2017 Honorable Mention Pick 6

Oumou Sangare: Mogoya (No Format, 2017)

You know a record is bad ass when the sixth track kills it (I’ve clipped the sixth track as the second video below because Tony Allen’s track has to take first place).  She gets into a level of funk on that sixth track that most musicians can only dream of.

This is a full band record with kora, multiple background singers, synth and organ in places.  Sangare’s voice is strong and very pretty but it’s not a heaven sent African Whitney Houston kind of thing — not much soaring but her vocal arrangements are sophisticated, very sophisticated.  It’s not an Afrobeat nor an African power trio rock record like Noura Mint Seymali and her crew but there is some guitar shredding and some large ensemble vibes.

Start with the two tunes I’ve clipped below as they’re my favorites on the record and then go from there.

Best of 2017 Pick 6

Drone: Reversing Into the Future (Pomperipossa, 2017)

This ambient record that has been on my listening list for a little over the year gets called up to the ‘best of’ list.  It is just right for me in terms of what I want from an ambient record.

It has a tasteful amount of long tones/ideas coming across the stereo field and they rotate at a speed where I’m engaged, enjoying what I’m listening to and eager to hear what’s next.  There are no cheesy sounds here, big fat cotton candy cloud synths but it’s not too annoyingly industrial and dark.  It has a pleasant combination of sounds — some nice long high energy particulate matter, some metallic grinding, some motor like noises and some, of course, drones.

There six tracks on the record and they’re all titled This Strange Life 1, This Strange Life 2, etc.  Some of my favorite passages are on track four (clipped below for your listening convenience).  It all goes down like one giant cinematic piece with variations.

Check it out, it’s high quality ambient for ya earholes!

 

 

Music for 2/27/17!!! Steve Lacy, Power Trip, Rev. Sam Dixon

@@@ Steve Lacy: Steve Lacy’s Demo EP (Three Quarter, 2017)  An alt r&b record I got to via the Apple Music new music section.   And no, not Steve Lacy the sax player from the ’60s-’70s.  These first two tunes are centered around Lacy’s guitar playing and he’s got some sophisticated vocal arrangements in this second tune, Ryd.  The cover of the record has Mr. lacy sandwiched between a guitar and a bass so I’m thinking he programmed these beats and let fly with the rest of it.  It’s pretty good.  I would have dug some more variety of guitar tones as in maybe some Prince like guitar shredding.

@@@ Power Trip: Nightmare Logic (Southern Lord, 2017)  I checked the advance single and felt it so I’m back for more now that the full length banger is out.  Plus I’m a Southern Lord.  These guys have a militant vibe to their metal stomp with plenty of thrash drumming and some extreme Red Bull shredding in this first tune (clipped below).  I remember the Motorhead vibes these guys pump out like stale body odor.  The second tune, Executioner’s Song, brings on big stomp.  I’ve checked out four of the tunes here and I’m going to have to swing back on this record before I go burn somebody’s house down.

@@@ Rev. Sam Dixon: My Soul Says Yes (Manufactured, 2017)  Some old school gospel with r&b sprinklings that I got to via a music publicist email.  Some really beautiful gospel choir action and an interesting guitar player on this first tune.  The vibe here is super old school and I dig that.  If you, fabulous listener on this blog are not hip to the flavors of gospel and how much it has informed today’s soul/r&b music check out the reverend and get an earful for yourself.

YTD recordings listened to: 136
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 75
Not good music: 41

Buys: 0
Honorable Mentions: 1

Possibles: Chris McGregor, Dave Arner Trio, Zomby, Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Slidhr, The Chewers, Toxic Holocaust, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Lenguas Largas, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Fofoulah, Lozen, Erase Errata, Mastery, Leviathan, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, Janelle Monae, Luther Dickinson, Graeme Barrett, Fast Asleep, Goldlink, Cavanaugh, Gentleman Surfer, Satoko Fuji, Divanhana, Moken, Juan Atkins, Drone, Lantern, Twin Peaks, Djelimady Tounkara, The Oh Sees, Denny Zeitlin, MILF, Unfun, De La Soul, Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes, Magrudergrind, A Tribe Called Quest, Noname, Gouge Away, Anna Hogberg, Klara Lewis, Aethenor, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, James Brandon Lewis, Yotoco, Tinariwen, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Power Trip

Music for 2/20/17!!! Ibibio Sound Machine, Hunck, D.O.C.

@@@ Ibibio Sound Machine: Uyai (Merge, 2017)  This world music outfit has two tunes up on the Apple Music and this record is reviewed this week by WRIR in Virginia.  This first tune more than subtly bites Michael Jackson’s ‘Don’t Stop til you Get Enough’.  As WRIR says in the review these guys are trying to leave the world music ghetto and they’ve filed a lot of edges down here to get to mainstream listeners.  The energy is very high and the female singer is quite active on the mic.  I dig the rhythm section on this tune as well.  I guess I’m not feeling the synth hooks here, they’re not awful but they change the complexion and aspirations for the record.

@@@ Hunck: Little Women (Not sure, 2017)  I’ve been getting mad publicist emails about this band Hunck so I will give a peep and maybe a Trumpian pee.  Dance rock beats, medium strong ’80s rock vibes, and an aspiring porn star singer.  I’m feeling the drummer as he’s pulling off the sleazy vibes, but the guitar player, eh not so much.  Pretty standard stuff for the earholes.

@@@ D.O.C.: Parched Dredge EP (Iron Lung, 2017)  Some rough, sped up metal off this week’s CFUV playlist email.  Hardcore singer with a little caveman grunting, herky jerky sizzly guitars — quite an impressive wall of them actually.  And the drummer, somebody get the drummer a beverage he’s drumming his nuts off.  Thrashing about like a fish on the bottom of a boat.  The bass player lays down a bed of sweet stanky bass.  These are all 30 second to 1 minute blasts of hate, really quite well done.

YTD recordings listened to: 119
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 64
Not good music: 39

Buys: 0
Honorable Mentions: 0

Possibles: Chris McGregor, Dave Arner Trio, Zomby, Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Slidhr, The Chewers, Toxic Holocaust, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Lenguas Largas, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Fofoulah, Lozen, Erase Errata, Mastery, Leviathan, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, Janelle Monae, Luther Dickinson, Graeme Barrett, Fast Asleep, Goldlink, Cavanaugh, Gentleman Surfer, Satoko Fuji, Divanhana, Moken, Juan Atkins, Drone, Lantern, Twin Peaks, Djelimady Tounkara, The Oh Sees, Denny Zeitlin, MILF, Unfun, De La Soul, Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes, Magrudergrind, Acid Arab, A Tribe Called Quest, Noname, Gouge Away, Anna Hogberg, Klara Lewis, Aethenor, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, James Brandon Lewis, Yotoco, Tinariwen, Jungle Fire, Sandoz

Music for 2/5/17!!! Txema Riera, James Brandon Lewis

@@@ Txema Riera: Terror (Underpool, 2016).  A straight jazz record with Hammond organ, guitar and drums.  Man, I love a Hammon organ and this guy plays with flavor.  I dig the drummer as well, the guitar player’s tone not so much.  This first tune is mad mellow, it will help you digest any cheap meat you may be shoving in your pie hole during the Super Bowl.  The third tune, Walk Run! gets the tempo going but I don’t like that classic jazz guitar tone, especially in the face of Hammond organ tastiness.

@@@ James Brandon Lewis: No Filter (BNS Sessions, 2016)  I saw this sax player announced on a Roulette (Brooklyn performance club) email and though I’ve heard his music before Lewis and his trio comes flying out of the gate on this first tune.  His bass player sports a strong, fuzzy, non jazz fusion tone and the drummer is pumped on Red Bull.  I dig this, let’s peep more.  They’re smoking on this second tune, let’s see if these guys are going to blaze all the way through on this record.  He’s got a guitar player on this third track but it’s not this wet noodle tone, it’s more like a Sonny Sharrock tone but not quite as fly.   Imma gonna swing back on this record as these guys play with purpose here and I always appreciate that.

YTD recordings listened to: 80
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 48
Not good music: 23

Buys: 0
Honorable Mentions: 0

Possibles: Chris McGregor, Dave Arner Trio, Zomby, Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Slidhr, The Chewers, Toxic Holocaust, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Lenguas Largas, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Fofoulah, Lozen, Erase Errata, Mastery, Leviathan, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, Janelle Monae, Luther Dickinson, Graeme Barrett, Fast Asleep, Goldlink, Cavanaugh, Gentleman Surfer, Satoko Fuji, Divanhana, Moken, Juan Atkins, Drone, Lantern, Twin Peaks, Djelimady Tounkara, The Oh Sees, Denny Zeitlin, MILF, Unfun, De La Soul, Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes, Magrudergrind, Acid Arab, A Tribe Called Quest, Noname, Gouge Away, Anna Hogberg, Klara Lewis, Aethenor, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, James Brandon Lewis

9/6/16: Of Mice and Men, Alicia Keys, Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes

@@@ Of Mice & Men: Cold World ( , 2016)  I’m not sure I’m bright enough to know what metalcore is — it seems like a lot of bands like to have the word ‘core’ in their music.  This first tune opens up proggy but I expect if it’s metalcore there’s a crush on the horizon.  The sound of the record is meticulous, not my favorite flavor of metal but I can deal.  The drum sound is powerful but I’m not super feeling the singer and I can use some more chaos.

@@@ Alicia Keys: Back to Life (RCA, 2016)  I really dug an Alicia Keys tune earlier in the year.  Better than Queen Bey.  Less about the drama and more about the music.  The tune morphs from a dramatic mostly piano/vox tune to a pop electro tune in the second half.  It’s all right.  It’s from a movie so those tunes tend to be worse than better.

@@@ Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes: Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes (Super Secret Records, 2016).  Off this week’s CFUV weekly playlist email.   Some post-rock/post-punk I got to via this week’s CFUV weekly playllist.  This first tune is a nice, choppy mess with a mad singer.  It’s not on the art school noise tip, it’s not metal, it’s not straight punk, it’s revved up punky stoner rock.  I like the singer, he’s a desperate dink.  I like the waves of guitar stank and these guys can play though they don’t seem super interested in highlighting it — it’s more about shoving a ball of guitar noise up yer ass. Imma swing back on this big fuzzy rock donut as it’s got some energy to it.

YTD recordings listened to: 708
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 398
Not good music: 260

Honorable Mentions: 12
Buys: 12

Possibles: Chris McGregor, Dave Arner Trio, Zomby, Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Slidhr, The Chewers, Toxic Holocaust, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Lenguas Largas, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Fofoulah, Lozen, Erase Errata, Mastery, Leviathan, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, Janelle Monae, Luther Dickinson, Destruction Unit, Graeme Barrett, Fast Asleep, Goldlink, Cavanaugh, Gentleman Surfer, Satoko Fuji, Mystic Braves, Divanhana, Unrestrained, Moken, Systema Solar, Brian Eno, Juan Atkins, Drone, Lantern, The Lickshots, Twin Peaks, Djelimady Tounkara, Miramar, The Oh Sees, Denny Zeitlin, MILF, Changui Majadero, Joe Sticky, Keefe Jackson, Unfun, De La Soul, Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes

11/26/15: Moody Good, Cloves

@@@  Moody Good: Musicbx (Owsla/Nest, 2015).  ‘Breathtaking’ music off the Beats highlights page.  After an medium extended chopped static/typewriter intro, I’m waiting and here we go into a more trippy pop/dubstep flow.  I believe there must be some sort of digital klusterfuck either on the Beats or in my head, let me switch to this other release, a single that is breathtaking.  Oh lord, this digital record collection concept has not been perfected yet.  This song Musicbx features Erica Allen Kane and it features the same aggro-funk style I caught in the other jam.  This is most definitely a technically tricked track with a super sophisticated arrangement but her over-breathing lends a false drama to the tune.  Also she’s too low in the mix.

@@@ Cloves: XIII (Interscope, 2015).  I hear a lot of major label epic r&b pop like this record I found on the Beats highlights page.  This first tune has a massive (I would say too way too big) reverb patch on the female voice as it skitters and epics is way over the resonant piano chords ringing out underneath.  Tres meaningful.  I could use a beat here.   The second song dispenses with the piano and takes up the minimally strummed electric guitar.  The singer has a fat tongue and her words sound weird.  This is a bit too dramatical for my tastes.  Take the reverb down, put some beats, get away from the epic production and get on with the songs.

YTD recordings listened to: 951
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 538
Not good music: 328

Honorable Mentions: 21
Buys: 13

Possibles: Chris McGregor, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Dave Arner Trio, MAKU Soundsystem, Zomby, Retox, About Group, Jessie Mae Hemphill, Bone Dance, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Debruit, Slidhr, The Whammies, The Chewers, Alexander Hawkins, Toxic Holocaust, Equal Stones, Comeback Kid, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Lenguas Largas, The Coral, Spacesuits, T.O.M.B., Fofoulah, Lozen, Erase Errata, Mohamed Abozekry, Dawn Richard, Leo Welch, Mastery, Leviathan, Xibalba, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, Ellen Jewell, Akitsa, Richard Thompson, Jeremy Pinnell, Pat Thomas, Janelle Monae, The Alchemist, Luther Dickinson, Andra Day, Frog Eyes, Madd Again!, Fuck the Facts, Shannon and the Clams, Destruction Unit, Rim Kwaku Obeng, Graeme Barrett, Kowloon Walled City, Israel Nash, Lionel Loueke, Fast Asleep, Goldlink, Noisem, Cavanaugh, Gentleman Surfer, Satoko Fuji, Dieuf-Diehl De Thies, Tinariwen