@@@ Christine and the Queens: Self-titled (Because Music, 2015). A mainstream electro Euro pop stink bomb off the front page of Apple Music. A plethora of synths, ’80s drum machine beats, and Christine’s English as second language singing. Oh, the horror! In the second song, she’s singing in French which is a relief, but the sounds are the same just presented in a ballad context. The problem is not that Christine and the Queens made this music — if that’s how they roll then have at it. But if this is a hot record on Apple Music somebody go get a rope and hang me.
@@@ The National: Morning Dew (4AD, 2016) I’ve had more than one person ask me if I like the National. I’ve checked them out before but maybe they’ve evolved to the point where I will jump and down. Or maybe I’ve evolved. This is a meaningful guitar indie song, just below mid tempo with a lower register vocal part, some epic delayed guitar sprinklets, and serious tom drums. There’s also plenty of reverb to go around. I like the guitar sounds, I can deal with the drums, but the singer’s a bit, how shall we say, milking the cow a bit hard? My teats hurt just hearing him have at it. He’s gonna walk someone out to the morning dew today but I’m not sure I care. I like the outro, they get on it, oops we’re back to the dew. For fans of the mad dramatical. This is off a Grateful Dead tribute album which explains the slackness.
@@@ Beninghove’s Hangmen: Pineapples and Ashtrays (Beninghove’s Hangmen, 2015). A mash of world music and swing jazz (at least in this first tune). Big horn lines over a Brazilian rhythmic undercarriage. There’s a nice guitar solo in this first tune, and the second tune (the title track) is a slow swaggering horn led ballad. There’s some really superlative horn work on this record, and now on this third tune, a dub. Stylish! Check out this instrumental record as it spans a lot of sounds while retaining a cohesiveness. The horns, oh the horns.
@@@ Berner: Hempire (Bern One, 2016) A laidback, weed loving hip hopper out of the Bay Area. He loves weed, he loves the inner city life, he loves the ladies and all this over quasi r&b arrangements. Ooh, there’s a rank statement about women. This second tune, Life Goes On, features the vocal hook “More money, more crime”. This shit could be a Wall Street after hours jam.
YTD recordings listened to: 314
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 176
Not good music: 118
Honorable Mentions: 6
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, 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 Parker, Divanhana, Troum, Unrestrained, Carrie Rodriguez, Moken, Ghostlimb, Cruciamentum