2/29/16: Anthrax, Macklemore, Michael Daves, Jagged Leaves

@@@ Anthrax: For All Kings (Megaforce, 2016).  The Apple Music front page banner has a picture of the Anthrax gents and I’m listening to this record because the bald guy has the most amazing raccoon tail beard.  I hope they didn’t Photoshop that motherfucker it is just a stunning beard.  And here comes the music after the orchestral intro and it’s a classic metal/thrash combo platter.  The singer has that epic metal singer bravado — I can easily imagine he puts a cucumber in his leather pants for dramatic effect before the show.  The songs are solid, I like the drums.

@@@ Macklemore & Ryan Lewis (Macklemore, 2016).  I tend to think of Macklemore as a hip hop clown pants.  The first tune features strings (hate it), light beats (plain vanilla), but his rhyming is all right.   This second tune Downtown is an updated throwback tune featuring Melle Mel, Grandmaster Flash etc.  Oh he’s rocking the bells!  This third tune Brad Pitt’s Cousin is a boasting track and I hates it.  This is cotton candy hip hop, light on funk heavy on sugar.  Oh my, 102 million views on this second tune Downtown!  What a god awful waste of bandwidth!  Peep the madness.

@@@ Michael Daves: Orchids and Violence (Nonesuch, 2016).  Described as alternative country rock on the All Music weekly email it sure as shit sounds like bluegrass to me.  Banjo, acoustic, upright bass, mandolin — just call it Appalachian shit kicking music and be proud as this first tune is pretty kicking.  Daves can sing, check him out on this clip below!  I’m a little shocked because most Nonesuch releases are high end yuppie brunch music but these guys have escaped the Nonesuch sausage machine.  Imma gonna have to swing back on this record.

@@@ Jagged Leaves: Nightmare Afternoon (Yellow K, 2016).  Some NYC folk influenced slacker rock I got to via a music publicist email.  Husband and wife on the microphones and they sing well together.  She has a pretty voice and he’s a little nasal and sharp but it contrasts nicely.  Other instrumentation includes rock rhythm section, big electric organ sound, slide guitar, cello and fiddle.  He’s a downer to be sure and the music is slow and pretty.  He’s put some work into the lyrics and I give respect to that.  It’s not straight up my alley but it’s quality music so check him out if it sounds interesting to you.  Lovely cello sound, by the way.

YTD recordings listened to: 202
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 112
Not good music: 71

Honorable Mentions: 4
Buys: 3

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, Matt Walker, Divanhana, Troum, Unrestrained, Carrie Rodriguez, Moken, Ghostlimb, Michael Daves

Advertisements

2/20/16: Motorpsycho, BJ the Chicago Kid, Unrestrained

@@@ Motorpsycho: Here Be Monsters (Rune Grammofon, 2016).  Neo-psychedelia off this week’s All Music notable release email.  Opens up tinkly piano in a 1 minute intro before getting into some shimmery guitars in this second tune.  Oh you fucking liars, you’ve gone and slipped the prog in while I was tuning in for the net-psychedelia.  And I’m not sure I know what neo-psychedelia is.  This could be a Yes record for fucks sake.  It is labelled correctly as prog on Apple Music — this is classic music industry bullshit trying to sell you a television disguised as a smart phone.   Dual electric guitar attack, big melodic bass lines and kinda super geeky wuss drums.

@@@ BJ the Chicago Kid: In My Mind (Motown, 2016).  Some contemporary r&b off the All Music weekly email.  Big, bodacious band behind the BJ who is confrontational and braggadocious on the microphone.  The third tune is a semi-raunchy ballad with a super tight snare sound and some trippy loops and gospel tinges. A mash of black musics to be had here.  The fourth tune, clipped below, sounds like a single to me.  Focused arrangement and loverboy vocals.

@@@ Unrestrained: Forward Unto Death (Unrestrained, 2016).  Here’s a good music scavenging tip.  If you see a recording is being reissued on vinyl it’s probably a pretty good record.  It’s expensive to press vinyl (about $5 a pop) and nobody is going to do unless there’s a solid base of people who like a record enough to repurchase it on vinyl.  This record is off my heavy metal weekly email.  It’s a metal/punk mash with a hardcore punk singer.  No caveman/angry orc here.   Fuck me, this band is tight.  Excellent drummer here with tasty accompaniment from the guitar player.  Imma gonna swing back on this band.

YTD recordings listened to: 174
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 96
Not good music: 68

Honorable Mentions: 4
Buys: 3

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, Matt Walker, Divanhana, Troum, Unrestrained

2/28/16: Oranssi Pazuzu, Quilt, Tweet

@@@ ORANSSI PAZUZU  “Varahtelija”  (20 Buck Spin) A mash of heavy music styles off this week’s Aquarius Records mailer.  The record opens with Saturaatio, a slow tune with a repeating guitar figure and a melodic bass line.  It gets moving with a more bash beat and some big Jane’s Addiction style guitar wash/shred.  Some spaceship swirls and R2D2 bleeps make their appearance and the whole thing gets to another level of nutty.  This may be the only heavy music record I’ve ever heard with vibes in it, so big respect on that.  It is a unique experience to hear an orc scratch his vocals out over vibes.  The songs are long (most) and unfold slowly and you’re in for a blend of heaviness and prog.

