Music for 7/29/21!!! Pom Pom Squad, Deem Spencer

@@@ Pom Pom Squad: Death of a Cheerleader (City Slang, 2021) Some pretty rote power pop punk I got to via Vice’s best albums of 2021 thus far. Crunchy guitars, female singer with a droll delivery and a whole lotta vocal melodies. The third track, Crying, is supposed to be the clearest example of its genius combining a string, orchestral opening that gives way to the aforementioned power pop punk formula. The two styles aren’t integrated so it’s weird to me as it’s just a brief string opening that segues. WTF? It’s perfectly serviceable in what it does but I’m not a huge fan of the singer’s delivery. So solid B. Some PR douche got this record on the list.

@@@ Deem Spencer: Deem’s Tape (The Flower Shop, 2021) Also off a Vice list but hip hop this time. I’m digging Spencer’s bouncy slightly against the grain delivery over some tasty keyboard vamping. The dreaminess continues in the second tune but you get a chill beat and if I’m not mistaken he’s going for a lofi bedroom/hip hop thing and is pulling it off for the most part. His flow on the mic is sloppy and relentless, that’s how I would characterize it. I really like the front of the record is outstanding but it fades a little bit as it moves through the list of tunes but I could be wrong and I’m going to check this record out more when I get a chance.

Music for 3/23/21!!! The Stayawakes, Lana Del Ray, Justin Bieber

@@@ The Stayawakes: Lovestruck (Engineer, 2020) I got to this tune via an email from the UK label that released it. Some pumped up power pop punk and all those adjectives or some combination there of. Big guitars, big drums and a lot of vocal melody sauce over the tope to evoke a combination of toughness and tenderness. I checked up on the ol’ Google to see this band hails from the UK though it’s impossible to tell and they could just as easily be from Southern California. It’s a pretty familiar formula delivered with high energy.

@@@ Lana Del Rey: White Dress (Interscope, 2021) How odd that pouty and mopey Lana Del Rey has become meaningful pop royalty. I liked some of the feels on her last record but I thought it got a bit overhyped. This is the opening track on her creatively titled Chemtrails over the Country Club. Her vocals are very convincing on this track, upper register and delivered in an oddly engaging manner. Lyrically it may be semi-autobiographical (or not) but it’s about a waitress going to a music conference. It’s Lana driven I’m guessing. The vocal arrangement is well done, super polished as one would expect from a major label release and whether you dig this track comes down to how you feel about the vocals. I don’t love the lyrics but I praise the outstanding delivery.

@@@ Justin Bieber: Peaches (Def Jam, 2021) Justin Bieber makes a record called Peaches, wow that about says it all. This one is a combo dancefloor banger, loverboy thing with a call and response vocal style where Justin plays both the call and the response. I hear a lot of music and this sounds like a dude trying to make some money. So conciously pleasing with such superficial lyrics. oy it smells more than a bit dubious. He gets his peaches from down in Georgian and his weed from California. I think Bieber could use 6 weeks at a Marine boot camp, his shit is too soft. Finger snaps, dumb vocal hooks and watered down funk, he sounds like he doesn’t know who he is.

Music for 5/30/19! Erlend Apneseth, Trophy Wives, Lower Dens

@@@ Erlend Apneseth Trio: Undergrunn (Hubro, 2019)  I saw this folk/jazz recording mentioned up on the Twatter by the jazz blogger Bird is the Worm.  I could not find this record on Apple Music but significant chunks of it are on Soundcloud.  The cloud of sound.  Apneseth is Scandinavian and he’s an ‘award winning hardingfele player.’  The hardingfele sounds like a violin/fiddle type instrument and the playing in this tune has South Asian feels to it.  A little Scottish, a little South Indian classical though as the tune moves it recedes back into a decidedly Westering thing.  I believe I hear a kit drummer and a hand percussionist or maybe they’ve been consolidated into one musician but the tune builds and then recedes on its way out.  A mash of slightly New Age world music and some jazz/improv.

@@@ Trophy Wives: Old Scratch (Latest Flame Records, 2011)  A continued look at 50 records out of Louisville Kentucky in the last decade.  Fantastic idea for a record list in my opinion.  It opens up with tune Taste of Your Medicine (clipped below) an energetic power pop punk anthem with great energy.  Great drumming.  Very Foo-ey but I enjoy the singing here and the tunes are a bit more splashy and interesting than typical buckets of Foo.  I like it, I don’t think I need to put it on my iPod but it may work for you more rock-centric listeners.

@@@ Lower Dens: Young Republicans (Ribbon Music, 2019)  A pre-release single I got to via a music publicist email.  It’s an ’80s electro rock track with gated snare sounds, vintage synth sounds presented as video game bloops, shiny arpeggios and some slow moving clouds.  The singer is about the consumption of the lower class by the young Republicans.  Musically, it’s a classic rock mellow in the verse/exploding chorus we’ve heard a million times before.  It’s a classic for a reason.  I’m sensing the tune may more be about climate change as the phrase ‘the world is burning’ surfaces repeatedly.

