@@@ 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
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