Music for 2/27/21!!! Patricia Brennan, Ivorian Doll

@@@ Patricia Brennan: Maquishti (Valley of Search, 2021) I saw this NYC, Mexico born vibraphonist’s new record shouted out on the Twatter, and there are few people who love the sound of vibraphone more than me. I love that instrument and tuba too! The first tune, Blame it, is solo and it’s interesting and contemplative and a tad melancholy. She’s got a little electro processing on this second track, I think it’s a delay but it’s very slight and does have a postive effect on the track. I’m really into these first two tunes and think this is a pretty fantastic solo vibraphone record. I’m definitely going to circle back and listen to more of it when I have more time — it has its own thing going on for sure. A unique take on vibe jazz.

@@@ Ivorian Doll: Daily Duppy (Self-released, 2020) I don’t know anything about this rapper but Crack Magazine sent out a weekly email highlighting four rappers and Ms. Doll was among them. She’s from the UK but the accent is not super thick and I can hear a lot of her rhymes as opposed to some of the gents who are tougher to understand. She’s pretty fierce and the arrangement is dark but not without a little pop sweetener. Somebody did some really nice work on the bass sounds here as the separation and the tone are fantastico. Beats are tight but distinctly un-American with a few drum ‘n bass feels.

Music for 2/25/21!!! Sibylle Baier, Dan Wilson, Galya Bisengalieva

@@@ Sibylle Baier: I Lost Something in the Hills (Orange Twin, 2006) This looks to a reissue of a lo fi bedroom classic by a German woman from the ’70s. It’s a sad woman with an acoustic guitar walking through the hills. In the woods, moody and shit, I’m making a bit of fun but she’s got a very nice voice. Only the slopes gave her hope, that’s a good line, dramatical but effective nonetheless. I like it, I find the lyrics a bit, I don’t want to be too dead inside a bit over the top and I prefer Nick Cave’s exquisite guitar playing but this is fine lo fi mope for those who need it and the demand is probably very high these days.

@@@ Dan Wilson: Who Shot John (Mack Avenue, 2021 ) I got to this straight jazz guitar track via the Twatter. Love the Twatter. Instrumentation is guitar, bass, piano and drums — at least in the opening. Wilson’s tone is more pointed and less noodly than most jazz guitarists and I respect that. The drummer is swirling in some funk which I think would be great if there was more funk in the rest of the players. The drummer switches out to a more openly Latin flavor and I think that works better for the tune but that’s just me. Like the guitarist most here, then the drummer, agnostic on the bass player and don’t love the piano player. They’re heating shit up here and then it comes back down to a simmer. I like it all right. This is a pre-release track, there will be more shortly if it’s a pre-release because that’s what a pre-release is.

@@@ Galya Bisengalieva: Aralkum (One Little Independent, 2020) This is an ecological focused music piece I got to via the hoity toity Brooklyn club National Sawdust. Aralkum is the opening track of the record and this work is slotted as electronic on the ol’ Apple Music. I like it thus far as it goes up to the epic New Age line and doesn’t cross it. Bisengalieva is a violinist and there’s some of that standing sharply in contrast to the breathy synths and some undercover piston-y electronic beat action. Insect-y and churn-y rather than funky. That contrast between the violin and the synths is my favorite component of the tune and myself I could use some more rhythm and some bass. Overall mostly for the NPR crowd but as far as who it’s aimed at it does a good job feeding the NPR people. She’s blurbed as favoring apocalyptic moods and I get that but it’s a shiny and pretty sonically pleasant apocalypse I’m hearing here. I’m guessing the apocalypse will be a lot less beautiful when it really gets going.

Music for 2/24/21!!! Kush Jones, John Depew

@@@ Kush Jones: Folding Glass (N/A, 2020) I got to this dancefloor musician via the Twatter. My Apple Music is on the fritz this morning, fuckin’ a, so I have to resort to the GooglePimpTube. This track comes out high energy with clouds of synth but a chattering hi hat, more than one, a pong synth going almost mad, hand claps; just a whole bunch of rhythm. After establishing itself you get a little evolution in the sounds but mostly in the beats area. I guess the synths serve as the ongoing anchor here breathing in and out but I could use a break and then a return. Great sounds, could use some changes and change backs — at least my ears could.

@@@ Admas: Wed Enate (1984/2020) I got to this remaster of a 1984 record via the weekly playlist at WRIR in Virginia. Oh my a distinctly Rasta/roots thing when the tune commences but with a little African weird synth action and a slightly different rhythmic feel. Like 3% different and shit, they really catch a dubwise flavor and dig into ti. I really like the sounds and the way they swing the track. Very nice guitar solo and back into another breakdown, the second of the track. Just shy of five minutes of sweet African roots, check it out!

@@@ John Depew: John Depew (N/A, 2020) I got to this folk/country/bluegrass singer via prominent music critic Ted Gioia on the Twatter. Boy I wish Mr. Gioia would listen to some heavy music but he’s too fancy for that and he leaves that to more adventurous music writers like myself. Depew has a voice of carrying a lot of melody and he’s doing this first tune Buffalo Hunter over a strummed mandolin (pretty sure on that). HIs voice is quite capable but I find some lyrical passages to be a tad too literate, tryin’ a bit too hard. Fans of this genre might like the poetic nature of this, I’d prefer more stripped down lyrics. I checked the first three tunes and I like it without loving it.

Music for 2/23/21!!! Anna B. Savage, Julien Baker

@@@ Anna B. Savage: Baby Grand (City Slang, 2020) Both of these listens today are from this week’s Line of Best Fit. Open up with some clean electric guitar before some Joni Mitchell/leprechaun blend vocalizing comes in. Yowsa you don’t hear that every day. It’s about a pair of people lying underneath a baby grand piano which strikes me as a bit boozhy. Why not just make a couch fort like a normal person? The song is meaningful, at least it aspires to be. I’m both entranced by and kinda repulused by the singing especially when they put a big ass reverb patch on everything and it gets all space folk-y. I don’t think this is a sexual kind of lying under the grand piano which I find comforting, I don’t know if I can handle the image of folks doing it under a piano. Am I weird to find that weird? Possibly. The person she lies under the piano went upstairs to his girlfriend so that’s that. It’s an emotional thing not a fornicating thing. Check it out if you crave a walk on the freakshow side. The sounds here are quite intimate and arresting.

@@@ Julien Baker: Hardline (Matador, 2020) More female business which is super. It opens with a bunch of organ blasts that I like before it gives way to a sultry and mopey singer doing her thing over clouds of sound that ebb and flow in waves. Then a drummer doing that dancey active high hat thing and she’s no longer mopey. Holy fuckstick, this is on Matador home of hipsters and this is absolutley shopping mall-y compared to what I’ve heard on that imprint. The times they are a changin’ and everybody is issuing forth cheese for the masses! The main drawback here is the overly dramatical almost mainstream singing style — lots of gasping, lots of yearning, lots of lots of. That and the epic production and we’re pretty closed to a NPR grilled cheese sandwich mixed with some Brit rock. This is a pre-release track and there will be more nuggets for you shortly. Not my thing, just too many feelings I can’t get with all of it. If you want feelings go for the first song, she’s at least freakin’ out sonically and getting her freak flag on, this is just a plain rock biscuit.

Music for 2/22/21 Tash Sultana, Death by Unga Bunga, Cameron Graves

@@@ Tash Sultana: Greed (Mom & Pop, 2020) All three of today’s listens are off last week’s All Music notable release email. This is slow funk rock jam with chill situation guitars, a falsetto female vocalist, a little poppin’ bass (literally poppin’) and sit back and funk-a-fy the drums. Good for a frat house that thinks it’s enlightened, you know stupid in a different way. I don’t mean literally stupid when referring to this tune just to the frats, I’ve always hated fraternity culture. It’s well done, it’s just not my cup of tea.

@@@ Death by Unga Bunga: Egocentric (Jansen, 2021) Some super Red Bull ol’ school Orange County poppy punk. Reminiscent of Superdrag, NOFX, etc. I like the singer, I like the drummer, and I like the sounds but the whole package could use more of a refresh. There are oddly enough some space lasers right before it goes into a Queen style melodic guitar solo and that wasn’t really the refresh of the sound I was expecting but it’s good for a few chuckles. Not perjorative chuckles I always appreciate when somebody colors outside the lines. Good for the suburbs I guess.

@@@ Cameron Graves: Sons of Creation (Mack Avenue, 2021) Slotted as fusion it comes out more like muscular prog rock with a tad of classi metal swirled up in there. Drums especially. It’s got a piano and I think Graves is the piano player but the width and crunch of the guitars covers the piano like a thick sauce in a lot of places. I would have worked harder to make the piano and guitar work better — it works much better when the guitar player is playing melodically so maybe they should have altered the crunch factor of the guitar. This is most definitely a mash and I appreciate that, but if you’re gonna go heavy, I’d like to hear different sounding drums and more chaos. This is shopping mall fusion jazz/metal.

Music for 2/22/21!!! Holy Monitor, Aerial East

@@@ Holy Monitor: Blue Whale (Self-released, 2021) These two listens are off this week’s LIne of Best Fit email. This is a pretty mellow paced psych/stoner thing with more of a smooth feel than a grinding teeth psych type track. Friendly singer, a couple of standard guitar players and that there drummer I was mentioning. It’s cool, the sounds are good, but I find it a little too low energy for my taste. I want my psych rock ramped up, not crazy ramped up but kinda ramped up. Some folks might really like it.

@@@ Aerial East: The Things We Build (Partisan, 2020) Slotted as alternative on Apple Music which is a large and vague as shit category. This is some lush country tinged alternative and I dig that thus far in the tune. I like this track, it’s very minimal but what’s there has impact. There’s a small arpeggiated guitar part that surprisingly drives the track with very little action, there’s a little slide guitar for atmosphere, and some distorted guitar business at the end of the track. Check this one out if you’re into well made spacious country-fied type stuff. She doesn’t oversing and that’s key imho.

Music for 2/20/21 Yu Su, Floating Points

@@@ Yu Su: Xiu (Yi Shi Yi Se, 2020) I got to this electro track via an email from the Twatter. This is some straight Chinese (maybe even released by the Chinese government) electronica with some traditional string playing, what sounds like some drumkit and some meandering vocalizing which sounds kinda indie. It does sort of morph slowly over time and segues into a more rocking thing. It’s like Wilco had a baby with a bluetooth radio in a Chinese restaurant. It’s light, like cotton candy at the State Fair. It’s a breezy electro veggie dumpling, god I’m hungry for some dumplings and I’m so far from my favorite joint. Tragic. Uh oh, entertaining myself because the music’s not doing it, always a problem.

@@@ Floating Points: Anasickmodular (Pluto/Ninja Tune, 2019) I saw this musician shouted out for his collaboration with Pharoah Sanders. The blurb said Mr. Points has been on a creative roll. We’ll be the judge of that won’t we? This track kicks off medium dancefloor with plenty of R2D2 action — blurping and bussing over a thick synth blanket and another synth in the back of the mix I can’t describe with the humor and clarity of the first two synths. It’s building, it’s all building and now sort of metalically blossiming and shit. It’s a solid track, I like some R2D2 action as much as the next guy but I’m not sure this is genius territory for me. He starts chopping the shit up at the end as well as glitching the fuck out of it and that intervention is much more interesting than the first 3/4s of the tune. I’m letting the player move to the next track and I’m feeling that much more, it’s an electro church-y type thing. I guess I started with a track that was a bit on the low boil as the player keeps rolling and I’m liking this joint more and more.

Music for 2/18/21!!! Florence Adooni, Witch Camp, Quetzal

@@@ Florence Adooni: Mam Pe’ela Su’ure (Philophon, 2020) All of today’s listens are off this week’s WRIR playlist email and this particular track is getting a listen because it’s the same small label in Germany that released the Guy One record that is pretty much my favorite of the last decade. I couldn’t locate the track on Apple Music so we’ll have to make do with the GooglePimpTube and its shitty audio quality. This is smooth and funky and while I don’t almost ever watch the videos I clip up in these posts for your earholes the video below is so cool for its simplicity and the ease with which these African musicians play at extremely high levels of competency is impressive. I tend to gravitate to the hotter tracks but this track is winning me over for sure. I will check it out once it hopefully shows up on Apple Music (hopefully as part of a larger recording) as Ms. Adooni does a great job here. Check it out!

@@@ Witch Camp: Hatred Drove Me From My Home (Six Degrees, 2021) I’m a bit surprised to see this record out on the Six Degrees imprint as I think of them as the home of smooth, world music. This is more stripped back, retro African folk tune with titles like the one above and others such as ‘When I was ill you didn’t come visit me’ and ‘I trusted my family, they betrayed me.’ Since this is the pre-release track I can only comment based on this one track but I like the simplicity of it and it’s got a sad soulfulness I respect.

