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Genetic Data Tools Reveal How Pop Music Evolved In The US

us-popular-music-genetic

In modern societies, cultural change seems ceaseless. The flux of fashion is especially obvious for popular music. While much has been written about the origin and evolution of pop, most claims about its history are anecdotal rather than scientific in nature. To rectify this we investigate the US Billboard Hot 100 between 1960 and 2010. Using Music Information Retrieval (MIR) and text-mining tools we analyse the musical properties of ~17,000 recordings that appeared in the charts and demonstrate quantitative trends in their harmonic and timbral properties. We then use these properties to produce an audio-based classification of musical styles and study the evolution of musical diversity and disparity, testing, and rejecting, several classical theories of cultural change. Finally, we investigate whether pop musical evolution has been gradual or punctuated. We show that, although pop music has evolved continuously, it did so with particular rapidity during three stylistic “revolutions” around 1964, 1983 and 1991. We conclude by discussing how our study points the way to a quantitative science of cultural change.

Really interesting digest of this project over at Medium: Genetic Data Tools Reveal How Pop Music Evolved In The US (Medium). The title of the original work referenced at arxiv.org is The Evolution of Popular Music: USA 1960-2010

“Peak Personality Pop (2015 Edition)” OR “Has Diplo Finally Jumped the Shark?”

“Older” Superstar Singer? – Check
“Younger” Superstar Singer/Rapper? – Check
Superstar Producer with some remaining street cred? – Check
Self-referential title? – Check
Easily chanted chorus? – Check
Filterd synth climbs? – Check
Serrated noises guaranteed to annoy anyone who “remembers real music”? – Check
“Chopped and Screwed” references? – Check
BDSM Artwork? – Check

Bonus stupid/smart lyric: “I poured a beer into my shoe and got my freak on”
Bonus pedestrian lyric: “The neighbor’s pissed and says he’s gonna cal the five-oh”

Main PoOP Analysis 2014


poop-2014-front-art charlie brown poop 2014 image009

Dear POOPster:

2014 was a pretty rough year for the world. While good music might ordinarily offer a diversion from the bad and the ugly, occasionally a year comes dangerously close to getting its ass kicked. Seasoned as we are after 28 years of committing POOP to paper and post, we persevere and continue (in the face of beheadings, ebola, Boehner’s new band of blowhards, “I can’t breathe,” and climate calamity) to cling to both bad alliterations and silly year-end lists. Or do we? This year only 26 self-important pontificators got their cool cards punched (2 fewer than last year).

Anyway, onto the nuts and bolts. As usual, I’ve used our time-honored tabulation system, using the customary What-The-Hell’s-He-Talking-About methodology. One more time, I’ve given 2 points to each pompoid’s Top 10 choices and 1 point to each title beyond a Top 10 or in the variously designated ‘honorable mention’ categories (up to 25 titles in all; more than 25 means half-points).


So without further adoody, the 2014 POOP answer key:

Buy Spoon: They Want My Soul New or Used via Amazon
1 - SPOON
They Want My Soul

Buy New or Used via Amazon
Rent via iTunes [?]

Buy The War on Drugs – Lost in the Dream New or Used via Amazon
2 - THE WAR ON DRUGS
Lost In the Dream

Buy New or Used via Amazon
Rent via iTunes [?]

Buy Beck: Morning Phase New or Used via Amazon
3 - BECK
Morning Phase

Buy New or Used via Amazon
Rent via iTunes [?]

Buy Angel Olsen/Burn Your Fire For No Witness  New or Used via Amazon
4 - ANGEL OLSEN
Burn Your Fire For No Witness

Buy New or Used via Amazon
Rent via iTunes [?]

Buy Ex Hex - Rips New or Used via Amazon
5 – EX HEX
Rips

Buy New or Used via Amazon
Rent via iTunes [?]

Buy Ty Segall/Manipulator  New or Used via Amazon
5 - TY SEAGALL
Manipulator

Buy New or Used via Amazon
Rent via iTunes [?]

Buy Run The Jewels - RTJ2 New or Used via Amazon
7 – RUN THE JEWELS
RTJ2

Buy New or Used via Amazon
Rent via iTunes [?]

Buy TV on The Radio: Seeds New or Used via Amazon
8 - TV ON THE RADIO
Seeds

Buy New or Used via Amazon
Rent via iTunes [?]

Buy  The Hold Steady - Teeth Dreams  New or Used via Amazon
9 – THE HOLD STEADY
Teeth Dreams

Buy New or Used via Amazon
Rent via iTunes [?]

Buy Old 97's - Most Messed Up New or Used via Amazon
9 - THE OLD 97'S
Most Messed Up

Buy New or Used via Amazon
Rent via iTunes [?]

Buy St. Vincent St. Vincent New or Used via Amazon
9 - ST. VINCENT
St. Vincent

Buy New or Used via Amazon
Rent via iTunes [?]

Buy Sturgill Simpson – Metamodern Sounds in Country Music New or Used via Amazon
9 - STURGILL SIMPSON
Metamodern Sounds
In Country Music

Buy New or Used via Amazon
Rent via iTunes [?]

Buy THE BOTH - The Both New or Used via Amazon
9 - THE BOTH
The Both

Buy New or Used via Amazon
Rent via iTunes [?]

Buy  REAL ESTATE - Atlas New or Used via Amazon
9 - REAL ESTATE
Atlas

Buy New or Used via Amazon
Rent via iTunes [?]



