Active Music Listening Tuesday March 31, 2015

YTD recordings listened to: 243
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 144
Not good music: 83

Honorable Mentions: 8
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, Leo Welch, Astral Swans, Mastery, Leviathan, Lightning Bolt

@@@ Ginger Johnson and his African Messengers: I Jool Omo/Talking Drum (Freestyle, 2015)  An African salsa single on side A I got to via the WRIR weekly email.  A lot of hand drums, some super sweet flute playing, sax, and team singing.  Old school vibe with a lot of swinging/punch to be had.  The second tune is an Afrobeat instrumental with a big horn line and talking drums.

https://youtu.be/PDf3GksmmnA

@@@ Dead Sara: Pleased to Meet You (Planet Kids, 2015).  A record off the Beats front page.  Opens up with a growly bass and a pants on fire female singer.  Sounds a bit like Heart had a love-baby with Jane’s Addiction.  It’s mostly a mainstream rock shred, I like the guitar player, he’s catching my ear a bunch but it’s the singer’s show for the most part. You could do a lot worse than this for mainstream riff rock.

@@@ Aziz Sahmaoui and University of Gnawa: Self-titled (World Village, 2011).  Also off the  WRIR weekly email.  A lot of rhythmic plucking, hand drumming and some electronic sounds or an electric guitar, I can’t tell which.  I think it’s an electric guitar.  They really heat it up on the third song, Ana Hayou.  

https://youtu.be/TWFGiUJ_pmg

@@@ Gold Link: Sober Thoughts (Ultra,2015).  Some hip hop with heavy funky electronic influences.  The MC has an interesting herky, jerky flow on the mic and the sung chorus good.  There’s some real nice chill organ underpinning the tune.

https://youtu.be/vljMam4eQfM

 

Active Music Listening Monday March 30, 2015

YTD recordings listened to: 239
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 141
Not good music: 82

Honorable Mentions: 8
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, Leo Welch, Astral Swans, Mastery, Leviathan, Lightning Bolt

@@@ Chimurenga Renaissance – Kudada Nekuva Munhu Mutema (Brick Lane) Some African hip hop I got to via the CFUV weekly email.  The record has obvious differences with an American hip hop, say the presence of a thumb piano and the accents of the multiple MCs, including guest rappers from America.  The beats are a bit lower in the mix, the arrangements sound a bit more like they’re coming from a band, and while retaining a funky hip hop vibe.

https://youtu.be/Wcy-jzlMJtM

@@@ Skinny Lister: This is War (Not sure, 2015).  Some amped up Irish folk with a pubic hair of the Clash and a couple of tablespoons of rock flavor.  All of a sudden I feel like having a beer, something dark.  Very familiar, a bunch like the Pogues without the drunk singer and catchy as fuck.  My 6 year old is feeling it, and that’s not an insult.

https://youtu.be/OjmBoL9fn7Q

@@@ Cillie Barnes: Earthquake Season at the Crystal Convention (Not sure, 2015).  Some cosmic indie I got to via a music publicist.  Slow, lots of reverb an orchestral arrangement — acoustic guitar, single piano note melodies slowly played, organ swells, and drums played lightly or with brushes.  Maybe even a zither up in there.  She has a really nice voice.

@@@ The Cribs: Burning For No One (Arts & Crafts, 2015) Some neither here nor there mainstream rock that I got to via a music publicist.  Rocks a little, pops a little, if you dig the vocal hook you’re golden.   Comes with oohs and aaahs.

Active Music Listening Friday March 27, 2015

YTD recordings listened to: 235
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 138
Not good music: 81

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, Leo Welch, Astral Swans, Mastery, Leviathan, The Skints, Lightning Bolt

@@@ Lightning Bolt: Fantasy Empire (Thrill Jockey, 2015).  I’ve always thought these guys were long on raw, vomitous vibe and short on musicality but I’m impressed with the arrangement and the musicality of this first tune, the Metal East.  Frenetic guitar over the monster aggro-bass and some really piquant spray punk drumming.  Makes you wanna go out and burn somebody’s house down.  I hope it’s not one great tune followed by a trail of sloppy droppings.  Sweet, they come out swinging in this second tune, Over the River and Through the Woods — some pile driving power chord action with the same meth drumming and a delayed, fucked in the head Butthole Surfers vocal stylings.  Here’s why you have to listen — I’ve really disliked some of the stuff this band has done but this is some bad ass, intelligent sonic bulldozing.  Will be checking this out more when I get the chance.

@@@ Twin Shadow: Eclipse (Warner, 2015).  Off the weekly All Music email, same as the Lightning Bolt record above.   This first tune is a slow power ballad with the full drama.  Oy, open up the pipeline into the malls and ready the injection.  If you take the cheese of the ballad and mix it with the cheesy drama of the new school r&b and mix it with the cheese of 1980’s synth rock — what was that mainstream pizza chain that sold some 6 cheese pizza where the crust was stuffed with cheese and it’s served in a box made out of cheese.  That’s what this is.

@@@ Allison Moorer: Down to Believing (eOne, 2015).  Also off the All Music weekly email.  A new country/roots/rock mash — shiny mix, uptempo (first tune.  The second tune is a big epic burner — wailing, big guitar, a schmear of Bon Jovi with a cowboy hat.  Pretty standard formula, I would stick with my Lucinda Williams off kilter version of this sound.

Active Music Listening Thursday March 26, 2015

YTD recordings listened to: 232
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 137
Not good music: 80

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, Leo Welch, Astral Swans, Mastery, Leviathan, The Skints

@@@ Mirk: Let it Go (Not sure, 2015).  Some independent hip hop out of Albany, NY that I got to via a promo email.  Big gospel-tinged female singer intro before the MC moves in to bring some very quick rhymes over a big church-y kind of arrangement.  I usually peep these videos without watching the video, but I clicked over and saw that it’s a robbery/escape in the video which is strange as the song doesn’t have a gangsta feel.  God, I fucking hate music videos.

