Active Music Listening Thursday January 30, 2014

YTD recordings listened to: 85
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 53
Not good music: 31

Honorable Mentions: 0
Buys: 0

Possibles: Boyd Rivers, Abdoulaye Alhassane Toure, Cryptopsy, Chris McGregor, Brother Ali (2009), Alvin Youngblood Hart, Dave Arner Trio, Trap Them, Bill Horist, MAKU Soundsystem, Zomby, Retox, Owiny Sigoma Band, About Group, Andrew Cedermark, Jello Biafra, Fat Freddy’s Drop, Jessie Mae Hemphill, All Pigs Must Die, Kendl Winter, Shigeto, Bone Dance, Cage the Elephant, Defeater, Sidi Toure, Lindi Ortega, Jonwayne, Christian Kjellvander, Okkyung Lee, Tiger Hatchery, Xiu Xiu, The Ballantynes, Debruit and Aljawal

@@@ Dum Dum Girls: Too True (Sub Pop, 2014).  Off the All Music weekly email, this is synth rock heavily influenced by 1980’s music.  I’m a bit horrified to hear the gated snare and chorused guitar sound coming back, but the times they are a circlin’ back and repeating.  The songs are solidly executed and professional and the vibe is detached which I guess is a key part of the synth rock vibe.

@@@ Warpaint: Warpaint (Rough Trade, 2014).  Big rhythm section indie/Brit rock I found on the new release page at Rdio.  Outside of the big rhythm section sound, this second tune, Keep It Healthy is a bit of a snoozer.  It’s an okay formula, but it’s not working for me.

@@@ Sarantos: Not Where I Want to Be (Self-released, 2014).  A dreamy/mopey folk rock indie nugget I got to via a publicist email.  Sensitive male music, not much more to say than that.

@@@ Potty Mouth: Black and Studs (Old Flame, 2013).  A chunk of old school 1990’s style of indie/tuneful punk I got to from a publicist email.  Middle frequency buzzing guitars, super cool and detached female vocals with some background vocals and a drummer that’s strangling that ride cymbal.  If you prefer more humor go for the Breeders, if you want women to beat you up check out Sleater-Kinney.

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Active Music Listening Wednesday January 29, 2014

YTD recordings listened to: 81
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 50
Not good music: 30

Honorable Mentions: 0
Buys: 0

Possibles: Boyd Rivers, Abdoulaye Alhassane Toure, Cryptopsy, Chris McGregor, Brother Ali (2009), Alvin Youngblood Hart, Dave Arner Trio, Trap Them, Bill Horist, MAKU Soundsystem, Zomby, Retox, Owiny Sigoma Band, About Group, Andrew Cedermark, Jello Biafra, Fat Freddy’s Drop, Jessie Mae Hemphill, All Pigs Must Die, Kendl Winter, Shigeto, Bone Dance, Cage the Elephant, Defeater, Sidi Toure, Lindi Ortega, Jonwayne, Christian Kjellvander, Okkyung Lee, Tiger Hatchery, Xiu Xiu, The Ballantynes, Debruit and Aljawal

@@@  Actress: Ghettoville (Ninja Tune, 2014).  Off the MOG new release page, and frankly how could I not listen to an electronica record called Ghettoville?  I hope the music lives up to its title.  It opens with Forgiven, some metallic string action over a simple stick beat and an AM radio squirble loop.  Solid start, but how long like this I ask you?  The answer may be too long.  The second tune gives us another tuning a radio loop, with a sub bass line and a high twinkle.  Oh Ghettoville, you’re breaking my heart over here.  Put down the big bag of weed and pack more musical goodness into Ghettoville.

@@@ Ereb Altor: Gastrike (Napalm Records, 2012).  Some metal off my weekly heavy metal newsletter.  The first tune, Gathering of Witches, is a pretty straightforward midtempo rocker with that heavy kick drum sound and plenty of panned guitar power chords.  The singer is pretty upset/demonic but not full howl at the moon.  The second tune, Dance of Darkness is more interesting with some righteous guitar distortion and rackety-thrash section.  That’s a nice combination of tasty sounds.  There’s even a sort of weird, uplifting Bon Jovi chorus to be had.  An orgy of metallic sound for your cakehole.

@@@ PIxel: Reminder (Cuneiform, 2012).  I saw this outfit has a new record out on Cuneiform, but this is the one on my MOG.   I anticipate some proggy improv, but I may get something else.  Female singer, Norah Jones sounding but not as boring, an upright bass — kinda indie improv.   The second tune, Home, adds a sax to the upright bass — it’s pretty low octane — oh wait, here’s a drummer and another horn and a kind of rock fusion vibe.  Eh, this may not work out for me.

@@@ The Lawrence Arms: Seventeener (Epitaph, 2014).  I saw a record by these guys on the weekly All Music email, but only this tune is up on MOG.  The singer sounds a bit like the dude from the Lemonheads, sort of boyish over an Orange County California corporate punk sound.  Percussive guitar playing and medium heavy teen drama.

Active Music Listening Tuesday January 28, 2014

YTD recordings listened to: 77
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 48
Not good music: 28

Honorable Mentions: 0
Buys: 0

Possibles: Boyd Rivers, Abdoulaye Alhassane Toure, Cryptopsy, Chris McGregor, Brother Ali (2009), Alvin Youngblood Hart, Dave Arner Trio, Trap Them, Bill Horist, MAKU Soundsystem, Zomby, Retox, Owiny Sigoma Band, About Group, Andrew Cedermark, Jello Biafra, Fat Freddy’s Drop, Jessie Mae Hemphill, All Pigs Must Die, Kendl Winter, Shigeto, Bone Dance, Cage the Elephant, Defeater, Sidi Toure, Lindi Ortega, Jonwayne, Christian Kjellvander, Okkyung Lee, Tiger Hatchery, Xiu Xiu, The Ballantynes, Debruit and Aljawal

@@@ Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats: Mind Control (Rise Above, 2013).  Off the Quietues best of 2013 list.  If you’re tired of your old Deep Purple records and you yearn for some new riffage in that spirit, sidle on up to Uncle Acid.  While the riffage is committed and hair flipping, the vocals have a bit of an odd Alvin and the Chipmunks tinge to them.  I can see that weirdness working well for all the weed smokers out there, but I couldn’t get with it.

@@@ Comanechi: You Owe Me Nothing But Love (Emu Records, 2013).  A record off the gigantic Quietus 100 best of 2013 list over here.  A punky indie band with a sharp tongued female singer.  Ironic riffs with catchiness being key to the proceedings here.  I don’t want to be a dick but I’m finding the third tune,  24 Hr. Boyfriend, more grating than catchy.  I’d refer readers to Sleater Kinney records if they want some grrl roughness.

@@@ Kvelertak: Meir (Roadrunner, 2013).  I’m trying to chew through the rest of Stolling Rone’s best metal of 2013 and these guys clock in at #2.   I’m hearing a piquant blend of classic metal riffage, a bit of thrash, and some mainstream heavy rock influences.  Post punk shredded shouter singing.  Also has an indie noise rock component similar to one of my favorite bands in that neighborhod, Parts and Labor.  I like moments on this record, there are some cool changes in the tunes, but I’m not jumping up and down.  I want to jump up and down.

@@@ Good for Grapes: Good for Grapes (Good for Grapes, 2011).  This folk outfit that I found on the CFUV weekly email has a new record out but this one is up on my store.  These guys aren’t engaged in the stripped down Appalachian folk record — a lot of reverb on the singer’s voice, more instrumentation, and big swells within the opening tune.  These guys are more akin to an Irish folk rock group than a traditional American folk group.

@@@ Milosh: Jetlag (Michael Milosh, 2013).  Downtempo electronica with a touch of New Age off the CFUV weekly email.   Sounds quite a bit like a Kate Bush record.  The second tune, Hear in You, approaches Sade levels of smoothness.  You get the idea — female voice, mid tempo beats, lots of layered instrumentation.  Have at it if you roll like this.

Active Music Listening Monday 27, 2014

YTD recordings listened to: 72
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 45
Not good music: 26

Honorable Mentions: 0
Buys: 0

Possibles: Boyd Rivers, Abdoulaye Alhassane Toure, Cryptopsy, Chris McGregor, Brother Ali (2009), Alvin Youngblood Hart, Dave Arner Trio, Trap Them, Bill Horist, MAKU Soundsystem, Zomby, Retox, Owiny Sigoma Band, About Group, Andrew Cedermark, Jello Biafra, Fat Freddy’s Drop, Jessie Mae Hemphill, All Pigs Must Die, Kendl Winter, Shigeto, Bone Dance, Cage the Elephant, Defeater, Sidi Toure, Lindi Ortega, Jonwayne, Christian Kjellvander, Okkyung Lee, Tiger Hatchery, Xiu Xiu, The Ballantynes, Debruit and Aljawal

@@@ Emilio Teubal – Música Para un Dragon Dormido (Brooklyn Jazz Underground, 2013).  I found this record via this end of year jazz writer’s best of 2013 list here.  The piano player is hot, the ensemble plays well together, and to my ears the record has an orchestral sound to it, but I’m not super into the sound of the record.  It’s a bit New Age-y sounding, which is regrettable as I really like some of the playing.

@@@ Arun Ghosh – A South Asian Suite (Camoci Records, 2013).  Off the same jazz writer’s best of 2013 list.  The record sounds different than 1970’s world/jazz records — there is a tabla in one track, but the melodies are neither distinctly South Asian or closely similar to traditional jazz melodies.  Yet the record has a South Asian feel to it.  I liked the tune River Song, and oddly enough thought the record has sort of a Bill Frissell relaxed, melodic thing going on.

@@@ Black Bazar: Black Bazar (Lusafrica, 2012).  This African outfit has a new record out, but this one is up on my streaming store and I got to this artist via the weekly email from WRIR in Virginia.  The record opens up with Black Bazar Face A, a laidback midtempo groove with a dual guitar attack and a singer working the microphone in French.  The second tune, Kinsasha Havana, is strongly influenced by Cuban music.  The production is pretty slick and the playing a bit restrained, while I prefer the more urgent, rhythmically more pounding African music.

@@@ Mogwai: Rave Tapes (Sub Pop, 2014)  Off the MOG new release page and I will say upfront I’ve never really understood the hype surrounding this outfit.  I do like the spaciousness of the opening track — the delayed vibe notes, and the rolling guitar sounds.  Tres Pink Floyd.  After the initial good feeling, I feel like the track isn’t really going anywhere, or nowhere exciting.  The second take employs the same formula — take an electronic/blurp idea and put a mopey rock beat/rhythm section under it, and make subtle changes to that initial idea and call that a song.  Not awful by any means, but sort of a geek show — I’d like to hear them set themselves on fire.

Active Music Listening Saturday January 25, 2014

YTD recordings listened to: 68
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 42
Not good music: 25

Honorable Mentions: 0
Buys: 0

Possibles: Boyd Rivers, Abdoulaye Alhassane Toure, Cryptopsy, Chris McGregor, Brother Ali (2009), Alvin Youngblood Hart, Dave Arner Trio, Trap Them, Bill Horist, MAKU Soundsystem, Zomby, Retox, Owiny Sigoma Band, About Group, Andrew Cedermark, Jello Biafra, Fat Freddy’s Drop, Jessie Mae Hemphill, All Pigs Must Die, Kendl Winter, Shigeto, Bone Dance, Cage the Elephant, Defeater, Sidi Toure, Lindi Ortega, Jonwayne, Christian Kjellvander, Okkyung Lee, Tiger Hatchery, Xiu Xiu, The Ballantynes, Debruit and Aljawal

@@@ The Entrance Band: Face the Sun (Beyond the Beyond is Beyond Records, 2013).  I found this jam rock record with psych influences via an Eastern European blogger that I’m connected with on LinkedIn.  The vocals have a certain stoned white boy Jane’s Addiction vibe to them.  I’m into this first tune and these guys use an interesting combination of mainstream rock and weirdness.  The drummer and the guitar player are pretty locked in here, and I would rather listen to this band than I would Phish, for example.  Check it out.

@@@ Richard Bliwas: Carob Flavored Variations (Rising Records, 2013).  I caught this solo piano jazz record on a weekly NYC gig email.   I’m digging the lightness and unexpectedness of the opener, Other Voices.  Other passages are more firmly rooted in the jazz/blues tradition so it’s an interesting mix of familiar and unexpected.

@@@ Roseanne Cash: The River & The Thread (Blue Note, 2014).  A roots record with pretty sophisticated production — everything sounds good and sits    The album has a bit of a downer vibe, but it’s well done and not cheesy.  I don’t really love Cash’s voice but the whole thing works together well.

@@@ Jim Bohn: I Just Want to Love Her (Jim Bohn, 2013).  A tune I came to from a PR email.  The tune opens up with a simple Rolling Stones’ Angie acoustic guitar and then comes Bohns simple low voice.   When the band comes in, it’s pretty straight ahead with a roots emphasis.  Bohn is in to some serious downer love lyrics.

Bite size snippets here at CD Baby.

Active Music Listening Friday January 24, 2014

YTD recordings listened to: 61
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 36
Not good music: 23

Honorable Mentions: 0
Buys: 0

Possibles: Boyd Rivers, Abdoulaye Alhassane Toure, Cryptopsy, Chris McGregor, Brother Ali (2009), Alvin Youngblood Hart, Dave Arner Trio, Trap Them, Bill Horist, MAKU Soundsystem, Zomby, Retox, Owiny Sigoma Band, About Group, Andrew Cedermark, Jello Biafra, Fat Freddy’s Drop, Jessie Mae Hemphill, All Pigs Must Die, Kendl Winter, Shigeto, Bone Dance, Cage the Elephant, Defeater, Sidi Toure, Lindi Ortega, Jonwayne, Christian Kjellvander, Okkyung Lee, Tiger Hatchery, Xiu Xiu, The Ballantynes, Debruit and Aljawal

@@@ Damian Jurado: Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son (Secretly Canadian, 2014)  Jurado’s last record, Maraqopa, was on my best of list for 2012.  He is a very talented arranger/songwriter/musician, and one of the few indie music scene’s darlings that I consider to be a truly creative talent.   If you don’t know Jurado’s music, he’s pretty indebted to 1970’s space rock — the Pink Floyd, most notably, without the big power chords but spacy and spacious none the less.  I like the record and the way it’s put together but I’m not enjoying it as much as Maraqopa — could have been the rush of hearing his music for the first time or it’s a better record to my ears.  Track 7, Silver Malcom, is pretty killer.

@@@ Asheru: Sleepless in Soweto (Guerilla Arts, 2013).  Internationally flavored hip hop I got to via the CFUV weekly playlist.  The production of the first tune, Simphiwe’s Theme, is more old school and funky while the second tune, Do U, is more nu r&b.  The rapping is good, and the lyrics are solid while not keeping my ear glued to the woofer.  The third tune has strong Afrobeat flavors so this record is going to move around with an emphasis of funkiness and rising up.

@@@ Dog Bite: Tranquilizers (Car Park, 2014).  Some indie electronic with a touch of shoegaze mixed in to bring the level of sedation up.  Reverbed out vocals and a focus more on splintered/delayed guitar sounds than synthesizers.  It’s all right for this style, which there is currently an avalanche of.

@@@ Mike Downes: Ripple Effect (Addo, 2013).  I saw this musician’s name listed on the CFUV weekly email and this record came up on my MOG machine.  It is a straight jazz piano trio record.   The energy in the opener, Brzo, is medium high while the playing remains contained and the second tune, Bell Park, works more slowly.  I liked it, but think it’s a bit too straight for my tastes.

 

Active Music Listening Thursday January 23, 2014

YTD recordings listened to: 57
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 33
Not good music: 22

Honorable Mentions: 0
Buys: 0

Possibles: Boyd Rivers, Abdoulaye Alhassane Toure, Cryptopsy, Chris McGregor, Brother Ali (2009), Alvin Youngblood Hart, Dave Arner Trio, Trap Them, Bill Horist, MAKU Soundsystem, Zomby, Retox, Owiny Sigoma Band, About Group, Andrew Cedermark, Jello Biafra, Fat Freddy’s Drop, Jessie Mae Hemphill, All Pigs Must Die, Kendl Winter, Shigeto, Bone Dance, Cage the Elephant, Defeater, Sidi Toure, Lindi Ortega, Jonwayne, Christian Kjellvander, Okkyung Lee, Tiger Hatchery, Xiu Xiu, The Ballantynes, Debruit and Aljawal

@@@ Windhand: Soma (Relapse, 2013)  A heavy record off the Rolling Stone best metal of 2013 list.  Opens up with the super stony, rolling distortion guitars of the tune ‘Orchard’.  Plenty of Black Sabbath filth here, with some psych wah wah guitar and a ham fisted tom loving drummer.  Oh my, I don’t smoke weed, but if I did you could cue this record up and just get lost in the massive clouds of guitar stench.

@@@ B.J. Jansen: Ronin (Arc, 2014).  Switching gears to some straight jazz with baritone sax as the lead instrument.  Other instrumentation includes piano, bass, and drums.  I like how high the rhythm section is mixed and there’s plenty of swingin’ goin on for fans of straight jazz.

@@@ Ex-Cult: Mr. Fantasy (Goner, April 2014)  A dirty, psych punk track with a classic shouting punk vocalist I got to via a music publicist email.  I like both the drum and the guitar sounds on the track.  The tune is solid and they do a good job capturing a live feel.

@@@  Mechanimal: Obscure (Inner Ear, 2014).  Off an email from folks in Greece.  The tune has a strong Nine Inch Nails influence working an industrial/rock vibe.  I like the sound of live drums with the circular bass synth.  I like the groove of the tune, but I was hoping for an explosive mess in the chorus.