Best of 2018

Featured

**** not arranged by preference ****

1. Courtney John: Ecosystem (Soul Fire, 2017)

A perfectly crafted combination of old school roots reggae flavors with a great band and a singer I like a whole bunch. The band is tight and relaxed simultaneously with space for organ solos, guitar business, etc.

2. Guy One: #1 Best (Philophon, 2018)

A unique large ensemble African record from Ghana that sports elements of Afrobeat this record smokes from beginning to end. Great playing, great singing and high energy. This is about as good as music gets. I have spun the fuck out of this record all year.

3. Melissa Laveaux: Radyo Swivel EP (No Format, 2018)

It must suck to be a Williamsburg indie hipster and see how a Haitian Canadian woman who lives in Paris does your hipster indie songwriter thing better than you could dream of.

4. Magrudergrind: II (Relapse, 2016)

All the players in the band are above average and they are tighter than a welldigger’s ass in the middle of the winter but it’s the drummer who takes the gold star. He thrashes, he sprays, he grooves, he drives the bus.

5. Irreversible Entanglements: Irreversible Entanglements (International Anthem, 2017)

This free jazz trio plays really well but the woman on the microphone doing the spoken word part is the star here and they burn all the way through. She coughs up more than a few cutting lines, especially in the first piece. Check it out.

6. Los Texmaniacs: Cruzando Borders (Smithsonian Folkways, 2018)

This is a beautiful and super musical mariachi record regardless of the politics involved here. Needless to say Trump is a fucking asshole and I’m a fan of Mexican culture. I’m particularly impressed with the accordion player but I’m super into accordion. Everybody in this band plays and sings at a super high level.

7. The Ballantynes: Liquor Store Gun Store Pawn Shop Church (La Ti Da, 2013)

If you took the Blues Brothers and put ’em in flannel shirts and gave them a lot of any old school white trash beer and removed the horn section and the frat boy bullshit you would have something very close to this record. It’s a guitar driven soul/rock record with a lot of guitars, a male and a female singer that both do good work with a slap-tastic ramped up band.

8. American Lips: Kiss the Void (Ancient Fashion, 2017)

It’s not easy to make a mainstream hooky rock record and have it sound fresh. These guys do a good job of recreating an early ’80s half punk/No Wave kind of thing but with a pop sensibility and plenty of hooks.

9. 700 Bliss: Spa 700 (Don Giovanni, 2018)

Organic electronic production and a pleasantly confrontational African American female MC/singer/spoken word artist headline this EP. A friend of mine says this has a retro electro feel but I’m not schooled enough in old school electro to know.

10. Tim Hecker: Konoyo (Kranky, 2018)

Tim Hecker’s new record, Konoyo, is dark. And it’s also unsettling. It’s also extremely well put together and beautiful. It is an ambient music record without drums or over rhythms with an emphasis on metallic sounds and bell like sounds

11. Shad: A Short Story About War (Secret City, 2018)

The lyrics on this record outperform — smart, conceptual, well thought out. It’s called a concept record but I think that’s bogus. Just because an MC is intelligent enough to connect warmongering with capitalism does not a concept album make. It’s called thinking motherfuckers.

The arrangements here are really good with no particular bent except maybe a retro thread — there are some jazzy sounds and mellow ones and there are more driving and urgent arrangements (for example the tune clipped below).

12. Vaudou Game: Otodi (Hot Casa, 2018) A tour de force of all funk genres with an absolutely ripping drummer and fantastic band energy. It’s hard to believe humans can be this funky.

13. Open Mike Eagle: Brick Body Kids Still Daydream (Mello Music, 2017)

I got to this hip hop record at the very beginning of this year but have struggled as to whether to put it on the ’17 or ’18 list so I’m going to put it on both as it’s that good. Incredibly well done lyrics and ear catching (but not poppy per se) arrangements take listeners to a whole ‘nother place. I can’t begin to praise the way this record is put together and executed, it’s hip hop and beyond hip hop at the same time.

14. Paul de Jong: You Fucken Sucker (Temporary Residence, 2018) In an era of shiny, happy people taking our civilization right over the cliff de Jong mixes the personal and implies the political with a tune like You Fucken Sucker. In addition to that nugget of true indie misery the ambient pieces towards the back of the record could be portraits of the opioid mind or the economically downtrodden or the millions of disconnected folks out there. Life is messy as fuck but rarely does that mess make it onto wax and the interwebz. DISCLAIMER: I worked on this record and I work with this musician.

15. Hernan Sama & Marcelo von Schultz: Sonidos desde el camp para los animales y la vida salvaje (Self-released, 2018)

What makes a great free jazz hit? It’s a slippery question. This self-released sax/drums set ticks all the boxes for me. A little Ayler, a little Mu Sessions and just a freshness to the playing or a desire to play what other people might expect.

16. Tal National: Tantabara (Tal National/Fat Cat, 2018) I don’t usually go for the super stuffed songs but the melodic complexity of the guitarists combined with the drummer and the active singers makes for a glorious hot African mess. When they lean into the central grooves of the tunes it is ecstatic in nature.

17. Gouge Away: Burnt Sugar (Deathwish Inc, 2018) I have a soft spot for the angry female punk singers. Though these guys get into more than straight ahead power chord punk bashing they sport a classic up in your grille attitude. I don’t idolize the gent but it has that ragged Nirvana Bleach era energy and the drummer here kills it. They all kill it.

18. Babylon Trio: Habibi (Rebel Up, 2018)

Iraqi refugee musicians tear it up with Arabic street music flavored with euro club flourishes and some of the cheesiest and partyistic synth patches in years. The energy and the messiness of it is so refreshing. It’s ‘I don’t give a fuck’ messiness and not ‘I can’t play straight’ messiness.

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Music for 1/22/19!!! Deerhunter, Sharon Van Etten, The Killers

@@@ Deerhunter: Why hasn’t everything already disappeared? (4AD, 2019)  It’s indie Tuesday so get your flavored coffee and tight jeans out.  I have actually enjoyed Deerhunter records in the past though that may not be the case as I get them confused with Deer tick, and Deer Hoof.  Oy, those indie confuzinators.  I think I’m thinking of a different Deer band, I don’t think this is going to go well for me.  It’s better than Taylor Swift’s last record, I’ll give them that.  This first tune appears to be an uplifting rock thing with a crushed drum sound and a quasi-Beatleesque vocal melody.  There’s a raucous outro with a big sounding guitar solo which I’m enjoying.  The second tune continues the bright rock theme and I think we’re onto the formula for the record.  It’s all right music, I’m not super in the mood for it, but I guess people like the comforting arms of something like this.  I would rather go burn someone’s house down.

@@@ Sharon Van Etten: Remind Me Tomorrow (Jagjaguwar, 2019) Also off this week’s All Music notable release email.  Apple Music has this blurbed as spooky maximalism which I don’t think I have a frickin’ clue about.  This first tune has to be inspired by John Lennon’s first solo record.  Piano, detached voice, alienation, etc.  The sounds are pretty engaging but part of me is not attached to it.  The second tune moves into a higher tempo and a more rocking vibe.  I don’t think I’ve ever really enjoyed Van Etten’s voice — I can’t say anything specifically about it but I don’t connect with it.  I’m getting a sense of what spooky maximalism might sound like.  There are a lot of little flourishes and background melodies that give the tunes a more orchestral feel.  Not overtly necessarily but it’s hyperproduced in a way.  And in the middle of it sits her low energy voice, I guess that’s it.

