Monday, June 12, 2023

Music Week

June archive (in progress).

Tweet: Music Week: 54 albums, 2 A-list,

Music: Current count 40392 [40338] rated (+54), 16 [16] unrated (-0).

I wrote another long Speaking of Which (5822 words, 105 links). Started early to capture the tweets at the bottom, then had to restructure twice after Trump was indicted. Even pulling the Trump pieces out, I still had more pieces in the section on other Republicans. Anyone who fancies that DeSantis might be less bad than Trump should read the Ezra Klein piece.

The environment section is a bit skimpy, especially in my comments, but the pieces (and even the titles) speak for themselves. The Ukraine stories drew me out more, but I still never got around to making the most obvious point, which is that this week's horrible stories are the natural consequence of not negotiating an end to the war a year ago, and not preventing it two-to-eight years ago.

Further down, the Irin Carmon and Sarah Jones interviews remind us of the real world impacts of Republicans' obsession with controlling pregnancy. The Dean Baker and Ryan Cooper pieces remind us that Pharma profits are rigged by policy choices that can be changed. The James Galbraith piece works as a tombstone over the debt fiasco. As I recall, he wrote a similarly belated piece on the 2008-09 bank bailouts, which argued that we should have let the banks fail, and put the public money into helping those who got hurt, as opposed to those who were responsible for the recession. Given how little progress we've made on getting the banks to work for the general good, it's hard to say he's wrong. And the Zachary Carter piece points out current myths about inflation, and points to better solutions than the classic Volcker recession. (And yes, let's call it that, unless you can convince me that it's really Milton Friedman's fault -- not implausible, given his contribution to NAIRU.)

Lots of good-but-not-great records below. Stereogram seems to have been first out of the gate with a "best of 2023 so far" list. At least, that's the first one I saw. By the time I counted, I had heard 33 (of 50) albums on the list (probably closer to 40 now, but I've lost track). Then I started looking for more, and found the following:

I did a partial tabulation (probably 10 of 13 lists, skipping the last three added -- if memory serves, Mixmag, Pitchfork, and Saving Country Music). This gives the following frequency of mentions (almost none of the lists were ranked, so no point trying to weight them). The following records appeared three or more times (numbered by count; my grades in brackets):

  1. Lana Del Rey: Did You Know That There's a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd (Interscope/Polydor) [B+(**)]
  2. Billy Woods & Kenny Segal: Maps (Backwoodz Studioz) [A-]
  3. JPEGMafia & Danny Brown: Scaring the Hoes (AWAL) [B+(*)]
    Kelela: Raven (Warp) [B+(**)]
    Caroline Polachek: Desire, I Want to Turn Into You (Perpetual Novice) [B+(*)]
    Jessie Ware: That! Feels Good! (PMR/EMI) [A-]
    Wednesday: Rat Saw God (Dead Oceans) [B+(*)]
  4. Boygenius: The Record (Interscope) [B]
    Paramore: This Is Why (Atlantic) [B+(*)]
    Yves Tumor: Praise a Lord Who Chews but Which Does Not Consume (Or Simply, Hot Between Worlds) (Warp) [B+(**)]
    Yo La Tengo: This Stupid World (Matador) [A-]
  5. Yaeji: With a Hammer (XL) [B+(*)
  6. Lil Yachty: Let's Start Here (Quality Control Music/UMG) [B+(*)]
    Kali Uchis: Red Moon in Venus (Interscope) [B+(**)]
  7. Black Country, New Road: Live at Bush Hall (Ninja Tune) [B+(*)]
    El Michels Affair & Black Thought: Glorious Game (Big Crown) [A-]
    Feist: Multitudes (Polydor) [B+(*)]
    Fever Ray: Radical Romantics (Rabid/Mute) [B+(**)]
    Debby Friday: Good Luck (Sub Pop) [A-]
    Boldy James/Rich Gains: Indiana Jones (self-released) [B+(**)]
    Kaytraminé [Amine/Kaytranada]: Kaytraminé (Venice Music) [B+(***)]
    Metallica: 72 Seasons (Blackened) []
    Model/Actriz: Dogsbody (True Panther Sounds) []
    Arlo Parks: My Soft Machine (Transgressive) [A-]
    Water From Your Eyes: Everyone's Crushed (Matador) [B+(**)]

I have six A- records there. Christgau has just two so far, and his (JPEGMafia and Boygenius, both full A) aren't in my six. Two I haven't heard yet. I'll probably fix that, but given that the only Metallica album I've heard so far landed at C-, it's hard to see much point.

