@@@ Steve Lacy: Bad Habit (RCA, 2022) You can’t take a shit without running into praise for Steve Lacy. This is the big hit and I’ve wanted to peep him. I like how he’s kinda mashing indie rock feels with mostly mainstream elements. He’s got a really engaging voice and the tune is pretty simple which I think is necessary if you’re trying to be super popular. If he was just an indie cat I’d be into him as he puts just a bit of swing and rhythm desperately needed by indie in general. For a superstar it’s a bit of a third grade track. Really talented in the vocal arrangements, the sounds are pretty standard. Is it good or bad that it turns into an almost completely different song for the last third? Don’t know it’s up to you.
@@@ Charlotte Adigery & Bolis Pupul: It Hit Me (DeeWee/Because, 2022) Oy, I checked this track out yesterday and had a full spiel but the wordpress save button fucked me so now I will have to reconstruct my spiel from memory. I like the light drum machine beats that are very art school, I don’t like the vocalist much. Simple bassline, I’m repeeping this and it’s my usual complaint, lack of contrast. I’m okay with art school feels but what are you going to put up against that to give contrast or is it just going to be art school light feels. In my world smart and tough works better than just smart. That’s my view.
@@@ Gilla Band: Backwash (Rough Trade, 2022) Two songs from two records off Pitchfork’s top 100 songs of 2022. I’m not sure I’ve heard this record but I’ve heard a few art school spoken word folks over kraut-y angular indie rock formulas. I like the drummer but if I’m going for the subversive spoken word stuff I would rather traffic in Sleaford Mods, those dudes are at least funny and kicking ass. There’s a nice arrangement to this tune, especially towards the middle when they start blasting some pretty hectic noise but I can’t get with the singer. It seems in line with the time that people lose their shit and crank it up but it doesn’t fully explode. I could get with this more if the singer was different and there was a wee bit of swing up in there.
@@@ oso oso: computer exploder (Triple Crown, 2022) If Wilco and Death Cab for Cutie had a lovebaby it would sound like this track. Friendly and slack singer is quite an accomplishment, a bunch of guitar parts and rock drumming. Nice sinewy bassline I like that. I’ve started to listen to a bunch of outlets’ best of the year and I’m reminded how I’m absolutely not an indie listener. The concepts, the feels, the sounds, I don’t hate them but I’m not moved by them. I consider it an issue of passion or lack of passion, or a kind of slack passion I can’t get my head around.
@@@ Ethel Cain: American Teenager (Daughters of Cain, 2022) This young musician has been named Crack Magazine’s something of the year. The video below is the second track on the record and right away I hear how there’s too much reverb on the snare and how much this person’s alter ego sounds like Taylor Swift. Her delivery, her feels, it’s there epic and dramatical, I mourn the effect Tay Tay has had on our culture. I skipped to the next track and if it comes out swinging with the classic American cheese. This third tune A House in Nebraska is coming on hard with the ringing piano chords and the big reverb voice. I can deal with it but I don’t want to and I urge folks to go with something less like this and more straight ahead.
@@@ MJ Lenderman: You Have Bought Yourself a Boat (Dear Life, 2022) This record is high up on the Gorilla Vs. Bear best of 2022 list that hasn’t done much for me at all to this point. Here we have some retro classic guitar driven rock smashed into indie business with a weirdish singer carrying the indie part of the show. I haven’t heard this circular jam style guitar sound for a bit so I dig that but overall it’s the same as a lot of indie there’s just not a lot of passion here, it’s a slouchy somewhat mopey vibe that I can’t abide. If you want a big bowl of mope have at it, there’s plenty to be had.
@@@ Boyhood: My Dread (Self released, 2022) I’m on the Gorilla Vs. Bear best of 2022 list and it’s part of my eternal search to understand find some indie rock I can deal with. This has some nice elements to it, though the drumming could use an upgrade. I like the guitars in this opening track and the rhythm section not so much. Let’s further peep, track 2! To say the singer could use a Red Bull would be an understatement. The slackness makes me sad and unmotivated. Track 3! The third track has a nice sparkly guitar part and the singer is celebrating her status as a loser and that’s the best of what I heard on this record. Start with track 3 and sink deep into low self-esteem from there. The third track is clipped below so you don’t even have to find it.
@@@ Davey Long: Flesh and Blood (N/A, 2022) I got to this piano driven anthem via a music publicist in Ireland. It’s big rock, big piano rock. This is most definitely music for normies. I’m not a normie, I just came out differently but while this sentiment doesn’t super work for me, there are more normies than there are versions of me. Unfortunately. The vocal hook is that we’re all flesh and blood and we’re doing the best. I get the first part but some of us aren’t putting in much effort. This is for the suburban housewife Elton John fans and if they’re reading this here blog, have at it!
@@@ The Cool Greenhouse: Get Unjaded (Melodic, 2022) This artist is namechecked on this week’s Line of Best Fit and it’s related to the first track. We’re somewhat engaged in a battle of earnest vs. jaded, right? This is an art school nerd punk jam with spoken word vocals, circular simple and aggro guitar cycling and rock drumming. I don’t usually love the art school business but this is all right. I like the Captain Beefheart-esque dissonant guitars, the singer I’m agnostic on, and the vibe is cool, not jump up and down but cool. I like the second tune Sod’s Toastie the best of what I heard.
@@@ Weyes Blood: Children of the Empire (Sub Pop, 2022) Two listens this morning off this week’s 10 most reviewed albums on Pitchfork. My first impression is that this is a less trick version of Joni Mitchell formulas and vibes. 70s feels delivered in faded rock format, piano driven. I had to click out of that track when it came to the fingersnaps and the tambourine but that’s on me, not on the artist. The next track, Grapevine, is an acoustic guitar track. The full band comes in and it gets big and swirly. I like it, I don’t love it but it’s all right. I could use a bit more energy from the singer and more contrast from the band.
@@@ Fleshwater: The Razor’s Apple (Cloased Casket Archives, 2022) This is the third track on the record and it’s a big rockin’ sound, up in yer face with a female singer, big guitars etc. I’ve switched it out to the first track to see if I cans get some feelings from this — this is a musical formula that’s well worn but I think it’s okay to want a bit more from it. Big rock has been done, if you want me to check out yer slightly grungey big rock hit me with some freshness. I like the drummer but I could use more chaos from the guitar player and the whole outfit. Lose yer shit, I always dig that.
@@@ Big Joanie: In My Arms (Kill Rock Stars, 2022) A couple of last listens from this week’s Pitchfork 10 most reviewed albums of the week. This is the fifth track on the record and it’s a smash up of Bruce Springsteen rock and indie vocalizing. A little less New Jersey than Bruce Springsteen but connected for sure. I dig the half nasal Buddy Holly type singer here, it’s super nerdy and makes the track much more interesting. Some pretty nice guitar work as there are two guitars, one holding it down and one doing some melodic work. I’m going to check another track to see what they have going on and I’ve chosen the third track Confident Man. This track has an interesting oscillating synth to go with the indie rock guy, it’s a bit of an indie sendup of electronic music and I find it charming. All right I’m considering if this record could go on my best of year list as I dig the singer and I’m giving the opening track, Cactus Tree, a shot. It’s a bit more epic but does bring the rock and the synth action simultaneously which is kinda cool. This smells like an honorable mention type record but listen for yourself.
@@@ Horse Lords: Zero Degree Machine (RVNG, 2022) More rawk, more rawk!!! This opens with the track clipped below and this some Yes type shit — half art school, half rockin’. As it unfolds it does indeed get more wound around itself and quite proggy. I like some of what’s going on here, but it needs more grit for me to embrace it, it’s got this smooth and clean as a baby’s bottom feel to it that I can’t roll with. Just as I finish typing this they get into a quasi Meat Puppets circular madness thing that I dig, oy I can never win.
@@@ Nice Motor: Superior Street Sessions (Self-released, 2022) I got to this Chicago classic-y via a music publicist in the Midwest. It comes out classic rockin but with more updated lyrics — less leather trousers and more feelings. Gruff singer, buzzy guitars and an energetic drummer these guys bust it out all right. There’s a refreshing plainness to the proceedings they’re just setting it up and knocking it down. No grunge self inflicted misery, no arena rock star action, no emo over the top horseshit. If you’re up for some old school pumped up rock check this out.
@@@ Special Interest: Midnight Legend (Rough Trade, 2022) Off this week’s 10 most reviewed albums from Pitchfork. This an interesting and pretty equal blend of rock sounds and dancefloor banging sound. You get some four on the floor kick drum, a buzzy rock bass, a diva like singer, and some squally guitar sounds. I like the blend and how they party on top of this pot of sounds. Lemme peep a coupla more tracks. I’m checking out the opener, Cherry Blue Intention and it’s punkier and more nihilistic. I liked the track that’s clipped below, it works the party rock blend more successfully. The rest of it seems focused on more abrasive Devo type but with female singers.
@@@ Alice Boman: Where to Put the Pain (Play It Again Sam, 2022) Looks set to be a coupla sad young female musicians on tap from Line of Best Fit’s weekly email. The track opens with a funk rock beat that gets a little squashed by some piano chords then the female vocals. Now if there was a hipster funk bass going here underneath the layers of feelings I would shit my diaper but it’s not that, it’s a rock thing. It may just be a few too many feelings for me, I know that may come as a shock as Imma feelings based dude but it’s too claggy as they say in the Great British Bake Off.
@@@ Aoife Nessa Frances: Emptiness Follows (Partisan, 2022) This track opens at a lower tempo with a little Alice Coltrane harp action and sulty and slightly slinky feel. It’s got some jank to it but this was blurbed as a psychedelic folk joint so jank is expected with anything psychedelic, that’s my experience. The harp and the flute is welcome to my ears, I like the drum beat and the singer is not your classic dreamy, reverbed female, it’s more the seductress, the stereotype of the seductress. A little more background vocal action at the back end of the track, a little horn action swirled in there with the harp, I can roll with this, it’s an interesting mix of sounds.
@@@ Broken Bells: Into the Blue (AWAL, 2022) Off this week’s All Music notable release email and while they’re trying to slip it into the indie slot it’s rebranded and upcycled classic rock. Big stacks of vocals, strummed acoustic guitar and epic guitar shreds, that’s classic rock is it not? Slack vocalists are cross genre. It’s very ’70s reminiscent with a faded rock flavor but with updated synth sounds. I like it all right, I always like a fresh thing and this is not aspiring to cut but to comfort. This is most definitely for folks with good jobs.
@@@ Daphni: Cherry (Jialong, 2022) This is some firm ass techno out of a dude from Toronto. May not be a dude, just typed the word, whoever made this is fine by me. Brisk, especially in the rhythms. The opening beat is borderline punishing just jumps out and beats you down with high hats and a kick drum higher up on the frequencies and less on the low end flapping. The second tune is more kaleidoscopic with the rhythmic components shuffling and bleeping all across the stereo field. Let’s see what he throws over this bad boy. Thick kick, classic hihat, then pretty minimal synth bass and then a cloud synth. I could use a booty smacking melody here but I’m going unrewarded. I’m finding the third track, Always There, the most interesting of what I’ve checked out — it’s a blend of dance music, some klezmer-y melodies, and is both a dance track and a weird concept track at the same time.