Music for 6/14/19!!! Tim Hecker, Taylor Swift, Duncan Fellows

@@@ Tim Hecker: Anoyo (Kranky, 2019)  Hecker’s last record Konoyo made my best of 2018 list so he automatically gains a peep due to that.  A high string sample harp sounding sits at the center of the piece with a lot of ambience floating behind it as well as some very tight bass pulsing at moments.  Also occasional glitch hits which I love.  This first tune is 9+ minutes long and really goes for an outer space vibe.  I believe I really grooved on the darkness of his last record and the goal here is for something that is both dark and light.  The second tune brings in some percussion and it sounds like it’s being played by a human which really changes the feel of the track.  As the third track is titled ‘Step Away from Konoyo’ it clearly aspires to step away from the previous record in spirit.  This is more a space journey than a dark thing.

@@@ Taylor Swift: You Need to Calm Down (Taylor Swift, 2019)  Ah Taylor’s supposedly meaningful conquest of the pop charts continues with this second pre-release single.  I thought the verse is all right but the cornucopia of Taylor background vocals is a cheesy comet streaking across the the sky.  So many of Swift’s songs are about this topic, man what a snowflake.  If shade never made anybody less gay, that line contradicts the first few lines of the tune.  How canny and sophisticated to take a personal theme and blow it out to all these girls are hip to your tricks, blah blah blah, a wee bit tiresome.  I like the arrangement, it’s solid pop and makes sense.  Some of the arrangements on her last record were confused and painful.

@@@ Duncan Fellows: Cursive Tattoo (Level, 2019) Super energetic indie guitar pop punk that I got to via a music publicist email.  It’s got elements of classic rock at points including a piano part and a roots rock kinda thing so it’s a mash of Strokes like business smashed into something like the Band.  I like the energy of the track and the singer is comfortable behind the mic but it spills a bit all over the place without the greatest focus.

YTD recordings listened to: 302
Good music, not list worthy: 179
Not good music: 105

Best: 0
Honorable Mentions: 0

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, 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, Noname, 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, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Portal, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton, Parquet Courts, Moskus, Kendl Winter, Tkay Maidza, Barro, Daniel Khan, Tallawit Timbouctou, Sumac, Tropical Fuck Storm, Harriet Tubman, Ammar 808, Anais Maviel, Chaka Khan, Pom Poko, Fried Egg, Horndal, Wyxz, Tarek Atoui, Hawktail, Saicobab, Shannon and the Clams, General Purv, Shipping News, Big Thief

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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

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