Music for 3/21/23!!! Yves Tumor

@@@ Yves Tumor: Praise A Lord That Chews But Does Not Consume (Warp, 2023) Off this week’s All Music notable release email. It opens brashly in a rocking with electronics manner, a grizzy bass rock manner, not super guitar oriented. Also glam feels though he works a down and out vibe on the microphone. Definitely taking a Nine Inch Nails book and rewriting and editing it a bit. Like the energy, like the bass sounds, the beats are meh, his vocals, well he definitely gives me the impression that he really aspires/wants to be a rock star. Would I call him that? It’s in the gray area. I was more bullish until he hits the power chords on the third track Meteora Blues, and then you see the cheese ooze out of the sandwich onto the plate. I half like it all right, half of it I find annoying.

Music for 3/17/23!!! Death and Vanilla, Emilia Torrini

@@@ Death and Vanilla: Looking Glass (Fire Records, 2023) Apple Music has this slotted as alternative and All Music’s weekly notable release email has it slotted as neo-psychedelia. While it has psychedelic threads to it, Apple Music has it correct here — it’s chill and slightly weird guitar indie. Jangly guitars, smooth female singer. Let’s get our labels correct people! I like it all right.

@@@ Emilia Torrini: Racing the Storm (Bella Union, 2023) I try to listen to Bella Union releases as they release interesting stuff. This is some orchestral leaning singer songwriter with heavy atmospherics. I’m on the second track and I think the sounds are more engaging than her singing, but that’s just me. She’s got a standard and solid flow on the microphone and she’s got these Colorist Orchestra folks behind her and they got a nice blend of vibes, tinkly percussion and strings going, it’s pretty full on. Upright bass as well, makes it more jazz like and they do seem to be going for a version of a big band situation here. This is for folks who want to feel a bit sophisticated, you know folks with good jobs who want shit chill and pretty wrapped. It does however also sport a reasonable amount of sophistication.

Music for 2/15/23!!! Maps, Andy Shauf

@@@ Maps: Thru Lights (Mute, 2023) A coupla listens off this week’s All Music notable release email. I think I heard a few tracks from the last record by this outfit. The record opens with a track called Witchy Feel and it’s an active harpsichord-y patch, then a kick drum and I think it’s a couple of moves away from reaching it’s full thing. A little tinkly percussion, some whooshing, and then snare as the harpsichord patch gives way to a distinctly electro lead sound. It’s not a funky feel, it’s more like a Scottish dance troop feel if that’s how you roll. There’s a bit of dancefloor action happening with the kick drum sound. I dig the second tune, Heya Yaha, as it’s got some funk to it, thought the cascading female vocal syllables is not funky, it’s more angelic. I like the more abstract electronic music and I like it as funky as possible, that’s where I’m at.

@@@ Andy Shauf: Wasted On You (Anti-, 2023) This is the opening track on a record called Norm, and by the initial feels it’s music for normies or making fun of music for normies. It’s got a very Cali soft rock feel to it. There’s a nice synth hook going, it sounds a bit like a harp and a bit like a guitar and Shauf’s voice couldn’t be more chill. Let’s peep a bit more. The second tune Catch Your Eye. The emphasis here is on the melodies but I fear this might be a bit soft, too soft for me. I don’t need tons of grit and whoomph but a little wouldd be nice, I’m not gonna lie. I’m not the hardest of the hardcore but there’s a sort of cloying feeling that comes with ultra soft music as it’s trying so hard to be my friend. He’s got an awful nice, plain retro bass sound working here and I’m feeling the bass player.

Music for 2/12/23!!! Taylor Swift, Yo La Tengo

@@@ Taylor Swift: Lavender Haze (Tay Tay Big Money Music, 2023) I listen to a fair amount of dance music and this is just trash, it’s not good dance music at all, mostly because Taylor Swift continues to have no funk nor rhythm whatsoever. Please God don’t listen to this music and think this is dance music. Oy. Her vocals is the worst and it’s hard to know how much better the sounds would be if she wasn’t fronting them. Atrocious.

@@@ Yo La Tengo: This Stupid World (Matador, 2023) Ah, the east coast indie stalwarts Yo La Tengo. I’ve always dug their guitar tones, the tunes less so but I’m agnostic to slightly positive on them as an outfit. The vocals on the opening track are dreamy in contrast with the chugging and medium squally sounds under the vocals. I might have to skip forward a bit as it’s a bit sleepy, it sounds more like a soundcheck than a fully formed track. The second tune Fallout appears to be a more focused indie track without the big fat gaps while they rhythm section keeps rolling. I’ve just let this record keep rolling as I do some other stuff and I’m pretty agnostic on it. I think this is for the superfans who want to connect. I’m not really a superfan of anybody so I’m out. It’s better than Lavender Haze by Taylor Swift, I’ll give ’em that.

Music for 1/16/23!!! Warpaint, Thee Sacred Souls

@@@ Warpaint: Champion (Heirloom/Virgin, 2022) I got to this track via the recording magazine Tape Op, an absolutely fantastic toilet read about audio recording. This is the opening track of the record and this looks to set to be an indie electronic affair with plenty of slack sauce with a focus on pimped out production. Sorta low energy female vocalist singing ironically about how she’s a champion. Very nice bassline, super nice in fact. Let’s peep the second track — same formula, pimped sounds detached singer, nice sounds not super interested in the tunes. The message is the medium.

@@@ Thee Sacred Souls: Future Lover (Daptone, 2022). Another listen off one of the Tape Op’s gent’s best of 2022 list and this one a Daptone banger. Boy I wish there was a bit of evolution in the Daptone formula but that appears to be a no go and their stuff is sealed in the amber time capsule. A very sweet singer here, a big swaggering horn section and a super nice drum sound. It’s really well put together and executed as you would expect but it doesn’t move me, I need a twist or something to set it apart. Hey that’s just me.

Music for 12/30/22!!! Melt Yourself Down

@@@ Melt Yourself Down: Pray For Me I Don’t Fit In (Decca, 2022) I got to this major label slightly punky and brash rock that hit the Guardian’s best at mid year list. I like the attitude, and after that it’s pretty manicured which as I’ve been through a million times before is contradictory to the pose. This is attitudinal music for centrist people who get a bit disoriented when shit gets hectic and out of hand. I like the bass player, he/she/they are killing it and then you know it’s less interesting. It’s not disappointing it’s just aimed at another set of listeners of whom I’m not a member.

Music for 12/12/22!!! Aldous Harding, Rachika Nayar

@@@ Aldous Harding: Fever (4AD, 2022) A couple of listens from Pitchfork’s best 100 songs of 2022. I’m not hearing a lot indie rock that I’m into but I’m a tad tilted against it and I’ve heard enough indie rock to last a lifetime. Third tune of the record, with a piano and a classic rock flair when it comes on. I made it about a minute, it annoyed me. Now I’m checking out the opener, Ennui, and it is sporting a similar feel — it’s more a pose than music, or it’s music as a pose. I see that it’s out on 4AD and I’ve heard a lot of 4AD biscuits in my time in the listening hole and this fits into their big box of biscuits perfectly. Short on funk, big on sophisticated white people attitude. Oy. Have at it if that’s how you roll.

@@@ Rachika Nayar: Heaven Come Crashing (NNA Tapes, 2022) This is the seventh track of the record and it opens up guitar-centric, sparkly, and layered. Lots of 5 minute and longer bangers here so I’m expecting a slower pace. Some ghost-y ooohs and aaahs and then some dreamy female vocals. This is #15 on Pitchfork’s best 100 songs, oy, they must have a good music publicist as I’m not finding a lot to hold onto here. Right at 2:30 is blows out into an epic cloud of sounds with a straight manic drum ‘n bass beat as they go for the fusion of rock feels and ambient and club music. I’m gonna be honest it’s not working great for me, it’s gotta cheesy tinge to it, a hipper melody would work better for me. This is for people who watch Marvel movies and are moved by them. Big 0 for 2 in the listening hole today, #sadface.

Music for 12/10/22!!! Authentically Plastic, Horsegirl

@@@ Authentically Plastic: Aesthetic Terrorism (Hakuna Kalala, 2022) A couple of top tracks off Crack’s best of 2022 list. The track below is the opening track and it’s a blend of hand drumming/hand drum samples mixed with some medium aggro industrial grinding pulses. As the tune moves towards the end, there’s more drumming, an arpeggiated synth, and the steady pulse. I like a lot of the sounds here but they tend to be static without a lot of changes to the tracks once they get rolling. I wish the arrangements were more dynamic.

@@@ Horsegirl: Anti-Glory (Matador, 2022) I guess this kind of music just keeps rolling on, somewhat committed to whatever it’s committed to and put out by stalwarts like Matador. I skipped through to the second tune because I was nodding out on the opener and this is is cool and I don’t want to be anti-guitar indie but is it too much to ask for some excitement? Have we outgrown flipping out? It appears so. It’s perfectly fine music and if you like indie guitar music check this out and you might dig. I will be checking other stuff out.

Music for 12/8/22!!! Steve Lacy, Charlotte Adigery and Bolis Pupul

@@@ 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.

Music for 12/6/22!!! Gilla Band, oso oso

@@@ 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.