Active Music Listening Sunday May 31, 2015

YTD recordings listened to: 415
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 246
Not good music: 136

Honorable Mentions: 130
Buys: 9

Possibles: 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, 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, Xibalba, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Waters, Ellen Jewell

@@@ Eternal Summers: Gold and Stone (Kanine, 2015).  Well, it’s after Memorial Day so we gotsta feature any band that has summer in its name.  Opens up dreamy and female vox-y.  Oh wait, the guitars are turning crunchy and I think we’re about to rock, oh wait, it’s fading with a mechanical sound, tres art school.  Second tune, rock kick drum, arpeggiated guitar, R.E.M. feelings in the air, oh this is too bearded and Brooklyn for me.  Just too white, I”m gonna give it another shot because it’s the New York Times and them mothers know their rock as well as they know about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.  Oh, she’s shouting now but I can’t hear you.  Oh, more shiny guitars and she’s gonna sing again.  I think I need an $7 artisanal pickle and a tech job at Easy.  Etsy, auto correct fuckin me again.  I would hazard a guess the drummer learned his craft from a loaf of Wonder Bread and that not a single member of this band owns a Funkadelic record.  Or even a Prince jam.  Tighty whiteys get up on it, swingers need not apply.

You can streamz it over here at the New York Times.  They know rock, right?

@@@  Nightjacket: The Right to Way (Self-released, 2015).  A tune off an upcoming record to be released at the end of June.  Super smooth, dreamy and faded female singer over arpeggiated electric, strummed acoustic and a rock rhythm section.  Sounds a bit like that band the Cranberries without the righteous rock energy.  This is indie rock cough syrup/Purple Drank to chill your shit out.

@@@ Ecstatic Vision: Astral Plane (Relapse, 2015).  From the promo picture in the music publicist email I can not tell if two of the members of this outfit are heavy hair gel users or if they haven’t washed in a long ass time.  I certainly hope it’s the ladder.  Wait, auto spell, the latter.  I been to school and shit.  With a Relapse tune you’re expecting the heavy metal bone crush, but this is more rock jam intro, oh it looks like we’ve segued and it’s a heavy psych thing with a bunch of Black Sabbath angry hippie pubes chucked in.  Jimmy Jammy jim jam big guitar jam yo.  C’mon you dirty humps gimme some lyrics — oh here they are and they’re purposefully underwhelming.  I don’t think these guys are washing.  Really, I don’t know how I can tell but while not full crusty punk, their tour van probably smells like a big ol’ shoe.  Very fat and gristled bass sound and general late ’60s hard rock explosion vibe here.

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Active Music Listening Saturday May 30, 2015

YTD recordings listened to: 412
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 244
Not good music: 135

Honorable Mentions: 130
Buys: 9

Possibles: 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, 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, Xibalba, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Waters, Ellen Jewell

@@@ Avicii: Waiting for Love (Island, 2015).  Ah, some mainstream EDM sonic biscuitry off the Beats highlights page.  If these lyrics were an actual cheese I would put them in that really stinky French bleu cheese neighborhood.  The arrangement is pretty restrained for club/pop there may be some sort of club money shot coming.  Oh, there it is, the boom titch you came for.  I’ve clipped the lyric video because the lyrics are so heavy and I want you to take the time absorb the wisdom.

@@@ARKHAMIN KIRJASTO: Torches Ablaze (Ektro, 2012).  Finnish heavy metal off the Aquarius weekly email.  Classic heavy metal guitar power chord action with half man/half caveman on the microphone.  The second tune, Knights of Torment, has a slightly metallic Motorhead feel to it — straight rock beat, locked in guitar/bass.  Alas no Lemmie but something similar.  Not my favorite style of metal but well done.

@@@ Heartless Bastards: Black Cloud (Partisan, 2015)  Some mainstream classic rock I got to via a music publicist email.  A schmear of Bad Company, a schtickl of Patti Smith.  Very nice bass playing and a classic guitar sound.  

 

 

Active Music Listening Friday May 29, 2015

YTD recordings listened to: 409
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 242
Not good music: 134

Honorable Mentions: 130
Buys: 9

Possibles: 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, 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, Xibalba, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Waters, Ellen Jewell

@@@ Pitch & Mumdance: Big Slug (Tectonic)  Some darkish, ambient music with a British/Jamaican MC on the mic.  After a floating intro, they gut into the beats and the boasting on the mic.  I like the MC he’s got a deep and rough voice and the beats are all right without blowing my mind.  The second tune, Lucid Dreaming, starts out drifting and metallic.  Sounds connected with late ’90s trippy drum and bass.  Off the Beats Highlights page.

