Favorite Records 2022

Thought I’d share some of my favorite sounds from the records that were released this past year. I listened to a lot of different types of music in 2022, but the most emergent trend was a continuing move away from more strictly electronic music to more guitar-driven sounds and jazz. Maybe I’m getting old, or maybe I just can’t see the point of listening to club music when I don’t see myself going clubbing again anytime soon, but I still think this list will have something for every type of listening sensibility. Do let me know what you think!!

Eyes of the Amaryllis- Sift

Lo-fi bedroom chamber music for teenage ghosts, some tracks here (“Every Year”) are overwhelming, yearning shadows of normal pop songs, and others (“Fence Hobbyist”) recall the best of groups of freaks like No-Neck Blues Band. A real treat.

Matchess- Sonescent

The sensation of hearing an excellent country band through a wall and a haze of sine waves and tape hiss. Aurally manipulative, expressive, and rather perfect. Will absolutely freak people out if they’re a little too lifted, a real beauty of a record that tests the listener’s capacity for deep listening.

Alexander Hawkins Mirror Canon- Break a Vase

A pal on the I Love Music boards said something like, “the only problem with that Hawkins record is that it’s too short,” and I’d agree— on heavy rotation since it came out in January 2022, it’s Hawkins at his best on the keys, with some real heavies in the band, too. The urgency of “Stamped Down, or Shovelled” or cool improv of “Faint Making Stones” should be enough to convince anyone on the fence.

Gerry Franke- Found Myself or Just I’m Dead

In many internet databases, this record is categorized as “Tribal Ambient,” but that does Franke’s brilliance a disservice— this is a truly out-there collection of heavily-syncopated percussion and guitar tracks that worm their way into the consciousness in a catchy yet weirdly unsettling way. Mind-bending, highly recommended.

Fievel is Glauque- Flaming Swords

It’s a somewhat lazy comparison, perhaps, but it is impossible to not think of Steely Dan and Stereolab when listening to Fievel is Glauque. There’s something about the simultaneous precision and lightness of the tunes that is utterly convincing in its strangeness. Deep proggy vibes, too, but in songs that are bite-sized, so the listener is constantly kept on their metaphorical toes. Though “The River” isn’t on here, it’s probably worth checking that single out, too— one of the best tracks to come out in 2022.

Lori Goldston & Stefan Christoff- Punk Equinox

Certainly the best album title of 2022, this record documents an entirely improvised set of music between cellist Goldston and organist Christoff, here on an old Hammond. Drones, moments that sound like a hurdy-gurdy, bowing currents from the depths of the earth. Deeply ecstatic at moments, too, particularly on “Wingspan in the Sunshine.”

Eric Chenaux- Say Laura

Extended and oft-unhinged guitar techniques and Chenaux’s sweetly crooning tenor allow this record to resemble the queasy yet beautiful feelings of love’s early stages. “There They Were” was the track that hooked me first— a ten-minute jammer where the last six minutes consist of Chenaux repeating the same lyric over and over while the pulsing and wild shimmying of his guitar rides behind him.

Binker Golding- Dream Like a Dogwood Wild Boy

London sax virtuoso Golding has made a record that hits all the pleasure points of Keith Jarrett’s early 70s fusion records, the Americana vibes of AOR hits from Bruce Hornsby & The Range, and the playing chops of a wildly talented jazz quintet. Other than Golding himself, I have to admit that I’m really partial to Sarah Tandy’s work on the keys, which is lush at the right moments and fits perfectly into Golding’s compositions. The melodies WILL get stuck in your head, so be prepared.

Širom- The Liquified Throne of Simplicity

This Slovenian trio describe their sound as “imaginary folk,” which is a bit of a misnomer, because their sound is a synthesis of many multiple musical traditions throughout the globe. Some moments resemble chaabi music, some recall Slavic peasant traditions, and some recall the repetitive vortex of Faust driven by analog instruments. A weird surprise, vaguely threatening at times, too!

mike cooper- Forbidden Delta Planet Blues

I learned this year that cooper is one of the most reliable outsiders there is, and this record is no exception— here we have nearly two heady hours of processed and looped lap steel guitar channeling the flow of rivers both on our own planet and planets way outside our galaxy. The whole record is worth checking out, but the fourth track is a standout, as an extraterrestrial idyll becomes a deep space horrorshow over the course of 25 spell-binding minutes.

death’s dynamic shroud- Darklife

Glitched-out maximalist pop music containing many elements that would normally annoy me— heavily processed and autotuned vocals abound, and the skipping CD effect can only entertain for so long if one’s done enough listening to weird music. But something about this record bewitches me, even makes me emotional— and the melodies are a help too, as evidenced by a recent bout of insomnia when “Light Left the Garden” became irrevocably stuck on a loop in my brain.

