YES THANK YOU: The Best of a Bounty of Absorbing, Motorvating, Challenging, Exciting Albums Gifted Us By 2022

190 albums of new music I can sit down with and which will at the very least engage and stimulate me enough to play them again. 45 albums of music made in the past that’s been reissued or freshly excavated that make me realize I’m never going to get to the point where I don’t have to dive into the past anymore and simply live in the musical moment. Does it all make me feel something akin to Jerry Lee Lewis’ music does? No–none of it does. It makes me feel new and different things, though; Live at the Star Club was a high bar for all popular performers when it came out, has been in the interim, and will continue to be, I can hear it first second to last in my head without having to put it on, and it still makes my skin prickle. BUT I’m all about feeling new feelings (and thinking new thoughts) (and experiencing new physical reactions) today’s music (be it acoustic or electric or organic) can conjure before I die. It’s been a salve as well as a shot in the arm and ass for me all year, and simply surveying the diversity of the list stuns me…and gives me hope. That last is important, because I seriously contemplate (once in a while) the possibility, voiced by folks far more educated than I am, that we’re a virus on this globe. We aren’t, or at least we don’t have to be, and we choose to be, at least some of us will create sounds that honor us, and help us go down feeling fully alive. Merry fucking Christmas, eh? YES. Merry fucking Christmas!

Relatively Merry Musings:

  1. It’s absurd to try and put 190 (or even 45) records in precise modern music lovers’ order. After about #30, the procession gets a little I-Chingish; even so, days after I publish these, I find myself thinking, “Why’d I put that at #112?” I’m not gonna drive myself crazy, though. I feel pretty strongly about my Top 30, though when the wonderful and exacting Facebook group Expert Witness and the comfortably less exacting Facebook group Village Voice Pazz & Jop Rip-Off Poll comes a-calling for my final Top 10, mine might not be THIS Top 10. WON’T be THIS Top 10. Might even have something in it not even among these 235 slabs.
  2. Thank you to one of my phenomenal Stephens College students (also a single mom) (also a veteran of our Middle Eastern wars) for writing an amazing essay on Mary Gauthier’s Rifles and Rosary Beads, which I forced on her (“folk music is not my jam”) and she ended up admiring, and giving a great presentation and handing in a nice research paper on previous-unknown-to-me Colombian-Canadian Jessie Reyez. Reyez has gotten her through some rough nights and I understand why.
  3. I am a Little Simz self-starter. Though, pre-Grey Area, I merely appreciate her work, from that point on I’ve gone starry-eared, and her brand-spanking-new one, delicately Saulted, is no exception. She sounds great, she writes tough, and she inspires. I may come down to Earth in the next month, but I can’t worry about that now.
  4. I have a California friend named Chris who often feeds me fuel I somehow miss, and he recently passed along a powerful, even rowdy record from Kinshasa, Lady Aicha and Pisko Crane’s N’Djila Wa Mudujimu, that moved me to immediately buy a vinyl copy. I could picture myself playing it over and over–and milady also seriously digs music from many African countries. I owe ya, Chris. THAT one may move UP.
  5. Petrol Girls’ new album lives up to the band name. On fire, and fire burns.
  6. Los Angeles’ Juke Bounce Werk label, which I just learned about a couple weeks ago, submitted an inexpensive 52-song comp of consistently propulsive–I dare say bangin’–dance music on Bandcamp. I thought, “Wow! I need to tell people about this!” Then I noticed it was the 10TH VOLUME of such compilations. Where’s the longform piece on these folks?
  7. Above, I mentioned the Facebook group Village Voice Pazz & Jop Rip-Off Poll, which ably–I mean, ably–replaces the Voice’s influential but very gone original poll. Honestly, I like the Facebook version better: it’s more personal, interactive, flexible, surprising, funny–and group members’ early Top 10 submissions remind even the most avid music consumer that YOU CAN’T LISTEN TO EVERYTHING. Together, though, we can. I knew nothing about Mama’s Broke, took a flyer on Mama’s Broke’s Narrow Line on name and title alone from another user’s list…and heard echoes of Dock Boggs and The Carter Family modernized expertly for Struggle 2022. If I’d read about it, I’d have thought, “Not my jam”; it is my jam and peanut butter, too. Generic jars of each, because they’re more affordable.
  8. I came late to both Tyler Childers’ and Pillbox Patti’s albums. Childers had won my heart by writing a song about jacking off on the road, but I’d lost touch with him–and was a bit cold-cocked by his sober-Gram-Parsons gospel album. I knew nothing about Pillbox Patti, but I’d just finished Patrick Haddon Keefe’s Sackler-skewing Empire of Pain, which set me up to be knocked out by her tales of Parsonian heart-pain and substance reliance. Talk about a country paradigm.
  9. Anyone out there annually purchase Blues Images‘ calendar-and-CD combo that keeps the world of country blues alive? Well, hate to tell ya, this one’s the last one–they can’t afford to keep knocking them out. Follow that preceding link to help John Tefteller and crew go out in much-deserved fine and dignified style. PLUS? The accompanying CD, which includes the most amazing job of restoration of ’20s records I’ve heard so far, will stun you.
  10. Can you resist cumbia? I cannot. The two cumbia compilations, one from Mexico, the other from Peru, both from the esteemed Analog Africa label, that I just added to my archival dig list, aren’t just fun–they add twists, even experimentation, to that addictive rhythm.
  11. (Bonus Track I) Dickie Landry. No one like him.
  12. (Bonus Track II) D. Boon died UNJUSTLY–damn you, cosmos–on December 22, 1985. Too cool to be forgotten, corndog.


(New additions to the list are bolded.)

  1. Rosalia: MOTOMAMI (Columbia)
  2. Willie Nelson: A Beautiful Time (Sony)
  3. Beyoncé: Renaissance (Parkwood Entertainment)
  4. Tanya TagaqTongues (Six Shooter) 
  5. Ricky Ford: The Wailing Sounds of Ricky Ford—Paul’s Scene (Whaling City Sounds)
  6. Stro Elliot & James Brown: Black & Loud—James Brown Reimagined (Polydor)
  7. 75 Dollar Bill: Social Music at Troost, Volume 3–Other People’s Music (Black Editions Group)
  8. Tommy Womack: I Thought I Was Fine (Schoolkids Records)
  9. Jeff Parker ETA IVTet: Mondays at the Enfield Tennis Academy(Eremite)
  10. Wadada Leo Smith: The Emerald Duets (TUM)
  11. Wet Leg: Wet Leg (Domino)
  12. Harry Styles: Harry’s House (Columbia)
  13. Sun Ra Arkestra (featuring Marshall Allen): Living Sky (Strut / Omni Sound)
  14. Horace Andy: Midnight Rocker (On-U Sound)
  15. Amanda Shires: Take It Like a Man (ATO)
  16. Little Simz: NO THANK YOU (Forever Living Originals)
  17. Mary Gauthier: Dark Enough to See the Stars (Thirty Tigers)
  18. Patricia Brennan: More Touch (Pyroclastic)
  19. black midi: Hellfire (Rough Trade)
  20. Heroes Are Gang Leaders: LeAutoRoiGraphy (577 Records)
  21. SAULT: Untitled (God)(self-released)
  22. Lady Aicha & Pisko Crane’s Original Fulu Miziki of Kinshasa: N’Djili Wa Mudujimu (Nyege Nyege Tapes)
  23. Sudan ArchivesNatural Brown Prom Queen (Stones Throw)
  24. Gogol Bordello: Solidaritine (Das Grand Kapital)
  25. Bitchin’ Bajas: Bajascillators (Drag City)
  26. Ashley McBryde: Presents…Lindeville (Warner Nashville)
  27. Steve Lacy: Gemini Rights (RCA)
  28. Suzi Analogue: Infinite Zonez (Never Normal)
  29. Superchunk: Wild Loneliness (Merge)
  30. Dawn Richard & Spencer Zahn: Pigments(Merge)
  31. Various Artists: Sowal Diabi—From Kabul to Bamako (Accords Croises)
  32. Gonora Sounds: Hard Times Never Kill (Phantom Limb)
  33. Ches Smith: Interpret It Well (Pyroclastic)
  34. Anitta: Versions of Me (Deluxe) (Warner)
  35. Ka: Languish Arts (Iron Works)
  36. Lady Wray: Piece of Me (Big Crown)
  37. Bob Vylan: Bob Vylan Presents The Price of Life (Ghost Theatre)
  38. SAULT: Today & Tomorrow(self-released)
  39. The Mountain Goats: Bleed Out (Merge)
  40. ensemble 0: Music Nuvulosa (Sub Rosa)
  41. The Ogun Meji DuoFreedom Suite (self-released)
  42. PhelimuncasiAma Gogela (Nyege Nyege Tapes)
  43. 700 Bliss: Nothing to Declare (Hyperdub)
  44. Bruno Berle: No Reino Dos Afetos(Far Out)
  45. The Chats: Get Fucked (Cooking Vinyl)
  46. Jinx Lennon: Pet Rent (Septic Tiger)
  47. Freakons: Freakons (Fluff & Gravy)
  48. Jeong Lim Yang: Zodiac Suite—Reassured(Fresh Sound)
  49. WeFreeStrings: Love in the Form of Sacred Outrage (ESP-Disk)
  50. Etran de L’AirAgadez (Sahel Sounds)
