8/18/15: Janelle Monae, Melanie Martinez, Federico Ughi, The Longshots

@@@  Melanie Martinez: Crybaby (Warner, 2015).  Some sophisto mainstream electro pop I got from the Beats highlights page.  The sounds are meticulously sculpted, but I’m not sure the songs are worthy of the effort.  This first tune doesn’t bump enough booty for the horny teen crowd, and it’s not high art for the hipsters.  I guess the idea is that there’s darkness under the shiny sounds but you can consume it as pop if you want.  There are a lot of references to having children and life not being as perfect on the inside as from the outside looking in, and a general downer tilt to the lyrics.  I appreciate the technical skills required to put this music together, but I find the record to be a strange mash.

@@@ Janelle Monae: Hell You Talmbout (Wondaland, 2015).   A protest song for the #BlackLivesMatter movement (big supporters at this blog) that I got to via an article on Salon.  To my ears this tune starts with a New Orleans Madi Gras big rhythm and builds off that with a regrettably long list of murdered African American men and African American women.  In the beginning of music there was the drum and human voice and that’s what you get here.  The song is almost seven minutes long because there are way too many names on this list.  A very simple and powerful piece of political protest music and folks should check it out and spread it around.


@@@ Federico Ughi: Before the Songs EP
(577 Records, 2015). A piano and drum duo piece I got to because I’m on this small label’s mailing list. Not a raucous free jazz bomber and not too straight. The piano builds slowly over a rolling drum sound before the temperature rises and the melodies get shorter and more spontaneous. It calms back down with a sweet outro. Kudos to the piano player.

@@@ The Longshots: Mucho Mango (Mock Records, 2015).  Some skanky Texan rock ‘n roll I got to via a music publicist.  Some crunchy guitars and a slack, slightly Mick Jagger wannabe singer.  This is not indie and I appreciate that.  There’s a looseness to the band that I dig, and I dig the big ass vocal hook in the chorus.

You can stream it up over here.

YTD recordings listened to: 653
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 381
Not good music: 224
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, Knauti, Janelle Monae

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