Music for 11/29/18!!! Earl Sweatshirt, Pangaea, Dan Habarnam

@@@ Earl Sweatshirt: The Mint (Columbia, 2018) I started listening to Mr. Sweatshirt because of his name.  Earl Sweatshirt is a stylish moniker.  This is a mellow track with not outright dub reggae vibes, but it has a certain blunted feel within its hip hop construction.  It’s got a relentless and amorphous bassline that’s punctured by some sharp piano figures.  I’m not sure what the lyrical point exists for this tune, but there’s more than a bit of 40s being drunk and some blunt smoking.

@@@ Pangaea: Bone Sucka (Hessle Audio, 2018) I got to this via the experimental section at Apple Music (which is a joke as far as I’m concerned).  This is a slightly weird electro/techno track but nothing particularly experimental.  After about 90 seconds it starts to lean in (Sheryl Sandberg style!) on a groove — bringing up the drums, putting a vocal exhortation sample and some synth grooving.  I actually would consider this more a funk track than a techno track.  I like the groove — it’s not breaking records but it’s happening.

@@@ Dan Habarnam: Draw Your Pattern (Idle Hands, 2018)  Also off the Apple Music experimental section.  It’s a more standard techno beat with some kraut-y bits but it’s pretty trippy sauce layered over it.  It crystallizes into a piano hook and classic unt-tss at about 2 minutes.  It’s a decent dancefloor banger, nothing to get too hung over.  The second tune, Draw Your Pattern, opens up with a more interesting beat.  A tad funky and a bit chopped.  It dubs out a long ass sample that smooths out the chopped groove.  I feel this tune.  It has a unique groove and interesting weirdness that keeps me engaged. This track is pulling me in and introduces new ideas to itself at a fresh but not overwhelming pace.  Shoulda put this one first!

YTD recordings listened to: 662
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 360
Not good music: 260

Best: 11
Honorable Mentions: 8

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, Janelle Monae, 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, A Tribe Called Quest, 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, Converge, Open Mike Eagle, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Tal National, Portal, Hernan Sama & Marcelo von Schultz, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton, Parquet Courts, Orlando Lopez, Moskus, Kendl Winter, Tkay Maidza, Gouge Away, Barro, Daniel Khan, Vaudou Game, Tallawit Timbouctou

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Music for 11/27/18!!! Natalia Clavier, Meek Mill, Anchorsong

@@@ NATALIA CLAVIER: Trans (Nacional, 2018)  I got to this world rock record via the WRIR weekly playlist email.  It is slotted as Rock y Alternativo but to me this first sounds much morel like a smooth jazz/soul mash.  The second tune is even less rocking, it’s got a distinctly electro soul vibe with vocals in Spanish.  This third tune does have a slightly rocking texture to it but let’s not get too bogged in genre tags.  The production is pretty lush, the tunes are solid without grabbing you by the shirt.

@@@ Meek Mill: Oodles of Noodles Babies (Maybach/Atlantic, 2018)  Meek Mill is larger than an MC now as he became a symbol of unjustified overincarceration.  As much as I support him I haven’t loved his track.  He brings a lot of energy to this track which is sonically uses old r&b sounds to make a track for him to rhyme over.  He’s got some really good lines in this track and I like this a whole bunch more than what I’ve heard to this point.  He’s got a great line about how young black males go from playing video games to carrying guns.

@@@ Anchorsong: Cohesion (True Thoughts, 2018) A Japanese born musician living in London inspired by Indian Bollywood and Indian classical percussion.  This first tune is super grooved out so it’s not going to delve into the polyrhythmic complexities of Indian classical.  There’s also a guitar player so we’re looking at a stylistic mash of sounds.  There’s a lightness to the first two tracks I’ve listened to which some people might find really enjoyable.  I prefer my grooves to be more developed and harder.  I like it well enough but I was left wanting more.

YTD recordings listened to: 656
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 356
Not good music: 258

Best: 11
Honorable Mentions: 8

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, Janelle Monae, 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, A Tribe Called Quest, 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, Converge, Open Mike Eagle, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Tal National, Portal, Hernan Sama & Marcelo von Schultz, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton, Parquet Courts, Orlando Lopez, Moskus, Kendl Winter, Tkay Maidza, Gouge Away, Barro, Daniel Khan, Vaudou Game, Tallawit Timbouctou

Music for 11/15/18!!! Barro, J.I.D./J. Cole, J. Lo/Bad Bunny

@@@ Barro: Samos (self-released, 2018) Some Northern Brazilian music I got to via the weekly music reviews at WRIR in Virginia, a most excellent world music station.  It’s a blend of traditional modern Brazilian with some rock flavorings.  Also some hip hop, funk flavors. A pretty hip opening track.  The second tune gets into a more indie, feelgood vibe, but with more sophistication than 99% of indie folks out there.  There is a mellowness in this music that is not overdone and wilts the music.  The playing is tight and an interesting mash of rhythms and genre influences so it keeps itself fresh.  Big respect for how far afield the rhythm section reaches.  Check this out, it’s hip.

@@@ J.I.D. and J. Cole:  Off Deez (Interscope, 2018)  I’m a huge fan of J.I.D. — his microphone is just full on — witty, quick, all manner of flavors.  He comes out Red Bulled with his afro fully blown out on this single.  They paired his rhymes with a demented little surf rock guitar figure.  J. Cole starts slowly but he gets up in it.  It’s impossible to tell how gangsta the lyrics are because the shit is just flying past your ears.  I like this, this is super hot and fresh.

@@@ Jennifer Lopez and Bad Bunny: Te Gusta (Sony, 2018)  I’m not a huge Bad Bunny fan as I think he has a weird voice.  He sounds like he has some sort of bowel obstruction, but the last J Lo single I checked out was really good.  This is a loverboy track though I have no clue as I have zero Spanish skills but J Lo is in her underwear in the video below.  The sounds are very slick in a good way, it’s uber manicured Latino urbano, and I like it but he’s a bid of a bad burp.  Other folks who understand the lyrics might enjoy it a whole lot more.  I do all right for a gringo motherfucker but I’m not from around the block.

YTD recordings listened to: 641
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 347
Not good music: 254

Best: 11
Honorable Mentions: 8

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, Janelle Monae, 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, A Tribe Called Quest, 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, Converge, Open Mike Eagle, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Tal National, Portal, Hernan Sama & Marcelo von Schultz, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton, Parquet Courts, Orlando Lopez, Moskus, Kendl Winter, Tkay Maidza, Marianne Faithfull, Gouge Away, Barro

Best of 2018 Pick 11

Shad: A Short Story About War (Secret City, 2018)

This hip hop record is most certainly the first record I’ve loved that has been traced back to NPR.  I can’t stomach the music picks of the New York Times or NPR but this record is great.  A hat tip to my friend Daniel for hipping me to this record.

The lyrics on this record shine — smart, conceptual, well thought out.  It’s called some sort of concept record but I think that’s bogus.  Just because an MC is intelligent enough to connect warmongering with capitalism does not a concept album make.  It’s called thinking mothefuckers.

The arrangements here are really good with no particular bent — there are some jazzy sounds and mellow ones and there are more driving and urgent arrangements (for example the tune clipped below).

Shad is a great MC with a friendly voice.  The tunes bounce back and forth between more militant and darker tunes about war (such as the third tuneStone Throwers (Gone In a Blink)) and more partyistic celebrations of blackness that will not be played at Trump Nazi rallies.

Regardless of Shad’s voice or the arrangments the draw here remains the lyrics.  Nobody in any genre of music is talking about war and capitalism and race and the environment in this manner.  All in a soulful and non-pretentious style.  When he busts out the line ‘they see people run, so they run, they see people die so they die’ — you can’t fuck with that.

Check it out.

 

Music for 10/31/18!!! Tyga, Cardi B., Shaed, Mumford and Sons

@@@ Tyga: Dip (featuring Nicki Minaj) (Empire, 2018)  A hip hop single at the #1 slot on Apple hot tracks.  It’s pretty pornographic, it’s very pornographic.  I really like the violin sample they’re using with that fat booty bass.  Minaj is the perfect person for a female guest MC — she’s mad raw and rough.  It’s funky and NSFW.

@@@ Cardi B: Money (Atlantic, 2018)  Speaking of Nicki Minaj and Cardi B. grade A New York City beef this tracks is #2 on the Apple hot tracks which is in no way a chart as far as I know.  The Apple Music blurb says this is a track about the trappings of capitalism but to me it’s a celebration of money and checks!  The arrangement here is much more interesting than the lyrics which are both Trumpian and cliche.  Excellent basslines here and the piano part is interestingly percussive.  The high voice chanting ‘money’ cuts through the mix.  Cardi B.’s microphone work is solid though sometimes it sounds off to my ear.  People love this loot based rhyming but I hate it.

@@@ SHAED: Trampoline (Photo Finish Records, 2018) We’ll listen more off the Apple Music hot tracks section.  First off, SHAED is a bad name — it’s just too close to shit.  This is mainstream electro pop with adult alternative touches.  The production here is beyond polished — they’ve shaved every hair off this vagina, metaphorically speaking.  Lots of headphone candy to groove on and as usual somebody could have spent more time on the lyrics.  She had a dream of being on a trampoline and she has a lot of dreams of dying.  That line keeps reappearing and I don’t honestly understand what this song is about.  If you groove on tightly polished sounds and can deal with word salad lyrics you will be rewarded here.  F’real.

@@@ Mumford and Sons: If I Say (Universal Music Group, 2018)  A pre-release single from the earnest Irish pub strummers.  And boy are they going for the full cheese plate on this track.  String swells, super cliche and overwrought lyrics, pop glitch condiment, and lots of big drum tom rolls.  The singer means it, oh wait, gigantic drum fill and full on well almost a giant guitar shred.  I had to take a pause there because it was super meaningful.  You know if he says he loves you he loves you, goddammit!  And equally seriously, if I say it’s cheesy it’s fucking cheesy.

YTD recordings listened to: 614
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 329
Not good music: 249

Best: 9
Honorable Mentions: 7

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, Janelle Monae, 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, A Tribe Called Quest, Noname, Gouge Away, 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, Converge, Open Mike Eagle, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Tal National, Portal, Hernan Sama & Marcelo von Schultz, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton, Parquet Courts, Orlando Lopez, Moskus, Kendl Winter, Tkay Maidza, Peregoyo y su Combo vacana, Tim Hecker

Music for 10/21/18!!! Geotic, Crooked Man, Lil’ Yachty

@@@ Geotic: Traversa (Ghostly Intl, 2018)  Some bubbly techno off this week’s All Music notable release email.  This first tune, Knapsack, intros with literally bubbly synths and then segues into the engaging indie voice with an up beat.  The second tune, Swiss Bicycle, is even more up with a quick moving arpeggiated synth.  The sounds are super clean and manicured and it is a good example of its type.  I just don’t like this type of music, it’s bubbleheaded blue jean purchasing music you would here at the gap or in an airport bathroom.

@@@ Crooked Man: Crooked House (DFA, 2018) We switch gears to another electronic record and another type of electronic music.  The first tune here is called Every Killer Needs a Friend and there are two pre-release tunes up on the Apple Music.  The first, Walls, is more classic techno dancefloor with a piano vamp, fingersnaps and whoops….there it is with the four on the floor kick drum.  Female diva on the microphone, hand claps, it’s a retro techno party track.  The second pre-release tune, Take it All Away, brings on a rare guitar part for the techno world and a chant of ‘take it all away’!  It’s old school disco/techno, people.

@@@ Lil’ Yachty: Nuthin’ to Prove (Motown/Capitol, 2018) Lil’ Yachty is back with his third record and an odd record cover where he looks like his face got froze by too much purple drank or his lil’ yachty hit a patch of rough weather and he’s about to re-experience lunch.  Oh, he’s smoking an old school pipe but it looks like he’s not into it.  He’s dispensed with some his previous jokey persona for a rougher more street vibe.  The arrangements are pop trap and the second tune has Playboi Cart as a guest.  It’s got a nice nautical sonar beep and some nice microphone work which peaks with some excellent flowing on the third tune Riley from the Boondocks.  He’s gonna hit that pussy til it’s spraying like a sprinkler spout, naimsayin’?

YTD recordings listened to: 593
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 316
Not good music: 242

Best: 9
Honorable Mentions: 6

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, Janelle Monae, 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, A Tribe Called Quest, Noname, Gouge Away, 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, Converge, Open Mike Eagle, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Tal National, Portal, Hernan Sama & Marcelo von Schultz, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton, Parquet Courts, Orlando Lopez, Moskus, Kendl Winter, Tkay Maidza, Peregoyo y su Combo vacana, serpentwithfeet