December 2018 Notebook
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Monday, December 31, 2018

Music Week

Music: current count 30874 [30842] rated (+32), 251 [269] unrated (-18).

Surprised I accumulated so many records given how miserable I've been all week. I've only been able to sit at the computer for more than an hour at a time the last couple days. That cut down on how much I could stream, but I did make a considerable dent in my physical CD queue: as of this moment, I have zero pending 2018 albums, and not much looking on to 2019.

I added Robert Christgau's grades to my EOY Aggregate. I've only been adding my own grades as I've collected items from other lists, so there are a lot of things I will eventually add to the list but that aren't there now. Somewhat surprised that the following Christgau-rated albums hadn't appeared in any previously compiled list (his grades, then mine, where I have one):

  • Atmosphere: Mi Vida Local (Rhymesayers) [**, **]
  • Mandy Barnett: Strange Conversation (Dame Productions/Thirty Tigers) [A-, A-]
  • Born Ruffians: Uncle Duke & the Chief (Yep Roc) [*]
  • Chris Butler & Ralph Carney: Songs for Unsung Holidays (Smog Veil) [**]
  • Chicago Farmer: Quarter Past Tonight (self-released) [A-]
  • Diali Cissokho & Kaira Ba: Routes (Twelve/Eight) [A-, A-]
  • The Coathangers: Live (Suicide Squeeze) [**, **]
  • Doctor Nativo: Guatemaya (Stonetree) [A-, A-]
  • E-40: The Gift of Gab (Heavy on the Grid) [**]
  • Robbie Fulks/Linda Gail Lewis: Wild! Wild! Wild! (Bloodshot) [***, A-]
  • Gift of Gab: Rejoice! Rappers Are Rapping Again! (Giftstribution Unlimited -EP) [***, A-]
  • Hamell on Trial: The Night Guy at the Apocalypse: Profiles of a Rushing Midnight (Saustex) [A, *]
  • Clay Harper: Bleak Beauty (self-released) [B+, *]
  • Homeboy Sandman & Edan: Humble Pi (Stones Throw -EP) [A-, **]
  • Joan Jett: Bad Reputation [Music From the Original Motion Picture] (Legacy) [A-, A-]
  • George Jones & the Jones Boys: Live in Texas 1965 (Ace) [***, ?]
  • Rich Krueger: Life Ain't That Long (Rockink) [A, **]
  • John Kruth & La Societŕ dei Musici: Forever Ago (Ars Spoletium) [A-, A-]
  • Jinx Lennon: Grow a Pair!!! (Septic Tiger) [A-, *]
  • Jeffrey Lewis: Works by Tuli Kupferberg (1923-2010) (Don Giovanni) [B+, A-]
  • Mad Crush: Mad Crush (Upon This Rock -EP) [B+]
  • Wynton Marsalis Septet: United We Swing: Best of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Galas (2003-07, Blue Engine) [A-, *]
  • Walter Martin: Reminisce Bar & Grill (Family Jukebox) [*, B]
  • Mast: Thelonious Sphere Monk (World Galaxy) [A, ***]
  • Medhane: Ba Suba, Ak Jamm (Grand Closing) [*]
  • Molly Tigre: Molly Tigre (Very Special) [***, ***]
  • Maria Muldaur: Don't You Feel My Leg: The Naughty Bawdy Blues of Blue Lu Barker (The Last Music Company) [A, A]
  • Nas: Nasir (Mass Appeal/Def Jam -EP) [*, **]
  • Willie Nelson: My Way (Legacy) [*, **]
  • Grant Peeples and the Peeples Republik: Settling Scores Vol. II (Gatorbone) [***, **]
  • Primo!: Amici (Upset the Rhythm) [*]
  • Allen Ravenstine: Waiting for the Bomb (Morphius/ReR Megacorp) [*, *]
  • Ike Reilly: Crooked Love (Rock Ridge Music) [**]
  • Riton & Kah-Lo: Foreign Ororo (Riton Time) [A-, A-]
  • Derek Smalls: Smalls Change (Meditations Upon Ageing) (BMG) [*]
  • Sidi Touré: Toubalbero (Thrill Jockey) [***, **]
  • The Chandler Travis Three-O: Backward Crooked From the Sunset (Iddy Biddy) [*]
  • Wreckless Eric: Construction Time & Demolition (Southern Domestic) [A-, ***]
  • I'm Not Here to Hunt Rabbits (Piranha) [A-, A-]
  • Outlaws & Armadillos: Country's Roaring '70s (Legacy) [B+, **]

Those are all 2018 releases. Christgau's Dean's List will no doubt include his usual slew of late finds, but they fall out of this page. List is pretty long, but would be longer had I not already counted lists from known Christgauvians like Chris Monsen (Mekons 77, Amy Rigby, Elza Soares) and John Smallwood (Rigby, Lyrics Born, Wussy: What Heaven Is Like). I'll get to more as I find them, and at some point add in my own thus-far missing grades. Also results from Jazz Critics Poll, once they become public (soon, I think).

I have 175 EOY lists compiled to date, totalling 1798 + 46 albums (latter are reissues; very few lists focus on them so far). Not sure how many more I will pick up before I give up. The effort came to a standstill ten or so days ago, and I doubt I'll ever pick up the slack. The top of the list is fairly stable at this point (not that I've been paying close attention). My main interest in the list is to identify records worth checking out, so my intention now is to focus more on lists that line up well with my own interests. That probably means I've seen enough metal already. On the other hand, the current jazz listings are only about one-third as deep as the Jazz Critics Poll standings (154 vs. 487 new albums) and one-fourth as deep as my own personal ratings (176 vs. 678 new + old albums).


