Music for 7/13/18!!! twenty one pilots, Childish Gambino, Alessia Cara, Mary J. Blige

@@@ twenty one pilots: Jumpsuit (Fueled by Ramen, 2018)  This track occupies the #1 slot on the hot tracks section of Apple Music.  My first impression is that this is a bite job on the Imagine Dragon’s tune ‘Believer’ which I can barely stomach.  The singer here is a bit of a moper which is surprising for the position.  There is no moping in mainstream music.  It employs a classic quiet in the verse and the crush it in the chorus technique that took Kurt Cobain to the bank.  It’s an epic sound but to be honest I have no clue what this is about.  The last 90 seconds gets into a sensitive piano driven section which is unfortunate — it has comforting lyrics that amount to a nice side dish of word salad.  Jumpsuit, jumpsuit cover me.  I guess the jumpsuit is a metaphor for a desire for protection.  It’s a bag of ass, the tune that is, not the jumpsuit.

@@@ Childish Gambino: Summertime Magic (Sony Music, 2018)  This is the side of Childish Gambino which is closer to Lionel Ritchie than the activist, soulful Curtis Mayfield side shown is This is America.  I like a bunch of the sounds and I like the dancehall Caribbean slant to the beats.  I like Mr. Gambino, I have respect for him and his skills but this tune sounds more calculated than joyous to my ears.

@@@ Alessia Cara: A Little More (Def Jam, 2018)  A surprising dip into white people feelings music with guitars from the label Def Jam.  This track is also in the Apple Music hot tracks section.  Cara has a husky and pleasing voice, the lyrics aren’t particularly interesting, the guitar part is all right and the vocal hook centers around wanting a little more of you.  It’s a yearning 2 minutes, slow and a wee bit melancholy.

@@@ Mary J. Blige: Only Love (UMG, 2018)  Mary J. Blige goes for the big disco dancefloor empowerment anthem.  This is a fully realized arrangement with complex string arrangements, a load of background vocals, some clavinet (I think) and Ms. Blige doing her thing on the microphone.  This is the best of what I heard today because it sounds genuine in its performance.  It’s not particularly a summer song despite its updated disco beat action with lyrics about love building you up and breaking you down.  Not really grilling music unless you enjoy searing meat to the heartbreak of other humans.

YTD recordings listened to: 404
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 212
Not good music: 181

Best: 7
Honorable Mentions: 4

Possibles: Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, Slidhr, The Chewers, Toxic Holocaust, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Lozen, Erase Errata, Mastery, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, Janelle Monae, 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, 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, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Priests, Propaganda, This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez, Integrity, Tuba Skinny, The Expanders, Converge, Open Mike Eagle, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Tal National, Portal, Hernan Sama & Marcelo von Schultz, Jean Grae and Quelle Chris, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton, Parquet Courts

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Music for 7/12/18!!! Mini Mansions, Psychic Pollution, Factor Chandelier

@@@ Mini Mansions: Works Every Time (UMG, 2018)  I got to this mainstream rock via a music publicist email.  Check this quote which I find very interesting: “Works Every Time” finds the band in their prime – open, honest, and full of real tangible emotion but counterbalancing those feelings with musically fun songs.  Real tangible emotions — is this an acknowledgment that many bands are trafficking in plastic emotions.  This is pretty awful business and I’m not feeling real tangible emotions.  It’s rooted in ’80s pop rock with a pouting vocal stylings, some synth clouds floating back in the mix and guitar work that is defined by the formula.  Nobody is gonna get their hair mussed up during or listening to this song and that is real and tangible.  Very predictable and boring.

@@@ Psychic Pollution: Memoirs from a Flat Planet (Records DK, 2018)  Some electronica off this week’s CFUV playlist email.  It’s unfolding slowly and it is coming across as a video game soundtrack or a sci-fi movie soundtrack.  Let’s peep further but they gotta get some Red Bull up in there and start cranking out the Model 3s.  Tesla reference there.  This third tune Interstate Blowout sounds like it should be a rough ass piece of music.  It sounds like what happens when a long haul trucker has a giant burrito and can’t find a truck stop.  But the music doesn’t reflect the excitement of my song title interpretation.  It’s sleepytime tea.  I like a chainsaw synth patch (not really) as much as the next guy.

@@@ Factor Chandelier – Wisdom Teeth (Fake Four Inc) We finish today’s listening session with a hip hop recording I got to from the CFUV weekly email.  This first tune opens up synth-y and sounds like it might be biting the theme from Rocky.  The second tune brings on a singer but I don’t like the singer or the way he’s been placed in the mix.  I’m not sure this record knows if it’s a pop record or a hip hop record or is both at the same time.  I don’t love the arrangements and the sounds are okay but not head spinning.

YTD recordings listened to: 400
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 210
Not good music: 179

Best: 7
Honorable Mentions: 4

Possibles: Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, Slidhr, The Chewers, Toxic Holocaust, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Lozen, Erase Errata, Mastery, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, Janelle Monae, 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, 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, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Priests, Propaganda, This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez, Integrity, Tuba Skinny, The Expanders, Converge, Open Mike Eagle, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Tal National, Portal, Hernan Sama & Marcelo von Schultz, Jean Grae and Quelle Chris, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton, Parquet Courts

Music for 7/7/18!!! Kacey Musgraves, George Ezra

@@@ Kacey Musgraves: High Horse (MCA Nashville, 2018)  The Guardian has repeatedly bloveated about Musgraves’ latest record.  It is breathtaking how country listeners will accept almost anything in their new country music.  This is a disco track with country guitars and a pubic hair of twang.  #biglyweird.  I don’t know who would put this as a track of the summer.  I think the vocal hook in the chorus is well done but the vibe is odd.  It’s not funky enough to be great disco and it’s not even close to being authentic redneck.  It’s more of a pink neck thing.  Oh fuck, there’s a banjo in the outro!  That’s messed up.

@@@ George Ezra: Shotgun (Sony, 2018)  Okay I’m officially at the end of the Guardian’s songs of the summer.  I haven’t found anything yet to soundtrack my summer and I’m still voting for the opening tune on Pusha T’s latest record.  If You Know You Know.  This track is a poppy affair with a big buttery vocal melody and really this is just cotton candy with a nice hat.  I would be embarrassed to choose this as song of the summer, it’s a biscuit.  Of course the production is highly manicured and labored over and lush but it has zero soul to it.  It’s a well constructed fart.

YTD recordings listened to: 387
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 202
Not good music: 173

Best: 7
Honorable Mentions: 4

Possibles: Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, Slidhr, The Chewers, Toxic Holocaust, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Lozen, Erase Errata, Mastery, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, Janelle Monae, 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, 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, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Priests, Propaganda, This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez, Integrity, Tuba Skinny, The Expanders, Converge, Open Mike Eagle, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Tal National, Portal, Hernan Sama & Marcelo von Schultz, Jean Grae and Quelle Chris, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton, Parquet Courts

Music for 7/6/18!!! Parcels, Disclosure, The Internet

@@@ Parcels: Tieduprightnow (Because, 2018)  Some white boy indie disco funk the Guardian has declared a song of the summer.  It’s a pretty standard arrangement but it is my misfortune not to dig the singer.  He does not signal funk to my brain.  Is it dicky for me to recommend Prince’s tune Lady Cab Driver or DMSR (also off 1999) over this track by some Australian white boys.  I’m sure they’re perfectly nice gents/gals/trans but this is music we’re talking about and I take my music seriously.

@@@ Disclosure: Ultimatum (N/A, 2018)  I can’t get put the label here as I once again suffer from shit interwebz so I have to stream this Guardian song of the summer off the ill sounding GooglePimpTube.  This is a modern dance floor banger with some chill lounge vibes an African female vocal sample stacked and popped on top for maximum funkiness.  If you took the white boy and put him on top of this beat I would denounce him but she’s got flow and correct energy.  It’s a pretty simple affair — open a can of unt-tss and put some keyboard vamp on that and chop and dice her singing.  Much better than the last track for sure.

@@@ The Internet: Come Over (N/A, 2018)  The last of our listens today and I have to throw in that I think naming your band/group The Internet is not only dumbass, it’s stupid.  This is another Guardian song of the summer and they have gone big time for Prince influenced funk.  Straight four on the floor, falsetto vocals and a B- guitar vamp.  To quote a previous review:  Is it dicky for me to recommend Prince’s tune Lady Cab Driver or DMSR (also off 1999) over this track by some outfit called The Internet.  I’m sure they’re perfectly nice gents/gals/trans but this is music we’re talking about and I take my music seriously.

YTD recordings listened to: 388
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 203
Not good music: 173

Best: 7
Honorable Mentions: 4

Possibles: Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, Slidhr, The Chewers, Toxic Holocaust, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Lozen, Erase Errata, Mastery, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, Janelle Monae, 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, 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, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Priests, Propaganda, This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez, Integrity, Tuba Skinny, The Expanders, Converge, Open Mike Eagle, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Tal National, Portal, Hernan Sama & Marcelo von Schultz, Jean Grae and Quelle Chris, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton, Parquet Courts

Music for 6/28/18!!! Demi Lovato, B. Davis and the Hi Fi Rockers, Western Medication, Tim Carr

@@@ Demi Lovato: Sober (Island, 2018)  A confessional song about her own sobriety.  It’s hard to shit on a song like this but the piano is more than a bit cheesy and the lyrics are kinda grade school.  It’s a bit of a wallower and the tune doesn’t really rise above a slow stumble but that’s as you would expect from a topic such as this.  I’m sorry she relapsed but I’m here for great songs and this doesn’t make the cut.  Try John Lennon’s Cold Turkey on for size.

@@@ B. Davis and the Hi Fi Rockers: Midnight Version (Hoboken Hi fi, 2018)  Meticulously executed old school roots reggae I got to via an email from the label operator.  You can only stream one track from the upcoming releases but it’s got all the hallmarks of roots reggae that I enjoy.  Steady rhythms and tight/loose vibes from the various players, well placed dub echoes and a rootsy singer.  Above all the production sounds right in evoking that golden age.  I will swing back and check out more when the whole record releases.

@@@ Western Medication: Taste (N/A, 2018)  I got to this very British sounding Nashville band’s record via a music publicist email.  It’s guitar driven rock with an ’80s pop sensibility.  Upbeat with mostly jangly guitars and a wee bit of crunch.  The singer is super friendly sounding.  Think a love child of The Cranberries and and the big fluffy white giant from the original Ghostbusters.

@@@ Tim Carr: Take Me (N/A, 2018)  A retro soft rock/folk single I got to via a music publicist.  Think Nick Drake with less depression and put a little Byrds and French pop up in there.  Lot of oooh, oooh sweet/sad, flavored coffee background vocals you wouldn’t find on a Nick Drake record.  I find the rhythms here to be interesting and unusual for this genre.  It doesn’t sound like a drum kit, it sounds like a few people playing large hand drums but that’s just the vibe — given the miracles of technology it could be generated in any number of ways.  Carr’s voice is smooth and intimate sounding.

YTD recordings listened to: 364
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 193
Not good music: 163

Best: 6
Honorable Mentions: 4

Possibles: Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, 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, 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, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Priests, Propaganda, This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez, Integrity, Tuba Skinny, The Expanders, Converge, Open Mike Eagle, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Tal National, Portal, Hernan Sama & Marcelo von Schultz, Jean Grae and Quelle Chris, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton

Music for 6/27/18!!! Jonah Sirota, No Age, Cardi B., Meek Mill

@@@ Jonah Sirota: Strong Sad (National Sawdust, 2018)  An instrumental (meaningful and kinda New Age-y Imma guessing) from the in house label at the pretentious Brooklyn club National Sawdust.  I’m on their mailing list.  The first piece opens up with what sounds like an organ arpeggio and then a violin playing melodically over the arpeggio.  It’s very sweet, sad sweet not syrupy sweet.  The second piece is a bit more disjointed with violin, cello, and the same organ (?) drone in the background.  It gets into a more dissonant and agitated space which I’m enjoying.  So it’s not as New Age-y as I thought it would be and not as New Age-y as the first piece.  It’s solid.

 

 

 

@@@ No Age: Snares Like a Haircut (Drag City, 2018)  Also off the Guardian’s best of 2018 list.  I’m not a huge Drag City fella but I’m open minded and these guys are supposed to be punks for all punks which sounds just fantastic.  This first tune does have something for a lot of folks.  Some singalong vocal hooks, a little shoegaze sauce, some Sonic Youth fuzz.  The second tune puts a little Ramones up in the vocals so it’s got a lot of referential sounds in it.  I like it, it’s a bit poppy for my taste but it’s good.  I think it works within a limited range of messy/neat with an emphasis on a quiet neatness and structure.  Regular readers know I really enjoy it when a musician/s lose their shit in full meltdown mode so that’s not available here.

 

@@@ Cardi B.: I Like It (Atlantic, 2018)  I like Cardi B. but I thought the first single for this record was not great.  This single is much better but I think she bit it too hard sampling ‘I Like it Like That’ to open the track.  It’s really the backbone of the verse and it implants itself in your mind pronto.  The rest of the track is a good blend of hip hop and Latin music components with a MC rhyming in Spanish and Cardi B. talking about how she needs mad money.  So I see why it has 163 million hits on the GooglePimpTube but it’s more for the love of that track than Cardi B.  That’s my view.

@@@ Meek Mill: Stay Woke (Maybach/Warner, 2018)  Meek Mill is a big deal since he was freed from a bullshit prison situation.  It is surprisingly a blend of hip hop and pop sounds with a guitar part (weird) and a pretty uplifting vocal section in the chorus.  He rhymes a lot about his time in the life, and a bunch about the situation facing African Americans in this country.  I’m a huge fan of the story and glad he’s out but the song isn’t particularly engaging to me.

YTD recordings listened to: 360
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 190
Not good music: 162

Best: 6
Honorable Mentions: 4

Possibles: Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, 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, 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, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Priests, Propaganda, This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez, Integrity, Tuba Skinny, The Expanders, Converge, Open Mike Eagle, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Tal National, Portal, Hernan Sama & Marcelo von Schultz, Jean Grae and Quelle Chris, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton

Music for 6/22/18!!! Arianne Grande, Physique, Lily Allen, Beyonce and Jay Z

@@@ Arianne Grande: a light is coming (Republic, 2018)  A pre-release single for Disney snowflake Arianne Grande with an intro rhyme from Nicki Minaj.  If you want some toughness on your track, dial 1-800-NickiMM!  I tell you this with the experience of listening to thousands and thousands and thousands of tracks I have no idea what this track is about.  There is a vocal sample ‘you wouldn’t let anybody speak and instead’ that goes circular in various volumes through the WHOLE track and there is a vocal hook ‘a light is coming to give back everything the darkness stole’ but I have no idea how those two things go together or what it may or may not mean.  The verse gets brisk but I can’t glean any meaning off that either.  So there ya go, it doesn’t have to make sense, it would be nice if it did, but it’s a flavor pack from a mainstream ‘artist’.

@@@  Physique: This Punk Life is shit (Iron Lung, 2018)  A full on wall of guitar buzz on a hardcore punk record I saw in the loud section of the CFUV weekly playlist email.  Regular readers know that I’m super open to anti-social expression as being cathartic but the buzz and high end on this record hurts my ears.  Nice punk rockers wouldn’t do this to me.  I’m sure this is full on ripping live but I can’t roll with it, I need my ears and shit!

@@@ Lily Allen: No Shame (Warner, 2018)  Sort of the British equivalent to Arianne Grande.  I got to this record via the Guardian’s best records of 2018 thus far.  I can say that the songs here make more sense than the pre release single from Arianne Grande.  It dabbles in some non pop sounds and while the music is more coherent, I don’t find this to be a particularly interesting collection.  As with the Beyonce and Jay Z music I’ve been peeping over the past week you have to be involved with these musicians as people to find their music engaging.  It’s a lifestyle package which has nothing to do with music.   I love the Guardian but just another example of poor mainstream journalistic music reviewing.

@@@ Beyonce & Jay Z: Nice (Sony Music, 2018)  Speaking of which let’s keep enduring this record!  It opens with the repeating hook ‘I can do anything!’ and the Jay Z comes with his trip.  It’s a boasting song with typical references to their incredible wealth — by the way why is it hip for Beyonce and Jay Z to flaunt their wealth but it’s disgusting for Trump to do the same?  It’s ill and typically American to flaunt wealth regardless of color, naimsayin’?  I find Jay Z’s rhymes more interesting than Beyonce’s here but it is their collective self-absorption that drives this record.

YTD recordings listened to: 349
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 184
Not good music: 157

Best: 6
Honorable Mentions: 4

Possibles: Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, 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, 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, Converge, Open Mike Eagle, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Tal National, Portal, Hernan Sama & Marcelo von Schultz, Jean Grae and Quelle Chris, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto