Music for 7/2/17!!! Portico Quartet, Tyler, The Creator, Noel Gallagher

@@@ Portico Quartet: Endless (Gondwana, 2017)  A track from an upcoming jazz release that I got to via a twat by Bird is the Worm.  It is labelled as crossover jazz on iTunes, which doesn’t bode well but I enter with an open mind.  Surprisingly they throw an electro synth loop into the foreground of the mix and follow that up with some Ghostly style droplet synth.  Sounds more like an electronic outfit entering the jazz orifice than the other way round.  A flute with some echo becomes the melodic center of the track and it’s all anchored by a slightly funky drum part.  It’s all right.

@@@ Tyler, the Creator: Who Dat Boy?  (Columbia, 2017)  I’m listening to this hip hop single lat but I don’t want to give the impression that it’s brothers and sisters at the back of the bus.  After a sci-fi opening he gets into a pretty urgent and tight grind.  Oh, big bass, bigger than big.  There are multiple MCs and I’m not sure what this track is about but it’s very detailed and graphic.  I like the sounds and the feel of the track for sure.

@@@ Liam Gallagher: Chinatown (Warner, 2017)  A hot track off the Apple Music from the guitar player of the Oasis outfit.  It’s a kick drum, some arpeggiated guitar, and oh now it’s a full band thing.  He’s got them Brit rock melodies down pat, must be the fish and chips.  Is that racist?  Not sure what the lyrics are on about but the vocal melodies are big and he’s still working that updated Beatles psychedelic mode.

YTD recordings listened to: 416
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 230
Not good music: 166

Buys: 6
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, Power Trip, J.I.D., Oddisee, Forro in the Dark, RAM, Fiver, Dona Onete, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Dead Ranch, Priests, Propaganda

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2/3/16: Coasts, Milly Rock, Vukovar, Errol Blackwood

@@@ Coasts: Coasts (Capitol, 2016)  A brit rock/’80s rock mash that is featured in the Apple Music alternative section.  If U2 had a love baby with Simple Minds it would sound like this.  The second tune opens with a basket of slightly processed whoa hos — regular readers know how much I love a good Bon Jovi whoa ho.  They’re running with wolves in the wild.  Oy.  The lyrics win the cheese ring here, followed by that pretty awful guitar and drum sound.

@@@ 2 Milly: Milly Rock (DNR, 2016)  A mainstream electro hip hop single off the Apple Music New section.  The arrangement is centered around a small piano figure punctuated by string blasts.  He will Milly Rock on any block, that’s what he’s saying.  Beats are skittery.  It’s hard to know how to feel about this song as I don’t really know what milly rocking consists of.  It appears that Mr. Rock is smoking weed and he might be involved in the drug trade.  Milly is slang for an extremely hot girl who excels at kissing so he’s rocking all the hot girls.

@@@ Vukovar: The Blood Garden (Small Bear, 2016) A shoe gaze-y single with some big layered vocals that I got to via the operator of said label.  About a third of the way into the tune it goes full band with a space organ filling out the mix.  Certainly a better specimen of Brit rock than the Coasts disc I heard earlier today.  After a brief spastic drum break it raises the tempo and becomes a high energy rock tune with fewer layers to the vocals but still an intimate sound to the vocals.  It’s almost six minutes, it’s not a pop tune.

Right in this spot I peeped about 15 seconds of the new St. Lucia record but I had to click it off.  I couldn’t Milly Rock it, it was too sweet and cheesy.

@@@ Errol Blackwood: Cooling Down the Rage (Jimmys, 2016).  Some old school sounding reggae I got to via the Apple Music reggae section.  Opens up with the title track which has a distinct Marley vibe.  Full band reggae — drums, percussion, bass, guitar, melodica, horns, organ, and backup singers.  Blackwood has a classic voice, both pretty and gruff.  This is the best I music I heard today and Imma gonna swing back to this record.  I really dug the first two songs, the third and fourth less so, and this fifth one is all right.

YTD recordings listened to: 114
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 64
Not good music: 45

Honorable Mentions: 3
Buys: 1

Possibles: Chris McGregor, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Dave Arner Trio, MAKU Soundsystem, Zomby, Retox, Jessie Mae Hemphill, Bone Dance, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Debruit, Slidhr, The Whammies, The Chewers, Alexander Hawkins, Toxic Holocaust, Equal Stones, Comeback Kid, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Lenguas Largas, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Fofoulah, Lozen, Erase Errata, Dawn Richard, Mastery, Leviathan, Xibalba, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, Akitsa,  Janelle Monae, Luther Dickinson, Destruction Unit, Graeme Barrett, Fast Asleep, Goldlink, Cavanaugh, Gentleman Surfer, Satoko Fuji, Mystic Braves, Reverend Peyton, Living Hell, Dos Santos Anti-Beat Orquesta,

10/21/15: Chairlift, MO, Machine Gun Kelly, Pure Bathing Culture

@@@ Chairlift: Ch Ching (Columbia, 2015).  An electro single off the Beats highlights page.  Plenty of electronic sounds to feast on here — bass bwangs, some shushing synths, some synth horns, some whoa ho background vocals and some bug clicking percussion.  The female singer sounds like she’s a bit too into herself and the tune crackles with hipster self-awareness.  On a scale of funkiness that grades in letters I would give this a B-.  Some nice work went into the arrangement but I hear more smartness than soul — chops y’all.

@@@ Machine Gun Kelly: General Admission (Bad Boy, 2015).  Some hardcore rap from a white fella outta Cleveland that I got to from last week’s All Music notable email.  After a minimalist arrangement with fat synth bass, some Autotuned backup vocals the chorus explodes with an arena rock drum fill and a big lyrical cheese bomb about living in a spotlight.  Eh, not a great start.  Let’s move ahead.  I like the trippy arrangement of the second tune Alpha Omega.  Some delayed pong percussion but I hear the cheesy string fills and the sci-fi synth grinder coming on.  Apparently Mr. Kelly is the Alpha Omega.  He is the first and last letter.  He is pretty pissed, he tends to sound amped up and spits most of the time.  Beats are West Coast-y, the arrangements are all right and he can rap —  his lyrics tend to be about Machine Gun Kelly so if you’re looking for anything but an MC talking about hisself then maybe this won’t work for you.  The video below, Till I Die is the best arrangement I heard.

@@@ MO: Kamikaze (RCA Vector, 2015).  An another electro single off the Beats highlights page.  Where the Chairlift folks went for the high IQ points, Ms. Kamikaze is going for the cutesy vibe.  Kinda flirty, Gwen Stefani-ish vocal style served on a bed of electro sounds — a little world-y beat, some little chunklets of melody, and tons of vocal chunks popping out of the mix.  Don’t forget your synth figures and your hook in the chorus with all manner of pops and squirts.  Strictly for happy teens is what I hear.

@@@ Pure Bathing Culture: Pray For Rain (Partisan, 2015).  A single off an upcoming full length spinner that I got to via a music publicist.  You gotta give props to a beautifully recorded guitar — nice chime, some ringing all without Bon Jovi-izing it.  The female singer is okay but not as good as the the guitar part.  Too much reverb on her voice and better lyrics would really take this song much higher.  Points for sparseness of the arrangement.

YTD recordings listened to: 850
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 487
Not good music: 292

Honorable Mentions: 21
Buys: 13

Possibles: Chris McGregor, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Dave Arner Trio, MAKU Soundsystem, Zomby, Retox, About Group, Jessie Mae Hemphill, Bone Dance, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Debruit, Slidhr, The Whammies, The Chewers, Alexander Hawkins, Toxic Holocaust, Equal Stones, Comeback Kid, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Lenguas Largas, The Coral, Spacesuits, T.O.M.B., Fofoulah, Lozen, Erase Errata, Mohamed Abozekry, Dawn Richard, Leo Welch, Mastery, Leviathan, Xibalba, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, Ellen Jewell, Akitsa, Richard Thompson, Jeremy Pinnell, Pat Thomas, Janelle Monae, The Alchemist, Luther Dickinson, Andra Day, Frog Eyes, Madd Again!, Fuck the Facts, Shannon and the Clams, Destruction Unit, Rim Kwaku Obeng, Graeme Barrett, Kowloon Walled City, Israel Nash

8/29/15: Andra Day, Beach House, Foals

@@@ Andra Day: Cheers to the Fall (Warner Bros., 2015).  Described as one of the best albums of 2015 by the Beats Highlights page the first tune, Forever Mine is pretty hype for a mainstream record.  I’ve learned not to get excited when the first tune is great because loads of records have great first songs.  I like the childlike piano plinking, the mix and Day is comfortable on the mic.  Oh, the second tune, Only Love is pretty sharp with vibes and a slight James Bond film theme.  I’m on the fourth tune and Day sure can sing and there is some great arranging on this record.  Better than Amy Winehouse, way better than the Tay Tay Swift, this is probably about as good as music for cubicle dwellers is going to get.  I’m going to circle back and check out more of this record when I have time.

@@@ Beach House: Depression Cherry (Sub Pop, 2015).  A shimmery indie electronic affair I saw praised on the Aquarius Records weekly email.  The sound of this first tune is a bit kaleidoscopic and mopey.  I hope the band gets a cup of coffee before the second tune cuz this is a bit sleepy time tea for me.  The main vocal hook on this tune ‘there is a place I want to take you’ and for me I’d like to be take to a good song.  Oh, this second tune opens up with a looped angel choir thing with some guitar shred over the top.  This record isn’t for me.

@@@ Foals: What Went Down (Warner Bros., 2015).  Also off the Beats Highlights page.  I just googled it because I had my suspicions as I can smell that fish and chippy Brit rock from a mile away.  It’s kinda noisy, indie and epic.  Instrumentation is classic rock band and the first tune, the title track builds over 6 minutes.  They got a classic slightly funky white boy thing going in this second tune, and while it’s professionally done I’m not feeling it.  I like British people, and I like the Radiohead, but some of this Brit rock I can’t connect with.

YTD recordings listened to: 685
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 401
Not good music: 233

Honorable Mentions: 17
Buys: 11

Possibles: Chris McGregor, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Dave Arner Trio, Bill Horist, MAKU Soundsystem, Zomby, Retox, About Group, Jessie Mae Hemphill, Bone Dance, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Debruit, Slidhr, The Whammies, The Chewers, Alexander Hawkins, Toxic Holocaust, Equal Stones, Comeback Kid, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Lenguas Largas, The Coral, Spacesuits, T.O.M.B., Fofoulah, Lozen, Erase Errata, Mohamed Abozekry, Dawn Richard, Leo Welch, Mastery, Leviathan, Xibalba, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, Ellen Jewell, Akitsa, Chico Trujillo, Richard Thompson, Jeremy Pinnell, Pat Thomas, Knauti, Janelle Monae, The Alchemist, Luther Dickinson, Andra Day

Active Music Listening Tuesday May 26, 2015

YTD recordings listened to: 396
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 236
Not good music: 130

Honorable Mentions: 130
Buys: 9

Possibles: Chris McGregor, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Dave Arner Trio, Bill Horist, MAKU Soundsystem, Zomby, Retox, About Group, Jessie Mae Hemphill, Bone Dance, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Debruit, Slidhr, The Whammies, The Chewers, Alexander Hawkins, Toxic Holocaust, Equal Stones, Comeback Kid, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Lenguas Largas, The Coral, Spacesuits, T.O.M.B., Fofoulah, Lozen, Erase Errata, Mohammed Abozekry, Dawn Richard, Torche, Leo Welch, Astral Swans, Mastery, Leviathan, Xibalba, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Waters

Welcome back to the listening pit, I certainly hope everybody had a great Memorial Day if you’re a warmonger and an appropriately confusing one when you’re trying to explain it to your kids and you’re anti-war.

