@@@ Big Joanie: In My Arms (Kill Rock Stars, 2022) A couple of last listens from this week’s Pitchfork 10 most reviewed albums of the week. This is the fifth track on the record and it’s a smash up of Bruce Springsteen rock and indie vocalizing. A little less New Jersey than Bruce Springsteen but connected for sure. I dig the half nasal Buddy Holly type singer here, it’s super nerdy and makes the track much more interesting. Some pretty nice guitar work as there are two guitars, one holding it down and one doing some melodic work. I’m going to check another track to see what they have going on and I’ve chosen the third track Confident Man. This track has an interesting oscillating synth to go with the indie rock guy, it’s a bit of an indie sendup of electronic music and I find it charming. All right I’m considering if this record could go on my best of year list as I dig the singer and I’m giving the opening track, Cactus Tree, a shot. It’s a bit more epic but does bring the rock and the synth action simultaneously which is kinda cool. This smells like an honorable mention type record but listen for yourself.
@@@ Horse Lords: Zero Degree Machine (RVNG, 2022) More rawk, more rawk!!! This opens with the track clipped below and this some Yes type shit — half art school, half rockin’. As it unfolds it does indeed get more wound around itself and quite proggy. I like some of what’s going on here, but it needs more grit for me to embrace it, it’s got this smooth and clean as a baby’s bottom feel to it that I can’t roll with. Just as I finish typing this they get into a quasi Meat Puppets circular madness thing that I dig, oy I can never win.
@@@ Conjunto Ingeniaria: Mambo Silbado (El Palmas, 2022). I can’t tell if this is a reissue or a new recording made in the old school style (I think it’s a reissue) but this is the old school soulful Latin music. Blazing horns, tons of rhythm tucked underneath the mix, some janky guitar, two minutes of Latin gunpowder complete with a section with whistling. Strong and awesome vibe here.
@@@ La Femme: Y tu te vas (Disque Pointu, 2022) A dramatical blend of rock sounds, Spanish sounds, and big ass production. I did a little searching and these guys are out of France, I’ve not heard of them before but I think they’re a medium sized big deal. I don’t know if this song is typical for what they do as it’s a pre-release track. I like the cycling flute type patch or actual woodwind and overall the feeling here is theatrical, it’s mad dramas here. I like the singer and I like the arrangement, some of the sounds less so. I’m giving the other pre-release track a quickie, it has a flute as well. More lyrics in Spanish and more drama mixed with art school.
@@@ 100 gecs: Doritos & Fritos (Dog Show/Atlantic, 2022) I got to today’s listens via 10 hype new songs presented by music publicists via Paste magazine via a twat on the Twatter. 100 gecs is a wild crew, wild in a certain fashion, and this pre-release track comes out sorta Primus-y — Miley Cyrus-y with a smash doll of pop ideas and proggy threads. The hook is classic white boy nonsense, there is no deeper meaning to Doritos and Fritos, they’re brands and here we have America 2021, a hodgepodge of different ideas that aren’t required to make any sense at all. I would be fine with that if the tune was better, but it’s not a particularly moving set of sounds.
@@@ keiyaA: Camille’s Daughter (Touching Bass/Venice, 2022) This single opens up with a voice doubling a guitar and keyboard melody before the beat and once the beat comes in it gets thicker and more interesting. I would say the vocals work both a slightly gospel and slightly booty singer vibe and I’m a little shocked to find something with this level of rhythmic sophistication and funky weirdness in the mainstream. This is some cough syrup Prince action with nutritional value. Check this, it’s more than solid shit.
@@@ Lightning Bug: The Right Thing is Hard To Do (Fat Possum, 2021) When you check out this track, the second on the record you get an appreciation of the large, spacious rock sound pioneered by Daniel Lanois and Emmylou Harris and folks like that. After that you get a pretty straightforward indie rock formula with added measures of space rock thrown in. Waify female vocals stand in contrast to the big guitar sounds and the drummer is pretty much an afterthought. The next track September Song Part ii takes the same formula and moves in a Nick Drake direction. I like this better than the second track but overall I don’t feel pumped by this music. It’s cool but it’s a bit straight and predictable for me. I know there are millions of folks who want stuff like this so I will acknowledge that and move on.
@@@ Hiatus Kaiyote: Chivalry Is Not Dead (Brainfeeder, 2021) I set up my blog posts a few days (sometimes) before I write them and I mention this as I took a quick listen to this track as I was setting up the pre-post and shagging the video. Because I care. It is an energetic, proggy r&b thing this Australian artist is peddling. The track below occupies the third slot on the record and it has a chatter-y, robot feel opening it up. It then segues into a high end funk r&b thing before climaxing with a popping bass part and stabbing synths, it’s quite dramatical. I’m surfing the web while I peep this and it’s not a great sign that I drifted away from the tune as it progressed though I feel there are some really hot sounds in here. The complexity of the arrangements here is impressive but when I listen to records of this type I realize how genius it was for Prince to pepper all his shit with blazing guitar solo and rock guitars as it really deepened out and heated up his music.
