Karmic Balance for the Ears

Two perfectly offsetting music-listening phenomena today.

Tried two albums from the archives for my pre-coffee floor workout and they were both stinkers (admittedly from the must-listen-to-more shelves), which half-wrecked the workout.

The reverse energy came from listening in the car.

Reina del Cid’s Rerun City (self-released) charmed me the first time through but the second listen convinced me there’s only a couple ordinary tracks on it and that “Let’s Begin” is a tender masterwork. Albums released in December get lost but I’m going to write a plug for her show on Feb. 24 at Atwood’s. Boston locals should go.

I had all these objections to 20 Years in a Montana Missile Silo (Cherry Red) by Pere Ubu the first time I heard it. Songs too short. David Thomas is going through the motions. I could hear the arty punk but not the party punk. This time through, all that just vanished. Strong Top 20 candidate and will be on the year-end discs.

The Soundtrack That Was Supposed To Have Sustained Me in NYC

  1. Laurie Anderson and Kronos Quartet, Landfall (Nonesuch — coming out Feb. 16)
  2. Courtney Barnett/Kurt Vile, Lotta Sea Lice (Matador, etc.)
  3. Kit Downes, Obsidian (ECM — coming out January 19)
  4. Vijay Iyer Sextet, Far From Over (ECM) — which I didn’t put on my Top Jazz lists only because I figured everybody else would.
  5. Jaguares, [45] (BIKO/EMI, 2008) — these guys gave one of the most overwhelming shows D & I ever saw (saying something), and I happened to find out we did not have this, their last record to date.
  6. Khruangbin, Con Todo El Mundo (Night Time Stories). Poised, transcendent peace centered on voices.
  7. Populous, Night Safari (Bad Panda). See the Dean’s comments.
  8.  Steven Wilson, To The Bone (Caroline). Porcupine Tree guy mixes pop and progressive brilliantly. Prize winner in UK, strong cult figure in US. Hey, he had me with a song called “People Who Eat Darkness,” after the unbeatable, nonfiction murder mystery set in Japan.


End of an Era for Cuneiform

One of my all-time favorite labels.  Intelligent, experimental, all high-quality even on the rare occasion the music wasn’t my thing. Thanks to all — esp. ace publicist Joyce — for generous promotional material and enlightening sounds for many years.

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