Music for 5/8/18!!! 2 by Bukowski, Naomi Cowan, Robert Dallas

@@@ 2 by Bukowski featuring Kid Moxie: Follow You Home (Inner Ear, 2018) A downtempo rock/electronic tune from a small Greek label that I review from time to time.  Everything is slow — the beat, the electro string flourish in the back, and the vocals.  Pleasantly slow.  It goes epic synth around 2:10 and I like it less but I can only take a certain amount of synth.  The synth is balanced out by some spaghetti western sounding guitar playing so that works for me.  There is a climactic outro that I dig where it reaches it’s bigly-ness (Trump word) with an arpeggiated synth that works and drives the section.

@@@ Naomi Cowan: Paradise Plum (single) (Zinc Fence, 2018) A newly added reggae single at WRIR in Virginia.  It opens up with a mix of modern and vintage reggae sounds.  Super smooth and reverbed vocals with some tasty dub delays.  I can’t tell if this is a drum machine or a drummer but the rhythm section is adequately root for my ears.  Cowan has a soaring and sweet reggae voice which is front and center in the mix.

@@@ Robert Dallas: Bearer of Bad News (Medtone, 2018)  Another reggae single off this week’s WRIR playlist email, this one super vintage.  Takin your time drum groove with thick bass pumping beneath Dallas’ voice.  The vocal melody is old school as well with some guitar and keyboard tucked under the voice.  Another solid springtime roots reggae effort.  As always check it for yourselves.  There are brief horn lines that push and then fade for the singer to take over and you get a dub of the track as well.

YTD recordings listened to: 250
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 132
Not good music: 109

Best: 5
Honorable Mentions: 4

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, 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, Converge, Open Mike Eagle, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Tal National, Portal, Hernan Sama & Marcelo von Schultz, Jean Grae and Quelle Chris

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Music for 5/7/18!!! Wye Oak, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Sarah Shook, Future

@@@ Wye Oak: The Louder I Call, the Faster It runs (Merge, 2018) Called ‘vibrant and aurally dazzling’ by the All Music notable release email, you gotta peep that.  Super upbeat synth based indie on this second tune, The Instrument.  It’s a little Kate Bush, a little Annie Lennox.  Both of them blendered up with some Red Bull.  I moved to the third tune, the title track (clipped below) hoping for a stylistic change but I’m not hopeful.  What we have here people is upbeat synthesizer arrangements (multiple arpeggiated synths), meaningful lyrics about letting go of anger (never) and other such concerns, stacked vocal harmonies.  It doesn’t make me want to kill myself but it’s not really my cup of tea.

@@@ Unknown Mortal Orchestra: Sex & Food (Jagjaguwar, 2018) Also off the All Music notable release email from a couple of weeks ago.  Indie, indie, indie you gotta get balls deep in it!  A change of pace from the record above as this record is not as synth-y, has an electric bass player and a drummer and is off to a decent start.  It has both a psych vibe and a lo fi vibe — dirty crunchy drums, processed vocals that are hard to make out, quirky and medium dirty sounds.  They are loose in their playing which I appreciate.  Let’s peep a bit more.  The second song is slower and more mournful as one would expect from a tune called The Ministry of Alienation, but they’re on to a indie electronic bounce on the third tune Hunnybee (clipped below).  Oh my this is almost white people’s disco, get the bologna and mayo sandwiches out to go with the Pabst Blue Ribbon.

@@@ Sarah Shook: Years (Bloodshot, 2018)  Also off the All Music notable release email.  Labelled as Americana by the awesome people at Apple Music — you could call it old school alt country but you don’t have to.  The singer and the first song are straight forward — acoustic guitar, electric guitar, slide.  With song titles like New Ways to Fail and The Bottle Never Lets Me Down you know what you’re in for.  The lyrics are certainly not designed to get you all shiny and happy but the tempos are firm and if you’re up for a lot of country style guitar this record will most definitely hook you up.

@@@ Future: No Shame (Sony, 2018)  I’ve never quite understood the appeal of Future but he’s huge and people dig him.  This is a soundtrack tune so it’s gonna have a huge feel to it as it’s designed to encapsulate a film’s theme.  The vocal hook in the chorus isn’t particularly notable but the verses get into some interesting places.  Funky in stop/start sort of way but points off for the cheesy guitar solo at the end of the track.

YTD recordings listened to: 247
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 129
Not good music: 109

Best: 5
Honorable Mentions: 4

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, 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, Converge, Open Mike Eagle, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Tal National, Portal, Hernan Sama & Marcelo von Schultz, Jean Grae and Quelle Chris

Music for 5/2/18!!! Aquaserge, Hawthorne Heights, Okkervil River

@@@ Okkervill River: In the Rainbow Rain (ATO, 2018) This is adult slacker rock from the aforementioned All Music notable release email.  It opens up intimate and weird wit the tune Famous Tracheotomies.  The second tune opens up in the same way but then morphs into pretty standard upbeat indie (with some synth tucked in for hipster measure).  This third tune is the ballad that will chase me away.  It’s soft like ricotta cheese and probably just as spreadable on a piece of toast.  He wants to love somebody, which is fine, but he doesn’t have to be so daft and ginger ale-y about it.  Blech.  You can keep this tune for yourselves, it’s too precious for me.  And keep the synth sounds as well.

@@@ Aquaserge: Deja Vu (Crammed Discs, 2018). I’m a big fan of the Crammed label in Belgium so I thought I would check out this quasi-rock live release I saw on last week’s All Music notable release email.  This first tune sounds like a cross between Pink Floyd and Yes.  The second tune comes out super Floyd-y with a little spaghetti western thrown in for good measure. There are a bunch of threads going through this — space rock, as mentioned, as well some prog, a little jazz and a little sonic texturing.  I like it, it’s spacious and weird with some interesting slow grooves.

@@@ Hawthorne Heights: Bad Frequencies (Pure Noise, 2018) This is going to be some mainstream metal, though that’s not what I was looking for.  This is labelled as post hardcore on last week’s All Music email but this is upbeat, emo cheese.  It’s pretty awful — folks is free to like this but I can’t stomach it.  It’s exquisitely produced cliches signifying a pretend world.  The lyrics are especially blow-y.

YTD recordings listened to: 237
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 124
Not good music: 104

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, Hernan Sama & Marcelo von Schultz, Jean Grae and Quelle Chris

2018 Honorable Mention Pick 2

Benjamin Booker: Witness (ATO, 2017)

This is a really good album for cubicle dwellers.  Nothing particularly surprising in the sounds and the lyrics but it’s a fresh blend of sounds.  The first tune, Right on You, is my favorite tune on the record (clipped below) so though while the rest of the album unfolds at a less rocking tempo it is the best showcase of Booker’s guitar playing and his raspy voice.

There is some politics in here but not overtly so, it’s mostly a collection of blues inflected rock with updated indie sounds.

I’m a big fan of mixtures of African-American musical influences and white people music and Booker does a really good job blending the two into his own thing.

Music for 4/26/18!!! Bruce Forman, YUZIMA, FRIGS, Visigoth

@@@ Bruce Forman: Junkyard Duo (Self-released, 2018)  I got to this mash of old time-y jazz guitar playing and drums via a music publicist in the Chicago area.  It’s not exclusively old school guitar playing as evidenced by the lyrical playing on the third tune, Objection of Infection.  The drums/percussion tracks tend to be reverbed in a larger room.  The vibe of the session is loose but far from half assed while the tunes tend to be on the shorter side of and skip around to keep the listener engaged.  I find the majority of jazz guitar players to be quite boring but these guys keep it moving.

@@@ YUZIMA: Black Supremacy (N/A, 2018)  I got to this track via the music blog Indiepulse.  I’m not sure what I expected but it’s not what you would expect from a track titled thusly.  It’s got an industrial dance feel to it with a funky feel but but the singer is also very processed and nested in buzzy as shit mix.  A little over halfway through the track switches to an undistorted mix with a simple drum beat and some acoustic guitar track.  It’s a dance track but an uncommon one.

@@@ FRIGS: Basic Behavior (Arts & Crafts, 2018) #1 out at CFUV in Vancouver.  The first tune opens up slow and heavy with a purple dranked female singer.  I expect a shitstorm of guitars presently.  I find myself listening to the guitar player a whole bunch, I appreciate his/her angular playing.  The second tune is more indie but I’m on the third track and it’s back to the slow, epic doom rock but not metal thing.  I hear pubes of FLTR, Jane’s Addiction, Stone Temple Knuckleheads, etc.  Smells like dark music for dark times to me.

@@@ Visigoth: Conquerer’s Oath (Metal Blade, 2018)  Also on the charts at CFUV.  Mount ye white stallion and head out to battle with this classic metal record!  When white men fought the heathens and the good fight, wait that’s supposedly still happening but it just looks like aimless slaughter.  The second tune, Warrior Queen, is everything you would hope it to be.  It is epic with huge vocal chorus shout outs, big guitar riffage and I would imagine some cucumbers placed strategically in the band’s leather pants before they head out onto stage for a show.  Yowsa!

YTD recordings listened to: 225
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 119
Not good music: 98

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, Hernan Sama & Marcelo von Schultz

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