Music for 1/31/19!!! Top Notch, Ninth Wave, Billie Ellish

@@@ Billie Eilish: bury a friend (Interscope, 2019)  Another pre-release tune from this record which may not ever be released.  It’s gonna be all released pre released!  This is a minimalist funk tune with dark themes.  Bury the hatchet, bury a friend.  But it’s all funky and accessible.  It has a manicured and minimalist arrangement.  I didn’t know the Billie Eilish story until now — she’s an 18 year old actress that’s getting a huge push, at least on the Apple Music.  I’ve listening to a couple of other pre-release tracks as I cruise around the interwebz and the interesting part of the record lies in the sounds.  Very slick and dynamic within the tunes.  However I find the lyrics to be less than convincing.  I think it’s supposed to be a serious record but the cutting edge sounds detract from the darkness of the record which is supposed to be about a nightmare or a dream or both.  To my ear, it’s pretty standard corporate music business.  Hinting at something dark without being able to render it honestly.

@@@ Top Notch: Ghetto Life (N/A, 2019)  A solo record from a Brooklyn hip hop collective.  I got to it via a promo email.   The sounds are retro ’90s NYC hip hop a la Busta Rhymes and the main sonic theme is the Jamaican dancehall rhymes over hip hop arrangements. There are also prominent Wu Tang clan elements here with some tracks featuring multiple MCs.

@@@ Ninth Wave: Half Pure (Distiller, 2019)  I got to this Scottish band’s track via a music publicist email.   It’s a dramatical, post-goth ditty rooted in ’80s synth rock a la the Cure.  Male singer singing ‘you’re only half pure, cuz the pain and the glamour that you were bred for’ is a pretty clever line but they wear it out.

YTD recordings listened to: 63
Good music, not list worthy: 35
Not good music: 25

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, 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, 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

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Music for 1/25/19!!! Dawn Richard, Bring Me the Horizon

@@@ Dawn Richard: New Breed (Local Action/Our Dawn, 2019) The new music for 2019 is starting to come on out after a post holiday recess. I’ve checked Dawn Richard’s music before and for the r&b style she does get out there. I originally got to her music after reading an article in the Guardian about how she does not use a publicist which I greatly admire. It also makes me want to spread her music far and wide. The production here is tight — compressed for power and bumping at the low end. Richard can sing — quietly and powerfully and whichever we way she wants to roll. I enjoyed the second track (title track) the most. A sinuous arpeggiated synth chord, a thick beat, some pro female empowerment lyrics and a dancefloor banger for the lesbian bars out there.

@@@ Bring Me the Horizon: amo (Sony Music, 2019) Also off this week’s All Music notable release email. This UK outfit does some proud genre mashing — some electronica, some rock, and even some metal. This first tune, I apologize if you feel something, is arty and weird lower in pretension and then that segues into a more brash rock thing. Not full metal, riffy but not messy but not pretty. Hard to peg. For major label business it’s you know a bit adventurous but when someone pushes I want to hear them freak the fuck out. Not art school bullshit here.

YTD recordings listened to: 53
Good music, not list worthy: 31
Not good music: 21

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, 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, 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

Music for 1/24/19!!! Dolphin Gardens, Always a Bad Thing

@@@ Dolphin Midwives – Liminal Garden (Beacon Sound) Electronic music off this week’s CFUV playlist email.  Opens up angel choir style.  After a multi voice loop sesh in comes some processed (maybe reversed) sound.  I like it, I wish it would move faster but I can hang.  I dig the glitch and the chopping but I could use some beats.  The second tune opesn up with a harp patch which is cool and continues the very female energy on the record.  Traditional female energy and shit.  I dug the fourth tune Flux the most as it brought in the aggro and a lit bit of insect energy to contrast with what came before.  There’s some attention up in this record so check it out if you want some chopped female-tronica.

@@@ Always A Bad Thing – Your Songs Of Light, My Songs Of Death (Baffled Octopi) Self-described electronic folk also off this week’s CFUV playlist email.   I’m feeling this first tune ACID: pronoun: BURN.  It’s drone-y and a little rhythmic and weird.  I hear nothing folk-y here, maybe it was a folk track before it went through the processing machine.  The second tune opens up like a Radiohead track and it’s more rock than folk.  I like this music, it’s a bit all over the place so it’s hard to pass on to others what it is, but it’s mostly electronic, a little indie, a little dissonant and that’s about it.

