Music for 8/31/22!!! BKO, Death By Dub

@@@ BKO | Djine Bora (Bongo Joe, 2022) A coupla tasty listens off this week’s WRIR playlist email. I tend to like the rocking African records more than the epic, soaring styles presented by major labels. What’s most interesting here the amplified string instrument here — I don’t think it’s a guitar and by the time they’re done distorting it I’m super into it. Add to that the hand drumming and the singing and boom, you got a rocking fucking piece of music that is gonna end up on my year end list. The string playing here is off the fucking hook. Interesting, fresh, creative, etc. It feels ironic to tell folks that enjoy rock to head on over to an African record, but you gotta go where the music leads you. This is some high end rocking shit with great performances, check it out.

@@@ DEATH BY DUB | Abundance (Color Red, 2022) These guys, whoever they be, are an homage to the golden era of dub. These guys are crazy prolific and after clicking around to a bunch of their releases they are all above average in quality with firm rhythms and sweet hornline action. Their latest record is an EP called (it’s a bit confusing because ITunes/Apple Music is such a dysfunctional piece of shit) and the track below has a vocalist if that’s how you roll. There’s not a lot to say here except that the guitar playing is up to the quality of the rhythm section and the horns and I give my seal of approval to this roots record.

Music for 8/30/22!!!! Julia Jacklin, Riton Raye

@@@ Julia Jacklin: Ignore Tenderness (Polyvinyl, 2022) A blend of bedroom indie and mainstream rock that I got to via this week’s All Music notable release email. I like the minimal arrangement, oh that just fell by the wayside as I typed the word minimal. It’s an end of relationship song and it’s kinda wordy, more than kinda it’s a lotta words. A string part comes in and that sorta makes it more adult and highbrow. My favorite part of the track is the arrangement and the sound of the track while I don’t love the strings or the abundance of verbiage. The next track clicked on and it’s mid to slow tempo rocker with crunchy guitars so this might bounce all around the various rock formulas.

@@@ Riton, Raye: I Don’t Want You (N/A, 2022) I think I have the right RAYE that I saw featured on this week’s Line of Best Fit email. This is a pop electro dancefloor banger with a pumping organ part, shopping mall techno beat, and strong diva feels. It’s got a lot of energy but I can’t say I’m drawn in. It’s not a fresh track, I could use some variation to the pumping organ, same with the beat and I don’t feel the epic vocals as being epic. I want to like it and I don’t hate it, but it’s not got a lot in it that interests me.

Music for 8/29/22!!! Saucy Santana, Ezra Furman

@@@ Saucy Santana: Booty (N/A, 2022) I got to this track after seeing some post VMA shit and they namechecked Saucy Santana, so there’s the peep. Oh Lord, this is a super party track, it aspires to nothing besides praising the booty, the concept of the booty, all the different flavors of booty. They bit the melody in the chorus but that boooty, boooty, boooty chant is original. Who else got an ass like this? Good question, are we having ass contest? I like the verses, the chorus is meh, and I like the booooty, booty, booooty, booooty, part. Not a lot to say here that hasn’t been said, it’s a booty thang and it’s solid B.

@@@ Ezra Furman: All of Us Flames (Anti-, 2022) A blend of indie rock and Bruce Springsteen smashed up and delivered by a gender fluid rocker. I could give two shits about the gender, we all about the music and it’s pretty mainstream with some indie flourishes, at least in the first track. I think this a rousing vibe record, he’s looking to rouse his listeners and the music ends up less interesting because of it. I wish this was more interesting music but it’s pretty mainstream and simple. Life be so complex even when the music is simple.

Music for 8/28/22!!! Cass McCombs, Eli Winter

@@@ Cass McCombs: Heartmind (Anti-, 2022) This record opens up with some chill rocking/crunchy guitar and McCombs’ Lennon-y flavored vocalizing. It’s a fresh guitar player for sure, I’m agnostic on the singing, and I’m agnostic on the mid ’70s general flow. The second tune, Karaoke, is super uptempo and uplifting, it may be too positive for my taste. This track is Wilco super high on caffeine which is a mixed bag. I’m gonna go out on the third track Unproud Warrior — I like the upright bass, it’s a nice touch, it’s downtempo so I don’t have to swallow the excessive uplift of the last track and the drummer really glues this together. I guess we have firmly exited the rock tradition where a record is a blend of darkness and light and folks are pretty much up for the light and not super up for the darkness that makes so much art deeper and more meaningful. McCombs has talent and there are moments here that I connect with but it lacks for me.

@@@ Eli Winter: Eli Winter (N/A, 2022) Off this week’s 10 most reviewed albums on Pitchfork. The first track is an energetic electric folk kinda thing with some rock energy in there. Intricate guitar playing with multiple guitar tracks and interesting drumming. Slide guitar too. This kind of instrumental folk rock thing is a pretty narrow formula from a while ago. ’70s and shit. More people would be interested if there was a singer but he didn’t go that way and I give him props. I really like that whoever mixed the record put the drums up high as it really infuses the record with energy. I think folks should check this record out, it has performance, good energy and creativity.

Music for 8/27/22!!! J.I.D., Stella Donnelly

@@@ JID: Dance Now ( , 2022) I’ve always been a big fan of JID’s microphone work — playful, tight and a bit nasal. I got to his new record via NPR’s best of the week music. Right now I’m checking out Crack Sandwich and it’s funky sonic arrangement, neither trap nor soft with plinks, janky guitar figures and tight funky beats. I don’t know if it’s the marketing blurb or not but it does appear that JID and the folks who made this record are trying to get him across to a large number of folks. Case in point, the track Can’t Make You Change almost sounds like a modern blues with a background singer and pretty familiar sounds. Irregardless which is actually a fucking word now but the point here is JID is funky as fuck. As I get two mainstream tracks in a row I do think I like freakier more hip hoppy JID but this is cool if people want to peep it.

@@@ Stella Donnelly: Flood (N/A , 2022) Another NPR listen. Talk about the opposite of funky, it’s all right ma we white and shit. Opens up with maybe the straightest drum beat possible, some ringing piano chords, and coffee shop female vocalizing. I mean it’s cool but it’s not really my thing. Donnelly has a nice voice but the playing is pretty stiff and wooden. I get why NPR is recommending this music, oh shit big burn! It’s just crazy tight indie piano stuff here, if you’re uptight have at it.

Music for 8/26/22!!! Bitch, Tiken Jah Fakoly

@@@ Bitch: Pages (N/A, 2022) I got to this queer musician via a music publicist email. My Apple Music players sucks ball so we’re stuck with the GooglePimpTube. It’s a pretty mainstream track sonically and lyrically but it’s less cheesy than a lot of what mainstream electro pop. It’s got a nice small keyboard figure that anchors the track and the arrangement has a fair amount of freshness to it. The lyrics are pretty trash, very cliche but hey it’s pop music and this is America and we a shallow ass bunch of fuckers so what do you expect? If you can deal with the hook and the lyrics then you’ll probably dig the track.

@@@ Tiken Jah Fakoly: Francafrique (N/A, 2002) Off this week’s WRIR playlist email. I guess maybe this record has been remastered or reissued but it’s a happening roots reggae done out of Africa and sung in French. It’s both slick and heartfelt, this is no Burning Spear from the mid ’70s when reggae was in its infancy and the sounds were gloriously murky but it’s rootsy. From All Music I see Fakoly is from the Ivory Coast which explains the French singing. I like not knowing what he’s singing as I can just groove on his melodies. I also see on All Music’s website that Tuff Gong in Jamaica is listed as a studio and the Bob Marley feels here are super strong. It doesn’t sound straight up like a Wailers record but it’s clear they wanted the background singers, the full horn section. I have this marked and will come back and chill to it when I have more time. Maybe I’m an ass not to have seen this record before or it’s an obscure record trying to resurface, regardless it’s got vibrations both Caribbean and African.

Music for 8/25/22!!! Hot Buttered Rum, The Harlem Gospel Travelers

@@@ Hot Buttered Rum: No Reason Why (N/A, 2022) I can’t find this track on Apple Music so I’m forced to listen on GooglePimpTube. I got to this bluegrass track via a music publicist email. It’s a full ensemble including organ which is cool but a bit weird for bluegrass, no? Am I imagining that? Big friendly NPR feels here. Again not opposed to friendliness but I do love me some contrast so friendly lyrics, friendly organ, and friendly singer end up becoming a bit one dimensional.

@@@ The Harlem Gospel Travelers: Look Up (N/A, 2022) Big joyous, old school jump up and down old school soul vibes here. Strong black church connections, excellent singing, Motown drumming etc., the full package. You can hear other classic r&b tracks in the second tune, my hard drive is not spinning fast enough to make the connection but the familiarity here is not subtle. There’s some guitar driven rocking going on, which is cool, but I could use something to stamp this unique — it could be an instrument, a production value, even something in the vocal performance. Just as with the tune above this appears aimed at NPR listeners going for that uplifting vibe and not critical listeners. Which I be, a critical listener. Big ups to the drummer.