1 –   SPOON – They Want My Soul 15½ (appearing on 9 out of 26 lists)
2 –   THE WAR ON DRUGS – Lost In the Dream 11½ (7)
3 –   BECK – Morning Phase 11½ (6)
4 –   ANGEL OLSEN – Burn Your Fire For No Witness 11 (6)
5 –   EX HEX – Rips 10 (5)
        TY SEAGALL – Manipulator 10 (5)
7 –   RUN THE JEWELS – RTJ2 9 (5)
8 –   TV ON THE RADIO – Seeds 8½ (5)
9 –   THE HOLD STEADY – Teeth Dreams 8 (4)
        THE OLD 97’S – Most Messed Up 7 (4)
        ST. VINCENT – St. Vincent 7 (4)
        STURGILL SIMPSON – Metamodern Sounds In Country Music 7 (4)
        THE BOTH – The Both 7 (4)
        REAL ESTATE – Atlas (4)

Mark Rosen
High Priest Of POOP

Some of our contributors emerge from the shadows…
take-a-bite-out-of-vinyl digging in the creates image011 image001
Richard Allen – Sayville, NY  |||  Kent B – Newburgh, NY  |||  Ken Beck – Cranford, NJ  |||  Paul Cangelosi – Kingston, NY  |||  Duncan Clark – Milton, NY  |||  Don Cohen – New York, NY  |||  Scott Dell’Amore – Poughkeepsie, NY  |||  Kevin Falahee – Astoria, NY  |||  Eric Fine – New York, NY  |||  Jim Finnigan – New Hamburg, NY  |||  John Greak – Gardiner, NY  |||  Jamie Hosley – Clifton Park, NY  |||  Mike Jurkovic – Wallkill, NY  |||  Patrick Kennedy – Brooklyn, NY  |||  Bernadette Lange – Kingston, NY  |||  John Lefsky – New Paltz, NY  |||  Andrew Martin – Eddyville, NY  |||  Jim Meyers – Kingston, NY  |||  Mike Miller – Cuba, NY  |||  Matt Nerney – Reading, VT  |||  Mark Rosen – New Paltz, NY  |||  Andrew Stewart – Rhinebeck, NY  |||  John Stewart – Bloomington, NY  |||  Tom Whalen – New Paltz, NY  |||  Dan Wilmer – Alexandria, VA  |||  Mark Zip – Woodstock, NY


Duncan Clark Poop 2014



Buy Beck: Morning Phase New or Used via Amazon    Buy New or Used via Amazon           Rent via iTunes [?]
1. BECK – Morning Phase: I only own two cd’s by Beck- the two morose folky albums which I guess says a lot about me. That said, this is a beautifully constructed and recorded song cycle.



Buy The War on Drugs – Lost in the Dream New or Used via Amazon    Buy New or Used via Amazon           Rent via iTunes [?]
2. THE WAR ON DRUGS – Lost in the Dream: This was drugs for the ears. I kept hearing bits and pieces that just wormed their way into my brain. I love the 80s vibe and electronica.



Buy OYSTERBAND - Diamonds on the Water New or Used via Amazon    Buy New or Used via Amazon           Rent via iTunes [?]
3. OYSTERBAND – Diamonds on the Water: A long time favorite that consistently puts out the best Celtic folk rock even with the loss of some key members this time around.



Buy The Both - The Both New or Used via Amazon    Buy New or Used via Amazon           Rent via iTunes [?]
4. THE BOTH – The Both: This turned out better than I expected although the record could have used a little more influence from Leo’s Pharmacists. Aimee is in charge here but Leo does a nice job complimenting her.



Buy ROSANNE CASH - The River & the Thread New or Used via Amazon    Buy New or Used via Amazon           Rent via iTunes [?]
5. ROSANNE CASH – The River & the Thread: Proving that you can go home again at least for a visit, in this case a part of the South far outside of Nashville.



Buy SHARON JONES AND THE DAP-KINGS - Give The People What They Want New or Used via Amazon    Buy New or Used via Amazon           Rent via iTunes [?]
6. SHARON JONES AND THE DAP-KINGS – Give The People What They Want: I realize that this was recorded and ready to go right before Jones became ill, but with her return to the stage, this feels like a celebratory lap. Old school r&b as well as Jones are still alive and doing well.



Buy THE RAILS - Fair Warning New or Used via Amazon    Buy New or Used via Amazon           Rent via iTunes [?]
7. THE RAILS – Fair Warning: Kami Thompson is blessed with her mother’s voice and her partner is very talented. This debut covers a lot of ground from folk to country to pop.



Buy THE MAHONES - The Hunger & The Fight New or Used via Amazon    Buy New or Used via Amazon           Rent via iTunes [?]
8. THE MAHONES – The Hunger & The Fight: Last I saw these guys, they were getting yanked off a stage for going over time at a festival nearly 20 years ago- they kill live. Equal parts “Sodomy & the Lash”-era Pogues and Joe Strummer.



Buy LEE BAINS & THE GLORY FIRES - Dereconstructed New or Used via Amazon    Buy New or Used via Amazon           Rent via iTunes [?]
9. LEE BAINS & THE GLORY FIRES – Dereconstructed: This explores a different part of the south from what Cash was singing about. Smart literate lyrics in a very tough rock band.



Buy REAL ESTATE - Atlas New or Used via Amazon    Buy New or Used via Amazon           Rent via iTunes [?]
10. REAL ESTATE – Atlas: The latest in the proud NJ tradition of producing jangly rock bands.



11. BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN & THE E ST. BAND – Albany May 13, 2014: The “High Hopes” disc was Bruce treading water but the tour was anything but. With Bruce commercially releasing some of the concerts, this rises above bootleg status. This was a night where the set list went out the window early on and the band simply tried to keep up with the Boss.
12. TRIGGER HIPPY – Trigger Hippy: You have two natural front persons in Greene and Osborne but all you have to do is look at the writing credits which is shared by all 5 members to see how collaborative this effort was. Hopefully, this will be an ongoing band.
13. THOMPSON – Family: I’d like to point out that when the McGarrigle family did this back in the 90s, they actually recorded the album with everybody in the same room. It appears that the Thompsons had problems being on the same continent at the same time. Perhaps issues are still being worked on. Kami and her husband steal the show.
14. THE GLOAMING – The Gloaming A slightly more classical approach to Celtic music than I usually care for but the synergy and interplay of the musicians transcends the limitations of traditional Celtic music to go off to unusual places.
15. THE SEE SEE – Days, Nights & Late Morning Lights: Almost a decade ago, my top Poop pick was the debut album of an English folk rock group, the Eighteenth Day of May. To celebrate their victory, they immediately broke up and disappeared into obscurity. From their ashes comes the See See. Take out the folk and put in psychedelic. Let’s hope this one sticks.
16. U2 – Songs of Innocence: If their worst sin was to give away music for free, then people really need to find something else to bitch about. It would be unfortunate if this controversy obscured the fact that this is actually a pretty good U2 album.
17. BOB MOULD – Beauty & Ruin: It’s not unusual for musicians to write about death and aging as they get older but not many can do it with the ferocity of a guy who used to front Husker Du.
18. ASGEIR TRAUSTI – Dyrd i daudapogn: If Justin Vernon of Bon Iver had gone to Iceland instead of disappearing into the woods of Wisconsin, this is the album that he would have made. And the world would be all the better for it. Rerecorded with English lyrics but the original Icelandic is more interesting.
19. CHRISSIE HYNDE – Stockholm: I’m not sure you can really call this her solo debut. I think that every Pretenders album since Learning to Crawl has essentially been her show. She sounds inspired through most of the album and the songs would be worthy of any Pretenders album.
20. DRIVE BY TRUCKERS – English Oceans: Probably their strongest album since Jason Isbell left the group. They are definitely a tighter band which is apparent in the rockers.
21. BROKEN BELLS – After the Disco: The first album did a very slow burn on me but it kept finding its way into my player. Mercer and Danger Mouse are an interesting combination.
22. THE STRYPES – Snapshot: We’ve reached a curious point in music when simply playing straight r&b rock well lets you stand out from the crowd. Born several decades too late.
23. ST. PAUL & THE BROKEN BONES – Half The City: Tight first rate r&b/soul unit. They get extra credit for having the best new band name last year.
24. THURSTON MOORE – The Best Day: Sounds like I’m not the only one missing Sonic Youth. Good but I miss the mix with Lee Renaldo.
25. MARIANNE FAITHFULL – Give My Love To London: She has some wonderful material to work with here but it’s the voice that captures the center of attention- scarred, proud, expressive with a lot of class.



 


Scott Dell’Amore Poop 2014




I neglected to post last year. Life in the way of… whatever. I’ve got kids. They rule and they are completely wonderful distractions. Now, I’m writing this at 6 am on the day that it is due, outside of my home: the only way to get it done proper. Again, whatever.

Buy Run The Jewels - RTJ2 New or Used via Amazon    Buy New or Used via Amazon           Rent via iTunes [?]
1. Run the Jewels – RTJ2
El-P & Killer Mike return with 2 and it is pure triumph. Some critics were concerned with a hip-hop colabo pushing out a second album only a year after their first. Not this guy. That’s probably due to the fact that I’m such a sucker for El-P. His penchant for crafting eerie beats and coupling them with ominous and dystopian lyrics, induces trances. Add to this Killer Mike’s up-tempo, rat-tat-tat, dirty-south, lyrical flow, balance is achieved. And I’m awake through the entire dream. I’ve actively full-body bumped in my car while swallowing every delectable morsel that this album has to offer.



Buy Trap Them - Blissfucker New or Used via Amazon    Buy New or Used via Amazon           Rent via iTunes [?]
2. Trap Them – Blissfucker
Not metal normal, this record is merciless. Trap Them takes archetypal metal song structures and hurtle them headlong into the side of a mountain. The cataclysm that results is arresting and, of course, destructive. I truly enjoy watching this band evolve.



Buy D’Angelo - Black Messiah New or Used via Amazon    Buy New or Used via Amazon           Rent via iTunes [?]
3. D’angelo and the Vanguard – Black Messiah
D’angelo fell off the face of the Earth for 10+ years. Good! I don’t really care where he went. I’m certain that it is an interesting series of tales, but the bottom line is it doesn’t matter. He left and then came back–with this righteous shit. Beautifully soulful. It gives me chills.



Buy  New or Used via Amazon    Buy New or Used via Amazon           Rent via iTunes [?]
4. Code Orange – I Am King
I’ve listened to Code Orange since they were Kids (see what I did there? probably not very creative, I know). This record floated around in my computer for a while until I finally got around to listening to it. It floored me. It’s a heavy-handed assault that creates so much with sound. I Am King is pure monster.



Buy Angel Olsen/Burn Your Fire For No Witness  New or Used via Amazon   Buy New or Used via Amazon     Rent via iTunes [?]
5. Angel Olsen – Burn Your Fire for No Witness
Low-fi haunting complexity all wrapped up in a beautiful shell of spellbinding spaciousness.



Buy Swans - To Be Kind New or Used via Amazon    Buy New or Used via Amazon           Rent via iTunes [?]
6. Swans – To Be Kind
It’s f*cking Swans. End. Of. Story.



Buy Shellac - Dude Incredible New or Used via Amazon    Buy New or Used via Amazon           Rent via iTunes [?]
7. Shellac – Dude Incredible
I recently watched the first episode of HBO’s “Sonic Highways.” Steve Albini’s all grown up. Well, that might be a stretch, but it was nice to see that age has toned down his hyper abrasive nature. As for Dude Incredible, no abrasion lost. This is a lovely adventure into the land of unorthodox rock’n’roll.



Buy TY SEGALL - MANIPULATOR New or Used via Amazon    Buy New or Used via Amazon           Rent via iTunes [?]
8. Ty Segall – Manipulator
I’m new to Ty Segall’s ultra fuzzed out garage rock sound. I kept hearing the name and finally bit into this little gem. Now I’m off to seek out the rest of his rather prolific catalogue.



Buy Bonnie Prince Billy - Singer's Grave a Sea of Tongue New or Used via Amazon    Buy New or Used via Amazon           Rent via iTunes [?]
9. Bonnie Prince Billy – Singer’s Grave a Sea of Tongue
A return to the Will Oldham (Bonnie Prince Billy) that I first fell in love with. Majestic and playful, Singer’s is mostly a reworking of songs from Wolfroy Goes To Town (his 2011 release, which was much more somber). Though the darker side of Oldham has always struck a vibrant chord with me, these versions of those songs have been resonating with me in a much stronger way.



