Music for 8/22/17!!! Miley Cyrus, Crystal Eyes, Thy Art is Murder, Baka Not Nice

@@@ Miley Cyrus: Younger Now (RCA, 2017)  Cleaned up, re-Disneyed Miley Cyrus needs to maker her Lamborghini payment so she’s back for the masses.  Let us see what she and her marketing team have come up with.  She’s got a greaser rockabilly look on the cover and her first line is ‘I feel like I just woke up’ she’s on about ‘no one’s stays the same’.  It’s a pretty simple pop rock arrangement with acoustic guitar and a few electro details thrown in for good measure.  She keeps singing ‘what goes up must come down’ and I’m at the point I get to with a lot of pop songs where there are meanings that are hinted at but mostly it is evocative word salad.  Miley is hinting at some sort of rebirth/change yada yada yada, let’s move on.

@@@ Crystal Eyes: The Female Imagination (Sweetie Pie, 2017)  Some female fronted classic guitar indie off an old CFUV weekly playlist email.  Reverbed vocals and a slack Velvet Underground manner of rocking.  Let’s peep a bit more but I don’t usually go for this sound/energy.  The second tune has a wee bit more energy but it’s not a full spanking to be sure.

@@@ Thy Art is Murder: Dear Desolation (Nuclear Blast, 2017)  Some tightly manicured and aggressive metal from former CIA case officers off the Apple Music metal section.  I’m feeling the guitarist, he’s all amped up on Red Bull and whatnot.  The singer is right at the line that divides hardcore singers and barnyard animals and I hope the drummer has proper health insurance as he’s hitting that double kick so frequently his leg might fall off.  Ah my leg!! I like this third tune (clipped below) which is a piquant blend of some classic metal guitar riffing, tasty thrash drumming and a full metal beatdown.  The production is super pristine so that changes the listening experience but these guys bring it.

@@@ Baka Not Nice: Live Up to My Name (Warner Bros, 2017)  A gangster ballad off the A-list hip hop.  Mr. Not Nice is not really very nice and he appears to be extensively involved with shooting other folks.  The arrangement is pretty trippy and the synths are used more percussively than melodically which it makes for a funkier and weirder listening experience.  I like the snare sound they got on the drum machine.  Mr. Not Nice drinks Henny when he’s shooting at the range as it helps his aim out on the streets when he’s been drinking.  You get the idea.

YTD recordings listened to: 544
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 293
Not good music: 227

Buys: 8
Honorable Mentions: 6

Possibles: Chris McGregor, Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Slidhr, The Chewers, Toxic Holocaust, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Lenguas Largas, The Coral, T.O.M.B., 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, Moken, Juan Atkins, 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, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, James Brandon Lewis, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, J.I.D., Oddisee, Forro in the Dark, RAM, Fiver, Dona Onete, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Priests, Propaganda, This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez, Integrity, American Lips

Music for 7/22/17!!! Japanese Breakfast, Howling

@@@  Japanese Breakfast: Soft Sounds from another Planet (Dead Oceans, 2017)  Off this week’s CFUV weekly playlist email.  ’80s influenced synth rock with a dreamy female singer.  It gets guitar noisy in a breakdown section and then goes back to its arpeggiated guitar sound.  They’re back with the shiny guitar and the reverbed out vocals in the second tune and while I understand this is a trendy, comeback hip indie sound I can’t abide by it.  I find it more than a bit self-indulgent and kinda boring.

@@@ Integrity: Howling for the Darkness Shall Consume (Relapse, 2017)  Epic metal off this week’s CFUV playlist email.  Oh, they’re switching up gears and into a sweet tasty thrash — I love that suffocating snare sound and the grinding guitars.  I’m feeling this second tune Fallen to Destroy.  These guys play with a lot of energy and sort of slip in and out of sections with dexterity — thrashing into slick rocking sections into classic metal melodies.  I usually decry classic metal records as cheesy and somewhat ridiculous but the way these guys do it is really happenin’.  Imma swing back on this record when I have more time but if you’re into metal these guys have it going on.

YTD recordings listened to: 477
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 260
Not good music: 195

Buys: 7
Honorable Mentions: 6

Possibles: Chris McGregor, Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Slidhr, The Chewers, Toxic Holocaust, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Lenguas Largas, The Coral, T.O.M.B., 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, Moken, Juan Atkins, 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, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, James Brandon Lewis, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, J.I.D., Oddisee, Forro in the Dark, RAM, Fiver, Dona Onete, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Priests, Propaganda, This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez, Integrity

2017 Honorable Mention Pick 7

Dead Ranch: Brumation (No List Records, 2017)

Regular readers know of my inner toil regarding heavy metal singers.  I don’t like the cavemen, nor do I like the epic and operatic high range classic metal singers.  I like this singer a bunch, he works for me.  He’s a little punk, a little post-rock, and a little metal in places.  There are places where he has a little Kurt Cobain working.

The guitar player is similar in his styles — he’s got some punk, some post-rock, some classic hard rock, and some metal in his playing.

That’s the formula, blending these various sub genres but at the end of the day are tunes good and is the music fresh?  Yes is my answer.  While I often bemoan shiny music custom aimed at the heart of alienated suburban youth, this is high quality shit for the fringey upset folks in Westchester county, Chicago suburbs etc.

Nice sounds and tones, really energetic playing and a really good singer.

Music for 7/18/17!!! Troye Sivan, The Lurking Fear, Jah Wobble, Meek Mill

@@@ Troye Sivan: Blue Neighborhood (Universal Australia, 2015) Conscious pop by a 20+ year old from Australia.  Finger snaps, ’80s guitar lines, silky smooth vocals and manicured production.  No overgrown lawns here people, that’s for sure.  The second tune opens up with the line ‘kiss me on the mouth and set me free.’  We’re dealing with a lot of emotions here.  You can coax the cold right out of me, wrap me in your warmth.  Kiss me on the mouth and set me free, and please don’t bite.  That’s the hook.  Hmm, maybe C+ on that hook.  Imma gonna set myself free and go to another record.  Fuckin’ A, lyric video, god bless America!

@@@ The Lurking Fear: Out of the Voiceless Grave (Century Media, 2017)  Heavy metal off the Apple Music metal section.  Two pre-release tracks from an upcoming full length thrasher/banger.  These guys are whipping a very pleasant blend of epic metal, post-hardcore, and some tasty thrash.  The second preview track is also quite nice with some meth-y guitar that gives way to a big riff and then right into some grinding power chords.  If you’re into the metal, check this out, it’s high quality and I hope to be listening to more of this when the full length comes out.  The singer is really upset so a few listens might help him out:).

@@@ Jah Wobble: The Usual Suspects (3Ms Music, 2017)  Some rock-prog-fusion/dub that I got to via last week’s All Music notable release email.  Big rock guitars over a thick dubbish bass line, conscious lyrics and a low energy singer.  Think U2 with blacker bass line and without the eternal, spewing faux righteousness of Bonehead Bono.  I don’t mind have some proggy rock up in my thick bass lines but this was of doing it doesn’t really work for me.

@@@ Meek Mill: Issues (Maybach/Atlantic, 2017)  A pre-release single off the hot tracks section of Apple Music.  This tune centers more around gun play and getting paid and less on slinging drugs and hanging out with the ladies.   I like the beats and the bass but I don’t really feel the rhymes or the Autotune on the half sung sections.  Songs about guns, not great in my opinion, bad for the youth.

YTD recordings listened to: 463
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 254
Not good music: 188

Buys: 7
Honorable Mentions: 6

Possibles: Chris McGregor, Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Slidhr, The Chewers, Toxic Holocaust, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Lenguas Largas, The Coral, T.O.M.B., 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, Moken, Juan Atkins, 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, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, James Brandon Lewis, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, J.I.D., Oddisee, Forro in the Dark, RAM, Fiver, Dona Onete, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Dead Ranch, Priests, Propaganda. This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez

Best of 2017 Pick 7

Power Trip: Nightmare Logic (Southern Lord, 2017)

This is not a concept record — well, it is a concept record but it’s a rather simple concept.  32 minutes of smacking the listener around.  Certainly not the most melted or manic metal out there, this is a no nonsense shot to the dome.

I would say the guitar sound and the playing slightly star here, but the band locks together and stomps your brains in.  The drummer engages in some undercover swinging, just a wee bit and hiw work subtly changes the vibe of the record.  Some hardcore, some classic metal, it’s a piquant blend of Metallica and Motorhead but without the redneck nonsense of Metallica and Lemmy’s, well I’m not really sure what Lemmy was about.  Talk about a concept, fucking Lemmy.

