10/31/15: Cheatahs, Black Masala, The Neighborhood

@@@ Cheatahs: Mythologies (Wichita, 2015).  Some expansive synth indie with a touch of shoe gaze off the Beats highlights page.  The singer comes out, breathy and intimate and a bit reverse phased over live drums and guitar chord washes.  These guys have a bit of that Arcade Fire mope to them.  If the drums were higher in the mix it might have a bit more muscles and I might like it more.

@@@ Black Masala: Black Masala (Black Masala, 2014)  A mash of cabaret, Balkan music, and New Orleans large ensemble party music.  The first tune sounds a bunch like a Gogol Bordello tune but more bouncy.  In my opinion you can’t fuck with any band that has a tuba holding down the low end.  I really dig the horn section.  I guess they have a new record that I saw on the WRIR review email but this effort is up on my Beats stop.  I can hear that these guys are veteran players and are most likely a smoking live unit, but I’m wondering why I’m not enjoying this record more.

@@@  The Neighborhood: WipedOut! (Columbia, 2015) Some mainstream rock off the Beat highlights page.  They’re going for a Strokes type of nerdy, poppy cock rock pose –Lord knows how the Strokes became a band that influences other bands.  The production here is much more sophisticated than the songs and the singer is annoying.

YTD recordings listened to: 875
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 498
Not good music: 299

Honorable Mentions: 21
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, Madd Again!, Fuck the Facts, Shannon and the Clams, Destruction Unit, Rim Kwaku Obeng, Graeme Barrett, Kowloon Walled City, Israel Nash

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10/30/15: Jimi Tents, Old Man Luedecke, Snakehips

@@@ Jimi Tents: 5 O’clock Shadow (Vita Media, 2015).  Some hip hop off the Beats highlights page. Laid-back sounds in the arrangement including fusion-y guitar and electric  organ supporting medium uptempo rhyming.  Beats are minimalist and he’s getting wound up — skills.  The second tune, All of it, is darker with some super fat bass and some West Coast skitter-y beats.  This is another MC so I’m not sure if Mr. Tents has done the tracks here and he pulls in guest MCs — I could make no progress from the Google on this matter.  This third tune has George Clinton ’80s funk influences and I think I’ve verified that Tents is the producer and he’s got MCs rapping over his word.  If you like the variety pack check this out — he’s created unique sounding arrangements for each tune/rapper.

@@@ Old Man Luedecke: Domestic Eccentric (True North, 2015).  An alt/hippie folk-string record off last week’s CFUV weekly email.  No drums on this first tune, Yodelady, and the triumvirate of banjo, mandolin, and acoustic guitar.  The singer is upbeat and witty but not too hipster-y.  Some nice vocal harmonizing on the second tune and enter the fiddle.  I don’t think these are old time-y covers so if you’re looking for some roots/folk music with updated lyrics and beautiful singing check these guys out.  No drums/bass on what I heard.

@@@ Snakehips: All My Friends (Hoffman West, 2015).  A slicked out r&b electro single off the Beats highlights page.  Same with Mr. Tents above.  After a r&b verse it expands into a group sing along and then a male singer/rapper.  So it’s a mash of sounds and styles — plenty of trippy blurps and the singalong hits my ears as an indie kinda move.  Could be wrong on that, am wrong on a lot.  Nice organ part and I think I hear undercover Prince vibes in places.

YTD recordings listened to: 872
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 496
Not good music: 298

Honorable Mentions: 21
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, Madd Again!, Fuck the Facts, Shannon and the Clams, Destruction Unit, Rim Kwaku Obeng, Graeme Barrett, Kowloon Walled City, Israel Nash

10/29/15: Wordburglar, The Chainsmokers, Canblaster

@@@ Wordburglar: Rapplicable Skills (Self-released, 2015)  Saw this self-released hip hop record on last week’s CFUV playlist email and put him up top — we don’t want to Rosa Parks the MCs out there putting them down the bottom of the review queue.  First of Wordburglar is an excellent name for a hip hop outfit.  The first tune, Word the Frig Up opens up bodacious and swaggering.  This is frat boy, party hip hop fronted by a Canadian white boy.  He rhymes all right and I like the rock ‘n roll vibe he brings to his music.  I like him moniker more than I dig his rhyming.

@@@ The Chainsmokers: Bouquet (Disruptor/Columbia, 2015)  Some mainstream electro off the Beats highlights page.  Opens up with the Roses with a languid female vocalist talking about her high life over some really pumped up finger snaps.  There’s a mildly unpleasant synth laugh, there’s you edm snare roll and then moans and a pillowy chainsaw puffy synth.  This arrangement got worked on, it’s fully fleshed out with all sorts of goodies.  The song isn’t as good as the sounds.  Let’s move on.  This second tune is New York City is a torch song opening up with the ringing piano chords, lots of reverb and this tune smells a bit like a bite on Alicia Keys’ huge hit about NYC.  This is the kind of tune you would hear in a cheesy ass Hollywood movie where some asshole is riding around standing up in his limousine his hair blowing in the wind hands in the air both happy and sad at the same time.  Woof.

