@@@ Cavanaugh: Time and Materials (Mello Music, 2015). Cavanaugh is Open Mike Eagle and Serengeti and I’ve put recordings by both these MCs on my best of year lists. I actually listen to the rhymes of these guys as they’re funny and smart. They don’t rhyme standard hip hop subjects. The sounds here are very interesting with lots of trippy loops and beats that are neither soft nor typical of a specific location as in West Coast, NYC, or Dirty South. These guys make dense music and I like what I’ve heard thus far so Imma gonna circle back to this record for more extensive listening
@@@ Gentleman Surfer: Blalks (Gentleman Surfer, 2013). I caught a blog post that this band is out on tour so I thought I would check it out. It’s medium noisy and rocking’ with a couple of heaping teaspoons of Frank Zappa poured in to get yer freak on. Multi-tracked vocals, weird lyrics, sophisticated arrangements — it’s great to hear some music that flies the freak flag high. The music has moments of heaviness but it’s not metal and it doesn’t have the annoying vibe of Primus, for example. It’s all about the music here — no rock star attitude, no self-inflating production sounds. I’m going to come back and check this record out more but it’s probably going to end up on my year end list. They have a new record out so check that out as well and it’s unclear if non-musician folks understand how hard it is to be make anything off of music like this so if you feel it buy it and spread the word about these guys. Excellent musicianship and fresh tunes.
@@@ Devil You Know: They Bleed Red (Nuclear Blast, 2015). Some freight train heavy metal off the Beats highlights page. Big production with excellent guitar tones and a hard rock drum sound. The singer is all right but he’s starting with the epic operatic flow on the second tune and that usually doesn’t work for me. If it does for you, they’re really cranking the guitars and the epic vocals.
@@@ Lanterns on the Lake: Through the Cellar (Bella Union, 2015) A chill indie track with dreamy female vocals that explodes in the chorus. Smells a little Smashing Pumpkin-y in the chorus but sans The Bald Fucker. Also a wee bit of shoe gaze bigness tucked in there. Regular readers know I’m not the hugest fan but this is all right. I’m not hitting the repeat button but it’s got interesting elements going on.
YTD recordings listened to: 916
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 518
Not good music: 316
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, Lionel Loueke, Fast Asleep, Goldlink, Noisem, Cavanaugh, Gentleman Surfer