YTD recordings listened to: 51
Good music, not list worthy: 29
Not good music: 21

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, 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, 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

Music for 12/7/18!!! Soccer Mommy, Esperanza Spaulding, Jupiter & Okwess

@@@ Soccer Mommy: Clean (Fat Possum, 2017) Both of the NY Times music writers have this record on their best of year list. Both writers! Once again showing the music coverage at the Times is a bag of ass. I find this downtempo guitar indie record unengaging and pretty derivative. Nothing particularly noteworthy in the lyrics or the music and it affirms the worth of mopey white people music when it shouldn’t be affirmed. But then again the Times put Arianne Grande’s record on the list and listening to that record is akin to drinking a quart of dirty dishwater. It’s not surprising the New York Times as a quiet proponent of white supremacy would single this record out of the thousands released this year for notable recognition.

@@@ Esperanza Spalding: 12 Little Spells (Concord, 2018) Another New York Times best of year choice. I come to this record prejudiced as I do not like Spalding — I find her technical skills to be plentiful but there’s a coldness and lack of soul to her music and these tunes only serve to reinforce that perception. This first tune is more symphonic prog rock than it is jazz. I like this second tune more, the singing is quite nice but I predict it’s going to collapse into a proggy mush….and there we go. I define a great record as one that you want to play over and over again and you continue to find things in the record that deepen the listen. I see this record as a work of technique with moments of beauty and that’s not my definition of a great record.

@@@ Jupiter & Okwess: Kin Sonic (Everloving Records, 2018) This is another New York Times record they call it ‘magnificently funky’. If this first power rock funk inflected tune is any indication this record is not going to come close to the funkiness of Vaudou Game. I’m on the third tune and I like this record but to be honest it’s more of a rock record than a funk record. It’s got some funk in it but it’s a thread and not the core. Stick with Vaudou Game. A lot of chanted vocals, some funky guitar and a drummer that rocks.

YTD recordings listened to: 676
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 368
Not good music: 263

Best: 16
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, 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

Music for 12/3/18!!! Babylon Trio, Zazou Bikaye, ZAYN

@@@ BABYLON TRIO: Habibi (Rebel Up, 2018) Off this week’s WRIR playlist email.  Three Iraqi musicians emigrate to Belgium as refugees and make music.  I guess you could fool yourself into thinking that this would be a reggae record but these guys hail from the original Babylon, you dig.  It’s Middle Eastern music with a fair amount of weird modern sounds combined with traditional playing.  It’s pleasantly mental.  On their bandcamp they describe themselves having a street sound and I agree with that.  I like all the musicians — the percussionist is energetic while the keyboard player pumps out clouds of weird patches and pretty hot playing.  Some of these synth patches are cheesy ass Casio like sounds but then he starts running up and down the keyboard.  I’m going to circle back on this record, it’s hot and weird.

@@@ ZAZOU BIKAYE:  Na Kenda [EP]  (Crammed, 2018)  I’m not sure what’s going on with this two track tune.  I’m guessing it’s a re-issue as it’s on this week’s WRIR playlist email while Apple Music says it was released in 1988.  It sure contains ’80s sounds arranged in a world music/disco type of aspiration.  I find the electronic squirles and the bells to give a lot of energy and funk to the track.  I appreciate it while not super digging it.

@@@ ZAYN: Rainberry (Vampisoul, 2018)  White boy funk/soul a la Justin Timberlake.  Some medium funky sounds, some falsetto vocals and we’re off to the races.  He comes out of the falsetto for the chorus and I can’t begin to tell you what a rainberry is.  He is definitely smack talking somebody but I could really give a fuck.  This is strictly a panty quaker for the ladies (and the gay gents).  If you’re not into him it’s a pretty average tune.

YTD recordings listened to: 664
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 360
Not good music: 260

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, Daniel Khan, Vaudou Game, Tallawit Timbouctou, Babylon Trio

Music for 11/15/18!!! Barro, J.I.D./J. Cole, J. Lo/Bad Bunny

@@@ Barro: Samos (self-released, 2018) Some Northern Brazilian music I got to via the weekly music reviews at WRIR in Virginia, a most excellent world music station.  It’s a blend of traditional modern Brazilian with some rock flavorings.  Also some hip hop, funk flavors. A pretty hip opening track.  The second tune gets into a more indie, feelgood vibe, but with more sophistication than 99% of indie folks out there.  There is a mellowness in this music that is not overdone and wilts the music.  The playing is tight and an interesting mash of rhythms and genre influences so it keeps itself fresh.  Big respect for how far afield the rhythm section reaches.  Check this out, it’s hip.

@@@ J.I.D. and J. Cole:  Off Deez (Interscope, 2018)  I’m a huge fan of J.I.D. — his microphone is just full on — witty, quick, all manner of flavors.  He comes out Red Bulled with his afro fully blown out on this single.  They paired his rhymes with a demented little surf rock guitar figure.  J. Cole starts slowly but he gets up in it.  It’s impossible to tell how gangsta the lyrics are because the shit is just flying past your ears.  I like this, this is super hot and fresh.

@@@ Jennifer Lopez and Bad Bunny: Te Gusta (Sony, 2018)  I’m not a huge Bad Bunny fan as I think he has a weird voice.  He sounds like he has some sort of bowel obstruction, but the last J Lo single I checked out was really good.  This is a loverboy track though I have no clue as I have zero Spanish skills but J Lo is in her underwear in the video below.  The sounds are very slick in a good way, it’s uber manicured Latino urbano, and I like it but he’s a bid of a bad burp.  Other folks who understand the lyrics might enjoy it a whole lot more.  I do all right for a gringo motherfucker but I’m not from around the block.

YTD recordings listened to: 641
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 347
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, Marianne Faithfull, Gouge Away, Barro

Music for 11/14/18!!! Black Belt Eagle Scout, Gouge Away, Kate Danser

@@@ Black Belt Eagle Scout – Mother Of My Children (Saddle Creek)  Some indie business off this week’s CFUV playlist email.  Some identity politics around this release — the singer is an LGBT first person as in indigenous person with people at Standing Rock.  I’m a huge fan of the Standing Rock and their fight to defend themselves.  That’s outside of the music but I like this first tune.  It’s not super complex guitar indie but it feels authentic to my ear with little posing which I can’t stand.  I understanding sounding authentic is in the ear of the listener, it’s a personal preference.  I judge it by how much emotion is being put out there.  The more emotion shared the more I’m drawn to it.  The second song, Indians Never Die, is a slow one with a simple guitar vamp and simple percussion.  It’s building slowly and then it dies back down.  It’s a mopey record, at least the beginning part is and I like the singer’s voice.  Indie is a tough sell for me but I give this a B/B+.

@@@ Gouge Away – Burnt Sugar (Deathwish Inc)  Some ‘loud’ music off this week’s CFUV playlist email. Oh my, speaking of emotion and letting it all out this record hews to that concept.  Female singer at the end of her rope, or at least close to it and a band that rocks in a pleasingly sloppy ass way.  Quick grinds lurching into some other brief idea.  The second tune, Fed Up, is working bigly for me.  It’s a punk missile with little restraint — doesn’t it feel better when it all comes out?  I think so, you can’t keep all that shit inside.  I’m feeling all the members of the band from the drummer’s spray, to the stringy/splatty bass sound to the mess of guitar sounds to the singer who might need a lozenge.  Imma circle back on this bad boy.

@@@ Kat Danser – Goin’ Gone (Black Hen)  Blues/folk/roots music off this week’s CFUV weekly email.  This looks to be a laidback blues band record with a female singer.  Harmonica, upright bass, shuffling drums, you know the classics.  I like this record — really catchy guitar player and solid players at all the positions.  The production is really flattering without cheesy reverb and too much of any particular sound, and the songs are solid.

YTD recordings listened to: 638
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 345
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, Marianne Faithfull, Gouge Away