Active Music Listening Friday October 31, 2014

YTD recordings listened to: 870
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 537
Not good music: 275

Honorable Mentions: 11
Buys: 14

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, Khun Narin, Doug Seegers, Shakey Graves, Jungle Fire, The Coral, Sleaford Mods

@@@ Sleaford Mods: Chubbed Up+ (Ipecac, 2014).  Excellent record title that I found on this week’s All Music email.  Ah, Brits, nice thick accent.  Dance rock drumbeat and gristled fuzz bass on the opener, The Committee.  The vocals are where the action is at — they’re medium foul mouthed with a negative attitude, two characteristics I enjoy in a singer.  The singer, Job Seeker, is a bit more Kraut-rocky.  These guys really don’t seem to give much of a fuck.  The music is not awful but the rants are what you tune in for, so if you’re sharing a laser printer in an insurance company cubicle this probably isn’t for you.  I couldn’t find anything from this record, but I’m sure the last biscuit is the same show.  Fuckin’ geezers, they really do live up to the title of the record.

@@@ Jagged Edge: Je Heartbreak II (BMG/Primary Wave).  Some contemporary r&b off the All Music weekly email.  Super slick production over some subsonic bass and singing — a lot of singing, I mean a lot of super passionate dramatical singing.  We’re talking Hollywood love story passion.  The third tune, Familiar, has a bit more funk but it sports the same abundance of vocal action.

@@@ Nots: Reactor (Goner, 2014).  A track off an upcoming record I got to via a music publicist.  A throwback synth punk track by an all girl group out of Memphis.  A bit of a shouter on the vocals and the drummer and the singer need some lessons.  I like the bass sound and the guitar work, the synth sounds like somebody shoved a spoon up R2D2’s ass.

You can stream here.

@@@ Youth Worship: Pink Snow (Self Harm, 2014).  If you took Nirvana and put a haughty sort of dildo worshipper on the microphone it would sound like these guys.  The bite on Nirvana is epic and not in the gray area.  Big arena drum sound meticulously tweaked with a blanket of classic American guitar fuzz over it.  Mellow in the verse, explode in the chorus.  Maybe dildo worshipper is a bit unfair but it sounds like he’s working some sort of rock star trip ala dildo worshipper extraordinaire Billy Corgan.

 

Active Music Listening Thursday October 30, 2014

YTD recordings listened to: 866
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 534
Not good music: 274

Honorable Mentions: 11
Buys: 14

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, Khun Narin, Doug Seegers, Shakey Graves, Jungle Fire, The Coral

@@@ Wayfarer: Night Games (Not sure, 2014).  Some loverboy downtempo electronica I got to via a music publicist.  A sultry female voice singing over a downtempo stream of synth pebbles and pulses and slow beats.  It’s tastefully done, which is a statement for this genre.  There ain’t much subtle about the classic boom titch/chainsaw synth formula.

@@@ Honduras: Illusion (Black Bell, 2014).  Off a music publicist email.  Some classic New York City style crunchy punk.  Nasal singer, a little snotty British vibe — think the Strokes after they’ve had a big dinner of fish and chips.  Some guitar jangle, some melody, some power chords, you know the dilly.

@@@ The Twilight Sad: No One Wants to Be Here and No One Wants to…. (Fat Cat, 2014).  Sounds like this is gonna be some mopey ’80s rock — I found this on the All Music weekly email.  I guess she’s not coming back, whoever she is in the first tune.  Uh oh, I hear a Scottish accent so this is gonna get mad dramatical.  The second tune, Last January, rocks a very steady groove but it’s still the same sonic palette.  This music is all right, not my style.

@@@ Vesania: Deus Ex Machina (Metal Blade, 2014).  Off my weekly heavy metal mailorder email.  Big battering drum sound with a solid level of guitar buzz and a dark but not openly satanic vocalist.  You can hear him, and frankly I can’t believe he can do that to his throat.  Brutal shred job.  These guys have a bit of Motorhead caveman attack in their metal vocabulary and also a bit of art school — I think I hear a synth tucked back in the arrangement of the second tune, Innocence.

 

Active Music Listening Wednesday October 29, 2014

YTD recordings listened to: 862
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 531
Not good music: 273

Honorable Mentions: 11
Buys: 14

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, Khun Narin, Doug Seegers, Shakey Graves, Jungle Fire, The Coral

@@@ Immigrant Union: War is Peace (Fontana North, 2014). It’s CMJ this week in New York City, so there’s a lot of tight blue jean hipsters walking around with foil wrapped cucumbers in their pants.  Oh wait, that’s Spinal Tap.  This is an uplifting political folk hippie track with a spoonful of Bob Dylan.  The singer does a great job with the lyrics, there’s plenty of guitar strumming, handclaps and a big bass drum.  Musically it’s pretty familiar, but I’m so grateful that somebody is singing about something besides how sad they are or about how they’re about to cream their pants that I will give big props for that.

@@@ Happyness: Anything I Do is All Right (Cinder Cone, 2014).  Another gold nugget  buried in the pile of shit known as CMJ.  Think the Ramones with breathy, intimate vocals.  A little less Gabba Gabba Hey than the Ramones.  Softer, that is.  The second tune, You Come to Kill Me? backs off the Ramones schtick pretty hard and oh boy, this is way too white boy softie for me.  I’m starting to sneeze.

@@@ Line & Circle: Debut (Line & Circle, 2014).  I guess somebody has to sound just like early-REM now that REM isn’t losing their religion any more.  I was never big on the REM juggernaut, but the singer is spooky close to the Stipe-ness.

https://soundcloud.com/lineandcircle/sets/line-circle_ep

@@@ Medicine: Home Everywhere (Captured Tracks, 2014).  Off this week’s All Music weekly email.  Slotted as dream pop, the opening track opens up spinny a bit like a medium dark acid trip.  Sargent Pepper’s with black paint swirled in and a touch of shoegaze vocal action.  An interesting blend of influences.  The second tune moves into a less trippy place, but it’s still not the dream pop it was labelled as.  Pretty hard hitting drum pattern in the second tune, Turning.  I’m not jumping up and down but I appreciate the creativity that went into these arrangements.

@@@  The Shivas: You Know What to Do (K Records, 2014).  Off the All Music weekly email.  Slotted as garage punk, the first tune has some Spaghetti Western/rockabilly tremolo going on.  Those folks expecting a blast of anti-social garage punk noise will get a pretty melodic medium rock experience.  Regular readers know how much I value the truth over selling records.  The second tune, Do the Crocodile, gets mad surfy and it stays in that Early Stones with twang neighborhood for the tunes I heard.

You can stream over here at KEXP.

 

 

Active Music Listening Tuesday October 28, 2014

YTD recordings listened to: 857
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 528
Not good music: 271

Honorable Mentions: 11
Buys: 14

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, Khun Narin, Doug Seegers, Shakey Graves, Jungle Fire, The Coral

@@@ Aaron Holm & Matthew Felton: Hours (Dissolve, 2014).  Two hour long pieces of piano and ambient electronics that I got to via a music publicist email.  These are some of my favorite ambient sounds — slow moving clouds of slowly turning sound.  Beautiful and a little ominous it’s like listening to the weather.  That’s one way I imagine it.  There is a very light rhythm consisting of high hat and a percussion instrument slightly echoed.  I won’t go on an on about it as I can’t share anything with you as this is a private Soundcloud listing. but I”m going to listen to more of this when I have time.  I tried, really.

You can read about the info behind the music here.

@@@ The Chemical Brothers featuring Miguel: This is Not a Game (Republic, 2014).  A track off the Hunger Games soundtrack that I got to via a music publicist.  Part frat boy dance, party slinky club track, and a dash of shopping mall electronica.  Either this vocalist doesn’t meld well with the Chemical Brothers’ style or these guys should stick with the instrumental jams.  It’s a big, flippy floppy pancake as my 6 year old says.

@@@ Cracker: From Berkeley to Bakersfield (429 Records, 2014).  I’m a big Cracker fan and I also appreciate the contributions David Lowery has had in the neverending digital music payment pissing match.  I guess the Berkeley disc is more rock and the Bakersfield is more country oriented.  This track clipped below, is a midtempo rocker — part Tom Petty with a tad of Credence Clearwater Revival.  Drums sound great, guitars are low key, and Lowery builds the tune to a white boy gospel climax.  This is not the wiseass Cracker of the ’90s, it’s more heartfelt.

You can stream over here.

@@@ Moire: Shelter (Werkdiscs, 2014).  Some ambient downtempo electronica I got to from the CFUV weekly email.  In the first tune we have a quasi-vocal loop, a minimalist synth bass throb over a foundation of boom titch (with handclaps!).  This first tune is nice, but I wish there was a bit more — maybe bring out the echoed/dub elements more, it feels a bit static to me.  The second tune, Dali House, is much clubbier with the classic kick drum and some twisted/processed vocals.  There’s some nice arranging here, solid B.

@@@ Mystery Skulls: Ghost (Warner Bros, 2014).  A track off their record, Forever, which is out today.  It is marketed by the Warner Bros publicity department as disco pop.  To me it sounds like a track off Prince’s early record ‘Controversy’ without the X rated lyrics and the guitar work.  Significant club production elements.

Active Music Listening Monday October 27, 2014

YTD recordings listened to: 852
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 525
Not good music: 269

Honorable Mentions: 11
Buys: 14

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, Khun Narin, Doug Seegers, Shakey Graves, Jungle Fire, The Coral

@@@ Satunuriv: Ante Nazara (Silent Realm Industries, 2014).  Some ambient electronic I’m reviewing at the request of the guys who put it out.  More melodically developed than the bulk of the electronica out there, the vibe is a little sci-fi soundtrack, a little New Age, a little ominous drum ‘n bass (Phyre), a little orchestral classical (Promethium) and a little club.  The beats are not classic boom titch, but they do have some funk under the hood.  Check it out.

@@@ Pig Destroyer: Mass & Volume (Relapse, 2014).  I love Pig Destroyer and I saw on the Aquarius Records’ weekly email that they have some new music out.  There are a couple of tracks up on the Beats and while they usually engage in a tasty meth grind, these are sludge bombs, people.  Bands get to change people, you gotta roll with it.  This tune, Mass & Volume is a drone track with guitar feedback and an Eastern sounding sitar like (maybe sitar).  Very tasty.  After an extended intro comes the distorted guitar mud –  waves of feedback and rolling distortion.  Super syrupy and slow.  God Bless America.  This Mass & Volume is like an angry flower blooming, it takes its time so chill and be hateful.  Oh, the vocals on this track are twisted, that’s very creative.

@@@ House of Lightning: Lightworker (Translation Loss, 2014).  Some math-y proggy/hardcore I got to via the Aquarius Records weekly email.  Big, buzzy mid-rangey guitars with occasional bursts of shred, set back reverbed vocals, and a herk-a-jerk drummer.  The vocals really make this record stand out — the drums are super out front with the guitars and there’s a dude in the back singing in a tunnel.  It’s interesting and may work for some folks.

@@@ I Am Julius: Falling on Hard Times (Not Sure, 2014).  Some uplifting electronica that mixes orchestral arranging with club music.  I’m not really into the axis of good/bad, but this is cheesy as fuck.  I mean, breathtaking, Big Pharma levels of sedation and disconnection.  That’s right, I used the word disconnection.

Active Music Listening Friday October 24, 2014

YTD recordings listened to: 848
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 523
Not good music: 267

Honorable Mentions: 11
Buys: 14

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, Khun Narin, Doug Seegers, Shakey Graves, Jungle Fire, The Coral

@@@ Wild Smiles: Always Tomorrow (Sunday Best, 2014).  Big Ramones influences on this power pop punk record I got to via a music publicist.  Guitars lower than on a Ramones record and the singer does not have that drill bit in your forehead nasal voice.  Big Foo Fighters in the second tune, Never Wanted This.  In fact, Foo Fighters is a much better point of reference than the Ramones.

@@@ Dave Hollister: Chicago Winds…The Saga Continues (eOne Music, 2014).  Some highly produced new style r&b off this week’s All Music weekly email.  Medium downtempo ballad tempo drum machine beats, layered and sculpted vocals, quiet storm synth based arrangements.  Straight loverboy music.

@@@  ginla: Things You Have (Earmilk, 2014).  Some ambient electronic torch music I got to via a music publicist.  If you took that aloof Radiohead vocal style and put it on top of a synth bass/hand clap drum machine foundation it would sound like this tune.  In between the rhythm machines and the voice is a wambly guitar and some big synth cloud action.

@@@ Little Big Town: Pain Killer (Liberty, 2014).  Some pop country confection I got to via the All Music weekly email.  Nice guitar sounds, draws guiltlessly on arena rock sounds and production while maintaining some twang.  This is corporate redneck party music, not my cup of tea but if you got a gunrack and a red neck check it out.  Bud Light in a can up in the air, y’all!

 

Active Music Listening Thursday October 23, 2014

YTD recordings listened to: 844
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 521
Not good music: 265

Honorable Mentions: 11
Buys: 14

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, Khun Narin, Doug Seegers, Shakey Graves, Jungle Fire, The Coral

@@@ The Coral: The Curse of Love (Skeleton Key, 2014).  I saw this record listed on the All Music weekly email and got pumped.  I’m a pretty big fan of these guys — they do a quirky, British, pastoral psychedelic rock type of thing.  Excellent arrangers and I really like the melodic bass playing.  Other than that, I’m not completely sure why I love this band — what they do just works for me.  Their music is quirky and weird without trying — they’re natural freaks.  I’m going to check out this whole record out when I have more time, but I have a feeling it’s gonna make one of my lists for the year.  When I fetched a video for your my loyal readers I saw this record was recorded in 2006, a time when I

@@@ Wrekmeister Harmonies: Then It All Came Down (Thrill Jockey, 2014).  I saw this listed as an alternative record in the weekly All Music email but it sounds awfully ambient to me.  I hear some angel voices and some sparse bass playing, some low profile guitar wrangling, but the rest consists of super long organ like tones.  It seems pretty clear to me that it evokes a piece of religious music.  I like it, I’m not jumping up and down but I like it.

You can stream over here at Invisible Oranges.

@@@ Deep Sea Diver: One By One (Not sure, 2014).  I got to this via music publicist and the blurb namechecks Back and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.  It doesn’t sound like that all to my ears — this is mainstream pop rock sporting a super clean and shaved sound.  I like the singer and I appreciate the arrangement, it’s a tad soft for my taste.  If you’re soft, this could be a dream come true for you.   It gets into some ’80s worship at the outro.

@@@ Rigor Mortis: Rigor Mortis (Rigor Mortis, 2014).  Off my heavy metal weekly mailorder these guys are super meth-y.  Fast as fuck and that’s saying something for the genre.  The singer and his lyrics are readily understandable and I appreciate that — call me old school.  I would classify the guitar as bee buzzy and the drums as a blend of hardcore, thrash, and epic metal.

@@@ Slipknot: .5: The Gray Chapter (Roadrunner, 2014).  These guys are notorious for their ill, anti-social costumes but we’re not here for the booty or the scary Halloween masks.  The first tune is more dramatical than heavy, with a sort of Nine Inch Nails alienated vibe.  I hope we get some beatdown soon, this first tune is pretty cheesy and aimed at the teens out there.  This second tune, Sarcastrophe, gets into some slightly over produced stoner gloom before it segues into a mainstream thrash rock nugget.  Super clean production, guitars panned out wide, excellent drum sound and the singer right in the center up in your grille with his trip.  I love the drums, the singer is cool, but they should bring up the guitars as they take away impact.  Fully pimped out record, moments of cheese and moments of corporate ferocity.