Active Music Listening Tuesday September 30, 2014

YTD recordings listened to: 772
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 477
Not good music: 241

Honorable Mentions: 10
Buys: 13

Possibles: Boyd Rivers, Chris McGregor, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Dave Arner Trio, Bill Horist, MAKU Soundsystem, Zomby, Retox, About Group, Jessie Mae Hemphill, Kendl Winter, Bone Dance, Defeater, Jonwayne, 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, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Bio Ritmo, Lenguas Largas, Vessel. Earls of Leicester, Khun Narin, Orlando Julius, Vaudou Game

@@@ Vaudou Game: Apiafo (Hot Casa, 2014).  I got to this record via the WRIR weekly email.  Oh my, that’s funky drummer right there.  He’s joined by a poppin’ bass player, an electric organ player, a chickenscratch guitar player, and a singer singing in — wait on the Duck Duck Go.  He’s from Togo.  What the fuck, wait a minute — Togo is sandwiched between Ghana and Benin in West Africa.  Yes, the geography less is free.  The vocals sound like Frank Zappa vocal harmonies over a bumpin’ funky band, especially on the second track Dangerous Bees.  I’m gonna check out this record more thoroughly when I have the time.  This is some pretty surreal African music with all manner of influences swirled over that rhythm section.

@@@ Palm Ghosts: Palm Ghosts (Not sure, 2014).  An ambient Americana record that I got to via a music publicist email.   The pace of the opener, Dr. Tiger, is slow and deliberate with sparse parts of acoustic guitar, banjo, and piano, and voice.  There’s a thin line between dreamy and sleepy time tea so we’ll see which side they choose.  The second tune brings in the drum kit and a more uptempo vibe.  This is some pretty solid music, check it out.  A little bit of Simon and Garfunkel, a little bit of the Band…they’re going more for the dreamy than the sleepy time tea.

@@@  Typ-Ill: 100 Dollar Bill.  Stripped down funk hip hop beats with medium roughneck lyrics — fuck off, chasin’ paper, it’s in that neighborhood.  The MC here is very urgent and there’s not much space between his words — he just goes and goes.  I like the ringing bell like sound in the arrangement.

@@@ Taurus: Opus IV: Elevations (Mylodon Records, 2014).  Off last week’s Aquarius Records weekly email.  A bit dark, a bit New Age, neither heavy metal nor electronica.  I guess it’s instrumental synth prog with guitars.  Yikers, this really isn’t record of the week material for me, this is cheese for my sandwich.  But hey, if you dig the epic instrumental prog, have at it.

@@@ Black Rain: Dark Pool (Blackest Ever Black, 2014).  I’ll try another Aquarius Records record of the week because I didn’t like the first one.   That’s yer American stick-to-it-ness/low self-esteem.  Oh boy, I’m not sure this is going to work out.  The second tune, is the proto-female voice — all huge-a-tated with reverb over a dark drone.  Now when they don’t have the female singer doing here space queen routine they got some a pretty sick cauldron of dark futuristic drones bubbling so it’s a bit of a mixed bag.

 

Active Music Listening Monday September 29, 2014

YTD recordings listened to: 767
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 475
Not good music: 239

Honorable Mentions: 9
Buys: 13

Possibles: Boyd Rivers, Chris McGregor, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Dave Arner Trio, Bill Horist, MAKU Soundsystem, Zomby, Retox, About Group, Jessie Mae Hemphill, Kendl Winter, Bone Dance, Defeater, Jonwayne, 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, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Eccodek, Bio Ritmo, Pacifika, Lenguas Largas, Vessel. Earls of Leicester, Khun Narin, Orlando Julius

@@@  Slothrust: Crockpot (Ba Da Bing, 2014).  A tune off a punk rock debut I got to via a music publicist email.   After a medium bass/vocal intro it brings the crunch in followed by a full band guitar arpeggiated verse.  The female singer is detached (punk rock detached) but not so flat I want to cut myself with a razor.  This is basically a Nirvana tune with a little riffage, a simple guitar solo, and cleavage.

You can streams it over here at MTV.  Christ, MTV!  I didn’t know they had anything to do with music.

@@@ Algernon Doll: Candy Striped (Struggletown Records, 2014).   Intertwining guitars open up this slacker/dreamy indie/quiff hair of shoegaze tune I got to via a music publicist.  A yearning and intimate voice and the drummer is pretty good for an indie band.  It never really gets to rocking which is fine but there’s a lot of melody and a good drummer.

@@@ Small Reaction: Saint in Robes (Bear Kids, 2014).  Some straight ahead medium crunch guitar indie that I got to via a music publicist email.  It’s featured on the Red Bull Sound Select, so I thought I would have three Red Bulls to celebrate this tune and the website, and Red Bull, but it looks like it’s backfired and I’m racy as fuck I can type really quickly but my thoughts are all fucked up on the Red Bull.  Go Red Bull!  Strong flavors of Radiohead in the vocal melody (not the Red Bull)  so it’s got that slack singer over a pumping band feeling.  I know, give the singer a Red Bull.  Yeah, great idea, that slack fucker needs a Red Bull.

As we’ve mentioned you can stream the tune over here at the Red Bull Sound Select website.

@@@ La Femme: Welcome America (Not Sure, 2014).  This is marketed as some psych pop out of Paris, but it’s not very trippy or disturbing.  There’s a lot of reverb on the singer’s voice but it’s closer to a Clash rock/dance tune than to that teeth grinding speed freak psych vibe.  I don’t speak French, but I have the feeling that since it’s called Welcome America, it’s about a hypothetical invasion of France after we finish bombing every Muslim country in the Middle East.  Welcome America, we French love to surrender, have some French fries?  I could be wrong on that.  Oh, shit, no politics in music, just skinny jeans and posing.

The best music I heard this week

Monday:

@@@ Khun Narin’s Electric Phin Band (Innovative Leisure, 2014).  Some out electric psychedelic music that sounds both like a Mali guitar band and the Doors.  This is the end, my only friend.  I think the guitar player is backed by a bunch of hand drum and percussion players, but it sounds amazingly like a drum kit.  The bass player straddles the stoner rock/dub genre — he’s laying down some thick and melodic low end.  I’m going to check this record out more and I hope you peep it as well.  Given the tidal wave of psychedelia spewing out from all corners of the world this outfit shoots to the very top in just a brief listen.

Wednesday:

@@@ This Will Destroy You: Another Language (Suicide Squeeze, 2014).  Some twinkly post-rock guitar action on the opening tune, New Topia.  Also an electric organ and some static loops I do believe I hear.   Very somber with a blend of U2 (when they weren’t as cheesy) and Tortoise.  I’m really feeling the second tune, Dustism — very nice contrast between the bashed hi hat/big bass clouds and the space guitar.  These are long songs with dynamic as well as compositional changes that make them more than jams.  Hints of prog, but mostly post-rock.

Thursday:

@@@ Orlando Julius: Jaiyede Afro (Strut, 2014).  Off a WRIR weekly review email.  I saw the words afro pop mentioned in the blurb, but I’m surprised to hear this music hit harder than expected.  Being from Nigeria it sports a strong Fela influence without copying it.  There’s some good juke goin on here – funky guitar, horn baps and a thick bed of drums and percussion underneath.  Regular readers of this blog know that I’m a bit prejudiced against the macho horn work of a lot of Afrobeat, but these guys have a much higher funk factor than a lot of Afrobeat outfits.  Big shout out to the guitar player, you go my man.

Friday:

@@@ Chris Brown: X (RCA, 2014).  Some super breath-y new style r&b opens up this record by the infamous Mr. Brown.  My impression of listening to other releases is that he has a good voice but his productions straddle that club cheese/new r&b neighborhood.  Oh, here comes the throbbing bass line and the skittering techno snare, and into a West Coast jeep style beat.  That was pretty slick but as he says, he just came here to party.  He’s not nearly as annoying as Kanye who is just so bombastic, and this surprises to the upside with some interesting arrangements and blending of styles.  There’s some creativity going on here.

