Music for 8/7/17!!! Ondatropica, Girl Ray, Julian Borrego, Motograter

@@@ Ondatropica: Baile Bucanero (Soundway, 2017) These guys made my list with their 2012 record so they get a repeat listen.  They do a mash of styles — Brazilian music as well as other Caribbean musics including a dash of reggae and a splash of Mexican music.  Also some funk music and electronic music elements.  They’re excellent and creative players.  These first two tunes are very laid-back.  I’m on the fifth tune and it’s not super breezy but I don’t feel it to be super hard hitting.  I like it all right but you should check for yourself as it’s a hard record to describe.

@@@ Girl Ray: Earl Grey (Moshi Moshi, 2017)  Some vintage indie guitar pop I got to from the blog Line of Best Fit.  That’s where I go to listen to the tracks of the week and usually when I do that the internet just breaks.  It shits itself and breaks out of sheer joy.  This first tune is a female vocalist fuel cotton candy nugget with eagerly strummed clean guitar chords and some falsetto singing.  Do not listen to this record when you’re eating ice cream as it will make your teeth hurt.

@@@ Julian Borrego: Ouroboros (Julian Borrego, 2017) An older school funk record I got to via the indie music blog Indiepulse.  Big funky bass lines, medium bounce beats, falsetto vocals, it’s all here, skranky guitars, etc.  I would say Earth Wind and Fire is the best touchstone for this music.  Funky and friendly.  I like it but I wish it hit harder.  Ya know, a tad more doobie in the funk.

@@@ Motograter: Dorian (EMP Label Group, 2017)  A hard rock single also off the indie music blog Indiepulse.  Opens up with a monster riff and a clippy kick drum sound.  Let’s see how the singer hits, Imma guessing cucumber in the leather pants rock star action.  Yeah, mostly that but not too dramatic.  It gets pretty mainstream in the chorus and here we encounter the self-loathing of many mainstream hard rock bands.  I will fade away, become nothing, a ghost of who I used to be — some such wallowing.  Oh boy, life’s too short for this I’d rather listen to dogs fornicate.  It’s an okay song, they play all right I don’t get the sentiment.

YTD recordings listened to: 506
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 276
Not good music: 208

Buys: 8
Honorable Mentions: 6

Possibles: Chris McGregor, Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Slidhr, The Chewers, Toxic Holocaust, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Lenguas Largas, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Lozen, Erase Errata, Mastery, Leviathan, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, Janelle Monae, Luther Dickinson, Graeme Barrett, Fast Asleep, Goldlink, Cavanaugh, Gentleman Surfer, 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, Magrudergrind, A Tribe Called Quest, Noname, Gouge Away, Anna Hogberg, Klara Lewis, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, James Brandon Lewis, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, J.I.D., Oddisee, Forro in the Dark, RAM, Fiver, Dona Onete, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Priests, Propaganda, This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez, Integrity

Music for 8/3/17!!! Indonesian Junk, Lucy Rose, Skrillex & Poo Bear, Mick Jagger

@@@ Indonesian Junk: I’ll Run Away (Rum Bar, 2017)  A late ’70s/early ’80s old school rumble punk/rock single I got to via the music blog Indiepulse.  The singer has a bit of Joey Ramone and they’re a bit looser than the Ramones.  There is an unexpectedly nice guitar shred solo but it’s a tad long on the outro.  It’s a cool tune but feel free to call it a day when you need to.

@@@ Lucy Rose: Something’s Changing (Lucy Rose/Communion, 2017)  Folky singer songwriter that features a harp on the first tune.  This is just the intro so the flavors may change.  The second tune brings in some super mellow reverbed electric guitar and Daniel Lanois sounding production.  It’s super soft and intimate music — no feelings are going to get hurt in the listening of this record.  #guaranteed.  Get out your chamomile tea and just kick back into these welcoming sounds if that’s how you float.

@@@ Skrillex & Wool Bear: Would You Ever? (WEA, 2017)  An electro single off the hot tracks section of Apple Music.  Tis a chopped vocal salad dance floor banger.  The male singer’s voice fades in and out of processing as he keeps asking the lady in his life ‘would you ever run away with me?’  I’m assuming Poo Bear is the singer and Skrillex is at the computer.  As a technical show it’s a solid B, as music it’s C-.  The last 15 seconds is actually mad hot but that’s too long to wait and they should have started with that boom titch and maybe eased up on the chopped salad.

@@@ Mick Jagger: England Lost (Universal, 2017) This single has been getting press in various locations and on music blogs that I follow.  It’s Mick Jagger bitching about Brexit over a grime arrangement.  It’s not so grime-y imho.  I just looked up the definition of grime (electronic music that came out of jungle/UK garage and hip hop) and outside of the featured vocal by Skepta this is surprisingly Stones-y with harmonica, a few guitar riffs, mid Stones-era disco influence all served up over a pretty straightforward funky beat.  I don’t want to get into the politics of Brexit as it’s mad complicated but the idea that people would vote against their own economic self-interest seems to freak people out.  Contrary to ruling class behavior which is always focused on economic self-interest, many folks are good for an old fashioned fuck you to those at the top and why that is shocking is more than a bit sad.  The assholes who have been gorging at the financial pig trough in London deserve a hale and hearty ‘Go fuck yourself’.

YTD recordings listened to: 502
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 274
Not good music: 206

Buys: 8
Honorable Mentions: 6

Possibles: Chris McGregor, Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Slidhr, The Chewers, Toxic Holocaust, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Lenguas Largas, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Lozen, Erase Errata, Mastery, Leviathan, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, Janelle Monae, Luther Dickinson, Graeme Barrett, Fast Asleep, Goldlink, Cavanaugh, Gentleman Surfer, 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, Magrudergrind, A Tribe Called Quest, Noname, Gouge Away, Anna Hogberg, Klara Lewis, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, James Brandon Lewis, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, J.I.D., Oddisee, Forro in the Dark, RAM, Fiver, Dona Onete, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Priests, Propaganda, This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez, Integrity

Best of 2017 Pick 8

Prepared: Trust Me (BART Records, 2017)

22 minutes of heartfelt, emo punk with great energy.  The guitar player is surprisingly engaging as you don’t usually get super interesting guitar playing on straight punk records.

The strength of this record lies in its ability to express/release a lot of negative emotions (frustration, desperation, sadness, anger, etc) with somewhat simple musical elements and allow listeners to have a similar release.  And it accomplishes this with a nakedness and/or lack of pretension — it just goes right to it and lets it out.  This to me is the essence of great punk rock.

Music for 7/27/17!!! The Bombay Royale, Pokey LaFarge, Mr. Eazi

@@@  The Bombay Royale: Run Kitty Run (Hopestreet, 2017)  An Australian/Indian funky large ensemble record.  There are two tracks up for pre-release on the Apple Music and this first track is funky for sure with some tongue in cheek spy movie/spaghetti western influence.  I like the blending of musical cultures and I am enjoying the singers but I’m not jumping up and down.

@@@ Pokey LaFarge: Manic Revelations (Rounder/Concord, 2017)  Some old school rocking’ r&b in the vein of James Hunter that I got to via this week’s CFUV playlist email.  It’s a larger band with a horn section and an organ player.  LaFarge has a very nice voice and this is a celebration of early ’60 r&b.  Pre black power/James Brown.  Aretha Franklin could probably beat LaFarge up and that would be entertaining.

@@@ Mr. Eazi: Life is Eazi, Vol. 1 — Akkra to Lagos (Banku Music, 2017)  A rare African music record on the front page of Apple Music.  I can see why they have him front and center as he sounds like an African Bieber except not nearly as annoying.  Smooth vocals with some nice African guitar playing and beats you would find on a lot of new American mainstream releases.  Regular readers know that I’m a huge listener of all African music but this does not have enough African music in it to super interest me.  It’s probably really interesting to a lot of American mainstream music listeners.  I’m agnostic.

