Monday, August 7, 2017


Music Week

Music: Current count 28508 [28490] rated (+18), 375 [365] unrated (+10).

Basically took a break for the latter half of the week (Wednesday to Saturday). Main reason: Korean dinner. For this stretch, I mostly played CDs from one of my travel cases: Lilly Allen, Beautiful South, Bobby Bland, Manu Chao, Dance Floor Divas, Duke Ellington/Coleman Hawkins, English Beat, Franco, Girl Group Greats, Mighty Sparrow, Roger Miller, Van Morrison, Nigeria 70, Pet Shop Boys, Public Enemy, Wilson Pickett, Shirelles, Phil Spector, Velvet Underground, Mary Wells, Hank Williams. That, plus the work, kept me in a pretty good mood.

Before that, I was probably off to a typical week. The Tyshawn Sorey album took a bit of time, and I think I probably played the Elan Pauer (the only other CD in the list below) 3-4 times. Evidently Pauer is an alias for Oliver Schwerdt -- he also sent me a 2-CD under that name, one of a fair number of things in a suddenly resurgent queue (seems to be split evenly between September-October releases and things already out). For a long stretch the queue had been so depleted I stopped paying much attention to it, but I got more records in the mail last week than in any week for many months.

I spent Sunday playing Randy Newman. Robert Christgau proclaimed his new Dark Matter an "album of the year contender" on Friday. I still don't hear anything like that, but gave it five plays before parking it in the bottom half of my 2017 A-List -- didn't want to underrate it as badly as I had Harps and Angels, but I still doubt I'll wind up liking it as much. I had heard "Putin" on a late night show, and it seemed pretty awful at the time. It's funnier here with orchestra and "the Putin girls" chorus. But the opener (whence the title, but not its title) is an awkward, incoherent mess, and "Brothers" is just a bummer until it breaks into a celebration of Celia Cruz. Good song about the original Sonny Boy Williamson, and "She Chose Me" works for him.

I also went back through the Songbooks -- I had given Vol. 2 a B+(**), but missed Vol. 1 and Vol. 3, and wound up replaying the whole 3-CD "box" to pick up the songs Bob mentioned that were left off Vol. 3: "A Few Words in Defense of Our Country" as timely as it was in 2008 (the death of one of those Supreme Court Italians proving inconsequential), but I'm not hip enough to his irony to stomach his 2012 "I'm Dreaming [of a white president]" ("he won't be the brightest/ but he'll be the whitest/ and I'll vote for that"). The box does offer a really terrific "A Wedding in Cherokee County."

I bumped up the grade of Lana Del Rey's Lust for Life from where I had it last Monday. Among other things, it offers a sharper political commentary than Newman does. We need more people demanding "the fucking truth." And while she's right that "critics can be mean sometimes" I'm not feeling that now.


New records rated this week:

  • Anat Cohen: Rosa Dos Ventos (2017, Anzic): [r]: B
  • Anat Cohen & Marcello Gonçalves: Outra Coisa: The Music of Moacir Santos (2017, Anzic): [r]: B+(**)
  • Lana Del Rey: Lust for Life (2017, Interscope): [r]: A-
  • Billy Flynn: Lonesome Highway (2017, Delmark): [r]: B
  • Paul Heaton + Jacqui Abbott: Crooked Calypso (2017, Virgin EMI): [r]: B+(*)
  • Randy Newman: Dark Matter (2017, Nonesuch): [r]: A-
  • Elan Pauer: Yamaha/Speed (2015 [2017], Creative Sources): [cd]: B+(***)
  • John Pizzarelli: Sinatra & Jobim @ 50 (2017, Concord): [r]: B-
  • Skyzoo: Peddler Themes (2017, First Generation Rich/Empire, EP): [r]: B+(**)
  • Tyshawn Sorey: Verisimilitude (2016 [2017], Pi): [cd]: A-
  • Tyler, the Creator: Flower Boy (2017, Odd Future/Columbia): [r]: B

Old music rated this week:

  • Bill Frisell: Ghost Town (1999 [2000], Nonesuch): [r]: B+(*)
  • Randy Newman: The Randy Newman Songbook Vol. 1 (2003, Nonesuch): B+(*)
  • Randy Newman: The Randy Newman Songbook Vol. 3 (2016, Nonesuch): [r]: B+(***)
  • Randy Newman: The Randy Newman Songbook (2003-16 [2016], Nonesuch, 3CD): [r]: B+(**)
  • John Pizzarelli: Let There Be Love (2000, Telarc): [r]: B


Unpacking: Found in the mail last week:

  • Laura Ainsworth: New Vintage (Eclectus)
  • Gerald Beckett: Oblivion (Summit)
  • Jane Ira Bloom: Wild Lines: Improvising Emily Dickinson (Outline, 2CD): September 8
  • Miles Donahue: The Bug (Whaling City Sound)
  • Fred Hersch: Open Book (Palmetto): September 8
  • Noah Kaplan Quartet: Cluster Swerve (Hatology)
  • Steve Langone Trio: Breathe (Whaling City Sound)
  • The Liberation Music Collective: Rebel Portraiture (AD Astrum): August 17
  • Paul McCandless: Morning Sun: Adventures With Oboe (Living Music): October 20
  • Marcus Monteiro: Another Part of Me (Whaling City Sound)
  • Dave Potter: You Already Know (Summit)
  • Chris Speed Trio: Platinum on Tap (Intakt): August 18
  • Jason Stein Quartet: Lucille! (Delmark): September 5
  • Omri Ziegele: Going South (Intakt): August 18