Music for 5/14/19!!! Satori, Quiet Earth, Luke Combs

@@@ Satori: Makhtub (Crosstown Records, 2017)  I got to this world/trance/New Age artist from a gig announcement from the hoity toity BK music club National Sawdust.  The opening tune (clipped below) featurs some cool chopped and glitched Middle Eastern string sounds and some less cool vocal parts.  It’s a slow jam but I have a feeling this next track is gonna be a dancefloor banger.  Noop, wrong again.  I like the third tune, Dive Into the Mystic, but if you desire a hypnotic trance-like listening experience from that part of the world I would recommend any number of Tinariwen records over this.  I like parts of this but I want it to hit harder.

@@@ Quiet Earth: Desertion/Migration (N/A, 2018)  This two song blast of distortion and punk/metal/rock energy is off an Invisible Oranges looking back at underrated music of 2018.  It’s a duo record and they kick it out for a duo but the drummer is also listed as the bass player and if he’s playing those two instruments at the same time, well then he gets a friggin’ gold star for that.  More than solid shit to harvest the crust from your eyes.  I little drano for your soul.  Sonically the sounds lean more punk than metal as it has a spill-y less manicured feel to it than most metal.

@@@ Luke Combs: Beer Never Broke My Heart (Sony, 2019)  Some new country off the Apple Music hot tracks section.  The blend of power rock guitar playing and banjo always spins my head a bit til I reconcile those two sounds, but the hook is good and could probably do better as an official anthem for the Beer Brewer’s Association of America.  Combs has a suitably gruff voice and I think I would enjoy this song more if it was more straight redneck and less mainstream rock.

YTD recordings listened to: 250
Good music, not list worthy: 146
Not good music: 90

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

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Music for 4/9/17!!! Gabriel Zucker, Rodan

@@@ Gabriel Zucker: Weighting (ESP-Disk, 2018) I got to this quartet jazz record via a gig announcement email from Brooklyn club Roulette.  Instrumentation is sax, trumpet, piano, and drums.  The first tune, Would It Come Back to You?, is a trumpet and sax duo with pleasant interplay between the two horns.  The second tune is slower, bringing in the piano and the drums.  Overall the feel is laidback and a little bit out.  I like the sound of the record and the playing but the energy is a tad low and it’s reminiscent of some old school ECM records of highbrow aspirations.  I dig the trumpet player and the piano player the most.

@@@ Rodan: The Hat Factory 93 (Self-released, 2019) Uh oh, somebody popped a couple of red bulls in a room full of amplifiers.  I like it.  This is a bandcamp record of the day but apparently not all of it is available.  It’s got some big Fugazi flavorings which is a flavor I dig.  It moves out of that punky flavor into a mathy section and there’s gonna be a lot of sections as it’s an 11 minute track.    They get into low altitude vocal intonation that gives the tune serious contrast with the storm of guitars and drums.  I was just playing the recommended track for first impressions but they look to be working a partially indie, somewhat indie, and partial punk neighborhood.  For example the first tune opens with an extended two guitar and one bass clean jam.  I like this without loving it.

YTD recordings listened to: 185
Good music, not list worthy: 113
Not good music: 64

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, A Tribe Called Quest, 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

Best of 2018

**** not arranged by preference ****

1. Courtney John: Ecosystem (Soul Fire, 2017)

A perfectly crafted combination of old school roots reggae flavors with a great band and a singer I like a whole bunch. The band is tight and relaxed simultaneously with space for organ solos, guitar business, etc.

2. Guy One: #1 Best (Philophon, 2018)

A unique large ensemble African record from Ghana that sports elements of Afrobeat this record smokes from beginning to end. Great playing, great singing and high energy. This is about as good as music gets. I have spun the fuck out of this record all year.

3. Melissa Laveaux: Radyo Swivel EP (No Format, 2018)

It must suck to be a Williamsburg indie hipster and see how a Haitian Canadian woman who lives in Paris does your hipster indie songwriter thing better than you could dream of.

4. Magrudergrind: II (Relapse, 2016)

All the players in the band are above average and they are tighter than a welldigger’s ass in the middle of the winter but it’s the drummer who takes the gold star. He thrashes, he sprays, he grooves, he drives the bus.

