Music for 2/26/20!!! Why Bonnie, Agorsor, Sunny Jain, Gambian Griot Kora Duets

@@@ Why Bonnie: Voice Box (Fat Possum, 2020) Off the Twatter!  I love the Twatter.  This is a pre-release single of an upcoming EP coming out in April.  It’s a bit of Roxy music smoothness with some coffee shop slack.  Female singer, dreamy and accompanied by both classic indie guitar twee and a sweet pipe synth patch.  This makes me want a bologna sandwich and a fizzy orange drink and I’m not sure why.  More dreamy than mopey so it’s sedating and comforting simultaneously.

@@@ AGORSOR | Hugadem (Self-released, 2020) The rest of today’s listens are via the WRIR weekly playlist email.  The band bio says they are African rooted so I’m guessing that means a lot of the musicians here are from Africa but maybe they don’t live there right now.  It’s not a big deal but I was trying to get a handle or what sound they might be trafficking.  Female singer and African marimba prominent on this first tune, some call and response background vocals and hand percussion.  It’s firm but neither blazing nor soft Afro pop.  It’s not really my favorite combo of instruments as I prefer guitars and drums, neither of which are here but the drumming and the marimba playing is really good.

@@@ SUNNY JAIN | Wild Wild East  (Smithsonian Folkways, 2020) First off, fucking awesome moustache!  The first tune, Immigrant Warrior, comes on as a blend of arena rock and world music.  Let me bio this musician and see what’s going on.  Mr. Jain is of South Asian heritage and he rocks a blend of Indian classical and arena rock apparently.  He likes a big ass rock track and good on him.  While I find the combination quite creative the music itself is not my cup of tea.  For those who might dig it, there are a lot of big guitar sounds, some South Asian woodwinds, a lot of hand drums and even an MC on this fourth tune.  It’s a smorgasbord, get on up in it.

@@@ ALHAJI BAI KONTE, DEMBO KONTE, AND MA LAMINI JOBATE | Gambian Griot Kora Duets (Smithsonian Folkways, 1979)  This is a reissue and it’s the oldest of old school.  African kora masters doing some high end playing and ridiculously soulful singing.  Five tracks and four of them pushing 10 minutes this music is to just sit back and ride the feels.  To my ears this is African classical music, a high expression of a culture.  I would check out track two, the playing is off the hook!  More kora and singing from what I’ve heard.

YTD recordings listened to: 140
Good music, not list worthy: 82
Not good music: 58

Best: 0
Honorable Mentions: 0

Possibles: Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, Slidhr, The Chewers, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Lozen, Erase Errata, Mastery, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, Luther Dickinson, Graeme Barrett, Fast Asleep, Goldlink, Cavanaugh, Satoko Fuji, Moken, Juan Atkins, Lantern, Twin Peaks, Djelimady Tounkara, The Oh Sees, Denny Zeitlin, MILF, Unfun, De La Soul, Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes, Noname, Klara Lewis, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Oddisee, RAM, Fiver, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Priests, Propaganda, This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez, Integrity, Tuba Skinny, The Expanders, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Portal, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton, Parquet Courts, Moskus, Kendl Winter, Tkay Maidza, Barro, Daniel Khan, Tallawit Timbouctou, Sumac, Tropical Fuck Storm, Harriet Tubman, Ammar 808, Anais Maviel, Chaka Khan, Pom Poko, Fried Egg, Tarek Atoui, Saicobab, General Purv, Shipping News, Big Thief, Mariachi El Bronx, Pour Me a Grog, Sudan Archives, Lakou Mizik, Moodymann, Pharmakon, Alefa Madagascar, Janjao, Luge, Wiki, Mick Jenkins, Jeremiah Jae, Fera, Gambian Griot Kora Duets

 

Music for 1/31/20!!! Little Simz, Brutus, Nilufer Yanya

Little Simz

#1 on Line of Best Fit and it’s British hip hop with a female MC.  From the first tune I believe we’re set up for a blend of sounds.  Some hip hop, some rock, some soul music, some old school funk.  I’m feeling this second tune Boss and overall whoever designed the bass sound should get a free soda for their choices.  It’s flabby and a little grizzy and unique.  The third tune is a more modern r&b type thing and I’m realizing I prefer the straight funk tracks here.  Little Simz is sharp and focused on the microphone and in an ironic tune she outshines the vast majority of male UK MCs in muscular toughness verbally.  Falling just shy of my best of list this is almost boiling hot.

