2018 Honorable Mention Pick 1

Annah Hogberg Attack: Self-titled (Omlott, 2016)

Instrumentation on this medium out jazz record is sax, piano, drums and bass.  There are more composed moments as well as some bursting skronk.  Hogberg has a solid horn tone and the energy is fresh.  The piano player and the drummer get a shout out with some particularly ear catching work.

The second track, Familjen, is clipped below.  It is my favorite track on the record so check it out and see if it works for you.

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Best of 2018 Pick 1

Courtney John: Ecosystem (Soul Fire, 2017)

A perfectly crafted combination of old school roots reggae flavors with a great band and a singer I like a whole bunch.  The band is tight and relaxed simultaneously with space for organ solos, guitar figures.

A lot of bands go for that old school reggae record but they don’t make it for a variety of reasons — the singer can’t carry the load, the production is too modern, the band has no funk to it, etc.

This is pretty and tough and heartfelt all at the same time.

Music for 2/8/18!!! Courtney John, Joe Pilgrim, Toto Bona Lokua

@@@ Courtney John: Ecosystem (Soul Man, 2018). Off this week’s WRIR playlist email.  Opens up super laid back roots reggae with pleasing falsetto vocals.  The first tune (clipped below) is super sweet and well balanced vibes.  I’ve sampled the first four tracks on this record — the band is tight, the sounds are nice, the playing is tight and relaxed at the same time and the singer is on full loverly.  I’m going to swing back on this record, check it out!

@@@ Joe Pilgrim & The Ligerians: “Migrants” [Single]  (SoulNurse, 2018) More reggae but an updated sound with synths, space lasers and an ’80s gated snare sound.  Pilgrim hits the mic with focused energy and he does a really good job.  I don’t love these sounds but the tune works pretty well.  I think this there is a band playing here but I’m not always super psyched for electronic drums and the video games sounds though there is a proud history of weird ass space gun sounds in dub reggae.

@@@ Toto Bona Lokua: Bondeko (No Format, 2018).  Everything listened to today is off this week’s WRIR playlist email.  Here we have some mellow African music and the first tune has a Bobby McFerrin syncopated vocal arrangement.  Think barbershop doo won but from…..a Frenchman, a Cameroonian guy, and a dude from the Congo.  That’s from a the search webz.  The second tune introduces nylon string guitar and a fusion-y bass but it’s the same super laid back sound for sure.  This is super pretty and for people who want their music to caress them and make them feel safe.  Myself I like a blend of beauty and muscle but we all different and shit.

YTD recordings listened to: 74
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 41
Not good music: 31

Best: 0
Honorable Mentions: 0

Possibles: Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Slidhr, The Chewers, Toxic Holocaust, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Lenguas Largas, The Coral, T.O.M.B., 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, Moken, Juan Atkins, 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, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, J.I.D., Oddisee, Forro in the Dark, RAM, Fiver, Dona Onete, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Priests, Propaganda, This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez, Integrity, Tuba Skinny, The Expanders, Benjamin Booker, Irreversible Entanglements, Converge, Open Mike Eagle, Criolo, Courtney John

Music for 2/7/18!!! MGMT, Grand Analog, Shining

@@@  MGMT: Me and Michael (Columbia, 201). Super mainstream synth pop I got to via a music publicist email.  Soft buttery vocals, gated snare sound, some arpeggiated guitars but a plethora of synths.  This is some pretty cliche pop shit as far as I’m concerned.  A lot of manicured sounds and a song structure but pretty lacking any soul or passion.  Cloudy and pretty synth farts.  I made it 2:49 out of 4:49 and it hurt a little bit.

@@@ Grand Analog: Survival (Grand Analog, 218). A Canadian dub/hip hop project I got to via the CFUV weekly playlist email.  The first tune has sort of a darker chopped feel while the second one is pretty standard old school funky drum machine dance floor banger.  Digital Kool and the Gang but with an MC.  The tune with Posdnuos from De La Soul (clipped below) is really well done, check it out.  Somebody with solid knowledge of sounds did a really good job on these sounds.

@@@ Shining – X- Varg Utan Flock (Season Of Mist) Some black metal off the CFUV weekly playlist email.  Looks like a blast of Scandinavian metal from the looks of the word salad titles which I won’t waste the time here typing.  After a initial intonation they get into a pretty nice throw down.  Big energetic hard rock drummer and dual guitar attack.  The singer is really quite upset but since it’s in some language that doesn’t matter.  Hey that’s just a joke, I love wherever he comes from.  He’s doing good work emotionally and these guys are kicking hard. They have just a bit of boogie woogie that gives way to some acoustic bullshit in the middle of the track.  I hate the epic acoustic guitar breakdowns and intros, it just pusses out the whole thing.  If I want a giant fucking military parade with some boot stomping fucknuts (like El Trump-o!) I don’t want to stop and have a fucking tea party in the middle of it.  And now we’re back to the noise and squall, good goddammit.  These are big sandwiches from 6 to 8 minutes each track and they’re a little math-y as they move from section to section so get your cup of herbal tea and your thinking man’s metalhead hat on.

YTD recordings listened to: 71
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 40
Not good music: 30

Best: 0
Honorable Mentions: 0

Possibles: Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Slidhr, The Chewers, Toxic Holocaust, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Lenguas Largas, The Coral, T.O.M.B., 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, Moken, Juan Atkins, 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, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, J.I.D., Oddisee, Forro in the Dark, RAM, Fiver, Dona Onete, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Priests, Propaganda, This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez, Integrity, Tuba Skinny, The Expanders, Benjamin Booker, Irreversible Entanglements, Converge, Open Mike Eagle, Criolo

Music for 2/6/2018!!! Scott McReery, Dua Lipa, Django Django, Hookworms

I’m back after a brief illness — a physical illness on top of my standard basket of mental problems.  I kid, I kid, I’m totally normal.

