Jirin’s Discovery and Review Tournament 2

Jirin
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Re: Jirin’s Discovery and Review Tournament 2

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Joni Mitchell - Clouds

Joni Mitchell is one of the more opinionated artists of the 60s, always singing more from her ideology and beliefs than commercial inclinations. Spiritual, collectivist, and antimodern, her body of work often come off as an ideological self portrait. Clouds feels like the first stroke of that portrait when her distinctive sound really comes out for the first time.

Parliament - Funkentelecy vs the Placebo Syndrome

Parliament going full speed with their weirdness and it works perfectly.

Little Feat - Dixie Chicken

Solid blues rock with a range of contemporary influences. More focused on highlighting the musicianship and genre standards than the songwriting.

Quicksilver Messenger Service - Happy Trails

Some interesting unique songs but doesn't grip me all that much.

Winner: Parliament
Jirin
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Re: Jirin’s Discovery and Review Tournament 2

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Johnny Cash - At San Quentin

It's a lot of fun to hear the banter between songs. "Screw the record company, I do what you want to hear and what I want to do." You wonder if he was really rebelling against something there or if that's a scripted bit to rile up the audience. Cash's prison performances are cool but especially with the heavy cutting will pale in comparison to Folsom. He sounds like he's having a lot of fun in this one.

Nina Simone - High Priestess Of Soul

Nina Simone has one of the best voices in music history. This might not be her best collection of songs but she sounds amazing singing them.

Woody Guthrie - Dust Bowl Ballads

This might be the earliest album I've heard that shares so much DNA with my favorite 60s work. Bob Dylan in particular heavily adopts his cadence and tone in a lot of his early folk oriented work.

The Soft Machine - Third

Third combines jazz musicianship with progressive rock sensibilities and works really well, always being unpredictable and engaging.

This is really close between Dust Bowl Ballads and Third but have to go with Dust Bowl Ballads. Both have been added to my ranking program.

According to my ranking program, High Priestess of Soul had already risen pretty high.
Jirin
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Re: Jirin’s Discovery and Review Tournament 2

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Jay Z - Reasonable Doubt

Jay-Z's one of those rappers who's just always a pleasure to listen to because of his masterful wordplay. It's also cool that when he talks about having tons of money he talks about making sound responsible financial decisions with it. Reasonable Doubt doesn't rise to the heights of his classics but is an all around solid album.

Pulp - His N Hers

His N Hers sounds like the album where they found the sound they further developed in Different Class. But what primarily elevates Different Class is some of the most memorable songwriting ever, particularly with Common People and Disco 2000, and His N Hers doesn't have those kinds of heights.

Kate Bush - The Dreaming

Probably one of the most influential albums of all time for idiosyncratic female artists. Kate Bush excels at her most weird and experimental. This is probably the current favorite to come out of this quarter of the draw.

Bob Dylan - Another Side Of Bob Dylan

When I think of this album my mind immediately goes to My Back Pages. It expresses succinctly everything I try to say when I want to tell other liberals "I agree with your general beliefs but you're being way too black and white and judgmental about it." It's a shame this is going to lose to The Dreaming and won't get to face off against Dust Bowl Ballads considering how clear a straight line of influence you can draw between the two albums.

Winner: Kate Bush
Jackson
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Re: Jirin’s Discovery and Review Tournament 2

Post by Jackson »

Jirin wrote: Wed Oct 06, 2021 1:05 am Pulp - His N Hers

His N Hers sounds like the album where they found the sound they further developed in Different Class. But what primarily elevates Different Class is some of the most memorable songwriting ever, particularly with Common People and Disco 2000, and His N Hers doesn't have those kinds of heights.
It's hard to top Common People and Disco 2000, but I do think Babies and Do You Remember the First Time are top-tier Pulp songs that are better than anything on Different Class outside of the big 2.
Jirin
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Re: Jirin’s Discovery and Review Tournament 2

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The Beatles - Please Please Me

More pre-album era pop albums. Beatles were great at the pop formula at this point but it's still a formula. Songs that sound good but aren't as unique or imaginative as their later work. "Girl good, please love me girl".

Erroll Garner - Concert By The Sea

Still hard for me to talk about jazz. It soundy good.

Jay Z & Kanye West - Watch The Throne

Some of this sounds good, but this time a lot of the looped samples are seeming really grating. And Kanye's tiresome lyrics about the grand hater conspiracy against him get really obnoxious really fast. Why are his lyrics so consistently obsessed with criticism? If he weren't so narcissistic and obsessed with his criticism, I'd probably even like him. Jay Z and the other guests fortunately salvage the album.

Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers - Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers [Moanin’]

More of that 'Hard bop' I've been liking.

