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Rounding Up

Dec 31, 2009 | No Comments

And It Don’t Stop: There was a lot of talk about rap fading away this year, just like there has been each year since, oh, around 1986. What sat beneath the talk was the fact that radio wasn’t hip-hop’s breeding ground in 2009. Luckily, Passion of the Weiss presents a year-end explanation of the 50 Best Hip Hop Songs of 2009 that you wouldn’t have heard if you weren’t scouring. They also present a download of all 50 tracks. I agree with most of what I’d already heard, and like most of what I hadn’t; check it out here.

Carles Strikes Again: By far the most insane/genius/essential reading for those into “Music of the Decade” writing is this beyond-epic post, The Most Authentic/Relevant/Successful Artists of the Decade. If you’ve never come across Hipster Runoff before, brace yourself. Recoil, then settle into the style, and realize the “raw meta power.”

You’re The Parking Lot, Motherfucker: If you or anyone you love has been injured, psychologically or emotionally, by the Counting Crows’ horrendous cover of “Big Yellow Taxi,” then this cathartic, wonderful, smart and very funny piece of writing honoring it as the #1 Worst Song of the Decade is for you.

Quiz Show: This week’s year-end Bohemian has some excellent cartoons, comprehensive arts and food reminisces and my multiple-choice quiz about the wacky world of pop music in 2009. Gather ’round and test your knowledge here.

Leave it in the 00s

Dec 31, 2009 | No Comments

#leaveitinthe00s Lil Wayne featured on EVERY SONG

taylor swift really can’t sing live.. at all =| nor can justin bieber. both should just.. #leaveitinthe00s

#leaveitinthe00s southern music period

#leaveitinthe00s rappers makin “comebacks” after a 2 year stint…thats not a comeback

ATTENTION URBAN YOUTH MALES: as we move into the nex decade umm those Skinny Jeans #leaveitinthe00s please jus let em go

The word swagg, lil wayne, haters, violence, drama, fakeness #leaveitinthe00s

#leaveitinthe00s a rappers entourage~aint it? Shit, cause most the time they getU n more trouble thanUwould….!

#leaveitinthe00s Ray J, Bobby Valentino, Slim 112, etc… These good whisperers can’t sing. Stick to ghost writing

Sayin ‘No Homo’ after every single statement #Leaveitinthe00s

hoes calling other hoes, “hoes” cuz they’re “hoes” but legit hoes themselves.

#leaveitinthe00s saying lil Wayne is the best rapper…. Just Stop! He’s done

#leaveitinthe00s dance dance revolution, guitar hero

DMX………………… #leaveitinthe00s

#leaveitinthe00s: skinny jeans, they were out when NWA broke up learn ya history

#leaveitinthe00s singers with no talent who are only on cuz of auto tune and other voice editing techniques

#leaveitinthe00s pretending to be tough..take Rihanna for example if u can’t think of someone lol

#leaveitinthe00s Oh, also, The Jonas Brothers and Justin Bieber.

#LeaveItInThe00s lil John and the eastside boys

#leaveitinthe00s Souljaboys FL Studio drumkit.. who the fuck came up with that should be shot.

seriously, we don’t need more gangsta-pop duets! #leaveitinthe00s

#leaveitinthe00s: LMAO Shaq’s raps or wack, lol (shit that rhyme is better then all the raps he wrote)

#leaveitinthe00s MySpace…just keep myspace music here and we’re good

#leaveitinthe00s : myspace, gangsta rap, wannabes, disney sluts- i mean, stars.

#leaveitinthe00s, Mystikal’s career

#leaveitinthe00s Britney Wanna F*k Me Vids on twitter. This shit is really buggin me.

wavy, aow, fresh, dope, fly, crunk, hyphy, etc #leaveitinthe00s

#leaveitinthe00s soulja boy. please.

#leaveitinthe00s bow wow his decade has expired…

#leaveitinthe00s emo kids

#leaveitinthe00s Limp Bizkit Fans

Britney spears meltdown, Jonas Brothers, hannah montana @rihanna #leaveitinthe00s

#leaveitinthe00s crank dat songs. Die if you still crank anything except a car.

#leaveitinthe00s all ur B2K CDs

#leaveitinthe00s ppl that dnt like tupac kuzz Biggie ain’t like him.. vise versa

#leaveitinthe00s The downfall of music. Please bring the good stuff back.

Screamo, Scene kids, Straight edge, 9/11, Lady gaga’s penis #LeaveItInThe00s

Any name for a musical genre that ends in “mo” or “core”… Emo, Screamo, Mathcore… @johncmayer #LeaveItInThe00s

#leaveitinthe00s prejudice, homophobia, racism, bullying, war, crocs, T Romo, crochet uggs, unhygienic tendencies, screamo …

#leaveitinthe00s emo rock, soulja boy, coldplay.

#leaveitinthe00s the Obama worship, nickelback, emo and the red sox bandwagon.

#leaveitinthe00s Talent. Apparently you don’t need it these days.

If you see a cd with Coo Coo Cal on it #eaveitinthe00s

#leaveitinthe00s re-released dead rapper extended albums wit ‘hidden tracks’

#leaveitinthe00s justin beaver! He is ugly as hell and he can’t sing either. He needs to go away. He’s not all that.

skinny jeans, flip phones, twilight, jerking, swagger, mily cyrus #leaveitinthe00s

You can not be a pop star in a season American Idol #leaveitinthe00s

The nu B.E.T. #leaveitinthe00s what ever happen to the old shit when they ain’t do nothin but show videos all day

rihanna albums & miley cryus’ career #leaveitinthe00s

#leaveitinthe00s Jonas Bros. We can do better, America.

#leaveitinthe00s that ghetto ass piercing by your lip, you know that one Lil Wayne got. SMH and in the eye brow

#leaveitinthe00s anything with the suffix -izzle. I.e. Shizzle nizzle dizzle. Just leave it.

#leaveitinthe00s swag this & swag that….try demeanor or something lol

#leaveitinthe00s down south dances we ALL have had enough superman,stanky legs etc whatever dumb shit u country bumkins come up w/ next too

fat joe rapping……give it up dnt make us suffer lol #leaveitinthe00s

#leaveitinthe00s soulja boy song “she got a donk”

#leaveitinthe00s one hit wonders

#leaveitinthe00s takin 1 jay-z line an turn’n it into a whole song WHERE’S THA CREATIVITY?

#leaveitinthe00s the new r&b group pretty ricky.

#leaveitinthe00s the celebrities that sound great in the studio, but SUCK live! #omgfacts

rappers that was poppin when we was kids tryna make a comeback #leaveitinthe00s

#leaveitinthe00s Iliteracy

Top 20 Jazz Discoveries of 2009

Dec 31, 2009 | 2 Comments


Larry Young – Contrasts
One of those breathtaking releases from the purgatory between soul jazz and free fusion in 1967. Young wears a paisley shirt on the cover; the entire band’s astrological signs are proffered in the liner notes. Makes the jazz organ a punk rock instrument. This burns hard.

 


Sunny Murray – Hommage to Africa
I loved the Big Chief reissue this year, and his appearance at Yoshi’s was utterly memorable—if not fully illuminating of his vast talent. The A-side is 18 perfect minutes of rich African roots-jazz with Alan Silva, Lester Bowie, Archie Shepp and Roscoe Mitchell.

 


Booker Ervin – The Blues Book
Somehow years of listening to Mingus left me without discovering Ervin’s own records. Everything good about “Live at Antibes” is compacted into this wonderful outing, a post-bop masterpiece. Must find the others in the “Book” series.

 


Raccoo-oo-oon – S/T
Often thrown in the noise camp, this Iowa City collective played a house party in Santa Rosa a couple years ago, all blaring clarinets and saxophones along with a tape recorder. Finally picked up this LP and Behold Secret Kingdom, and they’re both on another plane.

 


Johnny Mathis – Open Fire, Two Guitars
Yeah, I know. Is it jazz? Since interviewing Johnny Mathis earlier this year, his records have occupied a lot of time on the turntable. I would be a purist and pick his first LP, with Milt Jackson and Connie Kay. But this one sets a mood that’s sublime and irresistible.

 


Dewey Redman – Coincide
I fell in love with Tarik, but then found this one, which is the entire versatile range of jazz on one record, almost. Imagine being Joshua Redman and growing up around this huge variety of influence. A life of study and wisdom in seven parts.

 


Jaga Jazzist – The Stix
Electronics in jazz has until recently been mostly confined to Eddie Harris’ electric saxophone and the occasional pedal effect. What about a meeting of electronic(a) and free-form playing? The Bad Plus is nice, but this feels more like the actual future of jazz.

 


Gil Melle – Tome VI
Which reminds me: this strange little record, billed as “the first album of electronic jazz,” was an early experiment to mesh jazz and electronic instruments with names like the “Electar” and the “Doomsday Machine.” Results sometimes scary. Worth picking up.

 


Lucy Ann Polk – With the Dave Pell Octet
Lucky Lucy Ann on Mode is still her best, but I was fortunate enough to find this 10″, a session of mostly standards arranged in part by Shorty Rogers. Is there any sound more breezy than Polk’s voice? An exhaustive biography of Polk has been thanklessly compiled here, if you’re interested.

 


Jerri Adams – It’s Cool Inside
Just a nice, smoky album from this “tall, dark and comely” singer from Cincinnati. She would be 79 by now. Frankie Laine discovered her and signed her to Columbia, but she’s got a voice that’s the opposite of his excited yip, thank heavens.

 


Squarepusher – Music is Rotted One Note
Unlike anything else in the Squarepusher catalog. Basically a meticulous tribute to fusion-era Miles. It works, if imitatively.

 


The Tony Williams Lifetime – Emergency!
When this got reissued on CD, there was a note from the engineer that said, in essence, “Don’t blame me – they requested this album to be recorded so it sounded like shit.” It’s in the red, beginning to end. With John McLaughlin and the aforementioned Larry Young.

 


Solidarity Unit, Inc. – Red, Black and Green
St. Louis in 1970. Oliver Lake and crew. Recorded on the day that Jimi Hendrix died. Nice and messy in a lo-fi way.

 


Shirati Luo Voice Jazz Band – Kenyafrica!
Longer, deeper and more meditative than most highlife stuff. I think about what band practices must have been like. Vocal arrangements by serendipity and chance. I’d love to personally hand-craft a trophy for the bass player.

 


Jeri Southern – Southern Breeze
Marty Paich was just so wonderful as an arranger, especially for female singers. This record is like vocal morphine for California beach parties. That languid, relaxed sound for after you’ve listened to the Tony Williams album too many times.

 


Reflections in the Sea of Nurnene – S/T
I have no idea who this is, except it’s on Tribe, it was recorded in San Francisco the year I was born and it belongs to another world.

 


Bill Evans – Quintessence
Interplay gets a lot of credit for presenting Evans in a larger-then-trio setting, but this album, with Kenny Burrell and Harold Land on guitar and sax, respectively, is just plain better. Ray Brown and Everybody Digs Philly Joe Jones hold down the rhythm. Really excellent stuff from 1977.

 


Khan Jamal Creative Arts Ensemble – Drum Dance to the Motherland
Philadelphia in 1972. Dogtown. Songs titles like “Cosmic Echoes,” “Breath of Life,” and “Inner Peace.” Self-released, of course. Further proof that free-jazz guys in Philly were the progenitors to ’80s DIY indie labels.

 


Joe Henderson – Power to the People
I used to talk mad shit about 1970s jazz, but looking down this list so far, I guess I’m getting into it. I’ve always said that one of the greatest things about being alive is the ability to change one’s mind.

 


Carmell Jones – The Remarkable
A trumpet player from Kansas City who shines here with Harold Land and Gary Peacock. He made another album later on with Gerald Wilson that’s about as good a trumpet/big-band record can be. He disappeared, it seems.

