@@@ Smino: MLK Dr (Zero Fatigue, 2021) A whacky blend of hip hop, a little Prince and a bunch of ol’ school George Clinton feels. Tempo is brisk and the vocal layers are stacked. He seen a martian on Martin Luther King Drive continuing the long tradition of black musicians wanting to be in outer space and it’s a fine tradition given the conditions for black folks here on Planet Earth. It’s a quickie at 1:30 so pay attention as he gets in and out commando style. I like it.
@@@ Coi Leray: No More Parties (UMG, 2021) This one is major label so the vibe is much more polished and less weird. She’s not getting invited to the parties. They ask how she gets that oooh oooh. I’m no genius but I think she just goes ooh ooh. I like the bass, the beats are high end lexus, but I find the lyrics to be like the rest of America, word salad. And the singer’s delivery? Meh. Single ooh, not a double. It probably makes more sense if you’re high.
@@@ mikey100k: when it’s time (4RVR, 2021) I don’t know about others out there but I don’t like nylon string guitar in my hip hop. Somebody is vamping New Age nylon in the trap beat and while Mr. 100k works the microphone. I like him and his delivery, it’s a bit cheesy but he knows that neezies got his back when it’s war time, it’s like that. Plenty of dodging red and blue lights he can’t go and let a neezy take mine. I like this one the best of the bunch but that nylon string, that shit’s not right. I got to these tracks via the best songs of January at Vice.com so it’s vice ya know?
@@@ Steven Wilson: The Future Bites (Arts and Crafts, 2021) I think I got to these two recordings via this week’s All Music notable release email. I listened to these two bottom to top so I will be comparing this first recording to the recording below so don’t get confused. This is more in the Kate Bush electro big feels arena and it moves from a soft intro into a more rocking thing after about a minute. I clicked through to the next track after feeling like this is more electro garnished mainstream rock than it is electronic music. It’s got bits in it that’s about it. I don’t dislike it, it sports a bit of Nine Inch Nails self-importance that’s for sure and I’m not sure it’s as important as it vibes itself to be. Lots of gauzy background vocals, lots of serioius lyrics that seem pretty familiar. For me the background vocals are the least satisfying component but I like the production. As always I would prefer more weirdness but this is not a weird time it’s a time of pretending.
@@@ Goat Girl: On All Fours (Rough Trade, 2021) If you took some indie electronic and smashed it into a television set playing a spaghetti western you would get something close to this track. Downer voice, and the spag feels mostly come from the guitars and then a bit from the drums especially in the chorus. It’s one of those tracks that rocks a bit but I want it to rock more but it just can’t gather the mustard to get on that spaghetti horse and ride! Don’t really like the singer or the synths. I’m sure the singer is a super nice person I just don’t care for her singing style. The electro breakdown here is just icing on the cupcake, what y’all indie downer pusses know about dancefloor bangin’?
@@@ DUB PISTOLS V DUBMATIX: Blue Monday [Single] (Cyclone, 2021) Extremely ambient dub reggae I got to via this week’s WRIR playlist. It’s a cover with a more subtle singer rather than your righteous Winston Rodney Burning Spear type of preacher man singer. Very tasty bass sounds but the star here is what you might call the ether, the little bits of delayed fragements and reverbed guitar ka-chunks, extremely pleasurable. Tasty sonic bits for ya earholes.
@@@ Afronaut: Barfight (The Good Times, 2020) The first tune off an EP called Africans from Outer Space. Great title. I don’t know where this band hails from but they sound like an old school indie rock band with a little horn action. I’ve been in this song for 2 minutes and I don’t want to hear the word barfight ever again! Ah, don’t wear it out. Jangly guitar, a lot of toms on the rock drumming and the word barfight. It starts to sound like they’re chanting ‘barf right’ after a bit.
@@@ El Dusty: Sax Riddim (Americano, 2021) Electro cumbia is how I would label this track that I got to via the WRIR weekly playlist email. Drum machine, synth/trap bass sitting under that tasty cumbia accordion, you can’t fuck with the accordion. There’s a synth horn and I like the hip hop connection here but for no reason except I prefer listening to the old school style, I prefer the old school cumbia. No purity test here maybe if it was arranged differently I would like it more.
@@@ Beverly Copeland: River Dreams (PIAS, 2020) I have not a ton of readers but last week a steady reader of this blog asked what I thought of these two records. Thusly, today’s listening episode is entitled Mr. Whirly Thursday as Mr. Whirly is this young gent’s screen name. I saw this record namechecked at the end of the year as the music reviewing machine made its usual half assed attempt to digest the music of the year so thusly I am grateful to check this out. This is slotted as New Age music which is not a big category for me but it opens up slightly funky to go with those big vibes, especially when she hits the mic. Oy what a voice! I listened to the second record first and that young lady has more than a bit of aggro to her whole thing while Ms. Copeland is going in another direction entirely. I like the beat, the hammered marimba type instrument and of course, her voice on this first track. I’ve often been accused of being dead inside as this appeal to tender emotions and the New Age aesthetic tends to make me feel very hostile. This isn’t really my cup of tea but I see why folks would dig it and I love her voice, it’s great. I thank Mr. Whirly for his recommendations and if there are other readers out there who would like to suggest music for review I’m super into that. Rock on Mr. Whirly.
@@@ Billy Nomates: Billy Nomates (Invada UK, 2020) As with other cultural areas folks in the UK aren’t as hung up on genre and lifestyle slots as us dumbasses here in America. This comes out as a Breeders rock driven bass track, a semi-raw talking singer, and some ’80s drum machine sounds. An interesting combination of sonic choices and I like this singer which is rare as I don’t usually like the singer. I dig the second tune much more and I woulda put that tune first as the energy is cracking and she really catches a vibe on the vocals. The third tune continues the shit talking, the acidic lyrics and I think she switched over to a human drummer that’s really driving the bus. I give Mr. Whirly props on this recommendation as I’m not a big rock guy but this is really good shit. She reminds me a bit of Sleaford Mods and that middle finger flow they rock.
@@@ Paysage d’Hiver: Im Wald (Kunsthall Produktien, 2021) Some heavy shit off Invisible Oranges’ editor’s choice section. It opens with a super buzzy wall of guitars, thwacky snare drum and a singer tucked in that huge nest of distortion somewhere. I couldn’t tell from the first track if there is even a bass player in the band. I do like some bass in my heavy metal, I’m not opposed to it. It’s a big biscuit weighing in at 2 hours so you’re gonna be a different person on the other side of this nest of hornets. I’m not even gonna start with the song titles, it’s not in English with my favorite title being Stimmen im wald which reminds me that I got my stimmy check yesterday, thanks for nothing you fuckers at the top of the food chain. Myself I would cut back the guitars a little bit, bring up the singer and let us know if there’s a bass player in the band.
@@@ Gatecreeper: An Unexpected Reality (Closed Casket Activities, 2021). Another Invisible Oranges choice. Speaking of getting your stimmy the first tune on this record is called Starved and it’s a fully fleshed out metal production sound we got going here. Spacious with big everything while it doesn’t rob the tunes of energy. Starved goes right into Sick of being Sober. I’ve been trying to drink more myself though I don’t suspect we’ll be seeing these guys in any upcoming liquor ads. These are all very short songs which I think is fantastic — they get in there, they whip a shitty and let all their bile out and move onto the next shot of hate. It’s pretty clear where they’re at. I dig the energy here, there’s a lot of it, I can’t hear a fucking word or make head nor tail of the grunting singer but the drummer most definitely does not require a Red Bull.
@@@ Mentira – Nada Es Sagrado (Iron Lung, 2020) Some underground punk sung in Spanish with some psychedelic raging components (delay on the vocals) but these guys are bringing it for sure in the herk a jerk not giving of a fuck punk spirit. Ooh these guys play really well when they play fast and it’s quite satisfying. A prehistoric fucked bass grizzle but the main thing here is the delay on the vocalist’s voice and the overall manic 5 cans of Red Bull energy of the band playing. They sound a bit like they’ve been set on fire which I find quite entertaining. If you’re up for some old school abrasive punk these gents will hook you up!
@@@ Palberta: Corner Store (Wharf Cat Records, 2021) Old school female guitar indie and I think I got to this track via a recent All Music notable release email. They’re engaging in some Sleater-Kinney style two part vocal harmonizing, maybe even three part! and it’s cool. I do, however, love the Sleater Kinney whipping of the shitty and that’s absent here. The tempo is brisk in places but it’s not boiling over. That’s okay, it’s okay to not whip a shitty. I could use a bit of distortion pedal to be perfectly honest — a little crunch would be nice. Ah well. I let the player click through to the next track and they get into a little Minutemen style business and from that super quickie onto the next one it seems like they’ve listened to a lot of different ’80s and ’90s SST style bands. A little Meat Puppets in here as well so a cornucopia of retro rock music.
@@@ Kiwi Jr.: Waiting in Line (Sub Pop, 2021) More guitar indie, my favorite shit ever! This time more shiny and more emphasis on the vocal melodies and a generally quirky poppy flow. Singer doing a good job with the tools he has, and the drummer does all right but it’s very familiar. Maybe that’s the point!!! Again I could use a bit of muscle in the guitar part of the band but that’s how I roll and how I roll is not how others roll. The vocalist steals the show here and the guitar players could use a small to medium sized flavor pack. A little somethin’ out of the ordinary, naimsayin’? I also like the keyboards here though they’re a bit low they should be emphasized more here.
@@@ ZAYN: Vibez (RCA, 2021) Fuckz there’s nothing sweeter than new ZAYN Malik trackz. He quakez the pantiez fo sho. It’s a loverboy track with a medium funk undercarriage and he just goez off on the mic about what he’s gonna do to his lover. He’z gonna make it realz! The vocal hook is you got the vibez, you got the vibez. He’s gonna do all the thingz, all the thingz that you see in your dreamz, oh man. I let the player roll as I type up this pocket review and the soft top on the early ’80s quiet storm funk formula continuez. I find this kind of music scary as it comes off as a simulation of human emotion and not a heartfelt expression of a real one. Apparently we’re not in a time with the realz.
@@@ Here Lies Man: I Told You (Riding Easy, 2021) I’m not sure how I got to these two listens as I set them up last week and forgot to right down the link/referral. As the tune opens up it feels like a smashup of classic rock and a schmear of psychedelic for freshness as classic rock is a dinosaur boneyard right now. Active rock drummer with medium heavy guitar riffage and a bit of background vocal action. The intro ends and gives way to a different riff and a more shuffling/driving beat which is cool. They keep saying ‘You shall die’ which is the vocal hook of the song. That’s a good use of a hook. There is also a space organ tucked in the distortion of the guitars and that gives the tune something besides a steady diet of riffage to groove on. I like how the vocals are de-emphasized but unfortunately the riffage is pretty familiar. I’m not sure but maybe we’re at the end of fresh classic rock riffs. They slow it down for the last third of the tune which I understand but I liked the more energetic section more. Big ups to the drummer who I think steals the show here as well as ups to the organ player/riff.
@@@ Jeremiah Fraites: Maggie (Dualtone, 2020) This is slotted as classical on Apple Music but the cover makes it seem like a ragtime record, but it doesn’t sound like either of those when you click the play button. It sounds like piano driven Americana with a string droning in support. It’s hard to make an intimate piano tune these days without getting into New Age feels, I think there’s something about that instrument and the history of it where New Age feels are just right around the corner. We get some big big tom tom drum rolls starting around halfway and the whole track simmers down. I’m fully aware that when I’m feeling the cheese pressure rising that usually means most of my fellow Americans are gonna love it because it’s inspiring and feel good. He never fully summits Cheese Mountain and I’m grateful for that. I’m gonna let the player click through to the next track as I don’t oppose him and I hear a similar epic vibe to the guitar flourishes panning back and forth which I like, it’s easier to roll with the bigness when it’s not the piano. Overall I’m agnostic on this, there are things I like and things I don’t so check it for yourself.
@@@ Dead Manifest: Blood (973399 Records DK, 2020) I got to this spirited blend of hard rock with some punk feels tossed in via a music publicist in the covid ridden UK/Ireland area. Pretty but not too shiny production with high energy and momentary Kurt Cobain feels from the singer. A less soaring vocalist who can push a vibe in a different way is always welcome to my ears. Percussive and stabbing guitar sounds with standard arena rock drums a more than solid effort. Obviously for the more mainstream hard rock listeneres out there of which there are unfortunately too many, we need more freaks.
@@@ Lil Skies: Dead Broke (Atlantic, 2020) Looks like somebody has been packaged to take the lil’ Post Malone crown. I don’t know what ethnicity or flavor lil’ skies lives in (or not) but the inclusion of the guitar here with the fat booty bass and the general vibe is aiming for that fat and profitable space where rock and hip hop can produce streaming pennies. He keeps mentioning some air national show and it serves as a weird vocal hook. Not sure I care about the national air show yo. He starts panting in the beginning of the next song and I’m having a Drake wave of Oh Lord, the Sensitive Gangsta, have we not had enough of this ridiculous archetype. Sounds pretty disposable.
@@@ Mariel Roberts: Armament (N/A, 2021) I got to this solo cello, pedal electronic music via the weekly gig announcement from Roulette in Brooklyn. She’s referred to a relentless explorer and I’m on the first of two pre-release tracks and it’s not quite. It’s a core of thick cello bowing with some drones and light industrial mechanical sauce. Now I’m nothing if not an honest reviewer and the second piece does get more into integrating the cello with the additional sounds and the second piece here sounds a bit like something from Lord of the Rings where the cello sounds like it’s fed into a cranked distortion pedal and they combine to make this low to mid frequency blasting sound from Hell. What’s interesting is that the sounds are separate and combined and it’s an effective use of the pedals.
@@@ Anuel AA & @Ozuna: Los Dioses (Real Hasta La Muerte, 2021) Some all Spanish gangsta and loverboy aspiring hip hop with plenty of purring and a ton of voices. Very tight, twerking bass and some nice sounds outside of the vocal arrangement. I like the energy of the dual MCs, I’m happy I don’t know Spanish and I think there’s entirely too much purring/gun shot posturing. There’s a chopped/gated/rhythmic effect on the synth that helps to drive the track in an interesting manner so overall it’s a mixed bag — solid MC energy, nice synth fx, solid beats, too much purring.
@@@ STAR FEMININE BAND: Star Feminine Band (Born Bad, 2020) A bunch of young African women from rural Benin tearing it up while their American counterparts are flippin’ through their finstas. Energy is high and enthusiastic with not only some rock feels, but a lot of percussion, a bangin’ drummer and layers of percussion. The singing is great and the drummer could easily sub in many American punk bands.
@@@ THE FONTANAS “Capoeira Mata Um” [Single] (Movimientos, 2020) So the marketing blurb for this single on Soundcloud (it’s not up on Apple Music) says they aim to take a Brazilian classic and turn it into a dancefloor banger. I hear a more modern update but I don’t hear many dancefloor sounds happenin’. Zoom zoom zoom, capoeira mata um. I like it, it’s a classic that’s been revved up but there’s no filtered build ups, they keep a traditional accordion going for the forro element but whassup with the marketing?