8/31/15: Owiny Sigoma Band, Gossamer, Hermitude, Justin Bieber

@@@ Owiny Sigoma Band: Nyanza (Brownswood, 2015).  The perfect antidote to Justin Bieber’s mainstream posturing, the last record by Sigoma was a pretty out fried mashup of African electro.  It looks like this one will sound different be of the some idea.  This first tune is a midtempo groove with backwards electric guitar, machine gun samples and a sweet refrain about heading out of the city because it’s too hot.  The second tune Luo Land is heavy on drums, some electronic sounds deployed electronically and chanting lyrics.  The third tune Owour Won Gembe is pretty sweet with some slow electronic clouds, a stringed instrument and some really nice vocals from Sigoma.  I’m going to check this record out more when I have time.

@@@ Gossamer: Automation (Innovative Leisure, 2015).  Some abstract electronic music off the CFUV weekly playlist email.  Opens up with processed vocals over synth clouds panning back and forth.  Not super Lord of the Rings, but not far off.  The second tune, Print, goes into full percussive tinkle over a slow and pleasant downtempo beat.  It opens up into something more expansive with thick bass pulses, big guitar like drones, it’s pretty hot and clipped below.  Nobody takes their shirt off in the video I bet.  I like this third tune 3d Relief, the components of the tune push and pull against each other in a jarring and meaningful manner.  I didn’t like the first tune that much but these last two have been solid.  This fourth tune, Okuma returns to a New Age ‘oh everything is beautiful and it’s gonna be all right’ sound so I’m gonna tip heah.  If it has been another cool abstract banger I would circled back to check out more.

@@@ Hermitude: Dark Night Sweet Night (Nettwerk, 2015).  A mash of a lot of sounds I really can’t abide by on this release I saw on the Beats Highlights page.  First off the over reliance on belching synth clouds is uncool in my world.  The beats are a mix of funky and cheesy hip hop beats with hey hey background vocals of delicious whackness.  There is some interesting glitching going on in the arrangement but I can’t see through the cheese.  The second tune Through the Roof opens up with a Latin dancehall feel, which is cool but the vocal dog woofs start up again and the synth lead belongs on a cheeseburger not in a funky track.

@@@ Justin Bieber: What Do You Mean? (Def Jam, 2015).  We start out the week with some mainstream electro from the Elvis Presley wannabe.  It’s a bit surprising that he’s rocking a Lionel Richie smooth r&b flow on this tune.  A restrained and perfectly manicured arrangement featuring a club kick and a retro-’80s synth flute.  This tune is better than anything I heard on Tay Tay’s last album but it’s still poster boy fluff.  16 million hits for this tune, what a waste of bandwidth — he doesn’t even take his shirt off until almost three quarters thru.  I want my Bieber six pack yo.

YTD recordings listened to: 692
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 403
Not good music: 236

Honorable Mentions: 17
Buys: 11

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, Mohamed Abozekry, Dawn Richard, Leo Welch, Mastery, Leviathan, Xibalba, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, Ellen Jewell, Akitsa, Chico Trujillo, Richard Thompson, Jeremy Pinnell, Pat Thomas, Knauti, Janelle Monae, The Alchemist, Luther Dickinson, Andra Day, Frog Eyes, Owiny Sigoma Band

 

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8/30/15: Silicon, Frog Eyes, Tambourines

@@@ Silicon: Personal Computer (Weird World, 2015).  Also off the Beats highlights page.  A blend of krautrock, electronica and r&b?  That’s what the first tune sounds like.  The first tune, the title track, is a bouncy tune with a lot of voices, a synth bass, kraut-y beats and the personal computer as friend.  The second song, Cell Phone (I guess we’re going to do all digital devices — digital thermometer is up next!) has a bit of a Prince vibe minus a lot of the funk.  Wow, I have to give props for the weirdness.  I’m not really sure what to make of this music.  I guess it’s machine music with a dash of funk.  Will wonders never cease?

@@@ Frog Eyes: Pickpocket’s Locket (Paper Bag Records, 2015).  Everybody knows how much I dig on the indie rock and I got to this record via the All Music weekly email.  This first tune, Two Girls, is a high quality example of indie rock — pleasant weirdness abounds — strange lyrics, almost literate, quirky instrumentation including slide guitar and saxophone and a nice ambient drum sound.  The second tune, Joe with the Jam, is just as weird with more obtuse lyrics, a nice string arrangement.  Check this Frog Eyes guy out, I’m gonna be peepin’ it more when I have the time.

