Media diet, summer 2014, part 2: music
Dialogue guaranteed reported verbatim:
Other person: You posted your first media diet piece more than a month ago. Where’s part 2?
Me: I have job, a family, a house …
Other person: No, really. How long can it take to do something like this? It’s just a damn list.
Me: I don’t want to publish a list. Lists are boring.
Other person: Two of your books are just lists.
Me: (pause) Oh. I’ll get to it right now.
Other person: Good.
Here’s what I’ve listened to most recently, according to the Recently Played playlist on my phone. All records listed here are definitely endorsements.
William Onyeabor, Anything You Sow (extra-scratchy-downloaded-illegally-from-the-Internet version; track for track it’s almost as solid as the Luaka Bop best-of)
Brand New Wayo (more early-’80s Nigerian funk, but less precise than Onyeabor’s; ideal running accompaniment and rigorously documented)
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Hypnotic Eye (what a band!)
Country Funk (terrific compilation that lives up to its name)
Istanbul 70 (strong introduction to Turkish rock)
Debo Band, Flamingoh (almost everything they do is great: just pledge already)
Courtney Barnett, The Double EP (Dylanesque, hilarious, cutting)
Iggy Azalea featuring Charli XCX and other people, “Fancy” (hilarious, cutting, not at all Dylanesque)
Wipers, Is This Real (exquisite Northwestern punk; Eli got me listening to it again)
Camp, WRUV, Graveyard Shift 1, July 29, 2014 (late-night college radio at its dreamiest)
Joe Grushecky, New Project Demos (sorry, I can’t give anything away)
Gyedu-Blay Ambolley, Simigwa (1975, Ghanaian funk at its funkiest)
Nils Lofgren, Face the Music (all I’ve heard is the alternate take of “Keith Don’t Go” that they’re teasing; maybe Concord will send me the whole thing?)
The Rise and Fall of Paramount Records, Vol 1. (mysteries inside mysteries inside mysteries inside …)
Lucinda Williams, 25th Anniversary Version (the remastering helps you hear that the performances are as outstanding as the compositions)
Bob Dylan, Down the River (random bootleg, includes one outtake with the world “polka” in it)
Old 97’s, Most Messed Up (tales from the road, often — but not always — with insights that rock as hard as the rhythm section)
Drive-By Truckers, Dragon Pants (Chuck Berry lives!)
Antibalas (Fela lives!)
Bruce Springsteen, American Beauty (you’d expect an EP of outtakes from an LP of outtakes to be bottom-of-the-barrel stuff, but you’d be wrong)
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Brisbane 2-26-14 (greatest. e street setlist. ever.)
This Is Marijata (more ’70s funk from Ghana)
Graham Parker and the Rumour The Up Escalator (it’s no Squeezing Out Sparks — what is? — but this showcases a band at its peak, which led me to listen to …)
Graham Parker and the Rumour, Official Bootleg Box (six CDs of similar setlists is more than a normal person might want to hear, but I’m not a normal person. Steve Goulding!)
Rough Francis, Maximum Soul Power (Burlington VT’s hardest-rocking band — but not featuring my favorite bass player in Burlington)
Purple Snow: Forecasting the Minneapolis Sound (the world that created Prince, along with the sound of Prince creating himself)
Ariana Grande and a bunch of other people, “Problem” (wonderful combination of items that shouldn’t fit together but does, like finds at a yard sale)
The Replacements, Let It Be (the reunion tour bumbles into Boston next month)
Lorde, Pure Heroine (the beginning of a long, satisfying, twisting story, I’m hoping)
The Mekons Rock’n’Roll (Steve Goulding’s other band at its peak)
Neil Young and Crazy Horse, Psychedelic Pill (probably their last, featuring the greatest song ever written that takes place in a Ramada Inn)
Bob Dylan, Now Your Mouth Cries Wolf (I’m holding out for a complete “She’s Your Lover Now” someday, but I’m not optimistic)