Music for 4/12/16!!! Wes John Cichosz, Gold Connections, The Buttertones

@@@ Wes John Cichosz (pronounced Chee-Hoas): The Moon Threads a Needle. (Self-released, 2017)  A mash of alt-country, blues and other Americana sounds that I got to via a music publicist in Chicago.  The band is medium large with horn players and an organ player in addition to guitar, bass, drums.  The production is polished, the lyrics are literate and Cichosz sings with a lot of commitment.  As the record moves on he moves closer to recreating ’70s soft rock/folk a la James Taylor.

@@@ Gold Connections: Gold Connections EP (Fat Possum, 2017)  Somebody (or more than one member) in this crew has been spinning Pavement records overtime!  I got to this EP via this week’s All Music notable release email.  The singer is putting out mad slack and it’s all right.  Crunchier than the Velvets with occasional shoe gaze blast off sections and then sweeter sections.  If you’re a millennial hipster and maybe you’re a tad lazy and have crumbs in your beard and you wear shirts with stains and you don’t give a shit these guys might work for you.

@@@ The Buttertones: Gold digging (Innovative Leisure, 2017)  Regular readers know my feelings towards the garage punk label.  It has a lot of cachet and it is regularly abused as most bands slotted as garage punk bands are not that.  I’m willing to be a genre bitch on this matter.  What if you went into a bakery looking for a bagel and they gave you a donut???  Chaos, that’s what ensues!  This first tune is basically a third The Clash, a schmear of rockabilly, and a lounge-y singer.  No garage punk to be found but maybe this donut will turn to a bagel in the next track.  Okay, I’m on the second tune and it’s a rockabilly tune — you know what I say?  Be a man and wave your rockabilly flag high cuz that’s what you are.  The record is pretty good, they’re a high energy outfit and they mix in a little ska and general party vibes into their tunes, but it’s a donut.

YTD recordings listened to: 239
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 130
Not good music: 89

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

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Music for 3/30/17!!! Kepi Ghoulie, Himiko, Feral Ohms

@@@ Kepi Ghoul  Lost and Loving it (Kepiland, 2017) A nerd fronted old school indie guitar music I got to via the All Music notable release email.  Think Camper Van Beethoven fronted by a gent with a pencil protector and a scientific calculator.  This first tune has more than a bit of Rolling Stones influence as well.  The second tune has a country roots rock feel and thus far I like this record all right.  I should also reference the Violent Femmes as well for this record.  Straight ahead American rock that dips its toes in various rock subgenres.  It’s mostly upbeat and uptempo so more for the cubicle dwellers than the hardcore listeners.

@@@ Feral Ohms: Feral Ohms (Silver Current, 2017) Regular readers have witnessed my ire regarding the abuse of the garage punk label.  Many soft ass half muscle sorta bunkers get tossed in there.  I’m happy to report this is not one of those cases.  These dudes come out full on burning with plenty of distortion, energy and a generous dollop of woomph.  These dudes can play as well so it’s not like witnessing a wild chimp show.  I’m four tunes in on this record and it’s a face melter — great guitar sounds, the drummer is whipping a shitty and they’re firing hard.  Imma swing back on this record but it’s gonna be on my year end list.

@@@ Himiko: Who Am I EP (Sun Music, 2017)  A smooth r&b record in Japanese with slight world flavors that I got to via the CFUV weekly email.  Himiko is female and she has a pleasing voice — not huge and powerful but sweet.  A lot of the sounds on this first tune are jazz fusion-y and there are extensive background arrangements that smooth out the proceedings even more.  The second tune is more of a funk thing with some English lyrics and late ’80s Prince vibes.  I found no samples of this EP to listen to.  She is a J-Pop artist and her fans are in Japan.  The EP is available on Apple Music probably on Spotify as well.

YTD recordings listened to: 209
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 111
Not good music: 79

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

Music for 12/11/16!!! Arabrot, Fat White Family, Neil Young

@@@ Arabrot: The Gospel (Fysisk Format, 2016).  I dig the year end list at Quietus because they actually get freaky with it (like myself).  This is their #1 pick of the year and you gotta give respect that they didn’t give it Beyonce or Kanye.  It is strange how the indie folks are so hot on the black music dick these days.  This is slotted as noise rock and it’s a tad noisy, but it’s far from a meltdown and has more than a few shades of Devo, krautrock, a little Surfer Rosa era Pixies, and whiteboy non-funky unhappy music.  The singer is a bit of pronouncer, not a pissed screamer nor a particularly noisy chap.  He’s in the Johnny Lydon tradtion.  Let’s peep a little more but if the first tune is any indication of the rest of the record which it should be it’s not going to be my #1 record of the year.  Eh, I’m going to move on, I wanted more noise and I didn’t feel the singer.

@@@ Fat White Family: Songs for Our Mothers (Fat Possum, 2016) Also in the top 10 of the Quitues best of 2016.  I was expecting the big junky guitars right out of the gate but I guess this is some synthy guitar rock.  It’s a bit trippy and a tad snaky in this first tune — a melted, multi-layered vocal part and also some Devo-esque threads.  Maybe Devo is going to come back with this total fucking asshole Trump.  I’m also feeling this is a bit mis-labelled — it’s garage-y but it’s got other things going on.  This is not what I thought a Fat White Family record would sound like.  This is like a garage-y Zappa record, which is fine.

@@@ Neil Young: Peace Trail (Reprise, 2016).  I liked the title track/first single from this record so I thought I would peep this record while I did other stuff around the house.  I made it about 5 or 6 songs in.  There are some really nice drum sounds as well as guitar sounds but I find the spirit of the lyrics to be a bit out of date.  There are a lot of references to Native Americans, which is fine, it’s more the old school hippie cliches that pop up here and there.  You have to check it out in order to get what I’m saying.  Or maybe I’m out of my mind.  Check for yourself.

YTD recordings listened to: 968
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 541
Not good music: 367

Buys: 19
Honorable Mentions: 21

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, Brian Eno, Juan Atkins, Drone, Lantern, Twin Peaks, Djelimady Tounkara, Miramar, The Oh Sees, Denny Zeitlin, MILF, Unfun, De La Soul, Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes, Magrudergrind, Acid Arab, Bonga, A Tribe Called Quest

8/12/16: Bad Sports, Cyanide Pills, Horseback,

@@@ Bad Sports: Don’t Get Your Hopes Up (Dirtnap, 2016).  If you’re looking for some old school punk rawk these guy’ll do ya.  The guitar player owns a bunch of Ramones rcords (same with the drummer) and the singer sounds just like….fuck slow hard drive…still spinning….I gotta come back to it.  Somebody help a brother out!  Warren Zevon, my magnetic sectors still store data.  Nice and tight, or tight as a bull’s ass at fly time as a crazy old man once told me.  Solid B and if you like this check out Cyanide Pills effort Still Bored and this record goes out to the Russian Olympic team.  I ain’t looking for any sort of Cold War redux but y’all are mad dopehead/bad sports/cheaters.

@@@ Cyanide Pills: Government (Damaged Goods, 2015).  Speaking of a bunch of Brits with bad teeth I didn’t see this single that was excreted last year.  Compare the poppy British punk bounce with the somewhat slack NYC style of the band above.  This one goes out to all you beyond erectile dysfunctione hedge fund motherfuckers hoarding your money and hookers and real estate.  Oh the government is screwing me over!!!  Fuck you pigs.

@@@ Horseback: Dead Ringers (Relapse, 2016).  I saw this record on this week’s All Music weekly email (all that is notable and paid for by PR!)  Oh, this may not be yer usual Relapse Records skullcrusher as it opens up slower and trance-y and is labelled as neo-psychedelia.  This is the end my friends even down to the space organ.  The singer is a bit snoozy pants but the drummer has flavor.  Let’s peep more mabye their will be some crushing.  Nope in the beginning of this second tune (clipped below!)  I don’t like this singer, you can like him, I’m sure he’s awesome I just don’t love his singing.

YTD recordings listened to: 646
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 352
Not good music: 235

Honorable Mentions: 11
Buys: 9

Possibles: Chris McGregor, Dave Arner Trio, MAKU Soundsystem, Zomby, Retox, Jessie Mae Hemphill, Bone Dance, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Slidhr, 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, Dawn Richard, Mastery, Leviathan, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, Akitsa, Janelle Monae, Luther Dickinson, Destruction Unit, Graeme Barrett, Fast Asleep, Goldlink, Cavanaugh, Gentleman Surfer, Satoko Fuji, Mystic Braves, Divanhana, Unrestrained, Moken, Systema Solar, Brian Eno, Juan Atkins, Drone, Lantern, The Lickshots, Twin Peaks, Djelimady Tounkara, Miramar, The Oh Sees, Denny Zeitlin, MILF, Margo Price, Changui Majadero, Seratones, Joe Sticky, Vieux Kante, Keefe Jackson, Jim the Boss

7/27/16: Magic Giant, Seratones, Animalia, Andy Shauf

@@@ Magic Giant: Magic Giant EP (Magic Giant, 2015).  I saw from a publicist email that these guys have signed on to the Washington Square label so I thought I would peep.  They do a more modern folk roots thing with an uplifting vocalist and lots of yeah yeah vocal harmonies.  It’s like a Death Cab for Cutie/folk lovechild.  This second tune brings the Bon Jovi whoa hos and other sounds I can’t abide by, so adios Magic Giant!

