@@@ Remy Le Boeuf: The Melancholy Architecture of Storms (Self released, 2022) A couple of listens from this week’s email from adventurous music club Roulette in Brooklyn. This is a big band record that opens with a track called Neener Neener — energetic with a circular horn line and then vibes. I love me vibes! It’s not a roaring big band sound, it’s more a of a highbrow sitch, yeah classy like. The second tune Minnesota, WI opens up with a cinematic piano tinkle and more sophisto horn work. I don’t love the sound of the record, it’s a bit restrained but I’m in the minority on this issue folks love that clean sound. I’m giving the title track a quick spin and it features a female vocalist, a bird like flute thing and while I like it, it is most definitely aimed at people with jobs who shower in the morning. I could use a bit more big band grit/power to provide some contrast to the sweetness but that’s just me.
@@@ MV Carbon and Charlemagne Palestine: Glass from The Sand (Kill Rock Stars, 2022) It’s interesting this artist is playing at Roulette which usually hosts improvised music and this single is out on Kill Rock Stars. It’s got some simple and atmospheric piano surrounded by what sounds like amp buzz and horror movie whispers. Oh, there’s a didgiredoo up in there, I’m agnostic on that and I don’t love the whispers. The piano and what sounds like a cello or stringed instrument bowing short quick notes builds. It’s an interesting example of using acoustic instruments to build an ambient tune. Outside of the components used to build it, I don’t find it super interesting but that’s just me.
@@@ Robert Chaney: Breath (Self-released, 2020) A last listen off a Guardian list of pandemic music discoveries. It is slotted as Americana on Apple Music and it is that. Old school style with a very John Prine-y sounding voice. Just vocals and melodic electric guitar. It’s got a clever vocal hook, clever as in literary, not clever as in hipster irony. This is the kind of America I want to live in. Surprisingly catchy guitar playing, he’s got it all going here.
@@@ Sophie Birch/Antonina Nowacka: Pripugale (Mondoj, 2022) An ambient release off this week’s Pitchfork’s 10 most reviewed albums of the week. The video below is the seventh track on the record and it opens with large strums of a (guessing) zither and a warbly female voice. It is a very ambient sound right here on this record but it’s an old school parlor folk flavored thing, though some more ambient stuff is being added to the strums. It’s interesting in its oddness and I dig some of that background business. I’m giving a quick listen to another track, lotta tape hiss which is cool and a tad annoying at the same time. It’s not really my cup of tea, I love ambient music, and I like folk music but I’m not sure I need them blended in this way.
@@@ Gwenno: Tresor (PIAS, 2022) If you took the classic quirk band The Coral and made a lovebaby with Kate Bush you would get close to this record. Female driven with pillowy vocals and other small New Age epic vibes. I’m checking out the title track, Tresor, and it’s the second track with vibes on it (vibes the instrument), and non English sung lyrics. Oh there ya go, big tambourine part right there, that’s good shit. It’s fully cooked, well executed but it’s a bit sleepytime tea for me. That’s just me, but the mashup of The Coral and Kate Bush observation is fucking spot on.
@@@ Kali Malone: Living Torch (Portraits GRM, 2022) This is a second listen off this week’s 10 most reviewed albums on PItchfork. It’s a solo organ, ambient piece — obviously it’s got Jesus type feels and it’s a chill sitch at the same time. There’s not a lot to say here. It’s got a swelling type of feel to it with occasional bursts of sound. Not super action packed bursts just breathy clouds that interrupt the droning lower frequency material. It’s super churchy and can’t help be as such, but yet I’m agnostic on it. It does have a certain visceral feel to it on a nice pair of headphones and that may be its main appeal.
@@@ KMRU & Aho Ssan: Limen (Multiverse, 2022) Also off the Vinyl Factory top 20 of 2022 that I’ve been listening to this week. This ambient record consists of three pieces, a 5 minute, an 11 minute and a 20+ minute banger. I will be peeping the first tune Resurgence which opens pleasantly swirly with some high end percussive elements that sound a bit like a seasoned drummer working the brushes on his/her snare. It’s an extremely dramatic piece and not a minimalist amount of sound going on here with a guitar like sound in an epic feedback struggle. Let me give a quick peep to the next track, the short one as this first one may be a bit too dramatic for me. I like this short piece more as the guitar component is dialed back and there’s a fat wedge of low frequency going on. It’s bit too frantic for my tastes in the high end of the spectrum, lots of panning static and crashing which provides both action and distraction.
@@@ Power Pose: Honey (Wine N Orange, 2022) I got to this via a music publicist email. If you’re looking for a tad of surf/rockabilly swirled into you pop punk this could work for you bigly. The singer is the low energy component here compared to the guitarist and the drummer, oops proved a liar as she jumps an octave and lets loose a bit, I like that. Now if there was a full on meltdown at this point I would shit my pants. I don’t they’re going to flip out though it’s the logical conclusion to the situation they’ve created. But alas the trousers went unsoiled and the shitty was not whipped.
@@@ El Hombre Al Agua – Memores Can’t Be Injected (Echodelick) I got to this electronic/spoken word record via the Vancouver radio station CFUV. It’s a pretty simple formula with a stripped down abstract electronic arrangement with pretty medium heavy vocal sample usage so it gives a sci fi impression as well as a very mundane spoken word flavor that I find interesting. I’m on the third tune Replicant Ice Fortress and while there has been no speech and the artist is not obligated to provide it, it’s a pretty engaging track. Big drone swells, a nurple beat, buzzy and thweepy at points, these are the words I’m going with. I like the sonic balance here — enough beat, enough sci fi spaciousness and enough swelling drone action to keep you in there and listening.
@@@ Imagine Dragons: Bones (Interscope, 2022) I’ve always appreciated the epic cheesiness of Imagine Dragons, homie’s got ballz if not music skills. The most breathtaking thing here is the lyrical pose, i.e. that his words are creative and memorable. It’s a preposterous idea, especially combined with the childish sounds that are put with the lyrics. Beats, flat and predictable, vocalzing, quasi hip hop and chanted, melodies, not many outside of the vocals, sophistication and tastefulness pretty much not present. Lest ye think this is based on one song I’m almost through a second one and it’s been rough. This is some super well executed cheesy trash, awful for you mind and body.
@@@ Launder: Unwound (Ghostly, 2022) Seen it on the Twatter people! Advertising, twatter, advertising, twatter. Pre-release track that opens with indie rock guitar and some feedback, wtf? I guess the squares want to be circles and the circles want to be squares. Big Pavement feels with dreamy dude singer, this flag has seen plenty of the pole, oy I thought Ghostly was a frontrunner in sound, they coulda at least rummaged up some small take on the formula, no? Or somebody who doesn’t follow the formula. I really like the guitar tones and I tipped out when the tambourine hit right before 2:00. That’s pretty good.
@@@ Ezmeralda: Nochear (Ediciones ETER, 2022) Off this week’s 10 most reviewed albums of the week or some such shit from Pitchfork. This is ambient business opening with a chill beat, a Doors-like bassline, and a one note synth that rings out into the ether of the stereo field. I like what’s here, it’s hypnotic, but I’m not sure it’s enough to sustain me or hold my interest for the length of the track. It makes for chill background music but it not the main act for my ears. It’s got a restrained indie song sensibility, at least that track did, the third track is opening with a ringing bell typa thing and a big curtain of shush-ing. I like this third track, it’s mental, more focused and just consisting of these repeating sounds with some delays added at certain points. What a difference a track makes! There’s not a lot here either but the way it’s put together is much more interesting. This track is called Flores En El Rio, check it out. Okay I went and shagged it on Youtube, check it out now ya binches.
@@@ Whatever the Weather: 17 C (Ghostly, 2022) This is the new project of UK dancefloor musician Lorraine James. I’m hopeful on this record after hearing her last record as I really enjoyed the sounds but didn’t love the singers/tunes as much and I think this is gonna be an instrumental record. The track below is medium percolating, now more than medium percolating with hints of drum and bass, multiple synths and some glitch sauce and a generally stylish vibe. James really is a talented arranger/producer, lots of discipline and focus on display here. The middle of this track she brings it down and really pulls you into the experience of these sounds before she reinflates the groove and takes you home. I’m checking out the next track and it opens with the same electro framework but some washed out piano so while I will check out more this looks set to be a mixed bag for me.
@@@ Fachada: Mundos Secretos (Electric Cowbell, 2022) I got to this Latin fusion record via the WRIR weekly email but one from January. I’m really enjoying the drummer here and the unconventional synth sounds from the keyboard player. Unconventional in terms of Latin jazz, these are spacier and weirder than what you would expect from a high end Latin jazz thing. The record has a pleasantly janky feel to it, there are a million ways to put these sounds together. The loose feel and super organic flow works for me though younger listeners might find it disorienting and unusual. This is what humans sound like when they play music. Not all the times but sometimes and it’s cool.
@@@ Aldous Harding: Ennui (4AD, 2022) Two releases from Pitchfork’s top 10 most reviewed albums this week. This opens as a sort of art school/proggy/chill rock thing. Piano part, tinkly drums, droning singing, it does match the opening track title and is a depiction of ennui as I’ve experienced it. Now it’s in the verse proper and it remains quirky. About halfway through the tune, the drum mix/part changes and it’s a full fleshed out tune, piano driven with off kilter vocalizing. I did a little googling and Harding hails from New Zealand and there is a distinctly un-American feel to the proceedings. I appreciate that, I like difference. She’s an experienced arranger and songwriter. I’m not a huge fan of this arty fok-y, indie style but that’s just me. If you dig it and want a modern and crisp version of it this could work for you.
@@@ Bladee and Ecco2k: 5 Star Crest ( YEAR0001, 2022) I thought this was going to be electronic but it’s more dreamy indie r&b. It’s got a good helping of glitch sauce to go with the intimate, bedroom singing. I appreciate that it’s more a riot of sound and doesn’t super feel like a structured piece thought it easily may be. Yowsa, I did not notice this is a 9 minute banger and the vibe changes completely to a dancefloor, sci-fi thing around minute 2. Still a lot of spaced out sounds, but a dreamy beat with a siren-y, beeping sound. I’ve rocked almost the whole track while I peeped my twatter feed and this is some epic indie electronic. It’s aspirational, loose and pretty free for the genre and not committed to being anything for any amount of time. I didn’t love it, but I respect it.
@@@ Happy Place: Tendrils (Exit Stencil Recordings, 2020) I saw this weirdo rock band listed for a record release show for a record released in 2020. Oy, the covid! These guys are working a spot that used to be quite common but has now receded like the tide. Non-derivative freak rock with punk flavors maybe even some jazz feels, a crossroads if you may. This is a seven minute banger and it revolves around a 2 drummer groove but there’s plenty of noise and drone and weird energy to keep you engaged. I do not miss the ridiculous macho rawk energy but I do miss a messy rock space where folks are playing hard and putting out a lot of energy, I’m mostly always up for that. The player clicked through to another track and I’m medium into that as well.
@@@ Azu Tiwaline & Labdi: Hewa (Extra Soul Perception, 2022) I’ve been searching for new stuff from this North African female producer because I really dig her and her music and this track popped up on my Apple Music search. Just out!!! In my dumbass opinion her sounds connect you to a state of mind larger than the individual, blending dub delays with North African/Middle Eastern percussion and in this case a female vocalist. It’s serpentine and slim and has a depth to it that I enjoy. I like the groove, the sounds are excellent and the vocals are not meant to be the main focus and work well within the sounds.
@@@ Blinker and Moses: After the Machine Settles (Gearbox, 2022) I got to both of today’s listens via the All Music notable release email from last week. With apocalyptic titles like Active-Multiple-Fetish-Overlord and some electronic production elements/sounds this is set to not be a standard jazz banger. It is slotted as crossover jazz and I’m not sure what that means and I’m not being a bitch about it, I really don’t know. For me, I guess it all comes down to the ratio of horn playing and jazz sounds to electronic/ambient sounds. Right now it’s a splash of jazz in a sea of ambient music, there was an intro that had a jazz feel, ooh now we’re back with a live, roomy drum sound and a sax player but I expect that to fade back into the drones we had before. Unfortunately I could use some more interesting improv out of the drummer and the sax player but I do like the attempt to reconcile these musical palettes. Lemme peep a coupla other tracks. It’s pretty much the same formula but I dig the playing a bit more. So respect for the effort, there’s a passage here where a sax figure is loop and destroyed and I really dig that but the other attempts to integrate the the manipulation of electronic music with the spontaneity of jazz don’t work as well.
@@@ Charlie Gabriel: I’m Confessin’ (Sub Pop, 2022) I don’t know if there’s been a glitch in the matrix but it’s more than a bit weird to see a New Orleans jazz record out on the Sub Pop imprint. From the looks of the video below and the feel of this track (track 3 on the record) this is chill New Orleans jazz, down in tempo and super smooth production. Don’t love the guitar tone but I’m enjoying the clarinet playing. Well the vocals, that’s super old school and you can’t fuck with that. There are not a lot of vocals to be had here and a lot of clarinet shredding which is cool. It’s more of a vibe enjoyment as I dig that he’s out there at age 89 doin his thing, you gotta give it up for that.