  51. Homeboy Sandman: I Can’t Sell These (self-released)
  52. Horsegirl: “Billy” / “History Lesson, Part II” (Matador)
  53. Mark Lomax Trio: Plays Mingus (CFG Multimedia)
  54. Makaya McCraven: In These Times (International Anthem)
  55. Moor Mother: Jazz Codes (Anti-)
  56. Buck 65: King of Drums (4320739 Records DK)
  57. JID: The Forever Story (Dreamville/Interscope)
  58. Mdou Moctar: Niger EP Volume 1 (Matador)
  59. ifsonever: ifsonever (Jazz & Milk)
  60. Various Artists: Lespri Ka—New Directions in Gwoka Music from Guadeloupe (Time Capsule Sounds) 
  61. Satoko Fujii: One Hundred Dreams (Libra)
  62. Mark Lomax II: Prismatic Refractions, Volume I (self-released)
  63. Special Interest: Endure (Rough Trade)
  64. Petrol Girls: Baby (Hassle)
  65. James Brandon Lewis: MSM Molecular Systematic Music—Live (Intakt)
  66. Kari Faux: Lowkey Superstar(Don Giovanni)
  67. Adeem the Artist: White Trash Revelry(self-released)
  68. Miranda Lambert: Palomino (Vanner)
  70. Daniel Villareal: Panama ’77 (International Anthem)
  71. Kehlani: blue water road (TSNMI/Atlantic)
  72. Iara Renno: Oriki (self-released)
  73. Dr. John: Things Happen That Way (Rounder)
  74. Horace Andy: Midnight Scorchers (On-U Sound)
  75. Ka: Woeful Studies (Iron Works)
  76. Wild Up: Julius Eastman, Volume 2—Joy Boy (New Amsterdam)
  77. Various Artists: Juke Bounce Werk Presents JBDUBZ Volume X (Juke Bounce Werk)
  78. Lucrecia Dalt: Ay!(RVNG International)
  79. GloRilla: Anyways, Life’s Great (CMG/Interscope)
  80. Mama’s Broke: Narrow Line (Free Dirt)
  81. Isaiah Collier & The Chosen Few: Lift Every Voice (Division 81 Records)
  82. Tyshawn Sorey: The Off-Off Broadway Guide to Synergism (Pi)
  83. Amber Mark:Three Dimensions Deep (PMR / Interscope) 
  84. Florian ArbenzConversation #5—Elemental; Conversations #6 and 7
  85. Morgan Wade: Reckless (Deluxe) (Ladylike) 
  86. Zoh Amba: O, Sun (Tzadik)
  87. Jussi ReijonenThree Seconds I Kolme Toista (Challenge Records International)
  88. Ran Blake: Driftwoods (Tompkins Square)
  89. Whit Dickey: Root Perspectives (Tao Forms)
  90. Billy Woods: Aethiope(Backwoodz Studios)
  91. Ishmael Reed: The Hands of Grace(Reading Group)
  92. Dan Ex MachinaAll is Ours, Nothing is Theirs (self-released)
  93. Anna von HausswoolffLive at Montreaux Jazz Festival (Southern Lord) 
  94. Felipe Salles: Tiyo’s Songs of Life (Tapestry)
  95. Steve Lehman: Xaybu—The Unseen(Pi Recordings)
  96. Tom ZéLingua Brasiliera (Selo Sesc)
  97. Tyler Childers: Can I Take My Hounds to Heaven (Hickman Holler)
  98. Joyce Moreno: Brasilieras Cancoes(Biscoito Fino)
  99. M.I.A.: Mata(Island)
  100. Pillbox Patti: Florida (Monument)
  101. Elaine Elias: Quietude(Candid)
  102. Nancy Mounir: Nozhet El Nofous (Terrorbird)