@@@ dltzk: misplace (dead air, 2021) Off this week’s Pitchfork’s most reviewed albums and this is some 17 year old nutter from New Jersey. It’s the third track of the record and is slacker grunge blended with pop flavors. The drums sound really good here. The guitar is downer-y but by the time you get the break after the chorus it’s a kaleidoscopic pop biscuit. Oy that was quite a journey and back to the down verse. Lots of glitch/electro sauce throughout to flavor up the place. Mr. dltzk’s voice is fine, not particularly inspiring but I don’t think that’s the goal here. There’s nothing particularly rough here which is not accidental and it’s all about the swirl after the chorus, that’s my assessment. I made it 3 minutes into it, that’s pretty good. This is for the shopping mall folks out there.
@@@ Ichiko Aoba: Porcelain (hermine, 2021) With traces of jazz fusion and a bit of prog rock then a female Japanese voice you are in for the full flavor pack today. It’s an upright bass here with some swirly electronic bits and classic clean indie guitar arpeggios. Also a flute so if you’re feeling like you’d like to try on a pair of angel wings and get your New Age on, this could work for you. Very orchestral and for people with well paying jobs who drink red wine and shake their heads at the dirty rabble. I’m doing a quick check of the next song to see if the madness continues — there are changes to the instrumentation but the same vibe remains, you will not find any converge style pain and suffering making an appearance here. The ratios of indie/classical/New Age varies but the aim is true.
@@@ Black Marble: Somewhere (Sacred Bones, 2021) More listening off this week’s All Music notable release email. I like this label and think they put out a bunch of interesting stuff but this is the sort of ’80s influence white people, half krauty synth rock that I’ve never cottoned to. I like the lead synth sound, the second one is a bit lazier and more syrupy, and the drums, oy the drums, oh big shift into a more Devo-ish place with a spraying high synth patch. Almost two minutes in before the singer shows up and he’s cool, pretty standard for the sounds. It’s a six minute banger and I’m at 3.5 minutes and I’m sure these are perfectly fine folks but these sounds have never worked for me. If you like a nice klunky drumbeat this will go down smooth. I mean that, f’real.
@@@ The Pineapple Thief: Wretched Soul (Snapper, 2021) These guys are big rock/prog and it opens up with a male singer exclaiming ‘I’ve got a wretched soul’ and to that I say what? Have a sandwich maybe. Or a snicker doodle, a snicker doodle can be quite delicious. Sonically, the drums are indeed arena-ish and the singer is doing a less anguished but still pained Thom Yorke thing. He let it get a hold of him, that’s what he’s singing now, buttressed by a big guitar riff and the drums, oh the drums! I’m entertaining myself, always not a good sign about the music if I’m forced to amuse myself. There’s big middle part with a version of a guitar solo with some doublekick bass drum and then a comedown. It goes out with another guitar blast, a more formal sounding guitar solo
@@@ Deerhoof: Department of Corrections (Joyful Noise, 2021) Deerhoof is my favorite deer related band, ths singer is great and strange and they live up to the quirky indie rock hype. This sounds like a Yes track blenderized with more modern sounds. This is from the All Music notable release email. A fair number of dueling guitar runs, pretty thunderous drumming and then singer in the middle of it on about something in her way. I’m not going to claim that the big bucket of guitars here is revelatory, the part where they drop away and she does this weird beep beep beep crazy shit is much more engaging. I will check out the other pre release track, an oy it’s the same with the two guitars frantically splattering all over the place. I don’t hate it, but I don’t love it. Oh my they start a kluster of distortion and dirty bass and that shit, oh that shit is fantastic. #MixedBag
@@@ Ross From Friends: The Daisy (Brainfeeder, 2021) A UK DJ bumpin’ up some high brow dancefloor bangin’ on this record I also go to via the All Music notable release email. I’ve peeped some Brainfeeder business before and the sounds can be a bit too refined for my taste — I like some crunch, I like some weirdness, this is pretty tight and manicured quite carefully as a porn stars genital hair patch may be. He gets into some pretty tasty glitching and deconstructing, but I say put some mustard on this hot dog, naimsayin’? Let me peep another track and check the fire on that. The second tune, Love Divide rocks a classic techno unt-sss to open up but then I imagine he’s gonna get up in some modern, ooooh, pong synthesizer, nice. Techno video games up in here. If this music was a dude it would be Pete Buttigieg — very clean and well spoken and ya know uptight. Gay/not gay I have no view on that.
