The Best Non-Jazz Albums of 2016

Initial draft collected on Nov. 14, 2016. The file will be updated as additional worthy records are found (although updating may lag behind the official 2016 list). Last year's list was never frozen (OK, let's say it was frozen on Nov. 14, 2016). There also exists a parallel list of The Best Jazz of 2016.

Note: numbering of lists (aside from A/A-) is only temporary, to make it easier for me to tally up stats.

For A-list only: [*] indicates that I reviewed this on the basis of an advance, often a CDR copy (a good thing, I might add, for vinyl-only releases). [**] identifies a record that I've only heard via download or through a streaming service like Rhapsody/Napster.

For all lists, I've included 2015 (and in rare cases earlier) records that I discovered after last year's freeze date, but I've only included such records if they were so little known that they received less than five points in the 2015 metacritic file. These are marked, e.g., -15, after the label.

New Music

1. Pet Shop Boys: Super (X2) ** "Happiness" has yet to connect but "The Pop Kids" would fit perfectly into their 1980s best-of, and other songs already remind me of Very. Sometimes you have to step back to go forward. **

2. Brandy Clark: Big Day in a Small Town (Warner Brothers)
Quite some songwriter, storyteller too, but she turns so many clever phrases with heaven and hell (e.g., "since you've gone to heaven the whole world's gone to hell") and love lost and scorned ("if you want the girl next door, go next door . . . and don't look back"). **

3. Drive-By Truckers: American Band (ATO)
First thing you notice is how easily Patterson Hood's southern drawl flows over the contour of the melodies. Then words kick in, starting with a remarkable song about race and shooting deaths which works in a not unrelated bit of domestic violence. **

4. Aesop Rock: The Impossible Kid (Rhymesayers)
Rapper Ian Bavitz, first album came out in 2000 when his rapid fire and loquacious vocabulary gave critics an opportunity to show off fancy words of their own, like logorrhea. I still listen to this sort of thing mostly for the beats, which pass muster, but when I do catch a rhyme it helps if it's smart. **

5. Swet Shop Boys: Cashmere (Customs)
My kind of supergroup, two rappers with Indian/Pakistani heritage, although the Indian was born in Queens, New York (Heems, aka Himanshu Kumar Suri, formerly of Das Racist) and the Pakistani in London (MC Riz, aka Riz Ahmed, who had a standout acting role in HBO's The Night Of playing another Queens boy. As postmodern westerners, they see the potential of playing off their heritage, especially as they intuit it gets under the skin of less worldly westerners. **

6. Parquet Courts: Human Performance (Rough Trade)
Probably the alt/indie band of the decade, based on two previous albums and several EPs, evolves a bit, their sound adding traces of Pavement (the alt/indie band of the 1990s) to their Velvets motherlode. Takes longer to digest, especially since there are more ballads than burners. **

7. Miranda Lambert: The Weight of These Wings (RCA Nashville, 2CD)
Twenty-four songs, runs 94:01, the first disc titled "The Nerve" and the second "The Heart." Gossip columnists tell us it's about her breakup with Blake Shelton and her current relationship with Anderson East. Still, not much tumult here -- certainly no "Kerosene" -- everything on a level keel, made me wonder why the album had to be so damn long. Probably because she's got a lot to say, as extra plays keep revealing. **

8. Anderson .Paak: Malibu (OBE/Steel Wool/ArtClub/Empire)
Brandon Paak Anderson, who previously did business as Breezy Lovejoy, from Oxnard, CA. Second album, sings and raps, the beats skewed out a bit stoned. Seems to have worked as a "marijuana farmer" some while back, then did a stint as homeless, so he can do down and out and get through it somehow. **

9. Wussy: Forever Sounds (Shake It)
Cincinnati alt/indie band, active since 2005, leader Chuck Cleaver had a notable earlier band called the Ass Ponys but picked up a dimension adding Lisa Walker to the band. This comes off both denser and spacier than their average album, which is reliably meaty -- though I can't say as I'm picking up many lyrics this time. But then I've always been slow getting them. **

10. Gwen Stefani: This Is What the Truth Feels Like (Interscope)
Blonde bombshell singer, a cover favorite of Blender magazine back in the day, which included two 2000-02 albums fronting No Doubt, and two 2004-06 solo albums. A decade later this is her third album, done with four production teams and an average of four writers per song, which for a pop album with hip-hop touches is about par for the course. I can't say much for her old work, but pretty much every song here clicks for me. **

11. B.J. the Chicago Kid: In My Mind (Motown)
AMG says "Contemporary R&B" -- means Bryan James Sledge sings in a context more or less defined by hip-hop, although the son of church choir directors and the former backup for Stevie Wonder also has much fondness for the sweet ballad. Sprawling album, runs over an hour and could use some editing, but if I listened to it enough to figure out where I might forget why. **

12. The Julie Ruin: Hit Reset (Hardly Art)
Third album by Kathleen Hanna under this name: after a one-shot in 1998 and a second thought in 2013. Hanna's previous bands were Bikini Kill and Le Tigre, and this continues their grrrl punk legacy even while it sounds more pop than ever -- punk is just the backbone. **

13. Danny Brown: Atrocity Exhibition (Warp)
Rapper from Detroit, apprenticed in the drug trade but has righted his career, now on his fourth album. Voice humorous similar to Young Thug, gives him a bit of lift even when the thug life doesn't deserve it. First hook goes "tell me something I don't know." Not the last, either. **

14. Kaytranada: 99.9% (XL)
Louis Kevin Celestin, born in Haiti in 1992, grew up in Montreal, his current base. First album after more than a dozen remixes. Strikes me as a less gloomy though not quite happy take on trip-hop, a pleasant beat-album one can repeatedly fall back on. In 2016, I guess that's something. **

15. Lori McKenna: The Bird & the Rifle (CN/Thirty Tigers)
Singer-songwriter from the country side of Massachusetts, writes good songs and sings them right. Title cut sounds like a case for gun control and an explanation why it isn't happening. **

16. Britney Spears: Glory (RCA)
Ninth album, big time pop production, every song written by a committee with at least two producers making sure no trick goes unturned. Still, sounds very much of a piece, with G-Eazy's second-cut rap elevating a game that doesn't bother with any more guest stars, and doesn't let you miss them. **

17. Ka: Honor Killed the Samurai (Iron Works)
Kaseem Ryan, Brooklyn firefighter, his rap sideline dating back to 1993 but I'm unclear on details before his 2008 solo debut. This one weaves samurai lessons into a more domestic thread, offering a sense of hard-earned accomplishment and brutal fates. **

18. The Coathangers: Nosebleed Weekend (Suicide Squeeze)
Atlanta girl group, or punk trio if you'd prefer, fifth album, have advanced melodically and chops-wise which is only natural, but stay true to their roots. **

19. The Del McCoury Band: Del and Woody (McCoury Music)
As the cover explains, "Original lyrics of Woody Guthrie set to music by Del McCoury" -- something Wilco, Billy Bragg, the Klezmatics, and others have also done before, but the supply of worthwhile Guthrie lyrics is deep, and the bluegrass settings seem luxuriant compared to the folksinger's own recordings. You can't doubt McCoury's pedigree: he did a stint with Bill Monroe in 1963, and has run his own band (lately with two sons) since 1968. **

20. CupcakKe: Cum Cake (self-released)
Rapper Elizabeth Eden Harris, from Chicago, turned some heads with her explicit raunch ("Vagina," "Deepthroat," "Tit for Tat," "Juicy Coochie" -- "don't need no drink to get naughty/ because I'm not Bill Cosby") but the strongest cut here is an acappella dis ("Reality, Pt. 2") -- not that I have any complaints against her beats. **

21. Nots: Cosmetic (Goner)
Memphis punk band, second album, Alexandra Eastburn's keyboards add something to the guitar-bass-drums formula, and vocalist-guitarist Natalie Hoffmann is hard-pressed to sing over the noise, so it isn't immediately obvious that this is a grrrl band. What is obvious is that they're a damn catchy one. **

22. Elza Soares: The Woman at the End of the World (A Mulher Do Fim Do Mundo) (Mais Um Discos)
Brazilian samba singer, b. 1937, has fifty-some albums since 1960 but I can't say as I've ever taken notice of her before. But at least at this point in her career she's way coarser and weirder than anyone in MPB -- rhythmically she's gravitated toward Tom Zé. Wikipedia notes she's been dubbed "the Brazilian Tina Turner," but I'm thinking more Alberta Hunter. **

23. Young Thug: I'm Up (300 Entertainment/Atlantic)
Considered a mixtape, available as download product, yet is short enough -- 9 songs, 38:03 -- they could released it on vinyl. Most songs feature someone I haven't heard of, but they flow and are tight and catchy. **

24. Van Morrison: Keep Me Singing (Caroline)
Past 70 now, knighted, one of the all-time greats, so much so that mere echoes of his great albums can blow you away. This one is that and a bit more as he's found a new comfort not just in his skin but in the warmth of his Celtic-blues soul.

25. Elizabeth Cook: Exodus of Venus (Agent Love)
Alt-country singer-songwriter, seems to be moving ever further out of Nashville. Songs this time are not as immediately appealing as on Welder or (for that matter) Balls, partly because they're buried so much deeper in the guitar, but it's pretty impressive guitar, and when I hear some words I want to hear more. **

26. Dori Freeman: Dori Freeman (Free Dirt)
Folky singer-songwriter from Appalachia doesn't make a show of her roots or authenticity but lets them quietly seep through her songs, produced by Teddy Thompson, most effectively when he slips in a rock band, or lets her take a work song with nothing but finger snaps. **

27. Robbie Fulks: Upland Stories (Bloodshot)
Alt-country singer-songwriter, his straighter rock albums less compelling than when he turns up the twang. Same thing here, where close to half the songs are hard bluegrass and slightly more come off as deceptively even-tempered folk. But the latter grow on you, and at some point I gave up on the distinction. **

28. Jessy Lanza: Oh No (Hyperdub)
Singer/electronica producer from Canada, started singing backup for Junior Boys and gets production help from Jeremy Greenspan on her second album here. One bass riff reminds me of Chic, but more often she works over elemental synth beats, a winning combination. **

29. Rihanna: Anti (Roc Nation)
Mostly crawl along, not a good sign for dance-pop or even bump-and-grind, though often the oblique rhythms suggest something interesting is lurking about, and occasionally I get hooked -- "Love on the Brain" never fails. **

30. Konono No. 1/Batida: Konono No. 1 Meets Batida (Crammed Discs)
Batida is Pedro Coquenão, a DJ born in Angola and based in Lisbon, Portugal, with two albums on Soundway (I recommend the eponymous 2012 Batida). He probably adds something here, but the band's home-brewed Congotronics rule. **

31. A Tribe Called Quest: We Got It From Here . . . Thank You 4 Your Service (Epic)
Hip-hop group, recorded five albums 1990-98, finding success with a jazzy underground sound before Q-Tip went solo. The reunion is also billed as a fluke, promised to be their last album even though it's much better than anything Q-Tip produced on his own (certainly since 1999's Amplified). Christgau gave this an ultrarare A+, but I can't fathom why he (or anyone else) finds it compelling -- maybe just desperate for some good news? **

32. Blood Orange: Freetown Sound (Domino)
Dev Hynes, previously recorded as Lightspeed Champion, now has his third album as Blood Orange. R&B, slick beats and soft croon but it all comes out twisted in various ways. **

33. MIA: AIM (Interscope)
British dance revolutionary, parents from Sri Lanka, fifth studio album, says it will be her last, and indeed at 41 she seems to be winding down, with only a few memorable songs, none qualifying as bombs. Widely panned, which is unfair and foolish, as even her toned-down beats crack glass, and the whisps of South Asian music are still world class. But the bonus tracks on the Deluxe are not cost-effective. **

34. Oren Ambarchi: Hubris (Editions Mego)
Guitarist, percussionist, born in Australia, roots Iraqi Jewish, has fifty-some records since 1998. One piece split into three parts: a fast, complex drumbeat with distorted guitar, an impressive trick that deserves to run on for 40 minutes. **

35. T.I.: Us or Else: Letter to the System (Grand Hustle/Roc Nation)
Expands the EP to 15 cuts, with the opening "I Believe" especially profound. All through 2016 hip-hop artists have been doubling down on Black Lives Matter, while the Trump backlash has pushed hip-hop to ever more political and cultural import. Indeed, it's not surprising that Trump is having trouble lining up "entertainment" for his inaugural, as his demographic's grasp of American culture has become so atrophied. **

36. Beyoncé: Lemonade (Parkwood/Columbia)
Not on Rhapsody, so I waited before finally breaking down to buy a copy, and hesitated again when I found I'd have to pay for a DVD in the bargain. Haven't watched the latter yet, nor have I seen the videos from the "Platinum Edition" repackaging of her eponymous 2013 album, nor have I found any time to track down her internet videos (even the one that pre-sold this album). I might not even have bothered but given the way Beyoncé broke in Pazz & Jop after its late release, this looked like this year's odds-on favorite -- and as it turns out was the only EOY Aggregate top-forty album I hadn't heard. Lots of good records on that list this year, but none I especially love. This is more impressive than most, although I doubt I'll ever care that much for someone who aspires to be "the black Bill Gates."

37. Martha: Blisters in the Pit of My Heart (Dirtnap)
Indie power pop band from County Durham in the north of England, Housemartins territory, self-described as "queer, vegan, and anarchist." Second album, not sure the politics are sharp and clear enough (certainly not up to Housemartins standards), but as group rock goes probably the best I've heard since Parquet Courts. **

38. Leonard Cohen: You Want It Darker (Columbia)
Slow, grim, gravelly, the octogenarian poet backs himself into a dark corner, and then a funny thing happens: the more you strain for clues (and you do) the sweeter his serenade. **

39. Gambari Band: Kokuma (Membran Media)
Mali group, includes several relatives who formerly played in Bassekou Kouyaté's Ngoni Ba group. Finds that sweet spot in the middle of Mali's pop spectrum and gently holds sway over it. **

40. The Paranoid Style: Rolling Disclosure (Bar/None)
Guitarist from the Mendoza Line, a clever reference for a band that barely got by, and singer-songwriter Elizabeth Nelson, first LP (if nine songs, 28:56 counts) after three EPs. Not sure I get the political analysis ("a society seized with crushing economic inequality, a smug, feckless and entrenches political class, and an emotionally suicidal relationship to total immersion in divertissement," sure, but the lyrics are more like "I am not a pacifist . . . I will never stop fighting the last war" and "you know that I'll suck anything that doesn't fuck me first" and "it can't all be that bad because it's also entertaining"), but the vigorous thrash lifts me up -- not bad for divertissement. **

41. Alicia Keys: Here (RCA)
l Sixth album, sales steadily declining since her 2001 debut sold 12 million copies. Still, sounds to me like her best, with catchy beats, pop hooks, and often deep lyrics. Inspirational lyric: "you glow." **

42. The Handsome Family: Unseen (Loose Music)
Brett and Rennie Sparks, she (I gather) does most of the writing with its fascination for nature and science, and he does most of the singing, like the music (mostly guitar) basic but elegant. I fear some recycling of tunes, but that's mostly because they're so memorable. **

43. Ab-Soul: Do What Thou Wilt (Top Dawg)
The most accomplished of the LA-based Black Hippy collective, fourth album since 2011, a long one (76:57), clever words twisted around minor beats, underground but not so much he can't afford some guests I've actually heard of. **

44. Tegan and Sara: Love You to Death (Vapor)
Sister act, started folkie (low budget) in the late 1990s but has gradually drifted into electropop. This suits them well, adding sparkle and drive to their usual insightful relationship songs. **

45. BJ Barham: Rockingham (self-released)
Singer-songwriter from the title town in North Carolina, former singer in a band called American Aquarium. Debut album is short (eight cuts, 32:46), plain-spoken, sober, decent, can't help but like him. Voice recalls young John Prine, which is why I noticed he's not nearly as funny. Still: "And when I die I want to look God in the eye and ask him why he gave up on this place." **

46. Bonnie Raitt: Dig In Deep (Redwing)
Her best in quite some while -- my database nominates 1973's Takin' My Time but I've missed things and reacted badly to Michael Tatum's nominee, 1991's Luck of the Draw. She hasn't aged in the manner of blues singers, but there's nothing urgent here -- she's clear and articulate and has learned to pace herself, making this seem so natural you'd think she's been doing it so well all along. **

47. Africans With Mainframes: K.M.T. (Soul Jazz)
Hieroglyphic Being (Jamal Moss) and Nolelan Reusse, first full-length album, title stands for Kemetic Modulating Textures (although Napster calls it Soul Jazz Records Presents Africans . . . -- I don't see K.M.T. on the cover). This is considered Chicago acid house. As Andy Beta wrote of Moss, "for every CD-R of synth squalls there is another full of manic drum machine polyrhythms." He brings his whole kit together here. **

48. Eric Prydz: Opus (Astralwerks, 2CD)
Swedish electronica producer. AMG styles as "Club/Dance, House, Euro-Dance," but to me this sounds more like the more giddily extravagant wing of late-'70s Krautrock although if anything it's even more jacked up. Several tracks have vocals: they don't signify much to me, but hardly break the vibe. Too long, at least to process, but hits too many pleasure spots to deny. **

49. Atmosphere: Fishing Blues (Rhymesayers Entertainment)
Underground rap duo from Minneapolis, nothing fancy in the beats, just enough to move it along; nothing fancy anywhere else either, just slice-of-life shit that may be him or may be some other fictional dude, but one no more exciting than he be. Typical lines: "I'm not perfect but I try"; "I might be unprepared but I still be here." And yeah, a song about fishing. **

50. Nu Guinea: The Tony Allen Experiments [Afrobeat Makers Vol. 3] (Comet)
Electronica duo from Naples -- Lucio Aquilina (keyboards) and Massimo Di Lena (reconstructed drums) -- based in Berlin, with Allen on drums and extra percussion. Doesn't strike me as all that close to Afrobeat, but beats are delightful, and the synth noodling a plus. Vinyl length: nine tracks, 33:36. **

51. John Prine: For Better or Worse (Oh Boy)
In 1999 Prine eased his way back from throat cancer with a remarkable album of old country tunes, the vocal duties shared with Iris DeMent and several other women. He repeats that concept here -- probably figures that at 70 he's earned another easy one, or maybe he's noticed that he hasn't written a album's worth of originals since Bush provoked him to 2005's Fair and Square. Of course, this isn't as marvelous as the first time: the songs aren't as improbable, he's lost a step, and so many young women are chasing him that DeMent only gets two highlights. None of that bothers me. And if you're waiting for a John Prine song, just wait for the end. **

52. Élage Diouf: Melokáane (Pump Up the World -15)
From Senegal, born El Hadji Fall Diouf, toured as half of the Diouf Brothers before settling in Montreal and going solo. The fast ones remind me of N'Dour or Ade, and while he's certainly not in their league, he can sweep you away. **

53. Venetian Snares: Traditional Synthesizer Music (Timesig)
Aaron Funk, born and evidently stuck in Winnipeg, Canada -- a 2005 album is titled Winnipeg Is a Frozen Shithole -- has several dozen albums since 1998 (debut title: Eat Shit and Die). These are somewhat retro pieces for modular synth and, I suspect, drums -- if those are synth, I'm even more impressed. **

54. Tom Zé: Canções Eróticas De Ninar (Circus)
Brazilian singer-songwriter, took tropicalia to idiosyncratic extremes back in the 1970s and has cultivated his eccentricity ever since, often winning me over. Released as he turned 80, other print on the cover reads Para Dançar O Sobe Ni Mim and Urgéncia Didatica. Not sure if this one is exceptional, but few records sustain this level of jaunty playfulness. **

55. Tacocat: Lost Time (Hardly Art)
Seattle group, three women and a male guitarist, third album: snappy songs with punky crunch and a bit of bubblegum. **

56. Leon Vynehall: Rojus (Designed to Dance) (Running Back)
British "deep house" producer, second album plus the usual smattering of shorter forms. Dance music, starts pretty hard and cranks it up even further, the last cuts irresistible (to my ears at least). **

57. Youssou N'Dour & Le Super Etoile: #Senegaal Rekk self-released, EP)
Product status mysterious, but length looks to be 24 minutes -- I've found several copies more/less that length on YouTube, as well as shorter ones. Also looks like N'Dour has a longer album called Africa Rekk, out on some tentacle of Sony, but I'm not finding it either. Impressive music, but YouTube is a lousy way to listen to it. **

58. Chance the Rapper: Coloring Book (self-released)
I've seen this reported as Chancelor Bennett's third mix tape, which suggests last year's Surf (attributed to Donnie Trumpet and the Social Experiment) was more his doing than I realized. This took me a long time and still seems to have so much going against it -- muddled mixes, beats more slippery than bouncy, a voice that sounds like some sort of caricature, all that God hyperbole -- yet nearly every other critic seems to love it, and after a half-dozen plays I find myself dragged -- at least as an admirer, albeit still a troubled one. **

59. Kelsey Waldon: I've Got a Way (Monkey's Eyebrow)
Singer-songwriter from an unincorporated town in Kentucky, moved to Nashville and released a debut album that deserves to be heard (The Goldmine). The first half here is at least that completely realized, and if the closing ballads slip a bit, the voice and pedal steel are sure purty. And at least one generalization has become more specific: "you can't place a crown on the head of a clown/and then hope it turns out to be a king." **

60. 75 Dollar Bill: Wood/Metal/Plastic/Pattern/Rhythm/Rock (Thin Wrist)
Principally a duo, with Rick Brown playing less than a full set of drums (but "plywood crate") and Che Chen more than one guitar, with a few others adding to the discordant harmonies. Four pieces, 39:20, the vaguely Saharan grooves and harmonies minimally differentiated. **

61. Becky Warren: War Surplus (self-released)
Former singer for a group called the Great Unknowns, structures her album as a "he said/she said" song cycle, loosely based on an ex-husband who flew off to Iraq and came back with PTSD crutched with alcoholism -- pretty much a cliché these days, and frankly her domestic travails rank pretty low on the scale of horrors war has produced. But as a piece of navel-gazing Americana this is pretty acute, and as country it's rock solid. **

62. Tanya Tagaq: Retribution (Six Shooter)
Inuit throat singer, early on was just a weird blip on the world music continuum but has grown into a cosmopolitan rocker from the edges of a larger (and colder) world than you're used to. Includes a physics lesson/impending doom story remind you that "Gaia likes it cold." **

63. Factory Floor: 25 25 (DFA)
British duo, Gabriel Gurnsey (drum machines) and Nik Colk (guitar, electronics, machine-like vocals), aim at "post-industrial" -- I guess that means mechanics toned down to pastoral levels. Not much range but resonates with me. **

64. 21 Savage/Metro Boomin: Savage Mode (self-released)
Atlanta rapper (Shayaa Bin Abraham-Joseph) and producer (Leland Tyler Wayne), billed as an EP but at 9 cuts, 32:22 feels pretty substantial, especially as none of the tunes are in any hurry to end. Gangsta, at least formally, and form matters a lot here, all speak softly and carry a big dick -- not a line, by the way -- more like "I'm in savage mode" and "I'm a real nigga," but that's the vibe. **

65. Margo Price: Midwest Farmer's Daughter (Third Man)
It takes two songs for the Loretta Lynn wannabe to make it obvious. Still, not a bad affectation, and that harder-to-peg first song is also pretty good. **

