O Life, O Light–O Death, O Dark: Best Records of This Riven Year, January 1st to May 29th

Odds and Ends:

  1. So long, rock and roller.

2. So long, wild chanteuse.

3. Keep on growin’ and goin’, Hillbilly Dalai Lama.

4. Look out, Brother Ayler.

5. Miranda Maestra.

Extra Credit: Match this TV theme song with the album below on which it appears.

New Music 
(bolded items are new to the list):

  1. 75 Dollar Bill: Social Music at Troost, Volume 3–Other People’s Music(Black Editions Group)
  2. Rosalia: MOTOMAMI(Columbia)
  3. Tanya TagaqTongues (Six Shooter) 
  4. Ricky Ford: The Wailing Sounds of Ricky Ford—Paul’s Scene (Whaling City Sounds)
  5. Stro Elliot & James Brown: Black & Loud—James Brown Reimagined(Polydor)
  6. Miranda Lambert: Palomino (Vanner)
  7. Willie Nelson: A Beautiful Time (Sony)
  8. Superchunk: Wild Loneliness(Merge)
  9. Gonora Sounds: Hard Times Never Kill(Phantom Limb)
  10. Wet Leg: Wet Leg(Domino)
  11. Amber Mark:Three Dimensions Deep(PMR / Interscope) 
  12. Etran de L’AirAgadez(Sahel Sounds)
  13. Billy Woods: Aethiope(Backwoodz Studios)
  14. Morgan Wade: Reckless (Deluxe) (Ladylike) 
  15. Lady Wray: Piece of Me(Big Crown)
  16. Bob Vylan: Bob Vylan Presents The Price of Life(Ghost Theatre)
  17. Mark Lomax II: Prismatic Refractions, Volume I(self-released)
  18. ensemble 0: Music Nuvulosa (Sub Rosa)
  19. Anna von HausswoolffLive at Montreaux Jazz Festival (Southern Lord) 
  20. Various Artists: Lespri Ka—New Directions in Gwoka Music from Guadeloupe(Time Capsule Sounds) 
  21. Ches Smith: Interpret It Well(Pyroclastic)
  22. Jinx Lennon: Pet Rent(Septic Tiger)
  23. Freakons: Freakons(Fluff & Gravy)
  24. Daniel Villareal: Panama ’77 (International Anthem)
  25. Joy Guidry:Radical Acceptance (Whited Sepulchre)
  26. Kehlani: blue water road (TSNMI/Atlantic)
  27. Javon Jackson & Nikki Giovanni: The Gospel According to Nikki Giovanni(Solid Jackson) 
  28. Oumou Sangare: Timbuktu (World Circuit Limited)
  29. Kendrick Lamar: Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers (pgLang/Top Dawg Entertainment/Aftermath/Interscope)
  30. OGJB: Ode to O(TUM) (Note: Band name – O = Oliver Lake, G = Graham Haynes, J = Joe Fonda, B = Barry Altschul / Title – O = Ornette) 
  31. Andrew Cyrille, William Parker, and Enrico Rava: Two Blues for Cecil (TUM) 
  32. Luke Stewart’s Silt TrioThe Bottom (Cuneiform) 
  33. Tyler Mitchell: Dancing Shadows (featuring Marshall Allen) (Mahakala Music)
  34. Nduduzo Makhathini: In the Spirit of Ntu (Universal)
  35. Isaiah Collier & The Chosen Few: Lift Every Voice (Division 81 Records)
  36. Priscilla BlockWelcome to the Block Party(InDent)
  37. Anitta: Versions of Me (Warner)
  38. Carl Stone: Wat Dong Moon Lek (Unseen Worlds)
  39. Mitski: Laurel Hell(Dead Oceans)
  40. Immanuel Wilkins: The 7th Hand (Blue Note) 
  41. David Murray Brave New World Trio: Seriana Promethea (Intakt)
  42. Fulu MizikiNgbaka (EP)
  43. Leikeli47: Shape Up (Hardcover/RCA)
  44. Hurray for The Riff Raff: Life on Earth(Nonesuch)
  45. Rokia Koné and Jacknife Lee: Bamanan (3D Family)
  46. Tomas Fujiwara: Triple Double (Firehouse 12)
  47. Ibibio Sound Machine: Electricity (Merge)
  48. Zoh Amba: O Life, O Light, Volume 1 (577 Records)
  49. Kahil El’Zabar Quartet: A Time for Healing (Spirit Muse)
  50. Pastor Champion: I Just Want to Be a Good Man(Luaka Bop)
  51. Pusha T:It’s Almost Dry (G.O.O.D. Music/Def Jam)
  52. Elza Soares: Elza Ao Vivo No Municipal (Deck)
  53. SAULT: AIR (Forever Living Originals)
  54. Nilufer Yanya: Painless (ATO)
  55. Satoko Fujii and Joe Fonda: Thread of Light(Fundacja Słuchaj)
  56. Charli XCX: Crash(Atlantic)
  57. Pete Malinverni:  On the Town—Pete Malinverni Plays Leonard Bernstein (Planet Arts) 
  58. David Friend & Jerome Begin: Post-(New Amsterdam)
  59. Dedicated Men of Zion: The Devil Don’t Like It(Bible & Tire)
  60. Space AfrikaHonest Labour(Dais)
  61. Charlotte Adigery & Bolis Pupul: Topical Dancer (DeeWee)
  62. Earl Sweatshirt: Sick! (Tan Cressida / Warner) 
  63. Belle & Sebastian: A Bit of Previous (Matador)
  64. Big Thief: Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe in You(4AD)
  65. Tee Grizzley: Half Tee Half Beast(self-released)
  66. Hoodoo Gurus: Chariot of The Gods(Big Time Photographic Recordings)
  67. Natsuki TamuraSummer Tree(Libra)
  68. (D)ivo: Perelman, Berne, Malaby, Carter(Mahakala Music)
  69. Spoon:Lucifer on the Sofa(Matador)
  70. Manel Fortia: Despertar(Segell Microscopi/Altafonte)
  71. Ray Wylie Hubbard: Co-Starring Too(Big Machine)
  72. Keith Oxman: This One’s for Joey (Capri)
  73. Marta Sanchez: SAAM (Spanish American Art Museum) (Whirlwind)
  74. Earthgang: Ghetto Gods (Dreamville/Interscope)
  75. 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. Albert Ayler: La Cave Live 1966 (Ezz-Thetics) 
  4. Various Artists: Cumbia Sabrosa—Tropical Sound System Bangers From The Discos Fuentes Vaults 1961-1981 (Rocafort Records)
  5. Son House: Forever on My Mind (Easy Eye Sound)
  6. Lavender Country:Blackberry Rose and Other Songs & Sorrows (Don Giovanni)
  7. Hermeto Pascoal: Hermeto (Far Out Recordings)
  8. Sun Ra: Sun Ra Arkestra Meets Salah Ragab in Egypt(Strut)
  9. Cecil Taylor:The Complete Legendary Live Return Concert at the Town Hall (Oblivion)
  10. Norma Tanega: Studio and Demo Recordings, 1964-1971 (Anthology)
  11. Irma Thomas: New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival 1976 (Good Time)
  12. Afrika Negra: Antologia, Volume 1 (Bongo Joe)
  13. Various Artists:Summer of Soul(Legacy)
  14. Ann Peebles and the Hi Rhythm Section: Live in Memphis (Memphis International)
  15. Neil Young: Carnegie Hall 1970 (Reprise) 

“Interpret It Well: Life in All Its Rich Musical Variety”–Best Rekkids of 2022, January 1st-April 27)

Random bits?

