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

Odd-servations:

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

Note: New additions to the list are in bold.

RELEASES OF NEWLY-MADE MUSIC

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

ARCHIVAL DIGS

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

“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) 

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

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

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

BOLDED ITEMS ARE NEW TO THE LIST.

Mdou Moctar: Afrique Victim

JuJu: Live at 131 Prince Street #

Julius Hemphill: The Boyé Multinational Crusade for Harmony 

James Brandon Lewis: Jesup Wagon

Miguel Zenon: Law Years—The Music of Ornette Coleman

Khaira Arby: Khaira Arby in New York #

Fire in Little Africa: Fire in Little Africa

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

R.A.P. Ferreira: Bob’s Son 

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

Screamers: Demo Hollywood 1977 #

No-No Boy: 1975

Robert Finley: Sharecropper’s Son

Gimenez Lopez: Reunion en la granja

Penelope Scott: Public Void 

Paris: Safe Space Invader

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

Can: Live in Stuttgart 1975 #

Hamiet Blueitt: Bearer of the Holy Flame #

Byard Lancaster: My Pure Joy #

Ashnikko: Demidevil 

Dax Pierson: Nerve Bumps (A Queer Divine Satisfaction)

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

Charles Mingus: Mingus at Carnegie Hall #

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

Dry Cleaning: Sweet Princess (EP)

Sons of Kemet: Black to the Future

Dawn Richard: Second Line 

Brockhampton: Roadrunner—New Light, New Machine

Ches Smith and We All Break: Path of Seven Colors

Hasaan Ibn Ali: Metaphysics—The Lost Atlantic Album #

Amythyst Kiah: Wary + Strange

Genesis Owusu: Smiling with No Teeth

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

Jaubi: Nafs at Peace (featuring Latamik and Tenderlonious)

SAULT: Nine

Vincent Herring: Preaching to the Choir

Lukah: When the Black Hand Touches You

Angelique Kidjo: Mother Nature

ICP Orchestra & Nieuw Amsterdams Peil: 062 / De Hondemepper

Damon Locks / Black Monument Ensemble: NOW

Loretta Lynn: Still Woman Enough

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

Jason Moran & Milford Graves: Live at Big Ears

Mistreater: Hell’s Fire #

Blue Gene Tyranny: Degrees of Freedom Found #

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

Various Artists: Wallahi Le Zein!

Various Artists: Indaba Is

Wau Wau Collectif: Yaral Sa Doom

Yvette Janine Jackson: Freedom

Various Artists: Alan Lomax’s American Patchwork #

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

Backxwash: I Lie Here with My Rings and Dresses

Various Artists: Doomed & Stoned in Scotland

Jazmine Sullivan: Heaux Tales

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

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

Billy Nomates: Emergency Telephone (EP)

Gyedu-Blay Ambolley: 11th Street, Sekondi

Various Artists: Rare.wavs, Volume 1

Dry Cleaning: New Long Leg

Nermin Niazi: Disco Se Aagay #

Madlib: Sound Ancestors

Joe Strummer: Assembly #

Julien Baker: Little Oblivions

Cedric Burnside: I Be Trying

Archie Shepp and Jason Moran: Let My People Go

Roisin Murphy: Crooked Machine 

girl in red: if I could make it go quiet

Lana Del Rey: Chemtrails Over the Country Club

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

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

Olivia Rodrigo: SOUR

Steve Earle: JT

Tee Grizzley: Built for Whatever

Tony Allen (and friends): There is No End

Jinx Lennon: Liferafts for Latchicos

The Hold Steady: Open Door Policy 

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

Alder Ego: III

Garbage: No Gods No Masters

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

Contour: Love Suite

Alton Gün: Yol

Various Artists: Edo Funk Explosion, Volume 1 #

Hearth: Melt

Floating Points & Pharoah Sanders: Promises

Sana Nagano: Smashing Humans

serpentwithfeet: DEACON

AFTERNOTE (is that a word?):

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

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

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

Moody Marilyn Moore

Cliff “Ukelele Ike” Edwards

Herb Jeffries

Jackie Paris

Carol Sloane

Earl Coleman–LOTS of Earl Coleman

Al Hibbler

Jeanne Lee

STREAM ‘EM IF YOU GOT ‘EM….

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

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

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

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