Music for 11/7/22!!! Nice Motor, Special Interest

@@@ Nice Motor: Superior Street Sessions (Self-released, 2022) I got to this Chicago classic-y via a music publicist in the Midwest. It comes out classic rockin but with more updated lyrics — less leather trousers and more feelings. Gruff singer, buzzy guitars and an energetic drummer these guys bust it out all right. There’s a refreshing plainness to the proceedings they’re just setting it up and knocking it down. No grunge self inflicted misery, no arena rock star action, no emo over the top horseshit. If you’re up for some old school pumped up rock check this out.

@@@ Special Interest: Midnight Legend (Rough Trade, 2022) Off this week’s 10 most reviewed albums from Pitchfork. This an interesting and pretty equal blend of rock sounds and dancefloor banging sound. You get some four on the floor kick drum, a buzzy rock bass, a diva like singer, and some squally guitar sounds. I like the blend and how they party on top of this pot of sounds. Lemme peep a coupla more tracks. I’m checking out the opener, Cherry Blue Intention and it’s punkier and more nihilistic. I liked the track that’s clipped below, it works the party rock blend more successfully. The rest of it seems focused on more abrasive Devo type but with female singers.

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 6/26/22!!! Fresh Pepper, Anteloper

@@@ Fresh Pepper: Seahorse Tranquilizer (Telephone Explosion, 2022) I got to this track via Pitchfork’s 10 most reviewed albums of the week. It’s a chill sitch rock track with literate lyrics and an almost spoken word singer before giving way to angelic female vocals in the chorus. It’s a bit trippy, and otherworldly, the sax is an interesting tidbit. It’s a 6.5 minute track which explains the chillness and around 2 minutes the drums come in and then a bunch of ambient garnish gets added. It’s a bit too present day 21st century hippie shit for me and the addition of a bit of ’70s soft rock is not great for me.

@@@ Anteloper: One Living Genus (International Anthem, 2022) Ah, I dug the pre-release track and I’m back for more bitches! It’s a mashup of electronic/noise/jazz elements presented with ambient live drumkit and plenty of bumptiousness. I wish more jazz cats would go in this direction, there’s no rulebook just get yer freak on and make something interesting which this is. To my ears this is a bit what Radiohead wanted to be but they didn’t have the funk for it. I like but don’t love the trumpet player and/or wish there was another melodic element as in the third track Éarthlings where a singer and a guitar player join the fray. Love the drum sound, like the electronic bits and wish there was more and wish there was a bit more coming from the horn area. The last track (clipped below) is my favorite on the record.

Music for 10/17/18!!! Marie Davidson, Quavo, Micra

@@@ Marie Davidson: Work It (Ninja Tune, 2018).  I like to check out music biz blowhard Bob Lefsetz’s musical picks cuz I get to call him a blowhard and there’s nothing finer than shitting on a music biz tool.  This opens up with a drum machine freakout — Apple Music has this blurbed as darkwave techno but this is pretty popped out.  It’s an ode to work which I’m agnostic on.  Sweat, sweat to be a winner.  Oy, fuck off.  Gone are the days when musicians had something rebellious to say.  There’s very little arrangement to be had here.  It’s the drum machine (mostly rolls) then Davidson doing her spoken word thing and then a little synth here and there.

@@@ Quavo: Quavo Huncho (Capitol, 2018). I’m agnostic on the Migos.  They’re okay but I don’t like them as much as the hype imply.  I will check out the first and third tunes hoping I get to hear the single.  This first tune has a decent arrangement but the parroting background MC annoys me.  They all do when they do that shit.  I like the flute part and the vocal melody.  Mr. Quavo starts to hit the mic harder towards the end of the tune.  One more track.  This third tune, Huncho Dreams, is all right.  I like the beats but the record doesn’t have any sort of high energy to latch on.

@@@ Micra: Plastic (Micra, 2018) I got to this track from tracks of the week at Line of Best Fit.  It is a moody synth rocker with a female singer.  Lots of drama and epic ness going on.  The tune is an update on the ’80s synth rock formula.  Synth-y sounding drums, big clouds of synthesizers and occasional bursts of guitar.  It’s a more female sounding U2 track with the great fortune of not having Bono on the microphone.  Not really my cup of tea but check it for yourself.

YTD recordings listened to: 581
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 309
Not good music: 237

Best: 9
Honorable Mentions: 6

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, serpentwithfeet

Music for 5/16/18!!! Trevor James, Hansmole, OBUXUM, Stimulator Jones

@@@ Trevor James: Maxine (N/A, 2018) I chose to listen to this because I check out Afropunk folks as I find it an interesting mash of subcultures.  The tune opens up with a fairly punishing rock beat, some minor guitar slashing and Lenny Kravitz style vocals.  I don’t really like the delay on the singer’s voice but he’s got a solid rock star voice.  This is a pre-release single from an upcoming full length and while there’s not much punk about this Afropunker’s tune outside of it’s muscular drum sound and guitar shred it’s an all right tune.

 

 

 

@@@ Hansmole: Bitter Herb (Self-released, 2018) #1 out at CFUV in Vancouver, British Columbia.  The album opens up indie, and a little pastoral, a little electronic and a tad mopey.  Female singer, piano, full drums in places, and some electronic gurgles.  Let’s peep some more.  The second tune is an acoustic guitar strummer with heavily delayed vocals.  Some electronics come in but it’s still too mopey for me.  I can hang with some slackness but I can’t slack it this much.

@@@ OBUXUM: H.E.R. (Urbnet, 2018)  A black female producer with an EP of very brief tunes, a bunch between 1-2 minutes and a couple at 2:30.  The tunes are instrumental and the production centers around the synth arrangements over strong beats.  I’m really feeling the fourth track Betty Blue’s interlude.  This producer, whose name I do not know has some interesting sounds going on.  She’s swirling in a fair amount of glitchy shit which gives it a pleasant and subtle aggro taste.

@@@ Stimulator Jones: Exotic Worlds & Masterful Treasures (Stones Throw)  Our final listen of the day and it opens up with some early ’80 disco funk stylings.  Synth bass, smooth keys and now a velvety singer.  I like a bunch of the sounds here but I’m not really feeling the singer.  Too buttery for my taste.  I also don’t like how much reverb is on the singer’s voice and while I’m picking nits the drums could be more flavorful.  I got to this record via last week’s All Music notable release email.

 

YTD recordings listened to: 271
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 143
Not good music: 119

Best: 5
Honorable Mentions: 4

Possibles: Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, 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

2018 Honorable Mention Pick 4

Gentleman Surfer: Reanimate Ore (Self-released, 2016)

I’ve heard enough rock music to last a lifetime so when there’s a rock record that I find interesting that’s an occasion.  This is an instrumental rock record with threads of punk and prog and Frank Zappa and generally weird American music.  The sound of the record is very plain and transparent and the highbrow sound of a lot of prog records put me off.  I find the synchronized melodic playing of the guitarist and the keyboardist to be the most engaging with the weird sectioning of the tunes right behind that.

I see from the credits on the bandcamp page that these guys cover an Ornette Coleman tune.  I would assume these are music school performance nerds or at least have a wider knowledge of musics than their rock stylings would imply.

They sound like they’re just into playing weird ass music and they should be recognized for their quality output.  I could not find this record on Apple Music so you’re gonna have to head out Bandcamp way for this.

Check it out.

Music for 1/22/18!!! Los Chicos, Little Axe, Ebo Taylor and the Pelicans

@@@ Los Chicos: Land of a Million Dances (Vampisoul, 2018) Some rock espanol I got to via the WRIR weekly playlist email.  Very Strokes-y but not quite as pussy and more partyistic than poser-y.  Oh fuck, they have a cowbell in there and everybody knows what happens when the cowbell appears.  It’s gonna be a party.  A great tune for Trump to bang his stripper girlfriends to — watch that orange rug twirling around like a rat tail as he gets his freak on!  Oh yeah, stomachs are turning….

@@@ Little Axe: London Blues (Echo Beach, 2018) Also off this week’s WRIR playlist email and it is a blues variant albeit with modern production and other sounds mixed in.  This first tune has a blues feel with a little spaghetti western mixed in and dub as well.  I feel the mash.  The second track, the title tune, is a mostly sanitized fusion-y funk kind of blues that I don’t love.  The third track continues with a mid tempo blues rocker — this isn’t really my thing but check it out if it sounds applicable to you.

@@@ EBO TAYLOR AND THE PELIKANS: Ebo Taylor And The Pelikans (Mr Bongo, 2018)  Some old school African music off the WRIR weekly playlist email.  Opens up with a delicious slightly crunchy organ which I dig (mucho).  Underneath you get a minimal but funky bass with excellent drumming.  The third tune, Reality, brings on a full horn section which changes the vibe of the proceedings, lending a light salsa bounce.  There are two vocalists here and they are great.  I’m going to swing back on this record but I urge all Trump supporters to check out what they’re missing with their misplaced racism and their closed minded bullshit.  I love this shithole music!

YTD recordings listened to: 44
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 24
Not good music: 19

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

Active Music Listening Wednesday February 20, 2013

YTD recordings listened to: 159
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 101
Not good music: 45
Buys: 5

Possibles: Isaiah Toothtaker (2011), Sidsel Endresen & Stan Westerhus, The Ones to Blame, Boyd Rivers, Abdoulaye Alhassane Toure, Cryptopsy, Nick Waterhouse, Patterson Hood, Skyzoo,  Philippe Petite, Chris McGregor, Brother Ali (2009), Alvin Youngblood Hart, Nico Muhly, Bob Gluck Trio, How to Dress Well, Kayhan Kalhor, Ether Net, Oddisee, Holly Williams, Fly Agaric

@@@ Fly Agaric: In Search of Soma (F-Ire, 2012).  I came to this record via a UK jazz blog — here’s his review here.  My main problem with so much straight jazz is that so many of the records are re-creations/re-imaginings of records that came before.  Why should I buy or listen to or love your re-creation when I can just go listen to the original record?  In other words, give me something that says something unique about you and your group and your music.  And this record does that.  I think it’s mostly straight, but there’s a uniqueness to the record that I dig.  The drums sound different than most straight jazz records — they sound less swinging (and cliche) and more percussive.  It’s very difficult to describe what makes one session more appealing and more original than another.  That’s why they call it a vibe — it’s just a feeling you get  from listening to music triggered by the way the musicians are playing.  Finally, a straight jazz record I can recommend.

@@@ Bobby Long: Wishbone (ATO, 2013).  Another MOG new release page find.  First off, excellent guitar and drum tones on this rock record.  It’s slotted as indie, but it’s really just rock, which is fine by me.  I’m fully aware of my place on the full right of the adventurous listening bell curve, but I do cheer more mainstream music when it is of quality.  This guy sings without bullshit and panting and the record sounds like a band, which is not a particularly common thing in my listening experience.  The songs are solid — not spectacularly unique, but the record sounds so great it makes me more interested and engaged with the music.

@@@ Mark Kozelek: Like Rats (Caldo Verde, 2013)  A MOG new release page find.  Mope-y folk, which I’m not opposed to at all.  I like Kozelek’s guitar playing very much.  He threw in a couple of folk shreds that really caught my ear.  His voice I didn’t connect with quite as much.  Also he had a song about having a rock ‘n roll band and a song about the ‘young, wild girls’ which I thought was atypical lyrical fare for a folk record.

@@@ Iceage: You’re Nothing (Matador, 2013)  MOG new release page.  First impression is that this record is sizzly as fuck and it hurts.  It’s got a sort of mumbling doofus out in front doin’ a solid ‘I could give a fuck’ pose.  Not enough drums, turn the fucking guitars down they don’t sound very good anyway.

New Music listening Thurs April 26, 2012

YTD listened to: 266
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 129
Not good music:123
Buys: 11 (not all 2012 releases)

Pending (Requiring more listening):
Sidi Toure: Koima
Horse Feathers: Cynic’s New Year

@@@ Brad: United We Stand.  If you’re in the mood for an earnest, 1990’s style rock recording, you should check these guys out.  Really good drum sound and the vocalist is much less annoying than Eddie Vedder.  It’s not my cup of tea, but it’s pretty well done for what it is.

Wow, bullseye.  I name checked Pearl Jam and Stone Gossard is in the band.  Pat on the back for me.

@@@ Jack White: Blunderbuss.  I really dig his voice, he’s obviously a skilled record maker.  I think I prefer the raucous Jack White and on this recording he seems to be going for a more restrained 1970’s half-Led Zeppelin thing.  There were places where the tunes really caught my ear but I didn’t experience any ‘Hells yeah’ moments.  This record could work for a lot of folks.

@@@ Brendan Benson: What Kind of World.  Punchy drum sound, decent voice, cliche lyrics.  I don’t like the production much, much too neat. Maybe all you folks out in the burbs with plastic on  your couches can get down with this.

New music listening Friday April 13, 2012

Today’s total: 1 dislike, 2 decent but not purchases.
YTD: 9 buys, 121 decent but not purchases, 120 dislikes.

On the plus side I might add Devin’s record Romancing to my buy list, which as you can see is not a frequent occurrence.

@@@ I continue to check out Devin‘s new record Romancing.  You can talk about records as both music and as reflections of music business culture.  At the end of the day the music you are presented with is a product of a music business culture — personally I think it’s a subculture that has been ethically corrupt from its inception and it has only worsened as money has dried up.

First as music:  I thought the big single from Adele’s ’21’ was pretty great for a mainstream tune, but I thought the album faded into softer tunes as it progressed.  I wanted 11 of those barnburners.  Devin does with his record what I wanted from the Adele record.  He cranks the tempo to start the record and he burns it up all the way through.  I give respect to that.

Secondly, this is the type of record major labels should be trafficking in to rebuild themselves.  If they weren’t obsessed with tween and teen music.

@@@ Zambri: House of Baasa.  I’m tiring of the female vox/beats/epic rock vibe — there’s a lot of it out there.  It’s fine for a tune on the radio, but a whole disc?  Yikes.

@@@ Bonnie Prince Billy: The Marble Downs.  A long and winding surreal and pastoral ditty.  It starts out slowly and opens up in the last third of the tune.  I haven’t heard a lot of Mr. Billy’s music, as he doesn’t make it readily available, but this is the first tune where I felt something as it played. Another tune, Riding, is more uptempo but the same vibe.

@@@ Black Mountain Year Zero: The Soundtrack.  What was I just saying about an abundance of female vox/electronic/rock vibes?  I really dug their 2006 debut which was much more of a Black Sabbath kind of thing, but they’ve reinvented themselves into the above.  I spoke too soon as the electronics peel away and you get back to the rock by the third tune, which is the tune below.  It’s a good tune.