Music for 1/23/23!!! Oddisee, Brainiac

@@@ Oddisee: Hard To Tell (Other Note, 2023) We’re starting to see new releases for 2023 and I’ve checked Mr. Oddisee a few years ago and his skills are as fearsome and complex as ever. He mugs the microphone over intensely composed arrangements — the bassline and keyboard guitar figure in this first track are not typical. The second track How Far, is funkier with the same intense rhyming style. He’s both hardcore in his approach as well as high end in his aspirations. I’m really feeling this third tune, Many Hats as he backs off verbally a tad and brings some slink to it. Oh shit, the fourth tune, To What End, is even better so the album is gathering steam in my eyes. I’m guessing this gent has extensive musical training, his shit is just ferociously skilled, intellectually, technically, his arrangements are thick and super focused and then he piles on with his words, it’s almost overwhelming. There’s a nerdy aspect to his intellectualism for sure and I wish there was more grit, but as far as I can tell he’s closer to being a jazz musician than a hip hop guy. Impressive.

@@@ Brainiac: Predator Nominate (Touch and Go, 2022) I saw the Touch and Go imprint and thought this was gonna be some old school roughness and you do get half a slice with the grizzy bass but there’s plenty of cloudy retro synths and drum machine beats from another era on tap here. I don’t know if your world needs more Nine Inch Nails inspired inspired aggro dance music but my world is agnostic on it. It’s getting crunchier as I get to the third tune.

Music for 4/26/22!!! Lyrics Born, High Pulp

@@@ Lyrics Born: Everyday Love (Mobile Home, 2022) It seems this rapper has something tv related that’s connected to this music but I don’t care and am just listening to the music. I got to this via the All Music notable release email. This is a midtempo track that straddles hip hop and r&b. He’s not super singing nor exclusively rhyming. The vibe is chill, centered in the keyboards, and the way the vocals are more rhythmic and mellowed out in delivery. I’m clicking around and the vibe of each track is a bit different — some full hip hop, some political, I like it all right.

@@@ High Pulp: All Roads Lead to Los Angeles (Anti, 2022) Oh wow, I’m a little surprised Anti- is releasing a jazz fusion record but it takes all kinds and boy on this second track the tempo is brisker than a…..brisker than a….oh I can’t get anything good here. The drummer is full on jazz studio Red Bulled out and he’s stealing the show for sure. The keyboards and the horns are good players, I’m not finding their playing to be particularly more than run, run run up and down the horn, I like fire horns. I clicked on the next track, oh two tracks, Window on a Shimmering World, and I like this more. The keyboards are much more interesting and ambient. I like that Jaleel Shaw is on this record, I really like his solo record from earlier this year, and some of the music here overcomes my prejudice against jazz fusion tones and the softness thereof.

Music for 11/27/21!!! Richard Dawson & Circle, Alex Malheiros

@@@ Richard Dawson & Circle: Lily (Domino, 2021) I don’t know how All Music slotted this as progressive metal as this track is pretty tepid punk/indie in the verse with a a deep voiced singer and not much of any metal signifiers. These are all big bangers, at least 6 minutes long. The singer is the star here, if you don’t like him you’re probably not going to like this record. I’m agnostic on his performance here, he’s weird and I dig that, and he busts out with some surprising melodies at certain points but he’s also rocking some pretty art school vibes which I’m not a fanboy of. I think the songs are long so he can get all his lyrics out which is fine but I’m going to need a hotter band to hang in for these lyrics. I’m giving the first track a shot just to be thorough but it’s not progressive metal, somebody gotta get their labels straight. It’s weird UK rock which is not as glamorous.

@@@ Alex Maheiros: Alto Verao (Far Out, 2021) Looks to be another mislabelling adventure from All Music as it’s slotted as funk but is really a Latin fusion jazz sound with a bit of old school ’70s funk, but not nearly enough to push this up into the funk arena proper. Malheiros is a guitar player and that looks like a Brazilian name so that would explain the title of the record Tempos Futuros. It’s pleasantly fusion-y but fusion-y strikes me like a big feather pillow and I’m looking for some Funkadelic hard business. It’s a tad snoozypants for me but if you dig the mellow tip get up on it!

Music for 10/19/21!!! Kezemde George, BADBADNOTGOOD

@@@ Kazemde George: Escape (Greenleaf, 2021) Off the Twatter! Okay there are only two pre-release tracks up for this upcoming release called I Insist and the tune I’m listening to is called Things Line Up. I know the video relates to something else but you can search this music out if you dig it. What’s most notable here is the intro into the tune which features a fairly extensive synchronized melody between the horn player and a female singer. It’s very trick and a bit proggy and showing off. It then moves into a spot that’s between straight jazz and more fiery free stuff. Still leans mostly straight at least in this track. I’m guessing Mr. George is the sax player and I like his tone, his rhythm and the way he plays withing his ensemble. The player clicked through to the second pre-release track and it’s straighter with the vocalist does a pretty classic job in a tune called Skylight. As with a lot of jazz the flow and the energy is often key to proceedings and here it’s a smooth thing but with focus and sharp energy. I dig this singer here, she’s flavorful. The bass player is also quite listenable.

@@@ BADBADNOTGOOD: Love Proceeding (XL Recordings, 2021) I got to this via PItchfork’s 10 Best reviewed albums of the week and I can’t remember if I’ve heard these guys before. They are slotted as jazz in the Apple Music but to me this is some Pink Floyd-ish expansive space rock business with a few jazz fusion feels thrown in there for good measure. Jangly chorused out guitars, a small horn section but the tune is driven by the active bass player and the strings. I don’t know if it’s a synth string thing or actually string players and I’m not sure I super care. This meandering type of space rock-jazz is pretty nap inducing. I like the drum sound. I would be more into this if it had more fire. I give some love to the Keith Moon spraying drum style but the sauce on top, meh.

Music for 10/6/21!!! Kit Sebastion, Flying Lotus

@@@ Kit Sebastian: Melodi Pt 1 and 2 (Mr. Bongo, 2021) I got to this via last week’s All Music notable release email. I’m a fan of Mr. Bongo’s releases. I’m checking out the fourth track of the record, Melodi Pt. 1 and it’s pretty cracked lounge music. Sung in French, that’s a bit of a guess there. Nice piano player as well as some tasty weirdo drone-y organ. Part 1 of the song morphs into Part II and this tune is much more rocking with more presence from the singer. The music is not necessarily strange in structure, but the vibe and the feel of it is a bit purposely mad. It’s not an homage to retro music and it’s not thoroughly of today, it’s a weird-y.

@@@ Flying Lotus: War at the Door (Warp, 2021) My generic opinion is that Flying Lotus is an extremely talented arranger who often bogs down in the Prog Swamp. These tracks are a soundtrack to an anime movie — I think that’s cool and fertile ground for a musical suite. The video clipped below is the first track of the record, it opens airy and epic before opening out into a lush symphonic jazz electro vibe. Ooh, there’s somethin’ so nerdy about how the Lotus sounds. I think it’s partly the sounds he employs and the way it’s all mixed together but I never though I would see the day when an anime flick would sport a jazz fusion soundtrack. Even track 6, Crust, which I hoped would shed its cleanliness for the sake of the title is manicured excessively. Where’s my Crust, crust is good. Pizza crust, that shit is really good. A crusty layer of cheese on some casserole, I’m with that. Ah well, this is where the Lotus is at and it is to be accepted.

Music for 7/27/20!!! THEY., Kamaal Williams, Fontaines D.C., Taylor Swift

@@@ THEY.: Play Fight w/ Tinashe (Avant Garden/Island, 2020) A midtempo R&B track off last week’s Line of Best fit email.  Retro-ish sounds with small guitar snippet samples and a lot of vocal tracks including some background vocals with delays on them.  The vocal hook is yeah yeah, play fight.  A female vocalist comes in for a quick spot and I like her better than the fellas.  My favorite component here is the occasional bass pulse and my least favorite component here is the plethora of vocal tracks.

@@@ Kamaal Williams: Mr. Wu (Black Focus, 2020)  A fusion-y jazz sound here with a drummer recreating a classic techno beat (at least in the beginning of the track) some chill keyboards, and medium high poppin’ bass sounds.  After an extended intro a sax comes in, a tad low as the drums dominate the mix here.  There are a lot of moving parts in this and while not a fan of the beats per se I do like how loud they are, and I really like the occasional hand drum hit that pops out of the mix.  I don’t like the synth part that goes the whole track, oy.  I’m a tough sell for the fusion, it doesn’t super work for me.

@@@ Fontaines D.C.: Televised Mind (Partisan, 2020)  I’ve seen this band floating ’round the interwebz but I’m not sure if I’ve heard them.  It’s a brisk updated rocker with spy movie themed guitars, two of them one with tremolo, and a curt, alienated vocalist who drops his lines in there against the backdrop of splashy drum sounds.  Give the drummer a few quarters as he’s working his ass off here.  I’m not sure if I’ve figured out what a televised mind is but they’re rocking it purdy good.  I think the vocalist is running a hustle on the listeners with his aloof posturing here.  He sounds a bit like a mental patient and I believe it to be on purpose.  Some nice moments of slashing guitar but the prize here goes to the drummer.

@@@ Taylor Swift: the last great american dynasty (taylor swift, 2020)  Now 30 years old Taylor Swift, to my ears has fulfilled her destiny morphing into a New Age adult alternative singer/songwriter.  I’m not sure I understand why she would adopt such a breathy vocal delivery with these ‘serious’ lyrics.  I guess she only knows about singing in terms of a relationship and love cuz it sounds like she’s singing a love song.  She has collaborated with some of my least favorite current musicians, members of the National who really bring the highbrow subversive cheese.  Super refined and barely recognizable cheese — it’s vaporized cheese, vaped cheese let us say.  I return to the idea that she’s an adult alternative singer because this track is notable for what it’s not — it’s not funky, it’s not angry, it’s not particularly strident, it’s barely poppy.  The vocal hook is ‘I had a marvelous time ruining everything’ which is a good hook but….most folks would know what could go here.

YTD recordings listened to: 576
Good music, not list worthy: 292
Not good music: 255

Best: 0
Honorable Mentions: 0

Possibles: Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, Slidhr, The Chewers, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Lozen, Erase Errata, Mastery, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, Luther Dickinson, Graeme Barrett, Fast Asleep, Goldlink, Cavanaugh, 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, Noname, Klara Lewis, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Oddisee, RAM, Fiver, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Priests, Propaganda, This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez, Integrity, Tuba Skinny, The Expanders, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Portal, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton, Parquet Courts, Moskus, Kendl Winter, Tkay Maidza, Barro, Daniel Khan, Tallawit Timbouctou, Sumac, Tropical Fuck Storm, Harriet Tubman, Ammar 808, Anais Maviel, Chaka Khan, Pom Poko, Fried Egg, Tarek Atoui, Saicobab, General Purv, Shipping News, Big Thief, Mariachi El Bronx, Pour Me a Grog, Sudan Archives, Lakou Mizik, Moodymann, Pharmakon, Alefa Madagascar, Janjao, Luge, Wiki, Mick Jenkins, Jeremiah Jae, Fera, Gambian Griot Kora Duets, Drama, Beatrice Dillon, Mass Worship, mmmonika, Les Deuxluxes, Tony Allen, Fra Fra, Nihiloxica, Hailu Mergia, Pokey LaFarge, Nico Gomez, Nohe and Sus Santos, schroothoop, Tiny Bit of Giant’s Blood, Pole, Naeem, Mekons, Santrofi, DJ Nigga Fox, Flor do Toloache, Alexander Hawkins/Tomeka Reid, STORMLIGHT, Venomous Concept

Music for 3/19/18!!! Hailu Mergia, Fyahbwoy, Leon Bridges, Jason Aldean

@@@ Hailu Mergia: Lala Belu (Awesome Tapes from Africa, 2018). I got to this African record via the WRIR playlist email.  I don’t find that much jazz in this first tune, it’s more of a soul tune with a little improvised accordion over it.  The instrumentation here is drums, bass, organ, accordion and percussion.  I like it, and I promise I won’t be a genre bitch. I like the accordion player but I want more than mostly straight jazz grooves — I want more funk or more outside playing or both.  It’s pleasant and the sounds are good.

@@@ Fyahbwoy: Cadenas De Oro | (Nacional, 2018).  An urban Latin single that I saw on the very same WRIR playlist email.  Keyboards, guitar, drum machine and a loverboy singer/MC.  I can’t tell if this is a drummer or a drum machine but does it matter that much.  He’s got some pretty nice Spanish dancehall toasting going on.  I prefer that to his loverboy routine.  It’s a solid track, if you don’t like the singer you’re not gonna like the tune.  I’m agnostic on the singer.

@@@ Leon Bridges: Bad Bad News (Sony, 2018). I’ve heard Bridges before and like his music but I’m a little surprised to see such fusion-y track on the Apple Music hot tracks section.  When Bridges starts singing I get why, he really can carry a song.  There is a little blues swirled up in the fusion but it’s pretty mid to late ’70s fusion jazz sounds.  If it had different sounds I would be up on this big time.  The bass sound is great but I can’t abide by the guitar sound.  Listen for yourself.

@@@ Jason Aldean: Rearview Town (Macon/Broken Bow, 2018).  That’s right Aldean is leaving town, probably because of a woman.  God damn, girl what did you do to my man Jason?  Broken hearts and rusted plows so he’s mixing his personal plight with the decay of rural America.  This is going to be a short review as I’m on the verge of tears.  Someone get me a Kleenex!  Power chords, a guitar solo that would make Bon Jovi proud.  I’ve attached the lyric video so you can get your heart torn out.  I have to break away and shed a few tears for Facebook as America discovers what an ill bitch spying machine it is.  Lots of tears over here so make sure you got some self-care lined up, the world is full of sadness.  Ya know, broken hearts and rusted plows!

YTD recordings listened to: 151
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 79
Not good music: 69

Best: 4
Honorable Mentions: 3

Possibles: 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, A Tribe Called Quest, Noname, Gouge Away, Klara Lewis, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Oddisee, Forro in the Dark, RAM, Fiver, Dona Onete, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Priests, Propaganda, This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez, Integrity, Tuba Skinny, The Expanders, Irreversible Entanglements, Converge, Open Mike Eagle, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur

8/9/16: Sarathy Korwar, Skillet, OWEL, July Talk

@@@ Sararthy Korwar: Day to Day (Ninja Tune, 2016).  I saw this record mentioned on the Twatter.  Let me clarify when I say that, I do not twat or surf the Twatter.  I get emails of people I follow on the Twatter where they speak about their things/issues with a twat.  I follow some music critic twats as I find the mention of the listening to be more important than a review.  Hey, he’s listening I’ll give it a peep after seeing that twat.  So this was twatted as Sufi electronica but it sounds less electronic-y and more jazz fusion-y with strong Southeast Asian vibes.  I’m not sure what the stringed instrument is on this first tune but it’s cool  Let’s peep another tune.  Listeners will encounter a ’70s era electric piano on this second track and I find that to be sort of cliche.  It’s using a package of sounds an era rather than an uniquely individual musical statement.

@@@ Skillet: Unleashed (Atlantic, 2016)  The most cliche, garbage-tacious shopping mall hard rock drowning in cheese sauce.  This first tune, Invincible, is just a whole lot of sonic ass.  Let’s peep one more biscuit to verify.  I don’t know if a tune titled Back from the Dead is going to get me where I want to go, but I do find it interesting that a lot of the lyrics appear to be overcoming feelings of powerless-ness.  In this first tune he wanted to feel invincible and in this one he’s just clawing to stay alive.  We are young, we are strong, we will rise!  You just need some brown shirts and an armed drone.  Wow, 7 million views on this video clipped below.  A tremendous waste of bandwidth!

@@@ OWEL: Paper Hands (Equal Vision, 2016)  A single that I got to via the indie music blog Indiepulse.  The track opens up fragile emo/indie with lyrics growing old.  There’s a lot arpeggiated guitar, sweet vocals, and a shaker that goes with the drummer.  Now it’s opening up into a space rock, shimmering sound.  I own a couple of Equal vision recordds from back in the day and they were rougher.  Now the tune is rising in temperature a bit but not full throttle.  When the world is through with us, and leaving us behind in a cloud of dust.  Oooh, I don’t know if I can accept that.

@@@ July Talk: Strange Habit (Universal, 2016).  Well, it’s August but I won’t close the door on a band called July Talk.  The tune opens up sparse and a wee creepy and friendly.  There’s a nice, simple piano hook, childlike in style, and now the tune is blossoming with multiple vocal parts, a midtempo early Radiohead rock beat.  I can only describe this as a big whoosh.  Not a flushing toilet whoosh more of a strange dream liftoff whoosh.  I thought it might explode out the outro but it’s gonna slack on outta town.

YTD recordings listened to: 635
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 347
Not good music: 231

Honorable Mentions: 11
Buys: 9

Possibles: Chris McGregor, Dave Arner Trio, MAKU Soundsystem, Zomby, Retox, Jessie Mae Hemphill, Bone Dance, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Slidhr, The Chewers, Alexander Hawkins, Toxic Holocaust, Equal Stones, Comeback Kid, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Lenguas Largas, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Fofoulah, Lozen, Erase Errata, Dawn Richard, Mastery, Leviathan, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, Akitsa, Janelle Monae, Luther Dickinson, Destruction Unit, Graeme Barrett, Fast Asleep, Goldlink, Cavanaugh, Gentleman Surfer, Satoko Fuji, Mystic Braves, Divanhana, Unrestrained, Moken, Systema Solar, Brian Eno, Juan Atkins, Drone, Lantern, The Lickshots, Twin Peaks, Djelimady Tounkara, Miramar, The Oh Sees, Denny Zeitlin, MILF, Margo Price, Changui Majadero, Seratones, Joe Sticky, Vieux Kante, Keefe Jackson

Active Music Listening Thursday August 8, 2013

YTD recordings listened to: 580
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 357
Not good music: 169

Honorable Mentions: 15
Buys: 13

Possibles: Boyd Rivers, Abdoulaye Alhassane Toure, Cryptopsy, Nick Waterhouse, Patterson Hood,  Chris McGregor, Brother Ali (2009), Alvin Youngblood Hart, Ether Net, Oddisee, Holly Williams, Dave Arner Trio, Trap Them, Orchestra Super Mazembe, Mark Lanegan & Duke Garwood, Inzinzac, Bill Horist, MAKU Soundsystem, Joseph Arthur, Melt Yourself Down, Zomby, Retox, Owiny Sigoma Band, About Group, A Tribe Called Red, Andrew Cedermark, Jello Biafra, Fat Freddy’s Drop, Jessie Mae Hemphill, All Pigs Must Die, Chris Shifflett, pop. 1280, Kendl Winter

@@@ Dead in the Dirt: Fear (Southern Lord, 2011).   I could not find their new record on MOG, but this record is up and it’s a pleasantly bruising affair from the deviants at Southern Lord.  A piquant blend of hardcore punk and speed metal influences I enjoy it’s goal of battering listeners into submission.  The drummer in this band is pretty brutal — his snare sprays and apoplectic style really work for me.  Some very barbed twists and turns within the songs.

@@@ Volto!: Incitare (Fantasy, 2013).  A self-styled prog/metal/jazz/rock record from last week’s All Music weekly notable releases.  Sounds like Van Halen on happy gas without the stupid lyrics from either dude that’s fronted them.  I’m not a huge fan of the fusion sound — I don’t hate this somewhat updated fusion sound, but check it out if you’re into this formula.

@@@ The Royal Noise: Unbreakable (Royal Noise, 2013).  I found this group off the  weekly All Music NYC gig email.  This is jazz/rock hybrid with a different vibe to it — focused more on the rock guitar/sax interplay rather than the keyboard/guitar jamming of the Volto! record.  Think Santana with less wailing and a big dollop of a television talk show band mixed in.  I could see this working really well live — very energetic and familiar and partyistic.

@@@ Minks: Tides End (Captured Tracks, 2013).  Flat male vocals over bouncy synth chords off a record I found on the MOG new release page.  Sports that 1980’s gated snare sound that I really don’t like.  I’m not sure why this musical formula has been recycled, but it has been and I’m going to have to live with it.

Active Music Listening Thursday July 26, 2012

YTD recordings listened to: 461
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 256
Not good music:181
Buys: 14 (not all 2012 releases)
Possibles: Glenn Hansard, Ebo Taylor, Le Super Borgou De Parakou, Left Lane Cruiser/James Leg, Cedric Pescia: John Cage Sonatas, Chatham County Line, Dennis Bovell, Seluah, Donnie and Joe Emerson

@@@ Heyward Howkins: The Hale & Hearty (Self-released, 2012).  The first tune, Thunderin’ Stop is the best song I heard today.  Sparse yet interesting arrangement and a voice that is skilled but neither self-concious or manipulative.  The rest of the recording jumps around stylistically, which is a shame (for me) as I could take a whole record that works the vein of the first tune.  There are some really nice moments in this recording and this guy has been in a studio before, that’s for sure.  Check it out.

@@@ Joe Davita: Ancestral Language (Daddy Tank, 2012).  If you’re a listener in the nu jazz/fusion area check out the Sonny Sharrock inspired tune over at SoundCloud.  He’s got that epic spaced out guitar sound just right.

@@@ Ben Kweller: Jealous Girl.  Upcoming single.  I watched the video and thought they should have spent more time on the song rather than on the summer time booty shaking video.  Manipulative.

@@@ Fang Island: Major.  (Sargent House, 2012).  Found this on the AMG New Release weekly email.  Under genre, it describes the music as hard rock, indie rock, post-rock, alternative pop/rock.  Is this possible to make music that is rock and post-rock at the same time?

The music is generic mainstream rock, a little rough and very smoothed out  and trimmed at the same time.  Catchy, designed to sell, not much to think about.  Light like cotton candy.

@@@ Purity Ring: Shrines. (4AD, 2012)  Big fat marshmallow synths for a spaced out detached female voice to roll out on.  Complete with finger snaps and handclaps.  Big shout out to West Coast hip hop beats.  Finely focused blech.

@@@ Foxygen: Take the Kids off Broadway (Jajgjaguwar, 2012)  Great band name, opens up with a slinky sort of David Bowie vibe.  Oh no, the singer is the lovechild of David Bowie and Lou Reed.  It jumps around, little sections and stops and starts — definitely more indie than the conceptual-ness of Bowie.  It definitely sports a retro vibe that I don’t hear often — a little glam, a little ’60s Eric Burdon.  The singer has style and energy.  It’s not music that makes me jump and down, but some folks might dig it.

@@@ Micachu and the Shapes: Never (Rough Trade, 2012).  Collaged noise pop.  A piquant variety of squonks and chopped various noises with a sort of lowly mixed female voice.  Marketed as michievous, I hear it more as staticky U.K. welfare parlor music.  Might actually work live.