Active Music Listening Tuesday March 11, 2014

YTD recordings listened to: 192
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 129
Not good music: 56

Honorable Mentions: 0
Buys: 0

Possibles: Boyd Rivers, Chris McGregor, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Dave Arner Trio, Trap Them, Bill Horist, MAKU Soundsystem, Zomby, Retox, Owiny Sigoma Band, About Group, 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, Slidhr, Temples, The Whammies, The Chewers.

@@@ The Chewers: Chuckle Change and Also (Cimmerian Shade Recordings, 2014).  I was contacted by these self-labelled freaks from West Virginia to check out this record.  And while I get contacted by musicians who think of themselves as out and on the fringe, these guys are the real deal while still being connected to a freak tradition that came before them — Captain Beefheart, Tom Waits, and the Minutemen to name a few.  It has the angular weirdness of Beefheart, the fried blues flow of Tom Waits and the guitar sound and short song lengths are reminiscent of the Minutemen.  Unlike Beefheart, the lyrics are rooted in reality, often a non-yuppie, white trash, backwoods population.  Not exclusively but that’s what stuck with me.  The great thing about the intertubes is that I don’t have to go on and on, you can check them for yourself.  I listened to half of the 22 tunes and it doesn’t look like it’s going to fade into a piece of shit, but I will return to this record when I have more time and decide whether it’s an honorable mention record or a best of year record.

@@@ Aloe Blacc: Lift Your Spirit (Interscope, 2014).  One of the main releases on the All Music weekly email.  One of my main points regarding the deceptive practices/incompetence of the music business is their unwillingness to label their releases in the correct genre.  Slotted as retro-soul in the All Music weekly email, this is far from retro soul.  It’s super slicked out modern nu r&b with a smattering of modern gospel music.  But retro soul is popular and hip while nu r&b with modern gospel tinges is far from hip.  I should change gospel tinges to gospel influences — there’s a gospel choir on the first tune.  And there are an absolute ton of tracks on this first track and yer retro soul tends to be much more stripped down.  It’s not full bore cheese, but it has cheese sauce.


@@@ Elbow: The Take Off and Landing of Everything (Concord, 2014).  I’ve listened to the Elbow before and thought I would return.  Plus I like the record title.  The first phrase comes out with that big Brit rock epic poetry vibe.  Think Coldplay but with some talent.  I will never bypass the opportunity to shit on Coldplay.  I fucking can’t stand Coldplay.  This may not be the Elbow I need — it sounds a bit up its own ass.  Let me peep a couple of the later tunes.  At least the second tune has a drummer and it sounds more like a band than an orchestra.  I could use a jigger of quirk up in this bitch.  I would recommend that folks bypass this Elbow, unless they’re up for the epic cheese wedge flying across the sky.


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