Jeff Parker ETA IVtet- Mondays at the Enfield Tennis Academy

Parker’s Forfolks was one of last year’s best records, a warm and intimate collection that was on a pretty constant rotation for much of this year, too. This record, the result of several live sessions with a quartet, is certainly one of 2022’s best records— a sunny, acid-drenched California spirit seeps into the sounds here, showcasing an ambient jazz that’s not as dark as Bohren und Der Club of Gore, but not as ethereal and spiritualized as Nala Sinephro. It’s active vibing, lead by Parker but indebted to the astonishing playing from all involved.

Nick Storring- Music from Wei

Solo piano has always “gotten” me, from Charles Ives’ “Concord Sonata” to Morton Feldman’s “For Bunita Marcos,” and so this record from composer Storring grabbed my attention. Originally meant to accompany a dance piece by Yvonne Ng, the piece includes everything from minimalist kinetics to percussive wanderings and echoes of the Romantics, too.

Moin- Paste

Irresistibly catchy, kraut-inspired post-hardcore. Not usually my thing, but this record really goes.

Joseph Allred-Thầy

While I appreciate Daniel Bachman’s reinvigoration of and investigations into the American primitive guitar sound, I just don’t like his newer records very much— they’re interesting conceptually, but not terribly pleasant to listen to. Joseph Allred, on the other hand, is one of the world’s finest fingerpicking guitarists, and while one of his other records is getting more traction on EOY lists, it’s this meditative and plaintive record (a musical setting for two haiku) that really got me this past year.

RA Washington/Jah Nada- In Search of Our Father’s Gardens

If Sunn O))) were to produce a blasphemous gospel jazz record, it might sound something like this double LP from Mourning (A) BLKStar’s RA Washington and Bloody Show’s Jah Nada. Deep, brooding drones ferment under repetitive bells, a tinny brass group, and incantatory vocals on “When the Angels Sing,” and the bass-heavy menace of Bohren’s “darkjazz” comes through strong on “Hands.” That the digital version comes with an extra track called “Side E,” which is sides B & C played together, should be some indicator as to whether this record is for you— but I think it’s one of the year’s best.

Romance- Once Upon a Time

Probably the only ambient record of 2022 that I truly adored, Romance samples heavily from Celine Dion songs to create a queer sadboi dreamscape of lost love and hope amidst the tears. An emotionally resonant, beautiful record that sounds as sincere as it is lush.

Anna Butterss- Activities

Bassist Anna Butterss composed and played most of the instruments you hear on this record, which is a real marvel of jazz’s expanding vocabulary; indeed, there are moments here that wouldn’t sound out of place on an Aphex Twin record, some sample-heavy precision that recalls a less dusty Dilla, and epiphanic spiritual journeys like “Blevins,” the piece that continues to play in my head long after a listen.

Rilla- Yugeki EP/Yukou EP

Kyoto’s Rilla came out with two EPs on Shanghai’s SVBKVLT label this year, and there’s something about his noisy, post-deconstructed club sound that really feeds me. Take the Yugeki EP’s “Fifth Wave,” which includes a dirty Detroit techno bassline reminiscent of Underground Resistance, a looping modulator ring, live-sounding bells and other non-standard percussive elements, and grainy vocal samples. It’s aggressive and noisy and not necessarily for the dancefloor, but it is really something to behold given proper attention and good subs. “Magatama” on the Yukou EP will please those looking for that hard trance sound, too.

Chloe Jackson-Reynolds- The Winter Concert

A trans teen from Regina, Saskatchewan, uses looping pedals and an arsenal of woodwind instruments to record a live concert via a Discord call, and it might just be one of the best improvisatory jazz records of the year. Truly incredible stuff from Jackson-Reynolds, who is one to watch, and whose Twitter account is also a joy— a phrase rarely, if ever, used in my house.

Books Read 2019

Books Read 2019

  • Baudelaire’s Fractal by Lisa Robertson
  • Black Tickets by Jayne Anne Phillips
  • Vampires: an Uneasy Essay on the Undead in Film by Jalal Toufic
  • Forthcoming by Jalal Toufic
  • Platform by Rodrigo Toscano
  • The Disparities by Rodrigo Toscano
  • The Arab Apocalypse by Etel Adnan *
  • Stan Douglas: Every Building on 100 West Hastings Exhibition Catalog (Essays by Derksen & Smith)
  • Triage by Cecily Nicholson *
  • In the American Tree (ed. Silliman)
  • Afrodisia: New Poems by Ted Joans
  • Meddle English by Caroline Bergvall
  • Fig: Goan Atom 2 by Caroline Bergvall
  • Drift by Caroline Bergvall
  • Railtracks by John Berger and Anne Michaels
  • I Am My Own Wife by Doug Wright
  • Two Plays: A Murder of Crows and The Hyacinth Macaw by Mac Wellman
  • Poems by JH Prynne
  • Metamorphopsis by Norma Cole
  • Ocean of Sound by David Toop *
  • Against Ambience and Other Essays by Seth Kim-Cohen
  • Light Sweet Crude by Nancy Shaw and Catriona Strang
  • A Minor Operation by Phil Hall
  • Nude by Anne Portugal (trans. Normal Cole)
  • Dissolve by Sherwin Bitsui
  • I Love You, It Looks like Rain by June Gehringer
  • I Don’t Write About Race by June Gehringer
  • Notes Preceding Trust by Kathleen Fraser *
  • Political Subject by Caleb Beckwith
  • undercurrent by rita wong
  • Furthest Ecology by Adam Fagin
  • Heavy by Kiese Laymon
  • A Handbook of Disappointed Fate by Anne Boyer *
  • The Undying by Anne Boyer
  • Grenade in Mouth: some poems of Miyo Vestrini by Miyo Vestrini (trans. Cassandra Gillig & Anne Boyer)
  • Woman Sitting at the Machine, Thinking by Karen Brodine
  • Work Week by Karen Brodine
  • Pet Sounds by Stephanie Young
  • Yesterday, at the Hotel Clarendon by Nicole Brossard (trans. Susanne de Lotbiniere-Harwood)
  • Inside Song by Steve Dickison
  • sKincerity by Laura Elrick
  • LOBA by Diane di Prima
  • Argento Series by Kevin Killian *
  • Bedrooms Have Windows by Kevin Killian *
  • Tony Greene Era by Kevin Killian
  • Stage Fright by Kevin Killian
  • To The Friend Who Did Not Save My Life by Herve Guibert *
  • Beautiful Aliens: A Steve Abbot Reader (ed. Jamie Townsend) ^^
  • In Commemoration of the Visit by Kathleen Fraser & Bob Gluck
  • iduna by kari edwards
  • Low Fancy by Catriona Strang
  • Reveries of a Solitary Biker by Catriona Strang
  • Pause Button by Kevin Davies
  • Ogress Oblige by Dorothy Trujillo Lusk *
  • Redactive by Dorothy Trujillo Lusk *
  • Transnational Muscle Cars by Jeff Derksen
  • Verbal Paradise by George Quasha
  • Water & Light by Phyllis Webb
  • The Post-Electric Caveman by Ken Belford
  • Treaty 6 Deixis by Christine Stewart
  • Presence Detection System by Nora Collen Fulton
  • Just Like I Like It by Danielle LaFrance ^^
  • Friendly + Fire by Danielle LaFrance *
  • Sight by Lyn Hejinian and Leslie Scalapino
  • My Life and My Life in the Nineties by Lyn Hejinian
  • Old Business by Ryan Dobran
  • Here in The by Russell Atkins
  • World’d Too Much by Russell Atkins
  • The Neckless Spokesperson of the Garden of Earthly Delights by John DeWitt
  • Total Recall by Samantha Giles
  • In Felt Treeling by Michael Cross
  • The Riot Grrrl Thing by Sara Larsen
  • Libertines in the Ante-Room of Love: Poets on Punk (eds. Grant Kerber and Jamie Townsend)
  • Where Shadows Will by Norma Cole
  • Arcana: A Stephen Jonas Reader
  • American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin by Terrance Hayes
  • A Billion Black Anthropocenes or None by Kathryn Yusoff
  • The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead
  • In the Wake by Christine Sharpe *
  • Giscome Road by CS Giscombe
  • Du Bois’s Telegram by Juliana Spahr
  • And It Begins Like This by LaTanya McQueen
  • Dread Beat And Blood by Linton Kwesi Johnson
  • Cemetery of Mind by Dambudzo Marechera
  • The Baghdad Blues by Sinan Antoon
  • Discipline by Dawn Lundy Martin
  • Reported Speech by Pavel Arseniev
  • Cruel Fiction by Wendy Trevino *
  • Letters Against the Firmament by Sean Bonney *
  • Ennui by Chris McCreary
  • Ashenfolk by Joseph Mosconi
  • Empire’s Tracks: Indigenous Nations, Chinese Workers, and the Transcontinental Railroad by Manu Karuka
  • Eyes Bottle Dark With a Mouthful of Flowers by Jake Skeets
  • Heartberries by Terese Marie Mailhot
  • Dying of Whiteness by Jonathan Metzl
  • The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman
  • The Deepest Well by Nadine Burke Harris
  • Silas Marner by George Eliot *
  • Accident by Christa Wolfe
  • Memoirs of an Interglacial Age by Philip Whalen
  • Eelahroo (Long Ago) Nyah (Looking) Mobo-Mobo (Future) by Lionel G. Fogarty
  • Our Death by Sean Bonney
  • Wigger by Lawrence Braithwaite *
  • Riding Home by Helen Potrebenko
  • Malina by Ingeborg Bachmann
  • People Skulk by J. Gordon Faylor
  • Blood in the Water by Heather Ann Thompson
  • Sugar Pill by Drew Gardner
  • Syncope by Asiya Wadud
  • Split Tooth by Tanya Tagaq
  • Spill by Alexis Pauline Gumbs
  • Sincerity Forever by Mac Wellman
  • I Don’t Have Any Paper So Shut Up, Or, Social Romanticism by Bruce Andrews
  • The End by MC Hyland
  • chapbooks by Christy Davids, Nabil Kashyap, Connie Yu, Kenneth Irby, Stephanie Young, Jack Spicer, Andrea Abi-Karam, tanner menard, Stephen Rodefer, and most likely others whom I am forgetting.

Books Read 2018

Apologies for my tardiness in posting last year’s readings. Those entries marked with a star (*) indicate those that were re-reads. Those marked with a pound sign (#) indicate those that I read more than once within 2018’s span.

  • Convergences by Lionel Kearns
  • The Properties by Colin Browne
  • Passing Duration by Stephen Rodefer
  • Triage by Cecily Nicholson
  • Wayside Sang by Cecily Nicholson
  • Sybil Unrest by Larissa Lai & Rita Wong
  • Prison Industrial Complex Explodes by Mercedes Eng
  • The Gorge by Nancy Shaw
  • Lightsail by Lissa Wolsak
  • Counter-Interpellation by Aaron Vidaver
  • blert by Jordan Scott*
  • Lost Language by Maxine Gadd
  • Buddyland by Clint Burnham
  • The Only Poetry That Matters by Clint Burnham
  • You Must Work Harder to Write Poetry of Excellence by Donato Mancini
  • To After That (toaf) by Renee Gladman*
  • The Activist by Renee Gladman*
  • Calamities by Renee Gladman
  • Pamela: A Novel by Pamela Lu
  • The Desert by Brandon Shimoda
  • Evening Oracle by Brandon Shimoda
  • Things Stirring Together or Far Away by Larry Eigner
  • Waters/Places/A Time by Larry Eigner
  • Ode to Certain Interstates by Howard W. Robertson
  • Smudgy & Lossy by John Myers
  • Valley Fever by Julia Bloch
  • A Handbook of Disappointed Fate by Anne Boyer
  • Atomik Aztex by Sesshu Foster
  • City of the Future by Sesshu Foster
  • Kildare by Stacy Doris
  • Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese
  • Islands of Decolonial Love by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson #
  • indigena awry by annharte
  • Shadow Country by Paula Gunn Allen
  • Life is a Fatal Disease by Paula Gunn Allen
  • Don’t Let Them See Me Like This by Jasmine Gibson
  • Dear Angel of Death by Simone White
  • Counternarratives by John Keene #
  • In the Presence of Absence by Mahmoud Darwish
  • Veil by Rafia Zakaria
  • Personal Stereo by Rebecca Tuhus-Dubrow
  • Tumor by Anna Leahy
  • Trouble Songs by Jeffrey T. Johnson
  • Fontamara by Ignazio Silone
  • 40 Stories by Donald Barthelme
  • Class Warfare by DM Fraser #
  • Silas Marner by George Eliot
  • Jesus’ Son by Denis Johnson *
  • No Other by Mark Gluth *
  • Bear by Marian Engel #
  • Complete Poems by Marianne Moore +
  • Liar by Mike Amnasan
  • Touching Voids in Sense by Rob Halpern
  • Recombinant by Ching-in Chen
  • General Motors by Ryan Eckes
  • Testimony: The United States by Charles Reznikoff *
  • Holocaust by Charles Reznikoff
  • How to Flit by Mark Johnson
  • Cruel Fiction by Wendy Trevino
  • They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us by Hanif Abdurraqib
  • Bright Felon by Kazim Ali *
  • There There by Tommy Orange #
  • An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States by Roxane Dunbar-Ortiz *
  • Sarajevo Blues by Semezdin Mehmedinovic
  • Nine Alexandrias by Semexdin Mehmedinovic
  • Blank by M. NourbeSe Philip
  • Kith by Divya Victor
  • The Cooking Gene by Michael Twitty
  • Carceral Capitalism by Jackie Wang
  • Proxies by Brian Blanchfield
  • Into and Out of Dislocation by C.S. Giscombe
  • Riding Toward Everywhere by William T. Vollmann *
  • North American Stadiums by Grady Chambers
  • The Grid Book by Hannah B. Higgins
  • A Manual for Cleaning Women by Lucian Berlin
  • chapbooks by Tan Lin, Jordan Scott, Lisa Robertson, Wendy Trevino, Angel Dominguez, Julian Talamantez Brolaski, MC Hyland, Anna Gurton-Wachter, Deanna Ferguson, Maxine Gadd, Jack Spicer, Renne Sarojini Saklikar, Marguerite Pigeon, Judith Goldman, etc.
  • countless manuscripts
  • numerous plays by Chekhov, Brecht, Beckett, Parks, Shange, etc. for courses
  • numerous short stories for courses

Books Read 2017

Here is the list of books that I read in 2017. I didn’t include chapbooks this year, mostly because I lost track of how many I read. Additionally, I read a load of other smaller bits and pieces of things for the classes that I taught. Most of those on this list were for pleasure *or* pleasure & study.
– Perverse, All Monstrous by Cody-Rose Clevidence
– agon. by Judith Goldman
– I Can’t Distinguish Opposites by Mike Amnasan
– Beyond the Safety of Dreams by Mike Amnasan
– Anti-Face by Michael Nicoloff
– The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
– Friendly + Fire by Danielle LaFrance (re-read)
– For Love and Autonomy by Anahita Jamali-Rad
– Same Diff by Donato Mancini
– Night & Ox by Jordan Scott
– decomp. by Jordan Scott and Stephen Collis
– Fireweed by Ken Belford
– Internodes by Ken Belford
– Festival by Broc Rossell
– The Return of Painting, the Pearl, and Orion by Leslie Scalapino
– WHEREAS by Layli Long Soldier
– The Place of Scraps by Jordan Abel
– Fortino Samano by Virginie Lalucq and Jean-Luc Nancy (trans. Sylvain Gallais & Cynthia Hogue)
– Empire Wasted by Becca Klaver
– OUTSPEAKS: A Rhapsody by Albert Saijo
– In the Break by Fred Moten (full text after several attempts)
– Evening Oracle by Brandon Shimoda
– the necro-luminescence of pink mist by Ed Steck
– Veil by Rafia Zakaria
– Crawlspace by Nikki Wallschlaeger
– c.c. by Tyrone Williams
– The Complete Works of Pat Parker (ed. Julia Enszer)
– Heaven is All Goodbyes by Tongo Eisen-Martin
– Human Resources by Rachel Zolf
– Zong! by M. NourbeSe Philip & Setaey Adamu Boateng (re-read)
– Discourse on Colonialism by Aime Cesaire (re-read)
– Death Sentence by Maurice Blanchot (trans. Lydia Davis)
– World Ball Notebook by Sesshu Foster
– Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States by Roxane Dunbar-Ortiz
– Peace, Power, Righteousness: an indigenous manifesto by Taiaiake Alfred
– Nature Poem by Tommy Pico
– All Our Relations by Winona LaDuke
– Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
– fire this time. by RA Washington
– Measuring the Harlem Renaissance by Michael Soto
– Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (re-read)
– Confronting Fascism by Don Hamerquist
– From Our Hearts to Yours: New Narrative as Contemporary Practice (eds. Rob Halpern and Robin Tremblay-McGraw)
– Withdrawn: a Discourse by Thom Donovan
– Withdrawn by Thom Donovan
– The Practice of the Wild by Gary Snyder (re-read)
– Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard (re-read)
– Teaching a Stone to Talk by Annie Dillard
– Already Dead by Denis Johnson (re-read)
– Once in Blockadia by Stephen Collis
– Olio by Tyehimba Jess
– Denny Smith: stories by Robert Gluck (re-read)
– Noise in the Face Of by David Buuck