 

Brutus_Nest

Pych metal out of Brussels!  That’s Belgium kids.  To my ears it’s punkier more than it’s metal.  It’s also got a bit of art school to it.  They finally kick into gear on the third tune, Cemetery but the question is why isn’t this third tune not kicking the record off?  I went back to look at the review to ascertain that they qualify it is a metal record.  Regular readers know I don’t enjoy being a genre bitch but records should be labelled somewhat accurately to avoid the collapse of society.  I’m guessing this record is aimed squarely at the heart of NPR listeners.  A bit heavy, a bit light you know the drill.  Every year there is a heavy record chosen just for the NPR feelers.

NiluferYanya

Some major label alternative from the Vice best of 2019.  After an initial conceptual intro it gets into some Brit rock with post punk flavores.  Ms. Yanya is a gal so it’s a female driven band tune.  The production is major label and the energy is somewhat restrained and it’s a bit arty for my taste.  I think the artist and her producers are aiming to re-animate the guitar rock subculture with updated synth sounds and a bit of panache.  In the struggle between passion and overthinking I choose passion every time.  I would like this more if there was more mess, life is messy.

YTD recordings listened to: 88
Good music, not list worthy: 50
Not good music: 38

Best: 0
Honorable Mentions: 0

Possibles: Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, Slidhr, The Chewers, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Lozen, Erase Errata, Mastery, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, Luther Dickinson, Graeme Barrett, Fast Asleep, Goldlink, Cavanaugh, Satoko Fuji, Moken, Juan Atkins, Lantern, Twin Peaks, Djelimady Tounkara, The Oh Sees, Denny Zeitlin, MILF, Unfun, De La Soul, Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes, Noname, Klara Lewis, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Oddisee, RAM, Fiver, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Priests, Propaganda, This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez, Integrity, Tuba Skinny, The Expanders, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Portal, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton, Parquet Courts, Moskus, Kendl Winter, Tkay Maidza, Barro, Daniel Khan, Tallawit Timbouctou, Sumac, Tropical Fuck Storm, Harriet Tubman, Ammar 808, Anais Maviel, Chaka Khan, Pom Poko, Fried Egg, Tarek Atoui, Saicobab, General Purv, Shipping News, Big Thief, Mariachi El Bronx, Pour Me a Grog, Sudan Archives, Lakou Mizik, Moodymann, Pharmakon, Alefa Madagascar, Janjao, Luge

Music for 1/29/20!!! Low Cut Connie, John Parish, Rolling Blackouts, Melodys Echo Chamber

LowCut Connie

This is not a time for rocking but these guys didn’t get the memo and they are up in the retro blues rock journey.  After coming out swinging they switch up into a piano driven midtempo thing for the second tune, Beverly.  The singer is neither a macho cock rocker nor a sensitive loverboy, he’s just doing his thing.  Solid sounds and overall standard old school rock business.

JParish

I try to peep Thrill Jockey releases as they release a wide variety of stuff.  BTW, all today’s listens come from an All Music notable release email from 2018.  The first tune evokes aspects of Bob Dylan’s Time Out of Mind.  Ambient, low profile, lush and a bit melancholy.  Also a little bit of John Lennon in his voice.  The second tune moves a bit folkier with a female singer added to the mix.  I liked the guitar intro to the third tune, The March, best of what I heard but I like this.

MelodysEchoChamber

Blurbed as adventurous psych pop by Apple Music it is an orchestra’s worth of instruments in this opener and a wide mix.  Ms. Echo Chamber’s voice is presented as a slightly whispery and dreamy vibe but with a bit of a nod to late ’60s California Mamas and Papas.  The second tune relies more on an electric guitar part but it does get flourished with all sorts of bits and pieces and chunks of vocals.  I like the driving bassline and the extra bits and pieces of the third tune, Desert Horse, best of what I heard.  My positivity towards it fades with the processed vocal parts.

RollingBlackouts

From Australia where rock and guitars are still enjoyed the first tune, An Air Conditioned Man. comes out briskly while being sophisticated.  There’s a little bit of Squeeze and the Coral and Jakob Dylan and a lot of other rock bands coming through in these tunes.  Very good energy and commitment from these guys.  Lots of guitars with driving melodies through it, lower profile singer and a pumping drummer.  Not a bad record for people with jobs.

YTD recordings listened to: 82
Good music, not list worthy: 46
Not good music: 36

Best: 0
Honorable Mentions: 0

Possibles: Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, Slidhr, The Chewers, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Lozen, Erase Errata, Mastery, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, Luther Dickinson, Graeme Barrett, Fast Asleep, Goldlink, Cavanaugh, Satoko Fuji, Moken, Juan Atkins, Lantern, Twin Peaks, Djelimady Tounkara, The Oh Sees, Denny Zeitlin, MILF, Unfun, De La Soul, Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes, Noname, Klara Lewis, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Oddisee, RAM, Fiver, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Priests, Propaganda, This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez, Integrity, Tuba Skinny, The Expanders, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Portal, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton, Parquet Courts, Moskus, Kendl Winter, Tkay Maidza, Barro, Daniel Khan, Tallawit Timbouctou, Sumac, Tropical Fuck Storm, Harriet Tubman, Ammar 808, Anais Maviel, Chaka Khan, Pom Poko, Fried Egg, Tarek Atoui, Saicobab, General Purv, Shipping News, Big Thief, Mariachi El Bronx, Pour Me a Grog, Sudan Archives, Lakou Mizik, Moodymann, Pharmakon, Alefa Madagascar, Janjao, Luge

 

Music for 12/21/19!!! Sheer Mag

@@@ Sheer Mag: A Distant Call (Sheer Mag, 2019)  If you’re up for some ’80s era AC/DC plus some hair band energy from that era as well as a little post hippie hard rock groovy,  then sidle up to Sheer Mag.  This burger does come with a fair amount of cheese so be forewarned if you have high cholesterol.  The singer is a cock walker, pimping and preening through the opener Steel Sharpens Steel.  This is clearly a theatrical re-enactment/homage to ’70s and ’80s arena rock which I find befuddling but I guess the rock star mythology is alive and well for some of us.   Thin Lizzy guitar licks, Def Leppard feels, and a pube or two of your other favorite bands maybe.

YTD recordings listened to: 663
Good music, not list worthy: 402
Not good music: 222

Best: 8
Honorable Mentions: 15

Possibles: Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, Slidhr, The Chewers, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Lozen, Erase Errata, Mastery, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, Luther Dickinson, Graeme Barrett, Fast Asleep, Goldlink, Cavanaugh, Satoko Fuji, Moken, Juan Atkins, Lantern, Twin Peaks, Djelimady Tounkara, The Oh Sees, Denny Zeitlin, MILF, Unfun, De La Soul, Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes, Noname, Klara Lewis, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Oddisee, RAM, Fiver, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Priests, Propaganda, This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez, Integrity, Tuba Skinny, The Expanders, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Portal, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton, Parquet Courts, Moskus, Kendl Winter, Tkay Maidza, Barro, Daniel Khan, Tallawit Timbouctou, Sumac, Tropical Fuck Storm, Harriet Tubman, Ammar 808, Anais Maviel, Chaka Khan, Pom Poko, Fried Egg, Tarek Atoui, Saicobab, General Purv, Shipping News, Big Thief, Mariachi El Bronx, Pour Me a Grog, Sudan Archives, Lakou Mizik, Moodymann

Music for 12/18/19!!! Jordan Rakei, Teebs

@@@ Jordan Rakei: Origin (Ninjatune, 2019) #60 on Pitchfork’s top 100 best of 2019.  It is blurbed as alternative r&b and this first tune is somewhat alt while being uplifting and a wee bit gospel-y.  Very intricately layered production sounds going on here and I’m feeling that.  I peeped this musician’s bio and see that he’s a New Zealand/Australian human being headquartered in London.  He has funky aspirations that he does a good job with but there is a certain blue eyed soul vibe going through the three songs I’ve heard thus far.  I’m out on this fourth tune which combines a disco beat with smooth funk.  Excellent arrangements and production, could use some grit imho.

@@@ Teebs: Annica (Brainfeeder, 2019) #63 on Pitchfork’s list and the first tune is a very nice ambient lullaby kinda thing.    The second tune features the singers from Sudan Archives which changes the vibe to a chill lounge tune.   As the Apple Music blurb points out this is not a record focused solely on beats, which I dig.  However, there are times when I’m listening and I could use a blend of the maximum chill sounds as well as some muscular business as well.  I think they could co-exist.

YTD recordings listened to: 658
Good music, not list worthy: 398
Not good music: 222

Best: 8
Honorable Mentions: 15

Possibles: Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, Slidhr, The Chewers, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Lozen, Erase Errata, Mastery, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, Luther Dickinson, Graeme Barrett, Fast Asleep, Goldlink, Cavanaugh, Satoko Fuji, Moken, Juan Atkins, Lantern, Twin Peaks, Djelimady Tounkara, The Oh Sees, Denny Zeitlin, MILF, Unfun, De La Soul, Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes, Noname, Klara Lewis, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Oddisee, RAM, Fiver, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Priests, Propaganda, This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez, Integrity, Tuba Skinny, The Expanders, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Portal, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton, Parquet Courts, Moskus, Kendl Winter, Tkay Maidza, Barro, Daniel Khan, Tallawit Timbouctou, Sumac, Tropical Fuck Storm, Harriet Tubman, Ammar 808, Anais Maviel, Chaka Khan, Pom Poko, Fried Egg, Tarek Atoui, Saicobab, General Purv, Shipping News, Big Thief, Mariachi El Bronx, Pour Me a Grog, Sudan Archives, Lakou Mizik

Music for 12/10/19!!! Lakou Mizik, Otava Yo, Itasca

@@@ LAKOU MIZIK: HaitiaNola (Cumbancha, 2019)  This is a mash of Haitian and New Orleans music.  Through the legacy of slavery in both Haiti and New Orleans these two places are culturally and historically connected.  A variety of New Orleans musical stalwarts appear on the record including the Jazz Preservation Band, Trombone Shorty and one of the Neville Brothers.  I have a fair number of Haitian vinyl records so I’m open to their music and I dig the sweetness of it that I don’t dig in Brazilian music.  I’ve found a lot of fantastic world music releases this year and this is no exception.  If you haven’t heard Haitian music you should check this out.  I will put on my year end list and roll back and check it out more fully when I have the time.  Check it out!

@@@ OTAVA YO | Do You Love (ARC, 2019)  Also off this week’s WRIR playlist email.  I get a lot of African and Latin music from this weekly email but here we have an outlier from a Russian folk outfit from St. Petersburg.  The first tune, Once Upon a time on a High Hill, is an energetic send up that is a bit Appalachian or Irish folk and a bit of Gogol Bordello rolicking energy.  Both songs I’ve heard have extensive vocal harmonizing and it’s a fun listen if you’re a folk person.  If you’re up for the holiday vodka and tomatoes (a Russian way to get hammered) this could be a really great undercover party record for you Slavic folks/Slavic culture lovers out there.  Or for more popular folk listeners looking for a twist on their music collection.  Sounds great, very nice singing and a lot of energy.

@@@ Itasca – Spring (Paradise Of Bachelors, 2019)  I think I got to this record via this week’s All Music notable release email.  The first tune is an ambient alt-country thing with a lonesome indie female singer.  Not my favorite flow but I do dig the ambience.  The second tune brings on some more complex guitar playing and a rhythm section.  I don’t think the singer does a bad job, it’s just not to my taste and I do like the band playing.   I hear some late hippie/1970’s folk rock flavors tucked in here so it’s a mash of indie vibes (the frail singing) and soft rock from another period.

YTD recordings listened to: 641
Good music, not list worthy: 385
Not good music: 218

Best: 0
Honorable Mentions: 0

Possibles: Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, Slidhr, The Chewers, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Lozen, Erase Errata, Mastery, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, Luther Dickinson, Graeme Barrett, Fast Asleep, Goldlink, Cavanaugh, Satoko Fuji, Moken, Juan Atkins, Lantern, Twin Peaks, Djelimady Tounkara, The Oh Sees, Denny Zeitlin, MILF, Unfun, De La Soul, Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes, Noname, Klara Lewis, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Oddisee, RAM, Fiver, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Priests, Propaganda, This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez, Integrity, Tuba Skinny, The Expanders, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Portal, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton, Parquet Courts, Moskus, Kendl Winter, Tkay Maidza, Barro, Daniel Khan, Tallawit Timbouctou, Sumac, Tropical Fuck Storm, Harriet Tubman, Ammar 808, Anais Maviel, Chaka Khan, Pom Poko, Fried Egg, Horndal, Wyxz, Tarek Atoui, Hawktail, Saicobab, Shannon and the Clams, General Purv, Shipping News, Big Thief, Emma Louise, Andre Bratten, Nathan Corder/Tom Weeks, Oli XL, Buzzherd, Logistic Slaughter, The Muslims, Tobe Nwigwe, Saint Abdullah, Bug Martin, Kaleta and the Super Yamba Band, Toko Telo, Brittany Howard, The Garifuna Collective, Mariachi El Bronx, Bonnie Baxter, Danny Brown, clipping., Deafkids, Michael Kiwanuka, Kelly Moran, Canalon de Timbiqui, Pour Me a Grog, Loscil, The Good Ones, Sudan Archives, Lakou Mizik

Music for 12/4/19!!! Sharon Van Etten, Charli XCX, Lizzo

@@@ Sharon Van Etten: Seventeen (Jagjaguwar, 2019) All three tunes reviewed today come from the Guardian’s 20 best songs of the year.  I’ve heard Van Etten’s music before and I haven’t understood the buzz.  Doesn’t mean it’s not great, it means I don’t get it.  This is the sixth tune on her 2019 record which is an interesting slot for a song of the year to come in.  It’s a piano driven track with a straight beat and if you’re into 1980’s inspired rock this could work.  She does feel free to take U2’s use of sonic textures and put it into an indie framework (and I like the way it was done) though the drumming here is pretty close to U2 drumming.  I find her singing style to be too mopey for my tastes though I do see how the half miserable coffee bar people could feel this bigly.  Just after 3 minutes she does let loose and I’m liking it a lot more but I could have used that energy right out of the gate.

@@@ Charli XCX: Gone (Asylum, 2019)  I’ve peeped Charli XCX before and I haven’t been impressed.  However, I do want some props for circling back when other people come forward and show love.  This is an all right tune, I dig the synth sounds, they’re hot, but the beats are clunky as fuck and her vocals are all right but not something special.  The Apple Music blurb says she has an unteachable ear for a hook.  To be quite honest I don’t hear that.  The outro 45 seconds has some very interesting glitched business I find interesting.  Otherwise, some funkier beats would have made me enjoy it more.  This is crazy ass non funky white people’s business.

@@@ Lizzo: Juice (Atlantic, 2019)  #4 on the Guardian’s best songs of 2019.  I checked out Lizzo on her last record and I checked the pre-release single for this record.  I think the most daring thing Lizzo did was to pose naked on the cover, I give her mad props for doing that.  However, that credit doesn’t carry over to the tune and frankly it’s a pretty cliche recycled disco track.  It’s just true.  She does solid above average work on the microphone but she’s certainly no Aretha Franklin, no lead singer of Earth, Wind and Fire, no freak like George Clinton.  If the sounds were more original it would be more flattering to her vocal performance.  I know she’s a big star but I don’t buy the hype here.

YTD recordings listened to: 627
Good music, not list worthy: 377
Not good music: 212

Best: 0
Honorable Mentions: 0

Possibles: Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, Slidhr, The Chewers, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Lozen, Erase Errata, Mastery, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, Luther Dickinson, Graeme Barrett, Fast Asleep, Goldlink, Cavanaugh, Satoko Fuji, Moken, Juan Atkins, Lantern, Twin Peaks, Djelimady Tounkara, The Oh Sees, Denny Zeitlin, MILF, Unfun, De La Soul, Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes, Noname, Klara Lewis, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Oddisee, RAM, Fiver, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Priests, Propaganda, This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez, Integrity, Tuba Skinny, The Expanders, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Portal, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton, Parquet Courts, Moskus, Kendl Winter, Tkay Maidza, Barro, Daniel Khan, Tallawit Timbouctou, Sumac, Tropical Fuck Storm, Harriet Tubman, Ammar 808, Anais Maviel, Chaka Khan, Pom Poko, Fried Egg, Horndal, Wyxz, Tarek Atoui, Hawktail, Saicobab, Shannon and the Clams, General Purv, Shipping News, Big Thief, Emma Louise, Andre Bratten, Nathan Corder/Tom Weeks, Oli XL, Buzzherd, Logistic Slaughter, The Muslims, Tobe Nwigwe, Saint Abdullah, Bug Martin, Kaleta and the Super Yamba Band, Toko Telo, Brittany Howard, The Garifuna Collective, Mariachi El Bronx, Bonnie Baxter, Danny Brown, clipping., Deafkids, Michael Kiwanuka, Kelly Moran, Canalon de Timbiqui, Pour Me a Grog, Loscil, The Good Ones, Sudan Archives