Music for 6/28/18!!! Demi Lovato, B. Davis and the Hi Fi Rockers, Western Medication, Tim Carr

@@@ Demi Lovato: Sober (Island, 2018)  A confessional song about her own sobriety.  It’s hard to shit on a song like this but the piano is more than a bit cheesy and the lyrics are kinda grade school.  It’s a bit of a wallower and the tune doesn’t really rise above a slow stumble but that’s as you would expect from a topic such as this.  I’m sorry she relapsed but I’m here for great songs and this doesn’t make the cut.  Try John Lennon’s Cold Turkey on for size.

@@@ B. Davis and the Hi Fi Rockers: Midnight Version (Hoboken Hi fi, 2018)  Meticulously executed old school roots reggae I got to via an email from the label operator.  You can only stream one track from the upcoming releases but it’s got all the hallmarks of roots reggae that I enjoy.  Steady rhythms and tight/loose vibes from the various players, well placed dub echoes and a rootsy singer.  Above all the production sounds right in evoking that golden age.  I will swing back and check out more when the whole record releases.

@@@ Western Medication: Taste (N/A, 2018)  I got to this very British sounding Nashville band’s record via a music publicist email.  It’s guitar driven rock with an ’80s pop sensibility.  Upbeat with mostly jangly guitars and a wee bit of crunch.  The singer is super friendly sounding.  Think a love child of The Cranberries and and the big fluffy white giant from the original Ghostbusters.

@@@ Tim Carr: Take Me (N/A, 2018)  A retro soft rock/folk single I got to via a music publicist.  Think Nick Drake with less depression and put a little Byrds and French pop up in there.  Lot of oooh, oooh sweet/sad, flavored coffee background vocals you wouldn’t find on a Nick Drake record.  I find the rhythms here to be interesting and unusual for this genre.  It doesn’t sound like a drum kit, it sounds like a few people playing large hand drums but that’s just the vibe — given the miracles of technology it could be generated in any number of ways.  Carr’s voice is smooth and intimate sounding.

YTD recordings listened to: 364
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 193
Not good music: 163

Best: 6
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, 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

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

Music for 5/8/18!!! 2 by Bukowski, Naomi Cowan, Robert Dallas

@@@ 2 by Bukowski featuring Kid Moxie: Follow You Home (Inner Ear, 2018) A downtempo rock/electronic tune from a small Greek label that I review from time to time.  Everything is slow — the beat, the electro string flourish in the back, and the vocals.  Pleasantly slow.  It goes epic synth around 2:10 and I like it less but I can only take a certain amount of synth.  The synth is balanced out by some spaghetti western sounding guitar playing so that works for me.  There is a climactic outro that I dig where it reaches it’s bigly-ness (Trump word) with an arpeggiated synth that works and drives the section.

@@@ Naomi Cowan: Paradise Plum (single) (Zinc Fence, 2018) A newly added reggae single at WRIR in Virginia.  It opens up with a mix of modern and vintage reggae sounds.  Super smooth and reverbed vocals with some tasty dub delays.  I can’t tell if this is a drum machine or a drummer but the rhythm section is adequately root for my ears.  Cowan has a soaring and sweet reggae voice which is front and center in the mix.

@@@ Robert Dallas: Bearer of Bad News (Medtone, 2018)  Another reggae single off this week’s WRIR playlist email, this one super vintage.  Takin your time drum groove with thick bass pumping beneath Dallas’ voice.  The vocal melody is old school as well with some guitar and keyboard tucked under the voice.  Another solid springtime roots reggae effort.  As always check it for yourselves.  There are brief horn lines that push and then fade for the singer to take over and you get a dub of the track as well.

YTD recordings listened to: 250
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 132
Not good music: 109

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

Music for 2/26/18!!! Thee Madkapp Courtship, Vibronics, Mitchell Tenpenny

@@@ Thee Madkapp Courtship: By Dawns Early Light (Founders of Filth, 2018)  A club record I got to via a radio dj playlist that I seen posted on the Twatter.  Love the Twatter!  This opens up medium funky and techno with super chill vocals.  Not quite Oxy, but not far.  Let’s peep more before I fall asleep.  These grooves are all right but it’s pretty standard business and I think you need to be mad high to enjoy this.  I’m sober right now and I’m thinking of taking a nappy.  I can see from the age of the videos on the GooglePimpTube that this is most likely a re-issue.  Also I started to feel the last part of the third song and could appreciate more the minimalist funk of the music.  I guess they’re standard grooves because they were fresh back in the day.

@@@ Vibronics and Michael Prophet: Give me Good Feelings (Scoops, 2017)  Some drum machine roots reggae I got to via the WRIR weekly playlist email.  It is a fine and fat bass he’s got going with some concious reggae melodies but the drum machine really changes the vibe.  It is a very brisk tempo so the drum machine is pumping hard.  Not really my cup of tea but check it for yourself.  I like my roots reggae dub smoked out and laidback.

@@@ Mitchell Tenpenny: Mitchel Tenpenny EP (Sony, 2018)  Regular readers know how much I love the new country.  The arena rock production, the stale guitars, the lyrics you can see coming down Broadway!  It’s the musical equivalent of McDonalds.  The opener is about his love of a great pickup he drove in high school.  And then a Bon Jovi guitar solo/cheesy shred….Let’s peep some more, I expect some cut off blue jean shorts and driving down a country road with the windows down (and then pulling over for some illicit gay sex behind the gas station!)  No way.  I won’t make it to that anthem, this second one is the torch song.  He’s been sober since you broke his heart!  God damn you for doin’ that to Mitchell, you bitch.  I should stay out of it.  The music is pretty bad — some U2 inspired guitar, some soaring melodies, some power chords, some awful lyrics.  I shoulda known.

YTD recordings listened to: 108
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 57
Not good music: 47

Best: 1
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, Magrudergrind, 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, Guy One

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 11/16/17!!! Amy Shark, Dianna Rein, THUNDER BODY

@@@ Amy Shark: Adore (Wonderlick/Sony, 2017)  Blurbed as the perfect indie rock slow dance single I ask myself how could I not peep this?  Regular readers know I’m no defender of indie rock, but this shit is not indie rock.  Call me a genre bitch but these marketing sluts are label surfing fir red.  This is a pop song with a guitar part and major major label production.  Don’t shit on my head and tell me it’s raining.  She adores you, I get it but puh-lease.  I would be more understanding if I didn’t feel mad deceived right out of the gate.  Make your pop songs and be proud motherfuckers.

@@@ Diana Rein: Long Road (Diana Rein, 2017)  I got to this record via the indie blog Indiepulse.  It’s a modern electric blues rock kinda record and while guitar shredding mamas are hot they’re not as hot as badass female drummers.  My problem here as with almost all modern blues rock records is that the arena rock production doesn’t work for me.  I like dirty ass sounding blues.  Let’s peep a bit more.  The songs are pretty standard, the riffs as well, c’mon folks get yer freak on yo.

@@@ THUNDER BODY: Solstice (Rootfire Cooperative, 2017)  Roots reggae I got to via a music publicist email.  This first tune has some different lyrics which I appreciate.  I don’t insist my roots reggae have every sound perfectly reminiscent of classic roots reggae — these guys definitely evoke the vibes.  What’s different here is the singer and the lyrics; if you don’t like his flow or the lyrics it’s not going to work for you.  Myself I think they do a good job with the sounds and I appreciate when people try to step out and throw even the slightest variation.

YTD recordings listened to: 741
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 394
Not good music: 309

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