 

 

2014 Honorable Mention Pick 10

Fat Freddy’s Drop: Blackbird (The Drop, 2014).

When I first heard this record I remember it morphing as it moves through the songs.  Regardless, the first tune, Blackbird, with its combination of roots reggae, soul and electronic music is almost enough to get it honorable mention by itself.  To my ears, this is how you genre mash with style.  Super fat bass lines, great drum machine beats and a sweet singer.

Starting with the third tune, Clean the House, the record pulls a slight turn and turns more towards being an r&b/soul/electronic record.  The quality of the arrangements and sounds remains very high, but I was up for the dub roots explosion.

The last track of the record is a dub but between the first two songs and the last tune it’s a soul/electronic record.

I’ve clipped my two favorite (but not typical of the record) tracks below, but as we live in the age of the single you can peep these and check out more if you like the music.

 

Active Music Listening Friday September 25, 2014

YTD recordings listened to: 765
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 475
Not good music: 239

Honorable Mentions: 9
Buys: 13

Possibles: Boyd Rivers, Chris McGregor, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Dave Arner Trio, Bill Horist, MAKU Soundsystem, Zomby, Retox, About Group, Fat Freddy’s Drop, Jessie Mae Hemphill, Kendl Winter, Bone Dance, Defeater, Jonwayne, 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, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Eccodek, Bio Ritmo, Pacifika, Lenguas Largas, Vessel. Earls of Leicester, Khun Narin, Orlando Julius

@@@ Hand Job Academy: #ikeamonkey (Self-released, 2014).  I’m both fascinated by and repulsed by the potty mouth female rap.  Here we have three white girls talkin smack over West Coast beats.  Lots of bitches, lots of sex talk with production that’s both poppy and funky.  I can’t tell if they’re lesbians or if they’re rappin’ from the perspective of a dude — well, I think they rugmunchers after hearing Pu$$y Chicken.  And I do mean rugmunchers in the most positive way.  Potty mouth lesbians, that’s a whole ‘nother game.  I got to this via the CFUV weekly email.

@@@ Big Freedia: Just Be Free (Queen Diva, 2014).  Some more hip hop off the CFUV weekly email but a whole different thing than Hand Job Academy.  Very old school — block rockin’ beats and big party hook style rappin’.  The bulk of the arrangments are handled by synths which lends it a bit of an old school wannabe vibe.  Wow, this is some overwhelming music as the MCs and vocalists are workin’ the microphone hard.

@@@ Chris Brown: X (RCA, 2014).  Some super breath-y new style r&b opens up this record by the infamous Mr. Brown.  My impression of listening to other releases is that he has a good voice but his productions straddle that club cheese/new r&b neighborhood.  Oh, here comes the throbbing bass line and the skittering techno snare, and into a West Coast jeep style beat.  That was pretty slick but as he says, he just came here to party.  He’s not nearly as annoying as Kanye who is just so bombastic, and this surprises to the upside with some interesting arrangements and blending of styles.  There’s some creativity going on here.

@@@ Haunted Summer Music LA: 1996 (Not sure, 2014).  A very lush and orchestrated dreamy indie tune I got to via a music publicist.  Female vocalist with plenty of reverb on her voice, slow shiny guitar arpeggios, and some very understated and melodic bass work.  Part of some limited edition vinyl release coming out in December.

@@@ Isobel Trigger: Nocturnal (Cordova Bay, 2014).  Some diva-tronic synth rock off the CFUV weekly email.  Big bass synth action with a big rock drum beat in the opening tune, Dust and Bones.  The rest of the tunes follow the same formula of mixing big rock sounds and electronic elements.  It’s hard to peg a comparable band for these guys.