@@@ Meat Wave: 10k (Swami, 2022) I thought this was gonna come out hardcore as the word meat usually is used by hardcore punk bands. This is post rock with a dash of prog, rock drums not metal, a singer you can understand and a reasonable tempo where you’re not having your brains bashed in. It’s a bit of a snoozer and later in the album so I’m going to check out one of the starred tunes for my listening pleasure. I like it, there’s not much here besides the energy and I could use something to really pull me into the track. I do like the guitars but I need more.
@@@ Hagop Tchaparian: Right to Riot (Text Records, 2022) Electronic music I got to via Pitchfork’s 10 most reviewed records of the week. This banger opens up with some hand drumming, quite energetic to break the steady 4 on the floor feels. It’s got some un American sounds like the hand drumming and a Middle Eastern (I think) horn that also sounds like a kazoo. I forget what that shit is called. I dig the in your faceness of the track but I could use more melody and contrast to the aggro. Much as the last listen I exited the track before its completion to check out one of the starred tracks. This one called Escape I feel much more. At least the beginning. I think Tchaparian excels at setting the table but needs to work on serving the whole meal and not just the appetizer.
@@@ Bazooka: Somewhere Elsewhere (Inner Ear, 2022) Email from a small label in Greece that I listen to sometimes. It opens briskly in a distinctly B-52s smashed into a gyro kinda way, tight and Greek. No filthy minds out there when I type tight and Greek. These guys can rock and they bring the rock energy much more than here in America, or ‘Merka wherever you may be. I’m guessing weed may not be legal in Greece of they’re not partaking. One of my big complaints about American rock is the post-grunge self indulgent I’m not happy vibe, these guys are just playing and playing hard. Everybody in the band plays well and they’re into it.
@@@ Architects: (Epitaph, 2022) Line of Best Fit! A little bit of a headfake with a chainsaw synth patch opening up the record before these guys bring the big punk/art rock smashup. This is a couple of notches down from Linkin Park who I didn’t really like back in the day. It’s a very emo flavored record but not the emo I love, more of the dramatical/melodramatical rather than the end of the rope stuff which I love. I find it much more engaging to hear someone lose their shit on a record than me admiring the intricacy of an arrangement where desperation and frustration are injected via lyrics. I like the energy and some of the sounds but this isn’t really my cup of tea.
@@@ Remy Le Boeuf: The Melancholy Architecture of Storms (Self released, 2022) A couple of listens from this week’s email from adventurous music club Roulette in Brooklyn. This is a big band record that opens with a track called Neener Neener — energetic with a circular horn line and then vibes. I love me vibes! It’s not a roaring big band sound, it’s more a of a highbrow sitch, yeah classy like. The second tune Minnesota, WI opens up with a cinematic piano tinkle and more sophisto horn work. I don’t love the sound of the record, it’s a bit restrained but I’m in the minority on this issue folks love that clean sound. I’m giving the title track a quick spin and it features a female vocalist, a bird like flute thing and while I like it, it is most definitely aimed at people with jobs who shower in the morning. I could use a bit more big band grit/power to provide some contrast to the sweetness but that’s just me.
@@@ MV Carbon and Charlemagne Palestine: Glass from The Sand (Kill Rock Stars, 2022) It’s interesting this artist is playing at Roulette which usually hosts improvised music and this single is out on Kill Rock Stars. It’s got some simple and atmospheric piano surrounded by what sounds like amp buzz and horror movie whispers. Oh, there’s a didgiredoo up in there, I’m agnostic on that and I don’t love the whispers. The piano and what sounds like a cello or stringed instrument bowing short quick notes builds. It’s an interesting example of using acoustic instruments to build an ambient tune. Outside of the components used to build it, I don’t find it super interesting but that’s just me.
@@@ Palm: Nicks and Grazes (Saddle Creek, 2022) I’m listening bottom to top so this is my second listen of the day but the Saddle Creek label traffics in business similar to Courtney Marie Andrews’ music though this opening track is a crunchy slightly Beatles-y style rock. I’m on the second track now and it’s an interesting blend of dance rock with plenty of crunch on top of the synth bass and the smashed drum sound. I like the female singer as she’s a big contrast to the other sounds going on, the drums especially. I’m a bit shocked but this is a rare example of indie music that I don’t hate — I don’t love it or want to jump up and down but it’s definitely more interesting than a massive chunk of indie music out there. It’s got an interesting blend of sounds and a weird energy that indie music promises but most often doesn’t deliver on. Start with the third tune Parable Lickers and go from there.
@@@ Courtney Marie Andrews: Loose Future (Fat Possum, 2022) I follow folks on Twitter who think this artist is some cross between Jesus and the Beatles. She is slotted as Americana on Apple Music but this opening track on the record is an uplifting indie/alt country blend. By the time the full band comes in it’s pretty much an adult alternative track. No feelings hurt here that’s for sure. Smooth business. There’s not much to love here sonically except maybe a bit of the slide guitar which is the only real country music influence. The vocal hook is hard to hear, loose future if you want to ride with me. It’s okay, it’s not knocking me out but nothing here is desinged to knock you out. It’s not that it’s bad music there’s just not much passion.
@@@ MAVI: High John (United Masters, 2022) I got a bit thrown off by the dreadlocks thinking this was going to be in the reggae neighborhood but it’s a chill sitch hip hop record. He does work the mic in the opener which is clipped below, the sounds are laidback but he puts out a lot of energy. The second tune, Spoiled Brat, works the same formula. I like his rhymes and I find the contrast that I’ve discussed here interesting and a big break from the onslaught of trippy trap darkness. I’m in the B+ area on this but I can see a lot of folks digging the sounds/flow combination. Lots of clean guitar strums, dreamy synth patches and funky non-denominational beats.
@@@ Dry Cleaning: Driver’s Story (4AD, 2022) Two listens today off this week’s All Music notable release email. Uh oh, 4AD!! 4AD can often be art school business. The video below is the fourth track on the record and it opens with a greasy bassline then some janky angular guitar and it’s fine then the singer comes in sorta spoken word and all of a sudden I’m getting that art school rock feel. Oh art school. I like the guitar player a bunch but I want more from the singer, it’s just too blah blah blah. I’m listening to the 5th track and they go for the same vibe but funkier and I feel the same. LIke the band especially the guitarist and the singer needs a Red Bull.
@@@ Taylor Swift: Snow on the Beach (Taylor Swift, 2022) Not a huge fan but I do check her shit out because she’s an important cultural symbol in our society. My dislike is that her music is intensely overwrought and dramatical and usually revolves around her own feelings. The video below is the fourth track on the record and it opens plinky and pastoral. Oh yeah, I just remembered how breathy she sings and I straight up hate that. Her difficult emotional life is like snow on the beach, meh, not a very strong vocal hook. I like the bass here, I don’t like the tambourine, I don’t hate the arrangement but it’s not particularly fresh and it’s too lyrically complex to enjoy as a pop song. Now right at 3 minutes she hits the line are we falling like snow on the beach and that’s the first connection between the lyrics and the hook. Then it works better from there as she does this it’s coming down, it’s coming down, it’s coming down section. I think she’s trying to turn into The National and we don’t need another one of those.
@@@ Lil Baby: It’s Only Me ( , 2022) I know Lil Baby is a big deal but I’ve been finding a lot of mainstream hip hop these days pretty disposable but I do hear on this first track Lil Baby is a cut above. I don’t know if he’s the king but that’s not my call to make. He’s got a slippery flow, you can understand what he’s rhyming and he still melts it and makes it play doh his style is interesting. It’s a pretty stripped arrangement which works to center his shit. The second track opens with some half cheesy piano and guitar before Lil Baby hops in and starts throwing around strong statements about his lifestyle and what he does when he gets in the joint. I think the key here is how he just rhymes right in the middle of these beats, he’s rhythmically in and out like a boxer. Lil Baby ain’t lazy, he’s a craftsman.
@@@ M.I.A.: MATA (Island, 2022) Off the front page of Apple Music’s new music playlist it opens crazy energetic with big ensemble hand drumming before it gives way to a children’s chorus. M.I.A.’s no fucks given vibe remains undefeated, she really does not give a fuck. The second tune is Freedom is a State of Mind Part 2 and it settles into a slightly ethnically flavored electro track with fat bass and M.I.A. rhymes. It recycles some sounds from the previous track which is Freedom is a State of Mind Part 1. I like this as it rides the fine line between structure and total blown out chaos. I can’t say that I absolutely love the children’s chorus in each track but it’s part of the package and her flow. Tons of energy, plenty of weirdness, a healthy amount of non American sounds and cultures, overall a version of mainstream culture I think is not meaningless.
@@@ DERYA YILDIRIM AND GRUP SIMSEK: Dost 2 (Bongo Joe/Catapulte). I got to this record via WRIR’s playlist email. There are a couple of pre-release tracks up on the Apple Music and the one I’m listening to is clipped below and it’s a ’70s flavored French art school rock kinda thing. A most excellent and active bass player up in here, he/she/they are all over the place. I like the female singer, she’s a bit sad and dramatical but for me it’s the spongy (in a good way) arrangement with weird sci fi organ, occasional acoustic guitar strums. Someone takes a harpsichord patch sounding solo and right there it’s prog/arty bona fides are punched. I like it.
@@@ EL COMBO BATANGA: El Que La Rompe La Paga (Lovemonk, 2022). To my ears this seems to be old school flavored salsa but these guys are labelled as Latin funk on the interwebz when I went to see where they’re from. Let’s not bitch about labels as these guys pump the energy on this single I got to via WRIR’s weekly playlist. The singer sounds like he’s enjoying himself which does not occur as often as you would think in music and there are a couple of very catchy horn breaks. Towards the last third of the track the background vocals come in call and response style to nudge the energy up a bit higher. It’s a high end track for sure.
@@@ Macula Dog: Neosporin (Wharfcat, 2022) My last listen off this week’s Pitchfork 10 most reviewed albums of the week. I think this is trying to be really weird electronic music and it mostly succeeds at it. It’s a bit light and could be weirder if it had some rough sounds. When it does have rough sounds like a blasting bass it’s much better. It reminds of some stoned out Devo flavors rammed through a blenderizer, I like parts of it but overall it’s missing something for me. Some meaning and/or reason for all these sounds. It’s interesting to listen to it pass through but if it had some message or meaning to it besides the sounds it could be really powerful.
@@@ Orchestra Gold: African Psychedelic Rock (Self-released, 2022) Music publicist email. I’m not sure what’s going on with this record as I got an email about it yesterday but Apple Music has it with a 2017 release date so weird. I like aspects fo this guitar heavy first track most notably the sax player going against the grain and the rhythm section. The second tune is a burner at a much higher tempo and sounds less claggy than the opener. The singer is pumped on this track. I like the production here it’s very crunchy and aggressive and the third tune is the best of what I heard. I kinda wish the guitar player was wilder and didn’t stay in the pocket so much. The drummer and the bass player are tight tight tight so he could just roll out and shred but he only goes halfway. Oh no, he’s getting out there in his third track solo c’mon go crazy bruv! I am finishing this post and see that their new single is up on Apple Music and I reviewed their older record so that clarifies that.
@@@ Robert Chaney: Breath (Self-released, 2020) A last listen off a Guardian list of pandemic music discoveries. It is slotted as Americana on Apple Music and it is that. Old school style with a very John Prine-y sounding voice. Just vocals and melodic electric guitar. It’s got a clever vocal hook, clever as in literary, not clever as in hipster irony. This is the kind of America I want to live in. Surprisingly catchy guitar playing, he’s got it all going here.
@@@ Sophie Birch/Antonina Nowacka: Pripugale (Mondoj, 2022) An ambient release off this week’s Pitchfork’s 10 most reviewed albums of the week. The video below is the seventh track on the record and it opens with large strums of a (guessing) zither and a warbly female voice. It is a very ambient sound right here on this record but it’s an old school parlor folk flavored thing, though some more ambient stuff is being added to the strums. It’s interesting in its oddness and I dig some of that background business. I’m giving a quick listen to another track, lotta tape hiss which is cool and a tad annoying at the same time. It’s not really my cup of tea, I love ambient music, and I like folk music but I’m not sure I need them blended in this way.