- Thank you, Christian, for Bob Vylan at the last minute. I needed that.
- Ricky Ford? Who’s Ricky Ford? Well, I knew him best through his stellar tenor on Ran Blake’s The Short Life of Barbara Monk and Abdullah Ibrahim’s Water from an Ancient Well, both modern jazz classics. I remember trying some of his solo albums and thinking he was kind of like an Ellingtonian without Ellington. BUT…35-40 years later his new album sounds like something we will sadly never get again: a new Sonny Rollins album. That’s high praise, and he’s not that inventive, but you’ll hear what I mean: power, confidence and wisdom of tone, steaming momentum, ideas extended lyrically and imaginatively.
- Wet Leg the album not as good as Wet Leg the singles machine, but still FUN. And I (and probably you) need that. One of my students liked their sense of camp, and I get that. I have film students in class, too, and they’re curious about those Wighters’ taste.
- I am already feeling I’ve underrated percussionist Ches Smith’s new album Interpret It Well. It’s one of those rare albums that establish a mood and flow and sustains it from beginning to end. The whole is much more powerful than the sum of its parts, and the playing is stimulatingly precise and responsive.
- I’m as atheist as can be (I neither have, recognize nor pursue a theology), but it’s been a good couple of years for new black gospel records in the traditional vein. Thanks, Hardin, for pushing Pastor Champion on me, and thanks, Bible & Tire / Fat Possum, for just sticking to that old mission. It’s liberation music, at heart, and I’m ’bout it.
- When I heard the Mekons and Freakwater were doing a set of acoustic mining songs, I asked myself, “Do I really need that?” Mekons being involved, I had to dip a toe (or a lobe) in; I just prefer Mekons with DRUMS. Actually, the album’s rousing, moving, and not necessarily about mining, and I recommend it.
- Is there such as thing as discorrhea? Sometimes I think about that when I think about Jinx Lennon (I’m not sure how many people think that much about Jinx Lennon, but he’s worth it). Maybe it’d be better to really hone and weed before he lets another one go. The thing is, though, Pet Rent rocks harder than any of the last few, and it’s hard to think of any artist who’s so alive and receptive in his immediate environment than Lennon. I’m currently reading Henry Miller’s Black Spring, and “Horseshit!” has popped up a few times in the first twenty pages as ol’ Hank instructs us on immediacy of living, but maybe Jinx achieves that. Maybe.
- Speaking of horseshit, I’ve been alive and listening to records long enough to smell it, but, dammit, SAULT has my detector on the blink. And by blink I mean my detector blinks off and on. I am keenly aware their “mystery” is part of the attraction (or marketing); on the other hand, when I’m really leaning forward and undistracted, they seem to be so much of these times and their struggles, endless tragedies, and fleeting glow that I buy what they’re offering. And AIR? It’s a test. An early morning game of art-critical Texas Hold ‘Em.
- As he always seems to be, Sun Ra makes new appearances on this update: first, represented more than ably by the soon-to-be-98 (you are reading that correctly) Arkestra glue-guy Marshall Allen on Tyler Mitchell’s outstanding Dancing Shadows, then on a Seventies archival dig working close to one his many homes (Egypt) with the talented Salah Ragab. Both recordings are outstanding.
- I always make at least one Record Store Day purchase. I hate crowds, so I usually hit eBay first thing the next morning, but this year the proprietor of Dig It! Record Barn / Records to Go in Carterville (or is it Duenweg?), Missouri, established a tiny call line for people who could not make it–I’m about 250 miles away. If you answer the phone when there’s a lull in traffic through the stacks, you might get a chance; I was completing a three-mile stroll when the phone buzzed and I became the proud owner of Albert Ayler’s Revelations—The Complete ORTF 1970 Fondation Maeght Recordings on Elemental Records. I’ve heard the original recordings, which were not complete and didn’t sound that swell, but had never owned them. This heavy item arrives Thursday, so truth be told, I have not listened to it yet. But I’ve got a hand in another Texas Hold ‘Em game….
New Music (bolded items are new to the list):
- 75 Dollar Bill: Social Music at Troost, Volume 3–Other People’s Music (Black Editions Group)
- Rosalia: MOTOMAMI (Columbia)
- Tanya Tagaq: Tongues (Six Shooter)
- Ricky Ford: The Wailing Sounds of Ricky Ford—Paul’s Scene (Whaling City Sounds)
- Stro Elliot & James Brown: Black & Loud—James Brown Reimagined (Polydor)
- Superchunk: Wild Loneliness (Merge)
- Gonora Sounds: Hard Times Never Kill (Phantom Limb)
- Wet Leg: Wet Leg (Domino)
- Amber Mark: Three Dimensions Deep (PMR / Interscope)
- Etran de L’Air: Agadez (Sahel Sounds)
- Billy Woods: Aethiopes (Backwoodz Studios)
- Morgan Wade: Reckless (Deluxe) (Ladylike)
- Lady Wray: Piece of Me (Big Crown)
- Tyler Mitchell: Dancing Shadows (featuring Marshall Allen) (Mahakala Music)
- Bob Vylan: Bob Vylan Presents The Price of Life (Ghost Theatre)
- Mark Lomax II: Prismatic Refractions, Volume I (self-released)
- ensemble 0: Music Nuvulosa (Sub Rosa)
- Anna von Hausswoolff: Live at Montreaux Jazz Festival (Southern Lord)
- Various Artists: Lespri Ka—New Directions in Gwoka Music from Guadeloupe (Time Capsule Sounds)
- Ches Smith: Interpret It Well (Pyroclastic)
- Jinx Lennon: Pet Rent (Septic Tiger)
- Freakons: Freakons (Fluff & Gravy)
- Joy Guidry: Radical Acceptance (Whited Sepulchre)
- Javon Jackson & Nikki Giovanni: The Gospel According to Nikki Giovanni (Solid Jackson)
- OGJB: Ode to O (TUM) (Note: Band name – O = Oliver Lake, G = Graham Haynes, J = Joe Fonda, B = Barry Altschul / Title – O = Ornette)
- Andrew Cyrille, William Parker, and Enrico Rava: Two Blues for Cecil (TUM)
- Luke Stewart’s Silt Trio: The Bottom (Cuneiform)
- Priscilla Block: Welcome to the Block Party (InDent)
- Anitta: Versions of Me (Warner)
- Mitski: Laurel Hell (Dead Oceans)
- Immanuel Wilkins: The 7th Hand (Blue Note)
- Fulu Miziki: Ngbaka (EP)
- Hurray for The Riff Raff: Life on Earth (Nonesuch)
- Rokia Koné and Jacknife Lee: Bamanan (3D Family)
- Tomas Fujiwara: Triple Double (Firehouse 12)
- Ibibio Sound Machine: Electricity (Merge)
- Kahil El’Zabar Quartet: A Time for Healing (Spirit Muse)
- Pastor Champion: I Just Want to Be a Good Man (Luaka Bop)
- Pusha T: It’s Almost Dry (G.O.O.D. Music/Def Jam)
- SAULT: AIR (Forever Living Originals)
- Nilufer Yanya: Painless (ATO)
- Satoko Fujii and Joe Fonda: Thread of Light (Fundacja Słuchaj)
- Charli XCX: Crash (Atlantic)
- Pete Malinverni: On the Town—Pete Malinverni Plays Leonard Bernstein (Planet Arts)
- David Friend & Jerome Begin: Post- (New Amsterdam)
- Dedicated Men of Zion: The Devil Don’t Like It (Bible & Tire)
- Space Afrika: Honest Labour (Dais)
- Charlotte Adigery & Bolis Pupul: Topical Dancer (DeeWee)
- Earl Sweatshirt: Sick! (Tan Cressida / Warner)
- Big Thief: Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe in You (4AD)
- Tee Grizzley: Half Tee Half Beast (self-relased)
- Hoodoo Gurus: Chariot of The Gods (Big Time Photographic Recordings)
- Natsuki Tamura: Summer Tree (Libra)
- (D)ivo: Perelman, Berne, Malaby, Carter (Mahakala Music)
- Spoon: Lucifer on the Sofa (Matador)
- Manel Fortia: Despertar (Segell Microscopi/Altafonte)
- Ray Wylie Hubbard: Co-Starring Too (Big Machine)
- Keith Oxman: This One’s for Joey (Capri)
- Marta Sanchez: SAAM (Spanish American Art Museum) (Whirlwind)
- Earthgang: Ghetto Gods (Dreamville/Interscope)
Albert Ayler: La Cave Live 1966 (Ezz-Thetics)
Albert Ayler: Revelations—The Complete ORTF 1970 Fondation Maeght Recordings (Elemental)
Son House: Forever on My Mind (Easy Eye Sound)
Lavender Country: Blackberry Rose and Other Songs & Sorrows (Don Giovanni)
Hermeto Pascoal: Planetário da Gávea (Far Out Recordings)
Hermeto Pascoal: Hermeto (Far Out Recordings)
Sun Ra: Sun Ra Arkestra Meets Salah Ragab in Egypt (Strut)
Cecil Taylor: The Complete Legendary Live Return Concert at the Town Hall (Oblivion)
Afrika Negra: Antologia, Volume 1 (Bongo Joe)
Various Artists: Summer of Soul (Legacy)
Neil Young: Carnegie Hall 1970 (Reprise)