Music for 4/30/23!!! Jessie Ware

@@@ Jessie Ware: That! Feels Good! (Universal, 2023) Some slightly updated disco funk I got to via this week’s Pitchfork 10 Most reviewed albums of the week. It’s pleasantly funky but sports very little of the radical funk Parliament/Funkadelic injected into their music. I could get with this record if there was a freshness or creativity to it but that would involve a different way of arranging these sounds or introducing new sounds. I’m not hearing that. I fully understand that the vast majority of folks don’t care if it’s fresh but I do and it’s my blog. I circled back on this record, partially because I was super into a remix record somebody did of her last week and after giving a listen to tracks 6 and 7, it’s too predictable for my taste.

Music for 4/20/23!!! Nathan Fake, Larkin Poe

Nathan Fake: Crystal Vision ( , 2023) I don’t smoke weed but happy 4/20 to motherfuckers out there! This is some dark dancefloor banging and I’m feeling this second track, The Grass. Get it? Grass, 4/20, 4/20 meet Grass! The third track, Vimana, opens up with the thick oscillating bass and I like the intro but we will see what the body of the track does. Some dancefloor banging is very bubbleheaded, all upbeat sounds because dancing but not this and Mr. Fake is getting respect from me for choosing this formula. I’m gonna finish up my listening with the fourth track here, Boss Core, and I might like this track the most of the three I’ve heard. It’s got a more funky and bubbling feel to it. I’m going to circle back on this record as all three of the tracks I’ve heard are pretty banging.

@@@ Larkin Poe: Blood Harmony (Tricki Woo, 2023) I got to this blues revivalist record via music blog honcho Bob Lefsetz. Apparently we’re going to have a mini blues revival without changing anything about this sub genre. This shit is straight out of a time capsule. I can see how this would be absolutely banging live but as a record I could use something from this century. You gotta make some attempt to connect with the youth or acknowledge and update your shit. I thought this was going to be better.

Music for 4/14/23!!! Dinner Party, Dave Okumu

@@@ Dinner Party: Enigmatic Society (Sounds of Crenshaw, 2023) This is a collection of jazz cats jumping over to make some proggy r&b. I’m agnostic on Robert Glasper and Kamasi Washington and I like the singer. The question with records like this isn’t whether they have skills, which they obviously dude, it’s more a question of is the music entertaining. This is pretty restrained and low spark stuff, I don’t hear anyone like Nelly asking everybody to take their clothes off. It’s cool, literally, and I’m neutral on the record.

@@@ Dave Okumu: I Came From Love (Transgressive, 2023) Both of today’s listens are off thi week’s All Music notable release email and this one, like the one above, is right into it and is darker and puts out a different energy than the Dinner Party record. I like the dark funk of the first track, let’s peep more. The third tune, the Blood Go Ah Run comes out krauty and funky which is really stylish, sharp and hitting hard. Thus far I’ve dug every other song so check out Blood Ah Go Run (#2) and My Negritude (#4) and go from there. I like the politics of this, a bunch of the sounds and there are passages here that are very creative.

Music for 4/8/23!!! Ruston Kelly

@@@ Ruston Kelly: The Weakness (Rounder, 2023) This release is off this week’s All Music notable release email and the first tune is surprisingly indie rock-ish so let’see if this plays out for the whole record or Rounder Records is trying to scrounge up some streaming money to survive in this dark ‘post’ pandemic era. I’m on the second tune and I don’t want to split hairs but this is not really roots music. To my ears — I’m not in charge of these designations and I’m just informing my readers but this is rock. I guess he was married to Kacey Musgraves and this is a very confessional record and I’m not super enjoying it. It’s not the lyrics per se, it’s just a pretty straightforward non-sparking set of jams.

Music for 4/3/23!!! ICECOLDBISHOP, Yaya Bey

@@@ ICECOLDBISHOP: Generational Curse (Sony Music, 2023) This is some major label rough side of town hip hop. The MC who I might refer to as Mr. Bishop or Mr. IceCold is energetic and entertaining on the microphone as he pursues his various deals and scenarios. First off, there’s some really nice arranging here as well as some standard trap stuff. If I can disqualify the lyrics on the new boygenius record I can get past the lyrics here that focus a lot on black on black violence which is regrettable because some folks think this shit is real and not a bunch of songs. Mr. Bishop and his energy is what makes this album stand out. It’s not the best hip hop I’ve heard but it does show what an impassioned MC can do.

@@@ Yaya Bey: Remember Your North Star (Big Dada, 2023) Off this week’s 10 most reviewed albums from PItchfork. I like a lot of what’s going on here but I’m especially feeling the guitar player and certain stretches where Yaya Bey really hits the microphone rhythmically. It does have a super familiar vibe which I don’t love but that’s me, I’m always looking to hear new sounds. Stylistically the tunes jump around with some lounge-y stuff, a reggae-ish track, a wee bit of hip hop flavor, and then your standard r&b/dance feels. Big respect to the engineer who tracked and mixed this record, the sonics are ridiculously high quality.

Music for 3/29/23!!! Jenny Lewis, Hus Kingpin

@@@ Jenny Lewis: Psychos (Blue Note, 2023) Oy, this is on Blue Note, somewhat shocking! Hipster goes legit on a legendary imprint. I’ve clicked on her last two releases and they were both on Warner so she’s not an indie hipster, my mistake! This is a pretty straightforward California chill rock typa thing. It’s a mashup of light Joni Mitchell feels as well as the ‘Stuck in the Middle With You’ Gerry Rafferty but not as inspired as Senor Rafferty. It’s perfectly fine, to my ears it doesn’t really stand out but some folks aren’t looking for that.

@@@ Hus Kingpin: The Tricky Tape (Wave Runners Club, 2023) I got to this independent hip hop track via a music publicist email. This is some retro NYC hip hop and the MC has a scratchity-ass tone to his voice that produces a rough flavor. The third track Blueprint picks up the tempo a bunch with a bouncing horn line for the MC to work a bit quicker. The third tune, Maxinquaye, is a real tear jerker with strings the boom bap. I don’t love strings in hip hop but if it comes with the boom bap I can deal with it.

Music for 3/28/23!!! Doug Paisley, Nell Mescal

@@@ Doug Paisley: Say What You Like (Outside, 2023) I got to this chill sitch, hippie-ish country music via this week’s All Music notable release email. The energy does indeed stretch into super stoned out Grateful Dead territory. Interestingly there’s a pretty noticeable Dire Straits kinda thing going and that vibe smashed into the Grateful Dead flavors is not common. What’s old is new again as a classic Dead type guitar solo kicks off in the third tune Wide Open Plain. I don’t usually get into this kind of music but there’s something charming and authentic to my ears in this record. If you like the description I’ve laid forth here then check it out, there’s some hippie redneck chill on offer here.

@@@ Nell Mescal: In My Head (LAB Records, 2023) I’m running into a lot of super huge, dramatical female singer songwriter rock in the last buncha days. This single, which I got to via the Line of Best Fit is right in there, tense in the verse, contemplative and then blasting off in the chorus with the vocal hook that about it all being in her head. The sounds are rooted in ’80s rock, sorta simple stuff with synths layered over the top.

Music for 3/24/23!!! Lana Del Rey, Fall Out Boy

@@@ Lana Del Rey: Did you know there is a tunnel under Ocean Blvd (Polydor, 2023) The Apple Music blurb says something interesting about Ms. Del Rey — each record steadily amplifies her own mythology. To make music primarily to be self involved, sad face. Yowsa! What an awful thing to say about an artist, in my dumbass opinion. The first tune, The Grants, contains a soaring string part and the vibe here is one of high end production and bummered out lyrics. The strings recede a bit in the second track, the title track, and the bummer piano and vocals step forward. She can sing, the recording is quite high end but I’ve never really believed a word she has to say, there’s a certain detachment and coldness to the proceedings. I guess there’s some sort of excitement and mystery in trying to figure out who and what she intends or means but honestly I could give a fuck and I have no clue why anyone would volunteer for this wash.

@@@ Fall Out Boy: So Much for Stardust (Elektra, 2023) Much of what is wrong with America can be found in Fall Out Boy’s music. Overly dramatical and pretty much meaningless like a birthday balloon that slowly loses all the air pumped into it. I’m not sure what to say here. The time and energy put into this music could have been deployed much more efficiently in battling climate change. Oy. Oy. I’m sure they’re great people and they didn’t mean to bit Queen’s Another One Rides the Bus so hard in the third track, but they did in the verse.

Music for 3/21/23!!! Yves Tumor

@@@ Yves Tumor: Praise A Lord That Chews But Does Not Consume (Warp, 2023) Off this week’s All Music notable release email. It opens brashly in a rocking with electronics manner, a grizzy bass rock manner, not super guitar oriented. Also glam feels though he works a down and out vibe on the microphone. Definitely taking a Nine Inch Nails book and rewriting and editing it a bit. Like the energy, like the bass sounds, the beats are meh, his vocals, well he definitely gives me the impression that he really aspires/wants to be a rock star. Would I call him that? It’s in the gray area. I was more bullish until he hits the power chords on the third track Meteora Blues, and then you see the cheese ooze out of the sandwich onto the plate. I half like it all right, half of it I find annoying.

Music for 3/7/22!!! Model/Actriz

@@@ Model/Actriz: Dogsbody (True Panther, 2023) Some dramatical alternative rock, breathy singer, spoken word opening, cinematically aggro sounds along side and under the spoken word, then the band comes crunching in. The singer is cool and he annoys me at the same time. Sinister Art School. I think they really excel at building the tension in their tracks and they seemed less skilled in just dropping the hammer and losing their shit in the chorus. There’s some pretty tasty slashing guitar sounds, and the singer does a good job drawing you into his janky unsatisfied world, I like the rhythm section though it could be a tad less rocky and I would like it more but it’s the release I seek. This is a bit of a missed opportunity and does reflect my general feeling that there’s a reluctance to go all the way in expressing our dissatisfaction in our culture that has gotten baked into music. Gotta keep shit chill and modest people.