@@@ Arcturs: Arcturian (Prophecy, 2015).  Some art school heavy metal a la Linkin Park.  Synth action, oh wait, here’s the singer and he’s kinda classic Iron Maiden-y.  It’s more epic classic metal with synth influences.  The drums are low in the mix, the guitars sound kind of boxed in and we’re getting violin flourishes with video game bleep action.  Oh here’s a nice big guitar shred coming through.  This is a 90 minute recording but only one tune is up on my Beats store.  That may be fore the best.  Off my heavy metal mail-order email.

@@@ Kris Davis Infrasound: Save Your Breath (Clean Feed, 2015).  Some mostly free/not straight jazz out of the Portugese label Clean Feed.  It sounds like a fairly large ensemble — piano drums, clarinet, sax, a very low horn playing bass parts or an electric bass, electric guitar.  This first tune, Union Forever is very segmented and interesting.  Starting loose, gelling into a groove then into a a quiet, ambient section.  I’m going to circle back and check this record out more when I have time.

@@@ Joe Bordenaro: Maxwell Lewis Harrison (Canvasclub, 2015).  A debut single from a yoot that I got to via a music publicist email.  It’s a classic rock tune focused on guitars with big melodic vocals over the top.  Think Todd Rundgren, the Strokes, that sort of thing.  He’s working that rock ‘n roll growl/snarl thing and I dig the organ layered in underneath the guitars.

Stream it over here, people.

 

Active Music Listening Thursday May 28, 2015

YTD recordings listened to: 405
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 242
Not good music: 134

Honorable Mentions: 130
Buys: 9

Possibles: 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, 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, Xibalba, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Waters, Ellen Jewell

@@@ Unknown Mortal Orchestra: Multi-Love (Jagjaguwar, 2015).  What opened up as an art school Elton Johnny thang morphed up into a indie boom titch electro wonder.  The second tune, Like Acid Rain, further explores the funky side of the neighborhood with falsetto vocals and a further funk-afication of the beats.  It’s all right, the beats could use some more impact it makes me realize what a genius Prince is/was to lace his funk with nasty rock guitar — it really muscles things up.

@@@ GDP & the Front Bottoms: GDP (Bar/None, 2015).  Some piano featured hip hop with a 1970’s downtempo rock feel.  I don’t really know what flavor the MC is here, he could be a white boy, oh the second tune kicked in — WTF this is a split EP with this GDP hip hop dude and then the Front Bottoms who are an ernest kinda soft emo-band.  Well, we don’t need to speculate on this GDP fella and his skin color.  He smokes weed, he’s medium nasty, and he has some pretty solid arranging going on.  If you’re up for the mind bend go for the split EP.

@@@ Dizzy Wright: The Growing Process (Funk Flow, 2015).  Also from the fantastic people at All Music.  I’m trying to get back into listening to hip hop, I don’t want to be discriminating.  Monsieur Dizzy is rocking’ a band, droppin’ his lyrics over a live band with rock guitars and a rock rhythm sound.  He’s urgent on the mic more pushing than bong influenced.  A synth appears a bit later and the lyrics revolve around lifting oneself up and being concious.  I like it all right.

@@@ Shopping: Consumer Complaints (Fat Cat, 2015)  All three of today’s selections are from this week’s All Music ‘notable’ releases.  I know it’s a total dick move to put the word notable in quotations.  These guys have a sharp, angular nerd punk vibe going on — super bright guitar over a stringy and intestinal bass flow and a clipped female vocal style. There’s a gent who comes in and lays down some vox on the second tune and the drummer is full straight ahead/all business/no chaos.  I like it pretty good — a little Devo, a little Minutemen, a little some other folks.

@@@ Rachel Grimes: The Air in Time (Temporary Residence, 2015).  Some ambient/acoustic music off the All Music ‘notable’.  Ah, I can’t stop!  Synth (maybe real) heavily reverbed pulsed plucks with a string melody in front of it.  Just a quick little biscuit, looks like the record is gonna be brunch music for yuppies, but that’s just a guess.

 

Active Music Listening Wednesday May 27, 2015

YTD recordings listened to: 400
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 239
Not good music: 132

Honorable Mentions: 130
Buys: 9

Possibles: 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, 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, Xibalba, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Waters, Ellen Jewell

@@@ Ellen Jewell: Sundown over Ghost Town (Signature Sounds, 2015).  Off the Beats Highlights page.  This is not new country, nor folk, without the bite of ol’ school of Lucinda Williams’ old records, and without the virtuosic voice of Emmylou Harris — just well produced, straight ahead country with blues and folk mixed in.  Pretty flavorful guitar player working in the gray area of a lot of roots music styles and a real solid band as well.  I’m a bit freaked out at how tasteful and without production bullshit the music and the performances are here.  Check her out.

@@@ Jungle By Night: Ethiopian (Not sure, not sure)  I saw from a music publicist email that these guys have a new record but only this one tune on a compilation record up on the Beats.  It’s Afrobeat and I don’t need more Afrobeat in my life, but Tony Allen is into these guys so out of respect for one of the world’s best drummers I’m givin’ em a peep.  They’re pretty good, musical with more than straight Afrobeat elements and without that super macho horn work that kinda drives me nuts.  These guys have some interesting rhythmic sectioning going on in this tune

@@@ Jazmine Sullivan: The Reality Show (RCA, 2015).  I haven’t been listening to much hip hop so I searched around to see what other folks think are the best hip hop records of the year.  This record showed up and Sullivan has a little Lauryn Hill and a lotta Mary J. Blige going on.  Big, multilayered vocals with a male rhyme section in the middle of the tune.  I don’t think this record is going to work for me.  This second tune, Mascara, has some pretty bad messages for the young girls out there.  I like the production though it’s a tad slick and Sullivan has a big voice.

@@@ Girlpool: Cherry Picking (Wichita, 2015).  Some grrrrl indie rock/folk I got to via a music publicist email.  After a stripped vocal intro it medium ramps into a clean guitar (acoustic actually) indie thing with thumping bass and some quirky glockenspiel (guess!) and no drums.

Active Music Listening Tuesday May 26, 2015

YTD recordings listened to: 396
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 236
Not good music: 130

Honorable Mentions: 130
Buys: 9

Possibles: 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, 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, Xibalba, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Waters

Welcome back to the listening pit, I certainly hope everybody had a great Memorial Day if you’re a warmonger and an appropriately confusing one when you’re trying to explain it to your kids and you’re anti-war.

@@@  Alesso: Forever (Def Jam, 2015).  This is a top shelf release on the Beats Highlights page and the first tune, Profondo, is an extended synth wank that climaxes into…a full corporate techno boom titch with vocoder synth melody work.  Wow, this is the shit.  I can picture this music pumping out the store stereo system in the mall thereby increasing the clothes purchasing with the appropriate pulse quickening electro sweetness.  Oh wait, here is a little Lord of the Rings down section of female aaaaahhhhs, and we’re back to the boom titch.  Bring ’em high, slow ’em down, hit ’em with the EDM snare roll and rinse, lather, repeat.  The third song, from which I will exit this record, features a female singer busting out with the New Age bullshit in a quasi-orgasmic vocal style.  Oh man, this is not the shit, this is just shit.

@@@ Allen Stone: Radius (Capitol, 2015).  Some white boy hippie soul also featured on the Beats highlights page.  He’s got his croon on for sure with extensive background vocals.  Oh, he’s swirling in some George Clinton/Funkadelic vibes in here.  Now he’s belting and I’m not sure how I feel about it.  I think he should change his stage name to Stevie Wonderbread.  Funky yet fluffy and somewhat flavorless.  You go funky Stevie Wonderbread!!!!

@@@ Death and Vanilla: To Where the Wild Things Are (Fire Records, 2015).  An Aquarius Records Record of the week, this is a mashup of surf-esque guitars, cheesy space organ, echoed female vocals and quirky British pop tunes.  I like the sound palette here but that first tune could have used a little time on the chopping block — and the first tune is supposed to be your most powerful shot.  I don’t think these guys need a double shot of espresso but it’s just a tad sleepy time tea for my taste.

@@@ Aktor: Paranoia (Aktor, 2015).  Another blurbed record from Aquarius Records.  They love those retro-Sammy Hagar, Loverboy, Styx, big guitar hair rock bands.  What can you do, if you’re a freak you’re a freak.  The singer has a big clean voice, classic American and he rides atop a super steady straight rock drummer and a whole assload of power chord action.  And some pretty hardcore synth rock action, by the way.  Rock music, hellz yeah!!!!!  These guys might have dirty Finnish blood as their Googletube headline says FIN/USA.  Maybe they work in the financial services industry.11

2015 Honorable Mention Pick 13

Napalm Death: Easy Meat (Century Media, 2015)

I would put this record right up into the best of list except the first tune, the title track, kind of sticks out from the rest of the record.

This being metal it’s okay to be brutal, so if you amputated that first first tune you would be left with a hot nugget of thrash metal, hardcore punk and generally a foul and beautiful depiction of negative feelings.

Everybody in the band is a great player but for me the drummer really stands out.  He is tighter than a nun’s pussy while spraying and blasting random shit all over.  It’s really quite a pleasure to listen to him play.

The guitar player gets into some really tasty insanity inducing circular grinds that pop out into some ka-chunk/riffy stew.

I have a lot of trouble with metal singers but I Iike this guy.  I can’t understand what the fuck he’s on about but he doesn’t sound like some sort of Neanderthal slack jawed fucker, he just sounds really friggin’ pissed.

Sink into that nice hot bath of hateful bile.  Good shit.