Music for 6/18/18!!! Beyonce and Jay Z, Grouper, Nervosa

@@@ Beyonce and Jay Z: Summer (Sony, 2018)  Beyonce and Jay Z are two of my least favorite musicians ever.  I love Solange but these two, blech.  However, they are a huge deal and I like to keep my finger on the corpse of the mainstream music business.  I’m sure the sounds here are going to be high end.  I’m a little surprised at the Caribbean influences with the soul arrangement on this first tune.  Beyonce is the main attraction of this first tune but the lyrics are pretty standard if not cliche.  Now Jay Z is on the mic and this is adult mature, post gangsta Jay Z.  It’s a well focused track but I don’t see it to be the work of our finest American superstars.  There are better soul tunes for sure, there are better lyrics, there are better vocal performances and rhymes.  I guess when you Beyonce a solid B is considered an A.

@@@ Grouper: Grid of Points (Krankey, 2018)  Some alternative off this week’s CFUV playlist email.  It opens female acapella but this first tune appears to be an intro flavor pack and the second tune is the proper first tune.  It is piano and wispy, angelic female singing, sparse arrangements and super ethereal.  I don’t want to type too loudly while I listen that is how fragile we’re talking here.  This is music for sad female teenagers but personally I don’t think it’s good for this demographic.  That’s just my opinion but it is its own little world, easily squashed is what it sounds like to me.

@@@ Nervosa – Downfall Of Mankind (Napalm)  Some all female metal off this week’s CFUV weely email.  We’re more concerned with the quality of music than the gender of the creators of it and these ladies bring a solid, muscular style to this record.  The singer is quite pleasing with a sandy, cattish growl to her voice and she is back by some thrash drumming and a wall of buzzy as a million bees guitars.  I like this record with the singer leading the way.

YTD recordings listened to: 336
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 177
Not good music: 151

Best: 6
Honorable Mentions: 4

Possibles: Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, 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, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto

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Best of 2018 Pick 6!

Los Texmaniacs: Cruzando Borders (Smithsonian Folkways, 2018)

What a timely recommendation as Trump and his ill bitch pieces of shit like Jeff Sessions continue to separate immigrant families from their children.  However, let us not let those ignorant heathens ruin what is an awesome record.

This is a beautiful and super musical record regardless of the politics involved here.  I’m particularly impressed with the accordion player but I’m super into accordion but everybody in this band plays and sings at a super high level.

There are songs about being deported and about not being recognized as a human but that’s for folks to check out.

On this blog we love Pusha T and we roll with awesome groups like Los Texmaniacs.  So if you’re not a racist punkass feel free to check out some awesome American music.

Music for 5/28/18!!! Drake, Dave Matthews Band, Juice WRLD

@@@ Drake: I’m Upset (Cash Money, 2018)  Uh oh, Drake’s upset!  I thought this was going to be a diss track about this ongoing crazy ass Yeezy bullshit but it appears to be a generic money anthem.  He can’t go 50/50 with no ho, you hear?  He’s also upset that there is 500,000 on his head.  For real, somebody has a bounty out on Drake’s head?  That would be like killing Mickey Mouse.  Am I the only one who thinks Drake doesn’t sound that scary when he’s upset?  I mean if you compare this with Pusha T business he comes out soft.  I like the sonics of the track, minimalist and tightly focused.  Some day I will enjoy a Drake track I guess but not this one.

@@@ Dave Matthews Band: That Girl is You (N/A, 2018) He’s back, the king of slack frat boy rock.  I always thought Matthews had a pretty heavy band but his strumming and prognosticating on the microphone I have usually found tiresome.   I like this tune,  he’s got a different vibe on it — less upbeat and fratty, just a bit more weirder than usual for  him.  It’s a minimalist arrangement that builds to a climax then comes back down quietly.  He’s not nearly as upset as Drake, man Drake seems super upset.  He might even smash his tea cup and forego his afternoon biscuits.

@@@ Juice WRLD: Goodbye and Good Riddance (Interscope, 2018)  It doesn’t seem to be a summer party record, but maybe the rest of the record differs from the intro where a woman denounces her man calling him a go nowhere loser.  The second tune is mostly hip hop sounds but Mr. WRLD is an alienated loverboy singer having a hard time with the ladies.  This is a teen hip hop romance break up record with some young people drug use going on.  Not really my cup of tea, maybe yours, check for yourself.  I will be leaving Juice WRLD now.

YTD recordings listened to: 294
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 154
Not good music: 132

Best: 5
Honorable Mentions: 4

Possibles: Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, 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, Lawaii, Los Texmaniacs

Music for 5/25/18!!! Prefuse 73, ACTRESS, Belly, G- Eazy

@@@ Prefuse 73: Sacrifices (Lex, 2018)  Left field hip hop off this week’s All Music notable release email.  Definitely left field sonically and well done on this second tune, late to the Party.  String arrangements with keyboards that sound more than a bit Beatle-esque psychedelic.  The third tune is not really hip hop at all with a female singer and aggro keys.  Ah, in a classic music biz mishap this record is labelled as hip hop in the All Music email but is listed as an electronic record on Apple Music.  It really is much more of an electronic record than a hip hop record.  I don’t love the songs but the sounds are pretty high end and the production well done.

@@@ ACTRESS: Lageos (Ninja Tune, 2018)  Off this week’s All Music notable release email.  The record is done with the London Contemporary Orchestra and what you hear in this first track is mash of electronic sounds — pops, clicks and percussive noises blended and swirled with chopped up orchestral bits.  I was getting ready to give a big thumbs up to this record on conceptual grounds when the third tune goes full video game soundtrack with percussive howitzers going off — it’s pretty not great.  I’m on the fourth tune and each track is pretty far from the one before so that’s great if you’re good with some clunkers like the third tune.

@@@ Belly: What You Want (with the Weeknd) (Roc Nation, 2018)  A bittersweet summer tune that kicks off summer?  That’s what it sounds like to me.  The more important question here is why is the Weeknd such a big deal?  I’ve never heard anything that blew me away.  This is an interesting and not super engaging blend of pop and hip hop and FM radio ready baby food.  Smooth is the key word here.

@@@ G-Easy: Power (RCA, 2018)  Both this tune and the one above are up in the Apple Music hot tracks section.  My favorite line is ‘you ain’t go no power cuz your pussy’s dry’.  It’s a celebration of cash and cars with plenty of pop bounce.  The trippy panning sample steals the mix for my ears, the vocal hook is pretty stupid and the bass and beats are solid B grade.  It is more than a bit confusing to hear folks go full Trump on a track when they probably despise his actions while celebrating their own similar ones, but the world is complicated.

YTD recordings listened to: 288
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 151
Not good music: 128

Best: 5
Honorable Mentions: 4

Possibles: Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, 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, Lawaii, Los Texmaniacs

Best of 2018 Pick 6

The Ballantynes: Liquor Store Gun Store Pawn Shop Church (La Ti Da, 2013)

I pride myself on the small records that pack a big punch.  I could give a flying fuck if Miley Cyrus’ naked cannonball video has 75 million views on the GooglePimp, that’s got fuck all to do with music.  Just cuz nobody’s heard of it has no bearing on quality.  People forget that great music is nothing more than a bunch of people in a room letting it all hang out and that has nothing to do with loot, it has to do with soul.

If you took the Blues Brothers and put ’em in flannel shirts and gave them any old school white trash beer and removed the horn section and the frat boy bullshit you would have something very close to this record.  It’s a guitar driven soul/rock record with a lot of guitars, a male and a female singer that both do good work and a ramped up band.

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 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