New records rated this week:

  • The 14 Jazz Orchestra: The Future Ain't What It Used to Be (2018 [2019], Dabon Music): [cd]: B
  • The 1975: A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships (2018, Dirty Hit/Polydor): [r]: B
  • Sam Broverman: A Jewish Boy's Christmas (2018, Brovermusic): [cd]: B
  • City Girls: Period (2018, Quality Control): [r]: B
  • City Girls: Girl Code (2018, Quality Control): [r]: B
  • Julien Desprez/Luís Lopes: Boa Tarde (2016 [2018], Shhpuma): [cdr]: B+(**)
  • Kit Downes: Obsidian (2016 [2018], ECM): [r]: B
  • Jake Ehrenreich: A Treasury of Jewish Christmas Songs (2017 [2018], self-released): [cd]: B+(*)
  • Peter Evans/Agusti Fernandez/Barry Guy: Free Radicals at DOM (2017 [2018], Fundacja Sluchaj): [bc]: B+(**)
  • Lupe Fiasco: Drogas Light (2017, 1st & 15): [r]: B+(**)
  • Lupe Fiasco: Drogas Wave (2018, 1st & 15th): [r]: A-
  • Nils Frahm: All Melody (2018, Erased Tapes): [r]: B+(**)
  • Gaika: Basic Volume (2018, Warp): [r]: B+(*)
  • Nabihah Iqbal: Weighing of the Heart (2017, Ninja Tune): [r]: B+(*)
  • Thomas Johansson: Home Alone (2016 [2018], Tammtz): [r]: B+(**)
  • Jones Jones [Larry Ochs/Mark Dresser/Vladimir Tarasov]: A Jones in Time Saves Nine (2016 [2018], NoBusiness): [cdr]: B+(***)
  • Let's Eat Grandma: I'm All Ears (2018, Transgressive): [r]: B+(*)
  • Doug MacDonald Trio: View of the City (2016 [2018], Blujazz): [cd]: B+(*)
  • Roberto Magris: World Gardens (2015 [2018], JMood): [cd]: B+(***)
  • Mac Miller: Swimming (2018, REMember Music/Warner Bros.): [r]: B+(*)
  • Liudas Mockünas: Hydro 2 (2017 [2018], NoBusiness): [cd]: B+(*)
  • Joel Moore/Nick Mizock/Paul Scherer/Michael Barton/Paul Townsend: Magnetic EP (2018, Blujazz): [cd]: B+(*)
  • Mřster!: States of Minds (2018, Hubro, 2CD): [r]: B+(*)
  • Simon Nabatov/Barry Guy/Gerry Hemingway: Luminous (2015 [2018], NoBusiness): [cd]: A-
  • Judy Night Quintet: Sliding on Glass: Live at 210 (2018, Blujazz): [cd]: B+(*)
  • Kresten Osgood: Kresten Osgood Quintet Plays Jazz (2018, ILK, 2CD): [cd]: A-
  • Otherworld Ensemble: Live at Malmitalo (2017 [2018], Edgetone): [cd]: B+(*)
  • Alister Spence and Satoko Fujii Orchestra Kobe: Imagine Meeting You Here (2017 [2019], Alister Spence Music): [cd]: B+(***)
  • Kristen Strom: Moving Day: The Music of John Shifflett (2018, OA2): [cd]: B
  • The United States Air Force Band Airmen of Note: Best of the Jazz Heritage Series Volume 1 (2018, self-released): [cd]: B-


Grade (or other) changes:

  • Maria Muldaur: Don't You Feel My Leg: The Naughty, Bawdy Blues of Blue Lu Barker (2018, The Last Music Company): [cd]: [was A-] A

Unpacking: Found in the mail last week:

  • Jon Lundbom Big Five Chord: Harder on the Outside (Hot Cup): February 1

Purchases:

  • Bettye LaVette: Things Have Changed (Verve)
  • Lyrics Born: Quite a Life (Mobile Home)
  • Janelle Monáe: Dirty Computer (Bad Boy)
  • Maria Muldaur: Don't You Feel My Leg: The Naughty, Bawdy Blues of Blue Lu Barker (The Last Music Company)
  • Pistol Annies: Interstate Gospel (RCA Nashville)
  • John Prine: The Tree of Forgiveness (Oh Boy)

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Weekend Roundup

No Weekend Roundup last week, and I didn't have any intention of doing one this week either. But when I sat down at the computer today, I figured I'd copy a few links (without comments) into the notebook for future reference. Wound up with quite a few. I started with Matthew Yglesias, then decided to stick to the format I used there: boldfacing the author, linking the article. Normally I would group related articles, such as on the shutdown/wall, or the Syria withdrawal, but only in a couple instances did I do that -- mostly when an article by a unique writer adds or counters one I already had pegged. I wound up with a couple very brief comments, noted interviews, and added tag quotes or subheds under long articles, where the title didn't explain enough.

Still awful sore, but this was probably the first day in ten where I've been able to sit at the computer for more than an hour without really paying for it. Managed to listen to some music along the way, so Music Week tomorrow won't be a total wash.


Some scattered links this week:

Friday, December 28, 2018

Streamnotes (December 2018)

Pick up text here.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Music Week

Music: current count 30842 [30808] rated (+34), 269 [269] unrated (+0).

Surprised the count is this high. I was on a tear early in the week, especially between the time I compiled last week's results and when I finally posted them last Wednesday. However, that came to a screeching halt on Thursday or Friday (I can't remember which), when I woke up and found it very difficult and painful to sit up or stand. It doesn't seem like back pain; more in my hips, evenly distributed. I've had something like this happen a few widely scattered times in the past, but it's always cleared up in a couple of days. This doesn't seem to be getting better. Once I straighten up I can walk around without too much pain, but bending over or kneeling down is tough.

I had ambitious plans for fixing a Christmas Eve dinner, working mostly out of two Yotam Ottlenghi cookbooks, Ottolenghi and Jerusalem. I figured I should do some preliminary shopping on Friday, even though I hadn't fully sorted the menu out, and do a bit more on Sunday before starting to cook that evening. But with the pain and immobility, I started cutting back. I got my wife to drive me to Dillons for the Friday shopping, and made do with the single stop. Then I asked one of my guests to help out with the cooking. Linda Jordan joined me for several hours Saturday evening and from 1:30 through dinner on Sunday, and somehow we knocked out a decent menu of dishes (descriptions from memory):

  • Shawarma: a leg of lamb, marinated overnight in a spice paste, and roasted.
  • Sweet potato gratin: sliced into rounds, packed with garlic and sage, partly baked, then covered with cream and baked more to finish.
  • Eggplant: cut in half, roasted, topped with sauteed onions, spices, and feta cheese.
  • Eggplant: cut into cubes, roasted, in a saffron-yogurt sauce.
  • Endive: split, carmelized, stuffed with a mix (bread crumbs, parmesan, herbs, cream), topped with prosciutto, and baked.
  • Pearl barley and parsley salad: also with toasted cashews and spiced feta cheese.
  • Zucchini and tomato salad: also with walnuts, in a yogurt sauce.
  • Tomatoes: cut into chunks, with basil and dressing.
  • Mast va khiar: cucumber, scallions, golden raisins, walnuts, and mint in yogurt.
  • Amish Door's date pudding, topped with caramel sauce and whipped cream.