This probably skews a bit more toward hip-hop than my recent EOY aggregates, but I count that as a plus. On the other hand, virtually no country (even "Americana") or jazz made the lists. I don't know of anyone who's done a "best jazz so far" list, but I can copy one out from my always-changing scratch list:

  1. Art Ensemble of Chicago: The Sixth Decade From Paris to Paris: Live at Sons D'Hiver (RogueArt, 2CD)
  2. George Coleman: Live at Smalls Jazz Club (Cellar)
  3. Mark Feldman/Dave Rempis/Tim Daisy: Sirocco (Aerophonic)
  4. Lakecia Benjamin: Phoenix (Whirlwind)
  5. Ivo Perelman/Ray Anderson/Joe Morris/Reggie Nicholson: Molten Gold (Fundacja Sluchaj) **
  6. Javier Red's Imagery Converter: Life & Umbrella (Desafio Candente)
  7. Jason Moran: From the Dancehall to the Battlefield (Yes) **
  8. Floy Krouchi/James Brandon Lewis/Benjamin Sanz: Cliffs (Off '22)
  9. Ivo Perelman/Joe Morris: Elliptic Time (Mahakala Music '22) **
  10. Wadada Leo Smith and Orange Wave Electric: Fire Illuminations (Kabell) **
  11. Peter Brötzmann/Majid Bekkas/Hamid Drake: Catching Ghosts (ACT) **
  12. Jim Black & the Schrimps: Ain't No Saint (Intakt) **
  13. Ivo Perelman/Dave Burrell/Bobby Kapp: Trichotomy (Mahakala Music) **
  14. Christian McBride's New Jawn: Prime (Mack Avenue) **
  15. Natural Information Society: Since Time Is Gravity (Aguirre/Eremite) **
  16. Das Kondensat: Andere Planeten (WhyPlayJazz)
  17. Allen Lowe and the Constant Sorrow Orchestra: In the Dark (ESP-Disk, 3CD)
  18. Dave Rempis/Elisabeth Harnik/Fred Lonberg-Holm/Tim Daisy: Earscratcher (Aerophonic) **
  19. Margherita Fava: Tatatu (self-released)
  20. Ivo Perelman/Elliott Sharp: Artificial Intelligence (Mahakala Music) **
  21. The Mark Lomax Trio: Tapestry (CFG Multimedia) **
  22. Anthony Branker & Imagine: What Place Can Be for Us? A Suite in Ten Movements (Origin)
  23. Henry Threadgill Ensemble: The Other One (Pi)
  24. Kaze & Ikue Mori: Crustal Movement (Libra)
  25. Daniel Bingert: Ariba (Moserobie)
  26. James Brandon Lewis Trio: Eye of I (Anti-) **
  27. Allen Lowe and the Constant Sorrow Orchestra: America: The Rough Cut (ESP-Disk)
  28. Jo Lawry: Acrobats (Whirlwind)

Don't put much stock in the order: this has been haphazardly assembled since January and I haven't done any editing, let alone rechecking. Not that it makes much difference these days, but ** indicates streamed or downloaded, with the rest on CD (pretty sure there's no vinyl here. Of this list, the only albums I'm more than 50:50 confident will end up in the top ten in year-end critics polls are McBride, Threadgill, and Lewis (on Anti-), although AEC, Benjamin, Moran, Smith, and/or Lowe could surprise; NIS is a real left field prospect. In most of these cases, the artists are sufficiently well-known, but the labels have little if any track record at getting the music out to critics.

PS: Three more links: The Week; Subjective Sounds; i-D.

New records reviewed this week:

6lack: Since I Have a Lover (2023, Interscope): Singer-rapper Ricardo Valentine, born in Baltimore but grew up in Atlanta. B+(**) [sp]

Amber Arcades: Barefoot on Diamond Road (2023, Fire): Alias for Dutch singer-songwriter Annelotte de Graaf, third album since 2016, following EPs going back to 2013. B+(*) [sp]

Vicente Archer: Short Stories (2022 [2023], Cellar): Bassist, first album as leader but has 70+ side credits, starting with Donald Harrison in 1999. He wrote three (of ten) pieces here, with pianist Gerald Clayton contributing one and drummer Bill Stewart two. B+(**) [cd]

Nanny Assis: Rovanio: The Music of Nanny Assis (2023, In + Out): Brazilian singer-songwriter, percussionist, has some forty years experience but not much on Discogs. Lines up a notable array of jazz musicians for this career review. B+(**) [cd] [06-23]

Baby Rose: Through and Through (2023, Secretly Canadian): Soul singer, born 1994 in Washington, DC; full name Jasmine Rose Wilson; second album after a mixtape and a couple EPs (one with J Dilla). Her default is a slow ballad, sometimes sultry, occasionally livened up by a guest rapper. B+(*) [sp]

Beach Fossils: Bunny (2023, Bayonet): Indie band from Brooklyn, fourth album since 2010. Fairly mild with a little jangle. [sp]

BigXthaPlug: Amar (2023, United Masters): Texas rapper, poppin' his "shit on a whole other level." B+(*) [sp]

Black Country, New Road: Live at Bush Hall (2023, Ninja Tune): British group, from Cambridgeshire, their first two albums (2021-22) much hyped and highly regarded -- I liked them well enough, but can't say I was much of a fan. Then lead singer Isaac Wood up and quit before the second appeared. The other six members persevered, promoting May Karshaw and Tyler Hyde to lead vocalists, going on the road to sort out a new batch of songs. This is the result, decent enough, though I'm still not much of a fan. B+(*) [sp]

Bully: Lucky for You (2023, Sub Pop): Band alias for singer-songwriter Alicia Bognanno, fourth album, looks back to 1990s grunge. B+(**) [sp]

Gail Caesar: Guitar Woman Blues (2023, Music Maker): From Virginia, b. 1984, probably her first album, an acoustic set singing over guitar. B+(**) [bc]

Conway the Machine: Won't He Do It (2023, Drumwork/Empire): Buffalo rapper, lots of mixtapes from 2014 on, third studio album. B+(**) [sp]

Clarence "Bluesman" Davis: Shake It for Me (2023, Music Maker): Born 1945 in or near Eufala, Alabama, where he still lives. Seems to be his first album, but has a steady sound, with a little extra jangle to the guitar -- reminiscent of the label's 2020 compilation Hanging Tree Guitars. A- [bc]

Ensemble 0: Jojoni [Made to Measure Vol. 49] (2023, Crammed Discs): Minimalist group from France, founded in 2004 and directed by Stéphane Garin and Sylvain Chauveau. Seven pieces here, built around drum machine and jangly percussion. B+(**) [sp]

Feeble Little Horse: Girl With Fish (2023, Saddle Creek): Indie pop band from Pittsburgh, second album, lo-fi and off-kilter and occasionally glitchy, the vocals only approximately in tune, which is close enough. B+(***) [sp]

Feist: Multitudes (2023, Polydor): Canadian singer-songwriter Leslie Feist, sixth studio album since 1999, two of which charted top-20. At her most solemn, sounds a bit like Joni Mitchell, but builds a bit more on top, and is more interesting when she does ("Borrow Trouble"). B+(*) [sp]

Tomas Fujiwara's Triple Double: March On (2019 [2023], self-released): Drummer, assembled this group -- his usual trio with Taylor Ho Bynum (cornet) and Mary Halvorson (guitar), plus a second one with Ralph Alessi (trumpet), Brandon Seabrook (guitar), and Gerald Cleaver (drums) -- for his 2022 album March. This download-only "EP" is an outtake: three tiny slivers of sound, plus the 31:27 title piece. B+(***) [dl]

Jack Harlow: Jackman (2023, Generation Now/Atlantic): Best-selling white rapper from Louisville, never heard of him until I saw him hosting Saturday Night Live, by which time he had two albums out: with this one, his AOTY scores are { 60(4), 48(10), 55(6) }, with tags: corny, overhated, white, mid, pop rap, bad. I'd say underwhelming, but pretty decent. B+(*) [sp]

Heinali: Kyiv Eternal (2023, Injazero): Ukrainian electronica producer Oleg Shpudeiko, over a dozen albums since 2010. Ambient drone, thankfully not interrupted by cruise missiles. B+(*) [sp]

