@@@ Otoboke Beaver: Super Champon (Damnably, 2022) Sometimes a very punk thing is to see some non white folks take it and do it their way and shove that shit out into the public square. I understand there has been Japanese punk and female Japanese punk but I don’t remember it being this tasty. These girls bring it and they also bring that poppy cheesy Japanese flavor and mix them both together and it’s quite satisfying. There’s a lot of energy everywhere from the vocals which are borderline manic to the guitars which are quite interesting and often unpredictable to the sectioning of the songs which jump around to different vibes but work together.
@@@ Dama Scout: Gen wo lai (Hand in Hive, 2022) Another record from the Pitchfork 10 most reviewed albums of the week. I think the album title refers to something Chinese so I thought they were Asian and would pair nicely with the Japanese punks above but they’re from London and they sport a lush, space rock flavor with a dreamy female singer. I’m on the second song, pineapple eyes, and it’s got a tad of psych weirdness to go with the space rock and the slackness. I like it a bunch and would like it more if it were even weirder and occasionally broke out of its slackness providing some necessary contrast.
@@@ Catseye – Catseye (Voluntary In Nature, ) I set up this blog post last week without putting in how I got to this track and now I can’t find the record up on Apple Music and I have to resort to a Google search to get some sense of this person is and what the label is. It’s a female rock track a la late ’70s George Harrison type stuff. Strummed acoustic guitar with chill slide guitar over the top, another melodic instrument and no drums and yearning vocals. It’s a 7+ minute banger so it takes its time and it does have a retro charm, especially the vulnerable vocal delivery and a lack of concern for jumping up and down for the listener. Ah, this is a remastered track from 1973, that explains so much and why I dug it, it’s from another time and place!! If you’re up for some pre space rock space rock this is pretty interesting and engaging. I wish I could pass along more information regarding the artist but I could not turn anything up.
@@@ Dan-GeorgesMckenzie – Uitamui (Musique Nomade, 2022) I got to this via CFUV out in Vancouver. I was expecting some solo acoustic business but this track is a full band, adult alternative coffee shop rock track not performed in English, which I love, lemme google this gent. He sings in Innuit which is cool to me. It’s weird to me that indigenous folks would embrace a somewhat cheesy white man’s musical formula but I guess it’s weird that I would prefer something more traditional. There you have it, check it out if you like some friendly rock!!
@@@ Lightning Bug: The Right Thing is Hard To Do (Fat Possum, 2021) When you check out this track, the second on the record you get an appreciation of the large, spacious rock sound pioneered by Daniel Lanois and Emmylou Harris and folks like that. After that you get a pretty straightforward indie rock formula with added measures of space rock thrown in. Waify female vocals stand in contrast to the big guitar sounds and the drummer is pretty much an afterthought. The next track September Song Part ii takes the same formula and moves in a Nick Drake direction. I like this better than the second track but overall I don’t feel pumped by this music. It’s cool but it’s a bit straight and predictable for me. I know there are millions of folks who want stuff like this so I will acknowledge that and move on.
@@@ Hiatus Kaiyote: Chivalry Is Not Dead (Brainfeeder, 2021) I set up my blog posts a few days (sometimes) before I write them and I mention this as I took a quick listen to this track as I was setting up the pre-post and shagging the video. Because I care. It is an energetic, proggy r&b thing this Australian artist is peddling. The track below occupies the third slot on the record and it has a chatter-y, robot feel opening it up. It then segues into a high end funk r&b thing before climaxing with a popping bass part and stabbing synths, it’s quite dramatical. I’m surfing the web while I peep this and it’s not a great sign that I drifted away from the tune as it progressed though I feel there are some really hot sounds in here. The complexity of the arrangements here is impressive but when I listen to records of this type I realize how genius it was for Prince to pepper all his shit with blazing guitar solo and rock guitars as it really deepened out and heated up his music.
@@@ Arooj Aftab: Mohabbat (Verve/UMG, 2021) I’ve come across this record on many lists. I can see why from the opening section of this almost 7 minute banger. It’s a Nick Drake-y type folk thing done by a South Asian woman and she does it very well. My wife would really dig this, she loves that business. How does a person adequately describe the classic South Asian singing style — intricate and flightful? It doesn’t matter. This artist also has the good fortune to put this music out when people can stand to be calmed down. This is very good calming music without resorting to waterfall sounds and rainstorm ambient music which drives me mad. The other South Asian sound here is the merdungam (I think) hand drum which rocks a minimalist beat here. Outside of the singing the sounds are pretty standard and since I’m a slut I would love to get a more interesting arrangement but that’s just me.
@@@ Tonebeds for Poetry: The Devil’s Nag (From Here Records, 2021) Also slightly in the folk category this lands in the odder part of town. Autotuned vocals, chattering drums mixed very dryly and a stringy banjo/guitar tone in the opener. They set out on a vibe and just keep riding it. I like how you wouldn’t expect the processed vocal with these sounds — I like unexpected sounds. The second tune drops the processing and moves more directly into the space rock part of town but completely without macho. I don’t often say this but I’m surprised I dig this. It presents rock feels mostly but the presentation is pretty creative to my ears. Well now I’m full of shit as the third tune comes through mostly cloudy ambient music, it was a palette cleanser, somewhat as the next couple of tunes spread out, take away the drums and put some spoken word business in there. Like it a whole bunch without losing my nut over it.
@@@ New Age Doom/Lee Scratch Perry: Holy Wings (We are Busy Bodies, 2021) I guess this will go down as Lee Scratch Perry’s last recorded work. Or one of them. I don’t know anything about this New Age Doom outfit but the overall effect of this track is if a Radiohead had a baby with a classic dub record. I like the vibe here, I’m not sure I super love it. It’s got a very swirly feel to it, with guitar feedback, horn snippets and Lee going on about his things that he goes on about. I like the bass and wouldn’t call it super dubby bass. I’m giving a quick listen to another track Holy Dub and it’s most likely a dub of Holy Wings. It’s dubbier than the previous track which makes sense as it’s called Holy Dub. There’s also a little undercover jazz feel up in here.
@@@ Mortiferum: Eternal Procession (Profound Lore, 2021) Today’s listens off this week’s 10 most reviewed Pitchfork releases. The video clipped below is the first track of the record and it opens up with big drums, a caveman on the microphone and threedly guitars. I like the guitars but the drums, oy the drums, this guy (or gal or they) is all hopped up on Red Bull of some such. This is an almost 7 minute banger with sections and an overriding and pleasant epic aggro feel. The outro goes full epic with a big guitar shred but they’re all guests in the drummer’s world. The second track, Incubus of bloodstained visions is pretty sweet.
@@@ Tonstartssbandht: What Has Happened (Mexican Summer, 2021) I know what has happened, I slliced my finger with a knife this morning and just got back from getting it stitched so just one listen today. No one gives a fuck to be quite honest about this. This opens as sorta big, a little ambient space rock that takes a Radiohead vibe when the singer comes in, but without the alienated Radiohead vibe. Without the dark crunch this set of sounds can sport a New Age flavor, maybe completely unintentionally. There’s a sort of delayed piano thing that runs from the beginning to the end and it’s got a bunch of motion in it but I could use a break and a return to it. It’s most definitely the hook of the track, I just think some on/off could make the hook work better. It’s just shy of 7 minutes and it could be shorter. Not for me specifically but for listeners.
@@@ Kazemde George: Escape (Greenleaf, 2021) Off the Twatter! Okay there are only two pre-release tracks up for this upcoming release called I Insist and the tune I’m listening to is called Things Line Up. I know the video relates to something else but you can search this music out if you dig it. What’s most notable here is the intro into the tune which features a fairly extensive synchronized melody between the horn player and a female singer. It’s very trick and a bit proggy and showing off. It then moves into a spot that’s between straight jazz and more fiery free stuff. Still leans mostly straight at least in this track. I’m guessing Mr. George is the sax player and I like his tone, his rhythm and the way he plays withing his ensemble. The player clicked through to the second pre-release track and it’s straighter with the vocalist does a pretty classic job in a tune called Skylight. As with a lot of jazz the flow and the energy is often key to proceedings and here it’s a smooth thing but with focus and sharp energy. I dig this singer here, she’s flavorful. The bass player is also quite listenable.
@@@ BADBADNOTGOOD: Love Proceeding (XL Recordings, 2021) I got to this via PItchfork’s 10 Best reviewed albums of the week and I can’t remember if I’ve heard these guys before. They are slotted as jazz in the Apple Music but to me this is some Pink Floyd-ish expansive space rock business with a few jazz fusion feels thrown in there for good measure. Jangly chorused out guitars, a small horn section but the tune is driven by the active bass player and the strings. I don’t know if it’s a synth string thing or actually string players and I’m not sure I super care. This meandering type of space rock-jazz is pretty nap inducing. I like the drum sound. I would be more into this if it had more fire. I give some love to the Keith Moon spraying drum style but the sauce on top, meh.
@@@Nas: 40 Side (Mass Appeal, 2021) I haven’t heard anything by NAS in a long long time, but he still going and he remains an impressive and legendary figure in NYC hip hop. Sounds here are updated, neither trap nor straight NYC retro ’90s business. Very stylish bass sound with skittering hats in contrast. I like it without jumping up and down. The player clicked through to the fourth song, EPMD 2, where the old school group EPMD makes a guest appearance as well as Eminem who brings some super bounce to his turn on the mic. This track really lifts itself up, especially when Eminem hits it rhyming off the arrangement. I’m guessing bunches of youth out there don’t know Nas and who and where he represents but there’s solid business on what I heard.
@@@ Liars: Sekwar (Mute, 2021) Saw these guys profiled on the Guardian, throw ’em a peep! Slotted as alternative on the Apple Music, it opens with an elastic melody, a shuffle beat, some rock guitar and low voiced Tom Waits via London Bridge. I’m most intrigued by the beat, there’s very little if any funk and rhythmic sophistication to rock these days but it’s here and I give some respect to that. It brings a piano and flattens out into a stylistic pancake and a bit of chanting. I had higher hopes in the beginning but it sorta stays in its lane when I could use a change to the beat and something to break the track and then inspire a return to it. I clicked around a wee bit and it’s rockier, with the focus on guitars and further expanding the bucket of space rock available to the masses. I’m listening in my studio and the production is super lush and impressive so if you’re a space rock guy or gal get up on this horsie and ride.
@@@ Oneohtrix Point Never: Long Road Home (Warp, 2020) This gent has mad arranging skills. He killed it in the Safdie brothers flick about a dude and his brother, extremely effective and disturning electronic music. This has a singer, which is a negative for me and it seems like a move to get famous, f’real. Or to break through more, as it embraces computer pop while glitching the fuck here and there. His mixes are like ginger ale, popping and multilayered. While I get the sonic candy I don’t find myself super moved. I find myself impressed but not emotionally accessed. Since I’m a big fan of this musician I’m going to check out a few other tracks. On I Don’t Love Me Anymore he remains in the pop space with a pleasantly crowded mix. I like it better than the tune clipped below but he’s definitely taken a different approach on this record and I think I prefer the dark business. I’d like to hear less singing — I’m not sure taking full vocal lines and putthing them into a vocal synthesizer or other plugs is particularly fresh.
@@@ Ane Brun: After the Great Storm (Universal, 2020) This is from this week’s Line of Best Fit and it’s on a major label and from the cover and the picture below I think we’re set for some meaningful Kate Bush style sensitive ambient rock. There’s a rotating synth sound that is very organic and hooky that spins in the tune. It is a focal point for the track. I like the arrangement and a bunch of the sounds. I don’t hate her vocalizing but I’m not moved by it personally. It’s ‘gina as Trump would say! I have nothing against over femininity but I’m more of a PJ Harvey female rage kinda fella. I feel like I should be curled up with a good book and some flavored coffee while this is spinning. It fills up with sounds as it moves on, most notably with some string arrangements that I both like and don’t like. They’re well done but the mood they convey plays into this idea of female sophistication. That synth/guitar arpeggio-spinning thing is hype!
@@@ DragonForce: Highway to Oblivion (Metal Blade, 2019) From a record entitled Extreme Power Metal. It’s not extreme metal, it’s not power metal, it’s extreme power metal!!!! Deal with it and horns up ya shittaz. Let’s be clear from the beginning, this is not a highway to hell, it’s a highway to oblivion. Big difference. Oh my, this clicks on and it’s just a glorious example of cheese metal, this is some Disney shit from the sonics to the lyrics to the feels. Momma stand back so you don’t get cheese splattered on your shoes or your face. Glorious, glorious, glorious, this is so extremely cheesy you just go with it and enjoy the cartoon Disney aspect. Maybe on your headphones but I wouldn’t rock this is a group, it might be a bit embarrassing. Synth sounds, little bits of metal shreds thrown off as sparks, crazy ass drumming all delivered with a smile. This is Extreme Cheese Metal they got one of the words wrong! It’s almost 7 minutes long and I rocked just over 3, that’s pretty good.
@@@ Andrew Cushin: Where’s My Family Gone (UMG, 2020) I don’t know if this is the track where the Oasis duder shows up but this young UK gent is on this week’s Line of Best Fit email and he’s doing a sensitive alienated Brit rock thing. A little crooning with the mix dominated by vocal melodies and the drums. There is some guitar work and keyboard happening but it’s tucked back a bit. He wants to know where it went wrong, where you changed your song, what went wrong, I want to know where’s my family gone? Then a guitar solo, duh, and a peak in the energy. Without some more specifics regarding his family and what went wrong I can’t really comment on his situation. It’s dramatical, that’s dramatic with an -al on the end but it has a vagueness that say a classic Brit rock alienated youth in Quadrophenia wouldn’t be rocking.
