Active Music Listening Monday March 23, 2015

YTD recordings listened to: 220
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 130
Not good music: 76

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 Nile Project: Aswan (The Nile Project, 2013).  A world record influenced by all the musics in the area of the Nile River that I got to after seeing a shout for a live gig by this outfit from a progressive upstate NY organization.  Dirty fucking hippies.  The first tune was a little slow to get going.  The instrumentation is violin, electric bass, some traditional Middle Easter strings, hand drums,  horns, and a lot of vocalists.  This second tune is cooking right proper.  Powerful both melodically and rhythmically and the live feel of the record helps bring out the energy of the music.

@@@ Ribspreader: Meat Hymns (Vic Records, 2014).  Classic speed metal with plenty of double kick punishment, heavy rhythmic guitar ka-chunk with occasional pig squeals from said guitar and a caveman singer who is actually somewhat intelligible.  No stoner, gloom or sludge sauce, this is straight up super speedy metal on Red Bull.  I got to this record via my heavy metal weekly email.

@@@ Taraf De Haidouks & Kocani Orkestar: Band of Gypsies 2 (Crammed Discs, 2011).  More world music, this time from a Romanian Gypsy outfit celebrating their 25th anniversary.  Full on band with multiple violinists/fiddlers, stringed instruments, upright bass, tuba, and percussion.  These guys are as energetic as the metal heads in my previous listen.  These guys bring it so be prepared you’re gonna be exhausted when they’re done with you.

@@@ Temple Invisible: Anima (Not sure, 2015).  More music from Romania, this time electronica that is supposed to be right between the Massive Attack and the Nine Inch Nails.  Ah, a rare moment when a music publicist email is actually accurate.  I like the arrangement and the sounds but I’m not super into the breathy, I’m about to cum vocals of the female singer.  I find that singing style very difficult to deal with.

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Active Music Listening Sunday March 21, 2015

YTD recordings listened to: 216
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 128
Not good music: 74

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

@@@ Laura Joy: Between Our Words (Self-released, 2015).  A little Joni Mitchell yodel, a little feel good adult alternative rock bounce, and a wee bit of twang.  Laidback and layered 1970s soft rock sound.  There’s some very intricate and pretty guitar playing on here and she sounds very familiar though I can’ think of who she sounds like off the top of my head.  I got to this EP via a music publicist.

@@@ Modest Mouse: Strangers to Ourselves (Epic, 2015).  I know folks who absolutely shit themselves over this band, and I kinda understood, but I saw a this is the best one review here and thought I would stop and peep.  The first tune is super Pink Floyd space rock.  The second tune is more polished classic Modest Mouse, melodic and earnest and quirky and pleasantly weird.    These guys are clearly super experienced recording studio arrangers and the singer has great charisma, but it doesn’t make me wanna jump up and down.  I wanna jump up and down.

https://youtu.be/tBTtPt8-WAY

@@@ Zoltars: 16-17-18 Living (Happening Records, 2015).  A teen lifestyle anthem done in a pop/psych style.  I got to this via a music publicist email.  A lot of reverb on the guitars, Beach Boys style vocal harmonies, and straight rock drums.

 

Active Music Listening Thursday March 19, 2015

YTD recordings listened to: 213
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 126
Not good music: 73

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

@@@ Geographer: The Guest (Roll Call, 2015).  A self-described exploration of sonic subtlety, this is a 1970’s soft rock tune off an upcoming record.  Big reversed, layered vocals, a piano, a crescendo, and voila there’s you’re indie songwriter money shot.  Suddenly I’m feeling the urge to go get a corduroy suit and grow a giant porn star mustache, that’s how friction’ luxuriantly ’70s this tune is.  Oh, Dreamweaver!!!

https://soundcloud.com/rollcallrecords/geographer-the-guest/s-w1fbH

@@@ Nic Hessler: I Feel Again (Captured Tracks, 2015).  This is being pitched by the music publicist as a retro-90s biscuit but I think it’s more of a mid-80’s Reagan/Cold War feel good INXS type of thang.  Bouncy rock drum beat, upbeat white person bass thumping and the singer is in his own words ‘feeling again’.   Lord know I’m grateful to hear this as the unfeeling zombies are responsible for much of the suffering in this world — war mongerers, torturers, dictators — I don’t they think they feel much.  This is a bit too cotton candy-ey for my taste but I’m glad to hear he’s back among the feeling again.

https://soundcloud.com/capturedtracks/01-feel-again/s-p3JoZ

@@@ Monarchy: Black Widow (Hacan Sound, 2015).  From a music publicist email.  It’s a cornucopia of synths, but it’s the singer that makes the tune work.  I hate to give props to this genre but this is a good synth pop nugget.

Active Music Listening Tuesday March 17, 2015

YTD recordings listened to: 210
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 124
Not good music: 72

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

@@@ Go Wolf: Slow Burn (Ooh La La, 2015) Oh man, it’s rainin’ electro pop.  Big synth hook intro that segues into heavy 1980’s sounding synth rock sound with a few guitar figures and an electric bass.  It’s pretty plain vanilla so it’s getting the plain vanilla review.  Got to this via a music publicist.  Oh wait, here’s a big sax solo with the blue eyed soul guitar funk.  Very similar to average Mexican food.

