@@@ Shinichi Atobe: Love of Plastic 6 (DDS, 2022) Off this week’s Pitchfork’s 10 most reviewed albums of the week. The video clipped below sits at track 7 on the record and it’s a pretty lounge-y smooth techno recipe with some glitchy, insect action, a classy pumping arpeggio and that classic unt-sss drumbeat. This is for people with jobs who want to sweat the right amount, naimsayin’? A little bit of high frequency dubwise echo sauce and I feel that, it breaks up the beat and adds dimension. About a third of the way through another synth comes in and starts working against the rhythmic framework and it really takes off as a fully realized dancefloor banger. Still not a frantic tempo, but solid. I’m checking out the second track, Love of Plastic 1, and it’s a more standard less trippy adventure with a classic keyboard vamp working booties over the beats. This is not my favorite style of techno as I favor the more abstract stuff but Atobe has skills. He gets into the tasteful layering here bigly.
@@@ Pedro the Lion: Havasu (Polyvinyl, 2022) Also on the Pitchfork 10 most reviewed albums of the week. The track below is at 8 on the run list. It’s a melancholy indie guitar banger with arpeggiated guitar part and some indie lonesome recollection type vocals. It’s a tad self-serious for my taste but regular readers are aware of my conflicted relationship with indie music. It’s always has had an too important problem. I’ve nothing against Pedro the Lion, I’m sure he’s a good dude. With tunes like First Drum Set and Teenage Sequencer it looks set to be backward looking which is fine. I’m digging the First Drum Set because of its lyrical weirdness over the vibe of the video below.
@@@ Pinegrove: Alaska (Rough Trade, 2022) Some indie rock business off this week’s All Music notable release email. This is the second track on the record and it opens up bouncy as fuck, nerdy guitar and sweet vocal melodies over the top. If you have a television show in the works this shit bould totally work as a theme. Coffee shops, cuties, mindless blather — oh how I digress. It’s a super familiar formula and the do it well. I’m agnostic on the singer but his friendliness is in the Death Cab for Cutie feel good indie rock stylings. Myself I would turn to a coupla old Big Star records for some quite drug infused and adventurous foundational music.
@@@ St. Paul & The Broken Bones: The Last Dance (ATO, 2021) This is the pre release single for a full length banger that just came out yesterday that I got to via All Music’s notable release email. Slotted as soul on Apple Music this is a retro disco banger. I would categorically reject it but the singer has a pretty unique voice, sorta nasal and occasionally falsetto that changes the listening experience a whole bunch. They put a few rock and funk sounds in here but the disco flavor is dominant. I’m checking out the first track of the record and I prefer it much more. It’s called 3000 AD Mass and he keeps on about the ‘fire and the brimstone’ with some swirling rock sounds and a heavy beat. I like this more the more I check it out but I started where I started and I can’t get the disco banger out of my head.
@@@ Combo Chimbita: Babalawo (Anti-, 2022) I saw this record on this week’s All Music notable release email and I try to check out Anti- releases as they’ve put some records in my collection for sure. This is the second track of the record and it opens with a guitar figure then hand drumming and a synth and an off kilter drumkit beat. Points for smashing up some sounds in the trenches. Then comes a dramatical female singer and the whole thing takes its weird groove and begings pounding it into your dome. There’s a quickening after the verse into a more traditional Latin section. I peeped and checked their bio and they are first generation Colombian/New Yorkers so the sonic mash makes perfect sense. These guys are very solid musicians, drummer and guitarist most notably but they’re working as a unit on some high energy business. I’m going to peep a bit of a couple of other tracks to see what the first third of the record sounds like and the first track, Oya, is a slow jam, rocky with a melodic keyboard supporting a chill guitar rock god sitch. I like this and it deepens when the singer comes in chanting Oya. Folks should check this out as you get your rock needs as well as your world music needs filled at the same time and shit.
@@@ Frontierer: Opaque Horizon (Blood Blast, 2021) This is an updated post from December and I didn’t follow through on the publishing of it and now it’s been recycled for the end of this fine January. This is the third track of the record and it’s a squealing, frantic slab of metal with nu metal flavors. The percussive blasts sound like what I imagine Iraq at full combat sounds like. It’s got one of them there chanting type singers which I’m agnostic on and by the time this one is fully blossomed there is just a whirl of distortion and static. I have a headache this morning so the deconstruction into component sounds is a wee bit painful to my dome but if you’re pumped today this might be the wind beneath your wings. It is sonically exterme without matching that compositionally.
@@@ Abby Roberts: Paramaniac (Melomaniac, 2022) I got to this track from somebody who rose up through the Tik Tok toilet and I got to her debut music via Line of Best Fit. I’m guessing this is gonna be breezy bag of trash, and in its way it is most definitely predictable with its openly ’80s synth/washy guitar sounds topped of with a dreamy, creamy voice. It’s a bit wee for me with the confessional lyrics that are going in one ear and out the other. I don’t know why the corpse of the 80s has been exhumed but it indeed has. You might be a fan, that doesn’t make you a horrible person, it just means you have different musical tastes.
@@@ Panoram: Wandering Frames (Running Back, 2022) More electronic music and this looks set to tie back to ’80s synth rock-y type shit with chill beats, big cloudy synths and bit of rock pumping bass. Not really pumping, just the tip here. It does have some detuning going on at certain points which weirds it out but there’s a vocal sample set back in the mix, but the synths are the focal point here volume wise and compositionally. I guess you could find some satisfaction in the detuning as a subtle mocking of New Age-y synth rock but I’m not finding satisfaction there, it’s really not my cup of kombucha, it’s too sleepytime tea for me.
@@@ Riad Awwad: I’m From Jerusalem (Majazz, 2022) I got to this retro electro music made by Palestinians following the beginning of the 1987 intifada. There are two pre-release tracks up on bandcamp and the whole record will be released at some point this year. This music exists as a historical artifact as well as music and I’m checking out the second track which is clipped below. It’s kinda wild to see global culture working pre-internet because if you took the vocals away it sounds a lot like early Madonna type stufff, aka borderline. Obviously completely different feels, not completely as there’s a distinctly uplifting tone to the music and the vocal melodies here. I dig it. I have two half Jew boys but I’m super into Palestinian culture and rights and I appreciate this music.
@@@ GCOM: XO 4 (!K-7, 2022) I got to today’s listens via last week’s All Music notable release email. This is an electro track, and I’m guessing from the very beginning of the track that it’s set to be a sci-fi, epic track and not your unt-sss techno dancefloor banger. It’s a very ambient and sparse beginning with occasional kick drum before the glitchy updated drum ‘n bass sounds hit. R2D2 on meth would be an apt description here, pumped up robot electro. This is an almost 7 minute banger where the Odyssey 2001 feels alternate with the drum ‘n bass thwack action and as of now I don’t know if I will be here for the whole sandwich. I have nothing to really protest and while the ambient and the dnb is a bit interesting it’s not making me shit my pants. I want to shit my pants, I always want to shit my pants.
@@@ Jake Xerxes Fussell: Love Farewell (Paradise of Bachelors, 2022) This is the opening track of a folk record and while I did just type above that I want to shit my pants usually my reaction to a great folk record is not exactly a pants shitting moment. This opens with some guitar playing before Fussell heads in with his chestnut voice– a bit deep but not Isaac Hayes tone and I just used chestnut because I thought it fit without knowing why. The arrangement here is sparse and the production is not arch, as in made large for folks to feel more important. It’s hard to say where the point is where you pronounce a track or a record to be a bit sleepytime tea for your taste and I’m not sure Mr. Fuseell has violated my requirements vis a vis sleepytime vs. not sleepytime but there surely is not a ton to hang your hat on here and I believe that’s the point. There’s some really tasteful but staid guitar playing, there’s some unadorned vocalizing and then a bit of horn garnish, or mandolin, or electric guitar added and I’m gonna make the call that while this isn’t for me but he’s done a good and somewhat brave thing to not stuff his music with all sorts of stuff.
@@@ FKA twigs: meta angel (Atlantic, 2022) Both of today’s listens are off this week’s Pitchfork 10 most reviewed albums, though I’ve seen bunches of mentions around about FKA twigs’ new record because she goes well on the interwebz as an ethereal hottie. The track below is the third on the record and while I associate FKA with mopey electro indie bangers, this is a major label effort that opens with a little uplifting convo before heading out into big singing with percussive background vocals. Ms. Twigs has traded the mope for the angel wings. I prefer this flavor of the Twigs to the art school spiel, but it still comes off as a bit manufactured. The Autotune is annoying but the distorted drum machine feels are pretty cool. #MixedBag. The sections with beats are much better than the torch-y sections with just the piano and the background vox. I’m getting the distinct feeling that Ms. Twigs wants a new car, and while this is a pretty common thing to hear in mainstream music today, a lot of folks conducting themselves in this manner do not have the artistic pretensions FKA sports. This isn’t a long trip from Beyonce-land which is big shedding of skin and assumption of new feels.
