Music for 3/8/21!!! girl in red, Tate McRae

@@@ girl in red: serotonin (AWAL, 2021) It was a matter of time before somebody took trap bass sounds and smashed ’em into big rock sounds. Female singer, it’s international women’s day, finger snaps and lots of pretty cliche lyrics about doubt, self harm, shitty feelings all put up on the background of the aforementioned formula. it seems odd and a little conflicted to present such internal drama against a pretty backdrop, it doesn’t seem accurate or genuine. Maybe diluting those feelings make it more acceptable to let them out? It would be more powerful for me if the sounds had more impact. This is a pre-release tune, album out whenevs.

@@@ Tate McRae: Slower (Sony, 2021) Looks like they’ve taken women’s international day and stuffed it with major label females. Ah well, concentration of power. This is more a teen electro feel with beats way back, fat bass and a somewhat whiny female singer. That’s the tone to my ears, not a judgment, maybe she’s struggling to deliver the tune and it degenerates into a bit whiny. Or that’s just the way she rolls. The vocal hook revolves around taking a romantic relationship slower which is fine and classic. Overall it sounds pretty disposable.

Music for 3/6/21!!! Terror, The Armed

@@@ Terror: Out of My Face (Good Fight Records, 2021) Some in your face metal with a generous dollop of hardcore feels. These guys are definitely not up for a hang as this tune is called Out of My Face and the next tune is Keep Your Distance. That’s pretty aggro and clear. I like the drummer, he’s got some really good vibes going on, I like the guitar playing — it’s pretty standard but it’s good. I think the singer is a bit klunky he could use a mint, something to refresh him a bit. He’s definitely got the pissed thing down pat but a little swing would elevate this.

@@@ The Armed: Average Death (Sargen House, 2021) A little something different off the Apple Music metal section as this gets into a heavy pop place with a lot of electro elements. It doesn’t sport a frog stomping rhythmic approach and they whip a pretty solid post punk shitty in the chorus. The singer is layering in his whatever on top of this maelstrom and for the most part it works. I have a feeling this outfit has some art school graduates in it. I like the chorus, very Husker Du-ey. Both of these tracks are pre-release listens and there will be more when the full biscuit comes out.

Music for 3/6/21!!! Andy Bull, Foo Fighters, Common

@@@ Common: Fallin’ (Concord, 2020) Common is an icon at this point. I can’t say I’ve heard a ton of his music but I dig this tune. The guitar playing is really flattering to the tune and the way he latches onto the simple groove and just rolls out the rhymes. There’s a female singer in the chorus who brings some contrast to the proceeding. The singer is PJ, who I’ve not heard before but she does solid work on this excellent track. I’ve bumped this tune up to the top as it’s the best thing I heard today and because no need to put the black dude down the bottom of the blog post.

@@@ Andy Bull: It’s All Connected (Self released, 2020) I got to this track via an Australian music magazine called Happy Magazine. Oh boy, this is gonna be a white dude dancefloor banger ballad heavy on the synths and the klunky boom bap of an uninspired drum machine. I would say the tune is heavily influenced by ’80s pop and it is a bit Wham-ish but it’s got a timeless pop feel with the jangly, wimpish guitar and the singing style. As smooth as vanilla ice cream people! The mix is well done, the singer sings quite well, it’s just that I don’t love what’s on offer here. Others, particularly people not super connected to reality might super dig this.

@@@ Foo Fighters: Holding Poison (RCA, 2020) I’m pretty much done with the Foo but apparently the Foo is not done with us as they continue to carry the rock star flag. This is as about as poppy as you can be with an assload of power chords. There’s a little open hi hat and a little more Red Bull in the power riff and it has some whacky percussion that squeezes itself into a rare space in the mix. The reality is that if you’re still rockin’ the foo at this point you’re either just a two legged mushroom or you can’t get enough of that foo energy. Or both! I’m not sure what holding the poison down means but you have plenty of time to ponder it as you hear it quite a bit over the four and one half minutes of this track. They throw a switcheroo and get into a classic rock stoner jam out on the last third of the track. Meh. This is a long lasting all day sucker.


