Music for 1/6/23!!! Messa

@@@ Messa: Close (Svart Records, 2022) I keep on keeping on with the weird metal list because I’ve heard a bunch of good stuff off it. This is marketed as a mash of blues, jazz, dark ambiance and metal. Cool. Sporting indigenous folks on the cover the opening track is a big ol’ epic hard rock banger with an epic singer over waves of rolling distortion and big slow drums. These guys coulda opened up for Black Sabbath as they sure got the formula down. I skipped to the second track Dark Horse which is the starred track on Apple Music. It’s further proof that this is much more a hard rock record than a metal record, which is fine. You can hear the singer, who sings btw, the drums are presented as rock drums, and it’s a civilized situation. I like it, though I think it could use more unique components, it’s pretty standard in its construction and execution. The singer does bring it. This I imagine would work great for stoners.

Music for 1/4/22 Zeal and Ardor

@@@ Zeal and Ardor: Zeal and Ardor (MVKA, 2022) I got to this record blending hard rock, heavy metal and black gospel music influences via a best of 2022 list. There’s a lot of shit to listen to. I checked out the first few tunes yesterday and my draft blog post got smacked around and lost so today I start with the rave up fourth track, Emersion. It goes from poppy, looped sections to full on smashed thrash, a classic relax and release program that’s been run for decades. I like this, it’s uplifting and extreme in its way. Maybe the younger crowd doesn’t hear the cowboy hard rock of Bon Jovi and Bad Company but I sure do and I don’t love it, it’s needlessly macho. To be honest, this record does jump around quite a bit, it has electro influences as well as arena rock, hard rock, thrash, I have no problem with the mashing it’s more the end results. I really felt the fourth track Emersion, that hit me the most. I would like this more if it upped the black music quotient and took down the cowboy rock but hey that’s just me.

Music for 9/2/22!!! Mamaleek

@@@ Mamaleek: Diner Coffee (The Flenser, 2022) I got to this hard rock record via Pitchfork’s 10 most reviewed albums of the week. This is a highbrow rock record that doesn’t hit full blast and stay there it sorta rises up in some spots and is pleasantly proggy or jammy in other places. I’m on the third tune and it’s got some interesting processed vocal yelps and an interesting arrangement. The goal here is to be more than standard rock. I’m sampling the fourth track of the record and as the Brits say it sounds like they’re taking the piss, as in there’s some tongue in cheek action going here. I don’t know if we’re in for a comeback but I am hearing some more interesting rock music. I liked the recent Morlocs record and this is an interesting recording, it’s just been a tidal wave of boring out of the rock part of the neighborhood for a lot of years.

Music for 6/25/22!!! Hypermass, Mutilatred

@@@ Hypermass: Hivemind (Hypermass, 2022) Very hard rock production here but they do bring the energy and some metal features to their music. The singer traffics in the various metal singing modes and the drummer is amped the fuck up and it’s quite inspiring. I’m on the fifth track and it’s the same formula, ramped hard rock with an insane drummer. I guess a lot of folks would experience this as metal but the super manicured production makes me feel it’s more in the hard rock spirit. Personal preference, no need to beef over aesthetics.

@@@ Mutilatred: Determined to Rot (Self released, 2022) Oh my, this is some filthy ass fully melted down death metal. Tons of static, a breakneck pace, a caveman singer and just a face full of antisocial energy. This feels like watching someone have an uncontrollable medical breakdown, a fit or a stroke or heart attack. Fuck!!! There’s a grinding, ka-chunky sameness to the first three tracks I’ve peeped and yeah if you’re feeling this way just keep circling back on it like picking a scab. Big ups to the drummer, yowsa he’s getting a workout.

Music for 6/17/22!!!! Nova Twins, Plato III

@@@ Nova Twins: Choose Your Fighter (Marshall Amplification, 2022) From the Guardian, a paper that has better music writing than the New York Times, but really a chimp at a typewriter would do a better job than the Times re: music. After a 1 minute intro they get into a chunky guitar/hip hop spitting combo platter and they bring it pretty good. It’s not full punk but it’s halfway with some mainstream hard rock sounds. I like the rhythmic drive of the vocal work, it elevates the pretty standard rock. The lyrics could be better but the energy is high though it does catch your ear when K.M.B. opens up and the woman says she just killed her boyfriend. The verse is cool and interesting but the chorus is not to my liking sort of peaky and cheesy. Mixed bag.

@@@ Plato III — The Devil has Texas (Polyvinyl, 2022) I got to this hip hop record via a music publicist. The first track (my Apple Music is fucking slow as fuck) I think is the title track and it’s a sly mix of country with a splash of punk and hip hop. The second track features straighter hip hop rhyming with the guitar sounds kept the same, it’s a good combo I dig it. Uh oh, the third track opens with cheese ass ’80s chorused guitar and shitty snare and some dreary vocals, wtf? Oh no, what happened to the crunch, you totally left me hangin’ here! I stopped listening, that sucks, keep them dirty punky guitars coming and leave that shopping mall shit alone.

Music for 5/24/22!!! Moon Tooth, Televeangelism

@@@ Moon Tooth: Grip on the Ridge (Pure Noise, 2022) I’ve seen this record mentioned in a coupla different places. From my extensive listening I think there’s been some action in terms of recasting rock music to get people interested in it again. This would qualify as one of those efforts as it’s rocking, but with the singer doing a very heartfelt thing over a descending riff, it’s most definitely neither Wilco or a metal band. I clicked to the second tune as I thought the guitar player was getting a bith mathy for my taste and he comes out laying down the power chords in this second track. The second and third tracks both sport some Van Halen-y boogie rock flavors which I haven’t heard in these parts in a long ass time. I don’t dislike it, but this maybe a formula that takes a bit of time to adjust to. On the surface it feels a bit contradictory with the non-rock singer — this dude could be in a Death Cab for Cutie cover band, for real.

@@@ Televangelism: Ethel Cain (Daughters of Cain, 2022) A rare miss here as I can’t remember how I got to this track. Most likely a promo email from a music publicist or an online outlet. And it matters even if you don’t care! This track opens with a heavily reverbed and slightly delayed piano intro. It’s kinda cool and annoying at the same time. It reminds me a bit of Prince’s heartbreaking track ‘Sometimes it snows in April’ — if you don’t know that track you should get on that. Now we’re getting into the more openly delayed bit and it’s officially annoying as far as I’m concerned. It’s too explicitly epic for my taste. There are some vocal washes that kind of act as an industrial smoothing agent so there’s that. It dies back down and well it’s gonna go out like this. I’m giving a quick peep to the second track, American teenager and I think somebody shoulda dialed back the reverb as it’s awash.

Music for 5/9/22!!! Jack Harlow, Halestorm

@@@ Jack Harlow: First Class (Atlantic, 2022) Pole position on Apple Music and fourth track on the record, this white boy is doing a pretty drawl-y cleaned up trap vibe. It’s kinda hilarious, he can put you in first class (with all the white people!!!). The piano progression provides the harmonic structure, you get a little synth melody, some fat bass but not too fat, but I can’t get past his vocal delivery. He’s a mayo Drake, and Lord knows Drake is pretty white. I like the bass, it’s the best part of the track, the beats are a little backed off, the piano is fine, and his voice, Cracker Barrel got the voice for all those Elvis Presley hip hop fans.

@@@ Halestorm: Wicked Ways (Atlantic, 2022) This is some cheese ass hard rock also on the Apple Music new music section, yowsa it’s more cheese for America and America has already been dipped in cheese three times over! Big power chords, some synth action and urgent female rock singer feels. Big female rock star feels, I mean big, Trump big. Bloated Trump big, Trump on the toilet big. It’s like two Bon Jovis boiled down with a vagina slapped on there, it’s at that level. What do I like here? Nice snare sound and big energy, the drummer is all right. The guitars aren’t notable and the singer is just a bit extra as far as I’m concerned.

