What We're Listening to This Week

by COUNTERPUNCH STAFF

Jeffrey St. Clair

Steve Coleman and Five Elements: Functional Arrythmias (Pi Recordings, 2013)

Free funk at its most cerebral, which doesn’t mean that these abstracted grooves won’t make you want to swing your ass off. Chicago alto phenom Steve Coleman, once hailed as the next Charlie Parker, proves himself on this pulsating recording to be something of a hybrid of Ornette Coleman and that other Parker, a fellow named Maceo.

Zara McFarlane: If You Knew Her (Brownswood / Kartell, 2014)

In a musically deflated era when Diana Krall is considered a notable jazz singer, it’s arresting to come across the real thing. Zara McFarland, a British virtuoso of Jamaican descent, has a voice as nuanced as Dinah Washington and as soulful as Mary Wells. This incandescent record throbs with the after hours rhythms of the Caribbean night. Her cover of Junior Murvin’s “Police and Thieves” is a masterpiece of musical concision.  

Lone Justice: This Is Lone Justice: The Vaught Tapes, 1983, (Omnivore , 2014)

For a brief moment in the early 1980s, the feisty cowpunk of Lone Justice seemed poised to inaugurate a fresh (and much desired) new current in American music. A year later the LA-based group was kaput, fatally riven by internal tensions. But these demo tapes and early live recordings capture the raw, brash and cocky sound of a band, fronted by the riveting Maria McKee, who thought they just might conquer the world.

Jeffrey St. Clair once played two-chord guitar in a garage band in Naptown called The Empty Suits.

 

Joshua Frank

Linton Kwesi Johnson, In Concert with the Dub Band, 1985 (LKJ Records, 1985)

Poetry, radical politics and dub rhythm. What else do you want, man?

Beachwood Sparks, Desert Skies (Alive Naturalsound Records, 2013)

Psychedelic ear candy recorded in the 1990s (released last year) by the West Coast’s greatest cosmic country band.

Point Blank, Second Season, (Arista Records, 2006)

You may write off the Lone Star State, but don’t write off Texas’ own guitar slinging Point Blank. Straight up bar room blues rock, just as boozy and sublime as a hot summer night in Waco.

Joshua Frank is managing editor of CounterPunch.

 

Kristen Kolb

Ethiopiques Volume 13: Ethiopian Groove (Buda Musique, 2003)

Bardo Pond – Lapsed (Matador, 1997)

Warren Zevon – Excitable Boy (Asylum, 1990)

Kristen Kolb writes the Daydream Nation column for CounterPunch magazine.

 

Lee Ballinger

Louie Vega and Elements of Life: Eclipse (Fania, 2013)

Dierks Bentley: Home (Capitol, 2012)

Eric B and Rakim:  Follow the Leader (Geffen, 2005)

Lee Ballinger co-edits Rock and Rap Confidential.

 

Sally Timms

La Caita…a somewhat reclusive flamenco singer featured in Tony Gatlif’s film on Roma culture, “Latcho Drom (Safe Journey)”.  Here’s a clip of her in the movie,  beyond that there’s little out there which is a great shame.

Koudede: Guitars from Agadez Vol 7 on the wonderful Sublime Frequencies Label in Seattle.   Highly influential Tuareg singer and guitarist who sadly died in a road accident last year.   Parallels the fuzzed-out hill country blues of RL Burnside etc. Available here

Botanist.  Beautifully packaged, high concept, hammered dulcimer Black Metal sung from the perspective of plants who wreak their revenge on humanity.   Available at totalrust.com

Sally Timms is a singer, songwriter and member of The Mekons. Her most recent solo record is ‘World of Him.‘ She lives in Chicago.

 

David Yearsley

John Stetch: Off with the Cuffs (Addo records, 2014) 

This recording marks the extraordinary jazz pianist’s always imaginative and often irreverent encounters with beloved keyboard works of Mozart, Bach, Chopin, and Shostakovich, along with polyrhythmic rag thrown in as a coda.  

David Yearsley once played the world’s oldest piano and didn’t damage it … much.

 

Kevin Alexander Gray

Les McCann & Eddie Harris: Swiss Movement  (Atlantic, 1969)

The Patti Smith Group:  Radio Ethiopia  (Arista, 1976)

Curtis Mayfield: Curtis/Live! (Curtom, 1971)

The Cannonball Adderley Quintet: Live at ‘The Club'” (Capitol, 1966)

Kevin Gray’s latest book, Killing Trayvon, (co-edited with JoAnn Wypijewski and Jeffrey St. Clair) will be published by CounterPunch this spring.

 

Becky Grant

A little of this, a little of that…

Suzanne Vega, Jenny Scheinman, Tracy Chapman.

Becky Grant is CounterPunch’s business manager.

 

Ron Jacobs

Bob Dylan: John Wesley Harding (Columbia, 1967)

Jorma Kaukonen and Tom Hobson: Quah (Sbme, 1974)

Muddy Waters: Electric Mud (Chess, 1968)

Ron Jacobs’ book on the Seventies, Daydream Sunset, will published by CounterPunch this summer.

Like What You’ve Read? Support CounterPunch
Weekend Edition
August 28-30, 2015
Jeffrey St. Clair
Long Time Coming, Long Time Gone
Mike Whitney
Looting Made Easy: the $2 Trillion Buyback Binge
Randy Blazak
Donald Trump is the New Face of White Supremacy
Alan Nasser
The Myth of the Middle Class: Have Most Americans Always Been Poor?
Rob Urie
Wall Street and the Cycle of Crises
Andrew Levine
Viva Trump?
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
Behind the Congressional Disagreements Over the Iran Nuclear Deal
Lawrence Ware – Marcus T. McCullough
I Won’t Say Amen: Three Black Christian Clichés That Must Go
Evan Jones
Zionism in Britain: a Neglected Chronicle
John Wight
Learning About the Migration Crisis From Ancient Rome
Andre Vltchek
Lebanon – What if it Fell?
Charles Pierson
How the US and the WTO Crushed India’s Subsidies for Solar Energy
Robert Fantina
Hillary Clinton, Palestine and the Long View
Ben Burgis
Gore Vidal Was Right: What Best of Enemies Leaves Out
Suzanne Gordon
How Vets May Suffer From McCain’s Latest Captivity
Robert Sandels - Nelson P. Valdés
The Cuban Adjustment Act: the Other Immigration Mess
Uri Avnery
The Molten Three: Israel’s Aborted Strike on Iran
John Stanton
Israel’s JINSA Earns Return on Investment: 190 Americans Admirals and Generals Oppose Iran Deal
Bill Yousman
The Fire This Time: Ta-Nehisi Coates’s “Between the World and Me”
Michael Welton
The Conversable World: Finding a Compass in Post-9/11 Times
Brian Cloughley
Don’t be Black in America
Kent Paterson
In Search of the Great New Mexico Chile Pepper in a Post-NAFTA Era
Binoy Kampmark
Live Death on Air: The Killings at WDBJ
Gui Rochat
The Guise of American Democracy
Emma Scully
Vultures Over Puerto Rico: the Financial Implications of Dependency
Chuck Churchill
Is “White Skin Privilege” the Key to Understanding Racism?
Kathleen Wallace
The Id(iots) Emerge
Andrew Stewart
Zionist Hip-Hop: a Critical Look at Matisyahu
Gregg Shotwell
The Fate of the UAW: Study, Aim, Fire
Halyna Mokrushyna
Decentralization Reform in Ukraine
Scott Parkin
Katrina Plus Ten: Climate Justice in Action
Norman Pollack
World Capitalism, a Basket Case: A Layman’s View
Sarah Lazare
Listening to Iraq
John Laforge
NSP/Xcel Energy Falsified Welding Test Documents on Rad Waste Casks
Wendell G Bradley
Drilling for Wattenberg Oil is Not Profitable
Joy First
Wisconsin Walk for Peace and Justice: Nine Arrested at Volk Field
Mel Gurtov
China’s Insecurity
Mateo Pimentel
An Operator’s Guide to Trump’s Racism
Yves Engler
Harper Conservatives and Abuse of Power
Michael Dickinson
Police Guns of Brixton: Another Unarmed Black Shot by London Cops
Ron Jacobs
Daydream Sunset: a Playlist
Charles R. Larson
The Beginning of the Poppy Wars: Amitav Ghosh’s “Flood of Fire”
David Yearsley
A Rising Star Over a Dark Forest
August 27, 2015
Sam Husseini
Foreign Policy, Sanders-Style: Backing Saudi Intervention
Brad Evans – Henry A. Giroux
Self-Plagiarism and the Politics of Character Assassination: the Case of Zygmunt Bauman