66. Young Thug: No My Name Is Jeffery (300 Entertainment/Atlantic)
Aka Jeffery, Jeffery Williams' third mixtape this year, none especially long (38:03 here, not counting a "bonus track" I haven't heard). First cuts establish his mischievously crude humor, after which he needs to do is mug, although the tense beats make the difference. **

67. Wire: Nocturnal Koreans (Pink Flag, EP)
Leftovers from the recording sessions that produced last year's eponymous Wire, comes to eight songs, 25:55, all sounding almost perfectly like you'd expect the original post-punk band to sound nearly forty years after they first emerged -- almost as if they've recycled and found lost outtakes from, well, not Pink Flag, but maybe Chairs Missing. **

Also added the following 2015 albums after freezing the year-end file:

  1. Daveed Diggs: Small Things to a Giant (Deathbomb Arc)
  2. The Yawpers: American Man (Bloodshot) **
  3. Ursula 1000: Voyeur (Insect Queen) **
  4. Eszter Balint: Airless Midnight (Red Herring) **
  5. Beans on Toast: The Grand Scheme of Things (Xtra Mile) **
  6. Radical Dads: Universal Coolers (Old Flame) **
  7. Tribu Baharú: Pa'l Más Exigente Bailador (self-released) **
  8. Arca: Mutant (Mute) **
  9. Shopping: Why Choose (FatCat) **
  10. The Drive-By Truckers: It's Great to Be Alive! (ATO, 3CD) **

Honorable Mention

Additional non-jazz rated B+(***), listed alphabetically.

  1. Idris Ackamoor & the Pyramids: We Be All Africans (Strut) **
  2. Aesop Rock & Homeboy Sandman: Lice Two: Still Buggin' (Stones Throw, EP) **
  3. Africaine 808: Basar (Golf Channel) **
  4. Thomas Anderson: Heaven (Out There) **
  5. Autolux: Pussy's Dead (30th Century/Columbia) **
  6. Luke Bell (Bill Hill) **
  7. Big Ups: Before a Million Universes (Exploding/Tough Love)
  8. Bombino: Azel (Partisan) **
  9. David Bowie: Blackstar (Columbia) **
  10. David Bromberg Band: The Blues, the Whole Blues and Nothing but the Blues (Red House) **
  11. Apollo Brown & Skyzoo: The Easy Truth (Mello Music) **
  12. Car Seat Headrest: Teens of Denial (Matador) **
  13. Hayes Carll: Lovers and Leavers (Highway 87) **
  14. Cavern of Anti-Matter: Void Beats/Invocation Trex (Duophonic) **
  15. Shirley Collins: Lodestar (Domino) **
  16. Frankie Cosmos: Next Thing (Bayonnet) **
  17. Elysia Crampton: Demon City (Break World, EP) **
  18. Lucy Dacus: No Burden (Egghunt) **
  19. Deap Vally: Femejism (Nevado) **
  20. Dogbrain: Blue Dog (Dogbrain Music, EP) **
  21. Open Mike Eagle + Paul White: Hella Personal Film Festival (Mello Music Group) **
  22. Fanfare Ciocarlia: Onwards to Mars! (Asphalt Tango) **
  23. Fantastic Negrito: The Last Days of Oakland (Blackball Universe) **
  24. Domo Genesis: Genesis (Odd Future) **
  25. GOAT: Requiem (Sub Pop) **
  26. The Goon Sax: Up to Anything (Chapter Music) **
  27. Elektro Hafiz (Guerssen) **
  28. Hieroglyphic Being: The Disco's of Imhotep (Technicolour) **
  29. Homeboy Sandman: Kindness for Weakness (Stones Throw) **
  30. Injury Reserve: Floss (Las Fuegas) **
  31. The Klezmatics: Apikorsim/Heretics (World Village) **
  32. Kendrick Lamar: Untitled Unmastered (Top Dawg Entertainment) **
  33. Leland Sundries: Music for Outcasts (L'Echiquier) **
  34. Jinx Lennon: Past Pupil Stay Home (Septic Tiger) **
  35. Laurie Lewis & the Right Hands: The Hazel & Alice Sessions (Spruce and Maple) **
  36. Linda Gail Lewis: Heartache Highway (Ball and Chain) **
  37. Vic Mensa: There's Alot Going On (Roc Nation) **
  38. Kevin Morby: Singing Saw (Dead Oceans) **
  39. Mr. Lif: Don't Look Down (Mello Music) **
  40. Randy Newman: The Randy Newman Songbook Vol. 3 (Nonesuch) **
  41. NxWorries: Yes Lawd! (Stones Throw) **
  42. Angel Olsen: My Woman (Jagjaguwar) **
  43. Joey Purp: iiiDrops (self-released) **
  44. The Rolling Stones: Blue & Lonesome (Polydor) **
  45. Walter Salas-Humara: Explodes and Disappears (Sonic Pyramid) **
  46. Savages: Adore Life (Matador) **
  47. Sturgill Simpson: A Sailor's Guide to the Earth (Atlantic) **
  48. Skepta: Konnichiwa (Boy Better Know) **
  49. Sleaford Mods: TCR (Rough Trade, EP) **
  50. Snakehips: All My Friends EP (Sony Music, EP) **
  51. A Tribe Called Red: We Are the Halluci Nation (Radicalized) **
  52. Waco Brothers: Going Down in History (Bloodshot) **
  53. Kanye West: The Life of Pablo (Def Jam/GOOD Music) **
  54. Saul Williams: Martyr Loser King (Fader) **
  55. La Yegros: Magnetismo (Soundway) **

Also added the following 2014 albums after freezing the year-end file:

  1. 75 Dollar Bill: Wooden Bag (Other Music) **
  2. Debashish Bhattacharya: Slide Guitar Ragas From Dusk Till Dawn (Riverboat) **
  3. Brandi Carlile: The Firewatcher\'s Daughter (ATO) **
  4. DJ Sandji: 100% Balani Show (Sahel Sounds) **
  5. DMX Krew: There Is No Enduring Self (Breakin) **
  6. Anderson East: Delilah (Low Country Sound/Elektra) **
  7. Donnie Fritts: Oh My Goodness (Single Lock) **
  8. Abba Gargando (Sahel Sounds) **
  9. Michael Monroe Goodman: The Flag, the Bible, and Bill Monroe (MammerJam) **
  10. Nigel Hall: Ladies & Gentlemen . . . Nigel Hall (Feel Music) **
  11. Jason James: Jason James (New West) **
  12. Kyle: Smyle (Indie Pop) **
  13. Mekons/Robbie Fulks: Jura (Bloodshot) **
  14. Michete: Cool Tricks (self-released, EP) **
  15. Whitey Morgan & the 78s: Sonic Ranch (Whitey Morgan Music) **
  16. No Fun: How I Spent My Bummer Vacation (Concrete Jungle) **
  17. Dawn Oberg: Bring (Blossom Theory) **
  18. Oblik: Order Disorder (Ormo) **
  19. Plus Sized Dan: Plus Sized Dan With Marshall Ruffin (self-released) **
  20. Richmond Fontaine: You Can't Go Back if There's Nothing to Go Back To (Fluff & Gravy) **
  21. Noura Mint Seymali: Arbina (Glitterbeat) **
  22. Amanda Shires: My Piece of Land (BMG) **
  23. Shopping: Consumer Complaints (FatCat) **
  24. Todd Snider: Eastside Bulldog (Aimless) **
  25. T.I.: Us or Else (Grand Hustle/Roc Nation, EP) **
  26. White Reaper: White Reaper Does It Again (Polyvinyl) **
  27. Young Thug: Slime Season 2 (self-released) **
  28. Youth Worship: LP1 (Self Harm) **

Reissues/Historic Music

The standard for historic music is a record where everything was recorded 10+ years ago, regardless of whether it's ever been in print before. Some past lists may have treated previously unreleased music as new (regardless of actual age), but I've never been able to manage that distinction consistently. This category also includes compilations of previously released music, including straight reissues, although my selection is very erratic.

