Active Music Listening Friday September 12, 2014

YTD recordings listened to: 719
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 450
Not good music: 221

Honorable Mentions: 8
Buys: 12

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, Lindi Ortega, 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

@@@ U2: Songs of Innocence (Interscope, 2014).  Well everybody who has a brain knows that U2 has dropped a new biscuit on the masses this week.  Before I dog this effort I will acknowledge I thought Achtung Baby was one of the top albums of the 1990’s — great sounds and some really good tunes.  This one is not off to a good start.  My generic feeling is that more interesting the band arrangements and playing are the easier it is to deal with Bono and his whole trip.  Thus far, I don’t find the band to be that interesting — pretty generic arrangements and not a lot of muscle to the band.  I’m four tunes in and this is some pretty wimpy, cheesy shit — blech.

@@@ Robert Plant: Lullaby and the Ceaseless Roar (Nonesuch, 2014).  I liked the bluegrass record he did with Alison Krauss but I’ve never gotten into his solo music much.  They’re only giving me one tune, Rainbow, on my Beats store.  This tune sounds like a subtle mashup of rock, bluegrass and world music — just little hints of the country and a non white people’s hand drum.  There’s an awful lot of whoos (different from the woo hoos which are certainly lower in IQ).  I hope the rest of the record is better than this.

@@@ Jhene Aiko: Souled Out (Def Jam, 2014).  Off the All Music weekly email.  My first impression is that this is a modern electronic r&b record with some club music flourishes and traces of hip hop.  I’m finding this first tune a bit plodding — I expected something more exciting than this.  Lyrics are somewhat New Age-y and while the production is sophisticated I’m not enjoying the tunes much.

@@@  Crater: Ain’t Right (Mermaid Avenue, 2014) Described as synthgaze in the music publicist email I hear more straight ’80s synth pop (think Eurhythmics) with more synth bubbles and dwirbles.  I hear a lot of this style (regardless of the shout out to grunge in the email wtf?) and it’s an okay example of it.

@@@ Holy Youth: Feel Good (Happenin Records, 2012)  Marketed as a dream punk outfit these guys sound more like a power pop/punk outfit to my ears.  A little Ramones action, a little Superdrag, a schmear of the Weezer.  Big guitars, nasal female voices, straight white rock beat on the drums — it don’t get much more classic than that.  I don’t see a woman in their band photo so either one of the dudes has a bad cold or the female singer was out sick on photo day.


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