Music for 3/19/23!!!! MSPAINT

@@@ MSPAINT: Post America (Convulse, 2023) A mashup of hard, riff rock, punk sensibility and white boy hip hop that I got to via Pitchfork’s 10 most reviewed albums of the week. It’s got a lot of energy and some interesting layers but I’m not jumping up and down. The second tune, Think It Through, gets into a pretty familiar post rock territorial. I like what the singer is doing, but he could rock another flow and then return. There are moments here very reminiscent of Rage Against the Machine but with less funk and I have to say the record might lift off if the singer was more flavorful. He’s a bit 1 trick pony and if he had more moves it would make for more exciting proceedings.

Music for 12/30/22!!! Melt Yourself Down

@@@ Melt Yourself Down: Pray For Me I Don’t Fit In (Decca, 2022) I got to this major label slightly punky and brash rock that hit the Guardian’s best at mid year list. I like the attitude, and after that it’s pretty manicured which as I’ve been through a million times before is contradictory to the pose. This is attitudinal music for centrist people who get a bit disoriented when shit gets hectic and out of hand. I like the bass player, he/she/they are killing it and then you know it’s less interesting. It’s not disappointing it’s just aimed at another set of listeners of whom I’m not a member.

Music for 11/11/22!!! Skanks the Rap Martyr, Persher

@@@ Skanks the Rap Martyr: Take it to the Streets (Anarchy Records, 2022) I got to this independent hip hop via a music publicist email. Skanks the Rap Martyr has plenty of jams up on Apple Music but not this track and it’s Friday and I’m lazy so wé’re just gonna rock the GooglePimpTube video below. A brisk retro-ish beat heavy on snare with lyrics lamenting violence in the hip hop community. There’s a really nice flute sample and energetic but not full on rhyming. It’s a straight forward track, I like the lyrics and the bounce.

@@@ Persher: Man With the Magic Soap (Thrill Jockey, 2022) I got to this metal outfit via a weekly email from Crack Magazine out of the UK. I have a conflicted relationship with Thrill Jockey metal releases — sometimes it’s noisy metal and I dig that and sometimes it’s more art school metal and I like that less. C’mon you gotta give props to any record title Man with the Magic Soap. This is not your typical metal, it’s more of an art school noise rock project. Plenty of fuzz, punk drumming, blasted distorted vocals. I like the first track but I didn’t finish it so I skipped to the second while mentioning that’s not a great sign. This second track Calf is pretty good with a spooky bassline and a shuffly beat. It’s cool. I think this is solid B stuff, I like a bunch of what’s going on here but I’m not jumping up and down. To my ears it’s an extension of Rob Zombie’s horror movie music without a lot of metal, more punk and no glam.

Music for 11/10/22!!! Customer, Babehoven

@@@ Customer: Floorboards (Customer HQ, 2022) More the angular ’80s punk than the old school hardcore business. Don’t like the guitar in the verse but the chorus it breaks out into a nice bit. It’s not too much art school for me, but it’s pretty close. Female singer, she’s flat but that’s the gig and she works it up a bit in the chorus. There’s a B side to this single and it’s got more gas in the tank, the drummer is doin’ it for sure. Solid business, not blowing my mind but most of the way to whipping the kind of shitty I enjoy. Nice guitar blastoff in the second half of the second tune.

@@@ Babehoven: Often (Double Double Wammy, 2022) I got to this record via the Twatter, the new and improved Elon Musk Twatter which doesn’t seem that different. This is the last track on the record and it’s a strummed acoustic guitar and mopey singing and then a little epic stuff in the background and then a very nice electric bass line. The bass player is the star here and the singer is kinda letting me down. I know America loves a mopey indie vocalist. Let’s give a quick peep I don’t like sending an opinion out there based on the last track on a record. The opening track also commences with acoustic guitar. This track gets a full drumkit and a slack vibe, so it’s the classics people. Same thing you can love the singer while I’m agnostic.

Music for 10/27/22!!! Bazooka, Architects

@@@ Bazooka: Somewhere Elsewhere (Inner Ear, 2022) Email from a small label in Greece that I listen to sometimes. It opens briskly in a distinctly B-52s smashed into a gyro kinda way, tight and Greek. No filthy minds out there when I type tight and Greek. These guys can rock and they bring the rock energy much more than here in America, or ‘Merka wherever you may be. I’m guessing weed may not be legal in Greece of they’re not partaking. One of my big complaints about American rock is the post-grunge self indulgent I’m not happy vibe, these guys are just playing and playing hard. Everybody in the band plays well and they’re into it.

@@@ Architects: (Epitaph, 2022) Line of Best Fit! A little bit of a headfake with a chainsaw synth patch opening up the record before these guys bring the big punk/art rock smashup. This is a couple of notches down from Linkin Park who I didn’t really like back in the day. It’s a very emo flavored record but not the emo I love, more of the dramatical/melodramatical rather than the end of the rope stuff which I love. I find it much more engaging to hear someone lose their shit on a record than me admiring the intricacy of an arrangement where desperation and frustration are injected via lyrics. I like the energy and some of the sounds but this isn’t really my cup of tea.

Music for 9/30/22!!!! Handle, OFF!

@@@ Handle: Punctured Time (Upset the Rhythm, 2022) I got to this alternative band via an interesting article in the Guardian when a music writer features music she (I think) found over the course of the year. The video below is for the second track on the record and it’s a brash art school/kraut-y punk feel. I like the no fucks given approach to the arrangements but more abrasiveness and less art school would work better for me. I’ve sample 3-4 tunes and I like the ones with the female singer more. Overall I dig this and think it’s not easy to find this vibe around these days as everybody is consuming music as macaroni and cheese comfort music.

@@@ OFF!: Free LSD (Fat Possum, 2022) Looks like somebody took the Black Sabbath sludgy guitar sound and smashed it into a punk record. I guess this is the original singer from the Circle Jerks. He does sport a sorta Sex Pistols old school barking/spoken word retro approach. The instrumental interludes are interesting and not reminiscent of punk at all, they’re kinda exploratory and Sabbath-y. I think the sound of the record is pretty interesting, it’s not shitass punk production and it sounds pretty mainstream and a tad metal. For those of you who don’t think the sound of a record matters you can just log off right now ya dummies. The not giving a fuck approach is best encapsulated by the interludes where shit breaks down into noisy components, that’s pretty rare these days.

Music for 8/15/22!!! Kamikaze Palm Tree, Danny Elfman

@@@ Kamikaze Palm Tree: Predicament (Drag City, 2022) I got to these two listens via PItchfork’s 10 most reviewed albums of the week. These guys are slotted as neo-psychedelic or some such but to my ears I think of Captain Beefheart when I hear this janked guitar style and art school weirdness. I don’t usually like this formula out of deference to Beefheart’s mad genius but I dig this track. Having a female singer here really changes the vibe as it smooths out the purposely herk a jerk flavor of the band playing. Big ups to the guitar player(s) that keep this whole thing somewhat together and the drummer who reminds more than a bit of the Meat Puppets but with more exotic flavors. There’s not a lot of indie music that hits the mark for me but I would listen to more of this record for sure. That’s saying something as I’m usually the first to unhitch my trousers and shit on the latest indie releases. With pride!

@@@ Danny Elfman: In Time (Anti-, 2022) I don’t know Danny Elfman’s full story but I know he wrote the theme for the Simpsons and other television shows and he was a band musician before that. All in all I have no clue what to expect here. This track opens with an orchestral flavor, a wide sound, and a singer rockin’ it in German. It’s quite dramatical with the slow strings, the occasional tom beat, and the vocal arrangement. It’s neither rock, nor theme music, nor a show tune. Let’s peep another one. I’m checking out a track called Kick Me and it’s a punk rave up with professional elements. It has a different vocalist which I think is a key aspect of the record, different vocalists on all the tracks is a defining trait. Right in the middle of the track the strings come in during a break so to me this sounds like someone smashing complex arrangements and sounds together with defiant punk energy. It’s for sure not a typical listen and I’m not sure how I feel about how I feel. It feels like a contradiction which makes it hard to digest. Points for weirdness.

