Active Music Listening Sunday December 30, 2012

YTD recordings listened to: 997
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 580
Not good music: 358
Buys: 42 (not all 2012 releases)

Possibles: Isaiah Toothtaker (2011), Ondatropica, Sidsel Endresen & Stan Westerhus, The Ones to Blame, Boyd Rivers, Abdoulaye Alhassane Toure, Cryptopsy, Nick Waterhouse, Patterson Hood, Skyzoo,  Bettye Lavette, Philippe Petite, Chris McGregor, Brother Ali (2009), Bio Ritmo, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Nico Muhly, Bob Gluck Trio, Eric Boeren Quartet, Wadada Leo Smith/Louis Moholo

@@@ Mrs. Medicine: Strange Heaven (Swami, 2012).  I first listened to this record about 6 weeks ago after seeing it on the Aquarius Records weekly email list.  I would have put it on my best of list except for my extremely professional policy of listening to records more than once before putting them on my best of list.  I take this shit seriously, as you should too.

This is what I thought indie rock was supposed to be.  Not all the cheesed out synth dance horseshit I’m drowning in during the course of maintaining this blog for the people of America (and you too rest of the world).  Some rockin’, a lot of quirkin’, blending of styles — in this case surf music and garage influences to a lesser extent.  I’m not a huge fan of upbeat pop music but I can roll with this due to high end arranging/songwriting.  This is some smart, bouncy shit folks.

@@@ James Vincent McMorrow: Early in the Morng (Believe Digital, 2012).  A down country tinged singer songwriter record recommend to me by MOG due to my starring the Lianne Le Havas record.  McMorrow’s voice is pillowy soft and mournful — very dramatic music.

@@@ The Thing: Fire Dem (Dubthing, 2012).  I thought this was the Scandinavian super jazz cats who made a record with Neneh Cherry this year, but it’s a dub/electronica outfit.  I have no idea who they are or where they’re from — it’s a catalog mistake by the digital services.  The dubs here are focused more on the rhythms and while the tracks sport a massive low end wallop, they’re not filled out with guitars but more with slow blurps and electronic sounds.  Solid B, and I can’t find anything outside of MOG for folks to peep.

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Active Music Listening Saturday December 29, 2012

YTD recordings listened to: 994
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 579
Not good music: 357
Buys: 41 (not all 2012 releases)

Possibles: Isaiah Toothtaker (2011), Ondatropica, Sidsel Endresen & Stan Westerhus, The Ones to Blame, Boyd Rivers, Abdoulaye Alhassane Toure, Cryptopsy, Nick Waterhouse, Patterson Hood, Skyzoo,  Bettye Lavette, Philippe Petite, Chris McGregor, Brother Ali (2009), Bio Ritmo, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Mrs. Medicine, Nico Muhly, Bob Gluck Trio, Eric Boeren Quartet, Wadada Leo Smith/Louis Moholo

@@@ Grace Potter & the Nocturnals: The Lion, the Beast, the Beat (Hollywood, 2012).  I found this record over here.  If you took the 1970’s big breasted rockers Heart and added some synths and modern pop/dance elements and took the guitar element down you would have something close to this record.  Not sure there’s much to add — not really my cup of tea.

@@@ Allen Stone: Allen Stone (ATO, 2012) Some blue-eyed soul funk record I found over here.  A little Stevie Wonder, a little soft ass 1970’s funk rock.  Wow, I didn’t know folks were still rockin’ it like this.  Check out Allen Stone’s white boy bad ass self.  Crazy right?

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@@@ Swans: The Seer (Young God, 2012).  This record has seen more than its share of best of lists and I don’t know if it just came up on MOG, but I hadn’t been able to find it when I first looked for it.  I know these guys have some batshit loyal fans, especially in the NYC area.  After reading their AllMusic bio I guess they started in an abrasive, brutal place and ended up in a somber, serious place.  Like this record — very dark and proggy.  Sort of doggy.  It’s not on my year end list, I’m glad I heard it.

 

 

Active Music Listening Friday December 28, 2012

YTD recordings listened to: 991
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 576
Not good music: 357
Buys: 41 (not all 2012 releases)

Possibles: Isaiah Toothtaker (2011), Ondatropica, Sidsel Endresen & Stan Westerhus, The Ones to Blame, Boyd Rivers, Abdoulaye Alhassane Toure, Cryptopsy, Nick Waterhouse, Patterson Hood, Skyzoo,  Bettye Lavette, Philippe Petite, Chris McGregor, Brother Ali (2009), Bio Ritmo, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Mrs. Medicine, Nico Muhly, Bob Gluck Trio, Eric Boeren Quartet, Wadada Leo Smith/Louis Moholo

@@@ Christian Scott: Christian Atunde Adjuah (Concord, 2012).  #25 on the All Music best of 2012 list.  Scott has a strong voice on the trumpet — long lines finishing with long blasts.  Must have a massive set of lungs.  He’s on a mission to explore the universe with this record.  With song titles like ‘Dred Scott’ and ‘Jihad Joe’ there as well as one called Spy Boy/Flag Boy there’s a bigger picture at play here.  As much as I dig Scott’s epic playing the drummer is hotter — I’m really into his playing.  I prefer Wadada Leo Smith’s epic 4 disc bomb ’10 Freedom Summers’ but if you’re into the straighter jazz and not so up for the massive political statement this is strong work.

@@@ Dwight Yoakam: 3 Pears (Warner Brothers, 2012).  #12 on the AllMusic best of 2012.  Not exactly my cup of tea, I can see why some folks would really get into this record.  Really good energy, tight songwriting and it sounds great.

@@@ Carly Rae Jepsen: Kiss (Deluxe) (Schoolboy/Interscope, 2012).  This record actually made #10 on the All Music best of 2012.  Woof.  Not sure what to say here as we are in the holiday season.  Flirty, over produced, not entirely bilious, not the #10 record in my world.

 

Best of 2012 week before New Years edition

Twas the week after Christmas and the kids want to shred.

@@@ Code Orange Kids: Love is Love/Return To Dust (Deathwish Inc, 2012)  The Code Orange Kids records is less technical and more visceral.  To me, the amount of low end wallop they put on this record really sets it apart from a lot of other metal/hybrid punk records.  When the first tune, Flowermouth (The Leech) comes out, the low end give the tune a monster underpinning that I find very enjoyable.  There are open spacious passages as the record hits its mid point and I dig that variety and the breather from the sonic beatdown.  I saw this record on one year end list, but I think it deserves more widespread love than just one list.

@@@ Pig Destroyer: Book Burner (Relapse, 2012). A rhythmically interesting metal record to me.  Combines a technical metal flow with some good old fashioned thrash.  The drummer is absolutely filthy and inspired, but the way the guitar player locks in with the drum creates a quasi-swinging vibe to the record.

@@@ Converge:  All that We Love We Leave Behind (Epitaph, 2012).   There’s not much of a need to get too deeply into this record as it’s probably one of the most widely recognized best of 2012 records.  I liked 2009’s Axe to Fall, but this record is even better.  I hear more of an old school emo punk vibe and there’s more playing added to the usual classic Converge meltdown.  It’s the shit.

 

Pre-holiday update to best of 2012 list

@@@ Propaganda: Excellent (Humble Beast, 2012).  This is the shit.  This dude gets into some deep and cosmic rhymes on this record.  Instant year end best of list.  Smart and catchy production, but the rapper steals the show with all manner of topics on this record.  Excellent, excellent work.

@@@ Unrecognizable Now: Two Rooms (Kesh, 2012).  I found this ambient recording over here at Fluid radio.  It’s beautiful — layered, slow moving, I found it very captivating.  I find it a little tough to write about ambient electronic music, but I know what I like and how that makes me feel and this recording most definitely accomplishes that.

You can stream this record for free over here at Grooveshark.

Active Music Listening Friday December 21, 2012

YTD recordings listened to: 987
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 574
Not good music: 356
Buys: 40 (not all 2012 releases)

Possibles: Zani Diabate, Isaiah Toothtaker (2011), Ondatropica, Sidsel Endresen & Stan Westerhus, The Ones to Blame, Boyd Rivers, Abdoulaye Alhassane Toure, Cryptopsy, Nick Waterhouse, Patterson Hood, Skyzoo,  Bettye Lavette, Philippe Petite, Chris McGregor, Brother Ali (2009), Bio Ritmo, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Mrs. Medicine, Nico Muhly, Bob Gluck Trio, Eric Boeren Quartet, Wadada Leo Smith/Louis Moholo, Converge, Unrecognizable Now.

@@@ Propaganda: Excellent (Humble Beast, 2012).  This is the shit.  This dude gets into some deep and cosmic rhymes on this record.  Instant year end best of list.  Smart and catchy production, but the rapper steals the show with all manner of topics on this record.  Excellent, excellent work.

@@@ Matthew Perryman Jones: Land of the Living (Cante Jondo, 2012)  An epic not so indie U2/Radiohead blend.  The singer is an eeire Thom Yorke and world saver Bono blend.  It’s well executed, but I wish it was more original.

@@@ Trip Lee: The Good Life (Reach Records, 2012)  More old school production than new school sounding, and a hard edged rapper that’s not gangsta.  High on energy, funkiness is present but not key.  It’s not my favorite formula, but this guy most definitely has skills and folks should check him out.

@@@ Wovenhand: Black of the Ink (Glitterhouse Records, 2012).  Finish off the day with some bleak country music.  While it’s not totally working for me, I appreciate the straight ahead no-bullshit, non-shiny approach of this musician.

Active Music Listening Thursday December 20, 2012

YTD recordings listened to: 983
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 572
Not good music: 355
Buys: 39 (not all 2012 releases)

Possibles: Zani Diabate, Isaiah Toothtaker (2011), Ondatropica, Sidsel Endresen & Stan Westerhus, The Ones to Blame, Boyd Rivers, Abdoulaye Alhassane Toure, Cryptopsy, Nick Waterhouse, Patterson Hood, Skyzoo,  Bettye Lavette, Philippe Petite, Chris McGregor, Brother Ali (2009), Bio Ritmo, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Mrs. Medicine, Nico Muhly, Bob Gluck Trio, Eric Boeren Quartet, Wadada Leo Smith/Louis Moholo, Converge, Unrecognizable Now.

@@@ Unrecognizable Now: Two Rooms (Kesh, 2012).  I found this ambient recording over here at Fluid radio.  It’s beautiful — layered, slow moving, I found it very captivating.

You can stream this record for free over here at Grooveshark.

@@@ Grizzly Bear:Shields (Warp, 2012).  I think I peeped this record earlier in the year but as it lies like horse manure across best of year lists across the internet, I thought I would give it another shot.  I love the drummer, I appreciate that it’s indie rock that rocks even a bit, and I like the softness of the vocalist less.  I don’t dislike him, I just don’t love his flow.  I think the energy, playing and production is high quality but the songs aren’t at as high a level.  It’s a solid B+ record in my opinion.

@@@ Salt Petal: Tip of the Sunfish (Petal, 2012).  I found this blend of indie, world music, lounge and surf guitar over here at Splinters and Candy.  The female singer is extremely upbeat. Check it out if that sounds interesting to you.

http://soundcloud.com/salt-petal/07-por-la-luna