2020’s 100 Most Super Slabs So Far, January 1 to August 31

Isn’t it fun to pick out new records simply by the fetching quality of their covers? Enjoy this mega-slideshow of fresh rekkids I checked out in August! My favorite 100 releases follow…

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(Bolded items are new to the lists)

New(er) Stuff

  1. Run The Jewels: RTJ 4
  2. Gil Scott-Heron and Makaya McCraven: We’re New Again–A Reimagining
  3. Fiona Apple: Fetch the Bolt Cutters
  4. SAULT: Untitled (Black Is) 
  5. 79rs Gang: Expect the Unexpected
  6. Princess Nokia: Everything is Beautiful
  7. Boldy James & The Alchemist: The Price of Tea in China
  8. Fire! Orchestra: Actions
  9. Body Count: Carnivore
  10. Tee Grizzley: The Smartest
  11. Serengeti & Kenny Segal: AJAI
  12. Neptunian Maximalism: Éons (band name and album title of the year, based on music’s justification of same)
  13. Marx Lomax II: The Last Concert—Ankh & The Tree of Life
  14. Mark Lomax II: The 400 Years Suite
  15. The Third Mind: The Third Mind
  16. Jyoti: Mama You Can Bet!
  17. Hamell on Trial: The Pandemic Songs
  18. Kahil El’Zabar: Spirit Groove (featuring David Murray)
  19. Drakeo the Ruler & JoogSzn:Quit Rappin
  20. KeiyaA: Forever, Ya Girl
  21. Anna Högberg Attack: lena
  22. The Good Ones: RWANDA, you should be loved
  23. Cornershop: England is a Garden
  24. Shabaka and The Ancestors: We Are Sent Here By History
  25. Bob Dylan: My Rough and Rowdy Ways
  26. Charles McPherson: Jazz Dance Suites
  27. Irreversible Entanglements: Who Sent You
  28. Kesha: High Road
  29. Bobby Rush: Rawer Than Raw
  30. Thiago Nassif: Mente
  31. Steve Earle: Ghosts of West Virginia
  32. Princess Nokia: Everything Sucks
  33. Lido Pimienta: Miss Colombia
  34. City Girls: City on Lock
  35. Bettye LaVette: Blackbirds
  36. Mike & The Moonpies: Touch of You–The Lost Songs of Gary Stewart
  37. James Brandon Lewis and Chad Taylor: Live in Willisau
  38. Various Artists: New Improvised Music from Buenos Aires
  39. Carlos Nino and Miguel Atwood-Ferguson: Chicago Waves
  40. Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids: Shaman!
  41. Moses Sumney: grae
  42. Al Bilali Soudan: Tombouctou
  43. JD Allen: Toys / Die Dreaming
  44. Jeff Parker: Suite for Max Brown
  45. Grimes: Miss Anthropocene
  46. Dehd: Flower of Devotion
  47. Burna Boy: Twice as Tall
  48. Mr. Wrong: Create a Place
  49. Little Simz: Drop 6 (EP)
  50. Moor Jewelry: True Opera (EP)
  51. Quin Kirchner: The Shadows and The Light
  52. K. Michelle: All Monsters are Human
  53. Asher Gamedze: Dialectic Soul
  54. Laraaji: Sun Piano
  55. Jinx Lennon: Border Schizo Fffolk Songs for the F****d
  56. Gard Nilssen’s Supersonic Orchestra: If You Listen Carefully, The Music is Yours
  57. Beauty Pill: Sorry You’re Here
  58. Etuk Ubong: Africa Today
  59. Swamp Dogg: Sorry You Couldn’t Make It
  60. Julianna Barwick: Healing is a Miracle
  61. Conway the Machine & The Alchemist: LULU (EP)
  62. Speaker Music: Black Nationalist Sonic Weaponry
  63. Lori McKenna: The Balladeer
  64. Psychedelic Furs: Made of Rain
  65. Old 97s: Twelfth

Reissues and Past Recordings Freshly Excavated

  1. Wussy: Ghosts
  2. Various Artists: Turn Me Loose, White Man
  3. Thelonious Monk: Palo Alto
  4. Milford Graves & Don Pullen: The Complete Yale Concert
  5. King Ubu Orchestru: Concert at Town Hall – Binaurality Live 1989
  6. Luiz Carlos Vinhas: O Som Psicodelico De L. C. V.
  7. Oneness of Juju: African Rhythms 1970-1982
  8. Junior Byles: Beat Down Babylon (Deluxe Reissue)
  9. Various Artists: Soul Love—The Black Fire Records Story 1975-1993
  10. Various Artists: All Aboard! The CN Express—Rock Steady and Boss Reggae Sounds 1967-1968
  11. Ranil: Stay Safe and Sound!
  12. Lee Scratch Perry with Seskain Molenga and Kalo Kawongolo: Roots from the Congo (reissue)
  13. Hiroshi Yoshimura: Green
  14. Milton Nascimento: Maria Maria (reissue)
  15. Jon Hassell: Vernal Equinox (reissue)
  16. The Awakening: Hear, Sense, and Feel
  17. Bessie Jones: Get in Union
  18. Joe McPhee: Black is The Color
  19. Various Artists: Stone Crush—Memphis Modern Soul 1977-1987
  20. Walter Bishop Jr.: Coral Keys
  21. Observer All Stars & King Tubby: Dubbing with the Observer (reissue)
  22. Roky Erickson / 13th Floor Elevators: You and Me and I (Live)
  23. Bryan Ferry: Live at the Royal Albert Hall, 1974
  24. Fela Kuti: Perambulator
  25. No Trend: Too Many Humans/Teen Love (reissue)
  26. Pharoah Sanders: Live in Paris 1975
  27. Nina Simone: Fodder on My Wings
  28. Yabby You & The Aggrovators: King Tubby’s Prophecies of Dub (reissue)
  29. Various Artists: Léve Léve – Sao Tomé & Principe Sounds ‘70s-‘80s
  30. Various Artists: Soul Jazz Records Presents Black Riot—Early Jungle, Rave, and Hardcore
  31. Lee Scratch Perry: Play On, Mr. Music
  32. Various Artists: Maghreb K7 Club–Synth Rai, Chaoui & Staifi (1985-1997)
  33. Brother Theotis Taylor
  34. Black Ark Players: Black Ark In Dub
  35. Various Artists: Black Ark, Volume 2

7 and 0 Is?: The Best Alblums* of The Year from Hell (so far), Cool August Day Edition (*Blame it on Don Julio)

MY 2020 TOP 40. This shit has for real kept me from losing my mind this month.

Items that are bolded are new to the list. Also, I whittled my list down considerable to 50 instead of 200. I just can’t keep up right now.

I have added quick glib-takes on some new stuff.

1. Run The Jewels: RTJ 4 (has great beats, you can dance, think and act to it)

2. Gil Scott-Heron and Makaya McCraven: We’re New Again–A Reimagining

3. Fiona Apple: Fetch the Bolt Cutters (wearing on me a tad but big points for guts and sheer talent)

4. SAULT: Untitled (Black Is) (lots of folks trying to make their mark in this year of serious social justice demanding, not sure if this isn’t the most irresistible force)

5. 79rs Gang: Expect the Unexpected (one of the greatest Mardi Gras Indian albums ever, and those are never bad)

6. Princess Nokia: Everything is Beautiful

7. Boldy James & The Alchemist: The Price of Tea in China (straight outta Deee-troit, weary like GIVE ‘EM ENOUGH ROPE, but straight-shootin’ with fetching beats)

8. Body Count: Carnivore

9. Anna Högberg Attack: lena (One of the greatest young alto saxophonists alive in the midst of an exciting growth spurt)

10. Serengeti & Kenny Segal: AJAI (on the basis of intricacy and artistic control alone, a future cult classic)

11. The Good Ones: RWANDA, you should be loved

12. Cornershop: England is a Garden

13. Neptunian Maximalism: Éons (band name and album title of the year, based on music’s justification of same)

14. Mark Lomax II: The 400 Years Suite (Lomax is a gift to the country–check out his Friday YouTube lunch-hour meditations, which have left me happily weeping–and this condenses a monumental multi-disc project)

