Music for 7/24/18!!! Sea Moss, the Social Stomach, VoidCeremony, DRAM

@@@ Sea Moss & the Social Stomach: Ugh (Crash Symbols, 2018).  I got to this raucous yet partyistic noise based party punk via an email from KFJC out in California.  This first tune features a brisk tempo and pig squealing synths with other animal sounds but also a funky cowbell and a bouncy beat.  There is a woman wailing as in an incomprhensible fashion and lots of droney, siren-y shit.  The second tune, A Four Mile Parade takes a Left on Broadway, speeds up the tempo, keeps the wails, animal sounds, and siren sounds — it sounds as if the tune is imploding from the inside.  Let’s check out the band from the second half of this EP, the Social Stomach.  These guys are pleasantly strange as well but they sport a little prog and more rock vibes than noise.  A female singer works the microphone here but she has more of a detached Frank Zappa flow rather than the barnyard animal aspirations of the first outfit.  Spanish in the second tune which starts to heat up with some sci fi movie oscillating synth.  Both of these bands are fully formed and freaky — one with a partyistic, noisy tilt and the other a sort of art school prog with punk swirls.

@@@ VoidCeremony: Foul Origins of Humanity (Mondo Macabre, 2017)  Also off a KFJC email list of live and in studio performances.  This is three tracks of stormy, threedly epic death metal/black metal.  The singer is low in the mix and he explores various caveman concerns while a dual guitar attack gets nutty.  The second tune picks up where the grind of the first tune ended — it’s thrashy with some classic metal and they play fast.  Red Bull, meth, who knows.  It’s all about the guitars here.

@@@ DRAM: Best Hugs (Atlantic, 2018)  DRAM goes for song of the summer with an ’80s inspired synth r&b party bomb.  He gives an inspired vocal and rhyming performance but the early ’80s disco juice is not going well over here.  I feel the same way here as the Childish Gambino summer BBQ anthem — to my ears they’re trying too hard to get the title going for maximum bounce and party vibes but lacking on soul.  I can’t give song of the summer to the vocal hook ‘Your girl gives the best hugs’.  I like DRAM but really?

YTD recordings listened to: 427
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 224
Not good music: 189

Best: 7
Honorable Mentions: 4

Possibles: Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, Slidhr, The Chewers, Toxic Holocaust, 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, Gouge Away, Klara Lewis, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Oddisee, Forro in the Dark, 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, Jean Grae and Quelle Chris, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton, Parquet Courts, Orlando Lopez

Music for 5/2/17!!! Alex Cuba, Cashmere Cat, COPE

@@@ Alex Cuba: Lo Unico Constante (Caracol, 2017) Take Ed Sheeran and breed him with a younger James Taylor and have him sing in Spanish and you would get pretty close to this record which I got to via the new adds at WRIR.  Are other people as annoyed with Ed Sheeran’s Aw Shucks Rock Star Show as me or do you just lap up what he has to offer?  This first tune features some nylon string guitar, a shaker, a violin part and multitracked vocals.  Let’s peep more.  The second tune is more of a full band number but it retains a non-rock posture and we’re back to the molasses sweet soft rock en Espanol on this third tune.  So that’s the territory he’s working and death to Ed Sheeran!

@@@ Cashmere Cat: 9 (Interscope, 2017)  A studio geek rocking contemporary EDM pop with mad guests.  This first track is more manicured than a female porn star’s bush (or what’s left of it!) but I fear there is a lack of soul here.  Also he appears to get so involved with the sound that the song starts meandering around like a festival goer at dawn.  The title track is more coherent as a song but it does traffic in some awfully cheesy ass synth sounds and stupid lyrical cliches.  I dig fresh sounds but this is too vacuous for me.

@@@ Cope: Cryptid (Norwegian Blues, 2017)  A noise rock duo that I got to via the indie music blog Indiepulse.  It’s opening not too noisy but I think it will open up and blast soon enough.  And there goes the distortion pedal.  They stay inside the song and don’t explode it from the inside the way some noise bands do.  I’m on the second tune and I’m feeling like these guys are less bluesy Black Keys kinda thing rather than a Lightning Bolt lose your shit kind of thing.  Me I prefer to listen to people lose their shit but to each his own.  Tasty drum sound and get the guitarist a Red Bull!

YTD recordings listened to: 265
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 157
Not good music: 102

Buys: 5
Honorable Mentions: 2

Possibles: Chris McGregor, 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, Drone, Lantern, Twin Peaks, Djelimady Tounkara, The Oh Sees, Denny Zeitlin, MILF, Unfun, De La Soul, Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes, Magrudergrind, A Tribe Called Quest, Noname, Gouge Away, Anna Hogberg, Klara Lewis, Aethenor, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, James Brandon Lewis, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Power Trip, Reverend Payton, J.I.D., Oddisee, Forro in the Dark

Music for 4/8/17!!! Girls in Synthesis, Ecstatic Vision

@@@ Girls in Synthesis: Mound/Disappear (Own It Records, 2017)  A noise rock single I got to via a music publicist email.  You know how much I love those music publicists!  People use noise in their marketing because it’s cool, but this actually does have a fair dollop of noise to it.  A simple punk beat on the drums and a Brit going on about something.  Nothing like a British accent to class the joint up.  The second tune (clipped below) is slightly more tuneful but still served up with a nice thick layer of noise and that accent.  Solid B.

@@@ Ecstatic Vision: Raw Rock Fury (Relapse, 2017)  Some hard hippie influenced psych that I got to via a music publicist email.  Love them music publicists, f’real!  This tune exploded out of the gate with fuzz wah, a fairly long bass line that pushes the tune forward, and a second guitar shredding it up.  The second tune opens up more ambient with some delayed chopped up vocals a guitar feedback drone.  I’m on the fifth tune and I like it all right — I would want more than the sound they have to get excited — some memorable freaky tunes perhaps?

YTD recordings listened to: 231
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 125
Not good music: 86

Buys: 1
Honorable Mentions: 1

Possibles: Chris McGregor, Dave Arner Trio, Zomby, Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Slidhr, The Chewers, Toxic Holocaust, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Lenguas Largas, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Fofoulah, 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, Divanhana, Moken, Juan Atkins, Drone, Lantern, Twin Peaks, Djelimady Tounkara, The Oh Sees, Denny Zeitlin, MILF, Unfun, De La Soul, Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes, Magrudergrind, A Tribe Called Quest, Noname, Gouge Away, Anna Hogberg, Klara Lewis, Aethenor, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, James Brandon Lewis, Yotoco, Tinariwen, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Power Trip, Reverend Payton, J.I.D., Oddisee, Feral Ohms, Orquestra Baobab

Music for 3/31/17!!! Orchestra Baobab, Pharmakon, Aimee Mann

@@@ Orchestra Baobab: Tribute to Ndiouga Dieng (World Circuit, 2017) African music from stalwarts Orchestra Baobab.  A full ensemble including percussionists, horn players, kora and guitar players and this first tune is sweet but not cloying.  I’m on the fourth tune and I agree with the All Music review that this is not a burning disc but more of a laid-back affair.  Extremely tight but not overpowering grooves, beautiful vocals and fairly long stretching tunes.  I guess the kora player is a first time addition to this band (which has been around close to 50 years) and it’s a nice flavor.  This record will be on my year end list as there aren’t many bands that can get this vibe going.

@@@ Pharmakon: Contact (Sacred bones, 2017)  This noise record opens up sic-fi and more than a bit aggro industrial.  Lots of machine like noises and no discernible song structure emerging straight away.  There’s a female losing her shit in a non-singing kind of way — sounds like she’s having some sort of horror movie break down.  Let’s peep more.  This second tune is unfolding quite slowly with similar metallic synth patches.  I say let’s get down and let it all hang out instead of teasing with bits. The second tune unfolds pretty much the same way — a lot of noise and a lot of female vocal despair.  I don’t 100% require tunes but this is not quite enough for me to get with, it sounds a bit half finished.

@@@ Aime Mann: Mental Illness (Superego, 2017)  I know folks gush over Aimee Mann but I’ve never understood why.  But peep I will as I have an open mind.  This first tune is sweet with arpeggio guitar, a little hand percussion and ’70s era soft rock vocal stylings.  The second tune is a tad less engaging but she’s rocking the melancholy sad song in the B+ range.  I’m on the fourth tune and it continues to be a melancholic, pretty record.  I appreciate it and I certainly don’t hate it, but it’s not something for me to jump up and down about.  This tune below is the first on the record and the best of what I heard.

