@@@ Pole: Tempus (Mute, 2022) I got to this record via a meh 10 best list on the Guardian. This looks set to be an abstract and dubby techno record with some techno feels but other stuff and I like other stuff with electro bits. These are all six and seven minute bangers, the opener a tad sleepy but this second one, Grauer Sand, is brisk with some low dub bass and lots of squiggle action. I like it as it’s tight and loose, some techno be too tight. Duder is quite expert at layering in the sounds, processed and otherswise and then dropping some tight snare sounds and other bits to make a fully assembled burger. There’s an awareness of time and space here that I dig, it’s fresh and unfolding in a way that I find really enjoyable, lots of good bangers on here. Check this out. Could be a late in the season find and I’ll take it. You can chill on this while also paying attention to how it rolls by.
@@@ Broken Bells: Into the Blue (AWAL, 2022) Off this week’s All Music notable release email and while they’re trying to slip it into the indie slot it’s rebranded and upcycled classic rock. Big stacks of vocals, strummed acoustic guitar and epic guitar shreds, that’s classic rock is it not? Slack vocalists are cross genre. It’s very ’70s reminiscent with a faded rock flavor but with updated synth sounds. I like it all right, I always like a fresh thing and this is not aspiring to cut but to comfort. This is most definitely for folks with good jobs.
@@@ Daphni: Cherry (Jialong, 2022) This is some firm ass techno out of a dude from Toronto. May not be a dude, just typed the word, whoever made this is fine by me. Brisk, especially in the rhythms. The opening beat is borderline punishing just jumps out and beats you down with high hats and a kick drum higher up on the frequencies and less on the low end flapping. The second tune is more kaleidoscopic with the rhythmic components shuffling and bleeping all across the stereo field. Let’s see what he throws over this bad boy. Thick kick, classic hihat, then pretty minimal synth bass and then a cloud synth. I could use a booty smacking melody here but I’m going unrewarded. I’m finding the third track, Always There, the most interesting of what I’ve checked out — it’s a blend of dance music, some klezmer-y melodies, and is both a dance track and a weird concept track at the same time.
@@@ 96 Back: Made Me (N/A, 2022) I got to these two listens via a festival promo email via Crack Magazine in the UK. They got Blawan on the bill, and I’m a huge Blawan fan. It opens spooky and dark with some metallic percussion and eerie synth action. It builds to a groove, not necessarily a hip hop groove, it’s more of a slightly lopsided techno groove. Just when I thought I could use more I got it, a stylish keyboard solo/vamp that threads all the bits of the mix together. This is pretty stylish shit. I’m checking out another track from Mr. 96 as I’m always up for more quality electronic music. I’m listening to a track called Fent66 and it has a distinctly sci fi flavor to it. It’s well constructed but I preferred the other track.
@@@ Roza Terenzi: Stylish Tantrum (N/A, 2022) I could not find this track on Apple Music which is a shame because it opens up filthy and dubby — super low bass pumping with a very nice set of delayed/echoed percussive bits flying around. Terenzi layers a brisk techno beat on top of the dubby bits and it works, melting together to make a world music-y typa groove as well as breaking the classic rigiditiy of techno beats. Around 2 minutes the bassline starts climbing, you get some handclaps/snare blend and it’s reached peak bumptious. You’d have to be pretty red bulled to hit the dancefloor with this, it’s brisk and it will wear you down with its relentless blend of sounds. Good luck out there.
@@@ Axel Boman: Luz (Studio Barnhus, 2022) I got to this acid house record via this week’s Pitchfork’s 10 most reviewed records and I do like the opening. It’s doesn’t just jump out with the groove and it feels more arranged and interesting than a lot of house music. The bass sound here deserves some respect as it’s fat and fuzzy and very distinct in its distortion and it’s changing all the time. I know I ran that sentence but meh, it’s my thing I hope the rest of the record can hang with that first tune as it was pretty high end business. The second tune tacks to the groove part of town with the classic beat coming in around 1:20 but offset by some pretty stylish dubwise echoes and an interesting arrangement. I’m on the third track and while I think the first piece is superior to the two that follow, Boman has arranging skills and doesn’t serve up the standard house slab of unt-ss and a little garnish and I appreciate that.
@@@ Omar Apollo: Mr. Neighbor (Warner Brothers, 2022) This is a pop record on a major label so I’m more than a bit suspicious of what might transpire, but so far I dig it. Oh maybe the first short bit was supposed to get my hopes only to smash them on the pop rocks as the second track busts out with the guitar strums. Apollo is working some very stylish vocal melodies and I like some sounds and not others. I read the Apple Music bio for Mr. Apollo and what makes him interesting is his Mexican American heritage and his willingness to attempt to make pop fresh. There aren’t standard pop tracks, better melodies, blends of sounds and also how two of the first four songs are guitar driven or at least guitar featured. It’s sad and heartening at the same time to see the slightest freshening of the pop formula. To see utter copies of old soul songs being trumpeted from the rafters is depressing so while Apollo is not blazing trails here he is mixing up the snow globe.
@@@ Ghostly Kisses: Heartbeat (Akira Records, 2022) Breathy female pop I got to via Line of Best Fit. Very tasty synths balance out the slightly over dramatical vocalizing. When the beat comes in (drum machine) it’s much more tasteful than I expected. By the time it fully emerges it’s a lounge-y techno-ish pop banger. More than -ish actually, the undercarriage here is pretty much techno. