Music for 10/11/17!!! Peach Pyramid, Kelela, Chelsea Wolfe, New Kingston

@@@ Peach Pyramid: Repeating Myself (Oscar St, 2017) Indie rock off this week’s CFUV playlist email.  Mad dreamy, super arpeggiated guitars.  I guess they’re either arpeggiated or not, there’s no super arpeggiated.  Not super, but they’re super twee.  Female singer, slack and straight than straighter rock beats.  There’s not a lot to go on about here so I don’t want to waste anybody’s time.  It’s shiny guitar indie done in the classic style.  It’s like trying to describe Domino’s pizza — the shit is mad salty and you either get with it or you don’t eat it.

@@@ Kelea: Take Me Apart (Warp, 2017)  I’ve seen posters for this record up in Brooklyn and given the state of the music industry it’s a bit shocking to see an indie label laying out for street posters.  The production here is ultra slick but more than just a repetition of retro electronic soul.  It’s being marketed as a super confessional record which I’m down with but her delivery is pretty smooth and doesn’t evoke any confessional vibe to my ears.  She rocks a pretty straightforward sultry and lush vibe.  The arrangements overshadow the vocals here by just a bit — I find my focus to be on the beats and the bass and I’m not noticing her lyrics or hearing her voice as more than a soft overlay.

@@@ Chelsea Wolfe: Hiss Spun (Sargent House, 2017)  I was going to say more femme indie but these ladies came on dark, grungy, and unhappy.  Like Harvey Weinstein’s Ass Ball Connector!  Not to demean this fine band.  Very tasty fuzzy bass sound, wailing and dyspeptic guitar squall and arena rock drumming.  Let’s peep a bit more.  There’s more than a bit of art school to this heavy rock.  It’s slow like Jane’s Addiction but without Perry, you know Perry.  If PJ Harvey was grafted onto Jane’s Addiction’s torso without so much arena flavor.  It’s pretty good — it’s a bit restrained for my taste.  When I want a hot mess or a sonic dumpster fire I want a real fucking mess.  This is pretty manicured (like Harvey Weinstein’s Ass Ball Connector)?  #inappropes

@@@ New Kingston: A Kingston Story: Come From Far (Easy Star, 2017)  I saw a music publicist email about this up and coming reggae band.  This first tune sports both a thick bass and a shiny modern pop production.  Concious lyrics with some dub elements.  It’s a full reggae ensemble from hand percussion to background vocalists to bubbling organ.  I respect the spirit of the record but I’m not a fan of tunes like the fifth one ‘Agape’.  It’s a Hollywood/reggae vibe they’re working.  I prefer the old school sound and vibe.

YTD recordings listened to: 660
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 354
Not good music: 280

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

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Music for 5/30/2017!!! Jah Sun, Wicked Dub Division, Dona Onete, Waleed Al Shami

@@@ Jah Sun: Between the Lines (Sugar Cane, 2017)  If Graceland-era Paul Simon made a reggae record it would sound a ton like this record.  Mad friendly bounce, lyrics that are substantive and friendly at the same time.  Mr. Sun has an engaging voice and the production is polished and modern so if you’re in need of a shot of bounce hit him up.

@@@ Wicked Dub Divison meets North East Ska Orchestra: Mama (Wicked Dub Division, 2017)  A single I got to via the CFUV weekly email.  This is an orchestral dub with a huge ensemble — horns, woodwinds, percussions, bass and synth bass.  It is a full and fat stereo field to be sure and while the first impression is that it sounds odd it’s pumping a pretty steady dub vibe.  About halfway through a female voice starts out spoken word style and is joined by a male vocalist.  This is cool tune.

@@@ Dona Onete: Boto Namorador (Som Livre, 2017)  A firm midtempo Brazilian tune I got to via the WRIR weekly playlist email.  My main beef involves the overly soft feel of some Brazilian music but this is steady and I dig Onete’s weathered, gravelly voice.  She’s got a lot of singers helping her out as well as a full band with a special shout out to the drummer.  On the outro they get into a large chant/hand clap thing that cranks the tune up.  I would listen to more of this artist for sure.