Ian Hunter: Defiance Part 1 (2023, Sun): Some young dudes manage to get old, in this case 83. He hasn't been especially prolific, with this his first studio album since 2014. But he seems in good voice, and rounded up a famous dudes to help out, although not even Ringo Starr or Jeff Beck are older. B+(*) [sp]

Illegal Crowns: Unclosing (2022 [2023], Out of Your Heads): Quartet, major talents, in given order: Tomas Fujiwara (drums), Taylor Ho Bynum (cornet/flugelhorn), Mary Halvorson (guitar), Benoit Delbecq (piano). Three tracks each except Bynum. Seems like it should be sharper but everyone fits tightly in their chamber jazz concept. B+(**) [cd]

Império Pacifico: Clubs Hit (2023, Variz): Electronica duo from Portugal: Luan Bellussi and Pedro Tavares. Second album, neat beats and blips. Six tracks, 35:56. B+(**) [sp]

Boldy James & Rich Gains: Indiana Jones (2023, self-released): Rapper from Atlanta via Detroit, eleventh album since 2013, co-credited with various producers, this the first with Gains. Low-key delivery, bleak aesthetic, tucked in tight. B+(**) [sp]

Lil Yachty: Let's Start Here (2023, Quality Control Music/UMG): Atlanta rapper Miles McCollum, was barely still 19 when his debut, Teenage Emotions, dropped. Fifth album here, time for a reboot. The cover, with its mismatched face parts, is genuinely disturbing, suggesting AI run amok -- or psychedelic, which seems to be the default music tag, whatever that means (mostly clouds of guitar-and-keyboard wash). He's turned into a singer. Give him a beat and some edges and he might develop into a third-generation Prince. B+(*) [sp]

Mandy, Indiana: I've Seen a Way (2023, Fire Talk): Group from Manchester, UK, with French vocalist Valentine Caulfield and Scott Fair (guitar), with Simon Catling (synth) and Alex MacDougall (drums). Group name a variant on Gary, Indiana, presumably chosen for their post-industrial klang, although the steel industry abandoned Gary long ago. B+(**) [sp]

Gia Margaret: Romantic Piano (2021-22 [2023], Jagjaguwar): Pianist, from Chicago, two previous albums which generally slot as ambient. Twelve short pieces (26:42), most solo but occasionally picks up some help. B+(*) [sp]

Ryan Meagher: AftEarth (2021 [2023], Atroefy): Guitarist, based in Portland, sixth album, quartet with Tim Willcox (sax), Andrew Jones (bass), and Charlie Doggett (drums). Most impressive when they risk a little noise, but they offer a nice mix in any case. Packaged with a 62-page booklet of pen-and-ink drawings by Tina Granzo, themed to the pieces, or vice versa. B+(***) [cd]

Metro Boomin: Heroes & Villains (2022, Boominati/Republic): Hip-hop producer Leland Tyler Wayne, has co-credits with 21 Savage, and a previous album which exposed his superhero theme. This offers one side each way, but I'm more stuck by his steady hand. B+(**) [sp]

Metro Boomin: Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse [Soundtrack From & Inspired by the Motion Picture] (2022, Boominati/Republic): Payoff for his superhero obsession, a Marvell soundtrack tie-in, with enough budget for a star-laden guest list. Still, the thirteen pieces are about what you'd expect in the hip-hop producer's third album: the music is a bit more varied, the lyrics every bit as forgettable. Meanwhile, a separate release credited to Daniel Pemberton collects 107 minutes of background score as Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse [Original Score]. I'll pass on that one. B+(*) [r]

Janelle Monáe: The Age of Pleasure (2023, Bad Boy): Funk/pop star, from Kansas City (the one in Kansas), dropped last name Robinson, fourth album, a more modest effort than her last couple, clocking in at 31:49, but still a delight. A- [sp]

MSPAINT: Post-American (2023, Convulse): Postpunk band from Hattiesburg, Mississippi; substitutes a synthesizer for the usual guitar, backed by bass and drums, with a singer going as Deedee. B+(**) [sp]

Nakibembe Embaire Group: Nakibembe Embaire Group (2023, Nyege Nyege Tapes): Ugandan group, Nakibembe is their home town, embaire is large wooden xylophone. [sp]

Kevin O'Connell Quartet Featuring Adam Brenner: Hot New York Minutes (2023, Ignoramus Music): Pianist, started with Clifford Jordan in the late 1980s, although he doesn't have much under his own name. Brenner plays sax, the quartet rounded out with bass (Paul Gill) and drums (Mark Taylor). B+(**) [cd]

Oddisee: To What End (2023, Outer Note): DC rapper Amir Mohamed el Khalifa, father from Sudan, tenth album since 2008, underground beats, weaves a half-dozen mostly unknown guests into a tight tapestry. "What does it matter if it's less or more the same?" B+(***) [sp]

Dave Okumu & the Seven Generations: I Come From Love (2023, Transgressive): Singer-songwriter, born in Vienna, moved to UK when he was ten, fronted The Invisible (2009-16), solo album in 2021, also part of London Brew, production credits include Jessie Ware. Rather hard for me to follow, although the spoken word reminds me of Gil Scott-Heron, and the few words I catch reinforce the link. Some (slim) chance I'm massively underrating this. B+(*) [sp]

Panic Shack: Baby Shack (2022, Brace Yourself, EP): Postpunk group from Cardiff, Wales; Sarah Harvey the lead singer. Six songs, 18:20. B+(**) [sp]

P!nk: Trustfall (2023, RCA): Pop singer-songwriter, Alecia Moore, ninth studio album since 2000. A bit more ballad-heavy than I'd prefer. B+(**) [sp]

Shelton Powe: Shelton Powe (2022, Music Maker): Blues singer-guitarist, b. 1957, in the "Piedmont finger-style guitar tradition of his parents and elders." Also has a thing for religious songs, which he sings as casually as "Railroad Bill." B+(**) [bc]

Caroline Rose: The Art of Forgetting (2023, New West): Singer-songwriter from Long Island, tried her hand at folk/country, moved on to more pop/rock, fifth album since 2012. "Only the rich get second chances." And: "come on babe, take all this pain, and learn to love yourself again." B+(*) [sp]

Esther Rose: Safe to Run (2023, New West): Singer-songwriter, originally from Michigan, tried New Orleans before moving to New Mexico; first recorded (2013) with then-husband Luke Winslow-King, fourth solo album since. B+(**) [sp]

Frankie Rose: Love as Projection (2023, Slumberland): Singer-songwriter, was in several bands -- Crystal Stilts, Dum Dum Girls, Vivian Girls -- before going with her name in Frankie Rose and the Outs in 2010. Sixth solo album since. B [sp]

Jeffrey Scott: Going Down to Georgia on a Hog (2023, Music Maker): Nephew of John Jackson (1924-2002), a Piedmont bluesman who gave up playing in 1949, then got "discovered" in the late 1960s, a readymade classic. Many details about Scott are unclear, but he runs a farm, raises hogs and Texas longhorns, does side work as a mortician and long-haul truck driver, and picks and sings his way through a dozen folk blues, some well known. Voice reminds me of a different Jackson, an even older Memphis songster, Jim Jackson (1876-1933). B+(***) [bc]

Screaming Females: Desire Pathway (2023, Don Giovanni): New Jersey band, eighth album since 2006, Marissa Paternoster the lead screamer and (presumably) only female. B [sp]

Paul Simon: Seven Psalms (2023, Owl/Legacy): Past 80, wrote this "meditation on faith and death" in the middle of the night, flowing out of dream time, then jammed all seven pieces into one 33:02 cut that seems much longer. B [sp]

Skech185 & Jeff Markey: He Left Nothing for the Swim Back (2023, Backwoodz Studioz): Rapper Willie McIntyre Jr. and producer Markey, vocals a harsh growl but the beats keep coming. B+(**) [sp]

Sparks: The Girl Is Crying in Her Latte (2023, Island): Brothers Ron and Russell Mael, brilliantly lampooned their jangly falsetto shtick with their sophomore title (A Woofer in Tweeter's Clothing), tempted me with their next two albums, after which I grew annoyed and tuned out. But fifty years later, they're still at it, garnering more praise than ever, but still annoyiong. B- [sp]

Squid: O Monolith (2023, Warp): British band, from Brighton, second album, Ollie Judge the singer and drummer. This is gnarly enough I wonder if they have the potential to be something like Pavement. But I doubt it, and I'm not even sure that would be a good idea. B+(**) [sp]

