Active Music Listening Wednesday July 31, 2013

YTD recordings listened to: 555
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 339
Not good music: 161

Honorable Mentions: 15
Buys: 13

Possibles: Boyd Rivers, Abdoulaye Alhassane Toure, Cryptopsy, Nick Waterhouse, Patterson Hood,  Chris McGregor, Brother Ali (2009), Alvin Youngblood Hart, Ether Net, Oddisee, Holly Williams, Dave Arner Trio, Trap Them, Orchestra Super Mazembe, Mark Lanegan & Duke Garwood, Inzinzac, Bill Horist, MAKU Soundsystem, Joseph Arthur, Melt Yourself Down, Zomby, Retox, Owiny Sigoma Band, About Group, A Tribe Called Red, Andrew Cedermark, Jello Biafra, Fat Freddy’s Drop, Jessie Mae Hemphill, All Pigs Must Die, Chris Shifflett

@@@ Chris Shiflett & the Dead Peasants: All Hat and No Cattle (Side One Dummy, 2013).  Fans of BR5-49 will really dig these guys.  I came to this record via the MOG new release page.  Classic single coil guitar playing and a duel guitar attack as well as slide guitar on the opener, ‘Guitar Pickin’ Man’.  I think this record is going to run straight through just doin what they do best, which be singin’ redneck music.

@@@ Ikonika: Aerotropolis (Hyperdub, 2013).  Some futuristic electronica off the MOG new release page.  A barrage of shiny synthesizers in the opener Mise En Place.  The second tune ‘Keep it Simple’ is more club oriented than the first tune.  Indebted to 1980’s Madonna club music, I dig the drum sound but the tunes are meh.

@@@ Tohpati: Riot (Moonjune Records, 2012).  I saw this record reviewed at the London Jazz blog so I thought I would peep it.  If you blenderized Living Colour and Joe Satriani I think it would sound a lot like these guys.  Super riff-y and the second tune gets more into white boy funk territory.  I’m not sure how I feel about white boy funk — I think I may prefer non-white boy funk.  I’m diggin’ the drummer more than guitar player on this one.

@@@ Dreamboat: Boy (Hybridity, 2013).  Some indie electronic from the CFUV weekly playlist email.  These are full on songs with electronica backing.  Some indie electronic is more about the sounds with some ooh yeahs, and a smattering of vocals on top.  This is more in the Depeche Mode/Pet Shop Boys neighborhood.  He’s got a bit of a glum voice and that doesn’t usually work for me.

@@@ Jeff ‘Siege’ Siegel: Magical Spaces (CAP, 2005).  A straight jazz quartet record I found after seeing Siegel’s name listed in a NYC jazz gig email.  Uptempo and smooth, I enjoyed Siegel’s drumming.  Here is a clip frrom around the time this record was put out.

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Active Music Listening Tuesday July 30, 2013

YTD recordings listened to: 550
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 339
Not good music: 157

Honorable Mentions: 15
Buys: 13

Possibles: Boyd Rivers, Abdoulaye Alhassane Toure, Cryptopsy, Nick Waterhouse, Patterson Hood,  Chris McGregor, Brother Ali (2009), Alvin Youngblood Hart, Ether Net, Oddisee, Holly Williams, Dave Arner Trio, Trap Them, Orchestra Super Mazembe, Mark Lanegan & Duke Garwood, Inzinzac, Bill Horist, MAKU Soundsystem, Joseph Arthur, Melt Yourself Down, Zomby, Retox, Owiny Sigoma Band, About Group, A Tribe Called Red, Andrew Cedermark, Jello Biafra, Fat Freddy’s Drop, Jessie Mae Hemphill, All Pigs Must Die

@@@  Buddy Guy: Rhythm & Blues (RCA, 2013).  Off the MOG new release page and it’s not looking good right off the bat as both Kid Rock and Keith Urban make an appearance on this record.  I appreciate that folks are trying to Buddy Guy to the ears of the next generation, but I would highly recommend Sweet Tea, a 2001 effort, over this more orchestrated rock effort.  There’s some deep shit on that record Sweet Tea.

@@@ Michael Franti & Spearhead: All People (Capitol, 2013).  Also off the MOG new release page, and like Buddy Guy this is a lowest common denominator effort designed to sell a lot of records.  Here Franti is framed by club beats and that sonic palette.  It’s pretty shallow (by design) and not very satisfying (to me at least).  However, if you want to hear Franti’s pop sensibility within a political/reggae context head on over and check out Yell Fire! from 2006.  That’s the Michael Franti shit for me.

