Best of 2019/Honorable Mention 2019

Featured

@@@ The Muslims: Mayo Supreme (Don’t Panic Records, 2019) Three South Asians (two female, one male) tear it out with all the energy and attitude of classic punk. Great playing, outstanding singing and lyrics. As punk as some of my favorite punk shit of all time. Favorite track: The Stew.

@@@ The Good Ones: Rwanda, You Should Be Loved (Anti-, 2019) An acoustic record by survivors of the genocide in Rwanda. It’s hard to put a non-cliche word on this music — heartbreaking is a good place to start. Simple guitar parts and beautiful singing. Start with track 2, Despite it All I Still Love You, My Dear Friend.

@@@ Loscil: Equivalents (kranky, 2019) A super engaging and slow ambient record. Meticulously layered into one giant cloud that pulls you in. The word Equivalent appears in every track title and the record has a pleasing sameness to it sonically. Something at this slow pace in today’s world is super welcome. Pick whatever track and dive right in.

@@@ Canalon de Timbiqui: De Mar Y Rio (Llorona, 2019) Similar in style and beauty (minimalist, acoustic, incredible singing) as the Good Ones record but with female singers and marimbas at the center of the record. Some folks just let the music out of their bodies.

@@@ Kelly Moran: Ultraviolet (Warp, 2019) One of the best records I’ve heard that combines electronic and improvised music. I find the blend of prepared piano and synthesizers mesmerizing to listen to. A lot of electronic music can sound overly processed and sterile and that’s avoided here. At the same time post classical prepared piano records can be a bit uptight and that’s avoided here as well. The idea of this record being a bit John Cage and a bit Tim Hecker is an apt description.

@@@ The Garifuna Collective: Aban (Stonetree, 2019) A cultural mash of Caribbean musics — places like Belize, Guatemala and Honduras. The Garifuna are a people in that region and this music is a unique mash of Carribean, Brazilian, and African influences. Rhythmically on fleek for sure with more gorgeous singing. Check out the effortless groove of the third tune Hamala.

@@@ Andre Bratten: Pax American (Smalltown Supersound, 2019) Tight, funky and minimalist techno out of Scandinavia. The distinguishing feature here is the focus of the arrangements. At first glance there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot going on but if you listen just below casual beats are shifting and sounds are coming and receding in waves making for a subtly dynamic record. Bears up to repeated listens for sure, I have it on now for the umpteenth and I feel its freshness revealed.

@@@ Nathan Corder/Tom Weeks: Black Mamba (Wolf’s Blood, 2019) Slotted as a hardcore record on Apple Music it is a saxophone and guitar free jazz record that is accurately self-titled in the below track. Trash music in the highest sense of the word. I never really understood or got Cecil Taylor’s music but I get this. The third track, Gripped, is killer.

@@@ Wyxz: Yiy (Self-released, 2018)  Not available on Apple Music (possibly other streaming music stores)  this is both brutal, mental and cerebral.  If this doesn’t get your blood pressure up you might be dead.  Accelerated tempos, manic and jumpy ass guitar sounds, it’s Frank Zappa with a Red Bull shot into its eyeball for a quick hit.

HONORABLE MENTION

@@@ Brittany Howard: Jaime (ATO, 2019) Much more appealing to my ears than her previous work with Alabama Shakes. Interesting sonically and arranged with more daring than 99% of today’s major label music. Just a tiny bit of jazz mind makes this stand out.

@@@ Michael Kiwanuka: Kiwanuka (Polydor, 2019) A soulful re-enactment of classic late ’60s, early ’70s soul music by this British singer. Standard concious lyrics, and groomed sounds. A slight update/upgrade to these classic sounds would have put this on the best of year list.

@@@ Deafkids: Metaprogramacao (Neurot, 2019) A tad slow out of the gate it gets into it’s own definition of a wicked shred by the fourth tune, Mente Bicameral. There’s not a lot of new non-metal rock and this formula could be a way forward.

@@@ clipping.: There Existed an Addiction to Blood (Sub Pop, 2019) clipping. is sharp as a tack on this Seattle hip hop record out on Sub Pop. Sonically it leans a bit away from hip hop and more towards electro and I feel that. Those fresher sounds reframe his music as something more than standard hip hop.

@@@ Danny Brown: uknowwhati’msayin (Warp, 2019) I like Brown’s style– he’s got an odd delivery and his lyrics are most definitely left field. He’s street and quirky ass odd at the same time. I like the track with Run with Jewels and Killer Mike’s turn on the mic is a standout. I found the middle of the record to be hotter than the beginning.

@@@ Bonnie Baxter: Axis (Haisu Mountain, 2019) You have to be able to admit the chopped up nature of our present day digital reality, as well as our shattered attention spans to enter into this organic electronic music which sounds really ancient and super today at the same time. It’s raw and unfiltered like good honey. Highlight: No DICC.

@@@ Toko Telo: Diavola (Daniel Brandt, 2018) This guitar heavy folk music out of Madagascar is my best music pick for corporate stooges. It’s just straight beauty with gorgeous interwoven guitar playing and soaring vocals. Check out the third tune Zaza Samondrara for a taste.

@@@ Kaleta and Super Yamba Band: Medaho (Ubiquity, 2019) One part African blurred and mashed up with one part classic American funk (including old school wah wah guitar shredding. Check out the second song, Mr. Diva and go from there.

@@@ Bug Martin: Gutterball (Pyrrhic Victory, 2019) Starts a bit slow but it’s on the list here due to the fourth song, Hypocrite’s Rag and the fifth, Jim Rodgers’ Blues. Very well executed update/homage to lonesome classic country.

@@@ Saint Abdullah: Mechanical Flirtations (True Aether, 2019) Holding down that space where electronic music meets improvised music. Also the inclusion of Iranian music (this record is a project between two brothers in Brooklyn and Tehran) makes this a unique effort. Outside of that interesting fact the music hits viscerally, just the way I like it.

@@@ Tobe Nwigwe: The Originals (Tobe Nwigwe, 2018) A first generation Nigerian-American MC from Houston that mashes up dancehall and hip hop with an undercover African flavor to it. His microphone work is sharp and combined with his excellent lyrics he is a force to be reckoned with. His sounds are as focused as his lyrics.

@@@ Logistic Slaugher: Corrosive Ethics (Logistic Slaughter, 2016) If I’ve never heard a metal band like this I’m guessing most listeners out there have not either. It’s not about the extreme sounds of the band, it’s that the singers sounds like a pig trying to sing jazz — he bounces up and down on rhythmically over the band, it’s quite mad.

@@@ Buzzherd: Buzzherd EP (Self-released, 2019) 21 minutes of roughness. Remember kiddies it’s not about who is the roughest, it’s about how it’s all put together. I tend to gravitate to the pissed singers rather than the cavemen and that’s what’s happening here.

@@@ Oli XL: Rogue Intruder, Soul Enhancer (Bloom, 2019) I would describe this as sci-fi electro funk with trippy, glitched bits on top. Chopped and delayed vocal samples, slick beats and slightly dubwise sounds in the arrangement constitute the formula here. The fourth track here, Mimetic, is a highlight but the depth and space of this record works for me.

@@@ Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds: Ghosteen (Ghosteen Ltd., 2019) The sounds contained on this record are mesmerizing and superlative. However, Cave’s transformation into some sort of emotional advisor/New Age philosopher is slightly less welcome to me as an occasional annoying line pulls me out of the sounds.

Music for 4/9/20!!! Kilo, Hailu Mergia, Drake, Grankhan

@@@ Kilo: Still Here (N/A, 2020) #TwatterListen!!!  I think I hear Flavor Flav (or a bit of young Flav from back in the day) in the mix, a pumping retro dance beat, and a romantical female singer slathering a bit of sentimental cheese over the top.  I like the contrast between the beat and the vocal melody but it’s too cheesy.  I like a slice of pizza with some proper crunch and not too much cheese.  Too much cheese is hard to stomach, it’s hard to digest.  If this were a cooking show and I was the judge (and that would be a banging cooking show) I would want more crunch or more tang.

@@@ Grankhan: Jilguero (Nacional, 2020) The next three listens are off this week’s WRIR playlist email.  They are a premier world music radio outlet in Virginia, USA.  Slotted as urban latino I’m expecting some Latin loverboy with a little Caribbean flavoring.  Thank Mr. Grankhan doesn’t bring the swoll tongue of J. Balvin and he’s wearing a hat; those J. Balvin haircuts are rough.  This is a full band track (at least to my ears) including a horn section so the difference between an electro loverboy jam and a full band jam is significant.  Grankhan has had a strong ass cup of coffee cuz he’s smashing the microphone with his energy.  I have no idea what he’s half singing/half rhyming about but he’s feeling it.  A super well executed mix — clear and wide and full.

@@@  Drake: Toosie Slide (OVO/UMG, 2020)  I had a track up that I had heard before so I replaced it with Drake.  You can always count on a Drake nugget as he shits them out quite frequently cuz he has to pay for that plane!  It’s a slow dance track with loverboy feels.  Drake has so much broccoli he doesn’t know what to do with it so he’s got extraordinarily manicured sounds.  I don’t know how he combines a slack vibe and a dancefloor feel at the same time, but it’s Drake and how does he head out into public with that facial hair?  At this point most folks are just living vicariously through this brother and his loot cuz the music is professional but it’s not passionate or compelling.  Maybe he was jacked up on cold medicine when he did this.

