Music for 6/28/19!!! J Balvin/Bad Bunny, Foxwarren

@@@ J Balvin and Bad Bunny: Que Pretendes (UMG, 2019)  A surprise collaboration between two big Latin names.  I would guess part of the deal is to try to get the title of Jam of the Summer.  The arrangement is slick and some of the pulsating/breathing keyboard sounds seem straight off 6Lack’s debut record.  The beats are pretty standard reggaeton and they’re good.  I think these guys are more for the ladies as they emphasize loverboy feels in their delivery.  What some may hear as sexy can be heard as sleepy and uninspired by others.  It’s not going to make my summer jam of the year partly because I don’t get any of these lyrics (#ignorantgringo), but just hearing the music I don’t jump.  This is the #1 track in the Apple Music hot tracks section.

@@@ Foxwarren – Foxwarren (Arts & Crafts) Some faded indie I got to from a CFUV weekly playlist email from earlier in the year.  It’s like a Beach Boys record where the singer has a weird, mouth full of marbles sound to his voice.  A lot of vocal tracks for comfort, it’s basically a mopey feelings jam.  I dig the dude’s voice and hate it at the same time, both distracting and fascinating.  The playing is a mostly indie with some classic rock elements to it.  I like the bass player here, he’s really catching my ear.  The arrangements are focused and stripped down — I don’t find them to be emotionally compelling for me but check them for yourselves.  You might love it.

YTD recordings listened to: 324
Good music, not list worthy: 193
Not good music: 113

Best: 0
Honorable Mentions: 0

Possibles: Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, Slidhr, The Chewers, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Lozen, Erase Errata, Mastery, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, 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, Noname, Klara Lewis, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Oddisee, RAM, Fiver, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Priests, Propaganda, This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez, Integrity, Tuba Skinny, The Expanders, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Portal, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton, Parquet Courts, Moskus, Kendl Winter, Tkay Maidza, Barro, Daniel Khan, Tallawit Timbouctou, Sumac, Tropical Fuck Storm, Harriet Tubman, Ammar 808, Anais Maviel, Chaka Khan, Pom Poko, Fried Egg, Horndal, Wyxz, Tarek Atoui, Hawktail, Saicobab, Shannon and the Clams, General Purv, Shipping News, Big Thief, Emma Louise

Music for 6/27/19!!! Slothrust, Protruders

@@@ Slothrust: The Pact (Dangerbird, 2018)  I thought with a name like Slothrust we was looking at a heavy metal band, but nooooooooo, alternative.  I got to this record via a music publicist email and it looks there have been some remixes going on, etc.  Oh, they did a single with another band but I’m going to check out this 2018 effort and I hope it’s not an effort.  This record is slotted as alternative but it’s a disguise as this is mainstream rock which is not a much loved category at the end of this decade.  I do find it difficult to reconcile the rebellious tradition of rock with ultra-manicured sounds and FM friendly lyrics.  It’s like canned corn, it’s not the same as fresh corn, naimsayin’??!!!  Consider this an updated Cranberries type of thing but even mo shiny.  It’s also got Smashing Pumpkin feels, not my favorite band.  Let’s try another metaphor — if you’re Jewish you might not get this, though there are self-hating Easter Jews.  Have you ever bitten the head of a chocolate Easter bunny as a kid and then looked down and saw the shit is hollow?  This record is like that.   Where’s my solid chocolate bunny you humps?

@@@ Protruders: Poison Future (Protruders, 2019)  Some old school indie/art school punk that sat atop the charts out at Vancouver’s CFUV weekly playlist email.  Plenty of distorted voice and lots of guitars.  At least two!  I don’t know if the title track, Poison Future (clipped below) is classic punk nihilism or if it’s some sort of environmental statement or some of both.  The second tune sounds like a Lou Reed/Pavement lovechild.  Some slack, some knowingness, ya know the classic rock posture.  It’s hard for me to make a case for or against this record — it’s got some high energy, I might be getting tired of the distorted vocals and it’s a formula that a lot of people have heard before.

YTD recordings listened to: 322
Good music, not list worthy: 191
Not good music: 113

Best: 0
Honorable Mentions: 0

Possibles: Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, Slidhr, The Chewers, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Lozen, Erase Errata, Mastery, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, 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, Noname, Klara Lewis, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Oddisee, RAM, Fiver, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Priests, Propaganda, This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez, Integrity, Tuba Skinny, The Expanders, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Portal, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton, Parquet Courts, Moskus, Kendl Winter, Tkay Maidza, Barro, Daniel Khan, Tallawit Timbouctou, Sumac, Tropical Fuck Storm, Harriet Tubman, Ammar 808, Anais Maviel, Chaka Khan, Pom Poko, Fried Egg, Horndal, Wyxz, Tarek Atoui, Hawktail, Saicobab, Shannon and the Clams, General Purv, Shipping News, Big Thief, Emma Louise

Music for 6/26/19!!! Band Apart, Black Pumas

@@@ Band Apart: Band Apart (Crammed, 2019)  I usually turn to Crammed Discs for super hot African music including Konono No. 1 and Acid Arab which is a very underrated record.  This is on the rock tip and I’m seeing it originally came out in the early ’80s.  It’s pretty good rock with a female singer, it’s got some outdated sounds, but the energy is tight and it has more depth to it than a lot of rock.  The title track (clipped below) is tense and kraut-y and I like this music.  I don’t like it as much as Konono No. 1 and Acid Arab but that’s comparing oranges to African apples.  If you’re a young hipster check it out to realize how much recycling goes on in music.

@@@ Black Pumas: Black Pumas (ATO, 2019)  Some sort of soul music off this week’s All Music notable release email.  It comes out retro as bell bottom jeans in the first tune Black Moons Rising.  All analog from what I can tell, no chopped up beats and thick synth bass sounds.  I can go either way so I’m not judge-y.  The singer is super flavorful with a classic yearning soul voice.  No James Brown/Sharon Jones gravelly funk, this gent is smooth.  I like rough or smooth, so I’m not judge-y.  The second tune opens up with an interesting acoustic guitar figure.  I find myself listening to the organ player a whole bunch, he/she really swells up and fills the tunes with a classic organ sweet filling.  The lyrics are mostly concerned with racial justice for black folks, which I support and am happy to listen to.  I could use a coupla party tracks at the front of the record, but that’s just me.  Excellent sounds, great voice on the singer and funky playing.

YTD recordings listened to: 320
Good music, not list worthy: 190
Not good music: 112

Best: 0
Honorable Mentions: 0

Possibles: Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, Slidhr, The Chewers, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Lozen, Erase Errata, Mastery, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, 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, Noname, Klara Lewis, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Oddisee, RAM, Fiver, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Priests, Propaganda, This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez, Integrity, Tuba Skinny, The Expanders, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Portal, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton, Parquet Courts, Moskus, Kendl Winter, Tkay Maidza, Barro, Daniel Khan, Tallawit Timbouctou, Sumac, Tropical Fuck Storm, Harriet Tubman, Ammar 808, Anais Maviel, Chaka Khan, Pom Poko, Fried Egg, Horndal, Wyxz, Tarek Atoui, Hawktail, Saicobab, Shannon and the Clams, General Purv, Shipping News, Big Thief, Emma Louise

Music for 6/25/19!!! Mark Ronson, Jane Weaver

@@@ Mark Ronson: Late Night Feelings (Sony, 2019)  I’m sure most folks didn’t see the NY Times puff piece on him.  I’ve never been a particularly big fan of Ronson as he’s only a couple of notches above the tragic figure of Calvin Harris.  White people trafficking in funk, you must be careful.  That’s reverse racist and shit!!  After a strings/vocal harmonies intro the title track kicks in and I think it’s gonna be an updated disco biscuit.  I wish I was wrong but it is as predicted.  It’s not full on disco but despite the attempt at emotional lyrics it’s disco funk and sad disco funk at that.  I don’t see how this old school dancefloor banger is going to dislodge the current funky club music.  Maybe it’s aimed at the older analog crowd, which I get.  The record is stuffed with guest vocalists, even Alicia Keyes, who appears to be the most well known guest.  It’s not the most terrible music ever, it’s very predictable and it doesn’t sound particularly inspired.  Maybe sad funk is a bit of a dream.  Shake your booty through your tears.

@@@  Jane Weaver: Loops in the Secret Society (Fire, 2019)  Another record off this week’s All Music notable release email.  It opens with tons of vocals, medium processed and stacked.  It morphs into a cosmic electro jam with swirling synths, a percussive clock sound and a buildup.  I tipped a little over halfway through as the buildup was stalled and I felt like I was in a science fiction movie.  I think I’m not super into the beats, they’re far from the funky and more in the video game neighborhood.  When the third tune Arrows comes in we get the crowning touch of the New Age angel voice which revolves around the phrase ‘nothing can hurt you’.  Not really my thing, but check it for yourself.

YTD recordings listened to: 318
Good music, not list worthy: 188
Not good music: 109

Best: 0
Honorable Mentions: 0

Possibles: Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, Slidhr, The Chewers, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Lozen, Erase Errata, Mastery, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, 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, Noname, Klara Lewis, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Oddisee, RAM, Fiver, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Priests, Propaganda, This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez, Integrity, Tuba Skinny, The Expanders, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Portal, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton, Parquet Courts, Moskus, Kendl Winter, Tkay Maidza, Barro, Daniel Khan, Tallawit Timbouctou, Sumac, Tropical Fuck Storm, Harriet Tubman, Ammar 808, Anais Maviel, Chaka Khan, Pom Poko, Fried Egg, Horndal, Wyxz, Tarek Atoui, Hawktail, Saicobab, Shannon and the Clams, General Purv, Shipping News, Big Thief, Emma Louise

Music for 6/24/19!!! Two Door Cinema Club, Black Midi, Nikki Minaj

@@@ Two Door Cinema Club: False Alarm (Glassnote, 2019) A British pop outfit trying to make the jump across the ocean and from the sound of the intro of the first tune they will not be leaping into my heart.  Think of these guys as a fish and chips version of ABBA — a pop vocal harmonizing group with a popped out synth pop arrangement.  The second tune, Talk, brings a little club dancefloor banger business but they do pour the cheese sauce on it fo sho!  The third track brings a faux Krautrock/early hip hop thing so they’re making a tour of various old school electronic sounds.  I got to this sandwich via the All Music notable release email.

@@@ Black Midi: Schlagenheim (Rough Trade, 2019) I saw these guys mentioned somewhere else besides the All Music notable release email.  They get into a disorienting punky grind right out of the gate and that’s a good sign.  It settles down into a familiar rocking thing but also with some mathy playing tossed in so these guys are gonna jump all over sonically.  The singer is surprisingly literate without really engaging me to listen.  I do like the trashing to and fro so let’s peep some more.  I’m almost two tunes through and I feel like this band is more about concepts than about passionate expression.  I think I might enjoy this record more with a different singer.  I’m sure he’s an awesome dude but I’m not super feeling him.  Check for yourself.

@@@ Nikki Minaj: Megatron (Cash Money, 2019) #1 on the Apple hot tracks.  I thought Minaj’s last full length was a bit less than enthralling and shit.  Nikki Minaj is a prolific singer and my first feeling is here that this could be song of the summer.  I don’t like the guitar, but she’s got hot beats and she made a Caribbean flavored jam about getting drunk, I can see a lot of people going for that formula.  She’s foul mouthed as usual and she has a whole verse about being a millionaire and she wants her pussy eaten carefully cuz it’s pricey.  I’m not saying the shit is priceless genius but it’s catchy, it’s well put together and fits the slot for jam of the summer.  Of course, many artists are going for the bbq primo jam so there will be more entries.

YTD recordings listened to: 316
Good music, not list worthy: 187
Not good music: 108

Best: 0
Honorable Mentions: 0

Possibles: Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, Slidhr, The Chewers, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Lozen, Erase Errata, Mastery, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, 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, Noname, Klara Lewis, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Oddisee, RAM, Fiver, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Priests, Propaganda, This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez, Integrity, Tuba Skinny, The Expanders, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Portal, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton, Parquet Courts, Moskus, Kendl Winter, Tkay Maidza, Barro, Daniel Khan, Tallawit Timbouctou, Sumac, Tropical Fuck Storm, Harriet Tubman, Ammar 808, Anais Maviel, Chaka Khan, Pom Poko, Fried Egg, Horndal, Wyxz, Tarek Atoui, Hawktail, Saicobab, Shannon and the Clams, General Purv, Shipping News, Big Thief, Emma Louise

This is a pitched PR story to the NY Times, and yes it does matter.

From the New York Times:

PR_Stories

The simple point here:  if you have money you get access to folks’ eyeballs and they’re paying for eyeballs.

Mark Ronson is a completely average musician that is now paying to try to alter his image and make loot with this new image.

People who don’t have loot, who may be brilliant musicians or certainly much more skilled musicians than Mr. Ronson, will not be recognized adequately when the publicity system is based on paid access.

Access to people’s ears and eyes should be based on merit and that’s it.

You may say I’m a dreamer….

Music for 6/21/19!!! Bedoine, Emma Louise, Lipphead

@@@ Bedoine: Birdsongs of a Killjoy (Spacebomb, 2019) I got to this record via a Line of Best Fit weekly email.  The first tune is a combination of indie sounds, a little folk, and more than a little late ’70s soft rock.  The second tune, Sunshine Sometimes, features more intricate guitar playing and the same comforting voice of Ms. Bedoine.  This is a pretty established formula that goes all the way back to Nick Drake.  And I’m not sure I find the addition of the soft rock vibe to be a plus for me.  When I put on Five Leaves Left I feel Drake’s misery acutely and I find that really really beautiful.  I find the soft rock here to dilute the impact of the tunes.

@@@ Emma Louise: Lilac Everything (Henry’s Castle, 2019)  Here we have some shit that’s pretty creative at least if you’re interested in sonic issues and have dabbled in recording.  This female artist has pitched her vocals down to a point that is more traditionally associated with the male vocal range.  It’s hard to describe the sensation of listening to these songs — would they be as interesting if you didn’t know this was a woman?  The sounds are anchored in the ’70s – a little r&b in this second tune, more than a little John Lennon in the opener.   It would be great to see how somebody else feels about this music without knowing of the pitch shift.  While I don’t think this is the greatest thing ever there is something to it that makes it stand higher than a lot of what’s coming out now.  Check it out.

@@@ Lipphead: Slippery Fingers (YHS Records, 2019) I got to this hip hop single via a music publicist email.  It’s medium left field with some more unusual old school samples that go along side some synth horns, some squirgly funky synth playing, and a pretty insistent and churning bassline.  Instrumental and swinging.

YTD recordings listened to: 313
Good music, not list worthy: 185
Not good music: 107

Best: 0
Honorable Mentions: 0

Possibles: Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, Slidhr, The Chewers, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Lozen, Erase Errata, Mastery, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, 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, Noname, Klara Lewis, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Oddisee, RAM, Fiver, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Priests, Propaganda, This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez, Integrity, Tuba Skinny, The Expanders, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Portal, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton, Parquet Courts, Moskus, Kendl Winter, Tkay Maidza, Barro, Daniel Khan, Tallawit Timbouctou, Sumac, Tropical Fuck Storm, Harriet Tubman, Ammar 808, Anais Maviel, Chaka Khan, Pom Poko, Fried Egg, Horndal, Wyxz, Tarek Atoui, Hawktail, Saicobab, Shannon and the Clams, General Purv, Shipping News, Big Thief, Emma Louise