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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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OLD MUSIC NICELY REPACKAGED OR SIMPLY REISSUED

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

Rough Mix on the Fly (January 17, 2018, Columbia, Missouri)

CupcakKe

Yesterday, I was back to work tutoring and trying to catch up on my reading (I shoot for 100 books a year, and as of yesterday morning I had not finished one). I listened to much music out of the corner of my ear, but I am too harried at present to connect it, so on days like these–to meet my goal of posting once a day, I am just going to list-and-one-liner.

CupcaKke (pictured above): Ephora – Featuring the first song I’ve heard in awhile that’s made me blush.

Lil’ Band of GoldCajun supergroup fronted by ebullient driving accordianist Steve Riley, with avant garde saxophonist (Dickie Landry) as secret weapon, calls out to benighted Texas Tornados fans.

Moor Mother: Fetish the Bones – Radical poet riding rap rhythms redolent in attack of, um, The Pop Group.

Pink Floyd: Relics – Out of the blue I’ve found a Pink Floyd album I really, really like, and it’s (glorious) patchwork.

Roswell Rudd: Embrace – What a nice album to leave us with before he stepped on a rainbow (here, sample a song)!

Archie Shepp: Attica Blues – Legendary–at least much-discussed–jazz (though often not jazZY) concept album not as angry and far more romantic than the title would suggest.

 

“You got your radio turned down too low–TURN IT UP!”

Bo Diddley