DECEMBER MUSIC FAVORITES:

Alemu Aga-ETHIOPIQUES VOLUME 11: THE HARP OF KING DAVID (Buda '94)

David Axelrod-s/t (Mo Wax)

John Coltrane-THE OLATUNJI CONCERT: THE LAST LIVE RECORDING (Impulse '67)

Jackson Frank-s/t (Castle '67)

Joy Division-HEART AND SOUL (Rhino '77-'80)

Langley Schools Music Project-INNOCENCE AND DESPAIR (Bar/None '76-'77)

Living Legends-UHBIV: STOP & RETALIATE (Revenge '99)

Various Artists-NOW THING: 15 DANCEHALL INSTRUMENTALS (Mo Wax)

Jim O'Rourke-INSIGNIFICANCE (Drag City)

Outkast-BIG BOI AND DRE PRESENT... (LaFace '94-'01)

Pink Floyd-THE FINAL CUT (Columbia '83)

Ulrich Schnauss-FAR AWAY TRAINS PASSING BY (City Centre Offices)

Marzette Watts-s/t (ESP '66)


NOVEMBER MUSIC FAVORITES:

Anti-Pop Consortium-THE ENDS AGAINST THE MIDDLE (Warp)

Avalanches-SINCE I LEFT YOU (Sire)

Belle & Sebastian-"I'm Waking Up To Us" cd5 (Matador)

Coup-PARTY MUSIC (75 Ark)

Various Artists-ETHIOPIQUES VOLUME 10: TEZETA (Buda '70-'74)

Ghostface Killah featuring Raekwon-BULLETPROOF WALLETS (Epic)

Lali Puna-SCARY WORLD THEORY (Morr Music)

Lightning Bolt-RIDE THE SKIES (Load)

Pulp-WE LOVE LIFE (Island)

Bubba Sparxxx-"Ugly" cd5 (Interscope)

Strokes-IS THIS IT? (RCA)

23 Skidoo-SEVEN SONGS (Ronin '82)/URBAN GAMELAN (Ronin '84)


OCTOBER MUSIC FAVORITES:

Aphex Twin-DRUKQS (Warp/Sire)

Atmosphere-LUCY FORD (Rhymesayers)

Big Justoleum-LUNE TNS (Subverse)

Miles Davis-THE COMPLETE IN A SILENT WAY SESSIONS (Legacy/Sony '69)

Dilated Peoples-EXPANSION TEAM (Capitol)

Fugazi-THE ARGUMENT (Dischord)

Live On Release-SEEING RED (WEA Canada)

Outkast-ATLIENS (LaFace '96)

Pulp-"Sunrise/The Trees" cd5 (Island)

Slayer-GOD HATES US ALL (American)

Space-MAGIC FLY (Virgin '77)

Spiritualized-LET IT COME DOWN (Arista)

Velvet Underground-THE BOOTLEG SERIES 1: THE QUINE TAPES (Polydor '69)


SEPTEMBER MUSIC FAVORITES:

Aesop Rock-LABOR DAYS (Def Jux)

Cannibal Ox-"The F Word" cd5 (Def Jux)

Clean-GETAWAY (Merge)

Clinic-INTERNAL WRANGLER (Domino)

Miles Davis-IT'S ABOUT THAT TIME (Columbia '70)

Graeme Downes-HAMMERS AND ANVILS (Matador)

Felix Da Housecat-KITTENZ AND THE GLITZ (City Rockers)

Jay-Z-THE BLUEPRINT (Roc-A-Fella)

Orlando Cachaito Lopez-s/t (Nonesuch)

Mercury Rev-LIFE IS DREAM (V2)

N.E.R.D.-IN SEARCH OF... (Virgin)

Techno Animal-THE BREOTHERHOOD OF THE BOMB (Matador)

Larry Young-LAWRENCE OF NEWARK (Sanctuary '73)



AUGUST MUSIC FAVORITES:

AFX-"2 Remixes" cd5 (Men)

Beta Band-HOT SHOTS II (Astralwerks)

Bjork-VESPERTINE (Elektra)

Various Artists-DARKER THAN BLUE: SOUL FROM JAMDOWN (Blood and Fire '60-'75)

Ex Orkest-EEN RONDJE HOLLAND (Ex)

Robbie Fulks-COUPLES IN TROUBLE (Boondoggle)

Astrud Gilberto/Walter Wanderley-A CERTAIN SMILE, A CERTAIN SADNESS (Verve '66)

Various Artists-HAMBURGEINS (Ladomat)

Various Artists-HEAD JAZZ (Label M '60-'75)

Oxide & Neutrino-EXECUTE (East West)

Res-HOW I DO (MCA)

