Active Music Listening Monday September 30, 2013

YTD recordings listened to: 726
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 451
Not good music: 215

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, 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, Soundsci, Serengeti, Dub Club, Modern Life is War, Left Lane Cruiser, Counterparts

@@@  Drake: Nothing Was the Same (Cash Money/Universal, 2013).  Off the MOG new release page and upfront I will tell you that I pretty much loathe Drake.  He’s soft and full of shit but I will give him a fair listen.  He’s got a solid rhythmic flow to his rhymes, and the arrangement on the first tune is interesting with the manipulated pitch shifted vocals is interesting and creative, but man I’m bored as shit as his lyrics.  He’s so far up his own ass it’s hard to believe he can make it to the studio and stand in front of a microphone.  But he’s gettin’ paid as he mentions over and over and over and over…..and over.

@@@ Matthew Good: Arrows of Desire (Frostbyte, 2013).   Mainstream alt-rock/grunge with emotional vocals.  Think Goo Goo Dolls with a lot of feelings.  The singer sounds an awful lot like John Frusciante of Red Hot Chili Peppers fame, speaking of confessional white dudes.  Nice guitar sounds here with thick bass and overall a big production sound.  I don’t like the vocal arrangements as much as I like the band sound.

@@@ Frankie Rose: Herein Wild (Fat Possum, 2013).  Some reverbed out indie rock that I found via the All Music weekly email.  Sweet female voice, medium fuzzy guitar, and some rockin’ to be heard.  Nothin’ too rough.  Very reminiscent of many 1980’s mainstream soft rock bands.

@@@ Pink Martini: Get Happy (Heinz, 2013).  Lounge-y cabaret music I found on the All Music weekly email.  Female voice, string section, upright bass and some swinging.  The hook here is that songs are done in a variety of languages by a series of guest singers– German, Spanish, French.  It’s cool, I didn’t get the impression that it’s swinging with the intent to have anyone break a sweat, so it’s for brunch and chill out times.

@@@ Haim: Days Are Gone (Columbia, 2013).  Off the MOG new release page.  Highly produced 1980’s Madonna inspired pop/club music.  I don’t think the singer has the charisma to carry the load here, and I don’t have that much positive to say about this music so I’m gonna move on.  If this is how you roll….

@@@  Oneohtrix Point Never: R Plus Seven (Warp, 2013).  Off the MOG new release page.  This is electronic music, mostly ambient and abstract with some New Age flavorings.  Some chopped up voices, some video game type sounds, I haven’t really been pulled into the proceedings.  As usual, check it for yourself.

 

Active Music Listening Wednesday September 25, 2013

YTD recordings listened to: 720
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 447
Not good music: 213

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, 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, Soundsci, Serengeti, Dub Club, Modern Life is War, Left Lane Cruiser, Counterparts

@@@ Himiko: Dethnoizz (D-Trash Records, 2013).  Off the CFUV weekly playlist email, this gets the award for most interesting music of the day.  A hybrid electronica/metal band fronted by a Japanese woman.  You would think the first tune Fuel Rods up your Ass is a bit of a gimmick, but you remember Fukushima.  There is a lot of synth kick drum, a lot of shouting in either English with a heavy Japanese accent or straight up Japanese.  There’s also a lot of that heavy metal grunting, some guitars panned out wide and electro clash elements — explosive percussion with a lot of processing.  It’s wild shit I tell you.

@@@ Alan Jackson: The Bluegrass Album (EMI Nashville, 2013).  I saw this new release on my MOG new release page and heard it advertised on the local NPR affiliate which I thought was kinda strange for a mainstream country dude.  The music is understated and solid.  It’s actually a little bit boring and conservative.

@@@ Esmerine: Dalmak (Constellation, 2013).  Off the CFUV weekly playlist email.  They’re out in Vancouver.   Opens up with a long string intro on the first tune ‘Learning to Crawl’.   This music is slotted as alternative/indie in my streaming store, but thus far it’s instrumental world/New Age music.  It’s like saying a smartphone is a walkie talkie.

@@@ Body/Head: Coming Apart (Matador, 2013)  The Kim Gordon/other dude collaboration out on Matador.  I’ve been a semi-fan of Sonic Youth — loved Daydream Nation, never really liked Kim Gordon’s singing, liked the guitars and have been frustrated by their tunes.  Other bands have done a better job of being Sonic Youth than Sonic Youth.    The first track here, Abstract, has some Sonic Youth influences — dirty guitars, the guitar as a percussive instrument, the ambient noise.  Oh, now some drums.  Miss Gordan has a different singing style than in Sonic Youth.  Less shouting and clipped, more intimate.  I like parts of it, other parts no so much, just like Sonic Youth.

@@@ INVSN: INVSN (Razor & Tie, 2013).  Off the MOG new release page.  Synth rock with an upbeat shouter of a singer.  Lots of gated snare, clean and friendly guitars and a buzzy bass — your 1980’s half rock/half pop formual.   Hints of Flock of Seagulls, Simple Minds, etc.  If you roll this way, have at it.

@@@ Shpongle: Museum of Conciousness (Twisted Records, 2013).  Off a heavy metal weekly email.  First off Shpongle is a great band name, one of the best I’ve seen in a while.  This is some tripped out shit with electronic elements.  In fact it’s all electronic and it’s really not that heavy, it’s pretty standard ambient music with beats.  I’m not sure why the metalheads have adopted these guys.  Maybe with song titles like ‘The Aquatic Gardens of Extra Celestial Delights’ they think it’s the true hipped out shit.

Active Music Listening Tuesday September 24, 2013

YTD recordings listened to: 714
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 441
Not good music: 213

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, 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, Soundsci, Serengeti, Dub Club, Modern Life is War, Left Lane Cruiser, Counterparts

It’s new release Tuesday, and wow what a boatload of big names.  Soft ass rapper Drake, Cher (oh my!), Elton John, Sting, yadda yadda, yadda.

@@@ Sammy Hagar: Sammy Hagar & Friends (Frontiers, 2013).  Another big name with a release this week.  I see Sammy Hagar as the Jimmy Buffett of hard rock.  Good ol’ boy who just wants to sing and party.  This record opens up with some post-modern Lynyrd Skynrd — electric guitar pickings, some slide, and kick drum/shaker.  I got a little bored, but with the second tune we get that big arena tune, Not Going Down, that you know the Hagar for.  It’s a little mind blowing to get some gospel tinged background vocals behind the fat rock show, but hey it’s Sammy God Damned Hagar!  You have to check out the cover of Depeche Mode’s Personal Jesus.  Killin’ it!

@@@ Oathbreaker: Oathbreaker EP (Self-released, 2011).  I saw these guys have a new record via the CFUV weekly email but this is up on MOG.  These guys have quite the throat shredded singer over a thick and banging rhythm section.  Lots of big power chords/rolling waves of distortion.  It’s a pleasant sort of sonic jackhammer to waker yer shit up.  This clip says it’s from the EP but it’s not on the track listing on MOG, there’s been a klusterfuck along the line, but at least you can check these guys out.

@@@ Deer Tick: Negativity (Partisan Records, 2013).  Off the MOG new release page.    Opens up with ‘The Rock’, a slab of orchestrated downer indie and unfortunately it is not an ode to the steroided up superhero The Rock.  Oh, he just dropped the downer-ish-ness and morphed into a soul shouter.  Nice move, very unexpected.  After the first tune the record turns into a somewhat mainstream rock record.  Uptempo, well arranged — I think Mr. Deer Tick’s voice is key to liking this record.  I mostly dig his voice and this is a solid effort.

@@@ Night Beats: Night Beats (Reverberation Appreciation Society, 2013).  Got a heads up from a music PR person about the new record and it turns out the ‘new record’ is on MOG as an effort from 2011.  More klusterfuck.  These guys are burnt psych — big spring reverbs on the voice and just a boat load of guitar — tremolo waves, blurps and beats.  I dig the fat ass bass sound on this record and the drums are pretty high in the mix, which something that’s a bit out of vogue vis a vis indie rock.  I’m not a huge psych rock listener but this is pretty well done.

You can stream over here at the ‘mighty’ SPIN.

@@@ Jason Derulo: Tattoos EP (Beluga Heights, 2013).  Off the MOG new release page Derulo sounds a bit like Michael Jackson, he’s doin’ his thing over a classic electro pop background, and he’s so breathy in the voice he sounds like he really needs to take a piss super badly but they have him strapped to the mic.  When I hear this music I want to go to the Gap with my friends and buy some blue jeans. 28 million hits for the video clipped below — my God, what a waste of bandwidth.

@@@ Bear Mountain: XO (Last Gang, 2013).  Some indie electronic I found via a music publicist email.  Good drummer/drum sound with a nice bassline towards the end of the tune and fat synths and some big shout out/chant style vocals.  Not super mindless terrific happy hour music, but pretty close.  It’s not a bad tune, but you can’t throw a rock without hitting a song like this.

Active Music Listening Monday September 23, 2013

YTD recordings listened to: 702
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 433
Not good music: 209

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, 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, Soundsci, Serengeti, Dub Club, Modern Life is War, Left Lane Cruiser, Counterparts

@@@ John Paul Keith: Memphis Circa 3am (Big Legal Mess, 2013).  Off the All Music weekly opening up with the raver You Really Ought to Be With Me.  Not super dirty production, but the energy of the band is pretty high.   This is closer to be a mainstream rock album with some roots/country/rip to it than it is to being an alt-country or punk production.  Keith’s voice is smooth, I like the guitar player and I hear traces of classic bands like Golden Earring. Roy Orbison and Robert Palmer.

I can’t share the little Soundcloud player in this post, but you can stream it up over here.

@@@ Crystal Stilts: Nature Noir (Sacred Bone, 2013).  Off the All Music weekly email.  Opens up in an indie/psych manner with the swirling, panned drugged guitar and the flat voice.  Oh the flat voice, the voice that makes me want to hang myself.  I like the drummer, he’s caught my ear a few times already, but the singer isn’t working for me.  Oh, they get a little rockin’ goin on with the third tune Future Folklore.  These guys need some swing.

@@@ The Wrong Words: Everything is Free (Trouble in Mind, 2013).  Also off the All Music email.  Slotted as garage punk on All Music and as indie/alternative on MOG, I hear a guitar based indie band with surf/rockabilly flavorings.  The singer has more than a schmear of Alex Chilton as well as other classic indie singers.

You can get a taste over here at Brooklyn Vegan and a track from the Bandcamp below.

http://www.americansongwriter.com/2013/09/stream-john-paul-keiths-memphis-circa-3am/

@@@  Wesley Stace: Self-titled (Yep Roc, 2013).  James Taylor style folk that I saw on the All Music weekly email.  Stace has a soft and welcoming voice and the tones on this record are sonic macaroni ‘n cheese.  Comfort music.  The music is a bit too close to soft rock for my taste.  I like the miserable, stripped down folk about how we’re all gonna suffer and then die.

 

Active Music Listening Saturday September 22, 2013

YTD recordings listened to: 698
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 429
Not good music: 209

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, 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, Soundsci, Serengeti, Dub Club, Modern Life is War, Left Lane Cruiser, Counterparts

@@@ Counterparts: The Difference between Hell and Home (Victory, 2013). I saw this record listed on the CFUV weekly email.  It’s a hybrid of emo, punk, and metal.  Sort of a post-rock blast of jagged guitars and melody with octopus metal drums and a convincing singer.  I usually hate the metal singers, though as I stated above it’s not a metal record.  Some good sounds, the record doesn’t sizzle ears  but it definitely packs a wallop.  There is even some strong bass on the record, something loud music records often lack.  This is definitely the kind of music I would prefer 18 year old kids be listening to — it eschews the macho and cheese of some metal while not falling into that overly melodramatic emo thing.  I’m gonna check out more of this record when I get time.

@@@ Cold Country: Missing the Muse (Bandcamp, 2013).  I came to this music via a music publicist that specializes in indie music more in the roots neighborhood.  The first thing I notice is the singer’s voice — kind of nasal and familiar, but I can’t recollect who he sounds like.  Maybe a bit like the gent who fronted the Violent Femmes.  The second thing I notice is the non-standard instrumentation — xylophone and toy piano in the first tune.  There’s a somewhat epic feel to the first tune, without the standard sonic tools of epic cheesiness — no power chords, no huge reverbs.  A lot of indie music, even the roots is annoyingly uptight, with no looseness but this record does not suffer from that — it could be  the product of the blunted hippie era when music was looser and based more on feel.

I’d give this EP a B+ and urge folks to check it out.  There are some interesting things going on in these songs.

2013 Honorable Mention Pick 16

Nick Waterhouse: Time’s All Gone (Innovative Leisure, 2012).

This record has been on my to listen to list for a long while so I thought I would start to clear out some records from that queue.

As a recording engineer there’s an awful lot on this record to be into.  The band is tight as shit, the record is focused without being one dimensional, and there’s a relentless energy to the record.  It just keeps comin’ at you.

Waterhouse eschews the gimmickry and bullshit of someone like Mayer Hawthorne — he strips the shit down and puts it on a plate.

I have the same complaint about this soul revival record that I do about many of the others.  I was talking about records with a musician I met recently and we were talking about how there is not a great record that is a copy of another record.

Hopefully Waterhouse can take some of his formidable musical/arranging/studio skills and craft something in the future that has not been done before.  Otherwise, this is a very very strong record.

My guess is that this post was paid for

A ‘story’ about Daft Punk’s latest video here.

I can’t imagine they were sitting around trying to come up with something about the music business and somebody said ‘hey, let’s do a story about the latest Daft Punk video’.

This is paid product placement by the record label and the PR firm camouflaged as a story.

The deception is that it creates an illusion that there is some sort of natural interest in Daft Punk and what they do when the reality is that it’s constructed by PR people.

Synthetic buzz you might say.