Music for 7/26/18!!! Ari Lennox, Ovlov, We Are Muffy

@@@ Ari Lennox: Whipped Cream (Interscope, 2018) You can imagine a tune called whipped cream is gonna be a booty anthem for sure.  It’s a slow one with a four on the floor kick drum, a plinky guitar figure, some quiet and burbling keys and even a french horn (I think).  Points for the french horn.  She’s been eating whipped cream and having vivid dreams.  You dig?  It’s a slow jam, well put together in an old school fashion.

@@@ Ovlov: Tru (Exploding in Sound, 2018)  I don’t know if shoegaze is a genre that hipsters still embrace but I call shoegaze a guitar storm with non-rock introspective voices nestled inside the aforementioned noise.  The guitar sounds here are primo, high end and the band is tighter than a bull’s ass at fly time.  It’s a pretty standard formula but they rock the shit out of it.

@@@ We are Muffy: The Charcoal Pool (Tapete, 2018)  This is some super friendly retro hippy-ish folk I got to via All Music’s notable release email.  I saw the Mr. Rogers documentary last night and Mr. Rogers’ thing was making kids feel safe and recognizing their emotions as valid.  This record will not threaten your sense of safety in any manner.  The second tune sets aside the happy bounce and does get a tad darker.  The instrumentation consists of multiple acoustic guitars and a male and female singer.  It appears the first tune is a bit of an outlier as the tempo drops and a folk sadness does make its appearance in the second and third tunes.  I feel a bit deceived as the fourth tune brings in bass and drums.  The vibe is both up and down with very pretty singing and a variety of moods.  And make sure to check out the Mr. Rogers documentary, Fred was a heavy cat!

YTD recordings listened to: 433
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 228
Not good music: 190

Best: 7
Honorable Mentions: 4

Possibles: Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, Slidhr, The Chewers, Toxic Holocaust, 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

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Music for 6/28/18!!! Demi Lovato, B. Davis and the Hi Fi Rockers, Western Medication, Tim Carr

@@@ Demi Lovato: Sober (Island, 2018)  A confessional song about her own sobriety.  It’s hard to shit on a song like this but the piano is more than a bit cheesy and the lyrics are kinda grade school.  It’s a bit of a wallower and the tune doesn’t really rise above a slow stumble but that’s as you would expect from a topic such as this.  I’m sorry she relapsed but I’m here for great songs and this doesn’t make the cut.  Try John Lennon’s Cold Turkey on for size.

@@@ B. Davis and the Hi Fi Rockers: Midnight Version (Hoboken Hi fi, 2018)  Meticulously executed old school roots reggae I got to via an email from the label operator.  You can only stream one track from the upcoming releases but it’s got all the hallmarks of roots reggae that I enjoy.  Steady rhythms and tight/loose vibes from the various players, well placed dub echoes and a rootsy singer.  Above all the production sounds right in evoking that golden age.  I will swing back and check out more when the whole record releases.

@@@ Western Medication: Taste (N/A, 2018)  I got to this very British sounding Nashville band’s record via a music publicist email.  It’s guitar driven rock with an ’80s pop sensibility.  Upbeat with mostly jangly guitars and a wee bit of crunch.  The singer is super friendly sounding.  Think a love child of The Cranberries and and the big fluffy white giant from the original Ghostbusters.

@@@ Tim Carr: Take Me (N/A, 2018)  A retro soft rock/folk single I got to via a music publicist.  Think Nick Drake with less depression and put a little Byrds and French pop up in there.  Lot of oooh, oooh sweet/sad, flavored coffee background vocals you wouldn’t find on a Nick Drake record.  I find the rhythms here to be interesting and unusual for this genre.  It doesn’t sound like a drum kit, it sounds like a few people playing large hand drums but that’s just the vibe — given the miracles of technology it could be generated in any number of ways.  Carr’s voice is smooth and intimate sounding.

