Monday, July 2, 2018

Music Week

Music: current count 29896 [29859] rated (+37), 348 [348] unrated (-0).

Nothing monumental below that I didn't get to before posting June Streamnotes on Saturday, although the Grupo Mono Blanco records are pretty nice if you're interested in Mexican folk music that doesn't veer into Mariachi or more generally Norteño. I spent a fair amount of time in the EOM crunch pouring over Phil Overeem's We're Halfway There -- But to Where? midterm list. Still 27 records in his main list (out of "damn near 100") that I haven't heard, as well as 12 title under "Old Music Nicely Repackaged." I'll try to knock a few more off that list next week.

Since it's midway through 2018, I figured there would be some "So Far" album lists to look at. I thought it might not be too hard to adapt my EOY Aggregate architecture to collecting data from mid-year lists. (I've done minimal editing, so I can purge the mid-year data and reuse the program files come November.) I collected 21 lists, mostly from Album of the Year, which netted 240 albums (three are new releases of archival music so they're in separate files; two are new works by various artists, which I kept with the new music in large part because Black Panther: The Album is likely to show up on a competitive number of lists). The data is here. The top albums (my grades in brackets, but not counted):

  1. Kacey Musgraves: Golden Hour (MCA Nashville) {35/16} [B]
  2. Janelle Monae: Dirty Computer (Bad Boy) {33/14} [A-]
  3. Cardi B: Invasion of Privacy (Atlantic) {32/16} [A-]
  4. Pusha T: Daytona (GOOD/Def Jam -EP) {26/13} [**]
  5. Soccer Mommy: Clean (Fat Possum) {25/12} [**]
  6. Beach House: 7 (Sub Pop) {25/11} [**]
  7. US Girls: In a Poem Unlimited (4AD) {22/10} [**]
  8. Courtney Barnett: Tell Me How You Really Feel (Mom + Pop Music) {20/12}: [***]
  9. Kali Uchis: Isolation (Virgin EMI) {19/10} [A-]
  10. Lucy Dacus: Historian (Matador) {19/8} [*]
  11. Arctic Monkeys: Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino (Domino) {18/11} [C+]
  12. Saba: Care for Me (Saba Pivot) {15/8} [***]
  13. Black Panther: The Album (Music From and Inspired By) (Top Dawg/Aftermath/Interscope) {14/8} [***]
  14. Amen Dunes: Freedom (Sacred Bones) {14/7} [*]
  15. Shame: Songs of Praise (Dead Oceans) {12/5} [B]
  16. Snail Mail: Lush (Matador) {12/6} [*]
  17. Camila Cabello: Camila (Epic) {10/7} [**]
  18. Parquet Courts: Wide Awake! (Rough Trade) {10/7} [A-]
  19. Oneohtrix Point Never: Age Of (Warp) {10/6} [*]
  20. Jeff Rosenstock: Post- (Polyvinyl) {10/6}
  21. Sleep: The Sciences (Third Man) {10/6}
  22. Superorganism: Superorganism (Domino) {10/6} [***]
  23. Superchunk: What a Time to Be Alive (Merge) {10/4} [**]
  24. DJ Koze: Knock Knock (Pampa) {9/7} [B]
  25. Turnstile: Time & Space (Roadrunner) {9/6} [*]
  26. Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks: Sparkle Hard (Matador) {9/5} [*]
  27. MGMT: Little Dark Age (Columbia) {8/5}
  28. Jack White: Boarding House Reach (Third Man/Columbia) {8/5}
  29. J Cole: KOD (Roc Nation) {8/4} [**]
  30. Sunflower Bean: Twentytwo in Blue (Mom + Pop) {8/3}

The first number in braces is points, followed by number of lists the album appears on (I used that as a tiebreaker).

Main caveat here is that most of the lists were unranked, so each album listed there got one point. Numbered lists were counted on my standard scale -- 5 for number one, 4 for 2-5, 3 for 6-10, 2 for 11-20, 1 for everything else -- although only 6 ranked lists had more than 20 albums (the max was 50, by Stereogum and Uproxx). That scale works better for longer year-end lists, especially more of them, but with such a small sample expect some distortion.

I expected Janelle Monae and Cardi B to dominate the list, but not much else was obvious. I didn't like the Kacey Musgraves album at all. I'm not surprised that it has fans, but so many? The Pusha T EP was produced by Kanye West, and seems to have gotten a perverse boost as West's fortunes faded (1 mention; his Kid Cudi collaboration, Kids See Ghosts, got 2). Lot of women in the top 10 (if memory serves, 9 of 10, though only 2 of the next 8, or 4 of 20). Kali Uchis and Saba have high metacritic scores, but so do Confidence Man and Rolo Tomassi (1 mention each). Kamasi Washington's Heaven & Earth broke late (4 mentions, 4 points, tied for 54th), between Mount Eerie/Tracey Thorn and Car Seat Headrest/Ezra Furman.

I played a bunch of these today while compiling the list. Unfortunately, Napster is performing poorly in the new computer, with audible glitches every 15-30 seconds. Pretty sure it's a problem with Firefox, which has split up its content handlers into multiple processes. At the moment, with music off, one of those processes is chewing up 70-78% of CPU, which probably means that some JavaScript somewhere is spinning in an infinite loop. I don't know of any way to profile individual tabs, so I'm hard pressed to map the performance loss back to specific web pages. I do find it striking, though, that Google search windows are among the slowest pages to refresh, and Wikipedia is also surprisingly sluggish. I've killed off the two most likely suspects -- Facebook and Twitter -- to little avail.

One positive bit of computer news is that I bought a new keyboard -- a Logitech K740 Illuminated -- that I'm pretty happy with. Not sure what you'd call the switches, but they have a better than usual tactile feedback without being as clunky (clicky?) as the mechanical keyboards. Plus it has LED backlighting on the key legends, so I can find whatever key I'm looking for in the dark. (I am a competent touch typist, but that doesn't help if you can't find the right starting keys.)

New records rated this week:

  • 700 Bliss: Spa 700 (2018, Halcyon Veil/Don Giovanni, EP): [bc]: B+(**)
  • Lily Allen: No Shame (2018, Parlophone): [r]: A-
  • Rodrigo Amado: A History of Nothing (2017 [2018], Trost): [cd]: A-
  • Beach House: 7 (2018, Sub Pop): [r]: B+(**)
  • Big Freedia: 3rd Ward Bounce (2018, Asylum Worldwide, EP): [r]: B
  • Andy Biskin: 16 Tons: Songs From the Alan Lomax Collection (2018, Andorfin): [cd]: B+(**)
  • Justin Brown: Nyeusi (2015-17 [2018], Biophilia): [r]: B-
  • Busdriver: Electricity Is on Our Side (2018, Temporary Forever): [r]: B-
  • Lynn Cassiers: Imaginary Band (2017 [2018], Clean Feed): [r]: B+(*)
  • Chrome Hill: The Explorer (2017 [2018], Clean Feed): [r]: B+(*)
  • Scott Clark: ToNow (2017 [2018], Clean Feed): [r]: B+(*)
  • Sean Conly: Hard Knocks (2017 [2018], Clean Feed): [r]: B+(***)
  • Benje Daneman Serendipity: Light in the Darkness (2017 [2018], ACI): [cd]: C+
  • Daphne & Celeste: Daphne & Celeste Save the World (2018, Balatonic): [r]: B
  • Grupo Mono Blanco: ¡Fandango! Sones Jaroches de Veracruz (2018, Smithsonian Folkways): [r]: B+(***)
  • Imarhan: Temet (2018, City Slang): [r]: B+(***)
  • Wilko Johnson: Blow Your Mind (2018, Chess): [r]: B+(**)
  • Vic Juris: Eye Contact (2016 [2018], SteepleChase): [r]: B+(**)
  • Lana Trio: Lana Trio With Sofia Jernberg (2016 [2018], Clean Feed): [r]: B+(**)
  • Low Cut Connie: Dirty Pictures (Part 2) (2018, Contender): [r]: B+(**)
  • MIKE: Black SoapB+(*)
  • MIKE: Renaissance Man (2018, Lex): [r]: B+(*)
  • Mdou Moctar/Elite Beat: Mdou Moctar Meets Elite Beat in a Budget Dancehall (2017 [2018], Boomarm Nation): [bc]: A-
  • Molly Tigre: Molly Tigre (2018, Very Special): [bc]: B+(***)
  • Alberto Pinton Noi Siamo: Opus Facere (2017 [2018], Clean Feed): [r]: B+(**)
  • Bebe Rexha: Expectations (2018, Warner Brothers): [r]: B+(*)
  • Mark Soskin: Upper West Side Stories (2017 [2018], SteepleChase): [r]: B+(**)
  • Kamasi Washington: Heaven and Earth (2018, Young Turks, 2CD): [r]: B+(***)
  • Dr. Michael White: Tricentennial Rag (2018, Basin Street): [r]: B+(**)
  • Buster Williams: Audacity (2017 [2018], Smoke Sessions): [r]: B+(*)
  • Kamaal Williams: The Return (2018, Black Focus): [r]: B+(**)
  • Wye Oak: The Louder I Call, the Faster It Runs (2018, Merge): [r]: B+(*)

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

  • John Coltrane: Both Directions at Once: The Lost Album (1963 [2018], Impulse, 2CD): [r]: A-
  • The Savory Collection Vol 4: Embraceable You: Bobby Hackett and Friends (1938-40 [2018], National Jazz Museum of Harlem): [dl]: A-

Old music rated this week:

  • Rodrigo Amado/Carlos Zíngaro/Ken Filiano: The Space Between (2002 [2003], Clean Feed): [bc]: B+(**)
  • Grupo Mono Blanco: Soneros Jarochos: The Arhoolie Recordings 1989-1990 (1989-90 [2006], Arhoolie): [r]: B+(***)
  • Lisbon Improvisation Players: Live_LxMeskla (2000 [2002], Clean Feed): [bc]: B+(**)
  • MIKE: May God Bless Your Hustle (2017, self-released): [bc]: B+(**)

Grade (or other) changes:

  • Diali Cissokho & Kaira Ba: Routes (2018, Twelve/Eight): [r]: was B+(***), now A-

Unpacking: Found in the mail last week:

  • Andy Biskin: 16 Tons: Songs From the Alan Lomax Collection (Andorfin)
  • Rhio: A Rhio Good Thing (Beso)