Music for 5/17/22!!! Alex Figueira, Ernesto el Defensor

@@@ Alex Figueira: Mentallogenic (Self released, 2023) This record is #1 at WRIR in Virginia, one of my favorite radio stations in the country. It’s a mash of soul beats, Latin music, indie bedroom stuff and Latin music. It’s all pretty simple stuff in terms of structure but the combination and the arrangements are clear and it’s got a certain vibe that I dig. There’s some quite tasty bass playing on offer, melodic and ear catching. This record has a lot going for it, check it out, fresh sounds and tight arrangements.

@@@ Ernesto El Defensor Remix: Radical (Share it Music, 2023) This is an interesting remix of an Australian punk band’s previous track. With a female singer it tours around dabbling in drum and bass, funk, dub, you know the usual suspects. I’m on a big tour of PR suggestions and this is the only thing I got out of it.

Music for 3/5/23!!! Arif Mirbaghi

@@@ Arif Mirbaghi: Gestures of Light (Qemaq Feraq, 2023) I got to this jazz record out of the area of Iran. There are four tracks on the record and it’s slotted on Apple Music as prog rock/art rock and I would put in that it has pretty strong indie flavors. Just a sort of pleasant jankyness I’m into, they sound like people playing instruments and not sounds lined up on grids. The instrumentation is acoustic/electric guitar, drum kit, soprano sax/flute (?), synth/electronic bits. It’s got some funk but it’s not sticking out and advertising itself as a funk record, at least to my ears. I’m on the second track Smoke Follows Beauty and it does pump the synth and its prominence in the mix that it does smell very proggy but not really with the super clean and nerdy production you would find in a prog record. You get upright bass switched to electric, and flute and horn switched up, and more or less of the non-Western scales depending on how they’re feeling. I’m on the third track Begging the Moon and it’s pretty frickin’ stylish. Not cliche, fresh, funky and there might even be a bit of humor up in there. Imma check this out, it’s really good.

Music for 2/10/23!!! Liv.e, crushed

@@@ Live.e: Wild Animals (AWAL, 2022) I would call this aggressively electronic music with plenty of glitch, blip and electro sauce. The third track could easily slide into a Prince album as the r&b/slinky funk is extremely Prince-like as well as standing on its own for sure. I think it’s interesting to hear very traditional black music elements as well as sort of a space age funk attitude at the same time — drum ‘n bass and glitchy sounds sit right by some pretty classic electric funk basslines. There’s some pretty delicious sounds going on here, fresh and arranged well and that’s not to put down her singing.

@@@ crushed: respawn (ng+, 2023) This is a pretty interesting mash of rock sounds and electronic bits which usually consist of a little synth garnish on a rock undercarriage. It’s more involved with some looping, and filtering, and multiple layers of synths, they did it right in this song. There’s also plenty of pop hook action. On the second track they bring both the drum machines and the classic strummed electric guitars and it works all right. Overall it’s an upgrade to old school Cranberries epic rock/pop but I like it better.

Music for 1/2/23!!! La Roche

@@@ La Roche: Liye Liye ( , 2022) I got to this polyrhythmic and insistent African electro music via a search as African electronic is one of my favorite subgenres of music. I love what they (as a group of music makers) do with drum machines and other musical components. I’m skipping all over this album and finding all manner of frantic rhytms, crazy video game melodies and just bags and bags of musical energy. I have a slight preference for the songs with vocals but it’s slight, the preference that is. I have to check this out a bit more as I just found this record yesterday searching for more shit but this to my ears is as saitsfying as Konono No. 1 and other African electronic music outfits. You can listen to this record a whole bunch, it’s got a total punk rock not giving a fuck flavor to it. Check this out if you like funk, electro funk, polyrhythmic music or African music.

Music for 10/6/22!!! Acid Arab, Sababa 5

@@@ Acid Arab: Halim Guelil (Crammed Discs, 2022) A single from what of my favorite world music/electronic outfits. Most notable here is the repurposing of big pop sounds into a pretty different framework. Fingersnaps, big pillowy synths, and autotuned vocals but with hand drumming, big drum roll type explosions, and some melodies in non-Western scales. It’s a groove track where more elements are added as it rolls on. I like it a bunch, B+/A- material.

@@@ SABABA 5: Lizarb (Batov, 2022) This is a pre-release track from a full length that comes out in November and it’s a mash of a lot of stuff that together I would label as nerd funk. It’s funky but with other condiments. Big ups to the organ player, and I guess a lot of the nerdieness lies in the beats which are on the lighter side. I’m checking out the other pre-relesae track that I think I like more and the formula is the same, the keyboards are the star. I like the drumming more on this one, tighter and more impactful.

Music for 9/17/22!!! Ray Laurel, Death Cab for Cutie

@@@ Ray Laurel: Manic Pixie Dream Boy (Venice, 2022) I got to this track via this week’s Line of Best Fit. Strummed electric guitar intro, then falsetto vocal, then a big cloudy ’80s chorused guitar fart and dancy rock drumming. It’s got a lot of energy and I’m always into that but I’m not finding a lot of sounds here to love. Don’t love the guitars a lot, neutral on the drums, and neutral on the vocalizing. As I’m a super fair guy so I check out another track, this one called Coconut Perfume. Yowsa it’s good to be fair cuz I dig this funky thing, it’s a languorous slinky thing with a solid beat and more falsetto vocals. All the sounds are much better deployed.

@@@ Death Cab for Cutie (Atlantic, 2022) I’ll tell you straight up I’m not a huge fan of Death Cab, in fact I think they’re a leading proponent of a branch of the indie rock tree that I refer to as douche indie. This is a chill ambient non rocking track from a rock band that I think is going to explode in douche rock righteousness. Oy, Death Cab’s singer is one squeaky ass clean sounding motherfucker. I’m guessing with a title like Fragments from the Decade it’s an allegorical, big lyrical theme. Right at halfway you get a big clean guitar solo, on point. I like the drum sound here, a big room but clear in the mix. Fragments from the decade are dancing in the fire….meh. That right there is some Lord of the Rings type shit right in the middle of an indie rock setting. This is high end sleepytime tea. I just don’t get why people listen to these guys.

Music for 9/14/22!!! Dogo du Togo, Mauskovic Dance Band

@@@ Dogo du Togo: Soke Wo (Massama Dogo, 2022) This is a pre-release track I got to via this week’s WRIR playlist email. It is unfortunately another African recording driven by nylon string guitar which is a drag for me personally. Somebody is tearing it up on the shaker and there is a nice background vocal section accompanying the male singer. The tempo is brisk but not crazy. The shaker here is the king, followed by the singing and since there’s not a lot going on I have to take points off for the nylon guitar. I would listen to more tracks of this and hope they switch over to electric.

@@@ The Mauskovic Dance Band: Shadance Hall (Dekmantel, 2020) This is a funk record, an EP with some dubs from 2020 though they have a new record but I liked this one better. I find the smashing of straight Devo flavors with funky beats to be a really interesting smashing together of sounds. There’s some reggae up in the bass to go with the krauty snare sound and the other elements. It’s probably one of the finest nerd funk records I’ve ever heard, you know the funk pose is one of the hipster and cool guys and gals. Pimp outfits vs. pencil protectors. Any EP that contains mirror dubs of their tracks is all right with me. The leader here is from Amsterdam and he’s reaching out to the Caribbean and other places for his sounds. I like it.

Music for 8/4/22!!! Surprise Chef, MK

@@@ Surprise Chef: Velodrome (Big Chief, 2022) A pre-release track from a record coming out in October though I’m also checking out Crayfish Caper which is a track from 2019 that I peeped around a bit. I did a bit of search-a-fying and see that these folks are from Australia. I woulda guessed down South where the kudzu be thicker than the local police. These guys are doing a Meters type instrumental funk type sitch and they do it well. It’s not a hipster thing, well maybe it is a hipster thing but it’s not a super annoying hipster thing. This track is driven by the drums, the chickenscratch guitar, multiple keyboard parts and even a triangle. Vibes too, me loves the vibes. I’m checking out another pre release track, Money Music, and it’s even better than the track clipped below. Imma check more of these guys when it comes out.

@@@ MK: Burning (Defected, 2011) A track from the latest Crack Magazine playlist. Not recent releases but whatevs. It’s tightly constructed with an interesting one word vocal sampe, a really hot percussive metal vibe vamp and funky. Then the dive comes in begging somebody to touch her body she’s all pumped up! My funk-o-meter is giving this a 7.5 out of 10 rating and that’s completely arbitrary. Tight construction, funky funky funky, that’s all about all that needs to be said.

Music for 7/20/22!!! Fantastic Negrito, Jasmyn

@@@ Fantastic Negrito: White Jesus Black Problems (Storefront, 2022) Today I’m listening to excerpts from a coupla records off All Music’s notable release email, ah the classics, All Music notable release email. I’ve peeped Mr. Negrito before and haven’t fully embraced his music but maybe this will be different. It’s an interesting mash of sounds on the opening track, Venomous Dogma. He’s got some classic rock, a little Beatles action, some ’70s rock, some more updated space rock, the full pu pu platter. I usually don’t go for the mashups because they can so easily get muddied up but this holds up, I’m more than a bit surprised as I’ve peeped Mr. Fantastic repeatedly and walked away meh. I checked excerpts of four songs here and I think he made a fresh and sonically interesting record out of very familiar elements. I give big respect to that and will check out more of this when I have the time.

@@@ Jasmyn: In the Wild (Anti, 2022) A second listen off ye ol’ All Music notable release email. My first impression is wow Jasmyn has a unique voice, at least for parts of the first track. It’s hard to explain, it sounds sorta boxy and girlish while not being in a high register. The opening track, Green Nature, has a sort of ’80s rock flow but updated and not fully ’80s. Let’s peep a bit more. The second tune, Crystal Ball, continues the flow but hints at a drum and bass typa beat and the long vocal style aka Radiohead. She’s got a Xenia Rubinos/Radiohead thing going here, that’s what I would summarize the record as. I like a bunch of parts of it though not all of it. The arrangements are very interesting and complex but I think they could use a bit more grit/muscle. Not macho shit but a greater variety of sounds.

Music for 7/19/22!!! Tyshawn Sorey, Stimulator Jones

@@@ Tyshawn Sorey: Mesmerism (Yeros7, 2022) This is a piano trio jazz record, pretty straight with Mr. Sorey who is a monster drummer/percussionist as well as a drummer heavily into composition. Instrumentation here is piano, drums and bass and regardless of how you feel about the tunes chosen or how the musicians do in covering them these guys can all play and Mr. Sorey makes the session much much more interesting with his quick witted playing and overall musicianship at the drum kit. This should work big time for straight jazz folks.

@@@ Stimulator Jones: Soon Never Comes (Stones Throw, 2022) I got to this alternative r&b record via the notable release email from All Music from a coupla weeks back. The first tune is heavy on both ’70s loverboy vibes and thwacky boom bap. The contrast between that snare sound and the hot fudge sundae sweetness of the rest of the tune is pleasant. If Earth Wind and Fire popped a handful of Oxycontin it would sound like the vocalist and the instrumentalists on this record. The pumped up snare is present on this second tune so maybe that’s the formula for the whole record. The third tune, and my last for this listen chooses a higher tempo drum machine but it retains that friendly ass sonic top end. The soft rock/funk here is quite extreme in its softness.