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 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 1/8/22!!! Holy Fawn

@@@ Holy Fawn: Dimensional Bleed (Wax Bodega, 2022) Pretty much the last listen off a very good rando best metal of 2022 list. I don’t think from the first track that it’s going to work for me but it’s an interesting mash of internal, shoegaze feels and dark vibes that metal traffics in. For example the second track is Death is a Relief, which is kind of a goth teen sentiment while the music hits with an ’80s snare sound and a big Tears for Fears rock rush. It’s dark but more in a sweet, chocolate-y sad way and not just the pure rage and alienation of a classic metal record. This could work for NPR listeners though I’m not really in the NPR listener business. The singer could really work for mondo dark NPR teens, for real, it’s like the Cure had a baby with a metal band. That’s interesting.

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.

Music for 12/5/22!!! Ethel Cain, MJ Lenderman

@@@ 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.

Music for 12/4/22!!! Boyhood

@@@ 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.