@@@ Gabriels: Angels & Queens (Atlas Artists, 2022) Floated as a possible album of the year in a Guardian feature yesterday, how could I not peep that? Unfortunately only a pre-release track is available at the time of writing this but peep I will. My first reaction to the track is that this outfit is looking to take Curtis Mayfield’s expansive soul vision and update it. I like parts of the track, most notable the funky verse section that kicks the verse off, the bridge less so. The way the strings are arranged is track connects to Curtis Mayfield. I would most definitely listen to more of this record but I wouldn’t give this record record of the year based on this one track. It’s a solid corporate soul track with flashes of inspiration but not bangin’ all the way through.
Monthly Archives: September 2022
Music for 9/29/22!!! Ondara, Deathprod
@@@ Ondara: An Alien in Minneapolis (Verve, 2022) I got to this record and the one below via this week’s All Music notable release email. The record opens up epic with a soaring voice and a climbing all over itself arpeggiated synth, well more than one by the time I’m done typing this. Oh shit, this is so friendly this will make your teeth hurt. It seems to want to aspire to be super American, a lightly strummed guitar chord, and some big vocal melodies. I don’t know where to place this record genre wise. Life is strange as Ondara is a 30 year old dude from Kenya and as I hear it he wrote a bunch of mainstream Springsteen type songs with high production and a commitment to big rock that I haven’t heard in a bit. Happy big rock, that’s what we got here. Weird. I think there’s a lot of people with good paying jobs who shower regularly who might like to enjoy this pass by but it ain’t me babe, it ain’t me.
@@@ Deathprod: IO (Smalltown Supersound, 2022) I got to this wee bit dissonant sitch also via All Music. Lots of zither/harpsichord-y strings and a horror movie sound in the back, a metallic howl/wail that really drags down the bouncing string sound. I’m not sure I like it or dislike it, but it’s jarring. I’ve checked out snippets of the second track and am checking out the third and they all have different feels but the same sounds. When I google deathprod he comes up with pics of him playing electric guitar though to my ears he’s not really rocking an electric guitar sound, it sounds more like a prepared piano thing. I like it, I don’t want to listen to a whole record of it but I like it.
Music for 9/28/22!!! Eerie Wanda, Sundub
@@@ Eerie Wanda: Long Time (Joyful Noise, 2022) I got to this outfit via this week’s All Music notable release email and I like this label, they put out interesting stuff. It opens with a merry go round vocal round, a bowed cello, and then into slack full spaced out indie rock vibe. This is a pretty tried and true formula, not one I love a whole bunch but it’s popular for a lot of reasons — you can buy your coffee to it or you can have a brunch and everybody can feel influenced but not overwhelmed by the music. I will say that if there was any sort of unique rhythm in here I would shit my diaper, it’s just so straight rock and boring that it undoes the spaciousness of the other sounds which are pretty decent. Ah well, another case where I’m in the minority. I’m giving a quick listen to another track called Confess and it looks set to be more mope. It’s even slower than the first track, oy.
@@@ Sundub: Jump and Dance (N/A, 2022) The production of this roots reggae track is a bit too clean for my taste but this tune burns well, especially in the rhythm section. Also there’s a lot of energy contributed by the female and male singers who take turns on the microphone. I don’t know if reggae music will ever return to that murky, blunted sound that drove it across the international brain pan, but somebody’s gotta keep the train running and these guys bring the energy. I got to this via a music publicist email.
Music for 9/27/22!!! Nnux, The Comet is Coming
@@@ Nnux: Ciudad (VAA, 2020) I got to this female Mexican electronic artist via a gig announcement at BK adventurous club Roulette. She puts out a pretty sophisticated electro sound. I’m on the fourth track (clipped below) and it’s really big basket of electronic sounds all woven together. Nothing on its own insane, well some parts yes, but the collective impact is a take me away from this world vibe. I don’t have a time to get super into the nooks and crannies of this record but from what I’ve heard it’s a mid to slow tempos with female vocals, a lot of manipulation of voices, a fairly large dollop of glitch sauce, and a cornucopia of electronic bits swirling. It’s very passionate and well done, at least what I’ve heard. Check this out if you’re a fan of abstract electronic, some folks might find these sounds too intense.