YTD recordings listened to: 364
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 193
Not good music: 163

Best: 6
Honorable Mentions: 4

Possibles: Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, 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, 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

Music for 2/27/18!!! Young Jesus, Odesza, S. Carey

@@@ Young Jesus: Self-titled (Saddle Creek, 2018)  I got to this guitar centered indie rock record via a music publicist email.  I love music publicists, they’re the best!  Anyway, if my schooling be correct Jesus died at age 33 which is pretty young.  So if you’re calling yourself Young Jesus Imma thinking you’re focusing on the 18-21 period of Jesus’ life.  When Jesus was out clubbing and doing molly, it was about that time no?  The singer here is pretty sober sounding so that changes the vibe of the band.  Let’s peep a bit more as this first one is almost 6 minutes long.  That’s a whole lotta young Jesus!  The second tune takes the tempo and the energy down to the dirge area.  Was young Jesus this much of a bummer?  It’s hard to tell — he was selling hope but it all ended in the crucifixion.  Well, not really, it began with the crucifixion and continued with the resurrection and that’s uplifting.  The second tune introduces the guitar distortion pedal.  I like the playing, it’s kinda dour, I don’t penalize for that but it’s not really my cup of decaf.

@@@ Odesza: Sun Models (Counter, 2017)   A mainstream electronic track I got to via big mouth music blogger Bob Lefsetz.  He says this track has 99 million streams on Spotify so that wins the peep.  The track passes without being particularly memorable — it’s medium funky, it’s got handclaps, an electronic marimba and it has some synth patches.  I find the processed vocal kibbles and bits to be annoying as they are repeated too much.  I can only think that this tune is much better when the listeners is high.  The handclaps are also annoying and cheesy.

@@@ S. Carey: Hundred Acres (Jagjaguwar, 2018)  I got to this indie folk record via last week’s All Music notable release email.  The first tune opens up with strummed acoustic guitar, a minimal melody and bittersweet multi-tracked vocals.  Wow, and a lot of reverb so I guess this is why it’s called indie folk as the production vibe is as important as the performance.  The second tune opens up with piano chords and a fast arpeggiated acoustic guitar part.  And the same vocal sound which I’m not a huge fan of.  It’s super intimate and super lush — I wish the playing stood out a bit more but this is indie music, it’s kinda conservative in order to appeal to the indie ‘hipsters’.

YTD recordings listened to: 111
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 59
Not good music: 48

Best: 1
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, Magrudergrind, 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, Guy One

Music for 2/20/18!!! Various Artists, Kate Teague, Haley Heynderyckx, Meggie Brown

@@@ Various Artists: We Out Here (Brownswood, 2017). I was reading a profile of the owner of the Brownswood label in the Guardian here and this compilation he put out is mentioned in the article.  After an ceremonial introductory piece the second piece gets into some fusion sounds with club rhythmic energy.  Funkier than the usual fusion business for sure.  The compilation is overseen by the musician whose video I’ve clipped below.  I’ve checked out four of the tunes and I think there could be a better balance of jazz and club sounds.  More jazz harmonies and adventurous playing but that’s just my dumbass opinion.

@@@ Kate Teague: Low Life (Goldflake Paint, 2018). A pre release single I got to via a twat from a hipster undercover PR twatter.  It’s a slow burner with plenty of r&b threads — when it first came on I thought it was much like Isaac Hayes’ By the Time I get to Phoenix.  I don’t like Teague’s singing — it’s languorous and sorta tiresome.  Also there’s just too much reverb on her voice so when she goes big it’s just a massive cloud of female singing.  I love female singing but I don’t need massive clouds of it.  Kinda disappointing as a lot of indie music is.

@@@ Haley Heynderyckx: Worth It (Mama Bird, 2018). A single off this week’s tracks of the week at Line of Best Fit.  I know, motherfuckers lose their shit when I hit this list.  This tune is mournful with a clean electric guitar.   It’s not country lonesome, it’s that mopey indie sound I just love (to hate).  There’s some basic drums that come in and out — wait a minute they’ve just hit the half decaf/half caf rock vibe.  This is all the Velvet Underground’s fault, this smacked out slack shit is considered to be so arty and I find it boring.  Very boring.  I would rather watch dogs fuck or paint dry.  Or I would rather watch Donald Trump pee on hookers.  Okay, maybe I’m being a bit harsh but c’mon already.

@@@ Meggie Brown: Come Back Again (Self released, 2018) Also off the Line of Best fit’s best tracks of the week.  More indie music yeah jump up and down, but this time with a bass guitar and some more urgency.  And weirdness.  It’s got a little math rock in it as well as a dash of PJ Harvey female antisocial feeling to it.

YTD recordings listened to: 94
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 52
Not good music: 39

Best: 1
Honorable Mentions: 2

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, Magrudergrind, A Tribe Called Quest, Noname, Gouge Away, Klara Lewis, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, 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, Tuba Skinny, The Expanders, Irreversible Entanglements, Converge, Open Mike Eagle, Criolo, Billy Strings, Guy One

Music for 2/12/18!!! Billy Strings, Anenon, Erin Pellnat, Holy Motors

@@@ Billy Strings: Turmoil & Tinfoil (Apostol, 2018) Alt-string music I got to via a music publicist email.  This first tune comes busting out of the gate with elevated tempo and redneck shredding as a goal.  It’s interesting to see a 9+ minute tune as the second on the record and I’m expecting some sort of extended jam.  It’s a sung tune til about 3:30 and then it breaks out into a fairly monstrous string jam.  I like the energy of this record — between the playing and the singer’s vibe it’s a hotter than usual string record with plenty of sweetness.  Imma gonna roll back on this record when I have the the time.

@@@ Anenon: Tongue (Ghostly, 2018) I got to this record from the Twatter as well.  It’s been a bit since I’ve felt a Ghostly release but I keep peeping.  This first tune opens up with bird chirps, a little piano tinkling and what sounds like a wood flute.  Not thinking that combo is gonna work out great for me but I will hang tight and listen.  It’s a got a wee bit of a New Age vibe tucked into it as well as a cloudy feel to it.  The second tune opens up with an arpeggiated organ patch — it’s a bit of a churchy patch with maybe a sax interlocking with it.  Let’s try one more tune.  I don’t think I like this ambient horn playing, it’s just not satisfying enough for me.  Folks who dig this should check out some jazz records where people dig deeper into the instruments on this record.

@@@ Erin Pellnat: Do it for Dinero (Self-released, 2018) I got to this well sung country rag/samba tune from an email from the singer herself.  Instrumentation includes accordion, guitar, bass and drums but the star here is the singer.  Loose relaxed and not trying to hard.  A really good tune to bring on the spring, check it out.

@@@ Holy Motors: Slow Sundown (Wharfcat, 2018)  I got to this indie spaghetti western record via a twat on the twatter.  This is your classic indie twang spiel — dreamy female singer, single coil guitar lines, and a leaning back drummer.  I could use some flavors added to this well established formula.  The single above combines ragtime and samba so things can happen.  The sounds are nice and it’s well put together but for me it’s strictly for the opioid users out there.

YTD recordings listened to: 78
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 43
Not good music: 32

Best: 1
Honorable Mentions: 1

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, Magrudergrind, A Tribe Called Quest, Noname, Gouge Away, Klara Lewis, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, 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, Tuba Skinny, The Expanders, Benjamin Booker, Irreversible Entanglements, Converge, Open Mike Eagle, Criolo, Billy Strings

Music for 1/8/18!!! Slow Dive, Jay Som, Mount Kimble, Julie Byrne

@@@ Slow Dive: Star Roving (Dead Oceans, 2017) We continue sliding down Pitchfork’s top 100 tracks of the year as this tune opens up a bit Sonic Youth, a bit shoegaze, and a bit indie twee.  When the mellow singer comes in the tune goes decidely shoegaze with that dreamy vocal/guitar storm combo platter.  There’s a sonic breakdown with some female ooh hoos and some phased guitar but otherwise it’s pretty standard.  Very familiar chords and vibes.  I smell a good publicist at work here.

