@@@ Dry Cleaning: Driver’s Story (4AD, 2022) Two listens today off this week’s All Music notable release email. Uh oh, 4AD!! 4AD can often be art school business. The video below is the fourth track on the record and it opens with a greasy bassline then some janky angular guitar and it’s fine then the singer comes in sorta spoken word and all of a sudden I’m getting that art school rock feel. Oh art school. I like the guitar player a bunch but I want more from the singer, it’s just too blah blah blah. I’m listening to the 5th track and they go for the same vibe but funkier and I feel the same. LIke the band especially the guitarist and the singer needs a Red Bull.
@@@ Taylor Swift: Snow on the Beach (Taylor Swift, 2022) Not a huge fan but I do check her shit out because she’s an important cultural symbol in our society. My dislike is that her music is intensely overwrought and dramatical and usually revolves around her own feelings. The video below is the fourth track on the record and it opens plinky and pastoral. Oh yeah, I just remembered how breathy she sings and I straight up hate that. Her difficult emotional life is like snow on the beach, meh, not a very strong vocal hook. I like the bass here, I don’t like the tambourine, I don’t hate the arrangement but it’s not particularly fresh and it’s too lyrically complex to enjoy as a pop song. Now right at 3 minutes she hits the line are we falling like snow on the beach and that’s the first connection between the lyrics and the hook. Then it works better from there as she does this it’s coming down, it’s coming down, it’s coming down section. I think she’s trying to turn into The National and we don’t need another one of those.
@@@ Kenny Beats: Moire (Kenny Beats/XL, 2022) I got to this via this week’s 10 most reviewed albums on Pitchfork. I believe it to be a white MC we’re dealing with here, but in reality he’s a white producer who is releasing his first record. The sounds here are tightly focused, a pretty serpentine keyboard part, and a second and third added for fullness over stripped back beats that are certainly neither trap nor light listening. I’m checking out another track called Get Back and it has a similar feel — chill, stripped back mostly and focused. Towards the end of this track I feel like the multiple voices are a bit much. There are voices all over this track without there being much if any rhyming, though on this third track Hold My Head, there is an MC with an word understanding wise unclear but perfectly clear rhythmic part that I dig. Mr. Beats is a producer who has worked with a lot of artists so you would expect his solo record to be well produced and it is. I’m going to check out more of this when I get a chance but I like the sounds here and the sounds on a record with not a lot of rhyming is pretty much the most important thing, no?
@@@ Cryalot: Labyrinth (Self released, 2022) I can’t remember how I got to this track, fucking sue me! This tune is an interesting blend of pop, rock and electronic elements. Ms. Cryalot’s voice is young sounding, and she does her thing over a pleasantly grizzy bass sound, plenty of insecty-y ch ch ch sounds and pop stylings. The chorus is my least favorite part of the track while the bass sound is my favorite. I like the track and I usually like pop tracks that have a dark message as I find that contrast between happy sounds and dark ideas interesting. Here it’s more of a pop track combined with a dreamy lyrical component.
@@@ Orville Peck: The Curse of the blackened Eye (Sony, 2022) I got to this via the Line of Best Fit weekly email. There’s nothing finer than friggin’ new country that either lampoons or emptily pimps old time country music. The bassline here is more rock than country and Peck’s voice and performance comes off more than a bit theatrical. He’s hammin’ it up for sure! I like the yodell-y vocal melody but it’s not enough for me to buy the whole package. It really does beg the question is there such as an authentic performance vs. a fake performance. If you like his voice and performance then you will love this biscuit. The production is a finely manicured pubic mound for sure.
@@@ NoSo: Honey Understand (Partisan, 2022) Glammy, T-Rex-y type rock with heavy ’80s sounds that I also got to via Line of Best Fit. Gated snare sound and heavy Robert Palmer feels as well as a schmear of Chris Isaak slack. So it’s a mash of a lot of ’80s feels — synth rock, glam synth rock, and older glam. As the tune winds out you get some more sounds, most notably synth gauze and a synth string arrangement. I’m pretty non-plussed by it, I don’t hate it but I’m not super feeling it either. This is a pre-release track with a full length banger coming in July.
@@@ Walcot: Another Man (Self-released, 2021) This is an upbeat pop rock track I got to via a music publicist located in Chicago. The main hook here is the contrast between the super uptempo drumming centered in the snare and the sweetness of the vocalist. Then come strummed acoustic guitars, a harpsichord synth patch and there you go. The lyrics are pretty standard relationship business about being chosen instead of choosing another man. The drummer really brings this track to life so good on the singer for going for that vibe.
@@@ Philip Jeck: 7 (Touch, 2019) I got to this experimental turntablist via a twat on the Twatter noting his passing and mourning it. The first piece here opens with some really nice swirling, dreamy but not to cheesed out, and some panning. This is a 7-8 minute piece and the pulse and tempo of this works for a piece of this length. A slow, pitched down melody is introduced and it changes the composition bigly. I skipped ahead to the second track to be able to pass on more info regarding textures and flavors of this record but for me this is ticking a lot if not all the boxes I like to hear in an ambient electronic record. It’s not New Age-y, it’s not too sci-fi, it’s not too industrial or too shiny, he’s just presenting some very pleasantly manipulated sounds. This is a go for me, the second piece Museum. If you do check this out notice how the looping of the vinyl static serves to create a rhythmic base for the tune, I think that’s really cool. You may think it’s complete bullshit and that’s fine too yo.
@@@ Pinegrove: Alaska (Rough Trade, 2022) Some indie rock business off this week’s All Music notable release email. This is the second track on the record and it opens up bouncy as fuck, nerdy guitar and sweet vocal melodies over the top. If you have a television show in the works this shit bould totally work as a theme. Coffee shops, cuties, mindless blather — oh how I digress. It’s a super familiar formula and the do it well. I’m agnostic on the singer but his friendliness is in the Death Cab for Cutie feel good indie rock stylings. Myself I would turn to a coupla old Big Star records for some quite drug infused and adventurous foundational music.
@@@ St. Paul & The Broken Bones: The Last Dance (ATO, 2021) This is the pre release single for a full length banger that just came out yesterday that I got to via All Music’s notable release email. Slotted as soul on Apple Music this is a retro disco banger. I would categorically reject it but the singer has a pretty unique voice, sorta nasal and occasionally falsetto that changes the listening experience a whole bunch. They put a few rock and funk sounds in here but the disco flavor is dominant. I’m checking out the first track of the record and I prefer it much more. It’s called 3000 AD Mass and he keeps on about the ‘fire and the brimstone’ with some swirling rock sounds and a heavy beat. I like this more the more I check it out but I started where I started and I can’t get the disco banger out of my head.
@@@ Frances Baker: Bringing Me Down (Beatnik Creative, 2021) These listens are off this week’s Line of Best Fit. It’s pretty mind blowing to see how much things change over time as you wonder if the folks who make a label called Beatnik Creative know what a beatnik is. I doubt it. This is an ’80s informed little less than midtempo synth rock banger. I would say Ms. Baker is contributing to the somewhat soggy texture of the track despite the cheerful synth that sits on top of a synth bass. To be fair the tune is called Bringing Me Down. Just a little jump up in the beat would be fantastic, the kick snare rock beat never altered is hard for me.
@@@ Swindle: How I’ve Been (BMG, 2021) The last track of a hip hop record with a ton of guest MCs. Opens with a little piano spray and finger snaps and two singers, one male and one female. This is most definitely not a street banger as a British accented MC hits the mic and gets emotional. Yeah Swindle is from London and this is classy. To my ears it only dips a toe in hip hop and is really a positive r&b flavors with a couple of MC appearances. No shame in it, but I continue to maintain that calling music what it really is is better in the long run. This might work for a brunch if you have a good job and uptight friends.
@@@ Interesting Times Gang: Plan Bee ( , 2021) This is an electronic side project of the leader of Kowloon Walled City, one of the few rock bands I think is just killin’ it. I love electronic music, I love Kowloon Walled City, throw ’em a peep! This is a single from earlier this year and it’s a drum machine with some synths and wow this is not what I thought it was going to bee. It’s kraut-y rock with proggy vocals and a buzzy bass. Honestly I can’t tell if it’s tongue in cheek or not. These guys have a full length coming out soon and maybe I’ll give them a little more love and check that out before tipping out on the outfit. For the pre-release single they kept the buzzy rock bass but improved the beats and went for a less kraut-y but still krauty thing. I like this much more, it’s more easy listening electronic (half kidding) but it doesn’t go uber nerd.
@@@ Karey Faux: While God Was Sleepin’ (Don Giovanni, 2021) One thing I hates about the streaming stores is how you can’t really tell what version of a record you might be peepin’ vis a vis remixes and shit. This is the first track off a remix record of a record I have not peeped but the remix is by JID, and Imma JID fan, I mean he’s nanoatomic on the microphone. It’s a party track about sneaking around and fornicating on the sly. Somewhat graphic, well pretty graphic, but not fully X rated. 1/2 X rated. Oh, he makes an appearance on this track, JID is shifty and he slides into this track. Mad styles here, big retro beat feels with updated flavors and of course JID and his flow. Sonically interesting and playful this is some business to check out for sure. Feels fresh while not going for the full trap, latest beats/cloudy trippy synths business.
@@@ De’Wayne: Super 8 (Hopeless, 2021) All three of today’s listens are off this week’s Line of Best Fit. This is some slicked out rock, with traces of pop and a little bit of black music mostly in areas of the vocals. It blows out in the chorus with maximum panning and pop injection. Very nice and standard buzzy bass, straight beat so the action is in the vocals. It’s less funky than old school Prince rock tunes but it’s definitely using that template. Big ups on the bass sound, less so on the guitar tones, and maybe I don’t need quite so many vocal tracks.
@@@ The Kid LAROI: Without You (Sony, 2021) A white MC on Sony opening up with strummed acoustic guitars and no beats. This, I believe, is going to travel a very predictable road. It’s a Most Palone move, but yet to flex its hip hop beats. Might there be no beats and it’s just this doofus doin’ in on the microphone? Oy it’s looking that way, so not predictable but not good. He’s scared to be alone that’s one of the vocal lines and I don’t care, this stinks. I’m sure he’s a great guy and I don’t wish him any ill will it’s just not for me. I don’t think I can get with any aspect of this, it’s just not where I’m at.
@@@ Meggie Lennon: Lost in the Plot (Mothland, 2021) Slotted as indie pop on Apple Music I see this as Beatle-y/Oasis-y UK pop rock with synthesizers. There’s a guitar and it has rock feels but it’s not primarily set to be that. It’s a bit orchestral and a bit kaleidoscopic and maybe could use a bit more energy. Not necessarily rock energy but maybe a little brisker on the tempo. Very nice arrangement, really like the bass player, and maybe wrap it up a bit sooner.
@@@ Laura Mvula: Got Me (Warner, 2021) Some major label dancefloor bangin’ straight out of the 1980’s gated snare, four on the floor playbook. She evokes Prince’s synth sound, a little Nile Rodgers, and then plenty of 1980’s whoo hoo and other vocal melodies. I’m down with plenty of it save for the mainstream pop arrangement which kinda doesn’t work for me. I know folks love this kind of jam but those are people with jobs and who don’t really expect much. A minute away from the end she breaks out of the groove and it works wonderfully before she starts to build it all back. She shoulda moved that forward to much earlier in the tune. I enjoy her vocal work but could use more dynamism in the arrangement.
@@@ Mimi Webb: Dumb Love (Sony, 2021) We’re out of the frying pan into the fire as this is a torchy, epic mainstream pop banger. Fingersnaps and more importantly the reverb patch on her voice is just a bit much. Too big and she’s not a good enough singer to fill that space. The lyrics are fine but who’s tuning in for fine? Not me. In tunes like this I hear the Sam Smith emotionally overwrought influence and I don’t like it. Too cheesy and over the top dramatical.
@@@ Aziya: Heaven For Me (Osmo-sis, 2021) Another variation on a theme. While we switch to a rock palette it still refers back to an epic dancefloor banger vibe a bit. Again, a bit much on the reverb patch on the vocals, she does a better job in the chorus than in the verse. I guess there must be listeners that enjoy the mashing together of rock sounds and dance sounds but they don’t go well for me. Just sayin’. I love me some rock in my funk, I love that, but rock guitar over such a straight beat, meh not so much. She’s the most soaring vocalist of today but that’s a little unfair as the Ms. Mvula in the first tune had different aspirations for her music and was going for a more sultry flow than the epic meteoric cheese bomb.
@@@ Nikolaj Hess: Ravel Reflections (Sunnyside, 2021) I’m checking out this record because I’m a fan of the jazz releases this label puts out. I can’t think of any off the top of my head but I’m not lying. I’m not checking out the track clipped below but a previous one and I’m really liking it. Ambient with upright bass and a barely perceptible string drone. I can see immediately why a jazz label would put this recording out. Oy, Apple Music has it slotted as jazz so I guess All Music boned the genre reveal! Now that I’ve sampled a bit more this music sits right in the middle of the road where classical and jazz meet. The tune below is a 12+ minute banger that evokes both classical and jazz feels. The level of playing here is high and there are passages I find pretty compelling and I liked the first piece the most by a fair bit. It was called ‘Piece’.
@@@ Steve Perry: No Erasin’ (Concord, 2019) I read a huge ass interview article with Steve Perry, the former lead singer of Journey. It’s an updated classic rock sound but fully fleshed out with tons of background vocals and a crispier modern sound. Perry sounds a bit more mournful than he did when he was full rockstar with Journey. Lines about being in the back seat of his car with a woman from his past, it’s an interesting vocal hook. No erasin’, our love won’t just let go. The bridge gets prog-orchestral and that’s definitely a more sophisticated peek into his musicianship before he gets back into the power chord/vocal hook. The guitar pounding is my least favorite element here and the vocals are my favorite part. The hook is a bit meh, but that goes with the genre.
@@@ Raoul Vignal: Red Fresco (TALITRES, 2021) I think I got to this via last week’s All Music notable release email. This is the 4th track of the record and it opens with some brisk arpeggiated guitar fingerpicking. It’s a pretty formal, old school folk formula, a man, his guitar and minimalist accompaniment. There’s a second guitar and some background vocals. I let the player click through as I wanted to sample a bit more of what’s on offer. Vignal’s voice is classic — kinda updated hippie kindness and gentleness. A bit washed out for me but as my wifes says I’m dead inside. If you love his voice you’re probably going to love the rest of the record as the arrangements are solid and the guitar playing is particularly well done. Me I’m agnostic on his voice so I’m agnostic on the record.