Music for 11/16/18!!! The Writhing Squares, Les Gruff and the Billy Goat, Sydney Wright

@@@ The Writhing Squares: A Whole New Jupiter (N/A, 2018) I got to this jazz/psych almost 20+ blast via an email from a musician who is playing a show with them.  The bandcamp description explains that it is constructed from bass, sax, and drum machines and other bits and bobs.  It slips between normal genre descriptions as it’s a wee bit fusion-y, a little jazzy, a little psych, and a little electro.  It also a bit of a jam band feel as it meanders (in a good way) through its 20 minute orbit.  I really dig the bass sound, I like the sax playing without loving it.  It connects back to ’70s prog/jazz jams.  I like the set of sounds but I could use a bit more action.

@@@ Les Gruff and the Billy Goat: Evil Dancers (N/A, 2018). I got to this alt country business via a music publicist email.  It’s a down out and drunken regret tune with a slightly atypically pretty sounding male singer.  He’s got no gruffness and he’s not overtly manly which I find refreshing.  The band is solid with a mournful fiddle line, some twangy tremolo guitar and more than a bit of rock in the drummer.  He goes from sadness to bitterness as the tune moves through its paces.  I like the sounds and all the components but I think it’s a bit long for my taste.  The fiddle and piano solos are my favorite elements.

@@@  Sydney Wright: Wait for the Wave (N/A, 2018) I got to this music by a recording engineer in Austin, TX from a music publicist email.  It still confounds me how music publicists operate out in the open yet their influence remains unacknowledged and undenounced.  At the very least bloggers and music writers should acknowledge their machinations.  This is a ballad with piano and torchy vocals.  There are some nice sonic goodies tucked in here — a nice swirling guitar figure foremost in my ear.  It’s a bit dramatical but that could be because I’m dead inside.  Lyrically it employs a metaphor of waiting for a wave to crash over her.  There ya go, not much to say to that.  It’s an undercover pop tune with a brief giant, arena rock climax at the end.  Have at it if it sounds good to you.

YTD recordings listened to: 644
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 350
Not good music: 254

Best: 11
Honorable Mentions: 8

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, 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, 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, Converge, Open Mike Eagle, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Tal National, Portal, Hernan Sama & Marcelo von Schultz, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton, Parquet Courts, Orlando Lopez, Moskus, Kendl Winter, Tkay Maidza, Gouge Away, Barro

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Music for 11/12/18!!! Kelly Clarkson, Pierre Akendengue

@@@ Kelly Clarkson: Never Enough (Atlantic, 2018)  A monster shot of mainstream sonic cheese from the Greatest Showman Reimagined sountrack.  I have no clue why the Greatest Showman was reimagined but these decisions are out of my hands.  Unfortunately.   The shine of a thousands spotlights will never be enough, other stuff will never be enough, never enough, that’s the hook people.  When she hits the chorus it’s full throated Cheez Whiz.  I know we’re all on the same side but I don’t understand how this infantilizing, arena pop actually effects people at an emotional level.  To my ears it sounds ridiculously plastic.  That’s just me and folks is free to enjoy their shit as they see fit but be careful, too much cheese can kill your ass, you dig?

@@@ PIERRE AKENDENGUE: La Couleur De L’Afrique  (Lusafrica, 2018)  Switching gears bigly, here we have an EP of African music that I found this week’s WRIR playlist email.  The first tune kicks out a mellow laidback vibe with a simple drum beat and accompanying hand drumming.  The twist here lies in the string arrangement, but otherwise it’s pretty familiar.  It’s a nice track that builds to a big swell in the chorus before dying back down in the verse.   The production here is very clean and shall we say arch?  I like the grittier sounding African music — that’s my preference.  I don’t have anything against this music and its sound though I prefer a stronger swing.  If I wanted the soaring music I could always cut myself a big ass slice of Kelly Clarkson cheese.  This record undoubtedly surpasses the Greatest Showman soundtrack but they’re not completely unrelated.

YTD recordings listened to: 635
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 343
Not good music: 254

Best: 11
Honorable Mentions: 8

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, 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, 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, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton, Parquet Courts, Orlando Lopez, Moskus, Kendl Winter, Tkay Maidza, Marianne Faithfull

Music for 11/5/18!!! Barbara Streisand, Marianne Faithfull, Roseanne Cash

@@@ Barbara Streisand: Don’t Lie to Me (Columbia, 2018)  The lead single from Babs’ new record.  I love the Streisand drama — she just oozes emotion and meaning.  And when she comes in on this lead single to her new record, Walls, it’s dripping with drama.  While it is aimed at President PumpkinFucker it could easily be a relationship single as well.  It builds to a half arena/half dancefloor climax in the chorus.  The lines before the exhortation ‘don’t lie to me’ are pretty awful and the lyrics overall are a bit New Age and over the top for my taste.  How do you sleep?  she asks.  I bet the motherfucker pees on Melania and rolls over for a solid 8 hours if I had to guess.  It’s interestingly modern sounding without using dance sounds — the piano is very familiar and the buildups and cool downs are familiar as well.

@@@ Marianne Faithfull: The Gypsy Faerie Queen (BMG, 2018) I saw the Guardian gave this record a four star review (the Guardian being great for news but meh for music) and I think it’s cool she has Nick Cave on a bunch of these songs.  This song opens up with piano in the same way the Babs song does — something about the piano draws the Senior MILFs.  Faithfull brings a totally different vibe to the microphone — her voice is beautifully gruff and she’s so not about over the top drama I could weep tears of joy.  Okay that’s super dramatical.  Nick Cave comes in for the chorus and I’m a fan without being a groupie.  There’s nothing particularly revolutionary to the tune or the sounds but but the sadness is unvarnished and genuine to my ear.  It has the sweet melancholy that Nick Cave really excels at sending out.  I’m going to swing back on this record when I have more time but this is a great lead single.

@@@ Roseanne Cash: She Remembers Everything (Blue Note/Capitol, 2018)  Let’s make Tuesday Senior Vag day and keep it all feminine and shit with Roseanne Cash.  Fuck me, more piano coming out of the gate but also some twangy guitar and a shuffling drum beat as one would expect from a country record.  The mood is dark with a tad of feminist defiance and the somewhat dense mix includes cello, piano, and multiple guitars.  It builds but slowly and it remains restrained.  I would call this some epic ass country music.  It’s a downer record for sure but it is lush and beautiful and could work for Emmylou Harris fans and hipsters alike.

YTD recordings listened to: 625
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 336
Not good music: 251

Best: 11
Honorable Mentions: 7

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, 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, 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, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton, Parquet Courts, Orlando Lopez, Moskus, Kendl Winter, Tkay Maidza, Peregoyo y su Combo vacana, Marianne Faithfull

Music for 11/5/18!!! Eva B. Ross, Vagina Lips, Ariana Grande

@@@ Eva B. Ross: Nick’s House (N/A, 2018)  I got to this alternative rock pre-release single via a midwestern music publicist.  It comes out mellow at a mostly slack tempo and it’s a pretty minimalist affair with a breathy female  singer.  It sounds a whole bunch like a Carly Simon after she’s had a huge plate of soul food.  Modern production touches and some nice guitar sounds.

@@@ Vagina Lips: This is a Good Life (Inner Ear, 2018)  I periodically review releases from this Greek label so why not Vagina Lips?  It gets into a modified shoegaze shitshow right out of the gate.  Touches of mope/goth with the singer instead of the common shoegaze dreamy singer.  It’s actually closer to Sonic Youth than shoegaze.  A lot of energy with a vocal hook that could have been used a bit less.

@@@ Ariana Grande: Thank U, Next (UMG, 2018)  This is how 21st century fame branding works.  You’re supposed to follow Ariana Grande’s personal life and her quick and failed relationship with comedian Pete Davidson and that makes you want to check out her music.  But I’m guessing before I hit the play button that if you listen to it as a song, it’s gonna be ho hum.  But if you love Ariana and she’s your girl…. oh Ariana, she’s learned so much from her men.  One taught her love, one taught her patience, and one taught her pain.  Boy this young woman knows how to market herself in the most flattering manner possible.  She’s so grateful!  I like the beats, there’s not much in terms of arrangement and there are too many vocal tracks.  Too many vocal tracks are a sign of our time.

YTD recordings listened to: 622
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 335
Not good music: 250

Best: 11
Honorable Mentions: 7

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, 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, 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, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton, Parquet Courts, Orlando Lopez, Moskus, Kendl Winter, Tkay Maidza, Peregoyo y su Combo vacana

Music for 11/2/18!!! Imagine Dragons, Mariah Carey

@@@ Imagine Dragons: Machine (Interscope, 2018)  You know these guys are Mormons?  I guess that’s weird and nothing is weird any more.  If you take the cheesiest part of rock and merge it with arena pop it comes close to this over the top outfit.  Some shreddy guitar, a big electro synth bottom, straight ass beat and the larger than life singer that makes it go.  He’s a gay Mormon, get a load of that.  He’s at the center of the action and to make a timely comparison he’s today’s Freddy Mercury with the big difference being that Queen was cheesy but the music was more interesting.

@@@ Mariah Carey: Ah No No (Epic, 2018)  Another pre-release single, this time from long timer Carey.  Very today production, especially on the beats and the low end and the Mariah does her ‘you’re not gonna do that to me’ to whatever man is doing her wrong, or whatever character she’s dramaticizing and whatnot.  Made up words and shit.  Now if you dig hearing a lot of Mariah background vocal tracks, and I mean not just a few extra but whole lotta Mariah then this track will fill you up.  At this point I think she’s pretty much cranking out the dancefloor bangers.  Not the hippest ones on the block but she’s a diva, she’s got producers to make her sound fresh and that’s it.

YTD recordings listened to: 618
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 333
Not good music: 249

Best: 9
Honorable Mentions: 7

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, 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, 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, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton, Parquet Courts, Orlando Lopez, Moskus, Kendl Winter, Tkay Maidza, Peregoyo y su Combo vacana, Tim Hecker

Music for 11/1/18!!!! The Necks, Snarky Puppy

@@@ The Necks: Body (ReR Megacorp, 2018)  Read the review below for how I got to this record as I got to it in the same way.  Here we have one 57 minute piece so that’s pretty sprawling eh?  I like the opening — instrumentation is piano, bass and drums.  It’s a groove, but a bit off kilter with some single key pounding over long bass pulsation.  It’s stayed in this one place with a tad of variation for about a dozen minutes now.  I like it but I’m ready for some change.  After about 18 minutes these guys get into a new thing but it’s still well within the space rock/jam band/improvised neighborhood.  I checked out about half of it and I like it without loving it.  At certain points I could use more ideas but it’s not my record.  As always listen for yourself.

@@@ Snarky Puppy: Culcha Vulcha (GroundUP Music, 2016). I got to this fusion outfit from an Australian music magazine of 5 sprawling jazz albums for folks to groove out on.  Regular readers know that I have a conflicted relationship with being a genre bitch —  I will get into definitions but it can come off as petty.  This first tune is funk with a little smooth jazz swirled in it.  So is that jazz?  Not to me.  I like it all right, it’s pretty funky without getting to the intergalactic Funkadelic vibe I truly dig.  This second tune is a mellow Steely Dan kinda thing — it’s more FM rock than anything else.  I don’t insist on the separateness of genres but this is higher IQ party music kinda using the label jazz to make itself appear a bit more upscale.

YTD recordings listened to: 616
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 331
Not good music: 249

Best: 9
Honorable Mentions: 7

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, 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, 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, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton, Parquet Courts, Orlando Lopez, Moskus, Kendl Winter, Tkay Maidza, Peregoyo y su Combo vacana, Tim Hecker

Music for 10/31/18!!! Tyga, Cardi B., Shaed, Mumford and Sons

@@@ Tyga: Dip (featuring Nicki Minaj) (Empire, 2018)  A hip hop single at the #1 slot on Apple hot tracks.  It’s pretty pornographic, it’s very pornographic.  I really like the violin sample they’re using with that fat booty bass.  Minaj is the perfect person for a female guest MC — she’s mad raw and rough.  It’s funky and NSFW.

@@@ Cardi B: Money (Atlantic, 2018)  Speaking of Nicki Minaj and Cardi B. grade A New York City beef this tracks is #2 on the Apple hot tracks which is in no way a chart as far as I know.  The Apple Music blurb says this is a track about the trappings of capitalism but to me it’s a celebration of money and checks!  The arrangement here is much more interesting than the lyrics which are both Trumpian and cliche.  Excellent basslines here and the piano part is interestingly percussive.  The high voice chanting ‘money’ cuts through the mix.  Cardi B.’s microphone work is solid though sometimes it sounds off to my ear.  People love this loot based rhyming but I hate it.

@@@ SHAED: Trampoline (Photo Finish Records, 2018) We’ll listen more off the Apple Music hot tracks section.  First off, SHAED is a bad name — it’s just too close to shit.  This is mainstream electro pop with adult alternative touches.  The production here is beyond polished — they’ve shaved every hair off this vagina, metaphorically speaking.  Lots of headphone candy to groove on and as usual somebody could have spent more time on the lyrics.  She had a dream of being on a trampoline and she has a lot of dreams of dying.  That line keeps reappearing and I don’t honestly understand what this song is about.  If you groove on tightly polished sounds and can deal with word salad lyrics you will be rewarded here.  F’real.

@@@ Mumford and Sons: If I Say (Universal Music Group, 2018)  A pre-release single from the earnest Irish pub strummers.  And boy are they going for the full cheese plate on this track.  String swells, super cliche and overwrought lyrics, pop glitch condiment, and lots of big drum tom rolls.  The singer means it, oh wait, gigantic drum fill and full on well almost a giant guitar shred.  I had to take a pause there because it was super meaningful.  You know if he says he loves you he loves you, goddammit!  And equally seriously, if I say it’s cheesy it’s fucking cheesy.

YTD recordings listened to: 614
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 329
Not good music: 249

Best: 9
Honorable Mentions: 7

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, 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, 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, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton, Parquet Courts, Orlando Lopez, Moskus, Kendl Winter, Tkay Maidza, Peregoyo y su Combo vacana, Tim Hecker