Music for 4/20/19!!! Madonna, Loyle Carner, Lizzo

@@@ Madonna: Medellin (Sire, 2019)  I decided to peep this after seeing positive words about it in the Guardian.  Madonna gets in on the Latin music bandwagon with her pre-release single off her 14th album.  She is attempting to put a new coat of paint on her ongoing shapeshifting that she’s done through her career.  Virgin, whore, yawn.  I do appreciate the minimal arrangement, it’s pretty tasteful and her singing partner does most of the heavy work as he gets a big slice of the tune.  At around 2:45 the tune really fills out and achieves liftoff but it comes back down with Madonna doing her thing.  The arrangement is best here followed by the dude.  This has been Madonna’s flow for decades — she’s better at putting sounds and ideas together than she is at performing.

@@@ Loyle Carner:  You Don’t Know (AMF/EMI, 2019) Both this listen and the Lizzo listen below is from a Line of Best Fit email.    Right out of the gate I’m struck by the blend of old school soul and bombastic hip hop.  It contains a sung hook and then comes the British MC with rhymes.  I don’t think all British MCs should stop, but maybe they should think about it.  For some reason it doesn’t work for me.  I don’t know if it’s the posh accent or what but it just comes off weak.  Oh boy, I don’t really like the sounds and I don’t really like the rhymes.

@@@ Lizzo: Like A Girl (Nice/Atlantic, 2019) First off, big ups for Lizzo revealing the big booty on her record cover as seen below.  However, I think she’s more radical going no clothes than she is with the lyrics and the music on this track.  She does indeed, fire a shot from the cheese cannon.  I’m thinking these lyrics focused on self-empowerment are getting a tad tired.  The sounds here are pretty standard hip hop/pop with some dancefloor vibes to go with the diva vocals.  I don’t hate it but it doesn’t hit me deeply, it’s a bunch of hooks with no real weight.

YTD recordings listened to: 205
Good music, not list worthy: 124
Not good music: 72

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, A Tribe Called Quest, 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, Horndal, Wyxz, Tarek Atoui

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Music for 4/18/19!!! Bibio, Glenn Hansard

@@@ Bibio: Ribbons (Warp, 2019) Both of today’s listens come from the All Music notable release email from last week.  It’s an electronic record that opens up with a gentle descending guitar part.  More complex than standard indie and I can say upfront I don’t usually dig guitar in my electronic music.  Okay I skipped to the second tune and it’s acoustic guitar with some sort of pan flute synth patch and the general vibe is, oh boy, not my scene.  It’s a 2019 hippie/New Age bigly vibe.  I’m not going to say it nauseates me but it’s not what inspires me these days.  We finally get some drums and a little bit of funk in the third track but it’s still butter soft.  I don’t object to soft sounds, not everything has to be hard and uptempo but there’s no contrast and there’s most definitely something lost when all the roughness is smoothed over.  If this had some hard driving funk to go with the New Age white boy business I would find that much more interesting.

@@@ Glenn Hansard: This Wild Willing (Anti-, 2019)  Okay I dig the premise of this record.  Up on the Apple Music it talks about his frustration of being trapped in a singer-songwriter framework and he wanted to break out of that.  So this record is an effort to get out of stereotypical singer-songwriter setup and I’m all for people evolving and pushing against what is supposed to be.  This first tune has elements of singer songwriter but is darker and features a drum machine.  This first tune starts very lo-fi and bedroom-y and builds to a massive orchestral/guitar noise crescendo.  The second tune don’t settle opens up with piano and pretty raw lyrics.  The third tune, Fool’s Game, introduces some electronic elements and does embrace and break out of the singer songwriter thing.  I’m not jumping up and down about the tunes, but that’s just me and I can see folks getting into it.  Big respect for the concept behind the record.

YTD recordings listened to: 202
Good music, not list worthy: 123
Not good music: 70

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, A Tribe Called Quest, 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, Horndal, Wyxz, Tarek Atoui

Music for 4/17/19!!! John Paul White, Shovels and Rope

@@@ John Paul White: The Hurting Kind (Single Lock Records, 2019) An Americana record off last week’s All Music notable release email that traffics in adult alternative, Byrds era folk rock, and straight up classic FM.  I must say straight up that while White is quite a capable singer he is milking the emotional titty a bit hard.  So if we are to accept that this is the sonic equivalent of a manly Midwestern country steak, it sure is a steak that is slathered with more than a bit of Philly cheesesteak sauce.  And if you protest the use of the word cheese then you could substitute the word corn.  It’s all American corn.  Unfortunately.

@@@ Shovels & Rope: By Blood (Dualtone, 2019) Also off this week’s All Music notable release email.  The first tune, I’m Comin Out, is a bombastic anthem.  Maybe they’re gay?  Not gay in a bad way, just straight up gay.  Maybe they’re emotionally gay which I’m not sure what that is.  The second tune is a sing-a-long strummer with a female singer.  It’s also super bombastic and mainstream.  So there’s that word bombastic again.  I’m going to peep one more track and while these guys aren’t milking the drama titty they sure as shit are firing the corn cannon.  I’m more than a bit peeved that these two listens work in more of a simulated emotional world rather than something that feels real and passionate to me.  I’m sure these are great people but I think I might prefer watching some house paint dry.  Remember I want to love it, I really do.

YTD recordings listened to: 200
Good music, not list worthy: 122
Not good music: 69

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, A Tribe Called Quest, 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, Horndal, Wyxz, Tarek Atoui

Music for 4/14/19!!! Kevin Abstract, Tame Impala

@@@ Kevin Abstract: Arizona baby EP (RCA, 2019)  There’s been some dudes using hip hop sounds but getting into some non hip hop territory.  This tune from the Apple hot tracks section does just that getting into some indie electronic action in the arrangement (including guitars and a saxophone) while he gets a good head of steam going on the microphone over new style but not quite full trap beats.  Regular readers know I enjoy a mashed up style if it’s done well and Mr. Abstract is all right at it.  I think Abstract is indebted to Andre 3000 of Outkast — he doesn’t bite him but he is inspired by his uniqueness, no holds barred style.  This music is not a bullseye for me, but for mainstream music on the hot tracks section it’s pretty interesting.  I’m feeling this third tune Georgia the most of what I’ve heard.

@@@ Tame Impala: Borderline (Island, 2019)  Super slick indie disco off the Apple Music hot tracks section.  Unfortunately, a somewhat so standard it hurts four on the floor beat could use a funk injection.  Throw some melancholic falsetto vocals about being in L.A. by yourself and you get #sadface disco biscuit.  I like the flute part, real or canned.  It’s a bit of a colander of synth spaghetti comprising the mix.  I count four or five layers of synth-y goodness.  Could use some funk and a more interesting arrangement.

YTD recordings listened to: 194
Good music, not list worthy: 120
Not good music: 67

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, A Tribe Called Quest, 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, Horndal

Music for 4/11/19!!! Jennifer Lopez, Jonas Brothers, Anderson.Paak

@@@ Jennifer Lopez featuring French Montana: Medicine (HITCO/Nuyorican, 2019) Up on the hot tracks section on Apple Music, Jennie from the block is cranking out the dancefloor bangers.  A little bit street, a lit bit hottie, and pretty swinging.  Lopez is not the greatest singer but she’s all right (and she’s rocking a cowboy hat in the video!) and the arrangement here is sophisticated.  Somebody spent some time flavorizing this jam.  It doesn’t have a standard canned dancefloor feel as you would find with one of my least favorite artists Calvin Harris and his ilk.  Or the gents below.  Solid horn hook, catchy percussion — this is high end for the genre.

@@@  Jonas Brothers: Cool (Republic, 2019) Speaking of least favorite, these guys are little more than top shelf beefcake using stale ass music to parade themselves around sucking up valuable public space.  This has to be one of the least swaggering boast anthems I’ve heard in a long ass time.  I’m not sure at all what’s cool about this track — the lyrics, noop.  The beats, noop.  The singing is straight bleach.  Now regular readers see that I give props when it’s called for regardless of whether a track is mainstream or not.  These guys seem much more qualified to be porn stars (the middle cat in the pic below is rocking hardcore Village People vibes, no?) so they should just get on with it already.

@@@  Anderson.Paak: Make it Better (Aftermath, 2019)  I really liked the first pre-release single King James so I thought I would continue listen to his new jams.  This one decidedly goes for a retro vibe but with updated production courtesy of Dr. Dre.  It’s a slow booty anthem and without having anything particular to complain about, it’s not a particularly memorable hook with irresistible energy.

YTD recordings listened to: 190
Good music, not list worthy: 117
Not good music: 66

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, A Tribe Called Quest, 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, Horndal

Music for 4/4/19!!! Magic Circle, Horndal, Diplo

@@@ Magic Circle – Departed Souls (20 Buck Spin)  Some heavy shit off this week’s CFIV playlist email.  Somebody sure has some Black Sabbath records on their phone as they get into the old school dark guitar riffage.  And the singer!  A little more upbeat than Ozzy but he’s a cousin for sure.  The singer’s vibe lightens the mood of the original metal sound but they have the formula down — big drums with massive fills, two guitars winding and driving the tune with necessary power chord action.  If you’re up for updated Sabbath have at it.

@@@ Horndal – Remains (Prosthetic) These guys are a bit of a different metal animal.  Some classic metal but with some doom mixed in and an altered formula.  Despite the rocking energy it’s more of a hopeful affair than a lot of metal.  What we have here is more of a rage against the machine (not the band, the metaphor) and less of a comfort of the grave situation.  It offers a different heavy music experience than what you usally get.  It’s hard to put into words so we have this here interwebz and folks can peep it for themselves.

@@@ Diplo: Hold You Tight (Mad Decent, 2019) Off the Apple Music hot tracks section.  I like a solid dancefloor banger as much as the next person.  Hold You Tight opens up with a classic peppy techno loop, some staticky rain and a filtered vocal melody that sits there before it joins the beat and it grooves full on.  The loop is good, not great while the vocal processing is where the energy went.  Some nice dub delays, some nice smearing of the hook.  I would expect more from a big club star if you’re asking for 5 minutes of my time.  Some more spark and originality for one thing — this is a couple notches above being sprung for a can and then pumped out on the interwebz.

YTD recordings listened to: 178
Good music, not list worthy: 107
Not good music: 63

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, A Tribe Called Quest, 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, Horndal

Music for 3/28/19!!! Sheridan Reed, Ava Mendoza, Dean Lewis

@@@ Sheridan Reed: Money Maker (N/A, 2019)  I got to this soul/r&b single via a music publicist email.  It is a bit of a white boy frat r&b tune with the singer sound mad similar to the deceased singer from Sublime.  I appreciate the groove but overall it’s not really my thing.  It’s not my kind of soulful.

@@@ Ava Mendoza: Unnatural Ways (New Atlantis, 2018)  I got to this out rock guitarist’s record via a gig announcement from the awfully pretentious Brooklyn club National Sawdust.  It’s a big guitar rock formula here a la Frank Zappa without the childish lyrics and my favorite part of the record is the organ player.  Whoever is rocking that is doing a good job and the tone of the organ fills out the bass space and gives the record a fullness.  All the players are good and this is medium bluster and pretty accessible though it sounds like Mendoza has jazz training.

@@@ Dean Lewis: Stay Awake (Island, 2019)  This is a hot track at Apple Music and it sounds like a label and an A&R person want to take a bite out of Ed Sheeran’s audience and his bank account.  The production here is exquisite and polished but the tune is cliche trash except with an Aussie accent to class it up.  You would hear this at a gas station or while you may be getting a colonoscopy.  Maybe not at a colonoscopy factory because the tune is a bit of one by itself.  Maybe a dentist’s office.  These emotions are so recycled I can’t give it an iota of love.

YTD recordings listened to: 164
Good music, not list worthy: 97
Not good music: 61

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, A Tribe Called Quest, 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