Sweet Miley, Elvis never put on a skin colored bikini and got faux-doggystyled on national tv!

From MSNBC:

MileyCyrus_Elvis

 

This is the latest chapter in Miley Cyrus’ brand handlers to try to make something substantial out of the former Disney television star.

It’s a deception, or an illusion, or a bullshit argument, whichever terminology you prefer — she doesn’t stand for anything except the Miley Cyrus brand and the bank accounts associated with it.

It’s free publicity people (and a waste of bandwidth).

Best of 2014 Pick 12

Los Hacheros: Pilon (Chulo, 2012)

I really like the sound and the energy of this salsa recording.  It has the ambient room sound of some of the lonesome Cuban records in my collection.  I also dig the instrumentation — the violin adds a really elegant touch, especially when paired with the flute playing.   There’s an amplified stringed instrument — I don’t think it’s an electric guitar, it sounds like an amplified Cuban son, but I could be completely wrong on that one.  I am wrong, it’s the tres.  In addition, there’s the upright bass, percussion, hand drums.

Lastly, I really like the singer’s style.  He has a lot of fliar and a classic sounding salsa voice and he’s working the songs hard.  Not oversinging nor showing off but working the melodies.  Whenever the singer sounds like he’s really into it really draws the listener into a record.

I’m listening to this record on my iPhone as I finish this write up and these guys really have it going on.  Rhythmically strong, great melodic players who get to take long interesting solos, and a great singer.

A great record to take you out of summer.  Check it out.

If this is how a music streaming service treats paying customers….

….then imagine how they deal with musicians who they’re supposed to pay.

From an email I got as a former Rhapsody customer:

The proposed Settlement resolves a lawsuit (described below) alleging that Rhapsody International Inc. (“Rhapsody” or “Defendant”) made misrepresentations and omissions in describing its services, as well as imposing improper charges including (a) subscription charges imposed during a free trial period, (b) subscription charges imposed following a subscriber’s cancellation (or attempted cancellation) of their subscription, and (c) multiple subscription charges in a single billing period for multiple accounts associated with a single email address. Rhapsody denies all allegations made in the lawsuit.

These would qualify, in my book, as dirty tricks.  Fucking with people and essentially scamming them out of additional money than the money they’ve agreed to pay Rhapsody.

Now on the other side of the issue, how honest are these guys tallying their artist royalties when they’re rocking their customers like this?

Musicians have every right and are correct in being suspicious of these digital music folks as they seem no different than the old school music folks.

 

Active Music Listening Friday August 29, 2014

YTD recordings listened to: 677
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 419
Not good music: 206

Honorable Mentions: 8
Buys: 11

Possibles: Boyd Rivers, Chris McGregor, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Dave Arner Trio, Bill Horist, MAKU Soundsystem, Zomby, Retox, About Group, Jello Biafra, Fat Freddy’s Drop, Jessie Mae Hemphill, Kendl Winter, Bone Dance, Defeater, Sidi Toure, Lindi Ortega, Jonwayne, Christian Kjellvander, Okkyung Lee,  The Ballantynes, Debruit and Aljawal, Slidhr, The Whammies, The Chewers, La Misa Negra, Alexander Hawkins, Cheryl Pyle,  Toxic Holocaust, Equal Stones, Comeback Kid, Third Coast Kings, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Eccodek, Bio Ritmo, Pacifika, Kasai All Stars, Viet Cong, Lenguas Largas, Los Hacheros, Ruthie Foster

@@@ Bonfire Beaches: Spit U Out (Cleopatra Records, 2014).  A lot of innuendo in this buzzy femme No Wave punk and plenty of ass wiggling and bare leg in the video as one would expect from a tune called Spit U Out.  I do not engage in slut shaming, I say slut it up ladies!!! I just wish the tune had more pizzazz to it like Prince’s Lady Cab Driver.  Sincerely, Marcia, I want to fuck the taste out of your mouth.  Oy, that’s gettin’ right to the heart of the matter.

@@@  Taylor Swift: Shake it Off (The Man Records, 2014).  Oh no, Taylor Swift has a fragrance, that’s the ad before the video.  I want to walk down Fifth Avenue wearing a boatload of Taylor — I wonder if the NYPD can get arrest you for wearing way too much of a young woman’s perfume.

It’s a good beat to the tune.  Ms. Swift is gonna shake off my review so I won’t hold back from saying that her Andre 3000 imitation is eh.  She’s too self-referential, she writes too many songs about what other people think of her, it’s weird.  She says she’s not gonna get dragged down in the public discourse about her and her life, but here she is writing a track about it and making loot off the topic.

This is one of my big bitches about today’s mega-stars, they can’t sing or rap about anything besides themselves.  It’s so fucking boring, self-centered, and creepy.  Beyonce, King Corporate Dildo Jay-Z, Eminem, all of ’em.

Now, if she wrote a tune about two dogs fucking in a parking lot then I would know she was over the whole discussion

@@@ Negator: Gates to the Pantheon (Prosthetic, 2013)  Off a Labor Day sale at Omega Order email.  This sounds like this is gonna be a bruising and stony ride — machine gun drummer, double kick drum battering and now we’ve segued right into the extreme thrash section in the opener, Epiclesis.  I’ve never said this before regarding a heavy metal record, but I’m gonna have to look that word up.  Ancient Greek for ‘calling down from on high’.  Wow, fancypants intellectual metal band.  Man, these guys are tight — tighter than a welldigger’s ass in the middle of winter.

These caveman singers don’t usually work for me, but this guy is understandable and makes a demonic howl to be sure, but it’s not the same timber as the usual caveman.  Man, the drummer in this band is a tank — beautifully brutal, you can set your watch by this guy.

@@@ Max Jury: Black Metal (Marathon, 2014).  My first impression of this adult alternative track I got to via a music publicist is Jakob Dylan’s lonesomeness and the Band.  Jury has a really engaging voice but it seems a bit wasted on this lifestyle track as he’s singing about a girl he knows who listens to black metal all day long.  I can’t share this track with my adoring readers so Max is headed down to the bottom of this post.  Oops, I found a link.

Active Music Listening Thursday August 28, 2014

YTD recordings listened to: 673
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 417
Not good music: 204

Honorable Mentions: 8
Buys: 11

Possibles: Boyd Rivers, Chris McGregor, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Dave Arner Trio, Bill Horist, MAKU Soundsystem, Zomby, Retox, About Group, Jello Biafra, Fat Freddy’s Drop, Jessie Mae Hemphill, Kendl Winter, Bone Dance, Defeater, Sidi Toure, Lindi Ortega, Jonwayne, Christian Kjellvander, Okkyung Lee,  The Ballantynes, Debruit and Aljawal, Slidhr, The Whammies, The Chewers, La Misa Negra, Alexander Hawkins, Cheryl Pyle,  Toxic Holocaust, Equal Stones, Comeback Kid, Third Coast Kings, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Eccodek, Bio Ritmo, Pacifika, Kasai All Stars, Viet Cong, Lenguas Largas, Los Hacheros, Ruthie Foster

@@@ Merchandise: After the End (4AD, 2014).  Also off the new adds at CFUV.  I’m not a huge 4AD fan, but hey you never know.  Thus far, it’s New Age movie trailer cheese.  Big acoustic guitar strums, a swirling angel pipe synth, simple (yet meaningful) piano figures.  I expect an angel wing to come and wipe my ass for me.  That’s inappropriate.  I hope we get some sort of operatic, epic singer to complete the heaven-gasm.  Tympanis, oh my!  And we segue into a straight rock track — and the singer is a brooder.  I envision a sweep of hair over his brow, a laborious winding of his mortal coil around the microphone stand.  Livin’ the dream.  This might actually work live, but there’s been so much polished put on in the studio that I can’t make room for it.

@@@ Cold Specks: Neuroplasticity (Mute, 2014).  Off last week’s CFUV weekly email.  I would put this in the PJ Harvey rock camp — female aggro, raw, not quite as close to the edge as vintage Ms. Harvey.  The second tune is a more math-y guitar indie number — I like Ms. Spx’s voice and there is some really solid arranging going on here.  She describes her sound as ‘Doom Soul’ but outside of her voice which does some soul type singing, it’s mostly a rock affair.

@@@  MNDSGN: Yawn Zen (Stones Throw, 2014).  Also off this week’s CFUV weekly email.  It’s a hip hop record that’s opening up ambient electronic.  After that instrumental intro tidbit it looks like we’re gonna get some rhymes but with a similar electronic arrangement — measured and chill.  I like the ringing bell in the second track.  Huh, maybe there will be no rhymes.  On the third tune, Sheets, the MC makes an appearance in a detached sing song manner.  It’s quite trippy.  There are some really interesting and unique arrangements going on here.

@@@ White Hex: Gold Signs (Felte, 2014)  Last listen of the day, some electronica off the CFUV weekly email.  A dibble of kraut rock type singing, and a completely unfunky guitar synth band.  They could not be more on the 1.  This is just a bit too square for me, but if you’re a square ass mofo this could be heaven for you.

 

Active Music Listening Wednesday August 27, 2014

YTD recordings listened to: 669
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 414
Not good music: 203

Honorable Mentions: 8
Buys: 11

Possibles: Boyd Rivers, Chris McGregor, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Dave Arner Trio, Bill Horist, MAKU Soundsystem, Zomby, Retox, About Group, Jello Biafra, Fat Freddy’s Drop, Jessie Mae Hemphill, Kendl Winter, Bone Dance, Defeater, Sidi Toure, Lindi Ortega, Jonwayne, Christian Kjellvander, Okkyung Lee,  The Ballantynes, Debruit and Aljawal, Slidhr, The Whammies, The Chewers, La Misa Negra, Alexander Hawkins, Cheryl Pyle,  Toxic Holocaust, Equal Stones, Comeback Kid, Third Coast Kings, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Eccodek, Bio Ritmo, Pacifika, Kasai All Stars, Viet Cong, Lenguas Largas, Los Hacheros, Ruthie Foster

@@@ Selim Lemouchi & His Enemies: Earth Air Spirit Fire Water (Van, 2014).  Some heavy prog off the Quietus list.  Sounds a bit like Styx on steroids — synth melodies, and some medium crunch.  I dig the drum sound, it sounds very powerful and organic.  Oh, now we’re getting a New Age-y female vocal section — hobbit-y and uplifting.  This is some epic music.  It unfolds slowly (on purpose) and to my ears is a 21st century opera replacement.  Check it out if that’s how you roll.

 

@@@ DJ Taye: Overdose on Tek-Life 2 (Self-released?, 2014).  Some self-described ghetto house music that’s #35 on the Quietus list.  This music is different than instrumental hip hop as there’s more melody and there doesn’t have to be space left for an MC to come in and do his/her thing.  It’s also not straight club music.  I like it.

@@@ Mercabah: Moloch (Instant Classic, 2014).  Some thrashing heaviness with horns (?) that is #32 on the Quietus list.   Yes, horns, clearer in a brief lull from the full caveman drum assault, which I find very pleasant.  It’s very jarring to hear sweet sax melodies between assaults and over a thunderous rhythm section.  This could be a very appropriate soundtrack for the recent war in Gaza.

@@@ KIT: Lownt God Rising (Self-released, 2014).  Some pretty raw hip hop that’s number 31 on Quietus’ best of 2014 thus far.  Lots of niggas, bitches and drugs.  I like the beats and the throbbing bass.  Some of the raw ghetto hip hop is a pose, but these guys don’t sound like they’re playing.

Active Music Listening Tuesday August 26, 2014

YTD recordings listened to: 665
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 411
Not good music: 202

Honorable Mentions: 8
Buys: 11

Possibles: Boyd Rivers, Chris McGregor, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Dave Arner Trio, Bill Horist, MAKU Soundsystem, Zomby, Retox, About Group, Jello Biafra, Fat Freddy’s Drop, Jessie Mae Hemphill, Kendl Winter, Bone Dance, Defeater, Sidi Toure, Lindi Ortega, Jonwayne, Christian Kjellvander, Okkyung Lee,  The Ballantynes, Debruit and Aljawal, Slidhr, The Whammies, The Chewers, La Misa Negra, Alexander Hawkins, Cheryl Pyle,  Toxic Holocaust, Equal Stones, Comeback Kid, Third Coast Kings, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Eccodek, Bio Ritmo, Pacifika, Kasai All Stars, Viet Cong, Lenguas Largas, Los Hacheros, Ruthie Foster

@@@ Tribal Seeds: Representing (Self-released, 2014).  I heard the pan flutes in the opener and I thought ‘fuck me, this is gonna blow’ but then the fattest bass commenced to wipe the floor in my headphones.  Very shiny and bass blown with a familiar sounding singer.  The lyrics are pretty standard uplifting roots messages, it might be a bit too slick sounding for my taste but the bass is ridonculus.

@@@ FaltyDL: In the Wild (Ninja Tune, 2014).  Some ambient electronic maybe morphing into something else that I got to via the CFUV weekly email.  We’re beatless thus far, second tune weird hyperventilating dude over distant piano chords and manipulations of the vocals processing wise, thereof.  It’s hipster electronica, as I hear it — not slow enough to do the gazing at sonic clouds thing, no beats for the booty bumpers out there, just twisting up the audio to show you can.  And you can, and it’s all right, and here’s a beat on the fourth tune, Do Me.  Not today fellas, not my type.

@@@ Hag Face: Rag Face (Self-released, 2014).  A hardcore punk EP/short LP I got to via the CFUV weekly email.  A little Dead Kennedys, some Jesus Lizard and a freaking out female vocalist.  Obliterating everything in its path with a shitstorm of buzz, static and feedback.

@@@ Amp Live: Headphone Concerto (Plug Research, 2014).  Oh no, a hip hop/classical/electronica record I found on the CFUV weekly email.  Computer voices that sound like they’re conducting a scientific experiment over classical piano.  I might not be long in this place, this isn’t really my cup of tea, this is just neat-o.  Bad synths, classical riffage, fake funky beats, and subpar rapping.  Adios muchachos!