  1. Thank you, Christian, for Bob Vylan at the last minute. I needed that.
  2. Ricky Ford? Who’s Ricky Ford? Well, I knew him best through his stellar tenor on Ran Blake’s The Short Life of Barbara Monk and Abdullah Ibrahim’s Water from an Ancient Well, both modern jazz classics. I remember trying some of his solo albums and thinking he was kind of like an Ellingtonian without Ellington. BUT…35-40 years later his new album sounds like something we will sadly never get again: a new Sonny Rollins album. That’s high praise, and he’s not that inventive, but you’ll hear what I mean: power, confidence and wisdom of tone, steaming momentum, ideas extended lyrically and imaginatively.
  3. Wet Leg the album not as good as Wet Leg the singles machine, but still FUN. And I (and probably you) need that. One of my students liked their sense of camp, and I get that. I have film students in class, too, and they’re curious about those Wighters’ taste.
  4. I am already feeling I’ve underrated percussionist Ches Smith’s new album Interpret It Well. It’s one of those rare albums that establish a mood and flow and sustains it from beginning to end. The whole is much more powerful than the sum of its parts, and the playing is stimulatingly precise and responsive.
  5. I’m as atheist as can be (I neither have, recognize nor pursue a theology), but it’s been a good couple of years for new black gospel records in the traditional vein. Thanks, Hardin, for pushing Pastor Champion on me, and thanks, Bible & Tire / Fat Possum, for just sticking to that old mission. It’s liberation music, at heart, and I’m ’bout it.
  6. When I heard the Mekons and Freakwater were doing a set of acoustic mining songs, I asked myself, “Do I really need that?” Mekons being involved, I had to dip a toe (or a lobe) in; I just prefer Mekons with DRUMS. Actually, the album’s rousing, moving, and not necessarily about mining, and I recommend it.
  7. Is there such as thing as discorrhea? Sometimes I think about that when I think about Jinx Lennon (I’m not sure how many people think that much about Jinx Lennon, but he’s worth it). Maybe it’d be better to really hone and weed before he lets another one go. The thing is, though, Pet Rent rocks harder than any of the last few, and it’s hard to think of any artist who’s so alive and receptive in his immediate environment than Lennon. I’m currently reading Henry Miller’s Black Spring, and “Horseshit!” has popped up a few times in the first twenty pages as ol’ Hank instructs us on immediacy of living, but maybe Jinx achieves that. Maybe.
  8. Speaking of horseshit, I’ve been alive and listening to records long enough to smell it, but, dammit, SAULT has my detector on the blink. And by blink I mean my detector blinks off and on. I am keenly aware their “mystery” is part of the attraction (or marketing); on the other hand, when I’m really leaning forward and undistracted, they seem to be so much of these times and their struggles, endless tragedies, and fleeting glow that I buy what they’re offering. And AIR? It’s a test. An early morning game of art-critical Texas Hold ‘Em.
  9. As he always seems to be, Sun Ra makes new appearances on this update: first, represented more than ably by the soon-to-be-98 (you are reading that correctly) Arkestra glue-guy Marshall Allen on Tyler Mitchell’s outstanding Dancing Shadows, then on a Seventies archival dig working close to one his many homes (Egypt) with the talented Salah Ragab. Both recordings are outstanding.
  10. I always make at least one Record Store Day purchase. I hate crowds, so I usually hit eBay first thing the next morning, but this year the proprietor of Dig It! Record Barn / Records to Go in Carterville (or is it Duenweg?), Missouri, established a tiny call line for people who could not make it–I’m about 250 miles away. If you answer the phone when there’s a lull in traffic through the stacks, you might get a chance; I was completing a three-mile stroll when the phone buzzed and I became the proud owner of Albert Ayler’s Revelations—The Complete ORTF 1970 Fondation Maeght Recordings on Elemental Records. I’ve heard the original recordings, which were not complete and didn’t sound that swell, but had never owned them. This heavy item arrives Thursday, so truth be told, I have not listened to it yet. But I’ve got a hand in another Texas Hold ‘Em game….

New Music (bolded items are new to the list):

  1. 75 Dollar Bill: Social Music at Troost, Volume 3–Other People’s Music (Black Editions Group)
  2. Rosalia: MOTOMAMI (Columbia)
  3. Tanya TagaqTongues (Six Shooter) 
  4. Ricky Ford: The Wailing Sounds of Ricky Ford—Paul’s Scene (Whaling City Sounds)
  5. Stro Elliot & James Brown: Black & Loud—James Brown Reimagined (Polydor)
  6. Superchunk: Wild Loneliness (Merge)
  7. Gonora Sounds: Hard Times Never Kill (Phantom Limb)
  8. Wet Leg: Wet Leg (Domino)
  9. Amber Mark: Three Dimensions Deep (PMR / Interscope) 
  10. Etran de L’AirAgadez (Sahel Sounds)
  11. Billy Woods: Aethiope(Backwoodz Studios)
  12. Morgan Wade: Reckless (Deluxe) (Ladylike) 
  13. Lady Wray: Piece of Me (Big Crown)
  14. Tyler Mitchell: Dancing Shadows (featuring Marshall Allen) (Mahakala Music)
  15. Bob Vylan: Bob Vylan Presents The Price of Life (Ghost Theatre)
  16. Mark Lomax II: Prismatic Refractions, Volume I (self-released)
  17. ensemble 0: Music Nuvulosa (Sub Rosa)
  18. Anna von HausswoolffLive at Montreaux Jazz Festival (Southern Lord) 
  19. Various Artists: Lespri Ka—New Directions in Gwoka Music from Guadeloupe (Time Capsule Sounds) 
  20. Ches Smith: Interpret It Well (Pyroclastic)
  21. Jinx Lennon: Pet Rent (Septic Tiger)
  22. Freakons: Freakons (Fluff & Gravy)
  23. Joy Guidry: Radical Acceptance (Whited Sepulchre)
  24. Javon Jackson & Nikki Giovanni: The Gospel According to Nikki Giovanni (Solid Jackson) 
  25. OGJB: Ode to O (TUM) (Note: Band name – O = Oliver Lake, G = Graham Haynes, J = Joe Fonda, B = Barry Altschul / Title – O = Ornette) 
  26. Andrew Cyrille, William Parker, and Enrico Rava: Two Blues for Cecil (TUM) 
  27. Luke Stewart’s Silt TrioThe Bottom (Cuneiform) 
  28. Priscilla BlockWelcome to the Block Party (InDent)
  29. Anitta: Versions of Me (Warner)
  30. Mitski: Laurel Hell (Dead Oceans)
  31. Immanuel Wilkins: The 7th Hand (Blue Note) 
  32. Fulu MizikiNgbaka (EP) 
  33. Hurray for The Riff Raff: Life on Earth (Nonesuch)
  34. Rokia Koné and Jacknife Lee: Bamanan (3D Family)
  35. Tomas Fujiwara: Triple Double (Firehouse 12)
  36. Ibibio Sound Machine: Electricity (Merge)
  37. Kahil El’Zabar Quartet: A Time for Healing (Spirit Muse)
  38. Pastor Champion: I Just Want to Be a Good Man (Luaka Bop)
  39. Pusha T: It’s Almost Dry (G.O.O.D. Music/Def Jam)
  40. SAULT: AIR (Forever Living Originals)
  41. Nilufer Yanya: Painless (ATO)
  42. Satoko Fujii and Joe Fonda: Thread of Light (Fundacja Słuchaj)
  43. Charli XCX: Crash (Atlantic)
  44. Pete Malinverni:  On the Town—Pete Malinverni Plays Leonard Bernstein (Planet Arts) 
  45. David Friend & Jerome Begin: Post- (New Amsterdam)
  46. Dedicated Men of Zion: The Devil Don’t Like It (Bible & Tire)
  47. Space AfrikaHonest Labour (Dais)
  48. Charlotte Adigery & Bolis Pupul: Topical Dancer (DeeWee)
  49. Earl Sweatshirt: Sick! (Tan Cressida / Warner) 
  50. Big Thief: Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe in You (4AD) 
  51. Tee Grizzley: Half Tee Half Beast (self-relased)
  52. Hoodoo Gurus: Chariot of The Gods (Big Time Photographic Recordings)
  53. Natsuki TamuraSummer Tree (Libra)
  54. (D)ivo: Perelman, Berne, Malaby, Carter (Mahakala Music)
  55. Spoon: Lucifer on the Sofa (Matador)
  56. Manel Fortia: Despertar (Segell Microscopi/Altafonte)
  57. Ray Wylie Hubbard: Co-Starring Too (Big Machine)
  58. Keith Oxman: This One’s for Joey (Capri)
  59. Marta Sanchez: SAAM (Spanish American Art Museum) (Whirlwind)
  60. Earthgang: Ghetto Gods (Dreamville/Interscope) 