Buy Sturgill Simpson – Metamodern Sounds in Country Music New or Used via Amazon    Buy New or Used via Amazon           Rent via iTunes [?]
10. Sturgill Simpson – Metamodern Sounds in Country Music
I’ve never truly been into country music. But every once in a while something comes along and makes me forget that the prior sentence has ever been uttered. This is that thing and it is outstanding. It must be the Metamodernness that has me hooked. Anyway, Simpson is legit. Dig it.

Please forgive any grammatical mistakes. Nothing like last minute, eh?

Peace & Love,

Scott
redsupergiant at gmail dot com


Jim Meyers Poop 2014


image001
The Events
The biggest musical event of my year was The Boston Calling music festival. I’ve avoided festivals for the last 20 years or so and approached this with some trepidation, fearing a sweaty mass of humanity and my hysteria level of claustrophobia. The Replacements though, I had to go. My fears were assuaged immediately upon entering the beautiful and comfortable brick and concrete park smack in the middle of downtown Boston. Neutral Milk Hotel were great but a bit pretentious. As I expected. The Hold Steady had the unenviable task of playing under a searing sun and a heat index of 102. They absolutely killed it mixing new tracks and stand out shout along classics. My brother in law was so impressed he immediately went out and bought their entire catalog. Bleachers were good stupid fun and 21 Pilots put on one of the most energetic sets I’ve ever seen. Lorde was captivating and much better than I expected.

So, onto Sunday. I ignored the band playing on Stage B so I could get set up for The Mats. Grabbed two beers and was stunned to just walk right up to the barricade. Front row center was never so easily attained. When they hit the stage and ripped right into “Favorite Thing” I was overwhelmed by the energy and pure force of the band. It only got better as strangers embraced like old friends and Paul and Tommy image002seemed to having the time of their lives. I’m not ashamed to say that at some point I cried. Something about redemption and misspent youth and somehow still be around to be awed by the power of music. And sharing that deeply personal event with hundreds of people who know exactly what I mean.

The Music and Books
I didn’t listen to much new music this year but my obsession with buying, selling, and listening to records reached an alarming level of addiction. I fear I’m a full-scale vinyl dork. I’m the new Brooklyn.

The Hold Steady, Teeth Dreams
The Pogues Live With Joe Strummer
James Fearnley, Here Comes Everybody- The Story of The Pogues
The Hold Steady acoustic in Woodstock.
Ryan Adams, Ryan Adams
Against Me!, Transgender Dysphoria Blues
Robert Gordon, Stax and the Soul Explosion (See above, addiction)
Greil Marcus, The History Of Rock ‘N Roll In Ten Songs


Jim Finnigan Poop 2014



All About That Bass

all-about-that-bass

TOP 10 (mostly) associated with great gigs in the Hudson Valley



Buy Liana Gabel's Rest And Heal New or Used via Amazon    Buy New or Used via Amazon           Rent via iTunes [?]
1. Liana Gabel’s Rest And Heal reminds me of Alela Diane circa “Pirate’s Gospel” – same introspective tunes and Billie Holiday catch in her voice – but with better vocals, better songs and better production. Since Liana was based in the New Paltz area last year, I had a lotta chances to confirm my good impression of her, including a wonderful Tin Roof session (the next door neighbor got out of her bed and came across the street saying “What is this wonderful sound I hear?”) and a gig at Quinn’s with her friends Thomas Wesley Stern where she opened up with a wonderful bawdy sea shanty [Pirate’s Gospel cross-reference?] and indulged in some bluegrass tap dancing. Props to that guy in Rhino for the tip.



Rent JD Samson & MEN - Labor mp3 from Amazon    Rent mp3 from Amazon           Rent via iTunes [?]
2. JD Samson & MEN – Labor – I was the only person over 22 (way over) at their gig at The Mug at Vassar – updating LeTigre’s sound for the dubstep age, but still plenty catchy danceable agit-prop. “Labor” (and 2011’s “Talk About Body”) will please any riot-grrl fans out there.



Buy Chicks on Speed - Artstravaganza New or Used via Amazon    Buy New or Used via Amazon
3. Chicks on Speed – Artstravaganza: Who needs Sleaford Mods when you’ve got the Chix?



Buy  New or Used via Amazon    Buy New or Used via Amazon           Rent via iTunes [?]
4. OOIOO – Gamel: Boredoms drummer Yoshimi P-We’s gamelan pop – very pretty.



Buy  New or Used via Amazon    Buy New or Used via Amazon           Rent via iTunes [?]
5. Harold Budd’s Jane 12-21 was my fave ambient release last year. Lotta good ambient reissues and archive recording too, including Jon Hassell’s “City: Works of Fiction” (with a bonus concert from the Wintergarden that I was at), Eno’s extremely minimal “Neroli” with the unreleased New Space Music, and Kompakt’s “Pop Ambient 2014″, and Oliver Coates’s “Toward the Blessed Islands” (saw him at a Tin Roof Session).



Buy  New or Used via Amazon    Buy New or Used via Amazon
6. On-U Sound was pretty quiet this year – buncha new stuff promised for early 2015 – so Asian Dub Foundation’s The Signal and The Noise (Japanese-only, from late 2013) was my fave this year – most of their other stuff was remakes/remodels of older stuff. “For the Love of Money”, a covers album from Tackhead, was laid-back, and all the better for it. Adrian Sherwood’s DJ set at Francois Kervorkian’s Deep Space included a lotta promising stuff.



Buy  New or Used via Amazon    Buy New or Used via Amazon           Rent via iTunes [?]
7. Eviyan Live – caught Iva Bittova live several times this year – including at Quinn’s, and at Hudson’s Opera House – the gigs with Evan Ziporyn and Gian Riley were cerebral and playful jazz / avant-garde classical fusion.



Buy Michael Hurley - Land of Lofi [Vinyl] New or Used via Amazon    Buy Vinyl via Amazon
8. Michael Hurley’s Northeast tour this year included a sharp gig at Hudson’s Half Moon bar with Tara Jane O’Neil. Late 2013’s Land of Lo-Fi was typical Snock-isms, and his anti-Monsanto protest compilation Doc GMO included his song Bad Monsanto which has a catchy melody so he better be careful that Monsanto’s ad agency doesn’t steal it from him and put other lyrics in place. The Hurley fanzine Blue Navigator issue #11 was an elaborately packaged extravaganza with a CD of Hurley & pals rarities.