15. The Third Mind: The Third Mind

16. Hamell on Trial: The Pandemic Songs

17. Kahil El’Zabar: Spirit Groove (featuring David Murray)

18. Drakeo the Ruler & JoogSzn:Quit Rappin

19. KeiyaA: Forever, Ya Girl

20. Shabaka and The Ancestors: We Are Sent Here By History

21. Bob Dylan: My Rough and Rowdy Ways (old fucker keeps on keepin’ on with the stickin’ and movin’)

22. Irreversible Entanglements: Who Sent You

23. Kesha: High Road

24. Thiago Nassif: Mente (tropicalia lives!!!)

25. Steve Earle: Ghosts of West Virginia

26. Princess Nokia: Everything Sucks

27. Lido Pimienta: Miss Colombia

28. Mike & The Moonpies: Touch of You–The Lost Songs of Gary Stewart (yeah, that’s right, there are songs Gary wrote and didn’t record, and a band with that name actually does them justice, just by CARING)

29. James Brandon Lewis and Chad Taylor: Live in Willisau

30. Various Artists: New Improvised Music from Buenos Aires

31. Moses Sumney: grae

32. Psychedelic Furs: Made of Rain (he sounded old and jaded in his twenties; thus he’s right at home in 2020)

33. Al Bilali Soudan: Tombouctou

34. Jeff Parker: Suite for Max Brown

35. Grimes: Miss Anthropocene

36. Dehd: Flower of Devotion (A band that reminds me of five bands I can’t name that I love. Rock and roll is like that)

37. Mr. Wrong: Create a Place

38. Little Simz: Drop 6 (EP)

39. Moor Jewelry: True Opera (EP)

40. Quin Kirchner: The Shadows and The Light

41. Nicole Mitchell & Lisa E. Harris: Earthseed

42. Asher Gamedze: Dialectic Soul (an ambitious new voice in South African jazz)

43. Jinx Lennon: Border Schizo Fffolk Songs for the F****d

44. Gard Nilssen’s Supersonic Orchestra: If You Listen Carefully, The Music is Yours

45. Beauty Pill: Sorry You’re Here (not my normal bag, but the other day it ripped open my chest, stuck its fist in, and squeezed)

46. Etuk Ubong: Africa Today

47. Swamp Dogg: Sorry You Couldn’t Make It

48. Julianna Barwick: Healing is a Miracle (it is–I can fucking vouch–and her voice and noise help the process along)

49. Conway the Machine & The Alchemist: LULU (EP) (The Alchemist? Believe the hype)

50. Speaker Music: Black Nationalist Sonic Weaponry (shit-stirring beats, noise, and occasional words that’s just right for right now, man)

 

REISSUES AND PAST RECORDINGS NEWLY BROUGHT TO LIGHT

  1. Wussy: Ghosts
  2. King Ubu Orchestru: Concert at Town Hall – Binaurality Live 1989
  3. Luiz Carlos Vinhas: O Som Psicodelico De L. C. V.
  4. Oneness of Juju: African Rhythms 1970-1982
  5. Ranil: Stay Safe and Sound!
  6. Lee Scratch Perry with Seskain Molenga and Kalo Kawongolo: Roots from the Congo (reissue)
  7. Hiroshi Yoshimura: Green
  8. Milton Nascimento: Maria Maria (reissue)
  9. Jon Hassell: Vernal Equinox (reissue)
  10. Various Artists: Stone Crush—Memphis Modern Soul 1977-1987
  11. Observer All Stars & King Tubby: Dubbing with the Observer (reissue)
  12. Roky Erickson / 13th Floor Elevators: You and Me and I (Live)
  13. Bryan Ferry: Live at the Royal Albert Hall, 1974
  14. Fela Kuti: Perambulator
  15. No Trend: Too Many Humans/Teen Love (reissue)
  16. Pharoah Sanders: Live in Paris 1975
  17. Nina Simone: Fodder on My Wings
  18. Yabby You & The Aggrovators: King Tubby’s Prophecies of Dub (reissue)
  19. Various Artists: Léve Léve – Sao Tomé & Principe Sounds ‘70s-‘80s
  20. Various Artists: Soul Jazz Records Presents Black Riot—Early Jungle, Rave, and Hardcore
  21. Lee Scratch Perry: Play On, Mr. Music
  22. Various Artists: Maghreb K7 Club–Synth Rai, Chaoui & Staifi (1985-1997)
  23. Brother Theotis Taylor
  24. Black Ark Players: Black Ark In Dub
  25. Various Artists: Black Ark, Volume 2

Halfway There, Halfway Gone: Hottest Platters of 2020, 1 January to 30 June

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I got nuthin’ but the list. Bolded items are newly added. Some items have shifted rankings.

