2014 Honorable Mention Pick 7

Max Capote: Aperitivo De Moda (Contrapedal, 2014)

A little lounge-y, a little French pop, some Elvis Costello classic rock, and a charismatic vocalist who sings in Spanish.  I believe Mr. Capote hails from Mexico.

Cracking drummer who works well across the various styles that Capote traffics, poppy but not cheesy arrangements.

Leave it to a dude from Mexico to show Williamsburgers how to make quality, hipster entertainment.

http://youtu.be/Yr523xOB22w

Best of 2015 Pick 3

Bio Ritmo: Puerta Del Sur (Vampisoul, 2014).

A smoking Latin salsa band out of Virginia.  With great musicians at all positions this record is an explosion of rhythm and melody.  Bumpin’ horn section, melodic bass player, tight percussionist and a singer that works the microphone hard.

One interesting difference in this recording is the keyboard players.  Some tunes a piano, sometimes and electric keyboard and an organ elsewhere.  These little switches keep the tunes a bit fresher.  There are some really nice horn solos on the record and the arrangements are high quality.

#music

Active Music Listening Friday January 30, 2015

YTD recordings listened to: 85
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 49
Not good music: 28

Honorable Mentions: 7
Buys: 3

Possibles: Boyd Rivers, Chris McGregor, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Dave Arner Trio, Bill Horist, MAKU Soundsystem, Zomby, Retox, About Group, Jessie Mae Hemphill, Bone Dance, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Debruit, Slidhr, The Whammies, The Chewers, Alexander Hawkins, Cheryl Pyle, Toxic Holocaust, Equal Stones, Comeback Kid, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Lenguas Largas, The Coral, Coffinworm, Spacesuits, T.O.M.B., Sons of Huns, Fofoulah, Lozen,

@@@ Punch Brothers: The Phosphorescent Blues (Nonesuch, 2015)  Labelled as contemporary bluegrass, I don’t hear much bluegrass on this first tune, Familiarity.  I hear some really nice production courtesy of T-Bone Burnett.  I would call this progressive bluegrass as it’s mad proggy.  As if the dude is slipping an undercover Yes record into the proceedings.  I’m half wrong here as it’s called contemporary bluegrass at the top of its little square on the All Music email and it’s called progressive bluegrass in the description.  I like some of the sounds on the record but it’s more than a bit refined and weak knee-d for my taste.  It’s out on Nonesuch, the label of the 1% so that’s to be expected.

http://youtu.be/Ppn7eQSBdJQ?list=PL1LdhIYX_Ca9O1sE0dBLz0vlsO0SAoc4G

@@@ Noveller: Into the Dunes (Fire Records, 2015).  Some experimental ambient music off the All Music weekly email.  I have two tunes up on my Beats store.  I’m listening to the title track and it’s got a lot of reverb but it doesn’t sound that ambient to me, I’m getting more of an epic slow guitar jam vibe than a floating clouds of sound.  But I will hang in there for my loyal listeners.  I’m on the second tune and it’s really just instrumental guitar music without a drummer.  Snoozy guitar pedal music with a little synth sauce.  Now folks might love it but it’s not experimental ambient music.

http://youtu.be/IQG0knPjk48

@@@ Pearls: Big Shot (Dash Dot, 2015)  Marketed as glam rock I hear a little glam and a lot of blue eyed disco.  Big fat kick snare beat with that throbbing T. Rex bass and then over the top comes the sexy disco sauce.  Kinda struts for a bit and then goes back to sleep.

Active Music Listening Thursday January 29, 2015

YTD recordings listened to: 82
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 47
Not good music: 27

Honorable Mentions: 6
Buys: 3

Possibles: Boyd Rivers, Chris McGregor, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Dave Arner Trio, Bill Horist, MAKU Soundsystem, Zomby, Retox, About Group, Jessie Mae Hemphill, Bone Dance, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Debruit, Slidhr, The Whammies, The Chewers, Alexander Hawkins, Cheryl Pyle, Toxic Holocaust, Equal Stones, Comeback Kid, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Bio Ritmo, Lenguas Largas, The Coral, Coffinworm, Spacesuits, T.O.M.B., Sons of Huns, Fofoulah, Lozen, Max Capote

@@@  Grossbuster: Singularity (Self-released, 2014).  In the wake of the historic announcement that they Ghostbusters movie will be done by an all female cast I will check out this record by Grossbuster.  This sounds a bunch like an old school trip hop record.  Midtempo funky beats, female voice, and a bit of a more modern chopped feel to the arrangements.  The second tune, Siam I Am, has a slinkier and dirty feel which I dig as I’m a deviant.  I feel like the ideas are good here but the tunes as they’re instrumentals could have used more musical elements.  I hope the Ghostbusters remake is good.  If you would like to hear a slammin’ instrumental hip hop record check out the record Batuk Freak by Karol Conka that came out last year.

