5/31/16: Idris Ackamoor, Gravitysays_i, Beth Orton

@@@ Idris Ackamoor: We Be All Africans Now (Strut, 2016).  I guess this music is closet to Afrobeat but it is definitely less swaggering and more jazz like and angular than your classic Fela afrobeat.  A little bit of Sun Ra, a little black hippe Space Age flavor sauce, and even a little indie.  Ah, I just Duck Duck Goed Mr. Ackamoor and see he’s originally from Chicago and now teaches in the San Francisco area.  That explains a whole lot about the mixture of sounds in these tunes.  If you are into large ensemble African music but don’t love the machismo of classic Afrobeat this might work for you.  I might swing back on this record, it’s interesting.

@@@ Gravitysays_i: Quantum Unknown (Inner Ear, 2016).  The first single off an upcoming full length from a Greek prog/post rock outfit.  By single, I mean almost 10 minutes of sound that builds slowly.  Big rock vibes here.  A lower register vocalist lends an even more dramatic vibe to the proceedings.  Synths, guitars, it’s the full monty here.

@@@ Beth Orton: Kidsticks (Anti-, 2016).  Folktronica pioneer Orton returns on a record I got to via the All Music weekly notable release email.  This first tune, Snow, sounds more Kate Bush than anybody else with a simple bass pulse, a cornucopia of vocal tracks, some Peter Gabriel-esque single note guitar work and a medium funky groove with some sheets of guitar noise tucked in the back of the mix.  The Apple Music blurb says this is a new direction for Orton, away from what she did in the ’90s towards mesmeric electronic music.  It’s electronic, but I don’t know about mesmeric.  Mesmeric means to induce hynposis whereas I feel like this music is inducing sleepiness.

YTD recordings listened to: 468
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 261
Not good music: 173

Honorable Mentions: 9
Buys: 9

Possibles: Chris McGregor, Dave Arner Trio, MAKU Soundsystem, Zomby, Retox, Jessie Mae Hemphill, Bone Dance, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Slidhr, 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, Divanhana, Unrestrained, Moken, Systema Solar, Brian Eno, Juan Atkins, Drone, Lantern, The Lickshots, Twin Peaks

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Honorable Mention 2016 Pick 9

Cha Wa: Funk ‘n Feathers (Cha Wa, 2016)

Super funky and soulful New Orleans Mardi Gras music.  These guys are Black Indians, who dress for Mardi Gras with strong Native American influences.  I watched the first season of Treme and there’s a little of it in there, and I’m by no means an expert but you can read about it here.

We’re not here for the fashion, these guys can play and sing.  Righteous uplifting vocals, a lot of catchy and standard New Orleans party tunes but done with some rock/funk muscle, especially the guitar player, the organ player and the drummer.  You also have to give respect to a full party track pumped along by a tuba player (Upt, the tune below).

This is most definitely not redneck, Memorial Day party music if you happen to be of that subgenre this is black pride music.  Check these guys out.

 

5/28/16: Debo Band, Elza Soares, Skyes

@@@ Debo Band: Ere Gobez (FPE, 2016).  It’s Memorial Day so that means grilled meat and party music.  And to honor that and in an effort to push the stupid party music off the ipod we will be peeping some world music party music today.  Debo Band out of Boston plays Ethiopian influenced large ensemble party music.  The vocals are pretty African sounding, but they have a rocking guitar in there and some decidedly funk rock drums.  And that’s okay, like letting trans people pee wherever, really what’s the big deal, they gotta pee somewhere yo.  This second tune Kehulum Abliche sports all that and big swaggering horn lines.  And an accordion solo in the middle, that’s pretty partyistic.  I like this music all right, I prefer the new Konono No. 1 record myself, but check it out.

@@@ Elza Soares Canta e Chora Lupi (Coqueiro Verde, 2016).   Some live Brazilian music I got to via the WRIR weekly playlist email.  This is music for grown ups, you know how much I hate that.  Especially on Grilled Meat weekend.  There’s a sizable jazz band backing Soares up – guitar, horns, bass, piano, and drums.  I think this would be very nice music to get blasted to — not cheap beer, something classy like wine in a box or plumb wine.  The songs are mostly midtempo, I don’t know much Portugese but it sounds like the lyrics describe a lot of fornicating on the beach and throwing rotten fruit at poor people.  An interesting mash to say the least.

@@@ Skyes: Quarks EP (Skyes, 2016)  I don’t know about you but there’s no music more partyistic than indie electronic.  The tight jeans, the unfunky drum machine beats, and the synths, oh let the synths rain down over humanity.  I got to this record via a music publicist and I actually like this first tune, Lullaby.  It features an abnormally flavored arrangements with vocal parts that are high on melody and lower in cheese than usual.  The second tune is all right, not as good as the opener, things are getting a tad soar-y for my taste.  Some nice electronic goodies in the mix, nice sounds for this genre but again, not for me.  I think this music is for Hillary Clinton supporters — a little disconnected from reality a little head in the clouds.

YTD recordings listened to: 465
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 259
Not good music: 172

Honorable Mentions: 8
Buys: 9

Possibles: Chris McGregor, Dave Arner Trio, MAKU Soundsystem, Zomby, Retox, Jessie Mae Hemphill, Bone Dance, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Slidhr, 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, Divanhana, Unrestrained, Moken, Cha Wa, Systema Solar, Brian Eno, Juan Atkins, Drone, Lantern, The Lickshots, Twin Peaks

5/26/16: Owen, Bea Miller, Wired Minds, Pantha Du Prince

@@@ Owen: Lost (Polyvinyl, 2016)  The lead single off an upcoming full length that I got to via a music publicist email.  The lyrics are medium graphic with whores and drugs making appearances, but the music is super indie comfort style — strummed acoustic guitar, engaging vocals.  I dig the upright bass and it blooms orchestral for the last 30-45 seconds.  Acoustic indie folk roots is a bit of a tough listen for me as I’m dead inside but if you’re just gushing with feelings and want to share with this guy, check him out.

@@@ Bea Miller: yes girl (Hollywood, 2016)  A single off the Apple Music front page.  It’s an epic slow burner as Ms. Miller is not gonna be his ‘yes girl’.  Female power, yes!  I’m with you but the sounds are cheesy with lots of reverb on the vocals, over singing, a low IQ beat.  So if you want yer girl power floating in a bowl of sonic cheese then this is gonna hook you up big time.  Just let her go, dude, she’s not gonna be your yes girl.

@@@ Wired Minds: Saudade (Self-released, 2016).  Some quasi-urgent ’80s guitar rock that I got to via a music publicist email.  Gated snare sound and danceable beats, lots of U2-Edge sounding guitar washes and a singer that’s not Bono.  Thank god.  Even a synth tucked back in the mix in the chorus.  The second tune brings the synth appetizer before another dose of guitar wash.  If you’re up for the big ’80s rock check these guys out.

@@@ Pantha du Prince: The Triad (Rough Trade, 2016).  I put Pantha du Prince’s 2013 record Elements of Light on my best of list for that year so I saw this record on the All Music weekly email and headed on over for a listen.  This first tune packs a tad more New Age wallop than I would care to have.  It has that dreamy female voice and lots of synth tinkle and it’s just a tad elvish to me.  I do like the bass sound and Mr. Prince has a pretty stylish arranging skills.  I’m on the fourth tune and it’s remained pretty much the same.  Very high quality sounds, nice arrangments but a tad too cheesy and New Age for my taste.  I like some tension in my music.  Some light and some darkness, some prettiness and some crunch.  Making pretty music isn’t very challenging, make pretty music with tension and contrast, that’s the shit right there.  As far as I’m concerned, if you like this style of music, enjoy it, just not near me.

YTD recordings listened to: 462
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 257
Not good music: 171

Honorable Mentions: 8
Buys: 9

Possibles: Chris McGregor, Dave Arner Trio, MAKU Soundsystem, Zomby, Retox, Jessie Mae Hemphill, Bone Dance, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Slidhr, 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, Divanhana, Unrestrained, Moken, Cha Wa, Systema Solar, Brian Eno, Juan Atkins, Drone, Lantern, The Lickshots, Twin Peaks

5/25/16: The Chainsmokers, Ghoul, Webbie

@@@ The Chainsmokers: Don’t Let Me Down ( , 2016).  This shitty EDM outfit is getting a big push on the Apple Music and this is their latest banger and it blows.  A female singer who does that gasping orgasm breathy shit, some of the worst synthesizer sounds I’ve heard in a long time and stupid beats.  She keeps enjoining somebody by saying Don’t Let me Down over and over.  She’s got a lot of nerve talking about a letdown, this is crap.  Take this shit off the front page of Apple Music, yo!  Show some pride.

@@@ Ghoul: Wall of Death ( , 2016)  Two songs of heavy metal I am using to clear my mind after that traumatic listening of those piece of shit motherfuckers The Chainsmokers.  Fuck them.  After starting out sort of Mad Max-y these guys get into some righteous thrash with a strange ass vocal attack —  they’ve got an orc voice, a caveman shitbird, and a post hardcore throat shredder.  It’s really quite mad, but the whole thing is just so hopped up on Red Bull (or krokodil) that I want to go burn somebody’s house down, preferably a bank executive’s house.  And stick around to watch it burn.  I got to this song off the best metal on Apple Music and I picked it out to dedicate to that orange haired, toothy bitch Donald Trump.  Wall with Mexico, Wall of Death, close enough!  This second tune, Humans Till Death, is like a metal rockabilly boogie tune.  I much preferred the thrash tune and the idea of burning down Trump Tower.

@@@ Webbie: Savage Life V ( , 2016).  Some super down South Dirty South hip hop out of Baton Rouge.  You can’t get much more South than that before you hit Cuba.  This first tune is an odd combination of deep ghetto gang bangin’ and a good tune for the stripping pole.  Mr. Webbie might be involved in the drug trade and he apparently enjoys smoking the chronic/weed/Mary Jane.  Lots of n-words here, let’s skip ahead maybe he’ll clean up a bit.  Boosie Badazz is on this second tune.  I peeped his record last week and I’m pretty sure he’s up in the drug trade as well.  Just sayin’.  Mr. Webbie still displays mad potty mouth here and he might have some sort of anger management issues.  He’s got so much beef all around town he’s only got veggie burgers left to eat when dinner comes.  I like the arrangements here, he’s got some nice sounds going on but his lyrics dominate.  I don’t mind the beefin’ and the weed smokin’ and the boastin’ but the anti-women shit bothers me so this third tune is all up in that so now I got beef witch you, Webbie.

YTD recordings listened to: 461
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 257
Not good music: 170

Honorable Mentions: 8
Buys: 9

Possibles: Chris McGregor, Dave Arner Trio, MAKU Soundsystem, Zomby, Retox, Jessie Mae Hemphill, Bone Dance, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Slidhr, 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, Divanhana, Unrestrained, Moken, Cha Wa, Systema Solar, Brian Eno, Juan Atkins, Drone, Lantern, The Lickshots, Twin Peaks

5/24/16: Angry Angles, Zo!, Youth Decay

@@@ Angry Angles: Self-titled (Goner, 2016).  A mash of the Ramones, Rocky Horror Picture Show, Devo and the Strokes after they’ve been to the gym.  Pretty boy motherfuckers.  I don’t think we will hear a whiter drummer than this guy in all of 2016.  The guitars are buzzier and not so corporately slick (good) and the the singer is a bit of dramatical yelper.  Both male and female singer here.  I’m on the third tune and the catchiness of the tunes is dropping with each tune.  Let me peep one more.  Ah, it looks like they put their best foot forward with that first tune.  I see from the GooglePimpTube that this is a ‘retrospective’ record of tracks of Jay ‘Reatard’ Lindsey (who I vaguely remember) and some other person.

@@@ Zo!: SkyBreak (Foreign Exchange, 2016).  A lovechild of Aquarius r&b album I got to via the All Music weekly notable release email.  At least the first tune — piano, female singer, lot of little cymbal touches and a lot of lyrics about love.  This record is the brainchild of this produce named Zo and he’s got a guest singer on each track  so the vibe looks set to bounce around.  This second tune is an early ’80s late disco/funk tune.  Synth washes, medium funky synth bass and not a guitar or bass in sight.  Oh, I forgot the funky plink in the chorus.  Very serious Stevie Wonder vibes on this third tune with a female singer, Musinah.  Myself I like my funk dirtier but that’s just me.  This is much better than the new Meghan Trainor record which is pretty awful.

@@@ Youth Decay: The Party’s Over (New Damage, 2016).  Super pumped power pop punk off this week’s CFUV weekly email. I thought with a name like Youth Decay this would be more on the hardcore tip, but this is pretty much full on SoCal singalong shopping mall punk.  Get your skateboard and yer Red Bull cuz you’re gonna need it or fans of this are gonna make fun of you and shit.  I dig the drummer here, he’s got skills — the guitar player needs a hit of acid or two to loosen him up.

YTD recordings listened to: 458
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 255
Not good music: 169

Honorable Mentions: 8
Buys: 9

Possibles: Chris McGregor, Dave Arner Trio, MAKU Soundsystem, Zomby, Retox, Jessie Mae Hemphill, Bone Dance, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Slidhr, 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, Divanhana, Unrestrained, Moken, Cha Wa, Systema Solar, Brian Eno, Juan Atkins, Drone, Lantern, The Lickshots, Twin Peaks

5/23/16: Blake Shelton, Kondi Band, Vukovar, Alaric

@@@ Blake Shelton: If I’m Honest (Warner Bros, 2014).  Mainstream beefcake new country superstah Blake Shelton mashes country with classic rock.  In this first tune, nobody’s leaving until they’re outta cold beer.  Yes, yes, y’all and straight into a short big rock solo.  Let’s peep a couple more bangers before heading to darker pastures.  The second tune, She’s Got the Words, is the power ballad.  It’s a word game song, kinda cheesy.  Oh man, this woman did Blake Shelton wrong and he feels it!  She put the her in hurt.  And then into the Bon Jovi big background vocals.  She put the s.o.b. in sober that’s my favorite one, and she put the low in blow as the most double entendre.  Slick Budweiser arena rock, come on and lap it up, post redneck rednecks!

@@@ Kondi Band: Belle Wahallah EP (Strut, 2016).  Some African electronica I got to via the WRIR weekly email.  It’s two tunes and four remixes.  I’m thinking these guys are from West Africa but let me check.  From the bandcamp page it’s a collaboration between a Sierre Leone gent and an American with Sierra Leone roots.  The main African sounds are the vocals, the thumb piano, and the beats.  It’s garnished with some rhythmic synth parts — faux horn lines, and synth bass lines.  I like it.  I don’t love it but I like it a bunch.  The second tune outside of the remixes, Yeanoh, features some really fine singing over a pleasing marimba type arrangement.  Check out that tune, it’s pretty sweet.

@@@ Vukovar: The Blood Garden (Small Bear Records, 2016).  Some catchy UK shoe-gazey rock I got to from an email.  There’s a nice organ melody tucked into the mix before the blossom of vocals in the chorus.  It’s a 6 minute single so it takes its time.  The drums enter at about 1:40 and there’s a breakdown before they start rockin’ pretty good for indie folks.

@@@ Alaric: End of Mirrors (Neurot, 2016).  Record of the week over at Aquarius Records out in over gentrified San Fran.  The first tune opens up drone-y with an accompanying jumpy squiggle before the big rock drums come in.  When it might have gone to full post-hardcore crush, right now it has taken on trippy space rock vibes.  About three minutes in it goes doom metal, squalling guitars big sprays of power chords and a glammy Jane’s Addiction type singer.  This is turning into an art school, downer heavy rock epic which isn’t really my style.  It falls apart across the finish line after doing its thing.

YTD recordings listened to: 455
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 253
Not good music: 168

Honorable Mentions: 9
Buys: 8

Possibles: Chris McGregor, Dave Arner Trio, MAKU Soundsystem, Zomby, Retox, Jessie Mae Hemphill, Bone Dance, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Slidhr, 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, Divanhana, Unrestrained, Moken, Cha Wa, Systema Solar, Brian Eno, Juan Atkins, Drone, Lantern, The Lickshots, Twin Peaks