Buy  New or Used via Amazon    Buy New or Used via Amazon
9. V.A.: Star Twerk – great dance comp. with Major Lazer, Diplo, MIA, the usual suspects – just annoying enough



Buy  New or Used via Amazon    Buy New or Used via Amazon           Rent via iTunes [?]
10. Vashti Bunyan – Heartleap



JIM FINNIGAN’S 2014 POOP 11-22
11. Neneh Cherry – Blank Project Deluxe
12. Ed Palermo Big Band with Rob Paparozzi – Electric Butter (great gigs at The Falcon)
13. Felice Brothers – Favorite Waitress /& / Simon Felice – Strangers (great gigs at the Dutchess County Fair and at Liberty Public House afterwards)
14. Imarhan Timbuktu – Akal Warled (and a great gig at BSP)
15. Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings – Give the People What They Want
16. Glitterbeats: Dub & Versions 1 – various
17. Swans – To Be Kind
18. Holly Cook – Twice
19. Simi Stone – s/t (great gigs at Spiegeltent, The Falcon, and backing Simone Felice and Elizabeth Mitchell)
20. Jeffrey Lewis & the Jrams – s/t (and a great gig at BSP)
21. Peter Stampfel & The Brooklyn & Lower Manhattan Banjo Squadron – Better Than Expected (low-key banjo instrumentals interrupted by occasional Fugs-ish rants)
22. It’s a Wonderful Life – A Journey into Sound compiled for MOJO by Siouxsie Sioux

SOMETHING MISSING     DUDS
23. Gary Clail – Nail it to the Mast: He NEEDS On-U Sound     Hyperdub 10.3
24. LaRoux – Trouble in Paradise: She NEEDS Major Lazer     Brian Eno – The Drop reissue
    Meghan Trainor

REISSUES
1. Captain Beefheart – Sun Zoom Spark 1970 to 1972 – quel improved sound
2. Pop Group – Curiosities (We Are Time & Cabinet of Curiosities) – quel improved sound
3. Jon Hassell – City: Works of Fiction (including Live at Wintergarden 1989)
4. Brian Eno – Neroli (including New Space Music)
5. Smoke Dawson – Fiddle
6. Emmylou Harris – Wrecking Ball Deluxe
7. K. Leimer – A Period of Review 1975-1983
8. Residue of The Residents 2LP

SONGS   Ah Has Spoken!
Pharrell Williams - Happy   image003
Bruno Mars - Uptown Funk   
Jack White - Lazaretto   
Lee Perry & Subatomic Sound System -
Black Ark Vampires
   
Aretha Franklin - Rolling in the Deep   
Taylor Swift - Shake It Off   
FKA Twigs - Two Weeks / Pendulum   
Linda Perhacs - River of God   
Michael Hurley - Bad Monsanto   

OTHER GIGS
Gig of the year was a transcendent set from Gamelan Dharma Swara in the middle of the dancefloor at Basilica Soundscape, like being teletransported to a temple in Bali, plus some fantastic guitar wizardry from Michael Chapman (and he was even better playing a full set at the Spotty Dog a month later), poetry from Gerard Malanga and a “progressive” Butoh performance (the latter two at Bunnybrains’ pop-up gallery inside Basilica).

Runner-up was the unbelievable bass sounds at Kode9‘s gig at EMPAC at RPI. Also: Doveman’s Tribute to Lou Reed at Spiegeltent with a live performance of The Murder Mystery and a great set from Little Annie. Jonathan Demme’s Something Wild at Jacob Burns Film Center – The Feelies jumped off the screen and did a live concert. A great dub session with New Zion Trio with fantastic percussion from Cyro Baptista at a Tin Roof Session – so hot the police came to shut it down!

Also: County Players Spamalot in Wappingers / Wreckless Eric at BSP and The Schoemer Formation at Half Moon / Tammy Faye Starlite as Nico at WFMU / Battlefield Band at Town Crier / A Christmas Service of Lessons and Carols at Vassar Chapel / Baby Gramps at BSP / Esopus Puppet Suite with Arm of the Sea Theater / Inner Spaces at Widow Jane Mine / The Pete Seeger Memorial at the Bardavon


Don Cohen Poop 2014


Favorite Albums



Buy Ariel Pink: Pom Pom New or Used via Amazon    Buy New or Used via Amazon           Rent via iTunes [?]
Ariel Pink: Pom Pom ~ Wowie zowie! Derivative of Zappa’s first few albums, but who cares? Rosenberg carries on Frank’s absurdist satire and sonic chaos as if he were a genetically-related mutant offspring. You need this for mental health. Listen to: Nude Beach A Go-Go and Black Ballerina



Buy Beck: Morning Phase New or Used via Amazon    Buy New or Used via Amazon           Rent via iTunes [?]
Beck: Morning Phase ~ After playing Ariel Pink, Morning Phase flows like a gentle stream through the backwoods of my mind. Listen to: Blackbird Chain



Buy  New or Used via Amazon    Buy New or Used via Amazon           Rent via iTunes [?]
Jeff Bridges and the Abiders: Live ~ Yes, that Jeff Bridges. He’s not a prolific songwriter but Bridges sure has a lot of talented friends to draw material from. An Americana best of ‘live’ that cooks with a strong supporting cast. Listen to: What A Little Bit of Love Can Do



Buy ROSANNE CASH - The River & the Thread New or Used via Amazon    Buy New or Used via Amazon           Rent via iTunes [?]
Rosanne Cash: The River and the Thread ~ Roseanne takes us on a musical guided tour of her Southern routes. Listen to: 50,000 Watts



Buy Echo and the Bunnymen: Meteorites New or Used via Amazon    Buy New or Used via Amazon           Rent via iTunes [?]
Echo and the Bunnymen: Meteorites ~ Like a lot of other older Brits lately, Ian bounces back with one his best albums. Must be the water in the stout. Listen to: Constantinople



