Monday, January 23, 2017


Music Week

Music: Current count 27673 [27639] rated (+34), 363 [370] unrated (-7).

Still working on EOY Aggregate List: up to 416 lists, with many recent ones focused on jazz (the best index of jazz EOY lists is at St. Louis Jazz Notes -- I've probably hit about half of them so far). The jazz lists haven't had much effect overall -- little change there, with close contests currently favoring Nick Cave (342) over Kanye West (341) for 7th, and Bon Iver (287) over Angel Olsen (285) for 10th.

Since January 2, A Tribe Called Quest advanced from 7th to 6th (and is currently -11 from 5th place Solange), Chance the Rapper is up from 10th to 9th, Leonard Cohen from 14th to 12th, and Rihanna from 19th to 17th (Kaytranada also passing Mitski). The Village Voice Critics Poll comes out later this week. Knowing that poll as I do, I'd say that the winning odds are about even between David Bowie (clear winner of my EOY Aggregate List), Beyoncé (second here, her previous record a surprise 5th way ahead of my tracking file), and A Tribe Called Quest (the late arrival/late gainer this year, by far the most likely album to finish higher than on my list). If I had to wager on one of those, I'm thinking A Tribe Called Quest: despite the law of averages the Voice Poll has come up with a surprising number of upsets in recent years, especially late releases of hip-hop/r&b albums.

I also rather expect Chance the Rapper to improve (from 9th to about 5th), and I wouldn't be surprised to find Leonard Cohen and Car Seat Headrest sneaking into the top 10 (displacing Nick Cave, who may not finish in the top 20, and Bon Iver, who should drop to around 15th. I expect Radiohead (currently 4th) will drop some but probably not enough to fall from the top ten. The top twenty have been pretty consistently firewalled against lower records: Blood Orange is in 20th with 162, just below Mitski (171), Kaytranada (179), and Rihanna (184), while 21st is Kendrick Lamar (139, a 16.5% gap), followed by Sturgill Simpson (132), Jenny Hval (118), and Parquet Courts (115). I'd say the most likely records to climb up/in the top fifty are: Parquet Courts (24), Drive-By Truckers (31), Miranda Lambert (37), Young Thug (38), Wilco (47). More outside chances: Maren Morris (46), Brandy Clark (48), White Lung (58), Childish Gambino (71), NxWorries (79), Lori McKenna (92).

For what little it's worth, the highest rated record I haven't heard yet this year is Weyes Blood: Front Row Seat to Earth (57) -- a record that has been slowly gaining ground. The recent focus on jazz lists has raised the whole genre. One effect is that crossed-over BadBadNotGood (which, at least this time, I'm not included to view as jazz at all, and will note that they didn't get a single JCP vote) dropping from 1st to 3rd. The leaders right now are Mary Halvorson and Wadada Leo Smith, eclipsing JCP poll winner Henry Threadgill (4) and Jack DeJohnette (5). Aside from crossover entries (BBNG in 3rd, Esperanza Spalding in 9th), the one record that has really pulled ahead of JCP is Anna Högberg Attack -- probably shows that I have more avant and more European lists than JCP did. The top-rated jazz record I haven't heard yet is Battle Trance (35), followed by the 8-CD Joëlle Léandre box (93) and Jon Lundbom's EPs (94 -- I've heard them as they came out, but never got the finished compilation so haven't bothered grading them as a whole). It's actually unusual that I've managed to listen so far down the lists, but I suppose counting my own grades (up to five points) has skewed that respect.

I expect I'll add the complete Voice poll standings into the EOY Aggregate and then be done working on it. It's chewed up a lot of time this year even though I've counted less than half as many lists as last year, and kept me away from working on other projects -- like compiling the Jazz Guide(s). I also haven't made any effort to freeze my 2016 list, but should do that no later than January 31. As it is, three (of six) A- records this week have 2017 release dates (a fourth appeared in Poland on October 24 but only arrived here last week). Or I might freeze when I post January's Streamnotes -- likely to be some time this coming week, given that I already have 134 reviews in the draft file.


New records rated this week:

  • Aphex Twin: Cheetah (2016, Warp, EP): [r]: B+(*)
  • François Carrier/Michel Lambert/Alexey Lapin: Freedom Is Space for the Spirit (2014 [2017], FMR): [cd]: A-
  • Shawn Colvin/Steve Earle: Colvin & Earle (2016, Fantasy): [r]: B
  • Alan Cumming: Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs: Live at the Cafe Carlyle (2016, Yellow Sound): [r]: B+(*)
  • Tim Daisy/Marc Riordan: Joyride (2016, Relay): [bc]: B+(***)
  • The Brian Dickinson Quintet: The Rhythm Method (2015 [2017], Addo): [cd]: B+(*)
  • Fanfare Ciocarlia: Onwards to Mars! (2016, Asphalt Tango): [r]: B+(***)
  • Flume: Skin (2016, Future Classic): [r]: B
  • Gaika: Security (2016, Mixpak): [r]: B+(*)
  • High Definition Quartet: Bukoliki (2015, ForTune): [bc]: A-
  • Howard Johnson and Gravity: Testimony (2016 [2017], Tuscarora): [cd]: B+(**)
  • Joachim Kühn New Trio: Beauty & Truth (2015 [2016], ACT): [r]: B+(**)
  • Lil Yachty: Lil Boat (2016, Quality Control): [r]: B
  • Lil Yachty: Summer Songs 2 (2016, Quality Control): [r]: B-
  • Tove Lo: Lady Wood (2016, Island): [r]: B+(*)
  • Oles Brothers & Antoni Gralak: Primitivo (2016, ForTune): [bc]: A-
  • Adam Pieronczyk: Monte Albán (2016, Regent): [cd]: A-
  • Noura Mint Seymali: Arbina (2016, Glitterbeat): [r]: B+(***)
  • Matthew Shipp Trio: Piano Song (2016 [2017], Thirsty Ear): [cd]: A-
  • Dave Soldier: The Eighth Hour of Amduat (2016 [2017], Mulatta): [cd]: B+(*)
  • Suede: Night Thoughts (2016, Suede): [r]: C+
  • Aaron Lee Tasjan: Silver Tears (2016, New West): [r]: B
  • Trio Red Space: Fields of Flat (2015 [2016], Relay): [bc]: B+(**)
  • Ken Vandermark: Site Specific (2014-15 [2015], Audiographic, 2CD): [bc]: B+(**)
  • Wolter Wierbos/Jasper Stadhouders/Tim Daisy: Sounds in a Garden (2016, Relay): [bc]: B+(***)

Recent reissues, compilations, and vault discoveries rated this week:

  • Southern Family (2016, Elektra/Low Country Sound): [r]: B+(**)
  • Fanfare Ciocarlia: 20 (1996-2016 [2016], Asphalt Tango): [r]: B+(***)
  • The Three Sounds: Groovin' Hard: Live at the Penthouse 1964-1968 (1964-68 [2017], Resonance): [cd]: A-


Unpacking: Found in the mail last week:

  • Michel Lambert: Alom Mola (Jazz From Rant): February 14
  • Doug Munro and La Pompe Attack: The Harry Warren Songbook (GotMusic): March 1
  • Oui' 3: Occupy Your Mind (ITI): January 20
  • Luke Sellick: Alchemist (Cellar Live): March 10
  • David Weiss & Point of Departure: Wake Up Call (Ropeadope): February 10