In this fantastic Trump era (which I have really been enjoying), I spin the tune Executioner’s Axe daily to get the hate levels up.

Music for 6/18/17!!! Macklemore, Iced Earth

@@@ Macklemore: Glorious (Bendo, 2017)  I check out Macklemore’s jams cuz he cracks me up with his cornball flow.  This single is no exception to his usual ways.  He’s mad grateful for his life in this track and he mashes a gospel choir with some EDM four on the floor and other sounds.  It’s supposed to be uplifting but I find the cliche nature of the lyrics and the arrangement to be very hollow.  He’s testifying and I wish he wouldn’t.  I made it 2:53 through the song before I had to shut it off yo.

@@@ Iced Earth: Incorruptible (Century Media, 2017)  Highlighted in the metal section of Apple Music they start out gloomy church choir and big thunderous tom fills.  But I suspect bones will be crushed forthwith.  It has begun!  I came for the beatdown and all I got was a cheese sandwich.  I guess there’s no escape from America’s tidal wave of cheese regardless of genre.  This is an epic, slightly more muscular classic metal formula with that kind of singer that sounds like they gots their balls in a vice.  This second tune opens up with the line ‘A storm is raging on the open sea…’  I would call this Metallica with cheddar.  Ah well.

YTD recordings listened to: 375
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 211
Not good music: 147

Buys: 5
Honorable Mentions: 4

Possibles: Chris McGregor, Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Slidhr, The Chewers, Toxic Holocaust, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Lenguas Largas, The Coral, T.O.M.B., 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, 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, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, James Brandon Lewis, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Power Trip, Reverend Payton, J.I.D., Oddisee, Forro in the Dark, RAM, Fiver, Dona Onete, Succumb Succumb, Gloom

Music for 6/15/17!!! Alestorm, Afterlife Revival, Chad Lefkowitz-Brown, Big Boi

@@@ Alestorm: No Grave but the Sea (Napalm, 2017)  I shit you not but I believe these guys are pioneers in the pirate metal sub-genre.  This is a kind of awesomeness that is complex as they get props for getting out there into some weird state of mind but there’s mad cheese sauce to be found here.  I’m only going to listen to one song as it so perfectly captures what I imagine pirate metal to be that it can only go down from here.  As another fine purveyor of cheese MC Hammer said: ‘You can’t fuck with this.’

@@@ Chad Lefkowitz: Onward (Self-released, 2017)  A jazz record that I got to via a twat on the Twatter from blog Bird is the Worm.  I might have to be a bit more selective in peeping Bird is the Worm recommendations as this is the kind of straight jazz that doesn’t usually work for me.  I like the drummer and his energy level but the production sound and the playing makes me crave a flavored coffee and the New York Times sunday magazine.  Oh, he’s covering Stevie Wonder’s Isn’t She Lovely and making me want to hear the Stevie Wonder version.  Oy.

@@@ Afterlife Revival: Rich in Love (Self-released, 2017)  An alt country single that I got to from a rather cloying publicist email.  I won’t hold the band responsible for their publicist’s over the top language but you have to peep her description: they ‘fuse Beatle-esque psych country with an Americana lilt, evoking Dylan and The Band.’  I object to the  word fuse and the lilt.  There is a little Beatles in here but not much and they do have The Band’s sound with a singer that sounds more than a bit like Dylan.  I like the arrangement and the playing but I find the lyrics a bit trite.

@@@ Big Boi: In the South (Epic, 2017)  Big Boi’s new single fuses ol’ school chill pimp funk with Dirty South beats.  It’s a low mid tempo pace with some drawling, oh the rhymes become more energetic about halfway through when Big Boi hits the mic.  I think as he has two guest MCs and I can’t place him.  I like the George Clinton influences here and I dig the guitar player and the bass player but they wear the hook out a bit.

YTD recordings listened to: 367
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 208
Not good music: 143

Buys: 5
Honorable Mentions: 2

Possibles: Chris McGregor, Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Slidhr, The Chewers, Toxic Holocaust, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Lenguas Largas, The Coral, T.O.M.B., 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, 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, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Power Trip, Reverend Payton, J.I.D., Oddisee, Forro in the Dark, RAM, Oumou Sangare, Fiver, Dona Onete, Succumb Succumb, Gloom