Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Twenty Best Music Videos of 2011

Partly because I'm horrified by the absence of Tom Waits in my year-end albums and songs and shows lists, I was compelled to compile another list that would include the great man.

1. Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat- "Copper Top" (above)
I identify with every moment.

2. Spoek Mathambo- "Control"

3. Tyler, the Creator- "Yonkers"
A nihilistic star is born.

4. ASAP Rocky- "Purple Swag"
Can't. Stop. Watching.

5. BLNRB featuring Ukoo Flani, Radi and Jahcoozi- "Ma Bhoom Bhoom"
What in the world?

6. Beyonce- "Best Thing I Never Had"
No explanation necessary.

7. Tuneyards- "Bizness"

8. Manchester Orchestra- "Simple Math"

9. Evidence featuring Fashawn- "Same Folks"
The encounter at 3:35 floors me.

10. Tom Waits- "Satisfied"
It "scratches where I been itchin'."

11. Is Tropical- "The Greeks"
The music is just ok, but oh, the video!

12. Destroyer- "Kaputt"

13. Battles- "My Machines"
Gary Numan!

14. Sims- "Burn It Down"
I love this crew.

15. Lil Wayne- 6 Foot 7 Foot
It's all about Tammy.

16. St. Vincent- "Cruel"

17. Nicki Minaj- "Moment 4 Life"

19. Mayer Hawthorne- "A Long Time"
A sweet homage to Berry Gordy.

20. Katy Perry- "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)"
What's it to you?

Need more? Here's my list of the top 25 Kansas City music videos of 2011.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

We Play Funerals

Two of the finest musicians in the Kansas City area endured a tough gig Monday. The duo's discrete music was repeatedly drowned out by indifferent patrons at an establishment in Johnson County.

One of the band's members attempted to address the worst offenders by politely engaging them at their table as his partner vamped. The group of twenty-somethings didn't take the hint.

"We do weddings- anyone out there getting married?" the musician later asked with a murderous glare. "No? Well, we also do funerals. We play exactly the same repertoire."

A handful of attentive listeners laughed, but it really wasn't funny. More often than not, people unable to S.T.F.U. impede upon my enjoyment of live music.

Jazz giant Sam Rivers has died.

Jim "Motorhead" Sherwood , a native of Arkansas City, Kansas, died on Christmas Day. (Tip via a source who prefers to remain anonymous.)

Credential Hip Hop selects the Top 20 Kansas City Hip Hop Albums of 2011.

Kansas City Click: I need to attend two more shows to reach 365 in 2011. I have yet to pick 'em.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Review: Mark Lowrey at the RecordBar

As the year-end lists in the previous two There Stands the Glass posts indicate, my preoccupation with jazz Black American Music and hip hop persists.

That's why I recently dragged my weary carcass to the RecordBar after midnight a couple days ago for the latest installment of Mark Lowrey's series of live collaborations with hip hop artists.

It was disappointing to discover that the dozen or so B.A.M. and hip hop musicians almost outnumbered the members of the audience. Even so, what I witnessed was astounding. The monstrous funk groove drummer Ryan Lee and Lowrey created was enhanced by the guitar and vocals of Enrique Javier Chi of Making Movies.

So fresh!

I reviewed the Wilder's self-titled album.

My current pathological aversion to Americana doesn't apply to Kathleen Edwards.

I learned of the late Bill Tapia via a DJ at So charming!

Here's another "Nancy Reagan" update. (Via Wayward Blog.)

Billie Jo Spears has died. (Tip via BGO.)

Here's a mildly amusing Wakarusa tease.

Dee Spears, Willie Nelson's longtime bassist, has died. (Tip via BGO.)

Bob Burnett of the Highwaymen has died. (Tip via BGO.)

Kansas City native Bob Brookmeyer has died.

Cesaria Evora has died.

Ralph McDonald has died. (Tip via BGO.)

Mac Lethal has officially unveiled "Royal's Cap (My Ode to Kansas City)".

Year-end Kansas City music lists!

Kansas City Click: You don't want to be like me- stay home for once.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Meet Me In the Bathroom Stall: The Best Albums and Songs of 2011

The 25 Best Albums of 2011
I'd like to think that hip hop and jazz dominated my listening time in 2011 because that's where the most compelling and artistically relevant developments were taking place. I could easily list 25 interesting albums from each genre. Black Up would rate highly on both tallies. And The Race Riot Suite may very well be the Mingus Ah Um of our time.

I reluctantly hopped off the metal bandwagon in 2011. The happy medium between blissful stupidity and self-conscious theorizing became too difficult for me to locate. The post-Husker Du album David Comes To Life rescued me.

And before you ask, I have nothing against the Wilcos and Fleet Foxes of the world. I still like that stuff. If I'm going to listen to the same-old same-old, however, I prefer that it come in the form of R&B from the likes of Jill Scott and Kindred the Family Soul.

I don't expect to see There Are Rules listed elsewhere. While most people panned the album, it's hit me just as powerfully as if I had commissioned TGUK to create an angry album for a music-obsessed Midwestern guy in his forties who refuses to let go of the things he loves.

1. Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey- The Race Riot Suite

2. F*cked Up- David Comes To Life

3. Joe Lovano & Us 5- Bird Songs

4. Shabazz Palaces- Black Up

5. Tech N9ne- All 6's and 7's

6. Bill Frisell & Vinicius Cantuaria- Lagrimas Mexicanas

7. Lil Wayne- Tha Carter IV

8. Ambrose Akinmusire- When the Heart Emerges Glistening

9. Jill Scott- The Light of the Sun

10. The Get Up Kids- There Are Rules

11. Raphael Saadiq- Stone Rollin'
12. Danny Brown- XXX
13. David Binney- Graylen Epicenter
14. Bon Iver- Bon Iver
15. Hospital Ships- Lonely Twin
16. James Farm- James Farm
17. Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat- Everything's Getting Older
18. Mac Lethal- North Korean BBQ
19. Death Grips- Exmilitary
20. Orrin Evans- Captain Black Big Band
21. The Go! Team- Rolling Blackouts
22. My Morning Jacket- Circuital
23. Rev. John Wilkins- God Is Right On Time
24. Opeth- Heritage
25. The Wilders- The Wilders

The 25 Best Songs of 2011
The radio is one of the few things that still works in my 17-year-old car. The majority of these songs served as my favorite driving companions in 2011.

1. Tyler, the Creator- "Yonkers"

2. Kelly Rowland- "Motivation"

3. Jay-Z and Kanye West- "N- in Paris"

4. Ha Ha Tonka- "Usual Suspects"

5. Ledisi- "Pieces of Me"

6. Lil Wayne- "6 Foot 7 Foot"

7. ASAP Rocky- "Purple Swag"

8. Seether- "Country Song"

9. Pistol Annies- "Hell on Heels"

10. Jason Aldean- "Dirt Road Anthem"

11. Deathgrips- "Guillotine"
12. Avery Sunshine- "Ugly Part of Me"
13. Manchester Orchestra- "Simple Math"
14. Miranda Lambert- "Baggage Claim"
15. M83- "Midnight City"
16. R. Kelly- "Number One Hit"
17. Tuneyards- "Bizness"
18. Jose James- "Trouble"
19. Vybz Kartel featuring Sheba- "You & Him Deh"
20. Eric Church- "Put a Drink In My Hand"
21. Rihanna- "We Found Love"
22. Mary Mary- "Walking"
23. Spoek Mathambo- "Control"
24. Meek Mill- "Tupac Back"
25. DJ Khaled- "I'm On One"

I conducted similar recaps for 2010, 2009, 2007 and 2006. My favorite live performances of 2011 are listed here.

(Original image of Pat Green by There Stands the Glass.)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The 36 Best Live Performances of 2011

"The night life ain't no good life, but it's my life." I will have taken in over 365 individual performances in 2011 by New Year's Eve.. The following list of my favorite ten percent of these shows is deceptive. While hip hop is the dominant force in popular music, the genre is underrepresented. Only the charisma and vibrant catalogs of Weezy, Black Elvis, Tech and Ye and Jay allowed them to overcome their otherwise sketchy presentations. The reverse is true of jazz. Kansas City's jazz renaissance is, if anything, underrepresented here. Matt Otto and Jeff Harshbarger, pictured in the accompanying photo, are my second and third favorite musicians in Kansas City. And finally, how is it possible that Knuckleheads, the region's best venue, didn't make the cut?

1. KC Sound Collective- Blue Room

2. Deftones- VooDoo Lounge

3. Daniel Johnston with Capybara- Beaumont Club

4. Janelle Monae- Independence Events Center

5. An Evening with Virgil Thomson- Helzberg Hall

6. Matt Otto Quartet- Blue Room

7. My Morning Jacket- Uptown Theater

8. Diverse with Tony Tixier- Grant Recital Hall

9. Lil Wayne- Sprint Center

10. Joe Lovano & Us Five- Gem Theater

11. Goitse- Washington Square Park

12. Civil Wars- Crosstown Station

13. A Perfect Circle- Kansas Speedway

14. People's Liberation Big Band- RecordBar

15. Jay-Z and Kanye West- Sprint Center

16. Bon Iver- Uptown Theater

17. Motley Crue- Sprint Center

18. Tedeschi Trucks Band- Crossroads KC

19. Deborah Brown- Gem Theater

20. Enter Shikari- Sandstone

21. Pat Metheny and Larry Grenadier- Liberty Hall

22. Kool Keith- Czar Bar

23. Old Crow Medicine Show- Crossroads KC

24. Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Experience- VooDoo Lounge

25. Clutch- Midland Theater

26. Del McCoury with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band- Lied Center

27. Stone Sour- Penn Valley Park

28. Ingrid Fliter and the Kansas City Symphony- Lyric Theater

29. Grisly Hand- Plaza Art Fair

30. Marilyn Maye- Jardine's

31. Jonathan Butler- Gem Theater

32. Hearts of Darkness- Crosstown Station

33. Micah Herman Quintet- RecordBar

34. Tech N9ne- Midland Theater

35. Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra- Helzberg Hall

36. Guns N' Roses- Sprint Center

I conducted similar exercises in 2010 and 2009.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Top 25 Kansas City Music Videos of 2011

While I'm a bit embarrassed that a twee pop song tops a list loaded with gangsta rappers, I simply can't resist Hidden Pictures' suffocatingly cute video.

1. Hidden Pictures- "Anne Apparently"
2. Greg Enemy - "Sophisticated Goon Sh*t"
3. Hospital Ships- "Galaxies"
4. XV- "Awesome"
5. Stik Figa and Ron Ron- "Caked Up"
6. Hammerlord- "Tombstone Piledriver"
7. Big Scoob- "All I Kno is Hood"
8. The Latenight Callers- "The Tease"
9. Girls With Guitars featuring Samantha Fish- "B*tch"
10. Mac Lethal- "Something I Can Heart"
11. Ces Cru featuring Mac Lethal- "Guntitled"
12. Ron Ron- "The Ghetto"
13. The Popper feat. Tech N9ne, Ron Ron & Donta Slusha- "For the Mo"
14. Ubiquitous- "Roadwork"
15. Minden- "Gold Standard"
16. Tech N9ne- "He's a Mental Giant"
17. Dinero Fazil- "Mi Vida Escrita en Papeles"
18. Cash Image- "'Round Here"
19. Dutch Newman- "Do You Like Mine"
20. Mon EG- featuring Lil Boosie- "Dime Piece"
21. Nesto the Owner- "Man In My City"
22. Steddy P- "Live Your Life"
23. Dutch Newman- "Sean Malto"
24. Beama featuring JL and Big Ben- "Street Session"
25. Red Line Chemistry- "You Don't Get It"

Mac Lethal's "Look at Me Now" merits an honorable mention for raking in 9 million views in two weeks.

I conducted the same exercise in 2010.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Everything's Getting Older

I found my musical soulmate. Having come to the conclusion that my personal preferences in music had become so oddly deformed that no one could possibly share my love of free jazz, hip hop and metal, I discovered a year-end 50 favorite albums list that correlates with my interests. Craig Taborn and Tech N9ne? I am not alone.

My new best friend's list does not include Everything's Getting Older, the new album by Aidan Moffat and Bill Wells. It's tentatively placed at #18 on year-end my list.

Esperanza Spaulding, Van der Graaf Generator, Wayne Shorter and Marianne Faithful? Montreal Jazz Festival , here I come.

Barbara Orbison and I didn't get along. She died Tuesday.

Dobie Gray has died.

What price loyalty? I'm taking a beating at Plastic Sax and in the real world for not aligning myself with an angry mob.

Kansas City Click: My official picks are published here.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Hubert and Howard

Life can be painful for inveterate music nerds. The spiritual and earthly highs music affords are often matched by extended periods of despair and sorrow. The last few days have been particularly difficult.

My music-related day job has been an emotional roller coaster. And a friend who owns a troubled nightclub has been vilified by many otherwise decent people. Meanwhile, many of the musicians I admire are scrambling to find alternative venues. Last night I was horrified as dozens of oblivious people spoiled otherwise exquisite acoustic performances by Brandi Carlile and the Secret Sisters. (Here's my review.)

And then there's the upsetting news of the deaths of Hubert Sumlin and Howard Tate.

I've been on Sumlin since I first heard Lindsay Shannon play Howlin' Wolf back when KCUR hosted the blues hound's weekly radio show. Exposure to Sumlin didn't make me throw away my Elton John and Aerosmith albums, but I was electrified by the ferocity of tracks like "Evil". You can imagine how magical my charmed life seemed when I soon discovered that I could sneak into the Grand Emporium to see the man who transformed American music. I never missed a chance to see Sumlin. Here are my notes and a photo documenting his final appearance in Kansas City last February.

While I probably saw Sumlin a dozen times, I don't believe I ever heard Tate sing. The great soul singer's life was complicated. I heard about Tate's initial sides from mentors like There Stands the Glass reader BGO. When he was "rediscovered" a few years ago, I snatched up Tate's recordings along with all the other hopeless crate diggers.

We're all gonna die, and expressing shock upon the deaths of old men is silly. Even so, each inevitable loss chips away at the very foundation of music nerds like me.

Nerds compile year-end lists, and my first published entry of 2011 is up at Plastic Sax.

Kansas City Click: New Jazz Order perform Tuesday at Harling's.

The Knux appear at the Riot Room on Wednesday. The nudity in the linked video is shocking!

Mavis Staples graces Helzberg Hall on Thursday.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Review: Jay-Z and Kanye West at Sprint Center

That sh*t cray.

Proper photos accompany Joel Francis' official review of Tuesday's show.

J. Blackfoot has died. (Tip via BGO.)

2,500,00-plus views in 48 hours? More power to you, Mac Lethal.

After managing to leave it alone for a couple months, I'm messing around at Turntable again. Let me know if you want to hang out.

Mojo's Top 50 Albums of 2011 list contains only one title that appears in my tentative Top 10. Between my affinity for both popular hip hop and unpopular jazz, I'm a veritable misfit toy.

Kansas City Click: My official picks are published here.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)