Vic

Dec 25, 2009 | No Comments

A funny pilgrim on a crazy crusade
A saucy chaucer, a sorry chapter mislaid
Whittled with an Exacto knife
Plum right through my load-bearing wall
I’m horrified now that I could do such a thing
But I thought I saw the singer

I’ve heard those chimes so many other times
But if I gave in, it had to have been
I whupped it out, and destroyed my selfish cocoon
Since I gave in, it had to have been
Since I gave in, I hope it had to have been

I’m not an optimist, I’m not a realist
I might be a sub-realist, but I can’t substantiate
It was bigger than me and I felt like a sick child
Dragged by a donkey through the myrtle

“Myrtle,” by Vic Chesnutt, 1964-2009.

"This Land Is Your Land" in 'Up In The Air'

Dec 23, 2009 | One Comment

Me and my friends completely lost our minds when we first heard Sharon Jones’ version of the Woody Guthrie anthem “This Land Is Your Land,” somewhere around 2004. It showed up as the B-side on a 45 called “What If We All Stopped Paying Taxes?” and it turned the hokey campfire sing-a-long into a minor-key floorbuster funk track. Suddenly, the song that we’d stopped paying attention to was resuscitated, the lyrics imbued with a new meaning, the power of the message restored. We all bought copies.

Even stronger was the forthright message from the band about the record, which was released specifically for the 2004 election:

We believe that our country has been hijacked by oil moguls, war profiteers, overfed corporations, and other assorted amoral billionaires. We refuse to believe the stories that they feed us through corporate owned and run media sources in their efforts to keep us in a state of fear and hate. We will resist the endemic apathy that allows them to use our hard earned tax dollars to fun illegal wars with dubious intent while here at home our education system is going bankrupt and our healthcare and social services are virtually nonexistent. We oppose the recruitment of our brothers and sisters from the poorest neighborhoods in the country to fight a badly planned and managed war that will only benefit the extremely wealthy. Though we are proud to be citizens of this country, we consider ourselves first and foremost to be citizens of the world. We believe that this land is our land, and that this land is your land.

-Sharon Jones, the Dap-Kings, and the entire Daptone Family

Damn. Short, quick and to the point. And just like that paragraph extrapolated a deeper meaning out of the overplayed song, so the arrangement considered the more sinister side of this land and those who run it.

The Daptone beatheads must have been bugging out over “This Land Is Your Land,” too, because the track later showed up on Jones’ flawless second album Naturally (do yourself a favor and buy it now, for real). In 2005, after Bush was re-elected, the song might have lost a little of its original purpose, but none of its spark.

Today I went to the movies and watched Up In The Air—a great film—and was elated to hear the familiar horn intro of “This Land Is Your Land” right at the start of the movie. Jason Reitman has done a wonderful thing with Sharon Jones’ recording, using it to highlight aerial shots from around the county of crop circles, city skylines, rivers and a cloverleaf ribbon of highway just as Jones sings the words “ribbon of highway.” Wonderful opening credits that brought all the song’s power rushing back.

Up In The Air is about a lot of things, but its central plot revolves around unemployment—basically, the fallout from eight years of our country getting really, really off track. Sharon Jones’ “This Land Is Your Land” is just one of many extremely well-placed bricks in a film of perfect structure that says a lot about how we live now, in the aftermath. (It also features Cut Chemist and Young M.C. in a thoroughly enjoyable cameo. And, you know, Clooney.) I’ll be rooting for it on the red carpet, and congratulations to Sharon Jones for the opening credits of the year.

The Top Albums of the Decade, 2000-2009

Dec 15, 2009 | 6 Comments

While other music writers sharpen their prejudices and draw up hindsight-assisted “Albums that Defined the Decade” features, I think it’d be more honest to revisit my genuine annual top album rankings from all ten years of The Aughts. Yes, these are the actual year-end-best lists that I composed from 2000-2009, recovered with no small amount of tenacity from old hard drives, pieces of paper stuffed in boxes, CD-Rs, the backs of posters, photocopied record store gift guides, and email newsletters.

If anything, these records deserve far more company. (D’Angelo and Lucinda Williams would be obvious places to start.) Lists can often work like shackles, but I see them instead as springboards of discovery. Jeez, I’m still discovering more favorite albums of the 1950s! And if you’re a listener that’s at all passionate, then you probably are as well. This decade might be over, but it’s by no means completely wrapped up. Anyone insinuating otherwise is selling you something.

Anyway, without further ado—here’s what I was loving over the last ten years.

2000

1. Built to Spill – Live (Warner Bros.)
2. Steve Earle – Transcendental Blues (E-Squared / Artemis)
3. Jurassic 5 – Quality Control (Interscope)
4. Modest Mouse – The Moon and Antarctica (Epic)
5. Radiohead – Kid A (Capitol)
6. Kid Koala – Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (Ninja Tune)
7. Jets to Brazil – Four Cornered Night (Jade Tree)
8. James Carter – Chasin’ the Gypsy (Atlantic)
9. Bjork – Selmasongs (One Little Indian)
10. Blackalicious – Nia (Quannum)
11. Johnny Cash – American III: Solitary Man (American)
12. Belle and Sebastian – Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like a Peasant (Jeepster)
13. V/A – Xen Cuts: 10 Years of Ninja Tune Records (Ninja Tune)
14. Godspeed You Black Emperor – Raise Your Skinny Fists Like Antennae to Heaven (Constellation)
15. People Under the Stairs – Question in the Form of an Answer (Om)
16. Deltron – Deltron 3030 (75Ark)
17. The Clash – Live: From Here to Eternity (Epic)
18. V/A – Solesides’ Greatest Bumps (Quannum)
19. Beck – Midnite Vultures (Geffen)
20. V/A – Freight Train Boogie (Jackalope)

2001

1. Gillian Welch – Time (The Revelator) (Acony)
2. Cursive – Burst and Bloom (Saddle Creek)
3. Bob Dylan – Love and Theft (Columbia)
4. The Velvet Teen – The Great Beast February (Self-Released)
5. Atmosphere – Lucy Ford (Rhymesayers)
6. McCoy Tyner – Plays John Coltrane (Verve)
7. The Now Time Delegation – Watch for Today (In the Red)
8. Radiohead – Amnesiac (Capitol)
9. The Strokes – Is This It (RCA)
10. Aesop Rock – Labor Days (Def Jux)
11. The Jealous Sound – EP (Better Looking)
12. Greg Brown – Over and Under (Trailer Park)
13. Life in Braille – New York City Ending (Underground Sounds of America)
14. David Axelrod – S/T (Mo Wax)
15. DJ Shadow & Cut Chemist – Product Placement (One29)
16. Fred Eaglesmith – Ralph’s Last Show (Signature Sounds)
17. Buddy Guy – Sweet Tea (Silvertone)
18. Poets of Rhythm – Discern / Define (Quannum)
19. Robert Earl Keen – Gravitational Forces (Lost Highway)
20. V/A – Darker Than Blue: Soul From Jamdown (Blood and Fire)

2002

1. The Velvet Teen – Out of the Fierce Parade (Slowdance)
2. Jets to Brazil – Perfecting Loneliness (Jade Tree)
3. Desaparecidos – Read Music, Speak Spanish (Saddle Creek)
4. Wilco – Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (Nonesuch)
5. DJ Shadow – The Private Press (MCA)
6. Tom Waits – Alice (Anti-)
7. Flaming Lips – Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots (Warner Bros.)
8. RJD2 – Deadringer (Rhymesayers)
9. Elvis Costello – When I Was Cruel (Island)
10. Jurassic 5 – Strength in Numbers (Interscope)
11. Chuck Prophet – No Other Love (New West)
12. Solomon Burke – Don’t Give Up On Me (Anti-)
13. Bob Dylan – Live 1975: Rolling Thunder Revue (Columbia)
14. Los Lobos – Good Morning Aztlán (Mammoth)
15. V/A – La Musica Della Mafia: Il Canto di Malavita (Play it Again Sam)
16. Converge – Jane Doe (Equal Vision)
17. Beck – Sea Change (Geffen)
18. D-Styles – Phantazmagorea (Tableturns)
19. Bright Eyes – Lifted (Saddle Creek)
20. V/A – Cuisine Non-Stop (Luaka Bop)

2003

1. Crooked Fingers – Red Devil Dawn (Merge)
2. Mountain Goats – Tallahassee (4AD)
3. Gillian Welch – Soul Journey (Acony)
4. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Fever to Tell (Interscope)
5. Ugly Duckling – Taste the Secret (Emperor Norton)
6. Stark Reality – Now (Stones Throw)
7. Against Me – As the Eternal Cowboy (Fat Wreck)
8. Carla Bozulich – Red Headed Stranger (Dicristina Stair Builders)
9. Broken Social Scene – You Forgot It in People (Arts & Crafts)
10. Detroit Cobras – Life, Love & Leaving (Sympathy)
11. Joe Strummer – Streetcore (Hellcat)
12. The Rapture – Echoes (DFA / Universal)
13. Soul Position – 8 Million Stories (Rhymesayers)
14. The New Trust – We Are Fast Moving Motherfuckers (Slowdance)
15. John Fahey – Red Cross (Revenant)
16. Shesus – Loves You… Loves You Not (Narnack)
17. Lyrics Born – Later That Day (Quannum)
18. D.D. Jackson – Suite for New York (Justin Time)
19. Ashtray – S/T (Self-Released)
20. V/A – Miami Sound (Soul Jazz)

2004

1. MF Doom & Madlib – Madvillian (Stones Throw)
2. The Velvet Teen – Elysium (Slowdance)
3. Nellie McKay – Get Away From Me (Sony)
4. Jolie Holland – Escondida (Anti-)
5. The Walkmen – Bows & Arrows (Record Collection)
6. Bjork – Medulla (One Little Indian)
7. Mastodon – Leviathan (Relapse)
8. Arcade Fire – Funeral (Merge)
9. RJD2 – Since We Last Spoke (Rhymesayers)
10. Green Day – American Idiot (Reprise)
11. Elliott Smith – From a Basement on a Hill (Anti-)
12. The Go! Team – Thunder Lightning Strike (Memphis Industries)
13. The Rum Diary – Poisons That Save Lives (Springman)
14. Usher – Confessions (LaFace / Arista)
15. Modest Mouse – Good News For People Who Like Bad News (Epic)
16. Haiku D’Etat – Coup de Theatre (Project Blowed)
17. Joanna Newsom – The Milk-Eyed Mender (Drag City)
18. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds – Abbatoir Blues / Lyre of Orpheus (Anti-)
19. Immortal Technique – Revolutionary Vol. 2 (Viper)
20. Howard Wiley – TwentyFirstCenturyNegro (Self-Released)

2005

1. M.I.A. – Arular (XL)
2. Edan – Beauty and the Beat (Lewis)
3. Black Mountain – Black Mountain (Jagjaguwar)
4. Common – Be (G.O.O.D. / Geffen)
5. Robert Earl Keen – What I Really Mean (Koch)
6. Sharon Jones – Naturally (Daptone)
7. Sonny Rollins – Without a Song: The 9/11 Concert (Milestone)
8. The Boredoms – Seadrum / House of Sun (Vice)
9. Four Tet – Everything Ecstatic (Domino)
10. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – Clap Your Hands Say Yeah (Self-Released)

2006

1. Camille – Le Fil (Virgin)
2. My Morning Jacket – Okonokos (ATO)
3. Gotan Project – Lunatico (XL)
4. Ornette Coleman – Sound Grammar (Sound Grammar)
5. Tom Waits – Orphans (Anti-)
6. People Under The Stairs – Stepfather (PUTS)
7. Kris Kristofferson – This Old Road (New West)
8. The Slackers – Peculiar (Hellcat)
9. Mastodon – Blood Mountain (Reprise)
10. CSS – Cansei De Ser Sexy (Sub Pop)

2007

1. The Cribs – Men’s Needs, Women’s Needs, Whatever (Warner Bros.)
2. M. Ward – Post-War (Merge)
3. !!! – Myth Takes (Warp)
4. M.I.A. – Kala (XL)
5. The New Trust – Dark Is The Path Which Lies Before Us (Slowdance)
6. Arcade Fire – Neon Bible (Merge)
7. Jesu – Lifeline (Hydra Head)
8. David Murray – Sacred Ground (Justin Time)
9. Bassnectar – Underground Communication (Om)
10. Menomena – Friend and Foe (Barsuk)

2008

1. Q-Tip – The Renaissance (Universal Motown)
2. Of Montreal – Skeletal Lamping (Polyvinyl)
3. Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend (XL)
4. Grip Grand – Brokelore (Look)
5. K’naan – The Dusty Foot Philosopher (Interdependent)
6. Headlights – Some Racing, Some Stopping (Polyvinyl)
7. The Roots – Rising Down (Def Jam)
8. Jackson Conti – Sujinho (Mochilla)
9. Peter Brotzmann & Han Bennink – In Amherst (BRO)
10. Cassandra Wilson – Loverly (Blue Note)
11. Esau Mwamwaya & Radioclit – Are the Very Best (Ghettopop)
12. The New Trust – Get Vulnerable (TNT)
13. People Under The Stairs – Fun DMC (Gold Dust)
14. Portishead – Third (Island)
15. Okkervil River – The Stand-Ins (Jagjaguwar)
16. Titus Andronicus – The Airing of Grievances (Troubleman Unlimited)
17. Erykah Badu – New Amerykah Part One: 4th World War (Universal Motown)
18. Loma Prieta – Last City (Discos Huelgas)
19. Zomo – Best Of (Self-Released)
20. Jolie Holland – The Living and the Dead (Anti-)

2009

1. Dirty Projectors – Bitte Orca (Domino)
2. The-Dream – Love vs. Money (Def Jam)
3. K’naan – Troubadour (A&M / Octone)
4. Nellie McKay – Normal as Blueberry Pie (Verve)
5. Thorns of Life – Live at 924 Gilman (Torrent)
6. Sunn o))) – Monoliths and Dimensions (Southern Lord)
7. Tyondai Braxton – Central Market (Warp)
8. Nomo – Invisible Cities (Ubiquity)
9. P.O.S. – Never Better (Rhymesayers)
10. Litany for the Whale – Dolores (Molsook / PMM)
11. Grizzly Bear – Veckatimest (Warp)
12. Superchunk – Crossed Wires (Merge)
13. Not to Reason Why – Would You Hug Fire? (Pandacide / 1912)
14. Vijay Iyer Trio – Historicity (ACT)
15. Passion Pit – Manners (Frenchkiss / Columbia)
16. Adam Theis & the Jazz Mafia – Brass, Bows & Beats (Jazz Mafia)
17. Souls of Mischief – Montezuma’s Revenge (Heiro)
18. The Full Blast – Black Hole (Atavistic)
19. Finale – T.I.M.E. (River City)
20. Green Day – 21st Century Breakdown (Reprise)

(See more year-end lists from 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013.)

In News

SFJAZZ Spring Season Out of Control; Lou Donaldson, Tomasz Stanko, Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, Caetano Veloso, more

Dec 14, 2009 | No Comments

Jesus Lord, why do they do it to us? SFJAZZ’s spring season is announced today, and once again the booking has turned up a crazy, diverse lineup full of wide-ranging talent and scattered must-sees. Exciting stuff to say the least.

On May 29, Blue Note legend Lou Donaldson blows soul-jazz roots at the Herbst. On Apr. 11, my man Tomasz Stanko drops in with his quintet to the Florence Gould Theatre at the Legion of Honor; the ticket includes entry to the museum. (Stanko’s recent tribute to Krystof Komeda is sublime.) Apr. 25 brings Charles Lloyd with Jason Moran, Reuben Rogers and Eric Harland to the Palace of Fine Arts; this quartet is incredible and shouldn’t be missed.

On Feb. 21, Touareg political pioneers Tinariwen plays the Palace of Fine Arts. Count the cratediggers on Apr. 17 for Brazilian pioneer Caetano Veloso singing at the Masonic, and on June 11, the excellent bassist Marcus Miller replays Miles Davis’ electric era at the Herbst.

It keeps going on! On May 1 it’s the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, the Chicago-bred sensations, playing two shows at the Palace of Fine Arts. On Mar. 20, the hip-hop–influenced Robert Glasper Quartet plays with Japanese star Hiromi at the Herbst Theatre. And Mar. 13 brings alto saxophonist and former Vijay Iyer collaborator Rudresh Manthappa to the Swedish American Music Hall.

Keith Jarrett, Pharoah Sanders and Joshua Redman all play separate solo shows, and Bobby McFerrin, Chris Thiele, Salif Keita and Max Raabe are in the mix, too. There’s way more; check out the full and complete lineup here, and if you’re like me, you’ll start saving up for tickets.

Live Review: Lady Gaga at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, San Francisco

Dec 14, 2009 | 4 Comments

“Well, San Francisco,” cooed Lady Gaga, wearing one of dozens of bazonkers outfits eclipsed in ridiculousness only by the feathers, leotards, Mickey ears, sequined chokers and ill-fitting hot pants donned by her audience, “this is our first date together, which means I can suck your cock and still feel okay.”

So yeah, let us hail the emergence of a new pop star and all that. Lady Gaga sang, danced and swore her way into the shamelessly superficial affections of San Francisco for nearly two hours tonight, asserting her perfectionist dedication to fame, fashion, sex appeal and music. In that order. She also loves to say “fuck.” She may love to say “fuck” more than making music. Crass, vulgar, loves it. Selections from the Gaga patter book:

“I don’t know if you’ve heard, but I have a pretty tremendous dick.”

“Let me see your fucking teeth! I am not a dentist! I’m a free bitch!”

“Do you like my show so far? If you don’t, I don’t care, ’cause you can fucking leave!”

“Do you want to fuck me? Come on, San Francisco!”

Adding up the costume changes, set changes, stories about her fans and her pushy record label and her days living in a studio apartment plus legs legs legs dance dance dance skinny skinny skinny epic chorus part dance breakdown red bikini flip hair #1 song in the country scream scream gay gay gay keytar fame fame aliens tinkerbell i love you i love you i love you i love you hundreds of counterfeit tickets outside dance dance dance fuck off dance rah-rah ah-ah-ah-ah skinny skinny fame crawl crawl shake shake singy singy sing song, Lady Gaga is decidedly here to stay. Despite sometimes not making very much sense when talking to a crowd.

“Some of you may not know where to fit in in the world, but know that you always have a place with me. When you are lonely, I’ll be lonely too. And that is THE FAME!!” Huh?

“The way my fans work their cameras, it’s like kings writing the histories of their kingdoms.” Huh?

But fuck it, she was genuinely appreciative of her fans—she thanked them, like, 30 times, I swear—and put on A PARTY-BLIZZARD OF A SHOW. Entire auditorium letting hella loose for “Just Dance,” “Paparazzi,” “Poker Face,” “Shameless,” and big cluster-love we are one closer “Bad Romance.” (It helped that her warm-up music was 35 minutes of MJ, which killed it more than opener Kid Cudi.) Everything on point, choreographed or improved with such fluidity so as to look choreographed, real live actual singing, backup dancers great, huge spectacle. “How to Give Fans Their Money’s Worth,” by Lady Gaga, coming soon from Da Capo Press.

Gaga makes a big deal of being “from the underground” and doing things her own way, and it’s true—no major label is going to call a meeting to say, “You know, you’ve got the sound, the look, the moves, but what you really need is a video screen of a waifish girl throwing up all over you. Maybe you should also put the barrel of a machine gun in your mouth when you’re at the piano and tell your audience to fuck themselves.” That’s all her.

But what Gaga has is a fulfillment of dual needs; one for that uncensored down-to-earthness and another for something that we kinda forget in all this dancing on the grave of the record industry that we’ve been doing.  We need pop stars, no matter how obvious the myth. “The thing I hate more than anything is the truth,” bespoke Gaga at one point tonight, “I can’t stand the truth—in fact, I prefer a giant dose of bullshit.”

Fuck if Lady Gaga doesn’t have the whole illusion down.

The Cassette Gods Are Reading My Mind

Dec 13, 2009 | No Comments

Domino Records released the Dirty Projectors’ Bitte Orca on cassette! It can be bought here.