Music for 12/20/22!!! Mizmor and Thou, Gaston De La Cruz Quinteto

@@@ Mizmor and Thou: Myopia (Myopia, 2022) I’ve come up a bit short on the heavy music this year which can always be remedied by hitting the interwebz and then hitting the streaming service. These guys are a no brainer from a blog called No Clean Singing and I got to that via a twat on the Twatter. Go Elon you dumb fuck! This record comes out of the gate swinging with both thrash and drama. Great drumming and impassioned singing — he sounds both very human and like an orc at the same time. Big melodies in places, this is pretty happening but let’s peep more. At 1 hour 14 minutes and eight tracks these are big bangers, epic metal bangers. I like everything about the record but it’s not making me jump up and down. It could be an of the moment thing where I could feel differently about it later. I’m going to circle back on this. As for execution they’re on it, great guitar sounds, great drummer, really impassioned singer.

@@@ Gaston De La Cruz Quinteto: Constelaciones (Self released, 2022) I’m closing in on being done with bandcamp’s best jazz of 2022. I can’t say I’ve been blown away or found a bunch of stuff but I keep digging. This is a medium sized outfit and it’s the very definition of shambolic. It’s not one of those superbly manicured jazz/post jazz records, it’s got some swing and jank to it. I wouldn’t say the playing is straight fire but they sound fully caffeinated. I’m checking the third tune before I tip out. This third tune is a sweeter ballad that I’m not super into, let me check track 4. Track 4 is another sweet potato and I think I liked the opening track the most of what I heard and I could have used a full record of janky bangers but hey it’s his thing and other folks may super like it.

Music for 9/27/22!!! Nnux, The Comet is Coming

@@@ Nnux: Ciudad (VAA, 2020) I got to this female Mexican electronic artist via a gig announcement at BK adventurous club Roulette. She puts out a pretty sophisticated electro sound. I’m on the fourth track (clipped below) and it’s really big basket of electronic sounds all woven together. Nothing on its own insane, well some parts yes, but the collective impact is a take me away from this world vibe. I don’t have a time to get super into the nooks and crannies of this record but from what I’ve heard it’s a mid to slow tempos with female vocals, a lot of manipulation of voices, a fairly large dollop of glitch sauce, and a cornucopia of electronic bits swirling. It’s very passionate and well done, at least what I’ve heard. Check this out if you’re a fan of abstract electronic, some folks might find these sounds too intense.

@@@ The Comet is Coming: CODE (Impulse/Verve, 2022) Off this week’s All Music notable release email and it’s marketed as an electro futurist jazz release but this track is comin’ up straight krauty funk to my ears. I will check this record out a bit more manana when I do the post proper but first impression is that a bunch of folks said let’s make a jazz/funk record with a sci fi bent to it and then it kinda happened. I see from the Apple Music blurb this is the UK part jazz/part dancefloor collective and Shabaka Hucthings that I like but don’t love. I give respect to anyone trying to expand the palette of jazz, but a lot of the time it hasn’t worked for me. I am, however, proven a liar as I type because the second track Technicolor is a pretty nice fusion of sounds — a really good balance of jazz to non-jazz sounds. So a hit today and yesterday not so much which is the very definition of a mixed bag.

Music for 7/14/22!!! The Maghreban, Doom Cannon

@@@ The Maghreban: Connection (N/A, 2022) Bandcamp’s album of the day. It’s an electronic record, a bit dark, a bit indie. Notable for a pensive sax solo, it’s got a pretty straight chintzy beat going on the old drum machine. Let’s peep a bit more. The second track comes with a Kenyan rapper. I don’t dislike the tracks thus far but they’re not really grabbing me. The pieces of three tracks that I listened to came off as television show themes which is cool. Not a lot of depth or change going on, big on vibes.

@@@ Doom Cannon: Renaissance (Brownsville, 2022) Another bandcamp record of the day, this one a jazzy affair but sort of a mash of prog rock (guitar) and drum ‘n bass (beats) and then some more prog/fusion in the horns. Four or so pre release tracks are available. This is out on the Brownsville imprint from the UK and to be perfectly honest I’m not sure British folks understand what jazz really is. I understand that sounds really bitchy and I guess if I were liking more of this jazz that draws more openly from r&b and Afrobeat and dancefloor stuff I would be more generous. I like this second pre-release track, Times, more but it’s sorta dressed up Curtis Mayfield r&b with a string arrangement and soprano sax and a female singer.

Music for 6/29/22!!! DAGR, Jerome Cooper

@@@ DAGR: Cafe Racer (Self released, 2022) I got to this via a music publicist email. This is Spanish language (mostly) dancefloor banger with hip hop and electro pop flavors. I liked the world-y rhythms that open up the track but then when it gets into the potty talk and the pop sounds then meh, less excitement. If the lyrics were more clever and they kept the rhythms more world-y I would be more responsive to it. I like the dude’s face in the video below, that’s probably one of the most interesting aspects of the whole proceeding.

@@@ Jerome Cooper: As of Not Part 1 (ILK, 2020) I got to this jazz recording via a weekly email from the BK club Roulette. The album opens with a synth note drone and some light piano work. It’s very minimal and Mr. Cooper is a drummer so I’m guessing there will be some drumming during this 9+ minute track. Just shy of 7 minutes a marimba type instrument comes in and the tempo picks up. There is still a drone in the back but it sounds like a progressive Charlie Brown animated tv series theme. I appreciate that this is not your standard jazz record but I’m not super into it. I don’t dislike it but it’s a bit slow for me.

Music for 6/15/22!!! Blondshell, Jhelisa

@@@ Blondshell: Olympus (Self-released, 2022) This debut singer I found via indie legend Liz Phair on the Twatter. Opens with the classic indie guitar chord strum, then mope-y multi-tracked vocals, and pretty straight rock flavors. Yowsa, not my thing, the chorus brings a bit more energy but it is really a downer. Overall, like the guitar sounds and think the drummer and the vocalist need a Red Bull. About 1:20 from the end it starts pumping some energy, oops it drops back down, a temporary liftoff from the ocean of mope.

@@@ Jhelisa: Oxygen (Dorado, 2022) I got to this via a music publicist email. I thought this was going to be some world music/electro mash but it’s slotted as jazz on Apple Music. It’s an 11 minute banger and just over 1 minute in it starts in on a pretty pumpin’ groove with conga, drumset, electric bass all garnished with soprano sax sauce. There’s also some stylish chanting vocal business. My son interrupted but at some point before 3:00 a vocalist comes in and it’s a song with Prince feels to it. The tune keeps morphing and rolling over on itself, retaining some things and bringing in new things — I respect that drive to keep things moving and it makes me like it. If you’re going for 11 minute bangers you gotta give some changes and something to follow and engage with. This is not my favorite style of jazz but I dig this.

Music for 5/23/22!!! Julieta Eugenio, Moneybagg Yo

@@@ Julieta Eugenio: Efes (Greenleaf, 2022) I got to this debut jazz record by an Argentine woman via a twat on the Twatter. I really like her tone in this opening track and I like the mix, it’s very full with drums and bass not mixed into the background. The sax playing skews lower in energy than fire, maybe she will fire it up at some point in 5 minute track. I clicked through to the second track and am finding myself listening to the rhythm section more than Eugenio which isn’t a great sign. I like her slower and more thoughtful playing but honestly I could use a bit more fire. That’s just me but hey it’s my blog.

@@@ Moneybagg Yo: Rocky Road (Interscope, 2022) I think we’re entering the decadent rock star phase of hip hop. It seems much more about stardom and weed and girls than anything else. He even used the words rock ‘n roll, imagine that! This is a double MC attack and I like the rhythm and bass sounds, it’s slicked out and bumpin’. After that it’s a light garnish of pitch shifted vocal samples but it’s just sorta an afterthought. Black parsely y’all. One of the MCs sounds really high and slurring big time but the formula here is clear. If you’re here for anything more than a groove with some bumpin’ bass you’re in the wrong place.

Music for 5/18/22!!! Kalia Vandever, Tank and the Bangas

@@@ Kalia Vandever: Regrowth (New Amsterdam, 2022) I see tons of record covers and seeing the dress Vandever wears and with a title such as ‘Regrowth’ I thought we were heading for some pretty vapid coffeeshop singer songwriter business but alas it’s really solid trombone jazz recording. I do confess to having a soft spot for trombone, it’s a beautiful instrument. I’m on the second track and it sports a lot of dynamics and the players do their thing quite crisply. It has a pleasantly tight feel. This is no skronk fest, they burn a little bit but it’s more patchouli rather than the Twin Towers burning down. Vandever’s playing is complex and feels circular as she keeps reshaping her ideas and building on them; she’s a really interesting player. I’ve checked out a bunch of tracks and the ideas seem to start with a short phrase or melody that just spiral out from there. There are some moments I like less than others but overall it’s both accessible and substantial.

@@@ Tank and the Bangas: Red Balloon (Verve, 2022). Oh wow, this is some smooth ass, corporate groomed, expertly manicured pubic bush r&b from Verve. This is so for folks with jobs who seek to pump themselves up with feel good jams it hurts. I’m hurtin’ over here. If you say Prince put a lot of pop into his music to appeal across the board, this is more flattering to the listener and I can just hear how some poor recording engineer worked on these mixes for months smoothin it out and then over mixing with little goodies here and there. There is nary a tack sticking up here, yowsa. Ironically the music would be more effective in my opinion if it was a bit grittier, but grit there isn’t, it’s fully processed like one of them orange cheese slices. A miracle in its way but not so tasty.

Music for 5/10/22!!! AWOLNATION, Ches Smith

@@@ AWOLNATION: Take a Chance on Me (Better Noise , 2022) Off this week’s All Music notable release email. Oy, I stumbled on this via this week’s All Music notable release email and it’s a redo of an old school track by….oh shit I had to Google this and realize that this track goes back to ABBA. Fucking oy, they coulda let this cheese age a bit more, no? I mean what is there to say to this except some folks will meet their car payments with it, maybe a little sushi? Is there creativity in recasting this track? Not to my ears. Jewel is the lead female vocalist on the track and there is a giant lasagna of vocal tracks here. Not super my cup of tea.

@@@ Ches Smith: Interpret it well (Pyroclastic Records, 2022) A forward thinking jazz record off the same All Music notable release email. Instrumentation is vibes, piano, guitar, some electronics (I think) and violin on some tracks. They take a short melodic figure and repeat it and improvise around it and put harmonic structure under it and it’s all right. No drums, which is half the reason I tune in to a jazz record — I love me some explosive ass drums. Okay I did some more Google and the leader here, Ches Smith, is a drummer but also a vibraphonist. It’s got a contemplative vibe that I like but I could use something more interesting here. I don’t love the guitarist’s tone but I do like the playing and I’m a huge vibes person. I’m listening to this as I do a little Twattering and I like it. I’m not fully engaged and looking to put it on my year end list but it’s cool Start with the third track Mixed Metaphor as I liked that best of what I heard.

Music for 3/15/21!!! Jameszoo, Dying Wish

@@@ Jameszoo: Bugatti (Brainfeeder, 2022) I got to this via last week’s All Music notable release email. The track below is the second on the record and it opens up R2D2 style before bringing in a pounding piano and a flying saxophone. When all the players enter, the drummer last, it’s a rockin’ jazz, proggy thing with as of yet no electronic flavors added. I’m listening to the piano player the most, then the drummer, and the sax player started out but then not much if anything. I thought this was going to be an integrated piece with playing and electronic sounds and there is as there are occasional low frequency blasts, notably at the beginning and the end of the tune. It is slotted as jazz on the Apple Music, so maybe I was a bit putting the electronic before the jazz with my expectations. I’m guessing comfortably that Jameszoo is the keyboard player here as the keys/piano playing is off the hook, mad chops for all to see. One thing I appreciate here is the focus on playing and not on the vibes, it’s not a fusion-y vibed out record, homie can play for real. There are some really engaging passages here while I’m not sure how I feel about the record as a whole.

@@@ Dying Wish: Fragments of a Bitter Memory (Sharptone, 2021) Inspired by yesterday’s discovery of the Pupil Slicer we continue on with the Invisible Oranges top 20 metalcore records of the year, and yowsa this shit is right up in yer face right out of the gate with a buttload of aggression and a little desperation and just a wee pubic hair of sadness in there. The singer is quite mad, screaming his face off, emo style but intertwined with a lot of heavy guitar riffage I’m finding quite interesting all propelled by the drummer who got a Red Bull enema before recording this music. There’s plenty of playing here, spots where the singer sits out and the rest of the band gets to flash their wares and boy they’re super up to the task. I’m just in the third track and there hasn’t been a boring section yet. Slabs of guitar, everything sounds the way you would imagine a drill that puts a major hole in your skull. Have at it ya shittaz!!! This is a circle back blog post where I started something a bit ago and am finishing it up now and I’m checking these guys out again and they have it going on, check them out.

Music for 3/10/22!!! Anna Weber

@@@ Anna Weber: Idiom (N/A, 2021) I got to this jazz record via the daily email from Twatter even though I’m in the middle of serving a 7 day twitter jail term for fake abuse — it’s not like I was starting a riot up there, jeesh. This record is not up on Apple Music but it is over at the recently purchased bandcamp — this is some sort of odd protest that jazz folks have been conducting for a while. I’m not sure how effective it is and how much it stimulates direct download sales but it’s her right to sell her music as she sees fit. There are twelve tracks on this record and four of them are available to stream on bandcamp. If you scroll down here bandcamp page you will see there it’s a two disc effort, one a trio record with her, a drummer and a piano player. I’m currently listening to the track Forgotten Best an 8+ minute banger and I find I’m listening the most to the piano player, he’s hittin’ it pretty good. It straddles a middle place between standard straight jazz and fiery free jazz. I’ve skipped to Idiom VI which I hope is a large ensemble track because that’s what I’m in the mood for. It opens ambient with long tones. This track is a 12 minute banger so I will probably hang for half of it. It unfolds slowly as you would expect from a 12 minute track. It’s interesting how close this is to a lot of electronic music happening out there right now — very ambient, slow melodies, a dreamlike aspiration. Just an observation that I haven’t seen mentioned out there. I’m enjoying this track a lot more than the trio track I checked out. Around the six minute mark the ensemble starts to join in and it’s a bit partyistic and bit cerebral. I like it without loving it.