8/12/15: Halsey, Fear Factory, James Brandon Lewis, Big Harp

@@@  Halsey: Americana (Astralwerks, 2015).  I saw Halsey name checked on the New York Times, which usually sports the best and most comprehensive new music coverage.  This is only 1 tune.  This tune sports elements of a club banger (especially the chorus) and shopping mall electro, so we will christen it a shopping mall banger.  She’s doing a lot of name checking in this tune, Biggie Smalls, Nirvana.  The lyrics are better than your usual shopping mall banger but they’re still in the nonsense — she’s got one good stanza and she’s wearing the fucker out.  We are the new Americana, getting high on legal marijuana, raised on Biggie and Nirvana, We are the New Americana.  It’s a hook but she hits it 4 times (the hook that is) and there’s not much goin on after the hook.  Plus, I don’t want to act like I’m all hipster and shit, but she’s all up in the Biggie Smalls and the Nirvana?  I don’t think so.

@@@ Fear Factory: Genexus (Nuclear Blast, 2015).  Some sci-fi metal I got to via the Beats Highlights page.  Opens up super Darth Vader-y and then segues into a thrash section with a synth line over the top.  Yikes.  There’s very little bass on this first track, it sounds a bit funky in my headphones.  The second tune continues with the same blasting guitars with little electro garnishes and a singer that sounds like the Metallica dude but oh no, they’re doing that angry in the verse sung chorus shit I hate on hard.  I think they’re trying to mix sounds from Terminator and other tech related Hollywood movies into their music, but it doesn’t work for me.  This is a cheesy biscuit for pimply teenagers playing at being metalheads.

@@@ James Brandon Lewis: Days of Free Man (Okeh, 2015).  A straight jazz record that I saw in an email from Twitter.  And after a short spoken word piece we get right into the jazz trio, with a fusion-y electric bass, Lewis’ sax and a drummer high up in the mix.  After a little restrained head on this second tune, Brother 1976 they get into some more urgent ensemble playing.  I like the drummer most, then the bass player, and then the sax player.  I’ve checked out four tunes and the rhythm section is more engaging than the sax player — just my view.

@@@ Big Harp: Golden Age (Majestic Litter, 2015).  A single that I got to via a music publicist email.  A balanced blend of slick production and quirky indie elements like scuzzy guitars.  Big retro-grunge rhythm section with some Breeders like background vocals.  The singer sounds a bit familiar to my ears and I don’t have much more to say about this tune.  Pleasing, standard upgraded mainstream indie.

YTD recordings listened to: 632
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 369
Not good music: 216
Honorable Mentions: 16
Buys: 10

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, Hope Drone, Pat Thomas

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