@@@ White Poppy: Drifter’s Gold (Constellation Tatsu, 2013).  The #1 record on CFUV out in western Canada.  Opens up with the tune Green & Growing, and ambient guitar repetitive looped bass tune.  It’s sparse and pretty.  It’s got a shoegaze/post-rock feeling.

@@@ Five Finger Death Punch: The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell (Prospect Park, 2013).  Off the MOG new release page, this record is a hybrid of old school metal and mainstream hard rock and a little bit of a newer sound, particularly in the drummer.  It’s well produced and the band is tight as shit, but it’s not a style I’m particularly interested in.

Active Music Listening Monday July 29, 2013

YTD recordings listened to: 546
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 337
Not good music: 155

Honorable Mentions: 15
Buys: 13

Possibles: Boyd Rivers, Abdoulaye Alhassane Toure, Cryptopsy, Nick Waterhouse, Patterson Hood,  Chris McGregor, Brother Ali (2009), Alvin Youngblood Hart, Ether Net, Oddisee, Holly Williams, Dave Arner Trio, Trap Them, Orchestra Super Mazembe, Mark Lanegan & Duke Garwood, Inzinzac, Bill Horist, MAKU Soundsystem, Joseph Arthur, Melt Yourself Down, Zomby, Retox, Owiny Sigoma Band, About Group, A Tribe Called Red, Andrew Cedermark, Jello Biafra, Fat Freddy’s Drop, Jessie Mae Hemphill, All Pigs Must Die

@@@ Guy Clark: My Favorite Picture of You (Dualtone, 2013).  Some alt-country off the All Music weekly email.  From the cover Mr. Clark is no spring chicken and he’s tastefully stripped his music down to the bare essentials: a gruff voice, a well recorded acoustic guitar.  This music surely takes its time so if you’re expecting manic fiddles and a  picker’s fest you will be disappointed.

@@@ Jackson Scott: Melbourne (Fat Possum 2013).  I think of Fat Possum as the home of the white boy garage/guitar fest so it’s a bit strange to hear the opening ambient guitar track on this album I came to via the All Music weekly email.  The second tune keeps the ambient guitar and adds drums and a glum downtempo male vocalist.  Oh boy, this sedated singing style doesn’t work well for me.  The songs are more downtempo than uptempo and I dig the guitar sounds.  The voice not so much.

@@@ Hey! Hello!: Hey! Hello! (The End, 2013).  Pretty mainstream hard rock off the All Music weekly email.  Punk power chords and a pop vocal on the opener, Black Valentine.  Big drum sound, and big hooked out chorus.  A little bit of Motley Crue fake aggression surfaces on Feral Days.  Overall, teenage lyrics for teenagers.  Get yer shopping mall hard rock here, get yer shopping mall hard rock here!

@@@ Half Moon Run: Full Circle (Glassnote, 2013)  Listed as indie/alternative in the All Music weekly email, but that’s total wang.  This is mainstream, artistic big rock being slipped in under the indie label.  Super fastidious production sound, big sounds all around. Earnest would be the word for this music.  Touches of Yes, a wee bit of acoustic Zeppelin referenced, big rock people.

Active Music Listening Friday July 26, 2013

YTD recordings listened to: 542
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 334
Not good music: 154

Honorable Mentions: 15
Buys: 13

Possibles: Boyd Rivers, Abdoulaye Alhassane Toure, Cryptopsy, Nick Waterhouse, Patterson Hood,  Chris McGregor, Brother Ali (2009), Alvin Youngblood Hart, Ether Net, Oddisee, Holly Williams, Dave Arner Trio, Trap Them, Orchestra Super Mazembe, Mark Lanegan & Duke Garwood, Inzinzac, Bill Horist, MAKU Soundsystem, Joseph Arthur, Melt Yourself Down, Zomby, Retox, Owiny Sigoma Band, About Group, A Tribe Called Red, Andrew Cedermark, Jello Biafra, Fat Freddy’s Drop, Jessie Mae Hemphill, All Pigs Must Die

@@@ Juancho Herrera: Bando (Self-released, 2011).  I found this artist via an All About Jazz weekly gig email.  It’s a hybrid record with elements of rock, jazz fusion and Latin music.   The vocals on the opener Golpe are sweet and are balanced with a nice rock guitar sound — buzzy but not too cheesy.  The second tune, La Costa, inches closer to the Santana neighborhood but not full wailing.  This is good music, folks should check it out.

@@@ Chico Trujillo: Chico Oro (Barbes, 2010).  Via the weekly email at WRIR in Virginia I saw these guys have a new record, but this 2010 effort is in my streaming store.  From the blurb these guys started out as a ska band and moved into this hipster cumbia genre.  I haven’t loved much from this label, but this is some really happening music.  Solid bounce, highly rhythmic and melodic, very smart party music.  Obviously I’m a bit late to the party as the video below has 4 million hits, but what can you do?  You find it when you find it.

@@@ Grant Hart: The Argument (Domino, 2012)  Reading on the Wikipedia I see this record is based upon Paradise Lost.  I checked this out as it’s on the MOG new release page.  The second tune, Morningstar, gets into your straightforward guitar based indie rock.  We get a bit of David Bowie vibe in the tune ‘Awake, Arise!’, and after a bunch of songs an arty David Bowie album is a good reference for this record.

@@@ Grumbling Fur: Furrier (Aurora Borealis, 2011).  I could not find their new Thrill Jockey effort up on my streaming store, but I decided to check out this previous effort.  Slow ass ambient post-rock from these guys.  Similar but darker than Sigur Ros.

 

 

Active Music Listening Thursday July 25, 2013

YTD recordings listened to: 538
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 330
Not good music: 154

Honorable Mentions: 15
Buys: 13

Possibles: Boyd Rivers, Abdoulaye Alhassane Toure, Cryptopsy, Nick Waterhouse, Patterson Hood,  Chris McGregor, Brother Ali (2009), Alvin Youngblood Hart, Ether Net, Oddisee, Holly Williams, Dave Arner Trio, Trap Them, Orchestra Super Mazembe, Mark Lanegan & Duke Garwood, Inzinzac, Bill Horist, MAKU Soundsystem, Joseph Arthur, Melt Yourself Down, Zomby, Retox, Owiny Sigoma Band, About Group, A Tribe Called Red, Andrew Cedermark, Jello Biafra, Fat Freddy’s Drop, Jessie Mae Hemphill, All Pigs Must Die

@@@ True Widow: Circumambulation (Relapse, 2013).  An editor’s pick for this week’s releases over at All Music.   A piquant blend of stoner/gloom rock.  Hints of Alice in Chains in the vocalist and a righteous buzz on the guitar.  Very hypnotic single picked arpeggios.  The second tune S:H:S  brings a thick thick bass pumping the tune from below.  It appears these tunes are more about vibe than tunes themselves and they do a good job at creating that vibe.

@@@ All PIgs Must Die: Nothing Violates this Nature (Southern Lord, 2013).  Some punk metal off the All Music this week’s releases.  A mostly metal drum sound with punk guitars you can kinda here what the singer is on about.  The guitar player is jumpy as fuck and it sure is good listening.

@@@ U-God: The Keynote Speaker (Soul Temple Entertainment, 2013).  Some hip hop off the MOG new release.  The beats are great, the arrangements are okay, and the rapping is good.  I don’t love it, but that’s just me.  I really felt the fifth tune, Fire, that’s hype.

@@@ Hunx and his Punx: Street Punk (Hardly Art, 2013).   Some buzzy ass old school power chord punk off the MOG new release page.  Nice crunchy bass sound, songs not as catchy as they need to be to get over with this style.

Active Music Listening Wednesday July 24, 2013

YTD recordings listened to: 534
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 328
Not good music: 152

Honorable Mentions: 15
Buys: 13

Possibles: Boyd Rivers, Abdoulaye Alhassane Toure, Cryptopsy, Nick Waterhouse, Patterson Hood,  Chris McGregor, Brother Ali (2009), Alvin Youngblood Hart, Ether Net, Oddisee, Holly Williams, Dave Arner Trio, Trap Them, Orchestra Super Mazembe, Mark Lanegan & Duke Garwood, Inzinzac, Bill Horist, MAKU Soundsystem, Joseph Arthur, Melt Yourself Down, Zomby, Retox, Owiny Sigoma Band, About Group, A Tribe Called Red, Andrew Cedermark, Jello Biafra, Fat Freddy’s Drop, Jessie Mae Hemphill

@@@ Fuckbuttons: Slow Focus (ATP, 2013).  Some aggro-tronica off the MOG new release page.  Opens up with the tribal toms and semi-sharp synth patches on the first tune, Brainfreeze.  It’s solidly put together without being particularly ear grabbing.  The second tune, Year of the Dog, is more of a ambient piece with touches of aggro- and I’m not really connecting with it.  The last tune, The Red Wing, is more of a funky thing with a black beat, some ping pong delay synth patches and a chainsaw riding down the middle of the mix.  I like this the best of what I heard.

@@@ Mikrokolektyw: Absent Minded (Delmark, 2013).  I caught this avant jazz release on last week’s CFUV weekly email.  The opener, Vaccum, lives up to its name with skttering drums and snorty trumpet blasts.  The second tune, Dream About Mind Master, gets into more of an electronic neighborhood, with a radio static line crackling with some other (guitar?) synthesizer R2D2 blurpage goin on.  I dig the freshness of this.  The light drumming returns for a sort of drums/static loop/trumpet trio thing.  I will check more of this out, but I find it engaging.

@@@ Jeremy Swan: Blessed Unrest (Self-released, 2011)  I found this artist via a PR website called Music Submit (they have to a better job it making it easy to review on their site).  Swan does an orchestral folk/soft rock combination.  Acoustic guitar with some thin electric guitar behind it and a spacious production sound.  Swan’s voice is a tiny bit breathy for my taste but he does good work creating an atmosphere with the arrangements and his singing.  It’s got a bit of John Vanderslice and a touch of Joseph Arthur.

@@@ Jinx: Weekend (Slumberland, 2013).  Off the MOG new release page.  Rock heavily influenced by 1980’s rock — the Cure’s bass sound, washes of chorused guitar, a wee bit of Michael Stipe/Morrissey in the vocalist, and a busy drum sound.  Energetic but a sharply, might I say sizzly mix.

Active Music Listening Tuesday July 23, 2013

YTD recordings listened to: 530
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 326
Not good music: 150

Honorable Mentions: 15
Buys: 13

Possibles: Boyd Rivers, Abdoulaye Alhassane Toure, Cryptopsy, Nick Waterhouse, Patterson Hood,  Chris McGregor, Brother Ali (2009), Alvin Youngblood Hart, Ether Net, Oddisee, Holly Williams, Dave Arner Trio, Trap Them, Orchestra Super Mazembe, Mark Lanegan & Duke Garwood, Inzinzac, Bill Horist, MAKU Soundsystem, Joseph Arthur, Melt Yourself Down, Zomby, Retox, Owiny Sigoma Band, About Group, A Tribe Called Red, Andrew Cedermark, Jello Biafra, Fat Freddy’s Drop, Jessie Mae Hemphill

@@@ Van Dyke Parks: Songs Cycled (Bella Union, 2013).  Off the MOG new release page.  Opens up with the tune Wedding in Madagascar, and it’s a cheerful, baroque pop/soft rock instrumental with horns and I can’t tell if it’s an African stringed instrument or a mandolin.  The songs are lyrically light and romantic and the arrangements are the star here.

@@@ Gogol Bordello: Pura Vida Conspiracy (ATO, 2013).  Gogol Bordello on a major label!  I’ve never been able to get with this band although I appreciate how far they’ve gotten with a pretty niche sound.  While I find the singer’s accent funny, a couple of the lyrics really caught my ear.  The line, borders are just scars on the planet, that’s pretty good shit.  I think the record would be stronger without your typical major label production values.  Big power chords and a big drum sound and other various Bon Jovi inspired sonic wizardry.

@@@ Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes: Self-titled (Community/Vagrant, 2013)  Opens up with your classic music business pick me up tune, Better Days.  Indie style, of course, with some soul, background voices and handclaps to make you feel better about life.  The second tune, ‘Let’s Get High’ is a blue eyed indie pop bounce-fest.  He’s got good energy on the microphone and there are some interesting things going on in the arrangements, but these are pretty cliche lyrical themes.  Catchy and cliche, let’s go with that.

@@@ We Came as Romans: Tracing Back Roots (Equal Vision Records, 2013).  Mostly a xerox copy of the Linkin Park production playbook with a tablespoon of Bon Jovi cheese.  Not my cup of tea.