Active Music Listening Thursday August 29, 2013

YTD recordings listened to: 616
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 377
Not good music: 182

Honorable Mentions: 15
Buys: 13

Possibles: Boyd Rivers, Abdoulaye Alhassane Toure, Cryptopsy, Patterson Hood,  Chris McGregor, Brother Ali (2009), Alvin Youngblood Hart, Ether Net, Oddisee, Holly Williams, Dave Arner Trio, Trap Them, 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, pop. 1280, Kendl Winter, Lynx, Shigeto, Bone Dance

@@@ Big Sean: Hall of Fame (Def Jam, 2013) Some hip hop off the MOG new release page.  Opens up with Nothing is Stopping You, a mid tempo almost soul arrangment for Big Sean to rap about his quest for fame and money.  The second tune, Fire, gets more into that melodramatic, over the top arrangment that hip hop has been dabbling in more lately.  Wow, oddly white folk hip hop cheese.   Big Sean’s flow on the mic is a bit forced on the third tune 10 2 10 and when he raps he’s working like a Mexican, he punched my ticket out of this record.

@@@ Holy Ghost: Dynamics (DFA Records, 2013).  Some uplifting electronica disco that I found via a publicist’s email.  Oh my, it’s only 57 seconds of confection but they got some serious bounce and an upper register male singer so if that’s how you roll have at it.

@@@ The Blind Shake: Key to a False Door (Castle Records, 2013).  A single from the album coming out on September 17 that I was made aware of by a music publicist.  It’s a racketous tune, Garbage on Glue, with a heavy rolling tom beat, some noisy guitars and a chopped lyrical flow.

You can stream over here at the fine Brooklyn Vegan.

@@@ Deap Valley: Get Deap! EP (Cherrytree!, 2013).  I found this band via a music publicist email.  These ladies are a bit Heart blenderized with the White Stripes.  Production is mainstream, big drums and riffs.  I’m feeling like they bit Jack White’s guitar sound too much.

@@@ Royal Canoe: Bathtubs (Roll Call Records, 2013).  Another publicist band.  Intricately arranged mainstream indie pop.  A tad quirky, a tad shiny, the sounds trump the song here.

 

Active Music Listening Wednesday August 28, 2013

YTD recordings listened to: 611
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 375
Not good music: 179

Honorable Mentions: 15
Buys: 13

Possibles: Boyd Rivers, Abdoulaye Alhassane Toure, Cryptopsy, Patterson Hood,  Chris McGregor, Brother Ali (2009), Alvin Youngblood Hart, Ether Net, Oddisee, Holly Williams, Dave Arner Trio, Trap Them, 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, pop. 1280, Kendl Winter, Lynx, Shigeto, Bone Dance

I’m absolutely up to my ass in finishing a bunch of records, so I do not have time to dig really deep to listen to music.  This will last for at least the next few days.

@@@  Bone Dance: Bone Dance (Molotov Records, 2012).  Recommended to me by the algorithm at MOG because I liked the recent Retox record.  It is, indeed, a piquant blend of hardcore punk/metal.  Very jumpy/thrashy with a tom tossing drummer and some gyrating, disorienting guitar riffage.  Needless to say if I had an alley this would be right up it.  Good strong band vibe, these guys are working together and it works.

@@@ Juicy J: Stay Trippy (Kemosabe/Columbia).  Some West Coast hip hop from the MOG new release page.  It’s not gangsta as much as it’s materialist hip hop, and while Mr. J was the lucky recipient of some Miley Cyrus twerkin, that could be the height of his fame.  I find Mr. J’s flow on the mic to be square mouthed and a bit short bus.  My, Mr. J is a horny bastard in an almost constant search for mo money.  Ain’t nobody gonna learn shit from Juicy J.  Production is solid, not nearly enough to make up for Mr. J’s low IQ rapping.

@@@ The Rides: Can’t Get Enough (429 Records, 2013).  Modern electric blues off the MOG new release page.  I like the dirty shit, this is too clean and shiny for me.  This is more frat boy blues.

@@@ Labrinth: Beneath Your Beautiful (Syco, 2013).  Off the MOG new release page.  Get your handkerchiefs this is meaningful music!! Production is commensurate with lush reverbs with whipped cream soft tails and some intimate background vocals.  I will give some respect as they put a dirty bass and a big beat behind the vocal cheese, but it’s still cheese with a few jalapenos tossed on top.  Witness the madness for yourself.  The second tune ‘Express Yourself’  has to one of the biggest bites of the year.  Oh my, that’s not good.

@@@ Dent May: The Warm Blanket (Paw Tracks, 2013).  Baroque indie off the MOG new release page.  Opens up with a piano-based vocal stack with some violin behind.  The second tune (clipped below) takes things more in the nerd party direction.  Still some orchestral influences at work — some trumpet and synths tucked back there.

@@@ The Star Folk: The Great Unknown (Korda, 2013).  A tune I received a heads up about from a fabulous PR person.  The tune is sort of a dreamy/rock/indie with a higher male voice, somewhat spaced out.  The arrangement is nice, the guitars sound good, and it works as a song.  A lot of this poser indie music barely cross the finish line as songs.

You can stream it over here.

 

 

On the VMAs

Bob Lefsetz wrote about the VMAs and I thought this was the most interesting tidbit:

A marketing exercise with no core.

The marketing exercise part is dead on, but I disagree with the ‘no core’ part.  It’s a core that has nothing to do with music.

The core of the music business is sex.  It’s as close as you can get to mainstream porn with a soundtrack and still get on CNN and other major news websites.

Miley twerkin’ it.
Katy Perry with the shirt virtually painted on her breasts.
Taylor Swift as the dignified hottie.
And the endless parade of see through dresses.
Justin Timberlake as the male bimbo.

It shouldn’t be called the music business any more as mainstream has very very little to do with music once you’ve digested the soundtrack.

People will tune in for the tits and ass, but it’s no wonder nobody wants to buy any music.

Active Music Listening Monday August 26, 2013

YTD recordings listened to: 605
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 373
Not good music: 176

Honorable Mentions: 15
Buys: 13

Possibles: Boyd Rivers, Abdoulaye Alhassane Toure, Cryptopsy, Patterson Hood,  Chris McGregor, Brother Ali (2009), Alvin Youngblood Hart, Ether Net, Oddisee, Holly Williams, Dave Arner Trio, Trap Them, 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, pop. 1280, Kendl Winter, Lynx, Shigeto

@@@ Violent Soho: Dope Calypso (iohyoumusic, 2013)  Another band from a PR email.  Post hardcore rock with a wee bit of metal.  From down under it is thankfully straightforward and unadorned.  Excellent wall of guitars sound and the singer does a good job on top of the big sound.  I checked the first few tunes from their debut and I like the new track better.

@@@ Yoshiki: Tachyon (Highschool Singer, 2012).  Any hope that Japanese culture is immune to the American electro-cheese is misplaced as this is the full on dance stupid.  Well, that’s a misplaced hope as many Asian countries, Korea, Japan, China, etc love the electro-pop music.  I found this guy via a PR email and he’s having a sold out evening at the Grammy Museum in LA.  Oy.

You can stream a juicy sample over here at the deathstar known as Amazon.

@@@ Heaven’s Gate: Drone (Inflated Records, 2013).  From a PR email off an upcoming debut record.  Garage-y rock with a dash of punk.  Liked the guitar player, do not like the drummer as much.  Tune is solid without too much excitement.

@@@ JJ Doom: Key to the Kuffs (Lex Records, 2013).  Hip hop off the MOG new release page.  I thought it was pretty sleepy roughneck business until the third tune, Banished, where Mr. Doom really gets a head of steam behind his tongue and gets it going.  Mostly synth based arrangements, and to my ears this style harkens right back to the Wu.   Most definitely for the stoned and the fourth tune gets into a pretty nice chopped loop that will drive you right off the road.

@@@ The Cloak Ox: Shoot the Dog (Totally Gross National Product, 2013) A single I was referred to by a PR person from a debut.  How much do you think it costs to get Rolling Stone to host a single from your debut record to make it look like you belong?  I bet it’s not cheap.  The music is late 70’s/early ’80 inspired rock — a medium amount of Thin Lizzy, a bit Cheap Trick (without the humor).  It’s well executed.

You can stream the tune Josephine over here.

Active Music Listening Friday August 23, 2013

YTD recordings listened to: 605
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 373
Not good music: 176

Honorable Mentions: 15
Buys: 13

Possibles: Boyd Rivers, Abdoulaye Alhassane Toure, Cryptopsy, Patterson Hood,  Chris McGregor, Brother Ali (2009), Alvin Youngblood Hart, Ether Net, Oddisee, Holly Williams, Dave Arner Trio, Trap Them, 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, pop. 1280, Kendl Winter, Lynx, Shigeto

@@@ Lynx: Boon & Bane (Le June Records, 2012).  I found this genre wanderer via a publicist email — new album out in the fall, this is on my MOG.  Elements of prog, electronica, downtempo, and shredding in the opener Ten.  There are interesting things about this tune — the arrangement is cool, the composition is less invigorating.  You know I’m going to take that back this is pretty interesting music.  I’m going to check this record out more when I have the chance.

Try to stream a bit over here at All Music, it’s pretty slim pickings if you don’t have a streaming store account thingy.

@@@ Shigeto: Lineage (Ghostly Int’l, 2012)  Senor/Senora Shigeto has a new record out but I chose this one to listen to.   Described as experimental electronic in the All Music weekly email I would say it’s ambient, non-booty bumpin electronic but hardly experimental.  Interesting arrangements and layering.  A wee bit of nu-soul/r&b threaded up in this record.

@@@ Horseback: Half Blood (Relapse, 2012)  I saw they have a hits, splits, and rarities record out but I went for the full length from last year.  More classic rock than metal but the singer is spooky as fuck.  He’s got a Lord of the Rings flow, growly and animal without that awful weird singing shit a lot of metal singers get into.  Very nice bass sound, surprised to hear a Rhodes (I think) on this record.  Hints of stoner metal as the first tune Mithras kinda cycles in circles and you get a rock guitar solo and not a full shred.

@@@ No Age: An Object (Sub Pop, 2013).  Off the All Music weekly email.  Sort of in that Wire geek punk vein.  Very nice bass sound with big hurrah type vocals the first tune is okay but not super doin’ it for me.  The second I Won’t Be Your Generator retains some punk sounds, but is more tuneful.  They finally bring the punk noise on C’mon, Stimmung.  These guys are all right, not super doin it for me, but check them out for yourself.

Active Music Listening Tuesday August 20, 2013

YTD recordings listened to: 601
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 371
Not good music: 175

Honorable Mentions: 15
Buys: 13

Possibles: Boyd Rivers, Abdoulaye Alhassane Toure, Cryptopsy, Patterson Hood,  Chris McGregor, Brother Ali (2009), Alvin Youngblood Hart, Ether Net, Oddisee, Holly Williams, Dave Arner Trio, Trap Them, 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, pop. 1280, Kendl Winter

@@@ Shannon and the Clams: Dreams in the Rat House (Hardly Art, 2013).  A throwback release — a dollop of old school early 60’s r&b, a bit of surf, a pubic hair of rockabilly.  I like the guitar player, he’s throwing down some pretty fierce shiny lines that are catching my ear.  The singer is cool, I’m not sure what’s up with the sound of the record, there’s a weird crunchiness to the mix that I find disconcerting.  I dig some crunch, but it’s like a between radio stations static.  The second tune has it, but not as much.  Good energy, tight band, solid B.