Superviolet: Infinite Spring (2023, Lame-O): Columbus, Ohio group, first album, principally Steve Ciolek (vocals, guitar, keyboards). B+(*) [sp]

Tinariwen: Amatssou (2023, Wedge): Tuareg (Saharan) group, originally from northern Mali with ties to Algeria and Libya, date back to 1979 but first album available elsewhere didn't appear until 2001. This is their ninth, and least exciting -- not sure if the weariness is theirs or ours. B+(*) [sp]

U.S. Girls: Bless This Mess (2023, 4AD): Toronto-based band led by American expat Meghan Remy, eighth album since 2008. B+(**) [sp]

Water From Your Eyes: Everyone's Crushed (2023, Matador): New York duo, Nate Amos and Rachel Brown, specify pronouns but not instruments, several albums since 2017. B+(**) [sp]

Zulu: A New Tomorrow (2023, Flatspot): Hardcore band from Los Angeles, first album after a couple EPs, fifteen short tracks (28:45). Soul samples and spoken word pounded rough and ragged. B+(*) [sp]

Recent reissues, compilations, and vault discoveries:

Walter Bishop Jr.: Bish at the Bank: Live in Baltimore (1966-67 [2023], Reel to Real): Pianist (1927-98), father was a drummer of some note (played with Jabbo Smith in the 1920s; wrote several songs of note, including "Swing, Brother, Swing" and "Jack You're Dead"), started with Art Blakey in 1948, recorded with Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Hank Mobley, and Gene Ammons, leading his own groups from 1961. Quartet here with Harold Vick (tenor/soprano sax, flute), Lou McIntosh (bass), and Dick Berk (drums). Two sets, separated by six months. Vick is especially solid here, at least on tenor. B+(***) [sp]

Alan Braxe/Fred Falke: The Upper Cuts [2023 Edition] (2005 [2023], Smugglers Way): French house pioneers, the famed album originally credited to Alan Braxe & Friends, with Falke sharing most song credits. B+(***) [sp]

Clifford Jordan: Drink Plenty Water (1974 [2023], Harvest Song): "Long-lost vocal jazz session," originally recorded for Strata-East, with Donna Jordan Harris and David Smyrl vocalists (plus three backup singers) and a nine-piece band including Bill Hardman (trumpet), Dick Griffin (trombone), Charlie Rose (tenor sax), and Stanley Cowell (piano), plus cello, drums, and two basses (Bill Lee credited for arrangements). I'm not wild about the more vocalese stuff, but Smyrl's "Talking Blues" is worth a listen, and the instrumental version holds up, too. B+(***) [cd]

RP Boo: Legacy Volume 2 (2002-07 [2023], Planet Mu): Chicago-based footwork producer Kavain Space, follows up his 2013 Legacy (his first album) with a second collection of early rhythm tracks. B+(*) [sp]

Tyler, the Creator: Call Me if You Get Lost: The Estate Sale (2021 [2023], Columbia): Los Angeles rapper Tyler Okonma, debut mixtape 2009, his sixth album Call Me if You Get Lost (2021) a big critical as well as commercial hit. I was surprised to see this pop up on a mid-year list; alternatively, I was surprised I hadn't heard of a new album before. But it turns out this is just a reissue, padded out with eight extra tracks from the same sessions, pushing the length to 77:02. I've never been much of a fan, but gave the original album a B+(***). The extra tracks aren't bad, but the main thing they add is length, so: B+(**) [sp]

Old music:


Unpacking: Found in the mail last week:

  • Roxana Amed/Frank Carlberg: Los Trabajos Y Las Noches (Sony Music Latin) [06-09]
  • Charlie Apicella & Iron City Meet The Griots Speak: Destiny Calling (OA2) [06-16]
  • Blue Cranes: My Only Secret (Jealous Butcher/Beacon Sound) [08-11]
  • Kaisa's Machine: Taking Shape (Greenleaf Music) [07-07]
  • Ryan Keberle's Collectiv Do Brasil: Considerando (Alternate Side) [07-14]
  • Kevin O'Connell Quartet Featuring Adam Brenner: Hot New York Minutes (Ignoramus Music) [05-15]

Ask a question, or send a comment.