A Good Old Circus

An inaction-packed couple of days leaves me little with which to entertain you peripherally–care to hear about my new crown or my crossing my own no-NFL-TV picket line?–so let’s get to the music.

Indeed, it is, as Al Johnson memorably sang (and still sings), CARNIVAL TIME! We always celebrate that in our house, and Sunday I lazily clicked on a YouTube playlist I made last February and ended up listening to the whole thing (at the expense of investigating any albums). It’s not half-bad, and it’s not just the well-known tracks, though those can be played endlessly. Let me offer it to you again–it features great songs from the above-pictured Nathan and the Zydeco Cha-Chas, Danny White, Lil’ Buck Sinegal, and Betty Harris (clockwise from upper-left). Bon temps roulez all the way into March!

Heroes are Gang Leaders: The Amiri Baraka Sessions

The 2018 American Book Award winners for oral literature go way out, around, and inside the life and work of Baraka. It helps to have some of the poet’s oeuvre under your belt, but it isn’t necessary–you live in this world. Poetry-with-music of both a volcanic and bitterly hilarious nature.

Interjazz IV: Good Old Circus

Skeptics say you can’t tell wide-open free sessions apart, but when Willem Breuker’s in the house, even a neophyte listener’s earbrows are sure to be arched by distinct features. That title is perfect. With drummers by the name of Moholo and Oxley cracking the whip.

Sir Shina Peters: Sewele

The newest offering from Strut Records’ Original Masters subscription series is the first juju record other than King Sunny Ade’s that I’ve ever heard. Though the keyboardist can overexpress himself cornily at times, Peters’ singing and guitar are more than within shouting distance of his more famous compadre.

Stax Singles Volume 4–Rarities and The Best of the Rest

One would think that by a fourth volume (and each is a multi-disc set) the compilers would be loudly scraping barrel’s bottom. Not so. Yes, there are some mediocrities, but the many delights (instro-rockers The Cobras–guy named Cropper on guit–Rufus Thomas delivering a miraculous “Fine and Mellow,” the Nightingales’ scintillating “A Little Overcome,” Hot Sauce covering Swamp Dogg, The Dixie Nightingale’s heart-stopping “The Assassination”) beach them in their wake. I am strange, but, not planning to, I listened to the whole thing in a sitting. Also: if you didn’t know, Jim Stewart and Co. recording a lot more black music than soul.

…and still out in my truck is good ol’ Sandinista! One thing I forgot to mention the other day is how wonderful it was that the boys shared their tracks with a church choir, a little kid, and Timon Dogg (humanistic, democratic outreach in action) and moved their vocals into the mix’s midrange. It annoyed the ever-lovin’ shit out of me when I was 19, but I was a dum-dum; I totally get it now, and it makes me smile! Miss ya, Joe.

Cubano Beatitudes

I’ve been in an unshakable jazz mood for the most part the last two days, with a nice boost from fellow phono phanatic and ace Cuban cook Jimmy Trotter. I’m telling you, if you’re ever in Fulton, Missouri, between 11 and 2 in the afternoon, find The Fulton Cafe and ask Jimmy what you need–he will tell you with great accuracy and verve, then serve it to you with relish. Yesterday? A Cubano sandwich for me, ajiaco for Nicole, and fresh fruit salad, sweet espresso and poached guava with cream cheese and crackers for us both! Damn, man! And on his visits back to the table to check on us, Mr. Trotter educated us on the band Acetone, which I will be reporting back on in a few days. As I left, I was moaning to him about physical media, and instead of commiserating like most everyone else does, Jimmy enthused, “It’s all about building the perfect collection, man.” Yeah. I digress, but when I got home I jacked the Cachao comp referred to below in the changer and cranked it, and went ahead and ordered that Patato & Totico LP I’d been hesitating about for three weeks.

For your listening pleasure, here’s a playlist sampling the records below–including the entire Cachao compilation.

Also, did you know Carnival season has begun? Get yourself loosened up Louisiana style with yet another Living to Listen playlist! Shuffle these 47 tracks and you will be lit and lifted.

