Music for 5/25/23!!! LCY, Midwife

@@@ LCY: He/Hymns EP (Fabric, 2023) The first track off this dance record is a thick ass hot dancefloor banger with a stylish arrangement and healthy amounts of dub sounds. It has a chopped feeling that a lot of dance remix records have but I don’t think it’s a dance record. Let’s peep more. The Apple Music blurb uses the word brooding but I think it’s more thick, funky and substantial. A lot of dance music is extremely shallow but I don’t think this is, it has intelligence to it. The contrast between the skittering beats, the chopped female vocals, and the bass pulsing on the second track is borderline exquisite. Someone spent a long ass time hooking these beats up and I appreciate their effort. This is wickedness and folks should check it out.

@@@ Midwife: Orbweaving (The Flenser, 2023). Another listen off this week’s 10 most reviewed albums on Pitchfork. Unfortunately it doesn’t bubble over with the creativity and energy of the record above. The intro to the first tune is an extended guitar arpeggio and whispery female vocals that you can understand but you have to try to understand. I had to click through to the second track The Hounds of Heaven which opens with a drum machine rock beat (maybe played by a drummer) and some medium and melancholy distorted guitar. The same whispery, angel vocals so it looks to be the formula from here on out. I’m pretty much done with the sad white people rock unless it’s done in a new way. And it is somewhat new with the way the vocals are framed but I’m agnostic on the record.

Music for 4/17/23!!! Desire Marea

@@@ Desire Marea: On the Romance of Being (Mute, 2023) This recording is down the bottom of Pitchfork’s 10 most reviewed albums of the week and it is big drama. Not big cheesy drama but big drama. Genre wise it’s kinda a blend — a little bit of rock, a medium amount of Celine Dion big singer feels, a wee bit of jazz feels and I think but I have to Google but I think Marea is from somewhere in Africa. Let me Google that. Yeah South Africa and there are passages here in Zulu. It’s an ambitious record, this is most definitely not an exercise in fitting in. I’m not sure if I dig it or not. I like the singer, I really like the drummer, I like the ambition, I don’t love the tunes, I don’t like the guitar parts much and I think it could cut back on the drama and replace that with muscle. A better balance of sounds with some harder sound to counter the singing would be much more interesting. I really do admire the ambition, it took a lot of work and vision to make this record exist.

Music for 3/24/23!!! Lana Del Rey, Fall Out Boy

@@@ Lana Del Rey: Did you know there is a tunnel under Ocean Blvd (Polydor, 2023) The Apple Music blurb says something interesting about Ms. Del Rey — each record steadily amplifies her own mythology. To make music primarily to be self involved, sad face. Yowsa! What an awful thing to say about an artist, in my dumbass opinion. The first tune, The Grants, contains a soaring string part and the vibe here is one of high end production and bummered out lyrics. The strings recede a bit in the second track, the title track, and the bummer piano and vocals step forward. She can sing, the recording is quite high end but I’ve never really believed a word she has to say, there’s a certain detachment and coldness to the proceedings. I guess there’s some sort of excitement and mystery in trying to figure out who and what she intends or means but honestly I could give a fuck and I have no clue why anyone would volunteer for this wash.

@@@ Fall Out Boy: So Much for Stardust (Elektra, 2023) Much of what is wrong with America can be found in Fall Out Boy’s music. Overly dramatical and pretty much meaningless like a birthday balloon that slowly loses all the air pumped into it. I’m not sure what to say here. The time and energy put into this music could have been deployed much more efficiently in battling climate change. Oy. Oy. I’m sure they’re great people and they didn’t mean to bit Queen’s Another One Rides the Bus so hard in the third track, but they did in the verse.

Music for 1/30/23!!!! Vanessa Rossetto, Tigercub

@@@ Vanessa Rossetto: 1-4 early girl (Erstwhile Records, 2022) This could be my last listen off this Stereogum best of experimental records list as I have not been as impressed with this list as other Stereogum best of year lists. This is the fourth track on the record and it appears to be a spliced or long running field recording of folks in an urban environment. Maybe or maybe not on the urban part. I’m about halfway through and it definitely feels spliced with radio excerpts, vehicle sounds, etc. I like the handful of big jumps in environment that you you experience during the track but I’d like more going on here.

@@@ Tigercub: The Perfume of Decay (N/A, 2023) I got to this arena sized guitar driven rock via a music publicist. It’s most notable for the guitar shredding as wells as the contrast of soft dare I say shoegaze-y vocal stylings. The rhythm guitar is pretty standard with growling tones and big splashy rock drumming. I really like how the long, descending, somewhat rock star/somewhat non-rock star guitar riff drives the whole track and lifts it. I wish they had done a bit more in other areas but normie mainstream music can roll like that, it usually does.

Music for 1/4/22 Zeal and Ardor

@@@ Zeal and Ardor: Zeal and Ardor (MVKA, 2022) I got to this record blending hard rock, heavy metal and black gospel music influences via a best of 2022 list. There’s a lot of shit to listen to. I checked out the first few tunes yesterday and my draft blog post got smacked around and lost so today I start with the rave up fourth track, Emersion. It goes from poppy, looped sections to full on smashed thrash, a classic relax and release program that’s been run for decades. I like this, it’s uplifting and extreme in its way. Maybe the younger crowd doesn’t hear the cowboy hard rock of Bon Jovi and Bad Company but I sure do and I don’t love it, it’s needlessly macho. To be honest, this record does jump around quite a bit, it has electro influences as well as arena rock, hard rock, thrash, I have no problem with the mashing it’s more the end results. I really felt the fourth track Emersion, that hit me the most. I would like this more if it upped the black music quotient and took down the cowboy rock but hey that’s just me.

Music for 12/24/22!!! Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard

@@@ Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard: The Harvest (New Heavy Sounds, 2022). I found a pretty good list of off the beaten path metal records and this record which is described as an homage to 1980’s science fiction shows up on it. These guys are from Wales and they do bring it on the opener with some space lasers and weird synth melodies on top of the big bucket of crunch. There’s a little dreaminess packaged in here with the singer framed angelically. It’s a creative formula and I’m feeling it. There’s plenty of Black Sabbath sauce on the big long banger Logic Bomb, keeping the angel voice but cranking the riffs up bigly, it’s quite a mindbending contrast. Somebody did a bang up job on putting this record together sonically. There’s some really great sounds and songs on this record so if you’re sitting around waiting for Santa have at it, it’s a big ol’ stocking of guitar sounds.

Music for 10/4/22!!! Sherelle, Rachika Nayar

@@@ Sherelle: 160 Down the A406 (Sherelle, 2022) I got to this UK dancefloor banger via UK music magazine Crack. It opens with a frantic beat composed of hand drum and hi hat, then the chill keyboards come in and then dubbed out female diva action. I would dub this an atmospheric banger, thick and running on the bottom with a lot of gauzy reverbed out sounds up top, at least til the hammered marimba sound comes in and then the tune really firms up and boogies. Unfortunately that’s halfway through the track and it should have happened much sooner in my opinion. From the marimba it swaps over to the arpeggiated synth climber and oy this is sweet but late. I would listen to more of this artist.

@@@ Rachika Nayar: Heaven Comes Crashing (NNA Tapes, 2022) Another Crack Music listen this time alternative and not electronic. The video below is track 7 on a record that came out in late August. There’s some dreamy, echoed Lord of the Rings type female vocals, barely discernable floating across the top of two noodling, dueling guitars. It’s a bit claggy as Paul Hollywood would say, I could use some drum beats. Just shy of halfway the tune explodes with some fat bass pulsing and a drum ‘n bass (reworked a bit) and this is a full across the sky cheese bomb, yowsa!!!! Boy, that’s really something right there. I’m giving a quick peep to the second track as I finish up today’s post. It’s more epic guitar threedling.

Music for 10/3/22!!! High Vis, George Riley

@@@ HIgh Vis: Talk for Hours (Dais, 2022) I got to this punky/rocky English band via a music publicist email. Imma tellin’ you people we’re gonna see more rock in the short and medium term. These guys are not American which makes sense as American rock music has been boiled down to pretty much the Foo Fighters for a bunch of years now and other places did not swear off rock the way we have here in the U.S. This is pretty straightforward stuff with a lot of guitar rocking, and the track below is the opener for the record. It leans epic with big power chord action and melodies, I have nothing against it. Recent records by The Morlocs and a record I reviewed from the label Flenser are more interesting and original but some folks want that familiar shit. Pretty strong Oasis flavors here.

@@@ George Riley: Time (PLZ Make it Ruins, 2022) This is one of the records on this week’s Pitchfork’s 10 most reviewed albums of the week. I can’t tell if the background to the track clipped below is a guitar player or a roughed up synth but it’s a really interesting combination as she works the mike with a fair amount of energy. Once the beat comes in it really smacks hard. I’m now on the fifth track, the title track, and there’s a certain intense energy to this music — like she means it. God forbid someone hit the big red button called passion. The record is slotted as electronic up on Apple Music but it’s really a r&b record with some really hot arrangements. Start with the track below and go from there.

Music for 8/10/22!!! Cruel Sister, Mail Grab

@@@ Cruel Sister: Chihiro (N/A, 2022) I set up this blog post last week before I fell off a low roof and fucked up my ribs and landed on a bunch of pain meds, no oxy! Long story short I can’t remember how I got to these two listens. I can’t listen to Apple Music on this Apple laptop (fuckin weird) so we’re stuck with GooglePimpTube. The opening here is very U2-ish, big chimey echoed guitar, thumping drums, oh I have to shut my eyes when the band comes in full because the female singer is doing some way dramatical movement in the video and it’s making me want to stop the song. This is a shoegaze slammed into U2 rock thing with drums high in the mix. Big reverbed vocals which I don’t like but the drums high in the mix does work for me. I think Edge’s kid is up on this track that’s how close to biting it they are. Rawk is a tough sell for me and the video is not helping.

@@@ Mall Grab: Patience (N/A, 2022) Oh, here we go with the classic skittering techno hi hats, four on the floor kick drum but sitting under a carefree female singer saying almost exclusively ‘that’s how we work’. It’s a nice contrast, the tightness of rhythms and the chill sitch vocalist. In between the vocalist and the drum machine is a thick layer of marshmallow fluff synths. Okay I’ve rocked what I can hear let me see if I can get my ghetto Apple Music GUI to play another track by these guys. I’m checking out another track called Hand in Hand in Wonderland and it’s a similar Kraut-y drum machine vibe with echoed vocals I like, and an arpeggiated synth I’m agnostic about. I like how this track is closer to being a dub track than a formal track.

Music for 7/1/22!!! KMRU and Aho Ssan, Power Pose

@@@ 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.