Music for 10/25/18!!! Rae Spoon, Tim Hecker, Echo Beds

@@@ Rae Spoon: Bodies of Water (Coax, 2018) #1 out at CFUV in Vancouver.  It’s a singer/songwriter record with a young female singing.  The first tune starts out solo, clean electric guitar and her.  It’s melancholy and sweet.  A band does make a mellow appearnace behind her but it’s still very meaningful and deep.  The second tune brings on the classic indie though with a piano and a small synth part added to the guitar.  I like her voice without liking the lyrics very much.

@@@ Tim Hecker: Konoyo (Kranky, 2018)  I tyr to check out Tim Hecker’s ambient music as he’s a professional ambient music maker with skills.  This first tune, This Life, has a dark and mechanical bent to it with some screeching metallic sounds and offkilter synth playing that is not pillowy or cloudy, it’s unsettling.  The second tune, In Death Valley, focuses on more bell like sounds and there are a lot of delays and a lot of bell like sounds.  It’s got a dark feel to it but not as actively dark as the first tune.  It’s pretty engaging music.  Outside of three 3-5 minute pieces these are all long ones that require some attention.  Thus far I like the pacing and the sounds of this latest Hecker effort and I will swing back on this record when I have more time.

@@@ Echo Beds – Buried Language (The Flenser)  This recording is slotted as industrial music on the Apple Music and is in the loud section of the weekly CFUV playlist email.  It’s opens up with a straightforward drum machine rock/industrial beat but a super needly thin guitar part.  The comes the creepy voice.  I like the muscularity of it but I’m not super into the singer.  I really am in the mood for some dark sounds these days, but this is a bit overwrought.  I guess it works for the Halloween crowd as it has a cartoonish, villain-y feel to it but I would stick with the Tim Hecker record above if you want some dark and submersive music.

YTD recordings listened to: 599
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 319
Not good music: 244

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, Tim Hecker

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2018 Honorable Mention Pick 6

Automatisme: Transit (Constellation, 2018)

Automatisme has put together a dark ambient record with a blend of synths, glitched noises, dashes of drum machine rhythm, and mechanical sounds that evoke industrial music without the manic, pounding pace of that electronic genre.  These pieces sound more performed and organic than a lot of looped ambient music you might encounter.  There are moments of floating cloudiness but there is a pleasing juxtaposition between that and more urgent sounds making the recording more full bodied and engaging.

Check it out, one of my favorite tracks is clipped below.

Music for 9/14/18!!! Twenty One Pilots, Automatisme, Signal

@@@ Twenty One Pilots: My Blood (Fueled By Ramen, 2018)  I got to this track via music biz blogger/big mouth Bob Lefsetz, who has pretty awful taste in music.  But he has juice, so there ya go!  This is a pre-release single that starts out a little rock and a tad electro but I anticipate a cheesy chorus explosion that streaks across the sky.  I’m a bit shocked as there has not been a cheese-gasm yet.  It certainly does not aspire to be Bob Dylan’s All Along the Watchtower but I like the bass sound and the falsetto singing is interesting.  The lyrics revolve around a relationship and fighting together and staying together.  The tambourine and the handclaps and the synths not as cool.  It peters out and meanders a bit at the end but overall not as bad as expected.

@@@ Automatisme: Transit (Constellation, 2018)  Off this week’s CFUV playlist email and it looks like it’s gonna be an electronic ambient affair.  I’m good for that.  This first tune opens up cloudy and then moves into some fairly deep mechanical stutter and glitch.  Deep as in a lot, not as in meaningful.  Thus far no beats and an alternating cloudy/glitchy movement.  The second tune goes deeper with some panned bells, more glitch and an OCD knocking sound that conversates with some oscillating church organ type synth patches.  I like this, it’s thick and engaging.  Let’s hope they can keep the focus on the next track.  Track 3 was solid but not super up my alley but Track 4, confusingly named Bureau 3 is hot.  I’m going to have to swing back on this record and check it out as it’s looking like it’s half loaded with over the top full on ambient action.

@@@ Signal: Signal (Ramp Local, 2018)  I got to this noisy ass punk record via the CFUV weekly playlist email.  It’s not standard caffeinated three chord singalong business, it has a darker more aggro feel to it.  There are punky fresh bits of kibble with the last song clocking in at 2:56.  It’s a helluva staticky guitar mess with an agitated woman working the microphone with fairly and purposely inane lyrics.  The drummer and the bass player do simple but interesting things.  I like this and if you’re feeling like you would like a quick blast of angry female business, they’re here for you.

YTD recordings listened to: 529
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 278
Not good music: 219

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

Best of 2018 Pick 9

700 Bliss: Spa 700 (Don Giovanni, 2018)

Organic electronic production and a pleasantly confrontational African American female MC/singer/spoken word artist headline this EP.  It is rough without being overly fast and aggro with more than one mention of slave ships and other racial references.  I dig that and think the way the lyrics and the sounds go together is great.  The beats are more sci fi than funky with a lot of thick, grizzled bass pulses and frequent high end blasts, whistles or creepy ring outs.

It’s 13 minutes of trippy, pissed off computer music.  Excellent and unique work.