@@@ Quetzal: El Rio (Smithsonian Folkways, 2021) I think Smithsonian Folkways puts out some great music and I appreciated how they put out Latin/Mexican music while Trump was in office as I don’t think that was a coincidence. Oh, Orange Chaos Pig, drop fucking dead. Here we have some energetic business with jubilant strumming, rhythms powered by somebody’s feet, and a strong female singer. The tune transitions into a call and response with a chorus of singers and that expands the energy of the tune. It’s got a lot going for it and the old school foot pounding is recorded and executed very well. This is the 11th song on the record and I often wonder why the later tracks are featured as introductory tracks so Imma checking the first track because I thought I might like it more. I like it a lot without loving it so this might work for folks. Check it out.

Music for 2/17/21!!! Jakob Bro, Yo Kinky, Pink Sweat$

@@@ Jakob Bro: Reconstructing a Dream (ECM, 2021) This video is from 2019 when you go check it out on GooglePimpTube so it looks like ECM picked this up after it was released independently. Anyway while not directly related to a cup of chamomile tea it is designed to sooth. Slow and contemplative and presented with a lot of space. Instrumentation is flute, trumpet, chill drumkit with lots of brushwork and light cymbal action. A noodly (not perjorative) guitar augments the proceedings even though pitched low in the mix. Overall it’s very pleasant and comforting like a cup of flavored coffee. Vanilla almond maybe?

@@@ Yo Kinky: Resistance (I Don’t LIke Records, 2021) Some retro and brisk jangly guitar indie. The singer could use the Red Bull the drummer brings to his performance. This is a pretty standard formula save the addition of a panning synth flavor that is more atmospheric than melodic. Two guitars, a steady unyielding drummer and a few changes here and there. Semi-dark in vibe, adequate feed for the hipsters! About two thirds of the way through we get an indie shred with some guitar distortion, it’s all right.

@@@ Pink Sweat$: Heaven (Atlantic, 2021) Off today’s Apple hot tracks section. It’s almost impossible to know if this is a song about Jesus or booty. I guess that’s the point. The music is not straight gospel but it’s super almost gospel music. Am I crazy to think that the name Pink Sweat$ indicates that this is not a gospel track? That’s where I’m at on this point. The singer, the singer I like, he’s got passion without milking the drama titty too hard and I appreciate that. Nobody loves the drama titty working overtime, nobody! There’s also a guitar solo which is rare in a Apple hot tracks tune and I continue to maintain that hitting up mostly electro music with a schmear of guitar highlights and doesn’t distract from the electro. It’s about love people, either love of Jesus or love of booty and really have you seen them in the same room? I bet Jesus got mad horny.

Music for 2/16/21!!! Virginia Wing, Django Django, Roy Montgomery

@@@ Virginia Wing: I’m Holding Out For Something (Fire Records, 2021) All three of today’s listens are off last week’s All Music notable release email. This was described as experimental but to my ears it’s an update on Laurie Anderson’s uplifting concious friendly electro rock. I like but don’t love Wing’s voice, I’m not a huge fan of the lyrics, I like the bass and the beats all right but I’m hearing too many handclaps. They just keep going and I know enough about recording to know that they can be muted and then returned at a later time. It gives the impression of being a grade school singalong and it also wears down my ears a bit. I let the player click through to the next track and it’s just a bit too art school for my taste.

@@@ Django Django: Free From Gravity (Because Music, 2021) What is slotted as experimental rock is really just an upgraded frat boy soft rock biscuit! Oh how disappointing and regular readers know how much I hate being deceived in marketing. It doesn’t sit well with me. Engaging singer, pretty cliche lyrics, a little electro garnish and a little white boy dancefloor action, oy. He does a little hip hop rhythmic vocalizing thing here and there but the mix is dominated by friendly, shiny sounds with absolutely nothing challenging happening here. OY. The tune should be called free from reality not free from gravity.

@@@ Roy Montgomery: Cowboy Mouth (Grapefruit, 2021) Our last listen of the day and it’s been a bit of a rough listening day with mismarketing and art school flavors. This track opens guitar ambient and delayed, sorta spitting guitar fragments out into the, well your earholes! It’s joined by a little slide and also a friendly saw shaped wave, and maybe another synth and it’s cloudy and a bit dark and enjoyable for the most part. The question here is whether beats are required or not for this track. I don’t usually like guitar in my ambient music but this tune while being pretty ambient and pretty noodly is doing all right. It’s an interesting balance of structure and no structure — it feels meandering but doesn’t come off as bullshit to my ears. Maybe I’m full of shit but it works all right. It’s an 8+ minute banger and I’ve made it 5+ minutes and that’s a big accomplishment for me. Beats not required imho.