Active Music Listening Thursday January 31, 2013

YTD recordings listened to: 104
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 65
Not good music: 24
Buys: 5

Possibles: Isaiah Toothtaker (2011), Sidsel Endresen & Stan Westerhus, The Ones to Blame, Boyd Rivers, Abdoulaye Alhassane Toure, Cryptopsy, Nick Waterhouse, Patterson Hood, Skyzoo,  Philippe Petite, Chris McGregor, Brother Ali (2009), Alvin Youngblood Hart, Nico Muhly, Bob Gluck Trio, How to Dress Well, Kayhan Kalhor, Ether Net, Oddisee

@@@ Ben Bennett: Spoilage (Experimedia, 2013)  Hard to classify noise/ambient/punky music that I found over here at Anti-Gravity Bunny.  Racket appears to be a common word for this work.  Tribal drumming, drones, dry sounding — it’s like a one man acoustic version of Lightning Bolt, the grating art sound kings of the underground.  It’s decent.  I’m not jumpin up and down but it’s interesting.

@@@ Buke and Gase: General Dome (Brassland, 2013).  A MOG new release page release.  Big crunchy rock bass and big thumpin’ major label drum sound is what struck me on the first tune ‘Houdini Crush’.  With the female singer and the slightly odd arrangements with rock instrumentation there’s definitely a Breeders/P.J. Harvey vibe going on here.  I dig the second tune ‘Hiccup’ and I appreciate the weirdness of the tunes.  Not mind blowing, but far better than so much of the indie music out there.

@@@ Darkstar: North (Hyperdub, 2010).  They have a new record out that’s not on MOG, but I thought I would check this one.  An electronica foundation with quasi-classical piano and a dreamy male vocal.  This is in between your booty bumping electronica and your abstract ambient stuff.  I don’t love the singer’s voice — soft for my taste.

@@@ Bill Peterson Trio: Ruby Diamond (Summit, 2013)  A straight jazz record I found via searching on the Thelonious Monk Jazz Competition winner Jamison Ross’ name on MOG.  On the first tune, they get into some interesting places — definitely a little more than usual on straight record with a swingin’ rhythm section.  I like the piano player, Peterson, he has flavor.  The rhythm section is good but I find myself listening most to Peterson.

You can stream some cheap ass 30 second bite size ritz cracker snippets over here at AllMusic.

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Active Music Listening Wednesday January 30, 2013

YTD recordings listened to: 102
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 62
Not good music: 23
Buys: 5

Possibles: Isaiah Toothtaker (2011), Sidsel Endresen & Stan Westerhus, The Ones to Blame, Boyd Rivers, Abdoulaye Alhassane Toure, Cryptopsy, Nick Waterhouse, Patterson Hood, Skyzoo,  Philippe Petite, Chris McGregor, Brother Ali (2009), Alvin Youngblood Hart, Nico Muhly, Bob Gluck Trio, How to Dress Well, Kayhan Kalhor, Ether Net, Oddisee

@@@ The Skints: Part & Parcel (Bomber Music Ltd, 2012)  I caught this record of roots/dancehall reggae out of London on the WRIR weekly playlist email.  The first tune has some brisk toasting from both a gent and a lady.  The second tune Rat-a-tat features more of the lightning quick rhyming, which I’m not a huge fan of.  I appreciate the technical prowess required to roll like that, but I prefer my reggae toaster to take their time.  The tempos seem higher than the old school stuff, but the low end is solid and pretty massive.

@@@ The Indians: Somewhere Else (4AD, 2013)  A MOG new release release.  4AD is one of the bigger independents trafficking in the indie electronic scene, and this record supports that.  Opens up with the tune ‘New’   — a male ooo-er drenched in reverb for epicness with swirls of quasi-classical electronic synth strings and electro bubbles as garnish.

@@@ Thao & the Get Down Stay Down: We the Common (Domino, 2013).  From the MOG new release page.  A quirky rock band fronted by a female with a banjo figuring prominently.  At least in the first tune.   The second tune ‘City’ moves more solidly into rock territory as the banjo is gone and we get a spicy little marimba/hammered percussion keyboard hook tucked in there with the slabby, thick electric guitar figure.  There are some old videos on Youtube when they were on Kill Rock Stars, so that explains a lot.  It’s a quirky band that is being reconfigured for a wider audience.  There you go.

@@@ Ramin Rahimi: Persian Percussion Electrified (ARC, 2012)  I also found this record from a WRIR playlist.  If you’re up for a Persian instrumental percussion jam record.  Big on rhythms with dueling stringed traditional Persian instruments, hand drum breakdowns, and a big rock drum kit and electric bass.  Crazy Persian fusion music, check it out.

Just to wrap up, please peep this record cover and then try to tell me Justin Bieber is not being marketed as a 21st century Elvis Presley.  I wouldn’t say that it’s spooky, but it’s weird as shit.  I don’t like this kid, I don’t get a good vibe when I see him on my internet.

bieber-acoustic-believe-cover

Active Music Listening Tuesday January 29, 2013

YTD recordings listened to: 94
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 62
Not good music: 23
Buys: 5

Possibles: Isaiah Toothtaker (2011), Sidsel Endresen & Stan Westerhus, The Ones to Blame, Boyd Rivers, Abdoulaye Alhassane Toure, Cryptopsy, Nick Waterhouse, Patterson Hood, Skyzoo,  Philippe Petite, Chris McGregor, Brother Ali (2009), Alvin Youngblood Hart, Nico Muhly, Bob Gluck Trio, How to Dress Well, Kayhan Kalhor, Ether Net, Oddisee

@@@ Tegan and Sara: Hearthrob (Vapor/Warner, 2013).  MOG new release page.  These cuties have been getting quite a push in the run up to the release to this record.  As a marketing concept this is pretty sophisticated — two cute girls talking flirty and sexy with quasi-potty lyrics like ‘I want to get you underneath me’.  As music it’s vapid and shallow — it’s shit — shiny and barely human with no spiritual or emotional value.  This is product and bad product at that.

@@@  Local Natives: Hummingbird (Frenchkiss, 2013).  MOG new release page.  Opens up smartly with a tremolo guitar and pushing snare rim beat and a Thom Yorke-like white man lament on the tune ‘You and I’.  Not a complete Radiohead bite, but it’s a lot like Radiohead with less angst and a higher tempo.  I’m on the fourth tune and I haven’t been pulled out of my work yet.  The songs are not as dramatic as the sound of the recording.

@@@ Ducktails: The Covered Lane (Domino, 2013).  Another MOG new release page.  It’s Brit rock — more lyrical than epic, not too heavy on the drama.  Very nice drum sound and interesting guitar work underpinning that mellow quasi-sedated/super mellow male voice.  The third tune, Under Covers, gets all British loverboy with a deep crooning and some FM radio quiet storm rock/r&b moods.  Weird.

@@@  Aaron Koppel: Multiverse (Chicago Sessions, 2012).  I’m on this Chicago musician’s mailing list.  I was caught by an atypical rock guitar sound on this straight jazz recording — I dig that.  The basic formula for this record is a bit of swinging and some raucousness from the electric guitar.  The recording sounds very good and while not a huge fan of straight jazz this is a good straight jazz record.

Just an old clip, sorry.

Active Music Listening Monday January 28, 2013

YTD recordings listened to: 90
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 56
Not good music: 21
Buys: 5

Possibles: Isaiah Toothtaker (2011), 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), Alvin Youngblood Hart, Nico Muhly, Bob Gluck Trio, How to Dress Well, Kayhan Kalhor, Ether Net, Oddisee

@@@ Kishi Bashi: 151a (Self-released, 2012).  Artist of the year for the blog wildhoneypie over here.  The record opens up with the the big bittersweet slowness of the tune ‘Manchester’ followed by the upbeat strum along indie vibe of ‘Bright White’.  White as in white skin?  Aw, just kidding.  A sort of orchestral, psychedelic pop/folk thread runs through the record — strings in the background, backwards tape loops (I think), lots of layered sonic goodies.   The lyrics are a bit too shiny happy people for my taste, but I dig the sophisticatedness of the arrangements and the creativity put in there.

@@@ The Western Sea: Plague (Whitelab Blacklab, 2012) #7 on the wildhoneypie top 25 of 2012 list over here.  The singer sounds like the twin brother of Death Cab for Cutie’s lead singer.  Who I don’t like.  Strong voices, too earnest, no darkness or weight to the singer.  Lacking impact shall we say?.  The tunes are bittersweet, orchestrated and arranged indie fare — solid chops and not so much musical impact.

@@@ Flux Pavilion: Blow the Roof EP.  Found these two singles over here at kickkicksnare.  I found this extremely shiny and trebly single ‘Starlight’ to be purposely dated sounding.  Lot’s of twinkling pumping high tones over a fat synth bass line and cheesy beats.  Oh the kids love it, so either the kids are fucked in the head or I am.  Or both.  The second tune, ‘The Scientist’, is another shot of fat synth cheese aimed right at your IQ America.  Watch out — you’ve been warned!

@@@ Esbenandthewitch: Wash the Sins Not Only the Face (Matador, 2013)  A MOG new release that opens up with a femme fronted shoegaze tune called ‘Iceland Spar’.  Does the quiet section/rock out thing — you know, quiet quiet quiet, total shitstorm.  In this case a swirling sadness dominated guitar shitstorm.  The second tune, ‘Slow Wave’, sports some layered and delayed melodic guitar, layered female vocals and a pit patter stop and start snare pattern.  It’s a decent record for the not very adventurous amongst us.

Best of 2013 – 3 jazz picks

@@@ Paul Giallorenzo Trio Featuring Ingebrigt Haker Flat (Not Two, 2012). I really like the way Mr. Giallorenzo plays piano.  I’m not entirely sure why I dig his playing so much, but ultimately who gives a shit?  If I dig it, I dig it, and I dig it a lot.  The tunes are varied and they work an inside/outside vibe very naturally.  The rhythm section does a really good job both of supporting and interacting with the piano.  This is the first jazz record of 2013 that I’m recommending to listeners.

@@@ Jesper Løvdal & Günter Baby Sommer (ILK, 2012).  Found this sax player via a Jazzloft email and this record was on MOG.  A duo horns and drums record with excellent variety and spaciousness.  The sax player has a great tone — warm with some wail and skronk.  And the drummer is not too shabby himself.

@@@ Wadada Leo Smith & Luis Moholo: Ancestors (Tum Records, 2012).  This record is my second Wadada Leo Smith recording to make the best of list in the last 4 months.  It’s a duo record, trumpet and drums and like the rest of Smith’s music, it’s serious.  Open and unrushed as well.  It’s a really nice recording so this Youtube clip doesn’t do the interplay between the two musicians justice.  The cd is $20 and I found it elsewhere.

Active Music Listening Sunday January 27, 2013

YTD recordings listened to: 86
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 53
Not good music: 23
Buys: 4

Possibles: Isaiah Toothtaker (2011), 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, How to Dress Well, Kayhan Kalhor, Ether Net, Oddisee

@@@ Cheika Rimitti: La Rimitti Vol. 3 (AMD, 2009).  I caught this female Rai singer from the Conference of Birds podcast playlist over here.  If you’re open minded and into the blend of free jazz and world music Conference of Birds will hook you up.  I’ve heard a decent amount of rai, Cheikh Kaled most notably, and most of it I’ve heard mixes in generous amounts of Western music — gypsy influences, pop, etc.  It’s great but this is much more old school.  Her singing is rough and the rhythmic effect of the hand drum and the circular wood flute playing is punishing.  And I mean punishing in a good way.

@@@ Ted Nash: The Creep (Plastic Sax Records, 2012).  I saw this record over here at Stereophile’s best of 2012.  This is medium high energy swinging straight jazz record.  Nash’s sax tone is warm and inviting, the band is tight, the vibe of the record is somewhat brunch-y and Republican.

@@@ Amadou Balake: Senor Eclectico (Oriki, 2008).  I caught this artist on a playlist over here at Splinters and Candy.  Upfront I will confess that I’m very partial to African salsa.  While not at the same level as the older Orquestra Baobob records, a couple of which are mindblowing efforts you will get some old school 1970’s african salsa action, some Santana like rock jammin’ and even some James Brown over the Atlantic funky action.

Awesome, big record labels promote gang bangin’ and violence

From here:

Williams blames record companies for commodifying ghetto life, which he says makes younger kids believe that violence is inevitable on their streets. “It reshapes the culture of the community,” he says. “These kids are tricked into believing that this is the way it should be, that this is a normal way to think. But Chief Keef is not rapping about what is going on in the neighborhood. There is an element of that, but a very small percentage. But the industry doesn’t want to hear anything else but that.”

Read the whole article and then ask yourself how bad you feel that the major record labels are dying.

I don’t feel bad at all.