With the conclusion of yet another rollercoaster pandemic year, the extended KHOL family of DJs, staff and board members is taking comfort, at least, in how much great music was created during the 2021 chapter of our “new normal.” From a big comeback of indie rock to spiritual modern jazz, global grooves to thought-provoking hip hop, and celebratory funk bombs to heart-string-pulling folk, here’s a taste of the music that kept our minds thinking, our hearts glowing and our booties shaking this year.
Though our tastes are diverse, a few albums stood out as favorites among the KHOL crew: Nation Of Language’s A Way Forward, The War On Drugs’ I Don’t Live Here Anymore, Little Simz’s Sometimes I Might Be Introvert, Logic1000’s In The Sweetness Of You, DARKSIDE’s Spiral, Turnstile’s Glow On, Arlo Parks’ Collapsed In Sunbeams, Abstract Mindstate’s Dreams Still Inspire, Jungle’s Loving In Stereo, Overmono’s bby, and Geese’s Projector, to name a few.
Jump to your favorite DJ’s favorites by clicking on the names below:
KnewJack | Emily Cohen | Garth Gillespie | Kevin P | Firechild | Danielle | Mike Werner } Pahl & DJ P | Eli
Dr. Dan | Big E | DJ Echo | DJ Boardslide | Lauren Chase | Mark B | Inannamous | Adzee | Beck LG | Jacob | Jeff Lawrence | Studebacher
KnewJack (Jack Catlin), Music Director | Host of “The Heavy Warmup” (Weekdays 9 – 11 a.m.)
Abstract Mindstate – Dreams Still Inspire Old school Chicago hip hop homegrown in Wyoming by Kanye West is not a sentence you’d expect to describe one of the best albums of 2021, but here we are. Underrated rappers E.P. da Hellcat and Olskool Ice-Gre, aka Abstract Mindstate, worked with West on their first two albums in the early 2000s before some hard luck and bad timing derailed the duo’s career. While walking the grounds of his sprawling Cody, Wyoming, ranch, West was able to overcome a troubling case of writer’s block by listening to one of Abstract Mindstate’s old mixtapes. To return the favor, he promised to reunite them and produce their new album. Fresh, conscious and straight-up fun, the album brings back the boom-bap with a modern twist.
Anchorsong – Mirage London-based Japanese producer Anchorsong’s fourth album Mirage is filled with smokey soundscapes comprised of wind instruments, choral voices and sonic dust from around the globe. Self-described as “borderless music,”, the album combines complex rhythmic patterns with minimal yet lush textures of found sounds to create, in his own words, a “vague landscape that only exists in my mind.” With an ear-opening collection of organic instrumentation from the likes of 60’s Brazilian music and sound design from such things as a Mongolian galloping horse, Mirage is full of unique surprises that engage the listener throughout its journey.
Floating Points & Pharoah Sanders – Promises Promises is a nine-movement, 46-minute collaborative suite by spiritual jazz saxophone legend Pharoah Sanders and critically acclaimed electronic producer Floating Points (aka Sam Shepherd). Recorded with the London Symphony Orchestra, the project had been in the works for five years, with Sanders and Shepherd recording their parts together in Los Angeles. Promises is about melody, harmony and texture: all held together by one seven-note refrain that repeats every nine seconds throughout the entire piece. The meditative and inspiring loop evokes the feeling of realization, like a lightbulb turning on above your head. The combination of Shepard’s beautiful arrangements and Sanders’ emotionally powerful tone creates a clear focus to the album that takes its time to unfold, ebbing and flowing at just the right moments.
Emily Cohen, Executive Director
- Nation of Language – A Way Forward
- War on Drugs – I Don’t Live Here Anymore
- The Goon Sax – Mirror II
- Life of Mammals – Museum of Love
- The Felice Brothers – From Dreams to Dust
- Robert Plant & Alison Krauss – Raise the Roof
- Valerie June – The Moon & Stars
- Nathaniel Rateliff & The Nightsweats – The Future
- Pokey La Farge – In the Blossoms of Their Shade
- Rodrigo Amarante – Drama
Though all these albums above spoke to me, there are really two that rise above, tapping into the angst of this strange world we now find ourselves in.
Nation of Language – A Way Forward This Brooklyn-based synth-pop trio has been on my heavy rotation since they appeared on the scene in 2020 (thanks in part to seeing their name on KHOL DJs top albums of the year). 2021 I suppose is my turn to repeat the favor for the uninitiated. Though clearly inspired by Depeche Mode and Kraftwerk of decades past, their music perfectly captures the zeitgeist of the 21st century. Lucky for us, they are scheduled to play at Boise’s Treefort Music Fest in March!
The Felice Brothers – From Dreams to Dust Somehow equally apropos in a rowdy bar or on a solo night in the kitchen with a bottle of wine, the folk-rock outfit Felice Brothers manage to leave you with plenty to chew on. Their creative wordplay is at once poignant, poetic and a little wild. Slate may have said it best, “From Dreams To Dust doesn’t fit any trending categories, but in its unpretentious integrity, is relevant as hell.” (And fun fact, lead singer-songwriter Ian Felice has a couple of paintings at Jackson’s own Tayloe-Piggott Gallery.)
Garth Gillespie, Board Chair
| Top 10||Second Tier|
|EPs and Random Stars||Metal|
It’s almost impossible for me to narrow my search for a top ten! I absolutely love to listen to music and albums in particular. All of the albums/EPs listed here qualify for excellent albums – start to finish. But two albums that stand out: Geese – Projector No album has grown on me more than this one. These young punks from New York have created a complex and rowdy album. Nice long songs and a band that seems destined to be a highlight during live shows. Favorite Song – “Disco.”
Dry Cleaning – New Long Leg There have been quite a few British bands this year focusing on almost spoken-word type vocals. Dry Cleaning are the highlight of these and the guitar work on this album is fantastic. Favorite song – “John Wick.”
Turnstile – Glow On If I need to get something done this is one of the albums that I have turned to over and over this year. The emotion, change of tempos, general punk energy this album has makes this one of the best albums of 2021. Favorite Song – “Fly Again.”
Chef Jason (Jason Mitchell), Host of “The Grand Table” (Sundays 11 a.m.-12 p.m.)
- Ashley Henry – My Voice
- Alfa Mist – Run Outs
- Azymuth, Adrian Younge and Ali Shaheed-Muhammad – Apocoliptico
- The Cookers – Cats Out The Bag
- Chad Lefkowitz-Brown – India
- Kiefer – I Remember This Picture
- Koresma – Dead Ends
- Kansas Smitty’s – Bump
- Tenderlonious – Neptunes Mood
- Myele Manzanza – London
Kevin P (Kevin Pusey), Host of “Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out” (Sundays 4-7 p.m.)
- My Morning Jacket – My Morning Jacket
- Foo Fighters – Medicine At Midnight
- Gov’t Mule – Heavy Load Blues
- Brandi Carlisle – In These Silent Days
- Greta Van Fleet – The Battle at Garden’s Gate
- Jackson Browne – Downhill From Everywhere
- Bela Fleck – My Bluegrass Heart
- The War On Drugs – I Don’t Live Here Anymore
- Radiohead – Kid A Mnesia
- Peter Frampton Band – Frampton Forgets The Words
My Morning Jacket – My Morning Jacket The self-titled album is MMJ’s ninth studio album. It is their first album of newly recorded material in six years. Currently, my favorite band, they are an amazing band live. The songs off this album I’ve heard live so far are truly amazing… “In Color,” “Love, Love, Love,” “I Never Could Get Enough,” The Devil’s in The Details,” and more!
Greta Van Fleet – The Battle at Garden’s Gate One of the most anticipated new albums of 2021. This is their second album. It is a hard rock and blues-rock album from a very young talented group of guys…three brothers and their best friend. They have been compared to Led Zeppelin, but they have their own eclectic style. Check out “My Way, Soon,” as well as the title track!
Jackson Browne – Downhill From Everywhere This is Jackson Browne’s fifteenth studio album and his first album of new material in seven years. This is an album of “power and wisdom gained from a life pursuing positive change.” Jackson Browne almost died from contracting Covid-19, and this album he wrote and recorded during 2020 as he went through some life-transforming emotions. It is truly an amazing album of insight.
KP’s Top 5 Concerts of 2021
- Widespread Panic – Red Rocks Amphitheater, Morrison, CO (6/26-28)
- One Ton Pig – Center for the Arts lawn, Jackson, WY (8/23)
- Ohana Festival (Pearl Jam, Eddie Vedder, Brandi Carlisle, My Morning Jacket and more) – Doheny State Beach, Dana Point, CA. (09/26-28)
- My Morning Jacket – Alabama Theater, Birmingham, AL. (Webcast, 10/29)
- Bela Fleck Featuring Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas, Edgar Myer, Bryan Sutton, Stuart Duncan – Center For The Arts, Jackson, WY. (12/06)
Firechild (Matthew McGee), Host of “The Root Down” (Mondays 4-6 p.m.)
- Sam Fender – Seventeen Going Under
- Little Simz – Point And Kill
- Turnstile – UNDERWATER BOI
- The Gift Of Gab – Vice Grip
- Bomba Estereo – Deja
- Peach Tree Rascals – Change My Mind
- A Certain Ratio – Keep It Together
- The Allergies – Working On Me
- girl in red – Body And Mind
- Wolf Alice – Smile
Danielle Carozza, Host of “The Ebb and Flow” (Mondays 6-8 p.m.)
My top 10 in 2021 are mostly singles with a couple of albums that I couldn’t stop listening to in their entirety.
- Brittany Howard – Stay High again..(Fred again.. & Joy Anonymous Version)
- Jenny Lewis – Puppy and a Truck
- Arlo Parks – Collapsed in Sunbeams
- Tyler Childers – Yes I Guess They Oughta Name A Drink After You
- Julia Jacklin, RVG – Army Of Me
- Adele – 30
- Drama – Don’t Hold Back
- Amber Mark – Worth It
- Sharon Van Etten & Angel Olsen – Like I Used To
- SZA – Nightbird
Bonus: Jazmine Sullivan – Lost One
Brittany Howard – Stay High again..(Fred again.. & Joy Anonymous Version) This remix of Brittany Howard’s 2019 song from her album “Jaime” kept my shoulders shimmying and my mind light when things felt too heavy in 2021.
Jenny Lewis – Puppy and a Truck Jenny Lewis is one of my favorite artists but some of the lyrics in this song really hit home for me…”Time to ruminate like, what the f*** was that?”
Arlo Parks – Collapsed in Sunbeams This poetic album from Arlo Parks was on repeat as Parks’ poignant lyrics felt at times reflective of the emotional state of the past year. “Black Dog” was especially a stand-out on this album for me and a reason I played it several times on “The Ebb and Flow” this year.
Mike Werner, Host of “The Desert Grind” (Mondays 8-10 p.m.)
In the underground Desert/Stoner/Metal/Punk world, we saw an explosion of new bands and new albums from many parts of the world. Some just regurgitating the same old sound (Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Nirvana etc.) which isn’t a bad thing. But, it is amazing to see the talent and evolution of the new younger bands who are coming up with some amazing sounds. Some of the “older groups” are also evolving and keeping the sounds fresh and loud. So, here’s my list of what I like and what I think is a good cross-section of “The Desert Grind.”
- King Buffalo – Burden of Restlessness – “Silverfish”
- Stonus – Séance – “El Rata”
- Jack Harlon & The Dead Crows – Magnetic Ridge – “Painter in the Woods”
- Red Fang – Arrows – “Wires”
- Acid Magus – Wyrd Sister – “She is the Night”
- 1968 – Salvation If You Need – “Small Victories”
- Surfsquatch – Revealed – “Fishin in the Trough”
- Là Goon – Skullactic Visions – “Cold Smoke”
- Holy Monitor – Southern Lights – “River”
- Red Beard Wall – 3 – “My Brothers”
King Buffalo – Burden of Restlessness Even people who might not like Desert Rock are going to love this band! Imagine the precision of Pink Floyd and the heavy trampling of Black Sabbath but with King Buffalo’s own sound. They also just released another short album this month called Acheron. It’s also amazing!
Stonus – Séance I just love the heaviness of this band and Cyprus seems to produce lots of amazing psych bands for such a small island.
Jack Harlon & The Dead Crows – Magnetic Ridge JH & TDC’s is the band you want to listen to while on an empty desert road with a beer between your legs and the sun is setting.
Pahl & DJ P (Alex Blackwelder & Peter Henderson), Hosts of “The Fondue” (Tuesdays 4-6 p.m.)
- L’Imperatrice – Tako Tsubo
- Billy Strings – Renewal
- Tommy Guerrero – Sunshine Radio
- Bela Fleck – My Bluegrass Heart
- Jerro – Coming Home
- Mdou Moctar – Afrique Victime
- My Morning Jacket – My Morning Jacket
- Cory Wong – Disco de Lune
- Parcels – LordHenry
- Khruangbin & Leon Bridges – B-Side
Eli Bernstein, Host of “Left Of The Dial” (Tuesdays 10 p.m.-Midnight)
- Danny L Harle – Harlecore
- Turnstile – Glow On
- Home Is Where – I Became Birds
- Sofia Kourtesis – Fresia Magdalena
- The Armed – Ultrapop
- Burial – Shock Power of Love EP
- Mdou Moctar – Afrique Victime
- The Lesson GK – Another World
- Hailu Mergia – Tezeta
- My Morning Jacket – My Morning Jacket
Danny L Harle – Harlecore Danny L Harle doesn’t care how trendy you think his music is; all he wants is to get you out on the dancefloor and get you moving, by any means necessary. On his first full-length, the PC Music (Sophie, A.G. Cook, Charli XCX) alum—taps into everything from ecstatic, happy hardcore Euro beats that wouldn’t feel out of place at a rave in Birmingham in 1994 to off-the-wall pump-up jams that sound like Crazy Frog is having a comeback. (Believe me, that last one is better than it sounds.) The true unifying theme across this album is unfettered enthusiasm for getting amongst it, and Harlecore absolutely succeeds at that. The “Do You Remember”/”All Night”/”Take My Heart Away” sequence is the best three-song run I’ve heard in years.
Turnstile – Glow On This year’s most exhilarating music moment is when the bubbling synths fade away and a tidal wave of guitar crashes into you at the beginning of “Mystery,” the opener of Turnstile’s crossover hardcore-but-not-hardcore triumph. It’s big-hearted, it’s a bit cheesy, and it puts a smile on my face—and kinda makes me want to bust through a wall—every time I hear it. Glow On has plenty more moments like that, but it also has island-vibe breakdowns (“Underwater Boi”) and woozy sonic experiments (“Alien Love Call,” featuring Dev Hynes of Blood Orange). For anybody who ever brushed off hardcore as aggressive music for bros with emotional issues, give this one a chance. It’s life-affirming, it’s bold, and it rules.
The Lesson GK – Another World I’ll admit to a heavy dose of bias on this one. The Lesson GK used to play at a small venue in New York called Arlene’s Grocery, every Thursday night, for years. Their shows were fluid and improvisational, zig-zagging between funk, rap, soul, and jazz, and even audience members could join the fray if they had the chops. Those shows have sadly stopped, but their spirit lives on in the group’s first studio album. The vibes here are loose and laid-back, and the musicianship is tight but not rigid, and Another World takes me back to nights spent in the company of music fans staying out too late for the same reason: to watch a band having fun and welcoming all comers into their world.
Dr. Dan (Dan Nelson), Host of “The Placebo Effect” (Wednesdays 4-6 p.m.)
Jungle – Loving In Stereo The UK duo’s third studio album combines electronic, soul, funk, and hip hop to create an absurdly entertaining album from start to finish.
Still Woozy – If this Isn’t Nice, I Don’t Know What Is Oakland artist Eric Gamsky’s first studio album as Still Woozy is a catchy combination of short pop, electronic, and hip hop tracks that make this album fun, upbeat, and very listenable.
Arlo Parks – Collapsed In Sunbeams The debut album from British singer-songwriter Arlo Parks is stunning. Hauntingly beautiful from start to finish, her incredible voice over floaty R&B and trip-hop beats is a perfect combination.
Big E (Robert Emerson), Host of “Blues With A Feelin’” (Wednesdays 6-8 p.m.)
- Elly Wininger – The Blues Never End
- Ally Venable – Heart of Fire
- Carolyn Wonderland – Tempting Fate
- Tony Holiday – Porch Sessions, Vol. 2
- Johnny Tucker featuring Kid Ramos and The Allstars – 75 and Alive
- Lowell Fulson Live! With Jeff Dale & The Blue Wave Band – LIVE
- Luther “Guitar Junior” Johnson – Once In A Blue Moon
- Various Artists – Alligator Records 50 Years of Genuine Houserockin’ Music
- The Elias Bernet Band – Better Off With the Blues
- Various Artists – Blue Racoon and Nola Blue Collection, Vol. 3
- Richard Koechli – Holy Blues
DJ Echo (Brandon Whitesell), Host of “Dimensional Sound Groove” (Thursdays 4-6 p.m.)
- Bloto – Kwasy I Zasady
- The Bug – Fire
- Calibre – Feeling Normal
- Snapped Ankles – Forest of Your Problems
- Abstract Mindstate – Dreams Still Inspire
- Little Simz – Sometimes I Might Be Introvert
- Ghetts – Conflict of Interest
- Squid – Bright Green Field
- DARKSIDE – Spiral
- Shabazz Palaces – 20 Gear Science
- Yelfris Valdes – For The Ones
- Rarelyalways – Manic
DJ Boardslide (Cole Mogan), Host of “The Long Haul” (Thursdays 6-8 p.m.)
- Oden & Fatzo – Lauren
- Overmono – bby
- Pional – Tempest – Pional
- Ae:ther, Anna Caragnano – Volador
- &Me, Rampa, Adam Port, Ali Love – Confusion
- Logic1000 – Your Love
- Dusky – Hildegard
- Avalon Emerson – Poodle Power
- Maribou State – Blue Kiss
- Mall Grab – Love Reigns
- Lauer – Direction
Lauren Chase, Host of “Dance Odyssey” (Thursdays 8-10 p.m.)
| Albums / EPs||Singles|
|Record Labels||New Fave Artists|
Mark B (Mark Byall), Host of “By All Means” (Fridays 4-6 p.m.)
- Robert Finley – Sharecropper’s Son
- Various Artists – Wick Records Presents – Battle Of The Bands Vol. 1
- Night Beats – Outlaw R&B
- Death Valley Girls – Street Venom
- Shannon & The Clams – Year Of The Spider
- Dry Cleaning – New Long Leg
- DJ 2-Tone Jones – Contraband From India
- U-Roy – Solid Gold U-Roy
- Ginger Root – City Slicker
- The Poets Of Rhythm – Discern/Define
Robert Finley – Sharecropper’s Son A breath of fresh originality that paints a picture of emotion with good beats and original lyrics. The kind of album that is reassuring to know is still being produced.
Various Artists – Wick Records Presents – Battle Of The Bands Vol. 1 Wick Records has established itself as a top producer of underground rock that still feels and sounds underground.
Night Beats – Outlaw R&B Night Beats has established its own sound in the prolific Seattle music scene with original songs that mix grit with guitar.
Inannamous (Inanna Reistad), Host of “Excuse Me While I…” (Fridays 6-8 p.m.)
- Free Youth – We Can Move
- Nah Eeto – What About Me?
- Lava La Rue – G.O.Y.D.
- Peggy Gou – Starry Night Mix
- Mac Miller – Self Care
- Vis a Vis – Obi Agye Me Dofo
- Black Josh – Own Ting
- John FM – February
- Erik Satie – Gymnopedie No. 1
- CZ Wang, Neo Image, and Separated at Birth – Just Off Wave
Free Youth – We Can Move Dancing is a passion of mine, and you simply cannot stop dancing while listening to this track. This 1985 single is from Free Youth’s only release, which has since been restored. I would say my favorite music is Afro-Funk/Beat and this song has all of the rhythm, lyrics, and instruments I am looking for.
Nah Eeto – What About Me? Oh man, some of that trippy hip hop that invokes emotion. This song makes me feel strong and badass when I am listening, and I live for the warbly instrumental that kicks in around 39 seconds into the song. Nah Eeto is an incredibly talented woman, with experience modeling, acting and of course making this DOPE track.
Lava La Rue – G.O.Y.D. Filled with ethereal instrumentals, gorgeous voices, and a wonderful story. It’s easy to say this track also slaps. The flowy song found its way on my skiing playlists and frequented many a hot spring with me. Lava la Rue is a queer art.
Adzee (Arthur Ellis), Host of “The Drip” (Fridays 10 p.m.-Midnight)
- Kodak Black – Super Gremlin
- Pooh Shiesty ft. Lil Durk – Back in Blood
- Mo3 – Outside
- Rod Wave – Street Runner
- Drake – Pipe Down
- Pop Smoke – Mr. Jones
- Bankroll Freddie ft. MegTheStallion – Pop It
- Mo3 and Boosie Badazz – Money Mya
- Nardo Wick – Who Want Smoke
- Adzee – 9 Brothers
Beckett Lucas-Griffin, Host of “The Beckett List” (Saturdays 12-2 p.m.)
- Strange Ranger – No Light In Heaven
- Joyer – Perfect Gray
- Hysterla – Lost My Teeth in the Snow
- Sofia Zarzuela – 121 Elm St.
- Angel – Dinoboy
- ZillaKami – Dogboy
- Bunnygirl2000 – Lost Trax
- Jasiah – War
- Heart Attack Man – Thoughtz and Prayerz
- Ski Mask the Slump God – Sin City The Mixtape
Strange Ranger – No Light In Heaven I have been an avid fan of Strange Ranger for quite a few years now, and they never cease to amaze me with their commitment to experimenting with their sound and genre. Through every album comes as a distinct transition, they always remain committed to creating good music and have introduced me to a really wide variety of sounds. This album is their most experimental so far, yet they still manage to maintain their raw emotional buildup that attracted me to their work from the beginning.
Joyer – Perfect Gray Unlike Strange Ranger, Joyer has remained relatively consistent in their sound throughout, but through that I think they have really mastered their sound as a distortion of bedroom pop. Their creation and buildup of atmosphere throughout this album is spectacular, even as they play around with each song the overall sound is very cohesive.
Hysterla – Lost My Teeth in the Snow I first found Hysterla on YouTube doing a cover of “Pretend” by Alex G, but I’m really glad I looked into his original work. This album is filled with very haunting guitar and lo-fi production, and I really appreciate how it manages to create such a strong emotional presence with such little production and instrumentation. It mixes concepts of emo and bedroom pop, which are two genres I definitely really appreciate and love to see paired together.
Jacob Colman, Host of “Dita Parlor” (Saturdays 7-9 p.m.)
- Xeno & Oaklander – Vi/deo
- System Olympia – Always On Time
- Logic1000 – In the Sweetness of You EP
- Logic1000 – You’ve Got the Whole Night to Go EP
- EMMANUELLE – Disco Incantato (Single)
- COBRAH – Cobrah EP
- Saint Etienne – I’ve Been Trying To Tell You
- Elkka – Burnt Orange (Single) & Harmonic Frequencies EP
- Doss – Four New Hit Songs EP
- Club Eat – Club Eat EP
Xeno & Oaklander – Vi/deo A short and sweet burst of analog synth-pop and techno, with airy vocals that shift from mysterious to sentimental to sublime. The lyrics reminisce about the sights, sounds, and scents of a bygone era of tracks like“Technicolor,” “Television,” and “Movie Stars” , and they reflect on how truth and falsehood, reality and fiction are blended through our media and memories. Most of the songs on the LP build up in layers of drums and synths, creating a sense of movement that is nothing short of cinematic (like the themes of the record). My favorite track is “Afar,” but I regularly listen to this all the way through. In short: I like it!
System Olympia – Always On Time A collage of lo-fi electronic vibes/sounds that is free and unpolished (in a good way). To me, each track feels like System Olympia saying, “let’s try this combination of sounds/textures and see what happens.” It includes some very warped/warbly auto-tune mumble-singing that I did not expect at all based on her previous releases but I have grown to like a lot. My top tracks: “Instinct” and “Let Me Out.”
Logic1000 – In the Sweetness of You EP A great sequence of spacey dance music, with snappy/fun drums and a nice blend of melodic vocals. Smooth and palatable!
Jeff Lawrence, Longtime former DJ and Board Member
- Tony Joe White – Smoke from the Chimney – “Boot Money” and “Bubba Jones”
- Night Beats – Outlaw R&B – “Ticket”
- Amyl and the Sniffers – Comfort to Me – “Security”
- Chet Faker – Hotel Surrender – “Low”
- Robert Plant and Alison Krauss – Raise the Roof – “Can’t Let Go”
- Jimmy “Duck” Holmes – Cypress Grove – “Goin’ Away Baby”
- Nation of Language – A Way Forward – “Across That Fine Line”
- Polo and Pan – Cyclorama – “Peter Pan”
- Sturgill Simpson – The Ballad of Dood and Juanita – “Ol’ Dood, Part II”
- Motrik – Moon: The Cosmic Electrics of MOTRIK – “Silver Twin”
Tony Joe White – Smoke from the Chimney Polk Salad Annie is a staple I go back to regularly so when I saw this posthumous release I had to check it. Then I heard that it was produced by Dan Auerbach who took his original recordings provided by his son- then added some guitar magic along with Marcus King and others to complete these tracks using Tony’s previously unreleased vocals. “Boot Money” and “Bubba Jones” hit home.
Robert Plant and Alison Krauss – Raise the Roof I was entranced by this unlikely duo with Raising Sand 14 years ago… I thought it was a one-time thing but they brought back the glory once again on this album and it’s even better than the last.
Motrik – Moon: The Cosmic Electrics of MOTRIK I saw this band at Treefort on the way to see another band with Emily and Garth…stopped for a sec and got sucked into the hypnotic psychedelic atmosphere they created at the base of an outdoor lawn and couldn’t escape. We never saw the band we initially set out to see….I’ve been addicted since.
Studebacher (Bill Helm) (Sub DJ)
These are the albums that got me through the second pandemic year. Not necessarily in any order, not necessarily new in 2021, but necessary for sanity in 2021, so there!
- Wayne Wallace Latin Jazz Quintet – The Rhythm of Invention
- Peter Bernstein – What Comes Next
- Julian Lage – Squint
- Manfredo Fest – Just Jobim
- Brian Bromberg – A Little Driving Music
- Papa John Defrancesco – A Philadelphia Story
- Dave Holland – Another Land
- Scary Goldings – The Ego Trap
- Jon Batiste – We Are
- Ruben Blades – Salswing
Wayne Wallace Latin Jazz Quintet – The Rhythm of Invention So Softly, a new take on the Standards Softly and So What, from “kind of blue,” just the essence of Latin Jazz arrangements. Paul Desmond’s “Take Five” is stunning.
Peter Bernstein – What Comes Next Recorded LIVE in the studio during the height of the pandemic. Dizzies “Con Alma” and the standard “We’ll be together again” showcase the musicians’ improvisation and craftsmanship. Peter’s Composition “Blood Wolf Moon Blues” stands out as a tribute to Jimmy Cobb.
Julian Lage – Squint Has been in my CD player for weeks! Interesting changes in this premier guitarist’s growth.
Manfredo Fest – Just Jobim An obscure album recorded in 1998 that took me weeks to track down and acquire. Recorded with Direct Stream Digital technology, this album showcases a monster Brazilian pianist performing some of Jobim’s most beautiful melodies.
Brian Bromberg – A Little Driving Music Always a chameleon, this pandemic recording and release highlight his “groo-v-ability” and mastery of the low end and guitar-like playing. Tight arrangements on mostly self-composed tunes and did I say Groove?
Papa John Defrancesco – A Philadelphia Story The Papa of Joey Defrancisco at his funkiest; recorded live in the studio.
Dave Holland – Another Land Funky? Dave holland? Electrified and rare “pork chop” electric bass guitar from the master of the double bass, not exactly straight ahead but a fantastic album.
Jon Batiste – We Are Grammy-nominated. Nothing more to say!
Ruben Blades – Salswing Grammy-nominated. Latin, Salsa, Jazz, all the good stuff!