It’s official. I’ve stopped looking for music by new artists. If whatever is out there is good enough, I’m figuring it’ll find me. As in the previous few years, about half my list this time around is either old stuff or it’s new stuff trying to be old stuff, a trend I don’t see reversing itself anytime soon.
Wait a minute…where have I read that before? But, it’s true. I find myself listening to old stuff all the time. Like this October, I started listening to British folk music and just kept at it all through November and December. Steeleye Span and Morris On ad infinitum. Who’da thunk? As far as new acquisitions, new sounds, it’s mostly new efforts from old friends that excite my earhole. Lotta Nico – appropriate music for the end of civilization. Here’s hoping that tRump doesn’t blow up the world, and that there will be a PoOp 2017.
1. Peter Stampfel & the Brooklyn & Lower Manhattan Fiddle/Mandolin Swarm: Holiday for Strings> Still lively, still crazy, old-timey music with a demented gleam in its eye. Much more “together” than last year’s Swarm CD, this is what it sounds like backstage at the folk festival after everybody’s taken a hit of laughing gas and the jamming starts.
2. Jeffrey Lewis & the Jrams: A Loot-Beg Bootleg> The quick-and-dirty off-the-cuff recordings are often better than the agonized-over big label stuff. Some hard-rocking songs and psychedelic guitar work. Available at Jeffrey’s gigs, this one has the definitive What Would Pussy Riot Do?
Also recommend Peter and Jeffrey’s compatriots: Michael Hurley’s Bad Mr. Mike> wonderful sounding home recordings – Snock sporting a shimmering new guitar sound – and his Australia/New Zealand Tour cassette, with some non-LP songs, plus Hubby Jenkins’s self-titled release and Banana’s (Lowell Levinger’s) Get Together: Banana recalls Youngblood Classics.
3. Gary Lucas’s FLEISCHEREI featuring Sarah Stiles> Betty Boop and Olive Oyle songs done in a laid-back old-timey jazz style. Sweet and sassy. The Bonzo-ish entry in this year’s PoopList. Tho’ Roochie Toochie could be that too.
4. Let All the Children Boogie: A Tribute to David Bowie – Dean Jones & friends, including Ted Leo, Antibalas, Elizabeth Mitchell, Sally Timms & Jon Langford etc> Never really into Bowie except for his Berl-eno period, but I like this. Lively and colorful (supposedly) kiddie-centric cover versions. So I guess it’s The Song Not The Singer.
5. Sherwood at the Controls Vol.2: 1985-1990> A little On-U nostalgia in lieu of any significant new stuff. Good new stuff showed up on various podcasts and radio mixes via Gilles Peterson, Solid Steel Radio Show, and Carhartt Work in Progress, but they probably don’t count, PooP-wise.
Good stuff from On-U cohorts:
5.a Little Annie: Trace> Good new songs, including revisiting some of her old pre-cabaret styles
5.b Jeb Loy Nichols: Ya Smell Me EP> Sharp new country/jazz/dub tunes previewing next year’s record. Much better that this year’s kinda bland Strange Faith album.
5.c The Pop Group: Honeymoon on Mars> the man with the megaphone returns (not an On-U production, actually)
5.d Tackhead vs. Robo Bass HiFi vs. Fats Comet: The Message> Bass-heavy funk remixes, a nice surprise. Tho’ it woulda been nice to get some new material.
5.e Vivien Goldman: Resolutionary Songs> Compilation of her On-U and Flying Lizards stuff. Also props to Vivien for co-writing the book for Kid Creole’s Cherchez La Femme musical at La MaMa.
5.f African Head Charge: Return of the Crocodile> not bad outtakes from the 80’s
5.g Suns of Arqa: Wadada> Long time no hear from. Nice remixes.
5.h one more (non-On-U) dub mention: mellow meditations from New Zion Trio & Cyro Baptista: Sunshine Seas.
6. Kinked! Kink Songs & Sessions 1964-1971> Cover versions by everybody from Herman’s Hermits to The Pretty Things to Peggy Lee, including Petula Clark singing A Well-Respected Man en français. Also gotta mention The Kinks’ own Everybody’s in Show-Biz> deluxe reissue: not a great album, but still: Celluloid Heroes! The previously unreleased live gig is better than the live stuff on the original album’s second disc.
7. Ye old Riot-grrrl entry: Loved the energy and spirit of The Julie Ruin’s Hit Reset return to form, and Shonen Knife’s Adventure (and their live gig at Quinn’s). Riot-grrrl nostalgia: Fanny’s Mother’s Pride, Le Tigre Live! and maybe even The B-52’s Live 8.24.1979
8. Mexicana: Mariachi Flor De Toloache’s self-titled debut (all-woman local group), and Pasatono Orquesta’s Maroma.
9. Americana: The Felice Brothers: Life in the Dark
10: And the Nico tributes keep on coming:
10.a Soundwalk Collective featuring Jesse Paris Smith: Killer Road – A Tribute to Nico> Patti Smith declaiming Nico’s lyrics as poetry with an ambient background – not as dark as XTG’s (Throbbing Gristle’s) Desertshore: The Final Report of a couple of years ago, but still interesting.
10.b Brian Eno: The Ship> Slow, ominous songs. Deep bass vocals. Eno makes a Nico album, 2016 style.
Or, if you have the vinyl LP copy, play it at 45rpm and you have a Laurie Anderson album. Take your pick.
More ambient stuff: Eno’s Reflections> fluffy clouds. Contact’s Discreet Music (the Eno piece on acoustic instruments), Chas Smith’s Twilight of the Dreamboats (dark ambient on metal sound sculptures)
11. Two releases of Moondog’s songs: Dedalus & Muzzix’s Round the World of Sound (Moondog’s 1971 album revisited) and Cabaret Contemporain’s Moondog (including some hip-hop rhythms – would Moondog have approved?)
12. Jazz representing: Nucleus with Leon Thomas: Live 1970> Thomas inna jazz-rock setting, Chris Spedding on guitar, and Sun Ra’s Singles: The Definitive 45s Collection
13. John Cale remake/remodels: Fragments of a Rainy Season with a 2nd disc of outtakes, and M:FANS: Music for a New Society remade (Cale’s Nico album)
14. Alash: Achai> Tuvan throat singing, great concert at Vassar
15. Mamalama: Live at the Old Dutch Church, Kingston and a couple of great gigs at Alex Grey’s Chapel of Sacred Mirrors in New Hamburg
16. Zappa/Mothers: Meat-Light> Zappa’s best, in its original intended form and as released.
16.a Esa-Pekka Salonen & L.A. Philharmonic: 200 Motels – The Suites> All of the Flo & Eddie and Jimmy Carl Black songs removed, and some of the obnoxious old narration replaced with obnoxious new narration (unfortunately)
August Darnell & Vivien Goldman’s “Cherchez La Femme – A Musical Excuse” at LaMama – old Dr. Buzzard & Kid Creole songs; the plot was almost as confusing as Goldman’s Kid Creole book from 1983, but we love it.
Ed Palermo’s Big Band series of gigs at The Falcon in Marlboro – not just Zappa, but tributes to James Bond, the Marlboro Man, and Procol Harum(?) Whatever material they’re playing, they sound great
Shonen Knife at Quinn’s
The Winter HOOT with Jeffrey Lewis, Elizabeth Mitchell, and Mike & Ruthy
Corey Glover’s soul residency at The Falcon and headlining gig with the Funk Junkies at the Newburgh Illuminated street festival
Stew & Heidi Roedewald’s “The Total Bent” at Joe Papp’s Public Theater, and their “Notes of a Native Song – An Homage to James Baldwin” at Spiegeltent
The Big Sky Ensemble at the Rail Trail Café
Simi Stone at Spiegeltent
Peter Stampfel & The Stampfel Sisters at Parkside Lounge, and with Hubby Jenkins and Jeffrey Lewis at the Knitting Factory Brooklyn
Roochie Toochie & The Ragtime Sheperd Kings, with Hubby Jenkins opening, at Jalopy in Red Hook, Brooklyn
George Clinton & Parliament-Funkadelic at the Bardavon
Iva Bittová & The Bard Conservatory String Quartet with VeNT NOUVEAU Wind Ensemble at Quinn’s
Little Annie with Paul Wallfisch at The Owl NYC in Brooklyn
New Zion Trio with Cyro Baptista at The Owl NYC in Brooklyn
Laraaji & Carlos Niño at CommendNYC
Chad & Jeremy at Daryl’s House
Rory Block & Cindy Cashdollar at the Town Crier
Ben Neill & Mimi Goese at the BIRE Science Café at the Town Crier
Stooges Brass Band at Hudson River Museum Yonkers
Mano a Mano at Vassar’s Skinner Hall Ah Has Spoken!
Sinterklaas in Rhinebeck
Vassar College Orchestra with surprise guest Meryl Streep at Vassar’s Skinner Hall
Gamelan Dharma Swara and mbiraNYC at Riverside Park Manhattan for Make Music New York
More fave Hudson Valley musicians: Lara Hope & The Ark Tones, April May & The June Bugs, Annie & The Hedonists, The Troublemakers, Liana Gabel, Gamelans Giri Mekar & Chandra Kanchana at Bard College
Real Life Rock by Greil Marcus> 28 years of Marcus’s Poop lists! Don’t always agree with his pronouncements, and sometimes the cross-references come a bit too dense or are impossible to research, but still: 28 years! (OOF! This list is on its 30th year! Take that, Greil Marcus!)
Simon Reynolds’s Shock and Awe: Glam Rock and Its Legacy> Always with interesting insights and off the wall fun facts, this one isn’t as dense with sociological analysis as some of his past books but he seems to be such a fan of the music that his enthusiasm hooks you.
David Hajdu’s Love For Sale: Pop Music in America> a big-picture view of trends for the past 100 years, Hajdu shows how the latest consumer technologies are a big influence on musical styles and tastes
Bayou Maharaja (about James Booker), Don Cheadle in Miles Ahead, and Meryl Streep as Florence Foster Jenkins.