@@@ Upset: Glass Ceiling (Lauren Records, 2015).  Some retro ’90s female power pop punk I got to via a music publicist.  Straight rock drum/punk beat and an assload of power chords with vocal melody over the top.  Could use a sprinkle more of fierceness, imho.

https://soundcloud.com/laurenrecords/glass-ceiling/s-fe2ha

@@@ Olivver the Kid: Lucy (Not sure, 2015).  Electro pop I got to via a music publicist.  Big pumpin’ synth and hand clap drum machine with Velveeta Cheese smooth voice with a little club stutter added in.  I heard Netanyahu tied in the Israeli elections today and I’m very upset about that.  I can’t stand that fucker.  I don’t know who would vote for that war pig and I don’t know who is into this kind of music.

Active Music Listening Monday March 16, 2015

YTD recordings listened to: 207
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 123
Not good music: 71

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

@@@ Sarah Jaffe: Don’t Disconnect (Kirtland Records, 2014).  I saw this musician on Salon talking about the uselessness of social media (which I couldn’t agree with more) so I thought I would give latest record a spin.  She’s got a krautrock/indie/rock/synth formula going — a little dance-y, a little detached, a little epic.  For some reason I can’t listen to the second and third tunes here but the fourth is a similar formula.  The title track, clipped below is an anti-isolation, alienated tune and while I appreciate the sentiment very much I don’t love the tune.

@@@ Heavy Water Experiments: Philosopher Queen (Intrepid Sound Recordings, 2012).  I saw this record from 2012 reissued when I was scrolling through my weekly heavy metal email newsletter.  Folks know how much I appreciate the honesty of heavy music.  This is medium heavy hard rock with a gymnastic drummer, hints of Black Sabbath in the guitar/bass playing topped off with a pube of psychedelic prog.  I like to talk about heavy music like it’s a fine wine to class it up.  And as I listen to the distorted rumble of the bass and the guitar locked together playing the same figure and the uber-nerd singer comes in with the nasal rock voice I think of the words of Winston Churchill: Horns up ya shittaz!!!  This isn’t really metal but I am fond of saying ‘Horns up ya shittaz!’.  I let my 6 year old say that and he really appreciates my wise parenting in this area.  I never got to say ‘Horns up ya shittaz!’ when I was a kid and I think it held me back.  Frankly it made me angry.  Okay, that’s enough of a discussion of the roots of my personal anger, oh here’s a big ol’ 1970’s power hippie guitar jam.

https://youtu.be/Fe95entx50M

@@@ TR/ST: Slug (Arts and Crafts, 2014).  I guess this tune is a huge success — to my ears it is full on krautrock boom-titch.  It doesn’t get much more bologna and white bread than this.  Yikes, not my scene.

Active Music Listening Sunday March 15, 2015

YTD recordings listened to: 204
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 121
Not good music: 70

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

@@@ Zex: Fight For Yourself (Magic Bullet, 2015).  Some female fronted punk metal I got to via the Aquarius Records weekly email.  They got a wicked harden for this record.  The singer sounds more than a bit Joan Jett-y and the whole thing is more than a bit classic punk to my ears, but I guess punk is not a hip genre whereas everybody is dying to be retro-metal.  I think these Aquarius dudes have been vapin’ pretty hard because this is power pop/punk.  Think slowed down Ramones with vaginas, that’s a hot thought.

https://youtu.be/pIBwxyhMziM

@@@ Leviathan: Scar Sighted (Profound Lore, 2015) Also off the Aquarius Records weekly email, but not the vaunted Record O’ the week.  This is some full on caveman metal, suffocating kick/snare thrash drumming in sections, big grainy washes of guitar distortion and a Neanderthal singer.  Muscle twitching rhythms and the first tune is more spilly but when they drop the hammer on the second tune, Dawn Vibration, it’s just a freight train full metal beatdown.  Full riffage, full octopus drum roll, full caveman/goblin spew — God Bless America!  I know the Chinese make a lot of stuff for Americans but I can’t imagine they could come close on this vibe.  The third tune is a swampy, funereal number with intermittent guitar embellishments,  hammered bass blasts and some almost spoken word business.  And that’s just intro, they’re back into the full tilt heavy smegma spew.  Oh my, I’m going to check this out more when I have a chance.

Active Music Listening Saturday March 14, 2015

YTD recordings listened to: 202
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 120
Not good music: 70

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

@@@ Lourdes Rebels: Sound Safari (Aagoo, 2015).  Also off the CFUV weekly email.  Dark and slow electronica.  Actually a little bit too slow out of the gate for my taste.  I’m a New Yorker, I’m impatient.  Oy, track 2.  I’m feeling the arrangement on this second song, Apuro Liquido, generously clipped below for your earhole pleasure.  Some nice mental hospital beat repetition, and some cello solo action over that and then into the splayed guitar work.  Trippy AND purple drank influenced.  Do you folks get the purple drank reference?  These guys made a comeback after the first tune — solid, minimalist trip hop.

@@@ Anamai: Sallows (Buzz Records, 2015).  We hear a lot of goblin metal around these parts — the ill and angry part of the Lord of the Rings ecosystem.  These guys are dark and more elvish — a little dreamy and dour.  An odd thread of indie rock melody mixed in with the drones and the reversed bass.  It’s in the way the women sing here, like a quirky indie record but no guitars here.  Odd mix but pleasantly odd.

https://youtu.be/bTAywLEWHxg

@@@ Doomtree: All Hands (Doomtree, 2015).  Off this week’s CFUV weekly email.  Slick West Coast beats with mostly synth based arrangements and a solid urgent MC.  I hear multiple MCs.  Lyrics are sharp and tough.  Lots of energy, synth only hip hop doesn’t usually work for me.