Music for 4/1/22!!!! Mira Calix, Solomon Fesshaye

@@@ Mira Calix: There is Always a Girl With a Secret (Warp, 2022) A coupla Twitter listens to cap off the week, though I listen on weekends as we;;. This musician just passed and this is the second track off a record from last year. It opens a capella, with multiple tracks, a little white lady beatboxing and what sounds like a beater on a cardboard box. Then more hand drums and a drumkit and a bass. It’s all composed or it feels like it but it’s not particularly aspiring to be a verse-chorus typa thing-y. I like it. I’m agnostic on the well placed notion that it’s definitely art school-y and Laurie Anderson-ish. I like the sounds and feel that maybe the vocals could have been de-emphasized a bit and I would have liked it more but that’s just me.

@@@ Solomon Fesshaye: Star City (Ghostly, 2022) I’m guessing the uplifting New Age-y electronic music does better than the darker more ominous stuff so that’s why we get more of it. It keeps the New Age-y keyboard flavors but tones them down around 1:30 to make way for the beat, which is firm and friendly. Believe me when I tell you that I’m fine with friendly sounds, for me it’s about the balance. For example, if he came through this mix with a floor wiping trap bass I would shit myself in joy. I love contrast, I love salty and sweet, I like sweet and spicy, I like dark and light mixed together, but do what you like but I get to listen for me. About a minute from the end he goes wooden percussion and that, that’s the best and most unexpected move of the track for me. So smells like a solid B, coulda mixed up the synths and brought some contrast.

Music for 4/30/22!!! Man a Monster, 1300

@@@ Man a Monster: Warm Blooded Creatures (Self released, 2022) I got to today’s listens via music publicist emails. The first is a noise rock outfit and the one below is a Korean hip hop collective. Marketed as a noise rock thing it’s just a fuzzy rock sound, the noise is quite controlled and restricted to the vocals. It’s got a song structure and even strings so the music publicist here is on the pipe. It’s really a pretty egregious wave of the hand as the strings get louder in the mix and it’s a totally composed song from a former Modern English frontman. The song is all right, I don’t think I ever really bought into it, partially because of the way it was described to me.

@@@ 1300: Oldboy (Warner Music Australia, 2022) It’s interesting to hear how a different language creates such a different listening experience in hip hop. The rhymes here are a mix of English and Korean and the rhymes in Korean sound sharp and tough while the English ones a bit less. The sounds are pretty standard trap but with a layer of more playful percussion that changes the vibe bigly. Multiple MCs, a bit of glitch sauce, big basses some with dancefloor flavors. I would say it’s mostly party with a bit of machismo/darkness thrown in. I like the extra percussion and arpeggiator up in this. Better than I expected.

Music for 4/29/22!!! Goat Girl, x/o

@@@ Goat Girl: Pest (Rough Trade, 2021) Some post punk weirdness I got to via the online UK music magazine Crack. This is the first track on the record and it opens with a slow building drawliing singer led, strummed electric guitar, etc, more vocals, some ambient clouds. That’s more a crumble of a sentence than a formally correct one there. I expect this is the calm before the storm but I could be wrong, I’m wrong a lot. It does build but to a more sustained tambourine influenced rock section that bumps along underneath the layer of slack vocals. There’s also a synth arpeggiator which helps to cancel the energy drain of the vocals. I’ll hang for a bit of the second track to see if the formula has flexibility or if this is the formula. Yeah, this is the formula, cheerful rhythm section with a downer vocal component, people love it the slack shit, I’ve always never been quite able to accept it. Also periodic synth which changes up the grunge vibe.

@@@ x/o: Chrysalis Wrath (Precious Metals, 2022) I got to this via the Vancouver radio station CFUV. This is the opening track of an electronic record and by the sounds of the reverbed out female vocalist, I’m not sure this is going to work for me. It’s spacious and occasionally interrupted, no wait more and more interrupted by a cymbal driven drum and groove type beat. Also some dreamy keyboards and a very aggro synth bass. Overall it’s a sci fi type of impression or at least that’s how I hear it. On the like side, I dig the bass sound and the aggressiveness of it. Agnostic on the beats, agnostic on the keyboards, and I don’t like the framing or the presentation of the vocals. There is an interesting contrast between that smoothed out space vibe of the vocals and the splash of the cymbals and the buzzy bass but my disdain for this vocal approach outweighs that.

Music for 4/27/22!!! Jerry Paper, Earthen Sea

@@@ Jerry Paper: Just Say Play (Stones Throw, 2022) Stones Throw is a label I try to check out as it releases a variety of stuff usually centered around beats. You need beats to be on Stones Throw and here Paper brings a brisk funk rock beat that he does a nerdy funk/fusion thing over. A little white boy falsetto, some janky guitar, and some humourous background vocals that he’s putting a bit of humor into. Then a flute solo, nothin’ says kick back and chill more than a flute solo. It’s a tightly knit sweater here, lots of small parts put together really well. I’m checking a little bit of the fourth track, Shaking Ass, and it’s a samba flavored thing with a huge synth right up in your grill. I like the humor and a bunch of the sounds but I could use some harder sounds to give it some whoomph. Others may feel quite differently about it. Maybe a little more variety and creativity in the guitars would make this more appealing to me.

@@@ Earthen Sea: Deep Sky (Kranky, 2022) I got to to today’s listens via this week’s All Music notable release email. This track is the last track on the record and it’s a chill synth sitch with some insect-y hi hats and swirling synth patches, cloudy and marimbe-esque in turns and combined. There’s a kick drum and a solid sense of long motion that floats out there against the kick and overall I like a bunch of the sounds, don’t like a few and find the track to be a solid outro to a record. Lemme give a quick peep to Rough Air, the starred track and oooh, that’s a quiet, intimate storm so Imma guessing when they say Deep Sky they mean it. Also some water drops here and big echoes with long feedback settings to generate the epicness.

Music for 4/26/22!!! Lyrics Born, High Pulp

@@@ Lyrics Born: Everyday Love (Mobile Home, 2022) It seems this rapper has something tv related that’s connected to this music but I don’t care and am just listening to the music. I got to this via the All Music notable release email. This is a midtempo track that straddles hip hop and r&b. He’s not super singing nor exclusively rhyming. The vibe is chill, centered in the keyboards, and the way the vocals are more rhythmic and mellowed out in delivery. I’m clicking around and the vibe of each track is a bit different — some full hip hop, some political, I like it all right.

@@@ High Pulp: All Roads Lead to Los Angeles (Anti, 2022) Oh wow, I’m a little surprised Anti- is releasing a jazz fusion record but it takes all kinds and boy on this second track the tempo is brisker than a…..brisker than a….oh I can’t get anything good here. The drummer is full on jazz studio Red Bulled out and he’s stealing the show for sure. The keyboards and the horns are good players, I’m not finding their playing to be particularly more than run, run run up and down the horn, I like fire horns. I clicked on the next track, oh two tracks, Window on a Shimmering World, and I like this more. The keyboards are much more interesting and ambient. I like that Jaleel Shaw is on this record, I really like his solo record from earlier this year, and some of the music here overcomes my prejudice against jazz fusion tones and the softness thereof.

Music for 4/15/22!!! Axel Boman, Omar Apollo

@@@ Axel Boman: Luz (Studio Barnhus, 2022) I got to this acid house record via this week’s Pitchfork’s 10 most reviewed records and I do like the opening. It’s doesn’t just jump out with the groove and it feels more arranged and interesting than a lot of house music. The bass sound here deserves some respect as it’s fat and fuzzy and very distinct in its distortion and it’s changing all the time. I know I ran that sentence but meh, it’s my thing I hope the rest of the record can hang with that first tune as it was pretty high end business. The second tune tacks to the groove part of town with the classic beat coming in around 1:20 but offset by some pretty stylish dubwise echoes and an interesting arrangement. I’m on the third track and while I think the first piece is superior to the two that follow, Boman has arranging skills and doesn’t serve up the standard house slab of unt-ss and a little garnish and I appreciate that.

@@@ Omar Apollo: Mr. Neighbor (Warner Brothers, 2022) This is a pop record on a major label so I’m more than a bit suspicious of what might transpire, but so far I dig it. Oh maybe the first short bit was supposed to get my hopes only to smash them on the pop rocks as the second track busts out with the guitar strums. Apollo is working some very stylish vocal melodies and I like some sounds and not others. I read the Apple Music bio for Mr. Apollo and what makes him interesting is his Mexican American heritage and his willingness to attempt to make pop fresh. There aren’t standard pop tracks, better melodies, blends of sounds and also how two of the first four songs are guitar driven or at least guitar featured. It’s sad and heartening at the same time to see the slightest freshening of the pop formula. To see utter copies of old soul songs being trumpeted from the rafters is depressing so while Apollo is not blazing trails here he is mixing up the snow globe.

Music for 4/24/22!!! Mallrat, Pusha T

@@@ Mallrat: Surprise Me featuring Azealia Banks (Nettwerk, 2022) I got to this from a 10 best songs of the week list on Paste magazine, I think. It opens dreamy and white girl pensive over a drum machine, the Azealia Banks hop on the mic and gives a heartfelt celebration of the wetness of her vajeen and that’s pretty much it. I think the Azealia Banks part smashing out of the white girl drum machine pop is above average marketing, the vibe is pretty jarring and not that everything has to make sense but it seems like a song hijack clickbait situation to me.

@@@ Pusha T: Rock N Roll ft. Ye & King Cudi (UMG, 2022) The Pusha T tracks I’ve dug in the past were done by Ye and I like his microphone work while I’m pretty uninterested in Kanye and his sounds. This track is the 7th track on a record called It’s Almost Dry. The sounds here are surprisingly tame, solid beat with a slightly cheesy chord progression and then an almost annoying pitch shifted vocal sample that is overused. King Cudi comes in for a sung section and I like it all right. It’s a little hard to hear millionaire MCs talk about their struggles, it’s a little tired lyrically and is similar to listening to Jeff Bezos complain about the cost oil to shine his bald head. Get a wig bitch. I’m checking out the second track, Let the Smokers Shine the Coupes, and I like it better — a much better keyboard sound, the same pitch shifted helium vocal samples and thicker drum beat. I was expecting more. I’m interested in why he keeps saying cocaine is Dr. Seuss, that’s an interesting lyric.

Music for 4/23/22!!!! flowerovlove, Poppy Ajudha

@@@ flowerovlove: I Love This Song (Self-released, 2022) I got to this drum machine indie pop via Line of Best Fit. Nice drum machine, strummed acoustic guitar, bit cloudy synth before it opens out into the song proper. I like the singer, she’s got both a youthful flow and a slack flow while the track works an energetic path (drum machine) and a slack path (vocals). Pretty standard stuff well executed.

@@@ Poppy Ajudha: PLAYGOD (Self-released, 2022) Another line of Best Fit listen, this time an updated r&b/soul flavor. Surprisingly, and in its favor, the track goes from an understated verse to a crunched up over the top rock stance. Back to the chill, ah the classic tension/release mechanism that has taken so many to the bank. I like how the sounds get pulled from various places and work fine together, the songs aren’t blowing me away. Voice is strong, good arrangements, lyrics could use some freshening, solid B at work here.

Music for 4/21/22!!! 100 gecs, keiyaA

@@@ 100 gecs: Doritos & Fritos (Dog Show/Atlantic, 2022) I got to today’s listens via 10 hype new songs presented by music publicists via Paste magazine via a twat on the Twatter. 100 gecs is a wild crew, wild in a certain fashion, and this pre-release track comes out sorta Primus-y — Miley Cyrus-y with a smash doll of pop ideas and proggy threads. The hook is classic white boy nonsense, there is no deeper meaning to Doritos and Fritos, they’re brands and here we have America 2021, a hodgepodge of different ideas that aren’t required to make any sense at all. I would be fine with that if the tune was better, but it’s not a particularly moving set of sounds.

@@@ keiyaA: Camille’s Daughter (Touching Bass/Venice, 2022) This single opens up with a voice doubling a guitar and keyboard melody before the beat and once the beat comes in it gets thicker and more interesting. I would say the vocals work both a slightly gospel and slightly booty singer vibe and I’m a little shocked to find something with this level of rhythmic sophistication and funky weirdness in the mainstream. This is some cough syrup Prince action with nutritional value. Check this, it’s more than solid shit.

Music for 4/20/22!!!! Club d’Elf, Congotronics International

@@@ Club d’Elf: Now Open Your Eyes (Face Pelt, 2022) Both of today’s listens are off this week’s WRIR playlist email. The video below is the third track on the record and it opens with a laidback classic rock/chill hippie rock formula. Swelling keyboards, a coupla guitars, even a slide/steel tucked in the back. No vocalist here yet, it looks like the keyboard player is taking the job. You also get some harmonica going here so it’s full back in the day as far as my ears can tell. I like it, it sounds great and is well performed but it’s not really a vibe that pulls me in. These days I’m enjoying lots of drone or chaos and the hippie ‘sit back and groove’ doesn’t strike me as super relevant. I know some folks use music as an escape but I don’t. The player clicked through to the next track, Golden Hour, and it’s more interesting to me than the video below. Same formula basically, but rendered differently.

@@@ Congotronics International: Banza Banza (Crammed, 2022) A supergroup that includes Konono No. 1 and members of Deerhoof and other folks. The track opens stormy before it strips down to a grizzy bass and some chanting. It’s a bit of a collage-y feeling til it all comes together around 1:45 with a single line guitar part, multiple voices, a lot of hand drums and a lot of vocal tracks. My favorite sound is the amplified thumb piano and the fat ass bass sound while I don’t love the guitar sounds here, they feel extra. I say strip out the white people and let the brown folks take over. If the guitar was more interesting I would be up for it. By guitar I mean the power chord action designed to drive the track, not the single line playing which I think is incredible.