Music for 8/23/22!!! Gabe Gurnsey, Walter Trout

@@@ Gabe Gurnsey: Push (N/A, 2022) I got to today’s listens via this week’s All Music notable release email. This is an electronic record and whether it’s a dancefloor banger or an abstract chunk or a blend thereof remains to be seen. Oh, it’s gonna be a cheesy banger, four on the floor, squiggly synths both in the lower frequencies and higher plus what I find to be a blue eyed shortage of funk. It’s got just a wee bit of Prince feel to it but the clunky feel of the rhythmic components is not present if at all in Prince’s music. Once the groove gets established for better or for worse it could us some small variations or some dropping and/or evolution of components. I’m giving a quick listen to another track and the woodenness/krautiness is also strong here. I don’t like how the monotone vocals drain the track instead of building it higher, I don’t get that.

@@@ Walter Trout: Waiting for the Dawn (N/A, 2022) I don’t listen to a lot of modern electric blues but I do like to peep once in a blue moon as I love me a great guitar player when I come across one. First off big ups for the old school organ sound which pillows and contrasts with the sharp guitar tone. I don’t protest any of the sounds on offer here and outside of some unexpected turns to the guitar shredding there’s also not anything particularly noteworthy to draw you in. I get that this is pretty usual for a traditional music form but there’s always room to squeeze some weird individuality into any music no? I’m giving a quick peep to another track and he comes out with some bluesy Neil Young style crunch which I dig. This tune Hey Mama has more urgency and energy than the video clipped below. I guess lately I’m more interested in how established formulas can be reinvigorated, I’m really into that.

Music for 8/19/22!!! Hurray for the Riff Raff, Mega Bog

@@@ Hurray for the Riff Raff: Life on Earth (N/A, 2022) I got to these two New Orleans listens (I think) via a festival promo email where Big Freedia was playing. I like the singer a bunch, the synths a lot less and the drums meh. I skipped to the second track Pierced Arrows, I think I dig this track much more. I’m on the third track and feel like I’ve heard this record before, I’m not 100% sure on that but the fact remains that the band is solid but pretty standard and the energy that draws the listener in here is the singer. She’s a great singer and if the band had more fire or put more fire into their arrangements these dudes will blow up even more. I can’t put what labels these records are on because my Apple Music player is half fucked and I’m lucky to get anything out of it.

@@@ Mega Bog: Station to Station (N/A, 2022) Another female singer band which I’m into, this track clipped below more simmering and contemplative than the listen above. The arrangement here is more interesting with a bass player that catches my ear. The drummer is catching my ear less than the bass player but the drumming here is notable for its tastefulness. I guess everybody is up in the synths these days but I think this track could use a guitar or another acoustic instrument. It is positively bloated with synths which a lot of people will love but not me. There’s a guitar in the next track but it’s got that chorused guitar sound, oh good that fell away and they’re doing a vintage R.E.M. thoughtful rock thing. I’m not the hugest R.E.M. fan but it’s interesting to hear somebody whip it out in 2022. This track is called Diary of a Rose and it’s quite fresh so if you choose to check these guys out start with this track and go from there.

Music for 8/22/22!!! The Chats, Young Nudy

@@@ The Chats: Get Fucked (Bargain Bin, 2022) I got to this classic, nihilistic punk record via PItchfork’s 10 most reviewed albums of the week. They do for sure deliver the punk energy but they have guitar solos and have some musical talent whereas outfits like the Sex Pistols really kinda blew as musicians. Upon googling these young gents I see they hail from Australia where folks still believe in rock. Unlike here in America where rock is an afterthought. It’s a very established formula with not a lot of room for innovation so it’s a question of energy and these guys bring it and I like the formula.

@@@ Young Nudy: Lunch Meat (N/A, 2022) Another one off the 10 most reviewed albums of the week from the Pitchfork. This is some non glitzy trap flavored hip hop. I don’t feel the lyrics but I do like the trippy sonics on display here. I’m switched over to what I think is the main single, Fresh as Fuck. I like rhyming more here and I find it entertaining that this track has heavy Halloween spooky feels. There’s not a lot to say here as it’s a simple formula — I dig how Mr. Nudy doesn’t come across as a some sort of emerging rock star in hip hop but I would appreciate some more interesting sounds.