Music Reviews

Here is nearly every review I have written about the recorded music I have listened to in my life, sorted by year.

Below the table you will eventually find my attempt at creating definitive lists of the best rock, jazz and maybe even “classical” music I’m aware of. But this is work in progress.

2024202320222021 2020:
1. Fiona Apple: Fetch the Boltcutters
2. Guga Stroeter, Lucio Agra, Renato Soares – Computador do Amor
3. tētēma: Necroscape
4. Scott the Hoople: NEIL
5. Pearl Jam: Gigaton (6?/10)
1. Tool: Fear Inoculum
1. Missing Waves: Post-Crash (7/10)
2. Rabbit Rabbit: Black Inscription
1. Godspeed You! Black Emperor: “Luciferian Towers”
2. The Bob’s Burgers Music Album
3. Ex Eye
4. Vijay Iyer Sextet: Far From Over
1. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds: Skeleton Tree
2. Radiohead: A Moon Shaped Pool
3. The Dillinger Escape Plan: Dissociation
4. 4. The Bad Plus: It’s Hard
5. Weaves
6. Free Salamander Exhibit: Undestroyed
7. Wilco: Schmilco
1. Steve Coleman and the Council of Balance: Synovial Joints
2. Vijay Iyer: Break Stuff
3. The Visit: Through Darkness Into Light
4. Mary Halvorson: Meltframe
5. Wilco: Star Wars
6. The Bad Plus Joshua Redman
7. Godspeed You! Black Emperor: ‘Asunder, Sweet and Other Distress’
8. Rabbit Rabbit Radio Vol. 3 – Year of the Wooden Horse
9. Faith No More: Sol Invictus
10. Battles: La Di Da Di
1. tetema: Geocidal
2. Tinariwen: Emmaar
3. Parquet Courts: Sunbathing Animal
4. Thurston Moore: The Best Day
5. Robert Ellis: Lights from the Chemical Plant
6. Scott Walker, Sunn O))): Soused
7. Daniel Lanois: Flesh and Machine
8. Tord Gustavsen Quartet: Extended Circle
9. Beck: Morning Phase
10. John Hiatt: Terms of My Surrender

1. Hilary Hahn: In 27 Pieces: the Hilary Hahn Encores (9/10)
2. Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society: Brooklyn Babylon
3. The Dillinger Escape Plan: One of Us is the Killer
4. The Mary Halvorson Septet: Illusionary Sea
5. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds: Push the Sky Away
6. Deafheaven: Sunbather
7. The Flaming Lips: The Terror
8. Rabbit Rabbit: Rabbit Rabbit Radio, Vol. 1
9. Julian Lynch: Lines
10. Dave Holland: Prism
1. Godspeed You! Black Emperor: ‘Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!
1. Scott Walker: Bish Bosch
3. Fiona Apple: The Idler Wheel is Wiser than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More than Ropes Will Ever Do
4. John Zorn: The Gnostic Preludes
5. Hilary Hahn and Hauschka: Silfra
6. The Mars Volta: Nocturniquet
7. Dirty Projectors: Swing Lo Magellan
8. Jack White: Blunderbuss
9. Failure Epics
10. Weasel Walter, Mary Halvorson, Peter Evans: Mechanical Malfunction
1. PJ Harvey: Let England Shake
2. Dave Douglas and Brass Ecstasy: United Front: Brass Ecstasy Live at Newport
3. Original Broadway Cast Recording: The Book of Mormon by Matt Stone, Robert Lopez and Trey Parker
4. Peter Gabriel: New Blood
5. Tom Waits: Bad as Me
6. Bill Frisell’s 858 Quartet: Sign of Life
7. Man Man: Life Fantastic
8. Erik Friedlander: Bonebridge
9. Esmerine: La Lechuza
10. Weasel Walter, Mary Halvorson, Peter Evans: Electric Fruit
1. The Element Choir at Rosedale United
2. Nels Cline: Dirty Baby
3. The White Stripes: Under Great White Northern Lights
4. Elvis Costello: The National Ransom
5. Peter Gabriel: Scratch My Back
6. The Claudia Quintet: Royal Toast
7. Jason Robinson: Two Faces of Janus
8. Grinderman 2
9. Bill Frisell: Beautiful Dreamers
10. theHEAD: Trojan Jazz Festival
21st Century
20th Century
19th Century
18th Century
17th Century
16th Century
15th Century
14th Century
13th Century
12th Century

Here is a guide to my rating system:

  1. Transcendentally awful
  2. Awful
  3. Bad
  4. Below Average
  5. Average
  6. Above Average
  7. Good
  8. Very Good
  9. Great: Near-Perfect or Near-Transcendent
  10. Perfect and/or Transcendent

Core Curriculum

I have listened to a lot of music in my life, enough to think I know what people should listen to if they want to understand certain genres of music.

So I present here three lists of essential albums (or pieces, in the case of western art music) which give the listener an understanding of these genres. And I present them in authoritative order, meaning that the first list is for the genre I know the most about, the second I know a little bit less about and the third I know far less about.

Core Curriculum for Pop Rock Music

Core Curriculum for Jazz

Core Curriculum for Western Art Music (aka “Classical”)

As you can see there isn’t anything for Hip Hop, nor is there for electronic music or dance music (often lumped together). I know nothing about these genres and do not pretend to know anything.

As for genres such as blues and folk (and basically any “roots” genre), I know a fair amount about these genres but choose to omit lists for both of them for two reasons:

  • I don’t know enough to get truly authoritative, especially when it comes to before 1960 or so AND
  • So much of what I know about these genres comes from my experiences of pop rock music, and its sources.

I hope you find these lists useful. If not, please comment.