Monday, April 30, 2018


Music Week

Music: current count 29628 [29604] rated (+24), 372 [362] unrated (+10).

Not a huge rated count, but wrapping up April's Streamnotes I made a special effort to check out my best prospects, and after I hit my post deadline I kept working in that vein. The result is way more than the usual crop of A- records. Probably would have picked up Kira Kira's Bright Force but didn't get it written up in time, so I have to give it another spin. [Pictured right, to be listed next week, but make of that what you will.]

My most important tip source this week was Michael Tatum's A Downloader's Diary (48) -- his first in a rough couple of years, but a complete return to form. Also helpful was Phil Overeem's My Favorite Records of 2018, a Third the Way Out, and Chris Monsen's 2018: favorites, which expanded from 10 to 18 records last week. Less useful was that I added the top 100 AOTY Highest Rated Albums of 2018 to my meta-list. That introduced me to a few records that showed up elsewhere (like Dream Wife), but I aside from the Nashville women (Ashley Monroe, Kacey Musgraves, Sarah Shook) I haven't explored this list much. (Couldn't find Saba; Janelle Monáe, Willie Nelson, and five others only showed up after my trawl.)

I was pleased to see Overeem post a link to Streamnotes for the Expert Witness group at Facebook, not least because it generated a lot more discussion than my own Facebook posts. A couple points here:

  • The "deluxe edition" reissue of Sonny Rollins' Way Out West came out as double vinyl, a limited edition, already sold out. I gave the record a full A, basically because none of the new material (mostly alternate takes) slacked off from the original album, and while there's a little patter, it doesn't detract either. Still, I can't recommend you run out and buy it. I'm not an audiophile, so couldn't comment on the sound if I wanted to, which I don't. But at this point I consider vinyl a nuisance (I still have 300+ albums, but almost never play one, and I've been slow getting to the new ones I sometimes receive). But even so, there are a bunch of '50s Rollins albums you really should have in addition to Way Out West -- especially Work Time and Saxophone Colossus.

  • I was only vaguely aware of The Ex before their compilation Singles, Period: The Vinyl Years 1980-1990 appeared in 2005 (see my RG review), but I made a big dive after they put their work up on Bandcamp (see, e.g., my Streamnotes reviews). You can find a grade list here. Also noteworthy are a whole side series of matches between Terrie Ex (né Hessels) and jazz notables, starting (as far as I can tell) with Han Bennink in 2001 and peaking (so far) with Lean Left: The Ex Guitars Meet Nilssen-Love/Vandermark Duo in 2010. Lots to explore here. Early on the Ex had a sort of parallel to the Mekons: both were politically-oriented post-punk bands, and Jon Langford shows up on some early Ex albums. The third group in this constellation is Zu, from Italy, but they've been much less prolific. Their high point was Radiale (2004) with Ken Vandermark's funkiest free jazz group, Spaceways Inc. -- my first Jazz Consumer Guide Pick Hit. My interest in them diminished after they moved into metal, but their early work is interesting, and they (especially bassist Massimo Pupillo) sometimes show up in the same jazz circles.


I didn't bother with the White House Correspondents' Dinner when I was collecting yesterday's Weekend Roundup, but did take a look at Michelle Wolf's keynote sketch later on. Not as funny or as cutting as I would have liked -- she didn't have much flow, mostly knocking the jokes off like reading from a laundry list -- but the current administration (most of all its Leader) are so thin-skinned that glancing blows provoked howls of rage. I've always thought this was a bizarre ritual -- it's not like crime beat reporters host events with murderers and rapists to gently needle one another -- but the only time I ever paid much attention to it was Stephen Colbert's bravura 2006 performance. For a general review, see Emily Stewart: The Michelle Wolf White House Correspondents' Dinner controversy, explained, but for deeper issues look up Matt Taibbi: Michelle Wolf Slays Useless White House Correspondents' Dinner. For what it's worth, I think Trump's right not to attend, though I'm pretty sure it's not for the right reasons.


New records rated this week:

  • Erlend Olderskog Albertsen: Rodssal Neen Glassdor (2018, Dugnad Rec): [bc]: B+(***)
  • Berry: Everything, Compromised (2018, Joyful Noise): [r]: B-
  • The Breeders: All Nerve (2018, 4AD): [r]: B+(*)
  • Daniel Carter/William Parker/Matthew Shipp: Seraphic Light (2017 [2018], AUM Fidelity): [cd]: A-
  • Chloe x Halle: The Kids Are Alright (2018, Parkwood/Columbia): [r]: B+(**)
  • District Five: Decoy (2017 [2018], Intakt): [cd]: B+(**)
  • Dream Wife: Dream Wife (2018, Lucky Number): [r]: B+(***)
  • Frode Gjerstad Trio + Steve Swell: Bop Stop (2017 [2018], Clean Feed): [r]: B+(**)
  • The Go! Team: Semi-Circle (2018, Memphis Industries): [r]: B+(**)
  • Jean Grae & Quelle Chris: Everything's Fine (2018, Mello Music Group): [r]: A-
  • The Heat Death: The Glenn Miller Sessions (2018, Clean Feed, 3CD): [r]: B+(**)
  • Dave Holland: Uncharted Territories (2018, Dare2, 2CD): [cdr]: A-
  • Nick Millevoi's Desertion Trio With Jamie Saft: Midtown Tilt (2017 [2018], Shhpuma): [r]: B
  • Ashley Monroe: Sparrow (2018, Warner Nashville): [r]: B-
  • Kacey Musgraves: Golden Hour (2018, MCA Nashville): [r]: B
  • Orquesta Akokán: Orquesta Akokán (2018, Daptone): [r]: B+(***)
  • Sarah Shook & the Disarmers: Years (2018, Bloodshot): [r]: B+(*)
  • Sly & Robbie Meet Nils Petter Molvaer Feat Eivind Aarset and Vladislav Delay: Nordub (2016 [2018], Okeh): [r]: A-
  • Alexander Von Schlippenbach/Globe Unity Orchestra: Globe Unity - 50 Years (2016 [2018], Intakt): [cd]: A-
  • Young Fathers: Cocoa Sugar (2018, Ninja Tune): [r]: A-

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

  • Martin Küchen & Landaeus Trio: Vinyl (2013-14 [2018], Moserobie): [cd]: A-
  • Neil Young: Roxy: Tonight's the Night Live (1973 [2018], Reprise): [r]: A-

Old music rated this week:

  • Globe Unity Orchestra: Globe Unity 2002 (2002 [2003], Intakt): [r]: B+(**)
  • Alexander von Schlippenbach/Globe Unity Orchestra: Globe Unity - 40 Years (2006 [2009], Intakt): [r]: B+(***)


Unpacking: Found in the mail last week:

  • Tiffany Austin: Unbroken (Con Alma): June 1
  • Andrea Brachfeld: If Not Now, When? (Jazzheads): May 18
  • Dan Cavanaugh/Dave Hagedorn: 20 Years (UT Arlington)
  • Dead Composers Club [Noah Preminger/Rob Garcia]: Chopin Project (Connection Works)
  • Ron Di Salvio/Bart Plateau: The Puglia Suite (Blujazz)
  • Adrean Farrugia/Joel Frahm: Blues Dharma (GB)
  • Maria Grand: Magdalena (Biophilia): May 11: empty package, no CD
  • Danny Green Trio Plus Strings: One Day It Will (OA2)
  • Bill Hart Band: Live at Red Clay Theatre (Blujazz)
  • Deanne Matley: Because I Loved (self-released): May 11
  • Solon McDade: Murals (self-released)
  • MJO Brothers Present: Hip Devotions (Blujazz)
  • Nuance Crusaders: Reflections (Blujazz)
  • Marije van Dijk: The Stereography Project (Hert)
  • Vin Venezia: Fifth and Adams (Blujazz)