@@@ Bendik Giske: Flutter (Smalltown Supersound, 2021) I’m a fan of this Scandinavian music label that puts out electronic music, some jazz and other business so they’ve earned a peep. Both of today’s listens are from this week’s All Music notable release email. It opens with some sax valve-partial blowing business. I don’t love the big reverb patch on this solo piece, and I’m hoping this isn’t a solo sax record as I have trouble with those. The second track, Cruising, is either a looped sax part or sax being played circularly and that takes place over a minimal hand drum beat. It’s smooth and somewhat background-y which isn’t my favorite type of jazz though I can see how the coffee shop folks can feel jazz-like while listening to this. It’s a 10 minute plus track that does start to come out of its groove. It sounds as if they’re feeding part of the saxophone into a huge blooming reverb so that remnants of it start to blossom up and form a huge sonic cloud. Overall I’m pretty agnostic on this.
@@@ Thalia Zedek: Revelation Time (Thrill Jockey, 2021) I’m not sure what’s up with this artist and Thrill Jockey has she has two 2021 releases up on Apple Music. Not sure if they’re current releases or old ones that have been re-released via Thrill Jockey. It’s pretty straightforward guitar rock and Zedek’s voice is one of the most notable elements of the music. She has a limited voice but it has a classic rock weariness to it (partial) that does draw the listener into the music. Medium crunchy guitars with drums high in the mix, I’m always up for drums high in the mix. It doesn’t have a ton of appeal for me personally but it’s well executed rock music.
@@@ The Bug: Pressure (Ninja Tune, 2021) Today’s listens are off this week’s All Music notable release email. The second track off this full length banger is clipped below. The record is notable for it’s guest vocalists (including Moor Mother who Imma big fan of) and on this track it’s a Caribbean flavored MC who brings energy to the dark sounding bassline and the generally ominous ambience of the track. My experience is that lots of guests can be a mixed bag — a vocalist that can elevate a track can be the vocalist you’re missing in the next track where another vocalist has taken an alternative approach. Overall it’s a dark, slightly apocalyptic dancefloor flavor pack as the player moves to the third track, Demon. I’m feeling this music fits the moment we’re in and I plan on checking it out more completely when I get the chance. I’m on a fifth track and I’m feeling it so if my word counts for anything check it out.
@@@ Churches: Violent Delights (Glassnote, 2021) Also off this week’s All Music notable release email. Big sweeping 1980’s flavored sounds busting out of the speaker as soon as the play button hits. Dreamy female vocals, a big synth wave, this is quite in contrast to the title of the song, though the energy does build. Energy, in my mind, does not equate to violence or violent delights. I like the singer in spots, especially in the chorus — the vocal hook is ‘these violent delights keeping sneaking into my nights’. It’s all right as a vocal hook goes, violent delights is a dramatical statement. The song also is somewhat built around a crushed (compressed) brief snare roll that propels the tune. Overall, a B- as far as I’m concerned, 1980’s synth rock is a stretch for me.
@@@ Jany Green: Lost in Love (Self-released, 2021) You gotta give it up for the interwebz to be able to present non-stereotypical combinations of music. This is some rock music but it’s got a lot black music feels, including the almost MC rhymes of the singer and the moderate amount of swing swirled into the arrangement. Lots of guitars, plenty of pop elements, even some hip hop as I mentioned. I got to this via this week’s Line of Best Fit email. I let the player click through and he pursues the same formula. I like the mash of different styles while not super connecting to the songs. It’s not quite shopping mall music but it’s not that far off.
@@@ Indigo De Souza: Hold U (Saddle Creek, 2021) Also off this week’s Line of Best Fit and released by Saddle Creek, a home for sensitive white people’s music. I haven’t peeped anything Saddle Creek wise for a long while so here we go. It opens simple drum machine, keyboard and female singer, clipped below. It seems to want to dip a toe in dance type music with the plinky guitar, ooh, there we go as the simple drum machine gets a big addition with a rock beat but upbeat and danceable. It reminds me of a Peter Gabriel type of track where other musics are infused into rock business. Handclaps, sidestick in the break to go with the guitar where the attempted funk is centered. It’s gonna be all right, I want to Hold U. It’s a bit clunky as one would expect from an indie label. Yowsa, the next track up cued the indie guitars and we’re back in rawk-land. I’m outie, but if you feel this have at it, there’s no shame in it.
