Active Music Listening Thursday February 28, 2013

YTD recordings listened to: 191
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 126
Not good music: 52
Buys: 6

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, Kayhan Kalhor, Ether Net, Oddisee, Holly Williams

@@@ Golden Grrrls: Golden Grrrls (Slumberland, 2013).  I found this record over at this UK site the Skinny.  Sort of a classic happy punk sound with an earcatching melodic bass player and a sing-along female singer doin her thing over some strummed distorted chords.  There is also a gent in there co-lifting and they trade back and forth on the vocal duties. He’s far from being a screamer and his voice lends a slacker vibe to the proceedings.  I liked track 5, ‘Older Today’ the most of what I heard.  The bass player steals the show here.

@@@ Apparat: Candil de la Calle (Mute, 2012)  His new record was in last week’s All Music weekly email and this single is on MOG.  The first version of the tune has sweet vocals that basically makes it a pop song on top of a pretty sophisticated dubstep background.  More interesting is the dub remix with some chopped up pieces of vocals and additional sonic candy for your earholes.  There is a second tune called Black Water which features vocals again, which I don’t like as much.

I’ve clipped the dub remix below.

@@@ Wayne Hancock: Ride (Bloodshot, 2013).  A MOG new release recording.  Some old school shitkickin’ honky tonk country blues (or some such combination of those influences).  The verses are short and standard fare and the guitar solos are longer.  The guitar tones are varied and of high quality so if you’re into a record of pickin’ have at it — pedal steel, acoustic, electric.  I’m also happy to listen to upright bass, it’s a great instrument and lends an super old school tone to the record.  Come and get it.

@@@ Beach Fossils: Clash the Truth (Captured Tracks, 2013). From the MOG new release section.  Heavily indebted to 1980’s rock bands like the Cure, but not as mopey.  That chorused guitar sound is like a time capsule leading right back to Ronald Reagan.  The tempo on these tunes is up and the singer is rocking a sort of flat, detached and reverbed style which I don’t find that entertaining.  I appreciated the change of pace on the laidback third tune, Sleep Apnea.

@@@ Doldrums: Lesser Evil (Arbutus Records, 2013).  This debut record got a 5-star rating over here at the Skinny.  The second tune, Anomaly, has an interesting mechanical drill sound and a catchy ping pong blurp, but I’m not sure those two sounds warrant a 5-star rating.  The Space Invaders bop guns sounds really crank up in the third tune ‘She is the Wave’, but I’m not seeing abundant evidence of genius at work here.  I wouldn’t say outright somebody got paid to pump this record, but I might.

 

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Active Music Listening Wednesday February 27, 2013

YTD recordings listened to: 186
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 123
Not good music: 50
Buys: 6

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, Kayhan Kalhor, Ether Net, Oddisee, Holly Williams

@@@ No Sinner: Boo Hoo Hoo (Self-released, 2012).  I found this Canadian blues band via a post by a live recordist on Google+.  You can listen and download the live show for free over here, or you can support the band over at bandcamp.  I preferred the live show myself.  I thought the band sounded looser and the live recording is pretty ridiculously good.  The woman who fronts this band has a big big voice and is not drowned out by the band at all.

@@@ Tone Road Ramblers: Dancing with the Ramblers (Einstein Records, 2009)  I found this record through a concert listing email from Roulette here in Brooklyn.  These guys work an avant classical/free jazz angle, and they do it well.  Things get operatic and heady when they head into the dark energy and a female singer starts in on physics.  The vibe is artistic but with humor as one piece opens up with the line ‘The Universe is a motherfucker’ and another one describes Einstein as ‘God’s asshole buddy’.

@@@ DJ Sun: One Hundred (Soular Productions, 2013).  I found this record via the CFUV weekly email.  This is instrumental hip hop, pretty joyous without being mindless.  Lots of breaks, single line guitar lines, big beats that have been worked on, and basslines comin’ out of the golden era of hip hop/funk.

@@@ Boom Bip and Charlie White: Music for Sleeping Children (Lex, 2013)  A MOG new release record.  The confessional teenage spoken words in the first tune, Sabrina, over the club beats really differentiates this electronica record over others I’ve heard.  The second tune, Georgia, is another teenager talking about her life over club beats.  I don’t see how this would work for bumpin’ it in a club, but what do I know?  Props for weirdness.

@@@ Lusine: The Waiting Room (Ghostly International, 2013).  Off last week’s AMG weekly email, this electronica recording opens up with a lot of ping pong delay synths over sub bass keyboard bass lines and big, not quite frat boy fat beats.  The next two tunes stick with the same formula while adding processed female vocals in the second tune, and dreamier and more poppy femme vocals in the third tune.  Get yer bleep and blurp on!

Active Music Listening Tuesday February 26, 2013

YTD recordings listened to: 181
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 120
Not good music: 48
Buys: 6

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, Kayhan Kalhor, Ether Net, Oddisee, Holly Williams

@@@ Moh Alileche: North Africa’s Destiny? (Flag of Freedom, 2005).  I found this artist via the weekly email from WRIR in Virginia.  How could I not check out a record where the first tune is called ‘A Culture on the Brink of Extinction’.  You can read more about Alileche here, but I’m by no means an expert of traditional North African music.  I enjoyed a bunch of this record.  It is strong both rhythmically and melodically and I particularly enjoyed the fifth track, ‘The Abandoned Homeland’.

This clip is from his new album.

@@@ Harry Manx: Om Suite Ohm (Dog My Cat Records, 2013)  A folk release I found on the CFUV weekly playlist email.  The first tune, Further Shore, straddles both folk and rock and Manx’s voice has a Tom Waits gravel to it.  Cruising around the intertubes, it appears that Manx has been playing music for a long ass time.  I didn’t super dig the guru spoken word excerpts in the second tune, Way Out Back, but there is some very stylish Mark Knopfler level guitar playing throughout the tune.  I was very excited by the first tune, but the second tune and the ‘Love Supreme’ cover served to take my excitement down a few notches.

@@@ Cult of Youth: Love Will Prevail (Sacred Bones, 2012).  Another Flavorpill weekly email band.  Opens up with ‘Man and Man’s Ruin’ a sort of cross genre rock experience.  Very dramatic, strummed guitars, some horns tucked in the back of the mix and a big sounding singer.  The second tune, Golden Age, continues with the epic-ness and is reminiscent of the heartfelt rockin’ of that 1990’s band Live.  Not really my cup of tea, but I know folks out there love the drama.

@@@ The Orwells: Remember When (Autumn Tone, 2012).  I found this band via a Flavorpill weekly NYC gig email.  They are an indie outfit, no synths and a Pavement-y style singer.  The first tune, Lays at Rest, is midtempo and contains a nice outro change.  The second tune, Mallrats, is more of yer classic rock ‘n roll rave up — think the Strokes with cheese underneath their fingernails.  The third tune, Halloween All Year, is a dirty, weary ballad sporting distorted vocals and a very good drum sound.  Most likely a rippin’ band live, and though I thought the record was well put together and sounded good I wanted more from the songs.

@@@ Aleister X: Half Speed Mastered (Steev Mike, 2013).  I found this record via the All Music weekly email.  Think of a British Beck without the blues and bonghits.  Trendy rock with hip hop beats and shout outs to having sex in airplanes.  Lots of lyrics about vapid, drug taking and humping in Los Angeles.  It’s not total crap, but it’s pretty close.

Active Music Listening Monday February 25, 2013

YTD recordings listened to: 176
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 116
Not good music: 47
Buys: 6

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, Kayhan Kalhor, Ether Net, Oddisee, Holly Williams

@@@ Dry the River: Shallow Bed (RCA Records, 2012).  Another reader referred band.  More sonically interesting than the Crookes record below, which I listened to first.  A couple of catchy chord changes in the first tune, Animal Skins.  These guys are most definitely working out of the big book of British rock.  The singer is mad dramatic and while they rock they do it in that epic British empire sort of way that allows them to do it without losing their dignity.  More on the midtempo rock tip than the pop injection.  Not a home run for me, but there’s definitely some creativity going on in this record so folks should check it out.

@@@ Bongripper: Satan Worshipping Doom (Great Barrier Records, 2010).  Oh my, some skull peeling stomping riffage I found via a heavy metal mailorder email.  A slowed down classic metal feel but a wee(d) bit of THC mixed in to get the whole thing stony.  I’m almost four minutes in on the first tune and it looks like we’ll be flying without vocals for the duration of this record.  There’s a pleasant Black Sabbath vibe threaded through here.  Let me check the second tune, simply titled ‘Satan’.  ‘Satan’ gets into a more agitated space with some needling guitars over a thrashy snare led beat — oh wait, we’re back to the monster stomp.  Well, if you’re into instrumental metal dedicated to the Great Horned One, these guys will hook you up.

