: Soul Jazz Records Presents Black Riot—Early Jungle, Rave, and Hardcore
  21. Lee Scratch Perry: Play On, Mr. Music
  22. Various Artists: Maghreb K7 Club–Synth Rai, Chaoui & Staifi (1985-1997)
  23. Brother Theotis Taylor
  24. Black Ark Players: Black Ark In Dub
  25. Various Artists: Black Ark, Volume 2

Halfway There, Halfway Gone: Hottest Platters of 2020, 1 January to 30 June

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I got nuthin’ but the list. Bolded items are newly added. Some items have shifted rankings.

  1. Run the Jewels: Run the Jewels 4
  2. Gil Scott-Heron and Makaya McCraven: We’re New Again–A Reimagining
  3. Fiona Apple: Fetch the Bolt Cutters
  4. Kesha: High Road
  5. Bob Dylan: Rough and Rowdy Ways
  6. Princess Nokia: Everything is Beautiful
  7. Body Count: Carnivore
  8. Anna Högberg Attack: lena
  9. Irreversible Entanglements: Who Sent You
  10. Neptunian Maximalism: Éons
  11. The Good Ones: RWANDA, you should be loved (it’s late ‘19, actually)
  12. Cornershop: England is a Garden
  13. Serengeti & Kenny Segal: AJAI
  14. The Third Mind: The Third Mind
  15. Hamell on Trial: The Pandemic Songs
  16. SAULT: UNTITLED (Black is)
  17. Various Artists: New Improvised Music from Buenos Aires
  18. KeiyaA: Forever, Ya Girl
  19. Kahil El’Zabar: Spirit Groove (featuring David Murray)
  20. Shabaka and The Ancestors: We Are Sent Here By History
  21. Mark Lomax II: The 400 Years Suite
  22. Various Artists: Music in Support of Black Mental Health
  23. Steve Earle: Ghosts of West Virginia
  24. Princess Nokia: Everything Sucks
  25. Lido Pimienta: Miss Colombia
  26. 79rs Gang: Expect the Unexpected
  27. Drakeo the Ruler & JoogSzn: Quit Rappin
  28. Danny Barnes: Man on Fire
  29. James Brandon Lewis and Chad Taylor: Live in Willisau
  30. Moses Sumney: grae
  31. Various Artists: New Tangents In Kampala, London & Nairobi Vol.  1 (EP)
  32. Jeff Parker: Suite for Max Brown
  33. Grimes: Miss Anthropocene
  34. Little Simz: Drop 6 (EP)
  35. Moor Jewelry: True Opera (EP)
  36. Jinx Lennon: Border Schizo Fffolk Songs for the F****d
  37. Gard Nilssen’s Supersonic Orchestra: If You Listen Carefully, The Music is Yours
  38. Al Bilali Soudan: Tombouctou
  39. Chicago Underground: Good Days
  40. K Michelle: All Monsters are Human
  41. Fat Tony and Taydex: Wake Up
  42. Quin Kirchner: The Shadows and The Light
  43. The Howling Hex: Knuckleball Express
  44. Mr. Wrong: Create a Place
  45. Bad Bunny: YHLQMDLG
  46. Etuk Ubong: Africa Today
  47. Luka Productions & Kandiafa: Music from Saharan WhatApp, Volume 6 (EP)
  48. U. S. Girls: Heavy Light
  49. The Necks: Three
  50. Beauty Pill: Sorry You’re Here
  51. fra fra: Funeral Songs
  52. Les Amazones d’Afrique: Amazones Power
  53. Constantinople & Ablaye Cissoko: Traversees
  54. Dua Lipa: Future Nostalgia
  55. Rod Wave: Pray 4 Love
  56. Azu Tiwaline: Draw Me a Silence, Pts. 1 & 2
  57. Sunflowers: Endless Voyage
  58. McPhee, Rempis, Reid, Lopez, and Nilssen-Love: Of Things Beyond Thule, Volume 2
  59. Various Artists: Sahel Sounds Sampler 2
  60. X: Alphabetland
  61. Swamp Dogg: Sorry You Couldn’t Make It
  62. Tyler Keith: The Last Drag
  63. Sabir Mateen, et al: Survival Situation
  64. Ndudozo Makhathini: Modes of Communication—Letters from the Underworlds
  65. Mythic Sunshine: Changing Shapes–Live at Roadburn
  66. Joe Ely: Love in the Midst of Mayhem
  67. STRFKR: Future Past Life
  68. Sunwatchers: Brave Rats (EP)
  69. Yves Tumor: Heaven to a Tortured Mind
  70. Denzel Curry & Kenny Beats: UNLOCKED
  71. GuiltyBeatz: Different (EP)
  72. El Alfa: El Androide
  73. Alkibar Junior: Music from Saharan WhatsApp, Volume 4 (EP)
  74. Kefaya + Elaha Soroor: Songs of Our Mothers
  75. Jennifer Curtis & Tyshawn Sorey: Invisible Ritual
  76. Elysia Crampton: ORCORARA 2010
  77. Sunwatchers: Oh Yeah?
  78. Shopping: All for Nothing
  79. Katie Shorr: Open Book
  80. The Neptune Power Federation: Memoirs of a Rat Queen
  81. Kehlani: It Was Good Until It Wasn’t
  82. Chubby & The Gang: Speed Kills
  83. Nicole Mitchell & Lisa E. Harris: Earthseed
  84. Rina Sayawama: SAYAWAMA
  85. Matthew Shipp: The Piano Equation
  86. Darragh Morgan and John Tilbury: For John Cage (composer: Morton Feldman)
  87. Westside Gunn: Pray for Paris
  88. Onipa: We No Be Machine
  89. Waxahatchie: Saint Cloud
  90. Snotty Nose Rez Kids: Born Deadly (EP)
  91. Evan Parker and Paul Lytton: collective calls (revisited) (jubilee)
  92. Fire! Orchestra: Actions for Free Jazz Orchestra
  93. Majid Bekkas: Magic Spirit Quartet
  94. Jan St. Werner and Mark E. Smith: Molocular Mediation
  95. Lyra Pramuk: Fountain
  96. Shabazz Palaces: The Don of Diamonds
  97. John Anderson: Years
  98. Natural Child: California Hotel
  99. Megan Thee Stallion: Suga
  100. Childish Gambino: 3.15.20
  101. Ohad Talmor Newsreel: Long Forms
  102. Etran de L’Air: Music from Saharan WhatsApp, Volume 1 (EP)
  103. MONO: Before The Past
  104. Tamikrest: Tamotait
  105. Luís Lopes Humanization 4Tet: Believe, believe
  106. Dramarama: Color TV
  107. Colin Stetson: Color Out of Space (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
  108. Tomeka Reid and Alexander Hawkins: Shards and Constellations
  109. Lakecia Benjamin: Pursuance—The Coltranes
  110. Wayne Phoenix: Soaring Wayne Phoenix Story The Earth
  111. Thundercat: It is What it Is
  112. Oumou Diabate et Kara Show Koumba Frifri: Music from Saharan WhatsApp, Volume 2 (EP)
  113. Dogleg: Mellee
  114. Pink Siifu & yungmorpheus: Bag Talk
  115. Jays Electronica and -Z: A Written Testimony
  116. Meredith Monk: Memory Game
  117. Luke Combs: What You See Is What You Get
  118. Jeich Ould Badou: Music from Saharan WhatsApp 03
  119. Pink Siifu: NEGRO
  120. Moor Mother: CLEPSYDRA

