There was more than one Reagan youth

In brief, L-R, each row:

Little Richard: The Georgia Peach

Don’t forget: wotta band!!! Especially Lee Allen on bulldozing tenor and Earl Palmer inventing rock and roll drumming.

Sacred Flute Music from New Guinea

The thought of “sacred flute music” gives me the fan-tods, but, lo and behold, but this stuff is not only inventive, but also a little catchy and fairly varied (for folk music).

Rosalía: Los Ángeles

A debut album of uncommon vocal intensity and focus, augmented almost solely by acoustic guitar. It isn’t quite flamenco, it’s not really pop, but it means business.

Hamid Drake & Joe McPhee: Keep Going

The highlight is the title opener, inspired and partially written by Harriet Tubman and offered to the growing number of us who are demoralized. I’d accept; it works. Elsewhere the two fond and familiar free masters make joyful racket with their drum and horn, respectively.

X-Ray Spex: Germfree Adolescents

I’ve been asked to present at a local high school’s seminar on identity, and given my choice of topics. I’m doing the whole hour on my favorite record ever written by a teenager. A teenage prophet, for teenagers 40 years later to discover.

Charlie Parker: The Complete Savoy & Dial Master Takes

Any day’s a great day to listen to Bird, but The Sound of Redemption, a neat documentary on the art and trials of the Parker-inspired saxophonist Frank Morgan, sent me in his direction. The film’s built around a Morgan tribute concert held at the man’s former home: San Quentin.

Superchunk: What A Time to Be Alive

The best rock and roll album of 2018, partly because it nails the time. I played “Reagan Youth” 5 times today–then I played the very best of Reagan Youth.

Parquet Courts: Stay Awaaake

Instrumentally, these guys know every rock and roll move, sometimes constructing a crazy-quilt out of several in one song. Lyrically, like Superchunk, they seem to be taking a necessary piss (both albums have great songs about fights or fighting). But the “dumb,” affected vocals have built a wall between they and me.

Not so brief after all.

Not THAT Thomas Jefferson! (February 23rd, 2018, Columbia, Missouri)

I love old-time New Orleans jazz records–that so many seem to and might actually have been recorded in an empty VFW hall is a charm I cannot resist–and I was pleasantly surprised earlier this week when those nice kids at Hitt Records gave me a copy of Thomas Jefferson’s If I Could Be with You One Hour Tonight. Jefferson is one of the later-period greats of traditional NOLA trumpeting, and he sounds great on this record I’d never heard of (he’s an affecting singer, too); it was actually recorded at The Lord Napier in Surrey, England, and the set list features some warm surprises (“A Long Way to Tipperary”). One of the clerks, Taylor, had had a conversation with me about a similar record I’d found at the store, and said to me, “Y’know, I don’t know much about this stuff–I probably need to get caught up.” He must be wasting no time.

I have been the beneficiary of great generosity this week, and much of it hasn’t had to do with my birthday. My good friend Isaac, with whom I share a constant stream of wonderful music on a regular basis, alerted me to the release of a new record by Hailu Mergia, an Ethiopian pianist of considerable reknown. If you don’t think you need to hear Ethiopian piano-based music, sorry, but you do. Mergia’s Lala Belu combines fascinating searching melodies (Mariam Gebru, his fellow Ethiopian keyboardist, seems to have minted them) with striking, swirling accordian, dark-toned violin, and lightly funky drums. Here’s the whole record:

Finally…about my entry of 2/22/18? I’d mentioned Joyful Noise Recordings’ “White Label Series”? Well, I gave a deeper listen to one of those, the band Berry’s Everything, Compromised, and I think it’s major, one of the best releases of 2018. The album title’s an unfortunately accurate aspersion cast on the state of the nation, and for pop music political statements, especially in the indie rock vein, it’s remarkably subversive, witty, pointed, and weird. If you’re both pissed and bemused, you might want to pick it up if you can find it.

http://berrytheband.bandcamp.com/album/everything-compromised

Short-shrift Division:

More later, I am sure, on this one, but Superchunk’s new and mordant What A Time to Be Alive is also a real killer with a political edge–and does it rock out!