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Where were we: 2015 music thread
  • Arlo said: Have you heard it? I liked Zammuto’s latest

    I’m enjoying it, especially on earphones. It’s a very pretty album, with some great layers of sounds and samples. Interesting.

  • The new Blur has some interesting songs on it, but its all a little too somber and reflective for me, so I’m just going to play’ Lonesome Street’ completely mindlessly and pretend it was a triumph.

  • edison said: Any thoughts on the Calexico record that may help me reconsider my initial assessment of “this admittedly sounds kind of nice in parts, but overall a fairly pointless addition to the catalogue” upon listening to the NPR stream?

    I like some of the songs quite a lot (especially “When the Angels Played”, which isn’t particularly innovative or anything, but is damn catchy), but overall, I think it might be a fair enough assessment.

    Do report back about (some of) your recent acquisitions! It seems I’ve finally gotten back in a record-buying mood lately, so looking for recommendations again too.

  • Sure, I will add that my to-do-list for the weekend!

    (also, thanks for the report about Calexico! I will probably put off buying it for a while and eventually cave in, I guess, if only because I have pretty much all their records anyway)

  • You can’t resiiiiist … the power of the Southwest :)~

  • I was fairly unimpressed with the Calexico album upon first listen too, but it stuck in my mind for a little longer than Calexico records usually do. So I came back to it, and I feel like it might be a pretty strong record. The first two tracks are fantastic.

    Also, I like the new Blur record quite a lot! It sounds maybe more like Damon Albarn solo record #2, but that’s totally all right with me. “Somber & reflective” was always my favorite Blur mode. (That said, I think this record is much less somber & reflective and a good bit more fun than the Damon Albarn solo joint.)

  • I’ve just given the new Mac McCaughan solo joint a couple of listens. I dig it!

  • Yeah, its not that the Blur record is bad, its just that its coming from a very unique experience - being holed up in Hong Kong, or just on the other side of the world in general. I think if I were in better spirits I might like it more, but I guess as much as I love his voice and his soul searching lyrics, its a little TOO much damon’s journey. I don’t know, maybe I need to give it time. I wish he would just return to England and sing about Britishy themes. A new Good, Bad and Queen record, I could dig that.

  • I think I’m going to like The Magic Whip - probably not love it. It is of course not only their first album in 12 years and their first with Coxon in 16, but also their 8th overall, and Albarn has released about as many since then with his various other projects, so their ability to surprise and innovate has diminished. My favourite albums of theirs are 13 and Parklife, which sound almost nothing alike. Five years seemed like a long time back then (although I wasn’t a fan until ‘97), but looking back, it’s amazing that that’s all there was between those two albums.

  • Seconded on a second album from The Good, The Bad & The Queen. That was a great record. I think I’ll put it on.

  • Where’s Killdozer these days? This new one on PAN would be up his alley.


  • Also, if this was LPTJ andf it was 2001I would say Blur suck balls, but fortunately it’s not and we’re all much more mature than that now.

  • I’m still around Nick. Yeah, I need to catch up on a few Pan releases. That one in particular looks great. I’ve not been listening to a lot of new music recently as I’m mostly buying old prog, jazz and weird German shit.

    Some stand-outs of the year so far off the top of my head:

    Aging - “Troubles? I Got A Bartender”

    Nice late night guitar - improvised for the most part and with some particularly fine drumming by Andrew Cheetham


    Jasmine Guffond - “Yellow Bell”

    I recommend this in particular to you Nick if you’ve not heard it. Looping Ambient/Drone that will occasionally turn into conventional song. On the always wonderful Sonic Pieces label.


    Frequency Adjustments Volume’s 1 & 2

    Ridiculous squelching acid and disco and whatever else. Two mixes (if downloaded also comes with individual tracks) that are basically an homage to the DJ’ing style of Hieroglyphic Being. It’s presented as a comp of various artists but It’s apparently all made by one guy. Utterly batshit.