@@@  Alesso: Forever (Def Jam, 2015).  This is a top shelf release on the Beats Highlights page and the first tune, Profondo, is an extended synth wank that climaxes into…a full corporate techno boom titch with vocoder synth melody work.  Wow, this is the shit.  I can picture this music pumping out the store stereo system in the mall thereby increasing the clothes purchasing with the appropriate pulse quickening electro sweetness.  Oh wait, here is a little Lord of the Rings down section of female aaaaahhhhs, and we’re back to the boom titch.  Bring ’em high, slow ’em down, hit ’em with the EDM snare roll and rinse, lather, repeat.  The third song, from which I will exit this record, features a female singer busting out with the New Age bullshit in a quasi-orgasmic vocal style.  Oh man, this is not the shit, this is just shit.

@@@ Allen Stone: Radius (Capitol, 2015).  Some white boy hippie soul also featured on the Beats highlights page.  He’s got his croon on for sure with extensive background vocals.  Oh, he’s swirling in some George Clinton/Funkadelic vibes in here.  Now he’s belting and I’m not sure how I feel about it.  I think he should change his stage name to Stevie Wonderbread.  Funky yet fluffy and somewhat flavorless.  You go funky Stevie Wonderbread!!!!

@@@ Death and Vanilla: To Where the Wild Things Are (Fire Records, 2015).  An Aquarius Records Record of the week, this is a mashup of surf-esque guitars, cheesy space organ, echoed female vocals and quirky British pop tunes.  I like the sound palette here but that first tune could have used a little time on the chopping block — and the first tune is supposed to be your most powerful shot.  I don’t think these guys need a double shot of espresso but it’s just a tad sleepy time tea for my taste.

@@@ Aktor: Paranoia (Aktor, 2015).  Another blurbed record from Aquarius Records.  They love those retro-Sammy Hagar, Loverboy, Styx, big guitar hair rock bands.  What can you do, if you’re a freak you’re a freak.  The singer has a big clean voice, classic American and he rides atop a super steady straight rock drummer and a whole assload of power chord action.  And some pretty hardcore synth rock action, by the way.  Rock music, hellz yeah!!!!!  These guys might have dirty Finnish blood as their Googletube headline says FIN/USA.  Maybe they work in the financial services industry.11

Active Music Listening Tuesday May 19, 2015

YTD recordings listened to: 381
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 227
Not good music: 124

Honorable Mentions: 12
Buys: 9

Possibles: Chris McGregor, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Dave Arner Trio, Bill Horist, MAKU Soundsystem, Zomby, Retox, About Group, Jessie Mae Hemphill, Bone Dance, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Debruit, Slidhr, The Whammies, The Chewers, Alexander Hawkins, Toxic Holocaust, Equal Stones, Comeback Kid, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Lenguas Largas, The Coral, Spacesuits, T.O.M.B., Fofoulah, Lozen, Erase Errata, Mohammed Abozekry, Dawn Richard, Torche, Leo Welch, Astral Swans, Mastery, Leviathan, Xibalba, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Waters

@@@ Circuit Des Yeux: In Plain Speech (Thrill Jockey, 2015).  Off the big ass list of Aquarius Records records from last week.   If the first tune is any kind of indication, oh it’s not, it’s gonna be an electronic record with art school vocals — very highbrow and somewhat abstract.  A little bit like Patty Smith woofing at a picture at an art gallery in Chelsea.  Here come the strings mixed with static and bleeps.  If the cd or lp doesn’t come with a stick to put up yer own ass in solidarity with the music, be prepared to head over to Home Depot to get your own butt stick.

@@@ Banditos: Banditos (Bloodshot, 2015)  This record lives in that dark, swampy ass ball connector sandwiched between garage punk, the blues, and redneck music.  Distorted guitar, banjo tucked in the back, big blues shouting vocals and a general trailer park vibe.  I like the Janis Joplin-esque female vocals of the second tune, Waiting.  A little bit of Credence, a little George Thorogood, a little Golden Earring.

@@@ DMA’S: Self-titled (Mom and Pop, 2015)  Some super sparkly, Oasis-inspired Brit rock.  Lots of anthemic vocal melodies and strummed guitar chords over classic rock drums.  Obligatory third song ballad, and I can’t think of anything cutting or sarcastic or something that makes me appear witty.

@@@ Roisin Murphy: Hairless Toys (PIAS America, 2015).  Off last week’s All Music ‘notable’ releases.  How can you not check out a record called hairless toys?  The first tune is sparse-tronica with a combination of synth sounds and some hammered percussion like vibraphone with some blue eyed falsetto soul vocals floating on the layer of bips and baps.  It’s a love baby of Eurhythmics and the Talking Heads and a couple of pubes of chill lounge music.  Speaking of hairless toys!

Active Music Listening Wednesday April 15, 2015

YTD recordings listened to: 282
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 168
Not good music: 94

Honorable Mentions: 9
Buys: 5

Possibles: Chris McGregor, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Dave Arner Trio, Bill Horist, MAKU Soundsystem, Zomby, Retox, About Group, Jessie Mae Hemphill, Bone Dance, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Debruit, Slidhr, The Whammies, The Chewers, Alexander Hawkins, Toxic Holocaust, Equal Stones, Comeback Kid, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Lenguas Largas, The Coral, Spacesuits, T.O.M.B., Fofoulah, Lozen, Erase Errata, Mohammed Abozekry, Dawn Richard, Torche, Leo Welch, Astral Swans, Mastery, Leviathan, Lightning Bolt, Xibalba, Hartley C. White, Weed, Khaira Arby

@@@ KHAIRA ARBY: Timbuktu Tarab (Popcornlab, 2010).  I saw the new record by this outfit listed on the WRIR weekly email, but this older disc is up on my Beats store and it’s pretty ripping.  I’m gonna Google these guys while there is still a Google as they just got busted for anti-competitive practices by the European Union.  Fuck you motherfuckers, I hope they rip you a new one.  Okay, the female singer is from the Saharan city of Timbuktu so North African was what I thought when I heard them first kick it.  Did I mention that I’m psyched Google is gonna get a fat fine for being assholes?  I like this first tune for the following reasons:  the singer is powerful, the violin playing really adds a dimension to the record, they feature a kit drummer instead of the hand drummers in Tinariwen, and I dig how they put together the swirling guitar tracks on the record.  As Tinariwen has started to sing in English and has softened themselves up for the white devil music market, I would recommend folks move over and check out this record and this band, they are bringin’ it.  I’m gonna roll back on this record.  Don’t send me any hate mail, I was born white but I’ve defected so I get to call white people the devil.

@@@  Dead Flowers: Anyone But Me (Not sure, 2015).  A schmattering of punk, a little Motorhead, a little fried desert rock.  The drummer is catching my ear the most, the guitar player(s) need a bit more peyote and the singer is all right.  Oh, at about 3 minutes the guitar player woke up and popped a shred — okay I give props.

@@@ Cosmo Sheldrake: Pelicans We (Transgressive, 2015).  Some British parlor music swirled up with some orchestral business and a couple of heaping tablespoons of indie.  They’re singing about something nonsensical which is far more preferable than trying to sing about something emotional but in a totally cliche manner.  It’s not nonsense, it’s a tune from the point of a pelican living in Egypt.

https://soundcloud.com/cosmosheldrake/pelicans-we

@@@ Pearls: Pretend You’re Mine (Dot Dash, 2015).  A choice recycling of T. Rex’s classic drum beat but overlaid with a sultry singer, some ’80s synth threads, and handclaps.  I read the detachment of the vocalists as cool.