@@@ Scarlet Rivera: Lady Liberty (Bright Sun, 2020) I got to this rock violinist’s music via a music publicist email. As the tune opens up it’s a little bit Bruce Springsteen meta-America and a little bit classic rock. The lyrics revolve around the lack of justice in our society. I like Rivera’s raspy voice — she is several notches above the Zimmerman croak but it is reminiscent of his style. There is a fair amount of guitar shredding between sung lines of the song and some organ/keyboard vamps here and there but no big violin solo. The mix has a bright and crunchy AM radio feel to it which I’m not a big fan of, but it’s hard to tell if folks notice things like that. At the end of the tune I realize there has been no rock violin solo and I would have preferred one. Ah, more proof that I have no say.
@@@ Rapsody: Nina (Roc Nation, 2019) This female MC’s EP was touted as best hip hop record of 2019 by one writer in a daily email. I love the Root! This is a Nina Simone/Strange Fruit inspired female strength hip hop slow jam. A long sung note Nina Simone sample floats in the back while Rapsody provides a strong contrast until she throws another wrench and goes down in energy and more confessional/intimate towards the end of the tune. This is a serious track, it’s no summer bbq in the park kinda jam and she has weight to her rhymes and the sounds.
@@@ Diana Demuth: Steady Rolling (Creaky Gate/Thirty Tigers, 2020) A just released retro singer songwriter track I got to via a music publicist. Piano driven which usually doesn’t work for me, we’ll see if she brings in the whole ensemble. This singing style and feel goes back to mid to late ’70s classic FM soul salvation rock. No band yet. Somebody snuck in a super hip and modern keyboard bass that you have to strain to catch. Myself I woulda put that much higher as it’s one of the most interesting ideas in the track. No band ever appears to back her piano playing – it’s an emotional encore after a full set at a live show.
@@@ Sam Smith, Demi Lovato: I’m Ready (Universal, 2020) I predict this is going to be the sort of epic pop cheese comet I’m philosophically opposed to. Oh, this chorus is everything I love to hate in a pop song. He’s ready for someone to love him and as Ms. Lovato hits the microphone it appears she is ready for someone to lover her as well. I’m feeling these white superhero costumes as well as the medals. They’re wheeling out the giant gospel choir! Awesomeness. I can’t get past the image below as it makes the whole feel of the song more ridiculous and it starts in a fairly ridiculous place. If I were kind (and I’m not kind to the pop masters of today) this is a sort of empowerment. They’re ready so you listeners are ready too and we’re all ready for somebody to love us and be brave! However I’m steadfastly opposed to normal folks getting their bravery and emotional support from people like Sam Smith and Demi Lovato, it’s not healthy.
YTD recordings listened to: 294
Good music, not list worthy: 158
Not good music: 130
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, Drama, Beatrice Dillon, Mass Worship, mmmonika, Les Deuxluxes, Tony Allen, Fra Fra, Nihiloxica, Hailu Mergia, Pokey LaFarge