@@@ Hailu Mergia: Yene Mircha (Awesome Tapes From Africa, 2020)  Some Ethiopian old school business I got to via WRIR as noted above.  Awesome Tapes usually rocks some re-issue lo fi business but this is a recording made very recently — it’s full range with a large ensemble.  It has that precision and the looseness you often find in African music that I find very entertaining.  This is not a West African guitar blazer, this is a kickback and chill on a sunny day.  The musicians here play their asses off without breaking a sweat.  I would recommend this to folks with jobs, those folks who think music should only be beautiful (no metal or hardcore need apply) but want something super well played.

YTD recordings listened to: 261
Good music, not list worthy: 141
Not good music: 114

Best: 0
Honorable Mentions: 0

Possibles: Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, Slidhr, The Chewers, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Lozen, Erase Errata, Mastery, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, Luther Dickinson, Graeme Barrett, Fast Asleep, Goldlink, Cavanaugh, Satoko Fuji, Moken, Juan Atkins, Lantern, Twin Peaks, Djelimady Tounkara, The Oh Sees, Denny Zeitlin, MILF, Unfun, De La Soul, Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes, Noname, Klara Lewis, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Oddisee, RAM, Fiver, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Priests, Propaganda, This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez, Integrity, Tuba Skinny, The Expanders, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Portal, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton, Parquet Courts, Moskus, Kendl Winter, Tkay Maidza, Barro, Daniel Khan, Tallawit Timbouctou, Sumac, Tropical Fuck Storm, Harriet Tubman, Ammar 808, Anais Maviel, Chaka Khan, Pom Poko, Fried Egg, Tarek Atoui, Saicobab, General Purv, Shipping News, Big Thief, Mariachi El Bronx, Pour Me a Grog, Sudan Archives, Lakou Mizik, Moodymann, Pharmakon, Alefa Madagascar, Janjao, Luge, Wiki, Mick Jenkins, Jeremiah Jae, Fera, Gambian Griot Kora Duets, Drama, Beatrice Dillon, Mass Worship, mmmonika, Les Deuxluxes, Tony Allen, Fra Fra, Nihiloxica, Hailu Mergia

 

Music for 4/8/20!!! James Elkington, Empress Of, Warm Digits, Born Ruffians

@@@ Born Ruffians: I Fall In Love Every Night (Yep Roc, 2020)  All of today’s listens are off this week’s All Music notable release email.  This is a big soul band ensemble, full horn section but a nerdier singer than what you would expect to hear out in front of a big outfit like this.  More classic rock feels than indie ones but it’s not a standard old school big soul band thing.  i.e. not the Blues Brothers.  Lots of energy, a shoutalong vocal hook (I fall in love every night), and a crunchy pushed to the limit hot mix.  When he sings that he falls in love every night he means it.

@@@ Warm Digits: The View From Nowhere (Memphis Industries, 2020) Bouncy synth rock evoking the 1980’s on this track.  Oy, who is responsible for bringing this sound back because I think they need a slap.  The singer is all right and I dig the stringy bass sound but the beat is just so square I feel embarrassed.  Sounds a bit like Robert Palmer and that Aussie band with the hottie singer.  Bad hard drive, shitty spindle on the ol’ hard drive.  INXS!  I got that without the GooglePimp, swearsies realsies.  As you can read I’m forced to entertain myself here and I made it just over halfway through the track.

@@@  Empress of: Love is a Drug (Terrible Records, 2020) More ’80s business, oy!  Another female singer doing a better Madonna job better than Madonna has done, vamped up keyboards and kraut-y beats.  I like the keys and how they intrude, but the beats could use some seasoning and I think songs about people bleeding on the inside and love being a drug should be outlawed.  It’s just been done enough so let’s stop.  Just trying to help.  Somebody stole the bass sound from Prince which is a good move.

@@@ James Elkington: Ever-Roving Eye (Paradise of Bachelors, 2020)  A jaunty folk rock tune a bit more fleshed out than Dylan’s version of this formula and friendlier as well for the age of Wu.  Bobby Z. has always been so austere which I enjoy at times and not so much at other moments.  A big soft layer of vocals comes in and really changes and mellows that folk rock and we’re in a trippier bit more stoned out part of town.  Age of Aquarius people, the Earth is a big blue marble, it’s all so beautiful and nobody ever has violent diarrhea.  Ever.  I didn’t think this tune would go hard retro but it’s fine man, I don’t want to shit on the aura with my negative mental energy.  Big long electric guitar solo before all those vocals return.  I’ve always been a bit suspicious of hippie feels but if you’re up for it this will groove your socks off!