Saturday night Linda made the pudding and caramel sauce; we roasted the eggplants, cooked the barley, prepped the feta, mixed up the marinade and rubbed it into the lamb. After Linda left I did the mast va khiar and the whipped cream.

Sunday I had to get the lamb into the oven by 1:30. I sliced an onion, and started frying it. Linda arrived and took over. I mostly mixed sauces. I tried cutting the sweet potatoes with a mandoline, but gave up and used the food processor instead (harder to set up, but cut much faster). Two ovens were the key: while the lamb was roasting at 325F, the gratin and the endive needed 400F: 70 minutes for the sweet potatoes and 20 for the endive. We actually had all the side dishes and the latter ready for the oven by 4:30, so there was no last-minute drama. I hadn't really thought that through in the planning, but it worked out perfectly. Food was pretty good, too.

Pain wasn't too bad walking around, or sitting on a high bar stool doing prep. Linda did pretty much all of the stovetop cooking, as well as shuffling things in and out of the ovens. Got a good night's sleep, but this morning was the worst yet -- especially after sitting at the computer 15-20 minutes. This stretch on the computer has gone on for two hours. Not too bad crouched over working here, but I expect it will be tough getting up.

Plan is to come back and post this later tonight. I'm due to post December's Streamnotes sometime this week. I may go ahead and push it out without the usual indexing. Music count for the last 3-4 days has been close to zero. No idea when I'll be able to do more.

I should note that the Howard Riley album below (Live in the USA) would have topped my Reissues/Historical ballot in the Jazz Critics Poll had I gotten to it in time. I've said before that most years I find another A-list album within 2 days of filing my ballot, and a ballot-contender within two weeks. I'm usually thinking of new releases there, but note that Adam Forkelid's Reminiscence (also below) is up at number 12 in my Best Jazz Albums of 2018 list, so just barely below top ten.


New records rated this week:

  • Lynne Arriale Trio: Give Us These Days (2017 [2018], Challenge): [r]: B+(*)
  • Bob Baldori/Arthur Migliazza: The Boogie Kings: Disturbing the Peace (2018, Blujazz/Spirit): [cd]: B+(*)
  • Eraldo Bernocchi: Like a Fire That Consumes All Before It (2018, RareNoise): [cdr]: B+(*)
  • The Beths: Future Me Hates Me (2018, Carpark): [r]: B+(*)
  • Samuel Blaser: Early in the Mornin' (2017 [2018], Out Note): [r]: B+(*)
  • Bobby Bradford/Hafez Modirzadeh: Live at the Blue Whale (2017 [2018], NoBusiness): [cdr]: B+(***)
  • Brockhampton: Iridescence (2018, RCA): [r]: B+(**)
  • Marie Davidson: Working Class Woman (2018, Ninja Tune): [r]: A-
  • Orrin Evans and the Captain Black Big Band: Presence (2018, Smoke Sessions): [r]: B
  • Adam Forkelid: Reminiscence (2017 [2018], Moserobie): [cd]: A-
  • John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble: All Can Work (2017 [2018], New Amsterdam): [bc]: B
  • Park Jiha: Communion (2016 [2018], Tak:til): [r]: B+(**)
  • JLin: Autobiography [Music From Wayne McGregor's Autobiography] (2018, Planet Mu): [r]: B+(***)
  • Phillip Johnston: The Adventuers of Prince Achmed (2013 [2018], Asychronous): [bc]: B+(*)
  • Phillip Johnston & the Coolerators: Diggin' Bones (2017 [2018], Asynchronous): [bc]: B+(***)
  • Martin Küchen/Rafal Mazur: Baza (2017 [2018], NoBusiness): [cdr]: B+(*)
  • Lotic: Power (2018, Tri Angle): [r]: B
  • François Moutin & Kavita Shah Duo: Interplay (2018, Dot Time): [r]: B+(***)
  • Now Vs Now: The Buffering Cocoon (2018, Jazzland): [r]: B
  • Jacob Sacks: Fishes (2017 [2018], Clean Feed): [r]: B+(**)
  • Scheen Jazzorchester/Eyolf Dale: Commuter Report (2018, Losen): [cd]: B+(*)
  • SLUGish Ensemble: An Eight Out of Nine (2018, SLUGish): [bc]: B+(**)
  • Martial Solal: My One and Only Love: Live at Theater Gutersloh (2017 [2018], Intuition): [r]: B+(***)
  • Luciana Souza: The Book of Longing (2018, Sunnyside): [r]: B+(**)
  • Subtle Degrees: A Dance That Empties (2017 [2018], New Amsterdam): [bc]: B+(***)
  • Earl Sweatshirt: Some Rap Songs (2018, Tan Cressida/Columbia, EP): [r]: B
  • Trio HLK: Standard Time (2018, Ubuntu Music): [bc]: B+(***)
  • Trondheim Jazz Orchestra & Ole Morten Vĺgan: Happy Endings (2018, Odin): [r]: B+(**)
  • Yves Tumor: Safe in the Hands of Love (2018, Warp): [r]: B
  • Ben Wendel: The Seasons (2018, Motéma): [r]: B+(*)

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

  • Marion Brown/Dave Burrell: Live at the Black Musicians' Conference, 1981 (1981 [2018], NoBusiness): [cd]: A-
  • Detail [Johnny Mbizo Dyani/Frode Gjerstad/Evin One Pedersen/John Stevens]: Detail at Club 7 (1982 [2017], Not Two): [r]: B+(***)
  • Howard Riley: Live in the USA (1976 [2018], NoBusiness): [cd]: A
  • Wadada Leo Smith/Sabu Toyozumi: Burning Meditation (1994 [2018], NoBusiness): [cd]: A-
  • Cecil Taylor: Poschiavo (1999 [2018], Black Sun): [r]: B+(***)


Unpacking: Found in the mail last week:

  • Ran Blake/Jeanne Lee: The Newest Sound You Never Heard (1966-67, A-Side, 2CD): January 25
  • Blue Standard: A Good Thing (Big Time): January 18
  • Benjamin Boone/Philip Levine: The Poetry of Jazz: Volume Two (Origin): January 18
  • Eric Dolphy: Musical Prophet: The Expanded 1963 New York Studio Sessions (Resonance, 3CD): January 26
  • Kresten Osgood: Kresten Osgood Quintet Plays Jazz (ILK, 2CD)
  • Alister Spence and Satoko Fujii Orchestra Kobe: Imagine Meeting You Here (Alister Spence Music): January 18
  • Stephan Thelen: Fractal Guitar (Moonjune): January 18

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Music Week

Music: current count 30808 [30774] rated (+34), 269 [259] unrated (+10).

Collected the lists late Sunday night, after I wrapped up Weekend Roundup, but still didn't get started writing this until late Tuesday night. Francis Davis was supposed to hand in the 13th Annual Jazz Critics Poll results and analysis today. I assume that happened. At least, I have 139 ballots tabulated (including a couple days of stragglers, but safe to say it's too late to weigh in now). We went back over several contentious and/or confusing issues Monday, making minor adjustments to the votes in cases where some voters got the New and Reissue/Historical categories mixed up. We also carried 2017 votes forward in cases where a record got more votes (not just more points) this year than last.

The poll won't be published until January. Evidently NPR needs the extra lead time to line up sample music and such. I'll try to refrain from commenting until then. One thing the delay does is give me some time to do little bits of programming to clean things up. Probably the most annoying thing for me is that the sort beyond points/votes looks to be accidental. (I think it actually follows the order of albums in the table, which this year were entered as I encountered them on the ballots, mostly in submission order.) Whether I get around to that remains to be seen. Also whether I write up any real commentary on whatever I learned in the process. I've thought about that the last few days, and have a few scattershot notions, but I'm not being very productive.

Actually, I'm feeling pretty fucking depressed. The season may have something to do with it. My mother was a very big Christmas fan, and it's never been the same for me since she passed. And it diminished further when my brother and his family moved away. Then my sister died in March, so this year I'll be cooking Christmas Eve dinner for one nephew, and maybe a couple of friends who don't have their own family obligations. Still, that dinner is a project that give me some meaning. It's much of what I thought about today, and will be until the date. Doesn't seem like much else pressing to do.

We had a tough time organizing our annual latke dinner (Hannukah, but the point is potato pancakes). Did that on Sunday, and my nephew was the only guest who showed up. I grated five russet potatoes, two onions, added five eggs, salt, and pepper, and fried up a bunch of 6-inch discs. Salted some average-looking salmon, and sliced it up. Served sour cream and applesauce (actually the leftover pear-apple mix from the Peace Center desserts). In the past I've made various side dishes, but none of that this time. I did make an apple shalet for dessert: basically, bread pudding with baked sliced apples. It could have used some ice cream, but that's my usual reaction to fruit.

Weather bothers me too. Back in the summer I hated the heat so much I couldn't even recall what cold felt like, but it turns out that it hurts -- even more. I wanted to do some work on my nephew's house, but haven't felt like it (nor has he). Haven't done any projects here, at least beyond some minor leaf work. Nothing inside either. I keep talking about replacing the floor drain in the basement, and spent some money (bought the replacement drain, also a cement chisel since the hard part is busting up the old floor and mixing and pouring a new one), but have yet to start the work. (I did look into renting a small jack hammer, in case the hand tools aren't up to the job.)

And, of course, I'm running into various "confuser" problems. Since I set up an email list for technical advisors, I've been getting ten emails from my server every hour complaining about "excessive resource use" by the various Mailman scripts (none of which have delivered a single email as yet). I'm pretty sure they're false alarms -- e.g., the processes are sleeping, not using anything more than a little RAM -- but this means I find close to 200 new emails when I get up (obviously, not my only source of nuisance email, but a big one). I doubt the list itself will be any help for this particular problem: only two people have asked to join so far, both known to me and neither likely to be much technical help. If you can help on website tech issues, or just want to monitor and occasionally weigh in on user issues, please email me and ask to be signed up.

One tech problem I would have liked to throw open to the list had to do with the RSS Feed at Robert Christgau's website. When I checked it, after posting yesterday's XgauSez Q&A, my browser dropped all of the formatting I had seen from previous tests. I ran it through a validator, found and fixed a couple problems (mostly date/time format), and finally got it to validate. But I still get no format in Firefox. Since I've never used RSS feed clients, I'm having lots of trouble figuring out whether it's working. It could be that Firefox itself has changed: I know now that they've dropped their "Live Bookmarks" feature, but I'm not sure when (or aware of an update on my end). I need to do more research when I get some time, but it's one of those questions that someone probably knows much more about than I do.

I want to backport the RSS code to my own website, but should hold off until I understand it better. I thought I might try some experiments with my WordPress-based Notes on Everyday Life website, but I found it in a terrible mess -- itself a rabbit hole that would take me days (or weeks) to work back out of. Seemed easy when I originally built the site, but I don't seem to be able to get my mind around the tools this time (or have lost the patience for doing so). In fact, I still haven't fixed the boot problem on my new main working computer. Just did a software update this afternoon, so now it wants to be rebooted. Trouble is, it doesn't book cleanly since the last major update. I've been able to overcome this by switching into the BIOS and manually booting from there, but that always seems risky. So for now I think it would be a good idea to hold off until I post this and update everything else. Just a precaution, but as they keep telling us, we live in a dangerous world, where things we depend on can no longer be trusted to fucking work.

I should write something about progress with the EOY Aggregate file, but will have to save that for another day.