  103. Rick Rosato: Homage (self-released)
  104. The Beths: Expert in a Dying Field (Carpark)
  105. Alvvays: Blue Rev(Polyvinyl / Transgressive)
  106. Ari Lennox: age/sex/location (Dreamville/Interscope)
  107. Oumou Sangare: Timbuktu (World Circuit Limited)
  108. Various Artists: Hidden Waters—Strange and Sublime Sounds from Rio de Janiero (Sounds and Colours)
  109. SeaJun Kwon: Micro Nap (Endectomorph Music)
  110. Gilla Band: Most Normal(Rough Trade)
  111. Dry Cleaning: Stumpwork(4AD)
  112. Jessie Reyez: Yessie (FMLY/Island)
  114. Nduduzo Makhathini: In the Spirit of Ntu (Universal)
  115. Gard Nilssen Acoustic Unity:Elastic Wave (ECM)
  116. Miguel Zeñon: Musica de las Americas (Miel Music)
  117. Priscilla BlockWelcome to the Block Party (InDent)
  118. The Comet is Coming: Hyper-Dimensional Expansion Beam(Impulse)
  119. Serengeti: Kaleidoscope III (Audiocon)
  120. Snotty Nose Rez Kids: I’m Good, HBU? (Distorted Muse)
  121. Kendrick Lamar: Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers (pgLang/Top Dawg Entertainment/Aftermath/Interscope)
  122. Charm Taylor: She Is The Future (Sinking City)
  123. OGJB: Ode to O (TUM) (Note: Band name – O = Oliver Lake, G = Graham Haynes, J = Joe Fonda, B = Barry Altschul / Title – O = Ornette) 
  124. Andrew Cyrille, William Parker, and Enrico Rava: Two Blues for Cecil (TUM) 
  125. Luke Stewart’s Silt TrioThe Bottom (Cuneiform) 
  126. Tyler Mitchell: Dancing Shadows (featuring Marshall Allen) (Mahakala Music)
  127. Crow Billiken (aka R.A.P. Ferreira): If I don’t have red I use blue (self-released)
  128. Dopolarians: Blues for Alvin Fielder—Live at Crosstown Arts, Memphis(Mahakala Music)
  129. The Paranoid Style: For Executive Meeting(Bar/None)
  130. Carl Stone: Wat Dong Moon Lek (Unseen Worlds)
  131. Joy Guidry:Radical Acceptance (Whited Sepulchre)
  132. Tasche de la Rocha: Tasche de la Rocha & The Psychedelic Roses (Sinking City)
  133. Meridian Brothers and El Grupo & Renacimiento (Ansonia)
  134. Avram Fefer Quartet: Juba Lee(Clean Feed)
  135. Jeffrey Lewis: When That Really Old Cat Dies(self-released)
  136. Mitski: Laurel Hell (Dead Oceans)
  137. Jockstrap: Jockstrap (Rough Trade)
  138. Earthgang: Ghetto Gods (Dreamville/Interscope)
  139. Breath of Air: Breath of Air (Burning Ambulance Music)
  140. Immanuel Wilkins: The 7th Hand (Blue Note) 
  141. David Murray Brave New World Trio: Seriana Promethea (Intakt)
  142. Fulu MizikiNgbaka (EP)
  143. David Virelles: Nuna (Pi / El Tivoli)
  144. Javon Jackson & Nikki Giovanni: The Gospel According to Nikki Giovanni (Solid Jackson) 
  145. Leikeli47: Shape Up (Hardcover/RCA)
  146. Witchcraft BooksVolume 1—The Sundisk (Iapetus Records)
