Monday, May 30, 2022

Music Week

May archive (finished).

Music: Current count 38015 [37953] rated (+62), 107 [114] unrated (-7).

After finishing last week with a mere 28 newly rated records, I ventured that "it is possible, but not quite probable, that I will pass 38,000 next week." It turns out I did so easily, with the highest new rating count in recent memory. I spent a fair amount of time last week bringing my metacritic file up to date, so the easiest thing to do was to pick off unheard albums from the upper reaches of the list.

I don't have a cached copy of last week's list, but working from this week's reviews I picked up (sorted by current rank; i.e., at the moment of writing): Kurt Vile (40), Sunflower Bean (50), Warpaint (51), Anaďs Mitchell (57), Kevin Morby (59), Porridge Radio (60), Sasami (62), Sea Power (63), Aurora (66), Ethel Cain (67), Tomerlin (73), Gang of Youths (80), Johnny Marr (84), Daniel Rossen (87), Bastille (105), Metronomy (119), Soul Glo (126), Che Noir (160), Max Cooper (194). Needless to say, I didn't spend a lot of time on these (although Vile and Cooper were pleasant surprises; the lower grades would probably sink even lower with more exposure). Ranked (top 200) late-May releases omitted above: Harry Styles (39), Craig Finn (114), Wilco (155), Mxmtoon (180). Tate McRae is (211), and Van Morrison is unranked (my 1 point will put him on the list, but thus far I've only added my points to albums on the list for other reasons).

That leave as my top-ranked unheard releases: Just Mustard (54: 05-27, playing now), Band of Horses (92), Destroyer (97), Boris (108), Eels (112), Everything Everything (113), Pup (121), Shamir (124), Eddie Vedder (129), Blossoms (132), Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard (133), Grace Cummings (136), Empath (138), Hatchie (141), Melt Yourself Down (142), Midlake (143), The Mysterines (145), Pillow Queens (148), The Regrettes (149), Voivod (153), Orlando Weeks (154), Bloc Party (157), Camp Cope (158), Cave In (159), Crows (162), Liam Gallagher (170), Ghost (171) Kathryn Joseph (176) Lykke Li (178), and most records from (181: Rammstein) on down. Scanning that list, the only ones (besides Just Mustard, which is sounding like a low B+) I'm likely to hit next week are Pup and Shamir (well, maybe Hatchie and/or Everything Everything).

I'm rather pleased with the range of this week's A- records. Also that I took a bite out of the unrated list, and that three of them turned out to be so good (if in totally different ways). I'd really like to cut the list way down, but it's proving difficult to even find the remaining albums. Daunting boxes are a lesser problem, as they'll take a big chunk of time: Richard Pryor (9CD), Frank Sinatra (14CD, but mostly albums I've already graded), Neil Young (10CD), plus another half-dozen in the 3-4CD range. On the other hand, about half of what's left I'd just as soon forget I have.

Highly recommended music history link: Phil Overeem's "Groundbreaking Women in U.S. Music: A History in 150 [or so] Albums": Greatest Hits From Two Essay Assignments.

With five weeks in May, I've added 241 records to the ratings database. See link up top for the monthly archive. I've done the indexing, but haven't yet added the Music Week introductions.

I published a rather rushed Speaking of Which yesterday. Some extra links I would have included had I known of them:

I also wanted to beat Bill Scher: [05-16] The Deeply Flawed Narrative That Joe Biden Bought with a heavy stick. The notion that Obama was a master of practical politics is little short of risible, but using that flimsiest of arguments as a cudgeon against Biden for having attempted (and, thus far, mostly failed) something more ambitious is sinister. Many of the people who think that Obama's star has dimmed (even ones who personally admire him) do so because we realize that his legacy of failure left us with a nation that was willing to give Donald Trump a try. I wish Biden was better able to overcome the damage that Trump (and others, of both parties) did, but it's hard to see how slamming Biden for being too ambitious helps. I also wanted to take a look at another piece of less-than-friendly advice for Democrats, from Matthew Yglesias: [04-14] Moderate Democrats should be popularists. Also saying something similar is Ezra Klein: [05-29] What America Needs Is a Liberalism That Builds. Often these days one gets the impression that the only thing "moderate" Democrats want to do is to chastise us for wanting government to actually do things that help the people who they depend on for votes.

