Music for 3/31/21!!! Roger Fakhr, Lee Fry Music, Florence Adooni

@@@ Roger Fakhr: Had to Come Back Wet (Habibi Funk, 2021) A reissue off of this week’s WRIR playlist email and a weird title with not much indication of what this track might be about. This music comes in as world music due to the fact that it was recorded in Lebanon in the late ’70s. If this was American made music it would be funky rock from the same time period, not the Doobie brothers but something in that neighborhood. With this recording timeframe you get a certain set of sonic attributes — pumping drums and bass and a certain forward mono type sound. I like this, I don’t love this keyboard sound, it’s got that hipster fusion-y sound that I’m pretty allergic to but it’s all right. These are pre-release tracks and the whole biscuit will be dropping soon.

@@@ Lee Fry Music: Wianek (Lee Fry Music, 2021) More off last week’s All Music notable release email. The tune is less murky than old school dub but brings some interesting sounds to the dubwise framework. A chainsawy synth bass, some Asian flavored strings, and an interesting vocal arrangement — multiple female voices off set to one another. I have no idea what she’s singing about but it produces a strong effect. The tempo is brisk and the track is dominated by the drum machine, the bass and the vocals. If I was more connected to the lyrics I would dig this more.

@@@ Florence Adooni: Mam Pe’ela Su’ure (Philophon, 2021) A track from a singer associated with the same label that released the Guy One record in 2017 that is most likely my favorite record of the ’10s. Adooni is a smooth as butter vocalist and she does her thing here over a laidback groove with typical instrumentation but mostly driven by some deceptively trick guitar playing. Other elements include a poppin bass sound that is a bit dubby and pretty funky, but Adooni and the vocalists supporting here as well as her background vocal tracks are the focus here. Oh shit, as I finish up this here blog post the second track of this single comes on and it’s sticky as shit, maximum balance of rhythm and melody and just a super janky feel that other genres can not usually get with. If you have a streaming service please check out this second track Naba Aferda, it is wickedness. If you don’t have a streaming service well then you’re fucked on this one.

Music for 3/30/21!!! serpentwithfeet, Karl Benjamin, Art School Girlfriend

@@@ serpentwithfeet: Fellowship (Secretly Canadian, 2021) Album of the week over at Line of Best Fit and I’ve seen it peeped in other outlets as well. I switched up to the second tune Same Size Shoe as this track is number two and bound to be prime and representative of the record. Mr. serpentwithfeet sure does make some very lush loverboy r&b and when I say loverboy I think he’s a lover of gents which is none of my bidness. His voice is stellar, sweet and a bit fragile. He sings like he’s ringing a bell. On the flip side there are a lot of lush soft sounds and not a bit of contrast so it does come off a bit claggy. The elasticity and energy of his voice overcomes a bit of that but a bit of firmness is what I would jump and down over. Otherwise, it’s hard to be against his voice and his singing.

@@@ Karl Benjamin: Apricot Sky (Atlantice, 2021) Also over at Line of Best Fit. More lushness, there’s a lot of comforting music out and about now, could be the Covid. The chorus is an epic recitation of the words ‘Apricot Sky’ which I have no clues as to what that’s about. There are repeated references to spending too much time in front of the tv which I don’t know how that relates to the apricot sky. I like his voice, but the song makes no sense to me and it doesn’t move me. That’s not a rational thing but that’s where I’m at.

@@@ Art School Girlfriend: In The Middle (UMG, 2021) Our last listen is also off this week’s LIne of Best Fit weekly email. It opens a bit gray before it goes to a beat that is half rock/half dancefloor. I’m not obsessed with gender, I think this is a gent singing in a falsetto but I’m not 100% on that. There’s a wave of distortion that could be synth based or an undercover guitar that swells right before the end and that’s pretty much the only sound that caught my attention, the other sounds are meh.

Music for 3/29/21!!! Majelen, Various Artists, Eivor

@@@ Majelen: Walking Away (Liondance, 2020) This is a leftover from an Aussie online music magazine.  This opens up with some virtuosic hippie acoustic guitar action panned out hard left and right, a foot stomp (I beleive) and then the singer comes in.  It’s an uplifting and energetic affair.  Not New Age per se, but the effect of two acoustic guitars doubletracked and her voice flirts with that vibe.  The chorus adds more layers of vocals when she’s walking away and I’m gonna tip in a bit as this is really not my scene.  It’s very emotional and a lot of words, a lot. I wish her luck but I’m walking away.  Big shred solo while I check the Twatter.

@@@ Various Artists: Endless Garbage (Castle Face, 2021) This record is slotted as alternative on Apple Music even though All Music has it labelled as a free jazz release. I like this label Castle Face so I will peep it. It opens up with a track called Vertical Infinity and I hear more alternative than I hear free jazz. Instrumentation is skittering drums, some flatulent electric bass and some electric guitar noodles over the top. Let me peep a coupla more tracks but I’m guessing this is stinky basement punk jazz. The second tune, No Flutter, brings on the horns and I don’t like it more because of that but I like it more. I’m feeling the distorted bass of the third tune, Goose, and the other distorted and aggro sounds added to the frantic drumming. The drummer is the star here but when they all get on the same page which they do in spots it’s a visceral and messy listen which I like.

@@@ Eivor: Gullspunnin (Eivor Palsdottir, 2021) I got to this pop-prog track via a music publicist email. It opens electro with a tiny bit of chop and glitch before the breathy female voice comes in. Piano too. Thankfully these lyrics aren’t sung in English so I don’t have to wrestle with the sense/nonsense lyrical axis. I am curious as to what the word gullspunnin means — spun in gold, thank you internet! It’s a dreamier, updated Kate Bush flow with some slightly funky beats coming in to support the colander full of synths and the voice, oh the voice! I would listen to the synths without the beat (or a different beat) and without the voice, that’s the meat of the song.

Music for 3/25/21!!! Matt Evans, Kasai Allstars

@@@ Matt Evans: Spinning Blossom (Whatevers Clever, 2021) This is in the electronic, improvised acoustic groove space and I have no clue how I got to this track. Lots of arpeggios, the dominant one a steel drum like sound which is both percussive and melodic. More elements are present including a sort of flickering metallic thing, some tinkly metal businss and a traditional sounding synth over the top. So yes a crowded mix with a lot going on but coherent and ends up sort of overwhelming your ears. Expanded even further with some robotic squiggles it’s busting at the seams. There is melody to be had here but it’s a piling and layering exercise that I really like. Both concrete and abstract and regular readers know I love contrast.

@@@ KASAI ALLSTARS: Olooh, A War Dance For Peace (Crammed Discs, 2021) Always up for a Crammed Disc jam and this one opens up either all drum machine or combo drum machine and kit. Then come the South African style vocal stylings but processed and kinda trippy. I love trippy African music. Ah, the Congo, a troubled place not far from South Africa but a different culture. There is both a collage-y and jazzy looseness to this track. Both female and male voices make appearances here as wells as background choirs. I like it, but I don’t love it. I want to love it, believe me.

Music for 3/24/21!!! Chad Vangaalen, Lido Pimienta

@@@ Chad VanGaalen: Starlight (Sub Pop, 2021) Looking at the titles here we’re looking if not right in the eye of a hippie music record we are encountering a hippie influenced record. C’mon the second tune is called Flute Peace and the record is called Starlight! As the ambient intro fades away it does give way to a hippie drum chug with a midtempo laziness I like. The singer comes in and he’s rocking a quasi detached, somewhat psychedelic vocal style. The song is dominated by the singer and the drummer. There’s a guitar in there but it’s in back. Once they get to chorus involving the word starlight it’s an aspirational hippie thing. Standard non flashy guitar solo with a tearing tone. I sorta forgot about the bass player who does good work, not flashy but quietly melodic. So weird percussion and spacy sounds, a psych sing, a steady drummer, there you have it.

@@@ Lido Pimienta: Eso Que Tu Haces (Anti-, 2021) Off last week’s WRIR playlist email. A Latinx Canadian who has gotten prizes and praise. I dug her last record though there are times where her music flatters a bit too much. This tune is headphone candy with her beautiful voice in Spanish but also sporting a super fat bass sound I’m grooving alongside some shaker. When it gets to the chorus her voice and the synth based arrangement explodes. Some might say it could be too epic, I’m not sure where I stand on that. I like it a lot, appreciate the sounds and her singing but I’m not jumping up and down, I want to jump up and down.

Music for 3/23/21!!! The Stayawakes, Lana Del Ray, Justin Bieber

@@@ The Stayawakes: Lovestruck (Engineer, 2020) I got to this tune via an email from the UK label that released it. Some pumped up power pop punk and all those adjectives or some combination there of. Big guitars, big drums and a lot of vocal melody sauce over the tope to evoke a combination of toughness and tenderness. I checked up on the ol’ Google to see this band hails from the UK though it’s impossible to tell and they could just as easily be from Southern California. It’s a pretty familiar formula delivered with high energy.

@@@ Lana Del Rey: White Dress (Interscope, 2021) How odd that pouty and mopey Lana Del Rey has become meaningful pop royalty. I liked some of the feels on her last record but I thought it got a bit overhyped. This is the opening track on her creatively titled Chemtrails over the Country Club. Her vocals are very convincing on this track, upper register and delivered in an oddly engaging manner. Lyrically it may be semi-autobiographical (or not) but it’s about a waitress going to a music conference. It’s Lana driven I’m guessing. The vocal arrangement is well done, super polished as one would expect from a major label release and whether you dig this track comes down to how you feel about the vocals. I don’t love the lyrics but I praise the outstanding delivery.

@@@ Justin Bieber: Peaches (Def Jam, 2021) Justin Bieber makes a record called Peaches, wow that about says it all. This one is a combo dancefloor banger, loverboy thing with a call and response vocal style where Justin plays both the call and the response. I hear a lot of music and this sounds like a dude trying to make some money. So conciously pleasing with such superficial lyrics. oy it smells more than a bit dubious. He gets his peaches from down in Georgian and his weed from California. I think Bieber could use 6 weeks at a Marine boot camp, his shit is too soft. Finger snaps, dumb vocal hooks and watered down funk, he sounds like he doesn’t know who he is.

Music for 3/22/21!!! CHIKA, William Doyle, Dodie

@@@ CHIKA: Cinderella Part 1 (Warner, 2021) All three of today’s listens are from this week’s Line of Best Fit email. The odds are pretty high that a hip hop track called Cinderella is gonna have an annoying shit in it. It’s a hip hop trappish/dancefloor banger about pursuing an exotic woman while they smoke weed, of course they’re smoking! I like the rhyming, it’s very quick and precise with the verse outshining the chorus in my mind. It looks like Part 1 is more active and that track segues right into Part 2 but I’m not feeling motivated to hang for Part 2.

@@@ William Doyle: And Everything Changed (Tough Love, 2021) Comin’ on with a mopey 1980’s influenced synth/guitar combo platter the voice is applied like a yellow cheese to a Philly cheesesteak. A bit goopy and syrupy but integral to the formula. I like the chorus when he goes high vocally but it’s sounding a bit like Roxy Music on Oxy and I could barely take Roxy Music without the oxy. I love energy myself. A lot of fat synth chords and a pleasantly mangled guitar solo that comes off like a bowl of sticky rice noodles in a good way. Good parts: voice in the chorus and the guitar solo, the bad parts: a boring beat, a deficit in energy and the voice in the verse. That’s the view!

@@@ dodie: Hate Myself (doddleoddle, 2021) My first thought here is don’t hate yourself dodie, I’m sure you’re awesome when you don’t wear that awful hat shown in the video below. The production enforces the idea of confessional young woman’s pop music. Intimate and catchy at the same time. More stuff shows up for the chorus and it definitely trends mainstream with a half funky beat — that’s where the vocal hook hate myself shows up. Don’t hate yourself dodie! As the tune progresses more tracks of dodie’s singing show up and that’s a big turn off for me. I’m at the end and she’s practically a choir here there’s so much dodie to be had. It’s also a bit New Age-y and while I wouldn’t want to contribute to dodie’s self hatred I kinda hate the ideas behind constructing a song in this manner.

Music for 3/20/21!!! Genesis Owusu, Khalia, Tanya Stephens

@@@ Tanya Stephens: Good Good (Tad’s, 2021) I can’t find this on Apple Music so we’re stuck with the ol’ GooglePimpTube. More reggae which is great. More toasting than roots with an energetic singer who straddles the singing/rhyming fine line. I like this track — I don’t usually go for the electro dancehall business but this is tight. This is the best tune I heard today and Stephens works the mic with style. Check this out.

@@@ Genesis Owusu: Smiling with No Teeth (House Anxiety, 2021) A self-professed concept record that comes out with heavy D’Angelo vibes including the falsetto singing which I’m enjoying. The singer gives way to a spoken word section that I like less. I do like the sounds here and thankfully he only speaks his mind for a short while. Not that I’m against him speaking his mind, just I prefer the singing. The last 90 seconds turns into a singalong with multiple voices doing a black church choir of the chorus with a little extra guitar melody thrown in. I like this all right, I might even check it out more deeply. A few Prince feels and lot of D’Angelo.

@@@ Khalia: Free (K-Licious, 2021) Off this week’s WRIR weekly playlist email. A blend of old school roots reggae and more modern sounds/production. Most notably the vocal stacking in an r&b style and other small flourishes. Lyrics are of the concious style with the main theme presented the desire to be free. It’s a solid track with a full reggae rhythm wallop. I like it without loving it.

Music for 3/19/21!!! Young Dolph, CJ

@@@ Young Dolph, Key Glock: Sleep with the Roaches (Empire, 2021) Highlighted by some super intricate faux classical piano keyboard runs, this is some piano driven trap celebrating pussy and fancy cars and discarding your old shit and getting all new shit. She a good girl but she a bad bitch and he got 10 cars in 2 different cities. He says used to sleep with the roaches and now he’s mad rich. I’m not sure why I find this repulsive, maybe because there should be a healthy point somewhere between sleeping with roaches and mindless fucking and driving around in yer fancy cars. I’m a fan of the bass sound, the rest of it I could wipe my ass with.

@@@ CJ: Whoopty NYC (Warner, 2021) Both of today’s listens are off Apple Music’s hot tracks section. I didn’t catch the original whoopty which I guess was huge last summer. I search around in the summer for tunes of the summer but I didn’t catch that one. This is one of those tracks where they re-pimp a big hit by find a couple of MCs to hit the mic with a lot of rando shout outs behind the main guy. It’s pretty pop trap though somebody came up with a tight bass sound. Salute me or shoot me that’s a good line. You don’t like me, fight me, so a couple of good lines. It’s a mixed bag here — a crowded mix with a bunch of voices ricocheting around against a driving bass sound and some good one liners. You could look at this as half a gold dancefloor banger or half trash, it depends on your point of view.

Music for 3/18/21!!! Hassan Ibn Ali, Visionist, Painted Shrines

@@@ Hasaan Ibn Ali: Ominivore (Atlantice, 2021) This is a re-release or a long lost oldie from a jazz pianist who rocked it with Max Roach back in the ’60s. I even have a trio record with this gent on it. Well I regret to inform my readers but this record is not on Apple Music nor is it on bandcamp and that’s a shame as I hate to listen on the GooglePimpTube, the sound quality sucks and I fucking hate Google. But I will carry on. This will be just over 1+ minutes of a trailer highlighting Ali’s bounce. I know he’s important as he came out Philadelphia which has produced jazz cats in the shadow of New York. If you want a longer taste of how Ali rolled you can check out his record with Max Roach as that’s on Apple Music. I guess they think folks will hear him and then go buy a compact disc, something I haven’t done in a long ass time. I’m sorry I can’t hear this musician as the excerpt sounds like his playing is more adventurous on this record he made and then shelved than on the Max Roach record.

@@@ Visionist: The Fold (Mute, 2021) Electronic music, I’ve been feeling electronic music for a while. This opens up quite abstract with a little grinding machine, a little spinning gear, and a little sphincter flappy. Then comes the fast tempo kick drum, that’s pretty much it for standard musical tones. Sounds like the sector of Hell where they’re processing folks, quite dark, lots of energy and ominous. I guess mopey folks could dance to this. I’m just listening to it but you could dance to it I suppose. Shit stain I was listening to the next track Lie Digging. I’m on the right track, it’s hard to be low IQ, but this one is completely different as it has a piano and a singer and ringing chords, and a big reverb patch and it’s more than a bit Lord of the Rings. Maybe an after battle tune where they’re collecting the dead and stealing their boots. I think a plain presentation of the singer would have been more effective, the singer brings the drama already so no need to pump it to this point. I’m gonna finish up — this is some Tori Amos type business but a darker and more dramatical if that were possible.

@@@ Painted Shrines: Gone (Woodsist, 2021) A cross between jangly indie and more retro guitar driven indie rock. The most notable component of the track here is the singer’s tone — higher register and he sounds more than a bit like a ghost. I think that’s the effect he’s going for to be honest. Very nice snare sound, it’s cutting right through, this is the kind of shit I listen to when listening to a record, I appreciate a great snare sound. The guitar player could use a bit of Red Bull as it’s very straight stuff from that part of the band. Familiar formula, freak singer. Lyrics, they’re just passing right by me, I’m agnostic.