Music for 6/15/22!!! Blondshell, Jhelisa

@@@ Blondshell: Olympus (Self-released, 2022) This debut singer I found via indie legend Liz Phair on the Twatter. Opens with the classic indie guitar chord strum, then mope-y multi-tracked vocals, and pretty straight rock flavors. Yowsa, not my thing, the chorus brings a bit more energy but it is really a downer. Overall, like the guitar sounds and think the drummer and the vocalist need a Red Bull. About 1:20 from the end it starts pumping some energy, oops it drops back down, a temporary liftoff from the ocean of mope.

@@@ Jhelisa: Oxygen (Dorado, 2022) I got to this via a music publicist email. I thought this was going to be some world music/electro mash but it’s slotted as jazz on Apple Music. It’s an 11 minute banger and just over 1 minute in it starts in on a pretty pumpin’ groove with conga, drumset, electric bass all garnished with soprano sax sauce. There’s also some stylish chanting vocal business. My son interrupted but at some point before 3:00 a vocalist comes in and it’s a song with Prince feels to it. The tune keeps morphing and rolling over on itself, retaining some things and bringing in new things — I respect that drive to keep things moving and it makes me like it. If you’re going for 11 minute bangers you gotta give some changes and something to follow and engage with. This is not my favorite style of jazz but I dig this.

Music for 4/27/22!!! Jerry Paper, Earthen Sea

@@@ Jerry Paper: Just Say Play (Stones Throw, 2022) Stones Throw is a label I try to check out as it releases a variety of stuff usually centered around beats. You need beats to be on Stones Throw and here Paper brings a brisk funk rock beat that he does a nerdy funk/fusion thing over. A little white boy falsetto, some janky guitar, and some humourous background vocals that he’s putting a bit of humor into. Then a flute solo, nothin’ says kick back and chill more than a flute solo. It’s a tightly knit sweater here, lots of small parts put together really well. I’m checking a little bit of the fourth track, Shaking Ass, and it’s a samba flavored thing with a huge synth right up in your grill. I like the humor and a bunch of the sounds but I could use some harder sounds to give it some whoomph. Others may feel quite differently about it. Maybe a little more variety and creativity in the guitars would make this more appealing to me.

@@@ Earthen Sea: Deep Sky (Kranky, 2022) I got to to today’s listens via this week’s All Music notable release email. This track is the last track on the record and it’s a chill synth sitch with some insect-y hi hats and swirling synth patches, cloudy and marimbe-esque in turns and combined. There’s a kick drum and a solid sense of long motion that floats out there against the kick and overall I like a bunch of the sounds, don’t like a few and find the track to be a solid outro to a record. Lemme give a quick peep to Rough Air, the starred track and oooh, that’s a quiet, intimate storm so Imma guessing when they say Deep Sky they mean it. Also some water drops here and big echoes with long feedback settings to generate the epicness.

Music for 11/19/21!!!! Asiahn, Leonie Pernet

@@@ Asiahn: We Can (Motown/UMG, 2021) Today’s listens are off this week’s Line of Best Fit. I don’t know where this singer is from but the tune opens up with a distinctly Brazilian fuzion-y sound. A pleasantly urgent shuffle beat and smooth Sade feels. Oh no, a Kenny G soprano sax floating around there like a smelly fart. Well she’s from New Jersey but that doesn’t really invalidate any of my above statements especially the soprano sax. The active beat with smooth sauce over the top is the most interesting part of the track. It creates a pretty interesting impression. Big ups to the harp and the flute, thumbs down on the sax.

@@@ Leonie Pernet: Hard Billy (Crybaby/Infine, 2021) Slotted as alternative the video below is the sixth track on the record. Pernet is French and she comes out with a synth heavy, slightly clunky and kraut-y feel. It’s dramatical in nature with no funk in sight. I’m letting the player click through to the next track but I favor funk over drama and this is some dramatical stuff. I know lots of folks love themselves drama so have at it. Lots of synths and drums and dolorous singing, that’s the move.

Music for 5/22/20!!! Tall Black Guy, Austra Hirudin, Future, Jonas Brothers

@@@ Austra Hirudin:  Anywayz (Domino, 2020) Domino business is often a blend of highbrow and the twisted mindset of the British upper class.  I kid, I kid.  This is some Kate Bush flavored electronic music and the first minute is pretty straightforward.  Oh wow, it then explodes out into a Eurovision super nerdy dancefloor banger with her dreamy voice and and plenty of cushy synth patches for your earholes.  Some resonant piano chords for meaning, and vocally she runs her hands across your spine when you’re not there.  Yeah, that’s right, it’s like that.  With about a minute left it segues into a slightly less dancefloor/more intimate thing, vocally at least.  Not really my cup of tea.

@@@ Future: Trillionaire (Epic, 2020)  I guess the appeal of being a big rapper is to be super high and making money as part of your job as that’s the image that’s being sold here.  I love the bass, the beats are a bit low and it’s a double MC attack.  These guys are aspiring trillionaires, oy.  They hang out with millionaires but they’re gonna be trillionaires.  The sounds outside of the bass and drum are sorta soft more ballad-y which is interesting.  There’s not a lot going on her lyrically that I can get with so I have to find interest where I can.  Just to reiterate for the umpteenth time folks should understand how aspiring to be a trillionaire puts you right in line with the racist pumpkin President Trump.  He’s been paper chasin’ before these dudes were fertilized.

@@@ Jonas Brothers: X (UMG, 2020) It was only a matter of time when the Jonas brothers would have peas and rice, some fried plantains and then go reggaeton.  Oh lord, I would hate if they weren’t so sexy in such a clunky blockheaded frat boy style.  These boys have no flow and this rhythm doesn’t come naturally to them.  Oh they got a breathy Latina to help out and she just makes them sound worse.  I like corn when it’s prepared as a tortilla but corn pone with my reggaeton?  Naw.

@@@  Tall Black Guy: We Rollin’ For You (N/A, 2020) A minty fresh updated version of some classic late ’70s/early ’80s fusion/funk type sounds.  There’s a lot of falsetto Earth Wind and Fire type background vocals and some low in the mix chant-ish type vocals.  So the emphasis here is on the arrangement and the feel of the music which is pretty sophisticated and tricked out.  The bass player is quietly killing it, and though I’m not 100% sure if this is a drummer or a programmed situation the beats are high in the mix and stylish.  Overall a super well executed track and I dig it without being a fan of this particular blend of sounds.  I think it’s a drummer.

YTD recordings listened to: 386
Good music, not list worthy: 200
Not good music: 174

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, 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


1/7/15: David Booey, Steve Coleman, Erik Friedlander

@@@ David Bowie: Blackstar (ISO/Columbia, 2015).  I’m checking out one of two tracks from Bowie’s new jazz record.  From what I hear it has more to do with prog rock and electronic music than it does jazz.  There is a brief sax solo, but this biscuit is three seconds shy of 10 minutes long and it might change.  And it didn’t, it’s really just a few pubes reminding one of jazz and then a lot of art school rock and I found it to be sleepy and not very compelling.

@@@ Steve Coleman: Synovial Joints (Pi, 2015).  Another record off the Slate jazz critic’s best albums of 2015.  The tunes are energetic, intricately arranged, but a little dry/nerdy.  At least this first tune.  It’s a large ensemble recording which is interesting — alto sax and other horns, a few string players, piano, bass, and drums.  And others but listing them is boring.  I thought there were moments where the intricacy of the arrangements came together and the tunes lifted off (I especially felt the sixth tune, Synovial Joints Part IV — Head and Neck) but those moments were not constant.  I coulda used some swing and I somewhat think of this as jazz musician’s music.

@@@ Erik Friedlander: Ostcalypso (Skipstone, 2015).  I saw this record here on this Slate jazz critic’s best of 2015 jazz albums.  The writer tends to be a bit of a wet noodle and not surprisingly this is pretty conservative jazz.  Not quite wet noodling, but tres brunch-y.  In my opinion a jazz record can be smooth sounding and pretty but still sport some surprises.  This is pretty standard improv, nobody’s feelings get hurt, and it is might I say cute?  The playing is crisp and energetic, but not very adventurous.

YTD recordings listened to: 22
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 15
Not good music: 7

Honorable Mentions: 0
Buys: 0

Possibles: Chris McGregor, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Dave Arner Trio, MAKU Soundsystem, Zomby, Retox, About Group, Jessie Mae Hemphill, Bone Dance, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Debruit, Slidhr, The Whammies, The Chewers, Alexander Hawkins, Toxic Holocaust, Equal Stones, Comeback Kid, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Lenguas Largas, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Fofoulah, Lozen, Erase Errata, Mohamed Abozekry, Dawn Richard, Leo Welch, Mastery, Leviathan, Xibalba, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, Akitsa,  Janelle Monae, Luther Dickinson, Destruction Unit, Graeme Barrett, Fast Asleep, Goldlink, Noisem, Cavanaugh, Gentleman Surfer, Satoko Fuji, Mystic Braves