Music for 3/31/17!!! Orchestra Baobab, Pharmakon, Aimee Mann

@@@ Orchestra Baobab: Tribute to Ndiouga Dieng (World Circuit, 2017) African music from stalwarts Orchestra Baobab.  A full ensemble including percussionists, horn players, kora and guitar players and this first tune is sweet but not cloying.  I’m on the fourth tune and I agree with the All Music review that this is not a burning disc but more of a laid-back affair.  Extremely tight but not overpowering grooves, beautiful vocals and fairly long stretching tunes.  I guess the kora player is a first time addition to this band (which has been around close to 50 years) and it’s a nice flavor.  This record will be on my year end list as there aren’t many bands that can get this vibe going.

@@@ Pharmakon: Contact (Sacred bones, 2017)  This noise record opens up sic-fi and more than a bit aggro industrial.  Lots of machine like noises and no discernible song structure emerging straight away.  There’s a female losing her shit in a non-singing kind of way — sounds like she’s having some sort of horror movie break down.  Let’s peep more.  This second tune is unfolding quite slowly with similar metallic synth patches.  I say let’s get down and let it all hang out instead of teasing with bits. The second tune unfolds pretty much the same way — a lot of noise and a lot of female vocal despair.  I don’t 100% require tunes but this is not quite enough for me to get with, it sounds a bit half finished.

@@@ Aime Mann: Mental Illness (Superego, 2017)  I know folks gush over Aimee Mann but I’ve never understood why.  But peep I will as I have an open mind.  This first tune is sweet with arpeggio guitar, a little hand percussion and ’70s era soft rock vocal stylings.  The second tune is a tad less engaging but she’s rocking the melancholy sad song in the B+ range.  I’m on the fourth tune and it continues to be a melancholic, pretty record.  I appreciate it and I certainly don’t hate it, but it’s not something for me to jump up and down about.  This tune below is the first on the record and the best of what I heard.

YTD recordings listened to: 212
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 112
Not good music: 80

Buys: 1
Honorable Mentions: 1

Possibles: Chris McGregor, Dave Arner Trio, Zomby, Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Slidhr, The Chewers, Toxic Holocaust, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Lenguas Largas, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Fofoulah, Lozen, Erase Errata, Mastery, Leviathan, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, Janelle Monae, Luther Dickinson, Graeme Barrett, Fast Asleep, Goldlink, Cavanaugh, Gentleman Surfer, Satoko Fuji, Divanhana, Moken, Juan Atkins, Drone, Lantern, Twin Peaks, Djelimady Tounkara, The Oh Sees, Denny Zeitlin, MILF, Unfun, De La Soul, Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes, Magrudergrind, A Tribe Called Quest, Noname, Gouge Away, Anna Hogberg, Klara Lewis, Aethenor, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, James Brandon Lewis, Yotoco, Tinariwen, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Power Trip, Reverend Payton, J.I.D., Oddisee, Feral Ohms, Orquestra Baobab

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Music for 3/30/17!!! Kepi Ghoulie, Himiko, Feral Ohms

@@@ Kepi Ghoul  Lost and Loving it (Kepiland, 2017) A nerd fronted old school indie guitar music I got to via the All Music notable release email.  Think Camper Van Beethoven fronted by a gent with a pencil protector and a scientific calculator.  This first tune has more than a bit of Rolling Stones influence as well.  The second tune has a country roots rock feel and thus far I like this record all right.  I should also reference the Violent Femmes as well for this record.  Straight ahead American rock that dips its toes in various rock subgenres.  It’s mostly upbeat and uptempo so more for the cubicle dwellers than the hardcore listeners.

@@@ Feral Ohms: Feral Ohms (Silver Current, 2017) Regular readers have witnessed my ire regarding the abuse of the garage punk label.  Many soft ass half muscle sorta bunkers get tossed in there.  I’m happy to report this is not one of those cases.  These dudes come out full on burning with plenty of distortion, energy and a generous dollop of woomph.  These dudes can play as well so it’s not like witnessing a wild chimp show.  I’m four tunes in on this record and it’s a face melter — great guitar sounds, the drummer is whipping a shitty and they’re firing hard.  Imma swing back on this record but it’s gonna be on my year end list.

@@@ Himiko: Who Am I EP (Sun Music, 2017)  A smooth r&b record in Japanese with slight world flavors that I got to via the CFUV weekly email.  Himiko is female and she has a pleasing voice — not huge and powerful but sweet.  A lot of the sounds on this first tune are jazz fusion-y and there are extensive background arrangements that smooth out the proceedings even more.  The second tune is more of a funk thing with some English lyrics and late ’80s Prince vibes.  I found no samples of this EP to listen to.  She is a J-Pop artist and her fans are in Japan.  The EP is available on Apple Music probably on Spotify as well.