REISSUES AND PAST RECORDINGS NEWLY BROUGHT TO LIGHT

  1. Wussy: Ghosts
  2. King Ubu Orchestru: Concert at Town Hall – Binaurality Live 1989
  3. Ranil: Stay Safe and Sound!
  4. Lee Scratch Perry with Seskain Molenga and Kalo Kawongolo: Roots from the Congo (reissue)
  5. Hiroshi Yoshimura: Green
  6. Milton Nascimento: Maria Maria (reissue)
  7. Jon Hassell: Vernal Equinox (reissue)
  8. Various Artists: Stone Crush—Memphis Modern Soul 1977-1987
  9. Observer All Stars & King Tubby: Dubbing with the Observer (reissue)
  10. Roky Erickson / 13th Floor Elevators: You and Me and I (Live)
  11. Bryan Ferry: Live at the Royal Albert Hall, 1974
  12. Fela Kuti: Perambulator
  13. No Trend: Too Many Humans/Teen Love (reissue)
  14. Pharoah Sanders: Live in Paris 1975
  15. Nina Simone: Fodder on My Wings
  16. Yabby You & The Aggrovators: King Tubby’s Prophecies of Dub (reissue)
  17. Various Artists: Léve Léve – Sao Tomé & Principe Sounds ‘70s-‘80s
  18. Various Artists: Soul Jazz Records Presents Black Riot—Early Jungle, Rave, and Hardcore
  19. Various Artists: Jamaican All-Stars (Studio One)
  20. The Viscaynes: The Viscaynes and Friends

Expect The Unexpected: My Favorite 100 Records of This Year on 🔥 🔥 🔥.

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Due to the unexpected death of a great friend, I have been in “4M” mode: Medicatin’ Myself Mostly with Miles.” Another Davis, Lockjaw, has been providing more traditional relief (the blues stomping out the blues), but new music hasn’t been able to elbow in and make much impact. 79rs Gang, a team-up by 7th and 9th Ward Mardi Gras Indian chiefs, released their second straight great album, both available on Sinking City. The first, Fire on the Bayou, was as stripped-down as a mess of Indian chants has ever gotten; the new one, Expect the Unexpected, is as impure as one has ever dared. Little Simz and Sunwatchers purt-near knocked me out with punch-packing EPs, the former gaining more confidence and edge with each new song, the latter barely able to contain their joyous in-all-directions energy. Despite seeming to have blown his voice out, Steve Earle delivered his best songs in years, the product of a more ambitious previous project, I believe. Les Amazones d’Afrique and the Saharan cellphone-foisting legions of Sahel Sounds offered two intriguingly varied and effective sets…and that about does it for fresh musical crank-turning in my world. Where are The Drive-By Truckers and Jason Isbell, you may be asking? I do not like those albums. Lady Gaga? Something tells me I need her pronto, but I’ve yet to get to it. Maybe next month if the whole circus hasn’t imploded.

Below are my Still-Warm 100, followed by 15 issuances of music recorded in earlier years. Bolded items correspond to the above album covers; they are new to the list. Also, someone lost the top slot, but she’s doin’ alright.

  1. Gil Scott-Heron and Makaya McCraven: We’re New Again–A Reimagining
  2. Fiona Apple: Fetch the Bolt Cutters
  3. Run The Jewels: RTJ 4
  4. Kesha: High Road
  5. Princess Nokia: Everything is Beautiful
  6. Various Artists: New Improvised Music from Buenos Aires
  7. Body Count: Carnivore
  8. Anna Högberg Attack: lena
  9. Irreversible Entanglements: Who Sent You
  10. The Good Ones: RWANDA, you should be loved (it’s late ‘19, actually)
  11. Cornershop: England is a Garden
  12. The Third Mind: The Third Mind
  13. Hamell on Trial: The Pandemic Songs
  14. KeiyaA: Forever, Ya Girl
  15. Shabaka and The Ancestors: We Are Sent Here By History
  16. Mark Lomax II: The 400 Years Suite
  17. Steve Earle: Ghosts of West Virginia
  18. Princess Nokia: Everything Sucks
  19. Lido Pimienta: Miss Colombia
  20. 79rs Gang: Expect the Unexpected
  21. James Brandon Lewis and Chad Taylor: Live in Willisau
  22. Moses Sumney: grae
  23. Serengeti & Kenny Segal: AJAI
  24. Jeff Parker: Suite for Max Brown
  25. Grimes: Miss Anthropocene
  26. Mr. Wrong: Create a Place
  27. Little Simz: Drop 6 (EP)
  28. Jinx Lennon: Border Schizo Fffolk Songs for the F****d
  29. Gard Nilssen’s Supersonic Orchestra: If You Listen Carefully, The Music is Yours
  30. Swamp Dogg: Sorry You Couldn’t Make It
  31. Tyler Keith: The Last Drag
  32. Chicago Underground: Good Days
  33. Les Amazones d’Afrique: Amazones Power
  34. K Michelle: All Monsters are Human
  35. Fat Tony and Taydex: Wake Up
  36. Danny Barnes: Man on Fire
  37. Various Artists: Sahel Sounds Sampler 2
  38. The Howling Hex: Knuckleball Express
  39. Bad Bunny: YHLQMDLG
  40. U. S. Girls: Heavy Light
  41. The Necks: Three
  42. fra fra: Funeral Songs
  43. Constantinople & Ablaye Cissoko: Traversees
  44. Dua Lipa: Future Nostalgia
  45. Rod Wave: Pray 4 Love
  46. Azu Tiwaline: Draw Me a Silence, Pts. 1 & 2
  47. Sunflowers: Endless Voyage
  48. McPhee, Rempis, Reid, Lopez, and Nilssen-Love: Of Things Beyond Thule, Volume 2
  49. X: Alphabetland
  50. Sabir Mateen, et al: Survival Situation
  51. Ndudozo Makhathini: Modes of Communication—Letters from the Underworlds
  52. Mythic Sunshine: Changing Shapes–Live at Roadburn
  53. Joe Ely: Love in the Midst of Mayhem
  54. Sunwatchers: Brave Rats (EP)
  55. Denzel Curry & Kenny Beats: UNLOCKED
  56. GuiltyBeatz: Different (EP)
  57. El Alfa: El Androide
  58. Alkibar Junior: Music from Saharan WhatsApp, Volume 4 (EP)
  59. Kefaya + Elaha Soroor: Songs of Our Mothers
  60. Jennifer Curtis & Tyshawn Sorey: Invisible Ritual
  61. Elysia Crampton: ORCORARA 2010
  62. Sunwatchers: Oh Yeah?
  63. Shopping: All for Nothing
  64. Katie Shorr: Open Book
  65. The Neptune Power Federation: Memoirs of a Rat Queen
  66. Kehlani: It Was Good Until It Wasn’t
  67. MONO: Before The Past
  68. Chubby & The Gang: Speed Kills
  69. Rina Sayawama: SAYAWAMA
  70. STRFKR: Future Past Life
  71. Matthew Shipp: The Piano Equation
  72. Darragh Morgan and John Tilbury: For John Cage (composer: Morton Feldman)
  73. Westside Gunn: Pray for Paris
  74. Yves Tumor: Heaven to a Tortured Mind
  75. Waxahatchie: Saint Cloud
  76. Snotty Nose Rez Kids: Born Deadly (EP)
  77. Evan Parker and Paul Lytton: collective calls (revisited) (jubilee)
  78. Fire! Orchestra: Actions for Free Jazz Orchestra
  79. Majid Bekkas: Magic Spirit Quartet
  80. Jan St. Werner and Mark E. Smith: Molocular Mediation
  81. Lyra Pramuk: Fountain
  82. Shabazz Palaces: The Don of Diamonds
  83. Megan Thee Stallion: Suga
  84. Childish Gambino: 3.15.20
  85. Ohad Talmor Newsreel: Long Forms
  86. Etran de L’Air: Music from Saharan WhatsApp, Volume 1 (EP)
  87. Tamikrest: Tamotait
  88. Luís Lopes Humanization 4Tet: Believe, believe
  89. Dramarama: Color TV
  90. Colin Stetson: Color Out of Space (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
  91. Tomeka Reid and Alexander Hawkins: Shards and Constellations
  92. Wayne Phoenix: Soaring Wayne Phoenix Story The Earth
  93. Thundercat: It is What it Is
  94. Amaria Hamadahler: Music from Saharan Whats App 5
  95. Oumou Diabate et Kara Show Koumba Frifri: Music from Saharan WhatsApp, Volume 2 (EP)
  96. Pink Siifu & yungmorpheus: Bag Talk
  97. Jays Electronica and -Z: A Written Testimony
  98. Meredith Monk: Memory Game
  99. Luke Combs: What You See Is What You Get
  100. Jeich Ould Badou: Music from Saharan WhatsApp 03
  101. Pink Siifu: NEGRO
  102. Moor Mother: CLEPSYDRA

REISSUED AND NEWLY ISSUED OLDER MUSIC

  1. Ranil: Stay Safe and Sound!
  2. Lee Scratch Perry with Seskain Molenga and Kalo Kawongolo: Roots from the Congo (reissue)
  3. Milton Nascimento: Maria Maria (reissue)
  4. Jon Hassell: Vernal Equinox (reissue)
  5. Various Artists: Stone Crush—Memphis Modern Soul 1977-1987
  6. Observer All Stars & King Tubby: Dubbing with the Observer (reissue)
  7. Bryan Ferry: Live at the Royal Albert Hall, 1974
  8. Fela Kuti: Perambulator
  9. No Trend: Too Many Humans/Teen Love (reissue)
  10. Pharoah Sanders: Live in Paris 1975
  11. Nina Simone: Fodder on My Wings
  12. Yabby You & The Aggrovators: King Tubby’s Prophecies of Dub (reissue)
  13. Various Artists: Léve Léve – Sao Tomé & Principe Sounds ‘70s-‘80s
  14. Various Artists: Soul Jazz Records Presents Black Riot—Early Jungle, Rave, and Hardcore
  15. Various Artists: Jamaican All-Stars (Studio One)

 

“Close the Door, Richard”

Richard

When I was 18, few if any legit Little Richard records were in print (or otherwise available in southwest Missouri). Also, unbelievable but true, I had never heard a song of his on the radio. I HAD read about him: “anarchy in the USA,” someone wrote. That sounded irresistible. As a freshman in college, somewhere I read that this album was available through Rather Ripped Records in California. $20 was a fortune for me then but I wrote a check and mailed it off.

When the record arrived, I stopped everything I was doing and put it on. A second or two of silence, then “Long Tall Sally” EXPLODED out of the speakers. Whatta voice! Whatta band! What an attack! I think I listened to it 10 times that day. It’s hard for streamers to understand the feeling of only being able to read about some incredible music but not find it–true for many of us until the CD boom brought forth a reissue boom–and this hit collection lived up to everything I’d ever read about Richard’s music, in fact surpassed it. It’s still my gold standard for first impressions. No album has ever so immediately convinced me. I was so convinced I wrote a short story around it (the only one I’ve ever written) two weeks after I got it in the mail. And the album art and message? Effing perfect.

He lived a long, sometimes tortured, painful, and lonely life, and you can probably listen to everything essential he ever recorded in a couple of hours–he wasted no time on wax–but make no mistake: he was a giant. A giant who has intriguingly continued to be very important and inspiring in different ways over the years. We shall not see his like again.

Open Up, and Say “Uhhhhh…NO!” – The Best Long-Players of 2020 So Far

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Lots of movement on and additions to my updated list. 100 104 106 107 total good new releases is pretty good for four months in; I’ve heard it said that, other than Fiona Apple’s offering (seeming to excite everyone, including this previous tire-kicker), no one’s dropped a classic yet. I’d add Makaya McCraven’s GSH interp to that, goldarn Kesha continues to be a shot in this malaise’s arm, Lewis and Taylor wail on their new live duet, the inspired Irish folk-punk Jinx Lennon has given me more than I can quickly absorb (but it’s raised a little chicken skin during two listens), Lido Pimienta’s pop-folk schizo-concept album has come up the chart like gangbusters,  X’s comeback is slowly growing on me, and HOLY SMOKE Anna Hogberg Attack’s lena is a huge leap forward from a predecessor that was superb–in a word, time (and there’s plenty of it) has a way of conveying power onto a work of art, so we’ll wait and see.

2020 (January 1 – April 30): A Bad Time for Most Anything But Music, Part 5

Note: Bolded items are new to the ongoing 2020 list.

  1. Fiona Apple: Fetch the Bolt Cutters
  2. Gil Scott-Heron and Makaya McCraven: We’re New Again–A Reimagining
  3. Kesha: High Road
  4. Princess Nokia: Everything is Beautiful
  5. Various Artists: New Improvised Music from Buenos Aires
  6. Body Count: Carnivore
  7. Anna Hogberg Attack: lena
  8. Irreversible Entanglements: Who Sent You
  9. The Good Ones: RWANDA, you should be loved (it’s late ‘19, actually)
  10. Cornershop: England is a Garden
  11. The Third Mind: The Third Mind
  12. Shabaka and The Ancestors: We Are Sent Here By History
  13. Mark Lomax II: The 400 Years Suite
  14. Princess Nokia: Everything Sucks
  15. Lido Pimienta: Miss Colombia
  16. Danny Barnes: Man on Fire
  17. James Brandon Lewis and Chad Taylor: Live in Willisau
  18. Jeff Parker: Suite for Max Brown
  19. Mdou Moctar: Mdou Moctar Mixtape, Volume 1
  20. Grimes: Miss Anthropocene
  21. Jinx Lennon: Border Schizo Fffolk Songs for the F****d
  22. Gard Nilssen’s Supersonic Orchestra: If You Listen Carefully, The Music is Yours
  23. Chicago Underground: Good Days
  24. K Michelle: All Monsters are Human
  25. Fat Tony and Taydex: Wake Up
  26. The Howling Hex: Knuckleball Express
  27. Mr. Wrong: Create a Place
  28. Bad Bunny: YHLQMDLG
  29. U. S. Girls: Heavy Light
  30. The Necks: Three
  31. Dua Lipa: Future Nostalgia
  32. Rod Wave: Pray 4 Love
  33. Serengeti & Kenny Segal: AJAI
  34. Azu Tiwaline: Draw Me a Silence, Pts. 1 & 2
  35. Sunflowers: Endless Voyage
  36. McPhee, Rempis, Reid, Lopez, and Nilssen-Love: Of Things Beyond Thule, Volume 2
  37. KeiyaA: Forever, Ya Girl
  38. Moses Sumney: grae
  39. X: Alphabetland
  40. Swamp Dogg: Sorry You Couldn’t Make It
  41. Tyler Keith: The Last Drag
  42. Ndudozo Makhathini: Modes of Communication—Letters from the Underworlds
  43. Constantinople & Ablaye Cissoko: Traversees
  44. Mythic Sunshine: Changing Shapes–Live at Roadburn
  45. STRFKR: Future Past Life
  46. Yves Tumor: Heaven to a Tortured Mind
  47. Denzel Curry & Kenny Beats: UNLOCKED
  48. GuiltyBeatz: Different (EP)
  49. Alkibar Junior: Music from Saharan WhatsApp, Volume 4 (EP)
  50. Kefaya + Elaha Soroor: Songs of Our Mothers
  51. Jennifer Curtis & Tyshawn Sorey: Invisible Ritual
  52. Sunwatchers: Oh Yeah?
  53. Shopping: All for Nothing
  54. Katie Shorr: Open Book
  55. The Neptune Power Federation: Memoirs of a Rat Queen
  56. Chubby & The Gang: Speed Kills
  57. Rina Sayawama: SAYAWAMA
  58. Darragh Morgan and John Tilbury: For John Cage (composer: Morton Feldman)
  59. Westside Gunn: Pray for Paris
  60. Onipa: We No Be Machine
  61. Waxahatchie: Saint Cloud
  62. Snotty Nose Rez Kids: Born Deadly (EP)
  63. Evan Parker and Paul Lytton: collective calls (revisited) (jubilee)
  64. Fire! Orchestra: Actions for Free Jazz Orchestra
  65. Majid Bekkas: Magic Spirit Quartet
  66. Jan St. Werner and Mark E. Smith: Molocular Mediation
  67. Lyra Pramuk: Fountain
  68. Shabazz Palaces: The Don of Diamonds
  69. John Anderson: Years
  70. Natural Child: California Hotel
  71. Megan Thee Stallion: Suga
  72. Childish Gambino: 3.15.20
  73. Ohad Talmor Newsreel: Long Forms
  74. Etran de L’Air: Music from Saharan WhatsApp, Volume 1 (EP)
  75. MONO: Before The Past
  76. Tamikrest: Tamotait
  77. Luís Lopes Humanization 4Tet: Believe, believe
  78. Colin Stetson: Color Out of Space (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
  79. Tomeka Reid and Alexander Hawkins: Shards and Constellations
  80. Lakecia Benjamin: Pursuance—The Coltranes
  81. Wayne Phoenix: Soaring Wayne Phoenix Story The Earth
  82. Moses Boyd: Dark Matter
  83. Thundercat: It is What it Is
  84. Kassa Overall: I Think I’m Good
  85. Oumou Diabate et Kara Show Koumba Frifri: Music from Saharan WhatsApp, Volume 2 (EP)
  86. Dogleg: Mellee
  87. Pink Siifu & yungmorpheus: Bag Talk
  88. Jays Electronica and -Z: A Written Testimony
  89. Meredith Monk: Memory Game
  90. Luke Combs: What You See Is What You Get
  91. Jeich Ould Badou: Music from Saharan WhatsApp 03
  92. Pink Siifu: NEGRO
  93. Moor Mother: CLEPSYDRA

REISSUES AND PAST RECORDINGS NEWLY BROUGHT TO LIGHT

  1. Ranil: Stay Safe and Sound!
  2. Lee Scratch Perry with Seskain Molenga and Kalo Kawongolo: Roots from the Congo (reissue)
  3. Milton Nascimento: Maria Maria (reissue)
  4. Jon Hassell: Vernal Equinox (reissue)
  5. Fela Kuti: Perambulator
  6. Various Artists: Stone Crush—Memphis Modern Soul 1977-1987
  7. Observer All Stars & King Tubby: Dubbing with the Observer (reissue)
  8. Bryan Ferry: Live at the Royal Albert Hall, 1974
  9. Pharoah Sanders: Live in Paris 1975
  10. Nina Simone: Fodder on My Wings
  11. Yabby You & The Aggrovators: King Tubby’s Prophecies of Dub (reissue)
  12. Various Artists: Léve Léve – Sao Tomé & Principe Sounds ‘70s-‘80s
  13. Various Artists: Soul Jazz Records Presents Black Riot—Early Jungle, Rave, and Hardcore
  14. Various Artists: Jamaican All-Stars (Studio One)