@@@ Suffocation: Pinnacle of Bedlam (Nuclear Blast).  Another Omega mailorder featured selection.  If you’re looking for something to go with a solid hit of speed, look no further.  The drummer is coming out of his shorts on the first tune, Cycles of Suffering — the drum rolls are fast and furious while his double kick provides a beating.  You will also be treated to some solid ka-chunk and guitar shred.  As you would expect from a tune called Purgatorial Punishment, things get a tad heavier on the second track.  Same formula with the double kick/shred one-two but just nastier with a jarring song change.  And just on the way out I checked out ‘Eminent Wrath’ which starts out with a more mainstream intro before descending into the pit.  These guys are not fucking around.

@@@ The Crookes: Hold Fast (Fierce Panda, 2012).  A reader started following my blog and this record was on his top 5 for 2012.  Unashamedly indie and poppie songcraft.  The bass tone is tasty in the first tune, Afterglow, and the singer is working the microphone pretty hard.  Indie records are a pretty steep climb for me — I really need something out of the ordinary to catch my ear.

@@@ Common Shiner: Before They Sold Out (Self-released?, 2013)  I got to this recording via a music publicist email.  Think of the Hold Steady without the booze and resignation.  Working man’s rock ‘n roll with a dollop of folk/Americana influence.  The second tune ‘Next Plan of Attack’ changes speeds and works a more mainstream rock neighborhood — sort of a Doobie Brothers/Toto neighborhood with a tad more existential angst.

Best of 2013 Pick 6: Fly Agaric

Fly Agaric: In Search of Soma (F-Ire Recorded Music, 2012)

My main problem with so much straight jazz is that so many of the records are re-creations/re-imaginings of records that came before.  Why should I buy or listen to or love your re-creation when I can just go listen to the original record?  Give me something that says something unique about you and your music.

And this record does that.  I think it’s mostly straight, but there’s a uniqueness to the record that I dig.  The drums sound different than most straight jazz records — they sound less swinging (and cliche) and more percussive.  The sax is really well recorded — not flat and tinny.  It’s very difficult to describe what makes one session more appealing and more original than another.  That’s why they call it a vibe — it’s just a feeling you get  from listening to music triggered by the way the musicians are playing.  Finally, a straight jazz record I can recommend.

The geeks can fulfill my music business vision

I got an email from Spotify, which I ditched because MOG sounds better.  The email was an announcement about a new Lee Perry release.

Essence of Dub by Lee Perry is now available on Spotify.
You are receiving this notification because you have listened to Lee Perry.

If they can market new Lee Perry releases to me then they can see what I’m streaming and offer me fairly priced downloads of releases that I’m streaming repeatedly.

I think this is a fucking fantastic idea.  You find music on a streaming store, you purchase files if they are offered to you when you stream something more than XXXX times.

I emailed this idea to a music industry blog dude and this is what I got back:

_______________________

Silence.

This idea will never catch on because it’s a great proposition for music lovers and the music business is about great ideas for labels and musicians to make money.

I’m posting publicly on this idea as a matter of public record.

Active Music Listening Saturday February 23, 2013

YTD recordings listened to: 171
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 111
Not good music: 47
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, Kayhan Kalhor, Ether Net, Oddisee, Holly Williams, Fly Agaric

@@@ And So I Watch You From Afar: All Hail Bright Futures (Sargent House, TBR — to be released soon.)  I found this band over here the Point of Everything via the Hypem.  These guys are happy math rock, the first track being math-ier than the second one.  The first tune has a bit of Dirty Projectors (Bitter Orce vintage) and I dig the drum sound on these tunes.  The guitar playing is geek shred chic and it’s pretty epic.  I don’t usually go for this style of rock, but these guys do a good job with it.

@@@ Kellar: Fulminant (Self-released, 2012).  This recording is editor’s pick of the week over here at echoes and dust.  Describing themselves as an improvisational rock duo, it’s a guitar/drums recording with tom heavy drubbing and layers of guitar weirdness thrown over it.  I appreciate the spirit  of this music and the rawness of it (I especially dig the supreme guitar garage riffage/noise), but I would like to hear more musical ideas thrown around to keep me more engaged.

@@@ Sweet Baboo: Let’s Go Swimming (Moshi Moshi, April 2013).  Drawing heavily from soul music song structures, Monsieur Baboo throws in some indie weirdness in the chorus to go with the hard panned left and right horns and calls it a tune.  I dig the old school thumpiness of the bass and the simple straight drum sound.  He sounds a bit like Finley Quaye from back in the day with a tad less THC/laidbacked-ness and a bit more falsetto crooning.  It’s not a bad tune.