@@@ Wadada Leo Smith: From Pacifica Koral Reef (577 Records, 2022) We switch gears to something completely different. Big Wadada Leo Smith fan, I dig his conciousness as well as his trumpet playing. Instrumentation here is trumpet, guitar from Henry Kaiser, and some drone-y ambient keyboard like sounds that may be another guitar or keyboard patches. Not a big fan of the plinky guitar tone and as usual Mr. Smith’s trumpet tone is massive and majestic, kinda taking up all the listener’s ears but he’s the main draw here sonically by a whole bunch. There is only this track up on Apple Music and that’s a bit unfortunate as I would like to hear some more but if I’m rolling on this track, a different guitar tone would have really deepened the listening experience for me.
@@@ Okkyung Lee: Yeo-Neun (Shelter Press, 2020) I got to this recording via Bandcamp’s best of 2020 list. I’ve heard her music before and have liked it a whole bunch. The first piece is slow, contemplative and beautiful, with a harp opening the piece before the piano, bass, and Lee’s cello eventually arrive. It’s hard to disassociate the harp from New Age feels as it is at the very center of New Age-y feels, but when the full ensemble comes in it is just one of the instruments. The composition leans sweet and melancholy, that’s just true. I like it but at certain points feel like it’s a bit too sweet for me. The production here is plain but somewhat extended, it has a high frequency spaciousness to it that folks love that I don’t love as much. There are places in track 3 where things really start to bustle and move and I find a manic harp much more interesting than a stereotypical sweet harp, but it is important to note that the first tracks a listener hears build a foundation and those are different from this track 3. Track 4 opens pretty killer, so for me it’s a mixed bag. Ms. Lee undeniably has talent as both a composer and performer, it’s more of a question of how it’s packaged and presented. I like this without jumping up and down but maybe it will make you jump up and down.
@@@ Lightning Bug: The Right Thing is Hard To Do (Fat Possum, 2021) When you check out this track, the second on the record you get an appreciation of the large, spacious rock sound pioneered by Daniel Lanois and Emmylou Harris and folks like that. After that you get a pretty straightforward indie rock formula with added measures of space rock thrown in. Waify female vocals stand in contrast to the big guitar sounds and the drummer is pretty much an afterthought. The next track September Song Part ii takes the same formula and moves in a Nick Drake direction. I like this better than the second track but overall I don’t feel pumped by this music. It’s cool but it’s a bit straight and predictable for me. I know there are millions of folks who want stuff like this so I will acknowledge that and move on.
@@@ Hiatus Kaiyote: Chivalry Is Not Dead (Brainfeeder, 2021) I set up my blog posts a few days (sometimes) before I write them and I mention this as I took a quick listen to this track as I was setting up the pre-post and shagging the video. Because I care. It is an energetic, proggy r&b thing this Australian artist is peddling. The track below occupies the third slot on the record and it has a chatter-y, robot feel opening it up. It then segues into a high end funk r&b thing before climaxing with a popping bass part and stabbing synths, it’s quite dramatical. I’m surfing the web while I peep this and it’s not a great sign that I drifted away from the tune as it progressed though I feel there are some really hot sounds in here. The complexity of the arrangements here is impressive but when I listen to records of this type I realize how genius it was for Prince to pepper all his shit with blazing guitar solo and rock guitars as it really deepened out and heated up his music.
@@@ King Garbage: Busy on a Saturday Night (Ipecac, 2022) I got to this track via a music publicist email. I’m not sure what metal on Ipecac is gonna sound like but when it opens up it sounds much more like a Brazilian samba than any heavy metal I know. I guess it’s a big joke as the title of the record is ‘Heavy Metal Greasy Love’ and it’s not metal. Good one, fellas. I like this jam, I’m not shitting my pants but the falsetto funk/soul singing is an interesting twist on a samba. The sound of the track interests me as it sports a combo platter lo fi-ish and a polished feel at the same time The lo-fi feel is centered mostly in the drums and it sounds purposeful. The last 35 seconds center a half grizzled synth melody and some crashy drums and is a weird ending. I’ve peeped parts of three tunes and this is a soul record and it could be a pretty good one. Big Prince feels in the third pre-release track Peanut Butter Kisses.
@@@ Juice WRLD & Justin Bieber: Wandered To LA (Interscope, 2022) I will be completely transparent in saying that I listen to Justin Bieber’s music to make fun of it, I think he’s a soft ass pandering money sucking dirtball ready to pimp at the drop of a hat. I’m predicting a soft banger on this one as a strummed electric guitar opens the track while Juice WRLD drawls a bit before in comes the trap beats, the fat bass and the vocal hook. I wish folks would show some self-respect and not listen to this shit, this is astoundingly awful. I feel like shit just peeping this. Bieber hits the microphone and does a weak turn on the microphone about focusing on your relationship and keeping that love going. I don’t know whose idea this biscuit was but yikes what a piece of garbage.