YTD recordings listened to: 272
Good music, not list worthy: 159
Not good music: 95

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, 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, 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, Anais Maviel, Chaka Khan, Pom Poko, Fried Egg, Horndal, Wyxz, Tarek Atoui, Hawktail, Saicobab, Shannon and the Clams, General Purv, Shipping News

Music for 5/22/19!!! Clay Renderings, The Band Gooch, Black Pistol

@@@  Clay Renderings: Black Vows (N/A, 2019)  This is a dark indie track I got to via a music publicist email.  Female singer, a repeating tom tom drum, an occasional somewhat dirty guitar chord.  It’s a downer track and I never discriminate against the downer tracks cuz they’re downer.  While the tune does build slowly over its almost five minutes it doesn’t have a lot of movement to it and qualifies as more of a vibe than a verse/chorus kinda thing.

@@@ The Band Gooch: Stuck With You (  , 2019)  Another music publicist email band peep.  Opens up energetically with lots of power chords and a somewhat detached but not downer vocalist.  Big power pop/punk rhythm section.  As I listen to him, the vocalist really reminds of Alex Chilton though a little bit more straight ahead.  Standard rock tune arrangement, the singer stands out here.  Not that much to say to be honest.

@@@ Black Pistol: Pick Your Poison (N/A, 2019) I got to this rock duo single via a music publicist email.  Standard updates on classic rock again, I wonder if this is gonna be a trend going forward.  Similar formula as the tune above.  Energetic rhythm section, a fair amount of rock guitar and a singer with personality.  With this tune you get some oooh, hoo woo doos background vocals and even some tambourine.  So if you’re calculating the amount of rock stuff you get the tambourine and the more complex vocal arrangement go for this one.

YTD recordings listened to: 261
Good music, not list worthy: 152
Not good music: 92

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, 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, 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, Anais Maviel, Chaka Khan, Pom Poko, Fried Egg, Horndal, Wyxz, Tarek Atoui, Hawktail, Saicobab, Shannon and the Clams, General Purv

Music for 5/2/19!!! She Rides Tigers, Schoolboy Q, Sun O)))

@@@ She Rides Tigers: Scars (N/A, 2019)  I got to this power trio track from a midwest music publicist. The first track, Scars of Allegory, opens up sounding like a blend of ’90s power punk pop and ’00s emo.  It’s got plenty of distorted guitars for you earholes but the singer works against the notion of a power trio as he’s a sensitive cat.  The second tune, Perfect Crime, does get into deeper riffage territory with the guitar and bass playing in unison at points and guitar washes at other points.  Very nice vocal melody in this track, catchy and different.  They went for the full arena guitar solo shred and it works all right.  Get yer glow sticks out, kiddies.  It’s certainly a well trodden neighborhood of rock but they do an above average job of breathing some life and energy into riff rock. 

@@@ Schoolboy Q: Crash (Interscope, 2019)  Off today’s Apple Music hot tracks section.  A non trap single from the L.A. rapper.  A fair amount of sung vocals, I really like the beat and Mr. Q’s flow on the microphone.  There is a trippy string sample and what sounds like a fat dude digesting after a huge nasty meal.  The tune has more structure to it than a typical hip hop jam and comes off as undercover pop.  Professional, it’s professional.  Some hip hop is just a dude going nuts over a beat, which is cool, but this has been thought out more.

@@@ Sun O))): Life Metal (Southern Lord, 2019)  Some weird ass metal off this week’s All Music notable release email.  I’m a fan of the Southern Lord label and this record consists of four long ass sludge bombs with the shortest track coming in at 11+ minutes.  This is bound to be a long, distorted vibe, glacial shall we say?  Between Sleipnir’s Breaths, that’s the title of this first track.  Sleipnir was an 8 legged horse ridden by Odin.  Right around the 4:30 mark an almost prayerful female singer gets on the mic riding a mellow boat on the ocean of guitar murk and distortion.  The contrast is quite jarring.  I have not mentioned the third component of the tune which are long ringing stabs of a high up on the frets guitar waili

YTD recordings listened to: 226
Good music, not list worthy: 135
Not good music: 82

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, 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, 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, Anais Maviel, Chaka Khan, Pom Poko, Fried Egg, Horndal, Wyxz, Tarek Atoui, Hawktail

Best of 2018 Pick 8

American Lips: Kiss the Void (Ancient Fashion, 2017)

It’s not easy to make a mainstream rock record and have it sound fresh.  These guys do a good job of recreating an early ’80s half punk/No Wave kind of thing but with a pop sensibility and plenty of hooks.  Ya know, the Knack, early Elvis Costello, Urge Overkill, and the somewhat nutless yet praised out the ass The Strokes.  There are many places where it can go wrong — the singer can be a douche, the hooks can be more than familiar as in they bit it (as in somebody else’s music) too hard, the production can water down whatever muscle the band brings to the music.

But that doesn’t happen here.  The guitar player is pretty driving here for the style of music and the singer is straight ahead.  No Bon Jovi, no posing with his meat stick hanging out, all that shit.

This is 22 minutes of pop punk deliciousness so check it out!

This is for cubicle dwellers and hipster bologna sandwich eaters out there.