@@@ Quilt: Plaza (Mexican Summer, 2016).  Described as indie folk on this week’s All Music weekly email I hear classic clean guitar indie with some synth garnish.   Smooth female vocals lend a dreamy effect to this first tune.  Ah, tambourine!  The second tune (clipped below) is the single with a catchier arrangement over the straight beat.  I’m a bit prejudiced against this formula so if you’re up for an updated classic indie record check this out.  Medium quirk in this third tune.

@@@ Tweet: Charlene (Entertainment, 2016).  Some gospel tinged, fusion-y r&b also from this week’s All Music weekly email.  Clean guitar, some twerdling synths, big electric bass sound over a pretty minimalist beat with buttery sweet vocals.  The vocals are old school to my ears.  A little Al Green, a little early Prince, some more modern sounds and a sweet female voice.

YTD recordings listened to: 198
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 110
Not good music: 70

Honorable Mentions: 4
Buys: 3

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, Matt Walker, Divanhana, Troum, Unrestrained, Carrie Rodriguez, Moken, Ghostlimb

2/26/16: Dual, Ghostlimb, Holy Grail, Fleshgod Apocalypse

@@@ Dual: Fear of the Dead (Heavy Psych, 2016).  Catchy uptempo heavy music at the crossroads of glam and stoner metal.  Poppier than Queens of the Stone Age, great guitar sounds with pretty standard riffage.  Get out the cheap beer and the motorcycle chaps, it’s gonna be a trailer park ho down.  Don’t let the cover fool you, it’s not very death-y.

@@@ Ghostlimb: Difficult Loves (Vitriol, 2016).  Some more metal off the Apple Music always on point playlists.  No glam on this bad boy, just full post-rock spit.  More punk pissed than nihilistic heavy metal.  Ya still get a nice kick drum thwack for your money and a few sad emo breakdown sections before the shit starts stirring again.  I dig the singer, the drummer is killing it and the guitar player is not a shredder but more of a slasher.  Imma gonna swing back on this badboy.

@@@ Holy Grail: Times of Pride and Peril (Prosthetic Records, 2016).  Ramped up classic metal off the same Apple Music playlist.  Big operatic singer, super shreddy guitar player with the drummer providing most of the muscle.  They gotta a little boogie going in this second tune, Waste Them All Away and they bring a little thrash to the third tune.  Always within the classic metal frame.  Not really my favorite style of metal but they put some mustard on it.

@@@ Fleshgod Apocalypse: King (Nuclear Blast, 2016)  One hour and 48 minutes of metal off the Apple Music metal playlist.  After an orchestral intro, they get into a battering second tune, with a caveman singer and a methed out kick drums.  A blasting wall of guitars and then with strings tucked back in the mix.  This is the full metal theater show.  Brutal and a little dramatical at the very same time.

YTD recordings listened to: 195
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 107
Not good music: 70

Honorable Mentions: 4
Buys: 3

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, Matt Walker, Divanhana, Troum, Unrestrained, Carrie Rodriguez, Moken, Ghostlimb

2/25/16: Sidestepper, North, Fantastic Negrito,

@@@ Sidestepper: Supernatural Love (Real World, 2016).  Electro cumbia music that I got to via the weekly reviews at WRIR in Virginia.  The first tune is a heavily African number with hand drumming and a vocal chorus.  The second number is a breezy Caribbean tune and the third tune, which is the title track stays in a similar place with a laid-back arrangement and that big vocal chorus making a return.  It’s all right, I tend to enjoy the hard hitting world music but if you got a drink with an umbrella in it this might work for you.

@@@ North: Light the Way (Prosthetic Records, 2016).  A gloom metal banger off an upcoming full bucket coming in mid-March.  Opens up groggy with some noodling guitar but it’s an 8 minute banger, and there she is, the crush.  The drums are a bit metallic but it’s more of a post-punk, coming down vibe.  They do it purdy good with big drums, arpeggiated guitars, and an agonized singer.  Around halfway through the tune they get into a crunchy, mathier section before coming out back into the mid tempo stomp.   I dig the bass sound especially but the sound of tune overall, but I would point listeners to Kowloon Walled City’s 2015 record, Grievances.

@@@ Fantastic Negrito: Working Poor (Blackball Universe, 2016).  A blues inflected mainstream rock single I got to from the Apple Music rock page.  A Don Henley 1980’s straight beat with a gravelly singer lamenting gentrification and the destruction of the working class.  While I’m entirely with him in his hatred of yuppie scum, a term which regrettably does not appear in this song, the song sounds like it was sculpted for a gentrifier.  Straight beat, clean sound, everything in its place.  Death to Fascists!!!

@@@ Fhloston Paradigm: Cosmosis Vol. 2 (Hyperdub, 2016).  A three song 25 minute EP off the Apple Music electronic page.  This first tune features a super skanky hi hat with an undulating bass synth with a smallish keyboard vamp coming up slowly.  The tune unwinds slowly over its 9 minute run, but it remains coiled throughout.  I’m on the third tune now and he retains the multiple arpeggiated synth sound for all three of these bangers.  It’s tense sci-fi electronica.

 

YTD recordings listened to: 191
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 105
Not good music: 71

Honorable Mentions: 4
Buys: 3

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, Matt Walker, Divanhana, Troum, Unrestrained, Carrie Rodriguez, Moken

2/24/16: Moken, Rationale, Boolean Knife, Catfish and the Battlement

@@@ Moken: Chapters of My Life (Bantu, 2016).  An Afro pop record from a gent from Cameroon and a coupla white guys.  The music is pretty standard with a tilt towards the upbeat but you gotta check this guy’s voice out.  You don’t hear a brother sing like this very often.  He’s got a weird vibrato and a distinct flow.  He moves from the bass register to a strange falsetto effortlessly.  The music is mostly a roots sound with some African rhythms and it’s solid while the singer takes the cake.  Imma gonna have to swing back on this record and see if he keeps the strange all the way through.  If you dig the way Antony from that Canadian band Antony and the Johnsons rocks the mic you should check this guy out.  Not as fragile but just as weird.

You can stream here.

@@@ Boolean Knife: Astrid and the Killer Penguin (Self-released, 2016).  A three song EP of mostly 1980’s rock sounds that I got to via a music publicist.  It rocks a bit harder than most ’80s rock with some big guitar washes but the singer is straight outta the Reagan era.  Things get mo brisk on the second tune, and this is for fans of Simple Minds, Psych Furs, etc.

@@@ Rationale: Something for Nothing (Not sure, 2016).  A mash of electro and 1980’s synth rock from an African emigre to the UK that I got to via a music publicist.  Uplifting lyrics, some electronic drums, synth melodies, plinky guitar and a lot of vocals.  He wants to be the one you call when things go worst, and he’ll come running.

@@@ Catfish and the Battlement: Soundcheck (Island, 2016).  The number one track on the Apple Music Best of the Week playlist.  If Weezer and Wilco had a gay baby it would sound a tone like this tune.  A tad slack and a tad melodic at the same time.  They bring it down to a break about something a bit deeper than the chorus before it rocks on the outro. Mainstream rocks on the outro and gives you one more taste of the hook.  Somebody was in the studio for hours polishing this American rock nugget.

YTD recordings listened to: 187
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 103
Not good music: 69

Honorable Mentions: 4
Buys: 3

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, Matt Walker, Divanhana, Troum, Unrestrained, Carrie Rodriguez, Moken

2/23/16: Banda de Los Muertos, Tessan Chin, Rokia Traore

@@@ Banda de Los Muertos: Self-titled (Barbes, 2015).  Some uptempo cumbia/Latin music off the WRIR weekly playlist email.  The emphasis in this first tune is on the intricate and energetic horn arrangements.  There is most definitely a swing band jazz influence going on.  The second tune moves from swinging to a more openly Mexican mariachi feel and I dig the tuba as well as the crispness of the horn section.  A strong female singer makes an appearance on the third tune and I think Imma gonna have to circle back on this record when I have time for the whole thing.  Righteous tuba playing on this record, he/she is holding it down for sure.

@@@ Tessan Chin: Love Suicide (Chinita, 2016)  A slow burning, modern r&b love single off the Apple Music r&b section.  The drums are pretty modern sounding but there’s a bunch of Al Green-like sounds on the tune.  Instrumentation is guitar, piano, bass, drums (machine, I think!) and Chin doing her thing.  She rides the line between passionate singing and ridiculous over-singing.

@@@ Rokia Traore: Ne So (Nonesuch, 2016).  Some female fronted African music also off the WRIR weekly playlist email.  As it’s coming out on Nonesuch the production is going to be super highbrow and polished for yuppies.  Traore has a beautiful voice but the band is a bit restrained in the first tune.  You know these guys can rip it, let ’em play.  I like the unique rhythmic arrangement of the second tune, but I wish the sound of the band was less mellow.    Instrumentation is pretty standard — kora, electric guitar, electric bass, drums and a lot of vocals.

YTD recordings listened to: 183
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 101
Not good music: 68

Honorable Mentions: 4
Buys: 3

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, Matt Walker, Divanhana, Troum, Unrestrained, Carrie Rodriguez