@@@  Tambourines: Daisy (New Professor, 2015).  Some sunny prog a la Phish from the Beats highlights page.  Not super Phish-y but in that neighborhood.  A nerdy voice buried with reverb in the mix, with a lot of drums and a variety of guitar sounds.  A little Jimi Hendrix echoing seagulls, some bippedy bap guitar perc, and an active drummer.  Elements of psych production that all the kids love these days.  There are only two tunes up on my Beats store and the second one is a bit more uptempo but it sounds like Alvin the Chipmunk on the mic.  I can’t reconcile the voice with the vibe of the playing.

YTD recordings listened to: 688
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 402
Not good music: 234

Honorable Mentions: 17
Buys: 11

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, Mohamed Abozekry, Dawn Richard, Leo Welch, Mastery, Leviathan, Xibalba, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, Ellen Jewell, Akitsa, Chico Trujillo, Richard Thompson, Jeremy Pinnell, Pat Thomas, Knauti, Janelle Monae, The Alchemist, Luther Dickinson, Andra Day, Frog Eyes

8/29/15: Andra Day, Beach House, Foals

@@@ Andra Day: Cheers to the Fall (Warner Bros., 2015).  Described as one of the best albums of 2015 by the Beats Highlights page the first tune, Forever Mine is pretty hype for a mainstream record.  I’ve learned not to get excited when the first tune is great because loads of records have great first songs.  I like the childlike piano plinking, the mix and Day is comfortable on the mic.  Oh, the second tune, Only Love is pretty sharp with vibes and a slight James Bond film theme.  I’m on the fourth tune and Day sure can sing and there is some great arranging on this record.  Better than Amy Winehouse, way better than the Tay Tay Swift, this is probably about as good as music for cubicle dwellers is going to get.  I’m going to circle back and check out more of this record when I have time.

@@@ Beach House: Depression Cherry (Sub Pop, 2015).  A shimmery indie electronic affair I saw praised on the Aquarius Records weekly email.  The sound of this first tune is a bit kaleidoscopic and mopey.  I hope the band gets a cup of coffee before the second tune cuz this is a bit sleepy time tea for me.  The main vocal hook on this tune ‘there is a place I want to take you’ and for me I’d like to be take to a good song.  Oh, this second tune opens up with a looped angel choir thing with some guitar shred over the top.  This record isn’t for me.

@@@ Foals: What Went Down (Warner Bros., 2015).  Also off the Beats Highlights page.  I just googled it because I had my suspicions as I can smell that fish and chippy Brit rock from a mile away.  It’s kinda noisy, indie and epic.  Instrumentation is classic rock band and the first tune, the title track builds over 6 minutes.  They got a classic slightly funky white boy thing going in this second tune, and while it’s professionally done I’m not feeling it.  I like British people, and I like the Radiohead, but some of this Brit rock I can’t connect with.

YTD recordings listened to: 685
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 401
Not good music: 233

Honorable Mentions: 17
Buys: 11

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, Mohamed Abozekry, Dawn Richard, Leo Welch, Mastery, Leviathan, Xibalba, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, Ellen Jewell, Akitsa, Chico Trujillo, Richard Thompson, Jeremy Pinnell, Pat Thomas, Knauti, Janelle Monae, The Alchemist, Luther Dickinson, Andra Day

8/28/15: The Sword, Wave(s), Jackie Hill Perry

@@@ The Sword: High Country (Razor & Tie, 2015).  Off the Beats highlights page, this looks to be a cornucopia/mash of various types of rock.  After a little synth intro the Sword (pronounced soo-ward) they get into some serious Thin LIzzie action.  Bouncy rock drums, sparse but meaningful power chords and then a long, spinny riff.  Half heavy stoner rock on the third tune, High Country.  There’s a synth tucked in the back of the mix and while I’m not anti-synth, I don’t feel great when I hear guitar heavy rock with synths in it.  I think of stoned people with bad ideas — hey get out the synth and the cowbell.

@@@ Mick Jenkins: Wave(s) (Cinematic, 2015).  Also off the Beats highlights page.  Opens up with the tune Alchemy which features West Coast/Southern skitter beats, some nice left field hip hop arranging and urgent left field hip hop lyrics.  Whoever did the produciton on this track has skills.  I really like the first two tunes but lost some interest after the third and fourth tunes.