YTD recordings listened to: 844 Good music, not list worthy: 460 Not good music: 359
Best: 4 Honorable Mentions: 5
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, Luther Dickinson, Graeme Barrett, Fast Asleep, Goldlink, Cavanaugh, Satoko Fuji, Moken, Juan Atkins, Lantern, Twin Peaks, Djelimady Tounkara, Denny Zeitlin, MILF, Unfun, De La Soul, Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes, Noname, 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, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Portal, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton, Parquet Courts, Moskus, Kendl Winter, Tkay Maidza, Barro, Daniel Khan, Tallawit Timbouctou, Sumac, Tropical Fuck Storm, Harriet Tubman, Ammar 808, Anais Maviel, Chaka Khan, Pom Poko, Fried Egg, Tarek Atoui, Saicobab, General Purv, Shipping News, Big Thief, Mariachi El Bronx, Pour Me a Grog, Sudan Archives, Lakou Mizik, Moodymann, Pharmakon, Alefa Madagascar, Janjao, Luge, Wiki, Mick Jenkins, Jeremiah Jae, Fera, Gambian Griot Kora Duets, Drama, Beatrice Dillon, Mass Worship, mmmonika, Les Deuxluxes, Tony Allen, Fra Fra, Nihiloxica, Hailu Mergia, Pokey LaFarge, Nico Gomez, Nohe and Sus Santos, Tiny Bit of Giant’s Blood, Pole, Naeem, Mekons, Santrofi, DJ Nigga Fox, Flor do Toloache, Alexander Hawkins/Tomeka Reid, Shy One, Protomartyr, Nnamdi, Ekiti Sound, Awa Fall, 25,000 Kittens, Anjimile, Superfonicos, Yves Jarvis, Jonsi
@@@ Mariachi El Bronx: Mariachi El Bronx (White Drugs/ATO, 2009) I got an email from a music publicist celebrating the 10th anniversary of this record which I’ve never heard. The first tune is a large mostly mariachi band ensemble with a ripping horn section and a singer doing his thing in English. I love this kind of music — a celebration of Mexican-American culture. Super upbeat energy but also a performance of something besides partying. An obvious reference here would be Los Lobos but this is less guitar oriented though the singer does sound a bit like the gent from Los Lobos. I really don’t know where I was at when this record came out and folks who dig Mexican music should check this out. The whole band is killing but the horn section is blazing.
@@@ Kraz: Telescope (Feel Music, 2019) I saw an article about this record in Salon. It is a record about gentrification in Brooklyn and is notable for being about that phenomenon. The article says this musician is a hired gun guitarist but he’s putting this out under a different name. The first tune (clipped below) is a ’70s style midtempo rocker. I’m not getting the gentrification theme hit over the head, I guess you have to pay closer attention to the lyrics. I guess I’m finding the lyrical theme sitting in back of the rock sound. The sounds are a blend of Gerry Rafferty with a few Lenny Kravitz pubick hairs. I like the music all right though I don’t find it particularly unique in its sounds and structure and I guess I was hoping the theme of gentrification would be more pronounced.
@@@ Milquetoast & Co: Kashmir the Great (N/A, 2019) I got to this rock record via the indie music blog Indiepulse. It’s an arena rock EP with a few proggy threads to it — that’s my first impression. A cello line, a Pink Floyd big space rock production sound and a Yes-like singer. Sorta nerdy, sorta rocky. I like the marimba/vibes solo in this first and let’s peep a bit more before we wrap up for the day. The second tune is a guitar driven tune called ‘Idiot’ and it stays in the Pink Floyd with less space and maybe inching over to the Radiohead neighborhood with the lyrics they have going here. I don’t need a record like this in my life but they do have some really high end arrangeing going on here.
YTD recordings listened to: 502
Good music, not list worthy: 302
Not good music: 167
Honorable Mentions: 0
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, 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, Noname, 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, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Portal, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton, Parquet Courts, Moskus, Kendl Winter, Tkay Maidza, Barro, Daniel Khan, Tallawit Timbouctou, Sumac, Tropical Fuck Storm, Harriet Tubman, Ammar 808, Anais Maviel, Chaka Khan, Pom Poko, Fried Egg, Horndal, Wyxz, Tarek Atoui, Hawktail, Saicobab, Shannon and the Clams, General Purv, Shipping News, Big Thief, Emma Louise, Andre Bratten, Nathan Corder/Tom Weeks, Oli XL, Buzzherd, Logistic Slaughter, The Muslims, Tobe Nwigwe, Saint Abdullah, Bug Martin, Kaleta and the Super Yamba Band, Toko Telo, Brittany Howard, The Garifuna Collective, Mariachi El Bronx