Roots Manuva-RUN COME SAVE ME (Big Dada)

Tricky-BLOWBACK (Hollywood)

Gillian Welch-TIME (THE REVELATOR) (Acony)



JULY MUSIC FAVORITES:

Aaliyah-s/t (Blackground)

Basement Jazz-ROOTY (Astralwerks)

Cash Money Millionaries-PRESENT PLATINUM INSTRUMENTALS (Cash Money)

Fela-ROFORO FIGHT/FELA SINGLES (MCA '72)

Dizzy Gillespie-PORTRAIT OF JENNY (Collectables)

the Grouch-"Wish You A Good Day" 12" (C&E)

KMD-MR. HOOD (Metal Face '91)

Prefuse 73-VOCAL STUDIES + UPROCK NARRATIVES (Warp)

Quasimoto-"Basic Instinct" 12" (Stones Throw)

Squarepusher-GO PLASTIC (Warp)

Strokes-"Hard To Explain" cd5 (Rough Trade)

Trick Daddy-"Take It To Da House" 12" (Slip N Slide)

Weezer-s/t (Geffen)

White Stripes-WHITE BLOOD CELLS (Sympathy For The Recording Industry)


JUNE MUSIC FAVORITES:

Acid Mothers Temple & the Melting Paradiso UFO-NEW GEOCENTRIC WORLD (Squealer)

Air -10,000 HZ LEGEND (Astralwerks)

Babilicon-THE CAT THAT ATE A DOG A FLAT INSIDE A FOG (Misra)

Dave Clarke-PRESENTS ELECTRO-BOOGIE VOL. 2 (Studio K7)

cLOUDEAD-s/t (Mush)
Either really pretentious or brilliant: I'm leaning towards the latter. Imagine if Boards of Canada tried making hip-hop, then went into the wayback machine to give the tapes to the Orb 10 years ago for remixing.

Fennesz-ENDLESS SUMMER (Mego)

Various Artists-HAVA NARGHILE: TURKISH ROCK MUSIC 1966 TO 1975 (Dionysyu)

N.E.R.D.-"Lapdance" cd5 (Virgin)

Various Artists-NUGGETS II (Rhino '64-'70)

Radiohead-AMNESIAC (Capitol)
This has grown on me somewhat, although I retain enormous reservations. Perhaps it would've sounded better if released before KID A; it now comes across a collection of B-sides or, at best, a stepping stone that's already been used.

Sticky Fingaz-BLACK TRASH: THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF KIRK JONES (Universal)
This is about as good as recent gangsta rap gets. A concept album that's  somewhat flawed as a cautionary tale (with an "I'm sorry, sisters" song coming next to endless references to bitches and hoes), it's still three-dimensional and fully aware of its contradictions, and backed by great beats. Sticky also pulls off dubious ideas like personifying money, dueting with God and covering "Wonderful World" with gusto.

Luncinda Williams-ESSENCE (Lost Highway)


MAY MUSIC FAVORITES:

Anti-Pop Consortium-CRASHING SHOPPING CARTS (Crown Nippon)

Autechre-CONFIELD (Warp)

Band-ROCK OF AGES (Capitol '72)/MOONDOG MATINEE (Capitol '73)

Biopshere-SUBSTRATA/MAN WITH A MOVIE CAMERA (Touch)

Blue Oyster Cult-FOR THE HEAVY METAL KIDS AND YARDBIRDS: LIVE IN NEW YORK CITY 1972 (Munster)/Stalk-Forest Group-CECILIA: THE ELKETRA RECORDINGS (Rhino Handmade '70)

Tim Buckley-THE DREAM BELONGS TO ME: RARE AND UNRELEASED RECORDINGS 1968/1973 (Manifesto)

John Cale-SUN BLINDNESS MUSIC (Table of the Elements '64-'68)

Cannibal Ox-THE COLD VEIN (Def Jux)

Destroyer-STREETHAWK SEDUCTION (Misra)

Missy Elliott-MISS E...SO ADDICTIVE (Elektra)

Various Artists-FUNK ROCK (BBE '67-'79)

Gorillaz-"Clint Eastwood" cd5 (EMI)

MF Doom-OPERATION DOOMSDAY (Metal Face/Subverse '98)

Phil Niblock-TOUCH WORKS, FOR HURDY GURDY AND VOICE (Touch)

Squarepusher-"My Red Hot Car" cd5 (Warp)

Techno Animal-"Dead Man's Curse" cd5 (Matador)

Caetano Veloso-NOITES DO NORTE (Nonesuch)


APRIL MUSIC FAVORITES:

Arab Strap-THE RED THREAD (Matador)

Big Pun-ENDANGERED SPECIES (Loud)

Black Box Recorder-THE FACTS OF LIFE (Jetset)

Butchies-3 (Mr. Lady)

Caravan-WATERLOO LILY (Decca/Deram '72)/IF I COULD DO IT AGAIN, I'D DO IT ALL OVER YOU (Decca/Deram '70)

Comus-THE FIRST UTTERANCE (Si-Yan '70)

Destiny's Child-"Survivor" cd5 (Columbia)

Devo-RECOMBO DEVO (Rhino Handmade '77-'87)

Madonna-MUSIC (Maverick)

Bob Marley & the Wailers-CATCH A FIRE (DELUXE EDITION) (Island '73)

Nils Petter Molvaer-SILENT ETHER (ECM)

Nortec Collective-THE TIJUANA SESSIONS, VOL. 1 (Palm)

White Stripes-DE STIJL (Sympathy For The Recording Industry)


MARCH MUSIC FAVORITES:

Aceyalone-ACCEPTED ECLECTIC (Project Blowed)

Big Youth-NATTY UNIVERSAL DREAD (Blood & Fire '73-'79)

Laura Cantrell-NOT THE TREMBLIN' KIND (Diesel Only)

Clinic-"The Second Line" cd5 (Domino)

Daft Punk-DISCOVERY (Virgin)
More consistent than HOMEWORK, this is a really fun dance-pop album, whose retro-80s kitsch elements actaully work for once.

Various Artists-DEF JUX PRESENTS (Def Jux)
Company Flow's "Simian D" is marred by an ugly homophobic outburst in the first verse, but the other 6 songs on this compilation from Co Flow rapper El-P's label are sterling, progressive hip-hop. The high point is Company Flow's "DPA (Get Over It)", a lengthy song with a three-part structure more typical of prog-rock than rap.

Divine Comedy-"Love What You Do" cd5 (EMI)

Dump-THAT SKINNY MOTHERFUCKER WITH THE HIGH VOICE? (Shrimper)

E*Vax-PARKING LOT MUSIC (ADR)

Serge Gainsbourg-DU CHANT A LA UNE!... (Phillips '58)

Hefner-WE LOVE THE CITY (Too Pure)
While the ultra-bland Coldplay go gold and rank up American hits and even Belle & Sebastian cracked the BILLBOARD Top 100 last year, this clever British pop band languishes in obscurity.

Soundtrack-IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE (Block 2)
"Yumegi's Theme" (originally comissioned for a Suzuki Seijin film) may be the most haunting song ever written for a film score, and Nat King Cole's Latin songs and Michael Galasso's score are also lovely. However, Chinese opera is a taste I've yet to acquire, and the 60s Chinese pop included on the soundtrack is only a little more appealing. Still, the soundtrack is worth owning just for "Yumegi's Theme" and the fetishistic packaging, complete with 11 postcards.

King Tubby-KING TUBBY'S LOST TREASURES (Jamaican)

New Pornographers-MASS ROMANTIC (Mint)

Shuggie Otis-INSPIRATION INFORMATION (Luaka Bop '71-'74)
An early contender for best reissue of the year, Otis' album is really ahead of its time. Alternating between Sly Stone-esque funk and spacier instrumentals, it includes a few mind-boggling songs. "XL-30" builds a bridge between Jimmy Smith's organ workouts and Kraftwerk's proto-techno. Most impressive of all, "Freedom Flight" begins like Funkadelic guitarist Eddie Hazel improvising over IN A SILENT WAY, then builds into a complex extended jam.

RZA-MUSIC FROM THE MOTION PICTURE GHOST DOG: THE WAY OF THE SAMURAI (RCA Victor)
The score from GHOST DOG has only been released commercially in Japan, for some reason, but it's finally popped up in NYC stores. The creativity on display here - layering fractured loops to great effect - makes THE W look even paler.



FEBRUARY MUSIC FAVORITES:

Human League-DARE (Caroline '82)

Keith Jarrett-BIRTH (Wounded Bird '72)

Kleenex/Lilliput-LILIPUT (Kill Rock Stars '78-'83)

Lob-LIVE STUFF 2000 (CD-R)
An excellent modern kozmigroov group, mixing breakbeats and samples with improvisation. This disc hasn't been commercially released, but most - if not all - of it is available on MP3 from the band's site.

Moby-"South Side" cd5 (V2)
Sure, this is a blatant (and successful) attempt at a Top 40 hit, and Gwen Stefani's vocals could hardly be more rent-a-chick, but as cheesy pop songs, I'll take it over the Backstreet Boys. The cd5 also includes 2 far more adventurous remixes. The less said about the new non-album songs, the better.

Mr. Dead-METABOLICS VOLUME 2:DAWN OF THE DEAD (Wordsound)
Despite the Gothic feel and horror film samples, underground rapper Mr. Dead doesn't have a lot to say beyond the usual bragging, but he has a good line in battle rhymes and  "Lungevity" is the best posse cut I've heard since Cool Breeze, Outkast, Goodie Mob & Witchdoctor's "Watch For The Hook."

Yoko Ono-APPROXIMATELY INFINITE UNIVERSE (Rykodisc '72)

Steely Dan-TWO AGAINST NATURE (Giant)
Horrendously slick production and bad fusion arrangements sabotage Becker and Fagen's songwriting for about half of this, but the rest (especially the title track and "West Of Hollywood, the only two songs with production that works) has slowly grown on me. Maybe next time, they'll hook up with Jim O'Rourke or the High Llamas instead of session musicians with an overload of chops and return to their sound circa 1973, rather than 1980.  Grammy voters who opted for this as a wholesome, non-sexist alternative to Eminem obviously didn't listen too closely to the words.

Various Artists-STUDIO ONE ROCKERS (Soul Jazz)
A well-packaged, varied but solid compilation of the reggae label Studio One's hits. Despite a lengthy booklet interview with label head/producer Clement Dodd, Soul Jazz forgot to include dates for any of the songs.

Strokes-"This Modern Age" cd5 (no label)

2nd Gen-IRONY IS (Mute)
One of the most abrasive albums I've ever heard, but pretty exhilarating,  like a combo of Public Enemy and early Einsturzende Neubauten. If you've ever thought dentist drills would sound great set to a hip-hop beat, this is the album for you.

Tri-Pinnacle (aka Anti-Pop Consortium)-DIAGNOL RHYME GARGANCHULA 2.0 (Ozone)

Ultravox-HA! HA! HA! (Island '77)



JANUARY MUSIC FAVORITES:

Autechre-PEEL SESSION II (Warp)

Various Artists-BILONGO:A THIRD COLLECTION OF MODERN AFRICAN RHYTHMS (Comet '63-'82)

Vashti Bunyan-JUST ANOTHER DAY (Spinney '70)

Betty Davis-s/t (MPC '73)

Dido-NO ANGEL (Arista '99)
Like most of the Americans who've made this a massive hit 18 months after its release, I picked it up on the basis of her haunting vocal sample on Eminem's "Stan." It's a real guilty pleasure, far too over-produced for me to fully endorse, but her lovely voice and songwriting transcend the sheen.

Various Artists-DISCO NOT DISCO (Strut)
An excellent collection of punk-inflected disco (although Steve Miller's "Macho City," making its second compilation appearance in as many months,  fits into neither category), including rare 12" mixes of Yoko Ono and Ian Dury and 3 out-of-print songs by the late Arthur Russell. I can't wait for the second volume.

Jonzun Crew-LOST IN SPACE (Tommy Boy '83)

Stephen Malkmus-"Discretion Grove" cd5 (Matador)

Masters At Work-THE ESSENTIAL RECORDINGS 1996-2000 (BBE)
Most of the jazz-influenced house I've heard has disappointed me, but Masters At Work manage to combine a 70s vibe (including real improvisation, rather than the electric piano tinkling that usually passes for "jazz" in contemporary dance music) with dance beats. Not all of this 4-disc set works, but at $25, it's the cheapest, most generous box set I've ever bought.

Peaches-THE TEACHES OF PEACHES (Kitty Yo)
Attitude-heavy, sex-positive (to say the least, with song titles like "Fuck The Pain Away," "Diddle My Skiddle" and "Suck And Let Go") homemade post-riot grrl electronica. Kind of a novelty album, much like kissing cousins Le Tigre and Chicks On Speed at their most disposable, but fun. Would've sounded great on the BAISE-MOI soundtrack.

Matthew Shipp's New Orbit-s/t (Thirsty Ear)
What Erik Satie might have sounded like had he turned his hand to jazz composition.

Rachid Taha-MADE IN MEDINA (Ark 21)
I'm suspicious of world music/dance/rock fusions, but this Algerian-French singer's album combines all three to stunning effect. When he rocks, he really sounds furious, and he integrates the trance/pulse beats of Arabic and dance music surprisingly well. Had I picked it up in 2000 (it came out as a French import a few months ago), it would been #5 or 6 on my Top 10 list for that year.

Vladislav Delay-ANIMA (Mille Plateaux)
Minimalist undersea drone, broken up by dub/glitch effects and book-ended by (Godspeed-inspired?) spoken word samples. Great background music, whether or not that's what Mr. Delay intended.