FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Sound Grammar: the 20 Best Records of 2019

After 50 years, my musical obsessions are pretty much solidified, some may say calcified, now. Still I try to keep an open mind. But it’s probably evidence of my increasing rigidity of spirit that I found Kim Gordon’s No Home Record an edgier and fresher recording than Lana Del Ray’s nearly universally admired Norman Fucking Rockwell. Both, in their ways, function as feminist explorations of life, such as it is, in Los Angeles during Trump-time. Del Ray’s record can be played daily for weeks at a time before it finally wears out its welcome. Gordon’s maybe twice. But that’s enough. It’s abrasive and grating and about as pissed off as most of us are–or should be at this point. You want to make sure you’ve had your tetanus shot before dropping the needle. But there’s nothing funky about either of those recordings and funk is where the heart is, mine at least. And, all things considered, it was a pretty stellar year for funk and the blues: Brittany Howard, the late Bud Welch, Raphael Saadiq, Liz Brasher, Eric Reed, some unpolished gems (Originals) from Prince’s catacombs, and a welcome blast from my favorite (relatively) new band, The Comet is Coming. I don’t know if you’ll discover anything particularly innovative here. Musically, we seem to have entered the same aesthetic doldrums that’s griping the rest of the culture. But there’s no defeatist navel-gazing or sickly songs of grievance either and some of it, like The Paranoid Style’s latest album, just kicks ass.

1) Jaime
Brittany Howard
(ATO Records)

2) The Angels in Heaven Done Signed My Name
Leo Bud Welch
(Easy Eye Sound)

3) Painted Image
Liz Brasher
(Fat Possum)

4) Two Hands
Big Thief
(4AD)

5) Trust in the Life-force of the Deep Mystery
The Comet is Coming
(Impulse!)

6) Jinx
Crumb
(Crumb Records)

7) Dancer in Nowhere
Miho Hazama
(Sunnyside)

8) Love Hurts
Julian Lage
(Mack Avenue)

9) Jimmy Lee
Raphael Saadiq
(Columbia)

10) Ancestral Recall
Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah
(Ropeadope)

11) All My Relations
Cochemea
(Daptone)

12) All Mirrors
Angel Olsen
(Jagjaguwar)

13) Love and Liberation
Jazzmeia Horn
(Concord Jazz)

14) Trio Tapestry
Joe Lovano with Marilyn Crispell and Carmen Castaldi
(ECM)

15) What It Is
Hayes Carll
(Dualtone)

17) The Balance
Abdullah Ibrahim (Dollar Brand)
(Gearbox)

18) A Goddamn Impossible Way of Life
The Paranoid Style
(Bar None)

19) No Home Record
Kim Gordon
(Matador)

20) Everybody Gets the Blues
Eric Reed
(Smoke Sessions)

More articles by:

Jeffrey St. Clair is editor of CounterPunch. His most recent books are Bernie and the Sandernistas: Field Notes From a Failed Revolution and The Big Heat: Earth on the Brink (with Joshua Frank) He can be reached at: sitka@comcast.net or on Twitter  @JSCCounterPunch

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
February 24, 2020
Stephen Corry
New Deal for Nature: Paying the Emperor to Fence the Wind
M. K. Bhadrakumar
How India’s Modi is Playing on Trump’s Ego to His Advantage
Jennifer Matsui
Tycoon Battle-Bots Battle Bernie
Robert Fisk
There’s Little Chance for Change in Lebanon, Except for More Suffering
Rob Wallace
Connecting the Coronavirus to Agriculture
Bill Spence
Burning the Future: the Growing Anger of Young Australians
Eleanor Eagan
As the Primary Race Heats Up, Candidates Forget Principled Campaign Finance Stands
Binoy Kampmark
The Priorities of General Motors: Ditching Holden
George Wuerthner
Trojan Horse Timber Sales on the Bitterroot
Rick Meis
Public Lands “Collaboration” is Lousy Management
David Swanson
Bloomberg Has Spent Enough to Give a Nickel to Every Person Whose Life He’s Ever Damaged
Peter Cohen
What Tomorrow May Bring: Politics of the People
Peter Harrison
Is It as Impossible to Build Jerusalem as It is to Escape Babylon?
Weekend Edition
February 21, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Anthony DiMaggio
Election Con 2020: Exposing Trump’s Deception on the Opioid Epidemic
Joshua Frank
Bloomberg is a Climate Change Con Man
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Billion Dollar Babies
Paul Street
More Real-Time Reflections from Your Friendly South Loop Marxist
Jonathan Latham
Extensive Chemical Safety Fraud Uncovered at German Testing Laboratory
Ramzy Baroud
‘The Donald Trump I know’: Abbas’ UN Speech and the Breakdown of Palestinian Politics
Martha Rosenberg
A Trump Sentence Commutation Attorneys Generals Liked
Ted Rall
Bernie Should Own the Socialist Label
Louis Proyect
Encountering Malcolm X
Kathleen Wallace
The Debate Question That Really Mattered
Jonathan Cook
UN List of Firms Aiding Israel’s Settlements was Dead on Arrival
George Wuerthner
‘Extremists,’ Not Collaborators, Have Kept Wilderness Whole
Colin Todhunter
Apocalypse Now! Insects, Pesticide and a Public Health Crisis  
Stephen Reyna
A Paradoxical Colonel: He Doesn’t Know What He is Talking About, Because He Knows What He is Talking About.
Evaggelos Vallianatos
A New Solar Power Deal From California
Richard Moser
One Winning Way to Build the Peace Movement and One Losing Way
Laiken Jordahl
Trump’s Wall is Destroying the Environment We Worked to Protect
Walden Bello
Duterte Does the Right Thing for a Change
Jefferson Morley
On JFK, Tulsi Gabbard Keeps Very Respectable Company
Vijay Prashad
Standing Up for Left Literature: In India, It Can Cost You Your Life
Gary Leupp
Bloomberg Versus Bernie: The Upcoming Battle?
Ron Jacobs
The Young Lords: Luchadores Para La Gente
Richard Klin
Loss Leaders
Gaither Stewart
Roma: How Romans Differ From Europeans
Kerron Ó Luain
The Soviet Century
Mike Garrity
We Can Fireproof Homes But Not Forests
Fred Baumgarten
Gaslighting Bernie and His Supporters
Joseph Essertier
Our First Amendment or Our Empire, But Not Both
Peter Linebaugh
A Story for the Anthropocene
Danny Sjursen
Where Have You Gone Smedley Butler?
Jill Richardson
A Broken Promise to Teachers and Nonprofit Workers
Binoy Kampmark
“Leave Our Bloke Alone”: A Little Mission for Julian Assange
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail