@@@ Ought: Sun Coming Down (Constellation, 2015) #42 for the best of 2015 over here. Part Devo, part old school indie. If you don’t like the singer’s voice you’re not going to dig the record. He’s a bit slack and off kilter — I dig the off kilter and the slack somewhat less. I dig the guitar player, both tone and playing, as well as the tightness of the band. The second tune, Passionate Turn, is a more downtempo rock thing with some high guitar twinkle and low minimal buzz work down under that. The singer isn’t awful, he’s an acquired taste. It’s not a year ender for me but I get why folks are into this record.
@@@ Roots Manuva: Bleeds (Big Dada, 2015). A conscious hip hop record out of the UK. Mr. Manuva has the opposite of a nimble flow on the mic but he’s got consciousness so that goes a long way. This is not a standard sounding American hip hop record — not nearly as funky as much of what comes out of the hood. This third tune, Facety 2:11 gets it working a little better, but I’m not super feeling this record.
@@@ Dylan LeBlanc: Cautionary Tale (Single Lock, 2016). A mash of lonesome indie and ’70s soft rock that I saw listed on the All Music notable release email. LeBlanc sounds a bit like Bon Iver and that band is pretty straightforward with tinges of country rock despite the string swells tucked behind the band. The second tune is a bit slinkier but still sports the strings and the faded rock vibe which resides mostly in LeBlanc’s voice.
@@@ Daughter: Not to Disappear (Glassnote, 2016). Some euro-electronica off the All Music weekly notable release email. The female singer’s voice is described as astonishing with tremendous poise by the folks at Apple Music. They have her framed in a dreamy manner on this first tune. She’s singing softly nestled in a large reverb patch with a minimalist drum machine beat and now a wall of freshly washed guitar. I hate to be a dick but I’m not astonished — she’s got a good voice but it’s not deployed in a particularly inventive or unique manner. The guitar player is better than the singer but the music has this self-imposed serious vibe to it that I find a bit cloying.
YTD recordings listened to: 74
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 42
Not good music: 29
Honorable Mentions: 2
Possibles: Chris McGregor, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Dave Arner Trio, MAKU Soundsystem, Zomby, Retox, 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, T.O.M.B., Fofoulah, Lozen, Erase Errata, Dawn Richard, Mastery, Leviathan, Xibalba, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, Akitsa, Janelle Monae, Luther Dickinson, Destruction Unit, Graeme Barrett, Fast Asleep, Goldlink, Cavanaugh, Gentleman Surfer, Satoko Fuji, Mystic Braves, Reverend Peyton, James McMurtry, Living in Hell