2018 Honorable Mention Pick 1

Annah Hogberg Attack: Self-titled (Omlott, 2016)

Instrumentation on this medium out jazz record is sax, piano, drums and bass.  There are more composed moments as well as some bursting skronk.  Hogberg has a solid horn tone and the energy is fresh.  The piano player and the drummer get a shout out with some particularly ear catching work.

The second track, Familjen, is clipped below.  It is my favorite track on the record so check it out and see if it works for you.

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Best of 2017 Pick 9!!!

Chris McGregor: Up to Earth (Wing and a Prayer, 2008)

Not so long ago recorded music wasn’t so manicured and staid.  Chris McGregor was a Scottish pianist who grew up on African music and this record is a raucous/joyful jazz record in the tradition of Thelonious Monk.  Multiple horns swinging, a great rhythm section and McGregor’s angular and energetic playing combine to take you back to a time  where wildness was welcome.

This is not the most recommended McGregor record on All Music but I really like the energy of this.  One of the many problems with getting people to getting people involved with jazz is that the artists make records in different styles with different musicians and it becomes a pissing match regarding which record is the best.  Whereas indie bands often end up feeding their fans slightly altered versions of their last record because it’s adult baby food by non-artists.

Check this video out below and if you can’t get with it you’re pretty fucking square assed.

10/18/17!!! May Roosevelt, Irreversible Entanglements, Nasti

@@@ May Roosevelt: Air (Inner Ear, 2017). A single from a female musician on a small Greek label that I review on occasion.  It’s a krautrock/club mash with a dreamy reverbed female voice. Straight up kick-snare instead of a classic techno aunt-tss with layers of ambient synth patches.  It ebbs and flows from section to section.  It builds to a synthy climax with additional percussion and volume.  It’s got some nice sounds and it could be a bit shorter.

@@@ Irreversible Entanglements: Irreversible Entanglements (International Anthem LLC, 2017).  Four long (10-15 minute) pieces on this jazz record that I got to via last week’s CFUV playlist email.  I thought we were headed for a long jammy thing until the black female hits the spoken word and she hits it hard!  Talking some painful truth about life in America for African Americans.  First it’s awesome to have a woman going off on this and let me be one of very few white Americans to praise the hell out of this.  Let it out!  The instrumentation is pretty standard — drums (high in the mix!), bass, and a horn.  It’s hard to say much about the band cuz the spoken word missus is burning the microphone up.  They’re her support and they do a great job.  This will be on my best of year end list as it has what I like in records — passion, anger, folks expressing themselves powerfully, etc.  Turn off the sound on your NFL games and put this record on!

@@@ Nasti: Big Achievements (Iron Lung, 2017) An angular and abrasive punk record off this week’s CFUV playlist email.  Oh and they drop into a classic hardcore punk grind. Yeah kiddies, punk rock.  They are spanking the baby here purdy good yo and let’s peep more.  With titles like parasites, slugs, and blisters (all separate tracks) you know what you’re in for.  You get a fat dose of guitar feedback to go with your working man’s thrash — ’tis the ying/yang of hardcore.  I initially typed ying/yank which is a sort of masturbatory Asian philosophy a lot of TED talk folks employ.  Heavy on the yank.  But I digress.  This will most def harvest the crust from your eyes so if you have crusty eyes or you get the Fugazi reference have a go.  Good for those who are feeling worn down by El Trump-o, the great American rapist.

YTD recordings listened to: 675
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 363
Not good music: 284

Buys: 8
Honorable Mentions: 6

Possibles: Chris McGregor, Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Slidhr, The Chewers, Toxic Holocaust, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Lenguas Largas, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Lozen, Erase Errata, Mastery, Leviathan, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, Janelle Monae, Luther Dickinson, Graeme Barrett, Fast Asleep, Goldlink, Cavanaugh, Gentleman Surfer, Satoko Fuji, Moken, Juan Atkins, Lantern, Twin Peaks, Djelimady Tounkara, The Oh Sees, Denny Zeitlin, MILF, Unfun, De La Soul, Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes, Magrudergrind, A Tribe Called Quest, Noname, Gouge Away, Anna Hogberg, Klara Lewis, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, James Brandon Lewis, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, J.I.D., Oddisee, Forro in the Dark, RAM, Fiver, Dona Onete, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Priests, Propaganda, This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez, Integrity, American Lips, Sudan Archives, Tuba Skinny, The Expanders, Benjamin Booker, Kelly Moran, Irreversible Entanglements

Music for 8/13/17!!! Han Earl Park!

@@@ Han Earl Park: Sirene 1009 (Buster and Friends, 2017)  On the day after a race riot in Virginia in a society where I can’t even get the straight information as to what happened, how many people were there, etc. and at the end of a summer where so much disturbing awful shit has occurred and nobody appears to acknowledge it except to monetize it into shallow clickbait it’s a pleasure to hear music the echoes the awfulness of our present situation.  This is what drew me to punk rock back in the day — the idea that I’m not alone and other people feel as badly as I feel and are letting it out.

While I enjoy Mr. Parks playing (he is jumpy as fuck, does not respect certain time honored and boring jazz conventions) it is the singer that really takes this music to another place.

As my daddy used to say most people wouldn’t say shit if they had a mouthful of it.  This woman does not have that problem as she lets it all hang out.  She pushes the definition of what a singer is and her priority is to make you feel similarly to her.  That’s a guess but when you hear the range of difficult sounds emanating from her it’s hard to feel great.  I don’t really want to get into the specifics of how she performs as we have this fantastic interwebz and you can click on it yourself and peep.  It is disjointed and chaotic, not all miserable, but raw and wandering.  Sort of like that President Orange Piece of Shit himself.  I don’t want to super overtly tie this music to politics and the vibes here are pretty universal and transcend but there is a connection as I described above.  She brings forward that half human/half animal inner state of mind that millions of people experience yet no one dare speak of.  Grunts, gasps, random word salad, growls, you get the idea.  Everybody in the band is killing but the singer really takes it home.

You can listen to it as you see fit, I’m no fascist.  It exists unto itself while also being part of a larger context.

Let me just sign off by saying there are a lot of guys and gals who sidle up to play some free jazz and drop some skronky ass, light on soul noise for sure.  This is not one of those efforts.

Check it out!

YTD recordings listened to: 521
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 282
Not good music: 217

Buys: 8
Honorable Mentions: 6

Possibles: Chris McGregor, Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Slidhr, The Chewers, Toxic Holocaust, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Lenguas Largas, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Lozen, Erase Errata, Mastery, Leviathan, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, Janelle Monae, Luther Dickinson, Graeme Barrett, Fast Asleep, Goldlink, Cavanaugh, Gentleman Surfer, Satoko Fuji, Moken, Juan Atkins, Lantern, Twin Peaks, Djelimady Tounkara, The Oh Sees, Denny Zeitlin, MILF, Unfun, De La Soul, Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes, Magrudergrind, A Tribe Called Quest, Noname, Gouge Away, Anna Hogberg, Klara Lewis, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, James Brandon Lewis, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, J.I.D., Oddisee, Forro in the Dark, RAM, Fiver, Dona Onete, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Priests, Propaganda, This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez, Integrity

Music for 7/12/17!!! Eric Revis, Jenna Mundia, Sassy Black, Coldplay

@@@ Eric Revis: Sing Me Some Cry (Clean Feed, 2017) I’m on the Portuguese jazz label’s mailing list and this record is featured on their summer release email.  I’m a fan of the pianist Kris Davis and the drummer Chad Taylor.   After a nice opening bass solo by Revis they head into some melodically less defined but interesting improv.  There are some processed vocals that kind of blow through the tune (clipped below).  As expected I’m really enjoying Taylor’s drumming and the Ms. Davis’ piano playing.  This record would be a good place for folks who don’t listen to much (or any) new jazz as it’s engaging but not skronky and abrasively in your face.  I like that style of playing but there are a lot of snowflakes out there.

@@@ Jenn Mundia: Heads or Tails (Self-released, 2015)  While this record is slotted as r&b/soul, the first tracks have prominent guitar parts that evoke folk and mellow rock music.  I got to this record via a twit on the Twatter.  Mundia has a very sweet and strong voice.  I didn’t really love the third track but I liked the rest of what I heard and the guitar and her voice work really well together.  It’s pretty romantic music but for what a lot of music industry folks call adult alternative it does a good job at what it sets out to do.

@@@ Sassy Black: New Black Swing (Self-released, 2017)  I got to this record via the CFUV weekly playlist email and if you think that incredibly fly dyed red haircut is a signifier of the tracks you would be thinking right.  There is an electric ’80s feel here, mostly in the sound of the beats.  Ms. Sassy goes full lovergal on the second tune, Passion Paradise.  These beats don’t work for me at all but I know there are millions (literally millions) who are more than happy to roll like this.  A drum machine, slow jam vocals and love people, that’s where it’s at.

@@@ Coldplay: ALIENS (Warner, 2017) We will finish up with this hot track of Apple Music’s hot tracks.  Regular readers know that I despise Coldplay’s music.  I’m sure they are the most awesome people, they care and they have lots of positive feelings and whatnot but the music is shamelessly pandering to the cheesy, undeveloped sentimental side of humans.  I find singer Chris Martin to be especially stinky.  It would make sense that the video for this tune would be animated as this is good music for children, if you want to ruin the minds of your children.  The anthemic production certainly doesn’t help the song retain any connection to reality but I guess, in the end, that’s what folks are up for.

YTD recordings listened to: 446
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 246
Not good music: 180

Buys: 7
Honorable Mentions: 6

Possibles: Chris McGregor, Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Slidhr, The Chewers, Toxic Holocaust, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Lenguas Largas, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Lozen, Erase Errata, Mastery, Leviathan, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, Janelle Monae, Luther Dickinson, Graeme Barrett, Fast Asleep, Goldlink, Cavanaugh, Gentleman Surfer, Satoko Fuji, Moken, Juan Atkins, Lantern, Twin Peaks, Djelimady Tounkara, The Oh Sees, Denny Zeitlin, MILF, Unfun, De La Soul, Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes, Magrudergrind, A Tribe Called Quest, Noname, Gouge Away, Anna Hogberg, Klara Lewis, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, James Brandon Lewis, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, J.I.D., Oddisee, Forro in the Dark, RAM, Fiver, Dona Onete, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Dead Ranch, Priests, Propaganda

2017 Honorable Mention Pick 3

Aethenor: Hazel (VHF Records, 2017)

I had to do some searching around to get a handle on the folks that made this record.  It was made by musicians of varying backgrounds and that makes sense as it is a mash of jazz, ambient electronics, and a wee bit of jam rock.

The drummer is a jazz drummer that has played with Peter Brotzmann and he’s pretty much the star of the show.  He’s a very engaging drummer, switching up on a regular basis but all within the context of what’s going on around him.

It’s hard to describe the music these guys crank out.  It has elements of Sigur Ros but not as dreamlike and noisier.  Check it out.

 

A free jazz shout out!

Dave Arner Trio: A Take On It All (N/A, 2015)

I put this record on my to listen to list years ago — so long ago in fact that it has either disappeared from the streaming services or is on Spotify and not on the Apple Music (and its ancestors).

Availability aside, this is some stylish free jazz trio playing with piano, bass, and drums.  I refuse to bloviate about jazz because it puts folks off and I’m an anti-bloviator, but these guys are really listening and playing with each other and I find this to be very fresh and spontaneous and satisfying listening.

I’m giving myself a gold star because this is some ultra-obscure music but that has very little (or anything) to do with quality.