@@@ Miley Cyrus: Week without You (RCA, 2017) The rehabilitation of mainstream Nice Cyrus continues with this third pre-release single. Oh no more pasties, bending over, dancing little people and stripper poles for Cyrus as she reaches back to the late ’50s/early ’60s for some vintage girl soul (including outfit — see below!) Lyrics that can be played at family dinner. It’s more than a bit like an Elvis track. Let’s all move to Cali, put on the radio and kick back to the vintage pre rock ‘n roll stylings of shapeshifter Cyrus (who needs to make some payments on her Lamborghini). Oh I kid, I kid. It’s not a high bar to beat but she sings better than Taylor Swift.
@@@ Kevin Gates: By Any Means 2 (Bread Winner’s Association, 2017) A hip hop record occupying primo front page real estate on Apple Music’s front page. This first tune is super Dirty South with some eerie vocal delays, super deep trunk bass, and some cough syrup skitter beats. After a little intro it goes full gangsta with the gunplay and the dealing of the drugs and the fight to survive. Whoever did the bass on this track deserves a medal for funk. It’s just nasty and blobby and extremely satisfying. Gates’ rhyming style is middle of the road — he’s not super quick but he’s crisp and rhythmic. He also takes some turns at singing but it’s not extensive. Where a lot of hip hop records are a loop and a little arrangement and then some blunted dude rhymin’ and rhymin’ these tracks are more fully fleshed out and focused so big points for that.
@@@ Lights: Skin & Earth (Warner, 2017) Blurbed on the All Music notable release email as ‘a sweepingly romantic, post-apocalyptic, comic book concept album rife with sophisticated pop hooks.’ Oy, that’s a mouthful!! I predict super slick production and a medium sized tidal wave of cheese. Oh she’s got the finger snaps working in the verse of this opening track and then there’s a cheesy multi-tracked vocal explosion in the chorus. She can sing, I’ll give her that but the pimped out production detracts from her performance. On this third tune she’s doing that breathy near-orgasm shit that drives me insane. If you need to go rub one out in the bathroom, fine go do it, this is America, but I don’t need to hear you get really close to your peak and sing at the same time. She’s got a gentle dancehall sway to this tune Until the Light. Some folks spent a lot of time on this record but it comes up more than a bit short on soul.
@@@ David Crosby: Curved Air (BMG Rights, 2017) A pre-release single off the Apple Music hot tracks. You gotta give Crosby credit for not making a CSN single as here he takes Joni Mitchell’s jazz fusion period and takes it for himself. It’s most notable in the rhythm section where the bass player is very active and the drummer is also not straight hippie rocking it. He also has a keyboard player and a flutist to round out the ensemble as previously described. Crosby’s singing is straightforward and it’s not featured with a lot of vocal harmonies as it has been heard for decades. I did not follow the lyrics closely but it appears they are serious and contemplative. There ya go!
YTD recordings listened to: 628
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 336
Not good music: 266
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, J.I.D., Oddisee, Forro in the Dark, RAM, Fiver, Dona Onete, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Priests, Propaganda, This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez, Integrity, American Lips, Sudan Archives, Tuba Skinny, The Expanders, Benjamin Booker