  147. Hurray for The Riff Raff: Life on Earth (Nonesuch)
  148. Qasim Naqvi/Wadada Leo Smith/Andrew Cyrille: Two Centuries (Red Hook)
  149. Rokia Koné and Jacknife Lee: Bamanan (3DFamily)
  150. Tomas Fujiwara: Triple Double (Firehouse 12)
  151. DJ Black Low: Uwami (Awesome Tapes from Africa)
  152. Ibibio Sound Machine:Electricity (Merge)
  153. Zoh Amba: O Life, O Light, Volume 1(577 Records)
  154. Burton/McPherson Trio: The Summit Rock Session at Seneca Village (Giant Step Arts)
  155. Kahil El’Zabar Quartet: A Time for Healing (Spirit Muse)
  156. Pastor Champion: I Just Want to Be a Good Man (Luaka Bop)
  157. Nduduzo Makhathini: In the Spirit of Ntu (Blue Note)
  158. Pusha T: It’s Almost Dry (G.O.O.D. Music/Def Jam)
  159. Elza SoaresElza Ao Vivo No Municipal (Deck)
  160. Nilufer Yanya: Painless (ATO)
  161. Open Mike Eagle: a tape called component system with the auto reverse (Auto Reverse)
  162. Chad Fowler/Ivo Perelman/Zoh Amba/Matthew Shipp/William Parker/Steve Hirsch: Alien Skin(Mahakala Music)
  163. Tommy McLain: I Ran Down Every Dream (Yep Roc)
  164. Satoko Fujii and Joe Fonda: Thread of Light (Fundacja Słuchaj)
  165. Charli XCX: Crash (Atlantic)
  166. Pete Malinverni: On the Town—Pete Malinverni Plays Leonard Bernstein (Planet Arts) 
  167. Marxist Love Disco Ensemble: MLDE(Mr. Bongo)
  168. Samara Joy: Linger Awhile (Verve)
  169. Dedicated Men of Zion: The Devil Don’t Like It (Bible & Tire)
  170. Tyshawn Sorey Trio: Mesmerism (Pi Recordings)
  171. Dezron Douglas: Atalaya(International Anthem)
  172. Charlotte Adigery & Bolis Pupul: Topical Dancer (DeeWee)
  173. Tomeka Reid & Joe McPhee: Let Our Rejoicing Rise (Corbett vs. Dempsey)
  174. Earl Sweatshirt: Sick! (Tan Cressida / Warner) 
  175. Big Thief: Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe in You (4AD)
  176. Jeff Arnal and Curt Cloninger: Drum Major Instinct (Mahakala Music)
  177. R.A.P. Ferreira: 5 to the Eyes with Stars (self-released)
  178. Natsuki TamuraSummer Tree (Libra)
  179. Ghais Guevara: There Will Be No Super-Slave (self-released)
  180. Manel Fortia: Despertar (Segell Microscopi/Altafonte)
  181. Ray Wylie Hubbard: Co-Starring Too (Big Machine)
  182. Various Artists: if you fart make it sound good (WA Records)
  183. Marta Sanchez: SAAM (Spanish American Art Museum) (Whirlwind)
  184. Sonnyjim & The Purist: White Girl Wasted (Duape)
  185. Florian Arbenz: Conversation #8—Ablaze (Hammer Recordings)
  186. Mavis Staples & Levon Helm: Carry Me Home (Anti-)
  187. Panda Bear & Sonic Boom: Reset (Domino)
  188. Blue Reality Quartet: Ella’s Island (Mahakala Music)
  189. Cost of Living: Apollo Brown & Philmore Green (Mellow Music Group)
  190. Taylor Swift: Midnights(non-expanded) (Republic)


