Active Music Listening Friday May 31, 2013

YTD recordings listened to: 409
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 262
Not good music: 119

Honorable Mentions: 10
Buys: 11

Possibles: Sidsel Endresen & Stan Westerhus, Boyd Rivers, Abdoulaye Alhassane Toure, Cryptopsy, Nick Waterhouse, Patterson Hood, Skyzoo,  Chris McGregor, Brother Ali (2009), Alvin Youngblood Hart, Bob Gluck Trio, Ether Net, Oddisee, Holly Williams, Dave Arner Trio, Trap Them, Orchestra Super Mazembe, Mark Lanegan & Duke Garwood, Inzinzac

@@@ Glenn Jones: My Garden State (Thrill Jockey, 2013).  A folk record I found on the CFUV weekly email.  Very pretty and understated instrumental banjo/guitar music, at least on the opener.  The third tune ‘Goin Back to East Montgomery’ is a big ol’ chunk of acoustic guitar loveliness.   Live version clipped below.

@@@ The Red Microphone: The Red Microphone Speaks! (Dissident Arts, 2013).  I caught this political, free jazz outfit on the All About Jazz weekly gig email that gets sent out.  I like the instrumentation of vibes/percussion, two horns and upright bass and I like the swing on these renditions of protest songs from back in the 1930’s and on.  A lot of protest music has a real in your face feel to it so I think this swinging, soulful approach could win them more fans.

@@@ Mount Kimbie: Cold Spring Fault Less Youth (Warp, 2013).  A MOG new release page record.  Opens up with Home Recording, a chopped keyboard tune with quasi-mangled vocals. The second tune, You Took Your Time, features a fat tongued rapper that I find annoying.  Fast forward.  I like a bunch of the keyboard work on this record and I dig the subtle dub influences threaded in, but I’m not down for the whole sandwich.

Active Music Listening Thursday May 30, 2013

YTD recordings listened to: 406
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 259
Not good music: 119
Honorable Mentions: 10
Buys: 11

Possibles: Sidsel Endresen & Stan Westerhus, Boyd Rivers, Abdoulaye Alhassane Toure, Cryptopsy, Nick Waterhouse, Patterson Hood, Skyzoo,  Chris McGregor, Brother Ali (2009), Alvin Youngblood Hart, Bob Gluck Trio, Ether Net, Oddisee, Holly Williams, Dave Arner Trio, Trap Them, Orchestra Super Mazembe, Mark Lanegan & Duke Garwood, Inzinzac

@@@ Marissa Anderson: The Golden Hour (Mississippi, 2011)  I saw her new record on CFUV’s weekly email, but this 2011 effort is up on MOG.  Slotted as folk music it opens up with a hip distorted slide guitar solo.  About a 7.5 on the nasty meter, I won’t get my hopes up too much.  The second tune, the Night Before Last, is a more chimey solo guitar affair.  The third tune, First Light, is a mournful slow one.  I would be more interested if there were some vocals to go with this sweet guitar playing but she’s a really good player.

@@@ Necrophagist: Epitaph (Relapse, 2004).  I caught this record in the recommended section of the Omega Music weekly email.  It’s a chops focused metal record with some pretty wicked guitar tapping to go with the caveman vocalist — low and shredding.  The drummer is fairly full on with the double kick dome crack, but it’s the guitarist catching my ear on this record.

@@@ Kylesa: Ultraviolet (Season of Mist, 2013).  Continue with the hard music off the All Music weekly email.  Certainly not as slick as the record above the first tune has an unusual Beastie Boys group vocal vibe to it.  This is more in the art rock vein than your straight up metal beatdown.  The second tune, Unspoken brings a detached vocal a la Jane’s Addiction and a hypnotic repeating quality to the guitar/bass riffage.  I like some of the elements here, but it doesn’t really hit the mark for me.

@@@ Eisley: Currents (Equal Vision, 2013).  Slotted as indie/alternative in the All Music weekly email it’s really mainstream female fronted rock.  Big production and a big drum sound with a focus on the vocalist.  I believe this music is aimed straight for the suburbs — it has a faux emotionality that will work well out there.  Check it out for yourself.

Active Music Listening Wednesday May 29, 2013

YTD recordings listened to: 402
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 256
Not good music: 118
Honorable Mentions: 10
Buys: 11

Possibles: Sidsel Endresen & Stan Westerhus, Boyd Rivers, Abdoulaye Alhassane Toure, Cryptopsy, Nick Waterhouse, Patterson Hood, Skyzoo,  Chris McGregor, Brother Ali (2009), Alvin Youngblood Hart, Bob Gluck Trio, Ether Net, Oddisee, Holly Williams, Dave Arner Trio, Trap Them, Orchestra Super Mazembe, Mark Lanegan & Duke Garwood, Inzinzac

@@@ Aceyalone: Moonlit Skies (Decon, 2011).  I couldn’t find his new record on the MOG, but Aceyalone has a low voice and a light and quick style on the microphone.  The first tune, the title track, has a laidback quiet storm feel to it.  Those sound like live drums, but if they’re not they’re real close.  The second tune, Ace Cowboy, has a funkier feel with a jammy feel to it.  He really heats it up on the third tune God in Me, which is my favorite of the bunch.

@@@ Cloud Boat: Book of Hours (Apollo, 2013).  A dubstep recording from the All Music weekly email of new releases.  The beats have the customary chopped, dubstep feel to them and there are some low in the mix and low in tone vocals tucked back there in the opener, Lions on the Beach.  The second tune, Youthern opens up with an Irish/UK folk vocal arrangment — that’s interesting.  A more minimalist hi hat-centric beat tchka-tchkas behind the vocals.  I’m surprised at how much guitar there is on this record.  I wouldn’t really slot this as a dubstep record.  I don’t need to put a label on it, but it’s more of hybrid folk/rock songwriter record with some dubstep production.

@@@ Tijuana Panthers: Semi-sweet (Innovative Leisure, 2013).  Racket-ous garage-y bright indie guitar surf-y rave up.  Nerdy and uptempo.  It’s all right, check it for yourselves.

@@@ Brazos: Salt Water (Dead Oceans, 2013).  A MOG new release page recording.  Opens up with the tune Always On, which has an awful lot in common with that slightly funky Talking Heads vibe.  The second tune, Charm, has a more indie pop feel to it.  This music is a bit too light for my taste.  I could use some muscle.

Active Music Listening Tuesday May 28, 2013

YTD recordings listened to: 398
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 253
Not good music: 117
Honorable Mentions: 10
Buys: 11

Possibles: Sidsel Endresen & Stan Westerhus, Boyd Rivers, Abdoulaye Alhassane Toure, Cryptopsy, Nick Waterhouse, Patterson Hood, Skyzoo,  Chris McGregor, Brother Ali (2009), Alvin Youngblood Hart, Bob Gluck Trio, Ether Net, Oddisee, Holly Williams, Dave Arner Trio, Trap Them, Orchestra Super Mazembe, Mark Lanegan & Duke Garwood, Inzinzac

@@@ Laura Marling: Once I Was an Eagle (Ribbon Music, 2013)  From the MOG new release page.  Sparse guitar folk.  Marling has a Norah Jones like voice but not as slacker-y.  The tunes have a New Age feeling but not completely dipped in it.  The title track clipped below is just a little too dramatic for me.  Maybe listeners are feeling very dramatic after the crappy weather this weekend, but I can’t get with this.

@@@ The Dream: IV Play (Def Jam, 2013).  Space age electro-horny hop.  If this man is to believed, and I don’t see any reason why he would be fronting, he seems pretty interested in gettin’ high with his homies and makin’ love to his bitches.  He doesn’t even really have to have foreplay, he’s just ready to hit it.  That’s so hot!  Oh man, this title track is just a wonder to behold.

@@@  When Saints Go Machine: Infinity Pool (!K7 Records, 2013).  Electronica from the MOG new release page.  Of the frat boy big beat variety.  There are more vocals than just your chanted hook variety so there appear to be song aspirations here.  The second tune, Infinity Killer, has more of a chopped up feel with the falsetto vocals reminiscent of that giant, freaky dude Antony and the Johnsons.  I like that dude, this guy not so much.  Solid C+ here.

Best of 2013 Pick 11

Graveola: Eu Preciso De Um Liquidificador (Mais Um Discos, 2013)

Extremely musical and creative Latin Rock record out of Brazil.  Lots of interesting twists and turns within the tunes, a lot of different moods.  The first tune, Blues Via Satelite, is more of a guitar rocker while the second tune Pra Para De Vez has that light and melodic Brazilian vibe complete with clarinet.

Excellent singing and excellent musicianship with sophisticated arrangements.  The vibe is upbeat but not mindless and there is a distinct lack of cheese found on so many American records.

Highly recommended.

Active Music Listening Saturday May 25, 2013

YTD recordings listened to: 395
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 252
Not good music: 115
Honorable Mentions: 10
Buys: 11

Possibles: Sidsel Endresen & Stan Westerhus, Boyd Rivers, Abdoulaye Alhassane Toure, Cryptopsy, Nick Waterhouse, Patterson Hood, Skyzoo,  Chris McGregor, Brother Ali (2009), Alvin Youngblood Hart, Bob Gluck Trio, Ether Net, Oddisee, Holly Williams, Dave Arner Trio, Trap Them, Orchestra Super Mazembe, Mark Lanegan & Duke Garwood, Inzinzac

@@@ Atoms for Peace: Amok (XL, 2013).  I was hoping to like this record more.  I thought Flea’s presence would make it funkier but he’s not catching my ear at all.  I don’t like the way they de-drumkitted the drumkit.  If you have a guy playing a kit why would you  make the drums sound like a dance record.  There’s too much emphasis on the keyboard parts.

@@@ Christopher Paul Stelling: False Cities (Christopher Paul Stelling, 2013)  A folk record from the MOG new release page.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen a self-released recording featured on the front page of a streaming store.  I do have to wonder out loud who got paid to make that happen.  Stelling plays an energetic nylon string guitar but most notable is his gruff voice — he’s rougher than 99% of the folk singers out there.  Man this guy can play guitar, he’s working it hard.  I liked it but I didn’t get the chills I get when I hear ‘Masters of War’, for example.

@@@  Airbourne: Black Dog Barking (Roadrunner Records, 2013).  A MOG new release record that puts a strong bite on the AC/DC discography.  Not a complete and absolute copy as it sports a couple pubic hairs of both Bon Jovi and Def Leppard, but I don’t know how the guitar player sleeps at night the way he bites Angus Young.  Oh boy.

Honorable Mention 2013 Pick 10

Safe Haven: Sermon for No One (Self-released, 2013)

This record came to my ears via a music publicist and I can say with complete honesty that this is the first publicist pushed record that I’ve really liked.  From what I can Google these guys are releasing themselves which really helps to dilute my default anti-publicist view.

If you blenderize a cup of the Band, a half cup of Cracker, and a tablespoon of the Allman Brothers/southern rock, and a tablespoon of My Morning Jacket you would have something akin to these guys.

I like the looseness of the playing on this record.  I like the plain, straight vibe of the singer, I like the combination of the influences (especially a little New Orleans rag flavor), I like the humor in songs like I Steal.  The record has an awful lot going for it, but I wanted to just a touch more uniqueness to it.

Otherwise, bands at this level sure can use support so I hope folks will check this record out.