 

Active Music Listening Monday August 25, 2014

YTD recordings listened to: 661
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 409
Not good music: 200

Honorable Mentions: 8
Buys: 11

Possibles: Boyd Rivers, Chris McGregor, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Dave Arner Trio, Bill Horist, MAKU Soundsystem, Zomby, Retox, About Group, Jello Biafra, Fat Freddy’s Drop, Jessie Mae Hemphill, Kendl Winter, Bone Dance, Defeater, Sidi Toure, Lindi Ortega, Jonwayne, Christian Kjellvander, Okkyung Lee,  The Ballantynes, Debruit and Aljawal, Slidhr, The Whammies, The Chewers, La Misa Negra, Alexander Hawkins, Cheryl Pyle,  Toxic Holocaust, Equal Stones, Comeback Kid, Third Coast Kings, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Eccodek, Bio Ritmo, Pacifika, Kasai All Stars, Viet Cong, Lenguas Largas, Los Hacheros, Ruthie Foster

@@@ Allah Las: Buffalo Nickel (Innovative Leisure, 2014).  If the Mamas and the Papas had an orgy with the folks in Yo La Tengo their lovechild would sound like this band.  For real.  Lots of vocal harmonies over jangly guitars and straight indie drums.  I like it, not much more to say.

@@@ Moire: Shelter (Werkdiscs, 2014).  Some house music off last week’s All Music weekly email.  The record opens up with a stuttery/cycling beat that’s a variation on the classic club boom/titch.  It’s more like boom-titchy-titchy-titch boom titchy titch handclap.  Sci-fi metallic synth sauce and droplet synths as sweet sprinkles for your earholes.  There’s a trippy, reverbed slow hip hopper in the second tune, but the record is half club, a quarter sci fi, and a quarter funky.

@@@ Wiz Khalifa: Blacc Hollywood (Atlantic, 2014).  You’d have to be livin’ under a rock to not know that the Wizzer has a new record and it’s described as a grab bag of bangers and stoner cuts.  This tune below is much softer than expected — it smells like a teenage suburban drive around tune.  Much more candy cotton than banger yo.  Sounds like the Wizzer is looking to get paid so he can continue to get his party on.  A piquant blend of shopping mall cheese, teenage dumbness, and hip hop potty talk.  You been warned.

@@@ Young Karen: Hearts (Pannonica Records, 2014).  Some Icelandic pop from a publicist email.  Opens up chopped/stuttered and then seques into a pretty nice hip hop beat.  I would say it’s more trip hoppy than poppy.  Pop here in America is different and scary than what other cultures consider pop.

2014 Honorable Mention Pick 7

Douglas Detrick’s Anywhen Ensemble: The Bright and Rushing World (Novatone, 2014)

Here is a record to invite your friends over for brunch that will impress your guests while also being music that has sophistication without pretention.

Detrick is a trumpet player and he has made a record that is blends improvised music with classical music.  How much of the record is composed and how much is improvised is difficult to tell but there is both a spontaneous feel and a structured feel which I find interesting.

The melodic part of the music is handled by the trumpet, saxophone and bassoon, and cello.  You can read about the band here.  There is a kit drummer on the record which certainly ups the jazz factor on the record.

Reading the back cover of the record .jpg as well as the song titles, I’m guessing the record was written while someone close to Detrick was being born and/or dying.  Maybe a child being born and a parent passing.  That is total speculation on my part.  That’s what the music sounds like to me — somber and melodic, slow and contemplative in tempo.

It’s very easy for a hybrid jazz/chamber music record to be pretentious and up its own butt and I appreciate that although records sounds a bit like an old ECM record it has a musical weight and is much more than a high art sound ensemble.  I thought the last tune, Upon the Wind of his Leaving, was just a beautiful piece of music.

For fans of Miles Davis’ Sketches of Spain.

There’s frighteningly little of this record on the web for people to check out.  I’m going to contact his label as I asked them for a copy of the record after I heard a snippet, to see if I can put a track up for people to download or check out.

 

Best of 2014 Pick 11

Charming Axe: Gathering Days (Self-released, 2014).

A stripped down string band record (plus a bit or organ) by three Chicago musicians consisting of bluegrass/roots covers of 11 songs and 4 originals.

If you appreciate the skill and art required to sing/harmonize at this level you will really really like this record.  Two female vocalists and one male singing their butts off.

The instrumentation is pretty sparse but well done.  Acoustic guitar, mandolin, church organ, accordion, a little drumset, fiddle, bass.  Not all at once, but through the course of the record with acoustic guitar most prominent.

I tend to keep my reviews shorter rather than longer to take the emphasis off the review and onto the music, and as we live in this fabulous world of the intertubz I just need to point folks in the right direction of great music and they can hear it for themselves.