Music for 6/29/18!!! Gamardah Fungus, Parquet Courts, Virginia Wing, Arianne Grande

@@@ Gamardah Fungus: Herbs and Potions (Flaming Pines, N/A)  This ambient crew is from Ukraine and this record consists of five big ambient pieces most of which are environmental sounds and sweet, New Age-y guitar playing with echoes and sustain put onto them.  I like the wide sweep of the music, it sounds huge but I don’t usually like guitar playing in my ambient music unless it’s highly processed and almost unrecognizable.

@@@ Parquet Courts: Wide Awake! (Rough Trade, 2018)  The Guardian has these guys as one of the best albums thus far this year.  After a little fucking around they get straight into old school New Wave brisk punk.  This is this band’s seventh album so they’re tight as fuck and their production is extremely focused and clear.  I’m surprised and pleased to see them give a shout to the Minutemen on this second tune Violence with a monster bass line, slashing guitars, and popping drums.  I’m most engaged by the bass player who plays a melodic lead while still being glue for the tunes.  I’m enjoying the singer less.  I will swing back on this album and check it out more closely when I have the time.

@@@ Virginia Wing: Ecstatic Arrow (Fire Recordings, 2018)  This will probably be the last listen from the Guardian’s best albums of 2018 as they just put out a list of the songs of summer that I want to peep and I have other lists I want to check out.  This is a quirky synth based indie record with Laurie Anderson influences.  The second tune switches out to a sax and organ swell sweet rock thing but it still has an awful snare sound and an art school singer.  Which is fine if that’s how you roll.  The record is rooted in mainstream ’80s music — gated snare, a blend of pop and world music tidbits, and synths oh the synthesizers.

@@@ Ariane Grande: No Tears Left to Cry (UMG, 2018)  Regular readers know I’m a huge fan of mainstream culture.  I’m so happy for Ariane Grande and her new fiance Pete Davidson and I’m excited to read that Beyonce’s vegan diet has curtailed her awful farting problem.  This is what the Guardian best songs of summer calls a ballad banger.  I get the huge diva vocal hook but the little rapped section is stupid and it turns the track into a dancefloor cheese bomb.  As with a vast majority of these mainstream tunes the sonics are par excellence, manicured like beach going vaginas but the lyrics are pretty much stuck on stupid.  I’m picking it up, loving and living and we turn it up.  Jesus.

YTD recordings listened to: 372
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 196
Not good music: 167

Best: 7
Honorable Mentions: 4

Possibles: Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, 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, 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, A Tribe Called Quest, Noname, Gouge Away, Klara Lewis, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Oddisee, Forro in the Dark, RAM, Fiver, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Priests, Propaganda, This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez, Integrity, Tuba Skinny, The Expanders, Converge, Open Mike Eagle, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Tal National, Portal, Hernan Sama & Marcelo von Schultz, Jean Grae and Quelle Chris, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton, Parquet Courts

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Music for 6/28/18!!! Demi Lovato, B. Davis and the Hi Fi Rockers, Western Medication, Tim Carr

@@@ Demi Lovato: Sober (Island, 2018)  A confessional song about her own sobriety.  It’s hard to shit on a song like this but the piano is more than a bit cheesy and the lyrics are kinda grade school.  It’s a bit of a wallower and the tune doesn’t really rise above a slow stumble but that’s as you would expect from a topic such as this.  I’m sorry she relapsed but I’m here for great songs and this doesn’t make the cut.  Try John Lennon’s Cold Turkey on for size.

@@@ B. Davis and the Hi Fi Rockers: Midnight Version (Hoboken Hi fi, 2018)  Meticulously executed old school roots reggae I got to via an email from the label operator.  You can only stream one track from the upcoming releases but it’s got all the hallmarks of roots reggae that I enjoy.  Steady rhythms and tight/loose vibes from the various players, well placed dub echoes and a rootsy singer.  Above all the production sounds right in evoking that golden age.  I will swing back and check out more when the whole record releases.

@@@ Western Medication: Taste (N/A, 2018)  I got to this very British sounding Nashville band’s record via a music publicist email.  It’s guitar driven rock with an ’80s pop sensibility.  Upbeat with mostly jangly guitars and a wee bit of crunch.  The singer is super friendly sounding.  Think a love child of The Cranberries and and the big fluffy white giant from the original Ghostbusters.

@@@ Tim Carr: Take Me (N/A, 2018)  A retro soft rock/folk single I got to via a music publicist.  Think Nick Drake with less depression and put a little Byrds and French pop up in there.  Lot of oooh, oooh sweet/sad, flavored coffee background vocals you wouldn’t find on a Nick Drake record.  I find the rhythms here to be interesting and unusual for this genre.  It doesn’t sound like a drum kit, it sounds like a few people playing large hand drums but that’s just the vibe — given the miracles of technology it could be generated in any number of ways.  Carr’s voice is smooth and intimate sounding.

YTD recordings listened to: 364
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 193
Not good music: 163

Best: 6
Honorable Mentions: 4

Possibles: Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, 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, 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, A Tribe Called Quest, Noname, Gouge Away, Klara Lewis, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Oddisee, Forro in the Dark, RAM, Fiver, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Priests, Propaganda, This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez, Integrity, Tuba Skinny, The Expanders, Converge, Open Mike Eagle, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Tal National, Portal, Hernan Sama & Marcelo von Schultz, Jean Grae and Quelle Chris, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton

Music for 6/27/18!!! Jonah Sirota, No Age, Cardi B., Meek Mill

@@@ Jonah Sirota: Strong Sad (National Sawdust, 2018)  An instrumental (meaningful and kinda New Age-y Imma guessing) from the in house label at the pretentious Brooklyn club National Sawdust.  I’m on their mailing list.  The first piece opens up with what sounds like an organ arpeggio and then a violin playing melodically over the arpeggio.  It’s very sweet, sad sweet not syrupy sweet.  The second piece is a bit more disjointed with violin, cello, and the same organ (?) drone in the background.  It gets into a more dissonant and agitated space which I’m enjoying.  So it’s not as New Age-y as I thought it would be and not as New Age-y as the first piece.  It’s solid.

 

 

 

@@@ No Age: Snares Like a Haircut (Drag City, 2018)  Also off the Guardian’s best of 2018 list.  I’m not a huge Drag City fella but I’m open minded and these guys are supposed to be punks for all punks which sounds just fantastic.  This first tune does have something for a lot of folks.  Some singalong vocal hooks, a little shoegaze sauce, some Sonic Youth fuzz.  The second tune puts a little Ramones up in the vocals so it’s got a lot of referential sounds in it.  I like it, it’s a bit poppy for my taste but it’s good.  I think it works within a limited range of messy/neat with an emphasis on a quiet neatness and structure.  Regular readers know I really enjoy it when a musician/s lose their shit in full meltdown mode so that’s not available here.

 

@@@ Cardi B.: I Like It (Atlantic, 2018)  I like Cardi B. but I thought the first single for this record was not great.  This single is much better but I think she bit it too hard sampling ‘I Like it Like That’ to open the track.  It’s really the backbone of the verse and it implants itself in your mind pronto.  The rest of the track is a good blend of hip hop and Latin music components with a MC rhyming in Spanish and Cardi B. talking about how she needs mad money.  So I see why it has 163 million hits on the GooglePimpTube but it’s more for the love of that track than Cardi B.  That’s my view.

@@@ Meek Mill: Stay Woke (Maybach/Warner, 2018)  Meek Mill is a big deal since he was freed from a bullshit prison situation.  It is surprisingly a blend of hip hop and pop sounds with a guitar part (weird) and a pretty uplifting vocal section in the chorus.  He rhymes a lot about his time in the life, and a bunch about the situation facing African Americans in this country.  I’m a huge fan of the story and glad he’s out but the song isn’t particularly engaging to me.

YTD recordings listened to: 360
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 190
Not good music: 162

Best: 6
Honorable Mentions: 4

Possibles: Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, 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, 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, A Tribe Called Quest, Noname, Gouge Away, Klara Lewis, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Oddisee, Forro in the Dark, RAM, Fiver, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Priests, Propaganda, This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez, Integrity, Tuba Skinny, The Expanders, Converge, Open Mike Eagle, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Tal National, Portal, Hernan Sama & Marcelo von Schultz, Jean Grae and Quelle Chris, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton

Music for 6/26/18!!! VILDE, 6Lack, Vibronics

@@@ VILDE: Warm Milk (VILDE, 2018)  An electro rock number off Line of Best fit’s tracks of the week.  Big, repeating guitar figure over toms before the singer comes in with his thing.  This is mostly rooted in ’80s music, the mix of rock guitars and electronic elements and a couple of U2 pubes can be found here and there.  I can’t reconcile the lyrics with the song title but regular readers know I’m not very bright.

@@@ 6Lack: Switch (Interscope, 2018)  A heartbreak single from 6Lack off the front page of Apple Music in the hot tracks section.   It’s a steady beat with fewer of the trippy ambient sounds and more focused on the vocals.  I was a big fan of the hugely trippy sounds on his debut — this feels like it’s a bit more for the ladies to show what a sensitive gent he is.

@@@ Vibronics: Woman on a Mission (SCOOPS, 2018)  A female centric dub record done in the modern style.  I got to this record via the WRIR weekly playlist email.  This first tune is drum machine and synth bass powered but it’s all right, I dig it.  There are 8 different female vocalists on each of the 8 tracks so each one is gonna have its own individual feel to it.  The tunes are mostly a vocal hook/chant over a groove and they take their time with all of them clocking in at over 5 minutes.  Nice little percussive synth parts tucked into the mixes as well.

YTD recordings listened to: 356
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 188
Not good music: 160

Best: 6
Honorable Mentions: 4

Possibles: Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, 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, 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, A Tribe Called Quest, Noname, Gouge Away, Klara Lewis, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Oddisee, Forro in the Dark, RAM, Fiver, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Priests, Propaganda, This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez, Integrity, Tuba Skinny, The Expanders, Converge, Open Mike Eagle, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Tal National, Portal, Hernan Sama & Marcelo von Schultz, Jean Grae and Quelle Chris, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton

Music for 6/25/18!!! Elysia Crampton, KYLYPSO, Vancouver Sleep Clinic, Sam Valdez

@@@ Elysia Crampton: Self-titled EP (Break World, 2018) I got to this electronic record by a Bolivian American electronic producer from the Guardian’s best records of 2018.  The first tune, Nativity, is a glorious glitchy mess of sounds, some Latin, some trippy and some electronic.  It’s all swirled up in a slightly overwhelming mix which I’m feasing on. The second tune Solinilita is more stripped down but with a beat that is tightly latched to a manic metallic, triangle like arpeggio that will slice up your attention span.  The third tune is centered around some hand drums and a tremolo-ed accordion like synth and a mashed up staticky cloud synth.  This is pretty interesting music and I haven’t found anything on one of these best of lists for a long ass time.  I will circle back on this record when I have time to listen to the whole thing.

@@@ KYLYPSO: Honestly (Art Casual, 2018)  Some super breezy and sunny ass indie disco biscuit from tracks of the week at Line of Best Fit.  Get your fucking rolling skates out cuz it’s that sort of jam.  It’s got a Nile Rodgers inspired guitar vamp, some steel drum synth patches and a soft and engaging male singer urging you to speak honestly and then waste your day away with him.  I don’t want to him hit in the face but it’s not my thing, it’s just a wee bit anthemic.  More than a wee bit possibly.

@@@ Vancouver Sleep Clinic, IDK: Trippin’ (Vancouver Sleep Clinic, 2018) Another single off the tracks of the week at Line of Best fit.  This track opens up loverboy Bieber-y though not as saccharine.  The arrangement is smooth and Bieber-y not the vocal hook per se.  Not a great sign.  It’s pretty orchestrated and somewhat bittersweet but I find the Autotune on the vocal a bit of a drag.  An MC makes a solid appearance amongst the lush ruins of the tune.  It’s a love song, I think, but I’m not entirely sure of the inspiration for this downtempo cookie.  Not a biscuit but a cookie is the rating here.

@@@ Sam Valdez: Funeral (N/A, 2018)  This is a pre-release single from an upcoming full length from a young woman that I know nothing about except she has a single up at tracks of the week.  She is quite Velvet Underground-y and chic blase over a sort of Spaghetti Western indie guitar sound.   Big shiny guitar flourishes, some tremolo, a straight rock beat you could never find, and some yearning.  The yearning.  Ah, the wheat, how I miss the wheat.  She sounds pretty and sad, that’s pretty much it.  I think she’s been inspired by Lana Del Rey which I think is not great musical inspiration despite her fleshy and swollen lips which are a natural wonder.  Who knows about Lana Del Rey’s lips?  Hit me up!

YTD recordings listened to: 353
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 186
Not good music: 159

Best: 6
Honorable Mentions: 4

Possibles: Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, 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, 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, A Tribe Called Quest, Noname, Gouge Away, Klara Lewis, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Oddisee, Forro in the Dark, RAM, Fiver, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Priests, Propaganda, This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez, Integrity, Tuba Skinny, The Expanders, Converge, Open Mike Eagle, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Tal National, Portal, Hernan Sama & Marcelo von Schultz, Jean Grae and Quelle Chris, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton,

Best of 2017 Pick 7

Dona Onete: Banzeiro (Mais Um Discos, 2017)

If you took the spirit of the lead singer from the Pogues and put him into the body of an almost 80 year old Brazilian woman and then put her in front of band that is more like a Colombian cumbia band than Brazilian Bossa nova and it would sound like this record.

It’s a party record with a great balance of energy and the weight the limited range of Onete’s voice brings.

I have no idea what the lyrics are about and I could care less, it’s a great set of tunes with a great spirit.

 

Music for 6/22/18!!! Arianne Grande, Physique, Lily Allen, Beyonce and Jay Z

@@@ Arianne Grande: a light is coming (Republic, 2018)  A pre-release single for Disney snowflake Arianne Grande with an intro rhyme from Nicki Minaj.  If you want some toughness on your track, dial 1-800-NickiMM!  I tell you this with the experience of listening to thousands and thousands and thousands of tracks I have no idea what this track is about.  There is a vocal sample ‘you wouldn’t let anybody speak and instead’ that goes circular in various volumes through the WHOLE track and there is a vocal hook ‘a light is coming to give back everything the darkness stole’ but I have no idea how those two things go together or what it may or may not mean.  The verse gets brisk but I can’t glean any meaning off that either.  So there ya go, it doesn’t have to make sense, it would be nice if it did, but it’s a flavor pack from a mainstream ‘artist’.

@@@  Physique: This Punk Life is shit (Iron Lung, 2018)  A full on wall of guitar buzz on a hardcore punk record I saw in the loud section of the CFUV weekly playlist email.  Regular readers know that I’m super open to anti-social expression as being cathartic but the buzz and high end on this record hurts my ears.  Nice punk rockers wouldn’t do this to me.  I’m sure this is full on ripping live but I can’t roll with it, I need my ears and shit!

@@@ Lily Allen: No Shame (Warner, 2018)  Sort of the British equivalent to Arianne Grande.  I got to this record via the Guardian’s best records of 2018 thus far.  I can say that the songs here make more sense than the pre release single from Arianne Grande.  It dabbles in some non pop sounds and while the music is more coherent, I don’t find this to be a particularly interesting collection.  As with the Beyonce and Jay Z music I’ve been peeping over the past week you have to be involved with these musicians as people to find their music engaging.  It’s a lifestyle package which has nothing to do with music.   I love the Guardian but just another example of poor mainstream journalistic music reviewing.

@@@ Beyonce & Jay Z: Nice (Sony Music, 2018)  Speaking of which let’s keep enduring this record!  It opens with the repeating hook ‘I can do anything!’ and the Jay Z comes with his trip.  It’s a boasting song with typical references to their incredible wealth — by the way why is it hip for Beyonce and Jay Z to flaunt their wealth but it’s disgusting for Trump to do the same?  It’s ill and typically American to flaunt wealth regardless of color, naimsayin’?  I find Jay Z’s rhymes more interesting than Beyonce’s here but it is their collective self-absorption that drives this record.

YTD recordings listened to: 349
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 184
Not good music: 157

Best: 6
Honorable Mentions: 4

Possibles: Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, 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, 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, A Tribe Called Quest, Noname, Gouge Away, Klara Lewis, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Oddisee, Forro in the Dark, RAM, Fiver, Dona Onete, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Priests, Propaganda, This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez, Integrity, Tuba Skinny, The Expanders, Converge, Open Mike Eagle, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Tal National, Portal, Hernan Sama & Marcelo von Schultz, Jean Grae and Quelle Chris, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto