Active Music Listening Friday February 27, 2015

YTD recordings listened to: 163
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 95
Not good music: 56

Honorable Mentions: 7
Buys: 5

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, Spacesuits, T.O.M.B., Fofoulah, Lozen, Erase Errata, Mohammed Abozekry, Dawn Richard, Torche

@@@ King Woman: Doubt (The Flenser, 2015).  Out of the noteworthy section of my heavy metal mail-order weekly email.  Sludge-y/heavy rock guitars, not stony but more theatrical and epic.  Female singer, big reverb, she is the King Woman I imagine.  Nice guitar sounds, the drums are a bit low in the mix for me, but a bit too art school for me.

http://youtu.be/9SVCAj4bLRI

@@@ A Pregnant Light: My Game does not have a name (Colloquial Sounds, 2014).  Also off my email mail-order.  This is an old school emo record with a wee hair of heavy metal influence but mostly old school punk — I was expecting much less from the record title.  I like the singer’s energy, I wish the band was bringing what he gives.  If this guy had a smokin’ band he’d be getting somewhere in my book.

http://youtu.be/vFAwMSqGnKc

@@@ Freak Heat Waves: Bonnie’s State of Mind (Hockey Dad, 2015)  Dust off the old school drum machines, that retro doofus sound is coming back.  Some old school pong synths with some video game sounds/voices, and voila — indie electronic!  If this is what passes for cool I’m happy to be totally uncool.  If you want these sounds buy an old copy of — oh, here are some Krautrock disco vocals on the third tune.  Eh, I’m not a fan.

http://youtu.be/oPYjcsPM6BU

@@@ Kold: Searching the Ice Fields of Melancholopolis (Self-released, 2015).  This is the number 1 record in the electronic section of the CFUV weekly email.  It’s a bit sci-fi soundtrack with a little club influence and some more electronically drama.   Sounds a bit like R2D2 after he’s rocked a low quality burrito and his innards are protesting.

Advertisements

Active Music Listening Thursday February 26, 2015

YTD recordings listened to: 159
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 93
Not good music: 54

Honorable Mentions: 7
Buys: 5

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, Spacesuits, T.O.M.B., Fofoulah, Lozen, Erase Errata, Mohammed Abozekry, Dawn Richard, Torche

@@@ Torche: Restarter (Relapse, 2015).  I’m a pretty often spinner of Torche’s Harmonicraft and I usually find the follow ups or my hopes of follow up golden goodness don’t pan out.  These guys do a pretty unique thing, they make catchy, heavy music without hollowing out the muscle.  They’re not the toughest band on the planet, but they bring it pretty good.   Thus far, this first tune is raising my blood pressure in a positive manner.  Big, buzzy wall of sludgy guitars, big caveman drums, and a Perry Farrell faded singer.  My initial impression is that I don’t feel it quite as much as Harmonicraft but I’m gonna check it again as the middle part was starting to hit pretty hard and I was distracted cuz I’m busy and I blog for free so I spaced a bit.  I’ve clipped my favorite tune of this first listen, it’s pretty bammin’.  That’s right, bammin’.

http://youtu.be/baCPf7W8fgc

@@@ Kid Rock: First Kiss (Warner Bros, 2015)  Let’s give a sniff to Kid Rock’s fresh droppings.  Woof, I had no idea Kid Rock was such a pussy.  God, I’d rather listen to dogs fornicate.  He sounds a little new country, a little mainstream rock ala fellow Detroiter Bob Seger, and I think the best part of this record ran down his mama’s leg.

http://youtu.be/WTCnno-3EGE

@@@ On and On: Drifting (Roll Call, 2015).  I’m not sure of the wisdom of naming a band On and On.  As in the songs go…..  This is one of those indie space folk kinda ditties.  A white dude with a beard all alone singing tenderly with his arpeggiated guitar figures to keep him company in his loneliness.  We’re getting a schmear of those electronic warbles those kids today really love, and he’s a nice white boy, he’s not pissed off he’s buttery.  A little My Morning Jacket-y without a drummer and a little Damien Rice-y.  Here comes the crescendo and it’s worthy of NPR listeners.

@@@ WIN WIN: Couch Paranoia (Arts & Crafts, 2015).  A psych/electronic tune I got to via a music publicist.  A bit of Flaming Lips without guitars but with plenty of warbles and mashed up vocalities.  All of this goodness sits on a drum machine cracker or a cracker operating a drum machine.  Probably both.  Lots of synth, phased vocals, bass, twirbles and big vocal harmonies.  Dig?

Active Music Listening Wednesday February 25, 2015

YTD recordings listened to: 155
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 91
Not good music: 52

Honorable Mentions: 7
Buys: 5

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, Spacesuits, T.O.M.B., Fofoulah, Lozen, Erase Errata, Mohammed Abozekry, Dawn Richard

@@@ Natalie Prass: Self-titled (Star Time International, 2015).  Also off the New Artists You Gotta Know About Now from Stolling Rone.  Prass has a delicate, withdrawn voice and she’s doin’ sort of a slacker white r&b/Van Morrison kind of thing.  A big rock band ensemble with piano, strings, horns, even flute.  She’s definitely taking her time with this first tune My Baby Don’t Understand Me, so if you’re expecting some slashing commando soul performance take a few breaths and slow yourself down.  This is the full 1970’s laid-back rock performance so get yer bag of doobie out.

http://youtu.be/FdJqZriqbO4

@@@ Seinabo Sey: For Madeleine (Virgin, 2015)  Some major label pop/soul off the Stolling Rone must hear list.  Handclaps, synth bass and a lot of blues inflected vocal melodies.  To my ears it’s a bit like Moby’s big record, you know the one nobody listens to anymore.  Take some old school black music and update it and dance-ify it where you can.  This second tune has an organ in it and she’s singing about redemption and there’s your electronic process vocal hook.  Sometimes I actually know what I’m talking about.

http://youtu.be/GI5E5ewwN1s

@@@ Catfish & the Bottlemen (Communion Records, 2015).  These young Brits are on Rolling Stone’s You Gotta Know About these Bands Right Now here.  They got a little bit of Oasis goin on — not full on Gallagher brothers but when they push the pedal down.   There’s a couple of big tablespoons of Squeeze-style pop.  They got a big sound going on but I don’t hear a lot of charisma going on here — it’s a bit too familiar.

http://youtu.be/xrrcVxnjJO8

@@@ Hundred Visions: Ritual (Pau Wau Records, 2015)  Described by their publicist as ripping garage punk it’s really some pretty melodic pop punk with decent crunch.  I guess garage punk is cooler than pop punk.  The drummer is fully caffeinated and the vocalist does good work.

Active Music Listening Tuesday February 24, 2015

YTD recordings listened to: 151
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 89
Not good music: 50

Honorable Mentions: 7
Buys: 5

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, Spacesuits, T.O.M.B., Fofoulah, Lozen, Erase Errata, Mohammed Abozekry, Dawn Richard

@@@ Juke Joint Pimps: Boogie Pimps (Voodoo Rhythm, 2015).  I got this record because I bookmarked this record when I was a Spotify user so the Spotify people were nice enough to send me an email about the new Juke Joint Pimps record.  As opposed to the records below, these guys do have some dirt/grit to their sound.  They got a pretty thwackin’ drum sound going and the guitar player is hot.  Nice blues figures on his skranky electric.   The band sounds great and they’re tighter than a well digger’s ass.  Wait, the expression is colder than a well digger’s ass.  Man, it’s been cold up in the Brooklyn.

http://youtu.be/sLOMl0goZq0

@@@ Elle King: Love Stuff (RCA, 2015).  Off last week’s All Music weekly email.  Marketed as being at the intersection of Amy Winehouse and the White Stripes, she’s definitely not as sloppy/dirty as the White Stripes.  As for Amy Winehouse she doesn’t have that faded and stoned flow to her voice, she’s trying to sell that vibe but I don’t really buy it.    This record sounds a tad tight and corporate, unlike the differently corporate sound of Winehouse and Jack White.  She’s wannabe dirty.

http://youtu.be/EtM7zIF-IlU

@@@ The Mavericks: Mono (The Valory, 2015).  Also off last week’s All Music email.  A mash of Latin music/r&b/country/rock.  Big, torch singer, not as Latin or as rockin’ as Los Lobos.  They’re good musicians but a little too familiar sounding to my ears and I would stick with an early Los Lobos record like Kiko.