@@@ Beardyman: Distractions (Tummy Touch, 2014).  Some indie electronic funk I got to via the CFUV weekly email (for the below review as well).  Thick sub bass, some above average synth work and a phaserized, sci-fi voice.  The second tune follows the same formula at a slower tempo while the third tune then morphs into some synth rock with some  quasi-epic slow guitar distorto-melodies.  Eh, I was more into the full funk flow, and if the guitar sounded better I would buy into it more.

https://soundcloud.com/beardyman/the-quest-for-a-unified-theory

@@@ Courtney Barnett: Sometimes I Sit and Think, Sometimes I Just Sit (Mom and Pop, 2015).  This record is getting a big push with someone going so far as to say that she was the heir apparent to Bob Dylan.  The first tune is raved up 1970’s rock with organ but I’m not getting that Zimmerman vibe.  These music publicists really get quite ahead of themselves.  The second tune is much more Joan Jett than Bob Dylan — I do see that she has a very casual way of tossing lyrics but that’s hardly enough — not that Bob Dylan is Jesus, by the way.

https://youtu.be/ibUpAFyVVZ8

@@@ Chastity Belt: Time to Go Home (Hardly Act, 2015).  Some mopey shoe gaze indie I got to via the CFUV weekly email.  Cruchy rhythm guitar, and some guitar noodling over the top and a reversed out/detached female singer.  Gets a little heated up on the second tune, Trapped.   Not really my cup of tea, judge for yourself.

Active Music Listening Wednesday March 25, 2015

YTD recordings listened to: 228
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 135
Not good music: 78

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, Leo Welch, Astral Swans, Mastery, Leviathan, The Skints

@@@ Sam Prekop: The Republic (Thrill Jockey, 2015)  I’ve seen this album mentioned elsewhere but I saw it on Aquarius Records’ new arrival list and decided to check it out.  The Republic 1 opens up the record expansive and ambient with an oscillating sound up front and thin strings of sound floating behind it.  And here’s a wave of weeeeeee and static.  Very nice work.  There are nine pieces titled Republic 1, Republic 2, (as well as other pieces )etc and they all employ the same aesthetic — minimalist arrangement with a repeating figure and garnish.  High quality ambient electronic.

https://youtu.be/v3ALzDwFrn8

@@@ Kendrick Lamar: To Pimp a Butterfly (Interscope, 2015).  A friend of mine asked if I thought this record is as good as its press.  I didn’t think the first album was as good as everybody said it was.  The first tune is a retro-funk jam featuring George Clinton and the second tune features sax and a chunks of jazz beats while Lamar comes on and raps about how free his penis is (or not).  I remember this from his first record, he’s mad horny.  Heavy George Clinton influence in these arrangements with some vintage Prince style guitar.  The sounds here are top notch, great beats and pretty incredible arrangements, but outside of the tune clipped below, I don’t find his lyrics aren’t as compelling as the sounds.  

@@@ Follakzoid: III (Sacred Bones, 2015).  I peeped these guys before, they mix psych and electronic music in big jams.  Sort of like somebody dragged Pink Floyd to the club and gave them some Molly.  Big space noodle guitar with basic boom-titch beats.  An interesting mashup.  

http://soundcloud.com/sacredbones/sets/follakzoid-iii-full-album

@@@ Amnesia Bleach: The Light (Not sure, 2015).  A mainstream rock tune being marketed as an indie affair.  Big vocal hook in the chorus, 1980’s guitar sounds mixed with big power chords and straight rock drums.  Don’t forget the uplifting lyrics — don’t lose hope, fight, the battle has been won, yadda yadda yadda.

Active Music Listening Tuesday March 24, 2015

YTD recordings listened to: 224
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 132
Not good music: 77

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, Leo Welch, Astral Swans, Mastery, Leviathan, The Skints

@@@ The Skints: FM (Easy Star)  Also off the WRIR weekly email as is the review below.  Reggae/roots out of London.  The second tune, This Town, features a six foot wide bass featuring a couple of singers, one super quick male and a silky smooth female.  And now another MC hitting’ it.  Oh my, this is hot.  Not super old school roots as there is a fair amount of trippy synth squirbles and it leans more towards more dancehall than Lee Perry.    I’m going to check this out more when I have a chance.

https://youtu.be/NT2w8u8uMdY

@@@ The Bluebeaters: Roll With It (Record Kicks, 2015)  I saw this Italian ska/reggae mentioned on the WRIR review email and found this single up on the Beats.  Buttery smooth singer over a tight band.  Excellent drummer with strong players across the whole band, very sweet while still packing a punch.  I would definitely check out more if I had access.

https://youtu.be/xTHbWbEM0F0

@@@ Dirty Bourbon River Show: Volume Four (Dirty Bourbon River Show, 2013).  I got an email from a music publicist.  Right out of the box these guys jump into the crazy aunt in the basement klezmer neighborhood — what else would you expect from a tune called Ballad of the Oompa Soca Man and the Orungatan Factory?  The tune has segued into a sweeter reprieve and instrumentation consisting of piano, tuba, clarinet, sax, vocals, percussion, and drums.  Big respect for getting your freak on with this record.

https://youtu.be/nY58VG0laBw

@@@ Stella: Last Minute Boy (Psilos, 2015).  A ’80s influenced indie track — chorused guitar, thick bass and a dance rock beat.  Super breezy and a tune for warmer weather for sure.