Monday, February 5, 2018


Music Week

Music: Current count 29288 [29253] rated (+35), 378 [378] unrated (+0).

I got to most of this week's count after posting January Streamnotes, but there are a couple of surprises below. I've continued to add to my EOY Aggregate. One new list was Ann Powers' Top 10 Underheard Albums, and three of those records were unknown to me, all on the folk side of Americana. One, by Anna Tivel, proved quite good (the others, well, not so good), so that was my first post-freeze A-. The second was Wu-Tang's The Saga Continues, which first showed up at number 100 on the Banquet Records list. The Stampfel album wasn't available when I looked last year, but showed up when I went looking for this year's album (unavailable on Napster).


Shortly after posting Weekend Roundup, I noticed several quoteworthy tweets:

From LOLGOP (presumably satire, quoting Paul Ryan's presumably sober "pleasantly surprised her pay up $1.50 a week," but the perspective rings true):

Charles, a Koch brother in Wichita, said he was pleasantly surprised that his pay went up $26,923,076 a week . . . he said [that] will more than cover the cost of buying several more Paul Ryans.

From Rep. Keith Ellison (also a bit of a stretch, but shows some understanding of how corporate CEOs think these days):

"Kimberly-Clark, maker of paper products like Kleenex, Viva paper towels, Cottonelle bathroom tissue and Huggies diapers, announced earlier this month it would use its tax cut windfall to pay the costs of closing 10 factories and dumping as many as 5,500 workers."

I also want to link to a piece by Dean Baker, which provides a bit of plausible corrective to expectations of financial collapse under Trump (like yesterday's link to Nomi Prins): It Actually Doesn't Feel at All Like 2006: Refusing to Learn the Lesson of the Housing Bubble. I've come to similar conclusions based on a few less informed hunches: we're beginning to see a small housing bubble, but I doubt anything comparable to 2006 is possible now -- partly because banks are a bit better regulated (although Republicans hope to change that), but more importantly because I can't see that ordinary Americans will again be willing (or, perhaps more important, able) to take on the extraordinary debt they did in the run up to 2008. This doesn't mean the economy won't run into some severe bumps in the years ahead. Baker mentions some problem areas, like the stock bubble. Two more I'll mention are: I expect corruption and deceit to spread out from the White House into even more corporate boardrooms, leading to a long series of scandals and failures; and deregulation is likely to channel capital investment into increasingly risky ventures, some of which will turn into major disasters. I might add a third point, but I'm less certain about how it will play out: over the last forty years, the rich have made a huge power play to amass ever greater wealth, which at least in the US has largely involved capping and withering the welfare and prospects of an overwhelming majority of Americans. Surely they can't keep tightening the screws indefinitely without something snapping.

Paul Krugman covered this same turf last Friday, asking Has Trumphoria Finally Hit a Wall. Baker responded: Taking Issue with Paul Krugman, We're Still Not at Full Employment. I suspect Krugman would agree with Baker's point. All of this appears to have been written before Monday's big market slip -- for that, see Matt Phillips: Dow Jones and S&P Slide Again, Dropping by More Than 4%. Probably not coincidentally, Trump's pick to take over the Fed, Jerome Powell, was sworn in today, replacing Janet Yellen. My impression is that for once Trump didn't pick the worst possible nominee, but that remains to be seen -- he's certainly got investors nervous.


I've started reading David Frum's Trumpocracy: The Corruption of the American Republic, which 50-pages in is sober and useful, not that there aren't occasional embarrassments: e.g., his description of Gen. Michael Flynn as a "battlefield commander" (he was an "intelligence" officer), his ridiculous praise for Gen. H.R. McMaster, and his line about the "wise men" of the American foreign policy establishment, immediately followed by a quote from Sen. John McCain. Frum is smarter than most arch-conservatives, but one should not forget that he made his own pitch for membership in the "wise man" club by inserting the "axis of evil" line into GW Bush's 2003 SOTA.


New records rated this week:

  • Samuel Blaser With Marc Ducret/Peter Bruun: Taktlos Zurich 2017 (2017 [2018], Hatology): [r]: B+(*)
  • Dawn Clement: Tandem (2017 [2018], Origin): [cd]: B+(*)
  • George Cotsirilos Quartet: Mostly in Blue (2017 [2018], OA2): [r]: B+(*)
  • Rose Cousins: Natural Conclusion (2017, Old Farm Pony): [r]: B
  • Duchess: Duchess (2015, Anzic): [r]: B+(**)
  • Duchess: Laughing at Life (2016 [2017], Anzic): [r]: B+(*)
  • Harris Eisenstadt: Recent Developments (2016 [2017], Songlines): [r]: B+(**)
  • Satoko Fujii: Solo (2017 [2018], Libra): [cd]: B+(**)
  • Camilla George Quartet: Isang (2016 [2017], Ubuntu Music): [r]: B+(*)
  • Dua Lipa: Dua Lipa (2017, Warner Brothers): [r]: B+(**)
  • Kate McGarry/Keith Ganz/Gary Versace: The Subject Tonight Is Love (2017 [2018], Binxtown): [cd]: B+(**)
  • Mdou Moctar: Sousoume Tamachek (2017, Sahel Sounds): [r]: B+(*)
  • Juana Molina: Halo (2017, Crammed Discs): [r]: B+(*)
  • Musique Noire: Reflections: We Breathe (2017, self-released): [cd]: B+(*)
  • Arturo O'Farrill & Chucho Valdes: Familia: Tribute to Bebo & Chico (2017, Motema): [r]: B+(**)
  • Allison Pierce: Year of the Rabbit (2017, Masterworks): [r]: B
  • Stuart Popejoy: Pleonid (2017, Leo): [r]: B+(**)
  • Margo Rey: The Roots of Rey/Despacito Margo (2017 [2018], Origin): [cd]: B+(**)
  • Jamie Saft: Solo a Genova (2017 [2018], RareNoise): [cdr]: B+(***)
  • Ryuichi Sakamoto: Async (2017, Milan): [r]: B+(*)
  • Peter Stampfel and the Brooklyn & Lower Manhattan Fiddle/Mandolin Swarm: Holiday for Strings (2016, Don Giovanni): [r]: A-
  • Anna Tivel: Small Believer (2017, Fluff and Gravy): [r]: A-
  • Traxman: Tekvision (2017, Teklife): [r]: B-
  • Ty Dolla Sign: Beach House 3 (2017, Atlantic): [r]: B+(*)
  • Michael Waldrop: Origin Suite (2017 [2018], Origin): [cd]: B-
  • Wu-Tang: The Saga Continues (2017, eOne): [r]: A-

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

  • Louis Armstrong: The Standard Oil Sessions (1950 [2017], Dot Time): [r]: B+(**)
  • Azar Lawrence: Bridge Into the New Age (1974 [2017], Prestige): [r]: A-
  • Lucky Thompson: In Paris 1956: The All Star Orchestra Sessions (1956 [2017], Fresh Sound): [r]: B+(*)
  • Lucky Thompson: Complete Parisian Small Group Sessions 1956-1959 (1956-59 [2017], Fresh Sound, 4CD): [r]: A-
  • Trevor Watts Amalgam: Closer to You (1976 [2018], Hi4Head): [bc]: B+(***)

Old music rated this week:

  • Derek Bailey/Evan Parker/Hugh Davies/Jamie Muir/Christine Jeffrey: The Music Improvisation Company (1970, ECM): [r]: B
  • Cecil Taylor: Garden 2nd Set (1981 [2015], Hatology): [r]: B+(***)
  • Colin Vallon Trio: Ailleurs (2006, Hatology): [r]: B+(**)


Grade (or other) changes:

  • Mary Gauthier: Rifles & Rosary Beads (2018, In the Black): [r]: [was B+(***)] A-


Unpacking: Found in the mail last week:

  • Dan Block: Block Party: A Saint Louis Connection (Miles High)
  • Owen Broder: Heritage: The American Roots Project (ArtistShare): March 1
  • Dave Liebman/Tatsuya Nakatani/Adam Rudolph: The Unknowable (RareNoise): cdr, February 25
  • Bobby Previte: Rhapsody (RareNoise): cdr, February 25
  • Steve Tyrell: A Song for You (New Design): February 9