New Music listening Monday April 30, 2012

YTD listened to: 271
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 136
Not good music:124
Buys: 11 (not all 2012 releases)

Pending (Requiring more listening):
Sidi Toure: Koima
Horse Feathers: Cynic’s New Year

@@@ You can check out some experimental metal music by Wreck and Reference.  I found this self-released record on Olive Music over here.  The contrast between the intimate prayer like vocals and the droning, noisy maelstrom is pretty creative and jarring.

I give props to Olive Music for almost always pushing up self-released music and you can stream more of Wreck and Reference at Bandcamp.


@@@ I checked out Whosane via Okayafrica here.  I like his flow on the microphone and the African choir vocals in the back.  I don’t love the tune, but it’s a cool hybrid and solid.

@@@  Chris Holms single I found via the Danish blog It’s a Trap here.  Notable for three reasons:

1.  The only way you can get a fall release onto the blogs this early is with the juice of a publicist.  The idea that the music blogosphere is an arms open grass roots music filter is pretty juvenile.

2.  Second, check what the blog wrote: I don’t think it’s very good at all, but I know lots of folks will probably be curious.  You almost never see a pan in the indie music blog world.

3.  I support more honest critiques of music.  I still listened to this tune even though the blog didn’t like it.  All the cheerleading isn’t helping to sell more music — smart listeners see right through it.

The tune is pretty average, but check it out.

@@@ You can download 23 tracks over here at Dadada.  I checked out the first two tunes by Life Size Maps and Volcanoes and thought they were pretty ordinary.


Friendly reminder re: streaming stores

If you are a hardcore music fan you are probably a customer of a streaming store like Spotify or Rhapsody.

I haven’t seen anyone else discussing this, but I have seen albums come up and then disappear after a certain period of time, about a year.

You should remember that the labels control the music that is up on those stores and they can easily take releases down.

I think there are labels that put music up there for a year and then take it down to stimulate the sale of compact discs.  They get you in and close you later.

It’s their right to do this as they own the copyright to the music, but it is music industry sneaky.

What else would you expect from the industry that hates its customers the most?

New Music listening Thurs April 26, 2012

YTD listened to: 266
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 129
Not good music:123
Buys: 11 (not all 2012 releases)

Pending (Requiring more listening):
Sidi Toure: Koima
Horse Feathers: Cynic’s New Year

@@@ Brad: United We Stand.  If you’re in the mood for an earnest, 1990’s style rock recording, you should check these guys out.  Really good drum sound and the vocalist is much less annoying than Eddie Vedder.  It’s not my cup of tea, but it’s pretty well done for what it is.

Wow, bullseye.  I name checked Pearl Jam and Stone Gossard is in the band.  Pat on the back for me.

@@@ Jack White: Blunderbuss.  I really dig his voice, he’s obviously a skilled record maker.  I think I prefer the raucous Jack White and on this recording he seems to be going for a more restrained 1970’s half-Led Zeppelin thing.  There were places where the tunes really caught my ear but I didn’t experience any ‘Hells yeah’ moments.  This record could work for a lot of folks.

@@@ Brendan Benson: What Kind of World.  Punchy drum sound, decent voice, cliche lyrics.  I don’t like the production much, much too neat. Maybe all you folks out in the burbs with plastic on  your couches can get down with this.

Free Jazz tip of the day

Jemeel Moondoc Trio: Judy’s Bounce (Soul Note, 1981).

Great alto sax player, a good place for folks aren’t into jazz to check out something with a lot of energy and creativity.

I bought a Bill Dixon box set of remastered Soul Note recordings, and I think they’ve remastered a lot of their catalog as the sound on this session is pretty great.


New music listening April 24, 2012

YTD listened to: 263
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 127
Not good music:122
Buys: 11

Pending (Requiring more listening):
Sidi Toure: Koima
Horse Feathers: Cynic’s New Year

@@@ When it first came out I was bummed I couldn’t stream Sly and Robbie’s new dub record Blackwood Dub.  In typical music obsessive fashion, I downloaded it and before I checked it out I saw it was on Spotify.

I’ve clipped a video for lazy folks’ enjoyment.  I’ve definitely heard music by Sly and Robbie that I haven’t liked, but this is some pretty hard hitting dub.  The grooves are very heavy and the dub effects center more around delayed percussion, which makes sense as they are a rhythm section.  In this way, the album connects a little bit with other electronic dance music forms — there’s a lot of effected percussion noises in those styles as well.  There is guitar and keys on the record, but they’re not the headliner here.

In this way Blackwood Dub is not intended to be a classic roots dub record — these are not deconstructed reggae songs with snatches of vocals and other instruments flying around, dub purists may not embrace this recording quite as enthusiastically.

But the grooves are nasty and it’s hot up in there.

I’m putting this recording on my best of 2012 — if you dig the heavy rhythm formula you can wear the grooves out on this sucker.


Follow on from high disc prices

Just about everybody except the music business knows that compact discs are priced way above where the demand for them is, but I don’t often see anyone discussing other aspects of that.

For example used cd prices are too high because new cd prices are too high and that’s keeping the music business down.

Right now we have $13-$15 a disc, and $8-10 for used discs, when I think it should be $7-10 for new and $4-7 for used discs, with the average around $6.

I looked at my vinyl record collection this weekend and noticed how many of my favorites records were bought used for $4-6 on a whim.

No whims at today’s prices.

New Music Listening Thursday April 19, 2012

YTD listened to: 262
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 127
Not good music:122
Buys: 9

Pending (Requiring more listening):
Devin: Romancin’
Sidi Toure: Koima
Horse Feathers: Cynic’s New Year
Dan Hubbard and the Humidors

@@@ Dan Hubbard and the Humidors.  Found these guys on Amer Waves of Twang Under the Radar list.  Check this video, this is what a smokin’ roots band sounds like.

You can stream recorded versions of this tune and other tunes over here at his official website.  I thought the recorded versions should have been more live sounding and less produced considering the attached video.

Roots music is not the most complicated shit in the world.  How could you say these guys don’t have energy and aren’t tearing it out?  They have a pumpin drummer, they’re half way home.  Why aren’t these guys a big deal?

Thank the music business for that.

@@@ The whole Red Hot Chili Peppers catalog just plopped down on Spotify so I thought I would check out their 2011 I’m With You.  I think Flea is a badass musician and I was a big fan of John Frusciante’s guitar playing — not a huge fan of Kiedis singing and Chad Smith is good but not as great as advertised.

Obviously these guys are experienced studio musicians with skills.  There’s some really nice playing and some really great sonic texturing and even some monster hooks (check the tune below) but overall not super focused and not their best work.

@@@ Neon Trees: Public Show.   ‘Indie’ music out on a major, Mercury.    In two words, cliche awfulness.  Witness it if you dare.

New music listening Weds April 18, 2012

YTD listened to: 259
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 126
Not good music:121
Buys: 9

Pending (Requiring more listening):
Devin: Romancin’
Sidi Toure: Koima
Horse Feathers: Cynic’s New Year

@@@ Horse Feathers: Cynic’s New Year.  I have dug records by these guys before.  I’m a sucker for the strained haunting voice.  These guys sound experienced in the studio.  Small touches but restrained and tasteful.  I need to check this record out more deeply — it may be recommended for purchase after upon a full listen.

@@@ Ruby Fray: Pith.  Out on K records.  Some crooked spaced out folk music.  I like her voice, the songs aren’t knocking me out.  It’s a bit uneven — first song okay, second one no good, third one great.

She’s on Spotify, but I couldn’t find anything for you on YouTube or elsewhere on that inta-tube thing.

@@@ Moonface: Heartbreaking Bravery.   An updated New Wave/indie hybrid out on Jagjaguwar.  It’s decent, not nearly as odious as much of this formula produces. Big synth hooks in the chorus, a low voiced fella, decent song changes.

New Music listening Tuesday, April 17, 2012

YTD listened to: 256
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 125
Not good music:121
Buys: 9 (with two pending)

@@@  Dirty Three – Toward The Low Sun.  On the mighty Drag City label. Quirky, intimate indie with a violin no less.  The drum sound is really nice, the violin sounds a little dull to my ear.  I keep waiting for an annoying singer to start in on their low self-esteem but not yet — we have instrumental music here Houston.  As indie music this is pretty good, but as someone who puts out mostly free jazz records, this is not particularly three dimensional.  A second tune I checked out, Moon on the Land, is very well done.

If this music works for hipsters (and Drag City is one of the most precious of the indie labels) then I’m not sure why hipsters aren’t listening to free jazz.

Also, if this was a $6-7 record I would buy it and it might really grow on me, but to me it’s not a $13-14 record so that’s cash that doesn’t go to artists and labels because of a one price fits all music business.

@@@  THEEsatisfaction – awE naturalE on the mighty and righteous Sub Pop label.  Updated hippie hop with a touch of gangsta thrown in.  Beat are good, I like the arrangements, but I don’t especially like their lyrics and their flow on the mic.

@@@ Spiritualized – Sweet Heart Sweet Light.   Out on Domino/Fat Possum.  High video production concealing a somewhat ordinary musical outing.  To me it sounds like a caffeinated Lou Reed/Velvet Underground thing with dry production.  I don’t really like this.

@@@  Let’s wrap up today’s spiel with some self-released crust punk from Infect Propaganda.  Looks like there’s very little available for these guys.  I like this first video — the images are very jarring.  I’m not hung up on what separates crust punk from metal but this sounds like metal to me — maybe because it’s political that pushes it into the punk tent.

New Music Listening Monday April 16, 2012

YTD listened to: 252
Decent no purchase: 123
Not good:120
Buys: 9 (with two pending)

@@@ Sidi Toure’s Koima is out on Thrill Jockey which seems committed to releasing some African music to the indie masses.  Great guitar player, your classic call and response vocals.  This could be a recommended purchase if the rest of the record holds up as well as this track.

@@@ Music under Fire has a song of the week by Maps and Atlases here.  I like the singer, I don’t like the gated snare, I like how high the drums are in the mix, but it’s a tad soft.  Very professional and cute and decent.

@@@ You can check out Förgjord’s  – Sielunvihollinen over here at Invisible Oranges.  It is super dry production and straight caveman thumping.  I dig it — the guitars are a little too buzzsaw for me, but the drummer is an animal.