YTD recordings listened to: 209
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 111
Not good music: 79

Buys: 1
Honorable Mentions: 1

Possibles: Chris McGregor, Dave Arner Trio, Zomby, Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Slidhr, The Chewers, Toxic Holocaust, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Lenguas Largas, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Fofoulah, Lozen, Erase Errata, Mastery, Leviathan, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, Janelle Monae, Luther Dickinson, Graeme Barrett, Fast Asleep, Goldlink, Cavanaugh, Gentleman Surfer, Satoko Fuji, Divanhana, Moken, Juan Atkins, Drone, Lantern, Twin Peaks, Djelimady Tounkara, The Oh Sees, Denny Zeitlin, MILF, Unfun, De La Soul, Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes, Magrudergrind, A Tribe Called Quest, Noname, Gouge Away, Anna Hogberg, Klara Lewis, Aethenor, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, James Brandon Lewis, Yotoco, Tinariwen, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Power Trip, Reverend Payton, J.I.D., Oddisee, Feral Ohms

Music for 3/29/17!!! Enragement, Joe Marson, Tim McGraw/Faith Hill

@@@ Enragement: Blood for the Sun God (Enragement, 2017) An epic metal single I got to from the indie music blog Indiepulse.  A monster walking tempo with a punishing drummer and massive guitar bludgeoning and shredding sauce.  The singer is rough but not totally incomprehensible.  There are a few operatic flourishes, a little prog, and a little Lord of the Rings evil chanting action so it’s a blend of a lot of sounds.

@@@ Joe Marson: Explore/Explode (Per Diem, 2017)  Slotted as an alt-soul artist on an Indiepulse blog post, it’s a bit of white boy falsetto, a little John Mayer soft rock, and a little electro in the production.  It’s got a tinge of melancholy and a little arena rock in there as well.  I like some of the sounds, especially the guitar but the beats are not quite up my alley.

@@@ Tim McGraw & Faith Hill: Speak to a Girl (sony, 2016)  A new country cheese ballad  off the Apple Music hot tracks section.  It has a lot of advice on how to speak to a girl but then there are some lines about being nice to your mama which is a little Freudian. I would say that this tune is metaphorically a smooth cream cheese — big reverb, heartfelt lyrics and a straight Kentucky Fried Disney soundtrack production sound.  Somebody should send this tune to ol’ President Grab-A-Pussy, that’s about all it’s good for.

YTD recordings listened to: 206
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 109
Not good music: 78

Buys: 1
Honorable Mentions: 1

Possibles: Chris McGregor, Dave Arner Trio, Zomby, Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Slidhr, The Chewers, Toxic Holocaust, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Lenguas Largas, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Fofoulah, Lozen, Erase Errata, Mastery, Leviathan, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, Janelle Monae, Luther Dickinson, Graeme Barrett, Fast Asleep, Goldlink, Cavanaugh, Gentleman Surfer, Satoko Fuji, Divanhana, Moken, Juan Atkins, Drone, Lantern, Twin Peaks, Djelimady Tounkara, The Oh Sees, Denny Zeitlin, MILF, Unfun, De La Soul, Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes, Magrudergrind, A Tribe Called Quest, Noname, Gouge Away, Anna Hogberg, Klara Lewis, Aethenor, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, James Brandon Lewis, Yotoco, Tinariwen, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Power Trip, Reverend Payton, J.I.D., Oddisee

Music for 3/28/17!!! Betty Who, Colton Dixon, Creeper

@@@ Betty Who: The Valley (RCA, 2017) A sophomore arena pop record off the new music section of Apple Music.  After a decent a cappella opening tune it gets into the full electro cheese with the lyric ‘some kind of wonderful’ repeating over and over.  I’m not feeling that way, to be honest.  Oh boy, I’m not gonna make it too far into this big ass sausage of pop cheese.  Too upbeat, too gooey — awkward funk, stupid lyrics, full shopping mall production.  Oy!

@@@ Colton Dixon: Identity (Sparrow, 2017)  Some modern Christian music off the Apple new music section.  I like to peep the Jesus folks out once in a blue just to see how they’re mixing the J Man with the sounds.  This first tune is like a movie soundtrack mashed up with some Eye of the Tiger syrup.  If you don’t know that Eye of the Tiger reference you have to GooglePimp that track and get with it.  A little rock, a little electro.  I’m on the third tune as I can only take this in small shots.  Wow, it just morphed into a exploding Jesus Cheese Grenade, that’s really quite something.  I like old school gospel (mostly the African American stuff) so I’m not opposed.  However, I am a rabid anti-cheese-ite.  I gotta tip on this record, it’s just a bit much for me.  Big whoa ho background vocals and whooshes and all manner of positivity.

@@@ Creeper: Eternity, In Your Arms (Roadrunner, 2017) Punk revival (?) off this week’s All Music notable release email.   This first tune is punky in the guitar sound, not so much in the lyrics and the production.  It’s more than glam punk, it’s gummy kinda xanthin gummy or chewy.  Those are all metaphorical words but the idea is to take big arena vocal arrangements and plop them on a shiny, medium rough punk rhythmic undercarriage.  Like chocolate syrup on a chainsaw, hmmm, bloody and unsatisfactory.  It doesn’t super work for me as I think of punk as being somewhat or very dirty but I’m no punk nazi.  Check it for yourself.

YTD recordings listened to: 203
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 108
Not good music: 76

Buys: 1
Honorable Mentions: 1

Possibles: Chris McGregor, Dave Arner Trio, Zomby, Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Slidhr, The Chewers, Toxic Holocaust, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Lenguas Largas, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Fofoulah, Lozen, Erase Errata, Mastery, Leviathan, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, Janelle Monae, Luther Dickinson, Graeme Barrett, Fast Asleep, Goldlink, Cavanaugh, Gentleman Surfer, Satoko Fuji, Divanhana, Moken, Juan Atkins, Drone, Lantern, Twin Peaks, Djelimady Tounkara, The Oh Sees, Denny Zeitlin, MILF, Unfun, De La Soul, Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes, Magrudergrind, A Tribe Called Quest, Noname, Gouge Away, Anna Hogberg, Klara Lewis, Aethenor, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, James Brandon Lewis, Yotoco, Tinariwen, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Power Trip, Reverend Payton, J.I.D., Oddisee

Music for 3/27/17!!! Les Amazons D’Afrique, Liniker E Os Caramelows, La Vida Boheme

@@@ Les Amazons D’Afrique: Dombolo (Real world, 2017)  An electro-Afro single off this week’s WRIR weekly email.  It’s got a pretty mean distorted descending thumb piano (?) melody and some very stylish syncopated vocal harmonies featuring Angelique Kidjo.  It sports a well done dance beat and overall it’s a fat track.

@@@  Liniker E Os Caramelows: Remonta (Pomelo, 2016) Some Brazilian music also off this week’s WRIR weekly charts email.  The title track (clipped below) opens up as a sort of Brazilian blues before it goes into a full ensemble circus rock kinda thing.  It’s really quite nice — loose and both melodic and rhythmic.  The arrangement is pretty sophisticated and entertaining.  I’m on the third tune and it’s an interesting combination or hippie rock, cabaret music and a splash of indie quirk.  I think this might be one of my indie rock picks for the year.

@@@ La Vida Boheme: La Lucha (Nacional, 2017) More world music, take that white people!  This second tune (after the intro) is a blend of upbeat indie rock, a little rock, and rock en Espanol.  It’s an interesting mix of sounds including the electro rock vibes, but I don’t really like synth rock when it’s done with English lyrics.  It’s better in Spanish because I can space on the lyrics but these aren’t my favorite sounds.  It’s very uplifting so  if you’re in need of some lifting up check it.

YTD recordings listened to: 200
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 108
Not good music: 73

Buys: 1
Honorable Mentions: 1

Possibles: Chris McGregor, Dave Arner Trio, Zomby, Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Slidhr, The Chewers, Toxic Holocaust, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Lenguas Largas, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Fofoulah, Lozen, Erase Errata, Mastery, Leviathan, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, Janelle Monae, Luther Dickinson, Graeme Barrett, Fast Asleep, Goldlink, Cavanaugh, Gentleman Surfer, Satoko Fuji, Divanhana, Moken, Juan Atkins, Drone, Lantern, Twin Peaks, Djelimady Tounkara, The Oh Sees, Denny Zeitlin, MILF, Unfun, De La Soul, Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes, Magrudergrind, A Tribe Called Quest, Noname, Gouge Away, Anna Hogberg, Klara Lewis, Aethenor, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, James Brandon Lewis, Yotoco, Tinariwen, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Power Trip, Reverend Payton, J.I.D., Oddisee

Music for 3/26/17!!! Boss Hog, Trementina

@@@ Boss Hog: Brood (In the Red, 2017)  A new release from an old school Gen X punk blues band.  It’s a tad light on the blues, it’s staticky punk rock.  The rhythm section is pretty kicking with a huge, fuzzy bass sound over funky white boy crushed.  The female singer I don’t dig as much.  Just a tad on the boring side.  Ah, here we have some blues on this fourth tune Shh Shh Shh.  I like this all right but it’s kinda half punk as fuck and not quite enough blues for me.

@@@ Trementina: 810 (VeggieBurger Records, 2017)  Slotted as shoe gaze on this week’s All Music notable release email, it opens up kinda twee and pretty rather than introspective and cacophonous.  I’m on the third tune and I’m feeling a tad hosed.  This is dreamy guitar pop not shoe gaze.  It’s like going to Baskin Robbins and asking for a chocolate ice cream cone and getting rum raisin.  I don’t want rum raisin I want my god damned chocolate ice cream cone.  If you like dreamy female fronted pop arena rock, get on it.

YTD recordings listened to: 197
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 108
Not good music: 73

Buys: 1
Honorable Mentions: 1

Possibles: Chris McGregor, Dave Arner Trio, Zomby, Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Slidhr, The Chewers, Toxic Holocaust, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Lenguas Largas, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Fofoulah, Lozen, Erase Errata, Mastery, Leviathan, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, Janelle Monae, Luther Dickinson, Graeme Barrett, Fast Asleep, Goldlink, Cavanaugh, Gentleman Surfer, Satoko Fuji, Divanhana, Moken, Juan Atkins, Drone, Lantern, Twin Peaks, Djelimady Tounkara, The Oh Sees, Denny Zeitlin, MILF, Unfun, De La Soul, Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes, Magrudergrind, A Tribe Called Quest, Noname, Gouge Away, Anna Hogberg, Klara Lewis, Aethenor, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, James Brandon Lewis, Yotoco, Tinariwen, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Power Trip, Reverend Payton, J.I.D., Oddisee

Music for 3/24/17!!! Century Palm, Greg Gaffin, High Plains

@@@ Century Palm: Meet You (Deranged Records, 2017) Devo-esque guitar punk off last week’s All Music notable release email.  Ah, the second tune brings the synths.  I dig the energy of this outfit, it’s more high octane rock than the full punk explosion.  The singer is not full on nerd but this is no rock star trip for him.  I like the blend of synth and guitar, I don’t usually like the way they go together, but this is good.

@@@ Greg Gaffin: Millport (Anti-, 2017)  Off last week’s All Music notable release email.  This first tune is Richard Thompson-like — a blend of rock, folk and country music.  A little less British but definitely related.  Gaffin’s voice is pleasant but by no means glamorous but they are stacking those background vocals fairly high in this second tune which brings in some CSNY vibes.  There are very nice guitar sounds on this record, the songs are quality, and Graffin does his job well.  If you want some earnest country hippie rock with good energy check him out.

@@@ High Plains: Cinderland (Kranky, 2017)  Experimental ambient music off last week’s All Music notable release email.  I like this first tune opening up spaciously with a low-isa pulse, a couple of dissonant pianos and a thing string sound up high.  A solemn cello carries the melody and I think I like it more before the cello does that.  The second tune opens up spacious again with an abstract cloud, a wave like sound and a simple drum beat.  The cello returns but more as ambient streaks than as a melodic component.  I like the ambient part of this record and could groove on it in its sparse minimalist form and the cello makes it more of a movie soundtrack, but that’s just me.

YTD recordings listened to: 197
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 108
Not good music: 73

Buys: 1
Honorable Mentions: 1

Possibles: Chris McGregor, Dave Arner Trio, Zomby, Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Slidhr, The Chewers, Toxic Holocaust, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Lenguas Largas, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Fofoulah, Lozen, Erase Errata, Mastery, Leviathan, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, Janelle Monae, Luther Dickinson, Graeme Barrett, Fast Asleep, Goldlink, Cavanaugh, Gentleman Surfer, Satoko Fuji, Divanhana, Moken, Juan Atkins, Drone, Lantern, Twin Peaks, Djelimady Tounkara, The Oh Sees, Denny Zeitlin, MILF, Unfun, De La Soul, Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes, Magrudergrind, A Tribe Called Quest, Noname, Gouge Away, Anna Hogberg, Klara Lewis, Aethenor, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, James Brandon Lewis, Yotoco, Tinariwen, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Power Trip, Reverend Payton, J.I.D., Oddisee