@@@ The Comet is Coming: CODE (Impulse/Verve, 2022) Off this week’s All Music notable release email and it’s marketed as an electro futurist jazz release but this track is comin’ up straight krauty funk to my ears. I will check this record out a bit more manana when I do the post proper but first impression is that a bunch of folks said let’s make a jazz/funk record with a sci fi bent to it and then it kinda happened. I see from the Apple Music blurb this is the UK part jazz/part dancefloor collective and Shabaka Hucthings that I like but don’t love. I give respect to anyone trying to expand the palette of jazz, but a lot of the time it hasn’t worked for me. I am, however, proven a liar as I type because the second track Technicolor is a pretty nice fusion of sounds — a really good balance of jazz to non-jazz sounds. So a hit today and yesterday not so much which is the very definition of a mixed bag.
Music for 9/26/22!!! Anklebiter, Candy
@@@ Anklebiter: Not for You (Sunday Drive, 2022) I got to this via a sweet writeup of 10 hardcore releases of the summer over at the ever hip Brooklyn Vegan. Anklebiter features a female singer which changes the vibe of the tracks but they bring it, just different. The tune below is 1:20 of power chord smashing and a singer losing her nut. It’s solid but it’s not particularly unique in how it goes about its job. There’s not a lot to be said about hardcore it’s a set ’em up and knock em down kinda genre but far from a simple genre as the vibe and the energy is paramount. As Paul Hollywood says on the Bake Off if you’re gonna go for something simple you gotta make it perfect.
@@@ Candy: Heaven is Here (Relapse, 2022) Oh Lord this is an unholy mess right out of the gate. Staticky as fuck, thrashing about pretty wildly with a singer that is human and not Neanderthal. After the initial blast there’s a descending melody that breaks and fades. I skipped to the second tune Mutilation and it’s more of the same but with some midtempo boot stomping and some echoing vocals in spots. These guys are rocking an interesting vibe — more noise oriented than what you expect from a metal outfit with hints of hardcore in places and doom in others. I’m not expert on all the various distinctions between subgenres of metal but if you believe in the healing power of loud aggro noise this should hit you just right.
Music for 9/25/22!!! Jesca Hoop, Marina Allen
@@@ Jesca Hoop: Lyrebird (Memphis Industries, 2022) Opens with a super gentle string arpeggio with a big upright bass underneath then a female singer comin’ in friendly and intimate. This is feel good coffee folk/alternative. Lyrically it’s a descriptive short story typa thing and the hook comes in the chorus with a big multitracked singalong move. I think the multitracked vocals in the chorus are okay but a tad on the cheesy/gimmicky. This is for people with good paying jobs that think human civilization is gonna work out just fine.
@@@ Marina Allen: Or Else (Fire Records, 2022) This is more standard adult alternative rock business, this time driven by piano and just a small bit of tambourine clinking. It’s an old school small drum sound and Ms. Allen goes a bit Joni Mitchell in the chorus, sing song-y all over the place. It’s a friendly arrangement, I like the flute hanging out on the side of the mix. I’m checking out a bit of the opening track and this music is rooted in music from the mid to late ’70s so adult alternative is a slightly mislabelled sitch, it’s more of a hippie folk soft rock biscuit. I’m checking out the opening track Celadon and while this isn’t my cup of tea I appreciate how the track is arranged and executed. Folks of this style should peep this as you may like it.
Music for 9/23/22!!! Jake Blount, Dutch Mustard
@@@ Jake Blount: Once there was No Sun (Smithsonian Folkways, 2022) I got to today’s listens via The Line of Best Fit. First off I think it’s cool that an artist such as Jake Blount ends up on Smithsonian Folkways. After an opening track of just vocals it gets to it on the second track, The Downward Road. I like the upright bass and the energy, I like the whole thing including the rhymes that are a hip hop homage without evoking any theme that could be remotely evocative of hip hop. I’m on the third track, Didn’t it Rain, and I like the electric guitar but not the vocal arrangement which is closer to a modern r&b track than folk music. I’ve skipped to the track clipped below which is the pre-release track, so that’s the track the artist and label have decided is the best to pull folks into the record. It’s uplifting and interesting, I do appreciate how Blount does not conceive of folk music as a static form to be honored and he’s good to go and add other elements. I’m not sure I love it as much as I want.
@@@ Dutch Mustard: Magnifique (Bad Influence, 2022) This is an updated grunge rock track, big drum sound, simple and driving guitar figure and a female singer which is the twist. She’s doing a good job on the microphone, not oversinging and then boosting the energy at the chorus. I think Dutch Musard has listened to a lot of Nirvana records, which is fine it’s a formula open to all but familiarity breeds contempt. I would say this is too much of a bite here. Outside of her being a woman doing a grunge track there’s not much here to make this a unique track.
Music for 9/22/22!!! Sonido Berzerk, Sampa the Great, Edson Natale
@@@ Sonido Berzerk: Oggun EP (Ten Toes Turbo, 20) I found this electronic musician working out of Mexico City via this week’s Cracked Magazine email. This is not Mr. Berzerk’s most recent work but it’s stylish and an urgent dancefloor vibe. He gets into it rhythmically and adds some world-y percussion to what’s already cooking. I’ve been checking out snippet of the five tracks on this EP and he’s got it going on. I would start with the opener Oshun and go from there. The fusion of drum machine beats and either hand percussion or hand drummy type samples really works for me. The layering is really well done.
@@@ EDSON NATALE: A Egipcia E O Mecanico (Horus, 2022) I got to this record via this week’s WRIR playlist email. It’s by a half Egyptian/half Brazilian gent who got obsessed with Brazilian music. The track below is notable for its guitar playing, some trick horn arrangements and a brisk but pretty minimal rhythm. It’s produced pretty slickly which is usually a problem for me but I dig the playing and the arrangement here. I’m no expert on Brazilian music but his take here is a bit different and I like it. I would say it’s more as Brazilian music with a twist rather than a big reinvention.
Music for 9/21/22!!! The Murlocs, Marxist Love Disco Ensemble
@@@ The Murlocs: Compos Mentis (ATO, 2022) Today’s listens are off this week’s All Music notable release email. I can’t remember if these guys were slotted as garage punk but if they were they fit half in and half out of that genre identifier. They have some nice if not pretty expected guitar sounds going, a female singer, and a comin in less than midtempo beat. It’s a crunchy mix with plenty of glassy high end frequencies. It’s like a slower but more aggro Bruce Springsteen vibe here. Let me peep another track. I’m checking out the opening track called Subsidiary and it’s a spaceship rock track, firmer than the video below. It’s got a lot of classic rock in it which is similar to the last track where I said I felt Bruce Springsteen feels were up in here. This is a pretty interesting blend of mainstream accessible sounds as well as weird arrangements and jumping around vibes. I’m going to return to this record at a later point. I can’t tell if it stands out a bit to me because rock is such a toilet these days or if it’s interesting music.
@@@ Marxist Love Disco Ensemble: Brumaire (Mr. Bongo, 2022) This track opens as a top shelf, boozhy chill dancefloor banger designed to keep the sweat to a minimum. Nice conga addition to the kit but even the vocals are designed for maximum macaroni and cheese comforting feels. There are some interesting melodic passages but overall the chill banger idea isn’t working that great for me. If they chose a chill funky beat instead of this straight one and some different synth sounds I would be more interested. I’m giving another track a listen, it’s entitled 1905. It does bust out with a chainsaw synth patch but the the framework of the last track is in full effect here as well.
Music for 9/20/22!!!! Bent Arcana, Blaqk Audio
@@@ Bent Arcana: Live Zebulon (Castle Face, 2022) This is an improvising group coming at it from the rock side, which means they’re not jazz cats but they’re trying. I’m listening to a track called The Gate, it’s a 10 minute banger, and it’s a funky rock drum beat with some jazz fusion sauce on top. It’s pretty expected. I’m giving a shout to another track, it’s called Outre Sorcellerie, anchored by a hand drum, some electro whipping about that I like and some sax playing. This is more interesting but the electric bass sorta shallows it a bit. There are some weird ass vocals and I like that. This lives in the land between love and hate. For me at least.
@@@ Blaqk Audio: Sharp Teeth (BlaqNoise Music, 2022) This opens with some straight up Madonna butter sauce, meaning heavily ’80s sounds. On an unrelated note did folks out there see how Madonna is still mad horny? That’s cool. To be honest I thought with the band name Blaqk Audio this was going to be some super spaceship r&b music from a black outfit but it’s a buncha white dudes doin’ a krautrock thing. I can be flexible. I’m now checking out the track softbitten, track 2, and I guess my feeling is I don’t know why this synth rock formula has to be resurrected. This has an updated ’80s sound and it’s impressively polished and produced but this is not aimed at me. The singer is quite not my cup of tea.