@@@ Barrie: Happy to be Here EP (Winspear, 2019) I got to this Brooklyn dream pop via the Line of Best Fit end of week email. Dream pop is a tough sell for me but music gets mislabelled all the time. The opening tune is called Darjeeling and as that is a black tea flavor I’m guessing it’s gonna be upbeat. Oh my, I feel swaddled and cuddled almost to death by the positivity of this first tune. Only 1:16 before the tambourine hit, naimsayin’??!! Female singer, lots of background vocals that add up to a big stack, clean guitars and popped up drumming. I want to criticize this record not on the emotions it embodies but via the sounds that are employed. When sounds get to what I consider to be a drastic place — so many doubletracked vocals, candy bar synth patches, and poppy drumming I hear something that is very escapist. There’s nothing here connected to reality as I understand, it seems to be music that is repulsed by reality and life. Or is proposing a life of such softness and cleanliness that I see as unheard of and borderline unhealthy. I think folks need more reality, not less so I don’t welcome this. The playing is fine, the performances are solid, the arrangements are good, but it’s not cool.
@@@ Lindstrom: On a Clear Day I can See (Smalltown Supersound, 2019) These two releases are from this week’s All Music notable release email. A couple of months ago I heard another Smalltown Supersound electronic music record that I really enjoyed. Andre Britten I believe. And because of that record I’m listening to this electronic record from the same label. Here we have four eight or nine minute compositions so they’re gonna unfold slowly. Thus far we are beatless and in the middle of a lot of abstract keyboard layers. It’s kind of huge and epic and proggy and I could use some beats. I clicked all the way through the tracks in places and no beats! Thatsa no go for me, so we’re off to the next track. The second tune, A Lot of Really Deep Snow, starts out low and sci-fi with some arpeggiated synths but I think I’m gonna get a beat. Thank God. If you’re going to serve up 8 minutes of electronic I think it’s fair to ask that it not be so restrained. I feel like I’m in the waiting room at the hospital. I think I might tip as the combination of restraint and proggy vibes here is not working for me. I think this is for electronic listeners looking for that massive arena rock synth solo tucked inside an electronic track.
@@@ The Pop Group: Y (Mute, 2019) A re-issue from a UK post punk band that went from 1977 to 1991 and then reunited in 2010. While sporting a punky brashness this music also has world music feels, a wee bit of jazz/improv and rock feels as well. The singer is an odd duck — whispering in places, menacing at other turns, he’s all over the place. The second tune continues with the jagged aesthetic and while the music is off kilter it’s put together well and they don’t really seem to give a fuck which I always dig. Whatever sounds they want to put together, they don’t hesitate. I’m surprised and impressed at how this music has not aged — it has a percolating energy to it that holds up almost 40 years later. This is the kind of art school smashing up of genres that I dig as its roughness in both composition and in sound pushes any thoughts of pretension away. They’re just getting their freak on.
YTD recordings listened to: 578
Good music, not list worthy: 343
Not good music: 198
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, Andre Bratten, Nathan Corder/Tom Weeks, Oli XL, Buzzherd, Logistic Slaughter, The Muslims, Tobe Nwigwe, Saint Abdullah, Bug Martin, Kaleta and the Super Yamba Band, Toko Telo, Brittany Howard, The Garifuna Collective, Mariachi El Bronx, Bonnie Baxter, Danny Brown, clipping., Deafkids, Michael Kiwanuka