http://youtu.be/I-CbY9Fpwvk

@@@ Congo Sanchez: Dealin’ With This (Herb Records, 2014).  Also off the CFUV weekly playlist email.  Some political hip hop with a variety of musical influences — some indie, electronica and r&b and hip hop.  I like the sounds on the record but I’m not feeling the tunes as much.

http://youtu.be/LjEQClByYFw

@@@ H. Hawkline: In the Pink of Condition (Heavenly, 2015).  Off a music publicist email.  Hashtagged on Soundcloud as #WelshPop it has an ambient feel to it that is not very poppy but works well for the music.  It’s part escaped circus and part haunted house music.  I like the tune that’s clipped below and it looks as if vocals and more straightforward Welsh pop tunes show up as you move through the record.

@@@ Churchburn: The Awaiting Coffins (Armageddon, 2014).  Some super stony doom metal off my heavy metal weekly newsletter.  Full on buzzing, lava guitars with a slow basher on the drum kit and an underworld-y sounding singer.  Not a caveman, but a throat shredder.  They get some tempo and riffage going in this second song, V.  These guys bring some real nice mid tempo aggression to your day.  Oh, they’re into a quasi-operatic melodic guitar shred, this is a pu pu platter of metal.

Active Music Listening Wednesday January 28, 2014

YTD recordings listened to: 78
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 45
Not good music: 25

Honorable Mentions: 6
Buys: 3

Possibles: Boyd Rivers, Chris McGregor, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Dave Arner Trio, Bill Horist, MAKU Soundsystem, Zomby, Retox, About Group, Jessie Mae Hemphill, Bone Dance, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Debruit, Slidhr, The Whammies, The Chewers, Alexander Hawkins, Cheryl Pyle, Toxic Holocaust, Equal Stones, Comeback Kid, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Bio Ritmo, Lenguas Largas, The Coral, Coffinworm, Spacesuits, T.O.M.B., Sons of Huns, Fofoulah, Lozen, Max Capote

@@@ Napalm Death: Apex Predator – Easy Meat (Century Media, 2015).  I got to this via the All Music weekly email.  After a bit of a tedious tribal/aggro first tune they get into the metal smackdown on the Smash a Single Digit.  I don’t have a lot of Napalm Death listening under my belt despite their almost legendary status in heavy metal.  These guys are an interesting bled.  A little technical metal, a nice heaping cup of thrash, some classic metal and even a some good old punk hostility.  There might be a meth lab in their tour bus as this is no pretty boy metal, they just get behind the mule and plow.  I’m going to have to come back to this record.

@@@ The Lone Bellow: Then Came the Morning (Descendant, 2015).  Shades of the Band but with more spiritual aspirations, at least on the first tune Then Came the Morning. The second tune is a more intimate tune and I’m guessing this is aimed at that very profitable NPR demographic.  Pretty, subtly uplifting and the singer has a voice many folks fall for.  I like it, but it’s just a bit too sweet and a tad New Age-y for my taste.  Any sort of grit or muscle would have made it a more multi-dimensional listen, in my humble opinion.

@@@ Prince: This Could Be Us (Warner Bros, 2015).  A single from Prince’s new record.  I’m a huge fan from way back but have fallen out of touch with him over the years.  Man this dude can sing with sould.  The tune is pretty stripped down with minimal guitar plinking and a simple beat to showcase his vocals.  He builds a real nice multitracked vocal choir as the song goes out with some guitar shredding, a bit of piano.  The tune is mostly a showcase for Prince’s vocals which are pretty great.

@@@ Panthar: Ghost Rocket (New Professor, 2015).  Some glammy guitar indie electronic I got to via a music publicist.  Some electro blurps in the verse and big power chords in the chorus.  Kind of an odd duck as it careens from moments of punk to cutesy indie electronic.  I guess Blondie would be a good touchstone for these guys.

Active Music Listening Tuesday January 27, 2015

YTD recordings listened to: 74
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 42
Not good music: 24

Honorable Mentions: 6
Buys: 3

Possibles: Boyd Rivers, Chris McGregor, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Dave Arner Trio, Bill Horist, MAKU Soundsystem, Zomby, Retox, About Group, Jessie Mae Hemphill, Bone Dance, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Debruit, Slidhr, The Whammies, The Chewers, Alexander Hawkins, Cheryl Pyle, Toxic Holocaust, Equal Stones, Comeback Kid, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Bio Ritmo, Lenguas Largas, The Coral, Coffinworm, Spacesuits, T.O.M.B., Sons of Huns, Fofoulah, Lozen, Max Capote

@@@ Max Capote: Aperitivo De Moda (Contrapedal, 2014).  Some super upbeat ’70s influenced Latin pop.  Never mind Taylor Swift, this is some awful catchy shit.  Bouncy horns, melodic bass lines and a singer that’s working overtime on the microphone.  Heavy French pop influences and this maintains a classic feel while sounding fresh at the same time.  I’m going to check this out further when I have the time.

@@@ Death Valley Driver: Carnivore’s Oath (Diminished Fifth, 2014).  Off CFUV’s playlist email.  Some mainstream hard rock — big arena rock drums and some straightforward riffage.  I was expecting something more aggressive with a title like Carnivore’s Oath.

@@@ The Dirty Sample: Raw Produce (Phonographique, 2015).  Off the DFUV weekly playlist email.  Beats are pretty old school to my ear and the is reminiscent of ’90s NYC medium gangster hip hop record.  As I always disclaim, I listen to a fair amount of hip hop but I’m no expert.  It’s pretty Wu-ey and it’s more than medium gangsta.  I like the beats and the production.

@@@ Psychosomatic Itch: Gluegaze (Not sure, 2015).  Some ambient noise/post-punk I got to after they were namechecked on the pre-blurb on the weekly CFUV weekly email.   Plenty of rockin’ guitars to go with the psych outbursts of squall and a dark, demented singer.

Active Music Listening Monday January 26, 2015

YTD recordings listened to: 70
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 39
Not good music: 23

Honorable Mentions: 6
Buys: 3

Possibles: Boyd Rivers, Chris McGregor, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Dave Arner Trio, Bill Horist, MAKU Soundsystem, Zomby, Retox, About Group, Jessie Mae Hemphill, Bone Dance, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Debruit, Slidhr, The Whammies, The Chewers, Alexander Hawkins, Cheryl Pyle, Toxic Holocaust, Equal Stones, Comeback Kid, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Bio Ritmo, Lenguas Largas, The Coral, Coffinworm, Spacesuits, T.O.M.B., Sons of Huns, Fofoulah, Lozen

@@@ Dengue Fever: Little Drummer Boy (Tuk Tuk, 2014).  A cover in Cambodian of the Christmas dittie Little Drummer Boy.  Heavy on the funk, medium heavy on the weirdness.  The Beats store blurb says something about these guys forming in L.A. so that explains the choice of an American Christmas tune.  I just watched a documentary about Cambodia during the time of Pol Pot.  It was called The Missing Picture and it had some pretty funky weird music in it.  Folks should really see that flick it’s awesome, it’s very difficult to explain it in words.  It was made by a work camp survivor and he salvaged black and white footage from one of Pol Pot’s official videographers and he mixes that with claymation figures and his personal recollection.  I like this tune but it’s hard to get excited about the Little Drummer Boy and I don’t have access to their latest album which I saw on WRIR’s weekly playlist email.  Check the flick out!!!

@@@ E.N Young: Live Love Stay Up (Roots Musician Group, 2015).  Some roots reggae I saw listed on WRIR’s weekly email.  This is a very lush recording with a full horn section and a lyrical focus on positivity and rising up.  I’ve heard two singers thus far, oh I’m wrong he’s got guest singers.  This is quite a luxurious headphone listen.  He gets all loverboy on the third tune Be Back Real Soon.  I preferred the most recent Faianatur record that I also found via the WRIR weekly email and I thought the singer on the album did a great job.

@@@ Dry the River: Rollerskate (Transgressive Records, 2015).  The most notable thing about this tune is the singer’s highbrow tone.  He’s mad refined and he sings within a pretty standard guitar indie arrangement.  He’s not quite as fragile as Antony from Antony and the Johnsons, whose freakiness on the mic I totally respect.  Yeah, that’s right I know my indie shit, CMJ/Pitchfork assholes.  Oh they get super choir-tastic on the outro — well, they appear to be from the UK and they are surely bringing the drama on this tune.  I got to this via a music publicist.

@@@ Alex Winston: Careless (300 Entertainment, 2015).  Oh my, if you are in the mood for some super breathy female singing and an emotionally overwrought tune a la Kate Bush or Tori Amos, this tune will hook you up in spades.  Super stacked vocals, meaningful resonant piano chords and a monster shopping mall hook in the chorus.  Give it to me, I’m down on the floor.  Oh my, she might be really horny and dramatical, I wouldn’t want to presume.