9/30/15: Girl Band, Futurebirds, Evocation, Brothertiger

@@@ Girl Band: Holding Hands with Jamie (Rough Trade, 2015).  Described as delicious noise rock/punk blend on the Beats highlights page.  When the singer appears in the first tune, she has a slow, tortured timbre to her voice plus the funky distortion that has been added via the magic of the mixing process.  The second tunes Pears for Lunch has a male singer and takes the tempo up, but the feeling I’m getting is that these guys are a bit like Sonic Youth focusing on their sound and less focus on their arranging and their tunes. They have some good sounds going (especially in the bass/guitar area) but the tunes…

@@@ Futurebirds: Hotel Parties (Easy Sound Recording, 2015).  A little slack, a little alt-country, and a little indie.  Big dollops of spaced out reverb on this first track before it resolves into  a standard pop indie track.  I don’t know if I need afternoon coffee or if this song is taking a long time to happen.  The second tune Twenty-seven takes the tempo up a bit.  If flirts a bit with early My Morning Jacket but with more pop swirled in and a chunk of the lonesome taken out.  They got a nice jangle goin on, so if you dig that head on over.

@@@ Evocation: Excised and Anatomized (Century Media, 2013)  A record of heavy metal cover tunes I got to after seeing this band’s name on my heavy music weekly email.  This first tune For Victory has a pretty high end guitar sound — this riffage interspersed with some rhythmic splanking.  The singer has plenty of gravel in his voice but he’s not full caveman.  Let’s check out another tune.  The second tune is a cover of a Carcass tune and I’m a pretty big Carcass fan.  This is a muscular jackhammer of the tune and these guys are locked in tight.  Man, if you want to blow the crust out with some classic metal tinged heavy bangers check these guys out.

@@@ Brothertiger: Wake (Not sure, 2015).  An indie electronic single off a December record that I got to via a music publicist.  Very ’80s influenced with chorused guitar, synths not right out front but supporting the vocal melody and that classic drum sound that I kinda hate.  Mr. Brothertiger has a very warm and engaging voice, but there’s just so much of this kind of music floating around.

YTD recordings listened to: 785
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 449
Not good music: 272

Honorable Mentions: 20
Buys: 13

Possibles: Chris McGregor, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Dave Arner Trio, 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, Richard Thompson, Jeremy Pinnell, Pat Thomas, Janelle Monae, The Alchemist, Luther Dickinson, Andra Day, Frog Eyes, Ruby Amanfu, Madd Again!, Fuck the Facts, Shannon and the Clams, Destruction Unit, Rim Kwaku Obeng

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9/29/15: Kaskade, Casey Veggies, CHVRCHES, Maiden Radio

@@@ Kaskade: Automatic (Warner Bros, 2015).  Super New Age cornball techno rock.  There’s a bit of grit to the bassline but no fear the lyrics are full on fluffy pants about we don’t stop for no one.  What a flattering untruth for most folks who are easily stopped.  And here’s your big club/shopping mall chorus-gasm.  Now in my world there is cheese, corniness, and sugar.  This is a medium sized cob of corn with a sprinkled hard cheese after you butter that cob up.  It’s not full on gooey yellow Kraft cheese sauce, but it’s cheesy and corny and buttery.  Next tune!  Us is the title — I don’t know how folks can retain their dignity listening to these lyrics.  I want to reach the sky with you?  Woof, tell me how brave you want me to be like that awful Sarah Bareilles person.  Further song titles like Phoenix (we’re gonna rise from the ashes!) and Mercy (I have no joke here) and Tear Down the Walls (a title that has been rocked so hard it’s like a tired Times Square hooker facing retirement).  This music stinks and will ensure that your adulthood will be just like your childhood just with a job.  Don’t grow up.

@@@ Casey Veggies: Live & Grow (Epic/Vested In Culture, 2015).  Some major label West Coast hip hop off the Beats highlights page.  I made the mistake of thinking with a last name of ‘veggies’ this would be a record it would be a hippie hop record.  But while Mr. Veggies is not full gangsta he’s plenty tough with a solid aggressive approach to the microphone, pretty hot beats and a focus on uplifting oneself.  Snoop Dogg makes a quick appearance at the end of the second track and says Veggies is his cousin.  The production sounds pretty blunted — bumptious bass, lots of little tinkling percussion sounds tossed in.  Solid B.