Music for 7/31/22!!! Tom Prekop/John McEntire, Chat Pile

@@@ Tom Prekop/John McEntire: Crossing at the Shallow (Thrill Jockey , 2022) A coupla listens off this week’s 10 most reviewed albums via Pitchfork email. Slotted as ambient on Apple Music this is the second track on the album and it comes out grooving with a classic techno beat. It’s not the only beat happenin’ (great!) and there’s some interesting shit going on in here — to reduce them to squiggles and sheets of sound is a bit degrading but there’s there’s some melodic funk/junk on top that really breaks the rigidity of the beat. This is a record with four tracks and the shortest banger on here is just shy of 9 minutes so buckle in as they’re gonna stretch you shit out. I’m checking out the first track, A Ghost at Noon, and it comes on with some nice sci-fi/space synths. I will hang for the full flowering of the track as I hear the hi hat coming, now the kick. Not a lot of ambient dancefloor music is gonna have this level of melodic development so get with that.

@@@ Chat Pile: Slaughterhouse (The Flenser, 2022) Slotted as rock on the Apple Music it’s got more of a punk/metal flow to my ears but we don’t want to harm the delicate sensibilities of the mainstream listeners. Medium big mess here, slicing guitar notes, grizzy bass guitar and thick ka-chunky drums, it’s more muscular rock than I’ve hear in a bit. I skipped the second track Why and it’s uglier and I like it, it’s just a foul bucket of distortion and bashing. I wish more people would get into this rough stuff, it really helps get the bad feels out. Big ups not only to the sounds, but this second track Why is a really creative lyrical smash in the face.

Music for 7/29/22!!! $uicideBoy$, Pigeon Pit

@@@ $SuicideBoy$: Sing Me a Lullaby Sweet Temptation (G59, 2022) I mean I like the formula and a whole bunch of the sounds but are they hyped? Maybe a bit. There’s never a hot shit moment, like this is super hot shit how did they make this? The dark nihilistic worldview hits with today’s society, it’s a toilet out there people. Let me peep a bit more oooh, they just made me a liar with the third tune, F***** Your Culture, it’s a flowing throwdown with the best rhymes of what I’ve heard to this point. I’m gonna go out after this fourth track 1000 Blunts — it’s cool, maybe a step down from that third tune, but the third tune is the hot spot on a record. Solid double to left center field not a home run for me.

@@@ Pigeon Pit: Hot Knives (N/A, 2021) I got to this publicist described DIY folk punks via a music publicist email. Hot Knives is the second track on a record called Treehouse and I’m not sure this meets what I call punk. Not to be a bitch and shit. It’s some urgent acoustic guitar strumming and poetic, confessional lyrics which may be punk but it’s also just a branch of folk music. The strumming branches out into a few runs and I don’t hate the singer’s delivery but I am not loving it. Plus he’s a bit low in the mix and straining to hear is only good if it’s some biblical prophesies shit. Solid B, more punk sauce please.

Music for 7/22/22!!! Zola Jesus, Automatic

@@@ Zola Jesus: The Fall (Sacred Bones, 2022) The video clipped below is the second track of the record. It opens with a slow piano chord progression before a medium processed vocalist enters. The vibe here is mad dramatical, a bit dark with big vocals at certain points, big drums/rhythms at other points, it’s an emotional roller coaster! There are mainstream pop production values going on here and it’s a bit interesting but overall I’m a bit against the big dramas, I don’t need it myself and I view it somewhat as a drug and not a core part of a listening experience. I’m letting the player click through and it’s the same combo platter of piano, electronic flourishes, and epic vocal aspirations. On the whole I’m agnostic.

@@@ Automatic: New Beginning (Stones Throw, 2022). There’s a whole spiel for this record on Apple Music and it revolves around the mainstreaming of punk rock into New Wave whenevs that happened. I get that once the first song proper kicks in, but the surprising thing here is the sleepytime vocal feels going here. It’s got that brisk rock drumming, simple and insistent bass playing, two big signifiers of the New Wave state of mind. The second tune bites ELO’s tune ‘Don’t Bring Me Down’ pretty hard — that’s not a great sign. It’s not for me to say what a proper homage to New Wave would look like, that would be quite fascistic. This works okay for me, but it doesn’t make me jump and down. I think it could use more energy, more giddyup. I want to jump and down.