New records reviewed this week:

Oren Ambarchi/Johan Berthling/Andreas Werliin: Ghosted (2018 [2022], Drag City): Australian experimental musician, mostly plays guitar and drums, many albums since 2008 (Discogs lists 83). The others are Swedish, play bass and drums, also play in jazz groups Angles and Fire! Orchestra (Berthling has much the longer resumé, with over 100 album credits). Four pieces, compelling bass lines with improvised guitar flares, very attractive. A-

Aurora: The Gods We Can Touch (2022, Glassnote): Norwegian singer-songwriter, last name Aksnes, third album, has an ethereal vibe that floats away from nominal electropop. B

Bastille: Give Me the Future (2022, Virgin/EMI): British indie band, fourth album. Blah blah blah. B

Bright Dog Red: Under the Porch (2022, Ropeadope): Improvising collective from Albany, founded and led by drummer Joe Pignato, fifth album since 2018, personnel varies but Eric Person (sax/flute) and Tyreek Jackson (guitar) have been on last three, plus this time Matt Coonan (rapper), a second saxophonist (Mike LaBombard), Cody Davies ("sounds"), and various bassists. B+(*)

Bruch: The Fool (2020, Cut Surface/Trost): Austrian singer-songwriter Philipp Hanich, fourth album, plays his own guitar, synthesizer, sampler, and drums, has additional vocals on two tracks. Songs in English, voice and demeanor about midway between Craig Finn and Stephin Merritt. Thus far I'm less taken by his songwriting, but that hardly matters when he cranks the guitar up. B+(***) [bc]

Chris Byars: Rhythm and Blues of the 20s (2022, SteepleChase): Tenor saxophonist, a retro-bop guy much as Scott Hamilton is retro-swing, but for once looks a bit farther back, but it's sometimes hard to tell with original compositions. Sextet with Zaid Nasser (alto sax), Stefano Doglioni (bass clarinet), John Mosca (trombone), bass, and drums. B+(**)

Ethel Cain: Preacher's Daughter (2022, Daughters of Cain): Singer-songwriter from Tallahassee, Florida; original name Hayden Silas Anhedönia, father was a Southern Baptist deacon, she sang in choir, came out first as gay then as transgender, left the church but carries lots of baggage, and churns up a lot of drama. B+(*)

Che Noir: Food for Thought (2022, TCF Music Group): Buffalo-based rapper, several albums since 2016, including a duo with Apollo Brown. B+(***) [sp]

Rachel Chinouriri: Better Off Without (2022, Parlophone/Atlas, EP): Pop singer-songwriter, born in London, parents from Zimbabwe, young enough she lists Lily Allen as an influence. Third EP, 4 songs plotting a break-up over 13:00. B+(*)

Max Cooper: Unspoken Words (2022, Mesh): From Belfast in Northern Island, got a PhD in computational biology while working as a DJ in a local techno club. Pursued the latter as a career, producing seven albums since 2014. Uses some word samples, but mostly beats -- which are superb when not complicated by avalanches of sound. B+(***)

Bryan Ferry: Love Letters (2022, BMG, EP): Four covers, 14:19: "Love Letters," "I Just Don't Know What to Do," "Fooled Around and Fellin Love," "The Very Thought of You." Not as daring as his early covers, but as poignant as age demands. B+(*)

Craig Finn: A Legacy of Rentals (2022, Positive Jams): Singer-songwriter, leads the Hold Steady and has run five solo albums on the side. A peerless storyteller, an ear for characters, pays a lot of attention to women. A fine voice, as musical talking as singing. A-

David Friend & Jerome Begin: Post- (2022, New Amsterdam): Begin composed, Friend plays piano, Begin processed through live electronics ("breaking the bounds of traditional solo piano music"). B+(*)

Gang of Youths: Angel in Realtime (2022, Warner): Australian rock group, from Sydney, fourth album, fairly diverse, with singer David Le'aupepe "of Samoan and Austrian-Jewish descent," lead guitarist Korean-American, and others from Britain, New Zealand, and Poland. Still strike me as a rather mainstream group, albeit a rather adept one. B+(*)

Keith Hall: Made in Kalamazoo: Trios and Duos (2019 [2022], Zoom Out): Drummer, opens with a tribute to Billy Hart, then seven trio pieces -- with Andrew Rathbun (tenor/soprano sax, bass clarinet, electroniccs) and Robert Hurst III (bass), an interlude, a set of duos with Rathbun, and a final piece for Max Roach. B+(***) [cd] [06-24]