1. Lyrics Born: Now Look What You've Done, Lyrics Born! Greatest Hits! (1997-2015, Mobile Home)
Tokyo-born Tom Shimura, grew up in Salt Lake City and Tampa before settling in Berkeley, first noticed in the duo Latyrx before releasing his solo debut Later That Day in 2003. I have four (of five) albums at A- or higher, or six (of seven) counting Latyrx (two cuts here), so it's not like he needs a compilation to rescue good cuts from bad albums. Includes the two catchiest cuts from last year's Real People -- my top-rated album last year, but deprecated by several critics I more often agree with.

2. Merle Haggard: The Best of the Capitol Years (1966-76, Capitol)
The catalog minders return with a new rehash of old product, much as they've done many times before (1990, 1996, 2002, 2004, 2007, 2009, 2012, and that's just the CD era). This one runs 19 cuts -- the same first 19 on 2007's Hag: The Best of Merle Haggard (which samples some later material to get to 26 cuts). It has five not on 2002's 20 Greatest Hits, subs the studio versions of "Okie" and "Fightin' Side," and keeps them in better chronological order. **

3. Hailu Mergia: Wede Harer Guzo (1978, Awesome Tapes From Africa)
Ethiopian keyboard player, organ here, with a group called Dahlak Band that some sources co-credit. Third reissue from this label, all quite delightful in their loping flow, just enough edge to stay out of the background. **

4. Senegambia Rebel (Voodoo Rebel)
Filed this under African VA compilations, which it is at first glance, but the various artists are mostly European remixers, the African input limited to field samples that are given beats so primitive and so very complex they belong to Africa, and could only really be at home there. **

5. The Beatles: Live at the Hollywood Bowl (1964-65, Universal/Apple)
Pieced together from two August shows a year apart, originally released in 1977 as The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl, only now repackaged as a tie-in to Ron Howard's Eight Days a Week documentary, with four extra tracks (17 total) stretching the album to 43:27. Pre-Rubber Soul, they play basic rock and roll -- including six covers -- and play it fast, clear and crisp even given the non-stop scream torrent from the crowd. No cause to favor any of this over the studio originals (even the covers), but no reason not to revel in the whole experience either. **

6. Putumayo Presents: African Rumba (1962-2015, Putumayo World Music)
Cuba's slave system was relatively unique in how it preserved regional differences among Afro-Cubans, and it also persisted longer than any other, so it's not surprising to find several distinct cross-cultural flows, notably Cuban-Congo rumba. I'm still unclear on exactly what flowed where, and can't say this helps, but I can't complain about another helping of Africa's most pleasurable groove. I should note that aside from one early track from L'African Fiesta (Rochereau and Dr. Nico) the oldest thing here dates from 2006, and that there are many alternatives, ranging from Crammed Disc's 1950's vintage Roots of Rumba Rock to Syllart's 1954-69 Rumba on the River to the Franco's 1956-87 The Very Best of the Rumba Giant of Zaire.

7. Urgent Jumping! East African Musiki Wa Dansi Classics (1972-82, Sterns Africa, 2CD)
Benga, rhumba, Afrobeat, pop dance singles from Tanzania and Kenya, not as slick as the legendary Guitar Paradise of East Africa compilation or several other compilations I've heard (one called Muziki Wa Dansi actually covers the following decade), but I still find the uplift irresistible. **

8. The Cucumbers: The Fake Doom Years (1983-1986) (Lifeforce)
Two EPs and a 10-cut album that came out before the New Jersey group's eponymous coming out, one of my favorite albums of 1987. The EPs offer glimpses of the their masterpiece, and brighten up the not-quite ready debut album, and it's nice to have them all together. **

9. Can't You Hear Me? 70's African Nuggets & Garage Rock From Nigeria, Zambia, and Zimbabwe (1970s, Now-Again)
Most of you world music fans look to Africa for exotic beats and ecstatic chants, and that's what you find in stellar compilations from The Indestructible Beat of Soweto to Guitar Paradise in East Africa to Zaire Choc to The Music in My Head. No telling how much more of that awaits discovery, but there also exists huge troves of efforts to imitate western pop from reggae to rap and even, here, 1960s-style garage rock. This one works because the source nations were English colonies, picking up enough of the language to carry on. Also because you've never heard a snatch of this not unfamiliar music before -- but its obscurity derives not just from prior lack of access but from the fact that we're only slowly realizing how much we share with Africa. **

10. Vieux Kanté: The Young Man's Harp (Sterns)
Blind kamalé ngoni virtuoso from Mali, died at age 31 in 2005, leaving this recording from "shortly before he died" unreleased. Schematic solo intro before a singer and percussion join in. **

11. Van Morrison: It's Too Late to Stop Now: Volumes II, III, IV & DVD (1973, Legacy, 3CD)
More from the 1973 tour that produced Morrison's original live album, a landmark summation after only six Warners albums (plus the one on Bang and whatever Them recorded). Those albums contain hits enough, but he also supplements them with more than the usual load of covers, especially blues. The 11-piece Caledonia Soul Orchestra adds strings and horns, but the main thing you feel is the mastery of the man who was born to sing. Can be redundant, definitely de trop, but not a problem for me. **

12. God Don't Never Change: The Songs of Blind Willie Johnson (Alligator)
Tom Waits at his grizzliest is the only singer here who comes close to Johnson's raw, gruff force, but everyone steps up to the challenge, with Lucinda Williams (like Waits) earning an encore. **

13. Pat Thomas: Coming Home: Original Ghanaian Highlife & Afrobeat Classics 1967-1981 (Strut, 2CD)
Still active at 65, this label picked up his new record last year, and finally decided to dig into his long-forgotten prime period, before he left Ghana for Germany. Not exceptionally great, nor at least consistently so, but there are few beats I enjoy more than classic highlife, and he was definitely part of that scene. **

14. Fanfare Ciocarlia: 20 (1996-2016, Asphalt Tango)
Gypsy brass band from Romania, weddings a specialty, cut their first album (Radio Pascani) in 1996, and eight more over two decades, summed up in this double-LP retrospective (runs 90 minutes, evidently no CD). The early wedding pieces seem to be interchangeable, but their unique take makes occasional covers stand out, as does the Kottarashky rap at the end. **

15. Meridian Brothers V: El Advenimiento Del Castillo Mujer (2005, Discrepant)
Vinyl reissue of the Colombian group's first album, recorded in Copenhagen by "core member" Eblis Alvarez, "abstract folk music" sounding remarkably disjointed -- recommended especially to fans of Tom Zé. **

16. Count Ossie and the Mystic Revelation of Rastafari: Tales of Mozambique (1970-75, Soul Jazz)
Born Oswald Williams (1926-76), he was one of the innovators of nyabinghi, a primitivist hand drumming style wrapped up in the Rastafari cult. His drumming with chants and the occasional horn are simple and seductive. [**]

17. Blind Alfred Reed: Appalachian Visionary (1927-29, Dust-to-Digital)
Taking this on faith, as I haven't seen or heard this luxury package: an 84-page hardcover book by Ted Olson with the same 20 cuts as Document's Complete Works plus two tunes by the West Virginia Night Owls, expensive at $30. I can't say that the packaging is worth the premium, but I have been assured by Clifford Ocheltree and Phil Overeem that the remastered sound is a big plus -- so it seems even more irresponsible not to list it than to grade something I haven't heard.

Also added the following 2014 albums after freezing the year-end file:

  1. Joi: Joi Sound System (1999-2007, RealWorld, 2CD) **
  2. The Rough Guide to the Blues Songsters: Reborn and Remastered (1926-35, World Music Network) **

Honorable Mention

Additional non-jazz rated B+(***), listed alphabetically.

  1. American Honey (UME) **
  2. Bitori: Legend of Funana: The Forbidden Music of the Cape Verde Islands (1997, Analog Africa) **
  3. Bobo Yéyé: Belle Époque in Upper Volta (1970s, Numero Group, 3CD) **
  4. DJ Katapila: Trotro (2009, Awesome Tapes From Africa) **
  5. Fanfare Ciocarlia: 20 (1996-2016, Asphalt Tango) **
  6. Awalom Gebremariam: Desdes (2007, Awesome Tapes From Africa) **
  7. Punk 45: Chaos in the City of Angels and Devils: Hollywood From X to Zero & Hardcore on the Beaches: Punk in Los Angeles 1977-81 (1977-81, Soul Jazz) **
  8. Pylon: Live (1983, Chunklet) **
  9. The Rough Guide to Bottleneck Blues [Second Edition] (1926-40, World Music Network) **
  10. Soul Sok Sega: Sega Sounds From Mauritius 1973-1979 (Strut) **
  11. Bruce Springsteen: Chapter and Verse (1966-2012, Columbia) **
  12. Tanbou Toujou Lou: Merenge Kompa Kreyou Vodou Jazz & Electric Folklore From Haiti (1960-1981) (Ostinato) **

Also added the following 2015 albums after freezing the year-end file:

  1. The Ex: The Ex at Bimhuis (1991-2015) (Ex, 2CD) **
  2. The Rough Guide to Psychedelic Cumbia (1969-2014, World Music Network) **


Additional new non-jazz records rated B+(**) or below (listed alphabetically by artist).