Music for 3/3/21!!! Mouse on Mars, Lost Horizons, Altin Gun

@@@ Mouse on Mars: Walking and Talking (Thrill Jockey, 2021) All three of today’s listens are off this week’s All Music notable release email. 20 songs, 62 minutes, electronic music. This is the fifth track on the record and it’s very mechanical sounding, chopped a lot with some distorted vocals that still convey a feel. In rhythm it comes off as garage-y type techno with some bug sounds added. Outside of the spray of rhythms and the voice there’s not a lot going on. I wish there was a bass here cuz I love bass. I like the vocalist/spoken word fella but overall I feel the record is short on pumping and a bit to art school-y for me. I like the typewriter type rhythms they get into but I could use more.

@@@ Lost Horizons: In Quiet Moments (Bella Union, 2021) A 73 minute monster shot of an indie soul record with a lot of guests on it, almost every tune. Mr. Ural Thomas sings on this one and he’s rocking a very light and comforting soul singing style. The band behind him sounds a bit indie but also adequately soulful. I like the track but I feel like excess reverb washes it out a bit too much. The spaciousness weakens the energy. The flavors here are going to jump around as a different singer hits the mic for each track. Wish I liked the production more.

@@@ Altin Gun: Kara Toprak (ATO, 2021) A bit psych, a bit funk, a bit rock all rolled up into a chilled out dancefloor banger propelled by a wah wah guitar loop. I believe this outfit has a connection to Turkey so there’s some Middle Eastern flavors up in here but subtle. I love Middle Eastern music btw, gimme more if you got it. Reminds me a bit of early Talking Heads before duder got mad annoying. A female singer comes in and she’s presented in a dreamy, chill fashion. Washes of chorused guitar blossom behind her and it gets handed off to a synth to drop a faux horn line in the break. I like the rhythm section here while liking all of it. It’s spacy and a bit dubwise on the top while pumping chill rhythms beneath.

Music for 3/2/21!!! TiKA, Baby Queen, Julius Black

@@@ TiKA: Walking Disaster (Next Door, 2021) All three of today’s listens are off this week’s Line of Best Fit weekly email with sometimes mainstream sometimes not American music. It opens with dueling acoustic guitars panned left and right and a female black vocalist getting emotionally raw on the microphone. I expect this is going to build to an explosion. This sounds just like an old Styx record with black singers, bigly classic rock feels. Right around halfway through the energy starts to build with big claps of percussion, swelling organ, and more earnest vocals. The vocal hook is something like ‘is this love? are you my master? it feels like a walking disaster’ or some such. It’s a good hook, I’m not a big drama guy, but this is good for mainstream listeners.

@@@ Baby Queen: Want Me (Polydor, 2021) Some brisk kraut-ish synth rock with that vocal fx where it sounds like somebody is on a telephone. The verse is tight and then it busts out into a much poppier, goopier Gwen Stefani-ish type chorus. Female singer, lots of energy, lots of desire, stuff about being wanted and shit. It’s all right, could use a twist or some swing. The overwhelming energy of the chorus can’t overcome the lack of freshness. Sounds too much like a ramped up Taylor Swift non-messy rocker.

@@@ Julius Black: Mirrors (Self-released, 2021). Opens up super smooth and quite bedroom r&b confessional sonic formula. They’ve added some vinyl crackle here which I think is a bit douche. He starts to get into some overly present background vocals but that stops when the beat comes in and it returns to a sort of doleful, contemplative thing. The vocals are right up to the edge of too much for my ears. More beat and more bass would give the tune more three dimensionality and enhance the doleful sweetness. Overall high end singing but not the formula I want to hear it presented in.

Music for 3/1/21!!! Amethyst Kiah, DJ Stingray, Joanna Connor

@@@ Amethyst Kiah: Black Myself (Concord, 2021) I got to this track via music biz honcho/blabbermouth Bob Lefsetz. Old school soul rock with a classic strong black female voice. Her voice is the star here, she exudes strength and classic soul feels. After that the stuffed and energetic mix is most notable. This is the guitar driven formula the Black Crowes took the bank and Ms. Kiah outperforms them both vocally and sonically. I’m always a bit slutty in asking for music to be something a bit more than a faithful reproduction but folks love this old school business especially when it’s well presented.

@@@ DJ Stingray: Tribal Life (Open Bar, 2020) I got to this techno DJ via an email from an online music magazine. This is a 7 minute dancefloor banger, opening upbeat with shakers and a metallic marimba type patch and some world music-y vocal chanting. I understand world music is a complicated term but it’s what I have. The four on the floor kick drum comes in, with some congas (an unusual component in a lot of dance music) I could use a bit more development than what we’re getting here but it seems content to sit and groove. At 3 minutes the bass comes in and it’s all right but it could drive the track more. The new sounds added to the groove are all rhythmic components and a break from the marimba melody would be nice.

@@@ Joanna Connor: I Feel So Good (Keeping the Blues Alive, 2021) I got to this Chicago blues artist via a music publicist email. This is not the hyperinflated electric post-Jimi Hendrix epic blues but more of a traditional Chicago blues barn burner. A small room sound. Great band energy and the singer is working overtime, I haven’t heard any blues in a while that will make you stand up and pay attention. I started jumping around to see if other tunes are as good as this one. I’m checking out a power ballad ‘Bad News’ and it’s solid and while I think I like the first tune the best there’s some rocking here to be done.

Music for 2/27/21!!! Patricia Brennan, Ivorian Doll

@@@ Patricia Brennan: Maquishti (Valley of Search, 2021) I saw this NYC, Mexico born vibraphonist’s new record shouted out on the Twatter, and there are few people who love the sound of vibraphone more than me. I love that instrument and tuba too! The first tune, Blame it, is solo and it’s interesting and contemplative and a tad melancholy. She’s got a little electro processing on this second track, I think it’s a delay but it’s very slight and does have a postive effect on the track. I’m really into these first two tunes and think this is a pretty fantastic solo vibraphone record. I’m definitely going to circle back and listen to more of it when I have more time — it has its own thing going on for sure. A unique take on vibe jazz.

@@@ Ivorian Doll: Daily Duppy (Self-released, 2020) I don’t know anything about this rapper but Crack Magazine sent out a weekly email highlighting four rappers and Ms. Doll was among them. She’s from the UK but the accent is not super thick and I can hear a lot of her rhymes as opposed to some of the gents who are tougher to understand. She’s pretty fierce and the arrangement is dark but not without a little pop sweetener. Somebody did some really nice work on the bass sounds here as the separation and the tone are fantastico. Beats are tight but distinctly un-American with a few drum ‘n bass feels.

Music for 2/25/21!!! Sibylle Baier, Dan Wilson, Galya Bisengalieva

@@@ Sibylle Baier: I Lost Something in the Hills (Orange Twin, 2006) This looks to a reissue of a lo fi bedroom classic by a German woman from the ’70s. It’s a sad woman with an acoustic guitar walking through the hills. In the woods, moody and shit, I’m making a bit of fun but she’s got a very nice voice. Only the slopes gave her hope, that’s a good line, dramatical but effective nonetheless. I like it, I find the lyrics a bit, I don’t want to be too dead inside a bit over the top and I prefer Nick Cave’s exquisite guitar playing but this is fine lo fi mope for those who need it and the demand is probably very high these days.

@@@ Dan Wilson: Who Shot John (Mack Avenue, 2021 ) I got to this straight jazz guitar track via the Twatter. Love the Twatter. Instrumentation is guitar, bass, piano and drums — at least in the opening. Wilson’s tone is more pointed and less noodly than most jazz guitarists and I respect that. The drummer is swirling in some funk which I think would be great if there was more funk in the rest of the players. The drummer switches out to a more openly Latin flavor and I think that works better for the tune but that’s just me. Like the guitarist most here, then the drummer, agnostic on the bass player and don’t love the piano player. They’re heating shit up here and then it comes back down to a simmer. I like it all right. This is a pre-release track, there will be more shortly if it’s a pre-release because that’s what a pre-release is.