YTD recordings listened to: 257
Good music, not list worthy: 139
Not good music: 112

Best: 0
Honorable Mentions: 0

Possibles: Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, Slidhr, The Chewers, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Lozen, Erase Errata, Mastery, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, Luther Dickinson, Graeme Barrett, Fast Asleep, Goldlink, Cavanaugh, Satoko Fuji, Moken, Juan Atkins, Lantern, Twin Peaks, Djelimady Tounkara, The Oh Sees, Denny Zeitlin, MILF, Unfun, De La Soul, Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes, Noname, Klara Lewis, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Oddisee, RAM, Fiver, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Priests, Propaganda, This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez, Integrity, Tuba Skinny, The Expanders, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Portal, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton, Parquet Courts, Moskus, Kendl Winter, Tkay Maidza, Barro, Daniel Khan, Tallawit Timbouctou, Sumac, Tropical Fuck Storm, Harriet Tubman, Ammar 808, Anais Maviel, Chaka Khan, Pom Poko, Fried Egg, Tarek Atoui, Saicobab, General Purv, Shipping News, Big Thief, Mariachi El Bronx, Pour Me a Grog, Sudan Archives, Lakou Mizik, Moodymann, Pharmakon, Alefa Madagascar, Janjao, Luge, Wiki, Mick Jenkins, Jeremiah Jae, Fera, Gambian Griot Kora Duets, Drama, Beatrice Dillon, Mass Worship, mmmonika, Les Deuxluxes, Tony Allen, Fra Fra, Nihiloxica

Music for 4/7/20!!! Nathan Fake, Sam Hunt, Thundercat, Purity Ring

@@@ Nathan Fake: Tbilisi (Cambria Instruments, 2020) A combination of abtract sounds and dancefloor sounds.  Not super abstract just not straight booty shaking.  Pumping frat boy beat and the melody has a resonant filter on it that weirds it out giving it a sci fi sort of flavor.  I could use more sounds or something new, the melodic top that is in this break section is not enough for me, and then we’re back into the ‘verse’.  It does change the electronic top into a more whippy video game kind of sounds at the end of the track while retaining the beat.  Some good ideas, coulda used a couple more is the view from here.

@@@ Sam Hunt: Breaking Up Was Easy in the 90’s (MCA Nashville, 2020). If Jimmy Buffett had a baby with Drake it would sound like this.  I saw this guy mentioned on a couple of outlets and it’s, wait I gotta get something for the tears cuz this chorus is ripping the heart out of my chest.  #heavy.  Whew between the ‘rona and this track my shit is devastated.  The schtick here is a lot of words in the verse, it’s quiet and he’s got a stream of conciousness/white rap and that’s where he airs his Drake before he goes full cheddar biscuit in the chorus.  I guess the title refers to the reality of internet break up and seeing other folks on the ‘gram and the Fuck-a-Zuck-book.  There’s a cleverness to that lyrical hook but musically it’s warmed over new country, refined corn syrup high end corn pone.  There’s a shaker in this track, do you know how annoying I find the shaker and that this shaker is even in this country track?  Tres annoying.

@@@ Thundercat: Fair Chance (Brainfeeder, 2020).  Some updated fusion-y disco funk up in heah.  A little George Clinton, a little Earth Wind and Fire, and a little doobie in yer funk.  But smoother and not as weird and mushier.  I get this combination of sounds, but it’s got a wet noodle meandering feel to it without the sheer minimalist funk of a stoned out George Clinton track.  I want to like this as I’m a huge funk fan but I’m not finding this to be a compelling listen.

@@@ Purity Ring: peacefall (4AD, 2020) The Apple Music blurb talks about dream pop melodies over trap beats.  I hear the dream pop part (and I don’t welcome it into my world) and I hear kinda weak beats that don’t have the menace, skitter or sharpness of trap.  Cuz I listen to that shit for this here blog.  So that’s marketing crap also known as fake news.  I’m not a Trump fan so just putting that out there as I do borrow the term fake news.  The female singer has more of a girlish flow than a big diva feel.  The chorus, ‘into, into the light’ combined with the soaring background vocals is a bit too New Age for my taste.  If it had the punch or thump of trap I would be more interested but they didn’t go for it, they stayed on the white people’s side of the tracks.

YTD recordings listened to: 253
Good music, not list worthy: 137
Not good music: 110

Best: 0
Honorable Mentions: 0

Possibles: Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, Slidhr, The Chewers, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Lozen, Erase Errata, Mastery, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, Luther Dickinson, Graeme Barrett, Fast Asleep, Goldlink, Cavanaugh, Satoko Fuji, Moken, Juan Atkins, Lantern, Twin Peaks, Djelimady Tounkara, The Oh Sees, Denny Zeitlin, MILF, Unfun, De La Soul, Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes, Noname, Klara Lewis, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Oddisee, RAM, Fiver, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Priests, Propaganda, This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez, Integrity, Tuba Skinny, The Expanders, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Portal, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton, Parquet Courts, Moskus, Kendl Winter, Tkay Maidza, Barro, Daniel Khan, Tallawit Timbouctou, Sumac, Tropical Fuck Storm, Harriet Tubman, Ammar 808, Anais Maviel, Chaka Khan, Pom Poko, Fried Egg, Tarek Atoui, Saicobab, General Purv, Shipping News, Big Thief, Mariachi El Bronx, Pour Me a Grog, Sudan Archives, Lakou Mizik, Moodymann, Pharmakon, Alefa Madagascar, Janjao, Luge, Wiki, Mick Jenkins, Jeremiah Jae, Fera, Gambian Griot Kora Duets, Drama, Beatrice Dillon, Mass Worship, mmmonika, Les Deuxluxes, Tony Allen, Fra Fra, Nihiloxica

 

Music for 4/6/20!! Ayy, Guvna B, Jetta, M. Ward

@@@ Ayy: Insomnia (Ali Davidson, 2020) Off this week’s Line of Best Fit as well as the next two tunes.  Cali hip hop to kick off this week’s listening party.  A distinctly Caribbean cadence to the female singer which I’m always up for as we head into this track.  The singer steps back and a quick tongued female MC hits the mic with a small delay on her voice and she cuts a lot of words over a fat Weight Watchers synth sound that pans back and forth across the stereo field.  She can’t sleep, that’s the point, she’s got conciousness issues.  I’m mixing definitions of conciousness I get that.  No bass ’til halfway through the song?  Bold but it works when it comes in, not fat but up high and a bit melodic.  It’s a dreamy (or not so) track called Insomnia so a pillow-y synth is not inapprops.

@@@ Guvna B: Fall on Me (Allo Mate Records, 2020) British rap, you know I love it!  This is an aspirational rising above type of hip hop track so the accent is even worse to hear in this context.  Piano part, this is an epic track.  It’s a hopeful track with a big pop chorus.  It’s not really my thing especially the verse and some of the lyrics.  This is the kind of track they throw in at the end of a Hollywood movie after evil has been banished and the good guy got all fucked up but he/she survived.  You’re leaving the theater after the combat but you know the heroes are still there for you.  Go cheesy Marvel movies!

@@@ Jetta: Livin (3 Beat Productions, 2020) It’s a dancefloor banger with a pretty slick female singer, she’s a tad sultry, we’ll see if she goes diva in the chorus.  It’s a tune that plays small and doesn’t go diva and I dig that.  It’s funky, tightly arranged and well done.  Big ups on the beat and the synth with the delay at the beginning of the track.  When your heart starts ticking like a box you gotta start livin’.  Pretty solid vocal hook.  There are times when restraint can be a good thing and this is an example of that.

@@@ M. Ward: Unreal City (Anti-, 2020)  M. Ward is a prolific fella and this 10th effort appears to be getting some traction thought my personal opinion is that he’s a bit for the shiny happy people and not for the hardcore listeners.  This is an upbeat Wilco flavored thing, friendly and slack with some classic rock feels.  I’ve been invoking cooking show critiques as we’ve been watching mad cooking shows in the Time of the Wu (I love Chinese people and not their government) and this is a bit too sweet for my taste, I could use some tang or some crunch to go with my slab of sweetness.  Points off for cheesy background vocals.

YTD recordings listened to: 249
Good music, not list worthy: 135
Not good music: 108

Best: 0
Honorable Mentions: 0

Possibles: Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, Slidhr, The Chewers, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Lozen, Erase Errata, Mastery, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, Luther Dickinson, Graeme Barrett, Fast Asleep, Goldlink, Cavanaugh, Satoko Fuji, Moken, Juan Atkins, Lantern, Twin Peaks, Djelimady Tounkara, The Oh Sees, Denny Zeitlin, MILF, Unfun, De La Soul, Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes, Noname, Klara Lewis, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Oddisee, RAM, Fiver, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Priests, Propaganda, This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez, Integrity, Tuba Skinny, The Expanders, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Portal, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton, Parquet Courts, Moskus, Kendl Winter, Tkay Maidza, Barro, Daniel Khan, Tallawit Timbouctou, Sumac, Tropical Fuck Storm, Harriet Tubman, Ammar 808, Anais Maviel, Chaka Khan, Pom Poko, Fried Egg, Tarek Atoui, Saicobab, General Purv, Shipping News, Big Thief, Mariachi El Bronx, Pour Me a Grog, Sudan Archives, Lakou Mizik, Moodymann, Pharmakon, Alefa Madagascar, Janjao, Luge, Wiki, Mick Jenkins, Jeremiah Jae, Fera, Gambian Griot Kora Duets, Drama, Beatrice Dillon, Mass Worship, mmmonika, Les Deuxluxes, Tony Allen, Fra Fra, Nihiloxica

 

Music for 4/3/20!!! MV Carbon, Val Jeanty, Yves Tumor, Rebecca Foon, Frazey Ford

@@@ MV Carbon: Hold On (N/A, 2017) I got to this listen and the one below via an email from the BK adventurous music club Roulette.  This first tune is from a two song EP and it opens somewhere in art school Nine Inch Nails territory.  After an intro it gets a bit creepy with a delayed or doubled female vocal melody.  The keyboard playing sports a pleasantly bedroom type of vibe, it’s purposefully jumping around.  It’s an all right dark electro quasi-vampire track.  I was expecting something more freaky.

@@@ Val Jeanty: Faces (N/A, N/A) A Hatian born electronic music composer turntablist artist busting out with a stew of Nina Simone vocal samples, some organ pumping low, shaker type percussion, an occasional soprano sax burst, and maybe Ms. Jeanty singing.  It’s a really nice collage of sounds.  I like Jeanty’s singing (or whoever is singing) and the electronic sounds the most of what’s heer and the soprano sax is my least favorite component.  I wanted more bass but it’s some really well done non-white Laurie Anderson type electronic music stew.

@@@ Yves Tumor: Gospel for a New Century (Warp, 2020)  A pre-release single from a record getting a big up over at the Guardian as a work of genius.  A big wide mix awaits you here — lots of electro sounds pumping and percolating and buzzing in the stereo filed.  There’s a crunch to then and then Mr. Tumor comes in with some nice contrasting singing.  He sounds a bit tired of the world or himself (and I get that).  It’s a relationship song that goes full rock in the chorus and becomes much more standard and predictable than the verse.  My favorite part here is the bass player and Tumor’s singing style, the crunchiness of the mix and the chorus are my least favorite parts.

@@@ Rebecca Foon: Dreams to Be Born (Constellation, 2020) Both of these listens (this one and the one below) are from this week’s CFUV playlist email.  This opens up intimate piano and vocals style and while I don’t usually go for it it’s jarring and pulled me into the tune.  I’m not listening to the lyrics but I believe they’re pretty heavy.  Foon’s voice is both husky and feminine and I think that full tone is making it easier for me to accept the premise of the sounds.  A few new sounds are added but the tune doesn’t really go anywhere, it’s a series of repeating chords.  There is a big introduction of single string swells for the last bit of the tune which I’m agnostic about.  I wish those had been electronic sounds at the end.

@@@ Frazey Ford – Azad (Arts & Crafts)  Singer songwriter business off the CFUV weekly email.  Brisk rock beat with a tiny funk to it, piano, and a nice rock bass sound pumping up from underneath.  Great organ sound that could be louder in the mix and a female singer.  A little bit country, a little bit rock, a little gospel.  By the midway point the tempo hasn’t risen but the energy has with more voices, more urgent singing and little bits added to the song.

YTD recordings listened to: 245
Good music, not list worthy: 133
Not good music: 106

Best: 0
Honorable Mentions: 0

Possibles: Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, Slidhr, The Chewers, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Lozen, Erase Errata, Mastery, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, Luther Dickinson, Graeme Barrett, Fast Asleep, Goldlink, Cavanaugh, Satoko Fuji, Moken, Juan Atkins, Lantern, Twin Peaks, Djelimady Tounkara, The Oh Sees, Denny Zeitlin, MILF, Unfun, De La Soul, Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes, Noname, Klara Lewis, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Oddisee, RAM, Fiver, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Priests, Propaganda, This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez, Integrity, Tuba Skinny, The Expanders, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Portal, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton, Parquet Courts, Moskus, Kendl Winter, Tkay Maidza, Barro, Daniel Khan, Tallawit Timbouctou, Sumac, Tropical Fuck Storm, Harriet Tubman, Ammar 808, Anais Maviel, Chaka Khan, Pom Poko, Fried Egg, Tarek Atoui, Saicobab, General Purv, Shipping News, Big Thief, Mariachi El Bronx, Pour Me a Grog, Sudan Archives, Lakou Mizik, Moodymann, Pharmakon, Alefa Madagascar, Janjao, Luge, Wiki, Mick Jenkins, Jeremiah Jae, Fera, Gambian Griot Kora Duets, Drama, Beatrice Dillon, Mass Worship, mmmonika, Les Deuxluxes, Tony Allen, Fra Fra, Nihiloxica

 

Music for 4/2/20!!! Money Chicha, Inna Vision, Nixholica, Kellarissa, Dungen and Woods

@@@ Dos Santos & Money Chicha: Marte Negro (Sonorama, 2017)  A collaboration between two bands, one out of Chicago and one from Austin.  It’s cumbia music with the hippest keyboard sounds I’ve heard in a while.  Rhythmically strong with very fine singing and to hear some tasty distorted electric guitar up in here is a treat and a great way for the track to go out.

@@@ Inna Vision: Waste No Time (Roots Musician Records, 2020)  I got to this new roots electro reggae track via this week’s WRIR playlist email.  The sounds are electro and outstanding in quality.  Thick bass, layers of sweet vocal tracks, over drum machine beats which is not my favorite instrument in Jamaican music but all the sounds here are super well done so I don’t notice its drum machine-ness much.

@@@ Nihiloxica: Tewali Sukali (Crammed, 2020)  This is a single also on the WRIR weekly playlist email and according to the GooglePimp it is a blend of Ugandan traditional drumming and dark techno.  I have to be honest I could listen to this shit all day, that’s how compelling I find it.  The combination of the drumming energy and the slightly dissonant electro sounds is like medicine to my ears.  Somebody tooks some big chunks of ambient sound and just smashed them on top of these beats and it’s a delicious world music ice cream cone.  Bravo!  It builds to a pretty intense crescendo from a pretty intense starting point and I don’t know when the drumkit came in but I dig this shit bigly.  If you’re not too straight up in the head check this out.

@@@ Kellarissa – Ocean Electric (Mint)  I got to these two listens, this one and the one below via a playlist email from spring 2018.  Once in a blue I just pop one open and get jiggy with some day old bread.  Ain’t no shame in it.  Yowsa, an unabashed celebration of 1980’s synth sounds!  Female singer, kick-snare driven beat (not the most flavorful beat going fo sho).  It’s neither fully dancefloor, nor fully rock, nor fully pop, it’s a mash of all those.  A lot of vocal tracks, this is a lesson in more is more!  More synths, more vocals.  Not really my cup of tea, but listen for yourself.

@@@ Dungen & Woods: Turn Around (Mexican Summer, 2018)  I’ve peeped Dungen’s music before and find his retro psych hippie flow to be satisfying.  This is a blend as it’s not just Dungen but these Woods people or a person named Woods.  Sweet female singer, slowish midtempo beat, an acoustic guitar strum, a tambourine (fucking love tambourines bigly not!) It’s lounge rock, you could kick back in your Wuhan isolation and drink a nice citrus-y alcoholic drink with an umbrella in it to this tune.  Don’t drink too much and degrade your immunity, be cool with it.  We’ve been watching the cooking show Chopped and they’re always talking about contrasting flavors — the tangy with the spicy, yadda yadda yadda.  This is tilted towards sweetness but there’s a trippy weirdness to the guitar shredding and a little muscular drumming to give you contrast and balance.  You’ve been chopped!

YTD recordings listened to: 240
Good music, not list worthy: 130
Not good music: 104

Best: 0
Honorable Mentions: 0

Possibles: Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, Slidhr, The Chewers, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Lozen, Erase Errata, Mastery, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, Luther Dickinson, Graeme Barrett, Fast Asleep, Goldlink, Cavanaugh, Satoko Fuji, Moken, Juan Atkins, Lantern, Twin Peaks, Djelimady Tounkara, The Oh Sees, Denny Zeitlin, MILF, Unfun, De La Soul, Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes, Noname, Klara Lewis, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Oddisee, RAM, Fiver, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Priests, Propaganda, This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez, Integrity, Tuba Skinny, The Expanders, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Portal, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton, Parquet Courts, Moskus, Kendl Winter, Tkay Maidza, Barro, Daniel Khan, Tallawit Timbouctou, Sumac, Tropical Fuck Storm, Harriet Tubman, Ammar 808, Anais Maviel, Chaka Khan, Pom Poko, Fried Egg, Tarek Atoui, Saicobab, General Purv, Shipping News, Big Thief, Mariachi El Bronx, Pour Me a Grog, Sudan Archives, Lakou Mizik, Moodymann, Pharmakon, Alefa Madagascar, Janjao, Luge, Wiki, Mick Jenkins, Jeremiah Jae, Fera, Gambian Griot Kora Duets, Drama, Beatrice Dillon, Mass Worship, mmmonika, Les Deuxluxes, Tony Allen, Fra Fra, Nihiloxica

 

Music for 4/1/20!!! Afu-Ra, Mdou Moctar, Enrique Bunbury, Fra Fra, Numbing

@@@ Afu-Ra: War Chemicals (X-Ray, 2020) I got to this new dancehall (maybe it’s not currently called that) via a music publicist email.  Ra has a thick, authoritative voice and he toasts King Selassie over trap beats and trippy, oscillating synth sounds.  It’s an interesting mash of electronic sounds — still plenty of bass for the heads but it’s a dense arrangement.  The second MC toaster has a lighter and sharper tone to his voice that provides nice contrast to Afu.  I like that name, a little kung fu crossed with snafu.  Concious street music.

@@@ MDOU MOCTAR | “Ibitlan” (Sahel, 202) Off this week’s WRIR weekly playlist email.  A new single from the West African guitarist I’ve heard before but I haven’t loved yet.  After a nice loose intro he gets into some classic rock power chord action which I’m not a huge fan of.  However when the full band gets grooving the drummer latches onto a really solid beat and they do build a head of steam.  About a minute from the end he hits the stomp box and really goes for the full African shred.  That shoulda kicked off in the beginning of the tune, I dig that.

@@@ ENRIQUE BUNBURY | “Cualquiera En Su Sano Juicio (Se Habria Vuelto Loco Por Ti)” [Single] (WM Spain, 2020)  Off this week’s WRIR playlist email and it looks like it’s gonna be a big ol’ Spanish pop biscuit so get ready.  He comes with the trashy drum machine and the sawtooth synth sound and the manly Spanish vocals.  Midtempo ballad and it just lopes across the sky in the chorus like a giant vomit comet, think Spanish Neil Diamond, it’s really like that I shit you not.  I like some of the sounds but it is indeed a giant pop biscuit so if you’re up for that sort of thing….get yer fork out and feast.

@@@ FRA FRA: Naked (Glitterbeat, 2020)  A pre release single from an album that comes out on the 24th of this month.  This is wickedly delicious and beautiful music, it hits viscerally right away.  Multiple male voices and some manic stringed instrument playing that drives the tune and contrasts percussively with the singing.  From where I’m standing this is not music for cubicle dwellers, this is for lovers of improvised music, spiritual music, world music and funk.

@@@ Numbing: Bending Hell (Self-released, 2020)  Off this week’s CFUV playlist email.  They’re out of Vancouver, happy Covid to you and yours up there with your national healthcare and what not.   I thought by the look of the cover this was going to be a ghetto metal ride but it opens up sort of indie punk rocking.  Pavement-y and bands of that ilk.  Slack singing and playing, quiet in the verse and then more active in the chorus.  If you haven’t heard this formula before you’ve been living under a rock which might not be a bad place to be these days.

YTD recordings listened to: 235
Good music, not list worthy: 127
Not good music: 102

Best: 0
Honorable Mentions: 0

Possibles: Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, Slidhr, The Chewers, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Lozen, Erase Errata, Mastery, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, Luther Dickinson, Graeme Barrett, Fast Asleep, Goldlink, Cavanaugh, Satoko Fuji, Moken, Juan Atkins, Lantern, Twin Peaks, Djelimady Tounkara, The Oh Sees, Denny Zeitlin, MILF, Unfun, De La Soul, Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes, Noname, Klara Lewis, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Oddisee, RAM, Fiver, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Priests, Propaganda, This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez, Integrity, Tuba Skinny, The Expanders, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Portal, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton, Parquet Courts, Moskus, Kendl Winter, Tkay Maidza, Barro, Daniel Khan, Tallawit Timbouctou, Sumac, Tropical Fuck Storm, Harriet Tubman, Ammar 808, Anais Maviel, Chaka Khan, Pom Poko, Fried Egg, Tarek Atoui, Saicobab, General Purv, Shipping News, Big Thief, Mariachi El Bronx, Pour Me a Grog, Sudan Archives, Lakou Mizik, Moodymann, Pharmakon, Alefa Madagascar, Janjao, Luge, Wiki, Mick Jenkins, Jeremiah Jae, Fera, Gambian Griot Kora Duets, Drama, Beatrice Dillon, Mass Worship, mmmonika, Les Deuxluxes, Tony Allen, Fra Fra