Five I Missed That Woulda Made The 2022 List: New Discoveries from the Year That Was (+ a 2023 Addendum)

I don’t need to tell you that you can’t listen to everything. In my darkest moments, the thought that if I chose to step off the edge of the world I might miss a fantastic record has brightened my corner; my (and maybe your ambition) to hear it all is doomed to thwartation, but it never keeps me from trying. I didn’t know about these five records until late last month, but they certainly would have made my 2022 Top 40. Thank the stars or whatever for other blogging rekkid obsessives!

Santigold: Spirituals (Little Jerk Records) — During her early years she was a favorite of favorite students of mine, and thus she was a favorite of mine. I’d largely forgotten about her until I was tipped off about this moving, grooving, and consistent record that, despite the title, begins with this track:

Moonchild Sanelly: Phases (Transgressive Records) — 2022 was a great year for South African dance music, and I stayed well-informed, so don’t ask me why I just know learned about this act. Sanelisiwe Twisha began her career, according to Wikipedia, in “sex entertainment,” and she ain’t shy, for sure, but when I read (not on Wikipedia, though it’s there, but two days ago from a source I already can’t remember) that she called her music “future ghetto punk,” I was all in. Clicked to sample it and was dancing and bouncing around the house. I am 61 and have vestibular neuritis, so that’s saying something. Would’ve been in my Top 20, methinks. I think I’ll send a copy to the the Missouri state capitol of creeps.

Various Artists: Ghost Riders (Efficient Space) — Talk about “other blogging rekkid obsessives”: I am not alone in being grateful for Chuck Eddy‘s existence. He’ll try anything, which is a compliment, and he recommended this Australian collection of strangely moving, eerie, and funny songs from what one Bandcamp user called “garage nobodies” early enough for me to get it onto my 2022 list. I didn’t get it in the mail until late December, then it sat on a stack waiting for me, then in early January I finally dug in. Aside from those other adjectives I used above, it’s also…naively ethereal and lovably camp. Special prizes are a non-country sequel to “Ode to Billie Joe” and a seemingly ill-advised cover of The Beatles’ “Here, There, & Everywhere,” probably my favorite McCartney-sung tune of theirs, that The Common People (heh heh) not only survive but excel on. Thanks, Chuck!

Mary Halvorson: Belladonna and Amaryllis (Nonesuch Records) — A) For some reason I back away from any artist no matter how much I enjoy their work when they release two records at once (except for Ka). B) I have usually been disappointed by “with strings” albums by artists I’m not totally nuts about (Belladona is such). C) I didn’t have time for this project. I’m just being honest. Plus Mary with strings did not appeal to me, despite the fact I dearly dig her even if it were just for this clip that I always show my women’s college students. BUT the strings album is quite beautiful especially because (not in spite) of plectoral soundwave warping, and I discovered too late that the Halvorson-influenced vibraphonist Patricia Brennan, whose 2022 record More Touch is mesmerizing, plays with and around Halvorson on it. So…fuck me, live and learn!

Mary J. Blige: Good Morning, Gorgeous (300 Entertainment Records) — One of the records my wife and I courted to was What’s The 411? I happen to think her team-up with Method Man, “All I Need”, is ETERNAL. I’ve liked everything I’ve heard by her, and enjoyed her in the film Mudbound. I recently taught the mother of her road band’s guitarist (Ma is three days older than me!), who told me many stories and showed me cool pics. I have no reason not to keep up with Mary, but I don’t. Too bad, because I think I love this record more than others who also do–there’s something about the production (by 17 different individuals? but it coheres!) that fits her like a silk glove. Now, I need to play it for Lady O.

BONUS 2022 ALBUM I ALSO FORGOT BUT I SHOULD HAVE PUT AT THE TOP:

Alaide Costa: O Que Meus Calos Dizem Sobre Mim (Tres Selos) — Truly one of the most gorgeous and richly detailed recordings of last year. It’s bossa nova of the highest order sung by the 87-year-old Costa couched in imaginative settings created by the Brazilian production team of Marcus Preto, Emicida, and Pupillo. Thanks to the intrepid Rod Taylor at Brazil Beat, my connection to the country that seems to create a wider and more consistent variety of interesting music than any I’m aware of. I would love a vinyl copy of this but it’ll be a pretty penny. Yesterday was pay day, so maybe I’ll jump. Check this out:

NOW, if you’ve read this far, last post I was moping about being driven half-insane by listing records month by month, year by year–it feels like a competition, governed by the law of diminishing returns, that inhibits my actual full enjoyment of music. Maybe I was in a bad mood–or maybe that post and this post are the emerging answer (now I need to quit Goodreads). Anyhow, here are two records from this year I inexplicably left off that post! I think I was trying not to lean to jazzward, but fuck it–this is good stuff, Maynards!

Lakecia Benjamin: Phoenix (Whirlwind) — Saxophonist Benjamin’s previous album was a tribute to John and Alice Coltrane that held up very well. In between that and this, she was involved in a car wreck that literally busted her chops. She’s rehabbed that problem–and how. This is a blazing set of original compositions augmented by some very notable guest appearances (Angela Davis? Sonia Sanchez? Wayne Shorter? Georgia Anne Muldrow? Patrice Rushen (my favorite of those names to see the light), and I’m not sure they’d have appeared if they hadn’t recognized the power of Benjamin’s playing and writing. Strongly recommended to Trane fans, but she’s got a sound all her own–and style. Dig:

Jason Moran: From the Dancehall to the Battlefield (Yes Records) — Moran’s last tribute, to Fats Waller on his last album for Blue Note, didn’t move me, and as a deep-down Wallerite that was deeply disappointing. This tribute (in Moran’s words, “a meditation on”) to the magnificent and hugely important bandleader and 369th Division Harlem Hellfighter and bandleader, the ill-fated James Reese Europe, is something else entirely. It is going to take a minute for me to fully unpack this varied, exciting, educational, and RICH record, but my sense is it will be in many Jazz Top 10s in December. It mixes takes on Reese’s tunes (and others they played), Moran’s compositions, and even a perfect contribution by none other than Pauline Oliveros, and makes a unified statement about someone most of us don’t know or at least know little about. Here’s a good original starting place: Europe’s “Memphis Blues.”

What To Do?

For several years this has been the spot where I have created gradually expanding lists of my favorite new albums and archival releases that turned my crank for each calendar year. It’s been quite fun most of the time, and recently got me on a few lists to receive review copies, many of which are actually pretty damn good. Thing is, doing so seems to encourage me to have to keep up with everything I hear about that sounds cool. That motivation, plus my natural curiosity and fear that I might miss something, inflates this seemingly fun project into a major pain in the ass too frequently and causes something that I really don’t think is healthy: I spend so much time cramming stuff in my earhole that I spend far less time listening to music I have loved for years. I’m freshly into my sixties, and I am not sure I want to keep doing it. Face it: when you keep hearing “Watching the Wheels” in your head and feeling upbraided by poor ol’ doomed John, you might wanna shift down. Also, so many of my talented, sharp-eared and big-hearted friends–many via the kind graces of Substack–are already doing the work; when you take their work together and add in the indefatigable Tom Hull–and these people do a lot of writing–I have to question what need have you/they of me. Seriously. I ain’t fishin’ for compliments. I mean, I know all that this has been and what it hasn’t.

So…I have some ideas. Obviously, if I only wrote about a few records I liked each month–wrote about them, much more fun than listing–regardless of vintage, I’d solve two problems: 1) I could watch the wheels more frequently, and 2) I’d have time and be motivated to listen to time-tested favorites. I could supplement that new practice by scribbling a bit about how music has manifested itself in my private and professional life, which it always does in interesting ways every month. I could write about ONE new record and ONE old one that really knocked me for a loop–and, again, give the reader a peek into music’s impacts on my domains (I think I actually have more than two, if I get out of the private – professional split and subdivide them. I could just look back into the history of this blog–some readers may not have noticed I’ve done several different things with it over the years–and pick up where I left off with something that was working when real life knocked me off the tracks for a bit.

I’ll figure it out. In the meantime, jeez, at least 10 new records have been rattling my bones by the end of January since I’ve been posting lists. I really can’t say that right now, but I can say this:

Tyler Keith’s seldom if ever disappointed me, going back to the earliest days of his I know, when he co-led The Neckbones, a Southern-fried Voidoids in more than a few ways. Keith wrestles with sin and salvation as regularly but more explicitly than Jerry Lee, he’s a reminder to listeners that much of the best rock and roll–and that’s what Hell to Pay is, even if a violin sneaks in–has come from the working class, and he’s got a way of conjuring desperation that always feels like the United States to me. His first new record in awhile, Hell to Pay, on Black and Wyatt Records, shows his commitment to those values has waned not a whit, and that his musical attack coheres with his excellent dark ‘n’ pulpy ‘n’ sweaty Southern noir novel The Mark of Cain, published last year. I highly recommend both vinyl and book, the latter his first.

Japanese pianist and bandleader extraordinaire Fujii released her 100th album as a leader or co-leader in 27 years (Hyaku: One Hundred Dreams–check it out), sending me on a backwards binge through her catalog that’s yet to hit an impasse. Fujii can do it all scintillatingly: lead big bands and ensembles, duet with all manner of instruments (with other pianists, with violin, and here, with electric guitarist Yoshihide), play like petals falling and landing or a rockslide rattling down to the road. She’s been a “Where have I been?” artist for this listener, and I suspect I’ll spend the year continuing to get caught up. On Ayler Records, and that should tell you something about her intensity.

Am I the only one who mourns the death of the hard-copy music guide? (It sure put the damper on my bathroom reading.) Moping the other day, I was thumbing through an old Penguin Guide to Jazz–I always loved them because they covered European jazz very well and very reliably–and came upon this 1974 **** record I’d overlooked. I then hit Discogs, found a decently-priced copy, and there weren’t many, then waited for Mr.Postman. I’ve played it 4-5 times since then (a few months ago); the band was a cooperative that notably included Sun Ra vet Ahmed Abdullah on trumpet and a young William Parker on bass. At many points on the record they sound like the Arkestra as if led by Ayler: almost magically structured, but intense–intensely martial. I can’t get enough of it; it’s out of print, so if you want to sample it…well, you knows what to do (RIP Barrett Strong). On No Business Records, and good luck. And here’s your luck–whaddya know?

Views from the Campus: Students from my Freshman Composition/Pop Music Fusion Class at Stephens College, Fall 2022

Last semester, I posted some of the best writing my Stephens students did for my “Groundbreaking Women in U. S. Music” class, and I’d like to continue this practice. Stephens, alas, did not offer that class in the fall, but I usually infuse my freshman composition instruction with popular music study–I usually learn much more about that from them than they do from me. Here are some of my favorite final exam research papers from that class; the task was to make a case for a woman who is a “figure of impact” in pop music. Note: I feel funny about editing these before posting them, because a) I instructed them on fine points throughout the class and gave plenty of feedback; b) it feels too much like tampering for my own benefit, if that makes sense; and c) it might land a powerful point with the authors about leaning into some of their writing issues harder than they did for me. Any weird margin problems are the result of my failed battle against WordPress.

Again, most of these students are freshmen. And these are their subjects–the essays follow the slide show.

Ashley Cole

(I could have posted all of Ashley’s essays for this class here. She is a writer of impact.)

Strutting in Your Straitjacket


Many Americans struggle with Mental Health issues. About 20% or 50 million Americans have been diagnosed with some form of mental illness yet the issue is still considered taboo on a broad spectrum (mhanational.org, 2022). Even more so in the LatinX communities. It was not until the 1980s that the Spanish speaking communities were even considered to be part of studies that accessed the possible mental health (nami.org, 2022). Language, economic and cultural barriers have led many to mask or bury issues that they are dealing with. Music has always been an outlet for artists to deal with the problems they face. Sometimes it is hidden under metaphors and easily digestible lyrics and for others it is aggressively noticeable that the artist is “unhinged”. Today’s musical artists have been more open in their struggles of the mind in interviews and not just chocking it up to the “rock & roll” lifestyle. As a culture, people have recently come to see that representation is a focal point using fame as a medium in the media. Jessie Reyez is one such artist who has checked many boxes in representation and is an artist who is making ripple effects in both the music industry and fans worldwide bringing to light the authenticity of mental health singing, “I’m trying to heal, but it’s a process. I’m told I should cut my losses.”


Jessie Reyez an up and coming urban contemporary artist was born in Ontario, Canada to immigrant parents from Columbia. Many listeners may not be familiar with her, however she has collaborated with many house-hold names. Calvin Harris, Sam Smith, Dua Lipa and Eminem to name a few. It took just one line from her 2017 EP Kiddo to see that she would be an artist to follow. With a raspy unsteady but guttural bellow she sings “my straight jacket’s custom made!” Not only is she owning her issues she is almost dare one say proud? This is relevant in many ways. The first step to healing or overcoming any kind of substance disorder is admitting you having a problem (casarecovery.com, 2022). Normalizing mental health issues leads to conversations that lead to healing and to hopefully a support group.


Included In her 2017 EP is the track “Gatekeeper”. The song tells the sordid tale of being sexually assaulted by a music producer to advance her career; “Spread your legs open up you could be famous.” (Reyez, 2017). At the time the song came out the antagonist being referenced was nameless. About two years after the song was released, the same producer, Noel “Detail” Fischer, was accused and eventually charged with sexual assault and rape charges. At this point Reyez confirmed the song was her account of their meeting together. Reyez reported that the shame of what happened kept her quiet (Donoghue, 2018). A shame that was not hers to hold. But how many sexual assault survivors tell themselves that “it’s my fault” or fear of judgment that will follow their accusations. To date, Fisher has been accused of assaulting nine women and is currently awaiting trial. Jessie was quoted in saying that she is “standing in my truth and standing in self-respect, to make sure that I’m not accepting anything less from other people.” (Mapes,2019)


One mental health crisis in the LatinX communities is post-partum depression. During the 1980’s there was an “English only” movement. This was an increase in objection to Hispanic people and immigration. During this time there was also an increase in Hispanic poverty and community isolation. Latino women are seen as the quiet “back-bones” of their households. To say that you are unfit at your most basic duty, child rearing, would be unheard of in the community. Since the Hispanic women were huddling together because of the nation’s poor treatment of their community, they would gravitate to each other which may ease symptoms but left little room for problem solving a “cure”. One must also consider the language barrier. Only in recent history have Spanish-speaking people have access to various translating options. In the 1980s parents would rely on their English-speaking children to relay information. Could you say in front of your child that you did not know why you were unable to love her? The Spanish speaking population now have the option of having a translator assigned, they have to go to a third person to get their message across to a doctor. Could you tell a stranger how your mind is failing you?


While Reyez hails from Canada, her roots are traced to the country of Colombia. As raw as her emotion is in English the same can be said of her Spanish lyrics. She takes command and is upfront with her listeners in “Un Vuelo a La” with Romeo Santos\ that she has 20 personalities and is unapologetic about it. Latino culture is a very prideful one. Not often do you see person admit to having mental illness, especially a woman. What Reyez is able to do lyrically is to give voice to these women, especially in the LatinX communities building truth and honesty around her lyrics almost as if to say, “I am here, I hear you, and it is ok to speak your truth.” This is a drastic change for voices to be heard compared to only a few decades ago. It was not until 1982 that a survey was conducted to evaluate Hispanic mental health disorders and barriers to treatment (Kanel, 2002). The research ran from 1982 to 1984. Only in the last 25 years has there been an increase in Hispanic health in the United States. Latinas that elevate their voices to share their pain hopefully will give young Latinas the courage to come forward and ask for help and know that they are brave for doing so.


My own experience with Jessie Reyez music is very personal. While on my first military deployment I was left heartbroken. If I were state-side my experience may not have been left with such guilt, anxiety, or depression. However I was in a foreign land, suffering in 130 degree heat, wiping tears that were mixed with sweat as sand met my face like beestings. I felt completely abandoned. I was on duty though and could not succumb to my natural instincts. An emotional breakdown translated to failure. I was sent the song “Shutter Island” from a friend and the lyrics resonated with me instantly. “My straitjackets custom made… for a second I forgot I was a bad bitch!” That song played on repeat the rest of my deployment. I couldn’t let myself slip and forget who I was. I was in a foreign land fighting for my country. I was THE definition of a BAD BITCH. I saw in Reyez this young Latina. Messy hair, thick eyebrows, she could have been my sister telling me to embrace my hurt, sit in it, then LET THAT SHIT GO. There she was reminding me that I had the power to give myself grace and was strong enough to move on.

Jessie Reyez has many times over been that iconic artist for me in the short amount of time that she has been on the music scene. So many lyrics that I could pull to place in the pages of my own life. From my military involvement, to love, even politics the lyrics in both Spanish and English helped me understand my pain and start a journey to share my truth. What would a world look like if we embraced our flaws? It was spring of 2019 that my military supervisor told me that she was sexually assaulted in the military. Only two weeks later I came to her crying sharing my own traumas. In that moment she called our local veteran social worker and had a session with me at 7 o’clock at night. Looking back Reyez’s music has been part of my journey helping me taking charge of my life, the willingness to share my truth, my story, to encourage others to do the same. We are NOT living in a world set back in the 1980s, we are here, now and have voices that are no longer silenced, or judged due to mental illness, trauma, or stigma. We are changing what is known and are a part of a movement, like Reyez, that will see future generations take hold of what “has been” and what “will be”. For me, that has led to three years of sobriety and my mental health being managed. Everyone’s story is different, however we all have the ability to take ownership and take control of our lives. I feel more empowered today that I have ever felt in my life, and I can look back on how a single lyric, “My straitjacket’s custom made” has paved the way for change.

References


https://mhanational.org/issues/2022/mental-health-america-adult-data, retrieved December, 2022


https://www.nami.org/mhstats, retrieved December, 2022


https://www.casarecovery.com/stages-of-mental-health-recovery/, retrieved December, 2022


Reyez, J., 2017. Gatekeeper


Donohue, C., May 2018. https://remezcla.com/music/jessie-reyez-detail-sexual-misconduct/


Kanel, K., February 2002. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0739986302024001005


Mapes, Jill. “The Chorus of #MeToo, and the Women Who Turned Trauma Into Songs.” pitchfork.com, 23 Oct. 2019, pitchfork.com/features/article/2010s-on-women-singing-openly-about-abuse/.

Alena Harper

2006 to the Present: The Era of Taylor Swift


There is no talking about the 21st century, without talking about Taylor Swift. Swift is the most influential artist of the 21st century. She has been in the industry for more than a decade. She started her career and to the day continues to make headlines and break records. Taylor Swift is long past being a household name, she is a historic pop icon.


The country music genre is well-known for its themes of trucks, heartbreak, and farm-living, and while Swift may not have escaped these tropes, she was staying true to her experience. Taylor Swift grew up on a Christmas tree farm in Pennsylvania (a fact she shared gleefully in her 2019 holiday single aptly named “Christmas Tree Farm”). She developed a love in music early on and by the time she was eleven she sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” at a Philadelphia 76ers basketball game (Ray). At thirteen years old, her family made the decision to sell their farm and move out to Tennessee, close to Nashville, so Swift could pursue a career in music (Ray). It wouldn’t be until Swift was sixteen years old that she finally released her self-titled debut album. As of now, following her debut, she’s proceeded to release nine more albums: Fearless, Speak Now, Red, 1989, Reputation, Lover, Folklore, Evermore, and Midnights. This is sure to still be only the beginning of Taylor Swift.


One of the reasons Swift is such a force in the music industry, is her domination when it comes to award shows. According to her page on IMDb, she’s a ten-time nominee, five-time winner at the American Country Music awards. A one-time nominee, twelve-time winner at the American Music Awards. A thirteen-time nominee, five-time winner at the Grammys. She’s even been nominated for three golden globes and has won an Emmy. On top of that, her newest album Midnights broke more than seventy records (Young). One of those records being that she was the first artist ever to sweep the Top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 for herself (Unterberger). This is only to name a few of her achievements, the list goes on and on. Swift is sixteen years into her musical career and shows no signs of stopping or even slowing down. She will continue to break records and boundaries with her music.


Along with making headlines for accomplishments, she’s also made headlines for controversy. Most notably, her conflict with popular rapper Ye (Kanye West). The first butt heads when West ran up on stage and took the microphone away from Swift during her acceptance speech for Video of the Year at the 2009 Music Television (MTV) Video Music Awards (VMAs), and famously said “Yo, Taylor, I’m really happy for you, I’ma let you finish, but Beyoncé had one of the best videos of all time!” (Gavilanes and Dodd). A few days after the incident Swift claims West called her and apologized (Gavilanes and Dodd). Up to 2015, the pair seemed to have reconciled, with Swift even presenting West with the MTV Video Vanguard Award at the 2015 MTV VMA’s with a reference to his interruption, “So I guess I have to say to all the other winners tonight: I’m really happy for you, I’mma let you finish, but Kanye West has had one of the greatest careers of all time!” (Gavilanes and Dodd). This unfortunately would not be the happy ending it
seemed to be. In 2016, West debuted his song “Famous” in which he name-drops Taylor, calls her a bitch, and later uses a wax sculpture of her naked body in his music video for the song (Gavilanes and Dodd). West’s then-wife Kim Kardashian claimed Swift approved the lyric in a phone call with West, and while Swift agrees there was a phone call, she says she never approved the lyric in which she was called a bitch (Gavilanes and Dodd). In 2016, Kardashian leaked an edited recording of the phone call in question on her snapchat, which lead to Swift’s social media comments being spammed with snake emojis, calling her a liar (Gavilanes and Dodd). Instead of simply letting her haters push her out, she decided to take that bad publicity and run with it. In 2017, she announced the release of sixth studio album Reputation, in which she seemingly references the feuds in many of her lyrics. The full phone conversation was later leaked in 2020, which revealed Swift really was not told the full lyric and had been telling the truth (Gavilanes and Dodd). While, the importance of this controversy is certainly debatable, the impact it has had on pop culture is undeniable. It’s hard to think of any other celebrity feuds which has been able to consistently make headlines for over a decade. Even now still, people question if Swift continues to reference West in her music, and with West’s recent fall from fame with his spiral into far-right politics, it’s no wonder Swift sings so confidently about “Karma” in her latest album Midnights.


Swift has always been a staunch supporter of artists’ rights to their work, and while she’s certainly not alone in this belief, few are able to actually put it into practice. To do so could mean rejecting the very record labels that could make a small artist a star. Swift however, was in an extremely lucky position in which she was able to challenge the big corporations against her. From 2005 to 2018 Swift was signed with Big Machine Records (Bruner). When her contract expired, she switched to Universal’s Republic Records, where she was able to get ownership of all her future masters (Bruner). However, Big Machine Records retained the rights to the recordings of her first six albums (Bruner). Big Machine Records decided to sell these recordings to Ithaca Holdings, which is owned by a man named Scooter Braun (Bruner). Braun later resold them to another company, Shamrock Holdings, all of this without the involvement of Taylor Swift (Bruner). While Swift figured her previous recordings would be sold, she did not know they would be sold to Braun, who she claims has always been a bully to her (Bruner). Understandably upset, she decided to rerecord her old albums, so that she could – in a way – take back ownership of them, and discourage the profit of the originals, since it puts money right into Braun’s pocket (Bruner). This move has opened the eyes of the public to the atrocities of recording label contracts and brought awareness to the movement of artists fighting for the rights to their own work. Her decision will and has already affected the music industry in a huge way as she brings up these questions of the autonomy of artists.


Swift’s lyricism is unmatched. She has jumped from genre to genre effortlessly and continues to challenge herself in every way possible. She has an extensive discography that’s hard to describe in only a paragraph. But, there is one standout album of hers which completely changed the game. That album is Folklore. Folklore was released in the middle of the 2020 pandemic. It’s best known for being very different from Swift’s previous albums sonically, as well as lyrically. This album has a folksy and acoustic sound, as opposed to her usual bright pop hits. Her inspiration for her music has typically come from her personal life, but in this album she decided to writer her own stories, about experiences that weren’t her own. For example, there are three songs within Folklore which truly exemplify her creative ability for storytelling and songwriting. These songs are “Cardigan,” “Betty,” and “August.” Each songs tells the same story, through a different perspective. Betty, a girl in high school, gets cheated on by her boyfriend James over the summer. In “Cardigan,” Swift sings through the eyes of Betty, as she copes with the heartbreak. In “Betty,” Swift steps into James’ shoes and sings of regret while begging for Betty to forgive him for his mistake. In “August,” Swift lets us in on the thoughts of the girl James’ cheated with, as she grapples with the fact that she was in love with James, even though she knew his heart really belonged to someone else, Betty. The songs give each other small nods through similar lyrical phrases, but besides the fact that they all tell the same story, they have their own distinct sounds. Taylor is, at her heart, a poet. She has grown lyrically in ways no one could have ever imagined, and she continues to mature with each song she drops.


I have listened to and loved Taylor Swift for basically my entire life. I’ve grown up with her and continue to grow with her. Though it’s always hard to pick favorites, I have to say my favorite song of hers is probably “You Are In Love.” This song might just be one of her cheesiest love songs ever, but it is perfectly Taylor Swift. One lyric in particular from the song has always stuck out to me, “And why I’ve spent my whole life trying to put it into words.” Here she is referring to love. As a Creative Writing Major, I’m not necessarily a romance genre writer, but I still relate to this lyric a lot. The whole point of writing really is to put our crazy, confusing, and sometimes stupid feelings and experiences into words. Though I haven’t done even half the things Taylor has, I’m still transported to her world every time she sings. I hope to one day have the same effect in my own writing and be able to communicate every emotion in a way everyone can understand and feel themselves. So, while Taylor certainly has all the awards and power to make an impact on the music industry. To me, the biggest impact she has is on all the young writers of the world. From the newer hit artists Olivia Rodrigo, and Conan Gray, to me, and maybe even to you.


Taylor Swift has overcome sixteen years in the industry, and here’s to hoping she’ll continue to dominate sixteen more. She’s moved states, switched genres, had celebrity drama, and taken ownership of her art, all in the name of her love for music. The music industry is lucky to have her, and would not be the same today without her. Suffice to say, she has proven her spot as the most influential artist of the 21st century.

Works Cited


Bruner, Raisa. “Here’s Why Taylor Swift Is Re-Releasing Her Old Albums.” Time, 25 Mar. 2021, time.com/5949979/why- taylor-swift-is-rerecording-old-albums/.


Gavilanes, Grace, and Sophie Dodd. “Inside Kanye West and Taylor Swift’s 10-Year Feud: A Truly Comprehensive Timeline.” PEOPLE.com, 2 Sept. 2022, people.com/music/kanye-west-famous-inside-his-and-taylor-swifts-relationship-history/.


Mapes, Jill. “Taylor Swift: Folklore.” Pitchfork, 27 July 2020, pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/taylor-swift-folklore/.


Ray, Michael. “Taylor Swift | Biography, Songs, & Facts.” Encyclopædia Britannica, 9 Dec. 2018, http://www.britannica.com/biography/Taylor-Swift.


“Taylor Swift.” IMDb, http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2357847/awards.


Théberge, Paul. “Love and Business: Taylor Swift as Celebrity, Businesswoman, and Advocate.” Contemporary Music Review, EBSCOhost, 2021, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=152759008&site=ehost-live.


Unterberger, Andrew, and Andrew Unterberger. “Five Reasons Why Taylor Swift Was Able to Make Chart History with Her “Midnights” Debut Week.” Billboard, 31 Oct. 2022, http://www.billboard.com/music/chart-beat/taylor-swift-midnights-chart-history-hot-100-1235163645/.


Young, Alex. “Taylor Swift Broke 73 Records with Release of New Album Midnights.” Consequence, 31 Oct. 2022, consequence.net/2022/10/taylor-swift-midnights-records/.

Isabel Massud

Possibility of Truth in a Sea of Hypocrisy


Shannon Sims for The New York Times “Loved icon on an emblem of gender fluidity” (2017); Dom Phillips for The Guardian “Symbol of resistance for a minority that recently had a number of achievements in the country’s cultural war” (2017); Andrew R. Chow for Times Magazine “One of the next generation leaders” (2020). That is Pabllo Vittar. But just the tip of her impact on the world as a performer and human being. This research paper intends to prove that her contributions representing the LGBTQ+ community, putting Brazilian rhythms in the international market, and playing a big role in the political storm the country faced, makes her of extreme relevance and importance to culture on a global scale.


To achieve this goal, the paper has been organized into three sections. The first section will be focused on how Pabllo Vittar was a pioneer in the music industry by advocating and amplifying the LGBTQ+ movement in different ways. In the second section, I will present a more political in-depth analysis on the importance of Vittar against the conservative movement in Brazil. Last but not least, the third section goes around a take on her impact on showing rhythms that are part of Brazil’s history to the world, specially in her 2021 album Batidao Tropical. Before the study begins, however, the artist’s background is of great importance to understand how she became the drag queen she is today.


Phabullo Rodrigues da Silva was born in Sao Luis, Maranhao[1], on November first, 1993, and started dance lessons at a very young age. In the next few years, he joined the church’s choir and started to make covers of famous artists like Beyonce, falling in love with music (Soutello). However, living in a poor rural small city made him a target of constant bullying in school because of his high-pitched voice and delicate gestures. “Since I was a little boy, I have always known I was different and that I was not going to follow the steps of a conventional man,” said Pabblo in 2018 in an interview at the show “Encontro com Fátima Bernardes” (Noticias Financeiras 3).


When he was 17 years old, Phabullo had his first contact with the art of drag after watching the show “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” Impressed with the versatility within drag, he immediately was enchanted by the possibility of externalizing and expressing his essence with makeup and production (Soutello). The singer always knew he needed to leave his mark in the world, and becoming Pabllo Vittar was the best way he could have done it.


CHANGING THE LGBTQ+ MOVEMENT IN THE INDUSTRY

From the beginning, just by sharing her art with the world, Pabllo Vittar was a symbol of resistance against homophobia, gender intolerance and every prejudice against the community. She gained national recognition with her song “KO” in May 2017, and just two months later she successfully launched her international career with a feature on Major Lazer’s song “Sua Cara” (Aires 10), a fact that is hardly accomplished that early in anyone’s career. Since then, she has dominated the world: [she] was the first drag queen to perform at Coachella in 2022 (Cooper 55); [she] was in the Cover of Vogue Magazine in 2017; [she] was nominated “Person of the Year” 2017 on Rolling Stone Brazil (Aires 28); [she] was the first drag queen to be nominated for a Grammy in 2018 (The Latin Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences); [she] is the most listened drag queen in the world on Spotify; [she] did world tours with only six years on her career (Aires 42); [she] was nominated 2018 “Sexiest women of the year” (IstoE magazine); and 2020 “Men of the year” (GQ Brasil magazine).

All her achievements happened because of her music, performance, and what they translate to today’s society. Firstly, her lyrics mostly celebrate sexual freedom and self-love in a world that could be safe and happy for people like her (Codinha), but one song has the biggest impact from her repertoire. “Indestrutivel” speaks of hope, positivity, and
overcoming—or bypassing—the hardships of life that are a common experience for many people living under threat (Silva 241-242): “Everything will be ok/ And my tears will dry out/ Everything will be ok/ And these scars will heal up/ If I receive pain/ I give love back” (Musixmatch). Every queer people that listens to this song can identify with her words and starts seeing Vittar as a role model. The well known Brazilian pop music critic Ed Motta said: I really cried seeing her, because I didn’t imagine this musicality, beautiful timbre in low notes and strong quality in the high notes. […] Her talent is truthful and genuine […] but the hatred army is profoundly bothered with what it represents in the obedient and close-minded society we live in. (Qtd. In A Tarde)


Secondly, when it comes to her performances, Pabllo breaks down the social stereotypes that reinforce the binary as the rule, normalizing all the versions a person might have, and spreading the comfortableness she has with her body and gender fluidity as an expression of freedom, character, and art (Aires 33). Vittar defends diversity in the media and brought her queerness to the big names.


Historically, black people, women, and the LGBT+ community have been mistreated by brands and the media in general. So, having inspiring and representative content from artists like Pabllo Vittar is an enormous step (Aires 24). As a big mediatic influencer, her channels can elaborate opinions and shape minds, a fact that has been capturing the attention of different brands such as C&A, Coca Cola, Adidas, Ben & Jerry’s, Trident, Instagram, Calvin Klein (21- 22).


The omnipresence of Vittar as an artist is jaw dropping. She participated in the biggest programs on national television, covered magazines, had her own talk show, several international appearances, and created partnerships with big brands. That said, her importance and fierceness representing the LBGTQ+ community in the music industry and in the media is unmeasurable as she opened the doors for other drag and queer artists to pursuit their dreams.


POLITICAL RESISTANCE


Pabllo had and still has a big importance in the fight against the conservative movement in Brazil, considering that the continuous regress that has been showcased in politics is worrying, and powerful people like her are much needed to a brighter future. According to the data collected by the NGO Transgender Europe in 2016, Brazil is the country with the most transgender and transsexual murders in the world. In 2019, the Forum magazine stated that with the victory of Jair Messias Bolsonaro in the 2018 presidential election, the country went from 55th to 68th on the safest countries to LGBTQ+ people rank (Aires 11). The openly racist, sexist, homophobic and misogynistic ex-president stated that homosexuality is a result of drug abuse, and it should have the same punishment as pedophilia (Codinha); [he] prohibited, during his mandate, the use of any word from the LGBT spectrum in political campaigns; and removed the restrictions on conversion therapy (Aires 33).


On the face of fear for the community, Vittar fights for the deconstruction of hateful and prejudiced thoughts that became part of not only Brazil’s, but the world’s culture. In an interview to Epoca Magazine in 2018, the artist said, “I will always be showing that, regardless of your sexual orientation, you can do everything you want.” Pabllo ended all the brand partnerships that declared support to Bolsonaro and, in 2022, she dedicated her social media with over 12 million people to support the new president, Lula Inacio da Silva, preventing the reelection of Bolsonaro (Aires 33). “Good music creates Union,” said the drag queen to Epoca Magazine in 2018, but her effect on the political context was the actual factor that successfully united the community for a greater good.


BRAZIL IN THE MAP


Even though the main movement she represents is the LGBTQ+ community, Pabllo Vittar also has a big role in the popularization of native music genres throughout the world. As a big star, the singer brought Forró, tecnobrega, and Carimbo[2] rooted anthems such as “Ama Sofre Chora ” and “Zap Zum” to the spotlight. Her 2021 album, Batidao Tropical, was created as a homage to her origins and a dive into the brilliant rhythms the country has to offer (Soutello).


From a bittersweet romance to a happy dancing song, Vittar’s team produced a musical landscape referencing famous songs and melodies inside her own creations. Her high-pitched timbre altogether with exciting powerful instruments not normally used in pop music such as Accordion, Triangle, Berimbau, Afoxe, Pandeiro, Reco-Reco[3], turned the eyes and ears of the world to a previously unknown and underappreciated side of Brazilian music (Ribeiro). The happy and contagious energy on the album makes it impossible to stand still and not smile, especially if it is the first time in contact with the piece. Batidao Tropical was Pabllo’s way of showing the pride she takes in her background, and she did it astonishingly. The album is a key landmark for Brazilian pop music, once it was presented in an accessible and appealing way to a wider public by the best-positioned artist to take it to the next level (Facchi).


Growing up, I had a hard timing coming to peace with the fact I was queer for several reasons, but the main one was I did not have someone like me to look up to and say, “It Is ok.” TV shows, movies, music, cartoons, and no one like me was presented as a successful, happy person. Identifying with other people’s struggle and seeing I was not alone felt like taking weight out of my back, and Pabllo Vittar had an important role in all of these. I remember watching her first music video and thinking I want to be as free, joyful, and confident as she was, not caring about other people’s hatred and society’s norms. Pabllo Vittar is a synonym of respect, inspiration, and courage, with a life changing importance to young queer kids like me, proving how relevant she is to the world and future generations. Pabblo Vittar is an example of talent, perseverance, and representation that has made one of the biggest impacts in the music world, by bringing visibility not only to drag queens and other LGBTQ+ members as serious artists, but also to Brazil and what it has to offer. In addition, she had unimaginable value to the political war and the positive outcome the country experienced. Many may argue that her influence did not cross borders, but the countless awards such as Social Artist of the year 2022 in the Latin American Music Awards (Weinberg) or Musical Artist 2020 in the British LGBT Awards (Butterworth), on top of many appearances in big concerts, magazines, rapidly disputes them. Putting on the drag is much more than just fun: it is an act of resistance and expression that creates union and, with Pabllo Vittar, is a historical world culture event.


Works Cited


Maturana, Joao. “Entenda a importancia de drag queens como Pabllo Vittar e GloriaGroove no topo”. PRBK, 2022. https://www.purebreak.com.br/noticias/pabllo-vittar-gloria-groove-e-a-importancia-das-drag-queens-no-topo/105579%20%20%20%20%20Accessed%2029%20November%2022 Access 29 November 2022.

Soutello, Gabriela. “Pabllo Vittar: Conheça a trajetória de vida e a carreira na musica”.Deezer, https://www.deezer-blog.com/br/pabllo-vittar/ Access 4 December 2022.

Codinha, Alessandra. “O que Pabllo Vittar, super estrela pop, significa para o Brasil (e oresto de nós) atualmente”. VOGUE, 2018.https://empoderadxs.com.br/2018/11/29/vogue-americana-ressalta-a-importancia-de-pabllo-vittar-para-o-brasil-e-o-mundo/ Accessed 29 November 2022.

Aires, Jonathan. “A Visibilidade de Pabllo Vittar na Midia”. Julia Maass, UniCEUB, 2019, pp. 10- 44.
Silva, Daniel. “Papo Reto: The Politics of Enregistrement amid the Crossfire in Rio de Janeiro”. Signs and Society, volume 10, number 2, edited by Asif Agha, The University of Chicago Press for the Semiosis Research Center, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, 2022, pp. 241-242.

CE Noticias Financieras: Portuguese, sec. News, 23 Apr. 2019. NewsBank: Access World News, infoweb.newsbank.com/apps/news/document-view?p=AWNB&docref=news/172FDA1BF AB5D4B8. Accessed 10 Nov. 2022.


Cooper, Alex, et al. “12 More People of the Year.” Advocate, no. 1124, Nov. 2022, pp. 50–61.

Butterworth, Benjamin. “British LGBT Awards 2019 nominations”. 2019 https://inews.co.uk/inews lifestyle/people/british-lgbt-awards-2019-full-list-of-nominees-254245

The Latin Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, Inc. “Nominados 19a Entrega Annual del Latin GRAMMY”. 2018. https://web.archive.org/web/20181201115609/https://www.latingrammy.com/es/nominees. Accessed on 4 December 2022.

Nunes, Caian. “Pabllo Vittar se emociona ao receber prêmio de “Drag Hero”. 2019 https://portalpopline.com.br/pabllo-vittar-se-emociona-ao-receber-premio-de-drag-hero-em-premiacao-britanica-no-brasil-nao-esta-facil-mas-ainda-estou-caminhando/amp/ Accessed on 4 December 2022.

Weinberg, Lindsay. “2022 Latin American Music Awards Winners: The complete List”. 2022. https://www.eonline.com/news/1327910/2022-latin-american-music-awards-winners-the-complete-list Accessed on 4 December 2022.


Antunes, Rodrigo. “Letra de Indestrutivel”. Vai Passar Mal, Bmt Produções. 2017.

Ribeiro, Ana Clara. “Pabllo Vittar shines light on brega music with ‘Batida Tropical’”. Pop Matters, 2021. https://www.popmatters.com/pabllo-vittar-batidao-tropical-review Accessed on 10 December 2022.

Facchi, Cleber. “Pabllo Vittar: “Batidão Tropical”’. Música Instantânea, 2021. http://musicainstantanea.com.br/critica-pabllo-vittar-batidao-tropical/ Accessed on 10 December 2022.

Estadao. “Ed Motta elogia a voz de Pabllo Vittar: ‘Talento verdadeiro e genuíno” ‘. A Tarde (Salvador, Brasil). 2018.

Notes


[1] State on the Northeastern region of Brazil

[2] Music genres born in poor peripheral regions far from the epicenter of Brazil’s mainstream industry

[3] Musical instruments very popular in the Northeastern region of Brazil.

Shannon Riley

The Impact of SZA’s “Love Language”


“Why is it so hard to accept the party is over?” SZA asks in the fourth track of CTRL titled “Drew Barrymore.” So, why is it so hard to accept when something such as a relationship or a monumental event ends? SZA explores this through her music and other issues such as growing up, bad relationships, vaginas, and much more. By talking about these subjects, SZA makes her own version of R&B catered toward people who don’t fit in, people who need a space to feel seen and understood. She also advocates for different causes such as the elimination of environmental racism and even has her own sustainable clothing line. Through her music, SZA pushes the boundaries of R&B and creates a space for people who don’t fit in while advocating for causes such as sustainability and mental health awareness.


SZA grew up in Maplewood, New Jersey, and her birth name is Solána Imani Rowe (Carmichael). She wasn’t very popular in school and stated “I wanted to be liked and have a good time, but it just wasn’t in the books for me (Carmichael).” Her lack of connection with peers led her to skip prom and party in a club in South Beach instead, which inspired her (Carmicheal). After the trip, she said “Fuck this, I don’t have any friends anyway. There’s nothing to stick around for. I might as well go chase more (Carmichael).” She went on to write her first studio album CTRL in 2017. She won the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding New Artist for CTRL in 2018 (The Hollywood Reporter Staff).


SZA’s music is unique and filled with references and packed full of emotion. Emma Carmicheal from The Rolling Stone described CTRL as “…a vulnerable twentysomething’s stream of consciousness, brimming with anxieties, discontented love stories, and a range of pop-culture references one can only absorb from growing up on the internet.” “Doves in the Wind,” the third track on CTRL, is all about vaginas. SZA, along with Kendrick Lamar, sings:


Real niggas do not deserve pussy
Meaning it’s more, you see right through walls
Ain’t talkin’ about pussy
Meaning you deserve the whole box of chocolates
Come with me, Forrest Gump had a lot goin’ for him
Never without pussy, y’know, Jenny almost gave it all up for him
Never even pushed for the pussy
Where’s Forrest now when you need him?
Talk to me, talk to me, hey, ayy, hey


Through the references to Forrest Gump, SZA explains that men don’t deserve her because she has a lot more to offer than just sex. Her lyricism is clever and witty and she uses pop-culture references to back up her points. She’s confident and sure of herself, and she seems very powerful. However, in “Supermodel,” SZA expresses insecurity. She sings:


Leave me lonely for prettier women
You know I need too much attention for shit like that
You know you wrong for shit like that
I could be your supermodel if you believe
If you see it in me, see it in me, see it in me
I don’t see myself
Why I can’t stay alone just by myself?
Wish I was comfortable just with myself
But I need you, but I need you, but I need you


SZA shows a sensitive, insecure side where she is unsure of her looks and needs reassurance from a man. She knows she has flaws and sometimes they get the best of her, which is what makes her human. Author Ta-Nehisi Coates said “When I hear SZA’s lyrics, it feels like it’s definitively her — this really human, young, black woman who is sometimes insecure about her body, other times feels really sexy, sometimes falls really hard,” Coates says. “That’s what an artist is supposed to do. Once they get into that specificity of who they are, that’s when they’re touching the most human aspect of it (Carmicheal).” She pushes the bounds of R&B with her music. SZA is relatable and touches on topics many people don’t discuss. She stated “I’ve spent most of my life being really unpopular and nerdy in school. I’ve always been super empathetic. My main goal is to make everybody feel included (Mlaba).” SZA is dedicated to making a safe space for her fans to feel included and understood.


While SZA makes the world a better place through her music, she also is dedicated to helping save the Earth by fighting against environmental racism and making her own sustainable clothing line. She has partnered with Tazo Tea and American Forests to plant trees and give jobs to people in marginalized communities (Finley). This hits close to home for SZA, she said “I think I’ve always been super aware of the inequity and experience. I always thought growing up in Maplewood, a place that’s named after its trees, that it was super weird and, like, not commonplace for other Black children to have access and exposure to the beach, to trees. Even though we live in a coastal city, whether it’s New York or New Jersey, Black children still have an uncomfortability with water and with outdoorsy activities. I feel like I just recognize the difference even between Maplewood and Irvington. I guess the taxpaying dollars only pay for a certain amount of trees? Literally a one-block difference, and all of a sudden it all disappears. It’s just straight concrete, and it smells different (Finley).” Environmental racism is a significant cause to her and she is doing her part to combat it. SZA is also working with Slow Factory to create a sustainable line of merch (Kia). The clothes will be made of landfill fabrics and recycled clothing and there will be patchwork tops, embroidered pieces, and sweatshirts (Kia). SZA also is dedicated to mental health awareness and has “…teamed up with shoe brand Crocs, to release a
limited line of shoes during Mental Health Awareness Month in the US in May. The brand and SZA partnered with advocates for mental health awareness in Black communities to help drive positive change in their own communities and around the world. With every shoe purchase, Crocs donated to the mental health organizations of their choice (Mlaba).” SZA struggles with anxiety and depression and wants to help her fans and others going through similar experiences. Through her music and creative lyrics, SZA has had an important impact on my life and my music taste. She has shown me that you can be a powerful, confident woman who still has insecurities and problems to work through. Her music has also helped me get over my past relationship with someone who wasn’t right for me. While writing this paper, I was anxiously awaiting her second album, SOS. It came out on December 9th and did not disappoint; from talking about killing her ex in “Kill Bill” to the iconic lyric “my pussy proceeds me” in “Blind,” I absolutely adore this album. By using her personal experiences and being emotional and open in her music, she allows us to cope with our experiences and relate to her struggles and successes. I believe SZA is pushing the boundaries of R&B and creating her own space in the genre. Her impact cannot be ignored and I am sure she will go on to win many more awards and get more recognition for her new work.


Through SZA’s clever lyrics, pop-culture references, and emotional delivery, she has not only created her own space in the genre of R&B, but she also formed a place for people who don’t fit in or feel alone to come together and feel seen and understood. Through her own struggles with her mental health, she has become dedicated to helping others going through similar things. Her care for the environment, sustainability, and improving life in marginalized communities shows just how much she wants to use her platform for good and change. While SZA is a relatively new artist with only two studio albums, her positive impact on people, the music industry, and the world cannot be ignored.


Works Cited


Carmichael, Emma. “SZA.” Rolling Stone, no. 1337, Mar. 2020, pp. 48–51.


Finley, Taryn. “SZA Wants to Turn Your Attention to Environmental Racism.” HuffPost, 17 Feb. 2021, https://www.huffpost.com/entry/sza-tazo-climate-justice_n_602c44c8c5b62767c0aa9dbc. Accessed 3 Dec. 2022.

Kia, Kara. “SZA’s Clothing Line.” POPSUGAR, 4 Mar. 2021, https:// http://www.popsugar.com/fashion/SZA-Clothing-Line-46210169. Accessed 3 Dec. 2022.

Mlaba, Khanyi. “5 Times SZA Helped Show the World ‘Good Days.’” Global Citizen, 6 Sept. 2022, https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/times-sza-showed-the-world-good-days-activism/.

The Hollywood Reporter Staff. “NAACP Image Awards: Full List of Winners.” The Hollywood Reporter, 16 Jan. 2018, https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/lists/2018-naacp-image-award-winners-complete-list-1064208/.

Alex Stalcup

Halsey: A Modern Music Maniac


It is not every day that a suicidal seventeen-year-old turns into a singing sensation, but that is exactly what happened in the case of young Ashley Frangipane. Ever since her first song, Halsey has been an advocate in the music industry who has always worked to remain uncensored and unlimited in her music. Her music has broken barriers and built bridges for so many artists who came after her. She is an icon and a beacon of hope in the male-dominated music industry. Halsey’s impact comes from her willingness to utilize her platform and their refusal to conform to what others may want.


From day one, Halsey has incorporated very serious themes into her music and has never once shied away from darker subjects. Halsey’s very first album, Badlands, already supports the dark narrative that Halsey’s music spreads. According to Halsey, Badlands is a concept album focusing on the fictional dystopian society known as The Badlands. A desert wasteland surrounds the city, keeping the inhabitants of The Badlands captive. (Rome) She used the Badlands as a metaphor for her struggles and mental health issues. These issues, according to her, created barriers she could not surpass and held her captive in her mind. (Morris) The Album’s tracks cover topics like insanity, mental health, anxiety, death, and drug use. At the time, most of these topics were rarely discussed and were certainly not subject matter that an artist would want to start their career with; but Halsey did not care. Every song that she writes tells a piece of her story and she refuses to censor herself. (Morris) Ever since that first album, Halsey has never been anything but honest with her fans. She never once hid her mental health issues and has been incredibly open in interviews and when simply answering questions online. Halsey has always been one to prefer transparency. As her music and influence have evolved, so too have the messages she has given. One of her most recent albums, If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power, is a “concept album about the joys and horrors of pregnancy and childbirth” (Lawson) Its music explores themes of feminism, abortion, self-control, self-worth, and so much more. It is clear that Halsey’s passion for these subjects runs deep within her veins and burns bright within her heart.


Her support for certain causes extends far beyond her music, however. Halsey has never hesitated to use her platform to support the causes she believes in. In her earlier years, she started small, primarily only posting about the causes on Twitter and other social media sites. Slowly but surely, however, Halsey lost her shyness and became much bolder in her activism. In June of 2017, Billboard magazine hosted a pride issue where artists were able to write letters to the
LGBTQ+ community and those letters would be published. While most of these letters were written from an outside perspective, Halsey was able to write hers as a thank-you letter to the community. She writes about all the people in the community who have helped her and whom she looks up to; writers, musicians, fans, drag queens, and even just everyday individuals who don’t let the hate slow them down. (Halsey) Halsey shows unwavering support for the struggle faced by the LGBTQ+ community because she is a piece of it. Halsey has never hidden her sexuality and has become an idol and an icon for LGBTQ+ fans all across the world. This letter, however, is far from the only thing Halsey has written for a cause. In January 2018, amidst the rise of the #MeToo movement, Halsey wrote a poem entitled “A Story Like Mine.” In it, she tells the story of her own experience with sexual assault as well as the experiences of those close to her. The poem is truly heart-breaking as she tells about her best friend’s rape at age 14, her own assault at age 7, and her continued assaults well into her adult life. (Halsey) She talks about how she thought that fame might protect her and how she was quickly proven wrong, how she realized that no one is ever truly safe, and how “we are not free until all of us are free.” (Halsey) Later, in November of that same year, Halsey unveiled another poem. This one was read at the 2018 Glamour’s Women of the Year Summit where Halsey was nominated. This poem, similar to the last one, is about the struggles and hardships faced by women around the world and is titled “Inconvenient Woman.” (Halsey) In the poem, she tells the stories of women all around who have suffered due to being seen as inconvenient; from work and from home, no woman is safe from being inconvenient. In the end, Halsey finishes her statement with one line that sums up what the poem was intended to say; “You were not put on this earth to make everybody else’s life easier. So please, be inconvenient.” (Halsey)


As years went by, Halsey never stopped being inconvenient to those who tried to stamp out her passion. Both 2019 and 2020 saw her becoming more and more active on various social media sites as she pushed for changes that she believed in. She raised money, raised support, and raised spirits for causes across the globe. In 2020, amidst the rallies and protests originating from the Black Lives Matter movement, Halsey decided to make some things very clear. Halsey herself is of African American descent as her father is black and her mother is European. Despite being biracial, Halsey has readily admitted on Twitter that she is white-passing and that “it’d be an absolute disservice to say ‘we’ when I’m not susceptible to the same violence.” (Willen) This was the beginning of a long stream of tweets and replies in which Halsey speaks about her experience as being biracial and how she feels it is not correct for her to claim a place in the Black community because she has not experienced the same issues that they have. Regardless of the criticism she has faced, Halsey continues to be a very vocal supporter of equal rights and a powerful figure in the fight against racism. Notably, Halsey was seen during the Black Lives Matter protests that occurred in Los Angeles as she was treating the injuries sustained by the civilians that were struck by rubber bullets in the ribs, face, and back. (Tannenbaum) Even when the protests and rallies died out, Halsey continued to be vocal on Twitter and other social media. Due to certain circumstances, a majority of her tweets and posts have been deleted or removed but several screenshots and records of them still exist out there in the infinite expanses of the internet.


Given all of the information stated in the previous paragraphs, what genre would fit Halsey’s style and music most accurately? Would her loud, angry songs land her a place in the Rock genre? Perhaps some of her darker songs may land her in the Alternative genre? Quite a few of her songs seem to fit in the Pop genre, so maybe that is correct? No one has ever been able to place Halsey inside of just one genre, not even the artist herself. According to interviews from as early in her career as 2016, Halsey openly believes that the concept of genres is just absolute bullshit. “Half the records on hip-hop radio are pop records at their core, and half the records in fucking alternative radio are pop. And pop radio doesn’t even know what the fuck it’s doing.” (Marsh) In the same interview, Halsey reveals that her debut album, her only album at the time, was being refused by several radio stations because it didn’t fit with the station’s primary genre. Eventually, she went to various alternative-based stations and pleaded her case to have it played there, saying that ”My music is too dark for pop, too pop for alternative, and urban radio won’t touch it — so we have a record that doesn’t fit in. And what is more alternative than that?” (Marsh) Eventually, several Alternative stations did pick up her music and, when it became clear that the audience enjoyed it, several other stations eventually joined in. Her unique brand of music has been nominated for awards in several different genre sections and it has annoyed critics to no end when they cannot confine her. (Visnyei) Eventually, Halsey was labeled as an alternative-pop artist, combining the two genres she fits most. This designation opened the gateway for more artists to push the boundaries of genre norms and create new and exciting subgenres. As the years have gone by, Halsey’s impact has been seen in the rise and fame of so many artists and songs that are inspired by her. Though few artists have outright stated that Halsey was an influence on them, the changes she inspired in the music world are undeniable.


Another thing that is undeniable about Halsey is her confidence and passion. When I first encountered her music in the spring of 2016, I was blown away by the raw emotion that seemed to leak from headphones and infect my brain. I couldn’t get her voice out of my head. I was only 12 when Halsey’s voice penetrated my soul and ignited a fire that burned me from the inside out until I was forced to stand face-to-face with my inner self. When I stared into my own eyes and saw the desperation and fear that I had tried so hard to bury, I couldn’t deny myself any longer. I began a spiraling path that led to new discoveries and a powerful confidence that I almost lost a few times. These discoveries came to a climax when, at the tender age of 14, I discovered a recording from Halsey’s 2014 performance of “Hold Me Down”. (maddi rath) I watched her dance across the stage with a confidence that I could only dream of having when, at the beginning of one chorus, she dropped to her knees and began to move in a way that made my face grow warm. Part of me wanted to look away and spare myself but my eyes were glued to the video as it continued to play unhindered. That one little clip that I found purely by chance sparked a part of myself that I now wear proudly on my sleeve. Looking back, I can clearly see that that moment was what sparked my discovery of my sexuality. I can proudly say that I am an omnisexual. This discovery was kept secret for a long time as I simply didn’t feel safe being out in my hometown or even amongst my own family. As I grew up, I began to use Halsey’s music as a refuge and her activism as a guide. Her encouragement and poems lived in my head and her passion resided in my heart. I used her words, her poems, her music, and even her tweets to guide me through life. I would not be who I am today had it not been for Halsey.


After everything that Halsey has experienced and seen, it is no wonder that she has such a powerful passion for her art and her influence. Halsey has shown no restraint in utilizing her platform and making her opinions known. She is a fearless artist whose impact, not only in the music industry, is undeniable. From the powerful themes that she makes prevalent in her music to the burning passion she has for social justice, Halsey is one of the most influential artists of
her time. She may not have broken records or won hundreds of awards, but she has set the stage for so many artists who come after her and has made a clear imprint on the music industry. She was one of the first female artists to really put her foot down and say that she was going to run her career how she wanted it rather than what others wanted. She is an inspiration not only to me but to artists and fans across the globe, she may not be the absolute most influential artist, but her impact is undeniable.


Resources


Daw, Stephen. “8 Times Halsey Boldly Used Her Platform for Social Causes: A Timeline.” Billboard, 21 Dec. 2018, http://www.billboard.com/culture/pride/halsey-8-times-used-platform-social-causes-timeline-8491237/

GILCHRIST, T. E. Hello, Halsey. Advocate, [s. l.], n. 1107, p. 24–31, 2020. Acesso em: 15 dez. 2022.

Halsey, and Ashley Iasimone. “Halsey Delivers Emotional Speech about Sexual Abuse, Rape at New York Women’s March.” Billboard, 24 Jan. 2018, http://www.billboard.com/music/pop/halsey-womens-march-speech-poem-a-story-like-mine-video-8095257/.

Halsey. “Halsey Has a Poem with a Powerful Message for All Women: ‘Be Inconvenient’.” Glamour, Glamour, 11 Nov. 2018, http://www.glamour.com/story/halsey-poem-inconvenient-woman.

Halsey. “Halsey: Love Letter to the LGBTQ Community.” Billboard, 20 June 2017, http://www.billboard.com/culture/pride/halsey-gay-pride-month-love-letter-7833737/.

Lawson, Sydney. “Halsey’s Newest Album Is Their Most Vulnerable Yet.” The Shield, 15 Sept. 2021,https://usishield.com/34398/features/halseys-newest-album-is-their-most-vulnerable-yet/ maddi rath. “Halsey – Hold Me Down.” YouTube, 13 Mar. 2015,www.youtube.com/watch?v=bZuH6T4nx-k.

Marsh, Joanne. “Halsey Slams Genres in Music: ‘It’s Just Absolute Bullshit’.” NME, 10 Feb. 2016, http://www.nme.com/news/music/halsey-4-1203675.

Morris, Jessie. “Halsey Talks Pissing off Her Label, Her New Album, and Her Decision to Open up about Being Bipolar.” Complex, Complex, 10 July 2015, http://www.complex.com/music/2015/07/interview-halsey-new-album-badlands.

Rome, Shelley. “Halsey Interview with Shelley Rome.” Z100, 9 Sept. 2015, web.archive.org/web/20151002045425/www.z100.com/media/podcast-shelley-rome-interviews-shelleyrome/halsey-interview-with-shelley-rome-26337386/.

Tannenbaum, Emily. “Halsey Speaks up about White-Passing Privilege: ‘I’m Not Susceptible to the Same Violence’.” Glamour, Glamour, 4 June 2020, http://www.glamour.com/story/halsey-speaks-up-about-white-passing-privilege.

Visnyei, Petra. “‘Otherness Incorporated: Halsey as the Contemporary Media Rebel.’” Americana: E-Journal of American Studies in Hungary, vol. 12, no. 1, Mar. 2016, p. 1.

Willen, Claudia. “Halsey Reflects on the Privilege She Has Because She’s ‘White Passing’: ‘I’m Not Susceptible to the Same Violence’.” Insider, Insider, 4 June 2020, http://www.insider.com/halsey-white-passing-biracial-privilege-black-lives-matter-2020-6.

YES THANK YOU: The Best of a Bounty of Absorbing, Motorvating, Challenging, Exciting Albums Gifted Us By 2022

190 albums of new music I can sit down with and which will at the very least engage and stimulate me enough to play them again. 45 albums of music made in the past that’s been reissued or freshly excavated that make me realize I’m never going to get to the point where I don’t have to dive into the past anymore and simply live in the musical moment. Does it all make me feel something akin to Jerry Lee Lewis’ music does? No–none of it does. It makes me feel new and different things, though; Live at the Star Club was a high bar for all popular performers when it came out, has been in the interim, and will continue to be, I can hear it first second to last in my head without having to put it on, and it still makes my skin prickle. BUT I’m all about feeling new feelings (and thinking new thoughts) (and experiencing new physical reactions) today’s music (be it acoustic or electric or organic) can conjure before I die. It’s been a salve as well as a shot in the arm and ass for me all year, and simply surveying the diversity of the list stuns me…and gives me hope. That last is important, because I seriously contemplate (once in a while) the possibility, voiced by folks far more educated than I am, that we’re a virus on this globe. We aren’t, or at least we don’t have to be, and we choose to be, at least some of us will create sounds that honor us, and help us go down feeling fully alive. Merry fucking Christmas, eh? YES. Merry fucking Christmas!

Relatively Merry Musings:

  1. It’s absurd to try and put 190 (or even 45) records in precise modern music lovers’ order. After about #30, the procession gets a little I-Chingish; even so, days after I publish these, I find myself thinking, “Why’d I put that at #112?” I’m not gonna drive myself crazy, though. I feel pretty strongly about my Top 30, though when the wonderful and exacting Facebook group Expert Witness and the comfortably less exacting Facebook group Village Voice Pazz & Jop Rip-Off Poll comes a-calling for my final Top 10, mine might not be THIS Top 10. WON’T be THIS Top 10. Might even have something in it not even among these 235 slabs.
  2. Thank you to one of my phenomenal Stephens College students (also a single mom) (also a veteran of our Middle Eastern wars) for writing an amazing essay on Mary Gauthier’s Rifles and Rosary Beads, which I forced on her (“folk music is not my jam”) and she ended up admiring, and giving a great presentation and handing in a nice research paper on previous-unknown-to-me Colombian-Canadian Jessie Reyez. Reyez has gotten her through some rough nights and I understand why.
  3. I am a Little Simz self-starter. Though, pre-Grey Area, I merely appreciate her work, from that point on I’ve gone starry-eared, and her brand-spanking-new one, delicately Saulted, is no exception. She sounds great, she writes tough, and she inspires. I may come down to Earth in the next month, but I can’t worry about that now.
  4. I have a California friend named Chris who often feeds me fuel I somehow miss, and he recently passed along a powerful, even rowdy record from Kinshasa, Lady Aicha and Pisko Crane’s N’Djila Wa Mudujimu, that moved me to immediately buy a vinyl copy. I could picture myself playing it over and over–and milady also seriously digs music from many African countries. I owe ya, Chris. THAT one may move UP.
  5. Petrol Girls’ new album lives up to the band name. On fire, and fire burns.
  6. Los Angeles’ Juke Bounce Werk label, which I just learned about a couple weeks ago, submitted an inexpensive 52-song comp of consistently propulsive–I dare say bangin’–dance music on Bandcamp. I thought, “Wow! I need to tell people about this!” Then I noticed it was the 10TH VOLUME of such compilations. Where’s the longform piece on these folks?
  7. Above, I mentioned the Facebook group Village Voice Pazz & Jop Rip-Off Poll, which ably–I mean, ably–replaces the Voice’s influential but very gone original poll. Honestly, I like the Facebook version better: it’s more personal, interactive, flexible, surprising, funny–and group members’ early Top 10 submissions remind even the most avid music consumer that YOU CAN’T LISTEN TO EVERYTHING. Together, though, we can. I knew nothing about Mama’s Broke, took a flyer on Mama’s Broke’s Narrow Line on name and title alone from another user’s list…and heard echoes of Dock Boggs and The Carter Family modernized expertly for Struggle 2022. If I’d read about it, I’d have thought, “Not my jam”; it is my jam and peanut butter, too. Generic jars of each, because they’re more affordable.
  8. I came late to both Tyler Childers’ and Pillbox Patti’s albums. Childers had won my heart by writing a song about jacking off on the road, but I’d lost touch with him–and was a bit cold-cocked by his sober-Gram-Parsons gospel album. I knew nothing about Pillbox Patti, but I’d just finished Patrick Haddon Keefe’s Sackler-skewing Empire of Pain, which set me up to be knocked out by her tales of Parsonian heart-pain and substance reliance. Talk about a country paradigm.
  9. Anyone out there annually purchase Blues Images‘ calendar-and-CD combo that keeps the world of country blues alive? Well, hate to tell ya, this one’s the last one–they can’t afford to keep knocking them out. Follow that preceding link to help John Tefteller and crew go out in much-deserved fine and dignified style. PLUS? The accompanying CD, which includes the most amazing job of restoration of ’20s records I’ve heard so far, will stun you.
  10. Can you resist cumbia? I cannot. The two cumbia compilations, one from Mexico, the other from Peru, both from the esteemed Analog Africa label, that I just added to my archival dig list, aren’t just fun–they add twists, even experimentation, to that addictive rhythm.
  11. (Bonus Track I) Dickie Landry. No one like him.
  12. (Bonus Track II) D. Boon died UNJUSTLY–damn you, cosmos–on December 22, 1985. Too cool to be forgotten, corndog.

RELEASES OF NEWLY-MADE MUSIC

(New additions to the list are bolded.)

  1. Rosalia: MOTOMAMI (Columbia)
  2. Willie Nelson: A Beautiful Time (Sony)
  3. Beyoncé: Renaissance (Parkwood Entertainment)
  4. Tanya TagaqTongues (Six Shooter) 
  5. Ricky Ford: The Wailing Sounds of Ricky Ford—Paul’s Scene (Whaling City Sounds)
  6. Stro Elliot & James Brown: Black & Loud—James Brown Reimagined (Polydor)
  7. 75 Dollar Bill: Social Music at Troost, Volume 3–Other People’s Music (Black Editions Group)
  8. Tommy Womack: I Thought I Was Fine (Schoolkids Records)
  9. Jeff Parker ETA IVTet: Mondays at the Enfield Tennis Academy(Eremite)
  10. Wadada Leo Smith: The Emerald Duets (TUM)
  11. Wet Leg: Wet Leg (Domino)
  12. Harry Styles: Harry’s House (Columbia)
  13. Sun Ra Arkestra (featuring Marshall Allen): Living Sky (Strut / Omni Sound)
  14. Horace Andy: Midnight Rocker (On-U Sound)
  15. Amanda Shires: Take It Like a Man (ATO)
  16. Little Simz: NO THANK YOU (Forever Living Originals)
  17. Mary Gauthier: Dark Enough to See the Stars (Thirty Tigers)
  18. Patricia Brennan: More Touch (Pyroclastic)
  19. black midi: Hellfire (Rough Trade)
  20. Heroes Are Gang Leaders: LeAutoRoiGraphy (577 Records)
  21. SAULT: Untitled (God)(self-released)
  22. Lady Aicha & Pisko Crane’s Original Fulu Miziki of Kinshasa: N’Djili Wa Mudujimu (Nyege Nyege Tapes)
  23. Sudan ArchivesNatural Brown Prom Queen (Stones Throw)
  24. Gogol Bordello: Solidaritine (Das Grand Kapital)
  25. Bitchin’ Bajas: Bajascillators (Drag City)
  26. Ashley McBryde: Presents…Lindeville (Warner Nashville)
  27. Steve Lacy: Gemini Rights (RCA)
  28. Suzi Analogue: Infinite Zonez (Never Normal)
  29. Superchunk: Wild Loneliness (Merge)
  30. Dawn Richard & Spencer Zahn: Pigments(Merge)
  31. Various Artists: Sowal Diabi—From Kabul to Bamako (Accords Croises)
  32. Gonora Sounds: Hard Times Never Kill (Phantom Limb)
  33. Ches Smith: Interpret It Well (Pyroclastic)
  34. Anitta: Versions of Me (Deluxe) (Warner)
  35. Ka: Languish Arts (Iron Works)
  36. Lady Wray: Piece of Me (Big Crown)
  37. Bob Vylan: Bob Vylan Presents The Price of Life (Ghost Theatre)
  38. SAULT: Today & Tomorrow(self-released)
  39. The Mountain Goats: Bleed Out (Merge)
  40. ensemble 0: Music Nuvulosa (Sub Rosa)
  41. The Ogun Meji DuoFreedom Suite (self-released)
  42. PhelimuncasiAma Gogela (Nyege Nyege Tapes)
  43. 700 Bliss: Nothing to Declare (Hyperdub)
  44. Bruno Berle: No Reino Dos Afetos(Far Out)
  45. The Chats: Get Fucked (Cooking Vinyl)
  46. Jinx Lennon: Pet Rent (Septic Tiger)
  47. Freakons: Freakons (Fluff & Gravy)
  48. Jeong Lim Yang: Zodiac Suite—Reassured(Fresh Sound)
  49. WeFreeStrings: Love in the Form of Sacred Outrage (ESP-Disk)
  50. Etran de L’AirAgadez (Sahel Sounds)
  51. Homeboy Sandman: I Can’t Sell These (self-released)
  52. Horsegirl: “Billy” / “History Lesson, Part II” (Matador)
  53. Mark Lomax Trio: Plays Mingus (CFG Multimedia)
  54. Makaya McCraven: In These Times (International Anthem)
  55. Moor Mother: Jazz Codes (Anti-)
  56. Buck 65: King of Drums (4320739 Records DK)
  57. JID: The Forever Story (Dreamville/Interscope)
  58. Mdou Moctar: Niger EP Volume 1 (Matador)
  59. ifsonever: ifsonever (Jazz & Milk)
  60. Various Artists: Lespri Ka—New Directions in Gwoka Music from Guadeloupe (Time Capsule Sounds) 
  61. Satoko Fujii: One Hundred Dreams (Libra)
  62. Mark Lomax II: Prismatic Refractions, Volume I (self-released)
  63. Special Interest: Endure (Rough Trade)
  64. Petrol Girls: Baby (Hassle)
  65. James Brandon Lewis: MSM Molecular Systematic Music—Live (Intakt)
  66. Kari Faux: Lowkey Superstar(Don Giovanni)
  67. Adeem the Artist: White Trash Revelry(self-released)
  68. Miranda Lambert: Palomino (Vanner)
  69. Backxwash: HIS HAPPINESS SHALL COME FIRST EVEN THOUGH WE ARE SUFFERING(Ugly Hag / self-released)
  70. Daniel Villareal: Panama ’77 (International Anthem)
  71. Kehlani: blue water road (TSNMI/Atlantic)
  72. Iara Renno: Oriki (self-released)
  73. Dr. John: Things Happen That Way (Rounder)
  74. Horace Andy: Midnight Scorchers (On-U Sound)
  75. Ka: Woeful Studies (Iron Works)
  76. Wild Up: Julius Eastman, Volume 2—Joy Boy (New Amsterdam)
  77. Various Artists: Juke Bounce Werk Presents JBDUBZ Volume X (Juke Bounce Werk)
  78. Lucrecia Dalt: Ay!(RVNG International)
  79. GloRilla: Anyways, Life’s Great (CMG/Interscope)
  80. Mama’s Broke: Narrow Line (Free Dirt)
  81. Isaiah Collier & The Chosen Few: Lift Every Voice (Division 81 Records)
  82. Tyshawn Sorey: The Off-Off Broadway Guide to Synergism (Pi)
  83. Amber Mark:Three Dimensions Deep (PMR / Interscope) 
  84. Florian ArbenzConversation #5—Elemental; Conversations #6 and 7
  85. Morgan Wade: Reckless (Deluxe) (Ladylike) 
  86. Zoh Amba: O, Sun (Tzadik)
  87. Jussi ReijonenThree Seconds I Kolme Toista (Challenge Records International)
  88. Ran Blake: Driftwoods (Tompkins Square)
  89. Whit Dickey: Root Perspectives (Tao Forms)
  90. Billy Woods: Aethiope(Backwoodz Studios)
  91. Ishmael Reed: The Hands of Grace(Reading Group)
  92. Dan Ex MachinaAll is Ours, Nothing is Theirs (self-released)
  93. Anna von HausswoolffLive at Montreaux Jazz Festival (Southern Lord) 
  94. Felipe Salles: Tiyo’s Songs of Life (Tapestry)
  95. Steve Lehman: Xaybu—The Unseen(Pi Recordings)
  96. Tom ZéLingua Brasiliera (Selo Sesc)
  97. Tyler Childers: Can I Take My Hounds to Heaven (Hickman Holler)
  98. Joyce Moreno: Brasilieras Cancoes(Biscoito Fino)
  99. M.I.A.: Mata(Island)
  100. Pillbox Patti: Florida (Monument)
  101. Elaine Elias: Quietude(Candid)
  102. Nancy Mounir: Nozhet El Nofous (Terrorbird)
  103. Rick Rosato: Homage (self-released)
  104. The Beths: Expert in a Dying Field (Carpark)
  105. Alvvays: Blue Rev(Polyvinyl / Transgressive)
  106. Ari Lennox: age/sex/location (Dreamville/Interscope)
  107. Oumou Sangare: Timbuktu (World Circuit Limited)
  108. Various Artists: Hidden Waters—Strange and Sublime Sounds from Rio de Janiero (Sounds and Colours)
  109. SeaJun Kwon: Micro Nap (Endectomorph Music)
  110. Gilla Band: Most Normal(Rough Trade)
  111. Dry Cleaning: Stumpwork(4AD)
  112. Jessie Reyez: Yessie (FMLY/Island)
  113. Brian Eno: FOREVERANDEVERNOMORE(Verve / UMC)
  114. Nduduzo Makhathini: In the Spirit of Ntu (Universal)
  115. Gard Nilssen Acoustic Unity:Elastic Wave (ECM)
  116. Miguel Zeñon: Musica de las Americas (Miel Music)
  117. Priscilla BlockWelcome to the Block Party (InDent)
  118. The Comet is Coming: Hyper-Dimensional Expansion Beam(Impulse)
  119. Serengeti: Kaleidoscope III (Audiocon)
  120. Snotty Nose Rez Kids: I’m Good, HBU? (Distorted Muse)
  121. Kendrick Lamar: Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers (pgLang/Top Dawg Entertainment/Aftermath/Interscope)
  122. Charm Taylor: She Is The Future (Sinking City)
  123. OGJB: Ode to O (TUM) (Note: Band name – O = Oliver Lake, G = Graham Haynes, J = Joe Fonda, B = Barry Altschul / Title – O = Ornette) 
  124. Andrew Cyrille, William Parker, and Enrico Rava: Two Blues for Cecil (TUM) 
  125. Luke Stewart’s Silt TrioThe Bottom (Cuneiform) 
  126. Tyler Mitchell: Dancing Shadows (featuring Marshall Allen) (Mahakala Music)
  127. Crow Billiken (aka R.A.P. Ferreira): If I don’t have red I use blue (self-released)
  128. Dopolarians: Blues for Alvin Fielder—Live at Crosstown Arts, Memphis(Mahakala Music)
  129. The Paranoid Style: For Executive Meeting(Bar/None)
  130. Carl Stone: Wat Dong Moon Lek (Unseen Worlds)
  131. Joy Guidry:Radical Acceptance (Whited Sepulchre)
  132. Tasche de la Rocha: Tasche de la Rocha & The Psychedelic Roses (Sinking City)
  133. Meridian Brothers and El Grupo & Renacimiento (Ansonia)
  134. Avram Fefer Quartet: Juba Lee(Clean Feed)
  135. Jeffrey Lewis: When That Really Old Cat Dies(self-released)
  136. Mitski: Laurel Hell (Dead Oceans)
  137. Jockstrap: Jockstrap (Rough Trade)
  138. Earthgang: Ghetto Gods (Dreamville/Interscope)
  139. Breath of Air: Breath of Air (Burning Ambulance Music)
  140. Immanuel Wilkins: The 7th Hand (Blue Note) 
  141. David Murray Brave New World Trio: Seriana Promethea (Intakt)
  142. Fulu MizikiNgbaka (EP)
  143. David Virelles: Nuna (Pi / El Tivoli)
  144. Javon Jackson & Nikki Giovanni: The Gospel According to Nikki Giovanni (Solid Jackson) 
  145. Leikeli47: Shape Up (Hardcover/RCA)
  146. Witchcraft BooksVolume 1—The Sundisk (Iapetus Records)
  147. Hurray for The Riff Raff: Life on Earth (Nonesuch)
  148. Qasim Naqvi/Wadada Leo Smith/Andrew Cyrille: Two Centuries (Red Hook)
  149. Rokia Koné and Jacknife Lee: Bamanan (3DFamily)
  150. Tomas Fujiwara: Triple Double (Firehouse 12)
  151. DJ Black Low: Uwami (Awesome Tapes from Africa)
  152. Ibibio Sound Machine:Electricity (Merge)
  153. Zoh Amba: O Life, O Light, Volume 1(577 Records)
  154. Burton/McPherson Trio: The Summit Rock Session at Seneca Village (Giant Step Arts)
  155. Kahil El’Zabar Quartet: A Time for Healing (Spirit Muse)
  156. Pastor Champion: I Just Want to Be a Good Man (Luaka Bop)
  157. Nduduzo Makhathini: In the Spirit of Ntu (Blue Note)
  158. Pusha T: It’s Almost Dry (G.O.O.D. Music/Def Jam)
  159. Elza SoaresElza Ao Vivo No Municipal (Deck)
  160. Nilufer Yanya: Painless (ATO)
  161. Open Mike Eagle: a tape called component system with the auto reverse (Auto Reverse)
  162. Chad Fowler/Ivo Perelman/Zoh Amba/Matthew Shipp/William Parker/Steve Hirsch: Alien Skin(Mahakala Music)
  163. Tommy McLain: I Ran Down Every Dream (Yep Roc)
  164. Satoko Fujii and Joe Fonda: Thread of Light (Fundacja Słuchaj)
  165. Charli XCX: Crash (Atlantic)
  166. Pete Malinverni: On the Town—Pete Malinverni Plays Leonard Bernstein (Planet Arts) 
  167. Marxist Love Disco Ensemble: MLDE(Mr. Bongo)
  168. Samara Joy: Linger Awhile (Verve)
  169. Dedicated Men of Zion: The Devil Don’t Like It (Bible & Tire)
  170. Tyshawn Sorey Trio: Mesmerism (Pi Recordings)
  171. Dezron Douglas: Atalaya(International Anthem)
  172. Charlotte Adigery & Bolis Pupul: Topical Dancer (DeeWee)
  173. Tomeka Reid & Joe McPhee: Let Our Rejoicing Rise (Corbett vs. Dempsey)
  174. Earl Sweatshirt: Sick! (Tan Cressida / Warner) 
  175. Big Thief: Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe in You (4AD)
  176. Jeff Arnal and Curt Cloninger: Drum Major Instinct (Mahakala Music)
  177. R.A.P. Ferreira: 5 to the Eyes with Stars (self-released)
  178. Natsuki TamuraSummer Tree (Libra)
  179. Ghais Guevara: There Will Be No Super-Slave (self-released)
  180. Manel Fortia: Despertar (Segell Microscopi/Altafonte)
  181. Ray Wylie Hubbard: Co-Starring Too (Big Machine)
  182. Various Artists: if you fart make it sound good (WA Records)
  183. Marta Sanchez: SAAM (Spanish American Art Museum) (Whirlwind)
  184. Sonnyjim & The Purist: White Girl Wasted (Duape)
  185. Florian Arbenz: Conversation #8—Ablaze (Hammer Recordings)
  186. Mavis Staples & Levon Helm: Carry Me Home (Anti-)
  187. Panda Bear & Sonic Boom: Reset (Domino)
  188. Blue Reality Quartet: Ella’s Island (Mahakala Music)
  189. Cost of Living: Apollo Brown & Philmore Green (Mellow Music Group)
  190. Taylor Swift: Midnights(non-expanded) (Republic)

ARCHIVAL DIGS

  1. Los Golden Boys: Cumbia de Juventud (Mississippi Records)
  2. Albert Ayler: Revelations—The Complete ORTF 1970 Fondation Maeght Recordings (Elemental)
  3. Cecil Taylor:The Complete Legendary Live Return Concert at the Town Hall (Oblivion)
  4. Tommy Womack: 30 Years Shot to Hell! An Anthology (Schoolkids Records)
  5. Various Artists: Lovers Rock—The Soulful Sound of Romantic Reggae (Trojan)
  6. Staples Jr. Singers: When Do We Get Paid (Luaka Bop)
  7. Dickie Landry: Solos (Unseen Worlds)
  8. Albert Ayler: La Cave Live 1966 (Ezz-Thetics) 
  9. Various Artists: Cumbia Sabrosa—Tropical Sound System Bangers From The Discos Fuentes Vaults 1961-1981 (Rocafort Records)
  10. Biluka y Los Canibales: Leaf-Playing in Quito (1960-1965) (Honest Jon’s)
  11. Various Artists: OZ DAYS LIVE ’72 – ’73 Kichijoji–The 50th Anniversary Collection (featuring Les Rallizes Dénudés)  (Temporal Drift)
  12. Les Raillizes Denudes: Live ’77 (Temporal Drift)
  13. Ernest Hood: Back to the Woodlands (Freedom to Spend)
  14. Various Artists: A Chat About the Beauty of the Moon at Night–Hawaiian Steel Guitar Masters 1913-1921 (Magnificent Sounds)
  15. The Rolling Stones: Live at the El Mocambo (Interscope)
  16. Various Artists: Blues Images—1920s Blues Classics, Volume 20 (Blues Images)
  17. Son House: Forever on My Mind (Easy Eye Sound)
  18. Lavender Country: Blackberry Rose and Other Songs & Sorrows (Don Giovanni)
  19. Mal Waldron: Searching in Grenoble—The 1978 Solo Piano Concert (Tompkins Square)
  20. Horace Tapscott Quintet: The Quintet (Mr. Bongo)
  21. Horace Tapscott Quintet: Legacies for Our Grandchildren (Dark Tree)
  22. Dickie Landry & Lawrence Weiner: Having Been Built on Sand(Unseen Worlds)
  23. Various Artists: The D-Vine Spirituals—Sacred Soul (Bible & Tire)
  24. Various Artists: Saturno 2000—La Rebajada De Los Sonideros 1962-1983 (Analog Africa)
  25. Various Artists: Peru Selvatico—Sonic Expedition into the Peruvian Amazon 1972-1986 (Analog Africa)
  26. Kabaka International Guitar Band: Kabaka International Guitar Band (Palenque Records)
  27. The Pyramids: AOMAWA—The 1970s Recordings (Strut)
  28. Hermeto Pascoal: Hermeto (Far Out Recordings)
  29. Sun Ra: Sun Ra Arkestra Meets Salah Ragab in Egypt (Strut)
  30. Asha Puthi: The Essential Asha Puthi (Mr. Bongo)
  31. Malik’s Emerging Force Art Trio: Time and Condition (moved-by-sound)
  32. Volta Jazz: Air Volta (Numero)
  33. Blondie: Against the Odds—1974-1982 (3-CD Rarities Version) (UMe / Numero Group)
  34. Joyce Moreno: Natureza (Far Out Recordings)
  35. Various Artists: From Lion Mountain—Traditional Music of Yeha, Ethiopia (Dust-to-Digital)
  36. Charles Stepney: Step-on-Step(International Anthem)
  37. Ronnie Boykins: The Will Come is Now (ESP-Disk)
  38. John Ondolo: Hypnotic Guitar of John Ondolo (Mississippi Records)
  39. Luciano Luciani y sus Mulatos: Mulata, vamos a la Salsa (Vampisoul)
  40. Cecil Taylor: Respiration (Fundacja Stuchaj)
  41. Norma Tanega: Studio and Demo Recordings, 1964-1971 (Anthology)
  42. Irma Thomas: New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival 1976 (Good Time)
  43. Afrika Negra: Antologia, Volume 1 (Bongo Joe)
  44. Various Artists: Summer of Soul (Legacy)
  45. The Heartbreakers: LAMF—The ’77 Found Mixes (Jungle)

Special Bandcamp Friday 2022 Edition: More (and More) Touch–The Best Records I’ve Heard This Year So Far with 29 Days to Go!

Offhand Remarks:

  1. Do you enjoy beautiful trances? These days, I do, and I don’t really like substances to help, because I’m old and fall asleep–which defeats the point. Musically, you’ll be hard pressed to find hypnosis as euphonic as Jeff Parker’s new album on Eremite or Patricia Brennan’s on Pyroclastic. They sustain like a mutha and they are never boring. Proceed.
  2. The number of additions to this list may be a record for a month. Most are available on Bandcamp, today is Friday, and you know what to do.
  3. I am sure I have mentioned Rod Taylor’s Brazil Beat blog here before, but I may have to send him a holiday gift, so many gifts has he led me to. Two cases in point: one, it is Joyce Moreno’s year–she has a lovely, dancing, swinging new album out at 74 and a number of reissues that may convince you (as she, with Rod’s help, has me) that she’s one of the greatest Brazilian singers of the last 60-odd years; two, check out Bruno Berle’s moody, eccentric, and brilliant new album, as well as an older one by Lula Cortes and Ze Ramalho that Berle’s album reminded Rod of, Solar Paebiru–I love Berle’s album so much that I did that old-school blind-dive and bought a hard copy of the latter. Woah. Weird and gorgeous.
  4. If an artist has released 100 albums, that merits a sampling if one isn’t familiar with the artist. Satoko Fujii’s One Hundred Dreams is just that–an exciting, out-there record of imaginative piano combo sounds that will leave you hoping for Album 101.
  5. Adeem the Artist’s second album is red-hot-off-the-presses and surpasses his excellent debut. It is surely the best autobiographical blue-collar Americana release by a non-binary singer-songwriter…ever. And also yet.
  6. That damned SAULT crew! Just when I think (at least for myself) I’ve “cracked the code” and weaned myself off their mystique, they drop a bunch of LPs and EPs that are all pretty fair. I listed my two favorites here–one of which I immediately burned to CD for one of my favorite students this year with whom I’ve had two great spiritual conversations. But as a result of that sticky mystique, I’m still not sure they are the two best.
  7. The excellent Pitchfork critic Sasha Geffen, author of the very-worthwhile Glitter Up The Dark, recently Zoomed with three-count-’em-three separate classes of mine (they’d just finished her book on assignment). He was terrific and very down to earth–more so than my students expected a critic to be–and I told them to be sure to watch for her work on the ‘fork. His first review after our visit (in fact, I think it went up on the day he spoke with us) was of a new work by a band I’d never heard of, Special Interest. Endure JOLTED me–musically and lyrically–and testifies to Geffen’s sharp ear, eye, and mind.
  8. I have a weakness for Little Rock and Memphis. But I think in spite of that my judgement is sound on this list. A stunning number of powerful, varied, and interesting records have been released by LR’s Mahakala Records just this year; Little Rock’s Kari Faux is far from faux, and Memphis’ GloRilla has just become my favorite woman-wildin’-out MC. She is very, very Memphian.
  9. I’ve had a very stubborn Springsteen block since those two records he released at the same time–it’s so stubborn it even prevents me from enjoying his older work like I used to. My wife has a mild crush on both him and Obama, so I ceded to listening to their Renegades podcast (I can admire them both, but that title’s a bit off the mark–unless they were trying to be self-effacing). I rolled my eyes when I learned his new album was soul covers (too easy and safe, I thought, plus the choice of material didn’t meet Cramps/Ray Condo standards, plus so many invitations to strain). Just listened to it this morning for old times’ sake on a long walk…and found it sweet. Nicole will like it, too.
  10. Several cyber-acquaintances of mine are really writing well on Substack. When I read their work, I wanna just fold it up here–that’s how much I enjoy it. If you like this blog, please try out Christian Iszchak’s “An Acute Case” (every Friday–good idea, ’cause that’s a great day to pay musicians!), Brad Luen’s always incisive and witty “Semipop Life,”, and Steve Pick’s “Steve Pick’s Writing Place.” Then stay there and only come back here if you need to–those guys actually write.

RELEASES OF NEWLY-MADE MUSIC

(New additions to the list are bolded.)

  1. Rosalia: MOTOMAMI (Columbia)
  2. Willie Nelson: A Beautiful Time (Sony)
  3. Beyoncé: Renaissance (Parkwood Entertainment)
  4. Tanya TagaqTongues (Six Shooter) 
  5. Ricky Ford: The Wailing Sounds of Ricky Ford—Paul’s Scene (Whaling City Sounds)
  6. Stro Elliot & James Brown: Black & Loud—James Brown Reimagined (Polydor)
  7. 75 Dollar Bill: Social Music at Troost, Volume 3–Other People’s Music (Black Editions Group)
  8. Tommy Womack: I Thought I Was Fine (Schoolkids Records)
  9. Jeff Parker ETA IVTet: Mondays at the Enfield Tennis Academy (Eremite)
  10. Wadada Leo Smith: The Emerald Duets (TUM)
  11. Wet Leg: Wet Leg (Domino)
  12. Anitta: Versions of Me (Deluxe) (Warner)
  13. Ka: Languish Arts (Iron Works)
  14. Sudan ArchivesNatural Brown Prom Queen (Stones Throw)
  15. Lady Wray: Piece of Me (Big Crown)
  16. Harry Styles: Harry’s House (Columbia)
  17. Sun Ra Arkestra (featuring Marshall Allen): Living Sky (Strut / Omni Sound)
  18. Bob Vylan: Bob Vylan Presents The Price of Life (Ghost Theatre)
  19. Horace Andy: Midnight Rocker (On-U Sound)
  20. Amanda Shires: Take It Like a Man (ATO)
  21. Mary Gauthier: Dark Enough to See the Stars (Thirty Tigers)
  22. Patricia Brennan: More Touch (Pyroclastic)
  23. black midi: Hellfire (Rough Trade)
  24. Heroes Are Gang Leaders: LeAutoRoiGraphy (577 Records)
  25. The Mountain Goats: Bleed Out (Merge)
  26. ensemble 0: Music Nuvulosa (Sub Rosa)
  27. Gogol Bordello: Solidaritine (Das Grand Kapital)
  28. Steve Lacy: Gemini Rights (RCA)
  29. Superchunk: Wild Loneliness (Merge)
  30. Gonora Sounds: Hard Times Never Kill (Phantom Limb)
  31. Ches Smith: Interpret It Well (Pyroclastic)
  32. The Ogun Meji DuoFreedom Suite (self-released)
  33. SAULT: Untitled (God) (self-released)
  34. SAULT: Today & Tomorrow (self-released)
  35. PhelimuncasiAma Gogela (Nyege Nyege Tapes)
  36. Dawn Richard & Spencer Zahn: Pigments (Merge)
  37. 700 Bliss: Nothing to Declare (Hyperdub)
  38. Bruno Berle: No Reino Dos Afetos (Far Out)
  39. The Chats: Get Fucked (Cooking Vinyl)
  40. Jinx Lennon: Pet Rent (Septic Tiger)
  41. Freakons: Freakons (Fluff & Gravy)
  42. Jeong Lim Yang: Zodiac Suite—Reassured (Fresh Sound)
  43. Etran de L’AirAgadez (Sahel Sounds)
  44. Homeboy Sandman: I Can’t Sell These (self-released)
  45. Bitchin’ Bajas: Bajascillators (Drag City)
  46. Horsegirl: “Billy” / “History Lesson, Part II” (Matador)
  47. Mark Lomax Trio: Plays Mingus (CFG Multimedia)
  48. Florian ArbenzConversation #5—Elemental; Conversations #6 and 7
  49. Moor Mother: Jazz Codes (Anti-)
  50. Buck 65: King of Drums (4320739 Records DK)
  51. Mdou Moctar: Niger EP Volume 1 (Matador)
  52. ifsonever: ifsonever (Jazz & Milk)
  53. Various Artists: Lespri Ka—New Directions in Gwoka Music from Guadeloupe (Time Capsule Sounds) 
  54. Satoko Fujii: One Hundred Dreams (Libra)
  55. Mark Lomax II: Prismatic Refractions, Volume I (self-released)
  56. Special Interest: Endure (Rough Trade)
  57. James Brandon Lewis: MSM Molecular Systematic Music—Live (Intakt)
  58. Kari Faux: Lowkey Superstar (Don Giovanni)
  59. Adeem the Artist: White Trash Revelry (self-released)
  60. Miranda Lambert: Palomino (Vanner)
  61. Backxwash: HIS HAPPINESS SHALL COME FIRST EVEN THOUGH WE ARE SUFFERING (Ugly Hag / self-released)
  62. Daniel Villareal: Panama ’77 (International Anthem)
  63. Kehlani: blue water road (TSNMI/Atlantic)
  64. Elaine Elias: Quietude (Candid)
  65. Dr. John: Things Happen That Way (Rounder)
  66. Horace Andy: Midnight Scorchers (On-U Sound)
  67. Ka: Woeful Studies (Iron Works)
  68. Wild Up: Julius Eastman, Volume 2—Joy Boy (New Amsterdam)
  69. Lucrecia Dalt: Ay! (RVNG International)
  70. GloRilla: Anyways, Life’s Great (CMG/Interscope)
  71. Amber Mark:Three Dimensions Deep (PMR / Interscope) 
  72. Morgan Wade: Reckless (Deluxe) (Ladylike) 
  73. Zoh Amba: O, Sun (Tzadik)
  74. Jussi ReijonenThree Seconds I Kolme Toista (Challenge Records International)
  75. Ran Blake: Driftwoods (Tompkins Square)
  76. Whit Dickey: Root Perspectives (Tao Forms)
  77. Billy Woods: Aethiope(Backwoodz Studios)
  78. Ishmael Reed: The Hands of Grace (Reading Group)
  79. Dan Ex MachinaAll is Ours, Nothing is Theirs (self-released)
  80. Anna von HausswoolffLive at Montreaux Jazz Festival (Southern Lord) 
  81. Felipe Salles: Tiyo’s Songs of Life (Tapestry)
  82. Steve Lehman: Xaybu—The Unseen(Pi Recordings)
  83. Tom ZéLingua Brasiliera (Selo Sesc)
  84. Joyce Moreno: Brasilieras Cancoes (Biscoito Fino)
  85. M.I.A.: Mata (Island)
  86. Taylor Swift: Midnights (non-expanded) (Republic)
  87. Nancy Mounir: Nozhet El Nofous (Terrorbird)
  88. Rick Rosato: Homage (self-released)
  89. The Beths: Expert in a Dying Field (Carpark)
  90. Alvvays: Blue Rev (Polyvinyl / Transgressive)
  91. Oumou Sangare: Timbuktu (World Circuit Limited)
  92. Various Artists: Hidden Waters—Strange and Sublime Sounds from Rio de Janiero (Sounds and Colours)
  93. SeaJun Kwon: Micro Nap (Endectomorph Music)
  94. Gilla Band: Most Normal (Rough Trade)
  95. Dry Cleaning: Stumpwork (4AD)
  96. Brian Eno: FOREVERANDEVERNOMORE (Verve / UMC)
  97. Nduduzo Makhathini: In the Spirit of Ntu (Universal)
  98. Gard Nilssen Acoustic Unity:Elastic Wave (ECM)
  99. Miguel Zeñon: Musica de las Americas (Miel Music)
  100. Isaiah Collier & The Chosen Few: Lift Every Voice (Division 81 Records)
  101. Tyshawn Sorey: The Off-Off Broadway Guide to Synergism (Pi)
  102. Priscilla BlockWelcome to the Block Party (InDent)
  103. The Comet is Coming: Hyper-Dimensional Expansion Beam (Impulse)
  104. Serengeti: Kaleidoscope III (Audiocon)
  105. Kendrick Lamar: Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers (pgLang/Top Dawg Entertainment/Aftermath/Interscope)
  106. Makaya McCraven: In These Times (International Anthem)
  107. Charm Taylor: She Is The Future (Sinking City)
  108. OGJB: Ode to O (TUM) (Note: Band name – O = Oliver Lake, G = Graham Haynes, J = Joe Fonda, B = Barry Altschul / Title – O = Ornette) 
  109. Andrew Cyrille, William Parker, and Enrico Rava: Two Blues for Cecil (TUM) 
  110. Luke Stewart’s Silt TrioThe Bottom (Cuneiform) 
  111. Tyler Mitchell: Dancing Shadows (featuring Marshall Allen) (Mahakala Music)
  112. Crow Billiken (aka R.A.P. Ferreira): If I don’t have red I use blue (self-released)
  113. Dopolarians: Blues for Alvin Fielder—Live at Crosstown Arts, Memphis (Mahakala Music)
  114. The Paranoid Style: For Executive Meeting(Bar/None)
  115. Carl Stone: Wat Dong Moon Lek (Unseen Worlds)
  116. Joy Guidry:Radical Acceptance (Whited Sepulchre)
  117. Tasche de la Rocha: Tasche de la Rocha & The Psychedelic Roses (Sinking City)
  118. Meridian Brothers and El Grupo & Renacimiento (Ansonia)
  119. Avram Fefer Quartet: Juba Lee (Clean Feed)
  120. Marxist Love Disco Ensemble: MLDE(Mr. Bongo)
  121. Jeffrey Lewis: When That Really Old Cat Dies (self-released)
  122. Mitski: Laurel Hell (Dead Oceans)
  123. Jockstrap: Jockstrap (Rough Trade)
  124. Breath of Air: Breath of Air (Burning Ambulance Music)
  125. Immanuel Wilkins: The 7th Hand (Blue Note) 
  126. David Murray Brave New World Trio: Seriana Promethea (Intakt)
  127. Fulu MizikiNgbaka (EP)
  128. David Virelles: Nuna (Pi / El Tivoli)
  129. Javon Jackson & Nikki Giovanni: The Gospel According to Nikki Giovanni (Solid Jackson) 
  130. Leikeli47: Shape Up (Hardcover/RCA)
  131. Witchcraft BooksVolume 1—The Sundisk (Iapetus Records)
  132. Hurray for The Riff Raff: Life on Earth (Nonesuch)
  133. Qasim Naqvi/Wadada Leo Smith/Andrew Cyrille: Two Centuries (Red Hook)
  134. Rokia Koné and Jacknife Lee: Bamanan (3DFamily)
  135. Tomas Fujiwara: Triple Double (Firehouse 12)
  136. DJ Black Low: Uwami (Awesome Tapes from Africa)
  137. Ibibio Sound Machine:Electricity (Merge)
  138. Zoh Amba: O Life, O Light, Volume 1(577 Records)
  139. Burton/McPherson Trio: The Summit Rock Session at Seneca Village (Giant Step Arts)
  140. Kahil El’Zabar Quartet: A Time for Healing (Spirit Muse)
  141. Pastor Champion: I Just Want to Be a Good Man (Luaka Bop)
  142. Nduduzo Makhathini: In the Spirit of Ntu (Blue Note)
  143. Pusha T: It’s Almost Dry (G.O.O.D. Music/Def Jam)
  144. Elza SoaresElza Ao Vivo No Municipal (Deck)
  145. Nilufer Yanya: Painless (ATO)
  146. Open Mike Eagle: a tape called component system with the auto reverse (Auto Reverse)
  147. Chad Fowler/Ivo Perelman/Zoh Amba/Matthew Shipp/William Parker/Steve Hirsch: Alien Skin (Mahakala Music)
  148. Tommy McLain: I Ran Down Every Dream (Yep Roc)
  149. Satoko Fujii and Joe Fonda: Thread of Light (Fundacja Słuchaj)
  150. Charli XCX: Crash (Atlantic)
  151. Pete Malinverni: On the Town—Pete Malinverni Plays Leonard Bernstein (Planet Arts) 
  152. JID: The Forever Story (Dreamville)
  153. Dedicated Men of Zion: The Devil Don’t Like It (Bible & Tire)
  154. Tyshawn Sorey Trio: Mesmerism (Pi Recordings)
  155. Dezron Douglas: Atalaya (International Anthem)
  156. Space AfrikaHonest Labour (Dais)
  157. Charlotte Adigery & Bolis Pupul: Topical Dancer (DeeWee)
  158. Earl Sweatshirt: Sick! (Tan Cressida / Warner) 
  159. Big Thief: Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe in You (4AD)
  160. Ashley McBryde: Presents…Lindeville (Warner Nashville)
  161. Jeff Arnal and Curt Cloninger: Drum Major Instinct (Mahakala Music)
  162. Tee Grizzley: Half Tee Half Beast (self-released)
  163. Natsuki TamuraSummer Tree (Libra)
  164. Ghais Guevara: There Will Be No Super-Slave (self-released)
  165. Bruce Springsteen: Only the Strong Survive (Columbia)
  166. Manel Fortia: Despertar (Segell Microscopi/Altafonte)
  167. Ray Wylie Hubbard: Co-Starring Too (Big Machine)
  168. Various Artists: if you fart make it sound good (WA Records)
  169. Marta Sanchez: SAAM (Spanish American Art Museum) (Whirlwind)
  170. Sonnyjim & The Purist: White Girl Wasted (Duape)
  171. Earthgang: Ghetto Gods (Dreamville/Interscope)
  172. Mavis Staples & Levon Helm: Carry Me Home (Anti-)
  173. Panda Bear & Sonic Boom: Reset (Domino)
  174. Blue Reality Quartet: Ella’s Island (Mahakala Music)
  175. Sarah Ruth and Monte Espina: quatro estaciones (Full Spectrum)

ARCHIVAL DIGS

  1. Los Golden Boys: Cumbia de Juventud (Mississippi Records)
  2. Albert Ayler: Revelations—The Complete ORTF 1970 Fondation Maeght Recordings (Elemental)
  3. Cecil Taylor:The Complete Legendary Live Return Concert at the Town Hall (Oblivion)
  4. Tommy Womack: 30 Years Shot to Hell! An Anthology (Schoolkids Records)
  5. Various Artists: Lovers Rock—The Soulful Sound of Romantic Reggae (Trojan)
  6. Albert Ayler: La Cave Live 1966 (Ezz-Thetics) 
  7. Various Artists: Cumbia Sabrosa—Tropical Sound System Bangers From The Discos Fuentes Vaults 1961-1981 (Rocafort Records)
  8. Freestyle Fellowship: To Whom It May Concern….
  9. Biluka y Los Canibales: Leaf-Playing in Quito (1960-1965) (Honest Jon’s)
  10. Various Artists: OZ DAYS LIVE ’72​-​’73 Kichijoji–The 50th Anniversary Collection (featuring Les Rallizes Dénudés)  (Temporal Drift)
  11. Various Artists: A Chat About the Beauty of the Moon at Night–Hawaiian Steel Guitar Masters 1913-1921 (Magnificent Sounds)
  12. The Rolling Stones: Live at the El Mocambo (Interscope)
  13. Son House: Forever on My Mind (Easy Eye Sound)
  14. Lavender Country: Blackberry Rose and Other Songs & Sorrows (Don Giovanni)
  15. Mal Waldron: Searching in Grenoble—The 1978 Solo Piano Concert (Tompkins Square)
  16. Horace Tapscott Quintet: The Quintet (Mr. Bongo)
  17. Horace Tapscott Quintet: Legacies for Our Grandchildren (Dark Tree)
  18. Dickie Landry & Lawrence Weiner: Having Been Built on Sand (Unseen Worlds)
  19. Various Artists: The D-Vine Spirituals—Sacred Soul (Bible & Tire)
  20. Kabaka International Guitar Band: Kabaka International Guitar Band (Palenque Records)
  21. The Pyramids: AOMAWA—The 1970s Recordings (Strut)
  22. Hermeto Pascoal: Hermeto (Far Out Recordings)
  23. Sun Ra: Sun Ra Arkestra Meets Salah Ragab in Egypt (Strut)
  24. Asha Puthi: The Essential Asha Puthi (Mr. Bongo)
  25. Malik’s Emerging Force Art Trio: Time and Condition (moved-by-sound)
  26. Volta Jazz: Air Volta (Numero)
  27. Blondie: Against the Odds—1974-1982 (3-CD Rarities Version) (UMe / Numero Group)
  28. Joyce Moreno: Natureza (Far Out Recordings)
  29. Various Artists: From Lion Mountain—Traditional Music of Yeha, Ethiopia (Dust-to-Digital)
  30. Charles Stepney: Step-on-Step(International Anthem)
  31. Ronnie Boykins: The Will Come is Now (ESP-Disk)
  32. John Ondolo: Hypnotic Guitar of John Ondolo (Mississippi Records)
  33. Luciano Luciani y sus Mulatos: Mulata, vamos a la Salsa (Vampisoul)
  34. Cecil Taylor: Respiration (Fundacja Stuchaj)
  35. Norma Tanega: Studio and Demo Recordings, 1964-1971 (Anthology)
  36. Irma Thomas: New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival 1976 (Good Time)
  37. Afrika Negra: Antologia, Volume 1 (Bongo Joe)
  38. Various Artists: Summer of Soul (Legacy)
  39. The Heartbreakers: LAMF—The ’77 Found Mixes (Jungle)
  40. Various Artists: Let’s Stamp—1950s Folk Dance Recordings from Bulgarian and Yugoslavian 78 Discs (Canary Recordings)

LET’S STAMP (and maybe something GOOD will happen)!–Some of the Best New (and Newly Excavated Music) from 2022

Odd-servations:

  1. Up for a cool oud-fuelled album? I thought so. Jussi Reijonen’s Three Seconds I Kolme Toista (Challenge Records International) is just the thing for you. Reijonen (also on stunning guitars) is joined on his sophomore recording by players from Turkey, Jordan, Japan, Palestine, and America, on instrumentation ranging from violin to cello to microtonal piano, and creates a potent, moody brew that eludes genre and features fresh textures that connect back to the leader’s broad travels. “Something different” is a much-abused description, but this is that.
  2. I have missed Gogol Bordello. Lucky enough to have seen their live and mad rabble-rousing twice, I’ve wondered over the past couple of years just what they’d been up to. On first listen, I thought their new Solidaritine was a tad lacking in dynamics; on the second, third, fourth, and fifth listens I haven’t cared much. At all. Our rabble needs rousing, and sometimes dynamics can stall the ol’ rabble motor.
  3. I had to explain to several of my current students (I teach at the country’s second-oldest women’s college) that I was not pandering to their taste in admitting that I love the new Harry Styles album (he’s an acute singer–not just a cute one–I like the settings, and yes, it is dynamic) and like the new Taylor Swift album. The latter would be only the third one I’ve ever seriously listened to. The first was her first, which a fierce 10th grade student burned for me back in the burnin’ days and insisted I listen to; the second was the day before Midnights came out, at the behest of a fierce college sophomore who noted, after I mentioned in class that Mickey Guyton was working in the space Taylor made, that Taylor was in a whole different space and I needed to listen to Folklore, which I kind of loved until it went on too long (it–and the LONG version of Midnights–seemed like a marathon phone call from a friend with problems I wasn’t qualified to answer). But, hey, I listened to a couple artists I’d have been too snooty to before.
  4. Special shout out to the White Wino, who pushed me to check out the new Elaine Elias album, which is simply lush, rolling bossa nova sung and played with expertise and ease.
  5. I can always count on Jeffrey Lewis to write a song that hits me right where I’m living at the time. My oldest cat is still hangin’ in there, but Lewis’ writing on his new record’s title cut is all too specific.
  6. Anybody know Cecilia, Louisiana’s Dickie Landry? Sharp-as-a-tack horn player with the Cajun Traveling Wilburys–Little Band of Gold–before that co-conspirator with the likes of Laurie Anderson and a frequent New Orleans bandleader, but most notably a genius musician who has never seen a challenge he didn’t like. Fans of Frederic Rzewski’s Coming Together might want to make a bee-line to the 84-year-old’s new music-and-spoken-word album with Lawrence Weiner (#118 below).
  7. Speaking of numbers? I would not trust my current numbering system as reliable rankings even as far as my own favorites are concerned. A simply overwhelming amount of music is roaring out, and this is just a hobby for me, ya hear? A HOBBY!
  8. This month, I happened upon an article about a group I’d never heard of, Les Rallizes Denudes, and record label Temporal Drift’s superb effort to bring them to our attention (out digitally but not as a physical copy). If you love “I Heard Her Call My Name” and the Velvets’ dynamics–there’s that word again–in particular, I strongly recommend you at least sample the group’s Oz Days recordings.
  9. If you’re a Ran Blake fan (his The Short Life of Barbara Monk is one of the most heartbreaking jazz records ever recorded), don’t miss his tender, wistful, autumnal Tompkins Square record, perfectly titled Driftwoods. Give the man props while he’s livin’, as a very wise man who is no longer with us once said.
  10. Joyce Moreno! Joyce Moreno! Joyce Moreno! See Brazil Beat to find out what’s right with me–and Joyce!

Note: New additions to the list are in bold.

RELEASES OF NEWLY-MADE MUSIC

Jerry Lee Lewis…so long.

  1. 75 Dollar Bill: Social Music at Troost, Volume 3–Other People’s Music (Black Editions Group)
  2. Rosalia: MOTOMAMI (Columbia)
  3. Willie Nelson: A Beautiful Time (Sony)
  4. Beyoncé: Renaissance (Parkwood Entertainment)
  5. Tanya TagaqTongues (Six Shooter) 
  6. Ricky Ford: The Wailing Sounds of Ricky Ford—Paul’s Scene (Whaling City Sounds)
  7. Stro Elliot & James Brown: Black & Loud—James Brown Reimagined (Polydor)
  8. Gogol Bordello: Solidaritine (Das Grand Kapital)
  9. Tommy Womack: I Thought I Was Fine (Schoolkids Records)
  10. Wadada Leo Smith: The Emerald Duets (TUM)
  11. Wet Leg: Wet Leg (Domino)
  12. Anitta: Versions of Me (Deluxe) (Warner)
  13. Ka: Languish Arts (Iron Works)
  14. The Mountain Goats: Bleed Out (Merge)
  15. Sudan ArchivesNatural Brown Prom Queen (Stones Throw)
  16. Lady Wray: Piece of Me (Big Crown)
  17. Harry Styles: Harry’s House (Columbia)
  18. Bob Vylan: Bob Vylan Presents The Price of Life (Ghost Theatre)
  19. Horace Andy: Midnight Rocker (On-U Sound)
  20. Superchunk: Wild Loneliness (Merge)
  21. Gonora Sounds: Hard Times Never Kill (Phantom Limb)
  22. Amanda Shires: Take It Like a Man (ATO)
  23. black midi: Hellfire (Rough Trade)
  24. Heroes Are Gang Leaders: LeAutoRoiGraphy (577 Records)
  25. ensemble 0: Music Nuvulosa (Sub Rosa)
  26. Ches Smith: Interpret It Well (Pyroclastic)
  27. The Ogun Meji DuoFreedom Suite (self-released)
  28. PhelimuncasiAma Gogela (Nyege Nyege Tapes)
  29. 700 Bliss: Nothing to Declare (Hyperdub)
  30. The Chats: Get Fucked (Cooking Vinyl)
  31. Jinx Lennon: Pet Rent (Septic Tiger)
  32. Steve Lacy: Gemini Rights (RCA)
  33. Freakons: Freakons (Fluff & Gravy)
  34. Mary Gauthier: Dark Enough to See the Stars (Thirty Tigers)
  35. Etran de L’AirAgadez (Sahel Sounds)
  36. Homeboy Sandman: I Can’t Sell These (self-released)
  37. Bitchin’ Bajas: Bajascillators (Drag City)
  38. Miranda Lambert: Palomino (Vanner)
  39. Horsegirl: “Billy” / “History Lesson, Part II” (Matador)
  40. Mark Lomax Trio: Plays Mingus (CFG Multimedia)
  41. Florian ArbenzConversation #5—Elemental; Conversations #6 and 7
  42. Moor Mother: Jazz Codes (Anti-)
  43. Mdou Moctar: Niger EP Volume 1 (Matador)
  44. Various Artists: Lespri Ka—New Directions in Gwoka Music from Guadeloupe (Time Capsule Sounds) 
  45. Billy Woods: Aethiope(Backwoodz Studios)
  46. Mark Lomax II: Prismatic Refractions, Volume I (self-released)
  47. James Brandon Lewis: MSM Molecular Systematic Music—Live (Intakt)
  48. Daniel Villareal: Panama ’77 (International Anthem)
  49. Kehlani: blue water road (TSNMI/Atlantic)
  50. Elaine Elias: Quietude (Candid)
  51. Horace Andy: Midnight Scorchers (On-U Sound)
  52. Ka: Woeful Studies (Iron Works)
  53. Lucrecia Dalt: Ay! (RVNG International)
  54. Amber Mark:Three Dimensions Deep (PMR / Interscope) 
  55. Morgan Wade: Reckless (Deluxe) (Ladylike) 
  56. Zoh Amba: O, Sun (Tzadik)
  57. Jussi Reijonen: Three Seconds I Kolme Toista (Challenge Records International)
  58. Ran Blake: Driftwoods (Tompkins Square)
  59. Whit Dickey: Root Perspectives (Tao Forms)
  60. Dan Ex MachinaAll is Ours, Nothing is Theirs (self-released)
  61. Anna von HausswoolffLive at Montreaux Jazz Festival (Southern Lord) 
  62. Felipe Salles: Tiyo’s Songs of Life (Tapestry)
  63. Steve Lehman: Xaybu—The Unseen(Pi Recordings)
  64. Tom ZéLingua Brasiliera (Selo Sesc)
  65. M.I.A.: Mata (Island)
  66. Taylor Swift: Midnights (non-expanded) (Republic)
  67. Nancy Mounir: Nozhet El Nofous (Terrorbird)
  68. Rick Rosato: Homage (self-released)
  69. The Beths: Expert in a Dying Field (Carpark)
  70. Alvvays: Blue Rev (Polyvinyl / Transgressive)
  71. Oumou Sangare: Timbuktu (World Circuit Limited)
  72. Various Artists: Hidden Waters—Strange and Sublime Sounds from Rio de Janiero (Sounds and Colours)
  73. Sun Ra Arkestra (featuring Marshall Allen): Living Sky (Strut / Omni Sound)
  74. SeaJun Kwon: Micro Nap (Endectomorph Music)
  75. Gilla Band: Most Normal (Rough Trade)
  76. Brian Eno: FOREVERANDEVERNOMORE (Verve / UMC)
  77. Nduduzo Makhathini: In the Spirit of Ntu (Universal)
  78. Gard Nilssen Acoustic Unity:Elastic Wave (ECM)
  79. Miguel Zeñon: Musica de las Americas (Miel Music)
  80. Isaiah Collier & The Chosen Few: Lift Every Voice (Division 81 Records)
  81. Tyshawn Sorey: The Off-Off Broadway Guide to Synergism (Pi)
  82. Priscilla BlockWelcome to the Block Party (InDent)
  83. The Comet is Coming: Hyper-Dimensional Expansion Beam (Impulse)
  84. Serengeti: Kaleidoscope III (Audiocon)
  85. Kendrick Lamar: Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers (pgLang/Top Dawg Entertainment/Aftermath/Interscope)
  86. Makaya McCraven: In These Times (International Anthem)
  87. Charm Taylor: She Is The Future (Sinking City)
  88. OGJB: Ode to O (TUM) (Note: Band name – O = Oliver Lake, G = Graham Haynes, J = Joe Fonda, B = Barry Altschul / Title – O = Ornette) 
  89. Andrew Cyrille, William Parker, and Enrico Rava: Two Blues for Cecil (TUM) 
  90. Luke Stewart’s Silt TrioThe Bottom (Cuneiform) 
  91. Tyler Mitchell: Dancing Shadows (featuring Marshall Allen) (Mahakala Music)
  92. Wild Up: Julius Eastman, Volume 2—Joy Boy (New Amsterdam)
  93. Crow Billiken (aka R.A.P. Ferreira): If I don’t have red I use blue (self-released)
  94. The Paranoid Style: For Executive Meeting(Bar/None)
  95. Carl Stone: Wat Dong Moon Lek (Unseen Worlds)
  96. Joy Guidry:Radical Acceptance (Whited Sepulchre)
  97. Meridian Brothers and El Grupo & Renacimiento (Ansonia)
  98. Marxist Love Disco Ensemble: MLDE(Mr. Bongo)
  99. Jeffrey Lewis: When That Really Old Cat Dies (self-released)
  100. Mitski: Laurel Hell (Dead Oceans)
  101. Jockstrap: Jockstrap (Rough Trade)
  102. Breath of Air: Breath of Air (Burning Ambulance Music)
  103. Immanuel Wilkins: The 7th Hand (Blue Note) 
  104. David Murray Brave New World Trio: Seriana Promethea (Intakt)
  105. Fulu MizikiNgbaka (EP)
  106. David Virelles: Nuna (Pi / El Tivoli)
  107. Javon Jackson & Nikki Giovanni: The Gospel According to Nikki Giovanni (Solid Jackson) 
  108. Leikeli47: Shape Up (Hardcover/RCA)
  109. Witchcraft BooksVolume 1—The Sundisk (Iapetus Records)
  110. Hurray for The Riff Raff: Life on Earth (Nonesuch)
  111. Rokia Koné and Jacknife Lee: Bamanan (3DFamily)
  112. Tomas Fujiwara: Triple Double (Firehouse 12)
  113. DJ Black Low: Uwami (Awesome Tapes from Africa)
  114. Ibibio Sound Machine:Electricity (Merge)
  115. Zoh Amba: O Life, O Light, Volume 1(577 Records)
  116. Burton/McPherson Trio: The Summit Rock Session at Seneca Village (Giant Step Arts)
  117. Kahil El’Zabar Quartet: A Time for Healing (Spirit Muse)
  118. Pastor Champion: I Just Want to Be a Good Man (Luaka Bop)
  119. Dickie Landry & Lawrence Weiner: Having Been Built on Sand (Unseen Worlds)
  120. Nduduzo Makhathini: In the Spirit of Ntu (Blue Note)
  121. Pusha T: It’s Almost Dry (G.O.O.D. Music/Def Jam)
  122. Elza SoaresElza Ao Vivo No Municipal (Deck)
  123. Nilufer Yanya: Painless (ATO)
  124. Open Mike Eagle: a tape called component system with the auto reverse (Auto Reverse)
  125. Tommy McLain: I Ran Down Every Dream (Yep Roc)
  126. Satoko Fujii and Joe Fonda: Thread of Light (Fundacja Słuchaj)
  127. Charli XCX: Crash (Atlantic)
  128. Pete Malinverni: On the Town—Pete Malinverni Plays Leonard Bernstein (Planet Arts) 
  129. JID: The Forever Story (Dreamville)
  130. Dedicated Men of Zion: The Devil Don’t Like It (Bible & Tire)
  131. Tyshawn Sorey Trio: Mesmerism (Pi Recordings)
  132. Space AfrikaHonest Labour (Dais)
  133. Charlotte Adigery & Bolis Pupul: Topical Dancer (DeeWee)
  134. Earl Sweatshirt: Sick! (Tan Cressida / Warner) 
  135. Big Thief: Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe in You (4AD)
  136. Ashley McBryde: Presents…Lindeville (Warner Nashville)
  137. Jeff Arnal and Curt Cloninger: Drum Major Instinct (Mahakala Music)
  138. Tee Grizzley: Half Tee Half Beast (self-released)
  139. Hoodoo Gurus: Chariot of The Gods (Big Time Photographic Recordings)
  140. Natsuki TamuraSummer Tree (Libra)
  141. (D)ivo: Perelman, Berne, Malaby, Carter (Mahakala Music)
  142. Daniel Carter et al.: Telepatica (577 Records)
  143. Ghais Guevara: There Will Be No Super-Slave (self-released)
  144. Pierre Kwenders: Jose Louis and the Paradox of Love (Arts & Crafts)
  145. Manel Fortia: Despertar (Segell Microscopi/Altafonte)
  146. Ray Wylie Hubbard: Co-Starring Too (Big Machine)
  147. Various Artists: if you fart make it sound good (WA Records)
  148. Marta Sanchez: SAAM (Spanish American Art Museum) (Whirlwind)
  149. Sonnyjim & The Purist: White Girl Wasted (Duape)
  150. Earthgang: Ghetto Gods (Dreamville/Interscope)
  151. Mavis Staples & Levon Helm: Carry Me Home (Anti-)
  152. Panda Bear & Sonic Boom: Reset (Domino)
  153. Blue Reality Quartet: Ella’s Island (Mahakala Music)
  154. Sarah Ruth and Monte Espina: quatro estaciones (Full Spectrum)

ARCHIVAL DIGS

  1. Los Golden Boys: Cumbia de Juventud (Mississippi Records)
  2. Albert Ayler: Revelations—The Complete ORTF 1970 Fondation Maeght Recordings (Elemental)
  3. Cecil Taylor:The Complete Legendary Live Return Concert at the Town Hall (Oblivion)
  4. Tommy Womack: 30 Years Shot to Hell! An Anthology (Schoolkids Records)
  5. Various Artists: Lovers Rock—The Soulful Sound of Romantic Reggae (Trojan)
  6. Albert Ayler: La Cave Live 1966 (Ezz-Thetics) 
  7. Various Artists: Cumbia Sabrosa—Tropical Sound System Bangers From The Discos Fuentes Vaults 1961-1981 (Rocafort Records)
  8. Biluka y Los Canibales: Leaf-Playing in Quito (1960-1965) (Honest Jon’s)
  9. Various Artists: OZ DAYS LIVE ’72​-​’73 Kichijoji–The 50th Anniversary Collection (featuring Les Rallizes Dénudés)  (Temporal Drift)
  10. Various Artists: A Chat About the Beauty of the Moon at Night–Hawaiian Steel Guitar Masters 1913-1921 (Magnificent Sounds)
  11. The Rolling Stones: Live at the El Mocambo (Interscope)
  12. Son House: Forever on My Mind (Easy Eye Sound)
  13. Lavender Country: Blackberry Rose and Other Songs & Sorrows (Don Giovanni)
  14. Mal Waldron: Searching in Grenoble—The 1978 Solo Piano Concert (Tompkins Square)
  15. Horace Tapscott Quintet: The Quintet (Mr. Bongo)
  16. Horace Tapscott Quintet: Legacies for Our Grandchildren (Dark Tree)
  17. Various Artists: The D-Vine Spirituals—Sacred Soul (Bible & Tire)
  18. Kabaka International Guitar Band: Kabaka International Guitar Band (Palenque Records)
  19. The Pyramids: AOMAWA—The 1970s Recordings (Strut)
  20. Hermeto Pascoal: Hermeto (Far Out Recordings)
  21. Sun Ra: Sun Ra Arkestra Meets Salah Ragab in Egypt (Strut)
  22. Asha Puthi: The Essential Asha Puthi (Mr. Bongo)
  23. Malik’s Emerging Force Art Trio: Time and Condition (moved-by-sound)
  24. Volta Jazz: Air Volta (Numero)
  25. Blondie: Against the Odds—1974-1982 (3-CD Rarities Version) (UMe / Numero Group)
  26. Joyce Moreno: Natureza (Far Out Recordings)
  27. Various Artists: From Lion Mountain—Traditional Music of Yeha, Ethiopia (Dust-to-Digital)
  28. Charles Stepney: Step-on-Step(International Anthem)
  29. Ronnie Boykins: The Will Come is Now (ESP-Disk)
  30. John Ondolo: Hypnotic Guitar of John Ondolo (Mississippi Records)
  31. Luciano Luciani y sus Mulatos: Mulata, vamos a la Salsa (Vampisoul)
  32. Cecil Taylor: Respiration (Fundacja Stuchaj)
  33. Norma Tanega: Studio and Demo Recordings, 1964-1971 (Anthology)
  34. Irma Thomas: New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival 1976 (Good Time)
  35. Afrika Negra: Antologia, Volume 1 (Bongo Joe)
  36. Various Artists: Summer of Soul (Legacy)
  37. The Heartbreakers: LAMF—The ’77 Found Mixes (Jungle)
  38. Various Artists: Let’s Stamp—1950s Folk Dance Recordings from Bulgarian and Yugoslavian 78 Discs (Canary Recordings)

This Art Ain’t Languishin’: Best New Album Sounds and Dug-Up Tracks, January 1 – September 29

Odd-servations:

  1. Two of my pop music / freshman composition classes independently chose Steve Lacy’s Gemini Rights for their first “Album Socratic,” and it a lil’ bit blew my mind. I am (or at least HAVE BEEN) TikTok-resistant, but I learned Steve’s swimming powerfully in that ocean. Even more fruitfully, the seminar made Lacy at least ten total new raving fans who previously hadn’t heard of him. That’s education! (P. S. The 8:00 am Socratic was regarding Lacy’s new one paired with Lucas Combs’ current release, which might seems like a spinach ice cream cone, but the contrast revealed much about artist personae, music marketing, and audience engagement.)
  2. I don’t know what 71-year-old reggae legend Horace Andy’s feeding himself, but I want some of it. I quite frankly am immune to most current rhythm music out of Jamaica, but Andy’s two 2022 records are miraculous medicine. Recommendation: turn up both volume and bass. Reassurance: Andy’s singing just fine.
  3. I barely squeezed Brownsville rapper Ka’s first of two brand-new releases under my deadline. It’s got an education thread that I had to pull on, and it held firm. Ka’s music reminds me of Sahel desert blues–it’s very marginally differentiated but irresistible. I’m listening to the second, and it is no slouch. It might make the list before I hit “Publish.”
  4. Just gotta say that I was very late to the virtues of Chicago’s electronic wonders The Bitchin’ Bajas, and even then figured the album I landed on (their previous one, a Sun Ra cover version flight) might be the only one I’d need. I was wrong. Actually, their new one is even more hypnotic and pleasing than their Sun One experiment.
  5. On the other hand, the brave and few who follow this blog may begin to think I have a vested interest in pushing ANYTHING Columbus, Ohio’s Mark Lomax II creates. Well, ok: first, he’s a master musician with a bursting heart, endless ideas, and a pretty flawless ear for supporting musicians; second, I simply haven’t heard an album of his that didn’t bear replaying and replaying (IF you’re a fan of jazz); third, when I learned he decided to cover the permanently instrumentally sidelined Sonny Rollins’ Freedom Suite, I honestly wondered if I needed to check it out: the original is a masterwork, and David S. Ware’s previous cover version was, um, titanic. Of course, I did check Dr. Lomax’s out, and reached the conclusion that it’s just not smart to doubt his commitment and feeling. It’s the best of the three-count ’em-three records he’s put out this year, and it befuddles me that what remains of the jazz press doesn’t seem to be that curious about them. Their loss.
  6. Last year, I stayed very hot and bothered listen after listen about Swedish bassist Ingebrigt Haker Flaten’s free-but-coherent-and-textured concept album Exit (Knarr). This year’s candidate for free-improv album that might Venus-flytrap the unconvinced is the not-quite-released album Micro Nap, by the Korean-born bassist SeaJun Kwon. It’s alternately–but not jarringly–meditative and raucous, as well as subtly tuneful in perfect tandem with thunderous and exciting cacophony.
  7. The Mr. Bongo label is having a great year. Did I say that last time?
  8. In a somewhat related development, the late, great, and extremely underappreciated Horace Tapscott’s rediscovery, the fuse of which was lit a few years back by Dark Tree Records and which has been helped along this year by–there they are again–Mr. Bongo, continues unabated. If you’ve never heard of Mr. Tapscott, in terms of composing, arranging, and playing jazz, and (even more important) nurturing a musical community across almost a half-century in South Central Los Angeles, he was a 20th century giant who unfortunately wasn’t all that motivated to push his own recordings out there. Perhaps the most famous record he’s been associated with, and which isn’t exactly canonized (though it should be) is Sonny Criss’ Sonny’s Dream: Birth of the New Cool, which he wrote and arranged but didn’t play on. Well, he cut some dandy slabs of impressive variety of format that got limited release and disappeared, but are now re-emerging. Dig in, jazzers.
  9. Unless the earth explodes before November, I’ll be able to see one of my favorite MCs, R.A.P. Ferreira in person, and maybe do Q & A with him. I was not expecting him to release a solo country blues album this month. It’s far from not-bad, from the selections to the faux-Crumb cover art.
  10. Need a dose of that very entertaining but Dixieland-stale stuff called rock and roll? The Mountain Goats have something for you.
  11. Bonus track: weird, ongoing wrestling match between 75 Dollar Bill and Rosalia. Somehow, creaky old Shotgun Guillermo got Beyoncé in a full-Nelson and moved up to #3.
  12. Hidden track: #82 is dedicated AND recommended to my pal Kevin Bozelka!

Note: New additions to the list are in bold.

RELEASES OF NEWLY-MADE MUSIC

  1. 75 Dollar Bill: Social Music at Troost, Volume 3–Other People’s Music (Black Editions Group)
  2. Rosalia: MOTOMAMI (Columbia)
  3. Willie Nelson: A Beautiful Time (Sony)
  4. Beyoncé: Renaissance (Parkwood Entertainment)
  5. Tanya TagaqTongues (Six Shooter) 
  6. Ricky Ford: The Wailing Sounds of Ricky Ford—Paul’s Scene (Whaling City Sounds)
  7. Stro Elliot & James Brown: Black & Loud—James Brown Reimagined (Polydor)
  8. Tommy Womack: I Thought I Was Fine (Schoolkids Records)
  9. Wadada Leo Smith: The Emerald Duets (TUM)
  10. Superchunk: Wild Loneliness (Merge)
  11. Gonora Sounds: Hard Times Never Kill (Phantom Limb)
  12. Wet Leg: Wet Leg (Domino)
  13. Anitta: Versions of Me (Deluxe) (Warner)
  14. Ka: Languish Arts (Iron Works)
  15. The Mountain Goats: Bleed Out (Merge)
  16. Sudan Archives: Natural Brown Prom Queen (Stones Throw)
  17. Lady Wray: Piece of Me (Big Crown)
  18. Bob Vylan: Bob Vylan Presents The Price of Life (Ghost Theatre)
  19. Horace Andy: Midnight Rocker (On-U Sound)
  20. black midi: Hellfire (Rough Trade)
  21. Heroes Are Gang Leaders: LeAutoRoiGraphy (577 Records)
  22. ensemble 0: Music Nuvulosa (Sub Rosa)
  23. Ches Smith: Interpret It Well (Pyroclastic)
  24. The Ogun Meji Duo: Freedom Suite (self-released)
  25. Phelimuncasi: Ama Gogela (Nyege Nyege Tapes)
  26. 700 Bliss: Nothing to Declare (Hyperdub)
  27. The Chats: Get Fucked (Cooking Vinyl)
  28. Dan Ex Machina: All is Ours, Nothing is Theirs (self-released)
  29. Jinx Lennon: Pet Rent (Septic Tiger)
  30. Steve Lacy: Gemini Rights (RCA)
  31. Freakons: Freakons (Fluff & Gravy)
  32. Mary Gauthier: Dark Enough to See the Stars (Thirty Tigers)
  33. Etran de L’AirAgadez (Sahel Sounds)
  34. Homeboy Sandman: I Can’t Sell These (self-released)
  35. Bitchin’ Bajas: Bajascillators (Drag City)
  36. Miranda Lambert: Palomino (Vanner)
  37. Horsegirl: “Billy” / “History Lesson, Part II” (Matador)
  38. Mark Lomax Trio: Plays Mingus (CFG Multimedia)
  39. Florian Arbenz: Conversation #5—Elemental; Conversations #6 and 7
  40. Moor Mother: Jazz Codes (Anti-)
  41. Mdou Moctar: Niger EP Volume 1 (Matador)
  42. Various Artists: Lespri Ka—New Directions in Gwoka Music from Guadeloupe (Time Capsule Sounds) 
  43. Billy Woods: Aethiope(Backwoodz Studios)
  44. Mark Lomax II: Prismatic Refractions, Volume I (self-released)
  45. James Brandon Lewis: MSM Molecular Systematic Music—Live (Intakt)
  46. Daniel Villareal: Panama ’77 (International Anthem)
  47. Kehlani: blue water road (TSNMI/Atlantic)
  48. Horace Andy: Midnight Scorchers (On-U Sound)
  49. Ka: Woeful Studies (Iron Works)
  50. Amber Mark:Three Dimensions Deep (PMR / Interscope) 
  51. Morgan Wade: Reckless (Deluxe) (Ladylike) 
  52. Zoh Amba: O, Sun (Tzadik)
  53. Whit Dickey: Root Perspectives (Tao Forms)
  54. Anna von HausswoolffLive at Montreaux Jazz Festival (Southern Lord) 
  55. Felipe Salles: Tiyo’s Songs of Life (Tapestry)
  56. Steve Lehman: Xaybu—The Unseen (Pi Recordings)
  57. Tom ZéLingua Brasiliera (Selo Sesc)
  58. Nancy Mounir: Nozhet El Nofous (Terrorbird)
  59. Rick Rosato: Homage (self-released)
  60. The Beths: Expert in a Dying Field (Carpark)
  61. Oumou Sangare: Timbuktu (World Circuit Limited)
  62. Various Artists: Hidden Waters—Strange and Sublime Sounds from Rio de Janiero (Sounds and Colours)
  63. SeaJun Kwon: Micro Nap (Endectomorph Music)
  64. Nduduzo Makhathini: In the Spirit of Ntu (Universal)
  65. Gard Nilssen Acoustic Unity:Elastic Wave (ECM)
  66. Miguel Zeñon: Musica de las Americas (Miel Music)
  67. Isaiah Collier & The Chosen Few: Lift Every Voice (Division 81 Records)
  68. Tyshawn Sorey: The Off-Off Broadway Guide to Synergism (Pi)
  69. Priscilla BlockWelcome to the Block Party (InDent)
  70. Serengeti: Kaleidoscope III (Audiocon)
  71. Kendrick Lamar: Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers(pgLang/Top Dawg Entertainment/Aftermath/Interscope)
  72. Makaya McCraven: In These Times (International Anthem)
  73. Charm Taylor: She Is The Future (Sinking City)
  74. OGJB: Ode to O (TUM) (Note: Band name – O = Oliver Lake, G = Graham Haynes, J = Joe Fonda, B = Barry Altschul / Title – O = Ornette) 
  75. Andrew Cyrille, William Parker, and Enrico Rava: Two Blues for Cecil (TUM) 
  76. Luke Stewart’s Silt TrioThe Bottom(Cuneiform) 
  77. Tyler Mitchell: Dancing Shadows (featuring Marshall Allen) (Mahakala Music)
  78. Wild Up: Julius Eastman, Volume 2—Joy Boy (New Amsterdam)
  79. Crow Billiken (aka R.A.P. Ferreira): If I don’t have red I use blue (self-released)
  80. The Paranoid Style: For Executive Meeting (Bar/None)
  81. Carl Stone: Wat Dong Moon Lek (Unseen Worlds)
  82. Joy Guidry:Radical Acceptance (Whited Sepulchre)
  83. Meridian Brothers and El Grupo & Renacimiento (Ansonia)
  84. Marxist Love Disco Ensemble: MLDE (Mr. Bongo)
  85. Mitski: Laurel Hell (Dead Oceans)
  86. Jockstrap: Jockstrap (Rough Trade)
  87. Breath of Air: Breath of Air (Burning Ambulance Music)
  88. Immanuel Wilkins: The 7th Hand (Blue Note) 
  89. David Murray Brave New World Trio: Seriana Promethea (Intakt)
  90. Fulu MizikiNgbaka (EP)
  91. David Virelles: Nuna (Pi / El Tivoli)
  92. Javon Jackson & Nikki Giovanni: The Gospel According to Nikki Giovanni (Solid Jackson) 
  93. Leikeli47: Shape Up (Hardcover/RCA)
  94. Witchcraft Books: Volume 1—The Sundisk (Iapetus Records)
  95. Hurray for The Riff Raff: Life on Earth (Nonesuch)
  96. Rokia Koné and Jacknife Lee: Bamanan (3DFamily)
  97. Tomas Fujiwara: Triple Double (Firehouse 12)
  98. DJ Black Low: Uwami (Awesome Tapes from Africa)
  99. Ibibio Sound Machine:Electricity (Merge)
  100. Zoh Amba: O Life, O Light, Volume 1 (577 Records)
  101. Burton/McPherson Trio: The Summit Rock Session at Seneca Village (Giant Step Arts)
  102. Kahil El’Zabar Quartet: A Time for Healing (Spirit Muse)
  103. Pastor Champion: I Just Want to Be a Good Man (Luaka Bop)
  104. Nduduzo Makhathini: In the Spirit of Ntu (Blue Note)
  105. Pusha T: It’s Almost Dry (G.O.O.D. Music/Def Jam)
  106. Elza SoaresElza Ao Vivo No Municipal (Deck)
  107. Nilufer Yanya: Painless (ATO)
  108. Tommy McLain: I Ran Down Every Dream (Yep Roc)
  109. Satoko Fujii and Joe Fonda: Thread of Light (Fundacja Słuchaj)
  110. Charli XCX: Crash (Atlantic)
  111. Pete Malinverni: On the Town—Pete Malinverni Plays Leonard Bernstein(Planet Arts) 
  112. JID: The Forever Story (Dreamville)
  113. Dedicated Men of Zion: The Devil Don’t Like It (Bible & Tire)
  114. Tyshawn Sorey Trio: Mesmerism (Pi Recordings)
  115. Space AfrikaHonest Labour (Dais)
  116. Charlotte Adigery & Bolis Pupul: Topical Dancer (DeeWee)
  117. Earl Sweatshirt: Sick! (Tan Cressida / Warner) 
  118. Big Thief: Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe in You (4AD)
  119. Jeff Arnal and Curt Cloninger: Drum Major Instinct (Mahakala Music)
  120. Tee Grizzley: Half Tee Half Beast (self-released)
  121. Hoodoo Gurus: Chariot of The Gods (Big Time Photographic Recordings)
  122. Natsuki TamuraSummer Tree (Libra)
  123. (D)ivo: Perelman, Berne, Malaby, Carter (Mahakala Music)
  124. Daniel Carter et al.: Telepatica (577 Records)
  125. Ghais Guevara: There Will Be No Super-Slave (self-released)
  126. Pierre Kwenders: Jose Louis and the Paradox of Love (Arts & Crafts)
  127. Manel Fortia: Despertar (Segell Microscopi/Altafonte)
  128. Ray Wylie Hubbard: Co-Starring Too (Big Machine)
  129. Various Artists: if you fart make it sound good (WA Records)
  130. Marta Sanchez: SAAM (Spanish American Art Museum) (Whirlwind)
  131. Sonnyjim & The Purist: White Girl Wasted (Duape)
  132. Earthgang: Ghetto Gods (Dreamville/Interscope)
  133. Mavis Staples & Levon Helm: Carry Me Home (Anti-)
  134. Panda Bear & Sonic Boom: Reset (Domino)
  135. Blue Reality Quartet: Ella’s Island (Mahakala Music)

ARCHIVAL DIGS

  1. Los Golden Boys: Cumbia de Juventud (Mississippi Records)
  2. Albert Ayler: Revelations—The Complete ORTF 1970 Fondation Maeght Recordings(Elemental)
  3. Cecil Taylor:The Complete Legendary Live Return Concert at the Town Hall (Oblivion)
  4. Tommy Womack: 30 Years Shot to Hell! An Anthology (Schoolkids Records)
  5. Various Artists: Lovers Rock—The Soulful Sound of Romantic Reggae (Trojan)
  6. Albert Ayler: La Cave Live 1966 (Ezz-Thetics) 
  7. Various Artists: Cumbia Sabrosa—Tropical Sound System Bangers From The Discos Fuentes Vaults 1961-1981 (Rocafort Records)
  8. Biluka y Los Canibales: Leaf-Playing in Quito (1960-1965) (Honest Jon’s)
  9. Various Artists: A Chat About the Beauty of the Moon at Night–Hawaiian Steel Guitar Masters 1913-1921 (Magnificent Sounds)
  10. The Rolling Stones: Live at the El Mocambo (Interscope)
  11. Son House: Forever on My Mind (Easy Eye Sound)
  12. Lavender Country: Blackberry Rose and Other Songs & Sorrows (Don Giovanni)
  13. Mal Waldron: Searching in Grenoble—The 1978 Solo Piano Concert (Tompkins Square)
  14. Horace Tapscott Quintet: The Quintet (Mr. Bongo)
  15. Horace Tapscott Quintet: Legacies for Our Grandchildren (Dark Tree)
  16. Various Artists: The D-Vine Spirituals—Sacred Soul (Bible & Tire)
  17. Kabaka International Guitar Band: Kabaka International Guitar Band (Palenque Records)
  18. The Pyramids: AOMAWA—The 1970s Recordings (Strut)
  19. Hermeto Pascoal: Hermeto (Far Out Recordings)
  20. Sun Ra: Sun Ra Arkestra Meets Salah Ragab in Egypt (Strut)
  21. Asha Puthi: The Essential Asha Puthi (Mr. Bongo)
  22. Malik’s Emerging Force Art Trio: Time and Condition (moved-by-sound)
  23. Volta Jazz: Air Volta (Numero)
  24. Blondie: Against the Odds—1974-1982 (3-CD Rarities Version) (UMe / Numero Group)
  25. Various Artists: From Lion Mountain—Traditional Music of Yeha, Ethiopia (Dust-to-Digital)
  26. Charles Stepney: Step-on-Step (International Anthem)
  27. Ronnie Boykins: The Will Come is Now (ESP-Disk)
  28. John Ondolo: Hypnotic Guitar of John Ondolo (Mississippi Records)
  29. Luciano Luciani y sus Mulatos: Mulata, vamos a la Salsa (Vampisoul)
  30. Cecil Taylor: Respiration (Fundacja Stuchaj)
  31. Norma Tanega: Studio and Demo Recordings, 1964-1971 (Anthology)
  32. Irma Thomas: New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival 1976 (Good Time)
  33. Afrika Negra: Antologia, Volume 1 (Bongo Joe)
  34. Various Artists: Summer of Soul (Legacy)
  35. The Heartbreakers: LAMF—The ’77 Found Mixes (Jungle)

A Shelf of Witchcraft Books: Best Albums of 2022, January 1st to September 3rd

I’m updating on the the ol’ va-kay, so–you’ll be crushed–I’m gonna have to keep it brief. Plus, I’m (and my wife and our friends) are recovering from my drunken interpretative dance to The Sir Douglas Quintet’s “Song for Everyone,” so I can’t guaranteed being centered as I peck this out.

“Song of Everything / Has somethin’ / For somebody….”

Bleary Blips:

  1. Did some switching around of prior albums, as some have zoomed on me (Beyonce’s), others have receded nearly back under the horizon (I can’t remember their titles), and one I somehow didn’t have near the top from the word “go” (ol’ Willie’s). And Heroes Are Gang Leaders’ live tribute to Amiri Baraka made a big move–check it out, even if you’re not a big fan of the great but complicated poet.
  2. Tommy Womack needs to be your best friend. I’ve known of him for years, but then I READ him and was bedazzled by his new anthology on Schoolkids Records. On constant repeat play: “Fishstick Day”!
  3. Florian Arbenz is a Swedish drummer and percussionist whose multiple volume “Conversations” project is consistently bedazzling and varied–and underrated. I put his newest, Conversations # 5 and Conversations #6 and #7 together, and if you love high-but-still-inside improvisational jazz, you need to check it out.
  4. Rick Rosato’s Homage is not yet out, and when I received a review copy of it the PR of which advertised it as a solo bass tribute to early (Skip James-early) blues legends, I literally blanched. Yuck. Plus. it has one of those not-to-be-trusted seductive ECM cheesecloth-art covers. Plus…well…it’s a solo bass album. Thing is, it is really, really great.
  5. I have been following the career of New Orleans’ r&b/hip hop artist Charm Taylor for years. She’s also on the Crescent City’s Sinking City label, which is impervious to releasing anything dull. I liked her vision, drive, and look–but the music just left me a little (a little) underwhelmed. However, because I never give up on NOLA and Sinking City Records, I took a listen to her new record, which if I’m not mistaken compiles some of her best tracks from the last several years. I was more than whelmed. Whelmed +++.
  6. The post title? It comes, as usual, from a new addition on the list. Iapetus Records hosts one of my favorite MCs, South African Yugen Blakrock, who is the most Afro-Futuristic rapper I am aware of. The rap group known (I think) as WitchCraft, but seeming here to go as Witchcraft Books, plows the same field, and I’m just always going to be interested in that field.

New additions to the list are in bold.

RELEASES OF NEWLY-MADE MUSIC

  1. 75 Dollar Bill: Social Music at Troost, Volume 3–Other People’s Music (Black Editions Group)
  2. Rosalia: MOTOMAMI (Columbia)
  3. Beyoncé: Renaissance (Parkwood Entertainment)
  4. Willie Nelson: A Beautiful Time(Sony)
  5. Billy Woods: Aethiope(Backwoodz Studios)
  6. Tanya TagaqTongues (Six Shooter) 
  7. Ricky Ford: The Wailing Sounds of Ricky Ford—Paul’s Scene (Whaling City Sounds)
  8. Stro Elliot & James Brown: Black & Loud—James Brown Reimagined (Polydor)
  9. Tommy Womack: I Thought I Was Fine (Schoolkids Records)
  10. Wadada Leo Smith: The Emerald Duets (TUM)
  11. Superchunk: Wild Loneliness (Merge)
  12. Gonora Sounds: Hard Times Never Kill (Phantom Limb)
  13. Wet Leg: Wet Leg (Domino)
  14. Anitta: Versions of Me (Deluxe) (Warner)
  15. Amber Mark:Three Dimensions Deep (PMR / Interscope) 
  16. Morgan Wade: Reckless (Deluxe) (Ladylike) 
  17. Lady Wray: Piece of Me (Big Crown)
  18. Bob Vylan: Bob Vylan Presents The Price of Life (Ghost Theatre)
  19. Moor Mother: Jazz Codes(Anti-)
  20. Mark Lomax II: Prismatic Refractions, Volume I (self-released)
  21. Horace Andy: Midnight Rocker (On-U Sound)
  22. black midi: Hellfire (Rough Trade)
  23. Heroes Are Gang Leaders: LeAutoRoiGraphy (577 Records)
  24. Miranda Lambert: Palomino (Vanner)
  25. ensemble 0: Music Nuvulosa (Sub Rosa)
  26. Anna von HausswoolffLive at Montreaux Jazz Festival (Southern Lord) 
  27. Various Artists: Lespri Ka—New Directions in Gwoka Music from Guadeloupe (Time Capsule Sounds) 
  28. Ches Smith: Interpret It Well (Pyroclastic)
  29. Mark Lomax Trio: Plays Mingus (CFG Multimedia)
  30. Mdou Moctar: Niger EP Volume 1 (Matador)
  31. 700 Bliss: Nothing to Declare (Hyperdub)
  32. The Chats: Get Fucked (Cooking Vinyl)
  33. Dan Ex Machina: All is Ours, Nothing is Theirs (self-released)
  34. Jinx Lennon: Pet Rent (Septic Tiger)
  35. Freakons: Freakons (Fluff & Gravy)
  36. Florian Arbenz: Conversation #5—Elemental; Conversations #6 and 7
  37. Daniel Villareal: Panama ’77 (International Anthem)
  38. Mary Gauthier: Dark Enough to See the Stars (Thirty Tigers)
  39. Phelimuncasi: Ama Gogela (Nyege Nyege Tapes)
  40. Joy Guidry:Radical Acceptance (Whited Sepulchre)
  41. Etran de L’AirAgadez (Sahel Sounds)
  42. Kehlani: blue water road (TSNMI/Atlantic)
  43. Zoh Amba: O, Sun (Tzadik)
  44. Felipe Salles: Tiyo’s Songs of Life (Tapestry)
  45. Steve Lehman: Xaybu—The Unseen (Pi Recordings)
  46. Tom ZéLingua Brasiliera (Selo Sesc)
  47. Nancy Mounir: Nozhet El Nofous (Terrorbird)
  48. Rick Rosato: Homage (self-released)
  49. Javon Jackson & Nikki Giovanni: The Gospel According to Nikki Giovanni (Solid Jackson) 
  50. Oumou Sangare: Timbuktu(World Circuit Limited)
  51. Various Artists: Hidden Waters—Strange and Sublime Sounds from Rio de Janiero (Sounds and Colours)
  52. Gard Nilssen Acoustic Unity: Elastic Wave (ECM)
  53. Miguel Zeñon: Musica de las Americas (Miel Music)
  54. Isaiah Collier & The Chosen Few: Lift Every Voice(Division 81 Records)
  55. Priscilla BlockWelcome to the Block Party (InDent)
  56. Serengeti: Kaleidoscope III (Audiocon)
  57. Kendrick Lamar: Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers(pgLang/Top Dawg Entertainment/Aftermath/Interscope)
  58. Charm Taylor: She Is The Future (Sinking City)
  59. OGJB: Ode to O (TUM) (Note: Band name – O = Oliver Lake, G = Graham Haynes, J = Joe Fonda, B = Barry Altschul / Title – O = Ornette) 
  60. Andrew Cyrille, William Parker, and Enrico Rava: Two Blues for Cecil (TUM) 
  61. Luke Stewart’s Silt TrioThe Bottom(Cuneiform) 
  62. Tyler Mitchell: Dancing Shadows (featuring Marshall Allen) (Mahakala Music)
  63. Wild Up: Julius Eastman, Volume 2—Joy Boy (New Amsterdam)
  64. The Paranoid Style: For Executive Meeting (Bar/None)
  65. Carl Stone: Wat Dong Moon Lek (Unseen Worlds)
  66. Meridian Brothers and El Grupo & Renacimiento (Ansonia)
  67. Mitski: Laurel Hell (Dead Oceans)
  68. Breath of Air: Breath of Air (Burning Ambulance Music)
  69. Immanuel Wilkins: The 7th Hand (Blue Note) 
  70. David Murray Brave New World Trio: Seriana Promethea (Intakt)
  71. Fulu MizikiNgbaka (EP)
  72. David Virelles: Nuna (Pi / El Tivoli)
  73. Leikeli47: Shape Up(Hardcover/RCA)
  74. Witchcraft Books: Volume 1—The Sundisk (Iapetus Records)
  75. Hurray for The Riff Raff: Life on Earth (Nonesuch)
  76. Rokia Koné and Jacknife Lee: Bamanan (3DFamily)
  77. Tomas Fujiwara: Triple Double (Firehouse 12)
  78. DJ Black Low: Uwami (Awesome Tapes from Africa)
  79. Ibibio Sound Machine: Electricity (Merge)
  80. Zoh Amba: O Life, O Light, Volume 1(577 Records)
  81. Burton/McPherson Trio: The Summit Rock Session at Seneca Village (Giant Step Arts)
  82. Kahil El’Zabar Quartet: A Time for Healing(Spirit Muse)
  83. Pastor Champion: I Just Want to Be a Good Man (Luaka Bop)
  84. Nduduzo Makhathini: In the Spirit of Ntu (Blue Note)
  85. Pusha T: It’s Almost Dry(G.O.O.D. Music/Def Jam)
  86. Elza SoaresElza Ao Vivo No Municipal (Deck)
  87. Nilufer Yanya: Painless (ATO)
  88. Tommy McLain: I Ran Down Every Dream (Yep Roc)
  89. Satoko Fujii and Joe Fonda: Thread of Light (Fundacja Słuchaj)
  90. Charli XCX: Crash (Atlantic)
  91. Pete Malinverni: On the Town—Pete Malinverni Plays Leonard Bernstein(Planet Arts) 
  92. David Friend & Jerome Begin: Post- (New Amsterdam)
  93. Dedicated Men of Zion: The Devil Don’t Like It (Bible & Tire)
  94. Tyshawn Sorey Trio: Mesmerism (Pi Recordings)
  95. Space AfrikaHonest Labour (Dais)
  96. Charlotte Adigery & Bolis Pupul: Topical Dancer (DeeWee)
  97. Earl Sweatshirt: Sick! (Tan Cressida / Warner) 
  98. Big Thief: Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe in You (4AD)
  99. Jeff Arnal and Curt Cloninger: Drum Major Instinct (Mahakala Music)
  100. Tee Grizzley: Half Tee Half Beast (self-released)
  101. Hoodoo Gurus: Chariot of The Gods (Big Time Photographic Recordings)
  102. Natsuki TamuraSummer Tree (Libra)
  103. (D)ivo: Perelman, Berne, Malaby, Carter (Mahakala Music)
  104. Daniel Carter et al.: Telepatica (577 Records)
  105. Ghais Guevara: There Will Be No Super-Slave (self-released)
  106. Pierre Kwenders: Jose Louis and the Paradox of Love (Arts & Crafts)
  107. Manel Fortia: Despertar (Segell Microscopi/Altafonte)
  108. Ray Wylie Hubbard: Co-Starring Too (Big Machine)
  109. Various Artists: if you fart make it sound good (WA Records)
  110. Marta Sanchez: SAAM (Spanish American Art Museum)(Whirlwind)
  111. Earthgang: Ghetto Gods (Dreamville/Interscope)
  112. Mavis Staples & Levon Helm: Carry Me Home(Anti-)
  113. Panda Bear & Sonic Boom: Reset (Domino)
  114. Blue Reality Quartet: Ella’s Island (Mahakala Music)

ARCHIVAL DIGS

  1. Los Golden Boys: Cumbia de Juventud (Mississippi Records)
  2. Albert Ayler: Revelations—The Complete ORTF 1970 Fondation Maeght Recordings(Elemental)
  3. Cecil Taylor:The Complete Legendary Live Return Concert at the Town Hall (Oblivion)
  4. Tommy Womack: 30 Years Shot to Hell! An Anthology (Schoolkids Records)
  5. Various Artists: Lovers Rock—The Soulful Sound of Romantic Reggae (Trojan)
  6. Albert Ayler: La Cave Live 1966 (Ezz-Thetics) 
  7. Various Artists: Cumbia Sabrosa—Tropical Sound System Bangers From The Discos Fuentes Vaults 1961-1981 (Rocafort Records)
  8. Biluka y Los Canibales: Leaf-Playing in Quito (1960-1965) (Honest Jon’s)
  9. Various Artists: A Chat About the Beauty of the Moon at Night–Hawaiian Steel Guitar Masters 1913-1921 (Magnificent Sounds)
  10. The Rolling Stones: Live at the El Mocambo (Interscope)
  11. Son House: Forever on My Mind (Easy Eye Sound)
  12. Lavender Country:Blackberry Rose and Other Songs & Sorrows(Don Giovanni)
  13. Horace Tapscott Quintet: Legacies for Our Grandchildren (Dark Tree)
  14. Various Artists: The D-Vine Spirituals—Sacred Soul (Bible & Tire)
  15. Kabaka International Guitar Band: Kabaka International Guitar Band (Palenque Records)
  16. The Pyramids: AOMAWA—The 1970s Recordings (Strut)
  17. Hermeto Pascoal: Hermeto (Far Out Recordings)
  18. Sun Ra: Sun Ra Arkestra Meets Salah Ragab in Egypt (Strut)
  19. Asha Puthi: The Essential Asha Puthi (Mr. Bongo)
  20. Malik’s Emerging Force Art Trio: Time and Condition (moved-by-sound)
  21. Volta Jazz: Air Volta (Numero)
  22. Various Artists: From Lion Mountain—Traditional Music of Yeha, Ethiopia (Dust-to-Digital)
  23. Ronnie Boykins: The Will Come is Now (ESP-Disk)
  24. John Ondolo: Hypnotic Guitar of John Ondolo (Mississippi Records)
  25. Cecil Taylor: Respiration (Fundacja Stuchaj)
  26. Norma Tanega: Studio and Demo Recordings, 1964-1971(Anthology)
  27. Irma Thomas: New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival 1976(Good Time)
  28. Afrika Negra: Antologia, Volume 1 (Bongo Joe)
  29. Various Artists: Summer of Soul (Legacy)
  30. The Heartbreakers: LAMF—The ’77 Found Mixes (Jungle)

Breath of Air–The Best Records of 2022, January 1 – August 1

As I mentioned last post, I am enjoying fewer free hours to just blast new stuff. My sweetie’s home for the summer, and I feel like I’ve been taking two rigorous classes from Will Friedwald in the history of pop-jazz vocals and music that’s moved from the stage to the American Songbook. Thus, while I’m taking a deep dive into post-Trio Nat King Cole, I feel like I’ve been ignoring many explosions happening in the (not to say pop) music world. Funnily, however, it was while 98.7% engaged in the story of “Mack the Knife” (from Friedwald’s fab Stardust Memories) that I happened to try to be also listening to black midi’s Hellfire and its surging, stop-and-go, nattering power that I heard a kinship between the song, Brecht-Weill’s Threepenny Opera, and that herky-jerky, angry and complicated new album. More amusing, I am currently spending some time with my mom in her senior apartment (my brother and I just sold our parents’ house–my dad died suddenly in June 2020), and, as I am trying to get down to my teaching weight (210ish) and as I arise three hours before she does, I’ve been taking long (3.5 mile) walks and catching up with the new things. Since during the day I have been trying to finish Friedwald’s excellent but FUCKING METICULOUS Straighten Up and Fly Right: The Life and Music of Nat King Cole, and one can only listen to certain (i.e., not NEW) music while plowing through it, and since I have company and won’t put headphones on as a result, the walks are the only time I can really blast some stuff. I know you’ve been waiting for what’s that amusing: though I had intended to wait until stellar songwriting vet Tommy Womack’s new album I Thought I Was Fine arrived in CD form so I could enjoy it that way, I decided to queue it up on my first walk. Well…not only is it really damn great (especially if you’re an old, aching, regretful rock and roll filled with longing), but…yes…wait some more for it…Womack closes down the album with a couple of AMERICAN SONGBOOK NUGGETS (!!!!), “That Lucky Old Sun” and “Miss Otis Regrets”! Friedwald would approve, and Womack does not trip over his effects boxes interpreting them. It seems like a vast world, but one keeps being reminded it’s pretty small.

Couple more things:

Beyonce’s Renaissance just kicked my ass on the same walk as the Womack, and 2/3rds of the way through I thought it her best, but then it kinda lost momentum. What she’s trying to do is no easy thing: a tribute to straight-up dance music that bangs top to bottom. That’s a lot of tracks, Bey.

If you’re receptive to free jazz, you need your ears on Kentuckian Zoh Amba, who can blow and wail to bring Ayler’s ghost a smile.

I am very susceptible to jazz violin. Billy Bang, Leroy Jenkins, Claude Fiddler Williams, Ray Nance–the GREAT Stuff Smith? I listen to at least one of them heavily every month, especially Stuff. Charlie Burnham fiddled on Blood Ulmer’s Odyssey records, and he’s doing some pretty amazing things in his new band, Breath of Air.

I bet some of you have bought multiple mixes of Johnny Thunders and The Heartbreakers’ LAMF. Is this new “found mixes” yet another stab? No, it’s the thing.

Can a dude make music with a curled-up leaf? Don’t trust me when I say, “Oh yeah”–check out Biluka’s Leaf-Playing in Quito (1960-1965) and find yourself marveling, “That’s a leaf?”

Bolded items are new to the list

New Music 

  1. 75 Dollar Bill: Social Music at Troost, Volume 3–Other People’s Music (Black Editions Group)
  2. Rosalia: MOTOMAMI (Columbia)
  3. Billy Woods: Aethiope(Backwoodz Studios)
  4. Tanya TagaqTongues (Six Shooter) 
  5. Ricky Ford: The Wailing Sounds of Ricky Ford—Paul’s Scene (Whaling City Sounds)
  6. Stro Elliot & James Brown: Black & Loud—James Brown Reimagined (Polydor)
  7. Miranda Lambert: Palomino (Vanner)
  8. Willie Nelson: A Beautiful Time (Sony)
  9. Tommy Womack: I Thought I Was Fine (Schoolkids Records)
  10. Wadada Leo Smith: The Emerald Duets (TUM)
  11. Superchunk: Wild Loneliness (Merge)
  12. Gonora Sounds: Hard Times Never Kill (Phantom Limb)
  13. Wet Leg: Wet Leg (Domino)
  14. Beyoncé: Renaissance (Parkwood Entertainment)
  15. Amber Mark:Three Dimensions Deep (PMR / Interscope) 
  16. Etran de L’AirAgadez (Sahel Sounds)
  17. Morgan Wade: Reckless (Deluxe) (Ladylike) 
  18. Lady Wray: Piece of Me (Big Crown)
  19. Bob Vylan: Bob Vylan Presents The Price of Life (Ghost Theatre)
  20. Moor Mother: Jazz Codes (Anti-)
  21. Mark Lomax II: Prismatic Refractions, Volume I (self-released)
  22. Horace Andy: Midnight Rocker (On-U Sound)
  23. black midi: Hellfire (Rough Trade)
  24. ensemble 0: Music Nuvulosa (Sub Rosa)
  25. Anna von HausswoolffLive at Montreaux Jazz Festival (Southern Lord) 
  26. Various Artists: Lespri Ka—New Directions in Gwoka Music from Guadeloupe (Time Capsule Sounds) 
  27. Ches Smith: Interpret It Well (Pyroclastic)
  28. Mark Lomax Trio: Plays Mingus (CFG Multimedia)
  29. 700 Bliss: Nothing to Declare (Hyperdub)
  30. Heroes Are Gang Leaders: LeAutoRoiGraphy (577 Records)
  31. Jinx Lennon: Pet Rent (Septic Tiger)
  32. Freakons: Freakons (Fluff & Gravy)
  33. Daniel Villareal: Panama ’77 (International Anthem)
  34. Mary Gauthier: Dark Enough to See the Stars (Thirty Tigers)
  35. Ama Gogela: Phelimuncasi (Nyege Nyege Tapes)
  36. Joy Guidry:Radical Acceptance (Whited Sepulchre)
  37. Kehlani: blue water road (TSNMI/Atlantic)
  38. Zoh Amba: O, Sun (Tzadik)
  39. Felipe Salles: Tiyo’s Songs of Life (Tapestry)
  40. Nancy Mounir: Nozhet El Nofous (Terrorbird)
  41. Javon Jackson & Nikki Giovanni: The Gospel According to Nikki Giovanni (Solid Jackson) 
  42. Oumou Sangare: Timbuktu (World Circuit Limited)
  43. Various Artists: Hidden Waters—Strange and Sublime Sounds from Rio de Janiero (Sounds and Colours)
  44. Nduduzo Makhathini: In the Spirit of Ntu (Universal)
  45. Gard Nilssen Acoustic Unity: Elastic Wave (ECM)
  46. Miguel Zeñon: Musica de las Americas (Miel Music)
  47. Isaiah Collier & The Chosen Few: Lift Every Voice (Division 81 Records)
  48. Priscilla BlockWelcome to the Block Party (InDent)
  49. Anitta: Versions of Me (Warner)
  50. Serengeti: Kaleidoscope III (Audiocon)
  51. Kendrick Lamar: Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers(pgLang/Top Dawg Entertainment/Aftermath/Interscope)
  52. OGJB: Ode to O (TUM) (Note: Band name – O = Oliver Lake, G = Graham Haynes, J = Joe Fonda, B = Barry Altschul / Title – O = Ornette) 
  53. Andrew Cyrille, William Parker, and Enrico Rava: Two Blues for Cecil (TUM) 
  54. Luke Stewart’s Silt TrioThe Bottom(Cuneiform) 
  55. Tyler Mitchell: Dancing Shadows (featuring Marshall Allen) (Mahakala Music)
  56. Wild Up: Julius Eastman, Volume 2—Joy Boy (New Amsterdam)
  57. Carl Stone: Wat Dong Moon Lek (Unseen Worlds)
  58. Mitski: Laurel Hell (Dead Oceans)
  59. Breath of Air: Breath of Air (Burning Ambulance Music)
  60. Immanuel Wilkins: The 7th Hand (Blue Note) 
  61. David Murray Brave New World Trio: Seriana Promethea (Intakt)
  62. Fulu MizikiNgbaka (EP)
  63. David Virelles: Nuna (Pi / El Tivoli)
  64. Steve Lehman: Xaybu—The Unseen (Pi Recordings)
  65. Tom Zé: Lingua Brasiliera (Selo Sesc)
  66. Leikeli47: Shape Up (Hardcover/RCA)
  67. Hurray for The Riff Raff: Life on Earth (Nonesuch)
  68. Rokia Koné and Jacknife Lee: Bamanan (3DFamily)
  69. Tomas Fujiwara: Triple Double (Firehouse 12)
  70. DJ Black Low: Uwami (Awesome Tapes from Africa)
  71. Ibibio Sound Machine: Electricity (Merge)
  72. Zoh Amba: O Life, O Light, Volume 1 (577 Records)
  73. Burton/McPherson Trio: The Summit Rock Session at Seneca Village (Giant Step Arts)
  74. Kahil El’Zabar Quartet: A Time for Healing (Spirit Muse)
  75. Pastor Champion: I Just Want to Be a Good Man (Luaka Bop)
  76. Nduduzo Makhathini: In the Spirit of Ntu (Blue Note)
  77. Pusha T: It’s Almost Dry (G.O.O.D. Music/Def Jam)
  78. Elza SoaresElza Ao Vivo No Municipal (Deck)
  79. Nilufer Yanya: Painless (ATO)
  80. Satoko Fujii and Joe Fonda: Thread of Light (Fundacja Słuchaj)
  81. Charli XCX: Crash (Atlantic)
  82. Pete Malinverni: On the Town—Pete Malinverni Plays Leonard Bernstein(Planet Arts) 
  83. David Friend & Jerome Begin: Post- (New Amsterdam)
  84. Dedicated Men of Zion: The Devil Don’t Like It (Bible & Tire)
  85. Tyshawn Sorey Trio: Mesmerism (Pi Recordings)
  86. Space AfrikaHonest Labour (Dais)
  87. Charlotte Adigery & Bolis Pupul: Topical Dancer (DeeWee)
  88. Earl Sweatshirt: Sick! (Tan Cressida / Warner) 
  89. Belle & Sebastian: A Bit of Previous (Matador)
  90. Big Thief: Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe in You (4AD)
  91. Jeff Arnal and Curt Cloninger: Drum Major Instinct (Mahakala Music)
  92. Tee Grizzley: Half Tee Half Beast (self-released)
  93. Hoodoo Gurus: Chariot of The Gods (Big Time Photographic Recordings)
  94. Natsuki TamuraSummer Tree (Libra)
  95. (D)ivo: Perelman, Berne, Malaby, Carter (Mahakala Music)
  96. Daniel Carter et al.: Telepatica (577 Records)
  97. Ghais Guevara: There Will Be No Super-Slave (self-released)
  98. Spoon:Lucifer on the Sofa (Matador)
  99. Pierre Kwenders: Jose Louis and the Paradox of Love (Arts & Crafts)
  100. Manel Fortia: Despertar (Segell Microscopi/Altafonte)
  101. Ray Wylie Hubbard: Co-Starring Too (Big Machine)
  102. Various Artists: if you fart make it sound good (WA Records)
  103. Marta Sanchez: SAAM (Spanish American Art Museum) (Whirlwind)
  104. Earthgang: Ghetto Gods (Dreamville/Interscope)
  105. Mavis Staples & Levon Helm: Carry Me Home (Anti-)

Archival Digs:

  1. Los Golden Boys: Cumbia de Juventud (Mississippi Records)
  2. Albert Ayler: Revelations—The Complete ORTF 1970 Fondation Maeght Recordings(Elemental)
  3. Cecil Taylor:The Complete Legendary Live Return Concert at the Town Hall (Oblivion)
  4. Various Artists: Lovers Rock—The Soulful Sound of Romantic Reggae (Trojan)
  5. The Heartbreakers: LAMF—The ’77 Found Mixes (Jungle)
  6. Albert Ayler: La Cave Live 1966 (Ezz-Thetics) 
  7. Various Artists: Cumbia Sabrosa—Tropical Sound System Bangers From The Discos Fuentes Vaults 1961-1981 (Rocafort Records)
  8. Biluka y Los Canibales: Leaf-Playing in Quito (1960-1965) (Honest Jon’s)
  9. Various Artists: A Chat About the Beauty of the Moon at Night–Hawaiian Steel Guitar Masters 1913-1921 (Magnificent Sounds)
  10. The Rolling Stones: Live at the El Mocambo (Interscope)
  11. Son House: Forever on My Mind (Easy Eye Sound)
  12. Lavender Country:Blackberry Rose and Other Songs & Sorrows (Don Giovanni)
  13. Horace Tapscott Quintet: Legacies for Our Grandchildren (Dark Tree)
  14. Various Artists: The D-Vine Spirituals—Sacred Soul (Bible & Tire)
  15. Kabaka International Guitar Band: Kabaka International Guitar Band (Palenque Records)
  16. The Pyramids: AOMAWA—The 1970s Recordings (Strut)
  17. Hermeto Pascoal: Hermeto (Far Out Recordings)
  18. Sun Ra: Sun Ra Arkestra Meets Salah Ragab in Egypt (Strut)
  19. Asha Puthi: The Essential Asha Puthi (Mr. Bongo)
  20. Malik’s Emerging Force Art Trio: Time and Condition (moved-by-sound)
  21. Volta Jazz: Air Volta (Numero)
  22. Various Artists: From Lion Mountain—Traditional Music of Yeha, Ethiopia (Dust-to-Digital)
  23. Ronnie Boykins: The Will Come is Now (ESP-Disk)
  24. Cecil Taylor: Respiration (Fundacja Stuchaj)
  25. Norma Tanega: Studio and Demo Recordings, 1964-1971 (Anthology)
  26. Irma Thomas: New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival 1976 (Good Time)
  27. Afrika Negra: Antologia, Volume 1 (Bongo Joe)
  28. Various Artists: Summer of Soul (Legacy)
  29. Ann Peebles and the Hi Rhythm Section: Live in Memphis (Memphis International)
  30. Neil Young: Carnegie Hall 1970 (Reprise)

Down in The Flood: Best Records of 2022, January 1 to July 1.

I apologize for being farther behind in examining new releases this month than I usually am (and I always am). I did have some good reasons. I am one of those people who can read with fine concentration while I have, say, a Last Exit record cranked up to 6 or 7. However, my recently completed journey through the second book in Marlon James’ frightening, mind-boggling, and revolutionary fantasy/horror/unclassifiable trilogy, Moon Witch Spider King could not have been completed with anything other than Bill Evans or Morton Feldman as background, and even those might have been distracting. (Please note: the journey through these books is definitely worthwhile, and one hell of a lot safer than the characters’ journeys.) In addition, rereading Will Friedwald’s assessments of Shirley Horn’s ouevre sent me on another journey to pretty much plumb its depths. Horn’s best work is gorgeously hypnotic, and she did not record much that wasn’t good, so I am talking many hours spent. (Where to start, the uninitiated might ask? The very early Embers and Ashes, which knocked Miles Davis out and confirmed for him that slow tempos and floating space were indeed great ideas, and 1992’s Here’s To Life. Resonance Records’ recently issued Live at the Four Queens is a knockout, with the lagniappe of brilliant notes that will send you further. Ok…I’m getting distracted again.) Plus, I took a little vacation, and both my wife and I are home, so I can’t just listen to anything anytime (I often feel headphones are rude when you have company). Most ironically, the new record that debuted highest on the chart below was maybe my biggest distraction: a scintillating five-disc box of jazz duets that I kept returning to rather than sampling other new stuff–that’s high praise for a new box set, coming from someone who feels he has to “keep up.” Wadada Leo Smith’s The Emerald Duets, on TUM Records (City Hall Records stateside), features the octogenarian trumpet master going head to head–disc-long (the shortest piece runs 36:39)–with four equally masterful drummers: Pheeroan akLaff (67, the baby of the project), Andrew Cyrille (82), Han Bennink (80), and Jack DeJohnette (79). akLaff you may know from his fiery work with Sonny Sharrock; Cyrille’s played with damned near everybody in jazz, specifically including Cecil Taylor and David Murray; DeJohnette, who occupies the last two discs, most will know from his backing of Miles (notably on Bitches Brew); and Bennink is the clown-prince of European improvisatory drumming, best heard on his many recordings with Instant Composers Pool but another musician who has definitely been around (as a young man he even backed Dolphy). On a project like this, there’s no place to hide when there’s only two of you, and if you’re going to play a 74-minute and 58-second piece (Smith and akLaff’s “Litanies, Prayers, and Meditations”), you best keep it lively and shift a few gears. I’m happy to say that this set rewards close attention. If you’ve not heard Smith, he is a responsive player of deep feeling and many moves–he might remind the first-time listener of Miles himself–and he famously can tell a story with his horn. Of course, you can tell jazz drummers apart (it would seem, perhaps, harder to do in duet settings), and these men are indeed stylists. I enjoy each disc, but my favorite, perhaps because it is the most playful (not a mood one frequently associates with Smith) is the Bennink duet, aptly titled “Mysterious Sonic Fields.” Han is a trickster; Smith’s far too wizened to get tricked, and there’s some of the tension. The least interesting discs were those with DeJohnette, maybe because of fatigue (I need to listen to them out of order) but also because of DeJohnette’s switches to piano and Fender Rhodes on disc five, which I consider a distraction, rather than a change of pace. But even it, when you lean forward to listen to these sages listening to each other (these are no dialogues of the deaf), conjures fascination, and the whole set gives one hope for growing older, wiser, and better. I haven’t been encountering that hope all that much lately. My only real beef, and it’s silly, is that Smith didn’t hold onto his previously-released duet piece with the late engine-room wizard (not fair: he was a scientist) Milford Graves, which came out in another TUM box set, Sacred Ceremonies. Speaking of TUM box sets, they are very impressively appointed, with terrific cover art and insightful notes.

I also have been occupied with Smith’s other (yes, other) box set, the seven-disc String Quartets Nos. 1-12, recorded mostly by the Red Koral Quartet, with Smith, who composed the pieces, appearing only briefly on two of then. I do not have the expertise to properly evaluate these compositions–I’m only four-deep into them–but I can say that I’ve had a bit of trouble finding a way into them. Smith’s composing style for the quartet (three violinists and a cellist) not only allows for improvisation but also takes an approach that deliberately eschews development for expression. I hear many moments of tenderness disrupted by dissonant string-strikes and was briefly delighted by some rollercoaster-like passages–but that’s as good as I can do, and it ain’t good enough. Perhaps I’ll report back in August after I’ve absorbed the entire box.

I wrote the above instead of my usual odds-and-sods list of observations because The Emerald Duets is truly a masterful set of performances by five jazz elders who need to get the proper respect while they’re living. This ain’t a rehearsal, and another such performance ain’t guaranteed.

Now, on with the show…

(Bolded items are new to the list)

New Music (Updated 7/2/22 after I hunkered down that morning and got half-caught-up)

  1. 75 Dollar Bill: Social Music at Troost, Volume 3–Other People’s Music (Black Editions Group)
  2. Rosalia: MOTOMAMI (Columbia)
  3. Billy Woods: Aethiopes (Backwoodz Studios)
  4. Tanya Tagaq: Tongues (Six Shooter)
  5. Ricky Ford: The Wailing Sounds of Ricky Ford—Paul’s Scene (Whaling City Sounds)
  6. Stro Elliot & James Brown: Black & Loud—James Brown Reimagined (Polydor)
  7. Miranda Lambert: Palomino (Vanner)
  8. Willie Nelson: A Beautiful Time (Sony)
  9. Wadada Leo Smith: The Emerald Duets (TUM)
  10. Superchunk: Wild Loneliness (Merge)
  11. Gonora Sounds: Hard Times Never Kill (Phantom Limb)
  12. Wet Leg: Wet Leg (Domino)
  13. Amber Mark:Three Dimensions Deep (PMR / Interscope)
  14. Etran de L’Air: Agadez (Sahel Sounds)
  15. Morgan Wade: Reckless (Deluxe) (Ladylike)
  16. Lady Wray: Piece of Me (Big Crown)
  17. Bob Vylan: Bob Vylan Presents The Price of Life (Ghost Theatre)
  18. Moor Mother: Jazz Codes (Anti-)
  19. Mark Lomax II: Prismatic Refractions, Volume I (self-released)
  20. Horace Andy: Midnight Rocker (On-U Sound)
  21. ensemble 0: Music Nuvulosa (Sub Rosa)
  22. Anna von Hausswoolff: Live at Montreaux Jazz Festival (Southern Lord)
  23. Various Artists: Lespri Ka—New Directions in Gwoka Music from Guadeloupe (Time Capsule Sounds)
  24. Ches Smith: Interpret It Well (Pyroclastic)
  25. Mark Lomax Trio: Plays Mingus (CFG Multimedia)
  26. 700 Bliss: Nothing to Declare (Hyperdub)
  27. Heroes Are Gang Leaders: LeAutoRoiGraphy (577 Records)
  28. Jinx Lennon: Pet Rent (Septic Tiger)
  29. Freakons: Freakons (Fluff & Gravy)
  30. Daniel Villareal: Panama ’77 (International Anthem)
  31. Joy Guidry:Radical Acceptance(Whited Sepulchre)
  32. Kehlani: blue water road (TSNMI/Atlantic)
  33. Felipe Salles: Tiyo’s Songs of Life (Tapestry)
  34. Javon Jackson & Nikki Giovanni: The Gospel According to Nikki Giovanni (Solid Jackson)
  35. Oumou Sangare: Timbuktu (World Circuit Limited)
  36. Kendrick Lamar: Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers (pgLang/Top Dawg Entertainment/Aftermath/Interscope)
  37. OGJB: Ode to O (TUM) (Note: Band name – O = Oliver Lake, G = Graham Haynes, J = Joe Fonda, B = Barry Altschul / Title – O = Ornette)
  38. Andrew Cyrille, William Parker, and Enrico Rava: Two Blues for Cecil (TUM)
  39. Luke Stewart’s Silt Trio: The Bottom (Cuneiform)
  40. Tyler Mitchell: Dancing Shadows (featuring Marshall Allen) (Mahakala Music)
  41. Nduduzo Makhathini: In the Spirit of Ntu (Universal)
  42. Isaiah Collier & The Chosen Few: Lift Every Voice (Division 81 Records)
  43. Priscilla Block: Welcome to the Block Party (InDent)
  44. Anitta: Versions of Me (Warner)
  45. Wild Up: Julius Eastman, Volume 2—Joy Boy (New Amsterdam)
  46. Carl Stone: Wat Dong Moon Lek (Unseen Worlds)
  47. Mitski: Laurel Hell (Dead Oceans)
  48. Immanuel Wilkins: The 7th Hand (Blue Note)
  49. David Murray Brave New World Trio: Seriana Promethea (Intakt)
  50. Fulu Miziki: Ngbaka (EP)
  51. David Virelles: Nuna (Pi / El Tivoli)
  52. Leikeli47: Shape Up (Hardcover/RCA)
  53. Hurray for The Riff Raff: Life on Earth (Nonesuch)
  54. Rokia Koné and Jacknife Lee: Bamanan (3DFamily)
  55. Tomas Fujiwara: Triple Double (Firehouse 12)
  56. Ibibio Sound Machine: Electricity (Merge)
  57. Zoh Amba: O Life, O Light, Volume 1 (577 Records)
  58. Burton/McPherson Trio: The Summit Rock Session at Seneca Village (Giant Step Arts)
  59. Kahil El’Zabar Quartet: A Time for Healing (Spirit Muse)
  60. Pastor Champion: I Just Want to Be a Good Man (Luaka Bop)
  61. Nduduzo Makhathini: In the Spirit of Ntu (Blue Note)
  62. Pusha T:It’s Almost Dry (G.O.O.D. Music/Def Jam)
  63. Elza Soares: Elza Ao Vivo No Municipal (Deck)
  64. SAULT: AIR (Forever Living Originals)
  65. Nilufer Yanya: Painless (ATO)
  66. Satoko Fujii and Joe Fonda: Thread of Light (Fundacja Słuchaj)
  67. Charli XCX: Crash (Atlantic)
  68. Pete Malinverni: On the Town—Pete Malinverni Plays Leonard Bernstein (Planet Arts)
  69. David Friend & Jerome Begin: Post- (New Amsterdam)
  70. Dedicated Men of Zion: The Devil Don’t Like It (Bible & Tire)
  71. Space Afrika: Honest Labour (Dais)
  72. Charlotte Adigery & Bolis Pupul: Topical Dancer (DeeWee)
  73. Earl Sweatshirt: Sick! (Tan Cressida / Warner)
  74. Belle & Sebastian: A Bit of Previous (Matador)
  75. Big Thief: Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe in You (4AD)
  76. Jeff Arnal and Curt Cloninger: Drum Major Instinct (Mahakala Music)
  77. Tee Grizzley: Half Tee Half Beast (self-released)
  78. Hoodoo Gurus: Chariot of The Gods (Big Time Photographic Recordings)
  79. Natsuki Tamura: Summer Tree (Libra)
  80. (D)ivo: Perelman, Berne, Malaby, Carter (Mahakala Music)
  81. Spoon:Lucifer on the Sofa (Matador)
  82. Manel Fortia: Despertar (Segell Microscopi/Altafonte)
  83. Ray Wylie Hubbard: Co-Starring Too (Big Machine)
  84. Keith Oxman: This One’s for Joey (Capri)
  85. Marta Sanchez: SAAM (Spanish American Art Museum) (Whirlwind)
  86. Earthgang: Ghetto Gods (Dreamville/Interscope)
  87. Mavis Staples & Levon Helm: Carry Me Home (Anti-)

Archival Digs:

  1. Los Golden Boys: Cumbia de Juventud (Mississippi Records)
  2. Albert Ayler: Revelations—The Complete ORTF 1970 Fondation Maeght Recordings (Elemental)
  3. Cecil Taylor:The Complete Legendary Live Return Concert at the Town Hall (Oblivion)
  4. Various Artists: Lovers Rock—The Soulful Sound of Romantic Reggae (Trojan)
  5. Albert Ayler: La Cave Live 1966 (Ezz-Thetics)
  6. Various Artists: Cumbia Sabrosa—Tropical Sound System Bangers From The Discos Fuentes Vaults 1961-1981 (Rocafort Records)
  7. Various Artists: A Chat About the Beauty of the Moon at Night–Hawaiian Steel Guitar Masters 1913-1921 (Magnificent Sounds)
  8. The Rolling Stones: Live at the El Mocambo (Interscope)
  9. Son House: Forever on My Mind (Easy Eye Sound)
  10. Lavender Country:Blackberry Rose and Other Songs & Sorrows (Don Giovanni)
  11. Horace Tapscott Quintet: Legacies for Our Grandchildren (Dark Tree)
  12. Various Artists: The D-Vine Spirituals—Sacred Soul (Bible & Tire)
  13. Hermeto Pascoal: Hermeto (Far Out Recordings)
  14. Sun Ra: Sun Ra Arkestra Meets Salah Ragab in Egypt (Strut)
  15. Asha Puthi: The Essential Asha Puthi (Mr. Bongo)
  16. Malik’s Emerging Force Art Trio: Time and Condition (moved-by-sound)
  17. Volta Jazz: Air Volta (Numero)
  18. Ronnie Boykins: The Will Come is Now (ESP-Disk)
  19. Cecil Taylor: Respiration (Fundacja Stuchaj)
  20. Norma Tanega: Studio and Demo Recordings, 1964-1971 (Anthology)
  21. Irma Thomas: New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival 1976 (Good Time)
  22. Afrika Negra: Antologia, Volume 1(Bongo Joe)
  23. Various Artists: Summer of Soul (Legacy)
  24. Ann Peebles and the Hi Rhythm Section: Live in Memphis (Memphis International)
  25. Neil Young: Carnegie Hall 1970 (Reprise)