@@@ Waleed Al Shami: Zaman Adam (N/A, 2017)  Some super polished and romantic Iraqi music off the world section of Apple Music.  Shami has a beautiful voice but this sounds like a Celine Dion record with huge reverb patches on various instruments and string flourishes — there’s nothing that makes me want to invade a country more than this style of production.  So let’s invade Canada where Celine Dion is from — occupying Toronto would have been smarter than what these war criminals did.  Oh, this second tune leaves that behind and gets into a funky Middle Eastern grind.  Will wonders never cease, this is pretty fat.  But we’re back into the sonic cheeseburger aisle on the third tune so Imma guessing it’s gonna work that way through the whole record.

YTD recordings listened to: 327
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 188
Not good music: 126

Buys: 5
Honorable Mentions: 2

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, Drone, 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, Aethenor, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, James Brandon Lewis, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Power Trip, Reverend Payton, J.I.D., Oddisee, Forro in the Dark, RAM, Oumou Sangare, Fiver, Dona Onete

Music for 5/14/17!!! Csavi, Tape Five, Morgan Heritage

@@@ Csavi: War Chant Joy (Acinech, 2017) A modern sounding reggae single with a voluptuous female singer on the microphone.  The tune sounds like Bob Marley had a love baby with Sade — smooth and roots.  The dub stylings are most evident in the vocal arrangements with some nice delays that go with the snare sticks.  I got to this tune via the WRIR weekly email.  Check it out.

@@@ Tape Five: Soiree Deluxe (Smarty Mart, 2017) A Dixie party record I also got to via the WRIR weekly email.  I like the second tune Hush Hush Magazine as it has some really flavorful horn arrangements but what I hear has this going out as a party record so the beats and the tempos are very partyistic.  Myself I would prefer some more traditional Dixie swinging up in heah but they went for the party.

@@@ Morgan Heritage: Avrekedabra (CTBC, 2017)  Super poppy reggae made for folks who love bologna sandwiches on Wonder Bread with mayonnaise.  They toast on the mic for sure but I just can’t get with the general vibe of these tracks.  None of that Lee Perry weirdness, or Bob Marley spirituality/politics, or sonic interest of King Tubby.  So I don’t want to be a snob but this is not for me, this is for drunken white folks or frat boys.

YTD recordings listened to: 297
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 173
Not good music: 117

Buys: 5
Honorable Mentions: 2

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, Drone, 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, Aethenor, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, James Brandon Lewis, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Power Trip, Reverend Payton, J.I.D., Oddisee, Forro in the Dark

Music for 3/16/17!!! Ho9909, J.I.D., Tenelle

@@@ Ho9909: United States of Horror (Deathkult, 2017)  An aggro industrial grade hip hop single off an upcoming full length that comes out in May.  I just had to peep something called the United States of Horror.  I’m down with the sentiments at the end of the tune but the sounds are pretty grating.  He’s got his distorted vocals crunched up pretty good and it kinda hurts.  It reminds me of a slowed down rap metal tune but check it for yourself.

@@@ J.I.D.: The Never Story (Interscope, 2017)  I’m not sure how this hip hop record off the Apple New Music section is going to go but I like the first tune.  No beats but some lush vocal harmonies.  Then it goes into the second tune which is gangsta but funky and not rough in the arrangements.  The MC has a high, slightly nasal tinge so he’s not super menacing sounding.  I’m super feeling this third tune Never.  He’s got a super quick and satisfying flow.  I like the sounds but Mr. J.I.D. is the star here and you gotta peep the song clipped below if you’re a hip hop fan.  Outstanding funk factor on these tracks.

@@@ Tenelle: For the Lovers (Island Empire, 2017)  Slotted as a reggae record in the Apple new music section this is a mash of slick r&b and reggae like beats.  This first tune has more in common with a Prince tune than a Bob Marley song.  The second tune is stickier but we’re not breaking any records, it’s a crossover style with plenty of pop.  If you don’t like the super sweetness of these tunes you’re not going to like the record.  It’s cotton candy to my ears but check it for yourself.

YTD recordings listened to: 177
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 95
Not good music: 66

Buys: 0
Honorable Mentions: 1

Possibles: Chris McGregor, Dave Arner Trio, Zomby, Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Slidhr, The Chewers, Toxic Holocaust, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Lenguas Largas, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Fofoulah, 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, Divanhana, Moken, Juan Atkins, Drone, 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, Aethenor, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, James Brandon Lewis, Yotoco, Tinariwen, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Power Trip, Fruko Y Sos Tesos, Reverend Payton, J.I.D.

Music for 3/8/17!!! Vagabon, Career Suicide, Meta and the Cornerstones

@@@ Vagabon: Infinite World (7 Arts, 2017)  Introspective jangle indie rock off this week’s CFUV weekly email.  A female singer that sounds a bit like Sarah Bareilles and Kim Gordon at the same time.  This is some bittersweet white people’s music for a rainy day.  This second tune is down in tempo and energy from the opener.  Okay we’re back to the busting out guitar on the third tune so it looks like it’s set to bounce back and forth, much like El Trump-o.   I prefer this record to El Trump-o.

@@@ Career Suicide: Machine Response (Deranged Records, 2017)  Old school no bullshit hardcore off this week’s CFUV weekly playlist mail.  23 minutes of hot punk biscuits.  I dig the guitar player but all these folks is working hard to make America great again!  I think they’re from Canada so that complicates matters a bit.  The singer is classic in his microphonic stylings — ramped up and agitated and the band starts lurching to and fro as the album moves through its various tunes.  Yes Toronto!

@@@ Meta and the Cornerstones: Hira (Metarize, 2017)  A roots reggae record I got to via the WRIR weekly review email.  From the review I know the singer is from Senegal and he’s got musicians from all over the world accompanying him.  There are super distinct Bob Marley at his peak full band vibes going here in the first tune.  Background singers, a horn section, melodica (or something similar), bubbling organ — the full reggae celebration.  Meta has a rich voice and he’s super rootsy in his lyrics.  It’s very polished production wise, which is a bit of a minus for me but most folks don’t listen that closely.

YTD recordings listened to: 157
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 85
Not good music: 48

Buys: 0
Honorable Mentions: 1

Possibles: Chris McGregor, Dave Arner Trio, Zomby, Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Slidhr, The Chewers, Toxic Holocaust, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Lenguas Largas, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Fofoulah, 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, Divanhana, Moken, Juan Atkins, Drone, 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, Aethenor, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, James Brandon Lewis, Yotoco, Tinariwen, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Power Trip, Fruko Y Sos Tesos

Music for 2/8/17!!! Elaquent, Iron Reagan, Dub Kartel

@@@ Elaquent: Worst Case Scenario (Urbnet, 2016)  Some left field hip hop off this week’s CFUV weekly email.  He’s got a real nice rhythmic undercarriage on this first tune but we are rhyme free as of now.  This may be, for the most part, a rhyme free record.  I’m digging this second tune, Gyoza (clipped below) it’s really quite splanky.  The double hi hat patterns are confounding and engaging.  This is some funky quiet storm vibes here with smoothness and very sophisticated instrumental hip hop arrangments.  He has some vocal samples but no MC to speak of.

@@@ Iron Reagan: Crossover Ministry (Relapse Records, 2016)  I dig Iron Reagan, not solely because of their name but it is a hot name.  Not quite as hot as Thatcher’s Cunt, a hardcore band out of the UK, but hot nonetheless.  18 songs in 28 minutes so these are gonna be commando style metal biscuits for your earholes.  They are an equal blend of hardcore and metal — big shout out hardcore vocals but a metal drum sound and most definitely a metal guitarist.

@@@ Dub Kartel: Dub Kartel (Self-released, 2016)  Also off this week’s CFUV weekly playlist email.  Some roots reggae with uplifting lyrics on this first tune.  The singer is a toaster with a lot of energy on the microphone so maybe he’s mixing his spleef smoking with generous amounts of Red Bull.  After sampling four of the tunes I like some of the sounds here, but I’m not a huge fan of the singer.  Others might feel him but I will stick my old Burning Spear records.

YTD recordings listened to: 89
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 51
Not good music: 28

Buys: 0
Honorable Mentions: 0

Possibles: Chris McGregor, Dave Arner Trio, Zomby, Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Slidhr, The Chewers, Toxic Holocaust, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Lenguas Largas, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Fofoulah, 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, Divanhana, Moken, Juan Atkins, Drone, Lantern, Twin Peaks, Djelimady Tounkara, The Oh Sees, Denny Zeitlin, MILF, Unfun, De La Soul, Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes, Magrudergrind, Acid Arab, A Tribe Called Quest, Noname, Gouge Away, Anna Hogberg, Klara Lewis, Aethenor, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, James Brandon Lewis, Yotoco

Best of 2016!!!

Note 1:  These records are listed in the order they hit the list through the course of the year, not in any sort best to worst order.

Note 2: I will be adding more records between now and the end of 2016 but I got my best of 2015 list up in July 2016 and did not want a repeat of that.

Note 3:  I will be starting a podcast in early 2017 so stay tuned for that.

1: Noisem: Blossoming Decay (A389 Recordings, 2015) There’s a moment on the seventh song, Another Night Sleeping in the Cold, where the rhythm of the drums and the power chord sauce from the guitarist rhythmically lock and it sounds like you’re taking a pleasurable and savage beating. Listen

2: Dos Santos Anti-Beat Orquesta: Dos Santos (Self-released, 2015) A rocking cumbia explosión out of Chicago.  Strong rhythm section, great guitar tones at work and you get the space organ for free. Listen.

3: Living Hell: Oblivion (Eulogy, 2009) This 2009 metal record is being reissued and I understand why.  This band is a very tasty blend of metal with touches of classic metal and hardcore punk. Listen.

4: Los Hacheros: Bambulaye (Jacob Plasse, 2016). I have their 2012 effort on my best of list for its beautiful ambient salsa sound and this record makes the list for it’s powerful combination of melody and rhythm. Listen

5: Ghostlimb: Confluence (Vitriol, 2012).  An emo punk brain scraper that lurches and confesses from the opening measures.  The singer is fully at the end of his rope, the drummer is on it and loose and alive, and the songs are spin and jerk around, just like in real life.  Every member of the band is on full tilt. Listen.

6: Alvin Youngblood Hart: Down in the Alley (Memphis Int’l, 2002) Hart is a superlative guitar player specializing in finger picking.  He also sports a soulful, classic blues voice with a combination of gruffness and black church gospel melodies. Listen.

7: Eliades Ochoa: Leyendas (Plus One Music, 2016).  Smoking old school Cuban music from a Buena Vista Social club alumnus.    The singing is beautiful, the stringed instrument playing is righteous with plenty of space for solos, and the percussionist/conga player is hot. Listen.

8. Konono No. 1 Meets Batida (Crammed Disc, 2016) Are you a four on the floor drum machine kinda person/cubicle dweller or do you get the strange and driving power of an electrified thumb piano?  Distorted and driving with a guitar player, some electronics, awesome singing and chanting. Listen.

9: Al Scorch: Circle Round the Signs (Bloodshot, 2016).  An Americana roots record with very good lyrics, great energy, a really good singer and a variety of tunes. Listen.

10: Jim the Boss: Hudson Soul (Boom One, 2016) Super true roots reggae. TIght rhythms, classic sounds, great sax in this second track.  Of course booming bass as what would one expect from a label called Boom One? Listen.

11. Jessie Mae Hemphill: Get Right Blues (High Water Recording, 2003)  This is straight ahead, no bullshit/no marketing music.  And in terms of emotional impact great blues can really pack a wallop and such is the case with Jessie Mae Hemphill. Listen.

12: Vieux Kante: Young Man’s Harp (Sterns, 2016).  Virtuosic koura playing out of Mali accompanied by a deft bass player and great tunes.  Listen.

14. Changui Majadero: El Changui Majadero (Changui Majadero, 2016) Full on blasting Cuban music out of Cali.  Great female singer, great playing.  Listen.

15. The Lickshots: The Lickshots (Rockers Int’l, 2016) This is about as sweet a dub record as you’re gonna find.  Classic delays, thick bass and well done drumming but with some really tasty flute and horn work (see clip below).  Listen.

16. Vaudou Game: Kidayu (Hot Casa, 2016) African James Brown+ and no fucking around!   Unbelievably funky drummer with great players and singers all around. Listen.

17. Neurosis: Fires Within Fires (Neurot, 2016) They’re 30 years tight, the arrangements are tight, and the playing is lean, seasoned with heavy doses of old school punk, noise, and of course, metal. The mood is dark but three dimensional. Listen.

18. Mystic Braves: Days of Yesteryear (Mystic Braves, 2015) An indie record reminiscent of The Byrds, The Coral and even a pube or two of R.E.M.  Great guitar playing and rhythm section action.  Listen.

19. Solange: A Seat at the Table (Columbia, 2016).  Everything her sister Beyonce is not and thank God for that.  Listen.

HONORABLE MENTIONS 2016!!!!

1. Mohammed Abozekry: Chaos (Neonovo, 2013) Abozekry is a French-Egyptian oud player and he shreds. He’s accompanied by an upright bass player, a hand drummer, and another string player Listen.

