Monday, May 1, 2017


Music Week

Music: Current count 28096 [28064] rated (+32), 396 [397] unrated (-1).

Most of what's listed below appeared in Saturday's Streamnotes, so old news there. I made a last minute stab at checking out some 2017 non-jazz releases, and continued that after the column posted. No additional A-list albums after the column, but Body Count's Bloodlust came close -- actually a remarkable album, just one I didn't want to give the extra spins that probably would have moved it over the A- cusp. Ardor & Zeal is a bit less in every respect, including a bit less irritating to a metal-phobe like myself. For Christgau on those two records, look here.

Christgau also praised the new Brad Paisley record, the biggest flop of four (I think) overrated full-A records he's found this year (Jens Lekman, New Pornographers, Khalid -- OK, I gave the latter an A-, the others high B+). I like Paisley in small doses, but he never seems to approach album-length without wearing out his welcome, either because his Nashville rock gets boring or because he says something stupid (often both, like here). After grading, I read a bunch of Facebook comments on Bob's review, and it seemed like quite a few were closer to my position.

On the other hand, I don't have any non-jazz this year remotely close to full-A: the non-jazz set of the 2017 list-in-progress are (with Christgau grades where known): Orchestra Baobab (A-), Run the Jewels (A-), XX, Jesca Hoop, Kendrick Lamar, Tinariwen (**), Craig Finn (B+), Conor Oberst (A-), Syd (A-), Arto Lindsay, Matt North (A-), Angaleena Presley (A-), Colin Stetson, Khalid (A-). (I normally count Stetson as jazz -- he's a saxophonist -- but he crossed over into post-rock and that's where pretty much all of his critic/fan bases are.) That's 14 records, vs. 22 jazz records (38.9% non-jazz), actually not far from what I had before the EOY lists started rolling in last year. But before last week's 5-0 the split was 9-to-22 (29.0% non-jazz), so I was right to shift focus. I'd do a better job of keeping up if more people I trusted wrote more often. Maybe we'll see some 4-month lists soon.

As you may have noticed, I bumped up the grade on Stanley Cowell's Departure #2. I was on the fence at the time, but hedged low until I remembered how much better it was than the 4-5 good Cowell records I played after it. Really pleased that so many SteepleChase albums have appeared on Napster. Lots to catch up on there.


New records rated this week:

  • Arca: Arca (2017, XL): [r]: B
  • Body Count: Bloodlust (2017, Century Media): [r]: B+(***)
  • Peter Campbell: Loving You: Celebrating Shirley Horn (2016 [2017], self-released): [cd]: B+(**)
  • Cloud Nothings: Life Without Sound (2017, Carpark): [r]: B+(**)
  • Rodney Crowell: Close Ties (2017, New West): [r]: B+(***)
  • Brian Eno: Reflection (2017, Warp): [r]: B+(**)
  • Gas: Narkopop (2017, Kompakt): [r]: B
  • Chris Greene Quartet: Boundary Issues (2016 [2017], Single Malt): [cd]: B
  • Marien Hassan/Vadiya Mint El Hanevi: Baila Sahara Baila (2015, Nubenegra): [r]: A-
  • Mariem Hassan: La Voz Indómita (del Sahara Occidental) (2017, Nubenegra): [r]: B+(***)
  • Billy Jones: 3's a Crowd (2017, Acoustical Concepts): [cd]: B
  • Kendrick Lamar: Damn (2017, Top Dawg/Aftermath/Interscope): [r]: A-
  • Allegra Levy: Cities Between Us (2016 [2017], SteepleChase): [cd]: B+(***)
  • Arto Lindsay: Cuidado Madame (2017, Northern Spy): [r]: A-
  • Mas Que Nada: Sea Journey (2017, Blujazz): [cd]: B
  • Mount Eerie: A Crow Looked at Me (2017, PW Elverum & Sun): [r]: B+(*)
  • Matt North: Above Ground Fools (2017, self-released): [r]: A-
  • Brad Paisley: Love and War (2017, Arista Nashville): [r]: B
  • Michael Pedicin: As It Should Be: Ballads 2 (2016 [2017], Groundblue): [cd]: B+(*)
  • Angaleena Presley: Wrangled (2017, Thirty Tigers): [r]: A-
  • Priests: Bodies and Control and Money and Power (2014, Don Giovanni, EP): [r]: B+(*)
  • Priests: Nothing Feels Natural (2017, Sister Polygon): [yt]: B+(**)
  • Jason Rigby: Detroit-Cleveland Trio: One (2016 [2017], Fresh Sound New Talent): [cd]: B+(***)
  • Scott Routenberg Trio: Every End Is a Beginning (2017, Summit): [cd]: B+(*)
  • Sarah Shook & the Disarmers: Sidelong (2015 [2017], Bloodshot): [r]: B+(***)
  • Jared Sims: Change of Address (2017, Ropeadope): [cd]: B+(***)
  • Colin Stetson: Sorrow: A Reimagining of Gorecki\'s 3rd Symphony (2016, 52Hz): [r]: B-
  • Colin Stetson: All This I Do for Glory (2017, 52Hz): [r]: A-
  • Stormzy: Gang Signs & Prayer (2017, Merky): [r]: B+(*)
  • Vagabon: Infinite Worlds (2017, Father/Daughter): [r]: B+(*)
  • Valerie June: The Order of Time (2017, Concord): [r]: B+(**)
  • Zeal & Ardor: Devil Is Fine (2016 [2017], MKVA): [r]: B+(***)

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

  • Outro Tempo: Electronic and Contemporary Music From Brazil, 1978-1992 (1978-92 [2017], Music From Memory): [r]: B+(*)

Old music rated this week:

  • Mariem Hassan: Mariem Hassan Con Leyoad (2002, Nubenegra): [r]: B+(***)


Grade changes:

  • Stanley Cowell Trio: Departure #2 (1990, SteepleChase): [r]: [was: B+(***)] A-


Unpacking: Found in the mail last week:

  • Dominique Eade & Ran Blake: Town and Country (Sunnyside): June 9
  • Jason Kao Hwang: Sing House (Euonymous): May 5
  • Ed Maina: In the Company of Brothers (self-released): May 6
  • Bob Merrill: Tell Me Your Troubles: Songs by Joe Bushkin (Accurate): May 19
  • Mumpbeak: Tooth (Rare Noise): advance, May 26
  • Jamie Saft/Steve Swallow/Bobby Previte With Iggy Pop: Loneliness Road (Rare Noise): advance, May 26