Music for 4/21/17!!! Black Bear, Imelda May, Charly Puppy

@@@ Black Bear: digital drug lord (Bertram, 2017)  R&B/soul off the Apple Music new music section.  This first tune has provocative lyrics and solo piano accompaniment.  The second song brings some beats and low end and I like it more.  It’s not peeling my face off but it’s good.  His strength is the rawness of the lyrics.  I’m not sure if Black Bear is a white boy, but he kinda sounds it.  He’s doing a pale Drake thing mixing singing and hip hop, it’s all right.

@@@ Imelda May: Live Life Flesh Blood (Decca/Universal, 2017)  Off this week’s All Music notable release email and I’m peeping it because it’s produced by T Bone Burnett and he’s got skills.  The first tune is mad mellow, lonesome and comforting at the same time.  The second tune brings a mellow drumbeat but the focus remains on the guitar playing and the singing.  I like it but I think I might prefer Emmylou Harris’ records done in the same vein.  This is just a tad too polished and sleepy time tea to make it to my stereo.

@@@ Charly Bliss: Guppy (Barsuk, 2017)  Some power pop/punk in the Superdrag vein.    My main beef with most indie guitar rock is how fucking butter soft most of it is.  I don’t need to be bludgeoned like a metal record but I need a little muscle.  So these guys rock a bit and they have a strange female voice out front and it makes for an interesting contrast. I don’t like this second tune as much as the opener.  I’m liking this record less as it plays more but I really like the first tune.  It’s clipped below, that’s how much I care.  I give I give I give and all you guys do is take.

YTD recordings listened to: 259
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 142
Not good music: 95

Buys: 5
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, 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, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Power Trip, Reverend Payton, J.I.D., Oddisee

Music for 4/20/17!!! Jacques Greene, Hoops, Arca

@@@  Jacque Greene: Feel Infinite (LuckyMe, 2017)  Some house music out of Montreal via the CFUV weekly playlist email.  This first tune is pretty standard if a bit light on the beats but it sports the standard minimalist vocals — oh there’s the beat.  Solid bass, skinnier than hip hop.  I didn’t really like the second track, the title track, as it grated on my nerves but the third tune is sweeter.  This is the best of what I heard as it has a marimba type voice in the track and I like some world music sounds in my house yo.

@@@ Hoops: Routines (Fat Possum, 2017)  Some mathy, nerdy guitar indie off this week’s CFUV weekly email.  There are three pre-release tunes up and this first one has too much reverb on the singer’s voice and a tad too much chorus on the guitar.  I don’t like this singer — I’m sure he’s an awesome person but I don’t dig his flow on the microphone.

@@@ Arca: Arca (XL, 2017)  Some abstract music also off this week’s CFUV weekly email.  This first tune focuses on a contrasting a descending vocal line with some tightly controlled feedback.  I’m not sure where it’s going but it’s an interesting pairing of sounds.  My fear is that this will collapse into some New Age-y electronic music but I hope I’m wrong.  By the way, I’ve misplaced my glasses and I’m blind as an old fucking dog today so my spelling typos must be forgiven.  This is dragging a tad, let’s move on.  There are some prominent electronic elements but there are also strong classical sounds here.  I like it okay, check it for yourself.

YTD recordings listened to: 256
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 139
Not good music: 95

Buys: 5
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, 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, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Power Trip, Reverend Payton, J.I.D., Oddisee

Music for 4/19/17!!! The Maine, Chris Shiflett

@@@ The Maine: Lovely Little Lonely (8123, 2017)  Some mainstream half rocking, half bittersweet faux thoughtful white boy rock.  Not as gloomy as the Goo Goo Dolls, but a tad soft at its emotional core.  Call me crazy but I find this music scary.  These are finely manicured false emotions designed to bolster people who are already sporting a somewhat tenuous connection to reality, many of them very young and just starting out in life.  Records like this perpetuate the idea that art may be completely cliche and recycled and somehow passionate and emotional at the same time.  And as the music soaks in through an already troubled society people hear this music and think fake emotions are not only normal but acceptable and encouraged.  Fake emotions are so much more toxic than fake news, this is a dangerous donut people and it’s best to stay away and head for something with some splank to it.

@@@ Chris Shiflett: West Coast Town (Side One Dummy, 2017)  I’m consistently amazed at how flexible the new country music has become.  This first tune is minority country and mostly a Cracker tune with a funky white boy beat.  It’s really quite something and it does fall in the same category as going into a bagel store and getting a donut.  The second tune has more twang for sure, but I think he’s been listening to mad Cracker tracks.  I own more than a few Cracker records and frankly his lyrics are better.

YTD recordings listened to: 253
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 138
Not good music: 94

Buys: 5
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, 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, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Power Trip, Reverend Payton, J.I.D., Oddisee

Music for 4/18/17!!! Chris Stapleton, Actress, ELHAE

@@@ Chris Stapleton: Broken Halos (Mercury Records, 2017)  A pre-release single that I chose to peep because music blogging honcho Bob Lefsetz shit his pants over this track.  My first impression is that I’ve heard this chord progression 300 hundred times before.  Otherwise it’s a decent track, Stapleton puts in a heartfelt vocal performance.  I appreciate the lack of schmaltz as country music has gone full cheddar cheese but his vocals would benefit from some more unique band playing behind him.

@@@ Actress: AZD (Ninja Tune, 2017) An experimental techno record off this week’s All Music weekly email.  The opening of this first tune sounds like a glass of ginger ale popping in a metal tunnel.  I guess it’s a teaser. Okay we’re on to the second tune which sounds like a melted James Bond 007 theme with an ascending but modulated bass line and some salt water taffy synth clouds.  Oh God, let there be more than this.  I could use a beat motherfuckers.  I’m not getting more, let’s peep a last track here.  Okay we got a beat on this third track.  It’s sort of a railroad/industrial beat with some chopped loop garnish.  I don’t think this is for me and I think you might need to be high to enjoy this.

@@@ ELHAE: Aura II (Atlantic, 2017)  Some electro r&b with strong hip hop influences that I got to via Apple Music new music section.  Really fat bass sounds with half skitter beats and synth-centric arrangements.  The first two tunes are booty call tunes and the singing has plenty of Autotune dolloped on.  Personally, I’ve been spinning 6Lack’s record from last year, the arrangements are much more interesting in my opinion.

YTD recordings listened to: 251
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 137
Not good music: 93

Buys: 4
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, 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, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Power Trip, Reverend Payton, J.I.D., Oddisee, Feral Ohms

Music for 4/17/17!!! Las Cafeteras, Somi, Time is Fire

@@@ Las Cafeteras: Tastes Like L.A. (Las Cafeteras, 2017)  A self-released contemporary Latin record also off this week’s WRIR weekly playlist email.  Where the record below, which I listened to first, was about an African in New York City, this recording appears to be associated with Los Angeles.  It has some indie quirk to the vocal arrangements.  There is some classic Mexican folk stringed instrument playing and hand drumming going on here.  The second tune (clipped below) is an upbeat number with the continued theme of intricate and poppy vocals over a lot of traditional Mexican instrument playing.

@@@ Somi: Petite Afrique (Sony, 2017)  A pan-African record I got to via the WRIR weekly playlist email.  After a spoken word pastiche it gets into a world jazz piano-vocal vibe.  I skipped to the third tune and this is going to be a highbrow, meaningful African record with a lot of straight jazz influence and fusion-y production.  Not really for me, too polished.

@@@ Time is Fire: Angels EP (Electric Cowbell, 2017)  Also off this week’s WRIR playlist email.  A mash of world music influences (at least they namecheck various genres on their bandcamp page)  but this first tune is pretty Afrobeat, ah no there’s some psych rock guitar and drums there.  This second tune has more rock sounds to it but the rhythm section is definitely not rock (though they rock).  I’m on the third tune and it’s rocking more as it unfolds.  It’s all right, I don’t think I love the singer but that’s just me.

YTD recordings listened to: 248
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 135
Not good music: 92

Buys: 3
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, 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, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Power Trip, Reverend Payton, J.I.D., Oddisee, Feral Ohms, Orquestra Baobab

Music for 4/16/17!!! Coincidence Bizarre, Royal Blood

@@@ Coincidence Bizarre: Invisible Man I’m not sure of the bio of this hip hop outfit as the blurb on their Soundcloud page is obtuse.  Think a more chocolate version of Beck’s mellow hip hop.  I don’t think this a live outfit but there is instrumental (and instruments) on this track.  The beats are solid but not from a specific time or place and the MC is lower register and medium energy.

@@@ Lights Out: Royal Blood (Warner UK, 2017)  A corporate rock single off the Apple Music hot tracks section.  The drums sounds great, the guitars sound more than a tad buzzy and the singer is a star for sure.  At least trying to be a star.  The chorus explodes into a big riff and a vocal crescendo.  Great sounds, well executed performance, not much soul connection.

YTD recordings listened to: 245
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 133
Not good music: 91

Buys: 3
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, 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, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Power Trip, Reverend Payton, J.I.D., Oddisee, Feral Ohms, Orquestra Baobab

Honorable Mention 2017 Pick 2

Divanhana: Zukva: Sevdah from Bosnia’s Finest (ARC, 2016)

This is the kind of band that can play in the dark with one hand and it will sound great.  They have crazy playing skills.  The female singer has a strong and beautiful voice — she does none of the annoying things a bad singer can do.

The only reason this record is not in the best of year section is that after the first three songs it slows down.  I wanted it to be smoking all the way through.  I’ve clipped two of the first three tunes below so you get a sense of what these guys can do when they put the pedal to the metal.

The instrumentation is vocal, piano, accordion, bass guitar, drums, and percussion.  I hear some tuba, nylon string guitar and clarinet in some of the tunes so it’s not fixed.  I dig the accordion player and the singer the most.