Active Music Listening Tuesday January 13, 2015

YTD recordings listened to: 31
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 18
Not good music: 9

Honorable Mentions: 3
Buys: 1

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, Khun Narin, Doug Seegers, The Coral, Coffinworm, Akele Wube, Spacesuits, T.O.M.B., Fainatur, Sons of Huns, Samba Toure

@@@ Dobet Gnahore: Na Dre (Not sure, 2014).  I got to this record via a music publicist.  Gnahore has a versatile voice and her tunes sport a wide variety of African music influences with tinges of reggae/dub as well as pop thrown in for good measure.  Her band is tight, the production is polished and lush and you can read and stream the record over here.

@@@ Gridlink: Longhena (Handshake Inc, 2014).  I’m checking out NPR’s best heavy metal records for 2014 and I can’t believe this but they actually picked this frantic emo/grindcore mashup as their #1 record.  The drummer is a meth-ed out battering ram and the singer sounds like he’s got one finger in the light socket and one toe in the bathtub.  I dig the emo style guitar work in the opener, Constant Autumn.  There are periodic quiet interludes where piano and strings make appearances but that’s just to catch your breath before your face gets ripped off again.  This is some pretty high quality hostility.

@@@ High Spirits: You Are Here (High Spirits, 2014).  If you’re looking for a super catchy amped up version of Cheap Trick with a big, leather pants-ed rock star singer these guys will hook you up.  I dig the intent to catch ears.  I don’t love these guitar sounds, a little too space age/Boston for my tastes — something with more muscle would make this more enjoyable for me.  Big, FM radio hooks if that’s how you roll!

@@@ Morbus Chron: Sweven (Century Media, 2014).  Hopefully this wasn’t some sort of typo where the record was supposed to be called Seven.  Or worse, I hope they’re not making fun of people with speech impediments.  Ah, Sweven is a Middle English word for dream and that helps to understand the sound of this record.  While I expect skullcrushing and bone snapping at some point it’s a bit of a dreamy opener for this record.  Clean melodic prog that I desperately hope morphs into the sound of Satan.  These guys get to rocking and they have at the Gates of Hell sounding singer but it’s more of an epic jam than a metal beatdown.  Some guitar shredding, frequent song section changes, big aspirations.  Not best of year for me, but I give it a sweven.

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