@@@ Galya Bisengalieva: Aralkum (One Little Independent, 2020) This is an ecological focused music piece I got to via the hoity toity Brooklyn club National Sawdust. Aralkum is the opening track of the record and this work is slotted as electronic on the ol’ Apple Music. I like it thus far as it goes up to the epic New Age line and doesn’t cross it. Bisengalieva is a violinist and there’s some of that standing sharply in contrast to the breathy synths and some undercover piston-y electronic beat action. Insect-y and churn-y rather than funky. That contrast between the violin and the synths is my favorite component of the tune and myself I could use some more rhythm and some bass. Overall mostly for the NPR crowd but as far as who it’s aimed at it does a good job feeding the NPR people. She’s blurbed as favoring apocalyptic moods and I get that but it’s a shiny and pretty sonically pleasant apocalypse I’m hearing here. I’m guessing the apocalypse will be a lot less beautiful when it really gets going.

Music for 2/24/21!!! Kush Jones, John Depew

@@@ Kush Jones: Folding Glass (N/A, 2020) I got to this dancefloor musician via the Twatter. My Apple Music is on the fritz this morning, fuckin’ a, so I have to resort to the GooglePimpTube. This track comes out high energy with clouds of synth but a chattering hi hat, more than one, a pong synth going almost mad, hand claps; just a whole bunch of rhythm. After establishing itself you get a little evolution in the sounds but mostly in the beats area. I guess the synths serve as the ongoing anchor here breathing in and out but I could use a break and then a return. Great sounds, could use some changes and change backs — at least my ears could.

@@@ Admas: Wed Enate (1984/2020) I got to this remaster of a 1984 record via the weekly playlist at WRIR in Virginia. Oh my a distinctly Rasta/roots thing when the tune commences but with a little African weird synth action and a slightly different rhythmic feel. Like 3% different and shit, they really catch a dubwise flavor and dig into ti. I really like the sounds and the way they swing the track. Very nice guitar solo and back into another breakdown, the second of the track. Just shy of five minutes of sweet African roots, check it out!

@@@ John Depew: John Depew (N/A, 2020) I got to this folk/country/bluegrass singer via prominent music critic Ted Gioia on the Twatter. Boy I wish Mr. Gioia would listen to some heavy music but he’s too fancy for that and he leaves that to more adventurous music writers like myself. Depew has a voice of carrying a lot of melody and he’s doing this first tune Buffalo Hunter over a strummed mandolin (pretty sure on that). HIs voice is quite capable but I find some lyrical passages to be a tad too literate, tryin’ a bit too hard. Fans of this genre might like the poetic nature of this, I’d prefer more stripped down lyrics. I checked the first three tunes and I like it without loving it.

Music for 2/23/21!!! Anna B. Savage, Julien Baker

@@@ Anna B. Savage: Baby Grand (City Slang, 2020) Both of these listens today are from this week’s Line of Best Fit. Open up with some clean electric guitar before some Joni Mitchell/leprechaun blend vocalizing comes in. Yowsa you don’t hear that every day. It’s about a pair of people lying underneath a baby grand piano which strikes me as a bit boozhy. Why not just make a couch fort like a normal person? The song is meaningful, at least it aspires to be. I’m both entranced by and kinda repulused by the singing especially when they put a big ass reverb patch on everything and it gets all space folk-y. I don’t think this is a sexual kind of lying under the grand piano which I find comforting, I don’t know if I can handle the image of folks doing it under a piano. Am I weird to find that weird? Possibly. The person she lies under the piano went upstairs to his girlfriend so that’s that. It’s an emotional thing not a fornicating thing. Check it out if you crave a walk on the freakshow side. The sounds here are quite intimate and arresting.

@@@ Julien Baker: Hardline (Matador, 2020) More female business which is super. It opens with a bunch of organ blasts that I like before it gives way to a sultry and mopey singer doing her thing over clouds of sound that ebb and flow in waves. Then a drummer doing that dancey active high hat thing and she’s no longer mopey. Holy fuckstick, this is on Matador home of hipsters and this is absolutley shopping mall-y compared to what I’ve heard on that imprint. The times they are a changin’ and everybody is issuing forth cheese for the masses! The main drawback here is the overly dramatical almost mainstream singing style — lots of gasping, lots of yearning, lots of lots of. That and the epic production and we’re pretty closed to a NPR grilled cheese sandwich mixed with some Brit rock. This is a pre-release track and there will be more nuggets for you shortly. Not my thing, just too many feelings I can’t get with all of it. If you want feelings go for the first song, she’s at least freakin’ out sonically and getting her freak flag on, this is just a plain rock biscuit.