@@@ Seratones: Get Gone (Fat Possum, 2016).  A Southern r&b outfit that owns a whole bunch of Nirvana records.  I got to this band after seeing them on the CFUV weekly playlist email.  I like the singer, she yips and keeps it fresh on the microphone.  Oh mama, this is the kind of shit I can slurp on all day long.  A little hooky, some good muscle, and energy.  I love energy.  Nice sounds thus far — some buzzy bass, solid drum sound but it’s the singer and the guitarist that really hit it out of the park.  Imma swing back on this one but I suggest folks break off a piece of these guys.

@@@ Animalia: (Dissonance) (Culvert, 2016).  Dark art school music off this week’s CFUV weekly email.  It’s hard to tell from the opener thus far if it’s gonna wrong, oh it’s not it’s gonna bounce with some kraut sauce and ping pong synth.  I don’t think this singer is a native English speaker and that’s fine but she’s not going to do well when Trump gets this wall thing going.  Joke, don’t piss yer pants.  I’ve taken bites of five of the songs and it’s pretty standard synth rock with dramatical vocals.  If you roll that way….

@@@ Andy Shauf: The Party (Anti-, 2016).  Also off this week’s CFUV weekly email.  Pleasant and laidback singer-songwriter soft rock off.  This first tune is driven by the piano and a sparse rock beat.  Shauf is dour but not suicidal, he’s got enough in the tank for some oodie, doodie doo typa background vocals.  Let’s peep more.  I’m on the fourth tune and I like a bunch of the sounds here and I like the orchestral aspect to some of the arrangements.  I like Shauf’s voice but it’s a tad soggy for my taste — he’s mad mellow in his singing and the band is super mellow and it’s making me a tad sleepy.

YTD recordings listened to: 602
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 330
Not good music: 221

Honorable Mentions: 10
Buys: 9

Possibles: Chris McGregor, Dave Arner Trio, MAKU Soundsystem, Zomby, Retox, Jessie Mae Hemphill, Bone Dance, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Slidhr, 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, Dawn Richard, Mastery, Leviathan, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, Akitsa, Janelle Monae, Luther Dickinson, Destruction Unit, Graeme Barrett, Fast Asleep, Goldlink, Cavanaugh, Gentleman Surfer, Satoko Fuji, Mystic Braves, Divanhana, Unrestrained, Moken, Systema Solar, Brian Eno, Juan Atkins, Drone, Lantern, The Lickshots, Twin Peaks, Djelimady Tounkara, Xenia Rubinos, Miramar, The Oh Sees, Denny Zeitlin, MILF, Margo Price, Changui Majadero, Seratones

7/7/16: Weezer, Mala, The Oh Sees, Blood Orange

@@@ Weezer: I Love the USA (Crush/Weezer, 2016).  How can you not listen to this song off the Apple Music front page?  Oh my, this is starting out horrible with piano, then arpeggiated synth, then ridiculous vocal effects.  I guess Weezer would totally love Weezer because where else could such a horrible song make it to the front page of a music streaming website.  I want to say something nice about this song — this would be a great song for CIA interrogators to in torture chambers?  I’m really stretching.  Well, I hope they got paid as that appears to be the goal.

@@@ Mala: Mirrors (Brownswood, 2016).  Some dubstep off this week’s All Music weekly newsletter.  This first tune has a bit of an African thread to it but synthed out and ‘modern’ as well.  Ah, the beat is firming up and I like it more.  It’s a nice sparse arrangement with some solid sound design elements.  Let’s peep more.  This second tune Dedication 365 is darker and more sci-fi with a nice hand drum loop and synth waves.  I’m checking out the third tune and while I appreciate the world music influences I could use some non-synth sounds.  That’s just me, your mileage may vary.

@@@ The Oh Sees: Live in San Francisco (Castleface, 2016).  A live garage punk record off this week’s All Music notable release email.  Regular readers know of my peeve that the garage punk label is milked by many o’ non-garage punk bands, however the first tune off this live record sounds blasting and garage punky.  Now that I don’t have to issue a ringing Stalinist denunciation let’s peep more.  The second tune continues the manic tempo, the raw guitar sounds and other raw sounds.  I’m on the third tune and it’s just as relentless as the first two.  I love the true garage punk and I will circle back on this record when I get more time.  Check these guys (and maybe gals) out.

@@@ Blood Orange: Best to You (Domino, 2016).  The #1 song on Apple Music’s best of the week and it’s chocked full of vocal harmonies and panting.  And here’s the New Age electro beat with a sweet vibraphone like arpeggio.  Set sail in a gingerbread ship on a sea of chocolate pudding where the crests of the waves are marshmallow and you can just reach down and get handful of marshmallow and chocolate.  And eat it!  And everyone is just a wee bit melancholic or medicated.

YTD recordings listened to: 541
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 301
Not good music: 201

Honorable Mentions: 9
Buys: 9

Possibles: Chris McGregor, Dave Arner Trio, MAKU Soundsystem, Zomby, Retox, Jessie Mae Hemphill, Bone Dance, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Slidhr, 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, Dawn Richard, Mastery, Leviathan, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, Akitsa, Janelle Monae, Luther Dickinson, Destruction Unit, Graeme Barrett, Fast Asleep, Goldlink, Cavanaugh, Gentleman Surfer, Satoko Fuji, Mystic Braves, Divanhana, Unrestrained, Moken, Systema Solar, Brian Eno, Juan Atkins, Drone, Lantern, The Lickshots, Twin Peaks, Djelimady Tounkara, Xenia Rubinos, Eli Paperboy Reed, Miramar, The Oh Sees

5/13/16: Beartooth, Sulfur City, Oddisee, Chance the Rapper

@@@ Beartooth: Aggressive (Red Bull, 2016).  I think the criteria for all bands releasing music on the Red Bull label is to sound like they’ve just had a shit ton of Red Bull.  This is more metallic than Linkin Park but it still sports a pretty boy/art school vibe.  Big guitars, bad vocal arrangements semi metal drums.  There are three tunes from an upcoming full length so let’s check out this second tune, Loser before I take a break and get a Red Bull.  This tune is very Red Bull-y, uptempo and with a vein popping singer who should maybe lay off the Red Bull.  Okay, that’s it for the Red Bull jokes, if you like this style of power punk/metal check out Stanford Prison Experiment’s 1998 record, Wrecreation.

@@@ Sulfur City: Talking Louds (Alivenaturalsound, 2016).  I got me a music publicist email with a private playlist regarding this record that’s dropping at the end of this month because I’m much cooler than the readers of this blog who I respect but who really aren’t as cool as me.  Plus I have a GoogleTube crumb for you coach riding peasants.  It’s not the full white trash punk blues thing Alivenaturalsound usually traffics in.  There’s some of that but it’s not full on trailer park.  These guys are maybe putting a few tablespoons of purple drank into their Red Bull.  This second tune War Going On is a late ’60 hippie blues jam with more firmness but still a pumping organ in the background.  This third tune further deepens the ’60s vibe with some tasty guitar playing.  I like the female singer but I wanted more fire out of her.

@@@ Oddisee: The Odd Tape (Mello Music Group, 2016).  Hip hop off the All Music hip hop page.  Or shall I say part hippie hop because Oddisee is chill.  There is also a whole lotta fusion juice in this first tune, Alarmed.  This record is a collection of instrumentals with varied instrumentation, I really dig the drum sounds and I would peg this music more for the red wine enthusiasts than the deep weed heads.

@@@ Chance the Rapper: No Problem (  , 2016).  The first track on the A-list off Apple Music.  Chance has problems with his label and he warns that you don’t want no problem with him or there will be some dread head n-words in the lobby.  The arrangement is kind of a mess with a ton of vocal chants, most of them children.  Some guest raps from Lil Wayne and 2 Chainz.  One of the rappers drop a couple of lines about catching a buzz after dropping a few Percocets and after what happened with Prince (and before Prince) that shit is not right.  Solid C- on this almost biscuit.

YTD recordings listened to: 425
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 237
Not good music: 157

Honorable Mentions: 8
Buys: 8

Possibles: Chris McGregor, Dave Arner Trio, MAKU Soundsystem, Zomby, Retox, Jessie Mae Hemphill, Bone Dance, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Slidhr, 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, Dawn Richard, Mastery, Leviathan, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, Akitsa, Janelle Monae, Luther Dickinson, Destruction Unit, Graeme Barrett, Fast Asleep, Goldlink, Cavanaugh, Gentleman Surfer, Satoko Fuji, Mystic Braves, Divanhana, Unrestrained, Moken, Cha Wa, Systema Solar, Brian Eno, Juan Atkins, Drone, Lantern