Music for 4/6/18!!! Kellarissa, Messthetics, Calvin Harris

@@@ Kellarissa: Ocean Electro (Dead Oceans, 2018)  Some indie electronic off last week’s All Music notable release email.  It’s strange how indie electronic is a rebranded term for ’80s major label synth rock.  Regular readers know of my aversion to being a genre bitch but this is decidedly not indie electronic.  It’s very poppy with no lo fi sounds or off kilter song structures.  The third tune (clipped below) is the best of what I heard but admittedly I did not stick around for long.  The singer is all right and the synths sound good but there’s just nothing new swirled in or even hinted at here.

@@@ Messthetics: The Messthetics (Dischord, 2018)  Another release off of last week’s All Music notable release email.  I’ve been listening to Dischord releases for a long ass time so they’ve earned a peep.  My initial feeling is that I’m surprised by the bouncy bass player and the distinctly proggy feel to the opening track.  From a little interwebz searching I see this is Fugazi’s rhythm section with a different guitar player.  He’s okay but sounds too much like Joe Satriani — I could use some punk fuzz or something dirty and grimy to hold on to.

@@@ Calvin Harris: One Kiss (Columbia, 2018)  You know what they about Calvin Harris?  If he’s good enough for Taylor Swift’s high end twat then he’s good enough for the rest of us.  It looks like Mr. Harris has wisely taken a turn away from retro funk to more current dancefloor styles.  Four on the floor but with some techno unt tss action.  The singer is all right, she does well with the limited vocals given to her.  I’m not saying this is the greatest track ever but it’s good to Calvin trying for something in this century.

YTD recordings listened to: 193
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 102
Not good music: 86

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

Music for 3/29/18!!! Ben Frost, Brother JT, Jakob Bro

@@@ Ben Frost: All that You Love Will be Eviscerated (Mute, 2018) Some what I presume to be dark electronica off last week’s All Music notable release email.  It is both dark and tinkly with some static tension building, some metallic tinkling and some dark slashing synths.  The second piece is a well crafted arpeggiated synth with some dark under rumbling and then some steaming hiss.  It seems designed to be dark but not completely dark.  The sounds are really well crafted, the arrangements are solid and I like the compositions while not being knocked out by them.  I like my darkness super dark so I dig the bleak, industrial slow aggro but I understand that’s not for everyone.  Check for yourself.

@@@ Brother J.T.: Tornado Juice (Thrill Jockey, 2018) Dirty noisy guitar indie with a gutbucket singer sort of staggering around inside the tune.  Gravelly voice, this is the music the word shambolic was made for.  He’s kinda growing on me though the rhythm guitar I find to be a little childish and too standard.  The tone of J.T.’s voice is the star here and the lyrics are purposely mundane.  The second tune has a repeated line about potato chips and the third tune is the somewhat simple sentiment, Take me back to the ’90s.  No thanks.  You could probably drink a lot of beer to this record.

@@@ Jakob Bro: Returnings (ECM, 2018)  Some ECM jazz off last week’s All Music notable release email.  All three of my listens are from that promo email.  ECM jazz tends to be very ambient and a blend of straight and free depending on who is being featured.  This is no exception as the production is extremely spacious.  The trumpet sounds a bit like theme from Homeland — that bitch is crazy in that show!  She’s not a bitch but she’s crazy.  The instrumentation is guitar, upright bass, trumpet and drums.  The drums are very light in this first tune.  Let’s peep a little more but quietly so as not to disturb the vibe.  The playing here is somewhat conservative and aiming to please.  Nobody is going to get their feelings hurt here.  The drums and all the playing is very light which doesn’t work great for me.  I’m like Lady Facebook as I like to hear a motherfucker lean in and let it out.

YTD recordings listened to: 172
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 91
Not good music: 77

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

Music for 9/15/17!!! Niall Horan, respectful child, A Giant Dog

@@@ Niall Horan: Too Much to Ask (Capitol, 2017) A ‘heartfelt’ piano ballad off the hot tracks section of Apple Music.  It’s sweet and soft like apple butter — think James Taylor on a piano.  I have a feeling the tune is gonna build to a big ass sonic climax — could be wrong.  As far as schmaltzy ballads go this could be schmaltzier.  If this tune was an ice cream cone it would be a plain vanilla in a wafer cone.  I just checked with my friend and a wafer cone is the one with the flat base so it will stand up on a table without assistance but it’s very sweet and not very substantial.  And it’s not artisanal vanilla ice cream, it’s that old school shit that came in in a half gallon box.

@@@ respectful child: ::Searching (Coax, 2017)  Some ambient music off this week’s CFUV playlist email.  The first tune opens up with delayed guitar — I know I’m a total music bitch but I like to keep my ambient music separate from my electric guitars.  This first tune has a lot of echoed guitar.  I’ve skipped ahead and had bites of the second and third tunes and the delayed guitar is the dominant element.  I like delayed guitar but when it’s ambient music it introduces a New Age/arena rock element to the proceedings. I avoid New Age vibes in my music the same way I avoid the plague.  I understand my readers/listeners might be dying for some echoed guitar ambient music so have at it if you roll like that.

@@@ A Giant Dog: Toy (Merge, 2017)  Blurbed as hook driven rock on the Apple Music.  An updated, slightly campy Cheap Trick type of rock.  Two singers, one male/one female singer, some medium crunchy friendly guitars and hooks with a dash of indie.  I would call this one third camp-one third classic rock-one third indie.

YTD recordings listened to: 599
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 318
Not good music: 255

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, Tuba Skinny