  1. The 1975: I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It (Dirty Hit/Interscope) ** [B+(*)]
  2. Adult Books: Runing From the Blows (Lolipop) ** [B+(*)]
  3. Amanar: Tumastin (Sahel Sounds) ** [B+(*)]
  4. Courtney Marie Andrews: Honest Life (Mama Bird) ** [B+(*)]
  5. Anohni: Hopelessness (Secretly Canadian) ** [B+(*)]
  6. Aphex Twin: Cheetah (Warp, EP) ** [B+(*)]
  7. Arca: Entrañas (self-released, EP) ** [B+(*)]
  8. Amber Arcades: Fading Lines (Heavenly) ** [B+(*)]
  9. A$AP Ferg: Always Strive and Prosper (Polo Grounds/RCA) ** [B+(**)]
  10. The Avalanches: Wildflower (Astralwerks) ** [B]
  11. Katy B: Honey (Virgin EMI) ** [B+(**)]
  12. Bat for Lashes: The Bride (Parlophone) ** [B-]
  13. Sam Beam & Jesca Hoop: Love Letter for Fire (Sub Pop/Black Cricket) ** [B+(*)]
  14. Beans on Toast: A Spanner in the Works (Extra Mile) ** [B+(**)]
  15. William Bell: This Is Where I Live (Stax) ** [B]
  16. Bent Shapes: Wolves of Want (Slumberland) ** [B+(**)]
  17. Bentcousin (Team Love) ** [B+(**)]
  18. Dierks Bentley: Black (Capitol Nashville) ** [B]
  19. Bibio: A Mineral Love (Warp) ** [B]
  20. Big Thief: Masterpiece (Saddle Creek) ** [B+(*)]
  21. James Blake: The Colour in Anything (Polydor) ** [B-]
  22. Karl Blau: Introducing Karl Blau (Raven Marching Band) ** [B]
  23. Bon Iver: 22, a Million (Jagjaguwar) ** [B+(*)]
  24. Bibi Bourelly: Free the Real (Pt. 1) (Circa 13/Def Jam, EP) ** [B+(*)]
  25. Bibi Bourelly: Free the Real (Pt. 2) (Circa 13/Def Jam, EP) ** [B]
  26. Charles Bradley: Changes (Daptone) ** [B+(*)]
  27. Aziza Brahim: Abbar El Hamada (Glitterbeat) ** [B+(**)]
  28. Renato Braz: Saudade (Living Music) [C]
  29. Brookzill!: Throwback to the Future (Tommy Boy) ** [B+(*)]
  30. Brothers Osborne: Pawn Shop (EMI Nashville) ** [B+(*)]
  31. Burial: Young Death/Nightmarket (Hyperdub, EP) ** [B+(*)]
  32. The Cactus Blossoms: You're Dreaming (Red House) ** [B+(*)]
  33. Toronzo Cannon: The Chicago Way (Alligator) ** [B+(*)]
  34. Neko Case/KD Lang/Laura Veirs: Case/Lang/Veirs (Anti-) ** [B+(**)]
  35. Cavanaugh: Time and Materials (Mello Music) ** [B+(**)]
  36. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds: Skeleton Tree (Bad Seed) ** [B-]
  37. Childish Gambino: Awaken, My Love! (Glassnote) ** [B+(*)]
  38. Chimurenga Renaissance: Girlz With Gunz (Glitterbeat, EP) ** [B+(*)]
  39. Chook Race: Around the House (Trouble in Mind) ** [B+(*)]
  40. City Yelps: Half Hour (Odd Box) ** [B+(*)]
  41. Clipping: Splendor & Misery (Sub Pop) ** [B+(*)]
  42. Cobalt: Slow Forever (Profound Lore, 2CD) ** [B]
  43. J Cole: 4 Your Eyez Only (Dreamville/Roc Nation/Interscope) ** [B+(**)]
  44. Kweku Collins: Nat Love (Closed Sessions) ** [B+(*)]
  45. Shawn Colvin/Steve Earle: Colvin & Earle (Fantasy) ** [B]
  46. Common: Black America Again (Def Jam) ** [B+(**)]
  47. Ian William Craig: Centres (130701) ** [B]
  48. Cymbals Eat Guitars: Pretty Years (Sinderlyn) ** [B]
  49. Carla dal Forno: You Know What It\'s Like (Blackest Ever Black) ** [B+(*)]
  50. Dälek: Asphalt for Eden (Profound Lore) ** [B+(*)]
  51. De La Soul: And the Anonymous Nobody (AOI) ** [B+(**)]
  52. Dear Eloise: Uncontrollable, Ice Age Stories (Maybe Mars) ** [B+(*)]
  53. Debo Band: Ere Gobez (FPE) ** [B+(*)]
  54. DIIV: Is the Is Are (Captured Tracks) ** [B+(**)]
  55. Dinosaur Jr: Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not (Jagjaguwar) ** [B+(*)]
  56. DJ Diamond: Footwork or Die (Duck N' Cover) ** [B-]
  57. DJ Shadow: The Mountain Will Fall (Mass Appeal) ** [B+(*)]
  58. Drake: Views (Cash Money) ** [B+(*)]
  59. Dreezy: No Hard Feelings (Interscope) ** [B+(*)]
  60. Dressy Bessy: Kingsized (Yep Roc) ** [B+(**)]
  61. DD Dumbo: Utopia Defeated (4AD) ** [B]
  62. Dvsn: Sept. 5th (OVO Sound/Warner Brothers) ** [B+(*)]
  63. Bob Dylan: Fallen Angels (Columbia) ** [C+]
  64. El Guincho: Hiperasia (Nacional) ** [B]
  65. Brian Eno: The Ship (Warp) ** [B+(*)]
  66. Eola: Dang (Leaving, EP) ** [B-]
  67. Mark Ernestus' Ndagga Rhythm Force: Yermande (Ndagga) ** [B+(**)]
  68. The Fall: Wise Ol' Man (Cherry Red, EP) ** [B+(*)]
  69. Family Atlantica: Cosmic Unity (Soundway) ** [B+(*)]
  70. Field Music: Commontime (Memphis Industries) ** [B]
  71. The Flat Five: It's a World of Love and Hate (Bloodshot) ** [B-]
  72. Flatbush Zombies: 3001: A Laced Odyssey (Glorious Dead) ** [B+(**)]
  73. Flume: Skin (Future Classic) ** [B]
  74. Fond of Tigers: Uninhabit (Offsesson/Drip Audio) [C+]
  75. Jonny Fritz: Sweet Creep (ATO) ** [B+(*)]
  76. Fruit Bats: Absolute Loser (Easy Sound) ** [B+(**)]
  77. Fumaça Preta: Impuros Fanáticos (Soundway) ** [B+(*)]
  78. Future: EVOL (Epic) ** [B+(**)]
  79. Gaika: Security (Mixpak) ** [B+(*)]
  80. Gallant: Ology (Mind of a Genius/Warner Bros.) ** [B+(*)]
  81. Kevin Gates: Islah (Atlantic) ** [B+(*)]
  82. GFOTY: Call Him a Doctor (PC Music, EP) ** [B-]
  83. Glitterbust (Burger) ** [B+(*)]
  84. Margaret Glaspy: Emotions and Math (ATO) ** [B+(**)]
  85. Ariana Grande: Dangerous Woman (Republic) ** [B+(*)]
  86. Wayne Hancock: Slingin' Rhythm (Bloodshot) ** [B+(**)]
  87. Hard Working Americans: Rest in Chaos (Melvin) ** [B+(**)]
  88. PJ Harvey: The Hope Six Demolation Project (Vagrant) ** [B+(**)]
  89. Steve Hauschildt: Strands (Kranky) ** [B+(**)]
  90. Mayer Hawthorne: Man About Town (Vagrant) ** [B+(**)]
  91. Tim Hecker: Love Streams (4AD/Paper Bag) ** [B]
  92. Heron Oblivion (Sub Pop) ** [B+(**)]
  93. Hinds: Leave Me Alone (Mom + Pop) ** [B]
  94. Horse Lords: Interventions (Northern Spy) ** [B+(**)]
  95. The Hotelier: Goodness (Tiny Engines) ** [B+(*)]
  96. Jenny Hval: Blood Bitch (Sacred Bones) ** [C+]
  97. Ich Bin Nintendo: Lykke (Shhpuma) ** [B+(**)]
  98. Ital Tek: Hollowed (Planet Mu) ** [B+(**)]
  99. Nicolas Jaar: Sirens (Other People) ** [B+(**)]
  100. Kate Jackson: British Road Movies (Hoo Ha) ** [B+(*)]
  101. Sarah Jarosz: Undercurrent (Sugar Hill) ** [B+(**)]
  102. Cody Jinks: I'm Not the Devil (Cody Jinks Music) ** [B+(**)]
  103. Kamaiyah: A Good Night in the Ghetto (self-released) ** [B+(**)]
  104. Kayo Dot: Plastic House on Base of Sky (The Flenser) ** [B]
  105. Tyler Keith & the Apostles: Do It for Johnny (self-released) ** [B+(**)]
  106. Kel Assouf: Tikounen (Igloo) ** [B+(**)]
  107. King: We Are King (King Creative) * [B+(*)]
  108. King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard: Nonagon Infinity (ATO) ** [B+(*)]
  109. Michael Kiwanuka: Love & Hate (Polydor) ** [B+(**)]
  110. Konx-Om-Pax: Caramel (Planet Mu) ** [B+(*)]
  111. Kool AD: Official (2016, self-released, EP) ** [B+(*)]
  112. La Sera: Music for Listening to Music To (Polyvinyl) ** [B+(**)]
  113. Lady Gaga: Joanne (Streamline/Interscope) ** [B]
  114. Lambchop: FLOTUS (Merge) ** [B]
  115. Låpsley: Long Way Home (XL) ** [B+(*)]
  116. Hamilton Leithauser + Rostam: I Had a Dream That You Were Mine (Glassnote) ** [B]
  117. Jinx Lennon: Magic Bullets of Madness to Uplift Grief Magnets (Septic Tiger) ** [B+(**)]
  118. Lil Yachty: Lil Boat (Quality Control) ** [B]
  119. Lil Yachty: Summer Songs 2 (Quality Control) ** [B-]
  120. Little Simz: Stillness in Wonderland (Age 101) ** [B]
  121. Tove Lo: Lady Wood (Island) ** [B+(*)]
  122. Lydia Loveless: Real (Bloodshot) ** [B]
  123. Loretta Lynn: Full Circle (Legacy) ** [B+(**)]
  124. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis: This Unruly Mess I've Made (Macklemore) ** [B+(*)]
  125. Mannequin Pussy: Romantic (Tiny Engines, EP) ** [B+(*)]
  126. Bruno Mars: 24K Magic (Atlantic) ** [B]
  127. Maxwell: blackSUMMERS'night (Columbia) ** [B]
  128. Let's Eat Grandma: I, Gemini (Transgressive) ** [B]
  129. Leyla McCalla: A Day for the Hunter, a Day for the Prey (Jazz Village) ** [B+(**)]
  130. Cass McCombs: Mangy Love (Anti-) ** [B]
  131. Anna Meredith: Varmints (Moshi Moshi) ** [B]
  132. Merso: Red World (Good to Die) ** [B+(**)]
  133. Mexrrissey: No Manchester (Cooking Vinyl) ** [B+(*)]
  134. Michete: Cool Tricks 2 (self-released, EP) ** [B+(**)]
  135. Buddy Miller & Friends: Cayamo: Sessions at Sea (New West) ** [B+(*)]
  136. Parker Millsap: The Very Last Day (Okrahoma) ** [B+(*)]
  137. Mitski: Puberty 2 (Dead Oceans) ** [B+(*)]
  138. Modern Baseball: Holy Ghost (Run for Cover) ** [B+(**)]
  139. The Monkees: Good Times! (Rhino) ** [B-]
  140. Moodymann: DJ-Kicks (!K7) ** [B+(**)]
  141. Moor Mother: Fetish Bones (Don Giovanni) ** [B]
  142. Maren Morris: Hero (Columbia Nashville) ** [B]
  143. Bob Mould: Patch the Sky (Merge) ** [B+(*)]
  144. The Mowgli's: Where'd Your Weekend Go? (Photo Finish/Island) ** [B]
  145. Mudcrutch: 2 (Reprise) ** [B]
  146. Nao: For All We Know (Little Tokyo) ** [B+(*)]
  147. Willie Nelson: Summertime: Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin (Legacy) ** [B]
  148. Willie Nelson: For the Good Times: A Tribute to Ray Price (Legacy) ** [B+(*)]
  149. Aaron Neville: Apache (Tell It) ** [B+(**)]
  150. Nice as Fuck (Loves Way, EP) ** [B+(*)]
  151. Noname: Telefone (self-released) ** [B+(**)]
  152. Conor Oberst: Ruminations (Nonesuch) ** [B+(**)]
  153. Frank Ocean: Blonde (Boys Don't Cry) ** [B+(**)]
  154. Oddisee: The Odd Tape (Mello Music Group) ** [B+(*)]
  155. Opaluna (Ridgeway) [B]
  156. Hannah Peel: Awake but Always Dreaming (My Own Pleasure) ** [B]
  157. Pinegrove: Cardinal (Run for Cover) ** [B+(*)]
  158. Pink Martini: Je Dis Oui (Heinz) ** [B+(*)]
  159. Iggy Pop: Post Pop Depression (Loma Vista) ** [B+(*)]
  160. Preoccupations (Jagjaguwar) ** [B+(*)]
  161. Primal Scream: Chaosmosis (First International/Ignition) ** [B+(**)]
  162. Prince Rama: X-Treme Now (Carpark) ** [B-]
  163. Mark Pritchard: Under the Sun (Warp) ** [B+(*)]
  164. Pup: The Dream Is Over (Side One Dummy) ** [C+]
  165. The Radio Dept.: Running Out of Love (Labrador) ** [B+(**)]
  166. Radiohead: A Moon Shaped Pool (XL) ** [B]
  167. Rae Sremmurd: SremmLife 2 (Eardrum/Interscope) ** [B+(*)]
  168. Isaiah Rashad: The Sun's Tirade (Top Dawg Entertainment) ** [B+(**)]
  169. Dawn Richard: Redemption (Our Dawn) ** [B+(**)]
  170. Carrie Rodriguez: Lola (Luz) ** [B+(*)]
  171. Randy Rogers Band: Nothing Shines Like Neon (Tommy Jackson) ** [B+(*)]
  172. Daniel Romano: Mosey (New West) ** [B-]
  173. Roosevelt (City Slang) ** [B+(*)]
  174. Jimetta Rose: The Light Bearer (Temporary Whatever) ** [B-]
  175. Xenia Rubinos: Black Terry Cat (Anti) ** [B+(*)]
  176. Huerco S: For Those of You Who Have Never (And Also Those Who Have) (Proibito) ** [B+(**)]
  177. L.A. Salami: Dancing With Bad Grammar (PIAS America) ** [B+(*)]
  178. John K. Samson: Winter Wheat (Anti-) ** [B+(*)]
  179. SBTRKT: Save Yourself (self-released, EP) ** [B-]
  180. Scarcity of Tanks: Ringleader Lies (Total Life Society) ** [B+(**)]
  181. Hillary Scott & the Scott Family: Love Remains (Capitol Nashville) ** [B-]
  182. Travis Scott: Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight (Epic) ** [B+(**)]
  183. Aubrie Sellers: New City Blues (Warner Nashville) ** [B+(*)]
  184. Serengeti & Sicker Man: Doctor My Own Patience (Graveface) ** [B]
  185. Shabaka and the Ancestors: Wisdom of Elders (Brownswood) ** [B+(*)]
  186. Andy Shauf: The Party (Anti-) ** [B]
  187. Sheer Mag: III 7" (Wilsuns RC/Static Shock, EP) ** [B+(*)]
  188. ShitKid (PNKSLM, EP) ** [B-]
  189. Shura: Nothing's Real (Polydor) ** [B+(**)]
  190. Sia: This Is Acting (Inertia/Monkey Puzzle/RCA) ** [B+(*)]
  191. Sidestepper: Supernatural Love (Real World) ** [B+(*)]
  192. Paul Simon: Stranger to Stranger (Concord) ** [B+(*)]
  193. Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith: Ears (Western Vinyl) ** [B+(**)]
  194. Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith & Suzanne Ciani: Sunergy (RVNG Intl.) ** [B+(**)]
  195. Sneaks: It's a Myth (Merge, EP) ** [B+(*)]
  196. Solange: A Seat at the Table (Saint/Columbia) ** [B+(**)]
  197. Dele Sosimi Meets Prince Fatty & Nostalgia 77: You No Fit Touch Am in Dub (Wah Wah 45s) ** [B+(**)]
  198. Mavis Staples: Livin' on a High Note (Anti-) ** [B+(**)]
  199. Vince Staples: Prima Donna (Def Jam, EP) ** [B+(**)]
  200. Suede: Night Thoughts (Suede) ** [C+]
  201. Susso: Keira (Soundway) ** [B+(*)]
  202. Swans: The Glowing Man (Mute, 2CD) ** [B+(*)]
  203. Teenage Fanclub: Here (Merge) ** [B-]
  204. Kate Tempest: Let Them Eat Chaos (Lex) ** [B+(**)]
  205. Todd Terje/The Olsens: The Big Cover-Up (Olsen) ** [B+(**)]
  206. Thao & the Get Down Stay Down: A Man Alive (Ribbon Music) ** [B+(*)]
  207. Thee Oh Sees: A Weird Exits (Castle Face) ** [B+(*)]
  208. Jonah Tolchin: Thousand Mile Night (Yep Roc) ** [B+(**)]
  209. Touché Amoré: Stage Four (Epitaph) ** [B+(*)]
  210. Allen Toussaint: American Tunes (Nonesuch) ** [B+(**)]
  211. Tweet: Charlene (eOne) ** [B+(**)]
  212. William Tyler: Modern Country (Merge) ** [B+(*)]
  213. Underworld: Barbara Barbara, We Face a Shining Future (Astralwerks) ** [B+(**)]
  214. Ukandanz: Awo (Buda Musique) ** [B+(*)]
  215. Keith Urban: Ripcord (Capitol Nashville) ** [B]
  216. Adia Victoria: Beyond the Bloodhounds (Canvasback/Atlantic) ** [B+(*)]
  217. Ryley Walker: Golden Sings That Have Been Sung (Dead Oceans) ** [B+(*)]
  218. Warehouse: Super Low (Bayonet) ** [B+(**)]
  219. Wax Tailor: By Any Beats Necessary (Le Plan) ** [B+(*)]
  220. The Weeknd: Starboy (XO/Republic) ** [B+(*)]
  221. Wet: Don't You (Columbia) ** [B]
  222. Weyes Blood: Front Row Seat to Earth (Mexican Summer) ** [B-]
  223. White Denim: Stiff (Downtown) ** [B+(*)]
  224. White Lung: Paradise (Domino) ** [B+(**)]
  225. Whitney: Light Upon the Lake (Secretly Canadian) ** [B-]
  226. Wilco: Schmilco (dBpm) ** [B+(*)]
  227. Andre Williams: I Wanna Go Back to Detroit City (Bloodshot) ** [B+(*)]
  228. YG: Still Brazy (Def Jam) ** [B+(*)]
  229. Yoni & Geti: Testarossa (Joyful Noise) ** [B+(**)]
  230. Young Thug: Slime Season 3 (300 Entertainment/Atlantic, EP) ** [B+(**)]
  231. Zomba Prison Project: I Will Not Stop Singing (Six Degrees) ** [B+(**)]

Additional reissued/archival non-jazz records rated B+(**) or below (listed alphabetically by artist).

  1. African Head Charge: Return of the Crocodile (1981-86, On-U Sound) ** [B+(**)]
  2. Angry Angles (2005, Goner) ** [B+(**)]
  3. Boogie Breakdown: South African Synth-Disco 1980-1984 (Cultures of Soul) ** [B-]<.li>
  4. Close to the Noise Floor: Formative UK Electronica 1975-1984 (Cherry Red, 4CD) ** [B+(*)]
  5. J Dilla: The Diary (2001-02, Mass Appeal/Pay Jay) ** [B+(*)]
  6. Doing It in Lagos: Boogie, Pop & Disco in 1980's Nigeria (1979-84, Soundway, 2CD) ** [B]
  7. Bob Dylan: The Real Royal Albert Hall 1966 Concert! (Columbia/Legacy, 2CD) ** [B]
  8. Gqom Oh! The Sound of Durban Vol 1 (Goom Oh!) ** [B+(*)]
  9. Anna Homler and Steve Moshier: Breadwoman & Other Tales (1985-93, RVNG Intl) ** [B+(**)]
  10. New York Noise: Dance Music From the New York Underground 1977-1982 (Soul Jazz) ** [B+(**)]
  11. Randy Newman: The Randy Newman Songbook (2003-16, Nonesuch, 3CD) **
  12. Nigeria Soul Power: Afro Funk, Disco and Boogie (1970s-80s, Soul Jazz) ** [B+(*)]
  13. Elvis Presley: Way Down in the Jungle Room (1976, RCA/Legacy, 2CD) ** [B+(*)]
  14. Professor Longhair: Live in Chicago (1976, Orleans, EP) ** [B+(**)]
  15. Putumayo Presents: Blues Party (1968-2013, Putumayo World Music) * [B+(**)]
  16. Remixed With Love by Joey Negro: Vol. Two (Z, 2CD) ** [B+(*)]
  17. Sky Girl (1961-91, Efficient Space) ** [B+(*)]
  18. Space Echo: The Mystery Behind the Cosmic Sound of Cabo Verde Finally Revealed! (1977-85, Analog Africa) ** [B+(**)]
  19. Sunburst: Ave Africa: The Complete Recordings 1973-1976 (Strut, 2CD) ** [B+(*)]

New non-jazz records I haven't heard estimated to have a 2% (or better) chance of making the A-list if/when I finally hear them:

  1. Rokia Traore: Ne So (Nonesuch)
  2. Lucinda Williams: The Ghosts of Highway 20 (Highway 20)

Reissued non-jazz records I haven't heard estimated to have a 2% (or better) chance of making the A-list if/when I finally hear them: