Music for 5/29/23!!! Shirley Collins, Jealous of the Birds

@@@ Shirley Collins: Hares on the Mountain (Domino, 2023) A coupla listens off this week’s Line of Best Fit and this is some folk/singer songwriter music from an 87 year old. The record opens with the track Fare the Well My Dearest Dear and it’s a guitar/mandoling driven ditty with distinctive UK/Irish flavors to the melodies. Traditional and modern at the same time, I dig it. I’m on the third track now and my main observation revolves around how this is music just focused on being music and not music designed to sell or be popular and having that as a main motivation makes it very enjoyable to me. In addition to her soothing voice the varying instrumentation from song to song keeps the show fresh.

@@@ Jealous of the Birds: Cynic’s Song (Atlantic, 2023) The video below is the third tune on the record and it’s a steady slow banger with acoustic guitar, some ringing piano chords, and a wee bit of shaker. The arrangement is manicured and Ms. Birds can surely sing, but I’m not sure the impact the track is having on me. The fourth track brings more of rhythm section into the proceedings which instantly turns it into Starbucks music to buy coffee by. I’m giving the opening track a quick listen after checking out other tracks and it’s a spacious fingerpicked guitar part over a simple and delayed drum machine before it rocks out by quickly clicking through to track 2. I prefer the record above to this record, this one’s trying too hard.

Music for 5/23/23!! Cusp, Mandy Indiana

@@@ Cusp: You Can Do It All (N/A, 2023) Off this week’s 10 most reviewed albums via Pitchfork. I see the video clip below is You Can’t Do It All and the title of the record is You Can Do It All and it’s confusing but that’s where we are at. The record opens with a lopsided loop and a long tone and a small piano figure and it’s mesmerizing and then the guitar goes and ruins it. Ha, not really, now it’s a band with a female singer. Then the band takes it down while the strings come in and that’s always a move towards the epic, at least partially and that was all a bit of a head fake intro because it clicks through to the second tune and it’s all indie rock, bright and guitar-y and it’s ’90s clean guitar indie time all over again!! It’s way more than competent and it’s a question of whether folks are into it. On the tune Limited Edition they bring out the distortion pedals and it’s cool except I’ve heard it a whole bunch. And when I say a whole bunch I mean it. This one all depends on the listener.

@@@ Mandy, Indiana: I’ve Seen a Way (Fire Talk, 2023) Another listen off the Pitchfork 10 Most reviewed albums of the week and this is epic, arpeggiated stuff on the opener, not particularly square and not particularly funky. The second tune (clipped below) opens quite differently with a fast, blasting kick drum before the techno-ish hi hats hit with some wooden mallet action to go with it. Vocals, arrgh, vocals!!!! I’m giving the fourth track, Injury Detail a quick peep before I post this post and it’s clearly half frat boy electro with a schmear of arena rock and a tad of Nine Inch Nails. It’s pretty well arranged but you’re gonna need to be hungry for a bit of cheese to enjoy this sandwich.

Music for 5/16/23!!! Tolerance, Bernice

@@@ Tolerance: Anonym (Mesh-Key Records, 2023) I got to this jammy, free-ish alternative record via PItchfork’s 10 most reviewed albums of the week. It’s keyboard centric affair with guitars and shakers on this here second track, I Wanna Be a Homicide which I thought would be more energetic given the title. But alas. I like the spaciousness of it to be sure and to an extent I like the devil may care flow but I wish it was doing more, it’s sorta power floundering. There are some spoken word parts and processed chunks of voices in places which adds to the flatness of the proceedings. Flatness as in alienation and detachment, America’s condiments, alienation and detachment.

@@@ Bernice: Cruisin’ (Telephone Explosion, 2023) This is a pear shaped electro pop record where all is not right. I’m on the second track, Second Judy and it’s a blend of abrupt changes and sounds and lounge-y flavors, it’s quite wild. I like the random sounds and I don’t think they are super random. It’s a female singer and for the most part she plays it straight and the instruments are varied and they just dropped into a smooth funk mode, it’s pretty interesting. I like this record, it’s got an interesting spirit to it. I’ve returned to finish up today’s reviews and will be going out on track 6, well maybe not, it’s a sleeper. I clicked through to track 7 and it’s another mostly indie type track. They seemed to have a split record going on with funk and lounge in the beginning of the record and then into the indie business.. Ah well I will remember the good times we had in the early part of the record.

Music for 5/15/23!!!! Bekka Ma’iingan, Overmono

@@@ Bekka Ma’iingan: Zoon (Paper Bag, 2023) Off this week’s 10 most reviewed Pitchfork albums blah blah. It’s pretty ambient strummed guitar + serpentine sonic stuff. I think the guitar playing on the opener is pretty staid and the + ambient stuff is interesting but the second track is kicking in and there’s a singer and it’s a bit slack for me. The third tune appears to be the full indie rock monty with reverbed voice, way reverbed voice, straight rock drumming and some statick-y guitar playing. Not really my cup of tea.

@@@ Overmono: Skulled (XL, 2023) More off this week’s Pitchfork 10 most reviewed albums of the week. This is electronic music done within a song structure with vocalists. I’m on the second track and it’s a lot of processed vocals on a slick club rhythm foundation. Not frat boy pumping but more of a gin and tonic bubbling flow. Sophisto, folks with jobs. I like this third tune Good Lies, it’s the funkiest of what I heard. This fourth tune will be my last. Thus far I’m into a fair amount of the sounds, I find the vocal processing a bit much after a while and the tunes are pretty good. Not jump up and down material for me, but not bad.

Music for 4/10/23!!! Wednesday, Scree

@@@ Wednesday: Rat Saw God (Dead Oceans, 2023) It appears there were piles of guitar indies lying around waiting for the moment when everybody thought it was time for rock to make a comeback. Don’t put me amongst those yearning for the various versions of punk, grunge, and sad white people rock. I do like the dual guitar squall going on here, it’s pretty wild in places and lends an unhinged vibe to the proceedings. I’m all for unhined vibes cuz our society is coming apart at the seams. I’m agnostic to slightly negative on the female singer here. Cheer up maam, there’s a lot of other folks got it way worse than you I’m guessing.

@@@ Scree: Jasmine on a Night in July (Ruination, 2023) Apple Music has this slotted as jazz, and it does have an upright bass but to me it sounds like a Doors jam record with a little bit of surf rock up in it. It’s got a very chill vibe to it. I guess the reason I’m downgrading the labelling is because I don’t think the players are engaging enough in their performance, outside of the bass player they sound like rock musicians.

Music for April 6, 2023!!!! The No Ones, Katie Gately

@@@ The No Ones: My Best Evil Friend (Yep Roc, 2023) Some shambolic old school slop a dop rock off this week’s All Music notable release email. Lots of chime-y guitars and a sort of world weary male singer with a straight drummer up on it. Brit rock threads to my ears but I could be wrong and I don’t believe I will be hanging out long enough to see where these dudes hail from. It’s perfectly fine, sounds good, played well, but it’s not rock I’m interested in.

@@@ Katie Gately: Fawn/Brute (Houndstooth,, 2023) I don’t love the vocalizations here but I am into the sounds of the first track here. The sounds have a pleasant middle class funk to them with a dash of industrial edge. I don’t hate the vocals but my interest lies in the sounds. I like the synth horn lines and the beats. The beats aren’t over the top Timbaland style but the package of sounds surpasses most indie electronic.

Music for 4/5/22!!! Deerhoof

@@@ Deerhoof: Miracle Level (Joyful Noise, 2023) I’ve always liked this outfit as I believe they represent what I perceive to be the weird ass quirky spirit of real indie rock. Controversial I know. I hear classic guitar tones and riffs in places, and weird filler meandering guitar tones in other places, and while I don’t remember the full lineup of Deerhoof I have always found the vocalist charming. The songs are songs with a pretty reasonable amount of weirdness, it’s just the vibe here and I’m not one to usually traffic in recommendations based on vibes. This is what rock sounds like when freaks try to play it but they just can’t be full normies and make it completely predictable and epic. I like this, I can’t believe I’m saying this because I’m opposed to 99% of indie rock that’s out there.

Music for 3/29/23!!! Jenny Lewis, Hus Kingpin

@@@ Jenny Lewis: Psychos (Blue Note, 2023) Oy, this is on Blue Note, somewhat shocking! Hipster goes legit on a legendary imprint. I’ve clicked on her last two releases and they were both on Warner so she’s not an indie hipster, my mistake! This is a pretty straightforward California chill rock typa thing. It’s a mashup of light Joni Mitchell feels as well as the ‘Stuck in the Middle With You’ Gerry Rafferty but not as inspired as Senor Rafferty. It’s perfectly fine, to my ears it doesn’t really stand out but some folks aren’t looking for that.

@@@ Hus Kingpin: The Tricky Tape (Wave Runners Club, 2023) I got to this independent hip hop track via a music publicist email. This is some retro NYC hip hop and the MC has a scratchity-ass tone to his voice that produces a rough flavor. The third track Blueprint picks up the tempo a bunch with a bouncing horn line for the MC to work a bit quicker. The third tune, Maxinquaye, is a real tear jerker with strings the boom bap. I don’t love strings in hip hop but if it comes with the boom bap I can deal with it.

Music for 3/27/23!!!! Lucinda Chua, Caroline Rose

@@@ Lucinda Chua: An Ocean (4AD, 2023) Today’s listens are off this week’s All Music notable release email and we’re doing female Monday and listening bottom to top so this is my second listen of the day. The opener is keyboard driven, it’s also quite emotionally dramatical, with stacks of background vocals which I’m usually a bit skeptical of. I like the keyboard parts and some of the electronic sounds. The second tune opens up with a huge swell, it’s just massive — porn star sized. I’m finishing up my listen with the tune ‘You’, more keyboard with electro bits and very dramatical vocalizations. I’ll tell you this much I dig it a lot more than usual 4AD releases. I might not be ready for this high level of feelings and drama but I’ve often been accused of being dead inside.

@@@ Caroline Rose: Miami (New West, 2023) Off this week’s All Music notable release email. The first track Love/Lover/Friend goes from an in the bedroom acoustic guitar lo fit thing, to soaring vocals, a string arrangement, and big big feels. The second track, Rebirth, comes on with the sly electro and more intimate vocals which may or may not morph into something huge. I am now listening the tune clipped below. I think Rose is a talented arranger and she definitely uses changes and instruments to keep the vibe fresh but there’s an overly dramatical feel oozing in at certain points. If the big feels were a bit smaller I would go for it more. I can see this working for a fair number of people, it’s got some creativity into it even if I don’t love everything about it.

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.