 

Active Music Listening Monday February 23, 2015

YTD recordings listened to: 148
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 87
Not good music: 49

Honorable Mentions: 7
Buys: 5

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, Spacesuits, T.O.M.B., Fofoulah, Lozen, Erase Errata, Mohammed Abozekry, Dawn Richard

@@@ Quitapenas: Quitapenas (Mas Tropical, 2015)  A Latin rock record off the WRIR weekly email.  Opens up with a big Santana guitar intro for the tune Valle Moreno that segues into some call and response vocals and a lot of hand drumming.  An interesting mix of rock and Latin world music.  Not rockin’ rock, but the guitar player definitely owns a lot of rock records.  I really dig the third tune Guyabo which features a pulsing salsa style bass with the shredding guitarist and some great vocal chanting.

@@@ Ibeyi: Ibeyi (XL, 2015).  Our last listen for the day — a pair of sisters doing Afro-Cuban downtempo electro soul.  Yowsa, what a mouthful.  This is out on a large indie so the production is pretty slick.  The second tune, Oya is pretty slow and torchy with a focus on the vocals in a sparse arrangement.  I’m on the fourth tune and while there have been a couple of moments of interesting singing, it’s not very remarkable music.  This could be intended to be sophisticated background music in yuppie bars and restaurants.

@@@ Melisande: Les Metamorphoses (Self-released, 2014) Another record off the WRIR weekly email.  Female vocalist singing in French, heavy electronic and world music influences.  Not sure if this is French Canadian, or French French but it’s a bit poppy for my taste.  Ah, the Google Tube says Canada, mystery solved.  Canadian electro-pop with a shmidge of world.

@@@ Nillson Matta’s Black Orpheus (Motema, 2013).  I saw the listing for Matta’s new record on the weekly WRIR email, but this effort from two years ago is on my Beats store.  This is a highbrow, quasi-classical jazz record with strong Brazilian music influences — think Sketches of Spain with more instruments.  You have to be wearing pants and be freshy showered to listen to this record and there’s room for everybody in the world music/jazz tent.

Geeks and narcissists team up to destroy your emotional life

From here:

The Oscars are also, by any objective measure, a decadent and stupid ritual, an orgy of luxury branding and self-congratulation for an industry already bloated by both. But the reason I find the Academy Awards especially gross has to do with the way the ceremony turns artistic endeavor into a zero-sum game.

 


This statement applies equally to the Grammys.  Movies, music, books, they’re all different versions of the same product.

Late in this article the author talks about the individual’s ability to engage with a piece of art according to that individual’s emotional life and their needs at that point.

And I would say that the music and movie business and the geeks that are transforming those business through the extensive use of data and metrics absolutely do not give two shits about your emotional life or your needs at any point of time.  In fact, those two things are an obstacle to them selling you more mindless, corporate cultural PRODUCT.

The sooner you realize that the people in charge could give a fuck about you, the sooner you can turn away from the Beyonce shit, and the Miley Cyrus shit, and the Justin Timberlake shit, and the NIckelback shit, and the Imitation Game shit (I watched half, what a colossal pile of shit), the J-Law shit, all the corporate shit that will destroy your mind allowing you to be controlled by data and numbers and corrupt critics who put pretty wrapping paper on this mindless garbage and the sooner you can find musicians and film makers that are trying to connect with your emotions and alleviate some of what might ails.

Like the documentary The Missing Piece.
Like the Edward Snowden doc Citizenfour (I know it got nominated).
Like the Carcass record ‘Surgical Steel’.
Or Tzenni by Noura Mint Seymali.

That is art and culture that will make you feel something.  Maybe they won’t make you jump up and down for joy but it’s always been my motto that feeling bad is much better than feeling nothing at all.

And most of this corporate ‘art’ is designed to make you feel nothing at all.

Spectacle and cliches and tits.

Best of 2015 Pick 7

Coffinworm: IV.I.VIII (Profound Lore, 2014)

A lot of the metal records I like are undercover modified hardcore punk records.  Sloppy, thrashin around like a fish in the bottom of the boat, pissed off and lurching around.  Awesome examples of precision metal I can get with, but uptight metal is not a big draw for me.

These guys, however, are a metal outfit.  Big sludgy power chords, caveman drummer, fully unintelligible singer.  However the drummer is extremely musical and the guitar tone is absolutely huge — big oozing waves of distortion with a pleasing sharpness that keeps it from the stoner rock realm.

These guys are also excellent arrangers and keep their tunes interesting.  Sections centered around riffage, thrash sections, stoner rock/purple drank/slower sections with waves of distortion.

Just when you get tired of the singer’s caveman shred he erupts in a Satan ate my AM radio howling goblin tone.

These guys are rough and creative, check them out.