Music for 1/22/19!!! Deerhunter, Sharon Van Etten, The Killers

@@@ Deerhunter: Why hasn’t everything already disappeared? (4AD, 2019)  It’s indie Tuesday so get your flavored coffee and tight jeans out.  I have actually enjoyed Deerhunter records in the past though that may not be the case as I get them confused with Deer tick, and Deer Hoof.  Oy, those indie confuzinators.  I think I’m thinking of a different Deer band, I don’t think this is going to go well for me.  It’s better than Taylor Swift’s last record, I’ll give them that.  This first tune appears to be an uplifting rock thing with a crushed drum sound and a quasi-Beatleesque vocal melody.  There’s a raucous outro with a big sounding guitar solo which I’m enjoying.  The second tune continues the bright rock theme and I think we’re onto the formula for the record.  It’s all right music, I’m not super in the mood for it, but I guess people like the comforting arms of something like this.  I would rather go burn someone’s house down.

@@@ Sharon Van Etten: Remind Me Tomorrow (Jagjaguwar, 2019) Also off this week’s All Music notable release email.  Apple Music has this blurbed as spooky maximalism which I don’t think I have a frickin’ clue about.  This first tune has to be inspired by John Lennon’s first solo record.  Piano, detached voice, alienation, etc.  The sounds are pretty engaging but part of me is not attached to it.  The second tune moves into a higher tempo and a more rocking vibe.  I don’t think I’ve ever really enjoyed Van Etten’s voice — I can’t say anything specifically about it but I don’t connect with it.  I’m getting a sense of what spooky maximalism might sound like.  There are a lot of little flourishes and background melodies that give the tunes a more orchestral feel.  Not overtly necessarily but it’s hyperproduced in a way.  And in the middle of it sits her low energy voice, I guess that’s it.

@@@ The Killers: Land of the Free (Island/UMG, 2019)  I briefly cruised a blog post about this track so peep I will.  It starts out all Bruce Hornsby and shit.  Piano and meaningful.  Oh boy, here’s the giant choir in the back.  I appreciate the sentiments here but it’s like getting a good veggie burger but the shit is just drowning in so much shitty cheese you can’t appreciate the burger.  Naimsayin’?  Power chords, climax, rockin’ it, choirs, blech and phooey.  I am certainly no defining voice of woke, but woke folks (imho) don’t need to be pandered to in this manner.  The sounds work against the sentiments.

YTD recordings listened to: 47
Good music, not list worthy: 28
Not good music: 18

Best: 0
Honorable Mentions: 0

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, 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, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Portal, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton, Parquet Courts, Moskus, Kendl Winter, Tkay Maidza, Barro, Daniel Khan, Tallawit Timbouctou, Sumac, Tropical Fuck Storm, Harriet Tubman, Ammar 808

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Music for 1/11/19!!! Superorganism, Pistol Annies

@@@ Superorganism: Superorganism  (Domino, 2018) #14 on NPR’s best of 2018 list.  We’re chewing through this badboy.  I predict this is going to be a pop/funk white people party kind of thing.  A little Beck, a little some other guy with blue eyes, and some frat boy vibes.  There’s some energy in the jumping around arrangement but past that?  Multiple singers male and female, vinyl static, a little hip hop scratch action, eh it’s all too cute for my ears.  I urge NPR listeners to go for the full funk and listen to some hip hop, that’s why black folks make it.  To express funkiness.  This is funk-a-fied Flaming Lips and not worth much time as it’s sonic baby food.

@@@ Pistol Annies: Interstate Gospel (Sony Music, 2018) #13 on the NPR best of 2018.  This is on Sony so I’m expecting only a small amount of deviation from the major label country formula.  They are packaging their three part female harmony as a kind of gospel to go with standard new Nashville which includes power chords and arena rock, which I continue to find entertaining and stupid-ocious at the same time.  The hook here are the lyrics — they are wry, humorous and a female expression of what a pain in the ass it is to be a woman.  I get that for sure.  It would be cooler to my ears if the music was a little less tight assed but this is new country and that’s a core component of the sauce.

YTD recordings listened to: 22
Good music, not list worthy: 17
Not good music: 4

Best: 0
Honorable Mentions: 0

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, 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, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Portal, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton, Parquet Courts, Moskus, Kendl Winter, Tkay Maidza, Barro, Daniel Khan, Tallawit Timbouctou, Sumac, Tropical Fuck Storm, Harriet Tubman, Ammar 808

Music for 12/31/18!!! Travis Scott, Mitski

@@@ Travis Scott: SICKO MODE (Epic, 2018)  I guess we gotta send out 2018 with Drake showing up like an unwanted erection.  This tune is getting a lot of love and I get the variety of sounds and parts but it’s the bounce and not the lyrics (or Drake) that got this track 151 million streams on the GooglePimp.  It’s a little heavy on the pitch shifted sci-fi vocals and too heavy on the Drake who I can hope will take 2019 off.  I’m not holding my breath on that.

@@@ Mitski: Nobody (Dead Oceans, 2018).  I checked this record out when it first came out and was pretty shocked to see it land on almost everybody’s year end list.  When she gets to the chorus I’m thinking this is some pretty light piano pop rock.  Handclaps, funk guitar riff and just what the fuck why the love?  Let me be clear, it’s not garbage but it’s like a pork rind — light, crunchy and not really good for you.  I’ve never had but I don’t see how they taste good either.  This one gets a big questions mark, c’mon America!

YTD recordings listened to: 701
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 380
Not good music: 270

Best: 16
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, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Portal, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton, Parquet Courts, Moskus, Kendl Winter, Tkay Maidza, Barro, Daniel Khan, Tallawit Timbouctou, Sumac, Tropical Fuck Storm, Harriet Tubman

Music for 12/18/18!!! Lonnie Holley, U.S. Girls

@@@ Lonnie Holley: MITH (Jagjaguwar, 2018) I’m intrigued as to how a black cat at this age got on a hipster imprint like Jagjiggedjaguwarnicious.  He’s got a strange and slightly nasal voice that I dig and this first tune puts that into a chill keyboard centric arrangement.  He’s taking the non-confrontational route to putting songs with titles like ‘I Snuck off a Slave Ship’ and ‘I Woke Up in a Fucked Up America’ out into the universe.  This is the most startling lounge singer piano record I’ve heard in a long ass time.  I appreciate his boldness and the sounds he puts with his lyrics are extremely unusual.  My only criticism is that the tunes are all kinda long and rambly so I find it detracts a bit from what I think he’s trying to do.  However, I give props to the formula and it’s an extremely creative set of decisions he made here.

@@@ U.S. Girls: In a Poem Unlimited (4AD, 2018)  Released in February and brought back for U.S. Today’s best of 2018 list.  I have not heard anything on 4AD that I’ve loved since the Pixies!  This first tune is an indie funk kinda thing — slinky funk rock beat, some wah wah guitar, and a sexiness that is attempted but not convincing.  At least to me.  The second tune, Rage of Plastics, is a similar but with a different anchoring beat.  I’m feeling like this is an attempt to turn the ABBA sound into an indie effort with concious lyrics.  I’m not super into it but I get that we all have different tastes.

YTD recordings listened to: 694
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 375
Not good music: 268

Best: 16
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, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Portal, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton, Parquet Courts, Moskus, Kendl Winter, Tkay Maidza, Barro, Daniel Khan, Tallawit Timbouctou, Sumac, Tropical Fuck Storm, Harriet Tubman

Music for 12/10/18!!! Kacey Musgraves, Lucy Dacus

@@@ Kacey Musgraves: Golden Hour (MCA Nashville, 2018)  #3 on NPR’s best of 2018 list.  I know she’s a critical darling but I’ve never heard the mind blower to convert me.  The production here is large sounding with shades of Daniel Lanois’ Emmylou Harris record.  She’s going for the big meta lyrics and I wish they were better.  The playing is very good, there are some interesting sounds tucked into this country record, but I don’t hear the best of year vibes here.

@@@ Lucy Dacus: Historian (Matador, 2018) #4 on the NPR best of 2018 list.  Oh boy, mopey indie music.  Has the world an infinite appetite for downer guitar indie or is there something wrong with me?  Dacus has a fantastic voice and she deploys it with great taste but the tunes….they’re more background music for a coffee shop rather than something that grabs you and doesn’t let go.  I understand I’m running the risk of being a krank by not liking what is apparently so likable but this doesn’t work for me.  This makes me feel sleepy.

YTD recordings listened to: 678
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 369
Not good music: 264

Best: 16
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, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Portal, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton, Parquet Courts, Moskus, Kendl Winter, Tkay Maidza, Barro, Daniel Khan, Tallawit Timbouctou

Music for 12/7/18!!! Soccer Mommy, Esperanza Spaulding, Jupiter & Okwess

@@@ Soccer Mommy: Clean (Fat Possum, 2017) Both of the NY Times music writers have this record on their best of year list. Both writers! Once again showing the music coverage at the Times is a bag of ass. I find this downtempo guitar indie record unengaging and pretty derivative. Nothing particularly noteworthy in the lyrics or the music and it affirms the worth of mopey white people music when it shouldn’t be affirmed. But then again the Times put Arianne Grande’s record on the list and listening to that record is akin to drinking a quart of dirty dishwater. It’s not surprising the New York Times as a quiet proponent of white supremacy would single this record out of the thousands released this year for notable recognition.

@@@ Esperanza Spalding: 12 Little Spells (Concord, 2018) Another New York Times best of year choice. I come to this record prejudiced as I do not like Spalding — I find her technical skills to be plentiful but there’s a coldness and lack of soul to her music and these tunes only serve to reinforce that perception. This first tune is more symphonic prog rock than it is jazz. I like this second tune more, the singing is quite nice but I predict it’s going to collapse into a proggy mush….and there we go. I define a great record as one that you want to play over and over again and you continue to find things in the record that deepen the listen. I see this record as a work of technique with moments of beauty and that’s not my definition of a great record.

@@@ Jupiter & Okwess: Kin Sonic (Everloving Records, 2018) This is another New York Times record they call it ‘magnificently funky’. If this first power rock funk inflected tune is any indication this record is not going to come close to the funkiness of Vaudou Game. I’m on the third tune and I like this record but to be honest it’s more of a rock record than a funk record. It’s got some funk in it but it’s a thread and not the core. Stick with Vaudou Game. A lot of chanted vocals, some funky guitar and a drummer that rocks.

YTD recordings listened to: 676
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 368
Not good music: 263

Best: 16
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, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Portal, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton, Parquet Courts, Moskus, Kendl Winter, Tkay Maidza, Barro, Daniel Khan, Tallawit Timbouctou

Music for 12/5/18!!! Tirzah, Helena Deland, Rosalia

@@@ Tirzah: Devotion (Domino, 2018) We are up on the 2018 best of lists beginning with Gorilla vs. Bear.  I used to rock it from bottom to top but there are so many lists out there I switched it up and start at the top and work it down.  This is the #1 record here.  The first tune is a bit electronic, a bit slack, and a bit sort of improvised or at least it sounds it.  She has a loose vocal style.  The second tune Do You Know switches to more of a grooved out vibe with a really nice tweaked out sample and a simple funk beat.  I really like the sounds here and while I like the singer I’m not getting a huge emotional connection to the tunes.  I can see why folks would really like the intimate feel of the record.

@@@ HELENA DELANDFrom the Series of Songs “Altogether Unaccompanied”  Vol. I – IV  (Luminelle, 2018)  There are four EPs that make up this series and I will begin at the beginning and not get far.  Not due to quality but lack of time.  I would say these guys took ’70s classic FM rock with a soft rock tilt and indie-fied it.  Hippie sounds; dreamy and some slack.  A little Harvest era Neil Young with a va jay jay?  I like it but I could use some other sounds mixed in.  The second tune gets into more classic guitar indie but with an easygoing distorted guitar and nothing out of hand.  I’m totally confused as to the numbering and order of these mini records but I get the general gist of the singer and her music.  The folks putting this list together love the fragile feelings and letting them out or listening to them.

@@@ ROSALÍAEl Mal Querer (Sony, 2018)  I’m into how this list features the female musicians and we switch gears to a mainstream Latin release on Sony.   She’s a good singer and the production is very non-indie with lots of little goodies and a big sound with lots of vocal tracks.  It may be flirting with a concept record as there are section titles with meanings but I can’t get into it too much as I know not more than 30 words of Spanish.  These feel mostly to be love songs so that puts this record in line with the first two chosen by these guys.  I think I like this one more than the other two — not because of the sound but it’s got more than one thing going on.  It’s trying to balance new electro sounds with some older more traditional musical elements and that’s interesting to me.

YTD recordings listened to: 669
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 364
Not good music: 260

Best: 13
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, 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, Moskus, Kendl Winter, Tkay Maidza, Gouge Away, Barro, Daniel Khan, Tallawit Timbouctou, Babylon Trio