January 5, 2022 Playlist

THE BEST OF 2021
Featuring the
KOSMIK RADIATION TOP 25!
   
"Songwrights Apothecary Lab" by Esperanza Spalding (2021)
CLASSIC ALBUM OF THE WEEK
Esperanza Spalding "Songwrights Apothecary Lab"  2021 (USA)
In keeping with tradition, my choice for #1 bestest album on my best of the year list automatically becomes a classic album of the week. It seems to me 2021 was an even odder year for music than pandemic-disrupted 2020. Without much touring (or any kind of social contact) going on, I guess artists are turning inward and taking inspiration from all the weird feelings going around these days. Esperanza Spalding's "COVID record" is a concept album about healing, or as she puts it: "Half songwrighting workshop, and half guided-research practice, the Songwrights’ Apothecary Lab (S.A.L.), seeks to develop a structure for the collaborative development of new compositions designed to offer enhanced salutary benefit to listeners. The course is rooted in a transdisciplinary station, orienting itself towards archives and literature that study healing strategies drawn from a diverse range of music-based creative and therapeutic practices. All Formwelas (songs) from the S.A.L. are created through our research, divination, intuition, musicianship, taste, inspiration, and collaborative effort to design songs that enhance a specific salutary effect. The formwelas offered here are not presented as potential “solutions.” Rather, they are responses to the ongoing question guiding the beings collaborating within the Songwrights Apothecary Lab." Musically, Esperanza is an accomplished bassist (the big upright acoustic kind) who has already won several Grammy awards in the jazz field, though she is also an evocative, boundary-less singer and songwriter (or rather "songwright") in the tradition of Joni Mitchell (she's even got Wayne Shorter collaborating on this album; he played with Joni back in the 70's). I think this is Spalding's most magical music yet and look forward to more projects from her Lab.
Some other notable albums this year would include Tom Jones' Surrounded By Time, which is a powerful meditation on aging and the most eclectic album of his nearly 60-year career: Tom was 80 years old when he recorded it! The other ancient geezer scoring high of the Kosmik charts this year (with another COVID-themed album) is Van der Graaf Generator leader Peter Hammill, who spent over a year recording a tremendous prog rock album In Disequilibrium with Swedish band Isildurs Bane. Among artists that originated in this century, modern day punkified Frisco jam band Osees released two monster live albums, their Aussie rivals King Gizzard released their third microtonal album and also a synth-prog-pop album, and weird girls Poppy and Kyary both released 90's-retro-themed albums.
(N) = New Release
   
Artist Song Album Year Country
Triptides Do You Ever Wonder?Alter Echoes (N)
(Kosmik Radiation
#14 album of 2021)
2021 (Alive Naturalsound)USA
Acid Dad 2 FaceTake It From The Dead (N)
(Kosmik Radiation
#18 album of 2021)
2021 (Greenway)USA
Grave Flowers Bongo Band TomorrowStrength Of Spring (N)
(Kosmik Radiation
#16 album of 2021)
2021 (Castle Face)USA
88Kasyo Junrei
("88-point Pilgrimage")
Genma Taisai
("Grand Festival of Demons")
Genma Taisai (N) 
(Kosmik Radiation
#21 album of 2021)
2021 (PPR)Japan
black midi John LCavalcade (N)
(Kosmik Radiation
#12 album of 2021)
2021 (Rough Trade)UK
Parquet Courts Marathon Of AngerSympathy For Life (N)
(Kosmik Radiation
#3 album of 2021)
2021 (Rough Trade)USA
 
 
Guided By Voices The Batman Sees The BallEarth Man Blues (N)
(Kosmik Radiation tied for #6 album of 2021)
2021 (GBV Inc.)USA
Guided By Voices The Bells Get Out Of The WayIt's Not Them. It Couldn't Be Them. It Is Them! (N)
(Kosmik Radiation tied for #6 album of 2021)
2021 (GBV Inc.)USA
Dinosaur jr. & MeSweep It Into Space (N)
(Kosmik Radiation
#23 album of 2021)
2021 (Jagjaguwar)USA
Courtney Barnett Take It Day By DayThings Take Time, Take Time (N)
(Kosmik Radiation
#20 album of 2021)
2021 (Mom+Pop)Australia
Ty Segall WhisperHarmonizer (N)
(Kosmik Radiation
#22 album of 2021)
2021 (Drag City)USA
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard K.G.L.W.L.W. (N)
(Kosmik Radiation
#5 album of 2021)
2021 (Flightless/ATO)Australia
   
 
Osees Tidal Wave (live)Levitation Sessions II (N)
(Kosmik Radiation tied for #4 album of 2021)
2021 (Reverberation Appreciation Society)USA
Osees (live)The Chapel, SF 10.2.19 (N)
(Kosmik Radiation tied for #4 album of 2021)
2021 (Silver Current)USA
Goat GoatfuzzHeadsoup (N)
(Kosmik Radiation
#15 album of 2021)
rec. 2012-2020  (2021 Rocket)Sweden
Old Time Relijun This Foundation Is CrackedMusicking (N)
(Kosmik Radiation
#9 album of 2021)
2021 (K)USA
    
 
Esperanza Spalding Formwela 4Songwrights Apothecary Lab (N)
(Kosmik Radiation #1 album of 2021)
CLASSIC ALBUM OF THE WEEK
2021 (Concord)USA
Esperanza Spalding Formwela 8Songwrights Apothecary Lab (N)
(Kosmik Radiation #1 album of 2021)
CLASSIC ALBUM OF THE WEEK
2021 (Concord)USA
Isildurs Bane & Peter Hammill Gently (Step By Step) (Parts 1 and 2)In Disequilibrium (N)
(Kosmik Radiation
#7 album of 2021)
2021 (Ataraxia)Sweden/UK
    
 
Tom Jones Talking Reality Television Blues (Todd Snider)Surrounded By Time (N)
(Kosmik Radiation
#2 album of 2021)
2021 (S Curve / EMI)UK (Wales)
Poppy On The LevelFlux (N)
(Kosmik Radiation #17 album of 2021)
2021 (Sumerian)USA
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu Genten Kaihi
("Avoid Your Roots")
Candy Racer (N)
(Kosmik Radiation
#8 album of 2021)
2021 (KRK Lab)Japan
Dempagumi.inc Senshu Banzai! Dempa Ichiza!
("1,000,000,000 Banzai! Dempa Seat!" - sic?)

B-side single2021 (Meme Tokyo/Toy's Factory)Japan
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard ShanghaiButterfly 3000 (N)
(Kosmik Radiation
#13 album of 2021)
2021 (Flightless/ATO)Australia
    
 
Elephant9 Chasing The HiddenArrival Of The New Elders (N)
(Kosmik Radiation
#10 album of 2021)
2021 (Rune Grammofon)Norway
Taras Bulba Night Train To Drug TownSometimes The Night (N)
(Kosmik Radiation
#19 album of 2021)
2021 (Riot Season)UK
Menahan Street Band The DukeThe Exciting Sounds Of Menahan Street Band (N)
(Kosmik Radiation
#24 album of 2021)
2021 (Dunham/Daptone)USA
Richard Dawson & Circle LilyHenki (N)  ("Spirit")
(Kosmik Radiation
#25 album of 2021)
2021 (Domino)UK/Finland
    
 
75 Dollar Bill Little Big Band I'm Not Trying To Wake Up (live)Live At Tubby's (N)
(Kosmik Radiation
#11 album of 2021)
2020 (Grapefruit)USA
      
 
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