@@@ Earl Sweatshirt: Dirt (Tan Cressida/Columbia, 2013).  Some medium gangsta hip hop off the MOG new release page.  Mr. Sweatshirt has an odd flow on the microphone.  He puts weird spaces between his words and he sounds more than a bit blasted on weed and cough syrup.  It’s relaxing to listen to and his arrangements are mostly synth based.  He gets a little energy going on the third tune 20 Wave Caps which I’ve attached below.

@@@ John Mayer: Paradise Valley (Columbia, 2013).  Off the MOG new release page and a situation where a butter soft cat has gotten even softer!  I find his guitar playing to be  more than proficient but not very interesting to listen to and I don’t buy his voice at all.  The soul reading on this record is low, scary low.  And don’t even get me started on the lyrics, blech.

@@@ Forest Fire: Alone with the Wires (Fat Cat Records, 2013).   A reprise a Velvet Underground/Patti Smith vibe with a bit of today’s beautiful modern electronics thrown in.  Detached and reverbed male voice over a purposefully and painfully straight rock beat.  Nice bass sound.  That’s pretty much it.

@@@ Empire Theory: Colors (Empire Theory, 2013).  This record is on a CMJ cumulative list.  Opens up with the title track, Colors.  Straight pop rock drum beat  — boom bap white boy version.  Think Coldplay without the British melodrama and with an occasional hand clap thrown in for the indie electronic crowd.

@@@ SISU: Harpoon Tears (Monoprism, 2013).  A variation on the Breeders formula that I found via a publicist’s email.  A floating verse that crunches out on the hook.  Female singer, generous amounts of reverb.  Solid tune, it’s not a good sign when three minutes feels like a long time.  I like the drummer, the bippy keyboards at the back end of the song not so much.

Active Music Listening Monday August 19, 2013

YTD recordings listened to: 595
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 368
Not good music: 172

Honorable Mentions: 15
Buys: 13

Possibles: Boyd Rivers, Abdoulaye Alhassane Toure, Cryptopsy, Patterson Hood,  Chris McGregor, Brother Ali (2009), Alvin Youngblood Hart, Ether Net, Oddisee, Holly Williams, Dave Arner Trio, Trap Them, 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, pop. 1280, Kendl Winter

@@@ dBridge: Move Way (R&S, 2013).  Some space age Jamaican dancehall electro. Opens up with a Rasta denouncing imperialism and all the bumba clots that accompany said imperialism.  Production is slick and modern with a bit of dubstep to go with the delayed vocals and the massive low end.  The second tune, Death of a Drum Machine, is slammin’.

@@@ Medicine: To The Happy Few (Captured Tracks, 2013).  A record that opens up in an interesting way that I found on the CFUV weekly email.  Elements of psychedelic music, noise, shoegaze, in the opener Long as the Sun.  I can see people getting into the production of the record — it’s sonically interesting with interesting changes within the songs.  These guys are most definitely experienced in the studio.

@@@ Ligor: Dictionary 2 (Moonjune Records, 2012).  I found this record on the London Jazz blog, where I’ve found a couple of really good records.  Opens up with the glam mathi-ness of Paradox.  A lot of guitar riffage combined with octopus drumming.  Breaks down into a non-riff oriented guitar solo.  In the tradition of Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, and the almighty power rockers Rush.  The second tune Stravinsky starts with a pimped out and well fingered bass solo that slowly builds to a big arena jam show.  For chops lovers.

@@@ Hiatus Kaiyote: Tawk Tomahawk (Flying Buddha, 2013).  An ambient indie rock record I found via the CFUV weekly playlist.   A lot of elements go into the first tune Mobius Streak – prog, ambient music, electronic, trip hop, and rock.  The second tune, the World if Softly Lulls, explores the loung vibe while retaining some of the elements of the previous tune.  Not really sure how records like this get listed in the alternative/indie folder, but it’s a lounge-y electronica affair to be sure.

@@@ Dead Daisies: Dead Daisies (Dead Dasies, 2013).  A revved up mainstream rock record I found on the MOG new release page.  Big hooks, big guitars and production.  A wee bit of the Black Crowes, a little Phish.  Songs are solid and familiar.  Come all ye frat boys and get yer music here.