Cachao: Master Sessions, Volume 2

The titular master’s tumbling lope drives these tracks, but guest Paquito D’Rivera’s alto sax and clarinet often shift the mesmerizing rhythm into a classical gear. Volume 1 is terrific, too, and dig Doug Erb’s cover art for both volumes!

Leonard Cohen: Can’t Forget

A weird live document consisting of mostly soundchecks, with the late scoundrel audaciously (not to say successfully) singing the blues and covering George Jones. Like his fellow “poet” Robert Zimmerman, he gets away with some serious shit.

Creation Rebel: Vibrations 1978-1982

Take several pieces of Prince Far I’s band–like a lot of instrumental reggae and Adrian Sherwood productions these leave me a little cold.

Global Unity Orchestra: Baden-Baden ’75

Check out the number of artists listed on the cover (and, of course, their names), and you might question how much orchestral unity is possible. Skepticism is good. But these folks have great ears, and the move as a team–it’s a matter of expanding your idea of unification. A turbulent, dense, and exciting session.

The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society

Cute, wry, attractively loose, tuneful, this album is certainly one of their best, and it’s got philosophical teeth, too. I was delighted to hear my wife humming along in the next room to several songs about impermanence. I wish “Days” had closed the original release, but at least it’s on my expanded edition.

Charles Mingus: East Coasting

A foggy, restrained vibe–in contrast to the hot, direct sunlight and nearly wild atmosphere of better-known Mingus sessions–conceals a classic unit (Hadi, Richmond, Knepper in particular) playing with great soul and power. One of the bassist-composer’s most underrated records.

Phineas Newborn: Fabulous Phineas

The deft-fingered wizard from Memphis delivers his first solo session, and quicksilver would be an understatement in describing this ’50s solo session.

Charlie Parker: Early Bird–with Jay McShann and his Orchestra

I wager many have checked this Stash-label recording out strictly as Bird-watchers and have come away gobsmacked by one of the best swing bands of the war years. McShann was the man for many decades; every American house should have a record the pianist plays on. The kind of blues Albert Murray vaunted as an aid to stomping out of the briar patches of life.

Jimmy Scott: Falling in Love is Wonderful

The album cover will not delight the #MeToo movement, but inside the jacket the man who influenced as many female as male singers is at his absolute best, stretching and bending a set of heartbreaking standards. With Ray Charles playing piano and label-head.

David S. Ware: Godspelized

That title is a bit awkward, but Ware, a tenor saxophonist of gravid tone and wide beam, takes outward stylistically and upward spiritually. No gospel covers, unless Sun Ra’s “The Stargazers” counts, but a call is being placed to the beyond. Featuring Ware’s frequent partners Matthew Shipp and William Parker, with Susie Ibarra on drums–no slouches they.

Mostly Catching Up, Partly Second-Guessing—and Remembering a Question I Usually Forget

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House-cleaning: catching up on items from last year that I either slept on or hadn’t given enough time. Due diligence: checking out a hot item from 2019 (that adjective ain’t mine–yet). Inspiration and research: diving deeper into the work of a player featured in last year’s Oxford American Southern Music issue, which you should buy–it’s chock-full of goodness. Vehicular study carrel: revisiting a friend from 37 years ago I didn’t appreciate enough.

Bad Bunny: X100 PRE

I’m not sure how bad because my Spanish ain’t so hot. That trap rattle is so pervasive I’m either gonna have to practice or punt.

Etta Baker: One Dime Blues

I’d heard Baker pick on a great Music Makers CD book companion, but a wonderful article in the above-linked OA sent me scurrying to this, which not only induced me to read while listening to it, but also beguiled me with fluid-but-ear-tickling picking ala Doc Watson and David Doucet.

The Clash: Sandinista!

Still growing on me after four decades. Lord, I was green and impatient in (at?) the mercy of rockism’s means when I pouted at it in ’81! I’m not sure even London Calling is as interesting as its follow-up, and the band’s continuing drive to grow and learn (mentally and musically) misted by driver’s eyes as I beheld it once again. They had brains (always), brawn (when they needed it), and big blood-pumpers–bigger than any punks I can think of from their time to now. Now: if I can just better judge every record by how likely I’ll be to be listening to it when I’m 95….

Hop Along: Bark Your Head Off, Dog

Kid’s songs are sharp, especially “One That Suits Me.” But that voice–I’m not sure it serves the songs like it could. Half-hector, half-hyperhiccup, it defies me like Kleenex, Joni Mitchell, and Corin Tucker don’t; perhaps that’s the point. But I find myself listening through her for not only the words but the band, which holds surprises.

Joshua Redman: Still Dreaming

I have had an irrational aversion to Redman since the days of his rivalry with my man James Carter. But damned if this doesn’t sharply honor his dad’s and Ornette’s method and sound; in fact, he’s so inventively, confidently languid it’s almost a new reality. And Brian Blade? Somewhere, Higgins and Blackwell are smiling from ear to ear. Who knows: maybe this offering will lure Carter out of the recording wilds?

Henry Threadgill: Double Up, Plays Double Up Plus

I’m sorry: I love Threadgill’s alto (he doesn’t play on this at all) and respect his compositions, but that harrumphing tuba irritates the shit out of me. My New Year’s Resolution is to be more honest with myself.

Thurst: Project Isle Demotion

Though these slackers’ new EP is slacker than Cut to the Chafe, its ventings are so inventive they may catch you up short. Just after you’ve begun to muse about Mark E. Smith after two songs about titular “fuckfaces,” they assay “Reading Poetry Over Noise,” which features stiffened short hairs and post-nasal drip, then close up shop.

Miguel Zenón: Yo Soy La Tradición

The 42-year-old Puerto Rican alto saxophonist is fully integrated here with the deft Spektral [string] Quartet, playing with fire, imagination, lyricism, and discipline and achieving an admirable balance between the jazz, classical, and folk music that informs the project. At about the time it threatens to lapse into gentility, some flamenco-ized handclaps snap them and the listener out of it.

2019 Opening Gesture? Canasta and Soul Serenades

I am an album guy, just like I’m a novel guy. On New Year’s Day ’19, Nicole and I drank screwdrivers, played four hands of Canasta, and loaded up the changer with smokin’ soul, mostly in the form of compilations. Today, I shook out the cobwebs with a Alvin Youngblood Hart-dominated movie soundtrack from years ago about which I knew zilch–and AYH is my man.

I hope whatever you serenaded yourselves with as you passed into the last year of the Teens was equally soulful.

Chitlin Circuit Soul

The blossoming of what they still call soul blues (’73-’97)–not quite as raunchy yet as it has gotten, but Bobby Rush’s “Sue” points the way (also starring Z.Z. Hill, Bobby Bland, Latimore, Little Milton, Millie Jackson, and Marvin Sease).

Dave Godin’s Deep Soul Treasures Taken from the Vaults…Volume 2

All of Godin’s comps are musts for soul fans who’ve just traversed the canon–here, the gems are underappreciated classics from masters like Otis Redding, Johnny Adams, and Irma Thomas as well stone eternals from the here-and-gone Wendy Rene, Eddie Giles, Doris Duke, Bessie Banks and Toussaint McCall. Better than Volume 1!

Aretha Franklin: I Never Loved a Man the Way That I Love You

Re’s voice and piano are Olympian–but King Curtis’ tenor and Jimmy Johnson’s guitar are very worthy escorts.

Funky Broadway–Stax Revue Live at the 5/4 Ballroom

I just finished Jonathan Gould’s excellent Otis Redding: An Unfinished Life, which has re-whetted my appetite for all things Stax. Here’s a 1965 package tour document from Los Angeles that’s uneven but exciting. No Otis or Sam and Dave, but the MGs, Mar-Keys, William Bell, and Rufus Thomas shine.

The Genius of Ray Charles

Really, not much soul here–it’s mostly standards (a rollicking “Alexander’s Ragtime Band,” “Am I Blue,” a couple by Charles’ idol Louis Jordan), delivered with panache–but “Two Years of Torture” is the essence of deep cut and “Come Rain or Come Shine” is seldom anthologized. The guiding format for his ABC years is taking shape, and why would anyone have been surprised?

New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival 1976

Way out of print, but definitely worth tracking down. Toussaint, Dorsey, Thomas, King, K-Doe, and Parker all deliver the goods with conviction and sharp backing, Lightnin’ Hopkins strikes from Texas with three raw bolts, and the set closes with Fess rolling out magnificent versions of “Tipitina” and “Mardi Gras in New Orleans.”

Sam Cooke: A Man and His Music

Not counting the opener, written by God, and the closer, written by a transported Cooke just prior to his demise, most of this material, had it been sung by, say, a teen idol of the time, would have been revealed as pretty crappy. But it wasn’t sung by them.

Soundtrack to film The Great Debaters

Alvin Youngblood Hart is one of the most underrated blues guitar players and singers alive, and he’s never felt limited to the blues. I’d heard of but not seen the film this music was recorded for, and didn’t know Hart was involved. Involved he is, aided and abetted passionately by none other than Sharon Jones and the Carolina Chocolate Drops. The material’s pre-war gospel and offerings from the likes of the Mississippi Sheiks and Tampa Red.

The Stax/Volt Revue Volume 1–Live in London

More live Stax–March 1967. If I recall my recent reading accurately, this was the first time the MGs had ever played live behind these acts–cost-cutting was the motive, and Booker T and the boys were studio rats, normally. Here we do have Eddie Floyd, Otis, and a near-cataclysmic three-song closing salvo by Sam and Dave.

Sweet Soul Music–Voices from the Shadows

One of the greatest soul music compilations ever, assembled by Joe McEwen and Peter Guralnick as a companion for Guralnick’s just-as-great soul history of the same name. Like the Godin collection above (with which it shares a couple tracks), it is essential for listeners who’ve just kept to soul’s main roads. Honestly, as a whole, it aches, never more heartbreakingly than on George Perkins and the Silver Stars’ “Crying in the Streets,” the ballad of April 5, 1968.

Note: I would like to thank visitors for reading. I kind of fell off the cyberplanet for most of 2018’s second half, and I hope to appear more consistently in 2019.

“I Love Women / I Think They’re Great / They’re a Solace to a World / In a Terrible State”: Living to Listen’s Picks for the Most Rewarding New Albums and Reissues of 2018 (December 28, 2018, Columbia, Missouri, Second Ward)

 

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I want to open by addressing two things. If you are an EOY (End-of-Year) list watcher, and you frequent this blog, you might wonder: “Hey, is he just fucking aggregating from other lists?” You’d be justified in that suspicion, but–especially if you look back across my posts in ’18–you’d be wrong. For whatever reason–coincidence, politics, the law–women simply made the most direct, from-the-gut, punch-to-the-jaw records this year, and all year long. It’s almost as if they give a shit, as well we all ought. Dudes distinguished themselves: Parquet Courts, Makaya McCraven, and Superchunk, to variously explicit and subtle degrees, seemed to acknowledge the shit that’s coming down around our ears, and if Zeal & Ardor didn’t qualify for either explicit or subtle, at least their dark roar–their sharp shtick (if it’s shtick, let it be sharp)–seemed to fit well with mornings where reading the news was like drinking from a fire hose (props to the great cartoonist John Darkow).

Looking down through my list, well–Tracey Thorn’s held the top spot for me all year. That’s especially significant in that I wasn’t previously a huge fan, nor did I know much about her 30+-year career. I’d written her off in the ’80s as being Brit-pop, which I couldn’t connect with, but, on a tip, I quickly learned that Record was euphonious, danceable, and of the moment, with its politics so personal that they never tripped up the album’s momentum. It was two things I really love: human, and whole. I’ve not gotten tired of it. Rosalia’s record has yet to be released in the States, but its combo of flamenco conventions, top-of-the-line dance-pop production, and the artist’s confident vocal exhortations are addictive. CupcaKe: I don’t blush much, but her record forces me to understand what a Puritan I still am while immersing me in pleasure as the epiphany sinks in. I’ve been a confirmed Dylanophile since ’75, and at first I overreacted to LaVette’s cover album gambit as too easy, but once her wrestling of the songs’ content into her experience became clear to my ear, I was all in. She still oversings, but not so much that she distracts from the pretty spiffy material. McCraven: I’m honestly impressed with his mix method, his style of percussion synchronizes with my personal rhythms (an achievement that I don’t take lightly), and he’s a workaholic. Sometimes I wonder whether it seduces me so well as to be a sedative, but I don’t think so. The pure beat-pleasure he produces reminds me of Tony Williams, so…yeah. A wonderful student named Juniper forced me to listen to Noname (I don’t have time to listen to everything–come on!), and as a result that artist became a daily touchstone in my comp/pop music class. Oh, and a final thing? Jazz is not dead, not by a long shot, and though I wish Nate Chinen’s great “new” book were the reason I feel that way, in actuality, Chinen’s just hit a triple off the wall rather than an upper-deck homer.

To close: while it might be fairly easy to argue that 2018 did not bring us that may iconic albums, it did bring us a dazzling array of very, very good albums shot across the bow from all directions. At no time this year did I ever feel that music was “over”–that’s such an absurd idea on its face, but there’s no shortage of adepts (even) who might make the argument. Now–if this damn country would just snap to, and live up to its aural art. I’m not holding my breath.

In Bold: THE TESTED-BY-HEAVY-REPS TOP 25 (after those, all bets are off)

Listen to a YouTube Playlist of selections from the below via a previous post.

  1. Tracy Thorn: Record
  2. Rosalia: El Mal Querer
  3. CupcaKe: Ephorize
  4. Bettye LaVette: Things Have Changed
  5. Zeal & Ardor: Stranger Fruit
  6. Noname: Room 25
  7. Makaya McCraven: Universal Beings
  8. Pistol Annies: Interstate Gospel
  9. Sly & Robbie and Nils Petter Molvaer: Nordub
  10. Orquesta Akokan: Orquesta Akokan
  11. Pusha T: Daytona
  12. Parquet Courts: Wide Awake!
  13. Elza Soares: Deus É Mulher
  14. John Prine: The Tree of Forgiveness
  15. Janelle Monae: Dirty Computer
  16. JD Allen: Love Stone
  17. Superchunk: What A Time to Be Alive
  18. Mary Gauthier and Songwriting with Soldiers: Rifles and Rosary Beads
  19. Toni Braxton: Sex & Cigarettes
  20. Cloud Nothings: Last Building Burning
  21. Joe McPhee: Imaginary Numbers
  22. Tierra Whack: Whack World
  23. Michot’s Melody Makers: Blood Moon
  24. JLin: Autobiography (Music from Wayne McGregor’s Autobiography)
  25. Chloe x Halle: The Kids are Alright
  26. Nidia: Nídia É Má, Nídia É Fudida
  27. Fat Tony: 10,000 Hours
  28. Blood Orange: Negro Swan
  29. The Internet: Hive Mind
  30. Swamp Dogg: Love, Loss, and Auto-Tune
  31. SOPHIE: The Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-insides
  32. Maria Muldaur: Don’t You Feel My Leg—The Naughty Bawdy Blues of Blu Lu Barker
  33. Subtle Degrees: A Dance That Empties
  34. Daniel Carter: Seraphic Light
  35. The Necks: Body
  36. Hamell on Trial: The Night Guy
  37. Young Fathers: Cocoa Sugar
  38. James Brandon Lewis: Radiant Imprints
  39. Berry: Everything, Compromised
  40. boygenius: EP
  41. Peter Brotzmann and Heather Leigh: Sparrow Nights
  42. Sons of Kemet: Your Queen is a Reptile
  43. Lisbon Freedom Unit: Praise of Our Folly
  44. Doctor Nativo: Guatemaya
  45. The Goon Sax: We’re Not Talking
  46. Lyrics Born: Quite a Life
  47. Meshell Ndegeocello: Ventriloquism
  48. Mandy Barnett: Strange Conversation
  49. Grupo Mono Blanco: ¡Fandango! Sones Jarochos from Veracruz
  50. Chhoti Maa: Agua Corre
  51. Tallowit Timbouctou: Hali Diallo
  52. Knife Knights: 1 Time Mirage
  53. Angelika Niescier: The Berlin Concert
  54. No Age: Snares Like a Haircut
  55. Kids See Ghosts: Kids See Ghosts
  56. Robyn: Honey
  57. Tyshawn Sorey: Pillars
  58. Chhoti Maa: Caldo de Hueso
  59. Jonghyun: Poet / Artist
  60. Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever: Hope Downs
  61. Halu Mergia: Lalu Balu
  62. Teyana Taylor: S.E.
  63. Earl Sweatshirt: Some Rap Songs
  64. Rapsody: Laila’s Wisdom
  65. Chris Corsano & Bill Orcutt: Brace Up!
  66. Jinx Lennon: Grow a Pair
  67. Quelle Chris & Jean Grae: Everything’s Fine
  68. Lori McKenna: The Tree
  69. Courtney Barnett: Tell Me How You Really Feel
  70. Car Seat Headrest: Twin Fantasy
  71. Makaya McCraven: Where We Come From (Chicago x London Mixtape)
  72. MAST: Thelonious Sphere Monk
  73. Wussy: What Heaven is Like
  74. Andrew Cyrille: Lebroba
  75. Ken Vandermark / Klaus Kugel / Mark Tokar: No-Exit Corner
  76. Tal National: Tantabara
  77. Harriet Tubman: The Terror End of Beauty
  78. Neneh Cherry: Broken Politics
  79. Evan Parker, Barry Guy, and Paul Lytton: Music for David Mossman
  80. Charge It to The Game: House with a Pool
  81. JPEGMAFIA: Veteran
  82. Myra Melford: The Other Side of Air
  83. Tropical Fuck Storm: A Laughing Death in Meatspace
  84. The Beths: The Future Hates Me
  85. Lupe Fiasco: Drogas Wave
  86. Sidi Toure: Toubalbero
  87. Apolo: Live in Stockholm
  88. Heather Leigh: Throne
  89. Alice Bag: Blue Print
  90. Becky Warren: Undesirable
  91. Michael White: Tricentennial Rag
  92. Robbie Fulks & Linda Gail Lewis: Wild! Wild! Wild!
  93. Chief Keef: The Kozart
  94. Mitski: Be the Cowboy
  95. The Thing: Again
  96. Young Mothers: Morose
  97. The Carters: Everything is Love
  98. Sleep: The Sciences
  99. Serengeti: Dennis 6e
  100. Various Artists: A Day in the Life–Impressions of Pepper
  101. Kelela: Take Me Apart—The Remixes
  102. Wynton Marsalis & Friends: United We Swing–Best of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Galas
  103. La Maison Noir: The Black House
  104. Dave Holland: Uncharted Territories
  105. Ahmoudou Madassane: Zerzura (Original Soundtrack Recording)
  106. Full Blast: Live in Rio
  107. Mekons 77: It Is Twice Blessed
  108. Jeffrey Lewis: Works by Tuli Kupferberg
  109. Bombino: Deran
  110. Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids: An Angel Fell
  111. Sarayah: Feel the Vibe
  112. Nas: Nasir
  113. Speedy Ortiz: Twerp Verse
  114. Salim Washington: Dogon Revisited
  115. Jon Hassell: Listening To Pictures (Pentimento, Vol. One)
  116. Various Artists: Girls Just Wanna Have Fun…and Rights!!!
  117. Mdou Moctar & Elite Beat: Mdou Moctar meets Elite Beat In a Budget Dancehall
  118. Willie Nelson: Last Man Standing
  119. Mudhoney: Digital Garbage
  120. Kiefer: happysad
  121. Freddie Gibbs: Freddie
  122. Don Flemons: Black Cowboy
  123. Cardi B: Invasion of Privacy
  124. Shopping: The Official Body
  125. Cypress Hill: Elephants on Acid
  126. Dana Murray: Negro Manifesto
  127. Shame: Songs of Praise
  128. Henry Threadgill: .and More Dirt
  129. Ceramic Dog: YRU Still Here?
  130. Marc Ribot: Songs of Resistance 1942-2018
  131. The Coup: Soundtrack to the Film Sorry to Bother You
  132. ALLBLACK & Kenny Beats: Two-Minute Drills
  133. Van Morrison & Joey DeFrancesco: You’re Driving Me Crazy
  134. Various Artists/Sahel Sounds: Field Recordings
  135. Kendrick Lamar, et al: Black Panther—Music from and Inspired by the Film
  136. Rodrigo Amado (with Joe McPhee): History of Nothing
  137. Hop Along: Bark Your Head Off, Dog
  138. Tirzah: Devotion
  139. The Chills: Snowbound
  140. Ambrose Akinmusire: Origami Harvest
  141. Eddie Daniels: Heart of Brazil
  142. Big Freedia: Third Ward Bounce
  143. Amy Rigby: The Old Guys
  144. Busdriver: Electricity Is On Our Side
  145. Lonnie Holley: MITH
  146. Del McCoury Band: Del McCoury Still Plays Bluegrass
  147. Migos: Culture II
  148. La Luz: Floating Features
  149. Yo La Tengo: There’s a Riot Goin’ On
  150. The English Beat: Here We Go Love
  151. Princess Nokia: A Girl Cried Red
  152. Santigold: I Don’t Want—The Gold Fire Sessions
  153. Kasey Musgraves: Golden Hour
  154. Meek Mill: Championships
  155. DJ Juan Data: Ritmos Crotos, Volume 1

 

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OLD MUSIC NICELY REPACKAGED OR SIMPLY REISSUED

  1. Various Artists: The Savory Collection 1935-1940
  2. Various Artists: The Complete Cuban Jam Sessions
  3. Dead Moon (2LPs, 1 book)
  4. The Art Ensemble of Chicago and Associated Ensembles
  5. Sonny Rollins: Way Out West (Deluxe Reissue)
  6. Various Artists: Feelin’ Right Saturday Night–The Ric & Ron Anthology
  7. Lee Dorsey: Night People
  8. Danny Barker: “Tootie Ma Was Big Fine Thing” / “Corrinne Died on the Battlefield” and “Indian Red” / “Chocko Mo Feendo Hey”
  9. Willie Nelson: Things to Remember—The Pamper Demos
  10. Erroll Garner: Nightconcert
  11. Various Artists: Voices of Mississippi—Artists and Musicians Documented by William Ferris
  12. Charles Mingus: Jazz in Detroit/Strata Concert Gallery/46 Selden
  13. Joan Jett: Bad Reputation (Music from the Original Motion Picture)
  14. Various Artists: Amarcord Nino Rota
  15. Various Artists: Listen All Around: The Golden Age of Central and East African Music
  16. Gary Stewart: “Baby I Need Your Loving” / “Yester-Me, Yester-You, Yester-Day”
  17. Peter Brotzmann and Fred Lonberg-Holm: Ouroboros
  18. Oneness of Juju: African Rhythms
  19. Joe McPhee: Nation Time
  20. Bruce Springsteen: 1978/07/07 West Hollywood, CA
  21. Neil Young: Roxy—Tonight’s the Night
  22. Prince: A Piano and a Microphone
  23. Various Artists: Oxford American, North Carolina Music Issue, 2018
  24. The Revelators: In which the Revelators perform live renditions of selections from the Billy Childish songbook
  25. Against All Logic: 2012-2017
  26. Grant Green: Live at Oil Can Harry’s
  27. Entourage: Ceremony of Dreams—Studio Sessions & Outtakes 1972-1977
  28. Various Artists: Africa Scream Contest, Volume 2
  29. Wussy: Getting Better
  30. Bob Dylan: More Blood, More Tracks—The Bootleg Series, Volume 14
  31. Milford Graves: Babi
  32. Power Trip: Opening Fire–2008-2014
  33. David Bowie: Santa Monica ‘72
  34. Various Artists: The Beginning of the End
  35. Mulatu Astatke & His Ethiopian Quintet: Afro-Latin Soul, Vols. 1 & 2
  36. Various Artists: Two Niles to Sing a Melody—The Violins & Synths of Sudan
  37. Neil Young: Songs for Judy
  38. Joe McPhee: One Day…A Lightning Storm
  39. Dur Dur of Somalia: 1, Vol. 2
  40. Camarao: The Imaginary Soundtrack to a Brazilian Western Movie 1964-1974
  41. Feeling Kreyol: Las Pale
  42. Various Artists: Hillbillies in Hell
  43. Bruce Springsteen: No Nukes Concert
  44. John Prine: Live in Asheville ’86
  45. Various Artists: The Contempo Story

Overeem’s Hot 100 Albums for 2018, Rendered Down to 100 Videos (PLAY LOUDLY, ON SHUFFLE) (December 12, 2018, Stephens College, Columbia, MO)

Tracey RecordVS. Rosalia

 

It’s End of The Year List time, and–as you know if you’ve been following along–I’ve been meticulously preparing for it. We have a couple more Fridays’ worth of releases in 2018, but I have a feeling not too much will change about my mile-long scroll of favorite what-we-used-to-call-records.

Don’t get me started on politics, but 2018 was an exciting and surprisingly transformative year for me in terms of what I listened to and how I listened to it. I worked very diligently to stay out of the curmudgeon’s bunker; popular and semi-popular music, just like the world that produces it, is in a state of constant flux, and were I to grouse about its current state, well–what would that run parallel to in the social and political world (I ask myself all the time)? When I think of grouchy white men shaking their fists at the sky and yearning for old times in non-musical sectors of experience, those would be the exact folks I’m not lining up behind. Perhaps my analogy is faulty, but it feels solid for me, and, quite honestly, I love and more importantly respect flux.

I don’t think I tried too hard to do it–often I was drawn as moth to flame, though I didn’t pay the moth’s price–but I indulged in far more pop and dance music than I have in awhile. Crucially, though, all four of my beacons (Tracey Thorn, JLin, Rosalia, Robyn) laced their fun with social commentary that was far from ham-handed. Plus, it was fun, like great pop is supposed to be. I make no apologies for feeling pleasure at this point in my life, especially from music.

Far more than in any musical year I remember, my listening was dominated by women’s voices. I have always tried to be a feminist, and the way our world’s burning right now I know I have to up my game, so one might suspect that I’m–hmmm–overcorrecting? I don’t think so. It just so happens that women have made made most of the liveliest, smartest, funniest, boldest, and most defiant records this year. I was suspicious of myself, so I triple- and quadruple-checked, especially things I lurved way back in January. Most of that stuff still works wonders.

Elsewhere? Not a lot of rock, but so what? Plenty of free jazz because it helps me with my brain. Some great international records because it’s not just about u.s. A nice tablespoon full of vivacious oldsters whom Death may find it hard to kill. Hip hop to the max. And really—the sheer amount of really solid records. This could be illusion, because I surrendered to Apple Music and thus listened to more records (at the expense of my old ones) than ever before. Thing is, though, I seldom felt I was wasting my time.

To test my theories and judgment, play this YouTube playlist loudly, on shuffle, and prepare to stretch some. Speaking of theories, I think being equally comfortable swiveling on the dance floor and tracking someone’s battle with entropy through your headphones in a darkened room is a worthy goal that might help you make friends and, if not influence your enemies, at least de-nut them.