@@@ CanBlaster: Continue? (Pelican Fly, 2015).  Oh a little bleep-tronica to celebrate the upcoming Star Wars film.  You got some ewok synth chatter, a harp patch (fuck me!), some fat baby bass synth, sexy robot whispers, and yards of computer blue.  All instrumental tinkles, and whirpy sharpies and silver metal birds in this first tune.  Second tune, Encore Dx is more stripped down, oh here’s the cold space lady come to drop the intergalactic sexy all over you.  She’s all chopped up into eeps and whups but who doesn’t like a space girl moan nugget.  Club piano vamp, waiting, waiting, no explosion but back to the hypnotic chopped vocals.  Elements of old school drum ‘n bass tucked into this tune.  The third tune continues with some elements while also swirling a little old school hip hop and a nice skittering stick beat.  It takes two to make a thing go right, that’s the bite right?

YTD recordings listened to: 869
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 494
Not good music: 297

Honorable Mentions: 21
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, Madd Again!, Fuck the Facts, Shannon and the Clams, Destruction Unit, Rim Kwaku Obeng, Graeme Barrett, Kowloon Walled City, Israel Nash

10/27/15: Fat Freddy’s Drop, Mashrou’ Leila, Ahab, Jacob Whitesides

@@@ Fat Freddy’s Drop: Bays (The Drop, 2015).  People went halfway batshit over the last record by these guys and while I thought it was good I also thought it could have delivered more.  This first tune is an electronic funk/soul thing — loverboy vocals, straight funk beat, horn section, some synth garnish.  This is a cool tune, developed but not super hot.  The second tune, Slings and Arrows, brings the slamming dub bass and the roots reggae/loverboy swirl.  Maybe I’m finding the singer to be too low energy.  Compare him to Burning Spear’s vocalist, no?  The sounds are good, the songs are good, but I would rather listen to Michael Franti’s Yell Fire from about 10 years ago before I would listen to this.  I’m on the third tune and the sounds are hot, but the singer is not for me.  Remember always peep for yourself.

@@@ Mashrou’ Leila: Maghawir (Not sure, 2015).  I guess there’s an indie scene in Beirut and this outfit has been a part of it.  This is all according to the music publicist email.  It’s better indie electronic than average mostly because it sports funkier beats and the singer is better than most white boy/girl Amero-hipsters.  You know you hipsters are closeted white bread motherfuckers, right?  I like the Middle Eastern melodic flavors and the singer’s difference but it’s still indie electronic which is a tough genre for me to jump up and down about.

You can stream it here.

@@@ Ahab:The Boats of the Glenn Carrig (Napalm, 2015)  When you watch Zero Dark Thirty (Propaganda!)  they always give the guy they’re about to torture a cigarette and a little love before they waterboard his ass.  This album opens in the same way, it’s got a melodramatic, slow, proggy first tune with clean guitars and then comes the crush.  We will honor the nautical metaphor of the band and respect the big waves of power chord/riff action.  The second tune, The Thing that made Search opens up proggy/melodic clean guitar — I guess I’m not a fan of this big mashing of meaningful prog and heavy shit — I can always listen to jazz if I want to hear some high quality melodic playing.  They get a good crush going on, but the singer goes full Neanderthal and these long sections of waiting for the beatdown is hard for me.

@@@ Jacob Whitesides: Secrets (Double U/BMG, 2015)  A single off the Beats highlights page, same as the Fat Freddy’s Drop.  This dude is a Bieber wannabe which kinda blows my mind.  Poppy, blue eyed soul.  I hear some interesting sounds popping in the mix — some banjos (?) and the drums sound great.  All this major label stuff tends to sound great but then they usually layer on 67 background vocals and while it aspires to being soulful it’s so preened that works against its own desire.  Slick pop cheese.

YTD recordings listened to: 866
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 492
Not good music: 296

Honorable Mentions: 21
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, Madd Again!, Fuck the Facts, Shannon and the Clams, Destruction Unit, Rim Kwaku Obeng, Graeme Barrett, Kowloon Walled City, Israel Nash

10/26/15: Fuzz, Panama Wedding, Mono

@@@ Fuzz: II (In the Red, 2015).  A few days ago we peeped the first effort from these guys but I thought I would roll back and see how the second one sounds because my shit is thorough.  I’m still feeling like the best part of this band is the drummer and my least favorite is the singer.  In between is the solid guitar work.  I’m feeling much the same as with the last record — if you’re gonna evoke Jimi Hendrix with the hard riffing, you should pay attention to Jimi’s feel.  This guitar player could use a tablespoon of freakshow added to his flow.  Follow the drummer’s lead, he’s got mad flavor.

@@@ Panama Wedding: Infinite High (Glass Note, 2015).  Some super 1980’s influenced electro pop.  Stinky plinky guitars, drum machine handclaps, and a too buttery male singer.  I’m proud to denounce this cheese nugget.  Don’t get me started on the lyrics — infinite high, gimme a break.  BlecK.

@@@ Mono: Transcendental (Pelagic Records, 2015)  Some experimental rock off last week’s All Music notable release.  Experimental rock is one of those labels that is abused for coolness and most music I listen to that is labelled as experimental is not experimental. As I always say I don’t want to be a complete genre bitch, but if it’s not it’s not yo.  This is a long proggy/indie jam with U2 short echo guitar tones, a rolling snare march.  We’re entering into a section of this long banana that is controlled rocking.  Big, descending melodies, some noise, let’s move to the next shot and see if it’s experimental.  The second tune, The Quiet Observer, is a slow, meaningful jam with a simple tom heavy beat, a cello melody, and some piano.  It’s okay but it’s just proggy/indie.

YTD recordings listened to: 862
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 490
Not good music: 294

Honorable Mentions: 21
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, Madd Again!, Fuck the Facts, Shannon and the Clams, Destruction Unit, Rim Kwaku Obeng, Graeme Barrett, Kowloon Walled City, Israel Nash

10/25/15: Far Flown Falcon, DNCE, Gun Outfit

@@@ Far Flown Falcon: A Crown on a Chain EP (Self-released, 2015)  A self-released mostly folk record by a guy who sounds Irish but is located in Malaysia.  Some atypical and pleasing percussion popping underneath the sophisticated acoustic guitar fingerpicking.  Also some nice single line melodic electric guitar with African influences. The second tune opens up more stripped down — just voice and nice guitar figures.  The singer Conder sounds a bunch like Richard Thompson and while he’s not at the level of virtuosity of Thompson he’s more than capable and his lyrics are not as heavy as Thompson.  The melding of Asian/African beats with the folk guitar playing is very creative.  Check him out.

@@@ DNCE: Sway (Jonas/Republic, 2015).  Some mainstream hard tack I got to from the highlights page.  It’s an attempt to bring back late ’70s/early ’80s Gap Band style funk.    How do folks out there feel about white boy funk?  I”m not usually a buyer.  The arrangements are good if not very familiar and the weak link is the Jonas on the mic and the low IQ lyrics.  No charm, no wit, no funk.  Maybe DNCE is short for DUNCE and not DANCE.

@@@ Gun Outift: Dream All Over (Not sure, 2015) I saw this record get some love on a random tweet I get in my random tweet emails that the folks at the Twitter send out.  This first tune is a bit Yo La Tengo, a pure of Sonic Youth, and a schmear of jam band as they have a double jangle guitar attack.  Also a tang of X with the male and female singers, but this first tune is super laid-back/cough syrupy.  Dudes!  Let’s skip ahead as it’s late and I don’t want to snooze off.  The second tune introduced a banjo into the sleepy time tea formula and this third tune is getting into some sitar like drone stuff.  It’s an interesting mash but I think they should stick with one set of stringed instruments and just get on with it.  I really dig this tune clipped below.

YTD recordings listened to: 859
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 488
Not good music: 293

Honorable Mentions: 21
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, Madd Again!, Fuck the Facts, Shannon and the Clams, Destruction Unit, Rim Kwaku Obeng, Graeme Barrett, Kowloon Walled City, Israel Nash

10/24/15: Tory Kelly, Lane 8, Fuzz

@@@ Tory Kelly: Hollow (Tory Kelly, 2015)  This single is described as real and emotional on the Beats highlights page.  I would disagree.  It’s got finger snaps, and piano chords ringing and plenty of oversinging with occasional pre-cumming moaning but it’s a mainstream yearning corporate biscuit.  I haven’t felt any genuine emotion yet and I”m not holding my breath.  So I guess it’s appropriate that the tune is titled ‘Hollow.’

@@@ Lane 8: Undercover (Anjunadeep, 2015)  A four pack of remixes so I will peep the original mix, comment, love it and love it and love it and then folks can check the remaining remixed bangers.  It’s standard electro kick drum with a little shimmy shake on top of that, then a 5 year old composed synth part and now some slack vocals.  I like the beat, the synth part is like having a hole drilled in your skull and I’m agnostic on the vocals.    Now I don’t like the singer and we’re in full laid-back club banger.  Miley Cyrus would bury her pet fish to this tune.  I made it halfway through, I’m not feeling it.

@@@ Fuzz: Fuzz (In the Red, 2015).  Veering out of the main stream we head to the Aquarius records weekly email.  There’s a new platter from this outfit Fuzz which is fronted by Ty Segall, and Oh Lord that dude is crapping the discs out faster than John Zorn.  I like what I’ve heard so far.  Some hippie blues, some stoner rock, some early ’70s flower power vibes.  The singer is doing some solid space child work and the guitar riffage sounds very high quality despite being pretty standard composition wise.  The guitar player rocks a better solo than his riffs.  I’m feeling the guitar player and the drummer who’s spraying a la Mitch Mitchell.  The singer is not taking me higher.

YTD recordings listened to: 856
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 489
Not good music: 291

Honorable Mentions: 21
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, Madd Again!, Fuck the Facts, Shannon and the Clams, Destruction Unit, Rim Kwaku Obeng, Graeme Barrett, Kowloon Walled City, Israel Nash