@@@ Eris Drew: Daisychain 170 (N/A, 2021) Both listens today are off Crack Magazine’s 10 mixes you have to hear this month that they email out to subscribers. Second listen of the day, opening quite ambient with chopped up and dubbed voices before a brisk dance beat sets in. A vocal sample urges listeners urges folks to pump their bodies pushing the rhythmic energy higher. Oh this is quite stylish, a little improvised on the microphone, a nice high repeating melody and a lot of rhythm. I haven’t checked out a lot of these online dance sets but from what I can tell there’s an emphasis on morphing through different vibes as part of a performance. I’m on my third spot check and the energy here is high, a bit retro and dancefloor bangin’. If you feel like moving your body this will get you there, peep this.
@@@ She Spells Doom: Origins Tape 016 (N/A, 2021) This is our first listen of the day. Three online DJ sets with this one opening up dark with occasional splashes of twinkly synth. As the darkness recedes we get bird noises and some shushing waves so there’s a New Age nature thing going here. Not my favorite. I think it’s gonna be a few more minutes before the beats show up and then I’ll know how I feel about this set. It’s hard to get super clear on it when it’s an hour long set but the beginning does set the tone. The beats come with some voices and a stabbing bass and the energy has popped quite significantly. I like the beats, techno-ish but not the classic unt-tss. I’ve peeped around the hour and like the sounds — one section pops in with some French African flavored business. I like the energy here.
@@@ Raven Chacon: Overheard Song (Innova, 2021) I got to this indigenous artist’s track via the somewhat hip and somewhat pretentious Brooklyn club National Sawdust. Slotted as classical music this track opens with a solo drum beat. Almost 2 minutes in the metal bell percussion comes in and a whooshing wind sound which might be electronic in nature. It took a long time to build to this point and I was going to dencounce it but she has a pretty good percussion storm brewing. An electric guitar comes in 1 minute from the end and gets distorted in the left channel. Third tune kicks in and it’s a mass of squealing guitar feedback that I’m enjoying. I like this without loving it and think it would be an impressive set of sounds for a live performance.
@@@ Black Pumas: Colors (ATO, 2020) I got to this band via an email from the home recording magazine Tape Op. It’s not really a home recording magazine, it’s a magazine about recording and it’s outstanding toilet reading. Slotted as soul it opens with a descending acoustic guitar arpeggio melody accompanied with a swelling organ before it goes pretty full Al Green flavored soul. Sonically wide across the stereo field which I think works really well, oh my this is really Al Green flavored business, ah well whatcha gonna do? The lyrics are concious which I associate more with Curtis Mayfield. Very stylish kicked in keyboard solo as the tune ramps up for the last minute. Well recorded, great energy, could use a new sound or two but otherwise solid business.
@@@ Diana Burco: La Negra Del Sur (SOMOS, 2021) Latin music off this week’s WRIR playlist email. Epic production here, especially on her voice, but the mix is fully pimped. There’s an MC in English saying ‘black from the south’ and she’s got a little cumbia accordion up in here and it’s a pleasant mash of pretty established sound. But again pimped sonically which is interesting and a bit performative. Ups for the accordion player, he tears it in the solo though he/she/they could be a bit higher in the mix. The MC returns for a full rhyme sesh and I’m not a huge fan, it’s all right. It goes through my ears as a song that straddles the line of fully stuffed business sometimes with good results and sometimes not.
@@@ Dimash Kudaibergen: The Crown (Beige and Black Golden, 2021) I got to this Kazakh singer’s music and the clip below from a financial blog of all places. I thought he was gonna rock it in English but we’re getting the Chinese. The main point in listening to this is to recognize that cheese is an international business, everybody loves cheese. Kudaibergen can sing for sure — a supple voice in places and epic in others. The chorus, oy the chorus, boom! a cheese comet across the sky. In places they bite a song really hard, Careless Whisper I can’t believe I pulled that off the hard drive! There’s a bridge where he just loses his shit, it’s massive and he goes Mariah Carey like full range diva show. Wow is all I can say here, wow.
@@@ Ben Seretan: Cicada Waves (NNA Tapes, 2021) A solo piano/ambient recording I got to via an email from the label. I like the atmospheric elements, the churring and static of nature — the piano I’m agnostic about. It’s a lot of ringing chords with small melodies layered on top. I like it, I think it would be good music to get a non-happy ending massage to. It’s not often the insects are the stars of a record so cherish it.
@@@ Sufi Parveen: Kanha (Hinduraag, 2021) I got to this modernized Sufi electronica devotional music from music critic Ted Gioia. My first impression is I don’t like it very much at all. I like the singing but the sounds are Casio-esque and it detracts from the overall power of the music. I love South Asian music so this hurts to relay my disappointment here. The second tune is much better than the first but I’d rather listen to old school carnatic music over this unfortunately.
@@@ Willow Kayne: Two Seater (Sony Music UK , 2021) All three of today’s listens are from this week’s Line of Best Fit. I mean you can’t take a shit without running into Billie Ellish’s new track but it was namechecked on that email. Comes on with the growling bass, then a shuffle beat, and then Ms. Kayne comes with the descending melody. Occasional guitar spikes, and unfortunately it explodes out into cheesier pop territory in the chorus. Love the verse, like the attitude, could leave the chorus by the side of the road.
@@@ Squid: Paddling (Warp, 2021) A pre-release track that opens with a lot of space, a nerdy clean guitar then a beat and a drone. It’s building to something but I hear an updated version of the Doors’ L.A. woman with different instruments. Are you a lucky little lady in the, I forget the rest of it. Then we get a singer and some background vocal action and the metamorphosis into a janky Devo flavor pack is complete. I appreciate the weirdness of it though I confess to not shitting my pants over it. Nerd rock has never made me shit my pants. There’s also an art school proggy thing going here. It builds to a boil and I like it more — I can see a lot of hipsters digging this. I’ve never hipstered, way too square for that.
@@@ Billie Eilish: Your Power (Interscope, 2021) A pre-release track from Billie Eilish. There’s obviously a big push behind her, she’s a big star, so you can’t take a shit without seeing her on the interwebz. The acoustic guitar is beautifully records, but the vocal is presented with too large a reverb patch and lessen the impact. Eilish is doing a breathy delivery, it’s not over the top but it’s there. More sounds creep into the mix and it’s manicured. I like this much more than her debut where she was sporting her tongue and working a teen sex thing. These lyrics I’m guessing, are considered pretty important but as I mentioned the presentation. Now you think, hey fuckface you’re making a big deal of this but to me this is the cheesing of America. Why not go for something simpler and more direct, why does everything have to be so theatrical and over the top?
@@@ Burial + Blackdown: Shock Power of Love EP (Keysound, 2021) Three listens today off this month’s free Crack monthly mag out of the UK. I’ve been turned on to a lot of music via Crack Magazine. I thought this was going to be rock (don’t know why I thought that) but it’s an EP of electronic music with a lot of chainsaw synths and hip hop flavorings. I’m sampling the third tune after the first two and they are all rhythmic variants on classic techno beats. This third one is going full R2D2/StarWars ‘blurpy beep and laser tag’ with some fully reverbed cracked syllables; it’s sonically rich. Two 9 minute bangers and two 4+ minute bangers. I think this is above average in energy and texturing but it’s not making me jump and down. Other folks might feel differently.
@@@ BackRoad Gee: A Yo ( 23 Formation, 2021) UK rap, I love it! Check this flow on the microphone, oh he just asked if he could get some gray poupon. He didn’t, I made that shit up. The sounds here are off high end and manicured; some push and pull trippy synth sounds, and a bass that cuts melodically and impact wise when it pushes into the mix. Beats are funky and distinctly not American which I like. There is more than one MC here, one is doing that fake gunshot bubbling shit which I find weird. Rhyming is brisk but I have no clue what they’re on about and the accent really destabilizes my listening experience.
@@@ cktrl: robyn (Touching Bass, 2020) Opens loverboy r&b with chill keyboards and a sax with a lot of reverb or a high quality sax virtual instrument with a lot of reverb on it. Wow this is slotted as jazz on Apple Music which is weird to me. This is a r&b jam session and not jazz as I define it. I like the keyboard sound, and while this has to be a real sax to even garner the jazz label from the Apple, there’s too much reverb, the playing does not have the spontaneity of fully improvised music and I don’t know what else to say. The keyboard player and then the flute player that comes in for the last third are the best components here.
@@@ Nicole Bus: Rain (Roc Nation, 2019) All three of today’s listens are off a 2019 All Music notable release email that’s been in my email box. Nicole bus is a Dutch r&b singer which will change the proceedings for sure. This is the 8th track of the record and it’s a lush piano driven midtempo sad banger. The player clicked through to the next track With You which has a decidedly retro feel which I’m torn about. I will give the opener ‘Mr. Big Shot’ a peep and when I hear that late ’90s/early oughts drum beat it’s clear where this music is rooted. Bus is an above average singer but overall I find the tracks lacking spark and a bit of flavor. Again that’s just me.
@@@ Jim Noir: Deep Blue View (Dook, 2019) Opens with what I would call a indie hippie flavor and strong California faded vibes. Super comforting sounds with just a schmear of weird up in there. The first tune Good Mood is a feel good jam with obvious intentions so I thought I would skip to the next one which I like more. I find the combination of indie rock sounds and electronic sounds well done here. I prefer a bit more growl or muscle but that’s just me. I’m not a huge fan of the third tune Hexagons but I have a sense a sliver of the listening public might like this formula.
@@@ Eddy Current Suppression Ring: Vicariously Living (Castle Face, 2020) Post punk heroes from Australia. Nice punky guitar squall, not Sonic Youth more rocking than feedback. There’s a straight up approach up here that I appreciate — set ’em up and knock ’em down without. The sounds are good but no epic production values here. The tempos here are not the manic Dead Kennedys about to lose your mind. I do crave a little more energy but I appreciate this outfit and feel I’ve described them accurately. I checked out the next song ‘Future Self’ and I like it even more than the one clipped below.
@@@ Andy Stott: Hard to Tell (Modern Love, 2021) All three of today’s listens are off this week’s All Music notable release email. This track is slotted as electronic on Apple Music but to me it sounds like spaghetti western guitar music and now a female singer. As my definition goes this is stretching the definition. I’ve been duped, this is indie music, lemme check another track and see if it’s instrumental. 5 tracks have a singer, this singer, and four don’t and I will give a quick peep to the third track ‘Repetitive Strain’. The intro here is a repeating phrase that allows the metronome like rhythm to start, pause, and then the huge multi-octave arpeggio with a pipe like synth patch. I’m not sure what he’s going for here, it’s a bit dancefloor, a bit funky, a bit abstract so for me it’s not gelling. Plus I don’t know how to reconcile this track with the last one. As I finish up here here, he’s expanded the rhythmic components and is offering up an undercover dancefloor banger. I like it all right but I remain a bit befuddled but not in a snobby way.
@@@ Unschooling: Social Chameleon (Howlin’ Banana Records, 2021) Angular, nerdy return of Devo style rock with more guitar energy. The band is mixed super high while the singer is stuffed in the middle like the jelly of the donut. In this case more dough and less jelly which is fine, it’s got just enough jelly. The downside of the low vocalist is that I don’t really know what the song is about besides the title and I consume the track as almost instrumental music which is fine as their strength is in band playing.
@@@ Binker Golding: Lunar Wind (Byrd Out, 2021) Slotted as avant garde jazz the instrumentation here looks set to be sax, acoustic bass and drums, possibly more but we just got started. It’s a 15 minute free jazz banger that opens scruffy and stays scruffy and I like scruffy as it builds tension in this first third of the track. I could use a slightly thicker bass sound and a little thinness chopped off the horn as when I listen to long pieces with abstract playing I want that lushness, it adds to my experience. I’m not going to peep this whole piece but I’m going to check in on a couple of other pieces — I like the horn and the sound of the trio on the second track Reflection. I’m enjoying the braying and the energy of the trio here.
@@@ Ugly Beautiful: Sunrise (Self-released, 2021) I don’t remember how I got to this track, a rare fuckup on my part. Slotted as rock, this comes out a tad indie, a little rocking and a bit of classic rock. Then the brooding, proggy singer comes and I deflate. Vocalists are a personal thing so I won’t tell others what to like if they don’t bust my balls about what I like (or don’t like). Big drum sound, pretty polished and not crushed. The guitar player is good but I prefer a generally rougher style of rock — this is more what you’d hear in a gym with a lot of middle aged CEO types. More stylish than ballsy and as I said previously it’s personal preferences yo.
@@@ Matt Sweeney & Bonnie Prince Billie: Hall of Death (Drag City, 2021) I saw this record shouted out on the Twatter. I’ve heard a fair amount of Prince Billie, he’s a darling and shit. There are two tracks up with more coming just a few days from now and all I can say is they bit Noura Mint Seymali in such a profoundly biting bitch ass way with this guitar melody and sound and even the drumbeat, yikes I don’t know what to say. I got a litte distracted clicking around the apple music player to see if my mind done gone and started playing tricks on me again and alas I will leave it up to regular readers to determine whether this is a hardcore bite or an homage. They do mix in some indie and country tracks, but the truth is I can’t get over the bit.
@@@ Shelley: All Pride Aside (Atlantic, 2021) I really dug Shelley back in the day when he was DRAM. If I remember correctly it was a marijuana celebration track and this is slow love jam. Less a booty jam than a love jam. A lot of really smooth sounds and the overall vibe of the track is a softer one. Very nice bass, very melodic and prominent in the mix. A female singer hits the mic and she sings in a lower register than Shelley as he goes falsetto. They’re grooving out on the hook ‘addicted to love’ and ‘enable you/enable me’ and while it’s not my favorite cup of tea it’s the full black hippie/soul updated Age of Aquarius trip. He sings well for sure. It appears Shelley wants to move away from the rhyme circuit and hit the r&b circuit and he’s got the skills to do it.
@@@ ENNY: Peng Black Girls (FAMM, 2020) Off last week’s Crack Magazine. Today’s post is a draft post from the end of February that I’m using today as I’m busy as fuck and I don’t make loot doing this blog so I gotta get shit done and right this blog. This is UK hip hop with a female MC and female singers. I like the sung parts a whole bunch and the rhymed sections much less so. The beat is very close to something you would hear from a kit drummer and the keyboard vamp is also quite engaging and catchy. I think from the use of the perjorative term bloodclot that this these are some British folks with Caribbean roots. The second half of the tune really heats up and overall the track is just underneath jumping up and down for me.
@@@ The Los Sundowns: Los Angeles (Lechehouse Music, 2020) Off this week’s WRIR playlist email. It’s a world music tinged surf type tune that opens up the record. A bunch of minimalist leaning guitar tracks over straight rock drumming with occasional vocal stabs that punctuate the proceedings with a bit more direct humanity. The guitar playing is only surpassed by the arranging skills here, this is tightly focused and arranged and I give respect to that. The player clicked through to the next track titled ‘Endless Bummer’ which features some pretty stylish interaction between the organ player and the rest of the band. I’m pretty sure a band call Los Sundowns is not designed to make you jump up and down but these guys do a really good job accomplishing what they set out to do. These guys do a really good job of infusing surf with Latin feels.
@@@ Shakka: One for the Road (Westbourne, 2021) All three of today’s listens are from the Line of Best Fit weekly email. I started this blog post by listening from the bottom so I’m excited to exit white people’s land. I’m seeing this artist blurbed an artist’s artist. I’m not a super engaged r&b guy though I do listen to a fair amount but I like this tune — he’s very confident but not obnoxious on the microphone and the arrangement is pretty straightforward but far from disposable. It’s not particularly productive to get into what’s trap and what’s not trap but this is firm without trafficking in what I hear this as the hardness of trap. I like that hard flow in some instances but not necessarily in my r&b. I would call this an above average track with the vocal performance standing tall.
@@@ BSI: Vesturbaejar Beach (Self released, 2021) Bouncy style ’80s influenced guitar/synth pop with a dash of slapdash that gives it a more human feel. Female singer, pumped up drums, pumped up and straight, some mild guitar slashing and then a fair amount of synth sauce over the top. I’m not sure what to say, I’m not a big pop guy, but it does what it sets out to do, so if you dig the super guitar pop have at it.
@@@ Porter Robinson: dullscythe (Mom and Pop, 2021) Blurbed as big tent EDM, I’m a bit skeptical of that term. It opens up glitchy and panning back and forth. I hope it settles down forthwith, but it’s not. I guess that this artists suffered after his initial breakthrough and I do appreciate that the chopped and glitched smashing up of the musical material would reflect some of the internal anguish he experienced. About 2/3s of the way through the tune does de-chop and goes out on a blanket of synths and a simple piano melody. I appreciate this musician’s arranging skills but I don’t love the results. The player clicked through to the next track and the tune going right now is much more of that big tent cheese sandwich one would expect from big tent pimps.