YTD recordings listened to: 491
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 268
Not good music: 201

Buys: 7
Honorable Mentions: 6

Possibles: Chris McGregor, Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Slidhr, The Chewers, Toxic Holocaust, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Lenguas Largas, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Lozen, Erase Errata, Mastery, Leviathan, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, Janelle Monae, Luther Dickinson, Graeme Barrett, Fast Asleep, Goldlink, Cavanaugh, Gentleman Surfer, 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, Magrudergrind, A Tribe Called Quest, Noname, Gouge Away, Anna Hogberg, Klara Lewis, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, James Brandon Lewis, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, J.I.D., Oddisee, Forro in the Dark, RAM, Fiver, Dona Onete, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Priests, Propaganda, This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez, Integrity

Music for 7/16/17!!! Kesha, American Football

@@@ Kesha: Woman (Kemosabe, 2017)  Post sexual harassment Kesha returns with a feminist  banger that combines old school horn lines and cheesy mainstream soul pop.  For example, the beat has no crunk to it at all and she seems intent on saying the word motherfucker more than anything else lyrically.  She does have an interesting line telling everyone to get off her weed but she wears out the line til it’s clever no longer.  Something a little deeper musically and lyrically would have worked better for me, but it’s shallow so it’s probably gonna be huge.

@@@ American Football: American Football (LP2) (Polyvinyl, 2017)  This looks to be some meaningful rock that I got to via a music publicist.  Lots of arpeggiated indie guitars and yearning vocals in this first tune.  It’s very pretty.  This feels a bit operatic and long so let’s peep past this first tune.  Oh my, this is highly manicured and overwrought as this second tune My Instincts are the Enemy.  It’s interesting to me that rock was initially about rebellion and energy and this is somewhat the complete opposite.  The energy here is so polished and contained it sounds mad Republican.

YTD recordings listened to: 455
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 250
Not good music: 185

Buys: 7
Honorable Mentions: 6

Possibles: Chris McGregor, Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Slidhr, The Chewers, Toxic Holocaust, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Lenguas Largas, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Lozen, Erase Errata, Mastery, Leviathan, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, Janelle Monae, Luther Dickinson, Graeme Barrett, Fast Asleep, Goldlink, Cavanaugh, Gentleman Surfer, 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, Magrudergrind, A Tribe Called Quest, Noname, Gouge Away, Anna Hogberg, Klara Lewis, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, James Brandon Lewis, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, J.I.D., Oddisee, Forro in the Dark, RAM, Fiver, Dona Onete, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Dead Ranch, Priests, Propaganda. This is the Kit.

Music for 7/10/17!!! Anna of the North, Wyldest, The Anatomy of Frank, Peakes, R.L. Boyce

A couple of weeks ago I did a bunch of indie listening at Line of Best Fit’s tracks of the week and the Internet pretty much broke.  People went fucking nuts so it’s back again.

@@@ Anna of the North: Someone (Honeymoon/+1 Records, 2017)  A synth pop song fronted by a dreamy young female.  Those of you who love ABBA should be sporting major erections/moist panties.  Big pillow-y synths, angel choir background vocals — she’s only human, she needs someone to save her.  Gated snare sound, this is the total Reagan/Thatcher throwback.  She’s really wearing that vocal hook out.  I’m not a buyer of this but that’s just me.  More mopey than ABBA but still, major wood.

@@@ Wyldest: Hitchhiker (Hand in Hive, 2017)  Lucky us, more synth pop!  And another female singer.  Synth bass and what is going on with these massive angel choir background vocals??  If this is a trend it’s not going to be good for my mental health.  This tune has some really tasty drum machine hand claps so that’s something to look forward to.  This is a very similar formula to the first tune and that’s a bummer.  Let’s keep moving!

@@@ The Anatomy of Frank: Holy Mountain (Polar Islands, 2017)  Super intimate acoustic guitar and singing.  The intimate and soft feelings are everywhere here, watch your step you might crush one!  If Simon and Garfunkel had a gay love baby with gentleman junkie James Taylor it would sound a lot like this.  And that would be one fine looking gay love baby.  Towards the end the tune opens up a bit with some orchestral pieces but it doesn’t go over the top and I give Frank (and his anatomy!) credit for that.  Watch the feelings, they’re everywhere and delicate like salamanders.

@@@ Peakes: Saint (Peakes, 2017)  A balanced blend of synth and guitar on this just under mid tempo contemplative mope nugget.  They do have a nice ambient sound to the arrangement here.  The lyrics are somewhat dour –  what’s done is done appears a lot and that’s pretty much what America has been telling the country of Iraq and the Middle East for over a decade now.  Hey sorry about the invasion thing, what’s done is done!  But I digress.  How can I be a saint with the choices I’ve made?  That’s the lyrical essence of the tune.  The guitarist is the star here and the singer needs a Red Bull!  Onward.

@@@ R.L. Boyce: R.L.’s Boogie (Waxahatchie, 2017)  I’m more than a bit shocked to hear this old school electric blues track on an indie tracks of the week.  Who let Rosa Parks on the front of the bus??!!  Congrats to you Mr. Boyce and I dig your funky swinging guitar and the drummer is killin’ it!!!   It’s a rambler and it doesn’t have much of a lyrical point but it does swing like a motherfucker and I’m feeling this drummer.  You indie kids listen to how the old school brothers rock it as you could learn a thing or two.

YTD recordings listened to: 438
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 242
Not good music: 176

Buys: 7
Honorable Mentions: 6

Possibles: Chris McGregor, Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Slidhr, The Chewers, Toxic Holocaust, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Lenguas Largas, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Lozen, Erase Errata, Mastery, Leviathan, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, Janelle Monae, Luther Dickinson, Graeme Barrett, Fast Asleep, Goldlink, Cavanaugh, Gentleman Surfer, 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, Magrudergrind, A Tribe Called Quest, Noname, Gouge Away, Anna Hogberg, Klara Lewis, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, James Brandon Lewis, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, J.I.D., Oddisee, Forro in the Dark, RAM, Fiver, Dona Onete, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Dead Ranch, Priests, Propaganda

Music for 7/7/17!!! Floating Points, Lapalux, Andy Mineo and Wordsplayed

@@@ Floating Points: Reflections – Mojave Desert (Luaka Bop, 2017) A massive post rock opus from David Byrne’s imprint.  It’s gonna be artistic and hip if it’s on Luaka Bop and at 1 hour and 22 minutes it’s gonna move slow.  This is confirmed by the opening.  This is in the spirit of Pink Floyd but with more nerd sauce and less of that post-war British hopelessness.  Oh my they’re biting it pretty hard, right down to the drum fills.  I like it but I’m not finding the playing to be super engaging especially for the time required for consumption.  I’m on the third tune, Kites, and I feel like I’m watching the Pope masturbate — a combination of importance and wanking I’m afraid.  It could be that I’m a bit too low IQ for this music as prog has always been an uphill battle for me.  I’m not bright, I know this.

@@@ Lapalux: Ruinism (Stones Throw, 2017)  I try to peep Stones Throw releases as I’ve found good shit in their catalog.  I’m thinking this is gonna be left field r&b but this first tune is more an ambient cloud.  It’s just the intro but after getting into the beginning of the second piece there is a lot of classical music influence up in this record.  No beats yet, some ambient, gauzy synths joined by oboes and cellos and high female voices.  Now we get a rapid hi hat pulse, it’s okay.  Let’s check a little more and then move on.  Ah, here’s the fully fleshed action — some beats, pretty mellow on this jam with a nice fat teardrop bass sound, a r&b-ish type voice, some classical garnish and now some chopped up arranging.  It’s a mash of these sounds.

@@@ Andy Mineo & Wordsplayed: Dunk Contest (Reach Records, 2017)  A preview single off the Apple Music hot tracks.  This is a black/white collaboration about basketball and in a rare observation the white boy does all right on this track.  He’s got equal flow to the brother.  Very hip bass line over the skittery beats.  They trade rhymes and the black dude is Magic and the honkey is Bird.  It’s a good track, check it out.

YTD recordings listened to: 433
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 240
Not good music: 173

Buys: 7
Honorable Mentions: 6

Possibles: Chris McGregor, Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Slidhr, The Chewers, Toxic Holocaust, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Lenguas Largas, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Lozen, Erase Errata, Mastery, Leviathan, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, Janelle Monae, Luther Dickinson, Graeme Barrett, Fast Asleep, Goldlink, Cavanaugh, Gentleman Surfer, 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, Magrudergrind, A Tribe Called Quest, Noname, Gouge Away, Anna Hogberg, Klara Lewis, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, James Brandon Lewis, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, J.I.D., Oddisee, Forro in the Dark, RAM, Fiver, Dona Onete, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Dead Ranch, Priests, Propaganda