Active Music Listening Sunday February 15, 2015

YTD recordings listened to: 127
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 73
Not good music: 43

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

@@@ Dawn Richard: Blackheart (Our Dawn Entertainment, 2015).  I saw this singer’s record get a huge article in the Guardian here and she is noticeable as an artist that is releasing her own music and not using a PR artist and then going on to say that it is a feminist act to do it this way.  Excellent reasoning I can totally get with.  And she says she’s unwilling to use a PR firm so that she can retain total control over her artistic vision.  I almost fell out of my chair.

She’s made an urban dance pop record and that’s not a genre I usually get with but the arrangements and the production is very fresh.  The music is funky but not mindless and there’s a denseness to the production that makes it stand out in this genre.

I might add that one reason major record labels don’t release quality music is that if something is put together differently you have to pay attention, and paying attention is not good for business.  As this record moved on, I started to get into it more and while it’s not the most ambitious record I’ve heard for this genre it’s pretty high in nutrition.  It reminds me of a trippy electronic version of an early Prince record.

The key to Beyonce’s fame is the illusion that not only is she a sexy internet troll, she’s also a creative musical genius.  And for that illusion to continue records like this one by a black woman where the music is adventurous and trippy and dense have to be suppressed.  The truth is this record is miles more interesting than Beyonce’s last record, Miley Cyrus’ Bangerz, and Taylor Swift’s feel good biscuit all mashed into one giant pop music pill.

I can root for this record and recommend others to check it out for that reason alone.

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