@@@ Vincent Neil Emerson: Fried Chicken and Evil Women (La Honda, 2019) I got to this old school country singer on a list of best records of last year. Emerson has released a lot of music in the past 3 years or so and this effort with a full band worked best for me and it’s my blog so fuck yourself if you like the solo stuff. He’s got a bit of John Prine going and a whole lot of Hank Williams or other hard ass country guys. This is the title track clipped below and the beauty here as far as I’m concerned is the stripped down nature of the whole affair from the singing to the arrangements to the production. If you’re a fan of the genre this should work for you.
@@@ Salamanda: Overdose (Human Pitch, 2022) Off a list by the Vinyl Factory of the best 20 records of the first half of 2020 thus far. This is the first track on the record and it opens up a bit dubby and a bit ambient with a lot of what I would consider insect chatter. Then a bass pulse and a little female sigh in the microphone. It’s got a lightness to it that I usually associate with New Age music but a bit less here as there’s such a strong dub flavor to the music. Ooops, too soon there’s more New Age vocalizing there, yikes. Unfortunately I was stating something that turned out to be the intro of the record as I’m on the second track and there’s a whole bunch of New Age feels here, too many for me. Hammered marimba, Laurie Anderson type vocal snips, and more! I know tons of folks who love this flavor and that’s cool, I don’t hate it I just don’t really like it as a formula.
@@@ Dean Spunt and John Wiese: Fruit from Color Vapor (Drag City, 2022) This is a recycled post from a month ago and I don’t remember how I came to these two tracks. This is a deconstructed blend of racketous drums and electronic noise blasting and there is, despite what that looks like on the page it’s got some good stuff in it. It’s jazz like with noise replacing any sort of melodic instrument. There is some pretty radical panning which adds to the sense of movement and there is interplay between the digital roars and the drummer who is not interested in grooving shit.
@@@ Phelimuncasi: Inja Enamarabie Wemame Weh (Nyege Nyege Tapes, 2022) This is some South African politically minded electronic music and the track below is the ninth track on the record though I switched up to the opening track as it has a fat bass in it. The tracks have a superstuffed and chaotic feel to them. I dig it for the most part, it’s a stew. I’m on my fourth sample of the record and though I keep expecting an initial groove to explode into full African electronic madness it continues to keep things more on the percolating tip. I like it without loving it. I haven’t hit a track that just blows my mind and though I would love to add this to my year end list, I’m an honest person and if I don’t feel it I can’t recommend it. I liked track 5 the best of what I heard.
@@@ DAGR: Cafe Racer (Self released, 2022) I got to this via a music publicist email. This is Spanish language (mostly) dancefloor banger with hip hop and electro pop flavors. I liked the world-y rhythms that open up the track but then when it gets into the potty talk and the pop sounds then meh, less excitement. If the lyrics were more clever and they kept the rhythms more world-y I would be more responsive to it. I like the dude’s face in the video below, that’s probably one of the most interesting aspects of the whole proceeding.
@@@ Jerome Cooper: As of Not Part 1 (ILK, 2020) I got to this jazz recording via a weekly email from the BK club Roulette. The album opens with a synth note drone and some light piano work. It’s very minimal and Mr. Cooper is a drummer so I’m guessing there will be some drumming during this 9+ minute track. Just shy of 7 minutes a marimba type instrument comes in and the tempo picks up. There is still a drone in the back but it sounds like a progressive Charlie Brown animated tv series theme. I appreciate that this is not your standard jazz record but I’m not super into it. I don’t dislike it but it’s a bit slow for me.
@@@ Ezra Collective: Victory Dance (Partisan, 2022) Slotted as jazz and coming out of Britain Brits think of jazz differently from Americans. Anything Afrobeat-ish large ensemble flavored world music falls under the jazz umbrella. I don’t really give a fuck about the definition (while thinking it’s a pretty half assed definition) this has a Latin jazz feel as well a tad of Afrobeat. I like the thick layer of percussion here most of all, as well as the bass, but think the piano sounds a bit thin to my ears, it could drive harder. It’s an instrumental that I got to via the WRIR weekly playlist and I should give ups to the trumpet player as he/she/they are working hard here. Nice piano solo, I dig that, it’s percolating quite bigly — I dig this energy.
@@@ Delgres: Mwen Vle mache (PIAS, 2022) This is some very folksy and awesome Cajun folk music. Understated and human as hell, simple heartfelt music served up without massive amounts of cheese. Regular readers know of my undying love of the tuba — I would listen to dogs fornicate if there was a fat ass tuba line underneath the track, so imagine the hotness I feel when the sung in French vocals and strummed banjo gets bumped up from underneath by the righteous tuba. This is music to celebrate, don’t sleep on this shit. It’s up on Apple Music so I’m guessing it’s on Spotify and other service. Accordion, tuba, great vocals. They have a 2021 record up on Apple Music which is more electric blues that I’m going to check out.
@@@ Fresh Pepper: Seahorse Tranquilizer (Telephone Explosion, 2022) I got to this track via Pitchfork’s 10 most reviewed albums of the week. It’s a chill sitch rock track with literate lyrics and an almost spoken word singer before giving way to angelic female vocals in the chorus. It’s a bit trippy, and otherworldly, the sax is an interesting tidbit. It’s a 6.5 minute track which explains the chillness and around 2 minutes the drums come in and then a bunch of ambient garnish gets added. It’s a bit too present day 21st century hippie shit for me and the addition of a bit of ’70s soft rock is not great for me.
@@@ Anteloper: One Living Genus (International Anthem, 2022) Ah, I dug the pre-release track and I’m back for more bitches! It’s a mashup of electronic/noise/jazz elements presented with ambient live drumkit and plenty of bumptiousness. I wish more jazz cats would go in this direction, there’s no rulebook just get yer freak on and make something interesting which this is. To my ears this is a bit what Radiohead wanted to be but they didn’t have the funk for it. I like but don’t love the trumpet player and/or wish there was another melodic element as in the third track Éarthlings where a singer and a guitar player join the fray. Love the drum sound, like the electronic bits and wish there was more and wish there was a bit more coming from the horn area. The last track (clipped below) is my favorite on the record.
@@@ Hypermass: Hivemind (Hypermass, 2022) Very hard rock production here but they do bring the energy and some metal features to their music. The singer traffics in the various metal singing modes and the drummer is amped the fuck up and it’s quite inspiring. I’m on the fifth track and it’s the same formula, ramped hard rock with an insane drummer. I guess a lot of folks would experience this as metal but the super manicured production makes me feel it’s more in the hard rock spirit. Personal preference, no need to beef over aesthetics.
@@@ Mutilatred: Determined to Rot (Self released, 2022) Oh my, this is some filthy ass fully melted down death metal. Tons of static, a breakneck pace, a caveman singer and just a face full of antisocial energy. This feels like watching someone have an uncontrollable medical breakdown, a fit or a stroke or heart attack. Fuck!!! There’s a grinding, ka-chunky sameness to the first three tracks I’ve peeped and yeah if you’re feeling this way just keep circling back on it like picking a scab. Big ups to the drummer, yowsa he’s getting a workout.
@@@ Beyonce: Break My Soul ( , 2022) Regular readers know of my distaste for Beyonce and her revolutionary aesthetics. This is an extremely boring dancefloor banger that is sonically flat. I woulda thought with all her loot which she constantly reminds us of that she could get some more interesting sounds than this. Madonna was at least committed to have fat tracks to go underneath her average singing. Beyonce is a better singer than Madonna but there’s no heat here, it’s just sad. The lyrics are boring as they revolve around her ‘new foundation’ which sounds like a boring dance track I guess.
@@@ Gorillaz: Cracker Island (Parlophone, 2022) Now I’m not saying this is the most banging dancefloor banger yesterday but it sure kicks up the dust more than the Beyonce biscuit. Thick bassline, a funkier arrangement and some energy, Jesus H. Christ. I mean how can you not deduce that Cracker Island has to be some kind of commentary on race and race relations. Could be wrong!!!! Let me Google that shit, oh yeah, there’s some commentary up in this biatch. Well done.
@@@ Kind Eyes: Cruel World (xhsx, 2022) More listening from the 24 metal and hardcore songs of the week over at the Brooklyn Vegan. Part metal, part hardcore with an excellent guitar grind, this is pretty hot stuff. As you can see from the video clipped below the singer is African American and he has African American concerns. Good to see that going on, I love the black metal and black hardcore. They get a good and not cheesy singalong vibe going in the chorus but the key here is the locked tight rhythm of the guitars and the drums. I like these guys, they whip up a solid shitty and the sludgy distortion coming out of the guitars is excellent.
@@@ Clutch: We Strive for Excellence (Weathermaker Music, 2022) This is retro flavored boogie rock with a whole bunch of hard rock flavors. It doesn’t have a distinctly anti-social flavor as in the track above. I like it, but I like anti-social shit more. The singer is actually singing and not caveman throat singing. You get a proper guitar solo and some tasty bass playing. The drummer is full rock and the drums are mixed as such.
@@@ Flasher: Sideways (Domino, 2022) Ah Domino Records, if you’re a weird ass rock musician you can always try for a home with Domino. This guys are closer to quirky than weird but hey it’s all in the eye of the weirdo. The video below is the ninth track on the record and it has a wee bit of Tom Tom Club, but just a wee bit as the indie vocal sauce gives it that certain something I’m not a huge fan of. Claggy as they may say on the Great British Bake Off. Less energy rather than more energy as well as the ’80s sounds that are needlessly brought into the track — gated snare, and cheesy guitar sounds. I’m giving a quick peep to the second track, Love is Yours, and it brings in some ’90s flavors to swirl in there with the ’80s stuff. I like the mixes and I like some of the sounds but this is not really my cup of tea.
@@@ Low End Activist: Get Get (Sneaker Social Club, 2022) I can’t remember how I got to this track and this artist but it’s a rare example of British hip hop/break beat that I dig. Get Get is the fifth tune on the record and it’s a blend of funky, glitched beats, and dark trippy sounds. This is a sonic combo I generally approve of. Emz, a British MC I know nothing of, hits the mic and works briskly, bouncing off the beats and the pulsing bass with ease and a thick accent. I like the sharp focus of the track as the trippy sounds, the bass, the beats and the MC fuse into one like a really good slice of pizza. I’m giving a quick listen to the second track Hostile Utopia and it’s similar while boosting up the dark post apocalyptic sounds, busting out with the classic handclap drum machine with frequency and vigor. Processed vocals, space gun sounds and a modulating bass synth are the main components. I don’t love everything about this formula but Mr. Activist is tight tight tight in his formation.
@@@ Russian Circles: Conduit (Sargent House, 2022) I guess these guys are vets and this is a pre-release track of an upcoming full length. It opens up with that relentles metal flavor before shifting down into some minimal dour melodies. I like the churn, I like the guitar tones, I like the drumming and how they’re all locked together. It looks like this is gonna be an instrumental banger and in that light I guess I could use a bit more lead melody to keep my interest. There are a fair number of sections where they take the sound down and build it back up oh my they just brought back up and it’s pumped up pretty bigly. This is tight tight tight and I lean more towards the chaotic metal, it’s all personal preference. They have a lot of great shit going on here but I’d like a bit more, does that make me a bitch? I would listen to more.
@@@ End It: New Wage Slavery (Flat Spot, 2022) Some black hardcore out of Baltimore that I got to via 24 metal and punk songs on Brooklyn Vegan. The mix tilts towards metal, but the singer is classic ramped up hardcore. The energy here is most definitely ‘hey let’s go burn whitey’s house down’ and that seems very relevant and appropriate. I really love black hardcore as rhythmically it’s a bit more to my liking than your amped up white boy stomping his ass off. To say it’s funkier may be a mistake but it’s more flexible. Great track, would listen to more.