Buy Damien Rice: My Favorite Faded Fantasy New or Used via Amazon    Buy New or Used via Amazon           Rent via iTunes [?]
Damien Rice: My Favorite Faded Fantasy ~ 8 years is a long gestation period, but Rice and Rick Rubin have delivered a gorgeously textured scion of O . Listen to: I Don’t Want to Change You



Buy Sean Rowe: Madman New or Used via Amazon    Buy New or Used via Amazon           Rent via iTunes [?]
Sean Rowe: Madman ~ Rowe’s name has been kicking around the margins of my mind the last few years, but this is the first album, his fourth, that’s really grabbed my attention. As a fan of gravel baritones like Tom Waits, Brad Roberts and Bill Callahan, Rowe’s voice makes my liver quiver. Terrific tough and tender indie album, probably my favorite of 2014. Wished I’d seen him at the Colony Café a few months ago. Listen to: Madman and Desiree



Buy Spoon: They Want My Soul New or Used via Amazon    Buy New or Used via Amazon           Rent via iTunes [?]
Spoon: They Want My Soul ~ This off-beat funky one’s made me a fan, too. Listen to: Inside Out



Buy Trigger Hippy: Trigger Hippy New or Used via Amazon    Buy New or Used via Amazon           Rent via iTunes [?]
Trigger Hippy: Trigger Hippy ~ Delaney and Bonnie live! Joan Osborne and Jackie Greene have made a Southern rock winner in D&B’s classic style. Listen to: Tennessee Mud



Buy Jack White: Lazaretto New or Used via Amazon    Buy New or Used via Amazon           Rent via iTunes [?]
Jack White: Lazaretto ~ The first Jack White album I’ve actually really liked all the way through. Listen to:Alone In My House


Lucinda Williams: Down Where The Spirit Meets the Bone ~ My favorite since Car Wheels. Can the Queen of Loss actually be content with life? Listen to: Protection
Jesse Winchester: A Reasonable Amount of Trouble ~ Classic Jesse understated humor for this, his last album and album title. My heart aches, just a terrible loss. For over 40 years, he’s been one of my favorite singer-songwriters – I’ll miss his gentle, sweet humor, his luminous melodies and even his silly rhumba dancing onstage. One of my cherished memories is to have interviewed him on his second date in the US after repatriation, at The Salt in Newport in 1977. A gentle soul. Listen to: the entire album

Don Williams: Reflections ~ The Gentle Giant returns with his second album in two years after semi-retirement and it’s an Americana beauty. No originals here but his covers of lesser known Townes, Guy Clark and Jesse Winchester and others’ songs, sung in his soft baritone with spare production, make them all sound like he penned them. Listen to: Stronger Back

Also spongeworthy: Linda Perhacs, Tom Petty, Don Williams, Ex Hex, Old Crow Medicine Show

Favorite Songs

Black Keys: Gotta Get Away
Temples: Shelter Song
Courtney Barnett: Avant Gardener
The Both: Milwaukee
Lykke Li: Never Gonna Love Again
Don Williams: Stronger Back
David Gray: Snow in Vegas
The New Pornographers: Dancehall Domine
Leonard Cohen: Almost Like the Blues
U2: Every Breaking Wave
Ex Hex: Radio On
Doug Seegers: Down By The River
One Direction: Night Changes
Perfume Genius: Queen

Favorite Films

The Grand Budapest Hotel
Boyhood
Get On Up
The Equalizer
Mr. Peabody and Sherman
Belle
Words and Pictures
Interstellar
Birdman
Whiplash
Rosewater
I-Origins
Chef

RIP

Phil Everly, Saul Zaentz, Jerry Coleman, Ariel Sharon, Claudio Abbado, Pete Seeger, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Maximillian Schell, Thoedore Millon, Shirley Temple, Sid Caesar, Ralph Waite, Harold Ramis, Paco de Lucia, Alain Resnais, Paul Colby, David Brenner, Sheila MacCrae, Scott Asheton, Eddie (The Old Philosopher ) Lawrence, Mickey Rooney, Jesse Winchester, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Ruben Hurricane Carter, Bob Hoskins, Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., Maya Angelou, Dave Herman, Don Zimmer, Ruby Dee, Kasey Kasem, Tony Gwynne, Ultra Violet, Gerry Goffin, Horace Silver, Eli Wallach, Howard Baker, Bobby Womack, Teeny Hodges, Paul Mazursky, Tommy Ramone, Charlie Haden, Lorin Maazel, Johnny Winter, Elaine Stritch, James Garner, Robin Williams, Lauren Bacall, Don Pardo, Glen Cornick, Joan Rivers, Bob Crewe, Joe Sample, Christopher Hogwood, Paul Revere, Jan Hooks, Ben Bradlee, Oscar de la Renta, Jack Bruce, Jimmy Ruffin, Mike Nichols, Bobby Keys, Ian McLagen, PD James, Joe Cocker, Edward Hermann


Don Cohen


Kevin Falahee Poop 2014



Poop…Like No Place There Is (2014 edition)


Buy Modern Baseball – You’re Gonna Miss It All New or Used via Amazon Buy Spoon – They Want My Soul New or Used via Amazon Buy Taylor Swift - 1989 New or Used via Amazon

Rent Lives of the Obscure – Into the Stacks mp3 from Amazon Rent The Hotelier – Home Like No Place There Is mp3 from Amazon Buy Angel Olsen/Burn Your Fire For No Witness  New or Used via Amazon

Buy Chumped– Teenage Retirement New or Used via Amazon Buy Vince Staples – Hell Can Wait EP New or Used via Amazon  Buy Protomartyr – Under Color of Official Right New or Used via Amazon


Top Albums

1) Modern Baseball – You’re Gonna Miss It All    Buy New or Used via Amazon    Rent via iTunes [?]

2) Spoon – They Want My Soul    Buy New or Used via Amazon    Rent via iTunes [?]

3) Taylor Swift – 1989   Buy New or Used via Amazon    Rent via iTunes [?]

4) Lives of the Obscure – Into the Stacks    Rent mp3 from Amazon     Rent via iTunes [?]

5) The Hotelier – Home… Like No Place There Is    Rent mp3 from Amazon  Rent via iTunes [?]

6) Angel Olsen – Burn Your Fire For No Witness   Buy New or Used via Amazon    Rent via iTunes [?]

7) Chumped– Teenage Retirement    Buy New or Used via Amazon     Rent via iTunes [?]

8) Vince Staples – Hell Can Wait EP    Buy New or Used via Amazon     Rent via iTunes [?]

9) Protomartyr – Under Color of Official Right     Buy New or Used via Amazon     Rent via iTunes [?]

10) You Blew It! – Keep Doing What You’re Doing     Buy New or Used via Amazon     Rent via iTunes [?]
11) Run the Jewels – Run the Jewels 2
12) Frankie Cosmos – Zentrophy
13) St. Vincent – St. Vincent
14) Deerhoof – La Isla Bonita
15) The Hold Steady – Teeth Dreams

Poop Mixtape


Side ASide B
Close Your Eyes (And Count To Fuck) - Run the Jewels
feat. Zack De La Rocha
65 Hunnid - Vince Staples
Hot 97 Jam - ChumpedBang Bang - Jessie J, Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj
Shake It Off - Taylor SwiftIn Framing - The Hotelier
Rainy Taxi - SpoonScum, Rise! - Protomartyr
Spinners - The Hold SteadyYellow Flicker Beat - Lorde
I'm Not a Part of Me - Cloud NothingsYou & Me & Me - You Blew It!
Dear Ramona - Parquet CourtsLeonie - Frankie Cosmos
Closing Costs - Lives of the ObscureNever Catch Me - Flying Lotus feat.
Kendrick Lamar
Broken ATM - Modern BaseballBirth in Reverse - St. Vincent
White Fire - Angel OlsenRed Eyes - The War on Drugs



Top Movies

1) Whiplash 5) They Came Together
2) Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) 6) Veronica Mars
3) Inherent Vice 7) Guardians of the Galaxy
4) The Skeleton Twins 8) 22 Jump Street

Top Television

1) Late Night w/ Seth Meyers
2) Broad City
3) True Detective
4) Broadchurch (came out in 2013, I saw it in 2014, shut-a-ya-face)
5) Bob’s Burgers
6) Parenthood


Kent B Poop 2014



Buy Sundy Best - Bring Up the Sun New or Used via Amazon
Sundy Best – Bring Up the Sun
Buy New or Used via Amazon
Rent via iTunes [?]

Buy Fumaça Preta - Fumaça Preta New or Used via Amazon
Fumaça Preta – Fumaça Preta
Buy New or Used via Amazon
Rent via iTunes [?]

Buy Wussy - Attica! New or Used via Amazon
Wussy – Attica!
Buy New or Used via Amazon
Rent via iTunes [?]

Buy Miranda Lambert - Platinum New or Used via Amazon
Miranda Lambert – Platinum
Buy New or Used via Amazon
Rent via iTunes [?]

Buy Doug Seegers - Going Down to the River New or Used via Amazon
Doug Seegers –
Going Down to the River

Buy New or Used via Amazon
Rent via iTunes [?]

Buy Old 97's - Most Messed Up New or Used via Amazon
Old 97’s – Most Messed Up
Buy New or Used via Amazon
Rent via iTunes [?]

Buy Ricardo Lemvo & Makina Loca - La Rumba SoYo New or Used via Amazon
Ricardo Lemvo & Makina Loca –
La Rumba SoYo

Buy New or Used via Amazon
Rent via iTunes [?]

Buy V.A - Bring It On Home:  Black America Sings Sam Cooke New or Used via Amazon
V.A – Bring It On Home:
Black America Sings Sam Cooke

Buy New or Used via Amazon

Buy Craig Handy - Craig Handy & 2nd Line Smith New or Used via Amazon
Craig Handy – Craig Handy
& 2nd Line Smith

Buy New or Used via Amazon
Rent via iTunes [?]


(* marks my top ten pick, ** top Twenty)
(Lists in descending order of quality)

Top Ten

*Sundy Best – Bring Up the Sun / *Fumaça Preta – Fumaça Preta / *Wussy – Attica! / *Miranda Lambert – Platinum / **The Strypes – Snapshot /**Tom Petty – Hypnotic Eye / ** Brian Eno & Karl Hyde – High Life / ** Leo Welch – Sabougla Voices / **Vic Godard & Subway Sect – 1979 Now / **Levin Rudess Minnemann – LMR
Sundy Best is a really uncool country duo that could anchor Blake’s team on The Voice. Yes, I am embarrassed how much I enjoy their incredibly catchy and syncopated John Cougar Americana songs about drinking, true love and Kentucky. ~ Fumaca Preta combines garage rock, Latin pyschedlia, fuzzy guitars, reverb, and it’s a trashy blast. ~ Admittedly, I have a hard time defending why the Strypes are different and better than other neo-garage bands (usually from Sweden) that recast old R&B and Blues covers. They have enough passion and fire so it’s no longer retro and reminds you more of the Yardbirds than the Hives. ~ Vic Godard goes back to the Mod days of Northern soul; while 82-year-old Leo Welch’s picks up the pace on some gospel blues that sound like John Lee Hooker jamming with the Blasters. ~ Eno & Hyde’s High Life has a tossed off feel with its Talking Heads’ influences, funky guitars and ambient grooves that go on way too long. They’re having fun and not trying too hard – that’s why it works. ~ LMR are instrumental progressive from alumni of King Crimson and Dream Theater.

Second String (but still game)

**Optimo – Amor de Guerra / Led Bib – The People in Your Neighborhood / Parquet Courts – Sunbathing Animal / Devon Allman – Ragged & Dirty (yes he’s related) / Gary Clark Jr – Live / Protomartyr – Undercolor of Official Right Hookworms – The Hum / Cloud Nothings – Here and Nowhere Else / The Delines – Colfax / Fennescz – Becs / Doug Paisley – Strong Feelings / Lee Ann Womack – The Way I’m Livin’ / Lily Allen- Sheezus

Twins

*Doug Seegers – Going Down to the River / **Sturgill Simpson - Metamodern Sounds in Country Music
Country music has to be real, and Doug Seeger who was a homeless addict in Nashville for two decades is just that. His debut stretches slightly into some other genres, but he hits his stride when his weathered voice settles into Bakersfield Honky Tonk. ~ Simpson is working on an Outlaw Country vibe on what he calls his “hippie love record”.