Winner: Erroll Garner
Jirin
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Re: Jirin’s Discovery and Review Tournament 2

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Miles Davis - Miles Ahead

Big band collaboration experiment from a time big band jazz was no longer popular that works perfectly.

Roy Harper - Lifemask

Roy Harper thrives on simple ringing chord progressions and wailing emotional singing, and Lifemask does it more so and a bit farther removed from conventional styles than his other albums. Lyrically it uses eloquent free wheeling metaphors, wandering and observing the loneliness and cdrazinessof the world. Lifemask was actually written while Harper thought he was going to die of a rare congenital blood disorder, and could have been called 'Deathmask' had he not survived.

Sonny Sharrock - Guitar

Just some great virtuosic guitar.

N.E.R.D - In Search of…

A good quirky fun hip hop album, unfortunately out of its league in this matchup.

Winner: Sonny Sharrock
Jirin
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Re: Jirin’s Discovery and Review Tournament 2

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Mos Def - Black On Both Sides

From the opening track one thing that stands out to me this time is the message "People get better when they feel they're valued". That's an elegant, simple way to communicate a complex truth that seems to be lost on a lot of people. Fun rap album.

Budd Powell - The Amazing Bud Powell

Solid piano jazz. It soundy good.

The Roots - How I Got Over

One of the only remaining rap acts to still be based on a full band of real instruments. By this point softer and more indie oriented than most of the genre.

Mount Eerie - Wind’s Poem

Solemn depressive lofi focusing more on slowly building up compelling textures than the songwriting. The music drowns out the locals like the singer is being drowned and overwhelmed.

These are four solid albums but possibly the weakest overall group in round 2 so far. The only one I didn't add any of them to my ranking system. Winner: Mount Eerie.
Jirin
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Re: Jirin’s Discovery and Review Tournament 2

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Dusty Springfield - A Girl Called Dusty/Stay Awhile - I Only Want To Be With You

Nice collection of tightly produced catchy pop songs.

Diana Ross - Diana

Another solid collection of solid pop songs, though maybe less consistent than Dusty's.

Free - Fire and Water

Free has become one of those blues rock bands you've probably heard a lot of their songs but don't necessarily know who they are. Earthy vocals and a musicianship oriented songwriting style that takes its time and builds on itself.

Ravi Shankar - Three Ragas

This one's one of my best discoveries from this entire game and one of the favorites to win it all. I don't have a lot of familiarity with Indian styles and most of my previous knowledge of Shankar is through Harrison collabs. I'm wondering if more of the genre is worth exploring.

Winner: Ravi Shankar
Jirin
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Re: Jirin’s Discovery and Review Tournament 2

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The Afhgan Whigs - Gentlemen

A big sound sad-toned hard rock album. Fun to listen to but doesn't stand out very much compared to the other albums left in this game.

The Rolling Stones - Out Of Our Heads

An early singles heavy album. Satisfaction is the obvious high point and in the other singles you see them coming into their own and discovering their style.

Bo Diddley - Bo Diddley

A collection of the blues rock tunes that helped invent the form. Takes the feeling of the blues standards floating around at the time and makes them upbeat and catchy. For a pat radio format, feels energetic and alive.

Bert Jansch - Jack Orion

Beautiful classic style folk melodies.

Winner: Bo Diddley
Jirin
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Re: Jirin’s Discovery and Review Tournament 2

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Chic - C’Est Chic

Chic's a disco/funk band I always seem to forget about. Even when they come up in bar trivia I think of all the other titans of the genre and forget they exist. C'est Chic is one of those near perfect executions of genre.

Oliver Nelson - The Blues and the Abstract Truth

More awesome hard bop.

The Beta Bands - The Three EP’s

In these EPs you can see why The Beta Band was once considered hot shit on the indie scene. The EPs don't really have a consistent focus and at different times sound like different indie styles such as lofi. It's a nice collection of songs but only the third EP strikes me as memorable when it gets away from the Lofi sound and more toward a mid 00s indie pop sound with really clever plays of melodies off bass lines.

Sonny Rollins - The Bridge

Very smooth saxophone driven hard bop. Another of those jazz albums I have a hard time talking about in concrete terms so I will just say "It soundy good".

Winner: Oliver Nelson
Jirin
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Re: Jirin’s Discovery and Review Tournament 2

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Them - The Angry Young Them

First time I listened to this was before I quite knew so much about Van Morrison's anti-vaccine misinformation campaign. So if I continue to listen to this I need to find a way there's no way he will ever make any money from. His voice suits a more blues rocky backing particularly well.

Andrew Hill - Point Of Departure

The kind of avant grade jazz I love that never quite lets your mind settle down.

