Monday, July 10, 2017

Music Week

Music: Current count 28390 [28359] rated (+31), 361 [366] unrated (-5).

Not much to say here. The Pending list is down to five albums, including this week's three arrivals. The new Free Radicals album spent several days in the CD changer, finally replaced by some golden oldies -- Swamp Dogg's "We Need a Revolution" emerged as the perfect soundtrack for reading Bernie Sanders Our Revolution. I was delighted enough by the new Free Radicals album I went back and checked out their five previous albums. Houston band with many hangers-on, similar to Boston's Club D'Elf though less into world music and more into hip-hop.

Aside from Free Radicals, only three more records were reviewed from CD (or CDR), including Chris Pasin's Xmas album, release date October 6. So I spent most of the week scrounging around on Napster, checking out various pop albums including Amber Coffman and Bleachers -- recommended last Friday in Robert Christgau's Expert Witness. Having given Lorde's Melodrama an A-, and Dirty Projectors a C (fairly generous I thought), I've rarely found an EW more out of sync with my ears. Nor did other well-regarded recent albums turn out to be very appealing. I even slogged through The Bob's Burgers Music Album, recommended high in Matt Rice's Mid-Year Top 30 (five more albums I haven't heard on that list, though I'm not in a big hurry to get to At the Drive-In).

One thing I looked for was William Parker's Quartets album (reviewed here by Tim Niland). I didn't find it, but did notice several Parker albums I hadn't heard, especially on the Italian Splasc(H) label, which led me to the albums by Matthew Shipp, Hamid Drake, Daniel Carter, Albert Beger, and Willem Breuker. I gave up on the latter when two Penguin Guide ***(*) records didn't pan out.

Finally, I broke down and started playing some of the downloads I had picked up over the year, including very well regarded albums by Craig Taborn and Harriet Tubman (number two on Chris Monsen's 2017 Favorites list, and number three for Phil Overeem). I still have a couple dozen on the computer, and probably more untapped in my mail files, so I should keep plugging away at this. Playing the new Tomasz Stanko as I write this. Should also see what else (aside from the Mat Maneri) Clean Feed didn't send me.

I'll also note my surprise that both Overeem and Rice are big fans of Zeal & Ardor's Devil Is Fine (number 1 and 2, respectively). Christgau liked the album back in April, and even I gave the record a B+(***) in May, noting: "fuses black field hollers (or chain gang chants) with black metal (and a little xylophone) -- a fairly amusing rather than overbearing combination." Also, I should issue a correction: Overeem lists (at 12) Dalava: The Book of Transfigurations, which last month I incorrectly identified as "self-released." The label is Songlines.

New records rated this week:

  • Bleachers: Gone Now (2017, RCA): [r]: B+(*)
  • Brother Ali: All the Beauty in This Whole Life (2017, Rhymesayers): [r]: B+(**)
  • Amber Coffman: City of No Reply (2017, Columbia): [r]: B+(**)
  • Chano Dominguez: Over the Rainbow (2012 [2017], Sunnyside): [dl]: B+(*)
  • Free Radicals: Outside the Comfort Zone (2017, Free Rads): [cd]: A-
  • Future Islands: The Far Field (2017, 4AD): [r]: B+(*)
  • (Sandy) Alex G: Rocket (2017, Domino): [r]: B
  • Goldfrapp: Silver Eye (2017, Mute): [r]: B+(*)
  • Vitor Gonçalves: Vitor Gonçalves Quartet (2017, Sunnyside): [r]: B+(*)
  • Marika Hackman: I'm Not Your Man (2017, Sub Pop): [r]: B+(**)
  • Dusan Jevtovic: No Answer (2016 [2017], Moonjune): [cd]: B+(*)
  • Mat Maneri/Evan Parker/Lucian Ban: Sounding Tears (2014 [2017], Clean Feed): [cdr]: B+(*)
  • Chris Pasin and Friends: Baby It's Cold Outside (2016 [2017], Planet Arts): [cd]: B
  • Craig Taborn: Daylight Ghosts (2016 [2017], ECM): [dl]: A-
  • Harriet Tubman: Araminta (2013 [2017], Sunnyside): [dl]: A-
  • Glenn Zaleski: Fellowship (2014 [2017], Sunnyside): [dl]: B+(*)

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

  • Battle Hymns (2017, Quasi Band): [dl]: B+(**)
  • The Bob's Burgers Music Album (2010-16 [2017], Sub Pop, 2CD): [r]: B+(*)

Old music rated this week:

  • Albert Beger's 5: Listening (2004, Earsay): [r]: B+(**)
  • Albert Beger/Gerry Hemingway: There's Nothing Better to Do (2011 [2012], OutNow): [bc]: B+(*)
  • Willem Breuker Kollektief: In Holland (1981, BV Haast): [r]: B
  • Willem Breuker Kollektief: To Remain (1983-89 [1989], BV Haast): [r]: B-
  • Daniel Carter/Toby Kasavan/Mark Hennen/William Parker: Feels Like It (2000 [2007], BDE-BDOP): [r]: B+(*)
  • Hamid Drake/Albert Beger/William Parker: Evolving Silence Vol. 1 (2005, Earsay): [r]: B+(***)
  • Hamid Drake/Albert Beger/William Parker: Evolving Silence Vol. 2 (2005, Earsay): [r]: B+(**)
  • Free Radicals: The Rising Tide Sinks All (1998, RWE): [r]: A-
  • Free Radicals: Our Lady of Sunny Delights (2000, Rastaman Work Ethic): [r]: B+(**)
  • Free Radicals: Aerial Bombardment (2004, Rastaman Work Ethic): [r]: B+(**)
  • Free Radicals: The Freedom Fence (2012, Free Radicals): [r]: B+(**)
  • Free Radicals: Freedom of Movement (2015, Free Radicals): [r]: B+(***)
  • William Parker & the Little Huey Creative Music Orchestra: Spontaneous (2002 [2003], Splasc(H)): [r]: B+(*)
  • William Parker Bass Quartet Featuring Charles Gayle: Requiem (2004 [2006], Splasc(H)): [r]: B+(**)
  • Matthew Shipp Trio: The Trio Plays Ware (2003 [2004], Splasc(H)): [r]: B+(***)

Unpacking: Found in the mail last week:

  • Dave Stryker: Strykin' Ahead (Strikezone): September 1
  • Katie Thiroux: Off Beat (Capri): August 17
  • Florian Wittenberg: Don't Push the Piano Around (2017, NurNichtNur)