Musical Gumbo Circa ’21: Best Mach II Pandemic Platters So Far

Plenty of cool new sounds to explore! I had to replace a few platters that just hadn’t stuck to my ears’ ribs and whittle off a few more waning wekkids to leave it at a HOT 100. Also, it finally occurred to me that the list’s expanded enough to break off the new releases of old stuff into their own list (see below). Buy some of this music instead of just streaming it, ok?

100 FRESH FOR 2021

BOLDED ITEMS are new to the list. #s indicate archival music.

  1. Mdou Moctar: Afrique Victim 
  2. James Brandon Lewis: Jesup Wagon 
  3. East Axis: Cool With That 
  4. Ka: Martyr’s Victory
  5. William Parker: Mayan Space Station 
  6. Miguel Zenon: Law Years—The Music of Ornette Coleman 
  7. Tim Berne: Broken Shadows 
  8. Bob Dylan: Soundtrack to the film Shadow Kingdom (unavailable, but what the hell)
  9. Gimenez Lopez: Reunion en la granja
  10. R.A.P. Ferreira: Bob’s Son  
  11. Wild Up: Julius Eastman, Volume 1–Femenine
  12. No-No Boy: 1975 
  13. The Halluci Nation: One More Saturday Night
  14. Robert Finley: Sharecropper’s Son 
  15. Mauricio Tagliari: Maô_Danças Típicas de Cidades Imaginárias
  16. Penelope Scott: Public Void  
  17. Paris: Safe Space Invader 
  18. Pink Siifu: Gumbo’!
  19. Chrissie Hynde: Standing in the Doorway—Chrissie Hynde Sings Bob Dylan 
  20. Dry Cleaning: Sweet Princess (EP) 
  21. Sons of Kemet: Black to the Future 
  22. Sa-Roc: The Sharecropper’s Daughter
  23. Fire in Little Africa: Fire in Little Africa 
  24. Graham Haynes vs. Submerged: Echolocation 
  25. Dawn Richard: Second Line  
  26. Slaughterhouse: Fun Factory
  27. Jupiter and Okwess: Na Kozonga 
  28. The Goon Sax: Mirror II 
  29. Kalie Shorr: I Got Here by Accident
  30. Ches Smith and We All Break: Path of Seven Colors 
  31. Amythyst Kiah: Wary + Strange 
  32. Dave: We’re All Alone in This Together 
  33. Ashnikko: Demidevil  
  34. Tropical Fuck Storm: Deep States
  35. Genesis Owusu: Smiling with No Teeth 
  36. Marianne Faithfull (with Warren Ellis): She Walks in Beauty 
  37. Low-Cut Connie: Tough Cookies 
  38. Jaubi: Nafs at Peace (featuring Latamik and Tenderlonious) 
  39. Czarface & MF DOOM: Super What? 
  40. BaianaSystem: OXEAXEEXU 
  41. SAULT: Nine 
  42. McKinley Dixon: For My Mama and Anyone Who Look Like Her 
  43. Vincent Herring: Preaching to the Choir 
  44. Lukah: When the Black Hand Touches You 
  45. Dax Pierson: Nerve Bumps (A Queer Divine Satisfaction) 
  46. L’Rain: Fatigue 
  47. Emily Duff: Razor Blade Smile
  48. Maria Muldaur & Tuba Skinny: Let’s Get Happy Together 
  49. Ran Cap Duoi: Ngù Ngay Ngày Tân Thê
  50. Angelique Kidjo: Mother Nature 
  51. ICP Orchestra & Nieuw Amsterdams Peil: 062 / De Hondemepper 
  52. Body Metta: The Work is Slow 
  53. Damon Locks / Black Monument Ensemble: NOW 
  54. Loretta Lynn: Still Woman Enough 
  55. Anthony Joseph: The Rich are Only Defeated When Running for Their Lives 
  56. Jason Moran & Milford Graves: Live at Big Ears 
  57. Barry Altschul’s 3Dom Factor: Long Tall Sunshine 
  58. JD Allen: Queen City 
  59. Bleachers: Take the Sadness Out of Saturday Night
  60. Various Artists: He’s Bad!—11 Bands Decimate the Beat of Bo Diddley  
  61. Vince Staples: Vince Staples
  62. Various Artists: Indaba Is 
  63. Wau Wau Collectif: Yaral Sa Doom 
  64. Yvette Janine Jackson: Freedom 
  65. Peter Stampfel: Peter Stampfel’s 20th Century in 100 Songs 
  66. Backxwash: I Lie Here with My Rings and Dresses 
  67. Billie Eilish: Happier Than Ever
  68. Various Artists: Doomed & Stoned in Scotland 
  69. Los Lobos: Native Sons
  70. Jazmine Sullivan: Heaux Tales 
  71. Various Artists: Allen Ginsberg’s The Fall of America–A 50th Anniversary Musical Tribute 
  72. Les Filles de Illighadad: At Pioneer Works 
  73. Billy Nomates: Emergency Telephone (EP) 
  74. Gyedu-Blay Ambolley: 11th Street, Sekondi 
  75. Dry Cleaning: New Long Leg 
  76. Madlib: Sound Ancestors 
  77. Julien Baker: Little Oblivions 
  78. Cedric Burnside: I Be Trying 
  79. Archie Shepp and Jason Moran: Let My People Go 
  80. Roisin Murphy: Crooked Machine  
  81. girl in red: if I could make it go quiet 
  82. Lana Del Rey: Chemtrails Over the Country Club 
  83. Brockhampton: Roadrunner—New Light, New Machine 
  84. Vijay Iyer, Linda Han Oh, and Tyshawn Sorey: Uneasy 
  85. Olivia Rodrigo: SOUR 
  86. Steve Earle: JT 
  87. Tee Grizzley: Built for Whatever 
  88. Halsey: If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power
  89. Benny The Butcher: Pyrex Picasso
  90. Jinx Lennon: Liferafts for Latchicos
  91. The Hold Steady: Open Door Policy  
  92. Elizabeth King & The Gospel Souls: Living in the Last Days 
  93. Alder Ego: III 
  94. Sierra Ferrell: Long Time Coming
  95. Alton Gün: Yol 
  96. Meet Me @ The Altar: Model Citizen (EP) 
  97. Penelope Scott: Hazards (EP)
  98. Floating Points & Pharoah Sanders: Promises 
  99. Sana Nagano: Smashing Humans 
  100. serpentwithfeet: DEACON 

Archaeological Digs from Days Gone By

Julius Hemphill: The Boyé Multinational Crusade for Harmony  

JuJu: Live at 131 Prince Street

Kiko Kids Jazz: Tanganyika Na Uhuru

Khaira Arby: Khaira Arby in New York

Various Artists: A Stranger I May Be—Savoy Gospel 1954-1966 

Plastic People of The Universe: Apokalyptickej pták  

Roy Brooks: Understanding

Neil Young and Crazy Horse: Down in the Rust Bucket

Screamers: Demo Hollywood 1977

Can: Live in Stuttgart 1975

Hamiet Blueitt: Bearer of the Holy Flame

Byard Lancaster: My Pure Joy

Various Artists: Wallahi Le Zein! 

Various Artists: The Smithsonian Anthology of Rap and Hip Hop 

Charles Mingus: Mingus at Carnegie Hall # 

Various Artists: Chicago / The Blues / Today, Volumes 1-3 # 

The J Ann C Trio: At Tan-Tar-A

Hasaan Ibn Ali: Metaphysics—The Lost Atlantic Album

Alice Coltrane: Kirtan–Turiya Sings 

Mistreater: Hell’s Fire 

Blue Gene Tyranny: Degrees of Freedom Found

Various Artists: Alan Lomax’s American Patchwork

Pure Hell: Noise Addiction

BurntSugarThe Arkestra Chamber: 20th AnniversaryMixtapes / Groiddest Schizznits, Volumes 1-3

Nermin Niazi: Disco Se Aagay

Joe Strummer: Assembly

Robert Miranda’s Home Music Ensemble: Live at The Bing # 

Various Artists: Edo Funk Explosion, Volume 1

Joseph Spence: Encore

Various Artists: Rare.wavs, Volume 1

SINGLES

Dry Cleaning: “Bug Eggs”/”Tony Speaks!” 

Steve Lehman:: “Cognition” (JLin remix

Henry Threadgill: “Clear and Distinct” (Georgia Ann Muldrow remix) 

Axxe: “Through the Night” / Rock Away the City” 

COOL WITH THIS!: Strongest Records of 2021 So Far, By My Lights

Observations:

*The great American music scholar, musician, and composer Allen Lowe, in league with his razor-sharp jazz unit East Axis, knocked out one of his best recordings ever, Cool With That, in the fall of 2020. Ill health proceeded to fall upon him, and though he appears to have survived it, more struggles lay ahead. This is the best free jazz disc yet released in ’21–pay Lowe back and check it out.

*Speaking of jazz players, composers, and freedom, William Parker’s career output is a challenge to explore fully, but do not miss his new release, Mayan Space Station, which features the exciting guitarist Ava Mendoza. Parker’s made a wide variety of records, but never one with six-string this cutting.

*Inexplicably–well, I have been under a lot of stress for many months, and thus distracted–I dropped the ball on Bob Dylan’s there-and-gone film Shadow Kingdom: The Early Songs of Bob Dylan (early–the old fucker’s still got a hell of a sense of humor). I missed it, flat out. Also, instead of simply admiring the indefatigable energy of my longtime lamplight, I occasionally suspect him of, um, gambits; I’m not sure what exactly that means, but maybe “hustle” is a better word. My own gambit not to get my knickers in a twist over the production, however, proved stupid at least from the aural evidence. This morning I was able to access the commercially unavailable soundtrack (cheating, I list it below), and it kicks mountains of ass. Getting sidelined from constant touring’s cleared out his larynx, but more importantly, via neat new arrangements, subtly altered lyrics, and a lot of vim, he made several of his “old” tunes completely fresh–in fact, “To Be Alone With You” and “The Wicked Messenger” (at least) top the originals, and from his current mortal vantage point, “Forever Young” is forever young. BluRay, please?

*My wife Nicole and I helped crowdfund the Smithsonian’s rap project back in 2014, via Kickstarter. The nine-disc box finally arrived in stores this week; it was also our donors’ gift. Even though the tracks stop at 2014, it’s excellently selected and sequenced, it sounds incredible, the accompanying book and vintage photographs are stunning, and…well…it was about damn time. Among the minor quibbles: no DOOM.

*Alto saxophonist Tim Berne’s intense new tribute to Ornette Coleman’s work is the THIRD of the year to make the list, and they’re all so good it makes you miss Ornette even more deeply. PLEASE sample Miguel Zenon’s and Gimenez Lopez’s as well.

*I don’t know any one in person or in cyberspace who loves the British rapper Dave as much as I do. I suppose hardcore hip hop heads might malign his rhyming and flowing skills, or sniff at his beats, but he is the kind of storyteller we need right now, and from the beginning of his last record to the end of his new one I’ve never been bored. In a way, Florence Shaw of the band Dry Cleaning is his narrative sibling; she mostly talks, but it’s what she talks about, and the settings that surround the stories, that count.

*The Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri–COVID Central once already, and probably heading that way again right now. But HEY–if you’re starving for lounge rockabilly with an edge, slide on over to Sundazed Records and check out their latest excavation: the J Ann C Trio Live at Tan-Tar-A (the site of many Missouri public education retreats and worse). Fans of Wanda Jackson and The Skeletons/Morells should NOT miss it.

*I feel like I may have underrated Low Cut Connie’s “Quarantine Concert” covers comp on this list. They’re a group I admire more than I listen to, BUT…this record can open up your waterworks. Adam Weiner is indeed among the last of our eighty-eight-key rock and rollers, and he puts EVERYTHING into these performances. You can feel it in the choices, in his playing, and particularly in the singing–plus? The tough cookies he was referring to were–are, goddam it, we have to be all over again–us.

*The pandemic slowed most musicians, but some, like tenor saxophonist extraordinaire JD Allen, took the bull by the horns and just recorded alone. Allen’s record of solo performances is searing.

*If you’re reading this, you certainly know Bad Brains. Likely, you know Death (well, we all do, but I’m talking about the band). Probably, you don’t know Pure Hell (at least you don’t know the band by that name). Yep: there were at least THREE punk bands of color in the ’70s.

*I want to thank the longtime record gobbler and music sage Tom Hull for regularly linking me on his absolutely essential blog. He is a giant when it comes to keeping fanatics informed about the best of the wide range of music humans make, and he is quite a sharp political mind and cook as well. I am truly humbled he occasionally checks this spot out, and it’s perhaps out of embarrassment that I’ve started commenting more as well as thinking about and slapping down a damned list. Anyone can do that. (I DO listen to them all, though–just sayin’….LOL….)

*I totally love what Sweden’s Jobcentre Rejects label has been up to lately: digging up spunky but obscure Rust Belt metal from the early Eighties. Mistreater’s album is on the main list, and Axxe’s killer 45 is down on my teensie singles listing below. Thing is, there was no pomp in these bands; they existed solely to head-bang and lay down the bad-ass sound–the bad-ass non-technophilic sound, I should say.

BOLDED ITEMS are new to the list. #s indicate archival music.

  1. Mdou Moctar: Afrique Victim 
  1. JuJu: Live at 131 Prince Street #
  1. Julius Hemphill: The Boyé Multinational Crusade for Harmony  
  1. James Brandon Lewis: Jesup Wagon 
  1. East Axis: Cool With That 
  1. William Parker: Mayan Space Station 
  1. Miguel Zenon: Law Years—The Music of Ornette Coleman 
  1. Various Artists: The Smithsonian Anthology of Rap and Hip Hop #
  1. Khaira Arby: Khaira Arby in New York # 
  1. Tim Berne: Broken Shadows 
  1. Bob Dylan: Soundtrack to the film Shadow Kingdom 
  1. Plastic People of The Universe: Apokalyptickej pták  #
  1. Fire in Little Africa: Fire in Little Africa 
  1. Neil Young and Crazy Horse: Down in the Rust Bucket # 
  1. R.A.P. Ferreira: Bob’s Son  
  1. AUM Grand Ensemble x Ensemble 0: Performs Julius Eastman’s Femenine 
  1. Screamers: Demo Hollywood 1977 # 
  1. No-No Boy: 1975 
  1. Robert Finley: Sharecropper’s Son 
  1. Gimenez Lopez: Reunion en la granja 
  1. Penelope Scott: Public Void  
  1. Paris: Safe Space Invader 
  1. Various Artists: A Stranger I May Be—Savoy Gospel 1954-1966 # 
  1. Dave: We’re All Alone in This Together 
  1. Can: Live in Stuttgart 1975 # 
  1. Hamiet Blueitt: Bearer of the Holy Flame # 
  1. Byard Lancaster: My Pure Joy # 
  1. Ashnikko: Demidevil  
  1. Dax Pierson: Nerve Bumps (A Queer Divine Satisfaction) 
  1. L’Rain: Fatigue 
  1. Chrissie Hynde: Standing in the Doorway—Chrissie Hynde Sings Bob Dylan 
  1. Charles Mingus: Mingus at Carnegie Hall # 
  1. Various Artists: Chicago / The Blues / Today, Volumes 1-3 # 
  1. Dry Cleaning: Sweet Princess (EP) 
  1. Sons of Kemet: Black to the Future 
  1. Graham Haynes vs. Submerged: Echolocation 
  1. Dawn Richard: Second Line  
  1. Jupiter and Okwess: Na Kozonga 
  1. The Goon Sax: Mirror II 
  1. The J Ann C Trio: At Tan-Tar-A #
  1. Brockhampton: Roadrunner—New Light, New Machine 
  1. Ches Smith and We All Break: Path of Seven Colors 
  1. Hasaan Ibn Ali: Metaphysics—The Lost Atlantic Album # 
  1. Amythyst Kiah: Wary + Strange 
  1. Genesis Owusu: Smiling with No Teeth 
  1. Marianne Faithfull (with Warren Ellis): She Walks in Beauty 
  1. Low-Cut Connie: Tough Cookies 
  1. Jaubi: Nafs at Peace (featuring Latamik and Tenderlonious) 
  1. Barry Altschul’s 3Dom Factor: Long Tall Sunshine 
  1. Czarface & MF DOOM: Super What? 
  1. BaianaSystem: OXEAXEEXU 
  1. SAULT: Nine 
  1. McKinley Dixon: For My Mama and Anyone Who Look Like Her 
  1. Vincent Herring: Preaching to the Choir 
  1. Lukah: When the Black Hand Touches You 
  1. Maria Muldaur & Tuba Skinny: Let’s Get Happy Together 
  1. Angelique Kidjo: Mother Nature 
  1. ICP Orchestra & Nieuw Amsterdams Peil: 062 / De Hondemepper 
  1. Body Metta: The Work is Slow 
  1. Damon Locks / Black Monument Ensemble: NOW 
  1. Loretta Lynn: Still Woman Enough 
  1. Anthony Joseph: The Rich are Only Defeated When Running for Their Lives 
  1. Jason Moran & Milford Graves: Live at Big Ears 
  1. Alice Coltrane: Kirtan–Turiya Sings #
  1. Mistreater: Hell’s Fire 
  1. Blue Gene Tyranny: Degrees of Freedom Found # 
  1. JD Allen: Queen City 
  1. Various Artists: He’s Bad!—11 Bands Decimate the Beat of Bo Diddley  
  1. Various Artists: Wallahi Le Zein! 
  1. Various Artists: Indaba Is 
  1. Wau Wau Collectif: Yaral Sa Doom 
  1. Yvette Janine Jackson: Freedom 
  1. Various Artists: Alan Lomax’s American Patchwork # 
  1. Peter Stampfel: Peter Stampfel’s 20th Century in 100 Songs 
  1. Backxwash: I Lie Here with My Rings and Dresses 
  1. Pure Hell: Noise Addiction #
  1. Various Artists: Doomed & Stoned in Scotland 
  1. Jazmine Sullivan: Heaux Tales 
  1. Burnt Sugar The Arkestra Chamber: 20th Anniversary Mixtapes / Groiddest Schizznits, Volumes 1-3
  1. Various Artists: Allen Ginsberg’s The Fall of America–A 50th Anniversary Musical Tribute 
  1. Les Filles de Illighadad: At Pioneer Works 
  1. Billy Nomates: Emergency Telephone (EP) 
  1. Gyedu-Blay Ambolley: 11th Street, Sekondi 
  1. Various Artists: Rare.wavs, Volume 1 #
  1. Dry Cleaning: New Long Leg 
  1. Nermin Niazi: Disco Se Aagay # 
  1. Madlib: Sound Ancestors 
  1. Joe Strummer: Assembly # 
  1. Julien Baker: Little Oblivions 
  1. Cedric Burnside: I Be Trying 
  1. Archie Shepp and Jason Moran: Let My People Go 
  1. Roisin Murphy: Crooked Machine  
  1. girl in red: if I could make it go quiet 
  1. Lana Del Rey: Chemtrails Over the Country Club 
  1. Robert Miranda’s Home Music Ensemble: Live at The Bing # 
  1. Vijay Iyer, Linda Han Oh, and Tyshawn Sorey: Uneasy 
  1. Olivia Rodrigo: SOUR 
  1. Steve Earle: JT 
  1. Tee Grizzley: Built for Whatever 
  1. Tony Allen (and friends): There is No End 
  1. Jinx Lennon: Liferafts for Latchicos 
  1. The Hold Steady: Open Door Policy  
  1. Elizabeth King & The Gospel Souls: Living in the Last Days 
  1. Alder Ego: III 
  1. Garbage: No Gods No Masters 
  1. Shem Tube, Justo Osala, Enos Okola: Guitar Music of Western Kenya 
  1. Contour: Love Suite 
  1. Alton Gün: Yol 
  1. Various Artists: Edo Funk Explosion, Volume 1 # 
  1. Hearth: Melt 
  1. Trak Trak: Sur Sur 
  1. Floating Points & Pharoah Sanders: Promises 
  1. Sana Nagano: Smashing Humans 
  1. serpentwithfeet: DEACON 
  1. Rodrigo Amado & This is Our Language Quartet: Let the Free Be Men 

SINGLES

Dry Cleaning: “Bug Eggs”/”Tony Speaks!” 

Steve Lehman:: “Cognition” (JLin remix

Henry Threadgill: “Clear and Distinct” (Georgia Ann Muldrow remix) 

Axxe: “Through the Night” / Rock Away the City” 

90 Degrees of Freedom Found: My Favorite Rekkid Releases of 2021, and We’re Only Halfway There

Random observations on the recent explosion of excellent recordings I always should expect but never do and grouse about the paucity of then look dim-witted as a result of my shitty memory:

  1. You may think I’m a little nuts by including so many box sets, but they really are that good and I have been listening to them. Is sitting around listening to box set really a pop thang? Should I even care? Somebody’s gotta do it.
  2. The Puerto Rican saxophonist Miguel Zenon is having a great year. He’s on two records here (Law Years and Path of Seven Colors) and his duet album of boleros with Luis Perdomo is stunning but I need to listen to it one more time.
  3. I have moved many items around, but I finally hooked right into AUM Grand Ensemble & Ensemble O’s interpretation of Julius Eastman’s Femenine. Eastman’s having a MUCH-deserved revisiting and several interpretations of this piece are out there, but none this hypnotic and beautiful.
  4. How much mileage does SAULT get out of mystique?
  5. I’ll have some of what Loretty’s having, please.
  6. I’m sorry, I just don’t fucking trust Lana Del Rey and I really despise Olivia Rodrigo’s single, but the sonics and words of the former’s album (I’m just blocking out her persona) and the rest of the latter’s songs (for the most part) have broken my resistance. For now.
  7. That Screamers excavation is the first new record I have surprised my wife Nicole with that we both instantly jumped up and down joyfully to. Myself, I’d really mostly only read about them in West Coast punk tomes, but after a 40-year-burial this item really explodes out of the vault.
  8. Is it fair to list Record Store Day releases on these lists? I admit I just lie in wait with my bobber floating in eBay Lake, and I assume anyone else can as well.
  9. If you’re needing a guitar-helping and moping ’cause you can locate one, I urge you to dip into the Moctar, Arby, and Young items in the Top 10. Seriously.
  10. SUPPORT FIRE IN LITTLE AFRICA’S PROJECT. It’s worthy.

BOLDED ITEMS ARE NEW TO THE LIST.

Mdou Moctar: Afrique Victim

JuJu: Live at 131 Prince Street #

Julius Hemphill: The Boyé Multinational Crusade for Harmony 

James Brandon Lewis: Jesup Wagon

Miguel Zenon: Law Years—The Music of Ornette Coleman

Khaira Arby: Khaira Arby in New York #

Fire in Little Africa: Fire in Little Africa

Neil Young and Crazy Horse: Down in the Rust Bucket #

R.A.P. Ferreira: Bob’s Son 

AUM Grand Ensemble x Ensemble 0: Performs Julius Eastman’s Femenine

Screamers: Demo Hollywood 1977 #

No-No Boy: 1975

Robert Finley: Sharecropper’s Son

Gimenez Lopez: Reunion en la granja

Penelope Scott: Public Void 

Paris: Safe Space Invader

Various Artists: A Stranger I May Be—Savoy Gospel 1954-1966 #

Can: Live in Stuttgart 1975 #

Hamiet Blueitt: Bearer of the Holy Flame #

Byard Lancaster: My Pure Joy #

Ashnikko: Demidevil 

Dax Pierson: Nerve Bumps (A Queer Divine Satisfaction)

Chrissie Hynde: Standing in the Doorway—Chrissie Hynde Sings Bob Dylan

Charles Mingus: Mingus at Carnegie Hall #

Various Artists: Chicago / The Blues / Today, Volumes 1-3 #

Dry Cleaning: Sweet Princess (EP)

Sons of Kemet: Black to the Future

Dawn Richard: Second Line 

Brockhampton: Roadrunner—New Light, New Machine

Ches Smith and We All Break: Path of Seven Colors

Hasaan Ibn Ali: Metaphysics—The Lost Atlantic Album #

Amythyst Kiah: Wary + Strange

Genesis Owusu: Smiling with No Teeth

Marianne Faithfull (with Warren Ellis): She Walks in Beauty

Jaubi: Nafs at Peace (featuring Latamik and Tenderlonious)

SAULT: Nine

Vincent Herring: Preaching to the Choir

Lukah: When the Black Hand Touches You

Angelique Kidjo: Mother Nature

ICP Orchestra & Nieuw Amsterdams Peil: 062 / De Hondemepper

Damon Locks / Black Monument Ensemble: NOW

Loretta Lynn: Still Woman Enough

Anthony Joseph: The Rich are Only Defeated When Running for Their Lives

Jason Moran & Milford Graves: Live at Big Ears

Mistreater: Hell’s Fire #

Blue Gene Tyranny: Degrees of Freedom Found #

Various Artists: He’s Bad!—11 Bands Decimate the Beat of Bo Diddley 

Various Artists: Wallahi Le Zein!

Various Artists: Indaba Is

Wau Wau Collectif: Yaral Sa Doom

Yvette Janine Jackson: Freedom

Various Artists: Alan Lomax’s American Patchwork #

Peter Stampfel: Peter Stampfel’s 20th Century in 100 Songs

Backxwash: I Lie Here with My Rings and Dresses

Various Artists: Doomed & Stoned in Scotland

Jazmine Sullivan: Heaux Tales

Burnt Sugar The Arkestra Chamber: 20th Anniversary Mixtapes / Groiddest Schizznits, Volumes 1-3#

Various Artists: Allen Ginsberg’s The Fall of America–A 50th Anniversary Musical Tribute

Billy Nomates: Emergency Telephone (EP)

Gyedu-Blay Ambolley: 11th Street, Sekondi

Various Artists: Rare.wavs, Volume 1

Dry Cleaning: New Long Leg

Nermin Niazi: Disco Se Aagay #

Madlib: Sound Ancestors

Joe Strummer: Assembly #

Julien Baker: Little Oblivions

Cedric Burnside: I Be Trying

Archie Shepp and Jason Moran: Let My People Go

Roisin Murphy: Crooked Machine 

girl in red: if I could make it go quiet

Lana Del Rey: Chemtrails Over the Country Club

Robert Miranda’s Home Music Ensemble: Live at The Bing #

Vijay Iyer, Linda Han Oh, and Tyshawn Sorey: Uneasy

Olivia Rodrigo: SOUR

Steve Earle: JT

Tee Grizzley: Built for Whatever

Tony Allen (and friends): There is No End

Jinx Lennon: Liferafts for Latchicos

The Hold Steady: Open Door Policy 

Elizabeth King & The Gospel Souls: Living in the Last Days

Alder Ego: III

Garbage: No Gods No Masters

Shem Tube, Justo Osala, Enos Okola: Guitar Music of Western Kenya

Contour: Love Suite

Alton Gün: Yol

Various Artists: Edo Funk Explosion, Volume 1 #

Hearth: Melt

Floating Points & Pharoah Sanders: Promises

Sana Nagano: Smashing Humans

serpentwithfeet: DEACON

AFTERNOTE (is that a word?):

Top 10 Artists I’ve Been Listening to Over the Last 72 hours / A Nod to Will Friedwald

Carmen McRae (I’m pretty much always listening to–at the very least hearing in my head–Lady McRae)

Anita O’Day (I’m pretty much always listening to–at the very least hearing in my head–Lady O’Day)

Moody Marilyn Moore

Cliff “Ukelele Ike” Edwards

Herb Jeffries

Jackie Paris

Carol Sloane

Earl Coleman–LOTS of Earl Coleman

Al Hibbler

Jeanne Lee

STREAM ‘EM IF YOU GOT ‘EM….

“Chrissie, Bar the Door”–A Gush of Recorded Matter into the LTL List: January 1st – June 1, 2021

All I have to say is the size of my list of 2021 go-to albums just increased by 30%, no surprise, as the gears of normal creativity and associated production are grinding into motion. That, and the two new albums created by African artists that stormed my top five are crackling with six-string (and vocal) intensity.

Bolded items are new to the list; items followed by a # are reissues or archival digs; all items are linked to pages of interest or usefulness.

  1. Mdou Moctar: Afrique Victim
  2. JuJu: Live at 131 Prince Street #
  3. Julius Hemphill: The Boyé Multinational Crusade for Harmony #
  4. James Brandon Lewis: Jesup Wagon
  5. Khaira Arby: Khaira Arby in New York #
  6. Fire in Little Africa: Fire in Little Africa
  7. Neil Young and Crazy Horse: Down in the Rust Bucket #
  8. Miguel Zenon: Law Years—The Music of Ornette Coleman
  9. R.A.P. Ferreira: Bob’s Son 
  10. No-No Boy: 1975
  11. Ashnikko: Demidevil 
  12. Robert Finley: Sharecropper’s Son
  13. Gimenez Lopez: Reunion en la granja
  14. Penelope Scott: Public Void 
  15. Paris: Safe Space Invader
  16. Can: Live in Stuttgart 1975 #
  17. Byard Lancaster: My Pure Joy #
  18. Jazmine Sullivan: Heaux Tales
  19. Dax Pierson: Nerve Bumps (A Queer Divine Satisfaction)
  20. Hamiet Blueitt: Bearer of the Holy Flame #
  21. Brockhampton: Roadrunner—New Light, New Machine
  22. Dawn Richard: Second Line 
  23. Chrissie Hynde: Standing in the Doorway—Chrissie Hynde Sings Bob Dylan
  24. Various Artists: Alan Lomax’s American Patchwork #
  25. Peter Stampfel: Peter Stampfel’s 20th Century in 100 Songs
  26. Various Artists: He’s Bad!—11 Bands Decimate the Beat of Bo Diddley 
  27. Hasaan Ibn Ali: Metaphysics—The Lost Atlantic Album #
  28. Various Artists: Doomed & Stoned in Scotland
  29. Genesis Owusu: Smiling with No Teeth
  30. Marianne Faithfull (with Warren Ellis): She Walks in Beauty
  31. Vincent Herring: Preaching to the Choir
  32. Lukah: When the Black Hand Touches You
  33. Damon Locks / Black Monument Ensemble: NOW
  34. Various Artists: Allen Ginsberg’s The Fall of America–A 50th Anniversary Musical Tribute
  35. Various Artists: Indaba Is
  36. Wau Wau Collectif: Yaral Sa Doom
  37. Yvette Janine Jackson: Freedom
  38. Burnt Sugar The Arkestra Chamber: 20th Anniversary Mixtapes / Groiddest Schizznits, Volumes 1-3 #
  39. Jason Moran & Milford Graves: Live at Big Ears
  40. Nermin Niazi: Disco Se Aagay #
  41. Billy Nomates: Emergency Telephone (EP)
  42. Mistreater: Hell’s Fire #
  43. Madlib: Sound Ancestors
  44. Joe Strummer: Assembly #
  45. Julien Baker: Little Oblivions
  46. Archie Shepp and Jason Moran: Let My People Go
  47. Roisin Murphy: Crooked Machine 
  48. Robert Miranda’s Home Music Ensemble: Live at The Bing #
  49. Ensemble 0: Performs Julius Eastman’s Femenine
  50. Vijay Iyer, Linda Han Oh, and Tyshawn Sorey: Uneasy
  51. Alder Ego: III
  52. Shem Tube, Justo Osala, Enos Okola: Guitar Music of Western Kenya
  53. Steve Earle: JT
  54. Tee Grizzley: Built for Whatever
  55. Tony Allen (and friends): There is No End
  56. Jinx Lennon: Liferafts for Latchicos
  57. The Hold Steady: Open Door Policy 
  58. Elizabeth King & The Gospel Souls: Living in the Last Days
  59. Contour: Love Suite
  60. Alton Gün: Yol
  61. Various Artists: Edo Funk Explosion, Volume 1 #
  62. Hearth: Melt
  63. Floating Points & Pharoah Sanders: Promises
  64. Sana Nagano: Smashing Humans
  65. serpentwithfeet: DEACON

“It’s Growing: Most Euphonious Fruit of First Quarter, 2021”

Music Spring has apparently sprung–although I’m not yet hearing anything that will knock most people’s socks off; for that matter, the only two records I’ve been addicted to are (no surprise) #1 and (ranked “low” because I have a strong Ornette Coleman bias) #5. Also, 14 out of 50 (*) are jazz recordings, none of them that straight-ahead; however, lest you suspect me musically anhedoniacal, I would classify seven of them FUN (!). I’m catching on! Maybe I’m catching back on. In other news?

POETRY is in the house (#s 22 and 25–the former a must for all you trad Brit Lit majors, the latter pretty fucking FUN itself, but just remember what the lit-heads in your life consider fun)…

I just dove into the Doomed & Stoned series (honoring a silent pledge to my metalhead friend Vance, for whose sake I will try 4-5 metal albums a year, though this collection might be more accurately described as “stoner rock”), fished its Scottish entry out of the loch, and found it consistently satisfied my riff requirements and seldom repelled me with overly ugly singing…

I think I got a bit overexcited about the Julien Baker album simply because she was coming forth with more energy, but she remains an attractively sullen writer, to me at least, because that’s been my usual attitude du jour lately…

I am fucking hooked on Roisin Murphy. Anything you wanna serve up, even if it’s “just” a remix.

OK, kids, keep in mind that this coming Friday (May 7) is the (reputedly) last Bandcamp Friday. Many of the links below go straight to these records’ Bandcamp page. Put your money where you ears are, ’cause we know you’re streaming your ass off.

(Items which are new to the list are bolded; also, the order–always a touch whimsically arrived at–has shifted significantly from March. Items followed by an # are either reissues, fresh compilations of older material, or archival finds).

  1. JuJu: Live at 131 Prince Street*#
  2. Julius Hemphill: The Boyé Multinational Crusade for Harmony*#
  3. James Brandon Lewis: Jesup Wagon*
  4. Neil Young and Crazy Horse: Down in the Rust Bucket !#
  5. Miguel Zenon: Law Years—The Music of Ornette Coleman*
  6. R.A.P. Ferreira: Bob’s Son !
  7. Ashnikko: Demidevil !
  8. Various Artists: He’s Bad!—11 Bands Decimate the Beat of Bo Diddley !
  9. Dax Pierson: Nerve Bumps (A Queer Divine Satisfaction)
  10. Gimenez Lopez: Reunion en la granja*
  11. Penelope Scott: Public Void !
  12. Paris: Safe Space Invader
  13. Byard Lancaster: My Pure Joy*#
  14. Jazmine Sullivan: Heaux Tales
  15. Hamiet Blueitt: Bearer of the Holy Flame*#
  16. Dawn Richard: Second Line !
  17. Various Artists: Alan Lomax’s American Patchwork#
  18. Peter Stampfel: Peter Stampfel’s 20th Century in 100 Songs
  19. Hasaan Ibn Ali: Metaphysics—The Lost Atlantic Album*#
  20. Various Artists: Doomed & Stoned in Scotland
  21. Genesis Owusu: Smiling with No Teeth
  22. Marianne Faithfull (with Warren Ellis): She Walks in Beauty
  23. Lukah: When the Black Hand Touches You
  24. Damon Locks / Black Monument Ensemble: NOW
  25. Various Artists: Allen Ginsberg’s The Fall of America–A 50th Anniversary Musical Tribute
  26. Various Artists: Indaba Is
  27. Wau Wau Collectif: Yaral Sa Doom
  28. Yvette Janine Jackson: Freedom
  29. Jason Moran & Milford Graves: Live at Big Ears*
  30. Nermin Niazi: Disco Se Aagay !
  31. Billy Nomates: Emergency Telephone (EP)
  32. Madlib: Sound Ancestors
  33. Joe Strummer: Assembly#
  34. Julien Baker: Little Oblivions
  35. Archie Shepp and Jason Moran: Let My People Go*
  36. Roisin Murphy: Crooked Machine !
  37. Robert Miranda’s Home Music Ensemble: Live at The Bing*#
  38. Ensemble 0: Performs Julius Eastman’s Femenine
  39. Vijay Iyer, Linda Han Oh, and Tyshawn Sorey: Uneasy*
  40. Alder Ego: III*
  41. Shem Tube, Justo Osala, Enos Okola: Guitar Music of Western Kenya
  42. Steve Earle: JT
  43. Jinx Lennon: Liferafts for Latchicos
  44. The Hold Steady: Open Door Policy (Hey–buy this album played live as cheap as you wanna!)
  45. Omar Sosa: East African Journey
  46. Alton Gün: Yol
  47. Various Artists: Edo Funk Explosion, Volume 1 !#
  48. Hearth: Melt*
  49. Floating Points & Pharoah Sanders: Promises*
  50. serpentwithfeet: DEACON

“GIVE Me Just a Little More TIME!”: Mike Rayhill, 1962-2021

A man for all occasions.

Mike Rayhill and I were both born in conservative Missouri towns in 1962, lived under the watchful eyes of fathers who expected the best, played high school sports seriously (he wrestled, I hooped), attended and graduated with the Class of 1980 from what was then Southwest Missouri State University in Springfield, Missouri, loved rock and roll and Budweiser, and often got tripped up in self-doubt. We had significantly different views on Prince, golf, and pro wrestling, and Mike was an artist while I could only love the arts, but we only really fought once (a damn poker game!) and resonated as brothers always. He roundly approved of my chosen soul mate and proved a great friend to her, too.

Mike was on the far end of a successful career in printing, had found Angel, the love of his life, after a long search, proudly watched his son London bloom (under his close and wise gaze) into an outstanding scholar, athlete and human, graduate from high school, and excel as a college freshman, and through constant diligence and skillful frugality owned free and clear his own house, no easy task these days. The fruit of his meticulous labors had ripened for his enjoyment when pancreatic cancer snatched it away last week. His wife, son, and friends will carry his spirit forward, but never forget, folks, that life isn’t fucking fair.

I can tell you a million stories about Mike, but this is a moment that captures a side of the man I will deeply miss.

Mike and I became fast friends at first meeting (discovering our mutual appreciation for the Minutemen at a Washington Street party in Springfield), and later became roommates for a few years in the late 1980s. One day as I returned home, Mike met me with great urgency.

“DJ Philly Phil, you’ve got to tell me who does this song!”

Then, doing a little light-footed twist and accenting the rhythm with his hands–almost like he was conducting an orchestra (friends will recall this charming nuance of his)–he burst out in song:

GIVE me just a little more TIME!”

Unfortunately, I had not then nor have I since heard every song ever recorded, and these were not the days of YouTube, streaming, OR the simple Internet, so I replied, “Well, that was wonderfully performed, but nope…I have no clue.”

Mike was not to be denied. He wanted to own the record. “Yes, you have heard it. It’s on oldies radio all the time! OK, now listen!”

He repeated his previous rendition with spot-on accuracy. “Now, did you hear how I sang the word ‘time’? The singer turns that word into a little cry at the end of the line! It’s great! He really needs a little more time! Now, listen!”

Again, he repeated his passionate orchestration, underlining the syllable in question with an upward wave of his hand.

“Mike, I got nuthin’.”

“I’m deeply disappointed in you, Philly Phil.”

He loved that song; talk about the passion, he might have said, because he was quietly about that (and he had R.E.M. on the brain). That dude could needle your ass painfully, but he had a tender heart.

I could have done some research, but those were busy days. Also, I don’t listen to the radio much, but soon after this episode, I finally heard the song. It was just as Mike sang, performed, and explained it: a plea, and like Mike’s feet had done in his demonstration, the music bounced. But the jock didn’t identify the damn song, so I was still holding air.

Fast-forward a couple years. I’m living in Columbia, Nicole and I are blasting some New Orleans rhythm and blues as is still our wont, and we’ve got one of Rhino Records’ three great NOLA volumes on the turntable. We have it turned up loud, and the needle hits The Showmen’s smilingly defiant rock and roll anthem, “It Will Stand.” Suddenly, listening to General Johnson sing “Don’t ya nickname it! / Fact, ya might as well claim it,” I flashed on the facts: that’s the guy! Then, I hit the books–General Johnson went on to lead The Chairmen of the Board, and–sure enough!–deliver “Give Me Just a Little More Time” with that plaintive panache.

I immediately called Mike. “I got it! I got it! Chairmen of the Board and General Johnson do ‘Give Me Just a Little More Time’! They have a greatest hits CD–“

“Sorry, DJ, I found the 45,” he interrupted. “You really let me down. I think you’re a little overrated, man! You’re no Casey Kasem, ya punk!” I laughed, but it did make me sad that I’d delayed his robust gratification and been ignorant of an obvious classic.

Last August, Mike was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. No, life is not fair, but in Mike’s case it really, really wasn’t. In January, as he was preparing for the inevitable, he asked me to help him find a home for his records, inviting me to keep anything I wanted. I brought his crates home, Hitt Records here in Columbia agreed to help us, and I began sorting them. Among his 45s, along with lots of Elvis and some demos of the first recordings of his band The JimBobs, was “Give Me Just a Little More Time.”

I kept that one.

That title is stabbing me as I write. It’s always going to remind me of Mike’s joy for music, his witty and contagious animation in acting out his enthusiasm for everything from pro wrestling to “The Beverly Hillbillies,” and his love for his friends family and life in general. That love, in his unique fashion, quietly caught the bordering-on-desperate urgency of Johnson’s vocals. As we all should catch it if we fully understand how fragile and ephemeral life is. Mike passed away yesterday morning in the arms of his wife Angel, who caught that wonderful urgency and knew exactly what it was worth.

“Life’s too short to make a mistake.
Let’s think of each other and hesitate!
Young and impatient we may be,
There’s no need to act foolishly.
If we part, our hearts won’t forget it–
Years from now we’ll surely regret it….”

Goodbye, my brother. We won’t forget you.

March 8 – 31: 10 a Month’s a Trickle

Visit the author’s COVID-19 diary (and education memoir) elsewhere on WordPress!

The sound-spigot seems to be a mite clogged. I’m just happy for reissues and Africa right now. If I could advise y’all to do anything, it would be to check out Strut’s ongoing reissue of Black Fire’s catalog. See ya next month!

  1. Julius Hemphill: The Boyé Multinational Crusade for Harmony
  2. JuJu: Live at 131 Prince Street
  3. Peter Stampfel: Peter Stampfel’s 20th Century in 100 Songs
  4. Neil Young and Crazy Horse: Down in the Rust Bucket
  5. R.A.P. Ferreira: Bob’s Son
  6. Dax Pierson: Nerve Bumps (A Queer Divine Satisfaction)
  7. Julien Baker: Little Oblivions
  8. Various Artists: Allen Ginsberg’s The Fall of America–A 50th Anniversary Musical Tribute
  9. Yvette Janine Jackson: Freedom
  10. Nermin Niazi: Disco Se Aagay
  11. Various Artists: Indaba Is
  12. Paris: Safe Space Invader
  13. Wau Wau Collectif: Yaral Sa Doom
  14. Madlib: Sound Ancestors
  15. Byard Lancaster: My Pure Joy
  16. Jazmine Sullivan: Heaux Tales
  17. Hamiet Blueitt: Bearer of the Holy Flame
  18. Omar Sosa: East African Journey
  19. Archie Shepp and Jason Moran: Let My People Go
  20. Joe Lovano, Marilyn Crispell, and Carmen Castaldi: Garden of Expression
  21. Yasmin Williams: Urban Driftwood
  22. Robert Miranda’s Home Music Ensemble: Live at The Bing
  23. Corey Ledet: Corey Ledet Zydeco
  24. Ensemble 0: Performs Julius Eastman’s Femenine
  25. Shem Tube, Justo Osala, Enos Okola: Guitar Music of Western Kenya
  26. Steve Earle: JT
  27. Floating Points & Pharoah Sanders: Promises
  28. Alton Gün: Yol
  29. Lukah: When the Black Hand Touches You
  30. Various Artists: Edo Funk Explosion, Volume 1

February 11 – March 7: A Thin and Motley Crew

Maybe the fact that this year’s class of nice new albums has kinda oozed out like molasses is due the frustrations, chaos, depression, struggle, and occasional collapses of 2021’s second half. I dunno. Below are the platters I’ve quite enjoyed, but in order for it to even look like a two-month list I’ve incorporated archival digs (one of which is–all seven great discs of it–at the top of the heap), which I usually separate out. I’ve finally gotten smart and added hyperlinks to additional album information as I go (rather than regretting that I hadn’t later), and I’ve switched my album cover slideshow to a cumulative one. If these stunning achievements seem a bit meager to you, hey–I’m old.

Notes:

Both those box sets are well worth the time one needs to spend: #1, unreleased examples of the stunning, versatile genius of Black Arts Group veteran composer / player / arranger Hemphill, #2, the luscious fruit of a lifetime of plumbing and glorying in the depths of American song by Stampfel.

Two classical works? Yes, two classical works. It’s not that I’m desperate; it just so happens that new interpretations of justly famous works of my favorite traditional classical composer (Messiaen) and my favorite experimental classical performer (Eastman) have showed up together.

Strut Records’ ongoing resuscitation of the Black Fire label’s catalog continues to excite, enlighten, and inspire me–plus it nicely dovetails with the moment.

  1. Julius Hemphill: The Boyé Multinational Crusade for Harmony
  2. JuJu: Live at 131 Prince Street
  3. Peter Stampfel: Peter Stampfel’s 20th Century in 100 Songs
  4. Neil Young and Crazy Horse: Down in the Rust Bucket
  5. Julien Baker: Little Oblivions
  6. Various Artists: Allen Ginsberg’s The Fall of America–A 50th Anniversary Musical Tribute
  7. Yvette Janine Jackson: Freedom
  8. Nermin Niazi: Disco Se Aagay
  9. Various Artists: Indaba Is
  10. Wau Wau Collectif: Yaral Sa Doom
  11. Madlib: Sound Ancestors
  12. Byard Lancaster: My Pure Joy
  13. Jazmine Sullivan: Heaux Tales
  14. Founders: Songs for the End of Time
  15. Archie Shepp and Jason Moran: Let My People Go
  16. Joe Lovano, Marilyn Crispell, and Carmen Castaldi: Garden of Expression
  17. Yasmin Williams: Urban Driftwood
  18. Corey Ledet: Corey Ledet Zydeco
  19. Ensemble 0: Performs Julius Eastman’s Femenine
  20. Thumbscrew: Never is Enough
  21. Steve Earle: JT (late addition! FORGOT IT….)

January 1 – February 10: Slim Pickings

Most record-grubbin’ folks I know are still catching up to 2020’s explosion–our cohort are still learning about the previous year’s bounty right now and likely will be til the Ides of March. In the past, I’ve usually been able to muster 10 new releases by the end of January to post as a list, but this year I was only halfway there by February’s dawning. Plus, I was flat worn out–not just from all those varied and vital slabs from the worst year in modern history, but from the worst year in modern history. Maybe we’ll look back (and the music will be able to help us do listen back) and be able to say, “We needed those tragedies, large and small, to finally motivate us to clean house”; I’m not holding my breath.

However, simply from really needed to do something to get my mind off of a layer cake of frustrations, I’ve cobbled together a Top 10 for 2021. Will any of these still be in my Top 100 on December 31? I’m less confident than ever, but could our world of musicians suffer from “striver’s fatigue”? We shall see. The simple presence of Messiaen in the list is a sign of struggle (one of my very favorite classic composers, and interpreted quite thrillingly by the group responsible–but come on!).

  1. Peter Stampfel: Peter Stampfel’s 20th Century in 100 Songs
  2. Various Artists: Allen Ginsberg’s The Fall of America–A 50th Anniversary Musical Tribute
  3. Yvette Janine Jackson: Freedom
  4. Various Artists: Indaba Is
  5. Madlib: Sound Ancestors
  6. Jazmine Sullivan: Heaux Tales
  7. Founders: Songs for the End of Time
  8. Joe Lovano, Marilyn Crispell, and Carmen Castaldi: Garden of Expression
  9. Yasmin Williams: Urban Driftwood
  10. Ensemble 0: Performs Julius Eastman’s Femenine

FINAL EDITION: Living to Listen’s Top 100 New Releases of 2020 (Plus a Top 40 of Reissues and Archival Discoveries)

Yep, this is it. Eight days into a very 2020-like 2021. But I gotta say again that, since, for reasons in addition to COVID-19 and the creep, this year was the worst of my life (that year in elementary when I got my ass kicked on the bus, at home plate on the playground, on the bus again, and in front of a small crowd at the park was close), MUSIC WAS ESSENTIAL, and if I hadn’t had access to any records prior to 2020, I still would have been in very high cotton. So many inspired, intelligent, defiant, creative, funny, funky, and artistically coherent slabs–an extension of my love of novels, I still listen to albums, and this roll call was proof I ain’t no dummy.

The Top 10 is my real Top 10. I was asked to submit it to a terrific Facebook group that produces poll results like the Village Voice Pazz & Jop Poll used to, and I thought on it very carefully–though some friends argue there’s no difference, these are the records that meant the most to me, that I needed the most, that powered me through a minimum of 10 horrible days, rather than the 10 greatest artistic albumic achievements of the year. 11-90? I did quite a bit of thinking about those as well, 10 at a time–then, today, came back and fussed with it to get it just right and include some late ’20 releases.

Apologies to these artists who were originally on my list months ago, and who here make the Top 100 (there are a good 50-75 more strong albums) but who I must have accidentally deleted while editing in the fall: the great Southern rocker Tyler Keith, the rejuvenated Dramarama, the delightful and fearless Billy Nomates, and the gutsy Ashley McBryde. They may never see this, and even if they do, they may not care–but it matters to me.

DIG IN. 2021’s breathin’ down your neck.

BOLDED ENTRIES = Records added (or restored) to the list.

  1. Kahil El’Zabar: America The Beautiful
  2. Run The Jewels: 4
  3. Mark Lomax II: The 400 Years Suite
  4. 79rs Gang: Expect the Unexpected
  5. Dezron Douglas & Brandee Younger: Force Majeure
  6. Bob Dylan: Rough and Rowdy Ways
  7. Fire! Orchestra: Actions
  8. SAULT: Untitled (Black Is)
  9. The Third Mind: The Third Mind
  10. Mars Williams: Presents an Ayler Xmas, Volume 4–Chicago vs. New York
  11. Watt, Kaiser, Golia, Peet, and Hanrahan: A Love Supreme Electric
  12. Spillage Village: Spilligion
  13. Body Count: Carnivore
  14. Jyoti: Mama You Can Bet!
  15. Mike & The Moonpies: Touch of You–The Lost Songs of Gary Stewart
  16. Boldy James & The Alchemist: The Price of Tea in China
  17. Roisin Murphy: Roisin Machine
  18. Serengeti & Kenny Segal: AJAI
  19. Kesha: High Road
  20. Neptunian Maximalism: Éons
  21. Various Artists: An Anthology of Experimental Music from Mexico
  1. Princess Nokia: Everything is Beautiful
  2. Anna Högberg Attack: lena 
  3. Shabaka and The Ancestors: We Are Sent Here by History
  4. Fiona Apple: Fetch the Bolt Cutters
  5. Bktherula: Nirvana
  6. Belle and Sebastian: What to Look for in Summer
  1. Rob Mazurek & Exploding Star Orchestra: Dimension Stardust
  2. Thiago Nassif: Mente
  3. Hamell on Trial: Pandemic Songs
  4. Goodie Mob: Survival Kit
  5. Lido Pimienta: Miss Colombia
  6. James Brandon Lewis and Chad Taylor: Live in Willisau
  7. Tee Grizzley: The Smartest
  8. Bettye LaVette: Blackbirds
  9. Elizabeth Cook: Aftermath
  10. Zeal & Ardor: Wake of a Nation (EP)
  11. Adulkt Life: Book of Curses
  12. Princess Nokia: Everything Sucks
  13. Florian Arbenz and Greg Osby: Reflections of The Eternal Line
  14. Little Simz: Drop 6 (EP)
  15. Dramarama: Color TV
  16. The Human Hearts: Day of The Tiles (EP)
  17. Charles McPherson: Jazz Dance Suites
  18. X: Alphabetland 
  19. Various Artists: Memphis Concrète Presents Sound in Geometry Series, Volume 1–On Triangles
  20. KeiyaA: Forever, Ya Girl
  21. Gard Nilssen’s Supersonic Orchestra: If You Listen Carefully, The Music is Yours
  22. Various Artists: Music for Abandoned Cold War Places
  23. Cornershop: England is a Garden
  24. Moor Jewelry: True Opera
  25. Various Artists: New Improvised Music from Buenos Aires
  26. Mark Lomax II: The Last Concert–Ankh & The Tree of Live
  27. Don Vappie & Jazz Creole: The Blue Book of Storyville
  28. Mickey Guyton: Bridges (EP)
  29. Aesop Rock: Spirit World Field Guide
  30. Bobby Rush: Rawer Than Raw
  31. Moses Sumney: grae
  32. Carlos Nino and Miguel Atwood-Ferguson: Chicago Waves
  33. Billy Nomates: Billy Nomates
  34. Irreversible Entanglements: Who Sent You?
  35. Alicia Keys: ALICIA
  36. Moor Mother & Billy Woods: Brass
  37. K-Michelle: All Monsters are Human
  38. 75 Dollar Bill: Live at Tubby’s
  39. Luke Stewart: Luke Stewart Exposure Quintet
  40. SAULT: Untitled (Rise)
  41. Drakeo the Ruler: Quit Rappin’
  42. Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids: Shaman!
  43. Juice WRLD: Legends Never Die
  44. Black Thought: Streams of Thought 3–Cane and Abel
  45. Swamp Dogg: Sorry You Couldn’t Make It
  46. Ashley McBryde: Never Will
  47. Tyler Keith: The Last Drag
  48. City Girls: City on Lock
  49. Serengeti: With Greg from Deerhoof
  50. Dua Lipa: Future Nostalgia
  51. Asher Gamedze: Dialectic Soul
  52. Jinx Lennon: Border Schizo Fffolk Songs for the F****d
  53. Julianna Barwick: Healing is a Miracle
  54. No Age: Goons Be Gone
  55. James Brandon Lewis: Molecular 
  56. Junglepussy: Jp4
  57. JD Allen: Toys / Die Dreaming
  58. Hot Country Knights: The “K” is Silent
  59. Ill Scholars: Ill Scholars
  60. Cortex: Legal Tender
  61. Mr. Wrong: Create a Place
  62. Lori McKenna: The Balladeer
  63. The Necks: Three
  64. Chloe x Halle: Ungodly Hour
  65. Steve Earle: Ghosts of West Virginia
  66. Teodross Avery: Harlem Stories–The Music of Thelonious Monk
  67. Rina Sawayama: Sawayama
  68. Bette Smith: The Good, The Bad, and The Bette
  69. Kali Uchis: Sin Miedo (del Amor y Otros Demonios)
  70. Al Bilali Soudan: Tombouctou
  71. Dehd: Flower of Devotion
  72. Jeff Parker: Suite for Max Brown
  73. Jeannie Seely: An American Classic

REISSUES AND ARCHIVAL FINDS

  1. Various Artists: Daora–Underground Sounds of Urban Brazil
  2. Wussy: Ghosts
  3. Uncle Victor Chukwu: Akalaka / The Power
  4. Luiz Carlos Vinhas: O Som Psicodelico De LCV
  5. Charles Mingus: Mingus @ Bremen 1964 & 1975
  6. Thelonious Monk: Palo Alto
  7. Sonny Rollins: Rollins in Holland
  8. Sharhabil Ahmed: The King of Sudanese Jazz
  9. Oneness of Juju: African Rhythms 1970-1982
  10. King Ubu Orchestru: Concert at Town Hall—Binaurality Live
  11. Various Artists: Hanging Tree Guitars
  12. Pylon: Pylon Box
  13. Lee Scratch Perry w / Seskain Molenga & Kalo Kawongolo: Roots from the Congo
  14. Various Artists: How the River Ganges Flows: Sublime Masterpieces of Indian Violin 1933-1952
  15. Hallelujah Chicken Run Band: Take One
  16. Various Artists: Saint Etienne Presents Songs for the Fountain Coffee Room
  17. Milford Graves & Don Pullen: The Complete Yale Concert
  18. Various Artists: Sumer is Icumen In–The Pagan Sound of British and Irish Folk 1966-1975
  19. Junior Byles: Beat Down Babylon
  20. Various Artists: Soul Love Now–The Black Fire Records Story 1975-1993
  21. Various Artists: Turn Me Loose, White Man, Or, Appropriating Culture–How to Listen to American Music 1900-1960 (Allen Lowe, compiler)
  22. Various Artists: Southeast of Saturn–Michigan Shoegaze / Dream Pop / Space Rock
  23. Various Artists: Excavated Shellac–An Alternate History of the World’s Music
  24. The Awakening: Hear, Sense, and Feel
  25. Black Unity Trio: Al-Fatihah
  26. Peter Stampfel & The Bottlecaps: Demo ’84
  27. Lon Moshe and The Southern Freedom Arkestra: Love is Where the Spirit Lies
  28. Various Artists: Stone Crush–Memphis Modern Soul 1977-1987
  29. Various Artists: Soul Jazz Records Presents Black Riot–Early Jungle, Rave, and Hardcore
  30. Prince: Sign ‘o The Times (Deluxe Edition)
  31. Various Artists: Cool Cats Invasion (Highlife, Juju, and Palm Wine Music from Nigeria and Ghana)
  32. Little Richard: Southern Child
  33. Fela: Perambulator
  34. Various Artists: Black Ark Players / Black Ark in Dub
  35. Hiroshi Yoshimura: Green
  36. Milton Nascimento: Maria Maria
  37. Riley (featuring Gary Stewart): Grandma’s Roadhouse
  38. The Ibrahim Khalil Shihab Quartet: Spring
  39. Walter Bishop, Jr.: Coral Keys
  40. Horace Tapscott: Ancestral Echoes