Archival Digs:

Albert Ayler: La Cave Live 1966 (Ezz-Thetics) 

Albert Ayler: Revelations—The Complete ORTF 1970 Fondation Maeght Recordings (Elemental)

Son House: Forever on My Mind (Easy Eye Sound)

Lavender Country: Blackberry Rose and Other Songs & Sorrows (Don Giovanni)

Hermeto Pascoal: Planetário da Gávea (Far Out Recordings)

Hermeto Pascoal: Hermeto (Far Out Recordings)

Sun Ra: Sun Ra Arkestra Meets Salah Ragab in Egypt (Strut)

Cecil Taylor: The Complete Legendary Live Return Concert at the Town Hall (Oblivion)

Afrika Negra: Antologia, Volume 1 (Bongo Joe)

Various Artists: Summer of Soul (Legacy)

Neil Young: Carnegie Hall 1970 (Reprise) 

Music Nerve-U-Loss-A: Best New Records I’ve Heard, January 1st-April 3rd, 2022 (EDITED)

It has been a stressful month for me. I’ve been in the process of caring for my mom, who lives 227 miles away and whose health issues have resulted in her needing 24-7 attention, while trying to do my three part-time jobs competently (one of them is teaching a class called “Groundbreaking Women in U. S. Music: A History in 150 Albums”–I hope one day to tell you how it’s gone), one of which will not allow me to work virtually. Beyond that class, music’s definitely taken a back seat. I have a hard time being with Mom and having headphones in; it seems rude, even though she doesn’t need me every second, or minute, or hour necessarily. When I’m on the road, I’ve been NEEDING older stuff that I know can deliver succor and strength immediately. Also, I’ve been working on an unfamiliar computer, so it’s slowed me down. But, enough. Here’s what I’ve got. New additions to the list, as always, are bolded. Truly, nothing new really bedazzled me this month–except Rosalia. And ensemble 0. And…

75 Dollar Bill: Social Music at Troost, Volume 3–Other People’s Music (Black Editions Group)
Rosalia: MOTOMAMI (Columbia)
Tanya Tagaq: Tongues (Six Shooter) 
Superchunk: Wild Loneliness (Merge)
Gonora Sounds: Hard Times Never Kill (The Vital Record)
Amber Mark: Three Dimensions Deep (PMR / Interscope) 
Javon Jackson & Nikki Giovanni: The Gospel According to Nikki Giovanni (Solid Jackson) 
Etran de L’Air: Agadez (Sahel Sounds)
Morgan Wade: Reckless (Deluxe) (Ladylike) 
Lady Wray: Piece of Me (Big Crown)
Mark Lomax II: Prismatic Refractions, Volume I (self-released)
Anna von Hausswoolff: Live at Montreaux Jazz Festival (Southern Lord) 
Various Artists: Lespri Ka—New Directions in Gwoka Music from Guadeloupe (Time Capsule Sounds) 
ensemble 0: Music Nuvulosa (Sub Rosa)
Joy Guidry: Radical Acceptance  (Whited Supulchre)
Spoon: Lucifer on the Sofa (Headz/Matador)
OGJB: Ode to O (TUM) (Note: Band name – O = Oliver Lake, G = Graham Haynes, J = Joe Fonda, B = Barry Altschul / Title – O = Ornette) 
Andrew Cyrille, William Parker, and Enrico Rava: Two Blues for Cecil (TUM) 
Luke Stewart’s Silt Trio: The Bottom (Cuneiform) 
Priscilla Block: Welcome to the Block Party (Nercury Nashville/InDent)
Charlotte Adigery & Bolis Pupul: Topical Dancer (DeeWee)
Immanuel Wilkins: The 7th Hand (Blue Note) 
Earl Sweatshirt: Sick! (Tan Cressida / Warner) 
Big Thief: Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe in You (4AD)
Charli XCX: Crash (Atlantic)
Fulu Miziki: Ngbaka (EP) (Moshi Moshi)
Nilufer Yanya: Painless (ATO)
Black Country, New Roads: Ants from Up There (Ninja Tune)
Hurray for The Riff Raff: Life on Earth (Nonesuch)
Rokia Koné and Jacknife Lee: Bamanan (Real World)
Marta Sanchez: SAAM (Spanish American Art Museum) (Whirlwind)
Tomas Fujiwara: Triple Double (Firehouse)
Earthgang: Ghetto Gods (Dreamville/Interscope)
Junglepussy: jp5000 (EP) (self-released)
Kahil El’Zabar Quartet: A Time for Healing (Spiritmuse)
Pete Malinverni:  On the Town—Pete Malinverni Plays Leonard Bernstein (Planet Arts) 
Chief Keef: 4Nem (Glo Gang / RBC) 
The Weeknd: Dawn FM (XO / Republic) 
Space Afrika: Honest Labour (Dais)
Natsuki Tamura: Summer Tree (Libra)

Archival Digs: 
Cecil Taylor: The Complete Legendary Live Return Concert at the Town Hall (Oblivion)
Albert Ayler: La Cave Live 1966 (Ezz-Thetics) 
Neil Young: Carnegie Hall 1970 (Reprise) 
Various Artists: Summer of Soul (Legacy)
Lavender Country: Blackberry Rose and Other Songs & Sorrows (Don Giovanni)
Son House: Forever on My Mind (Easy Eye Sound
Hermeto Pascoal: Planetário da Gávea (Far Out)
Hermeto Pascoal: Hermeto 

I Don’t Feel Tardy. I Don’t Feel Hardy. But I Feel That Wild Loneliness…. (January 1 – March 6, 2022)

Sorry I’m late; life is interfering. Not for the first time has a family (or other loved one’s) health crisis interrupted my much less important obsession with documenting my favorite records of the past days, weeks, months, and years–and with me, it seems, when it rains, it’s like a cow pissin’ off a cliff onto a flat rock. I’m truly multiply occupied (I am also teaching a brand-new class on groundbreaking women in this country’s music that is requiring regular and very exciting hard work), so I am behind in some ways. But I just turned 60, I feel like I’m 35 in a sea of stress, so it must be real love…and the music.