New records rated this week:

  • Andrew Barker/Daniel Carter: Polyhedron (2017 [2018], Astral Spirits): [bc]: B+(**)
  • Jon Batiste: Hollywood Africans (2018, Verve): [r]: B+(*)
  • Beak>: >>> (2018, Temporary Residence): [r]: B+(*)
  • Boygenius: Boygenius (2018, Matador, EP): [r]: B
  • Christine and the Queens: Chris (2018, Because Music): [r]: B+(**)
  • Maria Da Rocha: Beetroot & Other Stories (2018, Shhpuma): [r]: B+(**)
  • El Eco With Guillermo Nojechowicz: Puerto de Buenos Aires 1933 (2017, Zoho): [r]: B+(*)
  • Satoko Fujii Orchestra Tokyo: Kikoeru: Tribute to Masaya Kimura (2018, Libra): [cd]: A-
  • Fernando Garcia: Guasabara Puerto Rico (2017 [2018], Zoho): [r]: B+(*)
  • Vinny Golia/Henry Kaiser/Bob Moses/Damon Smith/Weasel Walter: Astral Plane Crash (2018, Balance Point Acoustics): [r]: B+(**)
  • Hamar Trio: Yesterday Is Here (2016 [2018], Clean Feed): [r]: B+(***)
  • Lonnie Holley: MITH (2018, Jagjaguwar): [r]: B
  • François Houle/Alexander Hawkins/Harris Eisenstadt: You Have Options (2016 [2018], Songlines): [r]: B+(***)
  • Quin Kirchner: The Other Side of Time (2018, Astral Spirits): [bc]: B+(***)
  • Knalpot: Dierendag (2017 [2018], Shhpuma): [r]: B+(*)
  • Leikeli47: Wash & Set (2017, Hardcover/RCA): [r]: B+(***)
  • Leikeli47: Acrylic (2018, Hardcover/RCA): [r]: B+(**)
  • Master Oogway: The Concert Koan (2017 [2018], Clean Feed): [r]: B+(**)
  • Peter McEachern Trio: Bone-Code (2017 [2018], Clean Feed): [r]: A-
  • Música De Selvagem: Volume Único (2017 [2018], Shhpuma, EP): [r]: B+(*)
  • Rico Nasty: Nasty (2018, Sugar Trap): [r]: B+(**)
  • Barre Phillips: End to End (2017 [2018], ECM): [r]: B+(***)
  • Antonio Raia: Asylum (2017 [2018], Clean Feed): [r]: B+(**)
  • Mattias Risberg: Stamps (2017 [2018], Clean Feed): [r]: B+(*)
  • Bobby Sanabria Manhattan Big Band: West Side Story: Reimagined (2017 [2018], Jazzheads, 2CD): [r]: B
  • Travis Scott: Astroworld (2018, Epic/Grand Hustle): [r]: B+(**)
  • Thollem/DuRoche/Stjames Trio: Live in Our Time (2015 2018], ESP-Disk): [r]: B+(*)

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

  • John Coltrane: 1963: New Directions (1963 [2018], Impulse!, 3CD): [r]: B+(***)
  • Soul of a Nation: Jazz Is the Teacher/Funk Is the Preacher (1969-75 [2018], Soul Jazz): [r]: B+(***)

Old music rated this week:

  • John Coltrane: Newport '63 (1961-63 [1993], Impulse!): [r]: A-
  • Barre Phillips: For All It Is (1973, Japo): [r]: B+(**)
  • Barre Phillips: Journal Violone 9 (2001, Émouvance): [r]: B+(*)


Unpacking: Found in the mail last week:

  • Bob Baldori/Arthur Migliazza: The Boogie Kings: Disturbing the Peace (Blujazz)
  • Bobby Bradford/Hafez Modirzadeh: Live at the Blue Whale (NoBusiness): cdr (lp only)
  • Marion Brown/Dave Burrell: Live at the Black Musicians' Conference, 1981 (NoBusiness)
  • Satoko Fujii Orchestra Tokyo: Kikoeru: Tribute to Masaya Kimura (Libra)
  • Jones Jones [Larry Ochs/Mark Dresser/Vladimir Tarasov]: A Jones in Time Saves Nine (NoBusiness): cdr (lp only)
  • Martin Küchen/Rafal Mazur: Baza (NoBusiness): cdr (lp only)
  • Doug MacDonald Trio: View of the City (Blujazz)
  • Liudas Mockünas: Hydro 2 (NoBusiness)
  • Joel Moore/Nick Mizock/Paul Scherer/Michael Barton/Paul Townsend: Magnetic EP (Blujazz, EP)
  • Simon Nabatov/Barry Guy/Gerry Hemingway: Luminous (NoBusiness)
  • Judy Night Quintet: Sliding on Glass: Live at 210 (Blujazz)
  • Howard Riley: Live in the USA (1976, NoBusiness)
  • Wadada Leo Smith/Sabu Toyozumi: Burning Meditation (1994, NoBusiness)

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Weekend Roundup

Some scattered links this (or the previous) week:

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Music Week

Music: current count 30774 [30736] rated (+38), 259 [264] unrated (-5).

No Weekend Roundup this week. Sunday was the deadline for ballots for the 13th Annual Jazz Critics Poll, and I spent pretty much every waking hour collecting and compiling mail, checking details on records, and occasionally kicking back requests for clarification or changes -- main problem is the arbitrary 10-year cutoff date between new and historical music categories. Still counted a couple of stragglers today, giving us 137 ballots -- same as in 2017. I expect results to be published at NPR sometime next week, but don't know anything for sure. Presumably they'll let me know in time for me to set up the complete totals and individual ballots on my website. I still have some annotation to do, but everything is pretty well set up on my end. That means I should get back to normal shortly -- it's just that aside from JCP, nothing I had planned to do last week got done, so I'm starting from a hole.

I did wind up making one minor change to my JCP ballot (see last week): I dropped Nik Bärtsch's Ronin: Awase from 10th place on my new list and moved Martin Küchen & Landaeus Trio: Vinyl into its slot from the Reissues/Historical list (moving the following three records there up). Küchen's music dates from 2013-14, so doesn't qualify as historical given the 10-year rule. And I decided that it isn't really a reissue, even though the music was previously released on two vinyl LPs. This was their first appearance on CD, and it's not unusual for new records to go through changes from format to format. Seemed like the best answer for JCP, although I still have it Reissue/Historical in my own still-evolving EOY lists Jazz (also Non-Jazz). Both of those lists grew by 2 last week, so now are 55-49. Still, none of the new records came close to being ballot picks.

No incoming CDs last week, although I did get a couple packages this week, including new releases from NoBusiness in Lithuania. I don't think I've ever run the numbers before, but my impression has long been that close to half of my top-rated albums come from European artists (22/55 this year) and/or labels (25/55) -- not that I'm sure I'm counting either right. (Add one in both columns for Japan/Asia.)

I should also offer a link to the EOY Aggregate file. I was close to caught up a week ago, but since then I've fallen way behind -- lots of lists are coming out, and I've only counted a few. So I expect quite a bit of change as I catch up.


New records rated this week:

  • Albatre: The Fall of the Damned (2018, Shhpuma): [r]: B
  • Anguish: Anguish (2018, RareNoise): [cdr]: B+(**)
  • Lotte Anker/Pat Thomas/Ingebrigt Hĺker Flaten/Stĺle Liavik Solberg: His Flight's at Ten (2016 [2018], Iluso): [bc]: B+(**)
  • Kadhja Bonet: Childqueen (2018, Fat Possum): [r]: B-
  • Butcher Brown: Camden Session (2018, Gearbox): [r]: B+(*)
  • Carla Campopiano Trio: Chicago/Buenos Aires Connections (2018, self-released): [cd]: B
  • Guillermo Celano/Jachim Badenhorst/Marcos Baggiani: Lili & Marleen (2016 [2018], Clean Feed): [r]: B+(**)
  • Coyote Poets of the Universe: Strange Lullaby (2018, Square Shaped, 2CD): [cd]: A-
  • Dystil: Dystil (2017 [2018], Clean Feed): [r]: B+(*)
  • Satoko Fujii/Joe Fonda: Mizu (2018, Long Song): [bc]: B+(***)
  • The Goon Sax: We're Not Talking (2018, Wichita): [r]: A-
  • Guillermo Gregorio/Rafal Mazur/Ramón López: Wandering the Sounds (2018, Fundacja Sluchaj): [bc]: B+(***)
  • Barry Guy: Barry Guy @ 70: Blue Horizon: Live at Ad Libitum ()2017 [2018], Fundacja Sluchaj, 3CD): [bc]: A-
  • Eric Harland: 13th Floor (2018, 13th Floor): [r]: B+(*)
  • Stefon Harris + Blackout: Sonic Creed (2017 [2018], Motéma): [r]: B-
  • Ingrid Jensen/Steve Treseler: Invisible Sounds: For Kenny Wheeler (2018, Whirlwind): [r]: B+(***)
  • Jessice Lurie: Long Haul (2017, Chant): [r]: B+(**)
  • Masta Ace & Marco Polo: A Breukelen Story (2018, Fat Beats): [bc]: B+(***)
  • Wojtek Mazolewski Quintet: Polka (2018, Whirlwind): [r]: A-
  • Onyx Collective: Lower East Suite Part One (2017, Big Dada, EP): [r]: B+(*)
  • Onyx Collective: Lower East Suite Part One (2017, Big Dada, EP): [r]: B+(*)
  • Onyx Collective: Lower East Suite Part Three (2018, Big Dada): [r]: B+(***)
  • Chris Pitsiokos/Susana Santos Silva/Torbjörn Zetterberg: Child of Illusion (2017 [2018], Clean Feed): [r]: B+(*)
  • Rosalía: El Mal Querer (2018, Sony Music): [r]: B
  • Akira Sakata & Chikamorachi With Masahiko Satoh: Proton Pump (2015 [2018], Family Vineyard): [r]: B+(***)
  • Akira Sakata/Simon Nabatov/Takashi Seo/Darren Moore: Not Seeing Is a Flower (2017 [2018], Leo): [r]: B+(**)
  • Josh Sinton's Predicate Trio: Making Bones, Taking Draughts, Bearing Unstable Millstones Pridefully, Idiotically, Prosaically (2018, Iluso): [bc]: B+(**)
  • Tirzah: Devotion (2018, Domino): [r]: B+(**)
  • Turbamulta: Turbamulta (2018, Clean Feed): [r]: B+(*)
  • Chucho Valdés: Jazz Batá 2 (2018, Mack Avenue): [r]; B+(***)
  • Voicehandler: Light From Another Light (2017 [2018], Humbler): [cd]: B+(*)
  • Walking Distance: Freebird by Walking Distance feat. Jason Moran (2018, Sunnyside): [r]: B+(***)
  • Aida Bird Wolfe: Birdie (2018, self-released): [cd]: B+(***)
  • Z-Country Paradise: Live in Lisbon (2016 [2018], Leo): [r]: A-

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

  • Joan Jett: Bad Reputation [Music From the Original Motion Picture] (1976-2016 [2018], Legacy): [r]: A-
  • L7: Wireless (1992 [2016], Easy Action): [r]: B+(***)
  • L7: Fast and Frightening (1990-98 [2016], Easy Action, 2CD): [r]: B+(**)

Old music rated this week:

  • L7: Slap-Happy (1999, Bong Load): [r]: B+(**)


Unpacking: Found in the mail last week: no music albums, but let's list some recent music books:

  • Robert Christgau: Is It Still Good to Ya? Fifty Years of Rock Criticism 1967-2017 (paperback, 2018, Duke University Press)
  • John Corbett: Vinyl Freak: Love Letters to a Dying Medium (paperback, 2017, Duke University Press)
  • Tom Smucker: Why the Beachboys Matter (paperback, 2018, University of Texas Press)

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Music Week

Music: current count 30736 [30692] rated (+44), 264 [271] unrated (-7).

Got so jammed up Monday I didn't get a word of this written on its appointed day, but I did manage to move the records from the scratch file and start on next week while I was falling behind. One task was to format Robert Christgau's latest XgauSez question and answer session, which came out in the wee hours of Tuesday morning. Another was counting ballots for the 13th Annual Jazz Critics Poll (56 in at present, deadline Sunday, December 9, 7pm). I can't show you any of that, but I've also been counting EOY lists for my EOY Aggregate, which you can track the progress of. Although lists started to appear before Thanksgiving, there wasn't much until December 1 (or the Monday after).

It occurs to me I should probably nail down my Jazz ballot now, rather than wait for the end of the week. Of course, my real list remains subject to change. If the past is any guide, I'll probably find a new A- record within 2-3 days, and something to nudge into the ballot territory in 10-15 days.

New Music:

  1. Joakim Milder/Fredrik Ljungkvist/Mathias Landraeus/Filip Augustson/Fredrik Rundkvist: The Music of Anders Garstedt (Moserobie)
  2. Peter Kuhn Trio: Intention (FMR)
  3. Kira Kira: Bright Force (Libra)
  4. Rich Halley 3: The Literature (Pine Eagle)
  5. Rodrigo Amado: A History of Nothing (Trost)
  6. James Brandon Lewis/Chad Taylor: Radiant Imprints (OFF) **
  7. Sons of Kemet: Your Queen Is a Reptile (Impulse!) **
  8. Henry Threadgill 14 or 15 Kestra: Agg: Dirt . . . and More Dirt (Pi)
  9. Kevin Sun: Trio (Ectomorph Music)
  10. Nik Bärtsch's Ronin: Awase (ECM) **

Reissues/Historical:

  1. Martin Küchen & Landaeus Trio: Vinyl (2013-14, Moserobie)
  2. Alexander Von Schlippenbach/Aki Takase: Live at Café Amores (1995, NoBusiness)
  3. Art Pepper: Unreleased Art Pepper Vol. 10: Toronto (1977, Widow's Taste, 3CD)
  4. Fred Hersch: Fred Hersch Trio '97 @ The Village Vanguard (Palmetto)

Vocal:

  1. Benjamin Boone/Philip Levine: The Poetry of Jazz (Origin)

Debut:

  1. Kevin Sun: Trio (Ectomorph Music)

Latin Jazz:

  1. David Virelles: Igbó Alákorin (The Singer's Groove) Vol I & II (Pi)

You may notice that the Reissues/Historical list doesn't match the EOY file. I decided to only include records that I have physical copies of -- partly to credit the few good publicist who actually still send me eligible records, and partly because some of the records on the current list (like the expanded Sonny Rollins Way Out West and the reduced Anthony Braxton Quartet (Willisau) 1991 Studio) are items I was already pretty familiar with. Also, note that only three Reissue/Historical albums will be counted. I went to four in case the judge decides that the Küchen album is too recent (although it is literally a reissue of recent vinyl releases).

[PS: I finally decided to treat Küchen/Landaeus as new and slot it at number 10, bumping Nik Bärtsch's Ronin from the top ten. So, turns out my blog-posted ballot didn't last 30 minutes before I had a change of heart/mind.]

I published Streamnotes (November 2018) last Friday, so most of this week's batch of newly rated records got written up there. I added one more jazz A- in the two days after Streamnotes (Flavio Zanuttini), and I've actually added one more in the two days between when I ended last week and as I'm writing now (Wojtek Mazolewski Quintet's Polka). My current division of A-lists is 53 Jazz vs. 47 Non-Jazz, so it's tilted a bit toward jazz over the last couple weeks.

I was hoping to get a couple of technical things set up so I could announce them this week, but didn't get around to doing the necessary work:

  • I plan on setting up an RSS feed, like I did for Robert Christgau's website. Same idea: manually manage a list of new/updated files (checking against a time-sorted list of files), and write a bit of code to format that list as RSS 2.0. This could just include the faux blog files -- that's certainly the piece that needs RSS exposure. Shouldn't take more than a couple hours to set up at this point.

  • I want to add a question-and-answer feature, like I did for Robert Christgau with XgauSez. It will take a couple hours to set up a special email account, add the captcha code, port the question form and the Q&A reader, and add some links. I'd also like to add some new features, like a keyword search.

  • I want to set up an email list (based on GNU Mailman) for people who would like to offer advice (technical but also user) on my various website projects (especially robertchristgau.com and tomhull.com, and a future music website, to be hosted at terminalzone.net). I've often found myself wishing I could tap into a pool of technical help, as well as to get comments on user design questions, especially as I undertake development projects, like the recent RSS feeds, and more importantly a redesign of the Christgau website. I expect this to be set up shortly after I post this, but it will (at least for the time being) be a private list, so if you want to join (to participate or maybe just to lurk) please send me email. Most likely I will subscribe you then, and you will receive email with an account password (which you can change). You can use your password to change your options (such as to elect to receive a daily digest instead of every email message as it's sent), or to unsubscribe. You may also at any time ask me to unsubscribe you.

So, one (mostly) down. The others shouldn't be too hard to get working in the next week. Also managed to get a stub set up over at Terminal Zone, so I can start hanging things there. Still, most of this coming week will go to tabulating ballots and collecting lists. I guess the latter qualifies as my favorite waste of time. At some point I need to stop and get onto other work, but for now, 'tis the season for it.


New records rated this week:

  • Juhani Aaltonen/Raoul Björkenheim: Awakening (2016 [2018], Eclipse): [r]: B+(**)
  • Tom Abbs & Frequency Response: Hawthorne (2018, Engine Studios): [r]: B+(***)
  • Anderson .Paak: Oxnard (2018, Aftermath/12 Tone Music): [r]: A-
  • Brom: Sunstroke (2017 [2018], Trost): [bc]: B+(**)
  • Peter Brötzmann/Heather Leigh: Sparrow Nights (2018, Trost): [bc]: B+(*)
  • Dustin Carlson: Air Ceremony (2017 [2018], Out of Your Head): [cd]: B+(**)
  • Neneh Cherry: Broken Politics (2018, Smalltown Supersound): [r]: B+(***)
  • Chicago Edge Ensemble: Insidious Anthem (2018, Trost): [bc]: B+(***)
  • Lando Chill: Black Ego (2018, Mello Music Group): [r]: B+(*)
  • Zack Clarke: Mesophase (2017 [2018], Clean Feed): [r]: B+(*)
  • Collective Order: Collective Order Vol. 3 (2018, self-released): [cd]: B
  • Francesco Cusa & the Assassins Meets Duccio Bertini: Black Poker (2017 [2018], Clean Feed): [r]: B+(*)
  • Drone Trio [Evelyn Davis/Fred Frith/Phillip Greenlief]: Lantskap Logic (2013 [2018], Clean Feed): [r]: B+(*)
  • James Francies: Flight (2018, Blue Note): [r]: B
  • Full Blast: Rio (2016 [2018], Trost): [bc]: B+(***)
  • Marquis Hill: Modern Flows Vol. 2 (2018, Black Unlimited Music Group): [r]: B
  • Khruangbin: Con Todo El Mundo (2018, Dead Oceans): [r]: B+(*)
  • Frank Kimbrough: Monk's Dreams: The Complete Compositions of Thelonious Sphere Monk (2017 [2018], Sunnyside, 6CD): [r]: A-
  • Roy Kinsey: Blackie: A Story by Roy Kinsey (2018, Not Normal): [bc]: B+(***)
  • Simone Kopmajer: Spotlight on Jazz (2018, Lucky Mojo): [cd]: B+(**)
  • Andrew Lamb Trio: The Casbah of Love (2018, Birdwatcher): [r]: B+(**)
  • Low: Double Negative (2018, Sub Pop): [r]: B+(*)
  • Kirk Knuffke/Steven Herring: Witness (2017 [2018], SteepleChase): [r]: B
  • Thomas Marriott: Romance Language (2017 [2018], Origin): [cd]: B+(**)
  • Joakim Milder/Fredrik Ljungkvist/Mathias Landraeus/Filip Augustson/Fredrik Rundkvist: The Music of Anders Garstedt (2016 [2018], Moserobie): [cd]: A
  • Father John Misty: God's Favorite Customer (2018, Sub Pop): [r]: B
  • Fredrik Nordström: Needs (2018, Clean Feed): [r]: B+(***)
  • Miles Okazaki: Work: The Complete Compositions of Thelonios Monk (2018, self-released, 6CD): [bc]: B+(***)
  • Caterina Palazzi/Sudoku Killer: Asperger (2017 [2018], Clean Feed): [r]: B+(***)
  • Charlie Porter: Charlie Porter (2018, Porter House): [r]: B+(*)
  • Quoan [Brian Walsh/Daniel Rosenboom/Sam Minaie/Mark Ferber]: Fine Dining (2017 [2018], Orenda): [r]: B+(**)
  • Ernesto Rodrigues/Guilherme Rodrigues/Bruno Parrinha/Luís Lopes/Vasco Trillo: Lithos (2017 [2018], Creative Sources): [cd]: B+(**)
  • Renee Rosnes: Beloved of the Sky (2017 [2018], Smoke Sessions): [r]: B+(**)
  • John Scofield: Combo 66 (2018, Verve): [r]: B+(**)
  • Sleep: The Sciences (2018, Third Man): [r]: B+(*)
  • Marcus Strickland Twi-Life: People of the Sun (2018, Blue Note): [r]: B
  • Trio Heinz Herbert: Yes (2018, Intakt): [cd]: B+(***)
  • The Way Ahead: Bells Ghosts and Other Saints (2017 [2018], Clean Feed): [r]: B+(*)
  • Mars Williams: Mars Williams Presents an Ayler Xmas (2017, Soul What): [bc]: B+(***)
  • Mars Williams: Mars Williams Presents an Ayler Xmas: Volume 2 (2018, Soul What): [bc]: B+(**)
  • Yoko Yamaoka: Diary 2005-2015: Yuko Yamaoka Plays the Music of Satoko Fujii (2018, Libra, 2CD): [cd]: B+(**)
  • Flavio Zanuttini Opacipapa: Born Baby Born (2018, Clean Feed): [r]: A-

Old music rated this week:

  • Boneshaker: Unusual Words (2012 [2014], Soul What): [bc]: B+(***)
  • Billie Holiday: Songs for Distingué Lovers (1957 [1958], Verve): [r]: A-
  • Terry Pollard: Terry Pollard (1955, Bethlehem): [r]: B+(***)


Unpacking: Found in the mail last week:

  • Sam Broverman: A Jewish Boy's Christmas (Brovermusic)
  • Scheen Jazzorchester/Eyolf Dale: Commuter Report (Losen)

Sunday, December 02, 2018

Weekend Roundup

Any week since Trump became president, spend a day or two and you'll come up with a fairly long list of pieces worth citing, and the sense that you're still missing much of what is going on. For instance, my usual sources on Israel/Palestine have yet to catch up with this: Josef Federman: Israeli Police Recommend Indicting Netanyahu on Bribery Charges. Seems like that should be at least as big a story as Putin and Saudi crown prince high-five at G20 summit. But this is all I came up with for the week.

I probably should have written standalone pieces on GWH Bush and on Jill Lepore's These Truths, but wound up squeezing some notes here for future reference. Under Bush, I wondered how many articles I'd have to read -- critical as well as polite or even adulatory -- before someone would bring up what I regard as the critical juncture in his period as president: his invasion of Panama. I lost track, but in 20-30 pieces I looked at, none broached the topic. I had to search specifically before I came up with this one: Greg Grandin: How the Iraq War Began in Panama. When Bush became president, people still talked about a "Vietnam syndrome" which inhibited American politicians and their generals from starting foreign wars. Bush is generally credited as having "kicked the Vietnam syndrome," with two aggressive wars, first in Panama, then in Iraq. Bush and the media conspired to paint those wars as glorious successes, the glow from which enabled Clinton, Bush II, and Obama to launch many more wars: Somalia, Haiti, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq (again), Syria, as well as dozens of more marginal operations. Woodrow Wilson once claimed to be fighting "a war to end all wars." Bush's legacy was more modest: a war to kindle many more wars.

Oddly enough, the story below that links up most directly to Bush's legacy of war is the one about the increasing rate of premature deaths (suicides and overdoses). That's what you get from decades of nearly continuous war since Bush invaded Panama in 1989. The other contributing factor has been increasing income inequality, which has followed a straight line ever since 1981, when the Reagan/Bush administration slashed taxes on the rich.

Recently, we've seen many naive people praise Bush for, basically, not being as flat-out awful as his Republican successors. They've done this without giving the least thought to how we got to where we are now. The least they could do is check out Kevin Phillips' 2004 book: American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune, and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush.


Some scattered links this week:


Nov 2018 Jan 2019