  1. Run the Jewels: Run the Jewels 4
  2. Gil Scott-Heron and Makaya McCraven: We’re New Again–A Reimagining
  3. Fiona Apple: Fetch the Bolt Cutters
  4. Kesha: High Road
  5. Bob Dylan: Rough and Rowdy Ways
  6. Princess Nokia: Everything is Beautiful
  7. Body Count: Carnivore
  8. Anna Högberg Attack: lena
  9. Irreversible Entanglements: Who Sent You
  10. Neptunian Maximalism: Éons
  11. The Good Ones: RWANDA, you should be loved (it’s late ‘19, actually)
  12. Cornershop: England is a Garden
  13. Serengeti & Kenny Segal: AJAI
  14. The Third Mind: The Third Mind
  15. Hamell on Trial: The Pandemic Songs
  16. SAULT: UNTITLED (Black is)
  17. Various Artists: New Improvised Music from Buenos Aires
  18. KeiyaA: Forever, Ya Girl
  19. Kahil El’Zabar: Spirit Groove (featuring David Murray)
  20. Shabaka and The Ancestors: We Are Sent Here By History
  21. Mark Lomax II: The 400 Years Suite
  22. Various Artists: Music in Support of Black Mental Health
  23. Steve Earle: Ghosts of West Virginia
  24. Princess Nokia: Everything Sucks
  25. Lido Pimienta: Miss Colombia
  26. 79rs Gang: Expect the Unexpected
  27. Drakeo the Ruler & JoogSzn: Quit Rappin
  28. Danny Barnes: Man on Fire
  29. James Brandon Lewis and Chad Taylor: Live in Willisau
  30. Moses Sumney: grae
  31. Various Artists: New Tangents In Kampala, London & Nairobi Vol.  1 (EP)
  32. Jeff Parker: Suite for Max Brown
  33. Grimes: Miss Anthropocene
  34. Little Simz: Drop 6 (EP)
  35. Moor Jewelry: True Opera (EP)
  36. Jinx Lennon: Border Schizo Fffolk Songs for the F****d
  37. Gard Nilssen’s Supersonic Orchestra: If You Listen Carefully, The Music is Yours
  38. Al Bilali Soudan: Tombouctou
  39. Chicago Underground: Good Days
  40. K Michelle: All Monsters are Human
  41. Fat Tony and Taydex: Wake Up
  42. Quin Kirchner: The Shadows and The Light
  43. The Howling Hex: Knuckleball Express
  44. Mr. Wrong: Create a Place
  45. Bad Bunny: YHLQMDLG
  46. Etuk Ubong: Africa Today
  47. Luka Productions & Kandiafa: Music from Saharan WhatApp, Volume 6 (EP)
  48. U. S. Girls: Heavy Light
  49. The Necks: Three
  50. Beauty Pill: Sorry You’re Here
  51. fra fra: Funeral Songs
  52. Les Amazones d’Afrique: Amazones Power
  53. Constantinople & Ablaye Cissoko: Traversees
  54. Dua Lipa: Future Nostalgia
  55. Rod Wave: Pray 4 Love
  56. Azu Tiwaline: Draw Me a Silence, Pts. 1 & 2
  57. Sunflowers: Endless Voyage
  58. McPhee, Rempis, Reid, Lopez, and Nilssen-Love: Of Things Beyond Thule, Volume 2
  59. Various Artists: Sahel Sounds Sampler 2
  60. X: Alphabetland
  61. Swamp Dogg: Sorry You Couldn’t Make It
  62. Tyler Keith: The Last Drag
  63. Sabir Mateen, et al: Survival Situation
  64. Ndudozo Makhathini: Modes of Communication—Letters from the Underworlds
  65. Mythic Sunshine: Changing Shapes–Live at Roadburn
  66. Joe Ely: Love in the Midst of Mayhem
  67. STRFKR: Future Past Life
  68. Sunwatchers: Brave Rats (EP)
  69. Yves Tumor: Heaven to a Tortured Mind
  70. Denzel Curry & Kenny Beats: UNLOCKED
  71. GuiltyBeatz: Different (EP)
  72. El Alfa: El Androide
  73. Alkibar Junior: Music from Saharan WhatsApp, Volume 4 (EP)
  74. Kefaya + Elaha Soroor: Songs of Our Mothers
  75. Jennifer Curtis & Tyshawn Sorey: Invisible Ritual
  76. Elysia Crampton: ORCORARA 2010
  77. Sunwatchers: Oh Yeah?
  78. Shopping: All for Nothing
  79. Katie Shorr: Open Book
  80. The Neptune Power Federation: Memoirs of a Rat Queen
  81. Kehlani: It Was Good Until It Wasn’t
  82. Chubby & The Gang: Speed Kills
  83. Nicole Mitchell & Lisa E. Harris: Earthseed
  84. Rina Sayawama: SAYAWAMA
  85. Matthew Shipp: The Piano Equation
  86. Darragh Morgan and John Tilbury: For John Cage (composer: Morton Feldman)
  87. Westside Gunn: Pray for Paris
  88. Onipa: We No Be Machine
  89. Waxahatchie: Saint Cloud
  90. Snotty Nose Rez Kids: Born Deadly (EP)
  91. Evan Parker and Paul Lytton: collective calls (revisited) (jubilee)
  92. Fire! Orchestra: Actions for Free Jazz Orchestra
  93. Majid Bekkas: Magic Spirit Quartet
  94. Jan St. Werner and Mark E. Smith: Molocular Mediation
  95. Lyra Pramuk: Fountain
  96. Shabazz Palaces: The Don of Diamonds
  97. John Anderson: Years
  98. Natural Child: California Hotel
  99. Megan Thee Stallion: Suga
  100. Childish Gambino: 3.15.20
  101. Ohad Talmor Newsreel: Long Forms
  102. Etran de L’Air: Music from Saharan WhatsApp, Volume 1 (EP)
  103. MONO: Before The Past
  104. Tamikrest: Tamotait
  105. Luís Lopes Humanization 4Tet: Believe, believe
  106. Dramarama: Color TV
  107. Colin Stetson: Color Out of Space (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
  108. Tomeka Reid and Alexander Hawkins: Shards and Constellations
  109. Lakecia Benjamin: Pursuance—The Coltranes
  110. Wayne Phoenix: Soaring Wayne Phoenix Story The Earth
  111. Thundercat: It is What it Is
  112. Oumou Diabate et Kara Show Koumba Frifri: Music from Saharan WhatsApp, Volume 2 (EP)
  113. Dogleg: Mellee
  114. Pink Siifu & yungmorpheus: Bag Talk
  115. Jays Electronica and -Z: A Written Testimony
  116. Meredith Monk: Memory Game
  117. Luke Combs: What You See Is What You Get
  118. Jeich Ould Badou: Music from Saharan WhatsApp 03
  119. Pink Siifu: NEGRO
  120. Moor Mother: CLEPSYDRA

REISSUES AND PAST RECORDINGS NEWLY BROUGHT TO LIGHT

  1. Wussy: Ghosts
  2. King Ubu Orchestru: Concert at Town Hall – Binaurality Live 1989
  3. Ranil: Stay Safe and Sound!
  4. Lee Scratch Perry with Seskain Molenga and Kalo Kawongolo: Roots from the Congo (reissue)
  5. Hiroshi Yoshimura: Green
  6. Milton Nascimento: Maria Maria (reissue)
  7. Jon Hassell: Vernal Equinox (reissue)
  8. Various Artists: Stone Crush—Memphis Modern Soul 1977-1987
  9. Observer All Stars & King Tubby: Dubbing with the Observer (reissue)
  10. Roky Erickson / 13th Floor Elevators: You and Me and I (Live)
  11. Bryan Ferry: Live at the Royal Albert Hall, 1974
  12. Fela Kuti: Perambulator
  13. No Trend: Too Many Humans/Teen Love (reissue)
  14. Pharoah Sanders: Live in Paris 1975
  15. Nina Simone: Fodder on My Wings
  16. Yabby You & The Aggrovators: King Tubby’s Prophecies of Dub (reissue)
  17. Various Artists: Léve Léve – Sao Tomé & Principe Sounds ‘70s-‘80s
  18. Various Artists: Soul Jazz Records Presents Black Riot—Early Jungle, Rave, and Hardcore
  19. Various Artists: Jamaican All-Stars (Studio One)
  20. The Viscaynes: The Viscaynes and Friends

Expect The Unexpected: My Favorite 100 Records of This Year on 🔥 🔥 🔥.

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Due to the unexpected death of a great friend, I have been in “4M” mode: Medicatin’ Myself Mostly with Miles.” Another Davis, Lockjaw, has been providing more traditional relief (the blues stomping out the blues), but new music hasn’t been able to elbow in and make much impact. 79rs Gang, a team-up by 7th and 9th Ward Mardi Gras Indian chiefs, released their second straight great album, both available on Sinking City. The first, Fire on the Bayou, was as stripped-down as a mess of Indian chants has ever gotten; the new one, Expect the Unexpected, is as impure as one has ever dared. Little Simz and Sunwatchers purt-near knocked me out with punch-packing EPs, the former gaining more confidence and edge with each new song, the latter barely able to contain their joyous in-all-directions energy. Despite seeming to have blown his voice out, Steve Earle delivered his best songs in years, the product of a more ambitious previous project, I believe. Les Amazones d’Afrique and the Saharan cellphone-foisting legions of Sahel Sounds offered two intriguingly varied and effective sets…and that about does it for fresh musical crank-turning in my world. Where are The Drive-By Truckers and Jason Isbell, you may be asking? I do not like those albums. Lady Gaga? Something tells me I need her pronto, but I’ve yet to get to it. Maybe next month if the whole circus hasn’t imploded.

Below are my Still-Warm 100, followed by 15 issuances of music recorded in earlier years. Bolded items correspond to the above album covers; they are new to the list. Also, someone lost the top slot, but she’s doin’ alright.

  1. Gil Scott-Heron and Makaya McCraven: We’re New Again–A Reimagining
  2. Fiona Apple: Fetch the Bolt Cutters
  3. Run The Jewels: RTJ 4
  4. Kesha: High Road
  5. Princess Nokia: Everything is Beautiful
  6. Various Artists: New Improvised Music from Buenos Aires
  7. Body Count: Carnivore
  8. Anna Högberg Attack: lena
  9. Irreversible Entanglements: Who Sent You
  10. The Good Ones: RWANDA, you should be loved (it’s late ‘19, actually)
  11. Cornershop: England is a Garden
  12. The Third Mind: The Third Mind
  13. Hamell on Trial: The Pandemic Songs
  14. KeiyaA: Forever, Ya Girl
  15. Shabaka and The Ancestors: We Are Sent Here By History
  16. Mark Lomax II: The 400 Years Suite
  17. Steve Earle: Ghosts of West Virginia
  18. Princess Nokia: Everything Sucks
  19. Lido Pimienta: Miss Colombia
  20. 79rs Gang: Expect the Unexpected
  21. James Brandon Lewis and Chad Taylor: Live in Willisau
  22. Moses Sumney: grae
  23. Serengeti & Kenny Segal: AJAI
  24. Jeff Parker: Suite for Max Brown
  25. Grimes: Miss Anthropocene
  26. Mr. Wrong: Create a Place
  27. Little Simz: Drop 6 (EP)
  28. Jinx Lennon: Border Schizo Fffolk Songs for the F****d
  29. Gard Nilssen’s Supersonic Orchestra: If You Listen Carefully, The Music is Yours
  30. Swamp Dogg: Sorry You Couldn’t Make It
  31. Tyler Keith: The Last Drag
  32. Chicago Underground: Good Days
  33. Les Amazones d’Afrique: Amazones Power
  34. K Michelle: All Monsters are Human
  35. Fat Tony and Taydex: Wake Up
  36. Danny Barnes: Man on Fire
  37. Various Artists: Sahel Sounds Sampler 2
  38. The Howling Hex: Knuckleball Express
  39. Bad Bunny: YHLQMDLG
  40. U. S. Girls: Heavy Light
  41. The Necks: Three
  42. fra fra: Funeral Songs
  43. Constantinople & Ablaye Cissoko: Traversees
  44. Dua Lipa: Future Nostalgia
  45. Rod Wave: Pray 4 Love
  46. Azu Tiwaline: Draw Me a Silence, Pts. 1 & 2
  47. Sunflowers: Endless Voyage
  48. McPhee, Rempis, Reid, Lopez, and Nilssen-Love: Of Things Beyond Thule, Volume 2
  49. X: Alphabetland
  50. Sabir Mateen, et al: Survival Situation
  51. Ndudozo Makhathini: Modes of Communication—Letters from the Underworlds
  52. Mythic Sunshine: Changing Shapes–Live at Roadburn
  53. Joe Ely: Love in the Midst of Mayhem
  54. Sunwatchers: Brave Rats (EP)
  55. Denzel Curry & Kenny Beats: UNLOCKED
  56. GuiltyBeatz: Different (EP)
  57. El Alfa: El Androide
  58. Alkibar Junior: Music from Saharan WhatsApp, Volume 4 (EP)
  59. Kefaya + Elaha Soroor: Songs of Our Mothers
  60. Jennifer Curtis & Tyshawn Sorey: Invisible Ritual
  61. Elysia Crampton: ORCORARA 2010
  62. Sunwatchers: Oh Yeah?
  63. Shopping: All for Nothing
  64. Katie Shorr: Open Book
  65. The Neptune Power Federation: Memoirs of a Rat Queen
  66. Kehlani: It Was Good Until It Wasn’t
  67. MONO: Before The Past
  68. Chubby & The Gang: Speed Kills
  69. Rina Sayawama: SAYAWAMA
  70. STRFKR: Future Past Life
  71. Matthew Shipp: The Piano Equation
  72. Darragh Morgan and John Tilbury: For John Cage (composer: Morton Feldman)
  73. Westside Gunn: Pray for Paris
  74. Yves Tumor: Heaven to a Tortured Mind
  75. Waxahatchie: Saint Cloud
  76. Snotty Nose Rez Kids: Born Deadly (EP)
  77. Evan Parker and Paul Lytton: collective calls (revisited) (jubilee)
  78. Fire! Orchestra: Actions for Free Jazz Orchestra
  79. Majid Bekkas: Magic Spirit Quartet
  80. Jan St. Werner and Mark E. Smith: Molocular Mediation
  81. Lyra Pramuk: Fountain
  82. Shabazz Palaces: The Don of Diamonds
  83. Megan Thee Stallion: Suga
  84. Childish Gambino: 3.15.20
  85. Ohad Talmor Newsreel: Long Forms
  86. Etran de L’Air: Music from Saharan WhatsApp, Volume 1 (EP)
  87. Tamikrest: Tamotait
  88. Luís Lopes Humanization 4Tet: Believe, believe
  89. Dramarama: Color TV
  90. Colin Stetson: Color Out of Space (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
  91. Tomeka Reid and Alexander Hawkins: Shards and Constellations
  92. Wayne Phoenix: Soaring Wayne Phoenix Story The Earth
  93. Thundercat: It is What it Is
  94. Amaria Hamadahler: Music from Saharan Whats App 5
  95. Oumou Diabate et Kara Show Koumba Frifri: Music from Saharan WhatsApp, Volume 2 (EP)
  96. Pink Siifu & yungmorpheus: Bag Talk
  97. Jays Electronica and -Z: A Written Testimony
  98. Meredith Monk: Memory Game
  99. Luke Combs: What You See Is What You Get
  100. Jeich Ould Badou: Music from Saharan WhatsApp 03
  101. Pink Siifu: NEGRO
  102. Moor Mother: CLEPSYDRA

REISSUED AND NEWLY ISSUED OLDER MUSIC

  1. Ranil: Stay Safe and Sound!
  2. Lee Scratch Perry with Seskain Molenga and Kalo Kawongolo: Roots from the Congo (reissue)
  3. Milton Nascimento: Maria Maria (reissue)
  4. Jon Hassell: Vernal Equinox (reissue)
  5. Various Artists: Stone Crush—Memphis Modern Soul 1977-1987
  6. Observer All Stars & King Tubby: Dubbing with the Observer (reissue)
  7. Bryan Ferry: Live at the Royal Albert Hall, 1974
  8. Fela Kuti: Perambulator
  9. No Trend: Too Many Humans/Teen Love (reissue)
  10. Pharoah Sanders: Live in Paris 1975
  11. Nina Simone: Fodder on My Wings
  12. Yabby You & The Aggrovators: King Tubby’s Prophecies of Dub (reissue)
  13. Various Artists: Léve Léve – Sao Tomé & Principe Sounds ‘70s-‘80s
  14. Various Artists: Soul Jazz Records Presents Black Riot—Early Jungle, Rave, and Hardcore
  15. Various Artists: Jamaican All-Stars (Studio One)

 

Open Up, and Say “Uhhhhh…NO!” – The Best Long-Players of 2020 So Far

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Lots of movement on and additions to my updated list. 100 104 106 107 total good new releases is pretty good for four months in; I’ve heard it said that, other than Fiona Apple’s offering (seeming to excite everyone, including this previous tire-kicker), no one’s dropped a classic yet. I’d add Makaya McCraven’s GSH interp to that, goldarn Kesha continues to be a shot in this malaise’s arm, Lewis and Taylor wail on their new live duet, the inspired Irish folk-punk Jinx Lennon has given me more than I can quickly absorb (but it’s raised a little chicken skin during two listens), Lido Pimienta’s pop-folk schizo-concept album has come up the chart like gangbusters,  X’s comeback is slowly growing on me, and HOLY SMOKE Anna Hogberg Attack’s lena is a huge leap forward from a predecessor that was superb–in a word, time (and there’s plenty of it) has a way of conveying power onto a work of art, so we’ll wait and see.

2020 (January 1 – April 30): A Bad Time for Most Anything But Music, Part 5

Note: Bolded items are new to the ongoing 2020 list.

