Music for 8/21/17!!! Susanne Sundfor, Rafiki Jazz, Pablo Moses

@@@ Susanne Sundfor: Undercover (Bella Union, 2017)  Piano singer/songwriter from an upcoming full length.  I got to this from a Line of Best Fit email so the publicity machine is getting some ‘buzz’ ahead of the full length.  This is between the slight roughness of Regina Spector and the abstraction of Fiona Apple with a pube of Beyonce oversinging.  It’s not solo piano but it’s not full band.  Oh she’s peaking around 3 minutes and it’s a cheesy female multilayered vocal comet shooting across the stereo field.  I think I felt like I had a vagina for just a minute, that’s so great.

@@@ Rafiki Jazz: Har Dam Sahara (Riverboat Records, 2017)  Mellow string playing and a pretty epic female African singer on the opening track of this record that I got to via the WRIR weekly playlist email.  The second track brings in the band but it’s still pretty mellow with hand drum playing and the string playing tight and all right but not rocking.

@@@ Pablo Moses: The Itinuation (Grounded Music, 2017)  The full roots reggae explosion on this record I got to via WRIR.  Mad conscious lyrics with a singer that sounds a lot like the singer from Burning Spear.  Oy, I’m spacing on his name.  Full horn section, percussion, female background singers.  I think I prefer the sound and the roughness of the old school roots reggae but this is a heartfelt effort and if you prefer the more polished modern roots sound this will work great for you.

YTD recordings listened to: 540
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 291
Not good music: 225

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

Music for 8/11/17!!! Whitney K., Whitehorse, Pink, The National

@@@ Whitney K: When the Party’s Over (Egg Paper Factory, 2017)  Some super laid-back roots music off this week’s CFUV playlist email.  Imma thinking there was some purple drank up in that studio or the coffee was running low.  This first tune has multiple guitars, a pulsing bass, and no beats.  The singer has made his appearance and he’s mad slack.  The first two tunes I dig the electric guitar playing but when the acoustic dirge starts up on the third track Imma movin’ on.  Oh that was just the intro as the full band comes in and they get a little Crazy Horse-y on this jam.  I like it all right.

@@@ White Horse: Panther in the Dollhouse (Six Shooter, 2017)  Super smooth electro-rock off this week’s CFUV playlist email.  A male and female singer going together, a rock guitarist, super smooth background vocals and arena rock drums.  The second tune gets a bit funkier with a nice, sparse baseline but then it explodes into a big mainstream rock chorus.  It’s Radiohead without the angst and the slick production doesn’t super work for me.

@@@ Pink: What About Us? (RCA, 2017)  I have fondness for Pink but I’m not sure this tune is going to work for me.  Cheesy ass lyrics and epic reverb patches that explode into a four on the floor EDM What About Us vocal hook?    What about us?  What about all the plans that ended in disaster?  What about love?  What about trust?  I’m guessing this is about somebody who leaves their family.  I checked around the web and this is referred to as an empowering tune so it functions at many levels.  Not for me but others I guess.

@@@ The National: Carin at the Liquor Store (4AD, 2017)  I think I dislike The National almost as much as Wilco.  This pre-release single is a Nick Cave wannabe but with less misery and more epic-ness.  My main problem is that of faux sophistication as these guys sound as if they feel themselves to be exquisitely unique artistes but I hear a pretty standard arena indie band that is too predictable to be focused on not much except moving units.  Now streaming units not actual plastic/metal discs.

YTD recordings listened to: 521
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 282
Not good music: 217

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

Music for 5/22/17!!! Royal Blood, Full of Hell, El Michaels Affair

@@@ Royal Blood: Hook, Line & Sinker (Warner, 2017)  Some classic FM radio rock swirled up with a dash of cock rock.  I like the guitarist but he plays too much and the singer is most def stashing cucumbers in his leather pants.  The production is meticulous but the lyrics are so cliche and un-clever I can’t really roll with it.  Go for the early ZZ Top records if you want some memorable guitar playing.

@@@ Full of Hell: Trumpeting of Ecstasy (Profound Lore, 2017)  This is no soft, shiny metal for wannabes.  Yikes, this is the burning, blasting full monty that I got to via the CFUV weekly email.  Fast tempos, grinding guitars and both an orc and a caveman on the microphone.  Might be two different singers, who the hell knows, it’s really the punishment the band delivers that matters here.  10 songs in 24 minutes, short volcanic blasts.  Good shit, check it out.  This fourth tune, The Cosmic Vein, is fucking ridiculous.

@@@ El Michels Affair: Return to the 37th Chamber (Big Crown Records, 2017)  Obviously influenced by the legendary Wu Tang Clan record this is funky instrumental music.  The music is more tongue in cheek than the ghetto blasting from the Wu and more focused on the NPR party crowd.  A little more dirt and some more muscular funk would work better for me but I’m just one man.

YTD recordings listened to: 314
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 184
Not good music: 122

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

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

Music for 3/3/17!!! Trout Steak Revival, Terra Lightfoot, Whitney Rose

@@@ Trout Steak Revival: Brighter Every Day (Trout Steak Revival, 2015).  Upbeat string/folk music that I got to after I got a PR email about them heading into the studio.  I don’t really care about that but I’m checking out this 2015 effort.  Beautiful harmonizing, upright bass, acoustic guitar and uplifting lyrics.  The second tune opens up with the line ‘the good is getting better and the best is yet to come’ so that’s an example of the vibe they’re kicking.  It’s a tad too upbeat for my tastes but I’m a downer fuck so check these guys out if you’re looking for encouraging roots music.

@@@ Terra Lightfoot: Every Time My Mind Runs Wild (Sonic Unyon, 2016) A roots/blues record off this week’s CFUV weekly email.  The first tune opens up with some really nice guitar work and a loose feel to the tune.  It’s not super messy as it also has a ’70s FM rock feel to it as well.  The second tune takes the energy up a notch but uses the same formula.  Dang that was the third tune, damn you interwebz.   The second tune is more poppy but not too much.  This is a pretty produced record with a lot of background vocal arrangements.  I’m on the fourth tune and I really like the guitar player and the singer a tad less.  This is pretty good music for non-adventurous rock listeners who want something both familiar and new.

@@@ Whitney Rose: South Texas Suite EP (Six Shooter Records, 2017)  We’re going to stick with the roots music for our last listen of the day.  This is a country record but it’s got a whole lotta Mexican music influence and that really is good for me.  This first tune sports an accordion and I’m a self-professed sucker for accordions.  Also a very nice nylon string guitar solo going on here.  Let’s check out more of this EP.  I’m on the third tune and I dig the guitar player.  The lyrics are a bit too cute for my taste but a lot of folks don’t listen to lyrics.  This third tune has the most energy (clipped below) so start with this one and move on from there.

YTD recordings listened to: 148
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 81
Not good music: 46

Buys: 0
Honorable Mentions: 1

Possibles: Chris McGregor, Dave Arner Trio, Zomby, Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Slidhr, The Chewers, Toxic Holocaust, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Lenguas Largas, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Fofoulah, 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, Divanhana, 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, Tinariwen, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Power Trip, Fruko Y Sos Tesos

2016 Honorable Mention Pick 4

The Reverend Peyton and his Damned Big Band: So Delicious (Shanachie, 2015)

This roots rock record is both dirty and nerdy.  The band is high energy and pretty rocking (for the style) and the singer sports a unique lower register voice.  Combine his voice with some pretty whacky lyrics (the second tune is titled Pot Roast and Kisses) and you have an atypical and flavorful record.

In addition there is some pretty high end guitar pickin’ and playin’ going on here. When he hits the hook on the pro working class anthem Dirt with a cadre of female background singers it’s pretty entertaining.

There are a lot of good tunes on this record.  My favorite tunes are sport titles like Pot Roast and Kisses, Dirt, Scream at the Night, Front Porch Trained, and Music and Friends.  There is no irony or hipness to be found on this record, just some pro working people hayseed country pogo action.

1/18/16: This Clifton’s, Karsh Kale, Afro Omega

@@@ The Cliftones: Enemies Scatter (Rebel Sound Records, 2016).   Off this week’s WRIR playlist email.  The first tune is a laid back affair with a heavily accented singing/toasting over a smooth horn section and a steady rhythm section.  The singer is gruff and a bit scratchy so this is no soaring disc.  Big points for the horn section both in tone and performance.  I don’t like the bouncier second tune as much as the opener, but they’re back with a tough title track, Enemies Scatter.  Full reggae ensemble here — bubbling organ, full organ section, dub wise effects in places.

@@@ Karsh Kale: Up (Six Degrees, 2015).  Also off this week’s WRIR weekly email.  It’s not pronounced like the vegetable kale, but like the small French city, Calais.  This label, Six Degrees usually goes for the high polished production and this is not exception.  The MC here is on the down and out vibe and he’s doing his thing over a sitar and tabla hand drum.  And a lot of cymbal tinkling.  After the MC is done a more New Age feelings based jam emerges.  And now the tune reorients again to full prog for the last minute.  Oy, what a trip.

@@@ Afro Omega: American Ital (Rebel Sounds, 2015).  Another roots effort off this week’s WRIR playlist email.  The opening tune on this roots record is dominated by the energy of the singer.  The backing arrangement is solid roots with the addition of conga, a more rock sounding guitar and old school synth flavorings.  The second tune is a mid tempo smoothie and I prefer this record to the Cliftones’ record above.  Solid B on that one and a B+ for Mr. Omega due to the difference in vocal stylings.

YTD recordings listened to: 60
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 35
Not good music: 22

Honorable Mentions: 2
Buys: 1

Possibles: Chris McGregor, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Dave Arner Trio, MAKU Soundsystem, Zomby, Retox, Jessie Mae Hemphill, Bone Dance, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Debruit, Slidhr, The Whammies, The Chewers, Alexander Hawkins, Toxic Holocaust, Equal Stones, Comeback Kid, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Lenguas Largas, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Fofoulah, Lozen, Erase Errata, Dawn Richard, Mastery, Leviathan, Xibalba, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, Akitsa,  Janelle Monae, Luther Dickinson, Destruction Unit, Graeme Barrett, Fast Asleep, Goldlink, Cavanaugh, Gentleman Surfer, Satoko Fuji, Mystic Braves, Reverend Peyton, James McMurtry, Living in Hell