Music for 5/14/18!!! Yeni Nostalji, Jah9, Queen Ifrica, Selena Gomez

@@@ Yeni Nostalji: Self-titled (Ropeadope, 2018) An American of Lebanese descent makes a record influenced by Turkish music.  I got to this record via the WRIR weekly email.  I’m no expert but this first tune has more Brazilian Bossa nova in it than what I associate with Turkish music.  It’s a very romantic vibe here — I’m not a huge fan of romantic music as I’m emotional dead inside but this is pretty well done.  It’s interesting that it mashes up a lot of influences without a care.

@@@ Jah9: Love has Found I (VP, 2018)  A modern roots reggae single I also got to via WRIR.  Female singer active on the mic, it’s a love of Jah tune.  I like her singing, I like the background vocals less.  The flutist is doing good work and while I prefer the old school murky sound the band here is solid in their support of her devotion.

@@@ Queen Ifrica: Black Woman (VP, 2018)  Speaking of that old school reggae production there are some mighty tasty dub echoes on this seven minute tune that is the lead single off a full length.  Again, a strong female singer showing devotion and love for Jah.  I checked out the first tune, Trueversation, and it’s much more of an accessible pop reggae track.  Go with the Black Woman single, it’s much better imho.

@@@ Selena Gomez: Back To You (Interscope, 2018) This lead track off the soundtrack of some Netflix production is the kind of super popular cheese bomb track that I loathe.  I don’t loathe it due to snobbery, I love all manner of musics but the cliches here are just rank.  It’s as predictable as death and probably not half the fun.  It’s got earnest acoustic guitars in the verse and then it breaks out in the chorus with the hook both vocal and synth.  The production is exquisite, the feelings are tame, all in all I could barely choke it down it was so gooey — like a low end pizza parlor slice.

YTD recordings listened to: 263
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 139
Not good music: 115

Best: 5
Honorable Mentions: 4

Possibles: 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, 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, Dona Onete, 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

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Music for 4/2/18!!! Hollie Cook, Emel Mathlouthi, Benoit Delbecq

@@@ Hollie Cook: Vessel of Love (Merge, 2018) Blurbed as sensual reggae on the Apple Music it is interesting to see this recording show up on hipster label Merge.  The arrangement of this first tune is dense and satisfying while the production sound straddles modern cleanliness and old school thickness.  Cook’s voice is more mainstream r&b than traditional reggae but she’s a great singer and I’m really feeling the bass player while the synth horns not as much.  I didn’t have very high expectations of this record but it’s really well done.  I’m not a fan of how synth-y it is but that may be why they released it as it brings reggae close to an indie electronic record.

@@@ EMEL MATHLOUTHI: Ensenity  (Partisan, 2018) Another world music record on a white people’s music imprint though I think Partisan has released some African music before.  From my video searching I believe this singer is Palestinian and in an unrelated note these look to be remixes.  Okay the interwebz is very confusing as it appears that there are two albums released by Partisan — one the original songs and a remix record.  This first tune is a medium slow ballad with dramatic vocals and a lot of electronic music elements in the arrangements.  The second tune brings a more familiar hybrid of traditional and electronic sounds as well as a brisker tempo.  It’s very dramatic material and I like it all right.  Myself I would rather tune in to Omar Souleyman as it’s a similar formula.

@@@Benoit Delbecq 4: Spots on Stripes (Clean Feed, 2018)  A jazz record off the Portugese imprint Clean Feed on whose email list I preside.  Instrumentation is piano, sax, bass and drums.  I’m not the hugest fan of Mark Turner, the sax player but I like Gerald Cleaver and I don’t know anything about the piano player Delbecq.  Thus far I’m enjoying Cleaver and the piano player who politely plays somewhat rhythmically off kilter to the drummer or at least that’s what I hear.  It’s not swinging it’s pushing. I’ve checked out portions of four of the tunes and while I really liked the first tune I found the second and third to be less engaging.

YTD recordings listened to: 178
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 95
Not good music: 79

Best: 4
Honorable Mentions: 3

Possibles: 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, 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, Dona Onete, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Priests, Propaganda, This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez, Integrity, Tuba Skinny, The Expanders, Irreversible Entanglements, Converge, Open Mike Eagle, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Tal National

Music for 2/8/18!!! Courtney John, Joe Pilgrim, Toto Bona Lokua

@@@ Courtney John: Ecosystem (Soul Man, 2018). Off this week’s WRIR playlist email.  Opens up super laid back roots reggae with pleasing falsetto vocals.  The first tune (clipped below) is super sweet and well balanced vibes.  I’ve sampled the first four tracks on this record — the band is tight, the sounds are nice, the playing is tight and relaxed at the same time and the singer is on full loverly.  I’m going to swing back on this record, check it out!

@@@ Joe Pilgrim & The Ligerians: “Migrants” [Single]  (SoulNurse, 2018) More reggae but an updated sound with synths, space lasers and an ’80s gated snare sound.  Pilgrim hits the mic with focused energy and he does a really good job.  I don’t love these sounds but the tune works pretty well.  I think this there is a band playing here but I’m not always super psyched for electronic drums and the video games sounds though there is a proud history of weird ass space gun sounds in dub reggae.

@@@ Toto Bona Lokua: Bondeko (No Format, 2018).  Everything listened to today is off this week’s WRIR playlist email.  Here we have some mellow African music and the first tune has a Bobby McFerrin syncopated vocal arrangement.  Think barbershop doo won but from…..a Frenchman, a Cameroonian guy, and a dude from the Congo.  That’s from a the search webz.  The second tune introduces nylon string guitar and a fusion-y bass but it’s the same super laid back sound for sure.  This is super pretty and for people who want their music to caress them and make them feel safe.  Myself I like a blend of beauty and muscle but we all different and shit.

YTD recordings listened to: 74
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 41
Not good music: 31

Best: 0
Honorable Mentions: 0

Possibles: 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, 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, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, J.I.D., Oddisee, Forro in the Dark, RAM, Fiver, Dona Onete, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Priests, Propaganda, This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez, Integrity, Tuba Skinny, The Expanders, Benjamin Booker, Irreversible Entanglements, Converge, Open Mike Eagle, Criolo, Courtney John

Music for 12/1/17!!! The Melodians, L’Attirail

@@@ The Melodians: The Return of the Melodians (TWT, 2017)  Super updated and smoothed out reggae from an old school reggae outfit.  I got to this record via this week’s WRIR playlist email.  For those not deep into the reggae this opening track really makes you hear how reggae came out of soul music.  This singer is full on American r&b.  I like the second tune more but I’ve really grown to love the gritty and somewhat murky production of those old school records as there’s something missing here as a result of the modern production.

@@@ L’Attirail: La Part Du Hasard (CSB Productions, 2017) I’m overseas and I can’t easily get to the English Google though I think part of the problem is I just turned on a bunch of privacy features and now I think they’re fucking with me.  As far as I can tell from the interwebs this is a mash of Balkan and French music influences.  It also has a little rock and a wee bit of country up in here as well.  There is some nice horn playing going on here but the focus is on the guitars and sweet midtempo instrumentals.  I hear at least a couple of guitar tracks going on here and I’m feeling this fourth tune, La Main du Mort.

YTD recordings listened to: 773
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 415
Not good music: 321

Buys: 9
Honorable Mentions: 7

Possibles: 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, 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, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, James Brandon Lewis, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, J.I.D., Oddisee, Forro in the Dark, RAM, Fiver, Dona Onete, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Priests, Propaganda, This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez, Integrity, American Lips, Sudan Archives, Tuba Skinny, The Expanders, Benjamin Booker, Irreversible Entanglements, Converge, Boubacare Traore, Les Filles De Illighadad, Curtis Harding

 

Music for 10/11/17!!! Peach Pyramid, Kelela, Chelsea Wolfe, New Kingston

@@@ Peach Pyramid: Repeating Myself (Oscar St, 2017) Indie rock off this week’s CFUV playlist email.  Mad dreamy, super arpeggiated guitars.  I guess they’re either arpeggiated or not, there’s no super arpeggiated.  Not super, but they’re super twee.  Female singer, slack and straight than straighter rock beats.  There’s not a lot to go on about here so I don’t want to waste anybody’s time.  It’s shiny guitar indie done in the classic style.  It’s like trying to describe Domino’s pizza — the shit is mad salty and you either get with it or you don’t eat it.

@@@ Kelea: Take Me Apart (Warp, 2017)  I’ve seen posters for this record up in Brooklyn and given the state of the music industry it’s a bit shocking to see an indie label laying out for street posters.  The production here is ultra slick but more than just a repetition of retro electronic soul.  It’s being marketed as a super confessional record which I’m down with but her delivery is pretty smooth and doesn’t evoke any confessional vibe to my ears.  She rocks a pretty straightforward sultry and lush vibe.  The arrangements overshadow the vocals here by just a bit — I find my focus to be on the beats and the bass and I’m not noticing her lyrics or hearing her voice as more than a soft overlay.

@@@ Chelsea Wolfe: Hiss Spun (Sargent House, 2017)  I was going to say more femme indie but these ladies came on dark, grungy, and unhappy.  Like Harvey Weinstein’s Ass Ball Connector!  Not to demean this fine band.  Very tasty fuzzy bass sound, wailing and dyspeptic guitar squall and arena rock drumming.  Let’s peep a bit more.  There’s more than a bit of art school to this heavy rock.  It’s slow like Jane’s Addiction but without Perry, you know Perry.  If PJ Harvey was grafted onto Jane’s Addiction’s torso without so much arena flavor.  It’s pretty good — it’s a bit restrained for my taste.  When I want a hot mess or a sonic dumpster fire I want a real fucking mess.  This is pretty manicured (like Harvey Weinstein’s Ass Ball Connector)?  #inappropes

@@@ New Kingston: A Kingston Story: Come From Far (Easy Star, 2017)  I saw a music publicist email about this up and coming reggae band.  This first tune sports both a thick bass and a shiny modern pop production.  Concious lyrics with some dub elements.  It’s a full reggae ensemble from hand percussion to background vocalists to bubbling organ.  I respect the spirit of the record but I’m not a fan of tunes like the fifth one ‘Agape’.  It’s a Hollywood/reggae vibe they’re working.  I prefer the old school sound and vibe.

YTD recordings listened to: 660
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 354
Not good music: 280

Buys: 8
Honorable Mentions: 6

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, 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, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, James Brandon Lewis, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, J.I.D., Oddisee, Forro in the Dark, RAM, Fiver, Dona Onete, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Priests, Propaganda, This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez, Integrity, American Lips, Sudan Archives, Tuba Skinny, The Expanders, Benjamin Booker

Music for 5/30/2017!!! Jah Sun, Wicked Dub Division, Dona Onete, Waleed Al Shami

@@@ Jah Sun: Between the Lines (Sugar Cane, 2017)  If Graceland-era Paul Simon made a reggae record it would sound a ton like this record.  Mad friendly bounce, lyrics that are substantive and friendly at the same time.  Mr. Sun has an engaging voice and the production is polished and modern so if you’re in need of a shot of bounce hit him up.

@@@ Wicked Dub Divison meets North East Ska Orchestra: Mama (Wicked Dub Division, 2017)  A single I got to via the CFUV weekly email.  This is an orchestral dub with a huge ensemble — horns, woodwinds, percussions, bass and synth bass.  It is a full and fat stereo field to be sure and while the first impression is that it sounds odd it’s pumping a pretty steady dub vibe.  About halfway through a female voice starts out spoken word style and is joined by a male vocalist.  This is cool tune.

@@@ Dona Onete: Boto Namorador (Som Livre, 2017)  A firm midtempo Brazilian tune I got to via the WRIR weekly playlist email.  My main beef involves the overly soft feel of some Brazilian music but this is steady and I dig Onete’s weathered, gravelly voice.  She’s got a lot of singers helping her out as well as a full band with a special shout out to the drummer.  On the outro they get into a large chant/hand clap thing that cranks the tune up.  I would listen to more of this artist for sure.

@@@ Waleed Al Shami: Zaman Adam (N/A, 2017)  Some super polished and romantic Iraqi music off the world section of Apple Music.  Shami has a beautiful voice but this sounds like a Celine Dion record with huge reverb patches on various instruments and string flourishes — there’s nothing that makes me want to invade a country more than this style of production.  So let’s invade Canada where Celine Dion is from — occupying Toronto would have been smarter than what these war criminals did.  Oh, this second tune leaves that behind and gets into a funky Middle Eastern grind.  Will wonders never cease, this is pretty fat.  But we’re back into the sonic cheeseburger aisle on the third tune so Imma guessing it’s gonna work that way through the whole record.

YTD recordings listened to: 327
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 188
Not good music: 126

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, RAM, Oumou Sangare, Fiver, Dona Onete

Music for 5/14/17!!! Csavi, Tape Five, Morgan Heritage

@@@ Csavi: War Chant Joy (Acinech, 2017) A modern sounding reggae single with a voluptuous female singer on the microphone.  The tune sounds like Bob Marley had a love baby with Sade — smooth and roots.  The dub stylings are most evident in the vocal arrangements with some nice delays that go with the snare sticks.  I got to this tune via the WRIR weekly email.  Check it out.

@@@ Tape Five: Soiree Deluxe (Smarty Mart, 2017) A Dixie party record I also got to via the WRIR weekly email.  I like the second tune Hush Hush Magazine as it has some really flavorful horn arrangements but what I hear has this going out as a party record so the beats and the tempos are very partyistic.  Myself I would prefer some more traditional Dixie swinging up in heah but they went for the party.

@@@ Morgan Heritage: Avrekedabra (CTBC, 2017)  Super poppy reggae made for folks who love bologna sandwiches on Wonder Bread with mayonnaise.  They toast on the mic for sure but I just can’t get with the general vibe of these tracks.  None of that Lee Perry weirdness, or Bob Marley spirituality/politics, or sonic interest of King Tubby.  So I don’t want to be a snob but this is not for me, this is for drunken white folks or frat boys.

YTD recordings listened to: 297
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 173
Not good music: 117

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