Sunday, December 31, 2017

Songs for Cineastes: 2017 Edition

Click here for the 2016 edition. Links lead to my concert previews for The Stranger

Top 10
1. Tony Allen - The Source (Blue Note)
2. Beaches - Second of Spring (Chapter Music)
3. Juana Molina - Halo (Crammed Discs)
4. Mountain Movers - Mountain Movers (Trouble in Mind)
5. Jlin - Black Origami (Planet Mu)
6. Spoon - Hot Thoughts (Matador)
7. Ambrose Akinmusire - A Rift in Decorum: Live at the Village Vanguard (Blue Note)
8. Mark Fosson - Solo Guitar (Drag City)
9. Oh Sees - Orc (Castle Face Music)
10. Sleaford Mods - English Tapas (Rough Trade)

11. Lee Ann Womack - The Lonely, the Lonesome and the Gone (ATO)
12. SZA - Ctrl (Top Dawg-RCA)
13. St. Vincent - Masseduction (Loma Vista)
14. Frankie Rose - Cage Tropical (Slumberland-Grey Market)
15. Headroom - Head in the Clouds (Trouble in Mind)
16. Kedr Livanskiy - Ariadna (2MR)
17. Saint Etienne - Home Counties (Heavenly)
18. Zola Jesus - Okovi (Sacred Bones)
19. Shabazz Palaces - Quazarz: Born on a Gangster Star
and Quazarz vs. the Jealous Machines (Sub Pop)
20. The Blow - Brand New Abyss (self-released)

Second Runners-up
21. Kendrick Lamar - DAMN. (Top Dawg-Interscope)
22. Obnox - Niggative Approach (12XU)
23. Myrkur - Mareridt (Relapse)*
24. Circuit des Yeux - Reaching for Indigo (Drag City)
25. Uniform - Wake in Fright (Sacred Bones)
26. Metz - Strange Peace (Sub Pop)
27. Jason Isbell - The Nashville Sound (Southeastern)
28. The Devil Makes Three - Redemption and Ruin (New West)
29. Dead Moon - What A Way to See the Old Girl Go
(Voodoo Doughnut Recordings)
30. Laura Marling - Semper Femina (Kobalt)

 * Asterisk due to ignorant statements about Islam.

31. Wand - Plum (Drag City)
32. Luna - A Sentimental Education (Double Feature)
33. Gunn-Truscinski Duo - Bay Head (Three Lobed Recordings)
34. Actress - AZD (Ninja Tune)
35. Six Organs of Admittance - Burning the Threshold (Drag City)
36. Bill MacKay - Esker (Drag City)
37. Ty Segall - Ty Segall (Drag City)
38. LA Witch - LA Witch (Suicide Squeeze)
39. Molly Burch - Please Be Mine (Captured Tracks)
40. Laetitia Sadier Source Ensemble -
Find Me Finding You (Drag City)

41. Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith - The Kid (Western Vinyl)
42. The Weather Station - The Weather Station (Ba Da Bing!)
43. Chelsea Wolfe - Hiss Spung (Sargent House)
44. The Courtneys - The Courtneys (Flying Nun)
45. Hurray for the Riff Raff - The Navigator (ATO)
46. Cherry Glazerr - Apocalipstick (Secretly Canadian)
47. Jay Som - Everybody Works (Polyvinyl-Double Denim)
48. Savoy Motel - Savoy Motel (What’s Your Rupture)
49. Total Control - Laughing at the System (Alter)
50. Lovozero - Moroka (Full of Nothing)

Note: Solange’s A Seat at the Table would’ve made my top 10 for 2016 if I had heard it in time, and it’s too late for 2017, but her Bumbershoot set ranks as my favorite of the year. Also, I was tempted to include Wolf People’s Ruins, except it’s a 2016 release, too.

Top Reissues & Compilations
1. Alice Coltrane - The Ecstatic Music of Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda (Luaka Bop)
2. Jackie Shane - Any Other Way (Numero Group)
3. The 6ths - Wasps' Nests (Universal Records-Captured Tracks)
4. Maria Monti - Il Bestiario (Peer-Southern Productions)
5. U-Men - U-Men (Sub Pop)
6. Harry Nilsson - Popeye (Varèse Sarabande)
7. Buzzcocks - Spiral Scratch and Time’s Up (Domino)
8. Medicine - 2.0 Extraneous (Drawing Room)
9. Spoon - Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga (Merge)
10. Soundgarden - Ultramega OK [Expanded Edition] (Sub Pop)

