Saturday, December 31, 2016

Songs for Cineastes: 2016 Edition

And then there were two. [Chad Batka/Redux]
Click here 
for the 

Links lead
to my re-
views and previews for The Stranger.

The Tops 
1. A Tribe Called Quest - We Got It from Here... Thank You 4 Your Service (Epic)
2. Gwenno - Y Dydd Olaf (Heavenly Recordings) [2015]
3. Cate Le Bon - Crab Day (Drag City)
4. Kikagaku Moyo - House in the Long Grass (Guruguru Brain)
5. Steve Gunn - Eyes on the Lines ( Matador)
6. Anohni - Hopelessness (Secretly Canadian)
7. Exploded View - Exploded View (Sacred Bones)
8. Heron Oblivion - Heron Oblivion (Sub Pop)
9. Thee Oh Sees - A Weird Exits (Castle Face)
10. Essaie Pas - Demain Est Une Autre Nuit (DFA)

Note: For most of the year, Gwenno's Welsh-language record was my #1, but I felt uncomfortable about the choice, because it's actually from 2015, except I first heard about it (by way of the late Other Music update list) in 2016. Then I heard A Tribe Called Quest's first full-length in 18 years, and that was the end of that. Simply put, it's the record I've listened to the most--and that's not counting the hundreds of times I've heard tracks on KEXP. It's rare that a major label release tops my list, but it's just that good. And I'm no super-fan. I own their first two records, but checked out after that. No doubt Epic is hoping that the success of We Got It From Here leads to more music from the surviving duo, but without Phife Dawg, who passed away in March, it wouldn't be the same, so I hope they keep their word, i.e. that this is their swan song. There's nothing wrong with Q-Tip and Ali Shaheed Muhammad continuing to work together; just not as A Tribe Called Quest. Also, I won't deny that I prefer Anohni's protest record more in theory than practice, but I endorse every damn word.  

11. Dr. Lonnie Smith - Evolution (Blue Note)
12. Angel Olsen - My Woman (Jagjaguwar)
13. Deerhoof - The Magic (Polyvinyl)
14. Wussy - Forever Sounds (Shake It!) 
15. Myrkur - Mausoleum (Relapse)
16. Yoko Ono - Yes, I’m a Witch, Too (Manimal Group)
17. The Julie Ruin - Hit Reset (Hardly Art)
18. Rangda - The Heretic's Bargain (Drag City)
19. Psychic Ills - Inner Journey Out (Sacred Bones)
20. Jessy Lanza - Oh No (Hyperdub) 

Note: Why aren't more people talking about the Yoko Ono record? Sure, it's a collection of remixes, but it brings her dance-oriented material up to date without cheapening it in any way. The lady turned 83 in 2016, and she can still wipe the floor with all of us. 

The eternal cool of Dr. Lonnie Smith. [Blue Note]

Second Runners-up
21. Marissa Nadler - Strangers (Sacred Bones)
22. Woods - City Sun Eater in the River of Light (Woodsist)
23. Jah Wobble - Everything Is No Thing (Jah Wobble)
24. The Flat Five - It's a World of Love and Hope (Bloodshot)
25. Charles Bradley - Changes (Dunham / Daptone)
26. Claire Cronin & John Dieterich - Came Down a Storm (Ba Da Bing)
27. Coathangers - Nosebleed Weekend (Suicide Squeeze)
28. Clipping - Splendor and Misery (Sub Pop)
29. Tortoise - The Catastrophist (Thrill Jockey)
30. Wire - Nocturnal Koreans (Pinkflag)

Top Reissues & Collections
1. Colin Newman - A-Z, Provisionally Entitled the Singing Fish, and Not To (Sentient Sonics)
2. Pram - The Stars Are So Big... and Helium (Medical Records)
3. The Chills - Kaleidoscope World (Flying Nun) [deluxe reissue]
4. Terry Allen - Lubbock (On Everything) (Paradise of Bachelors)
5. Benny Hester - Benny... (Moraine Music Group)
6. John Cale - Fragments of a Rainy Season (Double Six / Domino)
7. The Clean - Getaway (Merge)
8. Pylon - Live (Chunklet)
9. Blonde Redhead - Masculin Feminin (Numero Group) [box set]
10. Ministry - Trax! Rarities (Cleopatra)

Also: Anna Homler and Steve Moshier - Breadwoman & Other Tales (RVNG Intl.), Kleenex / LiliPUT - First Songs (Mississippi), Poster Children - Daisychain Reaction (Lotuspool), Sparks - S/T (Bearsville), and Mor Thiam - Dini Safarrar / Drums of Fire (private press).

Note: Not gonna play favorites with the Newman reissues, because I was only able to listen to each one once prior to a browser malfunction. After that, the downloads wouldn't play. 

Anderson .Paak (Brandon Paak Anderson). [Stones Throw]
Top Singles and Tracks
1. Anderson .Paak - "Celebrate" (Steel Wool / OBE)
2. Solange - "Cranes in the Sky" (Saint / Columbia)
3. Six Organs of Admittance - "Taken by Ascent" (Drag City)
4. Junior Boys - "Big Black Coat" (City Slang) [2015]
5. Ty Segall - "Orange Color Queen" (Drag City)
6. Mr. Elevator - "Sunshine Daydream" (Rad Cat)
7. Justice - "Safe and Sound" (Ed Banger)
8. Moon Duo - "Creepin' " (Sacred Bones)
9. Paul Simon - "Wristband" (Concord)

Also worthy of note: Bayonne - Primitives (Mom+Pop), Willis Earl Beal - Through the Dark EP (Tender Loving Empire), Sam Beam and Jesca Hoop - Love Letter for Fire (Sub Pop), Bitchin Bajas and Bonnie "Prince" Billy - Epic Jammers and Fortunate Little Ditties (Drag City), Black Mountain - IV (Jagjaguwar), Erik Blood - Lost in Slow Motion (HomeSkillet), Blood Orange - Freetown Sound (Domino), Boris with Merzbow - Gensho (Relapse), Breanna Barbara - Mirage Dreams (No Roads), Clipping - Wriggle EP (Sub Pop), Cradle - Temperate Lands (CDT), Morgan Delt - Phase Zero (Sub Pop), Devil Makes Three - Redemption and Ruin (New West), Globelamp - The Orange Glow (Wichita Recordings), Cory Hanson - The Unborn Capitalist from Limbo (Drag City), Aldous Harding - Aldous Harding (Flying Nun), The Heliotropes - Over There That Way (The End), Holy Fuck - Congrats (Innovative Leisure), Holy Wave - Freaks of Nurture (Re-
verberation Appreciation Society), Jacuzzi Boys - Ping Pong (Mag Mag), Chuck Johnson - Velvet Arc (Trouble in Mind), Damien Jurado - Visions of Us on the Land (Secretly Canadian), Klaus Johann Grobe - Spagat der Liebe (Trouble In Mind), Lavender Flu - Heavy Air (Meds), Dan Lissvik - Midnight (Smalltown Supersound), Kedr Livanskiy - January Sun (2MR), Matmos - Ultimate Care II (Thrill Jockey), MV & EE - root/void (Woodsist), Nervous Curtains - Low Defender EP (Med-
ical Records), Parquet Courts - Human Performance (Rough Trade), Britta Phillips - Luck or Magic (Double Feature), Purling Hiss - High Bias (Drag City), Quilt - Plaza (Mexican Summer), Run the Jewels - Run the Jewels 3 (Mass Appeal / RED), Mikael Seifu - Zelalem (RVNG Intl.), Mark Sultan - BBQ (In the Red), Sun Angle - Skullflower (XRay), Suuns - Hold / Still (Secretly Canadian), Carter Tanton - Jettison the Valley (Western Vinyl), Terry - Terry HQ (Upset the Rhythm), Terry Malts - Lost At The Party (Slumberland), Doug Tuttle - It Calls on Me (Trouble in Mind), the Veldt - The Shocking Fuzz of Your Electric Fur: The Drake Equation EP (Leonard Skully), Adia Victoria - Beyond the Bloodhounds (Canvasback), Various Artists - Day of the Dead (4AD), Ryley Walker - Golden Sings That Have Been Sung (Dead Oceans), and Andre Williams - I Wanna Go Back to Detroit City (Bloodshot).

Moscow musician-producer Kedr Livanskiy. [2MR]


Need to hear more: Anderson .Paak - Malibu (Steel Wool-OBE), Beyoncé - Lemonade (Parkwood-Columbia), David Bowie - Blackstar (ISO-Columbia), Nick Cave - Skeleton Tree (Bad Seeds Ltd.), Leonard Cohen - You Want It Darker (Columbia), Cross - Wabi-Sabi (Ba Da Bing), Justice - Woman (Ed Banger), Frank Ocean - Blonde (Boys Don't Cry), Radiohead - A Moon-Shaped Pool (XL), Silence - Nine Suns, One Morning (Drag City), Solange - A Seat at the Table (Saint / Columbia), and Kanye West - The Life of Pablo (Def Jam).
Endnote: Not only haven't I heard the entirety of Lemonade, but I haven't seen the visual album either, which made it onto a lot of film critics' end-of-the-year lists. An agenda item for 2017's to-do list.  

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