Flamin Groovies - Teenage Head

Flamin Groovies are one of those pure rock and roll bands that watched everyone else follow all the pop trends and just sat back and rocked it out. Incredibly fun to listen to and exactly what I hope to hear when I walk into a bar on Bourbon St.

Outkast - Southernplaylisticadillacmuzik

Outkast might be the band that kept the fun side of rap alive during the time it was all about gangsters and ego. This album sounds like a prototype for the sound they developed a lot more later.

Winner: Andrew Hill
Jirin
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Re: Jirin’s Discovery and Review Tournament 2

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Tina Turner - Private Dancer

Some of the catchiest R&B/pop songs of the 80s.

Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five - The Message

It's interesting to listen to one of the prototypes for what later became the most popular music genre at least in America. Taking the protesting tones of Last Poets (Also still in this game) and introducing some of the turntable sounds that became standard. Half the songs still are sung, not rapped, but the clear highlights are the rapped ones.

John Cale - Music For A New Society

Art rock with sparse, creeping arrangements. I'm not liking his talk singing like he's telling a scary story at a campfire as much as I did the first time around.

ZZ Top - Tres Hombres

Again not much to say about this, a solid collection of bluesy rock songs. You know what you're going to get when you listen to ZZ Top.

Winner: Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five
Jirin
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Re: Jirin’s Discovery and Review Tournament 2

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Pere Ubu - The Tenament Year

An album with the same weirdness of all the other Pere Ubu albums, somewhere between the bombastic early post punk aesthetic and the more synthy new wave sound they migrated to later on. It's good but not their best. And I think the only album left in this competition other than Nearly God which I purchased physically that is not on Spotify.

The Congos - Heart Of Congos

I sometimes have trouble with reggae just to my perception of lack of variety within the genre. But this is one of the best examples of the genre I've heard which has a more unique feel to it. The interplay between the midrange and falsetto vocals in particular gives it a unique flavor.

Wayne Shorter - Speak No Evil

More of the hard bop that's done so well in this game.

Fairport Convention - Fairport Convention

Fairport Convention's album from before they established their identity as classic British folk singers. It sounds more like contemporary rock than their later albums. It sounds good but doesn't have quite the strong identity of their later work.


Winner: The Congos
Jirin
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Re: Jirin’s Discovery and Review Tournament 2

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Charles Mingus - Blues and Roots

This is one of my new favorite jazz albums. It's got complex dynamics but's also viscerally exciting.

N.W.A. - N*z4life

I have pretty much the same observations about this album as last time. Musically it sounds good. Normally I'm able to ignore any level of reprehensible lyrics. But this song is literally "Is your girlfriend costing a little too much money? Just murder her! Problem solved. Female humans are your property to dispose of as you see fit." Bad enough that they have songs bragging about being good at murder in the first place.

Sharon Van Etten - Tramp

Sharon Van Etten is remarkably consistent across the big albums of her career. Tramp is another nice collection of singer/songwriter tunes, but probably not as strong as Are We There or Epic.

Miles Davis - Porgy and Bess

It soundy good.

Winner: Charles Mingus

That completes round 2. The semifinal field is:

Arrested Development - 3 Years, 5 Months, and 2 Days in the Life of…
The Last Poets - The Last Poets
Tricky - Nearly God
Parliament - Funkentelecy vs the Placebo Syndrome

Woody Guthrie - Dust Bowl Ballads
Kate Bush - The Dreaming
Erroll Garner - Concert By The Sea
Sonny Sharrock - Guitar

Mount Eerie - Wind’s Poem
Ravi Shankar - Three Ragas
Bo Diddley - Bo Diddley
Oliver Nelson - The Blues and the Abstract Truth

Andrew Hill - Point Of Departure
Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five - The Message
The Congos - Heart Of Congos
Charles Mingus - Blues and Roots

I'll take another break from this and probably finish it out in December.
Jirin
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Re: Jirin’s Discovery and Review Tournament 2

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Onto the semifinals!

Arrested Development - 3 Years, 5 Months, and 2 Days in the Life of…
The Last Poets - The Last Poets
Tricky - Nearly God
Parliament - Funkentelecy vs the Placebo Syndrome

I'm not sure if I'll have anything much new to say the third time around so I'll just discuss the reasons for my choice of victor.

Going into this Nearly God seemed like the favorite to win the tournament. It blew me away the first two times and I already list it in my all time top 30. It's also a tough judgment between Arrested Development, The Last Poets, and Tricky because you have one album that's incredibly fun to listen to, one that has more substance, relevance, and influence factor than the other three combined, and one of the most entrancing albums I've ever heard. (Nothing wrong with Parliament's album, it's a good album but doesn't stand out from the genre as much as the other choices.). Ultimately I had to go with The Last Poets.
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