Music for 6/30/20!!! The Positive Force, Beyonce, Lionmilk, Shy Troy

@@@ The Positive Force: The African in Winter (Jazzman, 2007) I got to this retro funk/spoken word via the reissue site Stranded Records.  Imma on their email list.  The bandcamp page for this release shows a June 4, 2020 release date so this should be a remastered recording.  It’s got a chill funk jazz retro vibe, a bit like Alice Coltrane but not as transcendant as that.  A couple of horns playing in unison and it’s a fully, no wait here’s the spoken word part about an African man freezing his ass off in Detroit.  I’ve heard a fair amount of jazz spoken word and this is a solid specimen — solid groove, nice horn melodies and an austere spoken word section.

@@@ Beyonce: Black Parade (Columbia/Sony, 2020) I saw this on the Twatter.  I’m pretty convinced that Beyonce has cultivated such a cult of personality that she could fart in a microphone for 5 minutes and people would throw their hands up in the air in ecstasy.  Oh Beyonce, what a glorious fucking fart you dropped on us unworthy peasants.  It opens trunk shaking with some nice fat bass, a thick layer of chopped vocal bits and her.  Motherland drip on me, that’s all right.  As the song builds it starts to get more epic and mainstream and Disney sounding which I find unfortunate.  Lyrically Beyonce loves to refer to things while not really defining anything with a big vocal hook.  The melodies are all solid and the bass is my favorite part of the track.  It’s a lot of lyrical fragments and it feels long but I’m a bit prejudiced against her.  If a late Michael Jackson song had a baby with itself and got stick blendered it would sound like this.

@@@ Lionmilk: Break My Legs (leavingrecords, 2020)  I saw this label namechecked on the Twatter.  The twatter be rocking, well in this case it be helping to push electro r&b styles out into the Twatter-sphere.  Falsetto singing, a fairly big stack of woven vocal tracks, a side stick snare sound and pumping keyboard flavors.  Think lofi drippy Prince, I dig it.  It clicked through to the next track which is more dancefloor-y.  I think a murky, trippy flavor unites all the tracks I’ve heard, I’m checking the opener which I’m feeling most of the three I’ve heard to this point.  Nice sounds, funky and organic.

@@@ Shy Troy: Up in Smoke (LW Records, 2020) I saw this Australian musician’s debut single on a Australian music magazine email.  Folks in the USA don’t really believe in rock anymore but it’s still alive in other parts of the world such as Australia.  Here we have an example of literate guitar rock with a mainstream production style.  The vocals are right up close to your ears and there’s a sinuous guitar part that drives the tune.  I’m waiting for the tune to fully rock but sometimes it doesn’t but I’m thinking it might.  I dig there are a lot of words at the same time I don’t have the energy to pay attention to all of them.  I don’t think there’s gonna be a big rock part.  The lyrics consist of a hook saying ‘let’s pretend that I’m cool.’  Okay, you’re cool.

YTD recordings listened to: 500
Good music, not list worthy: 254
Not good music: 222

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

Music for 6/29/20!!! Lilla Vargen, The Mekons, Braids, HAIM

@@@ Lilla Vargen: Cold (Futurekind, 2020) Line of Best Fit listen!  Hold up your umbrella cuz it’s raining drama.  Mad feelings storm!  Ringing piano chords, stacks of background vocals panned hard left/right.  Is she a fool for loving you??  I don’t know the answer to that, but 9 out of 10 nutritionists recommend that folks ease up on the cheese and the sugar especially at the same time.  Light sprinkles of cheese and refined sugar but Ms. Vargen went full cheese/sugar.  Girl yer right, he’s gonna let you down and I want what’s best for you despite the cheesy production going on in this song.  You can partially blame Celine Dion for this arena biscuit ballad, she made mad bank on this flow.

