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

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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

2017 Honorable Mention Pick 3

Aethenor: Hazel (VHF Records, 2017)

I had to do some searching around to get a handle on the folks that made this record.  It was made by musicians of varying backgrounds and that makes sense as it is a mash of jazz, ambient electronics, and a wee bit of jam rock.

The drummer is a jazz drummer that has played with Peter Brotzmann and he’s pretty much the star of the show.  He’s a very engaging drummer, switching up on a regular basis but all within the context of what’s going on around him.

It’s hard to describe the music these guys crank out.  It has elements of Sigur Ros but not as dreamlike and noisier.  Check it out.

 

Music for 6/16/17!!! Petros Klampanis, Yazz Ahmed, Nico Niquo

@@@ Petros Klampanis: Translator’s Note (Enja, 2017)  Called a secret weapon of jazz in a recent email from National Sawdust this first tune is a pretty ballad that takes it time and is not too sweet.  I don’t think I’m gonna hang for the full 13 minutes but I’ll peep some more.  I like this second tune, Welcome, a bit more as it sports a brisker tempo and more energy.  It’s a wee bit straight lace and laid-back for my taste but the sounds are really well done and check it for yourself.  The instrumentation is sax, piano, bass and drums and the tempos are more muted than blasting for sure.

@@@ Yazz Ahmed: La Saboteuse (N/A, 2017)  Another jazz record, this one by a Middle Eastern woman.  I got to this via a twat on the Twatter retwatted by Bird is the Worm.  It opens up spaciously with some Bitches Brew era sounding trumpet and a glassy ring.  The second tune brings in some Middle Eastern drumming and a stringed instrument most likely an oud.  Outside of the sounds it’s pretty straight.  It is a fairly large electric ensemble with electric organ and electric bass so it’s bound to evoke Bitches Brew.  I like this organ player!  I like the ambient feel of the recording as well as the players in the ensemble.  I like the way Ahmed shares the space with the rest of her players and it makes for a better record.

@@@ Nico Niquo: In a Silent Way (Orange Milk, 2017)  I’ve had an influential ambient record list tabbed open for a bit and I would like to move on with my musical life.  As I’m a musical contrarian I’m going to the bottom of the list where the quality lies.  Number of social media shares can be manipulated people and it is.  This first tune is a lot of synth cloud action.  Not cheesy but a lot.  There’s a bit of a New Age vibe to the sounds but I want to peep more.  Things get a bit darker in this second tune, He Loved Him Madly.  I’m on the third tune and this isn’t dark enough for me.  It’s a lot of upper register synths placed in minimal arrangements but I like a bit of aggro/darkness to my ambient music.

YTD recordings listened to: 370
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 210
Not good music: 144

Buys: 5
Honorable Mentions: 2

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, Aethenor, 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, Oumou Sangare, Fiver, Dona Onete, Succumb Succumb, Gloom

Music for 4/23/17!!! Warm Soda, Gas

@@@ Warm Soda: I Don’t Wanna Grow Up (Castle Face, 2017)  Off this week’s All Music weekly email.  These guys own mad Ramones/Strokes records.  Big vocal hooks, rock guitars, rock drumming.  Rock, rock, rock ‘n roll high school.  I don’t hate this music, I don’t find it particularly interesting.  But if you like the Ramones and the Strokes you might love it.

@@@ Gas: Narkopop (Kompakt, 2017) Ambient techno also off this week’s All Music notable release email.  This first track is a floater with no beats and a tad of classical symphony shards.  This is a monster shot of 2.5 hours of ambient music but we’re just gonna dip in for a few spoonfuls.  Thus far he’s putting the narco- in it for sure.  Imma sleepy peanut over here.  The second track is unfolding slowly as well — I’m not opposed to that but I do have things to do today.  I think if you’re gonna do this you gotta have such ridiculous face ripping minimalist shit going on to make me feel mesmerized.  This record could be the soundtrack for a stoned Hobbit movie where they just smoke it up and wander around the forest looking for Gandalf.

YTD recordings listened to: 261
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 143
Not good music: 96

Buys: 5
Honorable Mentions: 1

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, 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, Aethenor, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, James Brandon Lewis, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Power Trip, Reverend Payton, J.I.D., Oddisee

Music for 4/18/17!!! Chris Stapleton, Actress, ELHAE

@@@ Chris Stapleton: Broken Halos (Mercury Records, 2017)  A pre-release single that I chose to peep because music blogging honcho Bob Lefsetz shit his pants over this track.  My first impression is that I’ve heard this chord progression 300 hundred times before.  Otherwise it’s a decent track, Stapleton puts in a heartfelt vocal performance.  I appreciate the lack of schmaltz as country music has gone full cheddar cheese but his vocals would benefit from some more unique band playing behind him.

@@@ Actress: AZD (Ninja Tune, 2017) An experimental techno record off this week’s All Music weekly email.  The opening of this first tune sounds like a glass of ginger ale popping in a metal tunnel.  I guess it’s a teaser. Okay we’re on to the second tune which sounds like a melted James Bond 007 theme with an ascending but modulated bass line and some salt water taffy synth clouds.  Oh God, let there be more than this.  I could use a beat motherfuckers.  I’m not getting more, let’s peep a last track here.  Okay we got a beat on this third track.  It’s sort of a railroad/industrial beat with some chopped loop garnish.  I don’t think this is for me and I think you might need to be high to enjoy this.

@@@ ELHAE: Aura II (Atlantic, 2017)  Some electro r&b with strong hip hop influences that I got to via Apple Music new music section.  Really fat bass sounds with half skitter beats and synth-centric arrangements.  The first two tunes are booty call tunes and the singing has plenty of Autotune dolloped on.  Personally, I’ve been spinning 6Lack’s record from last year, the arrangements are much more interesting in my opinion.

YTD recordings listened to: 251
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 137
Not good music: 93

Buys: 4
Honorable Mentions: 1

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, 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, Aethenor, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, James Brandon Lewis, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Power Trip, Reverend Payton, J.I.D., Oddisee, Feral Ohms