  1. What I’m really waiting for are the new albums by Wet Leg (can the whole album be that good?) and Rosalia (the flamenco touches seem to be wafting away, but on the evidence of the singles, she remains a force). The former’s out soon; the latter will require enduring a multi-month tease.
  2. I often check things out on a whim. Joy Guidry’s new album’s cover and title had me thinking a very interesting rap album–but it’s improvisational jazz, and good stuff at that.
  3. Superchunk’s never been one of my top faves, but their classic What a Time to Be Alive dragged me kicking and screaming into a state of deep admiration and a practice of repeat plays. Their new record is almost a companion piece, but from a completely different and powerful emotional direction–I just listened to it for the first time today and, in the state I’m in, it killed me.
  4. One of the world’s greatest rock and roll deejays, Whitney Shroyer, a longtime friend and advisor, implored me to sample Lady Wray, whom I’d not heard of (it happens–a lot). Though I like its predecessor a little better, from a singing, songwriting, and production standpoint, Piece of Me is a solid pleasure.
  5. Did I tell ya to read Tanya Tagaq’s Split Tooth and check out her new album Tongues? Yes, I did. I was fucking serious. They go together, and they deliver.
  6. It’s not every late winter that you can buy two classic creations by a known wizard reissued from those too-halycon-from-a-preservationist-perspective Seventies. This is one of them. They also call him Hermeto.
  7. High on the “appreciation” scale but wavering on the “diggit” scale: the new offerings by Big Thief and Black Country, New Roads.
  8. Lavender Country is a gay and politically smart-ass country outfit dating back to 1972. Their album in the archival digs category is only three years old, but it might as well have come out today. It is NOT simply a novelty; it’s well-played, wittily sung and written, and will cattle-prod you out of the corner of your ear.
  9. I feel like I’m experiencing an explosion of sharp country music women coming from tantalizingly marginally differentiated viewpoints (JUST IN TIME FOR MY NEW CLASS). Priscilla Block’s the latest, and I’ll let you discover the viewpoint.
  10. Gonora Sounds’ Hard Times Never Kill is a beautiful-sounding album from Zimbabwe.
  11. I wish I had heard Adeem the Artist‘s Cast-Iron Pansexual (like about 20 other 2021 albums) when it came out. Great songs, one of which made me tear up, and he wished me a happy birthday on Twitter!
  12. (Hidden track)(Whispered to avoid having things thrown at me, but…) I’ll say it: Spoon’s never really done it for me. I’ve learned never say never–but my first listen was at 5:15 this morning and it livelied me up. Could have been the Death Wish coffee pods my brother left at my mom’s house, though.

Newbies (new items are bolded):

  1. 75 Dollar Bill: Social Music at Troost, Volume 3–Other People’s Music (Black Editions Group) (left off my original post unaccountably!) 

  1. Tanya Tagaq: Tongues (Six Shooter) 

  1. Superchunk: Wild Loneliness 

  1. Gonora Sounds: Hard Times Never Kill 

  1. Amber Mark: Three Dimensions Deep (PMR / Interscope) 

  1. Javon Jackson & Nikki Giovanni: The Gospel According to Nikki Giovanni (Solid Jackson) 

  1. Etran de L’Air: Agadez 

  1. Morgan Wade: Reckless (Deluxe) (Ladylike) 

  1. Lady Wray: Piece of Me 

  1. Mark Lomax II: Prismatic Refractions, Volume I 

  1. Anna von Hausswoolff: Live at Montreaux Jazz Festival (Southern Lord) 

  1. Various Artists: Lespri Ka—New Directions in Gwoka Music from Guadeloupe (Time Capsule Sounds) 

  1. Joy Guidry: Radical Acceptance 

  1. Spoon: Lucifer on the Sofa 

  1. OGJB: Ode to O (TUM) (Note: Band name – O = Oliver Lake, G = Graham Haynes, J = Joe Fonda, B = Barry Altschul / Title – O = Ornette) 

  1. Andrew Cyrille, William Parker, and Enrico Rava: Two Blues for Cecil (TUM) 

  1. Luke Stewart’s Silt Trio: The Bottom (Cuneiform) 

  1. Priscilla Block: Welcome to the Block Party 

  1. Immanuel Wilkins: The 7th Hand (Blue Note) 

  1. Earl Sweatshirt: Sick! (Tan Cressida / Warner) 

  1. Big Thief: Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe in You 

  1. Fulu Miziki: Ngbaka (EP) 

  1. Black Country, New Roads: Ants from Up There 

  1. Hurray for The Riff Raff: Life on Earth 

  1. Rokia Koné and Jacknife Lee: Bamanan 

  1. Marta Sanchez: SAAM (Spanish American Art Museum) 

  1. Tomas Fujiwara: Triple Double 

  1. Junglepussy: jp5000 (EP) 

  1. Kahil El’Zabar Quartet: A Time for Healing 

  1. Pete Malinverni:  On the Town—Pete Malinverni Plays Leonard Bernstein (Planet Arts) 

  1. Chief Keef: 4Nem (Glo Gang / RBC) 

  1. The Weeknd: Dawn FM (XO / Republic) 

  1. Martin Wind: Air (Laika) 

  1. Space Afrika: Honest Labour 

  1. Natsuki Tamura: Summer Tree 

Archival Digs: 

Cecil Taylor: The Complete Legendary Live Return Concert at the Town Hall 

Albert Ayler: La Cave Live 1966 (Ezz-Thetics) 

Neil Young: Carnegie Hall 1970 (Reprise) 

Various Artists: Summer of Soul 

Lavender Country: Blackberry Rose and Other Songs & Sorrows

Hermeto Pascoal: Planetário da Gávea 

Hermeto Pascoal: Hermeto (not out yet, but fuck it–it’s worth planning for!)

 

A 2022 Top Ten Already? All. Ready. I Got 17 + 2.

One thing I do like about striving to root out excellent albums in the first month of a new year is the search forces me out of my comfort zones. True: I’m seldom uncomfortable in any particular musical zone if I can dig deep enough to find the right stuff; I’m hesitant about anything too bourgeois, to be frank, but even such artifacts can provide thrills. I’ve also been aided by having found myself on a few jazz labels’ mailing lists, so some items below aren’t yet out (soon, soon), but I’ve sampled them enough to get a kick out of ’em. Will any of these stick to the list? That’s always the question when it comes to the early months–last January I opened with a couple of classical albums by artists just disruptive enough for me to be attracted to their work, and one made it (big time) and the other faded (though I still like it). But I guarantee those top three will still be riding high.

Odds and ends:

*Tagaq’s album is a companion to her very unique and blazing memoir, Split Tooth. Read that.

*I was previously unfamiliar with Mark’s work. Pitchfork dug it and the album cover gave me Miguel vibes. I really enjoyed it end to end, and there’s something that tears slightly in her voice at just the right times that engage me in her singing and songs even more deeply.

*Since Greg Tate passed, I’ve revisited a bit of his writing, but I’ve also been alerted to pieces I didn’t know about–particularly about master poet Nikki Giovanni’s recordings. Tate’s writing always costs me money because he turns me on to music and books about which I know nothing or little; I am confident, had he lived to hear it, he would have loved saxophonist Jackson’s gospel album with Giovanni. I’m an atheist and I’ve already played it thrive. Coming soon.

*I ONLY tried to the von Hausswoolff because the album cover looked like Gustave Dore’s work. THEN I find myself unable to turn it off.

*I was totally uninformed about old directions in music from Guadeloupe. Based on the new directions, I probably better change that condition.

*Pete Malinverni might not seem my (or your) jam, but I’ll be damned if the West Side Story remake didn’t bubble my blood for Bernstein, and Malinverni’s foray below injected itself right into my satisfaction of that desire.

*Valid questions both: Do I really need another live Ayler record? Do I really need another live Neil record? Yes and yes. Ayler’s set was played before a Cleveland audience, and perhaps it inspires him to take several unexpected turns in musical variation, space, and tone–at least to my ear, and I’m an Aylerian. Neil’s acoustic at Carnegie, but it’s the surprise inclusions in the set list as well as stellar performances that have me contemplating a vinyl purchase (if that’s even possible). OK, on with it…

*The 75 Dollar Bill is easily my favorite album of the year. I forgot all about it somehow because I had not added it to my reference folder–probably because I was distracted by playing it over and over. It’s a covers album. Y’know, the usual suspects: Ono, Partch, Oliveros, Neg-Fi, Ron Padgett. Plus some outsiders like Dylan, Toussaint, and the MC5. They do ’em up.

New (and Upcoming) Releases That I’ve Heard And Really Like (Kinda in order, especially the first three):

75 Dollar Bill: Social Music at Troost, Volume 3–Other People’s Music (Black Editions Group) (left off my original post unaccountably!)

Tanya Tagaq: Tongues (Six Shooter)

Amber Mark: Three Dimensions Deep (PMR / Interscope)

Javon Jackson & Nikki Giovanni: The Gospel According to Nikki Giovanni (Solid Jackson)

Morgan Wade: Reckless (Deluxe) (Ladylike)

Mark Lomax II: Prismatic Refractions, Volume I

Anna von Hausswoolff: Live at Montreaux Jazz Festival (Southern Lord)

Various Artists: Lespri Ka—New Directions in Gwoka Music from Guadeloupe (Time Capsule Sounds)

OGJB: Ode to O (TUM) (Note: Band name – O = Oliver Lake, G = Graham Haynes, J = Joe Fonda, B = Barry Altschul / Title – O = Ornette)

The Weeknd: Dawn FM (XO / Republic)

Andrew Cyrille, William Parker, and Enrico Rava: Two Blues for Cecil (TUM)

Luke Stewart’s Silt Trio: The Bottom (Cuneiform)

Chief Keef: 4Nem (Glo Gang / RBC)

Immanuel Wilkins: The 7th Hand (Blue Note)

Earl Sweatshirt: Sick! (Tan Cressida / Warner)

Pete Malinverni:  On the Town—Pete Malinverni Plays Leonard Bernstein (Planet Arts)

Martin Wind: Air (Laika)

Archival Digs:

Albert Ayler: La Cave Live 1966 (Ezz-Thetics)

Neil Young: Carnegie Hall 1970 (Reprise)

No-Save* November: The Best Recordings Released in 2021 (So Far), Which I’ve Drained My Wallet For Despite Using Multiple Streaming Platforms

Odd-servations:

  1. R. A. P. Ferreira (formerly known as Milo) is having one helluva year. If as a rap aficionado you’re insistent on the freshest, most ticklish, and slammingest beats, move along. But if you dig word-slinging and surprising associations, you best get hip.
  2. Bible and Tire Company’s Sacred Soul of South Carolina is the perfect gospel pairing with Musicmakers Foundation’s contemporary rural blues comp Hanging Tree Guitars (from 2020). Strictly speaking, if you have one and love it, you must do right and get the other. And the “soul” in the title is no exaggeration.
  3. You may be tired of historical theory stirred into your toons. I am not. Keep pouring, luvs. If you’re like me and enjoy critical beatdowns, Mexstep, The Brkn Record, and the irrepressible Irreversible Entanglements each have the musical cocktail for you. And yes, the music is piquant to listen to if you’re not about the science. It does help, though.
  4. South Memphis’ Lukah is one of the most stentorian MCs I’ve heard in a good long while, plus he has two strong records out this year. The new one (bolded, below) is the pick; its politics, flow, and sense of place are astounding, and his sexual philosophy seems to have advanced.
  5. Best news is likely in the archaeological section. This may be a strange list upon which to find Marian Anderson, but, truly, as Duke opined, there’s only two kinds of music, good and bad, and the woman brilliantly blazed a trail. That’s a 15-disc box with both historic and important unreleased recordings, plus brilliant photos and notes, but, um…less than $80*? Also, Bobo Jenkins was a rocking, charming, and eccentric DIY blues guitarist whose career stretched from the ’50s into the late ’70s; if that sounds like your meat and taters, it’s on Third Man and it might have been RSD only, but…c’mon–if you want it, you can track it down. And as far as historical monuments in the rowdier aspects of the modern musical life of Brother Europe go, you can’t beat Corbett vs. Dempsey’s look at the formative days of the masterful and mischievous Instant Composers Pool and Guerilla Records’ top-notch and long-overdue reissue of The Plastic People of the Universe’s truly revolutionary original bootleg.

Next month, I’m gonna get tough with this list, shave it down, get serious about their listenability and durability, and and arrange it into categories of A, A-, B+, and B–since we all have loved grades so much our whole lives. I know you cannot wait. And, yes, I’m very serious about that Wild Up record.

BOLDED ITEMS are new to the list.

  1. Wild Up: Julius Eastman, Volume 1–Femenine
  2. James Brandon Lewis: Jesup Wagon 
  3. East Axis: Cool With That 
  4. Ka: Martyr’s Victory
  5. Ingebrigt Håker Flaten: (Exit) Knarr
  6. Miguel Zenon: Law Years—The Music of Ornette Coleman 
  7. Bob Dylan: Soundtrack to the film Shadow Kingdom (currently unavailable)
  8. Gimenez Lopez: Reunion en la granja
  9. No-No Boy: 1975 
  10. The Halluci Nation: One More Saturday Night
  11. Little Simz: Sometimes I Might Be Introverted
  12. The Ebony Hillbillies: Barefoot and Flying
  13. Peter Stampfel and Jeffrey Lewis: Both Ways
  14. Robert Finley: Sharecropper’s Son 
  15. Mauricio Tagliari: Maô_Danças Típicas de Cidades Imaginárias
  16. Mickey Guyton: Remember Her Name
  17. Mdou Moctar: Afrique Victim 
  18. William Parker: Painter’s Winter 
  19. Bktherula: Love Black
  20. Dave: We’re All Alone in This Together 
  21. Penelope Scott: Public Void  
  22. R. A. P. Ferreira: The Light Emitting Diamond Cutter Scriptures
  23. Paris: Safe Space Invader 
  24. Dawn Richard: Second Line  
  25. For Those I Love: For Those I Love
  26. Lady Gaga and Friends: Dawn of Chromatica
  27. R.A.P. Ferreira: Bob’s Son  
  28. Sons of Kemet: Black to the Future 
  29. Fire in Little Africa: Fire in Little Africa 
  30. Kalie Shorr: I Got Here by Accident
  31. Various Artists: Sacred Soul of North Carolina
  32. Florian Arbenz: Conversations 2 & 3
  33. Ensemble 0: Julius Eastman’s Femenine 
  34. Moor Mother: Black Encyclopedia of the Air
  35. Jupiter and Okwess: Na Kozonga 
  36. The Brkn Record: The Architecture of Oppression, Part 1
  37. Jah Wobble: METAL BOX – REMIXED IN DUB
  38. Ches Smith and We All Break: Path of Seven Colors 
  39. Mexstep: Vivir
  40. Amythyst Kiah: Wary + Strange 
  41. Halsey: If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power
  42. William Parker: Mayan Space Station
  43. Irreversible Entanglements: Open the Gates
  44. Pink Siifu: Gumbo’!
  45. Marta Gabriel: Metal Queen
  46. Snotty Nose Rez Kids: Life After
  47. Dua Saleh: Crossover
  48. James McMurtry: The Horses and The Hounds
  49. Park Hye Jin: Before I Die
  50. Graham Haynes vs. Submerged: Echolocation 
  51. Tim Berne: Broken Shadows 
  52. Ashnikko: Demidevil  
  53. Dwayne Dopsie and The Zydeco Hellraisers: Set Me Free
  54. Monster Magnet: A Better Dystopia
  55. Dry Cleaning: New Long Leg 
  56. Illuminati Hotties: Let Me Do One More
  57. Lukah: Why Look Up, God’s in the Mirror
  58. JPEG MAFIA: “LP!”
  59. Darius Jones: Raw Demoon Alchemy—A Lone Operation
  60. Dos Santos: City of Mirrors
  61. Marthe Lea Band: Asura
  62. Taylor Swift: Red (Taylor’s Version)
  63. The Goon Sax: Mirror II 
  64. Marianne Faithfull (with Warren Ellis): She Walks in Beauty 
  65. Low-Cut Connie: Tough Cookies 
  66. girl in red: if I could make it go quiet 
  67. Jaubi: Nafs at Peace (featuring Latamik and Tenderlonious) 
  68. Czarface & MF DOOM: Super What? 
  69. Orquestra Brasileira: 80 Anos
  70. Asleep at the Wheel: Half a Hundred Years
  71. SAULT: Nine 
  72. McKinley Dixon: For My Mama and Anyone Who Look Like Her 
  73. Slaughterhouse: Fun Factory
  74. Thurst: I’m Gen X
  75. Vincent Herring: Preaching to the Choir 
  76. Lukah: When the Black Hand Touches You 
  77. Joecephus and the George Jonestown Massacre: Heirs of the Dog
  78. Dax Pierson: Nerve Bumps (A Queer Divine Satisfaction) 
  79. L’Rain: Fatigue 
  80. Native Soul: Teenage Dreams
  81. Willow: lately i feel EVERYTHING
  82. Maria Muldaur & Tuba Skinny: Let’s Get Happy Together 
  83. Ran Cap Duoi: Ngù Ngay Ngày Tân Thê
  84. Blue Reality Quartet: Blue Reality Quartet
  85. Angelique Kidjo: Mother Nature 
  86. ICP Orchestra & Nieuw Amsterdams Peil: 062 / De Hondemepper 
  87. Body Metta: The Work is Slow 
  88. Damon Locks / Black Monument Ensemble: NOW 
  89. BaianaSystem: OXEAXEEXU 
  90. Loretta Lynn: Still Woman Enough 
  91. Carly Pearce: 29—Written in Stone
  92. Anthony Joseph: The Rich are Only Defeated When Running for Their Lives 
  93. Isaiah Collier & The Chosen Few: Cosmic Transitions
  94. Andreas Roysum Ensemble: Fredsfanatisme
  95. Jason Moran & Milford Graves: Live at Big Ears 
  96. Barry Altschul’s 3Dom Factor: Long Tall Sunshine 
  97. JD Allen: Queen City 
  98. Florian Arbenz: Conversation # 1 Condensed
  99. Bleachers: Take the Sadness Out of Saturday Night
  100. Angel Olsen: Aisles (EP)
  101. Emily Duff: Razor Blade Smile
  102. Kasey Musgraves: starcrossed
  103. The Boys with The Perpetual Nervousness: Songs from Another Life
  104. Vince Staples: Vince Staples
  105. Various Artists: Indaba Is 
  106. Wau Wau Collectif: Yaral Sa Doom 
  107. Chris Conde: Engulfed in the Marvelous Decay
  108. Tropical Fuck Storm: Deep States
  109. Yvette Janine Jackson: Freedom 
  110. Peter Stampfel: Peter Stampfel’s 20th Century in 100 Songs 
  111. Backxwash: I Lie Here with My Rings and Dresses 
  112. Billie Eilish: Happier Than Ever
  113. Various Artists: Doomed & Stoned in Scotland 
  114. Los Lobos: Native Sons
  115. Chrissie Hynde: Standing in the Doorway—Chrissie Hynde Sings Bob Dylan 
  116. Jazmine Sullivan: Heaux Tales 
  117. Various Artists: Allen Ginsberg’s The Fall of America 
  118. Genesis Owusu: Smiling with No Teeth 
  119. Les Filles de Illighadad: At Pioneer Works 
  120. Billy Nomates: Emergency Telephone (EP) 
  121. Gyedu-Blay Ambolley: 11th Street, Sekondi 
  122. AZ: Do or Die
  123. Madlib: Sound Ancestors 
  124. Julien Baker: Little Oblivions 
  125. Various Artists: He’s Bad!—11 Bands Decimate the Beat of Bo Diddley  
  126. Cedric Burnside: I Be Trying 
  127. Archie Shepp and Jason Moran: Let My People Go 
  128. Roisin Murphy: Crooked Machine  
  129. Lana Del Rey: Chemtrails Over the Country Club 
  130. Brockhampton: Roadrunner—New Light, New Machine 
  131. Vijay Iyer, Linda Han Oh, and Tyshawn Sorey: Uneasy 
  132. Olivia Rodrigo: SOUR 
  133. RP Boo: Established 
  134. The Bug: Fire
  135. Steve Earle: JT 
  136. Tee Grizzley: Built for Whatever 
  137. Benny The Butcher: Pyrex Picasso
  138. Jinx Lennon: Liferafts for Latchicos
  139. The Hold Steady: Open Door Policy  
  140. Elizabeth King & The Gospel Souls: Living in the Last Days 
  141. Alder Ego: III 
  142. Sierra Ferrell: Long Time Coming
  143. Alton Gün: Yol 
  144. Meet Me @ The Altar: Model Citizen (EP) 
  145. Penelope Scott: Hazards (EP)
  146. Ichiko Aoba: Windswept Adan
  147. Floating Points & Pharoah Sanders: Promises 
  148. Sana Nagano: Smashing Humans 
  149. serpentwithfeet: DEACON 
  150. Aluna: Higher Ground—Testaments

Archaeological Digs

  1. Marian Anderson: Beyond the Music
  2. Julius Hemphill: The Boyé Multinational Crusade for Harmony  
  3. JuJu: Live at 131 Prince Street
  4. The Plastic People of the Universe: Egon Bondy’s Happy Hearts Club Banned
  5. Bobo Jenkins: My All-New Life Story
  6. Khaira Arby: Khaira Arby in New York
  7. Various Artists: A Stranger I May Be—Savoy Gospel 1954-1966 
  8. ICP Orchestra: Incipient ICP (1966-1971)
  9. Plastic People of The Universe: Apokalyptickej pták  
  10. Roy Brooks: Understanding
  11. Bruce Springsteen and The E-Street Band: The Legendary No Nukes Concerts
  12. Jimmy Lyons: Push Pull
  13. Neil Young and Crazy Horse: Down in the Rust Bucket
  14. Leo Nocentelli: Another Side
  15. Agustin Pereyra Lucena Quartet: La Rana
  16. John Coltrane: A Love Supreme—Live in Seattle
  17. Cecil Taylor, Sunny Murray, et al: Corona
  18. Screamers: Demo Hollywood 1977
  19. Can: Live in Stuttgart 1975
  20. Hamiet Blueitt: Bearer of the Holy Flame
  21. Byard Lancaster: My Pure Joy
  22. Bush Tetras: Rhythm and Paranoia—The Best of Bush Tetras
  23. Various Artists: Wallahi Le Zein! 
  24. Various Artists: The Smithsonian Anthology of Rap and Hip Hop 
  25. Charles Mingus: Mingus at Carnegie Hall # 
  26. Various Artists: Chicago / The Blues / Today, Volumes 1-3
  27. The J Ann C Trio: At Tan-Tar-A
  28. Kiko Kids Jazz: Tanganyika Na Uhuru
  29. Hasaan Ibn Ali: Metaphysics—The Lost Atlantic Album
  30. Alice Coltrane: Kirtan–Turiya Sings 
  31. Mistreater: Hell’s Fire 
  32. Blue Gene Tyranny: Degrees of Freedom Found
  33. Various Artists: Alan Lomax’s American Patchwork
  34. Pure Hell: Noise Addiction
  35. Burnt Sugar The Arkestra Chamber: 20th Anniversary Mixtapes / Groiddest Schizznits
  36. Nermin Niazi: Disco Se Aagay
  37. Robert Miranda’s Home Music Ensemble: Live at The Bing
  38. Various Artists: Edo Funk Explosion, Volume 1
  39. Joseph Spence: Encore
  40. Various Artists: Rare.wavs, Volume 1
  41. Bob Dylan: Springtime in New York 1980-1985 (2CD version)

Golden Musical Days – I’d Like to Share Them with You: Superior Slabs, January Through September 2021

Observations and Coat-Pulls:

The Ebony Hillbillies are an all-black string band from NYC that plays traditional, original, and surprising cover material (like “Sexual Healing”). Their several previous releases are all spirited and enjoyable, but their most recent release (at #12 below) is their very best. It’s technically at 2020 release, but it came out in November, I’m a fan, and I just found out about it. In terms of performance and material, they’ve never been sharper–and they always have an edge.

I am not the biggest fan of big ol’ pop releases, but Mickey Guyton’s FINALLY-released debut album (at #16)–it’s technically contemporary country, but it transcends that label–moved the hell out of my wife and me last Saturday night. “Black Like Me” won me over last year when I first heard it on Joe Levy’s “Uprising” playlist on Spotify, but the songs are consistently strong from top to bottom, I love the emotional flexibility of Guyton’s singing, and anyone who can induce me to love a song about relaxing with wine’s got something going for her (I just hear about that a lot because I run with a mostly-female teacher crowd).

Look out when old sage Pete Stampfel and (relatively) young sage Jeffrey Lewis join forces! At #13, they fit new, topical, and fairly hilarious lyrics to old tunes–but not always the usual old tunes you’d associate with Stampfel. It’s not just a novelty; the whole’s possibly better than the sum of its parts.

Swedish drummer/percussionist/composer Florian Arbenz is on a serious roll this year. If you foster an attraction for percussion-focused jazz, you owe to yourself to test-drive both of his Conversation albums; if you’re not sure what it means to foster such an attraction, take a chance it’ll happen to you and try them anyway. (Several folks make multiple appearances on this list: Arbenz, Stampfel, legendary and prolific bassist William Parker, and the late, great modern classical composer Julius Eastman.)

I am an unabashed fan of Little Simz, and I’ve been on tenterhooks waiting for her follow-up to the still-sounding-amazing Grey Area. I’ve checked out the singles as they’ve come out, as well as an early video or two. I told myself not to overreact. Once Sometimes I Might Be Introverted came out (it’s at #11), I played it twice and whispered to myself, “I’m not that impressed.” Well…I am that impressed.

There’s some cool stuff on that new Dylan bootleg load…but not enough, and there’s enough back there for it to be enough. It’s also not as meh as some would think who aren’t already familiar with the highlights (many are, and that’s part of the problem with the load).

I arrived very late at an appreciation for electronic dance music, but, thanks to JLin’s Black Origami, I did arrive. I cannot keep up with it–frankly, I depend on Pitchfork, which is depending on it a bit–to keep me superficially informed, and one may have noticed it appearing more frequently on ye olde list. I like what I like, with absolutely no rubric to press down upon it, and maybe that’s a good thing. #s 35, 54, and 104, I salute you happily and mindlessly!

This is strange, but I would enjoy Kasey Musgraves’ current and previous albums joined as a kind of double-record concept album more than I enjoy them separately. That’s the kind of gestaltist I yam.

ZYDECO LIVES at #39, and I suspect it will always, alongside Keith, Willie, and cockroaches.

Happy listening!