@@@ Jay Som: The Bus Song (Polyvinyl, 2017) A 22 year old woman busting out with some lo fi guitar strum indie that morphs into wistful indie guitar rock.  Man, I’m suddenly overcome with the desire to put on some flannel.  It’s that retro yo.  It’s got a couple of interesting hitches to the arrangement and there’s a shaker (you don’t often get shaker in an indie track) and I think I hear a horn tucked back in the mix but at its heart it’s guitar and vocals over straight beats.  Half sad white folks doing their thing!

@@@ Mount Kimbie: Marilyn (Warp, 2017) An electronic single off the ol’ Pitchfork top 100 list and though I can’t believe I’m typing this I really dig the flavors of the tune.  They start with some marimba/vibes that get swirled in with some indie drums and a tasteful, climbing and descending bass line.  Tightly arranged and focused I can accept the indie slacker conceit as it’s a well put together piece of music.  The arrangement continues to move and evolve while remaining coherent.

@@@ Julie Byrne: Natural Blue (Ba Da Bing!, 2017) The Apple Music blurb says her production is swoon-worthy.  Thus far this is a lush indie folk formula — indie intimate while stradding the two genres.  There is no drummer here so it’s awash with multiple stringed ‘instruments (guitars mostly)  and she’s kind of wearing out the phrase ‘natural blue.  It’s a tad too meaningful for me.  I like Byrne’s slightly husky voice but by time the strings and the electric bass come in I’m ready for something else.

YTD recordings listened to: 20
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 10
Not good music: 9

Best: 0
Honorable Mentions: 0

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, Magrudergrind, A Tribe Called Quest, Noname, Gouge Away, Anna Hogberg, Klara Lewis, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, 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, Tuba Skinny, The Expanders, Benjamin Booker, Irreversible Entanglements, Converge, Open Mike Eagle

Music for 12/5/17!!! Trio Da Kali/Kronos Quartet, Lisa Knapp, Mount Eerie

@@@ Trio da Kali & Kronos Quartet (World Circuit, 2017)  The Guardian is out with the beginning of their top 50 records of 2017.  I don’t usually like these mashes of African music with Western music but I’m nothing if not open eared.  And really fun to be around.  I also don’t like chocolate in my peanut butter.  On this first tune the Kronos Quartet plays the role of garnish on a plate of African food, which works but it’s not equal billing.  A few string flourishes in an African arrangement with a female singer.  I’m on the third tune and it remains pretty much the same and the question you ask yourself is the addition of Kronos Quartet string flourishes make this a favorite African record of the year?  Not to me.  It’s pretty staid in tempo and I prefer the burning African music and this appears to be designed to draw non-African music listeners to the genre.  Just as I write that the marimba player takes a burning solo, you shoulda put that tune first fellas.

@@@ Lisa Knapp: Til April is Dead – A Garland of May (Ear to the Ground, 2017) A throwback British folk record updated and bestowed with a modern chopped and looped feel.  It’s a creative aesthetic decision I must say as I’m not very interested in May Day but I’m listening.  The instrumentation is pretty standard for this style of music — hand drums, acoustic guitars, drones,  lots of samples, male co-singers and Ms. Knapp’s waif singing.  I can see how Brits would really get into this fusing of newer musical production techniques combined with their music heritage but check it out on this side of the pond.

@@@ Mount Eerie: A Crow Looked at Me (P.W. Elverum, 2017)  An indie reflection about the death of a musician’s wife.  For once I can say the slack vibe is justified and works well for the mostly raw lyrics and the subject matter.  It’s mostly the singer, the lyrics and an acoustic guitar.  I could have used some drums or other instrumentation just to offset and contrast the slack.  This record is #47 on the Guardian’s top 50 of the year.  Check out the fifth tune Swims for the full misery tour.

YTD recordings listened to: 776
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 418
Not good music: 321

Buys: 9
Honorable Mentions: 7

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, 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, The Expanders, Benjamin Booker, Irreversible Entanglements, Converge, Boubacare Traore, Les Filles De Illighadad, Curtis Harding