  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. Staples Jr. Singers: When Do We Get Paid (Luaka Bop)
  7. Dickie Landry: Solos (Unseen Worlds)
  8. Albert Ayler: La Cave Live 1966 (Ezz-Thetics) 
  9. Various Artists: Cumbia Sabrosa—Tropical Sound System Bangers From The Discos Fuentes Vaults 1961-1981 (Rocafort Records)
  10. Biluka y Los Canibales: Leaf-Playing in Quito (1960-1965) (Honest Jon’s)
  11. Various Artists: OZ DAYS LIVE ’72 – ’73 Kichijoji–The 50th Anniversary Collection (featuring Les Rallizes Dénudés)  (Temporal Drift)
  12. Les Raillizes Denudes: Live ’77 (Temporal Drift)
  13. Ernest Hood: Back to the Woodlands (Freedom to Spend)
  14. Various Artists: A Chat About the Beauty of the Moon at Night–Hawaiian Steel Guitar Masters 1913-1921 (Magnificent Sounds)
  15. The Rolling Stones: Live at the El Mocambo (Interscope)
  16. Various Artists: Blues Images—1920s Blues Classics, Volume 20 (Blues Images)
  17. Son House: Forever on My Mind (Easy Eye Sound)
  18. Lavender Country: Blackberry Rose and Other Songs & Sorrows (Don Giovanni)
  19. Mal Waldron: Searching in Grenoble—The 1978 Solo Piano Concert (Tompkins Square)
  20. Horace Tapscott Quintet: The Quintet (Mr. Bongo)
  21. Horace Tapscott Quintet: Legacies for Our Grandchildren (Dark Tree)
  22. Dickie Landry & Lawrence Weiner: Having Been Built on Sand(Unseen Worlds)
  23. Various Artists: The D-Vine Spirituals—Sacred Soul (Bible & Tire)
  24. Various Artists: Saturno 2000—La Rebajada De Los Sonideros 1962-1983 (Analog Africa)
  25. Various Artists: Peru Selvatico—Sonic Expedition into the Peruvian Amazon 1972-1986 (Analog Africa)
  26. Kabaka International Guitar Band: Kabaka International Guitar Band (Palenque Records)
  27. The Pyramids: AOMAWA—The 1970s Recordings (Strut)
  28. Hermeto Pascoal: Hermeto (Far Out Recordings)
  29. Sun Ra: Sun Ra Arkestra Meets Salah Ragab in Egypt (Strut)
  30. Asha Puthi: The Essential Asha Puthi (Mr. Bongo)
  31. Malik’s Emerging Force Art Trio: Time and Condition (moved-by-sound)
  32. Volta Jazz: Air Volta (Numero)
  33. Blondie: Against the Odds—1974-1982 (3-CD Rarities Version) (UMe / Numero Group)
  34. Joyce Moreno: Natureza (Far Out Recordings)
  35. Various Artists: From Lion Mountain—Traditional Music of Yeha, Ethiopia (Dust-to-Digital)
  36. Charles Stepney: Step-on-Step(International Anthem)
  37. Ronnie Boykins: The Will Come is Now (ESP-Disk)
  38. John Ondolo: Hypnotic Guitar of John Ondolo (Mississippi Records)
  39. Luciano Luciani y sus Mulatos: Mulata, vamos a la Salsa (Vampisoul)
  40. Cecil Taylor: Respiration (Fundacja Stuchaj)
  41. Norma Tanega: Studio and Demo Recordings, 1964-1971 (Anthology)
  42. Irma Thomas: New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival 1976 (Good Time)
  43. Afrika Negra: Antologia, Volume 1 (Bongo Joe)
  44. Various Artists: Summer of Soul (Legacy)
  45. The Heartbreakers: LAMF—The ’77 Found Mixes (Jungle)