YTD recordings listened to: 212
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 112
Not good music: 80

Buys: 1
Honorable Mentions: 1

Possibles: Chris McGregor, Dave Arner Trio, Zomby, Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Slidhr, The Chewers, Toxic Holocaust, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Lenguas Largas, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Fofoulah, 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, Divanhana, Moken, Juan Atkins, Drone, Lantern, Twin Peaks, Djelimady Tounkara, The Oh Sees, Denny Zeitlin, MILF, Unfun, De La Soul, Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes, Magrudergrind, A Tribe Called Quest, Noname, Gouge Away, Anna Hogberg, Klara Lewis, Aethenor, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, James Brandon Lewis, Yotoco, Tinariwen, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Power Trip, Reverend Payton, J.I.D., Oddisee, Feral Ohms, Orquestra Baobab

Music for 12/15/16!!! Shirley Collins, Innercity Ensemble, J. Cole

@@@ Shirley Collins: Lodestar (Domino, 2016).  Some old school pastoral Brit/Irish folk from a musician that looks like she had a lot of records from the late ’50s to the late ’60s and has been re-recorded at a much later date (as in this year).  Besides being a sort of time capsule it’s very pretty folk music with orchestral flourishes.  Oh the bagpipes are out in this second tune, awesome.  I’m on the fourth tune and I like Collins’ voice — I happen to own a bunch of old school folk on vinyl from my work in building a streaming archive of obscure vinyl.  I’ve heard these sounds before but she does a good job and check her flow out and then maybe throw the Lord of the Rings on the ol’ Roku.

@@@ Innercity Ensemble: III (Instant Classic, 2016)  A mash of noise rock, electronic elements and even some ambient jazz horn work on this opening track from a record that is #3 on the Quietus records best of 2016.  Let’s peep more and hope it holds up.  I guess I got a little pumped up as that was rocking third tune I was listening to and the opener is more of a long tone piece.  I’m a pretty finicky jazz listener and I like this trumpet player — he’s above average and his playing works well within the context of this record.  The combination of sounds is fresh but not gimmicky. This is why I dig outfits like the Quietus.  This is their #3 record of the year, Pitchfork would never do that.  It’s a really good record check it out.

@@@ J. Cole: 4 Your Eyez Only (Roc Nation, 2016).  This record is getting a big push on Apple Music.  I don’t know if it’s exclusive to the Big Apple but this first tune is pretty above average newer style r&b.  He’s got a tasteful trumpet player and his singing is solid, though it’s starting to get a bit overwrought in this first tune.  This second tune is a more standard hip hop tune and I like the sounds except it’s a pretty weak defense of being a drug dealer.  Fuck that.  Sonically it’s a pretty progressive sounding hip hop record — well color me confused.  I thought at first it was an r&b record, then I thought it was a hip hop record but it’s both.  I’m on the fourth tune and it has been two hip hop tunes and two r&b tunes.  I would recommend 6Lack’s new record over this as it mashes hip hop and r&b but does a better job.

YTD recordings listened to: 979
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 547
Not good music: 372

Buys: 19
Honorable Mentions: 21

Possibles: Chris McGregor, Dave Arner Trio, Zomby, Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Slidhr, The Chewers, Toxic Holocaust, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Lenguas Largas, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Fofoulah, 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, Divanhana, Moken, Brian Eno, Juan Atkins, Drone, Lantern, Twin Peaks, Djelimady Tounkara, Miramar, The Oh Sees, Denny Zeitlin, MILF, Unfun, De La Soul, Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes, Magrudergrind, Acid Arab, A Tribe Called Quest

3/26/16: The Body, Magic Circle

@@@  The Body: No One Deserves Happiness (Thrill Jockey, 2016) A genre bending electronica/heavy music mash that I got to via this week’s Aquarius weekly email.  This first tune Wanderings is opening up angelic, spare, and electronic.  And then the big guitar crush!  The third tune, For You, descends into a curtain of noise/static over a pushed back drum beat, it’s really quite a chalkboard/fingernails typathing that works to undo the prettiness of the elf queen female vocals.  I give this a solid B.

@@@ Magic Circle: Journey Blind (20 Buck Spin, 2015).  A heavy music record of my weekly heavy metal newsletter.  I’ thinking with a name like Magic Circle we might see a little prog up in this record, but that’s just a guess.  Once the first tune gets cooking I hear more riffy stoner music than prog.  After an extended jam intro we get into some epic throwback classic metal with an operatic singer.  I like the drum sound and some of the guitar playing but I can’t really deal with this singer, it’s not my style.

YTD recordings listened to: 293
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 162
Not good music: 111

Honorable Mentions: 5
Buys: 4

Possibles: Chris McGregor, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Dave Arner Trio, MAKU Soundsystem, Zomby, Retox, Jessie Mae Hemphill, Bone Dance, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Debruit, Slidhr, The Whammies, The Chewers, Alexander Hawkins, Toxic Holocaust, Equal Stones, Comeback Kid, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Lenguas Largas, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Fofoulah, Lozen, Erase Errata, Dawn Richard, Mastery, Leviathan, Xibalba, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, Akitsa,  Janelle Monae, Luther Dickinson, Destruction Unit, Graeme Barrett, Fast Asleep, Goldlink, Cavanaugh, Gentleman Surfer, Satoko Fuji, Mystic Braves, Matt Parker, Divanhana, Troum, Unrestrained, Carrie Rodriguez, Moken, Ghostlimb, Cruciamentum

3/15/16: John Grant, Rabit, Prurient, El Mato a Un Policia Motorizado

@@@ John Grant: Grey Tickles, Black Pressure (Partisan, 2015).  Some adult alternative indie I got to via this big best of 2015 list over here.  Alienated lyrics reminiscent of Radiohead but with a piano.  This first tune is a bit long so Imma gonna skip ahead to the second tune which is in a completely different style.  The second tune is mostly electronic with forward squiggles and a dabble in the krautrock.  The third tune gets into Nine Inch Nails aggro synth rock so this bad boy is gonna sprawl.  I’m not a huge fan of sprawlers but if you feel like taking a ride…

@@@ Rabit: Communion (Tri Angle, 2015).  Dark ambient with sci fi/mechanical leanings off the same list at albumoftheyear.org.  This first tune consists of drones and explosions with some industrial poundings.  The second tune, Snow Leopard is busier in spots and sprinkles some high frequency stardust over the industrial pounding sounds.  As the album moves on it builds intensity and aggressiveness.  The punching/percussive machine sounds are at the core of the record.

@@@ Prurient: Frozen Niagara Falls (Profound Lore, 2015)  Profound Lore is usually home to metal bands but this record off the best of 2015 list I been chewing through is slotted as noise.  The first tune sounds like a poorly tuned radio with indigestion.  Now we’re getting some synth melodies.  I don’t like the smoothness of the synths combined with the super high frequency static reeeeeeeee.  Let’s skip ahead.  The second song marks the appearance of a pissed, pretty unrecognizable shouter/singer.  I don’t think this record is for me.  I want more noise.

@@@ EL MATO A UN POLICIA MOTORIZADO: Violencia EP (Nacional Records, 2016)  Latin rock off the weekly WRIR playlist email.  The first tune opens up more indie than Latin which is a shame.  It’s more competent than bunches of American indie bands and I can’t comment on the quality of the lyrics as my Spanish is complete shit, but the sound is pretty straightforward guitar indie.

YTD recordings listened to: 255
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 140
Not good music: 94

Honorable Mentions: 5
Buys: 3

Possibles: Chris McGregor, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Dave Arner Trio, MAKU Soundsystem, Zomby, Retox, Jessie Mae Hemphill, Bone Dance, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Debruit, Slidhr, The Whammies, The Chewers, Alexander Hawkins, Toxic Holocaust, Equal Stones, Comeback Kid, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Lenguas Largas, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Fofoulah, Lozen, Erase Errata, Dawn Richard, Mastery, Leviathan, Xibalba, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, Akitsa,  Janelle Monae, Luther Dickinson, Destruction Unit, Graeme Barrett, Fast Asleep, Goldlink, Cavanaugh, Gentleman Surfer, Satoko Fuji, Mystic Braves, Matt Parker, Divanhana, Troum, Unrestrained, Carrie Rodriguez, Moken, Ghostlimb, Los Hacheros, Cruciamentum