Secondly, it’s been good to see people complaining about Justin Timberlake’s half time show and Prince’s involvement in it.  My 9 year old said “he’s not good enough to do the show without Prince”, that’s my boy.  To wrap this up, Prince went out of his way to denounce musicians pimping the image and good feelings towards deceased musicians but clearly Timberlake and his team did not see those very specific quotes

@@@  Scott McReery: In Between (N/A, 2018)  A new country arena rock single off the Apple Music hot tracks section.  It’s an autobiographical track where he talks about who he is — he’s blue collar but he’s sensitive and he likes to party and you know he’s just a great white man.  One I would be jealous of being.  He ain’t all holy water nor Jim Beam — that’s actually a good line.  The music is pretty awful and the whole vibe of the track is humorless.  I don’t know if he’s buying what he’s selling but I’m thinking it’s a well manicured grilled cheese sandwich.

@@@ Dua Lipa: IDGAF (N/A, 2018) Also off the Apple Music hot tracks section — it opens up with restrained guitar vamp but brings in the huge Brazilian sounding drum corp before settling into an uplifting and meaningful rock tune.  Pop rock, no power chords and a huge vocal arrangement.  Wow, 75 million streams on the GooglePimpTube, I’m not a mainstream listener at all.  I get why people might attach to the tune — the vocals go from normal in the verse into this big explosive.  It’s also a female empowerment tune as her man has been out on the town with other ladies and Dua Lipa is not fucking having it at all.  IDGAF — I Don’t Give A Fuck — that’s why it has 75 million views.

@@@ Django Django: Marble Skies (Ribbon Music, 2018)  I got to this record via a promo email from Line of Best Fit.  The first tune, the title track, takes a straight angular krautrock rhythm section and puts a lot of pretty vocals on top of it.  You get some contrast with the urgency of the rhythm section and the purdy boy vocals.  You get a weak white indie drum machine dancehall beat and a guest vocalist ont he second track.  It’s the basic formula of the opener with a tad (and I mean a tad) of booty shaking.  It’s like Devo and the Beach Boys had a love child.

@@@ Hookworms: Microshift (Domino, 2018) Also off the Line of Best Fit promo email this week.  We go further into chopped up drum machine/synth bass land which makes sense as this record is out on Domino and Domino is unafraid to throw down some weirdness.  A band appears from the nerdy lunarscape and it’s rocking in its own way.  The singer appears to have a little passion and he’s going synth rock nutty pants a bit.  The second tune dispenses with the dark electronic sounds and gets into some uplifting synth rocking.  Happy hipsters by happy hipsters for happy hipsters….

YTD recordings listened to: 68
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 38
Not good music: 29

Best: 0
Honorable Mentions: 0

Possibles: Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Slidhr, The Chewers, Toxic Holocaust, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Lenguas Largas, The Coral, T.O.M.B., 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, Moken, Juan Atkins, 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, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, J.I.D., Oddisee, Forro in the Dark, RAM, Fiver, Dona Onete, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Priests, Propaganda, This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez, Integrity, Tuba Skinny, The Expanders, Benjamin Booker, Irreversible Entanglements, Converge, Open Mike Eagle, Criolo

Music for 2/1/18!!! Ty Segall, Breaking Benjamin, Electric Wizard

@@@ Ty Segall: Freedom’s Goblin (Drag City, 2018)  I’m more than a bit shocked to see Ty Segall on the Apple Music featured releases section as he’s (was!) and underground darling and this is hipsters rising up for sure.  This first tune is a mash of Alex Chilton and the Stones — it’s a faded rock rave up.  I like it.  It’s a 74 minute long record so we’re just going to peep the first few and move on.  The second tune brings on some Beatles threads while the third one gets some T. Rex action going on so it looks like it’s a cornucopia of late ’60s/’70s influences.  He’s got mad skills in the recording area as he should have as he shits the records out at a brisk rate.  I don’t really like the jumping around between various styles but folks might be into it.  Check it out.

@@@ Breaking Benjamin: Feed the Wolf (N/A, 2018) Super dramatic and cheesy mainstream hard rock.  This kind of shit annoys me to no end with its pretending to mean something when it’s clearly plastic product to numb its listeners.  The sound is exquisite with a wall of guitars and finely tweaked drums but the singer is just a bit much with both the lyrics and the delivery.  I don’t really feel anything when I hear music like this and I can only assume that’s the point of it.

@@@ Electric Wizard: Wizard Bloody Wizard (Spinefarm/Universal, 2017)  I found this record on a CFUV playlist email and am into the retro Black Sabbbath riffage.  It’s not the full hateful/frantic vibe of a lot of current metal and me thinks there is a medium sized bag of broccoli in this tour van.  The singer is a vocalist, a tad like Ozzy, but it’s the big lurching band with a basher drummer that is the show here.  Mid to slightly lower than midtempo guitar stompers, good shit.

YTD recordings listened to: 64
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 36
Not good music: 27

Best: 0
Honorable Mentions: 0

Possibles: Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Slidhr, The Chewers, Toxic Holocaust, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Lenguas Largas, The Coral, T.O.M.B., 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, Moken, Juan Atkins, 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, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, J.I.D., Oddisee, Forro in the Dark, RAM, Fiver, Dona Onete, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Priests, Propaganda, This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez, Integrity, Tuba Skinny, The Expanders, Benjamin Booker, Irreversible Entanglements, Converge, Open Mike Eagle, Criolo