@@@ Kazemde George: Escape (Greenleaf, 2021) Off the Twatter! Okay there are only two pre-release tracks up for this upcoming release called I Insist and the tune I’m listening to is called Things Line Up. I know the video relates to something else but you can search this music out if you dig it. What’s most notable here is the intro into the tune which features a fairly extensive synchronized melody between the horn player and a female singer. It’s very trick and a bit proggy and showing off. It then moves into a spot that’s between straight jazz and more fiery free stuff. Still leans mostly straight at least in this track. I’m guessing Mr. George is the sax player and I like his tone, his rhythm and the way he plays withing his ensemble. The player clicked through to the second pre-release track and it’s straighter with the vocalist does a pretty classic job in a tune called Skylight. As with a lot of jazz the flow and the energy is often key to proceedings and here it’s a smooth thing but with focus and sharp energy. I dig this singer here, she’s flavorful. The bass player is also quite listenable.
@@@ BADBADNOTGOOD: Love Proceeding (XL Recordings, 2021) I got to this via PItchfork’s 10 Best reviewed albums of the week and I can’t remember if I’ve heard these guys before. They are slotted as jazz in the Apple Music but to me this is some Pink Floyd-ish expansive space rock business with a few jazz fusion feels thrown in there for good measure. Jangly chorused out guitars, a small horn section but the tune is driven by the active bass player and the strings. I don’t know if it’s a synth string thing or actually string players and I’m not sure I super care. This meandering type of space rock-jazz is pretty nap inducing. I like the drum sound. I would be more into this if it had more fire. I give some love to the Keith Moon spraying drum style but the sauce on top, meh.
@@@ Kit Sebastian: Melodi Pt 1 and 2 (Mr. Bongo, 2021) I got to this via last week’s All Music notable release email. I’m a fan of Mr. Bongo’s releases. I’m checking out the fourth track of the record, Melodi Pt. 1 and it’s pretty cracked lounge music. Sung in French, that’s a bit of a guess there. Nice piano player as well as some tasty weirdo drone-y organ. Part 1 of the song morphs into Part II and this tune is much more rocking with more presence from the singer. The music is not necessarily strange in structure, but the vibe and the feel of it is a bit purposely mad. It’s not an homage to retro music and it’s not thoroughly of today, it’s a weird-y.
@@@ Flying Lotus: War at the Door (Warp, 2021) My generic opinion is that Flying Lotus is an extremely talented arranger who often bogs down in the Prog Swamp. These tracks are a soundtrack to an anime movie — I think that’s cool and fertile ground for a musical suite. The video clipped below is the first track of the record, it opens airy and epic before opening out into a lush symphonic jazz electro vibe. Ooh, there’s somethin’ so nerdy about how the Lotus sounds. I think it’s partly the sounds he employs and the way it’s all mixed together but I never though I would see the day when an anime flick would sport a jazz fusion soundtrack. Even track 6, Crust, which I hoped would shed its cleanliness for the sake of the title is manicured excessively. Where’s my Crust, crust is good. Pizza crust, that shit is really good. A crusty layer of cheese on some casserole, I’m with that. Ah well, this is where the Lotus is at and it is to be accepted.
@@@ Zach Phillips: Feed a Pigeon, Breed a Rat (La Loi, 2021) Today’s listens are off a rando Bandcamp best of July (I think) list. I love bandcamp, promo is a bit janky but what isn’t janky these days? A guest on each song here, and when the player starts it sounds like an indie Frank Zappa fusion-y weirdo flow. It’s nice to hear somebody play a guitar with some intention and power but overall this opening track is a bit too proggy for my taste. I like the second tune, and the guest singer, a bit more. The female singer here fits better into the sounds here. I’m guessing there’s some Berklee School of Music hanging round here. I’ve sampled parts of three tunes here and this one’s for the jazz rock nerds, have at it people!
@@@ Sally Decker: In the Tender Dream (NNA Tapes, 2021) I haven’t grokked a great electronic record for a bit, I’m always in for one. This one opens up with some processed spoken word/breathy crunched up clouds. It’s okay. The second tunes comes in with a statick-y blast, a low thumping sound, and what sounds like a loop! More vocals bitcrushed into bits of all things, suprisingly. Kibble and bits. These come across as chunks rather than as structured pieces. I don’t always need structured pieces, but if the sounds are as abrasive as this, then maybe some would be all right with my ears. I think I’m going to move on as I like some of the sounds here but I don’t need vocals in my ambient electronic.