Music for 7/16/19!!! Roisin Murphy, Lil Nas X, (Sandy) Alex G

@@@ Roisin Murphy: Incapable (Loaded/BMG, 2019)  I have not heard of this dancefloor diva til I peeped the Guardian’s songs of summer article that came yesterday.  This is some classic retro disco biscuitry with low key vocals — she’s not a 5 octave Mariah Carey kinda gal.  I don’t mind her vocal style but it would be more compelling if the sounds were less canned and fresher.  I’ve heard this track many many times and you have too without realizing it.  8:26 of white wedding dancing?  Perhaps.  Some people just want to get out their and wiggle their ass and there’s no shame in that but….c’mon there’s enough vanilla ice cream out there to fill many stadiums, naimsayin’?

@@@ Lil Nas X: Old Town Road (Sony, 2018) I’ve read tons about this song and Lil Nas X but I haven’t peeped it til now as I’m looking at the Guardian’s songs of the summer.  It’s a mildly country tune over a fat jeep bass and a trap beat.  It’s an unusual pairing sonically but it’s pretty simple like a popsicle and it comes and goes without making much more than noticing he black country drawled over some hip hop beats.  I don’t understand what all the fuss is about.  This smells a bit one hit wonder-y.

@@@ (Sandy) Alex G: Gretel (Domino, 2019)  A pre-release offkilter entry into the Guardian’s songs of the summer.  It gets into an indie groove with some Tim Hecker screaming types of drones in the back.  In come the shoegaze-y vocals and it’s the musical equivalent of an almost broke carnival.  At around 90 seconds the tune morphs into a strummed acoustic sing-a-long type of thing with what sound like calliope pipes.  Also gets garnished with shaker and mandolin it is both bright and dark at the same time.  Me personally I’m not feeling this as a summer track but that’s just me and it seems more like a music publicist’s successful crashing of a summer song list.

YTD recordings listened to: 355
Good music, not list worthy: 210
Not good music: 123

Best: 0
Honorable Mentions: 0

Possibles: Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, Slidhr, The Chewers, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Lozen, Erase Errata, Mastery, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, 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, Noname, Klara Lewis, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Oddisee, RAM, Fiver, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Priests, Propaganda, This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez, Integrity, Tuba Skinny, The Expanders, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Portal, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton, Parquet Courts, Moskus, Kendl Winter, Tkay Maidza, Barro, Daniel Khan, Tallawit Timbouctou, Sumac, Tropical Fuck Storm, Harriet Tubman, Ammar 808, Anais Maviel, Chaka Khan, Pom Poko, Fried Egg, Horndal, Wyxz, Tarek Atoui, Hawktail, Saicobab, Shannon and the Clams, General Purv, Shipping News, Big Thief, Emma Louise, Andre Bratten, Nathan Corder/Tom Weeks

Music for 1/14/19!!! Hop Along, Arctic Monkeys, Calvin Harris

@@@ Hop Along: Bark Your Head Off, Dog (Saddle Creek, 2018) #11 on the NPR best of NPR list and the last of this list as the top 10 are pretty standard picks that I’ve already dissed! The first tune is an energetic retro indie thing and it’s good for what it is. It definitely has a bounce to it not oft witnessed in the genre — it’s not funk, but it’s a white people’s earnest upbeatitude. Yup, I made that noun up. So I get why it’s on the NPR list and the female singer does solid work but it’s not on my list.

@@@ Arctic Monkeys: Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino (Domino, 2018) I’ve seen multiple raves about this record. They’ve only put a single up on the Apple Music which is fine but this is some loose space rock from a seasoned band. The singer gets a little Bowie/Thom Yorke thing going, strange and quasi literate lyrics over a tight band. I’ve never been an Arctic Monkeys fan but this is some of the best of what I heard. The B side, Anyways, is full Major Tom Bowie rock in attitude with less pretension. Good shit.

@@@ Calvin Harris: Giant (Sony, 2019) I’m telling you Calvin Harris has absolutely nailed the combining of funk and mind numbing boredom. It’s really quite breathtaking as I don’t think I’ve ever heard a single unique or unexpected sound in this man’s music. It is a never ending white bread and bologna sandwich. This track is an uplifting club banger with empowering lyrics. He’s a giant, stand up on my shoulders, tell me what you see. God, kill me this is just wonderful garbage. In a just world Calvin Harris would be in a forced labor camp.

YTD recordings listened to: 27
Good music, not list worthy: 19
Not good music: 7

Best: 0
Honorable Mentions: 0

Possibles: Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, Slidhr, The Chewers, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Lozen, Erase Errata, Mastery, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, 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, Klara Lewis, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Oddisee, RAM, Fiver, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Priests, Propaganda, This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez, Integrity, Tuba Skinny, The Expanders, Converge, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Portal, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton, Parquet Courts, Moskus, Kendl Winter, Tkay Maidza, Barro, Daniel Khan, Tallawit Timbouctou, Sumac, Tropical Fuck Storm, Harriet Tubman, Ammar 808

Music for 10/19/18!!! The Jack Moves, Lea Love, PLANET

@@@ The Jack Moves: Red Lights (Everloving, 2018). Skate-funk (wha??) I got to via a music publicist email.  I guess when they mean skate, they mean roller rink skating and not skateboarding.  This is some mellow ass, quiet storm, loverboy shit with some funk.  It’s no monsoon of funk, it’s a white boy doing a modified blued eyed soul routine.  I like the bass player, I don’t love the guitar part, and the drummer needs a Red Bull.

@@@ Lea Love: No Feels (Mensch House, 2018). Some bouncy reggae also from a music publicist email.  This tune is at a very similar tempo but the beats are much beefier and Love brings the energy on the microphone.  One tune is funk and one tune is a reggae/soul explosion but the white boys should peep this and note the flavor pack.  They have some standard but interesting eq sweeps through the tune that momentarily sucks the high end out of the track and fades it back in.  It’s not the most amazing tune ever but it’s got motion and rhythm at a higher level than the track above.

@@@ PLANET: SAVE.SOLD (N/A, 2018)  I got to what I think is going to be a rock track off an online music magazine.  After an intro guitar it gets into an Oasis type thing with a lot of guitar chords/distortion and a white boy shuffle drum beat.  I like the vocal hook here ‘You tell me you’ve been saved, you tell me you’ve been sold’.  It’s got more than a bit of shoegaze dropped in there which lends not a melancholic vibe but a less rocking flavor.

YTD recordings listened to: 587
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 313
Not good music: 239

Best: 9
Honorable Mentions: 6

Possibles: Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, Slidhr, The Chewers, 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, 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, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton, Parquet Courts, Orlando Lopez, Moskus, Kendl Winter, Tkay Maidza, Peregoyo y su Combo vacana, serpentwithfeet

Music for 3/6/18!!! Anna Meredith, Malina More, Carrie Underwood

@@@ Anna Meredith: Calion (Moshi Moshi, 2018) I got a music publicist email saying that this musician had performed the best NPR tiny desk concert ever.  That’s ever people, as in all of them.  So she gets a peep and that is high praise from the NPR eggheads.  This tune opens up as a blend of electronica and classical — two arpeggiated synths over a minimalist kick drum pulse.  Now another synth and some handclaps.  It’s definitely more deftly arranged than your normal dance floor banger but I’m not crying or so joyous that I’m thinking about the phrase ‘best ever’.  It definitely heats up in the last third of the track but I stand by my opinion.

@@@ Malina Moye: Bad As I Wanna Be (N/A, 2018). Marketed as a guitar visionary in the publicist email that I got this single is also being framed as a #metoo kinda song.  This clip below is a marketing montage for an upcoming tune but it does not have a tune clipped so I’ve attached one below that.  Moye has been around for a bit and she’s most definitely now being packaged as a strong female/sex bomb/guitar hero.  I like her guitar playing though it’s not particularly groundbreaking.  Her singing is good, again nothing too wild or memorable.  She’s pretty funky but I wanted more funk.

@@@ Carrie Underwood: The Champion ( N/A, 2018). A country singer rocking a duet with Ludacris is absolutely today’s Ebony and Ivory moment.  I got to it via music honcho/blowhard Bob Lefsetz and his email list.  His taste is usually a big ol’ bag of ass, but I enjoy the listens because he is so hyperbolic.  It’s a smash, oh fuck off.  I would recommend listening to the video but not checking out the images as it’s chock full of American propaganda.  The only tune that references champions is the Queen track from back in the day and though that track is as cheesy it takes this tune out on a stretcher.  This is a bullshit, cliche cheese bomb and I hate it.  Ludacris does a breakdown of the word champion by saying the c stand for blah, the h for blah blah.  I had to click the tune off 30 seconds from the end, it’s fucking awful.

YTD recordings listened to: 126
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 66
Not good music: 57

Best: 2
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, Flowers of Sulphur, Melissa Laveaux

Music for 4/10/17!!! Cilantro Boombox, Juana Molina, The New Pornographers

@@@ Cilantro Boombox: Shine (Self-released, 2017)  I got to this self-released record via this week’s WRIR playlist email.  The first tune opens up super Earth Wind and Fire and then moves into a chorus in Spanish.  Full horn sections, drummer, percussionist.  I like the horn arrangements here and these guys do bring a very funky vibe to their music with some old school MC rhyming and the falsetto vocals.  They even name check Maurice White from Earth Wind and Fire on the third tune so my comparison is confirmed.  There’s also more than a bit of Anthony Kiedis style lurking as well.

@@@ Juana Molina: Cosoco (Crammed Discs, 2017)  A single off an upcoming full length that I also got to via the WRIR weekly playlist email.  I try to check out Crammed releases due to their support of Konono No. 1.  This single is more a freaky Euro-indie kinda track but it’s got some vibe to it.  A fairly uptempo beat, a pretty strange female singer and the tune is freeze dried until it fully unfolds into a skittering beat with a liquid bass line and the same singer.  I see from the interwebz that Juana Molina is from Argentina

@@@ The New Pornographers: Whiteout Conditions (Concord, 2017)  Some mainstream indie music off the Apple Music new music section.  I put this band in the same column as Spoon — highly praised and often mentioned but not comprehensible to me.  This first tune is super bouncy and literate and frankly it makes me want to go buy blue jeans.  This second tune (clipped below) steps back in time for a 1980’s medium rocking romp.  I see that these guys can construct music but I don’t feel anything when I hear their music.  The singers are especially not to my liking.

YTD recordings listened to: 236
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 128
Not good music: 88

Buys: 1
Honorable Mentions: 1

Possibles: Chris McGregor, Dave Arner Trio, Zomby, Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Slidhr, The Chewers, Toxic Holocaust, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Lenguas Largas, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Fofoulah, 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, Divanhana, Moken, Juan Atkins, Drone, 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, Aethenor, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, James Brandon Lewis, Yotoco, Tinariwen, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Power Trip, Reverend Payton, J.I.D., Oddisee, Feral Ohms, Orquestra Baobab

Music for 3/10/17!!! Five Alarm Funk, Murs, Damaged Bug

@@@ Five Alarm Funk: Sweat (Self-released, 2017)  A self-released funk record I got to via this week’s CFUV weekly playlist email.  A little Afrobeat swagger and a little Red Hot Chili Peppers in this first tune.  Yowsa, a giant horn explosion in the middle of this first track.  This second tune has more of a spy movie theme and I dig it less though the energy is relentless.  I’m on the fourth tune and these guys are a large ensemble party band — rock like funk guitar, lots of horns, energetic drumming and whole group chants.

@@@ Murs: Captain California (Strange Music, 2017)  I like this first tune with some laid back funk.  The arrangements have more than a dollop of George Clinton funk and the rhyming revolves around girls, but more on the boasting tip than the pornographic neighborhood.  The third tune GBKW (God Bless Kanye West) is anthemic but I’m not sure it’s about Kanye West.  They get more into tha life themes on this fourth tune Colossus.  I dig the sounds here.

@@@ Damaged Bug: Bunker Funk (Castle Face, 2017)  Off this week’s All Music notable release email.  This first tune is sort of a punky funk thing with crushed drum beats and off kilter vocal stylings.  The bass players is the star of these first two songs.  These guys have an energetic slightly psych indie with bits of white boy funk thing going on and it’s pretty good.  Check it out.

YTD recordings listened to: 163
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 89
Not good music: 60

Buys: 0
Honorable Mentions: 1

Possibles: Chris McGregor, Dave Arner Trio, Zomby, Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Slidhr, The Chewers, Toxic Holocaust, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Lenguas Largas, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Fofoulah, 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, Divanhana, Moken, Juan Atkins, Drone, 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, Aethenor, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, James Brandon Lewis, Yotoco, Tinariwen, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Power Trip, Fruko Y Sos Tesos

Music for 1/25/17!!! Ani Cordero, Hard Proof, Residual Kid

@@@ Ani Cordero: Recordar (Ani Cordero, 2014)  I got a review email from WRIR in Virginia that reviewed Cordero’s latest record.  However, this 2014 record is all that is up on Apple Music.  This first tune is mostly a Latin tune, sung in Spanish, but with hints of indie.  Cordero’s voice is powerful and quite pretty.  The instrumentation is great with accordion and a horn section in addition to her traditional stringed instrument.  Her lyrics are self-described as being about love and protest but I’m not fluent in Spanish.  I would definitely check out her latest when it hits the interwebz.

@@@ Hard Proof: Stinger (Modern Outsider, 2017)  Also off excellent world music station WRIR’s review email.  These guys are from Austin and they do an instrumental funk/quasi-Afrobeat thing.  It’s not straight Afrobeat, I don’t lie, and it’s a large ensemble.  After a swaggering opening track they get more into a midtempo blaxploitation vibe on the second tune, Men of Trouble.  These guys can play for sure.  They appear to hit peak funkiness on the fifth or sixth track Trickle Down.  Ooh, nasty guitar along side the plinked African style, a righteously sweet combination of dirt and honey.  Check these dudes/ladies/both out.

@@@ Residual Kid: The Volcom Sessions (Sire, 2016)  I got a PR email from Warner Bros. promo department announcing that these guys got best punk band at SXSW.  From the record cover (clipped below) it looks like we are listening to some Asian or Asian-American punk business.  These guys are on the Foo-ey side of the railroad tracks with a big power chord sound and midtempo stompers.  Ooh, big Nirvana stink lines on this second tune Tidal Wave.  Not quite as twisted as pre-Nevermind Nirvana Bleach madness.  Solid B.

YTD recordings listened to: 56
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 32
Not good music: 16

Buys: 0
Honorable Mentions: 0

Possibles: Chris McGregor, Dave Arner Trio, Zomby, Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Slidhr, The Chewers, Toxic Holocaust, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Lenguas Largas, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Fofoulah, 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, Divanhana, Moken, Juan Atkins, Drone, Lantern, Twin Peaks, Djelimady Tounkara, The Oh Sees, Denny Zeitlin, MILF, Unfun, De La Soul, Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes, Magrudergrind, Acid Arab, A Tribe Called Quest, Noname, Gouge Away, Anna Hogberg, Klara Lewis, Aethenor, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof