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 5/23/23!! Cusp, Mandy Indiana

@@@ Cusp: You Can Do It All (N/A, 2023) Off this week’s 10 most reviewed albums via Pitchfork. I see the video clip below is You Can’t Do It All and the title of the record is You Can Do It All and it’s confusing but that’s where we are at. The record opens with a lopsided loop and a long tone and a small piano figure and it’s mesmerizing and then the guitar goes and ruins it. Ha, not really, now it’s a band with a female singer. Then the band takes it down while the strings come in and that’s always a move towards the epic, at least partially and that was all a bit of a head fake intro because it clicks through to the second tune and it’s all indie rock, bright and guitar-y and it’s ’90s clean guitar indie time all over again!! It’s way more than competent and it’s a question of whether folks are into it. On the tune Limited Edition they bring out the distortion pedals and it’s cool except I’ve heard it a whole bunch. And when I say a whole bunch I mean it. This one all depends on the listener.

@@@ Mandy, Indiana: I’ve Seen a Way (Fire Talk, 2023) Another listen off the Pitchfork 10 Most reviewed albums of the week and this is epic, arpeggiated stuff on the opener, not particularly square and not particularly funky. The second tune (clipped below) opens quite differently with a fast, blasting kick drum before the techno-ish hi hats hit with some wooden mallet action to go with it. Vocals, arrgh, vocals!!!! I’m giving the fourth track, Injury Detail a quick peep before I post this post and it’s clearly half frat boy electro with a schmear of arena rock and a tad of Nine Inch Nails. It’s pretty well arranged but you’re gonna need to be hungry for a bit of cheese to enjoy this sandwich.

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 4/9/23!!! Big Gigantic, Polo & Pan

@@@ Big Gigantic: Brighter Future Part 2 (Self-released, 2022) This is frat boy centered friendly electronic dancefloor banging funk I got to via the music business honcho Bob Lefsetz. Musically it’s a mash of styles with classic r&b, hip hop and electro in the first tracks with probably a lot more to come. This album is a collaboration on every track with Big Gigantic and somebody doing each track together. The third track is mashed up bits of reggae and electronic music. It’s catchy but pretty soulless, this tune and all of what I’ve heard to this point. And that’s being kind.

@@@ Polo & Pan: Cyclorama (Virgin France, 2021) Of the same email from the same music blog honcho. The first track is a more highbrow dinner party electronic though it features the classic 808 handclaps. The second track Ani Kuni has a South Indian/Bollywood (?) vocal sample and maintains the lounge-y expensive drinks before dinner vibe. I can see how this would be really fun to check out live or hear someone mix the tracks live or however they may present this music but for electronic music with an impact I wouldn’t turn to this.

Music for 3/27/23!!!! Lucinda Chua, Caroline Rose

@@@ Lucinda Chua: An Ocean (4AD, 2023) Today’s listens are off this week’s All Music notable release email and we’re doing female Monday and listening bottom to top so this is my second listen of the day. The opener is keyboard driven, it’s also quite emotionally dramatical, with stacks of background vocals which I’m usually a bit skeptical of. I like the keyboard parts and some of the electronic sounds. The second tune opens up with a huge swell, it’s just massive — porn star sized. I’m finishing up my listen with the tune ‘You’, more keyboard with electro bits and very dramatical vocalizations. I’ll tell you this much I dig it a lot more than usual 4AD releases. I might not be ready for this high level of feelings and drama but I’ve often been accused of being dead inside.

@@@ Caroline Rose: Miami (New West, 2023) Off this week’s All Music notable release email. The first track Love/Lover/Friend goes from an in the bedroom acoustic guitar lo fit thing, to soaring vocals, a string arrangement, and big big feels. The second track, Rebirth, comes on with the sly electro and more intimate vocals which may or may not morph into something huge. I am now listening the tune clipped below. I think Rose is a talented arranger and she definitely uses changes and instruments to keep the vibe fresh but there’s an overly dramatical feel oozing in at certain points. If the big feels were a bit smaller I would go for it more. I can see this working for a fair number of people, it’s got some creativity into it even if I don’t love everything about it.

Music for 11/9/22!!! Guchi, Asake

@@@ Guchi: Taken Over ft. Ladipoe (Mad Solution, 2022) I’m going bottom to top today and this is my second listen off the African section of Apple Music. It’s very similar to the track below with a chill sitch and lower tempo. Let’s skip over to the track which is clipped below. More smooth loverboy business but from the female point of view. I really like the keyboard part and the beat is all right but it’s too normie for me. African normie is still normie. A bit of a bust today with the African Apple recommendations.

@@@ Asake: Terminator (Empire, 2022) I’m checking out the African section of Apple Music and this guy is towards the top of the recommendation list. It’s a chill electro r&b with plenty of call and response, but very influenced by American r&b. Big big loverboy feels when the lead vocalist comes in. A nice single line clean guitar solo, then back to the autotuned vocals. It’s a solid groove but this is for the ladies, smooth business.

Music for 3/22/22!!! King Jammy, Lala

@@@ King Jammy: Closed Border Dub (Greensleeves, 2022) A coupla listens off the WRIR weekly playlist from last week. King Jammy brings back the dubwise flavors for the post Covid party. Well maybe post Covid, and maybe a party. Some newer dub records don’t have that trippy grit of the classic ones and though this opening track is no murky Lee Perry business, it feels dubby and not all cleaned up. All the titles are pandemic related with titles such as Dub for All Hospital Workers and Track and Trace Dub. Most dub records don’t contain much in the way of guitar shredding but there was a nice Funkadelic style guitar shred towards the end of the first track and the second track has it as well. Let me google who this guitar player might be, ah shit I can’t find anything. Whoever you are I honor you. There is some tasty shit on this record, this might make my year end list, so check it out, King Jammy 74 years young and kickin’ it!!!

