9/23/16: Neurosis, Isis, Ludicra

@@@ Neurosis: Fires Within Fires (Neuron, 2016)  These guys have been in the metal game for a long ass time so you can raise the bar as far as expectations when you peep their records.  This first tune is a gloomy and more than a bit stony with a tasty ass drum sound and some slow epic riffage.  The tempo and energy pick up when the singer starts in and he’s more in the post-rock/hardcore neighborhood.  #unhappy #desperate This is definitely heavy music but not necessarily full on metal and this second tune reminds me of last year’s record Grievances by Kowloon Walled City.  Imma wing back on this and give it more ear when I have the time.

@@@ Isis: Panopticon (Ipecac, 2004).  No not the terrorist group.  This and the Neurosis record I found via the Apple Music editor’s playlists.  This tune is in the avant garde metal section and I guess that’s where they put the heavy music that’s not straight molten metal.  this tune has large swathes of dual guitar dueling arpeggios, more an indie flavor than a metal thing.  It’s a big thing, but if you’re up for a slab of grunge flavored heavy guitar jam action  well this will get yer weekend started proper.

@@@  Ludicra: The Tenant (Profound Lore, 2010).  Another track off the avant garde metal section.  Sporting an orc singer these guys are (again) more like a mainstream heavy rock band than a full meltdown spasm metal blowout.  It’s another almost 7 minute slab of double guitar action and it’s solid.  Not necessarily my favorite metal flavor but I’m here for the people.

YTD recordings listened to: 752
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 424
Not good music: 281

Buys: 14
Honorable Mentions: 12

Possibles: Chris McGregor, Dave Arner Trio, Zomby, Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Slidhr, The Chewers, Toxic Holocaust, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Lenguas Largas, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Fofoulah, Lozen, Erase Errata, Mastery, Leviathan, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, Janelle Monae, Luther Dickinson, Destruction Unit, Graeme Barrett, Fast Asleep, Goldlink, Cavanaugh, Gentleman Surfer, Satoko Fuji, Mystic Braves, Divanhana, Unrestrained, Moken, Systema Solar, Brian Eno, Juan Atkins, Drone, Lantern, The Lickshots, Twin Peaks, Djelimady Tounkara, Miramar, The Oh Sees, Denny Zeitlin, MILF, Joe Sticky, Unfun, De La Soul, Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes

9/22/16: Beware of Darkness, Dawes, Taking Back Sunday

@@@ Beware of Darkness: Are You Real? (Bright Antenna, 2016).  Some power alternative with a few pubes of glam that I got to via the Apple Music editors’ playlists.  Think Cheap Trick on absinthe.  The singer is not macho, he’s more of a slightly nasally attitudinal which makes the guitar riffs more ironic than your classic FM guitar rock.

@@@ Dawes: We’re All Gonna Die (HUB, 2016).  More rock! You know you want it you bitches.  This is more earnest than the glammy business above.  Now with an album title like ‘We’re All gonna die’ we’re not talking shots of tequila and blow with a bunch of hookers — it’s reminiscent of 1980’s Don Henley/Eagles New Age tinged rock.  Let’s peep the title track.  I wish it wasn’t so but I was not wrong in this instance — this is meaningful non-rock suburban soft cheese.  I like the bass line but the singer is not my cup of tea.  I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I would rather listen to dogs fornicate but it’s not far from that.  The third tune is called Roll with the Punches, and the fourth one is called Taking it to the Next Level, and the fifth one is called Thinking outside the Box!

@@@ Taking Back Sunday: Tidal Wave (Hopeless Records, 2016).  Let’s continue with the rock as thus far it has been utterly transcending.  This first tune is a mash of arena rock, a little Foo up in there, and a couple armpit hairs of punk fresh vibes.  Let’s peep the title track.  If Joey Ramone had a love baby with a South Boston sing-a-long punk you would have very close to this title track.  This tune is called Don’t Look Back and I will surely take that advice after today’s rock listening session.

YTD recordings listened to: 749
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 422
Not good music: 280

Buys: 14
Honorable Mentions: 12

Possibles: Chris McGregor, Dave Arner Trio, Zomby, Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Slidhr, The Chewers, Toxic Holocaust, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Lenguas Largas, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Fofoulah, Lozen, Erase Errata, Mastery, Leviathan, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, Janelle Monae, Luther Dickinson, Destruction Unit, Graeme Barrett, Fast Asleep, Goldlink, Cavanaugh, Gentleman Surfer, Satoko Fuji, Mystic Braves, Divanhana, Unrestrained, Moken, Systema Solar, Brian Eno, Juan Atkins, Drone, Lantern, The Lickshots, Twin Peaks, Djelimady Tounkara, Miramar, The Oh Sees, Denny Zeitlin, MILF, Joe Sticky, Unfun, De La Soul, Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes

9/21/16: Daya, Parker Milsap, The Devil Makes Three

@@@ The Devil Makes Three: Redemption & Ruin (New West, 2016).  Some more roots music off the Apple Music new music section.  The opener leans more towards a string band but they have an electric guitar and the tune is plenty uptempo.  The second tune is a pro-weed anthem so it’s gonna be huge and shit cuz America loves its trees.  That’s all about that can be agreed upon.  Imma have to swing back on this record as it’s strong out of the gate.

@@@ Daya: Sit Still, Look Pretty (ArtBeatz, 2016).  A neo feminist electro single off the Apple Music front page.  I’m not sure what to say about this tune — the lyrics are positive but the tune feels clunky and while this electro is no worse than other electro it comes off as clunky because there’s no art to it.  If you feel empowered by this track, good on ya, but it’s not working for me.

@@@ Parker Milsap: The Very Last Day (Okrahoma, 2016)  Some rambunctious down home alt country that I got to from the upcoming Apple Music festival section of Apple Music.  This first tune is a solid opener with a rock vibe, some nice fiddling and good vocals.  Let’s peep more.  Milsap’s voice is more on the smooth side than the gruff down and out country bum which makes him much more mainstream ready.  This second tune is poppier than the opener.  This is definitely music for shiny happy people with jobs and I have nothing against those people.  But it’s a bit too purdy to work with the vibes he’s aspiring to.

YTD recordings listened to: 746
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 421
Not good music: 278

Buys: 14
Honorable Mentions: 12

Possibles: Chris McGregor, Dave Arner Trio, Zomby, Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Slidhr, The Chewers, Toxic Holocaust, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Lenguas Largas, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Fofoulah, Lozen, Erase Errata, Mastery, Leviathan, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, Janelle Monae, Luther Dickinson, Destruction Unit, Graeme Barrett, Fast Asleep, Goldlink, Cavanaugh, Gentleman Surfer, Satoko Fuji, Mystic Braves, Divanhana, Unrestrained, Moken, Systema Solar, Brian Eno, Juan Atkins, Drone, Lantern, The Lickshots, Twin Peaks, Djelimady Tounkara, Miramar, The Oh Sees, Denny Zeitlin, MILF, Joe Sticky, Unfun, De La Soul, Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes

9/20/16: Tycho, Mndsgn, El Perro Del Mar, Shawn Mendes

@@@ Tycho: Epoch (Ghostly Int’l, 2016)  A Ghostly Int’l dancefloor banger on the front page of Apple Music.  You go Ghostly.  It’s a gauzy, windswept arrangement with waves over a higher end and slightly diffused unt-tss techno beat.  Even a little U2 Edge flavored guitar work.  It’s more of a sonic vibe than a tune that moves through sections.  I can picture yuppie bankers grooving on this on the treadmill before they shower and head out to the other treadmill.

@@@ Mndsgn: Body Wash (Stones Throw, 2016).  Alternative r&b off this week’s All Music notable release email.  After a keyboard-centric opening it moves into the second track, Cosmic Perspective, which has a little George Clinton funk tucked up in there.  Ah those spacy keyboard vamps, nice.  Let’s peep more.  I’m always up for a space funk trip but I could use some funkier beats myself and a bit more tempo — this is funk for the baked funk-a-teers.  I understand I’m in the minority regarding the trees.

@@@ El Perro del Mar: KoKoro (The Control Group, 2016).  Alt rock off this week’s All Music weekly email.  We are opening up with a slightly dreamy female voice and an orchestral undercarriage.  Let’s peep more but this may not work out for me.  They have a nice drumming circle going in this second tune, but I’m not feeling the vocalist and the general vibe of lyrics.  Check out the singer’s paint job in the video below and that about says it all.  #meaningful

@@@ Shawn Mendes: Don’t Be a Fool (Island, 2016).  If you took the brand new reborn loverboy Justin Bieber vocal style and layered that over some classic soul guitar flourishes you would be damned close to this tune.  This is a rare example of an uncluttered major label tune that refrains from all manner of background vocals and extra parts.  He’s trying to build the track to a big climax at the end but I’m not sure he scores deep on the soul side of the equation.  If you’re gonna play soul music you gotta have soul.  Solid B for a nice arrangement and go check some Otis Redding records yo.

YTD recordings listened to: 746
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 421
Not good music: 278

Buys: 14
Honorable Mentions: 12

Possibles: Chris McGregor, Dave Arner Trio, Zomby, Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Slidhr, The Chewers, Toxic Holocaust, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Lenguas Largas, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Fofoulah, Lozen, Erase Errata, Mastery, Leviathan, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, Janelle Monae, Luther Dickinson, Destruction Unit, Graeme Barrett, Fast Asleep, Goldlink, Cavanaugh, Gentleman Surfer, Satoko Fuji, Mystic Braves, Divanhana, Unrestrained, Moken, Systema Solar, Brian Eno, Juan Atkins, Drone, Lantern, The Lickshots, Twin Peaks, Djelimady Tounkara, Miramar, The Oh Sees, Denny Zeitlin, MILF, Joe Sticky, Unfun, De La Soul, Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes

9/19/16: Seekae, Abou Diarra, Puppa Lek Sen, Calvin Harris

@@@ PUPPA LEK SEN: Sweet & Tuff (Jahsen Creation, 2016) Mr. Lek Sen is from Senegal but he’s rocking what looks like a Native American headdress which I find interesting.  The first tune opens up with a full African reggae ensemble including epic burning rock guitar, keys, and organ.  Mr. Lek Sen sounds a whole bunch like the lead singer of Burning Spear, Winston Rodney.  It’s vintage sounding except the mix sounds very bright to my ears.  I like this second tune more — the track is called Pirates and it features a guest vocalist performing with Lek Sen.  The band reminds of classic Peter Tosh sounds and I like Lek Sen’s vocals.  I like the guitar player more when he has the distortion pedal turned off.

@@@ Seekae: Turbine Blue (Future Classic, 2016).  I saw this single name checked on a twert on the Twerter.  It’s a slow synth love burner with retro beats and some electronic candy treats lightly sprinkled in the upper register.  I don’t hate the singer but I’m not jumping up and down.  I liked it better when Prince rocked this sound.

@@@ Abou Diarra: Live Au New Morning (Celluloid, 2015)  A full African band including piano that I got to via the WRIR weekly charts email.  He’s got an electric guitar player that contrasts his ngoni playing and the feel of this first tune is kinda jammy.  He’s broken out of that vibe into a brisk solo which is more interesting.  I think he’s more a player than a singer.

@@@ Calvin Harris: My Way (Sony, 2016).  Former Tizzie Stick boy toy covers Frank Sinatra!  God I wish.  He’s got a little forlorn intro and then it’s into the poppy, bouncy EDM section.  I don’t know why he castrated the kick drum so much as this is dance music.  Let me save you some time by observating that the tune becomes more cheesy as it rolls on — more handclaps, more repetitions of a super simple vocal hook, more background vocals sauce.  Ms. Tizzie sucks but Mr. Harris sucks in his own special way.  They both suck, they belong together!!  I’m not sure why I’ve enclosed the lyric video, I guess it’s ironic.  Pee Yoo.

YTD recordings listened to: 742
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 419
Not good music: 276

Buys: 14
Honorable Mentions: 12

Possibles: Chris McGregor, Dave Arner Trio, Zomby, Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Slidhr, The Chewers, Toxic Holocaust, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Lenguas Largas, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Fofoulah, Lozen, Erase Errata, Mastery, Leviathan, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, Janelle Monae, Luther Dickinson, Destruction Unit, Graeme Barrett, Fast Asleep, Goldlink, Cavanaugh, Gentleman Surfer, Satoko Fuji, Mystic Braves, Divanhana, Unrestrained, Moken, Systema Solar, Brian Eno, Juan Atkins, Drone, Lantern, The Lickshots, Twin Peaks, Djelimady Tounkara, Miramar, The Oh Sees, Denny Zeitlin, MILF, Joe Sticky, Unfun, De La Soul, Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes

Best of 2016 Pick 14

Changui Majadero: El Changui Majadero (Changui Majadero, 2016)

I have to push up these beautiful old school Latin party music discs while the weather is still warm.  This outfit is rocking a pretty simple formula:  beautiful singing and great playing.

These guys play Cuban music in California.  I particularly love the female singer’s voice, it’s really working for me.  Other than that the drumming is great, the string playing is great and they really sing together with great skill and passion.

Check ’em out.

9/16/16: Against Me!, Die Antwoord, Keaton Henson

@@@ Against Me!: Shape Shift With Me (Total Treble, 2016).  Shout along punk off this week’s All Music notable release email.  A tad grittier than your NOFX/Orange county punk but not a distant cousin.  The second tune has a Social Distortion-lite vibe to it so this might be a punk pu pu platter.  The record is getting poppier as it winds on and I think Imma gonna check something out.  Hooky pop punk, updated Cheap Trick and shit.

@@@ Die Antwoord: Mount Ninji and da Nice Time Kid (Zef Records, 2016).  An indie hip hop record also off this week’s All Music notable release email.  This first tune has some gangsta elements and joke-y elements as well.  This third tune has been scraped from the giant EDM buttcrack in the sky and I hate it.  This is the kind of shit little fucked up Hollywood rich kids would groove on.  I’m not the hugest fan of gangsta rap but I would much rather peep that than this bullshit.

@@@ Keaton Henson: Kindly Now (Oak Town/PIAS, 2016)  Blurbed as alternative songwriter music I dig the chopped/looped flavor of the opener.  Over the looped fragments some swells get sauced over the top and it’s pretty all right.  The second tune opens up solo piano and voice.  I kinda spaced out and this record went down the slow dramatical piano and voice road.  With some additional sounds added but in general I got a bit disconnected.  Henson has a great voice but I felt it dragged a bit.

YTD recordings listened to: 738
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 417
Not good music: 274

Buys: 13
Honorable Mentions: 12

Possibles: Chris McGregor, Dave Arner Trio, Zomby, Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Slidhr, The Chewers, Toxic Holocaust, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Lenguas Largas, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Fofoulah, Lozen, Erase Errata, Mastery, Leviathan, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, Janelle Monae, Luther Dickinson, Destruction Unit, Graeme Barrett, Fast Asleep, Goldlink, Cavanaugh, Gentleman Surfer, Satoko Fuji, Mystic Braves, Divanhana, Unrestrained, Moken, Systema Solar, Brian Eno, Juan Atkins, Drone, Lantern, The Lickshots, Twin Peaks, Djelimady Tounkara, Miramar, The Oh Sees, Denny Zeitlin, MILF, Changui Majadero, Joe Sticky, Unfun, De La Soul, Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes