Music for 8/17/18!!! Janet Jackson, 6Lack, Calvin Harris/Sam Smith

@@@ Janet Jackson & Daddy Yankee: Made for Now (Rhythm Nation, 2018)  The #1 track in the hot tracks section at the Apple Music.  It’s got a breezy Caribbean beat, what could be a Haitian of African guitar line, a little Spanish background vocal action and she sounds eerily like her brother Michael’s falsetto.  Swearsies realsies.  It’s a multilayered groove for sure but the vocal hook ‘not tomorrow, made for now does wear a tad.  I’m glad she is still making music.

@@@ 6Lack: Nonchalant (LVRN/Interscope, 2018)  6Lack has turned into a confessional mope in the a series of singles after his first full length.  This track is less about his female relationship/s but his work and his approach to it and his stress in following up a huge first record.  This track I like more than most of the other singles and his sonics are really trippy and high end.  He does a good job building these dark hazy productions that form the backdrop for his rhymes.  It’s cool that he’s a unique artist thematically and really puts out introspective sentiments you don’t hear often in mainstream r&b.

@@@ Calvin Harris and Sam Smith: Promises (Sony Music, 2018)  Two of my least favorite mainstream ‘artists’ team up for a biscuit!  Let’s go on this.  It’s a combination of Smith’s overwrought sentiments and Harris’ simulated funk done at a midtempo pace and focused on love and promises.  Harris is a straight up disco/funk/electro copy machine — his first child should be named Xerox!  He made no promises, he can’t do no golden rings, but he’s gonna give you everything.  I don’t buy it cuz I would like to hear some soulful and original music and I’m not getting that.

YTD recordings listened to: 480
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 248
Not good music: 202

Best: 8
Honorable Mentions: 5

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, Janelle Monae, 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, A Tribe Called Quest, Noname, Gouge Away, Klara Lewis, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Oddisee, Forro in the Dark, RAM, Fiver, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Priests, Propaganda, This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez, Integrity, Tuba Skinny, The Expanders, Converge, Open Mike Eagle, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Tal National, Portal, Hernan Sama & Marcelo von Schultz, Jean Grae and Quelle Chris, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton, Parquet Courts, Orlando Lopez, Moskus, Kendl Winter, 700 Bliss

Music for 8/16/18!!! Kyoko Kitamura, Ashley McBryde, SKINLESS

@@@ Kyoko Kitamura: Protean Labyrinth (N/A, 2018)  I saw this recording mentioned on the Twatter as the Bandcamp record of the day.  Kitamura has worked with Anthony Braxton and she is a sax player as well as a vocalist though she does have another sax player on this record.  I’m enjoying the slightly fragmented and spiky feel of the first tune that intros the proceedings.  Not all the tunes are up on the Bandcamp but there are four which is enough to get a sense of the record.  I will be staking my review on this second tune Tripwire.  I really like the sound of the record and the tone of the instruments.  I like her vocalizing more than I like the usually jazz singing.  It’s abstract while being somewhat rooted in scatting though I’m not expert on jazz vocals.  I’m very much enjoying the rhythm section, that is the best part of the record as far as I’m concerned.  She’s doing some really nice improvising vocal work on the fifth tune, Deadbolt.  Solid B+

@@@ Ashley McBryde: The Jacket (Warner Music Nashville, 2018) A country single I got to via music blogger bigmouth Bob Lefsetz.  My first thought is she’s pretty close to biting Tom Petty in a plagiaristic guitar melody kinda way.  It’s the story of a jacket and all the shit it has been through.  If you’re not into the nostalgic core of the song it’s really not going to work for me.  I get it, but I don’t think it’s a particularly special tune.

@@@ Skinless: Savagery (Relapse, 2018)  Some full on death metal that I got to via the CFUV weekly playlist email.  The title track and opener (clipped below) is pretty relentless in its forward attack.  The singer shifts from caveman exhortations to a more post hardcore style but it’s the guitar and drum lock and beatdown that really brings the pain. This band is as punishing as being locked in a room with President SkidMark and his fellow cartoon character Rudy Giuliani and having them scream ‘No Collusion’ at you over and over.  The sounds here are better and more truthful than those two for sure.

YTD recordings listened to: 477
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 247
Not good music: 200

Best: 8
Honorable Mentions: 5

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, Janelle Monae, 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, A Tribe Called Quest, Noname, Gouge Away, Klara Lewis, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Oddisee, Forro in the Dark, RAM, Fiver, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Priests, Propaganda, This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez, Integrity, Tuba Skinny, The Expanders, Converge, Open Mike Eagle, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Tal National, Portal, Hernan Sama & Marcelo von Schultz, Jean Grae and Quelle Chris, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton, Parquet Courts, Orlando Lopez, Moskus, Kendl Winter, 700 Bliss

Music for 8/15/18!!! Blac Rabbit, Adeline, BLXPLTN, Royal Sun

@@@ Blac Rabbit: EP (How Far Music, 2017) Today’s listening comes from the bottom of the Afropunk 2018 festival act list.  Afropunk has exploded and there are now nationally known acts appearing there but we are going to peep some of the lesser known acts.  This tune is a space rock/slightly psychedelic tune with classic rock guitars and a little bit more funk in the drums than what you would usually get.  I like the band playing but the lyrics are a bit standard for my taste.  It’s a sound that probably works bangin’ live.

@@@ Adeline: Swirl (Self-released, 2018). This is a r&b/soul track with heavy electronic sounds.  I like the arrangement and she floats over it with a lush melody and tone.  This is a well focused and put together somewhat downtempo track with plenty of garnishing sounds without going over the top.  It pretty successfully aspires to the title of the track with a swirling set of sounds and vocal melodies.

@@@ BLXPLTN: Education Destruction (Wolfshield, 2018)  I immediately thought of the British punk hop duo Sleaford Mods (who I love) but when it comes time for the mosh these guys throw it down noisy.  It’s a pretty simple set of sounds but put together effectively with your classic tension in the verse/exploding chorus formula that has worked a million times before.  Solidly aggressive.

@@@ Royal Sun: Fight (Self-released, 2018) Okay, the last of our four tracks from the Afropunk festival happening in Brooklyn in about 10 days.  It opens up soulfully with doo woppy background vocals.  It then widens out into a full groove with a drummer.  It ends up with a blend of rock sounds and soul singing.  The vocal hook is her promise to fight for you which is a fairly common lyrical subject in mainstream music.  It ends with an arena rock flourish so it moves across a few neighborhoods before landing the spaceship.  She’s gonna fight for you, remember that.

YTD recordings listened to: 474
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 245
Not good music: 199

Best: 8
Honorable Mentions: 5

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, Janelle Monae, 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, A Tribe Called Quest, Noname, Gouge Away, Klara Lewis, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Oddisee, Forro in the Dark, RAM, Fiver, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Priests, Propaganda, This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez, Integrity, Tuba Skinny, The Expanders, Converge, Open Mike Eagle, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Tal National, Portal, Hernan Sama & Marcelo von Schultz, Jean Grae and Quelle Chris, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton, Parquet Courts, Orlando Lopez, Moskus, Kendl Winter, 700 Bliss

Music for 8/13/18!!! Leon Vynehall, Arp, Sophie

@@@ Leon Vynehall: Nothing is Still (Ninja Tune, 2018) All three of these electronic tracks are off an email where the really great audio software company Izotope recommended 6 of their favorite electronic records of the year.  I really love great electronic and ambient music but I’m very picky about the sounds I like.  This first tune is spacious with some plinky, space traveller bleeps and a couple of slow moving clouds moving at a relaxed pace.  There is an orchestral melodic swell that builds under the ambient plinks.  The second tune evokes a jazz motif with a trumpet patch and an upright bass patch, both swizzled and fuzzed up for the kids today.  There’s a beat, just simple titch but it brings the piece into a different space.  I like this though it doesn’t move much after it establishes itself.  I sampled (pun alert!) a bit of the fourth and fifth tracks and it’s solid business.  If it was a bit more abstract I would be all over it.

@@@ Arp: Zebra (Mexican Summer, 2018)  This first tune opens up with some fluffy exhortations, a simple marimba melody, a fusion-y jazz bass and a periodic acoustic guitar strum.  Not some of my favorite sounds as they all come together for a sweet New Age salsa and I’m not an eater of that flavor.  The marimba makes an appearance at the opening of the second tune (as well as the bass sound) and this is aiming for a more playful and light space jazz kinda journey.  I’m good with space jazz and I will recommend Alice Coltrane all day long to whoever will listen but this is not my cup of sounds.

@@@ SOPHIE: Ponyboy (MSMSMSMS/Future Classic, 2018).  Glitchy, giddy and gorgeous — that is the blurb on Apple Music.  This is deeply female music businss with line like it’s okay to cry and other such beauteous sentiments in the first tune.  Surprisingly it has a little bit of Prince funk.  The second tune, Ponyboy, is a electronic funk throwdown still with Prince flavors which I dig.  I like a bunch of the sounds but not all of them, I like the adventurousness of the tunes, but I’m not a huge fan of her voice and her lyrics.  Others may totally be into her.  I’m pretty dead inside.

YTD recordings listened to: 470
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 241
Not good music: 197

Best: 8
Honorable Mentions: 5

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, Janelle Monae, 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, A Tribe Called Quest, Noname, Gouge Away, Klara Lewis, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Oddisee, Forro in the Dark, RAM, Fiver, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Priests, Propaganda, This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez, Integrity, Tuba Skinny, The Expanders, Converge, Open Mike Eagle, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Tal National, Portal, Hernan Sama & Marcelo von Schultz, Jean Grae and Quelle Chris, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton, Parquet Courts, Orlando Lopez, Moskus, Kendl Winter

Music for 8/14/18!!! Mark Pritchard, 700 Bliss, Space Africa, Pig Destroyer

@@@ Mark Pritchard: Come Let Us (Warp, 2018)  An electronic single from the album the Four Worlds.  I got to this record via an email from Izotope, an audio software company.  I think I’ve heard this record before but I didn’t realize that until I started playing it.  It’s an electronic record and the tune clipped below and the tune S.O.S. feature spoken word performances and they’re sorta cosmic in nature.  Right now I’m checking out the gorgeous The Parkstone Melody II.  It’s a full melted and widened out melody that gets garnished with some long tones and breaks out of any notion of set rhythm and moves organically, say like water.  Check that out, it’s really nice.

@@@ 700 Bliss: Ring the Alarm (Dongiovannirecords, 2018) With a tune called Cosmic Slop which references Funkadelic I’m expecting this to be a dancefloor jam but weird.  It’s a 5 song, 13 minute EP and it’s pleasantly weird with what sounds like a black female spoken word/singer.  The production here is partly funky, partly glitchy and it produces a fresh combination of sounds while being laced with some strong pro-black sentiments.  I haven’t heard anything like this and I will be circling back on it when I get a chance to listen to the whole thing.  The time clipped below is the production I enjoyed most.

@@@ Space Africa: Uwem/Creation (sferic, 2018)  The last of what has turned out to be a pretty good list of electronic records from the software company Izotope.  Funny how a software company can put together a better playlist than Spotify or Apple Music who traffic in mainstream sonic baby food.  Whoever is in this outfit is putting the Space in the Space Afrika moniker.  A few minimalist bass pulses and a kick drum with some periodic synth cloud bursts.  The second tune, sd/tl, changes some of the sounds but retains the formula.  It’s tastefully restrained while it remains engaging.  I’m on the fourth tune here and while I’m not as into it as the 700 Bliss record above the sounds and production here are very well done.  There are spots where I think it lags or repeats a bit too much but it’s a good record folks should check out.

@@@ Pig Destroyer: Head Cage (Relapse, 2018)  I was cranking some heavy metal to piss of my neighbors and I discovered that Pig Destroyer has a couple of pre-release singles up for an upcoming full length banger.   When dance music publicists say something is a dancefloor banger it’s kinda douche, but when Pig Destroyer drops a full length head banger, heads are gonna get banged.  This first tune, Army of Cops is a medium tempo assault that is more metallic than the methed out manic shit of Book Burner.  The second pre-release tune, The Torture Fields, is more up but both tunes are dominated by the drummer — he’s all over the place and it’s extremely pleasurable listening.  For those who do not know the Pig Destroyer, the singer is more post hardcore than heavy metal caveman.  It’s mostly metal with some thick chunks of hardcore and speed metal tossed in for over the top mayhem.  I’ll check back on this full length head banger when it comes out.

YTD recordings listened to: 470
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 241
Not good music: 197

Best: 8
Honorable Mentions: 5

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, Janelle Monae, 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, A Tribe Called Quest, Noname, Gouge Away, Klara Lewis, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Oddisee, Forro in the Dark, RAM, Fiver, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Priests, Propaganda, This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez, Integrity, Tuba Skinny, The Expanders, Converge, Open Mike Eagle, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Tal National, Portal, Hernan Sama & Marcelo von Schultz, Jean Grae and Quelle Chris, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton, Parquet Courts, Orlando Lopez, Moskus, Kendl Winter, 700 Bliss

Music for 8/10/18!!! RGG Trio, DeVotchka, Quavo, Brown Paper Bag

@@@ RGG Trio: City of Gardens (N/A, 2018)  How many Polish guys does it take to make a jazz record?  This is a trio record so three!  C’mon I wouldn’t insult Polish people in my music reviews.  I would discuss Miley Cyrus’ pubic hair and different varieties of cheese but I’m not racist and shit.  This looks to be piano, trumpet and drums and this first tune opens slowly with some rolling drums.  It’s not my favorite flavor of improv but I’m going to check out a bit more of the record.  It’s pretty spacious music and long 10+ minute pieces.  Myself I would rather check out Bill Dixon and some of his ’60 work but this has a pleasant earnestness to it.

@@@ DeVotchka: Angels (Concord, 2018)  If you, gasp, took U2 and made a baby with Coldplay it would sound like this pre-release single.  It’s dramatical, it’s epic, it’s an arena rock cheesebomb dropped from far up in the sky.  Everybody walks away greasy and dirty.  Big rock drums, plenty of different guitar sounds and lyrics — such as ‘tonight you will sleep the sleep of angels’.  Uh, don’t know really.  I got to this corporate cheese sandwich via a music publicist email.  I didn’t make it through the full four minutes and I can tell you with certainty that was a very long 3 minutes.

@@@ Quavo: Workinme (Capitol, 2018)  The #1 hot track in the Apple Music hot track section.  It’s midtempo trap and apparently his girl is working him too hard.  Fat, trunk shaking bass, a dude backing up Mr. Quavo’s lyrics, and a couple trippy samples floating in the background of the mix.  It’s not much of a tune, he’s just on about percoset and his bank account over a B+ beat.  Nothing to make it deserve #1 slot on the hot tracks.

@@@ Brown Paper Bag: Yoshi (Interscope, 2018)  A genre smashing single in the Apple Music hot tracks section.  It’s part hip hop with a huge rock guitar riff, a distorted bass but the problem here is the singer.  He’s got not authority to his voice so all the nice and hip sounds are wuss-a-fied by his microphone work.  Plus the lyrics are pretty much word salad — there’s a lot about being alienated in school, about some sort of daily meditation and sumthin about hold my smokes and my money.  It’s best not to try to make sense of it, it’s a salad.

YTD recordings listened to: 467
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 239
Not good music: 196

Best: 8
Honorable Mentions: 5

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, Janelle Monae, 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, A Tribe Called Quest, Noname, Gouge Away, Klara Lewis, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Oddisee, Forro in the Dark, RAM, Fiver, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Priests, Propaganda, This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez, Integrity, Tuba Skinny, The Expanders, Converge, Open Mike Eagle, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Tal National, Portal, Hernan Sama & Marcelo von Schultz, Jean Grae and Quelle Chris, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton, Parquet Courts, Orlando Lopez, Moskus, Kendl Winter