@@@ CHVRCHES: Every Open Eye (Glassnote, 2015).  More electro, just what the world needs.  This time with an ’80s drum sound, synth bass and more of a rock tune structure than a club banger.  Still plenty of synth sauce for your sausage (or clam, depending on where your junk is at).  The female singer has a quite a bit of spunk, she sounds a bunch like Gwen Stefani (overrated!) but without the wacky Cali vibe.  The second tune is another updated ’80s rock tune so I fear it’s gonna be a long record for you and a short listen for me.  God bless the stop button.  Off the Beats highlights page.

@@@ Maiden Radio: Wolvering (OK Recordings, 2015).  A tune off an alt-folk record coming out the middle of October.  It’s a simple arrangement with banjo, dirty harmonica and harmonizing females.  It’s only two minutes long so it’s hard to get a good feel for what these women can do, but it’s simple and tasteful and that’s a good sign going forward.  I got to this tune via a music publicist email.

You can check out the one tune here.

YTD recordings listened to: 781
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 447
Not good music: 270

Honorable Mentions: 20
Buys: 13

Possibles: Chris McGregor, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Dave Arner Trio, 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, Richard Thompson, Jeremy Pinnell, Pat Thomas, Janelle Monae, The Alchemist, Luther Dickinson, Andra Day, Frog Eyes, Ruby Amanfu, Madd Again!, Fuck the Facts, Shannon and the Clams, Destruction Unit, Rim Kwaku Obeng

9/28/15: Rim Kwaku Obeng, My Own Pet Radio, Balthazar

@@@ Rim Kwaku Obeng: RIM Arrives/International Funk (BBE, 2015).  Some African funk music off the WRIR weekly playlist email.  The first tune Gas Line is straight outta the 1970s — big horn section, active bass, a bevy of backup singers.  It sounds like that tune Car Wash and the second tune Believe in Yourself is also heavily influenced by ’70s Parliament/Funkadelic.  The third tune Sunkwa gets into a different space working some salsa/Latin music vibes into the African funk and I’m a pretty big fan of that flavor pack.  The record is definitely building and solidifying into a righteous funk nugget with the fourth tune, Funky Drummer.  I thought the first two tunes were too close to Parliament/Funkadelic but he’s starting to spread out with the third and fourth tunes.  As Kanye West would say Imma gonna circle back on this when I get a minute.

@@@  My Own Pet Radio: Goodlum (My Own Pet Radio, 2015).  Some dreamy, sensitive male indie I got to via the Beats highlights page.  Simple arpeggiated acoustic guitar and a a block of layered vocals — this is in the neighborhood of Bon Iver and Tallest Man on Earth.   The second tune, Don’t Press Send Companion gets into some indie space rock with a skittering drummer and some big ass guitar noodling.  It’s got a bit of a Sigur Ros flow but it’s in English.  Keep dreaming white people!  Shine on you crazy diamonds!  The third tune remains in the downtempo epic rock area with big female background vocals.  It’s okay music, it’s aspirational that’s for sure.

@@@ Balthazar: Thin Walls (PIAS America, 2015).  Also off the Beats highlights page.  Some synth rock a la The Cure off the Beats highlights page.  However, the singer is not a giant mope like Cure dude but more of a dialed down Pogues/Clash type.  The existential goth of the Cure is replaced with a melancholy tinged romantic pop.  The second tune Nightclub brings in a little bit of T Rex glam rock but with the same loverboy drunk vocal.

YTD recordings listened to: 777
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 444
Not good music: 269

Honorable Mentions: 20
Buys: 13

Possibles: Chris McGregor, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Dave Arner Trio, 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, Richard Thompson, Jeremy Pinnell, Pat Thomas, Janelle Monae, The Alchemist, Luther Dickinson, Andra Day, Frog Eyes, Ruby Amanfu, Madd Again!, Fuck the Facts, Shannon and the Clams, Destruction Unit, Rim Kwaku Obeng

9/27/15: Kurt Vile, Glass Vaults, The Dead Weather

@@@ Kurt Vile: Believe I’m Goin’ Down (Matador, 2015)  Some indie blues off the Beats highlights page.  I’ve thought Vile is more attitude that talent and it’s interesting to see him head into mainstream rock waters.  What with the Matador indie-ness and what not.  This first tune Pretty Pimpin is pretty straightforward with arpeggiated guitar backed up by some electric guitar work, straight rock drums and hipster lyrics.  I’ll click forward but this first tune is a bit of a snoozer.  The second tune, I’m an Outlaw opens up with a drum machines — all the badass outlaws rock 808s yo.  Same resonator guitar, same okay-ness of song.  The third tune steers the ship straight out onto the vanilla ocean.  I’d rather listen to Lou Reed.

@@@ Glass Vaults: Sacred Heart (Flying Out, 2015) A New Age prog bomb single off the Beats Highlights page.  A synth trumpet opens up the tune, with some strumming, some oohs, and a sensitive upper register waif dude on the mic.  Beats are light, the whole tune is light, it’s like a gallop through Provo Utah naked on a unicorn.  Sweet.

@@@ The Dead Weather: Dodge and Burn (Third Man, 2015).  I’ve lost a bit of interest in rock god Jack White since he entered his 1/2 as good as Led Zeppelin phase.  I never been the most massive Zep head, but this band couldn’t wash Jon Bonham’s underwear (or sniff it for that matter).  I think Mr. White is on drums with the Dead Weather and he’s a skinny bitch up against the real deal.  And the guitar riffs are pencil thin compared to the ill, satanic drug fiend Jimmy Page.  This second tune is better as it’s not biting it as hard, but the riffs don’t have that slinky insanity.  I don’t know but it kinda comes across as kinda poser-y when the tunes don’t have enough muscle.  It sounds like a bunch of hipsters playing at rocking it.

YTD recordings listened to: 774
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 443
Not good music: 268

Honorable Mentions: 20
Buys: 13

Possibles: Chris McGregor, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Dave Arner Trio, 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, Richard Thompson, Jeremy Pinnell, Pat Thomas, Janelle Monae, The Alchemist, Luther Dickinson, Andra Day, Frog Eyes, Ruby Amanfu, Madd Again!, Fuck the Facts, Shannon and the Clams, Destruction Unit

2015 Honorable Mention Pick 13

Qwanqa: Volume 2 (FPE, 2015)

I really like this Ethiopian four piece consisting of drums, electric bass, electric guitar, and violin.  I don’t think the first tune Gelani puts their best foot forward but they really start to stretch out on the second tune Kemekem.  Extended space for electric guitar and violin solos.

As three quarters of this band hails from Ethiopia listeners should not be surprised to hear Indian/Southeast Asian influences such as in the third tune Selam Selam.  An intricate and circular violin melody echoed by the guitar player over a simple groove that the rhythm section pounds into the ground.

The fourth tune Tezeta gets into a trip space with some interesting vocals.  It slowly transforms itself into a slow groove and sounds a lot like a jam band, except one that can play its instruments.  It ends up going out with a fairly brisk jam that would make the Dave Matthews Band jealous.

Before the album goes out with a galloping pogo with dueling guitar and violin, the tune Mela Mela gets sticky with a guitar player that hints that he owns rock records, an extended bass solo and some playing in unison by the violin player and the bassist.  That tune is clipped below for your earholes.

A special shout goes out to the drummer who I find very engaging — steady and flavorful.  He’s rocking a combination of hand drums and a cymbal and he more than gets the job done.

 

9/26/15: Odwalla88, Ry Rocklen and Nick Lowe, Landed

I saw a list of 9 avant garde musicians on the Huffpo here and thought I would peep a few.  I have no clue how this list made it onto this site, but my guess is some money changed hands as I hear that space on the Huffpo is fo sale.

@@@  Odwalla88: What the... (Not sure, 2015).  This is a punky chopped/looped tune with spoken word sections and the whole banana is designed to grate.  Its appeal is more in its desire not to please, which I totally respect, but the construction of the tune doesn’t strike me as particularly sophisticated.  The group is two young women from Philly and they have done a good job making you feel like a mental patient by listening to their tunes.

@@@ Ry Rocklen and Nick Lowe: Made in China (Not sure, 2015).  Some white boy hip hop with rhymes about a laudable topic — the weirdness of all our shit being made in China.  Outside of these lyrics, the song is a bag of ass.  These guys have no flow on the mic, the production sounds like it was purchased at Toys ‘R Us.  The video is far better than the tune.  Ouch.

@@@ Landed: How Little Will it Take (Loaded, 2015).  A noise rock crew out of Providence, a hotbed of industrial/noise/punk blasting.  This record is up on my Beats streaming store and it’s pretty raw — not as aggro as some really hateful metal but they’re agitated to be sure.  Jesus Lizard incomprehensible singer and a blasting band.  A lot of bashing and pounding it out to get bad feelings out.  Good to see this level of raw emotion bubbling up into the mainstream but not particularly avant gard.

YTD recordings listened to: 771
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 443
Not good music: 265

Honorable Mentions: 20
Buys: 13

Possibles: Chris McGregor, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Dave Arner Trio, 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, Richard Thompson, Jeremy Pinnell, Pat Thomas, Janelle Monae, The Alchemist, Luther Dickinson, Andra Day, Frog Eyes, Ruby Amanfu, Madd Again!, Fuck the Facts, Shannon and the Clams, Destruction Unit

9/25/15: Destruction Unit, Lana Del Ray, EZTV, Basenji

@@@ Destruction Unit: Negative Feedback Resistor (Sacred Bones, 2015).  Some ambient electronic off my heavy music weekly email.  The first tune Disinfect opens up slow slow with a clicking gear and a pulsing metal sound.  Oh my, it segues from that bleak minimalist soundscape into full punk splat.  Nice!  They got a nice dirty slap and tickle goin on and let’s hope they can keep it up.  The singer’s vocals are put through a delay which lends injects psych weirdness into the grind.  I don’t usually like the psych punk but the band is muscular and focused and that makes the weirdness just an accent where on some records that’s the crux of the listening.  As Kanye would say Imma gonna circle back on this record.

@@@ Lana Del Ray: Honeymoon (Interscope, 2015).  Major label hottie Del Ray is back with a new, mopey corporate pop biscuit.  I think Del Ray is way overrated, I’ve even seen the g word used.  Not Gay, but Genius.  When I hear her start in with how unlovable she is, I just hate her.  I don’t want to shoot her in the face, but the sad cute girl schtick is super beyond boring.  I could give a crap.  This first tune, Honeymoon sits and spins like a cute baby with a full diaper of organic baby food shit.  I had to skip ahead to the second tune, where there are multiple delayed tracks of Lana talking about music to watch boys by.  Jesus, somebody get this young lady a cup of coffee.  Plus she sings weird, her enunciation is fat lipped — could be the botox, no?  Oh, we’re on the beginning of the third tune after skipping at the halfway point and she’s milking her woes.  Earth to boring Del Ray.

@@@ EZTV: Calling Out (Captured Tracks, 2015).  A mid-summer release I saw listed on my heavy music email.  Oh my, soft as butter guitar indie.  Big Alex Chilton-like melodies without the pill popping band working underneath.  Also sounds a bit like a Smiths record without the biting Morrissey hate.  I’m sure a whole bunch of folks are feeling this record, but I find it too sweet for my taste.

@@@ Basenji: Trackpad (Future Classic, 2015).  Off the Beats highlights page it’s gonna be synth-vicious club music with some tweaks.  The first tune Dawn features a chill beat with a strange synth popping sound and there’s a lot of it.   Dog barks, percussive pops, chopped vocals, pitch shifted word chunklets — it’s quite a sonic scene up in here.  But here comes the EDM snare roll and everybody leave it out on the dance floor.  The second tune Can’t Get Enough features string plinks, a woman that has been made to sound like a 4 year old and a soprano saxophone.  And vocoder!  The tune may be called Can’t Get Enough but I think I have had enough.

YTD recordings listened to: 768
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 441
Not good music: 264

Honorable Mentions: 20
Buys: 12

Possibles: Chris McGregor, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Dave Arner Trio, 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, Richard Thompson, Jeremy Pinnell, Pat Thomas, Janelle Monae, The Alchemist, Luther Dickinson, Andra Day, Frog Eyes, Ruby Amanfu, Madd Again!, Fuck the Facts, Shannon and the Clams, Qwanqwa, Destruction Unit