    Black Spirituals - “Live At Disjecta: High Vibration Resonance (Vol. 1)”

    Improvised electronics & percussion. Quite noisy and maybe my favourite release of the year so far.


    Mark Fell and Gábor Lázár - “The Neurobiology of Moral Decision Making”

    Just ordered the record and am playing the download for the first time now. Sounds pretty great so far.

  • Killdozersnakeboy said: Jasmine Guffond - “Yellow Bell”

    I recommend this in particular to you Nick if you’ve not heard it. Looping Ambient/Drone that will occasionally turn into conventional song. On the always wonderful Sonic Pieces label.


  • I gave the new Blur record another go, and I’m actually liking it quite a bit. Upon further review, there is a buttload of guitar happening here, and the instrumentation overall is very Blur. The lyrics are pretty strong as well, although I always LOL a bit when I hear “walked into a bar, raised hell” all dramatic-like.

  • More PAN, spacey and precise beats rolling hypnotically over ravey vocal samples and synth stabs, reminiscent of Heatsick in places


  • I finally got around to ordering that record Nick. It’s wonderful. “Cuica Digitales” in particular is fantastic.

  • Yeah, Mark Fell’s having a storming year.

  • A couple of excellent jazz releases I’ve been enjoying lately: The Bad Plus & Joshua Redman - “The Bad Plus Joshua Redman”, and Dafnis Prieto’s “Triangles & Circles”

  • Nice on the Bad Plus…Ethan Iverson is my home town’s #1 musical export.

  • Yeah, I’m definitely a fan. His blog is a big favorite of mine as well.

  • Mbongwana Star - “From Kinshasa” New music from the DRC. The track I’m posting is a real standout, featuring a guest appearance by Konono No. 1, but the whole album is solid (granted, based on only a couple listens so far.) So, so groovy. Recommended.

  • It’s only a 7”, but this is my favorite thing of the year so far:


  • Saturday morning here and I think I just woke everyone up playing Jeb’s Pinkwash record :-)

  • Sorry!

  • Jazzheads should check out the Dave Douglas + Shigeto collaboration that just came out (it’s on spotify). It’s called High Risk and is pretty fantastic.

  • pom

    Nicolas Jaar - Pomegranates

    A dense and strange 80 minute psychedelic trip through an imaginary soundtrack to Sergei Parajanov’s 1969 film ‘The Color Of Pomegranates’.

    You can watch the film with Jaar’s soundtrack here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=1848&v=WHZGDDE8n4E

  • Hey, this new Zomes album is really good. It’s Asa Osborne, who used to play guitar in Lungfish, although there is no guitar here. Just droney keyboards, minimal percussion and very cool vocals by one Hanna Olivegren. I like this one a lot. Check it out: https://zomes.bandcamp.com/album/near-unison

  • Wume - Mountain

    Cool, droney/kraut-y vibes from Baltimore drums/keyboards duo. https://wume.bandcamp.com/

    Roots Magic - Hoodoo Blues

    Edgy take on bluesy, rootsy jazz from an Italian quartet.

  • King Midas Sound & Fennesz - Edition 1

    It’s the first of a run of KMS albums, each collaborating with a different artist.

  • I’m not sure it’s my favorite thing from 2015 so far, but my most-listened-to new album this year is the Duke of Burgundy soundtrack by Cat’s Eyes. I’ve not even seen the movie.

  • It’s no Have One On Me or Ys, but at this point there is a good chance that Joanna Newsom will be my album of the year again!

  • I like the new Joanna Newsom, but it isn’t bowling me over like HOOM and Ys did.

    2015 has been a year of good albums, not great ones though, so it’s still right up there. My top 10 or so other albums, in alphabetical order are from:

    Colleen, Jefre Cantu-Ledesma, Machinefabriek, M.E.S.H., Moritz Von Oswald Trio, Nicolas Jaar, Panda Bear, Paul De Jong, Philip Jeck, Simon Scott

  • I agree with Nick that this was, overall, a good-not-great year (maybe even less than good) but I still found plenty to listen to. I’ll probably have a list of 20 or so (many I’ve already posted here) by the end of the year. I think that Mbongwana Star record might be my favorite.

  • Ah, what the hell, I’m bored. Here’s my initial list for the year, very much subject to change, and in no order other than alphabetical. A pretty tight top twenty:

    Africa Express - Presents Terry Riley’s In C Mali

    The Bad Plus & Joshua Redman - The Bad Plus Joshua Redman

    Chico Trujillo - Reina de Todas Las Fiestas

    Dafnis Prieto - Triangles & Circles

    Daniele Cavallanti - Sounds of Hope

    Deafheaven - New Bermuda

    Honey Dewdrops - Tangled Country

    James Elkington & Nathan Salsburg - Ambsace

    Jefre Cantu-Ledesma - A Year With 13 Moons

    Joan Shelley - Over And Even

    Lucero - All A Man Should Do

    Mac McCaughan - Non-Believers

    Manatree - Manatree

    Mbongwana Star - From Kinshasa

    Michael Zerang & The Blue Lights - Hash Eaters & Peacekeepers

    Palm - Trading Basics

    Pree - Rima

    Roots Magic - Hoodoo Blues

    Vula Viel - Good Is Good

    Wume - Mountain

    Zomes - Near Unison

  • This is fantastic. I listened to it twice in a row last night - all 40 glorious minutes of it. Africa Express performing Terry Riley’s “In C”:

  • anyone who digs shoegaze and 90s indie guitar rock would do well to check out Froth. I am not sure where or when i downloaded their record via mp3s, but i’ll be on the hunt for the LP now. RIYL Brian Jonestown Massacre.

    here’s a good starter:

  • davy said: Oh, and as for 2015…

    It started off pretty uneventful for me but the last few weeks have been exciting. I’m digging the new stuff by Darren Hanlon, Tobias Jesso, Simon Joyner, Matthew E. White, and Courtney Barnett.

    I think the Modest Mouse record is better than it could’ve been, but The Decemberists and Reptar records were disappointments.

    Excited for Heartless Bastards, Passion Pit, Built to Spill, and Blur (but wary on that one)…

    Wow. The only records I mentioned in this original post that I’m still (kind of) listening to are Blur and Simon Joyner, and neither would’ve cracked my top 5 last year. I was considering making this my first unranked year-end list, but as long as there is some distinction between “LOVED” and “really liked!” among my choices, I feel obligated to rank ‘em.

    To be honest, I’m mostly just listening to jazz lately, and I may go “the hell with it” route and make my top five all jazz, even though this is a fairly recent habit I’ve gotten myself into.

  • Time to commit:

    • 1) Panda Bear - Panda Bear Meets The Grim Reaper
    • 2) Colleen - Captain Of None
    • 3) Pye Corner Audio - Prowler
    • 4) Joanna Newsom - Divers
    • 5) Nicolas Jaar - Nymphs II / Nymphs III / Nymphs IV (Fight)
    • 6) Paul De Jong - IF
    • 7) M.E.S.H. - Piteous Gate
    • 8) Nicolas Jaar - Pomegranates
    • 9) Moritz Von Oswald Trio - Sounding Lines
    • 10) Jefre Cantu-Ledesma - A Year With 13 Moons
    • 11) Errorsmith & Mark Fell - Protogravity
    • 12) Benoit Pioulard - Sonnet
    • 13) Alva Noto - Xerrox Vol.3
    • 14) Visionist - Safe
    • 15) Rafael Anton Irisarri - A Fragile Geography
    • 16) Philip Jeck - Cardinal
    • 17) Marc Almond - The Velvet Trail
    • 18) Vilod - Safe In Harbour
    • 19) Tim Catlin & Machinefabriek - Whorls
    • 20) William Basinski - Cascade / The Deluge
    • 21) Helen - Original Faces
    • 22) Lifted - 1
    • 23) Kenneth Kirschner - Compressions & Rarefactions
    • 24) Goldmund - Sometimes
    • 25) Helm - Olympic Mess
    • 26) Carter Tutti Void - f (x)
    • 27) Courtney Barnett - Sometimes I Sit and Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit
    • 28) Jlin - Dark Energy
    • 29) Gultskra Artikler - Destroy Music
    • 30) Ryuichi Sakamoto / Illuha / Taylor Deupree - Perpetual
  • Oh why not

    1 Dick Diver - Melbourne, Florida

    2 Twerps - Range Anxiety

    3 Joanna Newsom- Divers

    4 Royal Headache- High

    5 Deerhunter - Fading Frontier

    6 Lower Dens - Escape From Evil

    7 Courtney Barnett - Sometimes I Sit and Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit

    8 Blur - The Magic Whip

    9 Kendrick Lamar- To Pimp a Butterfly

    10 Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Asunder, Sweet and Other Distress

    11 Alex G- Beach Music

    12 Low - Ones and Sixes

    13 Sleater-Kinney - No Cities to Love

    14 Dilly Dally - Sore

    15 Jessica Pratt - On Your Own Love Again

    I guess I still like jangly Australian bands above all else!

    I still need a token metal album, but everything is black metal or doom these days so nevermind. That said, top contenders for token metal album include:

    Elder “Lore”

    Khemmis “Absolution”

    Horsehunter “Caged in Flesh”

    Vhol “Deeper than Sky”

    False “Untitled”

    Edit: Oh shit I forgot GYBE…

  • davy said: I may go “the hell with it” route and make my top five all jazz

    DO IT!

    I’ve updated and finalized my list - a few things dropped, a few things added - but left it unranked ‘cause I’m indecisive. (Also, it ended up being 21 because Vula Viel needed to be on there and I didn’t want to drop anything else to make room for it.)

  • Records that mattered in 2015 in chronological order:

    Sleater-Kinney No Cities To Love

    Bob Dylan Shadows In The Night

    Wire Wire

    Giant Sand Heartbreak Pass

    Godspeed You! Black Emperor Asunder, Sweet and Other Distress

    Ventre de Biche Viens Mourir

    Jim O’Rourke Simple Songs

    Franz Ferdinand & Sparks FFS

    Chuck Johnson Blood Mood Boulder

    Trembling Bells The Sovereign Self

    Sleaford Mods Key Markets

    Frog Eyes Pickpocket’s Locket

    Destroyer Poison Season

    Robert Forster Songs To Play

    Arlt Deableries

    The Necks Vertigo

    Joanna Newsom Divers

    Protomartyr The Agent Intellect

    Requin Chagin Requin Chagrin

    Blurt Beneath Discordant Skies

    U.S. Girls Half Free

  • edison said:

    Robert Forster Songs To Play

    I didn’t know about this. I will seek it out.

  • I don’t know his entire solo discography, but this one is really solid throughout and quite certainly the best of the three or four I am aware of!

  • Ok, done!

    I guess I’ll expand to 25, but I’m really feeling the top 20.

    1. Vijay Iyer Trio - Break Stuff
    2. Peter Broderick - Colours of the Night
    3. Waxahatchee - Ivy Tripp
    4. Blur - The Magic Whip
    5. Nick Diamonds - City of Quartz
    6. Simon Joyner - Grass, Branch & Bone
    7. Dawes - All Your Favorite Bands
    8. Dave Douglas - High Risk
    9. Richard James - All the New Highways
    10. Bill Ryder-Jones - West Kirby County Primary
    11. Makaya McCraven - In the Moment
    12. The Bad Plus w/ Joshua Redman - The Bad Plus Joshua Redman
    13. Teen Men - Teen Men
    14. Forro in the Dark - Forro Zinho: Forro in the Dark Plays Zorn
    15. Crocodiles - Boys
    16. Floating Points - Elaenia
    17. Courtney Barnett - Sometimes I Sit and Think, etc
    18. Leon Bridges - Coming Home
    19. Kamasi Washington - The Epic
    20. Tribulation - The Children of the Night
    21. Darren Hanlon - Where Did You Come From?
    22. Tobias Jesso _ Goon
    23. Mother Mother - Very Good Bad Thing
    24. Wheat - Wishing Good Things for the World
    25. Kurt Vile - Pretty Pimpin’

    Six jazz records (1, 8, 11, 12, 14, 19); definitely a record! And most honorable mention goes to the Mark Turner Quartet’s Lathe of Heaven (ECM), which was easily one of my five favorite albums of the year, except for the fact that it was actually released in September 2014.

  • awesome to see mentions of Giant Sand and Elder.

    my top 20 (not sure why hard returns aren’t working):

    1-10 Elder - Lore Dungen - Allas Sak Kadavar - Berlin Dommengang - Everybody’s Boogie Devil Worshipper - Devil Worshipper Tribulation - Children Of The Night Hills - Frid Royal Headache - High High On Fire - Luminiferous Sir Richard Bishop - Tangier Session

    11-20 Sundays & Cybele - Gypsy House Rats On Rafts - Tape Hiss Ryley Walker - Primrose Green Kontinuum - Kyrr Froth - Bleak Misþyrming - Söngvar elds og óreiðu Swervedriver - I Wasn’t Born To Lose You Fuzz - II The Bevis Frond - Example 22 Six Organs of Admittance - Hexadic

  • Hey davy, may I humbly suggest that you check out Dafnis Prieto’s “Triangles & Circles?” One of my favorite jazz albums from this year, and Prieto is a phenomenal drummer. You might also like the Michael Zerang album on my list. It’s not too far removed from something like Masada. And Mark Giuliana’s “Family First” is another solid jazz record that narrowly missed my list.

    I haven’t heard of Makaya McCraven, bur I plan on checking him out when I get home tonight. That looks like an interesting record.

  • monkeypants said: Hey davy, may I humbly suggest that you check out Dafnis Prieto’s “Triangles & Circles?” One of my favorite jazz albums from this year, and Prieto is a phenomenal drummer. You might also like the Michael Zerang album on my list. It’s not too far removed from something like Masada. And Mark Giuliana’s “Family First” is another solid jazz record that narrowly missed my list.

    I haven’t heard of Makaya McCraven, bur I plan on checking him out when I get home tonight. That looks like an interesting record.

    You may certainly suggest anything you like! I’m consuming jazz like mad these days, but I don’t get too many personal recommendations. I’m excited to check out all those records you mentioned.

    Another 2015 record I’m actually listening to right now and I’m about to revise my list to include: Forro Zinho - Forro in the Dark Plays Zorn, a collection of John Zorn covers (many from his Filmworks albums), run through a Brazilian jazz filter. It’s pretty amazing — the sort of thing you absolutely cannot sit still while listening to.

    The Makaya McCraven album is similar in that way. Reminds me of those classic soul jazz records of the 60s and 70s, Grassella Oliphant in particular. It’s a bit more contemporary in its production style, but the feel is the same. Your head will bob involuntarily when “Gnawa” starts up. At times, the album veers into a sort of instrumental hip-hop style (“Gnawa” would be a good example of this, actually), but it all fits together really well.

    Speaking of drummers (McCraven is one) — Vijay Iyer’s stickman Marcus Gilmore was a major point of interest for me this year. I’ve tracked down everything he’s played on in the past five years or so. A very flexible style on a wide variety of different albums, but it’s all SO good. (He’s also the drummer on that Mark Turner album I mentioned, Lathe of Heaven, released on ECM in late 2014.)