@@@ Spice: Send It Up (VP Music, 2021) A little Beyonce, a bit of Lizzo, and a whole bunch of Nikki Minaj in yer face strong punani style. The arrangements are all electro and it’s all for the dancefloor bangin’. I’m clicking around the tracks for this record called 10, and it’s a lot of female sexuality and a lot of electro dancehall, and I mean a lot. I think I was most drawn in by the track with the video clipped below, though it’s not for the kids and it’s NSFW. Spice is unapologetically out there throwing her punani around and daring folks to step to it.
@@@ Deep Fried Dub & SK Simeon: Waliwo Abakaaba (Dubmission, 2021) Finishing up our Friday with a last listen off this week’s WRIR weekly playlist email. Somebody took a pretty lush drum machine dub arrangement and threw some loverboy African singing over it. It produces a pretty interesting listener experience. There’s a tune and a dubbed out version of the tune but the tune itself has plenty of dub elements. This is not your standard old school Jamaican half gangster dub business, it’s super friendly. I like how the voice and the sounds go together and bring freshness.
@@@ Kero Kero Bonito: Civilisation Fable (Polyvinyl, 2021) Second day in a row listening off this week’s All Music notable release email. I’m checking out a few of the tunes on this record and it opens with Battle Lines, an ’80s anchored tune with plenty of pep in its step. Classic synth sounds with a bit of keyboard shred in between verses. The next tune, When the Fires Come, sports the same classic synth sounds but the tempo and the arrangement is a step down in energy. This more romantic banger is well executed but it’s not a set of sounds I love. Remember it’s my blog and I get to say shit like that. The third track brings up the layered percussion setup again. These guys sure have arranging skills but it’s more for others who dig this flow.
@@@ Pokey LaFarge: Get it ‘Fore It’s Gone (New West, 2021) A pre-release single off Pokey LaFarge’s new record which comes out on October 15. Imma huge Pokey LaFarge fan and I was hoping this single didn’t disappoint. I’m happy to report that this is a catchy and pretty stylish track with Pokey’s trademark humor, sarcasm and partyistic ways. Everything about Pokey’s delivery and body language on the cover says this is all tongue in cheek, he’s both there and not there at the same time. Nothing that LaFarge does really breaks any trails and that’s fucking fine — he’s got smart, super focused arrangements and he sells his songs in a super entertaining manner. In a normal society Pokey LaFarge would be a huge star. Great tune, hoping the rest of the record hangs with this.
@@@ Ayuune Sule: Don’t Be Lazy (Ayuune Sule, 2021) I got to this track via an email from one of the three labels that collaborated on this release. It contains elements from Ghanaian fra fra music and that brings me to my one of my favorite releases from the 2010’s, Guy One. Lots of energy here, lots of rhythm, lots of vocals, lots of everything. The sounds are very nice, the recording is good, but the arrangement is king here. Very sophisticated and complex. I will circle back on this full record when I get the chance and while I think it will not displace Guy One’s record as the king of fra fra for me this is good shit and folks should check it out. I’m on the fifth tune, Fighting Music, and there are a lot of references to Rastafari, which I find interesting, super interesting.
@@@ Hatchie: This Enchanted (Secretly Canadian, 2021) I got to this via a music publicist email and it’s being marketed as transportive, oh really? It’s very 1980’s which isn’t great for me, but after hinting she dives in with a storm of sounds for a bit before the pop vocals hit for that big hit. So big blast of sound and super huge-a-fied vocals and you get the formula. I think of Secretly Canadian as being one of the kings of indie and this is not indie at all, it’s pretty much pop money making. It’s arranged well, I shouldn’t go on for long on this, this is music for normies with a tad of shitstorm thrown in for the hipsters. Meh.
@@@ Maria Isabel: Baby (Warner, 2021) Both of today’s listens are off this week’s Line of Best Fit. It opens up mellow and a bit melancholy as the character in the track is protecting her lover. The lyrics revolve around this idea. A little vocalizing in Spanish at points. Her singing is mostly restrained though in the chorus she gets a very big and rich reverb where she sings baby and then ‘I will die for you’ coming after that. I like the synth that sounds like a guitar that opens the track and I don’t like the chorus that much. It’s musty dark cheese. I guess these major label tracks (I listened from bottom to top today) feel they have to really bring the Avenger style emotional drama to get attention — I just find it hollow. There are some real nice elements to the track, I think the chorus just got a bit out of hand.
@@@ YUNGLBUD: fleabag (Interscope, 2021) Here we have a major label pop punk punker complete with a droopy red schmohawk. I don’t know how the folks who made this track can sleep at night because they bit Nirvana in a shameful manner here. Bits of more than two of their big hits are up in heah, I can’t bother myself to list the instances but it’s true. Shameful. He’s a self-hating fleabag but the presentation is crunchy, Rolls Royce high end. Oy society can be so confusing. I guess some fans of Nirvana might feel this while I think many more would be horrified at the mugging that has occurred here.
@@@ Park Hye Jin: Before I Die (Ninja Tune, 2021) A self admitted mashup of many different music styles — techno, hip hop, dance business sung and rapped in English and Korean. The first tune, Let’s Sing Let’s Dance has a really nice feel to it when Jin hits the mic with her vocals. Her English is way better than my Korean and the plainness of her style contrasts well with the beats and the piano/keys. I think if you’re looking for a huge statement record you might find different statements here — from the opener of Let’s Sing Let’s Dance to I Need You to Good Morning Good Night to Can I Get Your Number. I like the beats here, they’re lively and tend to the skittery. Both of the tracks I’ve checked have fully fleshed out piano chord progressions at their core. I’m not usually a fan of that but I dig it here. I like this, I’m not jumping up and down but it’s interesting and fresh.
@@@ Mankwe & Body MemOri: under inside/climbing (Auspice Now, 2021). I found this free jazz with strong pan-African flavors via a bandcamp best of tweet page. I’ve looked pretty extensively on Apple Music for the record but could not locate it. This track is almost 10 minutes long and while it has a female vocalist these are not standard vocals and the description for the track seems to be an attempt to give all manner of things that come out of the human body — memories, emotions, histories, other bodies (that last one is my add). The instrumentation is bass, cello, drums and vocals and I think it’s an abstract musical approach that’s abstract in the way it connects to very concrete things. There’s a section that seems closer to a jazz scat but it’s still not words and I dig that. It’s not particularly confrontational jazz as some free jass can be quite skronky, this is more piecemeal and internal. Hard to put into words but if it’s something that sounds interesting you could check it out. The last third of the track really percolates.
@@@ HAMDI BENANI, MEDHI HADDAB AND SPEED CARAVAN: Achek Mamhoun (Nuba Nova/Buda Musique, 2021) I can’t recall off the top of my head how I got to this release, oh yeah it was from WRIR in Virginia. A most excellent indie radio station. I read a bit about this artist, he passed from the Covid last year at 77 years of age and on this record he combined traditional musics with more modern sounds. There’s plenty of rock going on in here, even some metal flavors, and this is the best rock track I’ve heard in a bit. The production is pretty exquisite, the arrangement is fully pimped and with most all African and North African the music is a rhythmically exquisite stew. It’s a large ensemble with violin, two electric guitars, drum kit, hand drums, the whole schlemiel. Even some marimba/hammered keyboard typa thing. I say check this shit out, it’s hip as hell. Probably one of the best rock tracks I’ve heard in a long time. Pretty tasty guitar solo at 3:30 so don’t pull out early.
Edited to show my misspelling of the artist’s name which led to my false clain that this record is not up on Apple Music. More of a misstatement than a claim and no disrespect intended regarding incorrect spelling.
@@@ Jared Rabin:Hey Mister Doctor (N/A, 2021) I got to this recently released bluegrass business via a Midwestern music publicist. This particular song, Hey Mister Doctor, is a funny Covid track with lyrics reflecting common Covid struggles during 2020 when Covid was more feared and somehow quainter. The playing here is quite energetic and high quality and Rabin’s voice is a bit ragged (which I like) and he sings in a straightforward style that enhances the playing. I like this a whole bunch and am listening to more of it as I finish up this pocket review. This record is not up on the Apple Music so you will have to head over to the bandcamp jungle. (Reminder a day later — it is up on Apple Music!!!) Don’t get lost and shit.
@@@ Meatbodies: Reach for the Sunn (In the Red, 2021) Oh boy, I haven’t heard fuzzy ass guitars like this for more than a bit. Fillin’ up that stereo field with static and noise they open this track which opens the record. Then some kinda uber white boy soft rock voices in there. Around 1:30 the drums come in with a melody and while I like the stabbing melody the drum part is low in the mix and a tad boring. Sorry drummer dude. The second tune evokes some ’70s era British rock, maybe late Beatles and a bit of the ol’ Led Blimpin’, but overall I think they should sharpen up their chops before running up that steep hill.
@@@ Iron Maiden: Senjutsu (Sanctuary, 2021) A classic metal banger, 8 minutes of classic metal to be exact and the singer, oy the singer! Epicness, soaring moments accompanied by the guitar player and it’s just hot metal spray cheese. I’m about 2 minutes in and I think I’ll be lucky to make it to 4 minutes. It’s not that I hate it, it’s just not for me, it’s not the kind of metal I enjoy. I like the drumming, the guitar is solid, I guess they helped pioneer this super shreddy style, I’m no expert on metal history. The chorus is just so extra, the echo of the guitar and the singer, oy! I made it three minutes and 45 seconds, that’s pretty good.
@@@ Scorpion Kings X TRESOR: Folasade ( , 2021) Off a list of best songs of 2021 via Esquire. Weird, right? Those musc PR people will stuff every hole! Oy, I can’t find this track on Apple Music so I will be forced to check it out via the GooglePimpTube video below. It opens dancefloor unt-tsss with some lush keyboard vamping. The Scorpion Kings are from South Africa and they have a Congolese on the mic for this 14 track effort. The parts are pretty straight techno but between the additions and the more intangible rhythmic influences it ends up a blend of techno and world music. Ye ol’ Google refers to it as amapiano. I’ve switched from the GooglePimpTube to Apple Music where the audio is better and it’s a 2019 effort. I like the smoothness of the keys in contrast to added rhythms. If you’re looking for some slightly different fanny shaking music, well then check this out.
@@@ Scratchcard Lanyard: Dry Cleaning (4AD, 2021) The opening track off the record and it comes out….krauty, rocky, sonically 1980s and angular. Oh, this is gonna be a test of my hard drive — this track bites an old track, what is it? A little bit of ‘I might like you better if we slept together’ from the Motels — it’s got that vibe to it. It’s a bit of a midway track — using rock sounds, but not really rocking, it comes off as art school rock preening. Ironically I would pay more attention to the lyrics if the band was more compelling and played with more urgency. This one looks set to go right into rotation at the supermarket.
@@@ Zach Phillips: Feed a Pigeon, Breed a Rat (La Loi, 2021) Today’s listens are off a rando Bandcamp best of July (I think) list. I love bandcamp, promo is a bit janky but what isn’t janky these days? A guest on each song here, and when the player starts it sounds like an indie Frank Zappa fusion-y weirdo flow. It’s nice to hear somebody play a guitar with some intention and power but overall this opening track is a bit too proggy for my taste. I like the second tune, and the guest singer, a bit more. The female singer here fits better into the sounds here. I’m guessing there’s some Berklee School of Music hanging round here. I’ve sampled parts of three tunes here and this one’s for the jazz rock nerds, have at it people!
@@@ Sally Decker: In the Tender Dream (NNA Tapes, 2021) I haven’t grokked a great electronic record for a bit, I’m always in for one. This one opens up with some processed spoken word/breathy crunched up clouds. It’s okay. The second tunes comes in with a statick-y blast, a low thumping sound, and what sounds like a loop! More vocals bitcrushed into bits of all things, suprisingly. Kibble and bits. These come across as chunks rather than as structured pieces. I don’t always need structured pieces, but if the sounds are as abrasive as this, then maybe some would be all right with my ears. I think I’m going to move on as I like some of the sounds here but I don’t need vocals in my ambient electronic.