Music for 4/24/18!! Young Valley, Eleanor Friedberger, El Hijo de la Cumbia, Janelle Monae

@@@ Young Valley: Till I Cross Your Mind (N/A, 2018)  I got to this roots rock single via a music publicist at Pavement PR.  The band arrangement is pretty standard alt country guitar rock but the vocalist and the melody stand above.  The playing is tight and the tempo is up and rocking so it’s got a bunch of good elements.  If you like the roots rock, check it out as it’s more than solid.

@@@ Eleanor Friedberger: Everything (Frenchkiss, 2018) An ’80s influenced pop rock single I got to via a music publicist.  Peppy drumbeat, some basic synth chords, a little chorused guitar and lyrics that are okay but not taking me anywhere.  Supposed to be a super great artist of our time and a pop song that tackles a big idea (of wanting everything and having everything and being happy with variations on that), hmm I’m not sure I get it.

@@@ El Hijo De La Cumbia: Genero, Genero (Nacional, 2018)  Modern and updated cumbia music off this week’s WRIR playlist email.  By updated I mean it’s a pan-Latin genre mash with traditional and electronic elements.  By the time you get to the third tune, Che Revolution, it’s mostly electronic with a blend of hand percussion, accordion and drum machine rhythms.  It’s clearly a release designed to get you to dance into spring.  The fourth tune, Que Te Vaya Bien, strikes the best balance of sounds of what I heard.

@@@ Janelle Monae: I Like That (Bad Boy/WEA, 2018) Another pre-release single from Janelle Monae whose record is getting a big push out there on the interwebz.  I thought the first single, I forget which, was a Prince bite sandwich, but this appears to go a different direction.  It’s a I am who I am anthem with a natural, non biting set of sounds and a good energy.  I much prefer this to the other track I peeped, big mistake by the whoever is ordering these releases.  I guess the mainstream listeners get their heads more easily around a solid bite job.  This has lilting vibe with some rhymes and a little gospel and a little dancehall.  For a mainstream track this has some genuine elements in it.  It always pays to listen for yourself as this tune is much different than from what came before.

YTD recordings listened to: 217
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 116
Not good music: 94

Best: 4
Honorable Mentions: 3

Possibles: Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Slidhr, The Chewers, Toxic Holocaust, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Lenguas Largas, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Lozen, Erase Errata, Mastery, Leviathan, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, Janelle Monae, Luther Dickinson, Graeme Barrett, Fast Asleep, Goldlink, Cavanaugh, Gentleman Surfer, Satoko Fuji, Moken, Juan Atkins, Lantern, Twin Peaks, Djelimady Tounkara, The Oh Sees, Denny Zeitlin, MILF, Unfun, De La Soul, Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes, A Tribe Called Quest, Noname, Gouge Away, Klara Lewis, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Oddisee, Forro in the Dark, RAM, Fiver, Dona Onete, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Priests, Propaganda, This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez, Integrity, Tuba Skinny, The Expanders, Irreversible Entanglements, Converge, Open Mike Eagle, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Tal National, Portal

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Music for 4/23/18!!! Rival Consoles, Wrekmeister Harmonies, Tinashe, Arianna Grande

@@@ Rival Consoles: Persona (Erased Tapes, 2018) I set up this blog post when I was travelling last week and I can’t remember where I found this record. I think it was the previous week’s All Music notable release email. This first tune has an experimental techno feel to it — four on the floor and some dubbed out chords. It’s developing at a modest pace with taste. It gets to the verge of dancefloor funkiness and pulls back, let’s peep some more and see how that goes. The second tune brings on the classic unt-sss drum machine beat but some nice dark waves that sinister out the affair. The arrangements are the standout feature of this record — the sounds are solid but not super ear catching but the pace and sectioning is very above average.

@@@ Wrekmeister Harmonies: The Alone Rush (Thrill Jockey, 2018) Some goth rock out of the folks at Thrill Jockey. It opens up with a couple of deeply reverbed guitars and a tinkly piano. Duder comes in with the deep register and low energy vocal accompanied by a tasteful string flourish. I’ve never been a huge buyer of the goth rock/doom conceit but these guys pretty the misery up a bit. With titles like Covered in Blood from Invisible Wounds it’s not going to be a shiny happy ride but that’s all right. I’m not opposed to downer music it’s just that this is not quite the downer ride I enjoy. Check it out.

@@@ Tinashe: Joyride (RCA/Sony, 2018) With the intro repeating ‘keep your eyes on the road’ and ‘prepare for joyride’ this is looking like an auto concept record. When the first tune proper kicks in it’s tom heavy with a complex vocal arrangement. I like it all right. The second tune is more hip hop influenced with a guest MC in the back and a fat fat booty bass while the third tune is a slow romance related ballad. The production is pretty slicked out with very current sounds and a variety of guest performers. I didn’t think it stood out a whole bunch from other r&b that’s out there.

@@@ Arianna Grande: No Tears Left to Cry (Republic/UMG, 2018) Arianna Grande had the misfortune of having a suicide bomber show up at her show in the UK. I think this tune is related to the worldwide headline grabbing event as she became huge by returning for a benefit concert, etc. Outside of the up energy she’s putting out it’s a pretty cliche ball of spaghetti with some oversinging sauce over the top. I believe it’s designed to be an aspirational pop dance thing and it is, but it’s laced more with cheese than with soul. I’m not 100% sure but I think she bit the vocal melody from another song. Ah well, 34 million views on the GooglePimpTube so folks have their spoons out for the sonic baby food!

YTD recordings listened to: 213
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 114
Not good music: 92

Best: 4
Honorable Mentions: 3

Possibles: Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Slidhr, The Chewers, Toxic Holocaust, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Lenguas Largas, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Lozen, Erase Errata, Mastery, Leviathan, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, Janelle Monae, Luther Dickinson, Graeme Barrett, Fast Asleep, Goldlink, Cavanaugh, Gentleman Surfer, Satoko Fuji, Moken, Juan Atkins, Lantern, Twin Peaks, Djelimady Tounkara, The Oh Sees, Denny Zeitlin, MILF, Unfun, De La Soul, Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes, A Tribe Called Quest, Noname, Gouge Away, Klara Lewis, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Oddisee, Forro in the Dark, RAM, Fiver, Dona Onete, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Priests, Propaganda, This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez, Integrity, Tuba Skinny, The Expanders, Irreversible Entanglements, Converge, Open Mike Eagle, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Tal National, Portal

Music for 4/17/18!!! Nicki Minaj, Jason Aldean

@@@ Nicki Minaj: Barbie Tingz (Cash Money, 2018)  Off Apple Music hot tracks section, Nicki goes retro in the sounds, especially the drums on this track.  Oh man, right before the halfway point in the track she goes full hardcore on pissy bitches.  It’s raw and contrasts with the LL Cool J friendly style beats.  I think this pissy bitch might be a white girl but I’m not sure on that outside of the title.  Could this be Taylor Swift the bitch she wants to gut and cut?  Hmmm….

@@@ Jason Aldean: Drowns the Whiskey (Macon, 2018)  I think Nicki Minaj might have a much larger dick than this dude Aldean who might actually be sporting a va-jay-jay.  He’s trying to drink away the memory of a woman but the memory is drowning the whiskey and not the other way round, blah blah blah.

YTD recordings listened to: 209
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 112
Not good music: 90

Best: 4
Honorable Mentions: 3

Possibles: Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Slidhr, The Chewers, Toxic Holocaust, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Lenguas Largas, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Lozen, Erase Errata, Mastery, Leviathan, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, Janelle Monae, Luther Dickinson, Graeme Barrett, Fast Asleep, Goldlink, Cavanaugh, Gentleman Surfer, Satoko Fuji, Moken, Juan Atkins, Lantern, Twin Peaks, Djelimady Tounkara, The Oh Sees, Denny Zeitlin, MILF, Unfun, De La Soul, Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes, A Tribe Called Quest, Noname, Gouge Away, Klara Lewis, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Oddisee, Forro in the Dark, RAM, Fiver, Dona Onete, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Priests, Propaganda, This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez, Integrity, Tuba Skinny, The Expanders, Irreversible Entanglements, Converge, Open Mike Eagle, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Tal National, Portal

Music for 4/6/18!!! Kellarissa, Messthetics, Calvin Harris

@@@ Kellarissa: Ocean Electro (Dead Oceans, 2018)  Some indie electronic off last week’s All Music notable release email.  It’s strange how indie electronic is a rebranded term for ’80s major label synth rock.  Regular readers know of my aversion to being a genre bitch but this is decidedly not indie electronic.  It’s very poppy with no lo fi sounds or off kilter song structures.  The third tune (clipped below) is the best of what I heard but admittedly I did not stick around for long.  The singer is all right and the synths sound good but there’s just nothing new swirled in or even hinted at here.

@@@ Messthetics: The Messthetics (Dischord, 2018)  Another release off of last week’s All Music notable release email.  I’ve been listening to Dischord releases for a long ass time so they’ve earned a peep.  My initial feeling is that I’m surprised by the bouncy bass player and the distinctly proggy feel to the opening track.  From a little interwebz searching I see this is Fugazi’s rhythm section with a different guitar player.  He’s okay but sounds too much like Joe Satriani — I could use some punk fuzz or something dirty and grimy to hold on to.

@@@ Calvin Harris: One Kiss (Columbia, 2018)  You know what they about Calvin Harris?  If he’s good enough for Taylor Swift’s high end twat then he’s good enough for the rest of us.  It looks like Mr. Harris has wisely taken a turn away from retro funk to more current dancefloor styles.  Four on the floor but with some techno unt tss action.  The singer is all right, she does well with the limited vocals given to her.  I’m not saying this is the greatest track ever but it’s good to Calvin trying for something in this century.

YTD recordings listened to: 193
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 102
Not good music: 86

Best: 4
Honorable Mentions: 3

Possibles: Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Slidhr, The Chewers, Toxic Holocaust, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Lenguas Largas, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Lozen, Erase Errata, Mastery, Leviathan, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, Janelle Monae, Luther Dickinson, Graeme Barrett, Fast Asleep, Goldlink, Cavanaugh, Gentleman Surfer, Satoko Fuji, Moken, Juan Atkins, Lantern, Twin Peaks, Djelimady Tounkara, The Oh Sees, Denny Zeitlin, MILF, Unfun, De La Soul, Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes, A Tribe Called Quest, Noname, Gouge Away, Klara Lewis, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Oddisee, Forro in the Dark, RAM, Fiver, Dona Onete, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Priests, Propaganda, This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez, Integrity, Tuba Skinny, The Expanders, Irreversible Entanglements, Converge, Open Mike Eagle, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Tal National, Portal

Music for 4/5/18!!! Verneri Pohjoha/Mika Kallio, Orquestra Akokan, Cardi B., Tyler the Creator

@@@ Verneri Pohjoha & Mika Kallio: Animal Image (Edition, 2018). I got to this jazz record via the London Jazz blog.  The instrumentation on this first piece is delicate metal percussion and a wind instrument, a trumpet I think.  There is also a drone going on in the background and I think that was constructed from the wind instrument.  I like the percussionist a whole bunch.  From a quick ride on the interwebz I have ascertained the drone is electronically created by the trumpeter and that this record is a documentary soundtrack.  It has that feel and the percussionist also evokes classic Bill Dixon records.  The trumpeter is good but the drummer has it going on so if you dig a really good percussionist here ya go.

@@@ Orqestra Akokon: Orquestra Akokan (Daptone, 2018) I don’t usually review Daptone releases as I find their soul style to be a tad low energy/baked, but I do love Cuban music and my favorite world radio station WRIR gave it best of 2018 designation.  Daptone prides itself on its live to tape recording style and while I can hear the freshness of the energy the bottom is a tad light for my taste.  The horns, percussion and vocals sound great but you’re gonna have to hit the bass boost button to get the full show.  I have an archive of out of print vinyl records that I’ve collected over 25+ years and I have a lot of Cuban mambo records so the music itself is not as surprising to me as it is to 99% of other music listeners out there.

@@@ Cardi B.: Careful (Atlantic, 2018)  Cardi B. is back!  Oh my, she hasn’t cleaned up the lyrics at all, super super pottymouth.  She’s got a Latin flavored arrangement over hip hop beats and bass.  There are moments where she seems to be off the beat but I’m not 100% on that.  She sounds more than a bit uninspired.  If she had blown up the mic this would be a super hot track as the arrangement is very creative but I don’t think she did a good job on the performance here.  I remember when I first heard her and her energy was insane.

@@@ Tyler the Creator: OKRA (Columbia, 2018)  I don’t love everything Tyler the Creator does but he really is a creative hip hop dude and when he hits it right he hits it hard.  He’s got a bass sound here that sounds like it’s coming through a broken speaker and he’s working the much harder than Cardi B. in the above track.  The bass dominates the arrangement and Tyler dominates the microphone — two and half minutes of heat.

YTD recordings listened to: 190
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 101
Not good music: 84

Best: 4
Honorable Mentions: 3

Possibles: Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Slidhr, The Chewers, Toxic Holocaust, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Lenguas Largas, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Lozen, Erase Errata, Mastery, Leviathan, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, Janelle Monae, Luther Dickinson, Graeme Barrett, Fast Asleep, Goldlink, Cavanaugh, Gentleman Surfer, Satoko Fuji, Moken, Juan Atkins, Lantern, Twin Peaks, Djelimady Tounkara, The Oh Sees, Denny Zeitlin, MILF, Unfun, De La Soul, Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes, A Tribe Called Quest, Noname, Gouge Away, Klara Lewis, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Oddisee, Forro in the Dark, RAM, Fiver, Dona Onete, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Priests, Propaganda, This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez, Integrity, Tuba Skinny, The Expanders, Irreversible Entanglements, Converge, Open Mike Eagle, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Tal National, Portal

Music for 3/31/18!!! Kadhja Bonet, Magnar Am, La Mecanica Popular

@@@ Kadhja Bonet: Mother Maybe (Fat Possum, 2018)  I was into Bonet’s debut and it made my year end list the year it came out.  She’s switching gears to a more mainstream/old school disco era r&b sound.  She’s traded in ethereal and intricate for smooth and funky.  Her singing is all right but I wanted more of what she was dealing on her debut.  I went back to her debut and checked out the track ‘Honeycomb’ on her debut and she’s much more in a Curtis Mayfield ’60s orchestrated soul vibe.  I prefer that to this pre-release single, but a lot of people can’t get their heads around Curtis Mayfield.

@@@ Magnar Am: The Broken Vessel (Parma, 2018)  I’m on the mailing list for this multi-genre label that if I remember correctly is located in New Hampshire, a hotbed of musical culture.  The first piece is very ambient with a spacious and loping trumpet solo.  Some marimba type action is slowly appearing and the pace is slow but engaging.  There is at least one percussionist here and the playing is good but I would refer listeners to a classic Bill Dixon record if you want some ambient jazz.

@@@ La Mecanica Popular: Roza Cruz (names You Can Trust, 2018) I got to this experimental/progressive Latin recording via a music publicist email.  You can only sample one track from the record at the bandcamp page displayed below and my first impression is they’ve mashed together Latin percussion with Bitches Brew era jazz keyboard playing.  It’s proggy and nerdy and out there but funky and rhythmically powerful at the same time.  There is some electric guitar garnish/freakout to go with it.  The big jam evolves over time but there’s not quite enough to keep me engaged for the whole 13+ minutes.  Solid B+ and folks who like this should check out Thelonious Monk and Charles Mingus.

YTD recordings listened to: 175
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 93
Not good music: 78

Best: 4
Honorable Mentions: 3

Possibles: Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Slidhr, The Chewers, Toxic Holocaust, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Lenguas Largas, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Lozen, Erase Errata, Mastery, Leviathan, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, Janelle Monae, Luther Dickinson, Graeme Barrett, Fast Asleep, Goldlink, Cavanaugh, Gentleman Surfer, Satoko Fuji, Moken, Juan Atkins, Lantern, Twin Peaks, Djelimady Tounkara, The Oh Sees, Denny Zeitlin, MILF, Unfun, De La Soul, Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes, A Tribe Called Quest, Noname, Gouge Away, Klara Lewis, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Oddisee, Forro in the Dark, RAM, Fiver, Dona Onete, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Priests, Propaganda, This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez, Integrity, Tuba Skinny, The Expanders, Irreversible Entanglements, Converge, Open Mike Eagle, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Tal National

Music for 3/19/18!!! Hailu Mergia, Fyahbwoy, Leon Bridges, Jason Aldean

@@@ Hailu Mergia: Lala Belu (Awesome Tapes from Africa, 2018). I got to this African record via the WRIR playlist email.  I don’t find that much jazz in this first tune, it’s more of a soul tune with a little improvised accordion over it.  The instrumentation here is drums, bass, organ, accordion and percussion.  I like it, and I promise I won’t be a genre bitch. I like the accordion player but I want more than mostly straight jazz grooves — I want more funk or more outside playing or both.  It’s pleasant and the sounds are good.

@@@ Fyahbwoy: Cadenas De Oro | (Nacional, 2018).  An urban Latin single that I saw on the very same WRIR playlist email.  Keyboards, guitar, drum machine and a loverboy singer/MC.  I can’t tell if this is a drummer or a drum machine but does it matter that much.  He’s got some pretty nice Spanish dancehall toasting going on.  I prefer that to his loverboy routine.  It’s a solid track, if you don’t like the singer you’re not gonna like the tune.  I’m agnostic on the singer.

@@@ Leon Bridges: Bad Bad News (Sony, 2018). I’ve heard Bridges before and like his music but I’m a little surprised to see such fusion-y track on the Apple Music hot tracks section.  When Bridges starts singing I get why, he really can carry a song.  There is a little blues swirled up in the fusion but it’s pretty mid to late ’70s fusion jazz sounds.  If it had different sounds I would be up on this big time.  The bass sound is great but I can’t abide by the guitar sound.  Listen for yourself.

@@@ Jason Aldean: Rearview Town (Macon/Broken Bow, 2018).  That’s right Aldean is leaving town, probably because of a woman.  God damn, girl what did you do to my man Jason?  Broken hearts and rusted plows so he’s mixing his personal plight with the decay of rural America.  This is going to be a short review as I’m on the verge of tears.  Someone get me a Kleenex!  Power chords, a guitar solo that would make Bon Jovi proud.  I’ve attached the lyric video so you can get your heart torn out.  I have to break away and shed a few tears for Facebook as America discovers what an ill bitch spying machine it is.  Lots of tears over here so make sure you got some self-care lined up, the world is full of sadness.  Ya know, broken hearts and rusted plows!

YTD recordings listened to: 151
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 79
Not good music: 69

Best: 4
Honorable Mentions: 3

Possibles: Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Slidhr, The Chewers, Toxic Holocaust, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Lenguas Largas, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Lozen, Erase Errata, Mastery, Leviathan, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, Janelle Monae, Luther Dickinson, Graeme Barrett, Fast Asleep, Goldlink, Cavanaugh, Gentleman Surfer, Satoko Fuji, Moken, Juan Atkins, Lantern, Twin Peaks, Djelimady Tounkara, The Oh Sees, Denny Zeitlin, MILF, Unfun, De La Soul, Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes, A Tribe Called Quest, Noname, Gouge Away, Klara Lewis, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Oddisee, Forro in the Dark, RAM, Fiver, Dona Onete, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Priests, Propaganda, This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez, Integrity, Tuba Skinny, The Expanders, Irreversible Entanglements, Converge, Open Mike Eagle, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur