I do not really care if there is a tunnel under Ocean Boulevard: 55 Pretty Snazzy Records Released This Calendar Year, barely including that one, January 1 – March 28, 2023

Happy Spring! It’s hit me like 100 gecs new album did when I first listened to it at 4:45 one morning before my first sip of coffee. And like the buds on our quince bushes, very interesting new records are popping up all over the place, but in all colors and shapes. A few thoughts:

  1. At least I always give her albums a try, but I’m pert-near unmoved by the charms (?–weird word for her, though I suppose The Sirens were charming) of Lana Del Rey. Rather than figure out a new way to say it, I’ll just copy and paste what I replied to a good friend who loves her (and I DO NOT begrudge him or anyone else their Lana-love): “To quote Neil Young, ‘It’s all one song.’ I’m still not buying in. I mean, it’s far from bad, but I just don’t resonate with Cali femme fatales (or femme fatales in general) in 2023, plus she works the same levers every album. She is interesting, but she reminds me of another interesting artist I only like in VERY small doses, Nick Cave (whom I’m fairly sure you like a lot). They just trade on stuff I’m somehow invulnerable to.
  2. Clearly, though, I love former Raincoat Gina Burch’s new album. From the title (justified) to the songs to the attitude, she’s living proof that growing old and thinking younger is no sin. She’s still playing the game of life to win.
  3. Note to my friend Kevin Bozelka: you are the first person I remember mentioning 100 gecs. As I have before, I undervalued your enthusiasm. I did try them, and sillily thought them silly. I did kinda like “Stupid Horse.” I am now among the convinced. Will I never learn, K-Boz?
  4. Trance-state-lovers: please check out the Islandman record, Aftab’s collab, the Necks’ new one (no surprise but fans are fine with that), and Dream Dolphin’s carefully selected compilation.
  5. Last year, I don’t think I convinced anyone I know to sample Temporal Drift’s excavations of the late Sixties-early Seventies Japanese rock scene, especially the folkie–>drone–>skronkensqueal performances of Les Raillizes Denudes. The band was one of a kind, and noise junkies who can forgive often out-of-tune singing (in Japanese)–I do not know one who cannot–seriously need to take the plunge. I mean now, Buster Brown.
  6. Fans of Robert Ashley’s Perfect Lives / Private Parts recordings might just HAVE to try Jacqueline Humbert and David Rosenboom’s Daytime Viewing (just reissued on Unseen Worlds–great and accurate label name, by the way), which was recorded around the same time. Where Ashley is droll, they are simply slot-mouthed as they roll out tales of domestic damage regularly communicated by the title TV machine.
  7. Numbers 7 & 37: “There’s one thing that I’m certain of / Return, I will, [always], to [new] Brazil.”
  8. I am reading with great absorption, edification, and enjoyment Irish intellectual Fintan O’Toole’s ingenious pairing of memoir and social history, We Don’t Know Ourselves, which has actually given me hope for my own country. My inclusion here of Black Country, New Road (to which I’ve previously been invulnerable) and Lankum (a little slow and moody for my taste–but they have something I can’t quite put my finger on yet that beguiles me), both of whom hail from the Emerald Isle, may be more than slightly influenced by O’Toole’s magic–especially in proving the title thesis.
  9. Beware jazz octogenarians and septuagenarians–they bedazzle to the end. Wadada Leo Smith just keeps rolling out fetching records–this one has electricity–and Threadgill, though he does not play on his new release, justifies his recent honors with his pen and conduction. As for the younguns? If in the past, you’ve found Angel Bat Dawid a bit much (I’ve been on the verge a few times), she’s gone a very imaginative new direction to create her best record yet.
  10. Because of the rampant idiocy, cruelty, and hatred we are having to fight but endure from chunks of our fellow citizens, I strongly recommend that you either buy a physical copy or pay for a download of the very moving and powerful Anthology Records compilation Blacklips Bar—Androgyns and Deviants / Industrial Romance for Bruised and Battered Angels 1992-1995.

(Bolded items are new to the list; * = Reissue; # = Archival release).

  1. Gina Burch: I Play My Bass Loud (Third Man)
  2. 100 gecs: 10,000 gecs (Dog Show/Atlantic)
  3. Lakecia Benjamin: Phoenix (Whirlwind)
  4. Liv.eGirl in The Half Pearl(Real Life / AWAL)
  5. Islandman (featuring Okay Temiz and Muhlis Berberoglu: Direct-to-Disc Sessions (Night Dreamer)
  6. Kelela: Raven (Warp)
  7. Rodrigo Campos: Pagode Novo (YB Music)
  8. Belle and Sebastian: Late Developers (Matador)
  9. Jason Moran: From the Dancehall to the Battlefield (Yes Records)
  10. Dream Dolphin: Gaia—Selected Ambient & Downtempo Works (1996​-​2003) (Music from Memory)
  11. Walter Daniels: “From Death to Texas” / “Seems Like a Dream” (Spacecase Records 45)
  12. Balka Sound: Balka Sound (Strut)
  13. Hiatus Kaiyote: Choose Your Weapon (Flying Buddha / Sony Masterworks)*
  14. Algiers: Shook (Matador)
  15. Aroof Aftab, Vijay Iyer & Shahzad, Ismaily: Love in Exile (Verve)
  16. Wadada Leo Smith: Fire Illuminations (Kabell)
  17. Parannoul: After the Magic (Poclanos/Top Shelf)
  18. Satoko Fujii & Otomo Yoshihide: Perpetual Motion (Ayler Records)
  19. The Urban Art Ensemble: “Ho’opomopono” (CFG Multimedia 16-minute single)
  20. Angel Bat Dawid: Requiem for Jazz (International Anthem)
  21. The Necks: Travel (Northern Spy)
  22. Kali Uchis: Red Moon in Venus (Geffen)
  23. Various Artists: Purple Haze from East, Volume 1 (VW Sorcerer Productions) *
  24. Karol G: Manana Sera Bonito (Universal Music Latino)
  25. Andrew Cyrille: Music Delivery / Percussion (Intakt)
  26. Tyler Keith & The Apostles: Hell to Pay (Black & Wyatt)
  27. Jacqueline Humbert & David Rosenboom: Daytime Viewing (Unseen Worlds) *
  28. Henry Threadgill: The Other One (Pi)
  29. Bob Dylan: Time Out of Mind Stripped Naked (Columbia)#
  30. Various Artists: Blacklips Bar—Androgyns and Deviants / Industrial Romance for Bruised and Battered Angels 1992-1995 (Anthology Recordings) #
  31. Ingrid Laubrock: The Last Quiet Place (Pyroclastic)
  32. Kaze & Ikue Mori: Crustal Movement (Circum/Libra)
  33. Lonnie Holley: Oh Me Oh My (Jagjaguwar)
  34. Mat Muntz: Phantom Islands (Orenda)
  35. Das Kondensat: Anderen Planeten (Why Play Jazz)
  36. Iris DeMent: Workin’ On a World (FlariElla)
  37. Romulo Froes & Tiago Rosas: Na Goela (YB Music)
  38. James Brandon Lewis: Eye of I (Anti-)
  39. Les Raillizes Denudes: ’77 Live (Temporal Drift) #
  40. Tomas Fujiwara’s Triple Double: March On (self-released EP—coming in March)
  41. Ice SpiceLike…?(10K Projects / Capitol Records EP)
  42. Yves Tumor: Praise a Lord Who Chews but Which Does Not Consume; (Or Simply, Hot Between Worlds) (Warp)
  43. Yonic South: Devo Challenge Cup (Wild Honey)
  44. Eddie Lockjaw Davis and Shirley Scott: Cookin’ With Jaws and The Queen (Craft)
  45. Taiko Saito: Tears of a Cloud (Trouble in the East)
  46. Lankum: False Lankum (Rough Trade)
  47. Staples Jr. Singers: Tell Heaven (EP) (Luaka Bop) Note: the vinyl gets you more great minutes of testifying.
  48. Heinali: Kyiv Eternal (Injazero)
  49. Tri-County Liquidators: “Flies” / “Weep Then Whisper” / “Bitter” (self-released)@
  50. Lana Del Rey: Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd (Polydor)
  51. Various Artists: Turkish-Syrian Earthquake Relief (Canary Records) #
  52. Vinny Golia Quartet: No Refunds (Unbroken Sounds)
  53. Black Country, New Road: Live at Bush Hall (Ninja Tune)
  54. The Art Ensemble of Chicago: From Paris to Paris (Rogue Art)
  55. Gee Tee: Goodnight Neanderthal (Goner)