*Old 97’s – Most Messed Up / *Drive-by-Truckers – English Oceans
Old 97’s latest consists of rowdy tales of their fuck-up life on the road; while the Drive-by Truckers still serve up a kick-ass mix of Neal Young and Lynyrd Skynrd full of southern character studies. Nothing new, but both are loose, loud, and a step above their past few efforts

**Flying Lotus – You’re Dead / D’Angelo – Black Messiah
Break out the headphones and buy these on vinyl.

Africa (and a little Afro/Cuban) Still Rules

*Ricardo Lemvo & Makina Loca – La Rumba SoYo / Duduvudu – The Gospel According to Dudu Pukwana / Orlando Julius with the Heliocentrics – Jaiyede Afro / Dexter Johnson & Le Super Star de Dakar – Live a L’Etoile / V.A. – The Rough Guide to the Music of Mail (2014 edition)
Ricardo Lemvo is Angolan via Los Angeles and blends rumba, Cuban salsa and some light frothy Zouk. Duduvudu is a tribute album to a South African sax player, but search out the real thing on his ferociously rocking In the Townships from 1973. What, you don’t remember Orlando Julius from his mid-60’s Super Afro Soul when a guy named Fela was in his band? Well, the Nigerian is back with hypnotic grooves and heavy on the reverb.

Stuck in Neutral:

Anathema – Distant Satellites / Opeth – Communion / Spoon – They Want My Soul Meh: Robert Plant & the Sensational Space Shifters – Lullaby and the Ceaseless Roar /The Black Keys – Turn Blue

Recycled Old Stuff

*V.A – Bring It On Home: Black America Sings Sam Cooke / **V.A.- The Soul of Designer Records / **Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young – CSNY 1974 / **V.A.- Millions Like Us, The Story of the Mod Revival 1977-1989 / V.A. – NME C86E / V.A. – Haiti Direct: Big Band, Mini Jazz and Twoubadou Sounds / V.A. – Studio One Rocksteady / Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys – Riding Your Way / Johnny Winter – True to the Blues / Fripp & Eno – Live in Paris 1975 /Allman Brothers Band – Live at the Beacon Theatre 1992 / V.A. – Real World 25 / Ronnie Lane and Slim Chance – Ooh La La An Island Harvest / Bob Dylan – The Basement Tapes Complete
“It’s soul without the sex”. The Soul of Designer Records compiles four CD of old 60s and early 70 vinyl from an obscure Memphis Studio which specialized in gospel. But forget that label, this has Stax/Volt intensity from unknowns paying for their recording time along with (my theory) some Steve Cropper type ringer. ~ CSN&Y’s rhythm session gets into an arena-rock R&B groove that makes this much maligned 74 tour shine especially with some obscure Neil Young songs. Warning: stay away from the acoustic sides, harmony was never their strong point live. (Remember Woodstock). ~ Ambient historians take note, Fripp & Eno started playing around with tape loops at this Paris concert. The fans wanted to hear Roxy music and King Crimson and for the first half hour the mood of reflective and sensitive electronica is marred by catcalls and booing from pissed off fans. ~ And just to piss off everyone else, I listed the Basement Tapes last. It wasn’t cheap, and then, possibly because the six cd version wasn’t selling, Amazon cut the price on this “ limited edition”.

All That Jazz

*Craig Handy – Craig Handy & 2nd Line Smith / **Steve Lehman – Mise En Abime / Revolutionary Snake Ensemble – Live Snakes / Farmers by Nature – Love and Ghosts / Enrico Pieranunzi – Play Morricone 1 & 2 / Digital Primitives – Lipsomuch/Soul Searchin’ / Keith Jarrett – Hamburg ’72 /, Joshua Redman – Trios Live / Wadada Leo Smith, Joe Morris – Red Hill / Sonny Simmons, Delphine Latil, Thomas Bellier – Beyond the Planets / The Mark Lomax Trio – Isis & Osiris / Assif Tsahar, Gerry Hemingway & Mark Dresser – Code Re / Chick Corea Trio – Trilogy / Rent Romus – Cimmerian Crossroad / Paul Shapiro – Shofarot Verses / John McLaughlin & the 4th Dimension – The Boston Record
Although much of above is not easy listening, Craig Handy dishes out some tasty Jimmy Smith organ gumbo spiced with some New Orleans brass band funk.

Jazz Quadruplets

*Mike DiRubbo – Threshold / Tommy Smith & Brian Kellock – Whispering of the Stars
Greg Abate Quartet - Motif / Michael Blake – Tiddy Boom

These four sax are mostly unknown who don’t possess incredibly distinctive tones, but they all play straight ahead jazz that is refreshing and lyrical.

Can’t Pin ‘Em Down

Mehliana (Brad Mehldau) – Taming the Dragon / St Vincent – St Vincent
Mehldau is a fairly straight ahead jazz pianist who takes a left turn into 70’s synthesizer fusion, a mix of Hancock’s Head Hunters with Carlos Castaneda raps about aliens and spaceships in the desert. His fans were outraged. ~ St Vincent can do almost anything from Talking Heads jerky funk to creative crooning. I’m not sure it sticks to the ribs, but she gets high marks for lyrics like “I prefer your love to Jesus”. If she had mentioned Allah, I would have kicked it up a notch.

Insufferable – Depending on my mood “These guys are geniuses! No, they are full of shit…..”

Swans – To Be Kind / Ambrose Akinmusire – The Imagined Savior is Far Easier to Paint
Swans are masters of the abrasive drone that never ends. There is a little more variety here, and on one epic Michael Gira spouts some Jim Morrison-like Lizard King bullshit. It’s almost nostalgic. ~ Akinmusire gives us Mile’s moody pristine trumpet, sometimes backed with strings, sometimes with pretentious vocals. On one track a child gives a roll call of young black men killed by police which is very affecting, but is also affected (and I hate myself for thinking that).