Top EPs
1. Sudan Archives - Sudan Archives (Stones Throw)
2. Luna - A Place of Greater Safety (Double Feature)
3. Tony Allen - A Tribute to Art Blakey (Blue Note)
4. Kikagaku Moyo - Stone Garden (Guruguru Brain)
5. Coathangers - Parasite (Suicide Squeeze)
6. Weyes Blood - Myths (Mexican Summer)
7. Exploded View - Summer Came Early (Sacred Bones)
8. Crumb - Locket (self-released)
9. Blonde Redhead - 3 O’clock (Asa Wa Kuru)
10. Vorhees - Black Horse Pike (Styles Upon Styles)

Kikagaku Moyo at the Sunset Tavern.
Top Singles
1. Beaches - "When You’re Gone" (Chapter Music)
2. Charlotte Gainsbourg - "Deadly Valentine" (Because Music)
3. SZA - "Drew Barrymore" (Top Dawg-RCA)
4. Shabazz Palaces – "Shine a Light" ft. Thaddillac (Sub Pop) 
5. Thundercat - "Show Me the Way" ft. Michael McDonald
and Kenny Loggins (Brainfeeder)
6. Beth Ditto - "Fire" (Myra's Child-Virgin)
7. Khruangbin - "Maria También" (Night Time Stories)
8. Kedr Livanskiy - "ACDC" ft. Martin Newell (2MR)
9. The Blow - "The Greatest Love of All" (self-released)
10. Patrick Cowley - "One Hot Afternoon" (Dark Entries)

11. Olden Yolk - "Takes One to Know One" (Trouble in Mind)
12. Ibibio Sound System - "Give Me a Reason" (Merge)
13. Hinds - "Caribbean Moon" (Mom+Pop)
14. The Limiñanas - "Shadow People"
ft. Emmanuelle Seigner (Because Music)
15. Loma - "Black Willow" (Sub Pop)
16. Ty Segall - "Every 1's a Winner" (Drag City)
17. Hollie Cook - "Superstar" (Merge)
18. Coco Hames - "I Don’t Wanna Go" (Merge)
19. Childhood - "Cameo" (Marathon Artists)
20. R.L. Boyce - "R.L's Boogie" (Waxploitation)

Also worthy of note: The Babe Rainbow - The Babe Rainbow (30th Century-Columbia), Banditos - Visionland (Bloodshot), Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile - Lotta Sea Lice (Matador), Kadhja Bonet - The Visitor (Headcount-Fat Possum), Bonobo - Migration (Ninja Tune), Molly Burch - Not Even Happiness (Ba Da Bing!), Destroyer - ken (Merge), Everything Turned to Color - Life Imagined (Ear Buddy), Filthy Friends - Invitation (Kill Rock Stars), Rhiannon Giddens - Freedom Highway (Nonesuch), Hand Habits - Wildly Idle (Humble Before the Void), The Horrors - V ( Wolf Tone Limited-Caroline International), Malia - Late Bloomer, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard - Polygondwanaland (self-released), Mogwai - Every Country’s Sun (Temporary Residence Limited), Monster Rally - Flowering Jungle (Gold Robot), Randy Newman - Dark Matter (Nonesuch), Odonis Odonis - No Pop (felte), The Peacers - Introducing the Crimsmen (Drag City), Perfume Genius - No Shape (Matador), Peter Perrett - How the West Was Won (Domino), Shamir - Revelations (Father/Daughter), Dr. Lonnie Smith - All in My Mind (Blue Note), Spiral Stairs - The Real Feel (Nine Mile), Second Still - Second Still (Manic Depression), Tonstartssbandht - Sorcerer (Mexican Summer), Gyda Valtysdóttir - Epicycle (figureight), Úlfur - Arborescence (figureight), Vacant Lots - Endless Nights (Metropolis), Carmen Villain - Infinite Avenue (Smalltown Supersound), Walt Wagner - Reworks (Sub Pop), Who is She? - Seattle Gossip (Father/Daughter), Widowspeak - Expect the Best (Captured Tracks), Wire - Silver/Lead (Pinkflag), Woods - Love Is Love (Woodsist), Mikey Young - Your Move Vol. 1 (Moniker), Zebra Hunt - In Phrases (Tenorio Cotobade).

1/20/18: Circuit des Yeux's Reaching for Indigo (Drag City), Kelly Lee Owens' self-titled debut (Smalltown Supersound), Locust Toybox's Drownscapes (Brainfeeder), and Moon Duo's Occult Architecture Vols. 1 and 2 (Sacred Bones) would've made my list if I'd heard them in 2017.

Endnote: Not counting music-oriented film reviews, I concentrated on short-form pieces this year. My only essay-length piece was a de-
fense of the Moody Blues
, which stirred up some lively debate. I'm sure I had nothing to do with it, but the band will be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2018, which will mean very little to their de-
tractors, but I'm pleased. Thanks to Keith Harris for the assignment.  

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