Music for 3/12/22!!! Padjo Dolan, Jane ‘N the Jungle

@@@ Padjo Dolan: Rings of Saturn (Summer Wave, 2022) I got to this single via a music publicist in Ireland. It’s gonna be a big arena power ballad type thing from the opening piano track, an Irish Bon Jovi type thing. It percolates for the first two minutes and then kicks it into overdrive with a big push across the finish line. Oh boy was I right, he’s pushing all the big buttons! The vocal hook revolves around the line ‘You should live up in the stars and I will visit you in my car, he’s gonna take her (or him!) for a ride arround the rings of Saturn.’ This is so hopelessly romantic you gotta give some props to it, cynical bitches like myself may view it as a cheeseburger with a pretty thick slice of cheese, but hey whatever gets you through.

@@@ Jane ‘N the Jungle: Ocean Creatures (Self-released, 2022) Another mainstream track from a music publicist — this time a hard rock biscuit. Whereas the above track is a romantic typa thing, this one is a rough, slightly sci-fi big hard rock thing. Again a big push for me. I would say the tune should have better guitar tones if it’s going to reach for the outer realms, the power chords are pretty brittle and staticky. While I don’t mind the female singer, her melodies could use some more range and soaring, something to break out of the somewhat, ooh there she goes and it works! It shoulda come sooner but she popped the top on that Red Bull and now she’s back to the chorus.

Music for 11/23/21!!! Converge, The Darkness

@@@ Converge: Blood Moon (Epitaph, 2021) Some hardcore/metal+ with this listen and hard rock down below in the second listen off this week’s All Music notable release email. I don’t know who Chelsea Wolfe is, let me GooglePimp that shit. There are two singers here in this track opening the record — a sort of blanched cat and as the storm of guitar shreds rises a female, Chelsea Wolfe, comes on. It’s way more dramatical when she’s on the mic. I don’t know which way the record is going to go but it has some Converge squall and noise while introducing a more polished and dramatical feel. Oh the dude is back and he’s quite pissed. I made it almost all the way through the opening 8 minute banger and the second track is stormier, at least the begining. It does look set to bounce back and forth between thrashy sections and more orchestrated ones. The more I listen the more it grows on me but dramatic metal is a stretch for me.

@@@ The Darkness: The Power and the Glory of Love (Cooking Vinyl, 2021) Fourth track on this record called Motorheart and it’s an AC/DC undercarriage with a much friendlier, almost G rated singer. Super friendly guy which pushes it towards Thin Lizzy. When he hits the hook, ‘the power and the glory of love’ it’s the highpoint as he’s got an epic melody packed over the dual guitar attack. It’s a form of entertainment I’ll give them that. It’s also super familiar, somebody has played along with Back in Black dozens of times here.

Music for 10/10/21!!! Domingae, Thrice

@@@ Domingae: AE (Sacred Bones, 2021) Off this week’s All Music notable release email. Vibe wise I would put this trippier and a bit darker on the electronic music spectrum. Any time I hear chopped and glitched voices it feels a bit deconstructed and dehumanizing as you’re taking human voices and putting them through the wringer. Other sounds here are radio wave type business, some low rumbling, even some rhythmic metal stabs. The second tune, Daemon, brings a four on the floor kraut-y type beat which immediately anchors all the ambient sounds and changes the listening experience. The chopped and glitched vocals sound very cool contrasted with the beat and less unsettling. I’m checking out the second to last tune, Aenihilator, and it’s very voice centered as well. It’s got a pulsing, regular bass sound and a lot of gusty sounds. I don’t like it as much as the second track Daemon, but it’s cool.

@@@ Thrice: Scavengers (Epitaph, 2021) Also off the All Music notable release email. These guys are more of a hard rock thing thing than the usual So Cal Epitaph power punk or poppier punk. I like the drum sound and if you like the singer you’ll probably like the record. I’m agnostic on his gravelly, world weary voice. To me this is an updated grunge record with big feels and friendly production. Great sounds here and classic rock energy and it’s all right, I’m not jumping up and down but it’s cool.