@@@ Jackie Hill Perry: The Art of Joy (Humble Beast, 2014).  I’m on the mailing list for the Christian hip hop label out of Oregon, Humble Beast, because I’m really into Propaganda’s record Excellent.  Ms. Perry is impressive on the mic, tight and all up in the Bible.  I find the combination of hip hop sounds and rhymes about the Bible/good and evil to be oddly compelling.  If folks can make millions rapping about their jewelry then they can rap about the J-Man (Jesus).  The beats are solid

YTD recordings listened to: 682
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 399
Not good music: 232

Honorable Mentions: 17
Buys: 11

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, Mohamed Abozekry, Dawn Richard, Leo Welch, Mastery, Leviathan, Xibalba, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, Ellen Jewell, Akitsa, Chico Trujillo, Richard Thompson, Jeremy Pinnell, Pat Thomas, Knauti, Janelle Monae, The Alchemist, Luther Dickinson

8/27/15: The Royal Concept, Modou Toure, Abiotic, Matt Pond PA

@@@  The Royal Concept: Smile (Lava, 2015).  Off the Beats Highlights page.  It’s mainstream corporate rock with a big ass cheerful sound.  Ah, theirs your tamborine and your meticulous stacked vocals.  Pretty empty lyrics, it’s an update on a California pop sound.  The vocals are pretty tricked out and sophisticated but the lyrics aren’t nearly as good as the singing and the band is buttery soft.

@@@ Modou Toure & Ramon Goose: The West African Blues Project (ARC, 2015).  Off this week’s CFUV weekly email in the international section and shit.  I’m not a huge fan of the world music mashups — when I listen to African music, for example, I don’t need a friggin’ Kenny G sax in there like I hear in the first tune of this record.  That’s just me, I don’t deny somebody the right to put the Kenny G horn up in there, but I don’t have to love it.  The second tune, Lolambe features a Delta Blues type of riff with an African singer that I like.  I don’t love the mash they got goin on.  I’m sure there are tons of folks who love this formula so check it out.

@@@ Abiotic: Casuistry (Metal Blade, 2015).  Some squealy classic metal guitar mixed with some impressive technical metal and a singer that is sometimes angry orc and more often a whooping caveman.  I can’t tell if it’s two singers or separate orc/caveman singers.  Oh, prog section, drums spraying like a money shot in a grizzly porn flick, hold on tight you’re gonna get jerked around (not off).  And that’s just the first tune.  Tune 2, Reanimated Destruction — more midtempo than the meth-y pace of the first tune, a bit more sinewy proggy bass, the same classic metal shred, and the orc/caveman bit.  Part of the roughness of this record is the unpredictability of the arrangements and you pay for that by having to listen to some proggy metal in places.

@@@ Matt Pond PA: Emptiness (Doghouse, 2015).  Mainstream FM rock with a pube of ’80s wuss rock.  Some arpeggiated shiny guitars panned out wide to the left and right, some synth garnish and a sad, yearning white boy vocalist.  This tune would be better if it was shorter.  I got to this via a music publicist email.

YTD recordings listened to: 679
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 397
Not good music: 231

Honorable Mentions: 17
Buys: 11

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, Mohamed Abozekry, Dawn Richard, Leo Welch, Mastery, Leviathan, Xibalba, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, Ellen Jewell, Akitsa, Chico Trujillo, Richard Thompson, Jeremy Pinnell, Pat Thomas, Knauti, Janelle Monae, The Alchemist, Luther Dickinson

8/26/15: Gerald Clayton, Amerigo Gateway, Royal Headache, Noah Gunderson

@@@ Gerald Clayton: Life Forum (Concord Jazz, 2013)  A serious straight jazz record that opens up with some spoken word piece over behind the tongue piano, horns, drums and bass.  I didn’t super feel those words, but I’ll go deeper.  I like the tight arranging of the second tune, Future Reflection.  This third tune, Shademanthem, is cool and I like Clayton’s piano playing, but I’m having a hard time finding straight jazz records that I like.

@@@ Amerigo Gateway: Fela Soul (Not sure, 2014).  A longtime reader turned me onto this Fela Kuti/De La Soul mashup by professional masher Amerigo Gazaway.  I think I might have read about this record, maybe not.  Fela Kuti samples are combined with De La Soul rhymes to produce a super funky, super concious blend of rhythms and words.  No need to dwell on this extensively but I hope folks can appreciate the complexity of taking music from different musicians and splicing it together and getting something not only coherent but entertaining.  Hat tip to Mr. Whirly for the heads up and check it out.

@@@ Royal Headache: High (Whats Your Rupture, 2015).  Some bouncy ass punk rock off the Beats highlights page.  I think these guys have been listening to some early Clash in the tour van.  Classic blustering punk guitar, straight as an arrow rhythm section and melodies nested in the vocals.  The second tune, Need You, has an atypical vocal melody for this type of song and I appreciate it.  A little r&b including the organ tucked behind the guitar fuzz.  I’m on the title track, High, and see that though the record opened up with a classic punk rock rave up it’s more of a power pop record with punk trappings.  Lots of songs about girls and love, etc.

@@@ Noah Gunderson: Carry the Ghost (Dualtone, 2015).  Introspective folk off the Beats Highlights page.  The first tune Slow Dancer opens up with piano and Gunderson’s voice and it’s a tad precious — a little bit of forced intimacy from the sound of the record and a little from his vocal style.  I like the sounds on the record but it’s a bit too self concious for my taste.

YTD recordings listened to: 675
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 395
Not good music: 229

Honorable Mentions: 17
Buys: 11

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, Mohamed Abozekry, Dawn Richard, Leo Welch, Mastery, Leviathan, Xibalba, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, Ellen Jewell, Akitsa, Chico Trujillo, Richard Thompson, Jeremy Pinnell, Pat Thomas, Knauti, Janelle Monae, The Alchemist, Luther Dickinson

8/25/15: Myrkur, Mac Demarco, Steve Lewis, The Chamanas

@@@ Myrkur: M (Relapse, 2015).  Some pretty polished metal off the Beats highlights page.  Opens up with a mid tempo grind before descending into an unholy thrash fuckshow.  Wow, that was quite a transition.  I would put the vocalist in the angry orc category.  And now Lord of the Rings female angel choir vocals.  Back to the orcs and the thrash blender.  Lots of ups and downs.  The second tune on my Beats page is a fuckup as it’s the first tune repeated.  We’re onto the third tune and it’s like a Metallica tune with the angel choir returning for an encore.  And a synth.  I like my metal full dirty, but I’m a dirty bitch.  Good shredding, some nice drumming but too much pretty sauce.

@@@ Mac Demarco: Another One (Captured Tracks, 2015).  This record is #1 on the CFUV weekly playlist email and I find that quite shocking.  I’ve checked out Demarco before and in my mind he’s a soft rocker for hipsters.  Little weird sounds garnishing an essentially straight stick of butter.  Hey, isn’t that the indie rock schtick?  Having your little bit of weird but nothing challenging.  Tempos are relaxed, Demarco has a very low key voice and what weirdness there is in the guitar/organ part of town.  It’s early in the day and I want to get some stuff done and this is way too sleepy time tea.

@@@ Steve Lewis: Seven Little Drops of Rain (Not sure, 2015).  The music publicist email mention Neil Young/Crazy Horse style guitars but when I started this tune I get a Jerry Rafferty type tune.  Strummed guitar with occasional melodic burnishes, a steady FM ready rock beat and a late ’70s type of slack to the vocals.  It’s not Neil Young style guitars by any means but it’s pretty good.

@@@ The Chamanas: Once-Once (Nacional, 2015).  A Portuguese world music group I got to via the WRIR weekly playlist email.  Heavy French pop influences — funky space organ sounds, half rock half pop.  Female singer is solid and the arrangements are varied and interesting.  Instrumentation is standard rock band with organ, tambourine and hand percussion, and occasional drum machine.  Peep it as you may dig it.

YTD recordings listened to: 671
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 392
Not good music: 228

Honorable Mentions: 17
Buys: 11

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, Mohamed Abozekry, Dawn Richard, Leo Welch, Mastery, Leviathan, Xibalba, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, Ellen Jewell, Akitsa, Chico Trujillo, Richard Thompson, Jeremy Pinnell, Pat Thomas, Knauti, Janelle Monae, The Alchemist, Luther Dickinson