  1. Fiona Apple: Fetch the Bolt Cutters
  2. Gil Scott-Heron and Makaya McCraven: We’re New Again–A Reimagining
  3. Kesha: High Road
  4. Princess Nokia: Everything is Beautiful
  5. Various Artists: New Improvised Music from Buenos Aires
  6. Body Count: Carnivore
  7. Anna Hogberg Attack: lena
  8. Irreversible Entanglements: Who Sent You
  9. The Good Ones: RWANDA, you should be loved (it’s late ‘19, actually)
  10. Cornershop: England is a Garden
  11. The Third Mind: The Third Mind
  12. Shabaka and The Ancestors: We Are Sent Here By History
  13. Mark Lomax II: The 400 Years Suite
  14. Princess Nokia: Everything Sucks
  15. Lido Pimienta: Miss Colombia
  16. Danny Barnes: Man on Fire
  17. James Brandon Lewis and Chad Taylor: Live in Willisau
  18. Jeff Parker: Suite for Max Brown
  19. Mdou Moctar: Mdou Moctar Mixtape, Volume 1
  20. Grimes: Miss Anthropocene
  21. Jinx Lennon: Border Schizo Fffolk Songs for the F****d
  22. Gard Nilssen’s Supersonic Orchestra: If You Listen Carefully, The Music is Yours
  23. Chicago Underground: Good Days
  24. K Michelle: All Monsters are Human
  25. Fat Tony and Taydex: Wake Up
  26. The Howling Hex: Knuckleball Express
  27. Mr. Wrong: Create a Place
  28. Bad Bunny: YHLQMDLG
  29. U. S. Girls: Heavy Light
  30. The Necks: Three
  31. Dua Lipa: Future Nostalgia
  32. Rod Wave: Pray 4 Love
  33. Serengeti & Kenny Segal: AJAI
  34. Azu Tiwaline: Draw Me a Silence, Pts. 1 & 2
  35. Sunflowers: Endless Voyage
  36. McPhee, Rempis, Reid, Lopez, and Nilssen-Love: Of Things Beyond Thule, Volume 2
  37. KeiyaA: Forever, Ya Girl
  38. Moses Sumney: grae
  39. X: Alphabetland
  40. Swamp Dogg: Sorry You Couldn’t Make It
  41. Tyler Keith: The Last Drag
  42. Ndudozo Makhathini: Modes of Communication—Letters from the Underworlds
  43. Constantinople & Ablaye Cissoko: Traversees
  44. Mythic Sunshine: Changing Shapes–Live at Roadburn
  45. STRFKR: Future Past Life
  46. Yves Tumor: Heaven to a Tortured Mind
  47. Denzel Curry & Kenny Beats: UNLOCKED
  48. GuiltyBeatz: Different (EP)
  49. Alkibar Junior: Music from Saharan WhatsApp, Volume 4 (EP)
  50. Kefaya + Elaha Soroor: Songs of Our Mothers
  51. Jennifer Curtis & Tyshawn Sorey: Invisible Ritual
  52. Sunwatchers: Oh Yeah?
  53. Shopping: All for Nothing
  54. Katie Shorr: Open Book
  55. The Neptune Power Federation: Memoirs of a Rat Queen
  56. Chubby & The Gang: Speed Kills
  57. Rina Sayawama: SAYAWAMA
  58. Darragh Morgan and John Tilbury: For John Cage (composer: Morton Feldman)
  59. Westside Gunn: Pray for Paris
  60. Onipa: We No Be Machine
  61. Waxahatchie: Saint Cloud
  62. Snotty Nose Rez Kids: Born Deadly (EP)
  63. Evan Parker and Paul Lytton: collective calls (revisited) (jubilee)
  64. Fire! Orchestra: Actions for Free Jazz Orchestra
  65. Majid Bekkas: Magic Spirit Quartet
  66. Jan St. Werner and Mark E. Smith: Molocular Mediation
  67. Lyra Pramuk: Fountain
  68. Shabazz Palaces: The Don of Diamonds
  69. John Anderson: Years
  70. Natural Child: California Hotel
  71. Megan Thee Stallion: Suga
  72. Childish Gambino: 3.15.20
  73. Ohad Talmor Newsreel: Long Forms
  74. Etran de L’Air: Music from Saharan WhatsApp, Volume 1 (EP)
  75. MONO: Before The Past
  76. Tamikrest: Tamotait
  77. Luís Lopes Humanization 4Tet: Believe, believe
  78. Colin Stetson: Color Out of Space (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
  79. Tomeka Reid and Alexander Hawkins: Shards and Constellations
  80. Lakecia Benjamin: Pursuance—The Coltranes
  81. Wayne Phoenix: Soaring Wayne Phoenix Story The Earth
  82. Moses Boyd: Dark Matter
  83. Thundercat: It is What it Is
  84. Kassa Overall: I Think I’m Good
  85. Oumou Diabate et Kara Show Koumba Frifri: Music from Saharan WhatsApp, Volume 2 (EP)
  86. Dogleg: Mellee
  87. Pink Siifu & yungmorpheus: Bag Talk
  88. Jays Electronica and -Z: A Written Testimony
  89. Meredith Monk: Memory Game
  90. Luke Combs: What You See Is What You Get
  91. Jeich Ould Badou: Music from Saharan WhatsApp 03
  92. Pink Siifu: NEGRO
  93. Moor Mother: CLEPSYDRA

REISSUES AND PAST RECORDINGS NEWLY BROUGHT TO LIGHT

  1. Ranil: Stay Safe and Sound!
  2. Lee Scratch Perry with Seskain Molenga and Kalo Kawongolo: Roots from the Congo (reissue)
  3. Milton Nascimento: Maria Maria (reissue)
  4. Jon Hassell: Vernal Equinox (reissue)
  5. Fela Kuti: Perambulator
  6. Various Artists: Stone Crush—Memphis Modern Soul 1977-1987
  7. Observer All Stars & King Tubby: Dubbing with the Observer (reissue)
  8. Bryan Ferry: Live at the Royal Albert Hall, 1974
  9. Pharoah Sanders: Live in Paris 1975
  10. Nina Simone: Fodder on My Wings
  11. Yabby You & The Aggrovators: King Tubby’s Prophecies of Dub (reissue)
  12. Various Artists: Léve Léve – Sao Tomé & Principe Sounds ‘70s-‘80s
  13. Various Artists: Soul Jazz Records Presents Black Riot—Early Jungle, Rave, and Hardcore
  14. Various Artists: Jamaican All-Stars (Studio One)

Explosions: Music and Viruses – 65 Solid Platters to Spin or Stream, and You Have Time (January 1 – April 1)

 

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You may be staying in for a spell, but very good records are coming out–by the bazillion. If your income stream has not been pinched or cut off entirely, try to support your favorite record stores, most of which are thrilled to conscientiously ship items to you, and Bandcamp, where you can help music makers much more directly and often at bargain prices by purchasing their work. Yesterday, I spent $50 with one of the best shops I know of, Lafayette, Louisiana’s Lagniappe Records, and a few weeks ago I dropped $100 with Bandcamp on a day that 100% of consumer cash was being directed to artists represented there. I also hope to assist Columbia’s own Hitt Records in continuing to be Mid-Missouri’s finest. I know I am fortunate to be able to do so.

I’ve listened to 55 releases of fresh music I know I will listen to again with pleasure; call them B+ or 8.5s/10 or better. In addition, 10 reissues of previously hard to find old releases and new issues of music recorded in olden times have convinced me to buy or download them. Enjoy the slideshow of album covers above and imagine your flippin’ through the stacks; try the YouTube “store jukebox” below to sample some of the music I’m touting. Here’s my list, and I’ve checked it thrice. Keep calm, carry on, take care of yourself and those around you, and make time to apply sound salve to your soul at least once a day.

Items in bold are new to the list.

2020 (January 1 – April 1): A Bad Time for Most Anything But Music

  1. Gil Scott-Heron and Makaya McCraven: We’re New Again–A Reimagining
  2. Kesha: High Road
  3. Princess Nokia: Everything is Beautiful
  4. Various Artists: New Improvised Music from Buenos Aires
  5. Chicago Underground Quartet: Good Days
  6. Body Count: Carnivore
  7. Irreversible Entanglements: Who Sent You
  8. The Good Ones: RWANDA, you should be loved
  9. Cornershop: England is a Garden
  10. The Third Mind: The Third Mind
  11. Shabaka and The Ancestors: We Are Sent Here By History
  12. Princess Nokia: Everything Sucks
  13. Gard Nilssen’s Supersonic Orchestra: If You Listen Carefully, The Music is Yours
  14. Danny Barnes: Man on Fire
  15. Jeff Parker: Suite for Max Brown
  16. Grimes: Miss Anthropocene
  17. K Michelle: All Monsters are Human
  18. Fat Tony and Taydex: Wake Up
  19. Mr. Wrong: Create a Place
  20. Bad Bunny: YHLQMDLG
  21. U. S. Girls: Heavy Light
  22. The Necks: Three
  23. Sunflowers: Endless Voyage
  24. Moses Sumney: grae
  25. Swamp Dogg: Sorry You Couldn’t Make It
  26. Jan St. Werner and Mark E. Smith: Molocular Mediation
  27. Lyra Pramuk: Fountain
  28. Megan Thee Stallion: Suga
  29. Mythic Sunshine: Changing Shapes–Live at Roadburn
  30. Denzel Curry & Kenny Beats: UNLOCKED
  31. Kefaya + Elaha Soroor: Songs of Our Mothers
  32. Jennifer Curtis & Tyshawn Sorey: Invisible Ritual
  33. Shopping: All for Nothing
  34. Katie Shorr: Open Book
  35. The Neptune Power Federation: Memoirs of a Rat Queen
  36. Dua Lipa: Future Nostalgia
  37. Darragh Morgan and John Tilbury: For John Cage (composer: Morton Feldman)
  38. Onipa: We No Be Machine
  39. Evan Parker and Paul Lytton: collective calls (revisited) (jubilee)
  40. Fire! Orchestra: Actions for Free Jazz Orchestra
  41. Natural Child: California Hotel
  42. Childish Gambino: 3.15.20
  43. Etran de L’Air: Music from Saharan WhatsApp, Volume 1 (EP)
  44. MONO: Before The Past
  45. Tamikrest: Tamotait
  46. Colin Stetson: Color Out of Space (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
  47. Lakecia Benjamin: Pursuance—The Coltranes
  48. Wayne Phoenix: Soaring Wayne Phoenix Story The Earth
  49. Moses Boyd: Dark Matter
  50. Kassa Overall: I Think I’m Good
  51. Oumou Diabate et Kara Show Koumba Frifri: Music from Saharan WhatsApp, Volume 2 (EP)
  52. Dogleg: Mellee
  53. Jays Electronica and -Z: A Written Testimony
  54. Luke Combs: What You See Is What You Get
  55. Jeich Ould Badou: Music from Saharan WhatsApp 03

REISSUES AND PAST RECORDINGS NEWLY BROUGHT TO LIGHT

  1. Ranil: Stay Safe and Sound!
  2. Lee Scratch Perry with Seskain Molenga and Kalo Kawongolo: Roots from the Congo (reissue)
  3. Milton Nascimento: Maria Maria (reissue)
  4. Jon Hassell: Vernal Equinox (reissue)
  5. Bryan Ferry: Live at the Royal Albert Hall, 1974
  6. Pharoah Sanders: Live in Paris 1975
  7. Yabby You & The Aggrovators: King Tubby’s Prophecies of Dub (reissue)
  8. Various Artists: Léve Léve – Sao Tomé & Principe Sounds ‘70s-‘80s
  9. Various Artists: Soul Jazz Records Presents Black Riot—Early Jungle, Rave, and Hardcore
  10. Various Artists: Jamaican All-Stars (Studio One)

 

Reaching for My Third Mind (My 25 Favorite Releases from 2020)

 

It’s a good bet lately that when I initially scoff at the news of a new release, you should place your bets against me. Cases in point:

Me, scoffing: “Dave Alvin’s doing a psych-rock album? Smells desperate. Reality: I can’t believe I’ve played this five times in three days. (Note: it’s also a covers album, which is something that always both intrigues me and smells funny, but Alvin and his Campers knock all but the 13th Floor Elevators tune out of the box.)

Me, scoffing: “A Moses Sumney double-album? I couldn’t get through one last time–too sensitive for me. Reality: He’s on some serious new shit.

Me, scoffing: “Two Princess Nokia albums at once? She couldn’t quite sell an EP last time, and who does she think she is, Axl Rose? Bruce Springsteen? Reality: Dude, do you even remember 1992?

Me, scoffing: “Do we really need another complaining grrrrl punk outfit that didn’t check that other acts are called Mr. Wrong? Reality: YES.

I could end up having been correct on my first impulse, but I doubt it. Nothing below’s been FULLY road-tested but the top seven.

  1. Gil Scott-Heron and Makaya McCraven: We’re New Again–A Reimagining
  2. Kesha: High Road
  3. Grimes: Miss Anthropocene
  4. Fat Tony and Taydex:Wake Up
  5. Various Artists: New Improvised Music from Buenos Aires
  6. Princess Nokia: Everything Sucks
  7. The Good Ones: RWANDA, you should be loved
  8. K Michelle: All Monsters are Human
  9. The Third Mind: The Third Mind
  10. Mr. Wrong: Create a Place
  11. Princess Nokia: Everything is Beautiful
  12. Moses Sumney: grae
  13. Mythic Sunshine: Changing Shapes–Live at Roadburn
  14. Denzel Curry & Kenny Beats: UNLOCKED
  15. Jennifer Curtis & Tyshawn Sorey: Invisible Ritual
  16. Shopping: All for Nothing
  17. Natural Child: California Hotel
  18. Etran de L’Air: Music from Saharan WhatsApp, Volume 1 (EP)
  19. MONO: Before The Past
  20. Swamp Dogg: Sorry You Couldn’t Make It
  21. Colin Stetson: Color Out of Space (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
  22. Various Artists: Soul Jazz Records Presents Black Riot—Early Jungle, Rave, and Hardcore
  23. Wayne Phoenix: Soaring Wayne Phoenix Story The Earth
  24. Moses Boyd: Dark Matter
  25. Oumou Diabate et Kara Show Koumba Frifri: Music from Saharan WhatsApp, Volume 2 (EP)

 

Hey! A Top 10 Popped Out!

PLEASE SHUFFLE THE ABOVE!

Shoulda waited a day to post last time: turns out Friday was a pretty good one for new music, good enough for me to cobble together a 2020 Top 10 list! You can all breathe a sigh of relief for me! And maybe for the year, because 2019 was a hard act to follow.

I’m not saying these are all just freakin’ stellar, not just yet–I have simply actively enjoyed these to the tune of at least two reps. I am Halsey novice and am frankly under the influence of Hannah Ewen’s FANGIRLS chapter on her. Apparently, Kesha’s on some throwback shit, but that album makes me happy. The new album by crafty Texan Terry Allen isn’t enough like Moby Dick to avoid slightly disappoint me, but–a lot like Michael Hurley–Allen zings you several times right as you’re about to nod off. This is the third iteration of GSH’s final recordings–it’s already been reimagined once–but McCraven’s magic makes it the best. The Buenos Aires recordings were released in late 2019, so I’m cheating–but dang they’re good! Chris Kirkley has 11 more Saharan WhatsApp EPs, one per month, coming our way. I think Fat Tony is the most underrated rapper in America, but I lean more toward words and concept than beats and flow. Shopping’s other albums didn’t really move me completely, but their Pylon-cum-Gang of Four actually has me wanting to (wanting to) dance this time–dance in the dumpster fire. Full disclosure: my history of personal interactions with Natural Child, newly emerged from a chastening that led to a hiatus and that I trust they took seriously, probably causes me to overrate them, but their return is much less bland and much more weird than their previous two records. The mercurial music scribe Phil Freeman’s morning tweet about previously-unknown-to-me Mythic Sunship delivered a tenth item…and Bob Xgau’s your uncle:

  1. Gil Scott-Heron and Makaya McCraven: We’re New Again–A Reimagining
  2. Kesha: High Road
  3. Fat Tony and Taydex: Wake Up
  4. Various Artists: New Improvised Music from Buenos Aires
  5. Shopping: All for Nothing
  6. Mythic Sunship: Changing Shapes–Live at Roadburn
  7. Natural Child: California Hotel
  8. Etran de L’Air: Music from Saharan WhatsApp, Volume 1 (EP) (hear the whole thing above)
  9. MONO: Before The Past
  10. (Tie) Terry Allen and The Panhandle Mystery Band: Just Like Moby Dick / Halsey: Manic

 

 

 

 

Living to Listen’s 2019 Top 25 LPs Video Playlist (plus a showcase for some rekkids that are “Late to the List”)

I’ve been pickin’ at my “Best Records of 2019” list like an itchy scab. Just can’t leave the damn thing alone. If you click on that link, you’ll see I’ve added some items (bold-faced), including a few that are fairly high up the list. For many of the augmentations, I have the indefatigable Glenn Boothe and Keith Artin to thank: their “Village Voice Pazz & Jop Rip-Off Poll”–1,122 members strong just a second ago–opened everyone’s eyes up to excellent slabs they hadn’t heard before, and I hope they make it a tradition. Also–this happens when you’re a long-lister–I forgot to list two albums that I respectively loved and really liked and played many times: 75 Dollar Bill’s I Was Real and 86-going-on-16 folkfunk originator Bobby Rush’s Sitting on Top of The Blues.

But. That ain’t what this is about! To grease the reader’s wheels for test-driving some of this stuff, I’ve created two YouTube playlists. The first highlights great tracks from my favorite 25 releases, with one exception: since Joe McPhee and the DKV Trio’s explosive box set of live recordings doesn’t currently have a reasonable video available on YouTube, I replaced it by a great single that wasn’t attached to an album–I’ll let you figure that out. The second gathers a track a piece from 10 albums that just got on the list at the last minute (that’s almost literal). Enjoy!

The Best Records 2019 Had to Offer (Now, Forward Into the Past)

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185 really good-to-really great albums of new music. 60 laudable issuings of music recorded in another time. That, my friends, is an embarrassment of riches. Now: if that will rub off on general citizenship, good cheer, charming self-effacement, and energized civic action, we’ll be cooking with gas here.

My Album-Lover’s Honor Roll for 2019 – The Final Unscrolling

(bolded items are new additions to the list)

The Straight and Bent A’s:

  1. Little Simz: Grey Area
  2. Purple Mountains: Purple Mountains
  3. Jamila Woods: Legacy! Legacy!
  4. Junius Paul: Ism
  5. Rapsody: Eve
  6. Billie Eilish: WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?
  7. Chance The Rapper: The Big Day
  8. Byron Asher: Byron Asher’s Skrontch Music
  9. Freddie Gibbs & Madlib: Bandana
  10. Snotty Nose Rez Kids: Trapline
  11. Royal Trux: White Stuff
  12. Ezra Furman: Twelve Nudes
  13. Laurie Anderson, Tenzin Choegyal, Jesse Paris Smith: Songs from The Bardo
  14. Peter Perrett: Humanworld
  15. Yugen Blakrok: Anima Mysterium
  16. Mexstep: Resistir
  17. Mdou Moctar: Ilana (The Creator)
  18. Danny Brown: uknowwhutimsayin
  19. Tomeka Reid Quartet: Old New
  20. J Balvin & Bad Bunny: OASIS
  21. DKV and Joe McPhee: The Fire Each Time
  22. Lightning Bolt: Sonic Citadel
  23. Tanya Tucker: While I’m Livin’
  24. Billy Woods & Kenny Segal: Hiding Places
  25. EARTHGANG: Mirrorland

The Tragically Flawed A- Team:

  1. 75 Dollar Bill: I Was Real
  2. Sheer Mag: A Distant Call
  3. Dumb: Club Nites
  4. Jeffrey Lewis: Bad Wiring
  5. Raphael Saadiq: Jimmy Lee
  6. Young Thug: So Much Fun
  7. Kel Assouf: Black Tenere
  8. James Brandon Lewis: An Unruly Manifesto
  9. Gard Nilssen Acoustic Unity: To Whom Who Buys A Record
  10. Teodross Avery: After the Rain–A Night for Coltrane
  11. Various Artists: Total Solidarity
  12. Lana Del Rey: Norman F***ing Rockwell
  13. Zonal (featuring Moor Mother): Wrecked
  14. Control Top: Covert Contracts
  15. Lizzo: Cuz I Love You
  16. Ifriqiyya Electrique: Laylet El Boore
  17. Elza Soares: Planeta Fome
  18. Abdullah Ibrahim: The Balance
  19. Damon Locks / Black Monument Ensemble: Where Future Unfolds
  20. Andres: Andres IV
  21. Denzel Curry: Zuu
  22. Pere Ubu: The Long Goodbye
  23. Rod Wave: Ghetto Gospel
  24. Eddy Current Suppression Ring: All in Good Time
  25. Dave: PSYCHODRAMA
  26. Moor Mother: Analog Fluids of Sonic Black Holes
  27. Various Artists: The Final Battle—Sly & Robbie vs. Roots Radics
  28. Rocket 808: Rocket 808
  29. 2 Chainz: Rap or Go to the League
  30. Planchettes: The Truth
  31. Joel Ross: Kingmaker
  32. JME: Grime MC
  33. I Jahbar: Inna Duppy SKRS Soundclash
  34. Lee Scratch Perry: Rainford
  35. Bill Orcutt: Odds Against Tomorrow
  36. Joe McPhee / John Butcher: At the Hill of James Magee
  37. Tyler Childers: Country Squire
  38. Pat Thomas, Dominic Lash, and Tony Orrell: Bleyschool
  39. Beyoncé: Homecoming
  40. Sote: Parallel Persia
  41. Jaimie Branch: Fly or Die II—Bird of Paradise
  42. SEED ENSEMBLE: Driftglass
  43. Arto Lindsay, Ken Vandermark, Joe McPhee, Phil Sudderberg: Largest Afternoon
  44. The Comet is Coming: Trust in the Lifeforce of the Deep Mystery
  45. Blacks’ Myths: Blacks’ Myths II

The No-Disgrace B+ Ticklers:

  1. The Coathangers: The Devil You Know
  2. Sudan Archives: Athena
  3. San Cha: La Luz de la Esperanza
  4. GRLwood: I Sold My Soul to the Devil When I Was 12
  5. P. P. Arnold: The New Adventures of P. P. Arnold
  6. Yazz Ahmed: Polyhymnia
  7. FKA Twigs: MAGDALENE
  8. Miranda Lambert: Wild Card
  9. Aquarian Blood: A Love That Leads to War
  10. Preservation Hall Jazz Band: Tuba in Cuba
  11. Quelle Chris: Guns
  12. Heroes Are Gang Leaders: The Amiri Baraka Sessions
  13. DaBaby: KIRK
  14. Ben Lamar Gay: Confetti in the Sky Like Fireworks
  15. Tanya Tagaq: Toothsayer EP
  16. Bobby Watson, Vincent Herring, and Gary Bartz: Bird at 100
  17. Ghostface Killah: Ghostface Killahs
  18. Various Artists: Weaponize Your Sound
  19. Earl Sweatshirt: FEET OF CLAY
  20. Maxo Kream: Brandon Banks
  21. BaianaSystem: O Furturo Nao Demora
  22. Aesop Rock & TOBACCO: Malibu Ken
  23. DaBaby: Baby on Baby
  24. Megan Thee Stallion: Fever
  25. Sleater-Kinney: The Center Won’t Hold
  26. Dan Weiss Trio + 1: Utica Box
  27. Davido: A Good Time
  28. Michael Kiwanuka: Kiwanuka
  29. Saul Williams: Encrypted & Vulnerable
  30. Young M.A.: Herstory in the Making
  31. Ken Vandermark: Momentum 4—Consequent Duos 2015-2019
  32. Poncho Sanchez: Trane’s Delight
  33. Gang Starr: One of the Best Yet
  34. The New Orleans Dance Hall Quartet: Tricentennial Hall Dance 17. October
  35. Mario Pavone: Philosophy
  36. Alcorn/McPhee/Vandermark: Invitation to a Dream
  37. Joachim Kuhn: Melodic Ornette Coleman—Piano Works XIII
  38. Chuck Cleaver: Send Aid
  39. Rachid Taha: Je Suis Africain
  40. Barrence Whitfield Soul Savage Arkestra: Songs from The Sun Ra Cosmos
  41. The Sensational Barnes Brothers: Nobody’s Fault But Mine
  42. GoldLink: Diaspora
  43. Harriet Tubman: The Terror End of Beauty
  44. Usted Saami: God is Not a Terrorist
  45. Mantana Roberts: COIN COIN Chapter Four—Memphis
  46. Various Artists: Travailler, C’est Trop Dur–The Lyrical Legacy of Caesar Vincent
  47. black midi: Schlagenheim
  48. Nots: 3
  49. Guitar Wolf: Love & Jett
  50. Robert Forster: Inferno
  51. Aziza Brahim: Sahari
  52. Jacob Wick & Phil Sudderberg: Combinatory Pleasures
  53. Ingrid Laubrock & Aki Takase: Kasumi
  54. LPX: Junk of the Heart (EP)
  55. Helado Negro: This is How You Smile
  56. Joe McPhee and Paal Nilssen-Love: Song for the Big Chief
  57. G & D: Black Love & War
  58. Boris: Love & Evol
  59. Girl Band: The Talkies
  60. Steve Riley & The Mamou Playboys: 30 Years Live
  61. Kris Davis: Diatom Ribbons
  62. Gilberto Gil: OK OK OK
  63. JPEGMAFIA: All My Heroes Are Cornballs
  64. Ras Kass: Soul on Ice 2
  65. Flying Lotus: Flamagra

Hey! A “B” is a Decent Grade!:

  1. Angel-Ho: Death Becomes Her
  2. The Paranoid Style: A Goddamn Impossible Way of Life
  3. Bobby Rush: Sitting On Top of the Blues
  4. JD Allen: Barracoon
  5. Big Thief: Two Hands
  6. Kele Okereke: 2042
  7. Various Artists: Queen & Slim—The Soundtrack
  8. Tinariwen: Amadjar
  9. Various Artists: Typical Girls Three
  10. Leyla McCalla: Capitalist Blues
  11. Tyshawn Sorey and Marilyn Crispell: The Adornment of Time
  12. Tropical Fuck Storm: Braindrops
  13. Santana: Africa Speaks
  14. Judy and The Jerks: Music for Donuts
  15. Tyler, The Creator: IGOR
  16. Rodney Whitaker: All Too Soon—The Music of Duke Ellington
  17. Sault: 5
  18. Whit Dickey Tao Quartets: Peace Planet / Box of Light
  19. The Art Ensemble of Chicago: We Are On the Edge
  20. Nick Dunston: Atlantic Extraction
  21. Ibibio Sound Machine: Doko Mien
  22. Warren Storm: Taking the World by Storm
  23. Solange: When I Get Home
  24. Freddie Douggie: Live on Juneteenth
  25. Ranky Tanky: Good Time
  26. Ahmad Jamal: Ballades
  27. Dump Him: Dykes to Watch Out For
  28. Branford Marsalis Quartet: The Secret Between the Shadow and the Soul
  29. Little Brother: May the Lord Watch
  30. Blood Orange: Angel’s Pulse
  31. Lost Bayou Ramblers: Rodents of Unusual Size (Soundtrack to the Motion Picture)
  32. Doja Cat: Hot Pink
  33. Kelsey Lu: Blood
  34. Dopolarians: Garden Party
  35. Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba: Miri
  36. Hama: Houmeissa
  37. Ill Considered: 5
  38. Girls on Grass: Dirty Power
  39. Stella Donnelly: Beware of the Dogs
  40. Matthew Shipp Trio: Signature
  41. Shovels & Rope: By Blood
  42. Angel Bat Dawid: The Oracle
  43. Spiral Stairs: We Wanna Be Hyp-No-Tized
  44. Our Native Daughters: Songs of Our Native Daughters
  45. Rosie Flores: A Simple Case of The Blues
  46. Aki Takase Japanic: Thema Prima
  47. Mekons : Deserted
  48. Lee Scratch Perry: Life of the Plants (EP)
  49. Marquis Hill: Love Tape
  50. Serengeti: Quail (EP)

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New Releases of Older Material

A = Thoroughly Enjoyable:

  1. Peter Laughner: Peter Laughner
  2. Eric Dolphy: Musical Prophet
  3. Burnt Sugar: 20th Anniversary Mixtapes—Groiddest Schizznits, Vols. 1-3
  4. Creedence Clearwater Revival: Live at Woodstock
  5. The Royals: Gish Abbai
  6. Various Artists: Bulawayo Blue Yodel
  7. Merle Haggard & The Strangers: Live in Austin, ‘78
  8. Various Artists: Put The Whole Armour On—Female Black Gospel 1940s and 1950s
  9. Various Artist: WXAXNXD Sessions
  10. Screaming Females: Singles Too
  11. Sonny Sharrock: Ask the Ages (Bill Laswell Remix)
  12. Jessie Mae Hemphill: Run Get My Shotgun
  13. Chic: The Chic Organization: 1977-1979
  14. Griot Galaxy: Kins
  15. Various Artists: Mogadisco—Dancing Mogadishu (Somalia 1972-1991)
  16. Various Artists: No Other Love—Midwest Gospel (1965-1978)
  17. Horace Tapscott and the Pan Afrikan Orchestra: Why Don’t You Listen–Live at Lacma, 1998
  18. The Jewell Gospel Trio: Many Little Angels In The Band
  19. Various Artists: Love is All I Bring—Reggae Hits & Rarities by the Queens of Trojan Records
  20. Johnny Griffin and Eddie Lockjaw Davis: Ow! Live at the Penthouse

A- = You’ll Barely Notice the Rough Spots:

  1. Various Artists: Outro Tempo II–Electronic and Contemporary Music from Brazil 1984-1996
  2. Various Artists: All the Young Droogs–60 Juvenile Delinquent Wrecks
  3. David S. Ware New Quartet: Theatre Garonne, 2008
  4. Various Artists: Cadillac Baby’s Bea & Baby Records—The Definitive Collection
  5. Gregory Isaacs / Ossie All-Stars: Mr. Isaacs
  6. Various Artists: Jambu
  7. Erroll Garner: Closeup in Swing
  8. Clifford Jordan: Glass Bead Games
  9. James Booker: Live at Onkel PO’s, Carnegie Hall, Hamburg 1976
  10. Cornell Campbell: I Man a the Stall-A-Watt
  11. Various Artists: World Spirituality Classics 2—The Time for Peace is Now
  12. Various Artists: J-Jazz–Deep Modern Jazz from Japan 1969-1983 (Volume 2)
  13. John Coltrane: Blue World
  14. Moondog: The Stockholm 1981 Recordings
  15. Tubby Hayes: Grits, Beans and Greens—The Lost Fontana Studio Sessions 1969
  16. Star Band de Dakar: Psicodelia Afro-Cubana de Senegal
  17. Smokey Haangala: Aunka Ma Kwacha
  18. Big Stick: Some of the Best of Big Stick
  19. Various Artists: Blues Images Calendar Companion, Volume 17
  20. Primal Scream: Maximum Rock ‘n’ Roll—The Singles
  21. Masayuki Takayanagi New Directions Unit: April is the Cruellest Month
  22. Various Artists: Rhapsody in Bronze
  23. Various Artists: Fania Goes Psychedelic
  24. Various Artists: Brutal Africa—The Heavy Metal Cowboys of Botswana
  25. Stan Getz: Getz at the Gate
  26. Sir Shina Peters and His Internation Stars: Sewele
  27. The Heptones: Swing Low
  28. Sounds of Liberation: Sounds of Liberation
  29. Prince: Originals
  30. Various Artists: Nigeria 70–No Wahala, Highlife, Afro-Funk & Juju 1973-1987

B+ = A Three-Beer Buzz:

  1. Lee Moses: How Much Longer Must I Wait? Singles & Rarities 1965-1972
  2. John Carter & Bobby Bradford Quartet: No U-Turn
  3. James Wayne: Junco Partner–The Very Best Of James Wayne 1950-1955
  4. Various Artists: Siya Hamba! 1950’s South African Country and Small Town Sounds
  5. Johnny Shines: The Blues Came Falling Down–Live 1973
  6. Terry Allen & The Panhandle Mystery Band: Pedal Steal + Four Corners
  7. Neil Young & The Stray Gators: Tuscaloosa
  8. The Replacements: Dead Man’s Pop
  9. Scientists: Not for Sale (Live, 1978-1979)
  10. Abdallah Oumbadougou: Anou Malane