2017 Honorable Mention Pick 6

Oumou Sangare: Mogoya (No Format, 2017)

You know a record is bad ass when the sixth track kills it (I’ve clipped the sixth track as the second video below because Tony Allen’s track has to take first place).  She gets into a level of funk on that sixth track that most musicians can only dream of.

This is a full band record with kora, multiple background singers, synth and organ in places.  Sangare’s voice is strong and very pretty but it’s not a heaven sent African Whitney Houston kind of thing — not much soaring but her vocal arrangements are sophisticated, very sophisticated.  It’s not an Afrobeat nor an African power trio rock record like Noura Mint Seymali and her crew but there is some guitar shredding and some large ensemble vibes.

Start with the two tunes I’ve clipped below as they’re my favorites on the record and then go from there.

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Music for 6/30/17!!! Catharsis, Benny Cassette, Propaganda, OneRepublic

@@@ Ryan Keberle & Catharsis: Find a Common, Shine a Light (Greenleaf, 2017)  My favorite jazz singer is Billie Holiday.  I love that blues sadness and I struggle with the more intricate and slightly New Age sentiments of the opener (and title track) of this record.  I see folks might find these lyrics meaningful and important but I don’t.  I like the horn work, I wish they had a piano instead of an electric organ, and I find the production a bit highbrow for my taste.  Everybody plays and sings well, it’s just not my cup of tea.

@@@ Benny Cassette: Heart Of Darkness (Warner Bros, 2017)  A breezy trip hop-like single I got to from a music publicist.  It’s love and broccoli that’s what I hear.  I’m good but not great with the beat, I like the bass, the singer is tad light but it’s the lyrics that I can’t get with.  We’re broken and we can’t be fixed – f’real yo, that’s what you got?  I see with the love and the weed there is a sadness cuz he’s breaking up but it’s not fully fleshed out and it’s prettified rather than being focused.  From the promo blurb, Mr. Cassette is a producer so he’s got the sounds.

@@@ Propaganda: Crooked (Humble Beast, 2017)  I’ve always liked Propaganda’s voice and his racial politics, but I haven’t connected with anything since his record Excellent.  However, he’s on it and direct on the opener and title track so let’s hope he throws down like this the whole track.  This first tune slays and I don’t mean Beyonce spectacle-style.  I’m on the fourth tune and I like the sounds here and I love the two political tunes a whole bunch.  Propaganda

@@@ OneRepublic: Truth to Power (Interscope, 2017) I’m pretty sure this tune is gonna blow dogs but it’s fascinating from a political perspective.  I get OneRepublic confused with OneDirection and OneErection, but this is coopting a sentiment that some people feel deeply about and transform into sweet and pretty cheese for the unthinking folks out there.  They may mean it, I can’t say it, but I don’t buy it.  This is pandering as far as I can see and I ask good Americans not to put this cheese on two slices of bread and eat because it’s poison.  The gospel choir (for seriousness), the falsetto crooning (for passion), the rote sentiments (for going down smooth), you hear me?

YTD recordings listened to: 416
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 230
Not good music: 166

Buys: 6
Honorable Mentions: 6

Possibles: Chris McGregor, Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Slidhr, The Chewers, Toxic Holocaust, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Lenguas Largas, The Coral, T.O.M.B., 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, Moken, Juan Atkins, 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, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, James Brandon Lewis, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Power Trip, J.I.D., Oddisee, Forro in the Dark, RAM, Fiver, Dona Onete, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Dead Ranch, Priests, Propaganda

Music for 6/29/17!!! Daddy Issues, Terrifier, Wolf Willow, Aleem

@@@ Daddy Issues: Deep Dream (Infinity Cat Recordings, 2017) Retro indie rock with a most tasty guitar sound that I got to via the CFUV weekly email. The female singer is nestled in all that buzz creating contrast with her sweet melodies delivered with crunch sauce. You’ve heard this formula a million times — the Breeders, Superdrag, Nirvana, the Foo, but if someone rocks it all right you still have to show some respect. Let’s peep more. They continue the guitar sound on the second track but I don’t like the tune as much. I’m on the fourth tune and they have a steady sound but the first tune (clipped below) is my favorite.

@@@ Terrifier: Weapons of Thrash Destruction (Terrifier , 2017) Well this classic thrash record that I got to via the CFUV weekly playlist email lives up to its title. Get the Red Bull and get a mouth guard so you don’t grind your teeth into powder. I don’t love the crazy buzzy guitar sound but the energy overcomes that. I find a lot of classic metal to be a bit soft and epic but these guys bring it. The brisk tempos and the straight ahead production help to keep it real. I wish the guitar sound wasn’t boring a 1″ hole in my brain pan but it’s probably not accidental.

@@@ Wolf Willow: Darston Waltz (Self-released, 2017) An old school country roots record with a horn section also off the CFUV weekly playlist email. They get into a funkier spot on the second tune and mash that with the slide guitar and the sad femme vocal melodies and the horns. It’s an interesting mash for sure. There’s vibes on this third tune, nice. Head on over for your daily dose of country freakshow flag waving.

@@@ Aleem: Inside Out (Aleem, 2017) A modern, confessional adult alternative single I got from the CFUV weekly email. Friendly acoustic guitar, super feelings based lyrics — whispers in the dark, baby only you can turn me inside out. These lyrical cliches make me recoil, but if you’re a fan of this panty quaking empathetic cheese folk, well then get up in their and dive right into those whispers in the dark.

YTD recordings listened to: 412
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 229
Not good music: 164

Buys: 6
Honorable Mentions: 5

Possibles: Chris McGregor, Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Slidhr, The Chewers, Toxic Holocaust, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Lenguas Largas, The Coral, T.O.M.B., 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, Moken, Juan Atkins, 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, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, James Brandon Lewis, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Power Trip, J.I.D., Oddisee, Forro in the Dark, RAM, Fiver, Dona Onete, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Dead Ranch, Priests

Music for 6/28/17!!! Priests, Julian Lage, Gravehuffer, Stokley

@@@ Priests: Nothing Feels Natural (Sister Polygon, 2017)  This DC outfit got a really nice writeup in the Guardian here and I thought I would peep.  That is, after all, the point of music journalism, theoretically at least.  This first tune is a B-52s type tune ramped up punk style with a wailing female singer.  I like the wailing, let it out, you’ll feel better.  It disintegrates at the end of the tune into wet toilet paper at the end and they let you peep the embers for a bit.  Ah, they’re rebuilding the tune with free jazz saxophone tucked back there and more than a bit of drum bashing.  The band is good, but the singer is the star here.  She’s really letting it all hang out on this second tune.  Regular readers know that I prefer the rough business and while these guys are not super muscular it’s the passion and shit losing vibe of the singer that really takes you into the tunes.  I also want to give a shout to the bass player that is some into some pretty engaging shit and Imma swing back on this record when I can eat more of the sandwich.

 

@@@ Julian Lage: Live in Hollywood (Mack Avenue, 2016)  I saw this jazz guitar whiz name checked on a email gig ad from the horribly pretentious Brooklyn club National Sawdust.  Lage can play for sure.  Unfortunately his tone while not completely pussy is somewhat puss and that makes me less interested in his playing.  Less reverb, more overdrive perhaps?  In the first tune he ends up playing with some fire but the tone at the beginning of the tune is flavored coffee.  I know this observation makes me look like a bitch but if you’re gonna nerd out on yer guitar at least put some mustard on the sound so I can get with that.  Is that too much to ask?

@@@ Gravehuffer: Your Fault (Gravehuffer, 2016)  A self-released metal record that I got to via the indie music blog Indiepulse.  When they get into the first track they adopt a pleasant workingman’s metal sound.  No epic production sounds, no operatic singer.  The singer is hardcore punk pissed kinda fella and the drummer while not full thrash brings the bologna to the sandwich.  This first tune herks and jerks into various different sections and the guitar player appears to enjoy blasting his power chords peppered with occasional pig squeals.  Let’s peep more.  I’m looking forward to this second tune Of Fish and Men.  Oh my this is full thrash, who would have thought people would get so worked up on fish and men.  I like both the playing and the sounds on this record — not flashy just kicking some ass.

@@@ Stokley: Introducing Stokley (Concord Music Group, 2017)  A super friendly booty r&b record from Concord, which has been dropping musical butter for decades now.  This first tune is mad sunny, a tad too sunny for my ears but we all have different tastes and preferences.  Let’s peep more.  His second tune, Organic, is a slow jam about the hotness of organically pastured kale.  I gotta entertain myself people, I ain’t clocking off this blog.  It’s not about kale, it’s about a woman that he loves and he loves her all natural and he’s gonna let it grow organic.  It’s a little funny and a little cornball at the very same time which is different than present day America and its sadness and cornball mash.  Okay, I have rambled a bit here, this record is for cubicle dwellers and folks in the suburbs (not all of y’all) and I recommend sticking with Solange and Prince.  I’m all about the new music but the classics have their place.

YTD recordings listened to: 408
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 227
Not good music: 162

Buys: 6
Honorable Mentions: 5

Possibles: Chris McGregor, Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Slidhr, The Chewers, Toxic Holocaust, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Lenguas Largas, The Coral, T.O.M.B., 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, Moken, Juan Atkins, 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, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, James Brandon Lewis, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Power Trip, J.I.D., Oddisee, Forro in the Dark, RAM, Fiver, Dona Onete, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Dead Ranch, Priests

2017 Honorable Mention Pick 5

Reverend Peyton: Front Porch Sessions (Family Owned Records, 2017)

I really loved Reverend Peyton’s last record, the rocking So Delicious but this almost solo record is growing on me.

I spend a lot of time saying this singer is not working for me, I don’t like their vibe, the delivery, etc but Reverend Peyton has a strange, somewhat nerdy voice but I dig it.  I can see how it might annoy others but I dig its uniqueness, it’s not rational.

It’s just Peyton and his guitar on this set.  He has multitracked the guitars so it’s not one guitar accompanying his voice.  His guitar playing is not super flashy but he’s got skills — he can outduel Taylor Swift on the guitar.

If you dig the blues and you dig his voice then I’ve hooked you up, but if you don’t feel his tone and delivery well…this might not be for you.

 

Music for 6/27/17!!! Melis, Vasser, Larkins, KINDER

Today we are back on this Best of Line Fit 25 hot tracks of the week.  I find the indie music to be culturally/philosophically fascinating as it is a projection of white folks’ psychology but this genre is not a place where I find a lot of good music.  I don’t wish to be a black person but I have more than my share of problems with whiteness and all the shit that goes with that.  On to the listening!

@@@ Melis: Flower (Virtuous Sound, 2017)  This indie folk tune opens up super intimate with a fragile female voice and a simple figure behind it.  It is sad and hopeful at the same time.   After about 90 seconds it opens up into a larger sound with an electronic beat, background vocals, electric organ.  I find the lyrics a tad confusing — I heard one line saying ‘everything I need from you is everything I see in you’.  Now we’re building to the full New Age catharsis.  Even though this tune is saturated with feelings there are repeated entreaties to not think about it.  What is this it I’m not supposed to think about?  Is it that the lyrics don’t make sense to me and don’t think about it???#sarcasm.  Confusion is an under discussed aspect of these large indie tunes — I just finished listening and I’m not sure at all what that was about though those were some big ass meaningful sounds.

@@@ Vasser: Little Things (Vasser, 2017)  An updated Peter Gabriel/Kate Bush world rock kinda sound.  The singer enters and he’s feeling a lot as well.  What are we to do with all these feelings?  I like the bass sound, and the beats are all right and though this isn’t my favorite sonic formula there’s some sophistication to it.  The singer, hmm, he’s not bad but he’s not my cup of tea.  I’m finishing up this tune and it’s similar to the first — a lot of focus on the sound and not much on the meaning.  Either I’m supposed to dig through the lyrics and figure it out, or I’m supposed to groove on the sounds and the tone of his voice, or it was supposed to say something and didn’t do a good job of it.  Or I’m stupid and that’s been accepted at the outset.

@@@ Larkins: Sugar Sweet (Mark Lippman, 2017)  The GoogleTubePimp calls this tune sun soaked.  And if you see the title of the tune on the video below this is an uplifter, a bra for the tits of your mind.  It’s a big rock drumbeat with some cutesy guitar playing that goes to half crunch in the chorus.  How was I to know you were in my veins?  How was I to know that we could be more than friends?  Yes, it’s veins.  So he’s celebrating having a romantic relationship with somebody who was previously just a friend.  Okay, big props because the lyrics make sense and I get it.  Whew!  Now he’s rocking a friendly big rock formula that isn’t my cup of tea but it might be yours and I’m just happy I listened to a song that made sense to me.

@@@ KINDER: Feeling Gets Too Heavy (Lapsang House, 2017)  A slow electro-banger of an upcoming yet to be released record.  From the sounds I thought this was gonna be a romantic kinda track but it’s got negative feelings in it.   Now he’s in a groove where he keeps saying ‘it’s your light that keeps me going’.    So maybe in the first half of the tune he’s got a lot of heavy feelings and then he kinda moves on to the place where he feels better about his relationship and this other person’s light is awesome and shit.  Again, a lot of feelings, I get that, and I think have some idea of what this tune might be about but I’m not going to the bank on it.  He’s got some Prince falsetto going here and some plinky chorused guitar (which I don’t love) and sonically it’s neither a rocker nor a club banger — it’s a slow quiet storm (of feelings).  Feelings, oh Lord the feelings!

YTD recordings listened to: 404
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 225
Not good music: 160

Buys: 6
Honorable Mentions: 4

Possibles: Chris McGregor, Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Slidhr, The Chewers, Toxic Holocaust, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Lenguas Largas, The Coral, T.O.M.B., 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, Moken, Juan Atkins, 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, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, James Brandon Lewis, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Power Trip, Reverend Payton, J.I.D., Oddisee, Forro in the Dark, RAM, Fiver, Dona Onete, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Dead Ranch

Music for 6/26/17!!! Judaskyssen, Erin Rae, The Last Dinosaur, Jerkcurb

Today we’re gonna bust out and listen to a playlist from Line of Best Fit here and I’m thinking we’re gonna be hit with a lot of detached indie goodness, some diluted funk indie electronic, and may be some ironic rocking (as in the kind where nobody sweats to much – Wilco style.  Here we go!

@@@ Judaskyssen: Vit Flagg (West Coast Recordings, 2017)  Yes, some updated ’80s synth rock with slightly aggro-kraut drums and mournful vocals over the top.  Sad and yearning over a rock beat here.  That’s where we’re at.  Now it’s not an American outfit and the singer has an accent so it’s a much classier effort.  Piano chords, a chainsaw synth patch, some echo on the vocals, this is serious business.  It’s a 7 minute tune and I made it about 2 minutes through, but you might like it.

@@@ Erin Rae: Wild Blue Wind (Refuge for Foundation for the Arts, 2017)  Alt-country folk/soft rock.  Very pretty voice, stripped down band arrangement, big vocal harmonies right across your pie hole when the chorus hits.  When those harmonies hit they throw in a sad slide guitar figure and that’s the money shot right there.  It’s a pretty standard take on Emmylou Harris/Neil Young country rock.

@@@ The Last Dinosaur: All My Faith (Naim, 2017)  Oh, here it is!  Super epic, big feelings white people folk/New Age rock.  I don’t think they mean actual religious faith but there is some choir action going on here, and it is meaningful whatever is intended here.  All the sonic signifiers are present — handclaps, organs layered in the back, huge background vocals and a whispering, super intimate singer who just wants to pick you up and hold you like a baby.  Me personally, I get really angry when I’m pandered to in this manner but that’s just me.

@@@ Jerkcurb: Somerton Beach (Jerkcurb, 2017)  I couldn’t find the tune featured on the Line of Best Fit but they have this other new track which is a mash of lounge music with some tropicalia flourishes.  The core elements are the pretty deep voiced male singer crooning his testicles off and the bright, tremolo guitar chord strums.  The percussion parts and the background vocals are kitschy and that’s the point, it’s part of the vibe.  A bit dark, a little romantic, a little weird, and slow.

YTD recordings listened to: 400
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 223
Not good music: 158

Buys: 6
Honorable Mentions: 4

Possibles: Chris McGregor, Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Slidhr, The Chewers, Toxic Holocaust, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Lenguas Largas, The Coral, T.O.M.B., 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, Moken, Juan Atkins, 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, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, James Brandon Lewis, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Power Trip, Reverend Payton, J.I.D., Oddisee, Forro in the Dark, RAM, Fiver, Dona Onete, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Dead Ranch