Music for 6/19/18!!! Beyonce and Jay Z, The Greatest Showman, Onyx Collective

@@@ Beyonce & Jay Z: Apeshit (Sony Music, 2018)  The second tune off the new Beyonce/Jay Z surprise record.  It’s an attempt at a trap tune with hip hop sounds.  Beyonce rhymes on the mic and it’s all right but she does bust it impressively two thirds of the way through the tune.  Jay has a brief rap and it’s notable for dissing the Grammys.  The sounds are all right but honestly a little disappointing by virtue of the sounds not  being very interesting.  I guess if you don’t believe that Beyonce and Jay Z don’t stand for anything, which is my position, it makes their music a lot less appealing.  I think they’re both masterful business people but I think as musicians they’re overrated.

@@@  The Greatest Showman: The Greatest Showman (Atlantic, 2018)  Music biz blogger/bigmouth Bob Lefsetz posted about this movie soundtrack record.  He usually drifts towards cheese and this is no exception.  If you take Imagine Dragons and have a love baby with Disney shit and a little bit of Queen you get this over the top first track.  I feel the cheesy epic-ness forcing itself into every orifice of my body and I don’t like it.  If you’re not up for that you can enjoy the power ballad cheese of the second tune, A Million Dreams.  A young boy and his dreams, good for him but he’s gonna have to pursue them without me.  This shit is awful as far as I’m concerned as it further disconnects white people from reality.  And I say this as a reluctant white person.

@@@ Onyx Collective: Lower East Side Part Three (Big Dada, 2018)  I saw this experimental jazz record featured on the front page of the New York Times, which is not usually a positive as I rarely find great records (if ever!) in the New York Times.  But I persevere and I like experimental jazz.  It’s not as great as the Greatest Cheeseman reviewed above, but it’s trying!  The first piece is a drone with some tinkly metal percussion and toms, electric bass (?), and some interesting sax work.  It is supposed to be a dark record and I get that but it’s not full of classic free jazz skronk/frustration so it has a downer pretty vibe thus far.  I wish the recording sounded a bit better (especially the bass sound) but it’s a good record with the fourth track ‘There Goes the Neighborhood’ being my favorite of what I heard with it’s classic sax forlorn wail.

YTD recordings listened to: 339
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 178
Not good music: 153

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, Dona Onete, 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

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Music for 5/17/18!!! Lawaii, Kassin, Divide and Dissolve

@@@ Lawaii: Lawaii (Self-released 2018) I got to this jazz release via a twat on the Twatter by Bird is the Worm.  They are from Denmark and the instrumentation is piano, bass and drums.  This trio format can often lead to high end pretentious wanking, but thus far no for these guys.  The emphasis here thus far is on atmospherics and tone.  thus far they are also employing a less is more approach and I’m feeling it.  The first lyrical playing that I’ve heard shows up on the third tune, #5 and it’s offset with some pretty tasty bass bow scratching.  The tune cycles on a circular piano figure and the quick scratchy ass bowing.  I’ve sample parts of the first four pieces and I really like it thus far.  I will circle back at a later point when I can sit and relax to it more but right now I have to extrude the music review kibble for the hungry mass.  Check it out.

@@@ Kassin: Relax (Luaka Bop, 2018)  Off this week’s WRIR playlist email.  I have a conflicted relationship with Brazilian music.  I dig it rhythmically but often times the smoothness of it I find dissatisfying.  The second tune is a Brazilian Earth Wind ‘n Fire but I don’t love it.  It’s clipped below.  I’ve sample parts of four tunes and while I kinda appreciate the disco excursion here I’m not super enjoying the music.  It’s a large ensemble and the playing is good so it sounds like something you might like have at it.

@@@ Divide & Dissolve: Abomination (Dero Arcade, 2018) Some metal off this week’s CFuv playlist email.  It opens up with a lot of tom playing and a dirty bass.  I see from the Apple Music blurb that this is a duo and thus far it’s a dark affair with some distorted business but it’s not a typical metal record.  It doesn’t have to be.  There is a theme here with the first three song titles Abomination, Assimilation, and Cultural Extermination.  I’m feeling this second tune Assimilation, it sports a haunting melody over a disgusting nasty bass sound and more heavy on the tom drumming.  I like the foundation of the record, the drumming and the bass sound, ah just as I was about to say I needed more you get some spoken word.  A female doing some heavy but not super focused spieling and occasional piano.  This is no mosh-fest, it’s got ideas behind it and I like it.  I wish the tracks that have more in them started out the record.

YTD recordings listened to: 274
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 145
Not good music: 120

Best: 5
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, Dona Onete, 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

Best of 2018 Pick 5

Irreversible Entanglements: Irreversible Entanglements (International Anthem, 2017)

The most notable aspect of this jazz trio/spoken word record is the black female poet.  There are some great lines in the first tune, Chicago to Texas (clipped below) and she delivers them with the appropriate disdain and pissed off-ness required by the topic of the tune.  My favorite line is ‘there is no justice, there is no rehabilititation, no religion either, just four pills and a dixie cup called America’.  Excellent work on that.  She is ferocious and I see this record as the antidote to the Kendrick Lamar Walt Disney record that recently won a Pulitzer Prize.

The trio plays really well but this woman is the star here and they burn all the way through.  Check it out.

These guys are playing the Vision Festival here in Brooklyn, NY so if you’re a resident of these five boroughs I’m sure they kill it live.

 

Music for 4/25/18!!! The Tallest Man on Earth, Lazyeyes, Hernan Sama/Marcelo von Schultz, Slug

@@@ The Tallest Man on Earth: Somewhere in the Mountains, Somewhere in New York (AWAL, 2018)  I’ve checked out Mr. Tallest Man on Earth before and I really enjoy the tone of his voice.  I’m not sure why this GooglePimpTube video is 10:24 while the tune on Apple music is just over 4:30.  It’s standard Mr. Earth with strummed acoustic guitar, a little organ and vocals.  Sometimes it’s very soothing to be presented with so little (if you like the singer’s voice).  The obvious reference here is Mr. Zimmerman but Mr. Earth’s voice is better.  It’s a melancholy love song — just trying to keep you informed.

@@@ Hernan Sama & Marcelo von Schultz: Sonidos desde el campo para los animales y la vida salvaje (Self-released, 2018) I got to this self-released sax and drums jazz record via an email from the artists themselves.  I’m usually disappointed when listening to requests like this, but I really like the first couple of pieces here.  There is no place to hide when it’s just a duo record but both these players have personality — the sax player is not interested in technical playing but more on sonic interestingness.  I have trouble writing good jazz reviews as it’s not hard to get lost in abstraction and bullshit.  If you haven’t heard a lot of free jazz playing this is a good record to check out.  It has good energy, the playing is interesting and you can just kick back and let it wash over you.  I’m going to swing back on this record and it may end up on my end of year list.

@@@ Lazyeyes: Echoes (Egghunt, 2018) A shoegaze ’80s single I got to via a music publicist email.  What the world now needs is more ’80s influenced rock!  Not me but the world at large as there is so much of it coming out.  Half dance/half rock drumbeats, Edge style guitars and a jagged rock/pop sound.  A little Sonic Youth, a little Flock of Seagulls, a strange mash of indeed.  Not a huge fan of the youth of sonic but this is much cleaner.  There is a shoegaze singer here, a little reverbed out and almost overwhelmed by the guitar noise.

@@@ Slug: No Heavy Petting (Memphis Industries, 2018)  I saw this record on last week’s All Music notable release email.  It has a nerdy guitar rock flow in this tune clipped below, but the white boy falsetto is supposed to funk-ify the proceedings.  By the time you get to the chorus it’s pretty mathy and nerdy and funky.  I’m not a huge fan of this formula but if you are, well then here you go.

YTD recordings listened to: 221
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 118
Not good music: 96

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, Hernan Sama & Marcelo von Schultz

2018 Honorable Mention Pick 1

Annah Hogberg Attack: Self-titled (Omlott, 2016)

Instrumentation on this medium out jazz record is sax, piano, drums and bass.  There are more composed moments as well as some bursting skronk.  Hogberg has a solid horn tone and the energy is fresh.  The piano player and the drummer get a shout out with some particularly ear catching work.

The second track, Familjen, is clipped below.  It is my favorite track on the record so check it out and see if it works for you.

Best of 2017 Pick 9!!!

Chris McGregor: Up to Earth (Wing and a Prayer, 2008)

Not so long ago recorded music wasn’t so manicured and staid.  Chris McGregor was a Scottish pianist who grew up on African music and this record is a raucous/joyful jazz record in the tradition of Thelonious Monk.  Multiple horns swinging, a great rhythm section and McGregor’s angular and energetic playing combine to take you back to a time  where wildness was welcome.

This is not the most recommended McGregor record on All Music but I really like the energy of this.  One of the many problems with getting people to getting people involved with jazz is that the artists make records in different styles with different musicians and it becomes a pissing match regarding which record is the best.  Whereas indie bands often end up feeding their fans slightly altered versions of their last record because it’s adult baby food by non-artists.

Check this video out below and if you can’t get with it you’re pretty fucking square assed.

10/18/17!!! May Roosevelt, Irreversible Entanglements, Nasti

@@@ May Roosevelt: Air (Inner Ear, 2017). A single from a female musician on a small Greek label that I review on occasion.  It’s a krautrock/club mash with a dreamy reverbed female voice. Straight up kick-snare instead of a classic techno aunt-tss with layers of ambient synth patches.  It ebbs and flows from section to section.  It builds to a synthy climax with additional percussion and volume.  It’s got some nice sounds and it could be a bit shorter.

@@@ Irreversible Entanglements: Irreversible Entanglements (International Anthem LLC, 2017).  Four long (10-15 minute) pieces on this jazz record that I got to via last week’s CFUV playlist email.  I thought we were headed for a long jammy thing until the black female hits the spoken word and she hits it hard!  Talking some painful truth about life in America for African Americans.  First it’s awesome to have a woman going off on this and let me be one of very few white Americans to praise the hell out of this.  Let it out!  The instrumentation is pretty standard — drums (high in the mix!), bass, and a horn.  It’s hard to say much about the band cuz the spoken word missus is burning the microphone up.  They’re her support and they do a great job.  This will be on my best of year end list as it has what I like in records — passion, anger, folks expressing themselves powerfully, etc.  Turn off the sound on your NFL games and put this record on!

@@@ Nasti: Big Achievements (Iron Lung, 2017) An angular and abrasive punk record off this week’s CFUV playlist email.  Oh and they drop into a classic hardcore punk grind. Yeah kiddies, punk rock.  They are spanking the baby here purdy good yo and let’s peep more.  With titles like parasites, slugs, and blisters (all separate tracks) you know what you’re in for.  You get a fat dose of guitar feedback to go with your working man’s thrash — ’tis the ying/yang of hardcore.  I initially typed ying/yank which is a sort of masturbatory Asian philosophy a lot of TED talk folks employ.  Heavy on the yank.  But I digress.  This will most def harvest the crust from your eyes so if you have crusty eyes or you get the Fugazi reference have a go.  Good for those who are feeling worn down by El Trump-o, the great American rapist.

YTD recordings listened to: 675
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 363
Not good music: 284

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, The Expanders, Benjamin Booker, Kelly Moran, Irreversible Entanglements