2. Xibalba: Tierra Y Libertad (Southern Lord, 2015) Straight up, no bullshit metal beat down.  Big drummer/guitar rhythmic lockdown. Listen.

3. Debruit and Alsarah: Aljawal (Soundways, 2013) Some of my favorite electronic music involves African people.  This collaboration between a French producer and a Sudanese singer does a really great job combining electronic music elements with African music. Listen.

4. The Reverend Peyton and his Damned Big Band: So Delicious (Shanachie, 2015) This roots rock record is both dirty and nerdy.  The band is high energy and pretty rocking (for the style) and the singer sports a unique lower register voice. Listen.

5. Michael Daves:  Orchids and Violence (Nonesuch, 2016). A concept record in that he plays 12 songs in a bluegrass style and then plays the same 12 songs electric.  And man the bluegrass record is pretty kicking. Listen.

6. Carrie Rodriguez: Lola (Luz Records, 2016) A fantastically produced record of mostly torch songs with Tex Mex twang, Mexican music, and some rock and roll. Listen.

7. Matt Parker: Twos and Fours (Concierge, 2015) A raucous and swinging jazz record I found a few months ago.  I love the energy of the playing as well as the sound of the record. Listen.

8. James McMurtry: Complicated Game (Complicated Game, 2016) This roots record has a lot going for.  It sounds great, the band plays very tastefully, and McMurtry rocks some pretty high end lyrics. Listen.

9. Cha Wa: Funk ‘n Feathers (Cha Wa, 2016) Righteous uplifting vocals, a lot of catchy and standard New Orleans party tunes but done with some rock/funk muscle, especially the guitar player, the organ player and the drummer. Listen.

10. Eli Paperboy Reed: My Way Home (Yep Roc, 2016)  Mr. Paperboy brings it on this record.  The band is hot with special shout outs to the bass player and the background vocalists. Listen.

11. Xenia Rubinos: Black Terry Cat (Anti-, 2016) This is what I thought indie rock was supposed to be.  Quirky music that draws from various genres and melts it all together to make something a bit like rock but not obsessively so. Listen.

12. Bone Dance: Bone Dance (Self-released, 2013) These guys work the neighborhood where post-rock, emo, hardcore punk, and metal meet.  Listen.

13. Gorguts: Pleiades’ Dust (Gorguts, 2016) If you want to hear a band stretch out and aspire and you dig the sonic palette of really rough heavy metal bands this record will work for you. Listen.

14. Brent Cobb: Shine on Rainy Day (Elektra, 2016) A John Prine tinged country rock record.  The lyrics are above average but not quite great and this record has a lot of things going for it including an excellent bass player with a great tone, tasteful arrangements, and a singer with a voice that sits solidly in the country tradition. Listen.

15. Kadhja Bonet: The Visitor (Fat Possum, 2016). An avant soul record.  I like the drummer, the sounds and the arrangements but the singer Bonet is the star here.  She has a commanding and beautiful voice — she smokes anything I’ve heard out of Beyonce. Listen.

16. Michael Wollny & Vincent Peirani: Tandem (ACT, 2016) The contrast between the highbrow piano and the folk-y sound of the accordion is delicious — it works for me big time. The mood of these pieces is slower rather than faster, not sad but certainly not bouncy. Listen.

17. Xylouris White: Black Peak (Bella Union, 2016). Xylouris White is going for what I would call an ecstatic energy.  He pushes both his playing and his singing and he whips the drummer into quite a shitty as well. Listen.

18. Destruction Unit: Negative Feedback Resistor (Sacred Bones, 2015). Definitely one of the most blasted out heavy psych records you will ever encounter.  Beyond distorted guitars, distorted vocals, a filthy sewer bass, it’s really about a full blast of energy here.  Listen.

19. 6Lack: Free 6Lack (Interscope, 2016) 6Lack (pronounced black) has some of the best hip hop/r&b sounds going this year.  Really abstract and beautiful shit that floats and pulsates and hovers over the skittery beats you get from musicians down South. Listen.

20. Dori Freeman: Dori Freeman (Dori Freeman/Free Dirt, 2016).  A country/roots/folk record by a female artist with a voice that fits right into the country tradition — the sad song part of it any way.  The first three songs are the best on the record.  Listen.

21. Noura Mint Seymali: Arbina (Glitterbeat, 2016) Seymali is a singing giant with a huge voice and her husband is totally boss on the guitar.  Funky West African business.  Listen.