@@@ Kenya Eugene: Bun It (SOA Group, 2021) Off this week’s WRIR weekly playlist email, where I get a lot of my world music jams. Great station! After a single female vocal opens up the tune you get a full ensemble, modernly produced, roots reggae track. Ms. Eugene is concious and passionate and she starts to work rhythmically on the microphone. Wow, fat track full of righeous sentiments. I’m feeling this. Crab in a bucket mentality, we bun it! Bun it as in we burn it, she’s had enough of a lot awful things happening in the world. This track has it all as far as I’m concerned so if you dig reggae, you best peep it. This was originally the second listen of the day but after hearing the opener I had to boost this up even if it’s racist against white people and shit.
@@@ Yargii: Just Wait (Skill Syrup, 2021) I got to this punk rock track via an Australian music magazine called Happy Magazine, which is bit of a strange name. I thought this was set to be a pumped up punk rawk nugget but I’m greeted with a mopey guitar strum, though it picks up when the tune proper drops. It’s a little twee indie in the vocal melody, a bit punky in its simplicity and a bit poppy in the arrangement. The lyrics are a little melancholy and a bit hopeful at the same time, they kinda pass without a huge impression left, the melody hits harder than the sentiment.
@@@ Samia: Show Up (Grand Jury , 2021) I can’t remember how I got to this track, sorry about dat, cash me outside. To my ears it’s a blend of pop and indie with power chords in the chorus and poppier production in the verse. It’s a saddie, it’s a song for the people she loves and has loved, it’s a fine sentiment if not a bit bland. I’m finding the delivery and tone of her vocals to be dragging down what is a pretty usual arrangement. It perks up a bit in the chorus but I tell ya it could use a Red Bull.
@@@ Lingua Ignota: Pennsylvania Furnace (Sargent House, 2021) Off a Pitchfork 10 best reviewed albums of the week email. There’s a one sentence blurb on Apple Music saying this record is about betrayal and the repercussions of that betrayal. This is the fourth tune off the record and it opens up slow with some nice piano chords and some impassioned singing. In the tradition of Tori Amos and Nick Cave mashed up in a car crash. I’m feeling the piano, how it’s played and how it sounds and the minimal arrangement keeps the dramatical vocalizing within accepted boundaries. My rigid boundaires, that is. There’s a breathy one note synth that comes and go and I think that’s just a righteous choice. The tune is building in energy and volume without adding a ton of new parts, she’s just adding more of herself to the equation. I like this track and if you like emotional business rocked via piano check it out. I know everybody has been shitting themselves over Nick Cave’s recent work but I consider this to be similar in themes but more original in its songwriting and sounds. I’m listening to the tune after Pennsylvania Furnace and it’s a country dirge with a huge pile of voices and it’s dark as fuck anchored in some satire or indulgence of fucked in the head Christianity.
@@@ Desire Marea: Tavern Kween (Mute, 2021) Super lush diva style dancefloor bangin’ that I got to via the All Music notable release email. A long intro (including cowbell) that expands out into a pretty straight beat with a lot of percussion layers and some sleek synth sounds and visceral oohs and aaaahs. You are supposed to feel the passion! By the midpoint it’s a thick stew including a small synth horn figure I like a whole bunch, a call and response in the vocals but overriding that for my ears is the straight beat. If it was funkier I would like this track much more. Nice and rare guitar solo, very understated. There’s a lot here I like including the falsetto vocals but the beat, oy the beat. I clicked over to the track You Think I’m Horny which I thought was going to be an over the top booty shaker but is in reality an over the top, super dramatical love song which I like a whole bunch. Its emotional excesses are perfectly framed here and the romantic feels in contrast to the song the title is very creative, imho.
@@@ Ty Segall: Harmonizer (Drag City, 2021) I’ve checked out Ty Segall’s music repeatedly and while I understand that he’s an indie darling I’ve never really felt the genius for myself. This is supposed to be Segall’s synth period and I hear it a bit here but the garnish ends up producing a surprisingly classic rock feel, which in the end is completely appropriate if you think like me that indie rock isn’t much more than a branch of the classic rock tree. Seagall is most definitly an experienced arranger/performer and that’s on full display. He takes a long guitar riff and builds a whole track around it and keeps it fresh and engaging without dulling the mind with repetition. Segall builds a giant outro with multiple guitar tracks and a dance rock beat with synth stabs at the end of the track. Solid B+.
@@@ The Narcotix: Adam (Self-released, 2021) I’m checking this out as this is supposed to be music that comes out of a lot of Afrobeat listened to by the two female leaders of this group. I hear it a bit, but I also hear a lot of indie conceits and a lot of nerd rock which aren’t my favorite flavors. I’m checking out a little bit of the second track and the Afrobeat rhythm is more present but the overall flavor here is one of proggy nerdism. I could use more fire and a better guitar tone. On the plus side I dig their vocal delivery, it’s off kilter and I dig that.
@@@ PDP III: 49 Days (Shelter Press, 2021) An improvised ambient record I got to via the Pitchfork looking back on Spring 2021 releases. This is the last track of the record and it’s a lot of cymbal washes and gongs right now. Could be worse than cymbal washes and gonges as far as I’m concerned. Other waves of sound enter the picture including a cello drone. I like the tempo of this and I like the sounds. This is an almost 16 minute banger that I will not be fully peeping but I will check another track to see how it compares to this one. This one is a long unfolding piece of business that I like. I’m checking the first track and it’s a lot more chatter-y with some mechanical rain sounds, typewriter type stuff but also the waves of drones and metallic strings that is the key to the big banger I checked out the front of. I like this a whole bunch — interesting sounds, the right amount of sounds, a nice spread of sounds. Sounds, sounds, sounds, check it out.
@@@ Joel Culpepper: Thought About You (Pepper, 2021) A blend of funk and smooth r&b that really caught my ear in the chorus when he hits the ‘thought about you’ hook. Culpepper kills it on the microphone, falsetto, funky and engaging. I don’t love the guitar sound but I’ll trade that for the hook in the chorus. Lots of Curtis Mayfield lush arrangement feels here as well as Prince style pop funk on the docket. I looked him up and he’s a Brit which I think is a bit surprising as well as impressive as he has a real knack for American style ’70s soul and funk music. If you enjoy these genres you should check out this record and I will be doing the same.
@@@ Attawalpa: Killer (Attawalpa, 2021) All three of today’s listens are off this week’s Line of Best Fit email. This track is a slotted at mainstream but sounds very mainstream in both its arrangement and intent. The singer is a low voice male who provides some contrast to a fairly energetic arrangement. I can’t clearly hear the vocal hook so I don’t really know what the song is about — I found the lyrics on their bandcamp page and it’s we all drop dead, we all down dead it’s in that vein. I like the production, it’s very well done, but I’m less enthused about the lyrics and the vocal performance.
@@@ Anne-Marie: Therapy (Warner UK, 2021) I don’t know what to say about the number of mainstream confessional pop songs about mental illness. I can’t tell if they’re genuine statements or something pre-planned as a topic that resonates with listeners. It’s weird to hear cheerful sounds tied to this set of emotions — not saying it shouldn’t be done, but it’s a strange listening experience. Production here is medium bounce focused mostly on electro sounds. Anne Marie is a good singer and overall it’s a restrained sad dancefloor banger.
@@@ Josh A: Warzone (Josh A, 2021) I got to this via a music publicist email. It’s whiteboy hip hop with space age, sci fi sounds and a trap undercarriage. Anybody producing or knowledgeable about electronic music production knows that the beats and bass come pre fabbed. The main offender to me is the guitar tones, they’re pretty cheesy unfortunately. Mr. A. is all right on the mic, neither shameful or particularly strong but he flows all right. I’m briefly checking out another track and there’s a fair amount of Disney feels to go with the dark lyrics which I think works for a lot of folks out there. I don’t find it very interesting.
@@@ Rowan: One of these Days (Beverly Martel, 2021) Also from a music publicist email. These guys hail from Ireland and they definitely have heard The Strokes. By the time they throw some pub energy into it, it’s a blend. I like the verse, the chorus less, oh no a tambourine! The tambourine is my mortal enemy. There are a fair amount of unpredictable choices here — a slow down that breaks the rhythmic flow and a brief and fiery guitar shred at the end of the tune, so I appreciate their efforts to freshen the formula.
@@@ La Luz: In the Country (Harly Art, 2021) Twatter! A pre-release track from an indie hipster upcoming full length banger. This track is a surf-y slower track with female vocals. Plenty of twang to be had here in the guitar neighborhood, a little electro synth garnish and some California hippie style vocal harmonizing. I think that’s the money shot right there, people dig that harmonizing. I’m agnostic on it, neither be hatin’ nor lovin’ it. It’s an all right tune, I just wish it had more energy — maybe a faster tempo or something to contrast all those vocals and electro garnish.
@@@ Abstract Mindstate: A Wise Tale (Yzy Snd, 2021) Same here, via the Twatter! This for me is a dream as I get to hear Kanye West’s sounds without hearing Kanye West! Big plus for me. I thought this was an album but it’s a single with an fresh faced sounding MC over a soul based arrangement including a male whoo hoo. Multiple MCs are revealed as the song progresses with a female MC I like a whole bunch. It sounds like pitches the sample down in the chorus and back up in the verse, that’s an interesting move while making the chorus a bit stranger and weirder. Kanye West is nothing if not strange and weird and while I like the sounds I prefer the MCs and think they shine here.