@@@ LALALAR: Abla Deme Lazim Olur (Bongo Joe/Dunganga, 2022) This is a pre-release track from a Turkish outfit that I got to via the WRIR weekly playlist email. Gruff, low key male vocals, some rock bass, world music flavored synths and overall a sly party track. A little shreddy electric guitar, is the rock guitar making a comeback??? This is a pretty slammin’ track to be hitting for the onset of spring, lucky to be alive and kickin’ some party music, you can’t go wrong with that. It’s a bit hard to describe this track as it’s a mash of a lot of different sounds, but thank God we have the interwebz and you can hear it for yourself if you click on tracks you don’t know. Good listens today, get your world music on.

Music for 3/18/22!!! VTSS, Moonchild Sanelly

@@@ VTSS: Goin Nuts (Technicolour, 2022) I got to this track via the UK electronic music magazine Crack. These guys are up to some techno business with not classic beats and fat ass bass pushin asses around. Some glitch action, some high hat skitter action and boom! This is a 6 track EP with some hip hop flavors, some abstract electronic sounds, some classic techno flavors and funny titles like the ‘Propaganda of Success’ and ‘Why we Don’t deserve Nice Things’. This is above average approaching slamming so if you dig electronic throw this quickie EP a listen and you might feel it.

@@@ Moonchild Sanelly: Covivi (Transgressive, 2022) This is our sole listen from this week’s Line of Best Fit. Sanelly is part of the South African electronic scene and are 5 pre-releases tunes up on Apple Music where her record called is branded as pop. It’s a poppy track but it’s also very funky track with some big hand drumming sounds. Lots of chanting type vocals, you know your classic old school drums and vocal interaction. I didn’t love the track Stripper that I checked out but these tracks are full of sophisticated rhythm. The third track I peeped and the opener on the record is called Undumpable but I think the first track I peeped is the best of what I heard.

Music for 3/17/22!!! Charlotte Adigery/Bolis Pupul, They Hate Change

@@@ Charlotte Adigery & Bolis Pupul: Blenda (DeeWee/Because, 2022) I got to today’s listens via Line of Best Fit’s weekly email. Stripped back electro with high female energy, some Talking Heads flavors, and even maybe a few Prince pubes up in there as well. I read the blurb and they’re trying to pop out some real sentiments in an electro landscape and I respect the attempt and it helps my ears that they have a fair amount of funk bass popping here with the synth bass and the drum machine action. I like the idea of these hybrid albums that take bits from different places and smash em up and I peeped some of the tracks when it first came out last week. This track is the best of what I remember happening, mostly because of the higher funk factor. Other tracks are synthier and gauzier.

@@@ They Hate Change: From the Floor (Jagjaguwar, 2022) We had some New Orleans dixieland jazz last week out on the Subpop imprint and today we have some dancefloor banging out on indie stalwart Jagjaguwar. Chill and pulsing in the verse it goes drum and bass in the chorus before returning to the verse cooldown. A couple of MCs pushing the track and there ya go for the formula. A fair amount of glitch/granular sounds happening up in here as well. I think they got a bit carried away with the delay plugins, they could clip that back a bit and get a less janked out track. It’s the last track on the record, and it’s the pre-release track for a full length banger due out in May. I hate to judge a whole record by the last track as those tracks tend to be unique but I’m split as to whether I would peep more. Like some sounds, don’t like other sounds.

Music for 1/12/22!!! Burial, Ruth Mascelli

@@@ Burial: Antidawn (Hyperdub, 2022) I got to this track I think via Invisible Oranges but I’m a bit confused as it’s slotted as electronic music on Apple Music and Invisible Oranges is a metal website. There are five tracks over 43 minutes and the Apple Music blurb say it’s virtually beatless. I like this label but I’m not sure I’m up for 43 minutes of beatless. I’ll peep it with an open mind. I’m checking out the beginning of the second track and there are the faintest traces of rhythm like chattering insects and I’m feeling this. It’s so light but just that faraway piece of rhythm is just enough to anchor you and ground you with all the ambient business floating by. It feels random with occasional one line sung melodies and it’s very ambient (a plus for me) so I would say this is going to be a personal decision. Folks need to check it out to see if they want to deal. I’m going to go back to the second song and start again and try to eat the whole sandwich because it was compelling for me.

@@@ Ruth Mascelli: Petri Dish (Discpiles, 2021) I got to the above, brand spankin’ new for ’22 track via an Invisible Oranges tweet and this track via the Crack Magazine everybody who works there favorites typa thing email click through to a link. It opens with a bouncing bass typa line, more video game than funk show. It’s a very sparse sound stage with a kick drum added, some left to right distorted snare-clicks travelling back and forth with an occasional dubwise thing. Lotsa tension with a slow build. It’s a 6 minute banger and I’m thinking this is going to be a high end department store listen. Everything manicured and in its place displayed with maximal taste. I mean you can get sweaty to this but the refinement here appears to be the emphasis. So fresh and so clean as a rapper once said. I’m giving a quick listen to a track further down — it’s called Circle of Shit and it employs the same aesthetic despite the messy title. There are parts of this record that really work for me but the slightly static nature of the tracks doesn’t get me jumping up and down.