@@@ Tony Monaco: Root Down (Chicken Coup Records, 2021) I saw this up on the Twatter and it’s slotted as jazz on Apple Music but to my ears it’s sneaking in the door of jazz and belongs in the Meters’ funk part of town. Very modern recording style with guitar, organ, and drums. I’m pretty sure there’s no bassist here and the organ is holding it down, it’s a bit unclear to my ears. It’s a funky and friendly thing they have going here, nothing particularly groundbreaking in its formula but great music to bbq some tofu?
@@@ The Crown: Royal Destroyer (Metal Blade, 2021) I realized over the weekend that I haven’t been getting my fill of heavy metal. In the age of the interwebz that’s not a hard situation to remedy. I found this track on a list with a bunch of duds but this is quite a beatdown. And if the idea of a beatdown seems odd, the second title is ‘Let the Hammering Begin!’ Well played. It’s an updated classic metal sound which I don’t usually enjoy but this has a certain aggro vibe that really animates the proceedings. I’ve attached the third tune ‘Motordeath’ and it’s got a most excellent guitar sound and very tasty thrash drumming. I like the singer and that’s rare for me in heavy metal.
@@@ pizzagirl: moreno (Heist or Hit, 2021) I got to these two listens via the Line of Best Fit weekly email. I think I’m ready for all the breezy summertime music as this is a frat boy slacker version of upbeat soft rock. A clicky guitar figure, some straight rock drumming and a Jimmy Buffett style singer. I’m just about ready for a margarita. Boom, it morphs into a super sweet pop explosion in the chorus complete with quasi staccato string flourishes. I like the production, it’s put together pretty well but this isn’t really my thing at all. The slackness and the upbeatness combined is especially troubling.
@@@ Crystal Murry: Like it Nasty (Because Music, 2021) With a title like Like it Nasty I expect some stripper pole trap hip hop which is not super off the mark save for the absence of a trap beat. It’s more of a retro-ish funk with an insistent kick drum. It’s the G-rated version of WAP. I like the kick drum and the stick sound of the drum machine, agnostic on the guitar sound, and I can’t hear the vocal hook but it sounds like ‘touch my pussy and I’ll see you later’, but that’s not right. It’s old school stripper pole music.
@@@ Benoit Delbecq: The Weight of Light (Pyroclastic, 2021) I saw this French pianist’s new record shouted out on the Twatter. There’s a whole blurb on this record on Apple Music and I bet there’s more explanation on the interwebz but it’s a solo piano record that uses various prepared piano techniques to generate percussive tones to go along with melodic ideas. The video below is an almost 10 minute banger and I dig it. I want to hop around a bit to see if the rest of the record is of similar structure and quality. I’m checking out the first track called The Loop of Chicago and it’s pretty high quality. The clarity of sound and spaciousness here certainly helps you enter into the music and remain engaged. Check this out, it’s soothing and pulls you in at the same time.
@@@ Patrick Paige II: Whisper (Fat Possum, 2021) I got to this via the twatter! It was shouted by an indie music tastemaker, wow what an oxymoron — indie music and taste in the same sentence. Out on Fat Possum means it’s gotta be connected to classic punk, funk or soul music. I love the bass sound here and the rhyming is chill (with delay) and it evokes retro hip hop and funk more than it does trap and more modern hip hop subgenres. Even significant Parliament/Funkadelic feels. I moved from the back end of the record to the third tune Big Plays and it’s a whole ‘nother trip. Trappy, quick rhymes, boasting, all the updated flavors. Lots of guests here so I’m wondering if Paige is the producer and he subcontracts the rhymes. I like black music of all flavors and I like this all right without jumping up and down. Have a slight preference for the old school track as that’s less commmon than new style trap product.
@@@ YN Jay: Summer Time (YN/Foundation, 2021) Off a Pitchfork tweet of 5 new albums you should peep so I thusly peep 2 of them on this day of our Lord 2021. I don’t know if this is ironic/satirical or if this is a straight, indie version of trap business. Lots of very explicit sexual scenarios and plenty of gun references. The lyrical content is the main course, the sonic part is mostly interesting for it’s crazy distorted bass sound and minimal beats. I’m having a hard time seeing this as anything more than a bucket of shit talking on a microphone. Not that the MCs are a bucket of shit, the record is a bucket of ‘shit talking’, the shit goes with the word talking not the word bucket. Whew. There doesn’t have to be any higher aspirations to any music, I get that, and I’m also not obligated to like something.
@@@ Surf Gang: Vol. 1 (Surf Gang Records, 2021) More hip hop and it’s more sonically developed and decidedly more left field than that last biscuit. I find the video game feel to the arrangement on this first track pretty interesting. Let’s peep a bit more. More dreamy sounds on top of a pretty fat pounding bass. I’m not sure what (if any) lyrical focus is going on here — that’s not a requirement as just the various energies of the MCs strongly effects the music and perception of it. I like later tunes more, especially the fourth tune ‘Don’t Wanna Wake Up.’
@@@ Delta Nove: Big Sky (Self-released, 2021) Off a music publicist email. These guys are blurbed as a world music funk outfit and I get that. This is a reggae flavored track with bits of funk and fratness in there. Oops that was the tune after, my Apple Music player fucked me. Not hard but it fucked me for sure. This second and really is the tune clipped below is truer to the blurb as it’s equal parts New Orleand funk/rr&b and rock feels. I don’t love the singer, he appears to be straining to carry the weight of the vocalist and he doesn’t seem to be enjoying himself on the microphone. It’s not tragic but I’m not pumped up by his flow. I have a sense that these guys are a long running jam band with a lot of gigs under their belt as they’re very tight.
@@@ Tosin Abasi and Ivan Chopik: Archetype (Self released, 2019) I got to this track via a marketing email from a a music equipment company.. It’s a proggy metal kinda thing with plenty of guitar pig squeals, Neil Peart style drumming with occasional flashes of power and show off-y bits here and there. Abasi (pictured below) I’m guessing rocks both the killer shreddy melodic playing, the ambient washes and the occasional burst of power chord madness. An updated version of Joe Satriani guitar nerd porn, I’m agnostic on it, appreciating the trickery while not feeling viscerally moved.
@@@ Golden Teacher meets Dennis Bovell: Like a Hawk (Golden Teacher, 2017). Off a list of releases to buy on Juneteenth to support black artists put out by Crack Magazine in the UK. Huge Dennis Bovell fan here and put your hand up in the air if you love Dennis Bovell!! This is a 8 minute banger starts swirling right out of the gate, brings in some hand drumming and adds that to a snappy quick snare loop that drives the whole shebang. More ingredients get added to the stew including occasional guitar strums dubbed across the stereo field, a little bubbling organ, a thick thick old school bass and some trippy snippets of vocals dubbed out bigly.
@@@ The Revolutionaries: Kunta Kinte (Pressure Sounds, 2007) A high register melody to kick off the the track but expertly propelled from underneath by a thick driving reggae rhythm section. And that’s Sly and Robbie on the bass and drums so ya know it’s gonna be sticky. This track was done at Channel One back in the day and you can hear everything but there’s plenty of distortion and crunk on this track — no super high def going on here it’s all veiled and thick. The word to describe this is relentless, inspirationally relentless as they just dig that groove all the way down to wherever they’re trying to get to.
@@@ Southern Ave: Push Now (BMG, 2021) A pre release track from a record I got to via a music publicist email. It’s got some funk to it, a little frat rock, a little gospel, it’s a mash of black musics. Female black singer and I like the vibe she brings to the tune. I like the horn section and the background singers, the guitars a bit less and the rock feels less than that. I like the guitar solo a bunch but the horn section and the background singers steal the show as far as I’m concerned. I give it a solid B, and if it tilted more in the Sly Stone direction than Blues Traveller I’d be super up for it.
@@@ Doja Cat, The Weeknd: You Right (RCA, 2021) I’m not a huge Weeknd guy but this Doja Cat seems to be blowing up. It’s a midtempo love track, breathy with chill keyboards and 808 beats. The Weeknd is just as feminine sounding as Doja Cat and I find that interesting. I like it all right but it doesn’t move me. Sounds are solid, production is good, I don’t think the chorus hook is that great, that’s the view from here.
@@@ Nate Smith: Bounce Parts 1 & II (Ropeadope, 2017) Sitting in that spot right between funk and jazz, this album is for anybody who loves to hear records by drummers who pump the drums high as shit in the mix. The horn playing is really good, maybe not as abstract and fiery as I would prefer but it fits what’s going on here. Guitar playing also high end but also a bit restrained. The drums sounds fucking great, fully pimped with clarity. This is not your basement Funkadelic with grit, it’s a corporate sounding effort. Peoples love that, I think it could use a bit more dirt but that’s just me. I’m listening to this effort because the second record of a trilogy of records is coming out in September. I want to be educated on it. I like it more at the beginning than at the end which isn’t the greatest sign.
@@@ Susie Ibarra: Talking Gong (New Focus, 2021) This is the title track Ibarra’s recently released record and it’s a 16 minute improvised banger. I’ve heard Ibarra’s music before and have liked it. Here the track opens softly with some vibe like percussion before giving way to a piano and drum kit drumming. The pianist is Alex Peh who I have not heard before and I’m liking his playing. The trio is rounded out with Claire Chase on flute in this track. So back to the track which had a more rocking part before moving back into ambient business. Energetically the piece is all over the place which I’m fine with. I did, however, enjoy the beginning part of the track more than the midde and the latter third.
@@@ St. Vincent: Daddy’s Home (Loma Vista, 2021) I may be mistaken but St. Vincent appears to carry some sort of torch for white people. It’s interesting to hear this after Ms. Mulgrew’s record as this is similar but stripped of the thickness and is a skinnier stick. It’s rockier and I like it more than I expected but I don’t love it. I think she’s heard a lot of Prince records and she’s done all right digesting them but I don’t think I can see my way to feel the same as those who really are into her. From the image below and the sounds presented to me she’s going for a post hippie, ’70s sleazy rock with a few pubes of funk up in there.
@@@ Georgia Ann Mulgrew: Mufaro’s Garden (Epistrophik Sound, 2021) We’re gonna start our listening from bottom to top today because, because. This is track 10 off her new album and it sounds a bunch like chilled out Parliament. Not a copy, just reminds me of that music. Certainly a thick stew with vibes, bass that punches through and drums up in the mix. Let me peep around a little more to see if there is any vocalizations going on here but this could be a strong album for the summer season. I’m checking out track 4 Slave Revoltalleway Boom and it’s thick instrumental funk though this is slotted as r&b/soul. This track is trippier with some spring reverbed sounds and a lot plinking. I dig this and think folks should check this out, it’s quality. Interesting, energetic, creative.
@@@ Tash Sultana: Greed (Mom & Pop, 2020) All three of today’s listens are off last week’s All Music notable release email. This is slow funk rock jam with chill situation guitars, a falsetto female vocalist, a little poppin’ bass (literally poppin’) and sit back and funk-a-fy the drums. Good for a frat house that thinks it’s enlightened, you know stupid in a different way. I don’t mean literally stupid when referring to this tune just to the frats, I’ve always hated fraternity culture. It’s well done, it’s just not my cup of tea.
@@@ Death by Unga Bunga: Egocentric (Jansen, 2021) Some super Red Bull ol’ school Orange County poppy punk. Reminiscent of Superdrag, NOFX, etc. I like the singer, I like the drummer, and I like the sounds but the whole package could use more of a refresh. There are oddly enough some space lasers right before it goes into a Queen style melodic guitar solo and that wasn’t really the refresh of the sound I was expecting but it’s good for a few chuckles. Not perjorative chuckles I always appreciate when somebody colors outside the lines. Good for the suburbs I guess.
@@@ Cameron Graves: Sons of Creation (Mack Avenue, 2021) Slotted as fusion it comes out more like muscular prog rock with a tad of classi metal swirled up in there. Drums especially. It’s got a piano and I think Graves is the piano player but the width and crunch of the guitars covers the piano like a thick sauce in a lot of places. I would have worked harder to make the piano and guitar work better — it works much better when the guitar player is playing melodically so maybe they should have altered the crunch factor of the guitar. This is most definitely a mash and I appreciate that, but if you’re gonna go heavy, I’d like to hear different sounding drums and more chaos. This is shopping mall fusion jazz/metal.
@@@ Bree Runway: ATM (UMG, 2020) I set up this blog post last week and I think a bunch of these listens from the Line of Best Fit. The sounds have a undercover Caribbean funk flavor and Missy Elliott guest stars on this track. Lyrically I’m less excited as it appears Ms. Runway is equating her vajeen with an ATM looking for a deposit. Nice! Go capitalism. I love the bass and the beats on this track, funky as shit. Push her buttons, she’s also putting that image which is a bit contradictory as it implies that she’s saying she has a vajeen that gives out money and pleasure? Yikes, that’s gonna be popular a pussy that spits out loot. It’s honest though, the track is about money and pleasure. I like the sounds here but I find the lyrics tiresome.
@@@ Donovan Woods: We Used To (Meant Well, 2020) Wow a blend of two sounds I don’t like — mainstream electro cheese and indie feels though the indie feels here are quite diminished. He retains a folky, singer/songwriter arpeggiated acoustic guitar and an friendly, engaging Ed Sheeran non-alpha male. That’s it on the indie/singer songwriter tip, I guess it’s much more singer/songwriter than indie. It’s not indie, I’ve changed my mind. It’s got a very of the moment sentiment — we just want to live the way we used to. The next tune clicks on and it’s a similar formula though I immediately jumped to the first track where primary intentions are revealed. It’s smooth and pretty dramatical and earnest and not really my cup of tea. There’s no contrast — I love contrast, a little tangy with my spice a little bitterness with sweetness. That’s just me!
@@@ Olafur Arnalds, Bonobo: Loom (Decca, 2020) We don’t get to check out too much classical crossover but it’s interesting to here the all white and uptight flavored electro sounds bounce in on the intro of this track. Organ/pipe-y patches arpeggiating, then a nice bass and nother squiggle or two! This is the first track of the record and it doesn’t aspire too much but it does bring the twinkly bits and a few high pitched monkey voices. By the time it brings itself to a close the piano part is percolating in a restrained manner and it dies down like a scented candle bringing its cloying scent to a close for the evening.
@@@ JW Francis: New York (Sunday Best, 2020) I was in New York this weekend — the weather was lovely, we were walking down the street when people started banging pots and pans and 45 minutes later we were by a farmer’s market with hundreds of people of all flavors dancing in the streets. This track is more hipster New York, Williamsburg where it’s quirkier and shit, not Tribe Called Quest Brooklyn which is funkier. Brisk tempo, clean electric guitar sounds, rock drumming and lyrics about making a film I think. Very reminiscent of the Feelies and Pavement pumped up on espresso. It’s cool, it’s hipster-y but I prefer a bit of doobie in my funk. I know you beardies are out there so have it and enjoy it!
YTD recordings listened to: 874 Good music, not list worthy: 471 Not good music: 370
Best: 4 Honorable Mentions: 5
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, 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, Tarek Atoui, Saicobab, General Purv, Shipping News, Big Thief, Mariachi El Bronx, Pour Me a Grog, Sudan Archives, Lakou Mizik, Moodymann, Pharmakon, Alefa Madagascar, Janjao, Luge, Wiki, Mick Jenkins, Jeremiah Jae, Fera, Gambian Griot Kora Duets, Drama, Beatrice Dillon, Mass Worship, mmmonika, Les Deuxluxes, Tony Allen, Fra Fra, Nihiloxica, Hailu Mergia, Pokey LaFarge, Nico Gomez, Nohe and Sus Santos, Tiny Bit of Giant’s Blood, Pole, Naeem, Mekons, Santrofi, DJ Nigga Fox, Flor do Toloache, Alexander Hawkins/Tomeka Reid, Shy One, Protomartyr, Nnamdi, Ekiti Sound, Awa Fall, 25,000 Kittens, Anjimile, Superfonicos, Yves Jarvis, Jonsi, Ellen Jewell