5. Irreversible Entanglements: Irreversible Entanglements (International Anthem, 2017)

This free jazz trio plays really well but the woman on the microphone doing the spoken word part is the star here and they burn all the way through. She coughs up more than a few cutting lines, especially in the first piece. Check it out.

6. Los Texmaniacs: Cruzando Borders (Smithsonian Folkways, 2018)

This is a beautiful and super musical mariachi record regardless of the politics involved here. Needless to say Trump is a fucking asshole and I’m a fan of Mexican culture. I’m particularly impressed with the accordion player but I’m super into accordion. Everybody in this band plays and sings at a super high level.

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

If you took the Blues Brothers and put ’em in flannel shirts and gave them a lot of 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 with a slap-tastic ramped up band.

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

It’s not easy to make a mainstream hooky 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.

9. 700 Bliss: Spa 700 (Don Giovanni, 2018)

Organic electronic production and a pleasantly confrontational African American female MC/singer/spoken word artist headline this EP. A friend of mine says this has a retro electro feel but I’m not schooled enough in old school electro to know.

10. Tim Hecker: Konoyo (Kranky, 2018)

Tim Hecker’s new record, Konoyo, is dark. And it’s also unsettling. It’s also extremely well put together and beautiful. It is an ambient music record without drums or over rhythms with an emphasis on metallic sounds and bell like sounds

11. Shad: A Short Story About War (Secret City, 2018)

The lyrics on this record outperform — smart, conceptual, well thought out. It’s called a concept record but I think that’s bogus. Just because an MC is intelligent enough to connect warmongering with capitalism does not a concept album make. It’s called thinking motherfuckers.

The arrangements here are really good with no particular bent except maybe a retro thread — there are some jazzy sounds and mellow ones and there are more driving and urgent arrangements (for example the tune clipped below).

12. Vaudou Game: Otodi (Hot Casa, 2018) A tour de force of all funk genres with an absolutely ripping drummer and fantastic band energy. It’s hard to believe humans can be this funky.

13. Open Mike Eagle: Brick Body Kids Still Daydream (Mello Music, 2017)

I got to this hip hop record at the very beginning of this year but have struggled as to whether to put it on the ’17 or ’18 list so I’m going to put it on both as it’s that good. Incredibly well done lyrics and ear catching (but not poppy per se) arrangements take listeners to a whole ‘nother place. I can’t begin to praise the way this record is put together and executed, it’s hip hop and beyond hip hop at the same time.

14. Paul de Jong: You Fucken Sucker (Temporary Residence, 2018) In an era of shiny, happy people taking our civilization right over the cliff de Jong mixes the personal and implies the political with a tune like You Fucken Sucker. In addition to that nugget of true indie misery the ambient pieces towards the back of the record could be portraits of the opioid mind or the economically downtrodden or the millions of disconnected folks out there. Life is messy as fuck but rarely does that mess make it onto wax and the interwebz. DISCLAIMER: I worked on this record and I work with this musician.

15. Hernan Sama & Marcelo von Schultz: Sonidos desde el camp para los animales y la vida salvaje (Self-released, 2018)

What makes a great free jazz hit? It’s a slippery question. This self-released sax/drums set ticks all the boxes for me. A little Ayler, a little Mu Sessions and just a freshness to the playing or a desire to play what other people might expect.

16. Tal National: Tantabara (Tal National/Fat Cat, 2018) I don’t usually go for the super stuffed songs but the melodic complexity of the guitarists combined with the drummer and the active singers makes for a glorious hot African mess. When they lean into the central grooves of the tunes it is ecstatic in nature.

17. Gouge Away: Burnt Sugar (Deathwish Inc, 2018) I have a soft spot for the angry female punk singers. Though these guys get into more than straight ahead power chord punk bashing they sport a classic up in your grille attitude. I don’t idolize the gent but it has that ragged Nirvana Bleach era energy and the drummer here kills it. They all kill it.

18. Babylon Trio: Habibi (Rebel Up, 2018)

Iraqi refugee musicians tear it up with Arabic street music flavored with euro club flourishes and some of the cheesiest and partyistic synth patches in years. The energy and the messiness of it is so refreshing. It’s ‘I don’t give a fuck’ messiness and not ‘I can’t play straight’ messiness.

Music for 11/8/18!!! Fucked Up, Jerusalem in my heart, Frontperson

@@@ Fucked Up: Dose Your Dreams (Merge, 2018)  Matador mainstays drop a classic punk biscuit on the Merge imprint.  They’ve added a few non punk touches like a little horn here and there as well as some synths and interestingly a female background vocal chorus.  The singer sounds a whole bunch like an old school cigarettes and whiskey shredded windpipe hard living fella.  It’s a concept record/song cycle but I’m listening to it as tunes because I can’t grok the singer when he’s going quickly on the mic.  These guys are obviously tight as fuck and know what they can do in a studio having been around the block more than once — I like the tunes without loving them.  The fifth tune, Normal People (clipped below), is the best of what I heard.

@@@  Jerusalem in My Heart: Daqa’iq Tudaiq (Constellation, 2018) Contemporary Arabic music mixed with electronic music or contemporary Arabic electronic music, I’m not really sure.  I’m on the third tune and it’s more contemporary Arabic music with some electronic music garnishes.  I’m not sure regular readers caught the excellent Arabic electronic record Acid Arab out on Crammed Discs last year but it’s not that.  These days I’m more up for the integrated smashup of Arabic melodies and electronic music and this flirts with that more than goes fully into it.  If you like Arabic music check it out, if you like electronic music check out Acid Arab.

@@@ Frontperson – Frontrunner (Oscar St) All of today’s releases I got to via the weekly CFUV playlist email.  This one is more straight indie with a symphonic feel and a serious tone.  This is not a beer can smashing party here at all.  The second tune switches up into a more Crosby, Stills, and Nash vocal harmonies thing.  I’m struggling to find the right adjectives to describe the vibe of this record.  It’s not art school, it’s not proggy, it’s partially indie, not particularly folky but it’s a lot of sophisticated harmonies over a mostly straight indie band.  I guess it’s an old school hippie/indie record.  I like some of the singing and it’s an interesting formula they’re using.

YTD recordings listened to: 631
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 340
Not good music: 253

Best: 11
Honorable Mentions: 7

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, 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, 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, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton, Parquet Courts, Orlando Lopez, Moskus, Kendl Winter, Tkay Maidza, Peregoyo y su Combo vacana, Marianne Faithfull

Music for 9/24/18!! French Montana, Young Father

I am finishing up on a brief tour working as a live sound and video projection dude so massive listening is not possible.  Onwards and remember you always get what you pay for.

@@@ French Montana (featuring Drake): No Stylist (N/A, 2018)  The #1 track in the Apple Music hot tracks section.  I would call this glamorous trap music with fat bottom but buffed up and polished rhymes about Gucci bags, Lear Jets, and women getting wet.  Probably not from the great conversation but bank account wetness.  Drake cuts in with a nasal rap that contrasts with Montana’s husky then falsetto business.  Don’t call this motherfucker until the checks clear, naimsayin’.  I will say for the umpteenth time that it is a bit inconsistent to denounce this behavior in CEOs and in Trump’s house but celebrate it here in popular culture.  It would be nice if we got our shit straight or at least more straight and less crooked.  I don’t care about Trump’s wealth, and I don’t care about French Montana’s Gucci handbags.  I really could give a fuck.

@@@ Young Father: Toys (N/A, 2018)  Also in the Apple hot tracks section.  It’s an art school hip hop punk project and I think I’ve heard tracks from this record which came out in the spring but it has been revived in the hot tracks section in the fall.  If you want to mix up your nihilistic punk vibes with your hip hop/r&b type beats then I would recommend the gents at Sleaford Mods.  Their lyrics are much more acidic and they punch their weight.  This tune uses more conceptual lyrics that detract from the straight ahead kraut bass and the squirty, slightly chopped beats.

YTD recordings listened to: 541
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 286
Not good music: 224

Best: 9
Honorable Mentions: 5

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, 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, Moskus, Kendl Winter, KEN mode, Automatisme

Music for 9/17/18!!! Dad Nap, Scott Xylo, Immersion

@@@ Dad Nap: Worn Out (Self-released, 2018) I got to this DIY record via the music blog Indiepulse.  Super DIY recording — a one microphone creation with virtually no low end but tons and tons and tons of energy.  Manic acoustic guitar strumming, some harmonica and speedy vocals.  The vocalists are working so fast they sound more than a bit a little like Eminem.  I really appreciate the spirit.

@@@ Scott Xylo: Call Us When You Get there (Black Acre, 2018) I was clipping the above record on to this here blog post when I saw this record posted on the front page of Bandcamp and thought it looked good.  Btw, it’s album of the day at Bandcamp.  I expect a whole lot more low end on this recording as it’s a mash of Afrobeat, jazz, and funk.  Has a pretty intimate and laidback feel to it with mellow ass vocals.  Bits of Maxwell and other loverboy r&b gents.  The third tune, Sam’s Joloff, is the first spot where I felt connected to the sounds going on.  Simple funky bass line, some washed out midnight electric organ, some sax playing and mostly African drumming.  I like it without loving it.

@@@  Immersion: Irreversible Mechanism (2018)   Some metal off the bandcamp.  These guys are from Finland so you know it’s good!  Not really but it’s a great marketing line.  From reading their band camp page, they’re super into atmosphere and not putting out your standard metal bashing.  Which is great for them, but not so much for me.  This is a long intro on this first tune, I’m not feeling punished yet.  This is operatic and slow.  Not really my thing, let me skip to the next track.  Oh no, there it is!  I had to wait almost 4 minutes.  This is an epic artsy metal stomp.  It’s a lot of sustained guitar melodies, a lot of kick drum, and a lot of caveman-esque vocals.  I like the dirtier business myself but this isn’t all about what I like.  Check it out if it seems applicable to you.

YTD recordings listened to: 532
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 280
Not good music: 220

Best: 9
Honorable Mentions: 5

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, 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, Moskus, Kendl Winter, KEN mode, Automatisme

Music for 9/14/18!!! Twenty One Pilots, Automatisme, Signal

@@@ Twenty One Pilots: My Blood (Fueled By Ramen, 2018)  I got to this track via music biz blogger/big mouth Bob Lefsetz, who has pretty awful taste in music.  But he has juice, so there ya go!  This is a pre-release single that starts out a little rock and a tad electro but I anticipate a cheesy chorus explosion that streaks across the sky.  I’m a bit shocked as there has not been a cheese-gasm yet.  It certainly does not aspire to be Bob Dylan’s All Along the Watchtower but I like the bass sound and the falsetto singing is interesting.  The lyrics revolve around a relationship and fighting together and staying together.  The tambourine and the handclaps and the synths not as cool.  It peters out and meanders a bit at the end but overall not as bad as expected.

@@@ Automatisme: Transit (Constellation, 2018)  Off this week’s CFUV playlist email and it looks like it’s gonna be an electronic ambient affair.  I’m good for that.  This first tune opens up cloudy and then moves into some fairly deep mechanical stutter and glitch.  Deep as in a lot, not as in meaningful.  Thus far no beats and an alternating cloudy/glitchy movement.  The second tune goes deeper with some panned bells, more glitch and an OCD knocking sound that conversates with some oscillating church organ type synth patches.  I like this, it’s thick and engaging.  Let’s hope they can keep the focus on the next track.  Track 3 was solid but not super up my alley but Track 4, confusingly named Bureau 3 is hot.  I’m going to have to swing back on this record and check it out as it’s looking like it’s half loaded with over the top full on ambient action.

@@@ Signal: Signal (Ramp Local, 2018)  I got to this noisy ass punk record via the CFUV weekly playlist email.  It’s not standard caffeinated three chord singalong business, it has a darker more aggro feel to it.  There are punky fresh bits of kibble with the last song clocking in at 2:56.  It’s a helluva staticky guitar mess with an agitated woman working the microphone with fairly and purposely inane lyrics.  The drummer and the bass player do simple but interesting things.  I like this and if you’re feeling like you would like a quick blast of angry female business, they’re here for you.

YTD recordings listened to: 529
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 278
Not good music: 219

Best: 9
Honorable Mentions: 5

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, 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, Moskus, Kendl Winter, KEN mode, Automatisme