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

  1. Wild Up: Julius Eastman, Volume 1–Femenine
  2. Mdou Moctar: Afrique Victim 
  3. James Brandon Lewis: Jesup Wagon 
  4. East Axis: Cool With That 
  5. Ka: Martyr’s Victory
  6. Miguel Zenon: Law Years—The Music of Ornette Coleman 
  7. Bob Dylan: Soundtrack to the film Shadow Kingdom (currently unavailable)
  8. Gimenez Lopez: Reunion en la granja
  9. No-No Boy: 1975 
  10. The Halluci Nation: One More Saturday Night
  11. Little Simz: Sometimes I Might Be Introverted
  12. The Ebony Hillbillies: Barefoot and Flying (released 11/9/20)
  13. Peter Stampfel and Jeffrey Lewis: Both Ways
  14. Robert Finley: Sharecropper’s Son 
  15. Mauricio Tagliari: Maô_Danças Típicas de Cidades Imaginárias
  16. Mickey Guyton: Remember Her Name
  17. William Parker: Painter’s Winter 
  18. Penelope Scott: Public Void  
  19. Paris: Safe Space Invader 
  20. Dave: We’re All Alone in This Together 
  21. Orquestra Brasileira: 80 Anos
  22. Sons of Kemet: Black to the Future 
  23. Fire in Little Africa: Fire in Little Africa 
  24. Dawn Richard: Second Line  
  25. Lady Gaga and Friends: Dawn of Chromatica
  26. R.A.P. Ferreira: Bob’s Son  
  27. Jupiter and Okwess: Na Kozonga 
  28. Kalie Shorr: I Got Here by Accident
  29. Florian Arbenz: Conversations 2 & 3
  30. Ensemble 0: Julius Eastman’s Femenine 
  31. Ches Smith and We All Break: Path of Seven Colors 
  32. Amythyst Kiah: Wary + Strange 
  33. William Parker: Mayan Space Station
  34. Pink Siifu: Gumbo’!
  35. Park Hye Jin: Before I Die
  36. Graham Haynes vs. Submerged: Echolocation 
  37. Tim Berne: Broken Shadows 
  38. Ashnikko: Demidevil  
  39. Dwayne Dopsie and The Zydeco Hellraisers: Set Me Free
  40. Moor Mother: Black Encyclopedia of the Air
  41. Slaughterhouse: Fun Factory
  42. The Goon Sax: Mirror II 
  43. Marianne Faithfull (with Warren Ellis): She Walks in Beauty 
  44. Low-Cut Connie: Tough Cookies 
  45. Jaubi: Nafs at Peace (featuring Latamik and Tenderlonious) 
  46. Czarface & MF DOOM: Super What? 
  47. BaianaSystem: OXEAXEEXU 
  48. SAULT: Nine 
  49. McKinley Dixon: For My Mama and Anyone Who Look Like Her 
  50. Vincent Herring: Preaching to the Choir 
  51. Lukah: When the Black Hand Touches You 
  52. Dax Pierson: Nerve Bumps (A Queer Divine Satisfaction) 
  53. L’Rain: Fatigue 
  54. Native Soul: Teenage Dreams
  55. Emily Duff: Razor Blade Smile
  56. Maria Muldaur & Tuba Skinny: Let’s Get Happy Together 
  57. Ran Cap Duoi: Ngù Ngay Ngày Tân Thê
  58. Angelique Kidjo: Mother Nature 
  59. ICP Orchestra & Nieuw Amsterdams Peil: 062 / De Hondemepper 
  60. Body Metta: The Work is Slow 
  61. Damon Locks / Black Monument Ensemble: NOW 
  62. Loretta Lynn: Still Woman Enough 
  63. Carly Pearce: 29—Written in Stone
  64. Anthony Joseph: The Rich are Only Defeated When Running for Their Lives 
  65. Isaiah Collier & The Chosen Few: Cosmic Transitions
  66. Jason Moran & Milford Graves: Live at Big Ears 
  67. Barry Altschul’s 3Dom Factor: Long Tall Sunshine 
  68. JD Allen: Queen City 
  69. Florian Arbenz: Conversation # 1 Condensed
  70. Bleachers: Take the Sadness Out of Saturday Night
  71. Various Artists: He’s Bad!—11 Bands Decimate the Beat of Bo Diddley  
  72. Kasey Musgraves: starcrossed
  73. The Boys with The Perpetual Nervousness: Songs from Another Life
  74. Vince Staples: Vince Staples
  75. Various Artists: Indaba Is 
  76. Wau Wau Collectif: Yaral Sa Doom 
  77. Chris Conde: Engulfed in the Marvelous Decay
  78. Tropical Fuck Storm: Deep States
  79. Yvette Janine Jackson: Freedom 
  80. Peter Stampfel: Peter Stampfel’s 20th Century in 100 Songs 
  81. Backxwash: I Lie Here with My Rings and Dresses 
  82. Billie Eilish: Happier Than Ever
  83. Various Artists: Doomed & Stoned in Scotland 
  84. Los Lobos: Native Sons
  85. Chrissie Hynde: Standing in the Doorway—Chrissie Hynde Sings Bob Dylan 
  86. Jazmine Sullivan: Heaux Tales 
  87. Various Artists: Allen Ginsberg’s The Fall of America 
  88. Genesis Owusu: Smiling with No Teeth 
  89. Les Filles de Illighadad: At Pioneer Works 
  90. Billy Nomates: Emergency Telephone (EP) 
  91. Gyedu-Blay Ambolley: 11th Street, Sekondi 
  92. Dry Cleaning: New Long Leg 
  93. AZ: Do or Die
  94. Madlib: Sound Ancestors 
  95. Julien Baker: Little Oblivions 
  96. Cedric Burnside: I Be Trying 
  97. Archie Shepp and Jason Moran: Let My People Go 
  98. Roisin Murphy: Crooked Machine  
  99. girl in red: if I could make it go quiet 
  100. Lana Del Rey: Chemtrails Over the Country Club 
  101. Brockhampton: Roadrunner—New Light, New Machine 
  102. Vijay Iyer, Linda Han Oh, and Tyshawn Sorey: Uneasy 
  103. Olivia Rodrigo: SOUR 
  104. RP Boo: Established 
  105. The Bug: Fire
  106. Steve Earle: JT 
  107. Tee Grizzley: Built for Whatever 
  108. Halsey: If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power
  109. Benny The Butcher: Pyrex Picasso
  110. Jinx Lennon: Liferafts for Latchicos
  111. The Hold Steady: Open Door Policy  
  112. Elizabeth King & The Gospel Souls: Living in the Last Days 
  113. Alder Ego: III 
  114. Sierra Ferrell: Long Time Coming
  115. Alton Gün: Yol 
  116. Meet Me @ The Altar: Model Citizen (EP) 
  117. Penelope Scott: Hazards (EP)
  118. Floating Points & Pharoah Sanders: Promises 
  119. Sana Nagano: Smashing Humans 
  120. serpentwithfeet: DEACON 
  121. Aluna: Higher Ground—Testaments

Archaeological Digs

  1. Julius Hemphill: The Boyé Multinational Crusade for Harmony  
  2. JuJu: Live at 131 Prince Street
  3. Kiko Kids Jazz: Tanganyika Na Uhuru
  4. Khaira Arby: Khaira Arby in New York
  5. Various Artists: A Stranger I May Be—Savoy Gospel 1954-1966 
  6. Plastic People of The Universe: Apokalyptickej pták  
  7. Roy Brooks: Understanding
  8. Neil Young and Crazy Horse: Down in the Rust Bucket
  9. Screamers: Demo Hollywood 1977
  10. Can: Live in Stuttgart 1975
  11. Hamiet Blueitt: Bearer of the Holy Flame
  12. Byard Lancaster: My Pure Joy
  13. Various Artists: Wallahi Le Zein! 
  14. Various Artists: The Smithsonian Anthology of Rap and Hip Hop 
  15. Charles Mingus: Mingus at Carnegie Hall # 
  16. Various Artists: Chicago / The Blues / Today, Volumes 1-3 # 
  17. The J Ann C Trio: At Tan-Tar-A
  18. Hasaan Ibn Ali: Metaphysics—The Lost Atlantic Album
  19. Alice Coltrane: Kirtan–Turiya Sings 
  20. Mistreater: Hell’s Fire 
  21. Blue Gene Tyranny: Degrees of Freedom Found
  22. Various Artists: Alan Lomax’s American Patchwork
  23. Pure Hell: Noise Addiction
  24. Burnt Sugar The Arkestra Chamber: 20th AnniversaryMixtapes/Groiddest Schizznits Vols. 1-3
  25. Nermin Niazi: Disco Se Aagay
  26. Joe Strummer: Assembly
  27. Robert Miranda’s Home Music Ensemble: Live at The Bing # 
  28. Various Artists: Edo Funk Explosion, Volume 1
  29. Joseph Spence: Encore
  30. Various Artists: Rare.wavs, Volume 1
  31. Bob Dylan: Springtime in New York 1980-1985 (2CD version)

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

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

100 FRESH FOR 2021

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

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

Archaeological Digs from Days Gone By

Julius Hemphill: The Boyé Multinational Crusade for Harmony  

JuJu: Live at 131 Prince Street

Kiko Kids Jazz: Tanganyika Na Uhuru

Khaira Arby: Khaira Arby in New York

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

Plastic People of The Universe: Apokalyptickej pták  

Roy Brooks: Understanding

Neil Young and Crazy Horse: Down in the Rust Bucket

Screamers: Demo Hollywood 1977

Can: Live in Stuttgart 1975

Hamiet Blueitt: Bearer of the Holy Flame

Byard Lancaster: My Pure Joy

Various Artists: Wallahi Le Zein! 

Various Artists: The Smithsonian Anthology of Rap and Hip Hop 

Charles Mingus: Mingus at Carnegie Hall # 

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

The J Ann C Trio: At Tan-Tar-A

Hasaan Ibn Ali: Metaphysics—The Lost Atlantic Album

Alice Coltrane: Kirtan–Turiya Sings 

Mistreater: Hell’s Fire 

Blue Gene Tyranny: Degrees of Freedom Found

Various Artists: Alan Lomax’s American Patchwork

Pure Hell: Noise Addiction

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

Nermin Niazi: Disco Se Aagay

Joe Strummer: Assembly

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

Various Artists: Edo Funk Explosion, Volume 1

Joseph Spence: Encore

Various Artists: Rare.wavs, Volume 1

SINGLES

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

Steve Lehman:: “Cognition” (JLin remix

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

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

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

A man for all occasions.

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

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

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

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

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

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

GIVE me just a little more TIME!”

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

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

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

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

“Mike, I got nuthin’.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I kept that one.

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

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

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

January 1 – February 10: Slim Pickings

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

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

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