@@@ The Killers: Land of the Free (Island/UMG, 2019)  I briefly cruised a blog post about this track so peep I will.  It starts out all Bruce Hornsby and shit.  Piano and meaningful.  Oh boy, here’s the giant choir in the back.  I appreciate the sentiments here but it’s like getting a good veggie burger but the shit is just drowning in so much shitty cheese you can’t appreciate the burger.  Naimsayin’?  Power chords, climax, rockin’ it, choirs, blech and phooey.  I am certainly no defining voice of woke, but woke folks (imho) don’t need to be pandered to in this manner.  The sounds work against the sentiments.

YTD recordings listened to: 47
Good music, not list worthy: 28
Not good music: 18

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, A Tribe Called Quest, 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, Converge, 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

Music for 1/21/19!!! Mdou Moctar, Ariana Grande, Freddy Poundz

@@@ MDOU MOCTAR: Kamane Tarhanin (Sahel Sounds, 2019) Also off the WRIR playlist email. A pre-release single aimed at all the Tinariwen fans out there. Group vocals/chants, buzzed out West African guitars and blend of rock and African drumming. I can sup on the circular guitar riffs all day, it’s good stuff as these guys and gals play their asses off. About 45 seconds from the end somebody steps on the distortion pedal and they boost the tempo bigly. Tinariwen is powered by hand drumming so the kit drummer here does change the vibe of the proceedings but the shredding is of the same quality and maybe even a bit more rocking.

@@@ Ariana Grande: 7 rings (UMG, 2019) We must be approaching Peak Grande, no pun intended! It’s a thug trap takeoff on the old track ‘Favorite Things’ with the offensive, pro-loot shop therapy lyrics — I want it, I get it. I want it, I get it, well good for you even if it’s ironic and it happens in the wake of heartbreak. At this point Ariana Grande can have whatever sounds she digs — ya know, she wants it, she gets it. It’s a creative move to take a classic melody and pimp it out but it’s pretty regressive to have lyrics praising materialism and celebrity and fame in this way. There’s barely any room between these lyrics and Trump’s gaudy orange haired crassness. I’m sure her PR team would vehemently disagree but it’s true.

@@@ FREDDY POUNDZ: Samba [Single] (Majorbill Entertainment, 2019) A great stage name for bout a fat dude and/or a porn star so efficient naming right there. I think Mr. Poundz is going for the dancefloor bootycall on this track and they do build quite a massive groove that evokes hip hop and world music rhythms at the same time. I’m going to see where Mr. Poundz hails from. Lagos, Nigeria, will wonders never cease! I did a quick search and it looks like Brazilian samba has jumped the ocean and landed in Nigeria. I have no idea how widespread it is but the drum machine programming is excellent and Mr. Poundz is low and lusty on the microphone. I can’t tell how X rated it is cuz he sports a think accent.

YTD recordings listened to: 44
Good music, not list worthy: 26
Not good music: 17

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, A Tribe Called Quest, 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, Converge, 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

Music for 1/19/19!!! Mark Ronson, The Differents

@@@ Mark Ronson ft. Miley Cyrus: Nothing Breaks Like a Heart (Sony, 2019)  Looks like somebody saw the massive success Lady Gaga received for dropping arean rock cheese bombs so Ronson/Cyrus decided to get in on the action.  It goes from power ballad in the verse to a neo-country dancefloor banger in the chorus.  This is some high end corporate mash that would go well with macaroni or on a nice piece of baguette.  When we talk about someting being soulless and pulling innocent souls into its vortex of emptiness, we’re talking about a track like this.  The combination of the country guitar lick and the string section and the four on the floor beat is just delicious.  Delicious like a Twinkie stuffed with Cheese Doodles rolled in cheap waxy chocolate and sprinkles.

@@@ The Differents: It’s All Too Beautiful (N/A, 2018)  Earnest midwestern guitar rock I got to via a music publicist email.  There’s a fair amount of variety to the tracks with some piano in the second tune and an almost punk blaster of a third tune called ‘You Can’t Stop Running From the Weight of Your Gun.’  I thought the fourth tune was going to bust out into Foreigner’s Hot Blooded.  Literate and pretty raw lyrics with a lot of guitars, I like the fourth tune the best of what I heard.

YTD recordings listened to: 41
Good music, not list worthy: 24
Not good music: 16

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, A Tribe Called Quest, 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, Converge, 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

Music for 1/8/19!!! Leon Vynehall, Popcaan, Madison Beer

@@@ Leon Vynehall: Movements (Vynehall/Ninja Tune, 2018)  Supposedly the best track off this British DJ’s first record.  I got to this via the top records of 2018 according to Esquire.  I’ve seen more than one DJ jumping the gap from spinning to recording artist and this track features some ambient synth-ness but comes up with an upright bass and a synth horn patch.  It is on a year end list as a magical highlight evoking a New York jazz club.  I disagree.  It is very simple music, which I’m fine with, pretending to be otherwise.  It’s a dollop of super sweet smooth jazz (which has troubles of its own) mixed with a mellow club arrangement.  I’m not going to need to check out other tracks on the record if this is a highlight.

@@@ Popcaan: Forever (MixPak, 2018)  Modern dancehall also off the Esquire list.  I love the dancehall business but I’m not sure about this as Popcaan has associations with Drake and I think the Drake’s soft as butter musical approach is flaccid.  Popcaan brings the energy on the microphone but the arrangement is pretty….I’m not sure what to say.  Not hard hitting.  The Apple Music blurb uses the terms ‘buoyant’ and ‘cheerful’.  I call it Disney dancehall and while Popcaan has every right to go for his slice of cake I don’t like this.

@@@ Madison Beer: Hurts like Hell (acoustic) (Access, 2019)  Epic stripped down heartbreak tune slathered in cheese sauce.  She’s oversinging to bring the drama, there’s too much reverb up on her voice and yikes, I can’t abide by this.  12 million streams on the Google Pimp Tube — shame on you America for sucking up these corn niblets!  The electric guitar playing is all right but the vocals are just really too much.  Listening to that hurt like hell.

YTD recordings listened to: 39
Good music, not list worthy: 24
Not good music: 14

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, A Tribe Called Quest, 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, Converge, 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

Music for 1/17/19!!! The 4 Korners, Cluster Lizard, Jah Division

@@@ The 4 Korners: Portal of Gold (Ropeadope, 2016)  I saw this jazz fusion outfit is playing BAM in Brooklyn so I thought I would fight my anti-fusion prejudice and check these guys out.  Instrumentation is guitar, keys, electric bass and drums and it is full on.  Finger popping bass, epic rock guitar tones along side those super smooth synth sounds.  There are rainfall samples at the beginning of a couple of tracks and I don’t really get the connection between rain and jazz fusion but it’s standard business here.  The record sounds great with part jam, part rock, a little soft jazz all swirled up and extruded for your listening pleasure.

@@@ Cluster Lizard: Prophecy (Prostir Records, 2018)  An electronica duo out of the Ukraine that I got to via an email from awesome indie radio station KFJC in California.  Song titles such as Come from Forever, and You will Go Everywhere give you an indication of what the flavor of this record might be.  It’s opening with a cathedral organ with sawtooth (again, sorry!) synth on top of it.  A rhythm consisting of staticky spashes comes in and the whole tune is exploding outward.  It takes a left turn out into a metallic percussion space and some rhythm-free out keyboard playing.  And then it turns again with a drum beat, some urgent thumping bass and the aggro synths.  So these are not going to be slow developing cloudy pieces, it’s gonna hop and pop.  I’ve checked out portions of three pieces and like a bunch of songs but the I don’t need to hear all the sawtooth synths myself.  I’m a fickle bitch.

@@@ Jah Division: Isolation Dub (Ernest Jenning, 2019)  I got to this dub reggae cover of a Joy Division track from a music publicist email.  It is a blend of old school and newer dub sounds with some pretty dubbed out synth sawtooth blasts ricocheting around.  I’m enjoying a lot of the hi hat dubwise sparks as wells percussion run through the dub-a-lyzer.  It’s a good track if a tad long.  Go for the rhythms and stay for the dub effects.

