Saturday, December 23, 2017

Listing To Starboard...Fifty Favorite LP's 2017

FIFTY FAVORITE LP's: 2017

If nothing else, The Year That Was certainly reflected the world at large, ranging from systemic unease to pure distress, and everything in between. These were the LP's that saw us through, that said something about where we're at, if not how we got there, and what the hell do we do next... For the so inclined, here's a playlist with a cut off of each LP, otherwise, check the links below... Happy listening, and we'll see you out on the trail next year!

50) ANGEL OLSEN: Phases
48) BROKEN SOCIAL SCENE: Hug Of Thunder
47) MARK LANEGAN: Gargoyle
46) THE NATIONAL: Sleep Well Beast
45) HURRAY FOR THE RIFF RAFF: The Navigator
44) METZ: Strange Peace
43) SHANNON LAY: Living Water
42) SLEAFORD MODS: English Tapas
41) LAS ROBERTAS: Waves Of The New

40) COURTNEY BARNETT/KURT VILE: Lotta Sea Lice
38) HAUNTED SUMMER: Spirit Guides
37) WOODS: Love Is Love
36) CHELSEA WOLFE: Hiss Spun
35) COURTNEYS: II
34) BOSS HOG: Brood X
33) LOMELDA: Thx
32) MAKTHAVERSKAN: III
31) SAY SUE ME: Say Sue Me

30) BJORK: Utopia
29) BIG THIEF: Capacity
28) DOWNTOWN BOYS: Cost Of Living
27) PRIESTS: Nothing Feels Natural
26) JAY SOM: Everybody Works
25) ZOLA JESUS: Okovi
24) VAGABON: Infinite Worlds
23) ALEX G: Rocket
22) GOLD CLASS: Drum
21) GREAT GRANDPA: Plastic Cough

20) JEN CLOHER: Jen Cloher
19) DIET CIG: Swear I'm Good At This
18) SPOON: Hot Thoughts
17) JAPANESE BREAKFAST: Soft Sounds From Another Planet
16) DREAM SYNDICATE: How Did I Find Myself Here
15) PROTOMARTYR: Relatives In Descent
14) GIRLPOOL: Powerplant
13) GRANDADDY: The Last Place
12) AFGHAN WHIGS: In Spades
11) JENS LEKMAN: Life Will See You Now

10) CAYETANA: New Kind Of Normal

9) TWO INCH ASTRONAUT: Can You Please Not Help?

8) STEF CHURA: Messes

7) LOS CAMPESINOS!: Sick Scenes

6) PALEHOUND: A Place I'll Always Go

5) WAXAHATCHEE: Out In The Storm

4) CLOUD NOTHINGS: Life Without Sound

3) PEAKING LIGHTS: Fifth State Of Consciousness


1) RADIATOR HOSPITAL: Play The Songs You Like

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Hardly Strictly '17, Day Three

HARDLY STRICTLY BLUEGRASS FESTIVAL 2017
GOLDEN GATE PARK, SAN FRANCISCO
08 OCTOBER, 2017
As always, what you can always bank on San Francisco-wise in October is Indian Summer, and a decided lack of Karl The Fog, making a perfect setting for Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival. Made it up for the final day of this years edition, and navigated both the crowds and a crowded schedule to get a well-rounded taste of music in just a few short hours. Leading off the day was Poor Man's Whiskey, who, out of all the talent assembled, could justifiably claim home field advantage, as they've appeared here for roughly 2/3's of the festival's existence. Sure crowd pleasers, they got the joint fired up and set the tone for the day. 

While his roots and skill make him an accomplished arranger, Randy Newman shines most darkly on his own, just a guy at a piano, spinning out his inimitable tales, covering his songbook from early days of providing hits for others, ("Mama Told Me Not To Come") to his golden age ("Six Feet High and Rising") to his Pixar period, leavened with his own deprecating manner.  
The significance of the NOLA flag planted at the Towers of Gold stage revealed itself fully with the arrival of Big Freedia, Queen Diva. Backed up by an amazing dance crew, it was an irresistible set that compelled even the unwilling to shake that ass. Capped off, of course, by drawing enthusiastic audience members up for the closer, our National Anthem, "Ass Everywhere".

Drenched in sweat, the next logical choice was to make the brain work as hard as the butt, and for mental calasthenics, it's hard to top the work of Ornette Coleman. A reunion of his Prime Time band from the 70's, led by Jamaladeen Tacuma, was notable enough, but adding in guest firepower in the form of tenor man David Murray, Wallace Roney, and Marc Ribot tipped the scales to the very outer limits.

If you take enough left turns, eventually you'll come back to where you started, and the sweet comedown of Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile was the perfect salve. The pair came together in Australia, and a meeting of like minds blossomed into a just-released album. Backed up by the Sea Lice, including Sleater-Kinney drummer Janet Weiss, they made a winning go of their very first show, wowing the huge crowd that packed the Swan Stage, stretching back as far as the eye would permit. Combining songs from the aformentioned LP with covers of each other's material, it was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Walking away from Swan, it didn't take long for the roar of a full in-flight Bob Mould Band to catch the ears. The row of Porta Potties that demarcated a space where you could hear both bands was something to behold. Backed by a rhythm section of Jon Wurster and Jason Narducy, Mould raged through the sun and his mountain of a catalogue, without a breath between songs, to provide a jagged and uplifting coda to the day.


POOR MAN'S WHISKEY

RANDY NEWMAN

BIG FREEDIA

PRIME TIME REUNION

COURTNEY BARNETT/KURT VILE

BOB MOULD BAND