Music for 1/31/23!!! Sightless Pit

@@@ Sightless Pit: Lockstep Bloodwar ( , 2023) Album of the day over at the ol’ bandcamp! It’s a coupla gents who work in the heavy music area and looks to be a side project. There are heavy music elements here and after that the most prominent genre is electro. So it’s heavy electro, not a lot of guitars in this opener Resin on a Knife, but a lot of static and distortion. Also a lot of guest vocalists on this record and that really changes the listener experience. In the bandcamp blurb there’s a statement that these guys are alchemists of heavy music. There’s some nice sound combinations here but I think that may be more than a bit hyped. I’m listening to the title track of this record and give it a solid B. I don’t think it’s alchemy for me.

Music for 1/30/23!!!! Vanessa Rossetto, Tigercub

@@@ Vanessa Rossetto: 1-4 early girl (Erstwhile Records, 2022) This could be my last listen off this Stereogum best of experimental records list as I have not been as impressed with this list as other Stereogum best of year lists. This is the fourth track on the record and it appears to be a spliced or long running field recording of folks in an urban environment. Maybe or maybe not on the urban part. I’m about halfway through and it definitely feels spliced with radio excerpts, vehicle sounds, etc. I like the handful of big jumps in environment that you you experience during the track but I’d like more going on here.

@@@ Tigercub: The Perfume of Decay (N/A, 2023) I got to this arena sized guitar driven rock via a music publicist. It’s most notable for the guitar shredding as wells as the contrast of soft dare I say shoegaze-y vocal stylings. The rhythm guitar is pretty standard with growling tones and big splashy rock drumming. I really like how the long, descending, somewhat rock star/somewhat non-rock star guitar riff drives the whole track and lifts it. I wish they had done a bit more in other areas but normie mainstream music can roll like that, it usually does.

Music for 1/29/23!!! Maya Shenfeld, Elias Moreno and Daniel Del Rio

@@@ Maya Shenfeld: Body, Electric (Thrill Jockey, 2022) This is the #1 record on Stereogum’s best experimental records of 2022. It’s synth-y, with the track below opening with both a chruch-y feel as well as a video game style arpeggiator. I like the contrast of the dronier and thicker tones with the bouncing arpeggiator (all arpeggiators bounce!!!) but to say this is experimental music is a tad weird. It’s presented entirely straightforwardly and is quite easy to ingest and enjoy as music. I’m not saying that music should be any particular thing but it should be described accurately. Hence it’s release on a fairly large indie label, Thrill Jockey.

@@@ Elias Moreno and Daniel Del Rio: Structures for Wave Field Analysis (N/A, 2022) Another record off Stereogum’s best experimental records of 2022. The recording consists of 6 structures and this first one is pretty active a lot of whooshing and glitching and percussive sounds in the mix. I can’t say I’m super engaged so let me peep the next track.The second track is much more mechanically themed, I like it. The third track is the most dynamic one I’ve heard up until this point. It’s got a sci fi monster feel to it. To be honest I like what’s here but I don’t think it’s particularly adventurous or unique in it’s structure or exectution.

Music for 1/28/23!!! altopalo

@@@ altopalo: Frenemy (N/A, 2023) At first blush this is a happy marriage of indie feels and electronic sounds, with bedroom lofi but not lofi colliding with a computer. On this first track I dig the strange reverb on the voice and the bass player, the drummer is not there to be killing it. The second track featuring a guest singer takes a guitar and turns it percussive. I’m on the third track now and the ambience rules here. Lotsa space on the sounds most notably the voice which gives the whole thing an alienated feel to mix in with the prettiness. The title track is in slot 4 and it’s a peak for the formula. If you’re a fan of rawk and rock and rockin’ this is not for you. I don’t love all of it, it’s a lot of feelings and prettiness but I respect how it’s put together.

Music for 1/27/23!!! Bassidi Kone, Young Fathers

@@@ Bassidi Kone: Kaira (Self-released, 2023) Oh man, if you’re up for some insane hand drumming to start or continue your day, check this guy. The music itself is very very layered with multiple string players, a strong female singer, electric bass, and a lot of rhythm tracks. I skipped to the next track, An Ka Ben, which throws an African marimba and a horn section into the mix. Oh Lord, it’s an incredible stew with the hand drumming slicing through like crazy. That’s right like crazy is an acceptable music review term. The playing here is at a very very high level and it is a unique listening experience. The large ensemble sound of all musicians playing organically is beautiful.

@@@ Young Fathers: Heavy Heavy (Ninja Tune, 2023) Off this week’s All Music notable release email. These guys are black (Afro-British and they bring a little swing and black music tradition to their mash of rock and mainstream music. I correct myself, this is not rock, it’s pop rock music with big melodies. I like the energy and I like the vocal melodies but I need more. I can see this going somewhat big here in the America with the epic pop music fans.

Music for 1/26/23!!!! Juanita Euka, Mass Konpa

@@@ Juanita Euka: Mboka Moko (Strut, 2022) A coupla listens off WRIR’s weekly playlist email. A female singer from the Congo, the second song (clipped below) opens with lush production, French vocals and a nice quasi-chicken scratch guitar before it slips into English vocals and a smooth, fusion-y groove. All right-y I’m guessing a lot of folks dig this style and the part of it close to Earth Wind and Fire I do dig. Let’s peep more. Ooh, the third track comes out as an African salsa jam and I dig that. Big swaggering horns, lots of rhythms, and again with the vocals in English. I would prefer non-English vocals but that’s just me. I respect the band here, especially the guitarist who is constantly catching my ear but the songs aren’t landing with me. Of course, they might for you. Track 4, Suenos de Libertad, is the most heartfelt track of the three I checked out. I would start with that track and go from there.

@@@ Mass Konpa: Sans Regret (Self-released, 2023) This is some Haitain band music though it is classified as hip hop on Apple Music. Oy. The tempo is semi-laidback, the rhythms are thick and the singer is smooth. I don’t love the soprano sax but that’s a pet peeve of mine. Let’s check a coupla other tracks. The third track, Gad on F anm, is even sweeter — I imagine it’s some sort of ballad and I like it less than the previous one. I really like Haitian music but I think this is just a bit too smooth and poppy for my taste.

Music for 1/25/23!!! Carthnage, Abstract Illusion

@@@ Carthnage & Toya Delazy: Umoya (Rebel Up, 2023) Some hip and funky Afrorave business off a small label in the UK that does world/electro/funk/jass. It really pumps when the singer begins in earnest. You get four on the floor as well as hand drumming and some high frequency sauce over the top. It’s got a lot of energy and does rise and fall in various sections. Fat bass sounds as you would expect but always nice to get that bumpin’ bass. The singer on these dancefloor tracks can often be neutral or just a garnish for listeners but the singer here adds to the track and I appreciate that.

@@@ Abstract Illusion: Slaves (Willowtip, 2022) Some proggy metal off a best of 2022 list, the list I found Ashenspire’s new record on. This first track opens up with strings, piano and ocean waves before the battering ram comes in. There are some big bangers on here, an 11+ minute banger as well as a 14+ minute bomb — I didn’t like the opener but the second track (clipped below) is pretty brutal with some uplifting guitar melodies and moments. I’m super into this second tune, they’re pushing it around and keeping the listener on their toes while they basically show off. Now they’ve downshifted into a Rush type tiny section and they’re out of that back into the thrash but with a few details changed. This is most definitely not background music, these guys leave it all out on the floor and they’re not committed to one musical idea so pay attention and put your metal hat on. In general I don’t like records where the opener is vastly different from what follows after so the opener here kind of served as a distraction for me as the bulk of the record is banging.

Music for 1/24/23!!! Maria Chiara Argiro

@@@ Maria Chiara Argiro: Forest City (Innovative Leisure, 2022) Some indie electronic I got to via the recording magazine Tape Op. Btw, Tape Op is tremendous toilet reading material, try it! This is slack and interesting with cloudy synths, classic mopey singing and quirky drum machine programming. What do I like here? Some of the cutting and some of the sonic manipulation though the artist went to the speed slowing plugin a bit too much. I don’t love the singing, it’s very indie with not a lot of energy. Overall it’s all right, nothing for me to jump up and down over but if this formula works for you then check it out!

Music for 1/23/23!!! Oddisee, Brainiac

@@@ Oddisee: Hard To Tell (Other Note, 2023) We’re starting to see new releases for 2023 and I’ve checked Mr. Oddisee a few years ago and his skills are as fearsome and complex as ever. He mugs the microphone over intensely composed arrangements — the bassline and keyboard guitar figure in this first track are not typical. The second track How Far, is funkier with the same intense rhyming style. He’s both hardcore in his approach as well as high end in his aspirations. I’m really feeling this third tune, Many Hats as he backs off verbally a tad and brings some slink to it. Oh shit, the fourth tune, To What End, is even better so the album is gathering steam in my eyes. I’m guessing this gent has extensive musical training, his shit is just ferociously skilled, intellectually, technically, his arrangements are thick and super focused and then he piles on with his words, it’s almost overwhelming. There’s a nerdy aspect to his intellectualism for sure and I wish there was more grit, but as far as I can tell he’s closer to being a jazz musician than a hip hop guy. Impressive.

@@@ Brainiac: Predator Nominate (Touch and Go, 2022) I saw the Touch and Go imprint and thought this was gonna be some old school roughness and you do get half a slice with the grizzy bass but there’s plenty of cloudy retro synths and drum machine beats from another era on tap here. I don’t know if your world needs more Nine Inch Nails inspired inspired aggro dance music but my world is agnostic on it. It’s getting crunchier as I get to the third tune.

Music for 1/20/23!!! Siv Jakobsen, Molly Payton

@@@ Siv Jakobsen: Gardening (Nordic Mellow, 2023) Some Scandinavian normie indie folk off this week’s Line of Best Fit. Outside of the vocal arrangements it’s pretty sparse but there are layers of voacl here. As the opener moves through its paces it does build in layers and sounds building to a climax I did not witness, I clicked through. This second tune, Romain’s Place, is more of a coffee shop adult alternative track. Chill drums, big feels in the vocals, this is most definitely for the white people out there. The big feeling out of touch white people. I think this is well done, it’s not my favorite jam and I liked the tunes where there is less.

@@@ Molly Payton: Do it the Same (Bug Records, 2022) Starts out as a retro grunge-y rocker and then slams a big ol’ modern pop vocal hook in the chorus over the crunch and the splashy drumming. There are some strings (?) in the back and a few vocal tracks with the result being an updtated grunge banger. I’m agnostic as I don’t love the vocals but in general it’s interesting to hear these melodies and this aproach over the big rock feels. I like the second track Handle much more, she shoulda put this ballad-y rough-ish nugget at the top of the EP, the formula works much better here.