Active Music Listening Wednesday March 11, 2015

YTD recordings listened to: 196
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 116
Not good music: 68

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

@@@ Madonna: Rebel Heart (Interscope, 2015).  At least when Madonna makes club music you know it’s from a love of club music and not just from a love of money.  This first tune is pretty hype with fresh sounds that Madonna has definitely not put together.  The lyrics are typical Madonna — Mother Mary, sins being washed away, etc.  Sung a little better than her usual.  Well it’s looking like the first tune is the killer as the second and third are more torch-y and pretty ordinary.  The fourth tune is a dancehall reggae type track, that could be my ticket out.  Fresh sounds, and this fifth tune, Illuminati is pretty good.  Some hits, some misses, certainly a better collection of bangerz than Miley Cyrus’ last biscuit.

@@@ Dick Diver: Melbourne, Florida (Trouble in Mind, 2015).  A bit of an odd name for a band that combines Squeeze and other classic guitar pop rock bands.  Seems to want to straddle Bruce Springsteen/Tom Petty and Yo La Tengo at the same time.  Kinda interesting.  It’s not the tempo that reminds me of Bruce, it’s the use of the sax in the guitar rock band.  I can see folks grooving on this.

@@@ Matthew E. White: Fresh Blood (Domino, 2015).  Not the usual Domino fare.  This is a piano songwriter/soul mashup that really takes the listener back to that mid ’70s laid-back rock/soul sound.  It’s a pretty interesting mix of sounds to find at the indie level and he does a good job but I wish it was a bit funkier and heavier in the rhythm section.  He’s got a pretty happening voice.

@@@ Will Butler: Policy (Merge, 2015).  Also off this week’s All Music weekly email.  This guy is one of the Arcade Fire people so I’m a bit surprised when he comes out rocking instead of all mopey, suburban and Arcade Fire-y.  The mix is super bright and could use some low end.   Ah, they synth rock shows up in the second tune and the super sharp guitars have been replaced with some Billy Idol synth rock action.  Stylistically, it’s a bit of a grab bag as we went from rock rave up to hooky synth tune to a ballad.



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