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)

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

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

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

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


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


“Weaponize Your Sound”: Best Albums of ’19, 25% through the Briar Patch

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All I had to do was bitch about 2019 and it stepped to me–almost immediately. Top 25s in particular are getting a lot of replay.

Bold-faced entries represent older music, which I usually separate into a dedicated list later. Notable: some very emotionally intense desert blues up in here, and it parallels some shit coming down at the source; some really talkative rap records striking deep; my reading as always effects my musical perceptions–I just finished Dave Cullen’s Parkland.

  1. Little Simz: Grey Area
  2. Eric Dolphy: Musical Prophet
  3. Quelle Chris: Guns
  4. Burnt Sugar: 20th Anniversary Mixtapes—Groiddest Schizznits, Vols. 1-3
  6. Royal Trux: White Stuff
  7. 2 Chainz: Rap or Go to the League
  8. Harriet Tubman: The Terror End of Beauty
  9. The Coathangers: The Devil You Know
  10. Various Artists: All the Young Droogs–60 Juvenile Delinquent Wrecks
  11. Mdou Moctar: Ilana (The Creator)
  12. Ben Lamar Gay: Confetti in the Sky Like Fireworks
  13. Usted Saami: God is Not a Terrorist
  14. Robert Forster: Inferno
  15. Heroes are Gang Leaders: The Amiri Baraka Sessions
  16. Yugen Blakrok: Anima Mysterium
  17. James Brandon Lewis: An Unruly Manifesto
  18. Kel Assouf: Black Tenere
  19. The Comet is Coming: Trust in the Lifeforce of the Deep Mystery
  20. Aesop Rock & TOBACCO: Malibu Ken
  21. Zeal & Ardor: Live in London
  22. Joe McPhee / John Butcher: At the Hill of James Magee
  23. Various Artists: Weaponize Your Sound
  24. Helado Negro: This is How You Smile
  25. Ahmed Ag Kaedy: Akaline Kidal
  26. Various Artists: Live at Raul’s
  27. Solange: When I Get Home
  28. Tanya Tagaq: Snowblind
  29. Branford Marsalis Quartet: The Secret Between the Shadow and the Soul
  30. Steve Earle: Guy
  31. Rosie Flores: A Simple Case of The Blues
  32. Jenny Lewis: On the Line
  33. Silkroad Assassins: State of Ruin
  34. Various Artists: Rhapsody in Bronze (featuring Cousin Joe, James Booker, and Snooks Eaglin)
  35. Angel-Ho: Death Becomes Her
  36. DKV and Joe McPhee: The Fire Each Time
  37. Various Artists: Travailler, C’est Trop Dur–The Lyrical Legacy of Caesar Vincent
  38. Que Vola: Que Vola
  39. Sir Shina Peters and His Internation Stars: Sewele
  40. Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba: Miri
  41. People Under the Stairs: Sincerely, The P
  42. Powder: Powder in Space (DJ Mix)
  43. Hama: Houmeissa
  44. Ill Considered: 5
  45. Leyla McCalla: Capitalist Blues
  46. M’dou Moctar: Blue Stage Session
  47. CZARFACE & Ghostface Killah: Czarface Meets Ghostface
  48. Matthew Shipp Trio: Signature
  49. Angel Bat Dawid: The Oracle
  50. Better Oblivion Community Center: Better Oblivion Community Center
  51. Alfredo Rodriguez and Pedrito Martinez: Duologue
  52. Bad Bunny: X 100PRE
  53. The Clifford Thornton Memorial Quartet (featuring Joe McPhee): Sweet Oranges
  54. Our Native Daughters: Songs of Our Native Daughters
  55. Bob Mould: Sunshine Rock
  56. Ty Segall: Deforming Lobes
  57. The Specials: Encore
  58. Meat Puppets: Dusty Notes
  59. Mekons: Deserted
  60. Greg Ward and Rogue Parade: Stomping Off from Greenwood

Quiet Dog

I’m still struggling with what to do with this blog. I flit from idea to idea; I get discouraged because I feel I’m just doing it as an exercise (what’s wrong with that?), and get frustrated because I not only get bored with formats too easily, but also frequently feel my spigot twist violently shut and hear voices telling me I’ve got nothing to say: “You’re just a kind of aggregator!” (What’s wrong with that?)

Anyhow, well, here’s some things I can report from recently.

I had a headphone experience with the New York Dolls’ debut. I’ve listened to that disc a million times, but it really popped out the chicken skin this time ’round. I’m usually the first to roll my eyes when I hear someone (usually around my age) says there isn’t good music anymore, but it’s this shit that makes me wonder (for a few minutes). If anyone or any band is saying this much right now, it’s not being said with so much thrilling musical hell breaking loose all around it. If anyone or any band is loosing this thick a slab of musical hell right now, they ain’t saying near as much. “I’m talkin’ ’bout your overview,” indeed–David’s words must resonate with any conscious adult walking around in this world, and the noise Johnny wrenches from his axe testifies to his resulting dislocation.

I bitched about the mildness of 2019’s best records and got my comeuppance. It’s all coincidence, but March’s music came in like a lioness, and delivered quite a litter. I was really craving a undeniable, catchy, beatwise classic, and I got at least one of those, though its classic status will depend on how many other people feel the same way. To wit:

Little Simz: Grey Area (“Lady Don’t Tek No” division–this is my “undeniable, catchy, beatwise classic, although it tails off a bit on the back end)

Royal Trux: White Stuff (“Rock and Roll Never Gives Up” division)

James Brandon Lewis: An Unruly Manifesto (“Call & Response” division)

2 Chainz: Rap or Go to the League (“Ball is Life” division)

Rosie Flores: A Simple Case of the Blues (“Doing the Work” division)

Dave: PSYCHODRAMA (“Rap Opera” division)

Robert Forster: Inferno (“Old Friends” division)

…and I haven’t even absorbed the new Solange yet.

My life was enriched by a couple Toms. Specifically, Tom Moon, the admirable and indefatigable author of 1000 Records to Hear Before You Die (published in 2008), and Tom Hull, a fellow Midwesterner who quietly, reliably, intelligently and astonishingly keeps record nerds country-wide abreast of a truckload of new records each month that they might want to familiarize themselves with. They are men after my own heart because they strive to listen to the most promising example of damn near everything, the music lovers’ equivalent to diners who’d never order the same thing from the same menu twice if they could help it. Aren’t you suspicious of anyone who just likes one thing? For some reason looking for more reading to add to my already mountainous pile, I realized I hadn’t really looked carefully at the last half of Moon’s book. Many hours later, I had a bulging-at-the-seams Apple Music playlist of mostly international releases like this gem from the Andes:

Mr. Hull was so kind to reference this blog in his monthly Streamnotes report–to my delight (mainly because I was able to pay him back for his many hot and accurate tips) I’d encouraged him to listen to a few items he liked. Here’s a neat thing he pushed me towards:

I suggest that my readers make themselves familiar with both these Tom cats and you’ll seldom lack for anything substantial to feed your ears. And here is a Spotify playlist derived from Moon’s book to back me up.

My wife and I had a Hank Williams jam on a Saturday night. On the way to and back from a dinner at one of our favorite restaurants–one hour round-trip–Nicole and I indulged in a Hillbilly Shakespeare yell-along. Hank’s the country version of Sam Phillips’ comment about Howlin’ Wolf: his music is where the soul of man never dies. Nicole: “Somehow I know the lyrics to all of these songs.” Indeed. It is near mystical. The next day, she beckoned her Facebook friends to share their favorite Hank songs, and we were surprised to find that he is not as well-known and thoroughly absorbed by our population as we thought, another sign of the apocalypse. One of my very favorites (Hiram liked to talk to his heart):

I found out 504 Records is still releasing music. 504 Records is an itsy-bitsy New Orleans label that, in my experience, has never released an uninteresting record. Its focus is local–and why not? New Orleans music is inexhaustible. Whenever I’m in the Crescent City, I head to the French Market, where there is one-count ’em-one music kiosk that always offers 504 stock. The “new” release contains very rare and fascinating recordings by local hero Cousin Joe, James Booker (“The Bayou Maharajah”), and jack-of-all-pickin’ guitar ace Snooks Eaglin. It is nicely titled Rhapsody in Bronze, if you can’t access the French Market you can order it pretty much JUST from Louisiana Music Factory, and…here’s a sample:

Annnnnnnd–guess who’s back? That’s right! The Meat Puppets (on record)…

…and Ian Hunter (on the page–his 1972 tour diary’s seen a new edition published).