Amanda Irarrázabal/Miriam van Boer Salmón: Fauces (2019 [2022], 577): Chilean bassist, several albums since 2012, duo with violin, a bit hard to get into. B [cd] [07-15]

Milen Kirov: Spatium (2019 [2022], Independent Creative Sound and Music): Pianist, from Bulgaria, came to US to study at University of Nevada, currently based in Los Angeles. Seems to be his first album, solo, runs over 77 minutes. B+(*) [cd] [06-05]

MJ Lenderman: Boat Songs (2022, Dear Life): Singer-songwriter from Asheville, North Carolina; second album. Aside from a little twang, I don't hear the country, but I do hear some Pavement. B+(**)

Johnny Marr: Fever Dreams Pts 1-4 (2021-22 [2022], BMG): Former member of the Smiths (1984-87), the The (1989-92), Electronic (1991-99), Modest Mouse (2007-09), the Cribs (2009), 7 Worlds Collide (2001-09), fifth album as leader. Or maybe it should be treated as a compilation, as it picks up three recent 4-song EPs, adding a fourth. Lots of solid, catchy rockers. B+(*)

Tate McRae: I Used to Think I Could Fly (2022, RCA): Canadian pop singer-songwriter, 18, first album after two EPs and who knows how much else -- Wikipedia credits her "years active" a starting in 2011, and divides her "Life and career" into five periods. I'm not quite blown away, but "You're So [Fucking] Cool" comes close. B+(***)

Metronomy: Small World (2022, Because Music): English electropop group, principally Joseph Mount, seventh album since 2006. B+(**)

Anaďs Mitchell: Anaďs Mitchell (2022, BMG): Folkie singer-songwriter, eighth album since 2002, not counting the folk supergroup Bonny Light Horseman (2020). Nice album. B+(**)

Billy Mohler: Anatomy (2021 [2022], Contagious Music): Bassist, second album, freewheeling quartet with two horns -- trumpet (Shane Endsley) and tenor sax (Chris Speed) -- plus drums (Nate Wood). A- [cd] [06-10]

Kevin Morby: This Is a Photograph (2022, Dead Oceans): American singer-songwriter, born in Lubbock but not particularly attuned to the Flatlanders (or anything country). Still has some song sense, citing Lou Reed as well as Bob Dylan among inspirations. B+(*)

Van Morrison: What's It Gonna Take? (2022, Exile): More prolific longer than any of his generational cohort, this is his 43rd studio album (vs. 41 for Neil Young, way ahead if you count live albums). He still has his voice, and a band that can play his trademark skiffle/swing. But it's got to be a bad sign when the first review offered by Google is from National Review. I wasn't curious enough to look there, but the first review I did look at summed it up: "the Belfast Blowhard continues to rant like your drunk redneck uncle." Actually, he's a lot more coherent than my late Uncle James ever was. Many isolated lines make sense to me, and a few I find amusing. Samples: "government keeps on lying/ everyone is just sad"; or "sometimes you can't have any pleasure/ sometimes it's just so ridiculous"; or "watching morons on TV"; or "this is just my opinion." And if you can tune out the rest, the music is warm and affirming, if not exceptionally so. B+(*)

Ali Shaheed Muhammad & Adrian Younge: Jazz Is Dead 011 (2022, Jazz Is Dead): Hip-hop producers, started this series a couple years ago, with most volumes featuring a notable (still living, but rarely still famous) 1970s figure. This one runs the gamut, with 8 tracks (36:26): Henry Franklin, Lonnie Liston Smith/Loren Oden, Phil Ranelin/Wendell Harrison, Katalyst, Jean Carne, Tony Allen, Garnett Saracho, The Midnight Hour. B+(*) [sp]

Ali Shaheed Muhammad & Adrian Younge: Jazz Is Dead 012: Jean Carne (2022, Jazz Is Dead, EP): Originally Sarah Jean Perkins, married 1970s jazz pianist Doug Carn, sang on his records then went solo, moving on to disco. Not sure when she picked up the 'e' (maybe when she dropped the husband). She plays along with the producers' slick grooves. Back to EP length (7 tracks, 24:36). B+(*) [bc]

Mxmtoon: Rising (2022, AWAL): Singer-songwriter from Oakland, based in New York, second album after a much-streamed 2018 EP. A very chipper pop album, with more than a little capacity for reflection. My favorite song here is about growing up: "Everything's gonna get better/ everything's gonna get worse/ when it gets hard, remember that's the way it always works." But that's hardly the only one. A-

Jason Palmer: Con Alma (2022, SteepleChase): Trumpet player, over a dozen albums since 2014. Quartet with Leo Genovese (keyboards), Joe Martin (bass), and Kendrick Scott (drums). B+(**)

Porridge Radio: Waterslide, Diving Board, Ladder to the Sky (2022, Secretly Canadian): British indie band, led by Dana Margolin (vocals/guitar), with keyboard (Georgie Scott) prominent in the mix. Albums since 2012, second one on a label I recognize. B+(*)

Potsa Lotsa XL & Youjin Sung: Gaya (2021 [2022], Trouble in the East): German alto saxophonist Silke Eberhard's band in its 10-piece ("XL") configuration, with gayageum (a plucked Korean zither) player Sung. B+(*) [bc]

Daniel Rossen: You Belong There (2022, Warp): Singer-songwriter, guitarist from Grizzly Bear, first solo album. B-

Sasami: Squeeze (2022, Domino): Singer-songwriter Sasami Ashworth, from Los Angeles, formerly played in Cherry Glazerr, second album, riding on hard beats and a bit of noise. B+(**)

J. Peter Schwalm & Stephan Thelen: Transneptunian Planets (2020-21 [2022], RareNoise): Synthesizers and guitars, lineup also includes Eivind Aarset (guitars), bass guitar, drums, and voice samples. Well equipped for their extraterrestrial ventures. B+(**) [cdr] [06-03]

Sea Power: Everything Was Forever (2022, Golden Chariot): British group, long known as British Sea Power -- not without a bit of irony, as their 2003 debut was The Decline of British Sea Power -- but this time decided to distance further from "a rise in a certain kind of nationalism in this world -- an isolationist, antagonistic nationalism." B

Soul Glo: Diaspora Problems (2022, Epitaph): Hardcore band from Philadelphia, or "post-hardcore," or (more descriptively) "screamo." Mostly black, including screamer Pierce Jordan (exception is the white drummer), which I only mention because I'm confused by the group name. Otherwise, the only thing "post-" about them is that they've doubled down on the intensity. B+(*)

Harry Styles: Harry's House (2022, Columbia): English pop star, started on X Factor, joined boy band One Direction, has done some acting and hosted Saturday Night Live, third solo album, all bestsellers. Not bad, but only "Love of My Life" stuck with me. B

Sunflower Bean: Headful of Sugar (2022, Mom + Pop): New York indie band, fronted by singer-bassist Julia Cumming, with Nick Kivlen (guitar) and Olive Faber (drums). B+(**)

Tomberlin: I Don't Know Who Needs to Hear This . . . (2022, Saddle Creek): Singer-songwriter, goes by last name, dropping Sarah Beth. Father was a Baptist preacher. Second album. Delicate songs, helped by occasional shows of strength. B+(*)

Kurt Vile: (Watch My Moves) (2022, Verve Forecast): Singer-songwriter from Pennsylvania, actual name, ninth album since 2008's Constant Hitmaker, which is something he's never been (although he started enjoying modest success with 2013's Wakin on a Pretty Daze). Recorded this leisurely at home but with a band, eventually accumulating 15 songs (73:44). B+(***)

Warpaint: Radiate Like This (2022, Virgin): Indie band from Los Angeles, four women, three lead vocalists, fourth album since 2010. Dream pop, fades fast. B+(*)

Wilco: Cruel Country (2022, dBpm): A likable group led by likable Jeff Tweedy, churning out albums since 1995, this 12th one extra long at 77:04. Not as country-ish as the title suggests, but you can also read it as political: "I love my country like a little boy/ I love my country cruel and stupid/ All you have to do is sing in the choir." In another song, he adds "we'd rather kill than compromise" -- not specifically about Ukraine, but the shoe fits. B+(***)

Recent reissues, compilations, and vault discoveries:

Jim Black: My Choice (2000-13 [2021], Winter & Winter): Drummer, originally from Seattle, studied at Berklee, based in Brooklyn and/or Berlin, many notable side credits since 1993 (when he appeared on Robert Dick's Third Stone From the Sun), most notably with Tim Berne and Ellery Eskelin. Led the quartet AlasNoAxis -- Chris Speed (tenor sax/clarinet), Hilmar Jensson (guitar), Skúli Sverrisson (bass guitar) -- through the six albums selected from here. Fusion instrumentation, but much more slippery. B+(**)

Peter Brötzmann/Fred Van Hove/Han Bennink: Jazz in Der Kammer Nr. 71: Deutsches Theater/Berlin/GDR/04/11/1974 (1974 [2022], Trost): Classic free jazz trio: tenor sax/clarinet, piano, and percussion. Piano is often dazzling, but the sax can rub you raw. B+(***) [bc]

Koichi Matsukaze Trio Featuring Ryojiro Furusawa: At the Room 427 (1975 [2022], BBE): Japanese saxophonist, plays alto and tenor, leads a trio with Koichi Yamazaki (bass) and Furusawa (drums), the 9th album in the label's J Jazz Masterclass Series, originally released in 1976 on ALM. Exceptional freebop. A- [bc]

Ephat Mujuru & the Spirit of the People: Mbavaira (1983 [2021], Awesome Tapes From Africa, EP): Mbira master from Zimbabwe (1950-2001), a Shona, left a handful of recordings, of which this short one (4 tracks, 22:57 is relatively early). B+(*) [bc]

Papé Nziengui: Kadi Yombo (1989 [2022], Awesome Tapes From Africa): From Gabon, sings and plays ngombi (harp) and nkendo (bells), with others on guitar, keyboards, ngomo (drum), and backing vocals. B+(***) [bc]

Sonic Youth: In/Out/In (2000-10 [2022], Three Lobed): Five previously unreleased recordings, mostly instrumental, totalling 44:45. Nothing special, but does a good job of presenting their sound, which is what they've always been most about. B+(**)

Norma Tanega: I'm the Sky: Studio and Demo Recordings 1964-1971 (1964-71 [2022], Anthology): Singer-songwriter, had a minor hit in 1966 ("Walkin' My Cat Named Dog"), turned that into an album, released another in 1971, turned to art later but was involved in several more music projects from the 1990s, died in 2019 (80). This collects the two albums and miscellaneous tracks. I find it grows tedious, but I do like the single. B-

They Shall Not Pass/No Pasaran! [Trost Live Series] (2007-22 [2022], Trost): Austrian free jazz label, decided they wanted to do a Ukraine benefit album, so they solicited live tracks from their roster: the ones I'm most familiar with are Schlippenbach, Full Blast [Brötzmann], Leandre, Amado, Vandermark, The Thing, Jim O'Rourke, with others (Bruch is the most surprising, possibly because it's rock) adding up to 18 tracks (126:31). Title refers to a Spanish Civil War slogan. Proceeds go to a Ukrainian artist collective Vandermark vouched for. Mixed bag, but interesting. B+(*) [bc]

Old music:

Amandla! A Revolution in Four-Part Harmony (1955-2001 [2003], ATO): Soundtrack to a documentary, which doubles as a sweeping musical history of the South African struggle against Apartheid, with 29 short tracks. Miriam Makeba highlights, Abdullah Ibrahim provides the connecting background, and various choirs form the backbone. The latter isn't my favorite bit, but provides critical mass for the film. B+(**) [cd]

Milton Brown and the Musical Brownies: The Complete Recordings of the Father of Western Swing 1932-1937 (1932-37 [1995], Texas Rose, 5CD): Early Western Swing bandleader and vocalist, started in 1930 when he joined Bob Wills and Herman Arnsparger in the Wills Fiddle Band. In 1931 he joined W. Lee O'Daniel's Light Crust Doughboys, which had a regular radio gig, but Brown wanted to play dances, and to be paid, so he left to form his own band. He died in 1936 after a car accident, leaving a bunch of recordings that were released through 1937. Best known musicians in the group were Bob Dunn (steel guitar) and Cliff Bruner (fiddle), who went on to form the Texas Wanderers (with Moon Mullican). Wills soon followed with his Texas Playboys in 1934, and is best remembered today, but Brown was the real deal. A single-disc selection would be welcome, but owning it all lets you play random discs, with equal pleasure. Nice booklet. A- [cd]

Chris Byars: Jasmine Flower (2013, SteepleChase): Perhaps the most impressive of the young bop-oriented musicians featured on Luke Kaven's short-lived Smalls label, the saxophonist (here playing alto) found a later home on this Danish label, not that it's made him better known. Fifth album here (only the 2nd I've managed to find, after his Lucky Thompson tribute from 2011), mostly quintet with Stefano Doglioni (bass clarinet), John Mosca (trombone), Ari Roland (bass), and Phil Stewart (drums), plus James Bryars (English horn) on five cuts, piano on one. B+(**) [sp]

Chris Byars: The Music of Duke Jordan (2014, SteepleChase): Jordan was a bebop pianist from New York, played in Charlie Parker's 1947-48 quintet (with Miles Davis), married one of the great jazz singers of all time (Sheila took his name, but didn't have much of a career until after they divorced in 1962), recorded a couple dozen albums for the Danish label SteepleChase from 1973. Includes one vocal track with Yaala Ballin, and one piano solo by Mine Sadrazam. B+(***) [sp]

Chris Byars: A Hundred Years From Today (2017 [2019], SteepleChase): Sextet album I missed from a couple years back, same group as the new one, similar formula even though the titles are a couple centuries apart. Original pieces, written to honor old (but unnamed, as far as I can tell) masters. B+(***) [sp]

John Clark: I Will (1996 [1997], Postcards): French horn player, mostly played in big bands (Gil Evans, Carla Bley, Mike Gibbs, McCoy Tyner, George Russell, Bob Mintzer), led four albums 1980-97. Various front lines here, mostly anchored by Pete Levin (keyboards), Mike Richmond (bass), and Bruce Ditmas (drums). Deep into his horn, even while constructing elaborate framing. B+(**) [bc]

Tony Conrad With Faust: Outside the Dream Syndicate [30th Anniversary Edition] (1972 [2002], Table of the Elements, 2CD): Dabbled in lots of things, what we'd call multimedia now, including minimalist composition and/or drone music. In the 1960s he was part of the Theatre of Eternal Music (aka The Dream Syndicate), where he played violin along with La Monte Young and John Cale (whose viola bled into the Velvet Underground). The original LP had two side-long pieces (53:36 total), which fit on the first CD here. The 1993 CD added a third piece (edited down to 20:04), The second CD here offers a complete version (31:09) plus a couple of short pieces (6:54). The music is basically staunch beat and Velvet Underground drone, toned down to dark ambient. Comes in a small box with a nice booklet, plus a larger catalog of the label's other products: a useful overview of the whole scene. Conrad plays violin, with the krautrock group adding guitar/keybs, bass, and drums. A- [cd]

Jars of Clay: The Essential Jars of Clay (1995-2006 [2007], Essential/Legacy, 2CD): Christian rock group from Nashville, 12 studio albums to present, 7 up to when this compilation appeared. There is probably no genre I've avoided more assiduously (classical, metal, and new age included), so this could have spent more than 15 years on my unplayed shelf but for a housekeeping urge. Not that I'm inclined to reject professions of Christianity in country, blues, soul, or hip-hop, but making it your identity suggests a lack of worldly inspiration, or perhaps a cynical marketing tactic. Still, fairly innocuous. C+ [cd]

Jit -- The Movie (1991, Earthworks): Six songs from the movie, and six more for good measure, an exemplary compilation from Zimbabwe bypassing Thomas Mapfumo: Oliver Mutukudzi gets four (of 12) songs, John Chibadura and Robson Banda are also included. No song dates I can see, but the last song is by Tobias Areketa, who died in 1990. A- [cd]

The Mercenaries: Locks, Looks and Hooks (2006, Melted Vinyl): American rock band, first of nine by this name listed in Discogs (plus at least 12 article-less Mercenaries). This one released 5 albums 2001-09, of which this is number four. Actually, fairly good, not that anyone cares anymore. B+(*) [cd]

Mxmtoon: The Masquerade (2019, House Arrest): She identifies as "a young bisexual woman of color from a family of immigrants," the "color" coming from her Chinese-American mother (as opposed to her German-Scottish father). She started making YouTube videos at 17, self-released this debut album at 19, a batch of clever lo-fi tunes. [PS: Didn't bother with the acoustic versions, which on the digital are presented as CD2.] B+(*)

Mxmtoon: Dawn & Dusk (2020, AWAL): Combines two EPs (7 songs each, 20:40 + 22:44), so not technically her second album, but marks a transition to better production. Sample lyric: "everybody needs a different point of view." B+(**) [sp]

Unpacking: Found in the mail last week:

  • Tom Collier: The Color of Wood (Summit) [04-01]
  • Christopher Jacob: New Jazz Standards Vol. 5: The Music of Carl Saunders (Summit) [05-20]
  • Josh Sinton/Tony Falco/Jed Wilson: Adumbrations (Form Is Possibility) [06-03]
  • John Wasson's Strata Big Band: Chronicles (MAMA) [05-20]

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