Music for 9/17/18!!! Dad Nap, Scott Xylo, Immersion

@@@ Dad Nap: Worn Out (Self-released, 2018) I got to this DIY record via the music blog Indiepulse.  Super DIY recording — a one microphone creation with virtually no low end but tons and tons and tons of energy.  Manic acoustic guitar strumming, some harmonica and speedy vocals.  The vocalists are working so fast they sound more than a bit a little like Eminem.  I really appreciate the spirit.

@@@ Scott Xylo: Call Us When You Get there (Black Acre, 2018) I was clipping the above record on to this here blog post when I saw this record posted on the front page of Bandcamp and thought it looked good.  Btw, it’s album of the day at Bandcamp.  I expect a whole lot more low end on this recording as it’s a mash of Afrobeat, jazz, and funk.  Has a pretty intimate and laidback feel to it with mellow ass vocals.  Bits of Maxwell and other loverboy r&b gents.  The third tune, Sam’s Joloff, is the first spot where I felt connected to the sounds going on.  Simple funky bass line, some washed out midnight electric organ, some sax playing and mostly African drumming.  I like it without loving it.

@@@  Immersion: Irreversible Mechanism (2018)   Some metal off the bandcamp.  These guys are from Finland so you know it’s good!  Not really but it’s a great marketing line.  From reading their band camp page, they’re super into atmosphere and not putting out your standard metal bashing.  Which is great for them, but not so much for me.  This is a long intro on this first tune, I’m not feeling punished yet.  This is operatic and slow.  Not really my thing, let me skip to the next track.  Oh no, there it is!  I had to wait almost 4 minutes.  This is an epic artsy metal stomp.  It’s a lot of sustained guitar melodies, a lot of kick drum, and a lot of caveman-esque vocals.  I like the dirtier business myself but this isn’t all about what I like.  Check it out if it seems applicable to you.

YTD recordings listened to: 532
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 280
Not good music: 220

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, Automatisme

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Music for 2/13/18!!! Guy One, Calvin Harris, Tiavara

@@@ Guy One: #1 (Philophon, 2018) I got to this record via the WRIR weekly playlist email.  It’s out on an African label out of Berlin and the musician is from the Ghana/Benin area.  After a more traditional acoustic number it gets into some high energy full ensemble funk in the second tune Bengere Tomme.  It’s got a pretty manic guitar part that drives this tune hard with some electronic garnish.  Thus far I hear strands of Afrobeat but there is plenty of other weirdness for listeners to groove on.  That might be a kora and not a guitar, by the way.  I really like what I hear thus far, most notably the arrangements of the tunes — funky and unexpected.  The singing is very good but it’s the sounds that set it apart.  I will be swinging back on this record when I have the time but it sounds like it will end up on my year end list.

@@@ Calvin Harris: Nuh Ready Nuh Ready (Sony, 2018)  Calvin Harris continues his appropriation of black music forms with a dancehall influenced banger and an island accented toaster/singer.  Talk about a motherfucker that puts his finger in the air and then bites it hard.  Super hard.  Super slick production but underneath it has a wooden fakeness that belies Calvin’s copycat soul.  Looking at Drake and Bieber and how they’ve gone to the bank Mr. Harris has moved from his funk thieving to Caribbean heisting. #CorporateTurdery.

@@@ Tiavara: When Silence Reigns (KC/RC, 2018)  I got to this Russian metal band single from a publicist email.  The singer does his thing in English and he sounds a bit like a college professor — somber and dramatical to be sure.  It’s a dual guitar classic metal shredshow with a hard rock drum sound.  It’s not really my thing as far as metal goes but listen for yourself.

YTD recordings listened to: 78
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 43
Not good music: 32

Best: 1
Honorable Mentions: 1

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, 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, Billy Strings, Guy One

Music for 8/30/17!!! Iron & Wine, Filthy Friends, Fifth Harmony, ESSO Afrojam Funkbeat

@@@ Iron & Wine: Beast Epic (Sub Pop, 2017)  A pillar of the slack indie scene I like this first tune and I got to this via this week’s All Music playlist email.  The singer is extremely welcoming and warm and the playing is medium energy and also not abrasive.  Myself I dig contrasts but I am a freak as I prefer the collision of different feelings.  That’s life.  Is it bitchy for me to lament that I wish there was a tad more muscle tucked up into this business.  You put some toughness subtly tucked with the tenderness then I’m all for it.  And you say how can something be too pretty and I say it happens all the time.  I like it, but there would be more depth if there was more contrast.

@@@ Filthy Friends: Invitation (Kill Rock Stars, 2017)  Some guitar indie also off this week’s All Music notable release email.  This is a watered down Sleater Kinney kinda thing and I don’t mean that in a mean way.  It’s just not amped the same way.  The singer is very similar to the Sleater Kinney gal.  There’s a few pubes of arena rock up in this sonic formula — it’s like Cheap Trick dry humped Sleater Kinney.  Not really my thang but have at it.  Guitar shreds, some hooks, some dirt but not too much.

@@@ Fifth Harmony: Fifth Harmony (Sony Music, 2017)  The video clipped below has 11 million views so we know we up in the mainstream shit people.  Three sisters busting out some singing over a Drake like arrangement.  God, I’m sure Drake is a great human being but I fucking hate him.  His shit is like pudding — there’s only so much pudding one person can eat, right?  This is an undercover dancehall variant.  Let’s peep more but it’s pretty clear how things are going here.  Gucci Mane taking some rhymes…meh.  I like the ladies and how they harmonize and I don’t hate the arrangements it’s just they’re Drake-y.  That’s right, I’ll shit on Drake, he’s just a dude from Toronto.

@@@ Esso Afrojam Funkbeat: Somos Hermanos (Self-released, 2017)  A pre-release single off an upcoming full length and it’s a Latin variant on Afrobeat.  Less swaggering horn lines, big vocal chant singing, lyrics in Spanish and a very rhythmic but lighter approach to the Afrobeat concept.  I would call this breezy and an interesting mash of Latin and African flavors.  Check it out.

YTD recordings listened to: 563
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 302
Not good music: 236

Buys: 8
Honorable Mentions: 6

Possibles: Chris McGregor, 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, James Brandon Lewis, 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, American Lips, Sudan Archives

Music for 8/14/17!!! Kelsea Ballerina, Antiabalas, Offa Rex

@@@ Kelsea Ballerina: Unapologetically (Black River, 2017)  A pre-release new country single off the Apple Music hot tracks.  Unapologetically cliche lyrics over a barely country track.  It’s an interesting track because Ballerina (real name?) is a gal so there’s no macho going on so by the time they tech the tune out with EDM production flourishes it’s fake apple pie filling.  It’s a very sweet but somewhat homeless/genre less kinda feeling.  As I’ve said many times before the worst music is the stuff that doesn’t make you feel anything making you feel kinda dead.  She’s a pretty singer but I don’t feel anything about the song.  It’s Oxycodone country music.

@@@ Antibalas: Gold Rush (Daptone, 2017)  A single from long running Afrobeat band Antibalas.  It opens up with a nice bashing drum beat and trips out with a quasi-psych guitar shred.  The singer has always had a somewhat righteous tone which isn’t my favorite but that’s just me and the tune has plenty of space for solos.  I dig the main horn line and the solo that comes after.  It’s a big boy weighing in at almost 11 minutes so there’s plenty of time to stretch.  You and the musicians.

@@@ Offa Rex: The Queen of Hearts (Nonesuch, 2017)  Also off this week’s WRIR playlist email.  I consider Nonesuch the label of especially white people and this record sure confirms that notion.  It opens up with harpsichord and an uber female singer.  Not a female singer taking an Uber but a very female kinda gal.  The second tune brings a male singer and they work a folk rock vibe similar to but not as virtuosic as Richard Thompson.  Man, I could go for some shepherd’s pie or a kidney pudding or some such!  This is well played but a little bit low energy baroque folk but if you go for that sort of thing then check it out.

YTD recordings listened to: 525
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 284
Not good music: 218

Buys: 8
Honorable Mentions: 6

Possibles: Chris McGregor, 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, James Brandon Lewis, 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

Music for 6/19/17!!! Professor Wouassa, Fleet Foxes, GospelbeacH, Calvin Harris

@@@ Professor Wouassa: Grow Yes Yes! (Chiz Records, 2015)  I got to this Afrobeat record via the WRIR music review email.  Regular readers know that I have problems with Afrobeat, namely it’s decidely macho posturing and vibe.  This horn section is full of jazz players so the vibe is more subtle and the singer is very quiet in front of this large ensemble.  I guess the male singer on the opener was a guest and it’s been mostly the ladies holding down the vocal responsibilities.  If you’re looking for more chilled out Afrobeat check this record out, it’s a pro outfit.

@@@ Fleet Foxes: Crack-Up (Nonesuch, 2017)  Some meaningful white boy indie music off this week’s All Music notable release email.  After an ambient opening they get into a fairly rambunctious hippie sing a long kinda thing.  They cold filter a Simon and Garfunkel intimate folk thing through a cold water brew indie rock coffee maker.  There’s a lot of reverb to be had here, I could use a bit less myself, but this is clearly supposed to be quietly uplifting music by virtue of it’s beauty.  It doesn’t rock, it’s not supposed to, it holds you in its arms and gives you a designer hipster pacifier.

@@@ GospelbeacH: Another Summer of Love (Alive NaturalSounds, 2017)  I think of Alive NaturalSounds as a home for unwashed, trailer park white people but this is smoother and more classic rock than usual.  Super sweet vocals here going for a faded California sound which I’m hearing a lot lately.  Check out the cover below which is decidely faded so I’m not bloveating here.  I like this all right but it’s pretty straight — for those hardcore music listeners out there I would go for some classic Big Star and the various pills they were taking at that point.  They operate in this neighborhood but the music has more impact.  At least on me.

@@@ Calvin Harris: Feels (Sony, 2017)  I peep Calvin Harris’ music because he bites everything that came before him so hard.  Here we have a late disco track but a shiny, modern nugget lacking in soul.  Woke Katy Perry is up on this track and maybe Calvin and other guests ate at her buffet!  Oh I would watch a video of that.  In the middle of the track it breaks down for a rhyming break but the problem here is the lyrics — there’s a lot of them but the hook ‘Don’t be afraid to catch feels’.  Oh Calvin, that’s it?  I got feels, Mr. Harris and some of them are bad feels.

YTD recordings listened to: 379
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 213
Not good music: 149

Buys: 5
Honorable Mentions: 4

Possibles: Chris McGregor, 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, 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, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, James Brandon Lewis, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Power Trip, Reverend Payton, J.I.D., Oddisee, Forro in the Dark, RAM, Fiver, Dona Onete, Succumb Succumb, Gloom

Music for 2/6/17!!! Bongo Hop, Yotoco, Big Sean

@@@ BONGO HOP | Satingarona Pt. 1 (Underdog, 2016) A mash of Latin and Afrobeat sounds that I got to via WRIR’s weekly playlist email.  This first tune is a midtempo groove with two female singers, funky guitars and plenty of rhythm.  It looks like the band is Bongo Hop and they bring in a plethora of guest vocalists which is cool but lends a slightly jumpy feel to the record.  I really dug the two ladies in the first jam and this is more of a Latin rapper in this second tune.  The band is tight and hot (phrasing) and I appreciate that the guitar players are featured prominently in the mix.  If the dual females were rocking this whole album I would be on it like a white man on rice, but I don’t like the dude as much.  Check these ladies out.

@@@ Yotoco: Yotoco (Self-released, 2016)  More Latin music (also with large ensemble Afrobeat flavorings) to honor Trump’s dumbass wall.  Maybe not.  Oh my, this first tune is sweet as the intro gives way to a softly swinging salsa groove with beautiful vocal melodies.  The second tune opens up with accordion so the Latin vibes are moving to the foreground and I’m noticing the guitar player a whole bunch in both these songs.  What a damned shame as I’m feeling this third tune but I can’t find any interwebz nuggets or samples to share with my readers (all three of them!)  Maybe someone from the band has that Google feature where it notifies you when something about you has been published — help a fan out and get back to me with something I can share, this record is hot.  Here’s a live clip that doesn’t do justice to these guys.  Imma swing back on this.

@@@ Big Sean: I Decided (Def Jam/Universal, 2017)  Some mainstream hip hop off the Apple Music new music section.  I don’t love the sounds on this second tune, Light, they’re a bit hip hop new age but he’s got some interesting lyrics going on  here.  I’m on the third tune, Bounce Back and while Mr. Sean is super quick on the mic he bounces between introspection and gangster stylings.  This is reflected in the sounds as well — some fat bass and skittering beats that have strings and other soaring sounds over them.

YTD recordings listened to: 83
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 50
Not good music: 23

Buys: 0
Honorable Mentions: 0

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, Divanhana, 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, Acid Arab, A Tribe Called Quest, Noname, Gouge Away, Anna Hogberg, Klara Lewis, Aethenor, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, James Brandon Lewis, Yotoco,

Music for 1/15/17!!! Sampha, Sinkane

@@@ Sampha: Blood On Me (Young turks, 2016).  Ivanka banger/little fuckface Jared Kushner owns the NY Observer (I guess he’s selling it so he can go be in service to the Dark Lord Trump.)  The Observer has an article on the most anticipated music of 2017 and this UK singer is at the top of the list.  The tune is uptempo with some simple ethnic percussion over a drum machine beat (I think).  It’s an urgent tune with a fusion bass and a tinkling piano at the end of the tune.  I like his voice, he’s got soul and I prefer his voice to the tune.

@@@ Sinkane: Life and Livin’ It (City Slang, 2017) A self confessed mash of party musics also off this Observer most anticipated music blah blah blah.  There are two tunes on Apple Music from his upcoming record which emerges next month.  This tune has Afrobeat threads as well as funk and frat boy jam music.  The auto spell changed the brother’s name to Sinkage which is just not accurate as he’s mad positive.  Maybe a tad too positive for my tastes.  This second tune Telephone brings the four on the floor and the disco juicy bits.  It sounds a bit square to be honest, nothing unexpectedly funky.  Like some guy playing a chicken like an accordion.  Or George Clinton talking about the mothership.

YTD recordings listened to: 32
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 22
Not good music: 9

Buys: 0
Honorable Mentions: 0

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, Divanhana, 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, Acid Arab, A Tribe Called Quest, Noname, Gouge Away, Anna Hogberg, Klara Lewis,