Active Music Listening Wednesday April 30, 2014

YTD recordings listened to: 305
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 199
Not good music: 88

Honorable Mentions: 1
Buys: 1

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, The Whammies, The Chewers, La Misa Negra, Melingo, Alexander Hawkins, Cheryl Pyle, Mexican Dubwiser, Toxic Holocaust, Equal Stones, Comeback Kid

@@@ Ramona Lisa: Arcadia (Terrible Records, 2014).  Slotted as alternative singer/songwriter in the All Music weekly email to my ears it sounds more like an indie electronic record.  Slow, psychedelic synth clouds and a spaced out female voice in the first tune, Arcadia.   The second tune confirms my view as we get a pretty standard 1980’s synth pop rock song Backwards and Upwards.  It’s pretty standard for this style, and there’s just so much of this

@@@ Mekong Delta: In a Mirror Darkly (Steamhammer, 2014).  I found this German progressive thrash metal band via a heavy metal mailorder email.  It opens up with a tune called ‘Introduction’ a nylon string guitar ditty, classical in nature.  The second tune, Ouverture, is notable for it’s agressive double kick sound and epic, melodic guitar shred.  Also a very nice stringy bass sound.  We do not encounter a vocalist until the third tune, The Armageddon Machine, and he’s a classic metal singer.  He sounds a lot like the dude from the Scorpions.  Shredzilla meets the Wailer, that’s what we’ll call this.

@@@ Floor: Oblation (Season of Mist, 2014).  A swarm of thick guitar bees and a singer that sounds a bunch like the dude in Stone Temple Pilots.  These guys are a couple of notches rougher than those pretty boys while remaining in the hard rock neighborhood.   Very grunge-y but I guess that’s the next sound to be dug up from the ground and served to the masses.  I guess they’re only putting small nuggets of this record up on the net so I don’t have a lot to judge but it’s a hot guitar sound and a familiar sound.

@@@ Pillar Point: Pillar Point (Polyvnyl, 2014).  Off a music publicist email.  I was into the hip hop beat that opens up the track but it morphs into a straighter indie electronic tune about a minute in.  Big cloud synth patches, a swirling synth, a slow pulse bass — could be an electric bass or a synth, and a falsetto male singer doing his thing.  It’s all right.

@@@ Lovelife: Angel (Fifth Member?, 2014).  A new single from this L.A. band that I got to via a music publicist.  It’s being marketed as r&b, but I think that’s an attempt to sprint away from the deluge of synth pop that is currently washing over the music public.  It sports a straight rock beat, a blue-eyed soul style singer (think Hall & Oates, yikes!), and a healthy smattering of synth bass, a piano patch and a metallic delayed splurch.  I like the singer and the beat, the synths not so much.

Active Music Listening Tuesday April 29, 2014

YTD recordings listened to: 300
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 196
Not good music: 86

Honorable Mentions: 1
Buys: 1

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, The Whammies, The Chewers, La Misa Negra, Melingo, Alexander Hawkins, Cheryl Pyle, Mexican Dubwiser, Toxic Holocaust, Equal Stones, Comeback Kid

@@@ Ian Carey Quintet +1: Roads and Codes (Kabocha, 2013).  An artist I got to via an email update from the Twitter.  The twitter is kinda cool and very lame at the same time.  This is a really well recorded straight jazz session with the first piece, Rain Tune, featuring flute, trumpet, sax, piano, bass and drums.  I really like the sound and playing on the third tune, Dead Man (Theme).  Straight jazz fans should check this record out.

@@@ Jim Byrnes: St. Louis Blues (Black Hen Music, 2014).  Some old school full blues band/funk I found on the CFUV weekly email.  The first tune sounds very similar to the opening tune for the HBO show Treme.  Regular readers know that I like my blues records gritty — the production here isn’t slick but it’s most definitely clean and modern sounding.  Just my preference.  I like the guitar player here.

@@@ Kishi Bashi: Lighght (Joyful Noise, May 13).  I got to this recording via a music publicist.   Quirky mainstream indie electronic with notable New Age production notes.  Big stacked vocal whoa hos, big reverb patches, plinky synth droplets, string flourishes to name a few.  From the blurb the main guy is a violin player and the violin has not historically occupied a central position in rock music, but this is some cheesy bouncy pop.  If that’s your sort of thing you’ll be happy.

I streamed here at NPR, but they don’t keep their streaming windows open long.

@@@ Iggy Azalea: The New Classic (Island, 2014).  Off the All Music weekly email and you can’t surf around any sort of website with music appearing on it without running into the name Iggy Azalea.  I’m gonna go out on a limb and say Iggy is a white woman, but she sure do sound a lot like a West Coast female African American.  So let’s call her Lady Eminem — she’s got good flow on the microphone and a well developed sense of rhythm.  The production is slick and kinda gargage-y.  Her lyrics are childish, but she’s hot (a former model!) so she’s gonna be huge.  Childish and hot is big here in America, ask Justin Timberlake.

@@@ Black Prairie: Fortune (Sugar Hill, 2014).  Slotted as alternative folk on the All Music weekly email, I would peg this as indie folk — drum machines and acoustic guitars is territory first charted by Beck, a big daddy of the indie scene.  This is hooky pop folk, not downtempo Appalachian white trash misery folk.  If the beats were more interesting I could get into it more but it’s pretty standard boom bap without much funk.

 

 

Active Music Listening Monday April 28, 2014

YTD recordings listened to: 295
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 193
Not good music: 84

Honorable Mentions: 1
Buys: 1

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, The Whammies, The Chewers, La Misa Negra, Melingo, Alexander Hawkins, Cheryl Pyle, Mexican Dubwiser, Toxic Holocaust, Equal Stones, Comeback Kid

@@@ Comeback Kid: Die Knowing (Victory, 2014).  Hardcore punk/metal/post rock that I saw on the CFUV weekly email.  I like the hardcore punk shouters more than I dig the Neanderthal undecipherable metal singers.  Metal drum sound, heavy guitar metal ka-chunk/slashing punk sound.  I’m listening to the second track, Lower the Line, and this will definitely get your blood pressure up.  This is good shit, folks should check this band out.  Touches of emo, but less confessional, heavy but not soggy and clomp-y, rough but not macho.

@@@ Dhafer Youssef: Bird’s Requiem (Okeh, 2013).  High world music I got to via the CFUV weekly email.  By high I mean big and smooth production — clean sounds, big reverb patches — like arena rock but in the world music genre.  Oud, estatic singing, bass,  trinkling piano.  It’s a bit brunchy for my taste — it sounds like it’s envisioned more as background music for folks to have flavored coffee and pancakes to.  I want music to interrupt me and pull me in.

@@@ Numbersix: Telekinetic Lovers EP (East Van Digital, 2014).  Lounge-y, pretty slick electronica I found on the CFUV weekly email.   Strong chopped drum ‘n bass influences with infrequent bass pulsing, keyboard vamps and reverbed out female vocals.   It’s solid music.

@@@ Sonic Avenues: Television Youth (Dirtnap, 2012).  Some poppy power chord punk I got to looking for their new record.   Emphasis here is on vocal melody hooks over a nice bed of fuzz and straight Ramones-style drums.  Myself, I would stick with London Calling by the Clash because the Clash’s mixing of black music into theirs made it better.

@@@ Teledrome: Teledrome (Hozac, 2014).  Some urgent dual synth/guitar rock I found on the CFUV weekly email.  A high, British sounding vocalist — detached and mechanical.  It’s a common sound these days but with more energy.  If you dig this sound.

Honorable Mention 2014: Pick 1

Temples: Sun Structures (Fat Possum, 2014) This is a really good record.  It is a record of quirky Brit rock — it’s on the edge of rock as the music has energy but isn’t particularly concerned with rocking.  I’m not sure if they’re from the UK (Google reveals they are indeed from England) and they write tunes that are influenced by the Beatles, T. Rex,

I really like the drummer on this record, after that the arrangements really stood out and I like the sound of the record as well.  They have strong players at all positions but the drummer really drives the bus.

When folks talk about quirky indie rock these guys work better for me than many of the American bands advertised with this label.  The level of musicianship and creativity is pretty high here.

I would make this a best of record if it weren’t so close in style to the 2005 record Invisible Invasion by The Coral.

I’ve included a clip of The Coral to show the similarities between the two bands.  Check both these bands out.

Active Music Listening Friday April 25, 2014

YTD recordings listened to: 290
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 190
Not good music: 82

Honorable Mentions: 0
Buys: 1

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, The Whammies, The Chewers, La Misa Negra, Melingo, Alexander Hawkins, Cheryl Pyle, Mexican Dubwiser, Toxic Holocaust, Equal Stones

@@@ Future: Honest (Epic/Freehand, 2014)  Strip club hip hop I saw on the All Music weekly email.  Lots of talk about booty, and slappin’ the booty of women thereof, car talk you know Lamborghinis and shit and whatnot, as well as highly intelligent tunes with titles like Move that Doh, an ode to making the cake, the money money money.  Lots of star appearances by big corporate rappers like the blunted Wiz Khalifa, soft bitch Drake, even brother Yeezus.  This is some low IQ achieving right here, it will probably be huge.

20 million views for this biscuit clipped below.  I told you all it was gonna be huge because in America stupid is where it’s at.

@@@ Bobby Beausoleil: Angel (White Dog, 2014)  A tune from a 4 LP box set called Lucifer Rising.  With a title like that I was expecting some grind/filth/metal but it’s a lovely little prog ditty with some clean guitar work, some guitar drones tucked in the back.  A ballad for the Dark One?  Quite possibly.  Looking for a clip on the Youtube, I learn this is a reissue from 1977-1978,  I’ve never heard this musician’s name before and it’s shocking what you will find when you get out there and start looking.

@@@ Pigeon John: Encino Man (Megaforce, out next week).  Hipster hop I got to from a music publicist email.   Mr. Pigeon’s microphone flow is stutter-y and the arrangements are tres synth-y.  Heavily influenced by pop, the funk factor on this release is too low.  I wouldn’t say Pigeon is without talent, but his lyrics are annoying and the cloying, and his ironic buttery softness is not to my liking.  I label this hip hop for douchebags.

@@@ MIC HANDZ: Don’t Get Stomped (T.H.E.M. Records, 2014).  Some roughneck hip hop with Rage Against the Machine guitar riffage over a tough beat.  Marketed as a necessary track in the age of soft R&B I appreciate it’s muscle.  I’m not a huge fan of the gangsta hip hop lyrics but I dig the vibe of the music.

Active Music Listening Thursday April 24, 2014

YTD recordings listened to: 286
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 188
Not good music: 80

Honorable Mentions: 0
Buys: 1

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, The Whammies, The Chewers, La Misa Negra, Melingo, Alexander Hawkins, Cheryl Pyle, Mexican Dubwiser, Toxic Holocaust, Equal Stones

@@@ Tearjerker: You Can (SQE, out 5/14).  More from the fabulous music publicist community.  Opens with a nice slacker, guitar melody and a Pink Floyd The Wall era children’s chorus.  Chillaxing melody over a some fuzzy guitar strumming, this is the best tune I heard today but it was not a great day in the listening hole.

@@@ Cheerleader: Perfect Vision (Young & Lost, 2014).  Sugary sweet synthesizer rock with New Age lyrical cliches and a bit of rocking at the back end of the tune. I got to this via a music publicist email.  I don’t have much good to say about this tune, so let’s move on.

@@@  Kinky Love: Promise EP (Not sure, 2014).  What the world needs now is more synth pop.  Breathy female singing, synth bass lines and poppy blurps and droplets for your listening pleasure.  I don’t have much good to say about this so let’s move on.  The second tune, Affair, gets more into a rock/disco vibe — consider yourself warned.  I got to this via a music publicist email.

@@@ Careful Streams: The World Doesn’t End (Circle into Square, 2014).  Whew, a break from the synth pop.  Oh, not really — less poppy and more downtempo but synth-y to be sure.  I like the tune — nothing too ground breaking but above average arrangements.  I could have used a bit less processing on the vocals but I guess the lack of clarity there adds to the mystery.  I got to this via a music publicist email soliciting my ears.

I streamed here.