@@@ The Mekons: Exquisite ( , 2020) I saw this legendary punk group’s new record shouted on the Twatter.  Me Likey the Twatter!  These guys are more hyper-artistic than mohawk spiked hair punks and the manner in which they assembled this record is testament to their creativity.  The parts to these tracks were stacked and passed around the interwebz sequentially and then assembled and optimized/mixed.  They’re certainly structured but not in the same way as a band playing in a room.  The sounds are mostly classic rock and the record sounds more than a bit like The Clash with haunted ballads and unison singing.  I like the spirit of these tracks — they’re a bit melancholy, they’re a bit rockin’ and a bit art school.

@@@ Braids: Young Buck (Secret City, 2020) Another Line of Best Fit listen!  It’s a Victoria Secret catalog cover clipped below and they get into some ’80s video game feels combined with feel good vibes.  Cheery vocals, friendly white people drum patterns, but it’s mostly on the singer here and she’s quite waif-y.  It’s the combination of the synth sounds and the vocal stylings that make me a bit underwhelmed but I understand I’m in the minority on this — tons of folks are up for comforting sounds and feeling good.

@@@ HAIM: I Know Alone (Columbia, 2020)  HAIM’s label has been trying to foist this femme trio on the world for a bit now.  I don’t really know where the meta project stands but I haven’t head anything quite pants shitting yet.  But I will peep it and if I have to shit my pants I will jump up and down and shit my pants.  I think these gals have focused more on guitar type stuff but here we have some bedroom indie r&b with a thick layer of vocal harmonies and some somewhat funky sounds.  It’s not bad, it’s not great.  This vibe of sad funk was perfected by Prince so I would check out something like 17 Days or Sometimes it Snows in April.  Feels more like a bite job than a heartfelt expression but that’s partially because I’m skeptical of major label acts and their handlers.

YTD recordings listened to: 496
Good music, not list worthy: 252
Not good music: 221

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

Music for 6/26/20!!! French Mouth, Gregory Allen Lisher, Teyana Taylor, John Legend

@@@ French Mouth: Paper Tiger (Frank Haus, 2020)  A post-punk hard rocker I got to via a music publicist email.  Has a bit of At the Drive In wildness to it with jumpy sections to the song and fresh guitar sounds and vocal stylings.  I’m looking at the promo photo and I see non-white faces and I hear it a bit in the playing.  Hard to put into words but it’s subtle.  I like this and would listen to more though I would mention that I could take even more chaos.

@@@ Gregory Allen Lisher: Three Kings (N/A, 2020) I got to this pre-release track from a Camper Van Beethoven guitarist via a music publicist email.  It’s an interesting blend of sounds — a little folk, a little proggy, a little hippie business and a little rock all swirled up.  There’s a shaker in the track but no drums and a supporting cello part I really like.  Now when we are discussing the shaker we should mention the idea that maybe the tune could be remixed with a cowbell.  Nothing would be finer than more cowbell up in this pastoral track.  I was not expecting to dig this but I like it.

@@@ Teyana Taylor: Boomin’ (Def Jam, 2020) Missy Elliott is always a good thing, Future not so much.  Taylor comes on thick and sensuous on this slow booty jam.  Very sultry voice, occasionally skittering beats, fat ol’ bass.  The keyboard sounds and arrangement is a perfect layer of trippy frosting that glues this piece of cake together.  Future is a bit of a distraction to my ears, I would much rather listen to Taylor and the sounds that aren’t him that surround her.  There’s not a lot of Missy Elliott to be had here which is fine.

@@@ John Legend: Bigger Love (Columbia, 2020)  I think John Legend is a high quality human being who makes pretty cheesy music.  Those two things can co-exist as bad humans can make great music, music quality and human being quality are not connected!  Looks like John Legend had a medium sized glass of Drake loverboy business and Imma little scared.  Oh, he drops the Drake business in the chorus and goes for the full cheesebomb.  It’s a big chorus for a tune called Bigger Love.  I associate Legend with Disney style sounds and he does retain some of that but the tame dancehall beats is unexpected.  You can think of this as big ol’ Chipotle/Disney burrito with a plantain on the side.  Yikes that was a rough listen.

YTD recordings listened to: 492
Good music, not list worthy: 2250
Not good music: 219

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

Music for 6/22/20!!! DaBaby, Megan Thee Stallion, Doja Cat, Travis Scott

@@@ DaBaby: Rockstar (Interscope, 2020) I was reading an interview with an African American science fiction writer and she said we would reach equality when the mediocre word of black folks is accepted and celebrated in the same manner that the mediocre work of white folks is celebrated.  It already is!  There’s plenty of mediocre hip hop getting major spins — lots of anthems and stoned out celebrations of pussy and weed, so I’m guessing a track called Rockstar by this MC might be in that neighborhood.  It opens with some nylon string guitar and some half sung MC action.  A real n*gga rockstar, this is no guitar it’s a glock.  Well there you go.  Fat distorted bass, it’s awesome bass I love, the guitar is unusual but not particularly interesting.  The rapping is energetic, the subject matter pretty mundane.  It’s a just below above average track and not jam of the summer to my ears.

@@@ Megan Thee Stallion: Savage Remix (300 Entertainment, 2020) Beyonce is up in this track so nobody can’t say nothin’ negative with Beyonce sprinkling her troll ass gold flakes on this track.  Classy, boozhy and ratchet.  Beyonce stays mostly in the back adding background vocals while Ms. Megan struts her business.  Personally I find the background vocals to be superfluous and clutterous but it’s Beyonce so that’s where it’s at.  She takes a primary position on the mic towards the end for a little bit and it’s better than the background bits.  The arrangement is tough and steady with the keyboards especially driving the track, letting Megan stomp.

@@@ Doja Cat: Say So (Kemosabe/RCA, 2020)  White girl disco with Nicki Minaj flavor pack dropping by to snap some dicks off right at the root.  She scare me!  She put the cookie on quarantine — you can count on Nicki Minaj to let you know where her va jay jay is at.  You can count on it.  Nicki hits the verse and then the white girl cleans up in the chorus with her bubblegum chorus.  Doja might actually rap ‘pon the mic but I’m not sure.  The best part of this tune is Nicki Minaj, then the chorus it’s all right and then the sounds which are a little tired, they need a Red Bull refresher and whatnot.

@@@ The Scotts: The Scotts (Epic, 2020) The last entry from Slate’s songs of the summer.  It’s got an interesting blend of indie flavors, and then busts into trap fatness.  There’s a great spaceship blip that catches your ear more than the MC does.  Some nice production touches that delineate the sections.  Kid Cudi does a guest rap and I like him better than Travis Scott.  I’m not gonna lie that these lyrics are anything more than basic stoned out adventures with horny women but some of the sounds are very nice and they keep changing and are engaging.  The proggy keyboard solo at the end will make you laugh, probably harder if you’re stoned off your ass but they bit that from ol’ school white dudes.  And they shouldn’t have.

YTD recordings listened to: 476
Good music, not list worthy: 242
Not good music: 211

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

Music for 6/21/20!!! No Age, Naeem, Drug Store Romeos, Mel C

@@@ No Age: Feeler (Drag City, 2020) Off last week’s All Music notable release email.  The label Drag City sits towards the top of the indie rock mountain with extreme preciousness and this comes out as a ramped up Pavement slack rock thing.  Pleasantly blustery with a lot of drums and guitars.  I’m attracted to the rocking energy and the hipster wail but I wouldn’t mind a new sound or new place or something to make me pay attention.  It’s super well done with really nice guitar sounds so given what we have here this is for the hardcore indie heads.

@@@ Naeem: You and I (37d03d, 2020)  A pretty jarring record cover with a black dude darkened/dipped/coated in what could be anything.  It opens with a lot of voices, intimate vibes, fears and feeling vulnerable that’s what I hear.  I really like the singer as he switches feels frequently — he sounds a bit like Prince mashed up with Billie Holiday.  It is slotted as hip hop on Apple Music but I hear black church singing, Hendrix style guitars, but not a lot of hip hop so I will peep some snippets of a couple of other tracks.  The second tune gets into more standard rhyming, still very emotionally focused with a sprinkle of Prince and now we’ve switched over to some a very new but not quite trap formula.  Wow, I dig the freshness of this, sonically it’s got some really nice elements working together.  I guess Naeem had a big release in 2006 and this is his first record in 9 years.  Imma swing back on this, it’s got a lot of the things I want to hear in a record.

@@@ Drug Store Romeos: Quotations For Locations (UMG, 2020)  Coming out it a bit indie, a bit electro, and a little mainstream.  Intimate vocal style and video game synths stand out before the drum machine comes in and she throws in some chill sounds in the back that make you crave the pool floatie and the oxycontin.  For a major label offering this is surprisingly not cheesy.  I must say Imma bit shocked.  Some nice arrangements of solid sounds with big ups to the bass player and the sound that comes with it.  I like the vocalist well enough because she keeps this sound under control.  Lyrically I don’t find myself engaged, maybe a bit abstract for my tastebuds.

@@@ Melanie C: Blame it On Me (Red Girl, 2020)  A former Spice Girl comes back with a dancefloor banger.  They put a diva reverb patch on her voice and she is presented as the central component.  Her voice is all right, she’s not a diva but she is a former Spice Girl.  It’s a relationship dancefloor banger as she’s singing about toxic masculinity and the vocal hook is a tongue in cheek ‘why don’t you just blame it on me?’ as if anybody volunteers for being blamed.  The sounds are not quite canned but they’re pretty standard and I’m guessing that’s purposeful.  She’s a mainstream musician so they’re going to aim her music at mainstream listeners.  I could use more funk, a guitar maybe, and just some freshness.  This is more a Dunkin Donut donut than a cronut and I’m a fan of cronuts.

YTD recordings listened to: 472
Good music, not list worthy: 240
Not good music: 209

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

Music for 6/19/20!!! H.E.R., Deathnoisefrequency, Philip Michael Scales, Kush Jones

@@@ H.E.R.: I Can’t Breathe (RCA/Sony, 2020)  I saw this protest song mentioned on the Root’s daily email.  It’s a slow jam heavy on beats and retro soul drama.  The hand drumming reminds me of classic Marvin Gaye and Curtis Mayfield.  The string arrangement in the chorus is super stylish — there are some really pretty flourishes here without the tune collapsing into over drama.  H.E.R.’s rolling delivery that doesn’t pause adds a subtle urgency to the track.  This is really well done — the lyrics focus on recent events.  There is a raw ass mostly spoken word/a little rapped section that really ups the impact of the track.  Ignorant, privileged eyes, no you didn’t say that ’bout white folks!!  Yes she did.  Excellent job in not holding back on the sentiment — no dilution and the anger combined with the sounds is very powerful.

@@@  Deathnoisefrequency: Chapter III: The Mortician’s Lamenting Dirge ( 2020)  I saw this noise duo from Saudi Arabia mentioned on an indie blog called Indiepulse.  I can only imagine how fertile the parched fascist earth of Saudi Arabia is for resistance/noisy fuck you types of music.  There is quite a bit of censorship in Saudi Arabia so it might even be dangerous to make this kind of music there.  BTW, fuck that MBS bitch ass who runs Saudi Arabia.  This comes out with a collection of noisy ass sounds layered — banging power chords, some exhaling voice sounds, cycling feedback and a generally dark and aggro feel.  Here’s a singer, old school and spoken word-y, he’s got a bit of the dark wizard Lord of the Rings incantation shit to him.  It spends most of its time chugging along as an old school Sabbath/Danzig flavored thing.  He changes it up and outright sings more after he comes in.  The drummer is sporting a hard rock sound and playing approach.  It’s pleasantly retro but I was hoping for a more distinctly noisy show.

@@@  Philip Michael Scales: Find a Way (The Company You Keep, 2020) I got to this track via a music publicist in the Midwest.  It’s a retro soul/rock sound with a firm beat, active hi hats and sweet singing over at least two guitar tracks.  Apple Music has this as indie pop which isn’t really correct, it’s soul rock.  I like Scales’ voice and the lyrics focus on overcoming personal internal adversity and finding a way forward.  His voice is my favorite component of the tune and I could have used some more varied drumming.

@@@ Kush Jones: Earth Note (Future Times, 2020)  Saw this techno artist namechecked on the Twatter!  Me love the Twatter.  Stuck with GooglePimp!  It’s a classic techno dancefloor banger but with world music flavors in additional to classic techno unt-sss.  A lot of layers of simple rhythms here — splashing hats, four on the floor, the stop and go bass with synth puffs and string patches.  You get a nice, pretty epic keyboard solo and the energy here is firm and fresh.  High quality sounds professionally put together.

YTD recordings listened to: 464
Good music, not list worthy: 236
Not good music: 205

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

Music for 5/22/20!!! Tall Black Guy, Austra Hirudin, Future, Jonas Brothers

@@@ Austra Hirudin:  Anywayz (Domino, 2020) Domino business is often a blend of highbrow and the twisted mindset of the British upper class.  I kid, I kid.  This is some Kate Bush flavored electronic music and the first minute is pretty straightforward.  Oh wow, it then explodes out into a Eurovision super nerdy dancefloor banger with her dreamy voice and and plenty of cushy synth patches for your earholes.  Some resonant piano chords for meaning, and vocally she runs her hands across your spine when you’re not there.  Yeah, that’s right, it’s like that.  With about a minute left it segues into a slightly less dancefloor/more intimate thing, vocally at least.  Not really my cup of tea.

@@@ Future: Trillionaire (Epic, 2020)  I guess the appeal of being a big rapper is to be super high and making money as part of your job as that’s the image that’s being sold here.  I love the bass, the beats are a bit low and it’s a double MC attack.  These guys are aspiring trillionaires, oy.  They hang out with millionaires but they’re gonna be trillionaires.  The sounds outside of the bass and drum are sorta soft more ballad-y which is interesting.  There’s not a lot going on her lyrically that I can get with so I have to find interest where I can.  Just to reiterate for the umpteenth time folks should understand how aspiring to be a trillionaire puts you right in line with the racist pumpkin President Trump.  He’s been paper chasin’ before these dudes were fertilized.

@@@ Jonas Brothers: X (UMG, 2020) It was only a matter of time when the Jonas brothers would have peas and rice, some fried plantains and then go reggaeton.  Oh lord, I would hate if they weren’t so sexy in such a clunky blockheaded frat boy style.  These boys have no flow and this rhythm doesn’t come naturally to them.  Oh they got a breathy Latina to help out and she just makes them sound worse.  I like corn when it’s prepared as a tortilla but corn pone with my reggaeton?  Naw.

@@@  Tall Black Guy: We Rollin’ For You (N/A, 2020) A minty fresh updated version of some classic late ’70s/early ’80s fusion/funk type sounds.  There’s a lot of falsetto Earth Wind and Fire type background vocals and some low in the mix chant-ish type vocals.  So the emphasis here is on the arrangement and the feel of the music which is pretty sophisticated and tricked out.  The bass player is quietly killing it, and though I’m not 100% sure if this is a drummer or a programmed situation the beats are high in the mix and stylish.  Overall a super well executed track and I dig it without being a fan of this particular blend of sounds.  I think it’s a drummer.

YTD recordings listened to: 386
Good music, not list worthy: 200
Not good music: 174

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

 

Music for 5/19/20!!! Redress, Ariana Grande and Justin Beeber, The Primitive Painter, Major Surgery

@@@ Redress: Redsphere (1982362 Records DK, 2020) Some self released electronic that sits #1 out at Vancouver’s CFUV weekly playlist email.  This track tastefully straddles a high minded level of abstraction and dancefloor banging.  This second tune starts out chill and a tad kraut-y before it heads into manic variation on drum ‘n bass with a symphonic string patch, it’s wacky.  It does not require a Red Bull.  I like the variety of sounds here and the boldness of the arrangements so it does tick a lot of boxes for my brain and my ear holes but it’s not quite jump up and down material for me.

@@@ Ariana Grande & Justin Bieber: Stuck With You (UMG, 2020) Two of today’s more self absorbed pop stars and they’re going old school soul with the guitars and the vocal arrangements.  The trap beats have been replaced by something emulating a simple Motown drum beat so Ariana can just fly all around with her voice.  She’s got skills but I tell you she’s a bit short on soul, that’s my take on her.  Beebs comes in and he’s still annoying but he’s not as annoying as he could be.  Isn’t that 2020 America, it’s great when it’s not as annoying as it could be.  The main question here is if two musicians with similar skills — cuz let’s be honest these two can sing but they’re not extraterrestrial rare, right?  If two others did this with the same sounds would it be on the front page of Apple Music with 32 million GooglePimpTube hits.  Imma guessing no.  There’s no need to shit on it, it’s an all right track, but this is a faithful update on something great that dropped long ago.  It’s Make America Soulful Again but not really.

@@@ The Primitive Painter: Hope (Apollo, 1994) I saw this early ambient/IDM record namechecked on the Twatter as a record that has had a long afterlife and is still getting respect to this day.  It opens ambient chainsaw percolating drone before the cloud synth comes in.  This fatboy weighs in at 10+ minutes so make sure you don’t have to piss before you listen, unless you on the phone and shit and you’re sitting on the can.  Right at 2 minutes the drum machine comes in and it’s neither techno nor funk, it’s just ooh we’re heading into a New Age synth cloud, wait a second take a deep breath and gather your feelings, just the good ones cuz you don’t want to shit on the clouds and the uplifting feels coming your way!!  I’m not sure who kept this tune going but it takes all kinds of folks to fill the world.  I find this not super inspiring, it’s kinda a perfect representation of McDonald’s type electro sounds.  I made it exactly halfway through, that’s a pretty good effort.

@@@ Major Surgery: The First Cut (Next Records, 1977/2013)  I saw this jazz record being reissued and then namechecked by the London Jazz Blog.  Being from the mid to late ’70s it does have fusion-y feel which I don’t love, but it does have an old school analog tape feel that is pleasing.  Active drums, guitar and horn melodies played almost not for note together in the head section.  As the guitar takes his solo it has more than a bit of rock feels to it.  I often say rude shit like this dude needs a Red Bull, but neither the guitar player nor the sax player here need a Red Bull, they got energy, mad energy.  This is not my favorite flavor of jazz nor my favorite set of sounds, but they are straight up poppin’ with straight jazz farm fresh goodness/energy and I give props to that.

YTD recordings listened to: 374
Good music, not list worthy: 194
Not good music: 168

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

Music for 5/6/20!!! sad alex, Jewel, Live Lounge All Stars, Shady Nasty

@@@ sad alex: hypotheticals (Red Bull, 2020)  Music publicist email!  Red Bull is up on the Twatter and active in the music pr game which honestly I’m quite conflicted about.  Some days I think it’s fine and other days it appears as a form of corruption — those with money get greater access to listeners than those without.  Not a meritocracy.  This is fairly bouncy, female driven post-relationship song with strong Justin Bieber feels.  Self concious introspective lyrics with cliche observations.  A strong cappucino with a little sugar on top Bieber type track.  There’s just so much pop music out there right now it’s really quite difficult to catch my ear, and the ear of others.

@@@ Jewel: Grateful (Words Matter, 2020)  I saw Jewel wearing a very stylish hat in my weekly email from Flavorpill and I must tell you if there’s ever a musician that needs to have their songs lyric video-ed it’s Jewel.  #breathtaking.  The song opens up with a retro electric organ and Jewel’s classic pleasantly sandy/half femme growl before the band comes in.  And when the band comes in it’s friendly coffeeshop hippie rock.  You didn’t expect Converge, did you?  The music/chord progression is very familiar, so familiar I had to look up whether it’s a cover or not, and I couldn’t find any info saying it was a cover.  There’s a spiel over at the Rolling Stone about Jewel’s anxiety and her practice of focusing on gratitude.  That’s all great, f’real, but I wish the song was a bit more unique.

@@@ Live Lounge Allstars: Times Like These (BBC, 2020)  An all star mainstream lineup covering a Foo Fighters classic.  Oh I remember this track, it’s all right.  A bunch of mainstream singers hit the microphone one line at a time which is kinda cool but also kinda disorienting at the same time.  Alls I know it’s acoustic guitar with a little electric here and there, but there’s a shaker up in here.  A fucking shaker, a shaker takes a backseat to no other hand percussion save the cowbell!  Oh no, a British MC hit the mic with some rhymes and I just hit stop, I couldn’t deal.  Maybe it’s Stormzy, Stormzy is huge!  I think they injected some new lyrics into this bad boy.  It’s been a long time since classic rock gave me shivers, I was hopin’ Bon Jovi would get up in here but I think he had a hairdresser’s appointment.  That hair takes work.  Anyway this didn’t give me shivers.  I guess the problem for me is I don’t like stars, of any kind really, so while they do an all right job with it, I fucking hate stars.

@@@ Shady Nasty – Bad Posture (Royal Mountain, 2019)  Off the CFUV weekly playlist email in the loud section.   Slower but not super stoned out with a singer rhyming on the microphone percussively in a mix dominated (yeah!) by loud drums and not super metal guitars.  I like the energy and toughness the singer brings to the music.  These guys are from Sydney Australia so not an American thing here.  I like this track and the freshness of it.  I would like some iller guitar tones and would like to hear what that sounds like.

YTD recordings listened to: 338
Good music, not list worthy: 176
Not good music: 150

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

Music for 4/20/20!!! Charlie and the Rays, Jack Curley, Orlando Weeks, Miho Hazama

@@@ Charlie and the Rays: For No One (N/A, 2020) A little country, a little singer/songwriter, a little rock.  I got to this via a music publicist email.  Birdsong female singer with another female backing her up.  Twinkly guitars in places, rock guitars in places, and country twang in places.  Get the pattern?  It’s a mash people.  It goes out on a country-ish guitar solo.  I feel neutral about this track, like some parts but feel it’s a bit slack/under energy infused for my taste.

@@@ Jack Curley: Tomorrow (Parlophone/Warner, 2020) Mainstream singer/songwriter off this week’s Line of Best Fit.  Curley has a gruff voice set off from slick guitars sounds.  The key here is how you feel about the mainstream pop production flavors involved here.  It’s like somebody dipped Ed Sheeran into some coconut oil, metaphorically speaking.  Yikes, let Ed out of the coconut oil, metaphorically speaking! There she comes looking like that, million dollar smile and I’m smiling right back.  That’s the hook.  He keeps asking can we save that til tomorrow, what is that?  Maybe the last stick of gum, maybe the last bagel of the dozen?  You know what I say when I’m forced to entertain myself during a song.  Something tasted different the last time we kissed.  I’m reciting some lyrics here and feeling I might be facing a bowl of word salad and that it’s not supposed to make sense.

@@@ Orlando Weeks: Blood Sugar (Play it Again Sam, 2020) A pre-release single I got to via Line of Best Fit.  Opens ambient-ly and mournful.  I like Weeks’ voice, I go for that quasi-falsetto fragile thing.  I’m not sure what to call this, it’s a wisp of a song with his voice, a bassline and some impressionistic rhythm that flows through.  The last minute of the track sees an increase in the delay buss with a denser mix of sounds before it dies away to end.  An interesting set of sounds with both different and familiar feels.

@@@ Miho Hazama: Dancer in Nowhere (Sunnyside, 2019)  A female Japanese big band leader based in New York and somebody on Slate is giving her a shout and her combination of classical and jazz.  This is an 8 minute piece and it’s a restrained, slightly Republican vibe, tempowise, arrangment wise and performance wise.  I like the strings that sit under the horn melodies and Lord knows I’m a sucker for anything with vibes.  The piece jumps to another idea driven by the strings and a percussive marimba thing and into a more energetic spot.  I like it all right but I don’t love the sound of the recording as it’s a bit sterile and saps some of the energy of the music.  The composition is more straight than free but it’s not arrow straight to my ears.  I could use more swing and for reference I would send people off to listen to Sun Ra’s 1959 classic, Jazz in Silhouette.  Be careful, it’s funky!

YTD recordings listened to: 290
Good music, not list worthy: 156
Not good music: 128

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