Music for 3/21/23!!! Yves Tumor

@@@ Yves Tumor: Praise A Lord That Chews But Does Not Consume (Warp, 2023) Off this week’s All Music notable release email. It opens brashly in a rocking with electronics manner, a grizzy bass rock manner, not super guitar oriented. Also glam feels though he works a down and out vibe on the microphone. Definitely taking a Nine Inch Nails book and rewriting and editing it a bit. Like the energy, like the bass sounds, the beats are meh, his vocals, well he definitely gives me the impression that he really aspires/wants to be a rock star. Would I call him that? It’s in the gray area. I was more bullish until he hits the power chords on the third track Meteora Blues, and then you see the cheese ooze out of the sandwich onto the plate. I half like it all right, half of it I find annoying.

Music for 3/17/23!!! Death and Vanilla, Emilia Torrini

@@@ Death and Vanilla: Looking Glass (Fire Records, 2023) Apple Music has this slotted as alternative and All Music’s weekly notable release email has it slotted as neo-psychedelia. While it has psychedelic threads to it, Apple Music has it correct here — it’s chill and slightly weird guitar indie. Jangly guitars, smooth female singer. Let’s get our labels correct people! I like it all right.

@@@ Emilia Torrini: Racing the Storm (Bella Union, 2023) I try to listen to Bella Union releases as they release interesting stuff. This is some orchestral leaning singer songwriter with heavy atmospherics. I’m on the second track and I think the sounds are more engaging than her singing, but that’s just me. She’s got a standard and solid flow on the microphone and she’s got these Colorist Orchestra folks behind her and they got a nice blend of vibes, tinkly percussion and strings going, it’s pretty full on. Upright bass as well, makes it more jazz like and they do seem to be going for a version of a big band situation here. This is for folks who want to feel a bit sophisticated, you know folks with good jobs who want shit chill and pretty wrapped. It does however also sport a reasonable amount of sophistication.

Music for 3/14/23!!! Nyokabi Kariuki

@@@ Nyokabi Kariuki: Feeling Body ( , 2023) I got to this high minded electronic record via Pitchfork’s 10 most reviewed albums of the week. The first tune, Sabira, features a lot of vocal tracks, some processed, some stacked, and some taking the lead melody. In addition there’s a fair amount of swirling glitch that darkens the vocals a bit. I like that. I can’t have it all be fluffy and happy, and dreamy, that’s no good for me. The second tune, Feeling Body, opens with a repeating drop of water and we have not seen any beats yet, will there be beats that’s a big demarcating line for a record in my world. I like how the pieces are very here and now, there’s a lot to listen to, it is a bit precious and I have trouble dealing with that aspect of it, it could use a little grit and roughness to pull it from dream world. The title track, clipped below, is 15+ minutes long so I skipped to the third track which features a synthesized voice. The arrangements here are pretty adventurous and I’m super into that. Kariuki was born in Kenya and studied music at NYU, and I hear a bit more of the NYU than the Kenya and as regular readers know I love African music. All the tracks are interesting but this third one is especially interesting. I can listen to the arrangements here and be happy but I would love to hear more sounds that would deepen the record.

Music for 3/13/23!!! Peter Evans

@@@ Peter Evans: Being and Becoming (N/A, 2020) I got to this pretty fresh jazz record via a twat on the twatter, I like the idea of trumpet and vibes together. And it works right out of the gate. There are four long bangers here and one shorty with drums and bass rounding out the quartet. This second tune Wormhole is even better than the open, it crackles with sharp energy and synchronized playing between the trumpet and the vibe player. Joel Ross is the vibraphonist and I’ve heard his releases before, they’re a tad straighter than this record. I like this record, it’s got a great and proud feel to it, they’re just letting fly with the jazz and it lands where it may. You don’t have to be an intellectual or bearded hipster to enjoy this, it’s pretty visceral music, no degree required, they’re just doing their thing.

Music for 3/8/23!!! Shangah, King Ayisoba

@@@ Emmanuel Jal: Shangah (Gatwitch, 2023) Super popped out African reggae inflected music I got to via the WRIR weekly playlist email. I like the second tune Ebul more, it’s got a dark sweeping bassline to balance out the guitars the production. Jal is from Sudan and I like his vocal work but it’s too poppy for me. I would love some more driving rhythms, some more contrasting sounds, etc. This always happens when I’m about to exit a record something cool happens, Jal just went off on a lyrical run where he denounces remote controlled and AI controlled tech weapons, that’s pretty cool.

@@@ King Ayisoba: People Talk Too Much (Glitterbeat Records, 2023) I like the Glitterbeat imprint and try to check out their releases as they release cool music. This first tune is driven by some nice hammered marimba type instruments, some group singing and plenty of hand drumming. Let’s peep a bit more. The second tune, Bossi Labome, has some soaring vocal work, some four on the floor drumming, I think it’s a drum machine he’s got going here (it sounds cool) and some stringed instrument playing. He does some energetic spoken word/quasi singing over the top, not in English a lot and sometimes in English and it’s pretty engaging and powerful. When he starts on the vocal hook ‘People Talk Too Much’ in thickly accented English I’m hooked, this is interesting shit for sure. Musically, lyrically both sides of the equation — a variety of singers, a gruff dude up in there, multiple languages all supported by interesting playing. If you like African music (this gent is from Ghana) I suggest you check this out. About 35 seconds from the end somebody leans on what I think is a guitar solo and starts working against the grain big time, oh it’s delicious.

Music for 3/7/22!!! Model/Actriz

@@@ Model/Actriz: Dogsbody (True Panther, 2023) Some dramatical alternative rock, breathy singer, spoken word opening, cinematically aggro sounds along side and under the spoken word, then the band comes crunching in. The singer is cool and he annoys me at the same time. Sinister Art School. I think they really excel at building the tension in their tracks and they seemed less skilled in just dropping the hammer and losing their shit in the chorus. There’s some pretty tasty slashing guitar sounds, and the singer does a good job drawing you into his janky unsatisfied world, I like the rhythm section though it could be a tad less rocky and I would like it more but it’s the release I seek. This is a bit of a missed opportunity and does reflect my general feeling that there’s a reluctance to go all the way in expressing our dissatisfaction in our culture that has gotten baked into music. Gotta keep shit chill and modest people.

Music for 3/2/23!!!! La Boa

@@@ La Boa: La Bestia EP (Mambo Negro, 2023) A mash of a lot of musical styles that I really like — cumbia, son, mambo, dub. I got to this via this week’s WRIR weekly playlist email. The second track is reggae flavored with electro bits and Cuban style vocalizing. It’s a mostly upbeat affair and I like it. Many layers of percussion, I dig that, lots of call and response vocals, that’s cool, big dancefloor energy, a fresh mix of sounds, check. I like the churning dub echo guitars in track 4, Se Va. All of this works within their self described Colombian Afrobeat aspirations, something most folks don’t consider — the connections between African music and Latin music. It’s quietly been there for decades, the connection that is, for a lot of hardcore music listeners and folks who listen outside of strict genre lines. I applaud any musicians for breaking down these arbitrary lines that keep listeners and musicians in silos, big ups for taking it on as a mission. Plus you get fat grooves and flavors.

Music for 2/28/23!!! Mi’gmaAfrica, Don Letts

@@@ MI’GMAFRICA: Run Buffalo Run (Nikamo Musik, 2023) A couple of listens off this week’s WRIR weekly playlist email. When I checked their bio these guys mix West African music with indigenous Canadian music and they’re from Montreal. Female singer and violin/fiddle over multiple drum tracks, hand drums, and kora! Oy, that’s a mouthful. It’s a groove track with a vocal hook revolving around running like a buffalo. I’m agnostic on it, I like parts of it and I’m not super moved by it at the same time.

@@@ Don Letts: Outta Sync (Cooking Vinyl, 2023) This is a pre-release single off a release coming out on Cooking Vinyl. It’s an interesting blend of reggae with a drum machine beat and a wee bit of spoken word and pop/r&b flavors in there. The UK area has a long tradition of easily mashing different styles and this is an example. I believe the hornline from ‘Low Rider’ is most definitely repackaged here. I like the verses more than the chorus but that’s just me. I’m not sure I would peep a ton more of this. I’m checking out the second pre-release track, Wrong, and I like it a bunch more as it’s stickier with some of the same sounds and I think the hornline from the other track bummed me out.

Music for 2/19/23!!! Land of Sleeper, Kelela

@@@ Land Of Sleeper: Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs (Rocket, 2023) Off this week’s 10 most reviewed albums email via Pitchfork. Major major Sabbath-y riffage with an epic singer on the top. I’m giving a quick peep to the second track, Terror’s Plow, and the same formula is in effect. I like all the players. There’s nothing here that particularly stands out within the pantheon of stoner rock, and that’s okay. It’s for the hardcore fans of the subgenre. I liked the third tune best of what I heard, they really crank it up on that track.

@@@ Kelala: Raven (Warp, 2023) This r&b/soul record opens up gauzy and quasi-epic, this is no slicked back mixed with funk jam show. We’re quickly into big amounts of ooohhing and aaaaahhhing. Maybe it’s just an intro. Tthe second tune, Happy, is a bit more of a banger with some churning rhythms and long tone singing over the top. This is a pretty manicured and solid record, a bit oooey and aaaaweee-y for my taste but that’s just me. Myself I would feel it more if there was a blend of hard hitting and soft sounds but that again is my taste.

Music for 2/16/23!!!! Quasi, Brad Mehldau

@@@ Quasi: Queen of Ears (Sub Pop, 2023) A Northwest duo I got to via I can’t remember, I think last week’s All Music notable release email. Featuring the drummer from Sleater Kinney gives them cred and they come out grunge-y but far from pathetically dour in the first tune, Last Long Laugh. I’ve been blogging for a while that the powers that be or want to be seek a rock/rawk comeback and this record fits into that. Let’s see what track 2 has on offer, this could be a rock biscuit I can get with! There’s more than a bit of classic rock in the riffage here so it’s not a straight up bummer-y grunge thing, it’s got a wee bit of boogie. I did a bit of googling to see that these two have been playing for nigh on three decades so this is no flim flam operation, they know each other and what they can do together. Some of what sounds like guitar is distorted keyboard so that puts a twist on the feel of the record. The vibe of this rock is upbeat without being cheesy and the keyboard riffage and the keyboard arrangements work for me. If yer up for some rock that is not cookie cutter but not oddly slack or pretentious take a whack at this business.

@@@ Brad Mehldau: Your Mother Should Know (Nonesuch, 2023) I go into this listen a bit prejudiced against Mr. Mehldau. I find his playing a bit on the cloying side so when I open this up and see it’s all Beatles covers I am thinking this is aimed at people with high paying jobs who love the Beatles who don’t have particularly well developed senses of taste. That said I like some of the passages of the first track, I Am the Walrus, it’s interesting to hear the vocal melody played back on a piano. I will hang for the second track, the title track clipped below. I think it was quick out of the gate and now on the third tune I’m finding the cover of I Saw Her Standing There to be less than compelling.