@@@ Demonstealer: The Propaganda Machine (Demonstealer, 2023). I got to this record via Invisible Oranges upcoming releases section. It’s a quickie record with three medium sized bangers and the star here is the guitarist, both the tone and the performance. That’s not to put down the drummer or the singer it’s just where my ear is pulled. The pace is breakneck and while the second track opens up with a big melody it’s just as brutal. A second layer of guitar comes in over the jank melody and it’s very melodically three dimensional and really nice. If you’re up for some metal these guys bring it fo sho. It’s a quick review because I’m frightened:)
@@@ Gel: Violent Closure (Atomic Action!, 2023) This is off the same list in the non-metal sections. This hardcore comes off as positively poppy after the Demonstealer release above which dives right in with the sonic beatdown. I’m on the second track, the title track, and while it blazes as hardcore the bouncy ass pogo factor is high which might get more listeners involved. Who am I kidding, hardcore scares the normies. It’s just music, ya normies. Loud, distorted music but just music. These are all right around 2 minute tracks, small medium chunks of distortion, I would recommend starting with Bitchmade and going from there.
@@@ Jenny Lewis: Psychos (Blue Note, 2023) Oy, this is on Blue Note, somewhat shocking! Hipster goes legit on a legendary imprint. I’ve clicked on her last two releases and they were both on Warner so she’s not an indie hipster, my mistake! This is a pretty straightforward California chill rock typa thing. It’s a mashup of light Joni Mitchell feels as well as the ‘Stuck in the Middle With You’ Gerry Rafferty but not as inspired as Senor Rafferty. It’s perfectly fine, to my ears it doesn’t really stand out but some folks aren’t looking for that.
@@@ Hus Kingpin: The Tricky Tape (Wave Runners Club, 2023) I got to this independent hip hop track via a music publicist email. This is some retro NYC hip hop and the MC has a scratchity-ass tone to his voice that produces a rough flavor. The third track Blueprint picks up the tempo a bunch with a bouncing horn line for the MC to work a bit quicker. The third tune, Maxinquaye, is a real tear jerker with strings the boom bap. I don’t love strings in hip hop but if it comes with the boom bap I can deal with it.
@@@ Doug Paisley: Say What You Like (Outside, 2023) I got to this chill sitch, hippie-ish country music via this week’s All Music notable release email. The energy does indeed stretch into super stoned out Grateful Dead territory. Interestingly there’s a pretty noticeable Dire Straits kinda thing going and that vibe smashed into the Grateful Dead flavors is not common. What’s old is new again as a classic Dead type guitar solo kicks off in the third tune Wide Open Plain. I don’t usually get into this kind of music but there’s something charming and authentic to my ears in this record. If you like the description I’ve laid forth here then check it out, there’s some hippie redneck chill on offer here.
@@@ Nell Mescal: In My Head (LAB Records, 2023) I’m running into a lot of super huge, dramatical female singer songwriter rock in the last buncha days. This single, which I got to via the Line of Best Fit is right in there, tense in the verse, contemplative and then blasting off in the chorus with the vocal hook that about it all being in her head. The sounds are rooted in ’80s rock, sorta simple stuff with synths layered over the top.
@@@ Lucinda Chua: An Ocean (4AD, 2023) Today’s listens are off this week’s All Music notable release email and we’re doing female Monday and listening bottom to top so this is my second listen of the day. The opener is keyboard driven, it’s also quite emotionally dramatical, with stacks of background vocals which I’m usually a bit skeptical of. I like the keyboard parts and some of the electronic sounds. The second tune opens up with a huge swell, it’s just massive — porn star sized. I’m finishing up my listen with the tune ‘You’, more keyboard with electro bits and very dramatical vocalizations. I’ll tell you this much I dig it a lot more than usual 4AD releases. I might not be ready for this high level of feelings and drama but I’ve often been accused of being dead inside.
@@@ Caroline Rose: Miami (New West, 2023) Off this week’s All Music notable release email. The first track Love/Lover/Friend goes from an in the bedroom acoustic guitar lo fit thing, to soaring vocals, a string arrangement, and big big feels. The second track, Rebirth, comes on with the sly electro and more intimate vocals which may or may not morph into something huge. I am now listening the tune clipped below. I think Rose is a talented arranger and she definitely uses changes and instruments to keep the vibe fresh but there’s an overly dramatical feel oozing in at certain points. If the big feels were a bit smaller I would go for it more. I can see this working for a fair number of people, it’s got some creativity into it even if I don’t love everything about it.
@@@ Yoshimioizumikiyoshiduo: YosunnyO (Thrill Jockey, 2023) This organic electric record is off this week’s All Music notable release email. The first track, clipped below, is a blend of janky piano and electronic sounds. It has a loose and improvised feel and I’m into it. It does appear to have a structure but it’s certainly no dictated by a drum machine pattern. I’m enjoying its very organic nature and am surfing on the changes and vibes it traverses through. It’s a bit challenging to describe these tunes, they meander but have focus, they have various sounds that come and go and the feel intentional. That’s about what I have for you on this record, I’m enjoying it.
@@@ Bryozone: Eye of Delirious (Muscut, 2022) This is some ambient music I got to via this week’s 10 most reviewed albums email via Pitchfork. It is much like life as the first tune opens with a short and sweet melody before the dissonance and the darker feels become much more apparent. The second tune Sub Nautica brings in the rhythm and that bigly changes a lot of stuff — for me at least. It’s got a slight video game quality to it due to retro sounds but there’s some nice thickness to the beats. I see how a record can be both ambient and dabble heavily in video game sounds, I like it all right, but I guess I’m old school and think the straight ambient clouds/drones is just another level. This is more robot r&b and there ain’t no shame in that!
@@@ Lana Del Rey: Did you know there is a tunnel under Ocean Blvd (Polydor, 2023) The Apple Music blurb says something interesting about Ms. Del Rey — each record steadily amplifies her own mythology. To make music primarily to be self involved, sad face. Yowsa! What an awful thing to say about an artist, in my dumbass opinion. The first tune, The Grants, contains a soaring string part and the vibe here is one of high end production and bummered out lyrics. The strings recede a bit in the second track, the title track, and the bummer piano and vocals step forward. She can sing, the recording is quite high end but I’ve never really believed a word she has to say, there’s a certain detachment and coldness to the proceedings. I guess there’s some sort of excitement and mystery in trying to figure out who and what she intends or means but honestly I could give a fuck and I have no clue why anyone would volunteer for this wash.
@@@ Fall Out Boy: So Much for Stardust (Elektra, 2023) Much of what is wrong with America can be found in Fall Out Boy’s music. Overly dramatical and pretty much meaningless like a birthday balloon that slowly loses all the air pumped into it. I’m not sure what to say here. The time and energy put into this music could have been deployed much more efficiently in battling climate change. Oy. Oy. I’m sure they’re great people and they didn’t mean to bit Queen’s Another One Rides the Bus so hard in the third track, but they did in the verse.
@@@ Yves Tumor: Praise A Lord That Chews But Does Not Consume (Warp, 2023) Off this week’s All Music notable release email. It opens brashly in a rocking with electronics manner, a grizzy bass rock manner, not super guitar oriented. Also glam feels though he works a down and out vibe on the microphone. Definitely taking a Nine Inch Nails book and rewriting and editing it a bit. Like the energy, like the bass sounds, the beats are meh, his vocals, well he definitely gives me the impression that he really aspires/wants to be a rock star. Would I call him that? It’s in the gray area. I was more bullish until he hits the power chords on the third track Meteora Blues, and then you see the cheese ooze out of the sandwich onto the plate. I half like it all right, half of it I find annoying.
@@@ MSPAINT: Post America (Convulse, 2023) A mashup of hard, riff rock, punk sensibility and white boy hip hop that I got to via Pitchfork’s 10 most reviewed albums of the week. It’s got a lot of energy and some interesting layers but I’m not jumping up and down. The second tune, Think It Through, gets into a pretty familiar post rock territorial. I like what the singer is doing, but he could rock another flow and then return. There are moments here very reminiscent of Rage Against the Machine but with less funk and I have to say the record might lift off if the singer was more flavorful. He’s a bit 1 trick pony and if he had more moves it would make for more exciting proceedings.
@@@ Death and Vanilla: Looking Glass (Fire Records, 2023) Apple Music has this slotted as alternative and All Music’s weekly notable release email has it slotted as neo-psychedelia. While it has psychedelic threads to it, Apple Music has it correct here — it’s chill and slightly weird guitar indie. Jangly guitars, smooth female singer. Let’s get our labels correct people! I like it all right.
@@@ Emilia Torrini: Racing the Storm (Bella Union, 2023) I try to listen to Bella Union releases as they release interesting stuff. This is some orchestral leaning singer songwriter with heavy atmospherics. I’m on the second track and I think the sounds are more engaging than her singing, but that’s just me. She’s got a standard and solid flow on the microphone and she’s got these Colorist Orchestra folks behind her and they got a nice blend of vibes, tinkly percussion and strings going, it’s pretty full on. Upright bass as well, makes it more jazz like and they do seem to be going for a version of a big band situation here. This is for folks who want to feel a bit sophisticated, you know folks with good jobs who want shit chill and pretty wrapped. It does however also sport a reasonable amount of sophistication.