YTD recordings listened to: 36
Good music, not list worthy: 24
Not good music: 11

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, A Tribe Called Quest, 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, Converge, 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

Music for 1/16/19!!! Wlmrt, Only a Visitor, Future

@@@ Wlmrt: Lube 2 (Plesence, 2019)  Some loud ass music off this week’s CFUV playlist email.  They are out in Vancouver.  That’s in Canada.  5 tracks, 11 minutes of guitar squall, some weird synth (something is in that nest of distortion!), classic hardcore drumming and distressed female on the microphone.  I’m almost sure they have some sort of keyboard player which is quite surprising for a hardcore band.  The second tune is more rough indie, oops I spoke too soon as they popped a nut and went right into a hardcore section.  God bless their pointed little heads.

@@@ Only a Visitor: Technicolor Education (Self-released, 2018)  Art pop also off this week’s CFUV playlist email.  This is the opposite of the cheap beer punk we just snacked on.  This is classically influenced and highbrow art indie.  Oy, not really my thing but this first tune does feature some intricate vocal arrangements.  This is more artsy than Death Cab for Cutie.  The vibe changes, at least instrumentally as there is a sloppier rock thing going on underneath the female vocal harmonizing.  I appreciate the contrast.  I can’t really get with this, but if you like the super clean and aspirational and antiseptic indie than this will work for you!  Also a tad proggy.

@@@ Future: Jumpin on a Jet (Epic/Sony, 2019)  We switch the moods again with some mainstream trap.  I still don’t get the genius of Future, I dig J.I.D. and DRAM but Future not as much.  You can rattle some windows with this bass for sure.  I’m not listening too much to him do his thing as I find the Autotune effect on his voice pretty annoying.  Fat bass, standard beats, annoying rhymes, that’s the view from here.

YTD recordings listened to: 33
Good music, not list worthy: 22
Not good music: 10

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, A Tribe Called Quest, 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, Converge, 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

Music for 1/15/19!!! HAMA, BASSEKOU KOUYATE, Gessafelstein and the Weeknd

@@@ HAMA: Houmeissa (Sahel Sounds, 2019) This is a record due out in a few days and there’s only one track up on the Apple Music.  A lot of West African music focuses on the guitar but this is all about the keyboards.  It is like a black African YES tune with a drum machine and it’s pretty jarring.  A tad proggy, a little funky and no vocals thus far.  I can’t say I love the track but it’s a fresh combination of sounds and ideas for sure.  This could work in Williamsburg or in college music programs.

@@@ BASSEKOU KOUYATE AND NGONI BA: Deli (Out Here, 2018) I have dug previous Bassekou Kouyate releases as he just shreds his electric ngoni ba.  This is another pre-release track ahead of a full length release at the end of this month.  After a back and forth string intro they get into a full, rhythmic stew with gorgeous female singers over the top.  It’s not a hot shred, it’s a loping medium tempo beauteous thing.  Kouyate takes a clean and deft solo a little before 3 minutes but otherwise sit back and behold the groove.

@@@  Gesaffelstein & The Weeknd: Lost in the Fire (Columbia, 2019)  #1 in the Apple Music hot tracks.  It’s a combo platter quiet storm/booty call track.  I haven’t heard the track with the Weeknd that has made think he’s as genius and this doesn’t change my mind.  We lost a lot of things in the fire, that’s the vocal hook.  I think it’s a metaphorical fire of love and not a building on fire.  The sounds are electronic, the kids love those these days, and it’s basically a horny Lionel Richie tune both sonically and lyrically.  He wants to do her slow with the lights on.  Behave.

YTD recordings listened to: 30
Good music, not list worthy: 21
Not good music: 8

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, A Tribe Called Quest, 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, Converge, 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