Music for April 6, 2023!!!! The No Ones, Katie Gately

@@@ The No Ones: My Best Evil Friend (Yep Roc, 2023) Some shambolic old school slop a dop rock off this week’s All Music notable release email. Lots of chime-y guitars and a sort of world weary male singer with a straight drummer up on it. Brit rock threads to my ears but I could be wrong and I don’t believe I will be hanging out long enough to see where these dudes hail from. It’s perfectly fine, sounds good, played well, but it’s not rock I’m interested in.

@@@ Katie Gately: Fawn/Brute (Houndstooth,, 2023) I don’t love the vocalizations here but I am into the sounds of the first track here. The sounds have a pleasant middle class funk to them with a dash of industrial edge. I don’t hate the vocals but my interest lies in the sounds. I like the synth horn lines and the beats. The beats aren’t over the top Timbaland style but the package of sounds surpasses most indie electronic.

Music for 1/28/23!!! altopalo

@@@ altopalo: Frenemy (N/A, 2023) At first blush this is a happy marriage of indie feels and electronic sounds, with bedroom lofi but not lofi colliding with a computer. On this first track I dig the strange reverb on the voice and the bass player, the drummer is not there to be killing it. The second track featuring a guest singer takes a guitar and turns it percussive. I’m on the third track now and the ambience rules here. Lotsa space on the sounds most notably the voice which gives the whole thing an alienated feel to mix in with the prettiness. The title track is in slot 4 and it’s a peak for the formula. If you’re a fan of rawk and rock and rockin’ this is not for you. I don’t love all of it, it’s a lot of feelings and prettiness but I respect how it’s put together.

Music for 1/23/23!!! Oddisee, Brainiac

@@@ Oddisee: Hard To Tell (Other Note, 2023) We’re starting to see new releases for 2023 and I’ve checked Mr. Oddisee a few years ago and his skills are as fearsome and complex as ever. He mugs the microphone over intensely composed arrangements — the bassline and keyboard guitar figure in this first track are not typical. The second track How Far, is funkier with the same intense rhyming style. He’s both hardcore in his approach as well as high end in his aspirations. I’m really feeling this third tune, Many Hats as he backs off verbally a tad and brings some slink to it. Oh shit, the fourth tune, To What End, is even better so the album is gathering steam in my eyes. I’m guessing this gent has extensive musical training, his shit is just ferociously skilled, intellectually, technically, his arrangements are thick and super focused and then he piles on with his words, it’s almost overwhelming. There’s a nerdy aspect to his intellectualism for sure and I wish there was more grit, but as far as I can tell he’s closer to being a jazz musician than a hip hop guy. Impressive.

@@@ Brainiac: Predator Nominate (Touch and Go, 2022) I saw the Touch and Go imprint and thought this was gonna be some old school roughness and you do get half a slice with the grizzy bass but there’s plenty of cloudy retro synths and drum machine beats from another era on tap here. I don’t know if your world needs more Nine Inch Nails inspired inspired aggro dance music but my world is agnostic on it. It’s getting crunchier as I get to the third tune.

Music for 1/14/23!!!! Yasuaki Shimizu

@@@ YASUAKI SHIMIZU | Kiren (Palto Flats, 2022) I got to this recording as it stands #44 on Gorilla Vs. Bears best records of 2022. I sometimes think the records at the bottom of a best of list are more interesting than the top of the list records. I thought I might have heard this record earlier in the year but the first track doesn’t sound familiar to me. It’s an electronic record with some kraut-y rock feels using mostly ’80s sounds. Big pillow-y synths smashed into processed metal percussion in this second track Momo Na Hana. Shimizu also has some weird human vocie samples lined up and played back to sound a lot like a duck. There are moments when Asain string motifs come in and I’m finding these arrangements pretty hip as there’s forward motion and change but not jarring changes (which I like as well). I’m feeling the weird funk of the third track Assate so I would start there and head deeper if you feel it. This third track features a looped sax part which sounds a whole bunch like a train and a bluesier sax carrying the melody. Accompanied by some nice metallic tinkles, an awful old school snare sound, it’s a weird ass and pleasurable hot dog to munch. There’s a sort of Devo style whip sound that breaks through and creates a dominatrix funk sitch, this track slaps. From what I’ve heard I sense a tongue in cheek approach lurking here. It’s well done and feels like it’s focused mostly on fun, I dig that.

Music for 9/4/22!!! Rachika Nayar, Mini Roman

@@@ Rachika Nayar: Heaven Come Crashing ( , 2022) A couple of bandcamp albums of the day listens. This is some guitar influenced electronic music and the first thing I think of is that this would work for the Netflix show Stranger Things but one of the more hopeful episodes where the mom finally cures her alien level constipation. I’m not a big of the hopeful electro with the arpeggiated synths and the big U2 guitar washes but I know I’m in the minority. I skipped to the second track Terramorph and it’s a 9 minute banger and I might not make it out of this banger though I like it more than the first. It’s got some sonic collision going on with more of the big U2 guitar sound. This formula doesn’t work for me, I don’t see music as being this openly epic, but hey that’s just me.

@@@ Mini Roman: First of the Brooklyn Cowgirls (Sundazed, 2022) This record is not up on the Apple Music so it may not be on the Spotify and the other big streamers. I don’t like streaming off bandcamp because you can’t hear shit but this is some old school country, female singer, straight guitar playing. The star here is her voice, she works it. All right-y I did some scrolling on the bandcamp page and see that this is a re-issue so it’s not aspiring old school country music, it is old school country music. There are mad tracks on this record, 35 in total, so it’s a big basket of this Jewish New Yorker doin’ it country style. I like it, I really like her voice, it’s not taking me to another world but that’s fine.

Music for 8/9/22!!! Conjunto Primitivo

@@@ Conjunto Primitivo: Morir Y Renacer (Chicago Research, 2022) Album of the day over at the bandcamp and I’m back to reviewing and listening after I fell off a low roof four days ago and punctured my lung and broke 4 ribs. I’m on the second track and it’s pretty dark with insistent rhythms and a combo vibe of electro components and non-electro sounds. For example, a pretty straight Latin vocal part sits on top of the pounding rhythm of the second track. It’s got some indie flavors as well. I’m on the fourth track and I think I would have preferred an dancefloor mashup instead of this indie electronic record. I like it and like the idea of Latin music threads getting pulled into indie tracks but as with a lot of indie the arrangements could use a bit more fleshing out. They are a duo so that limits their options there but I can still want to hear more.

Music for 7/20/22!!! Fantastic Negrito, Jasmyn

@@@ Fantastic Negrito: White Jesus Black Problems (Storefront, 2022) Today I’m listening to excerpts from a coupla records off All Music’s notable release email, ah the classics, All Music notable release email. I’ve peeped Mr. Negrito before and haven’t fully embraced his music but maybe this will be different. It’s an interesting mash of sounds on the opening track, Venomous Dogma. He’s got some classic rock, a little Beatles action, some ’70s rock, some more updated space rock, the full pu pu platter. I usually don’t go for the mashups because they can so easily get muddied up but this holds up, I’m more than a bit surprised as I’ve peeped Mr. Fantastic repeatedly and walked away meh. I checked excerpts of four songs here and I think he made a fresh and sonically interesting record out of very familiar elements. I give big respect to that and will check out more of this when I have the time.

@@@ Jasmyn: In the Wild (Anti, 2022) A second listen off ye ol’ All Music notable release email. My first impression is wow Jasmyn has a unique voice, at least for parts of the first track. It’s hard to explain, it sounds sorta boxy and girlish while not being in a high register. The opening track, Green Nature, has a sort of ’80s rock flow but updated and not fully ’80s. Let’s peep a bit more. The second tune, Crystal Ball, continues the flow but hints at a drum and bass typa beat and the long vocal style aka Radiohead. She’s got a Xenia Rubinos/Radiohead thing going here, that’s what I would summarize the record as. I like a bunch of parts of it though not all of it. The arrangements are very interesting and complex but I think they could use a bit more grit/muscle. Not macho shit but a greater variety of sounds.

Music for 7/17/22!!! Gwenno, Kali Malone

@@@ Gwenno: Tresor (PIAS, 2022) If you took the classic quirk band The Coral and made a lovebaby with Kate Bush you would get close to this record. Female driven with pillowy vocals and other small New Age epic vibes. I’m checking out the title track, Tresor, and it’s the second track with vibes on it (vibes the instrument), and non English sung lyrics. Oh there ya go, big tambourine part right there, that’s good shit. It’s fully cooked, well executed but it’s a bit sleepytime tea for me. That’s just me, but the mashup of The Coral and Kate Bush observation is fucking spot on.

@@@ Kali Malone: Living Torch (Portraits GRM, 2022) This is a second listen off this week’s 10 most reviewed albums on PItchfork. It’s a solo organ, ambient piece — obviously it’s got Jesus type feels and it’s a chill sitch at the same time. There’s not a lot to say here. It’s got a swelling type of feel to it with occasional bursts of sound. Not super action packed bursts just breathy clouds that interrupt the droning lower frequency material. It’s super churchy and can’t help be as such, but yet I’m agnostic on it. It does have a certain visceral feel to it on a nice pair of headphones and that may be its main appeal.

Music for 4/1/22!!!! Mira Calix, Solomon Fesshaye

@@@ Mira Calix: There is Always a Girl With a Secret (Warp, 2022) A coupla Twitter listens to cap off the week, though I listen on weekends as we;;. This musician just passed and this is the second track off a record from last year. It opens a capella, with multiple tracks, a little white lady beatboxing and what sounds like a beater on a cardboard box. Then more hand drums and a drumkit and a bass. It’s all composed or it feels like it but it’s not particularly aspiring to be a verse-chorus typa thing-y. I like it. I’m agnostic on the well placed notion that it’s definitely art school-y and Laurie Anderson-ish. I like the sounds and feel that maybe the vocals could have been de-emphasized a bit and I would have liked it more but that’s just me.

@@@ Solomon Fesshaye: Star City (Ghostly, 2022) I’m guessing the uplifting New Age-y electronic music does better than the darker more ominous stuff so that’s why we get more of it. It keeps the New Age-y keyboard flavors but tones them down around 1:30 to make way for the beat, which is firm and friendly. Believe me when I tell you that I’m fine with friendly sounds, for me it’s about the balance. For example, if he came through this mix with a floor wiping trap bass I would shit myself in joy. I love contrast, I love salty and sweet, I like sweet and spicy, I like dark and light mixed together, but do what you like but I get to listen for me. About a minute from the end he goes wooden percussion and that, that’s the best and most unexpected move of the track for me. So smells like a solid B, coulda mixed up the synths and brought some contrast.

Music for 4/24/22!!! Mallrat, Pusha T

@@@ Mallrat: Surprise Me featuring Azealia Banks (Nettwerk, 2022) I got to this from a 10 best songs of the week list on Paste magazine, I think. It opens dreamy and white girl pensive over a drum machine, the Azealia Banks hop on the mic and gives a heartfelt celebration of the wetness of her vajeen and that’s pretty much it. I think the Azealia Banks part smashing out of the white girl drum machine pop is above average marketing, the vibe is pretty jarring and not that everything has to make sense but it seems like a song hijack clickbait situation to me.

@@@ Pusha T: Rock N Roll ft. Ye & King Cudi (UMG, 2022) The Pusha T tracks I’ve dug in the past were done by Ye and I like his microphone work while I’m pretty uninterested in Kanye and his sounds. This track is the 7th track on a record called It’s Almost Dry. The sounds here are surprisingly tame, solid beat with a slightly cheesy chord progression and then an almost annoying pitch shifted vocal sample that is overused. King Cudi comes in for a sung section and I like it all right. It’s a little hard to hear millionaire MCs talk about their struggles, it’s a little tired lyrically and is similar to listening to Jeff Bezos complain about the cost oil to shine his bald head. Get a wig bitch. I’m checking out the second track, Let the Smokers Shine the Coupes, and I like it better — a much better keyboard sound, the same pitch shifted helium vocal samples and thicker drum beat. I was expecting more. I’m interested in why he keeps saying cocaine is Dr. Seuss, that’s an interesting lyric.