Music for 11/12/18!!! Kelly Clarkson, Pierre Akendengue

@@@ Kelly Clarkson: Never Enough (Atlantic, 2018)  A monster shot of mainstream sonic cheese from the Greatest Showman Reimagined sountrack.  I have no clue why the Greatest Showman was reimagined but these decisions are out of my hands.  Unfortunately.   The shine of a thousands spotlights will never be enough, other stuff will never be enough, never enough, that’s the hook people.  When she hits the chorus it’s full throated Cheez Whiz.  I know we’re all on the same side but I don’t understand how this infantilizing, arena pop actually effects people at an emotional level.  To my ears it sounds ridiculously plastic.  That’s just me and folks is free to enjoy their shit as they see fit but be careful, too much cheese can kill your ass, you dig?

@@@ PIERRE AKENDENGUE: La Couleur De L’Afrique  (Lusafrica, 2018)  Switching gears bigly, here we have an EP of African music that I found this week’s WRIR playlist email.  The first tune kicks out a mellow laidback vibe with a simple drum beat and accompanying hand drumming.  The twist here lies in the string arrangement, but otherwise it’s pretty familiar.  It’s a nice track that builds to a big swell in the chorus before dying back down in the verse.   The production here is very clean and shall we say arch?  I like the grittier sounding African music — that’s my preference.  I don’t have anything against this music and its sound though I prefer a stronger swing.  If I wanted the soaring music I could always cut myself a big ass slice of Kelly Clarkson cheese.  This record undoubtedly surpasses the Greatest Showman soundtrack but they’re not completely unrelated.

YTD recordings listened to: 635
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 343
Not good music: 254

Best: 11
Honorable Mentions: 8

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, Janelle Monae, 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, A Tribe Called Quest, Noname, Gouge Away, 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, Converge, Open Mike Eagle, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Tal National, Portal, Hernan Sama & Marcelo von Schultz, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton, Parquet Courts, Orlando Lopez, Moskus, Kendl Winter, Tkay Maidza, Marianne Faithfull

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Music for 10/9/18!!! Schlegelmilch, Goldberger and Black, KALETA AND SUPER YAMBA BAND, Ladama

@@@ Schlegelmilch, Goldberger & Black: Three of a Mind (Skirl, 2018) I got to this jazz record from a friend whose music teacher is on this recording.  Instrumentation includes organ, guitar and drums and I’m psyched about that combination of sounds.  This first tune has an indie rock flavor and is pretty straight ahead.  The tune moves more firmly into a proggy area after the intro.  The second tune, Chiseler, edges more deeply into prog and jazz neighborhoods.  It is definitely spiritually related to Martin Medeski and Wood but more rocking than I remember that outfit being.    I’ve sampled big bites of four of the tunes and I’m mostly neutral on this record.  I like parts of it and not others.

@@@ KALETA AND SUPER YAMBA BAND: Mr. Diva / Hungry Man, Angry Man (Yamba, 2018)  I came across a quick bio of this outfit and it’s New York city based with a senior figure in African music.  It does sport classic Afrobeat horns, a couple of simple and funky guitar parts and then a gent rocking it in…..well he was born in Benin but grew up in Nigeria.  It’s got funky beats, a solid guitar organ, and even some organ action.  If you’re in the mood for the old school Afrobeat, have at it.

@@@ Ladama: Poor Macatu (Six Degrees, 2017) I got to this group of Latina female musicians from an email by an upstate New York media collective.  This is the first track from their 2017 record Night Traveler and it is busting with energy.  Multiple voices, a brisk tempo, and a full but not cluttered mix.  Ah, they gave space for an accordion solo, you can’t fuck with that as far as I’m concerned.  Other instruments include drum kit, hand percussion, electric bass, and nylon guitar.  I associate the West Coast label Six Degrees with sleepytime tea world music so I was not expecting this level of energy.  They rhyme, they chant, they sing together.  I’m going to roll back and check out more of this record.

YTD recordings listened to: 571
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 304
Not good music: 231

Best: 9
Honorable Mentions: 6

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, Janelle Monae, 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, A Tribe Called Quest, Noname, Gouge Away, 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, Converge, Open Mike Eagle, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Tal National, Portal, Hernan Sama & Marcelo von Schultz, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton, Parquet Courts, Orlando Lopez, Moskus, Kendl Winter, Tkay Maidza, Peregoyo y su Combo vacana, serpentwithfeet

Music for 10/3/18!!!! Joseph C. Philips, 2Baba, Adekunle Gold, Niniola

@@@ Joseph C. Philips: Numinous (New Amsterdam, 2015) Some classical music off this week’s Roulette show email.  It might surprise a listener to see this slotted as classical music and then hear a fusion funk figure opening up the first track.  Interesting and unexpected as it gives way to a standard classic instrumentation while retaining fusion elements in the playing.  Six pieces span almost 56 minutes and I’m really feeling the second piece, Behold the Only Thing Greater than yourself.  It really does mash classical music with other genres, most notably African American genres together in a non-gimmicky and convincing way.  This piece is a slow roller featuring vocal, strings, and some woodwinds (small guess) with light guitar.  It is decidedly highbrow music which I tend to be very skeptical of but there are some really nice moments on what I heard.

@@@ 2Baba: Gaga Shuffle (Hypertek Digital, 2017). I got to the following three African tracks via a photo shoot in the New Yorker focusing on Nigerian musicians.  This is an electro, African track with Autotune (I think) some pleasant synth percussion and some light to medium funk.  It is a shuffle after all.  I have to look up the lyrics as there’s a thick accent going on but Mr. 2Baba wants to involve you in the craze of the Gaga Shuffle.  I have no clue what the Gaga shuffle is, but the track is a slightly funk-a-fied Lionel Richie vibe with updated sounds but it’s not very interesting.  I don’t anticipate getting involved in the Gaga Shuffle craze.

@@@ Adekunle Gold: IRE (Afro Urban, 2017) A Justin Bieber style ballad, yikes!  Nylon string guitar and string flourishes for high class and sophistication.  Here comes the African vocal choir, more yikes!  This is exactly the kind of music one would expect the New Yorker to feature for its readers — decidedly Westernized, maudlin lyrics and a gentle yet aspiring African vibe.  I made it about halfway through, this is not my favorite style of African music.  At all.

@@@ Niniola: Maradona (Drumroll, 2017). This is a lush mid tempo funk tune with ballad vibes though I think it’s about a soccer player.  It sports a plethora of percussion as well as a simple and quick guitar melody and some whizzing samples that pan across the stereo field.  It’s kind of a singular vibe, it’s just grooving on Maradona.  Super slick production, fat rhythms, that’s about it.  No need to go on and on when you can check it for yourself.

YTD recordings listened to: 557
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 298
Not good music: 226

Best: 9
Honorable Mentions: 6

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, Janelle Monae, 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, A Tribe Called Quest, Noname, Gouge Away, 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, Converge, Open Mike Eagle, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Tal National, Portal, Hernan Sama & Marcelo von Schultz, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton, Parquet Courts, Orlando Lopez, Moskus, Kendl Winter, Tkay Maidza

Music for 9/11/18!!! Bixiga 70, Minyeshu, Michi Sarmiento Y Su Combo Bravo

@@@ BIXIGA 70: Quebra Cabeça (Glitterbeat, 2018). Off this week’s WRIR playlist email.    There’s just a pre-release single up on the Apple Music for what looks set to be an Afrobeat funk explosion.  I’m into the guitar player’s chicken scratch style and the thick stew of drum kit, hand drums, and horns.  My African music radar was saying that the musicians are not African but lovers of the music thereof, and I am correct.  This outfit hails from Brazil and they put some more slight sonic variations into the tune and a slightly different rhythmic feel to the track.  I would check out more of this.

@@@ MINYESHU | Daa Dee (ARC, 2018)  Also off this week’s WRIR playlist email and also a pre-release single.  It’s a mash of African music but I’m gonna have to GooglePimp this musician as it’s a mash of genres.  Minyeshu hails from Ethiopia but now lives in the Netherlands.  It’s a piano ballad sung in an African tongue and it’s not the part of African music that I love most.

@@@ MICHI SARMIENTO Y SU COMBO BRAVO | Salsa Con Monte (Vampisoul, 2018)  We switch gears to some Latin American music.  It is salsa but the musicians could be from most anywhere in the Western Hemisphere.  Pardon me while I GooglePimp this band.  These guys are old school and are described as Colombian dance floor thunder.  I have heard so much old school Latin music from my out of print vinyl record archive but if you are a young gent or gal or gender fluid and have not heard the old school salsa, you’re missing out.

YTD recordings listened to: 519
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 273
Not good music: 217

Best: 9
Honorable Mentions: 5

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, Janelle Monae, 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, A Tribe Called Quest, Noname, Gouge Away, Klara Lewis, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Oddisee, Forro in the Dark, RAM, Fiver, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Priests, Propaganda, This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez, Integrity, Tuba Skinny, The Expanders, Converge, Open Mike Eagle, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Tal National, Portal, Hernan Sama & Marcelo von Schultz, Jean Grae and Quelle Chris, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton, Parquet Courts, Orlando Lopez, Moskus, Kendl Winter, KEN mode

Music for 8/8/18!!! Jess Sah Bi/Peter One, The Split Seconds

@@@ Jess Sah Bi & Peter One: Our Garden Needs its Flowers (N/A, 2018)  A reissue of African music from the 1980’s.  I got to this record as its Bandcamp’s Album of the day.  This first tune is notable fore its weird ass and pretty guitars that are a little African, a little trippy, and a little hippie folk.  The singing and harmonizing is very pretty and the tunes have a very laidback yet not soft feel.  I don’t think this record works great for African music lovers that enjoy the burning epic guitar blazers but I could see this record working for indie hipsters as it’s similar while being much better.

@@@ The Split Seconds: Counterfeit Reality (Altercation Records, 2018)  I got to this DC punk band record via a music publicist email.  This first tune is more Orange County is singalong punk rather than rat in a cage hardcore.  I like it all right but my first impression is that I wish it was rougher.  The drummer is doing all right, but the guitars are a bit wuss and the singer is pretty polite and literate for a punk singer.  He couldn’t match Joe Strummer for righteous indignation.  They need a couple distortion pedals and half a can of Red Bull.

YTD recordings listened to: 460
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 236
Not good music: 192

Best: 8
Honorable Mentions: 5

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, Janelle Monae, 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, A Tribe Called Quest, Noname, Gouge Away, Klara Lewis, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Oddisee, Forro in the Dark, RAM, Fiver, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Priests, Propaganda, This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez, Integrity, Tuba Skinny, The Expanders, Converge, Open Mike Eagle, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Tal National, Portal, Hernan Sama & Marcelo von Schultz, Jean Grae and Quelle Chris, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton, Parquet Courts, Orlando Lopez, Moskus, Kendl Winter

Music for 8/7/18!!! Clau Aniz, Out of Nations, Death Cab for Cutie

@@@ CLAU ANIZ: Filha de mil Mulheres (Minty Fresh, 2018) This is some Brazilian music with indie flavorings that I got to via the WRIR weekly playlist email.  There is also a Latin Jazz vibe up in here as well so it’s a somewhat wide mash of influences here.  The trumpet is holding down that mellow jazz thing while there’s delayed and slack rock guitar sound floating around.  This is a 63 minute record where the tunes average around 6 minutes so the pace is measured and mellow.  Female singer, slow tempos, plenty of hand drumming and space rock guitar — that’s the formula.  It’s a bit adult alternative to me.

@@@ OUT OF NATIONS: Quest (Riverboat, 2018) I try to check out Riverboat releases of African music as I think they’re a solid imprint.  There is only a pre-release single up on the Apple Music and it’s a mash of ‘early ‘80s disco funk and smooth jazz.  Wow, not your typical thing these days.  I’m gonna google this outfit as the cover is showing mostly white musicians and I’m thinking this is a North African/French thing.  Be right back…oh boy these folks are from all over.  NYC, Cairo, Beirut, Berlin, it’s a basket of folks.  I wish I liked smooth jazz more but I dig the hand drumming and the aspirations of this pre-release track.

@@@ Death Cab for Cutie: Autumn Love (N/A, 2018). A mainstream rock single masquerading as indie rock.  This is a version of a Yes, Hootie and the Blowfish, or even a Justin Bieber tune.  I’m now remembering why Death Cab for Cutie has been one of my least favorite indie bands.  It’s so discretely saccharine it makes your teeth hurt.  You get some peppy drumming, some oh oh oh ohs, some intricate Dirty Projectors’ guitar work but alas this is for others and not me.

YTD recordings listened to: 458
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 234
Not good music: 192

Best: 8
Honorable Mentions: 5

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, Janelle Monae, 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, A Tribe Called Quest, Noname, Gouge Away, Klara Lewis, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Oddisee, Forro in the Dark, RAM, Fiver, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Priests, Propaganda, This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez, Integrity, Tuba Skinny, The Expanders, Converge, Open Mike Eagle, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Tal National, Portal, Hernan Sama & Marcelo von Schultz, Jean Grae and Quelle Chris, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton, Parquet Courts, Orlando Lopez, Moskus, Kendl Winter

Music for 4/30/28!!! Baloji, Garotas Suecas, Andy Mineo, LIMBS

@@@ Baloji: 137 Kaniama (Bella Union, 2018). Off this week’s WRIR playlist email.  Some Congotronic African music via Belgium.  This first tune emphasizes complex vocal arrangements over the grit of Konono No. 1 distorted thumb piano and a generally more driving sound.  The second tune dabbles in the sweeter side of African music with an updated high life sound.  I like it all right but I prefer funk over sweetness in my African music.  It’s also a bit too shiny in the production for my taste.

@@@ Garotas Suecas: Futuro Do Preterito (Vampisoul, 2018). A Brazilian funk outfit I got to via the WRIR weekly playlist email.  It’s an old school funk outing with an emphasis on instruments and not on electronic sounds.  I like the guitar playing and hand drumming as one would expect from a rhythmic powerhouse society such as Brazil.

@@@ Andy Mineo: I the Arrow (Reach/Miner League, 2018)   Some hip hop off the Apple Music hot tracks section.  This first tune opens up with a sung old school vibe though the record is slotted as a hip hop thing.  Ah, there’s the MC and he’s all right.  The arrangements are an interesting combination of organic and glitched up sounds.  I like the sounds a whole bunch and went to All Music to see what’s up with this MC to see that he’s a Christian rapper.  Propaganda is about as much Christian hip hop I can take.

@@@ LIMBS: Father’s Son (UNFD, 2018).  A post hardcore outfit I got to via the Apple Music genre pages.  After a sort of epic first tune, they get into some art school post metallic post hardcore.  The singer is melodic and at the end of his rope which lessens the roughness of the tunes.  On the whole it’s an energetic outfit but it comes off a bit lightweight compared the heaviness of Pig Destroyer or early Converge.  Everything sounds good, I guess I’m tilted a bit against the singer.

YTD recordings listened to: 231
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 122
Not good music: 101

Best: 4
Honorable Mentions: 3

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, A Tribe Called Quest, Noname, Gouge Away, Klara Lewis, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, 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, Irreversible Entanglements, Converge, Open Mike Eagle, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Tal National, Portal, Hernan Sama & Marcelo von Schultz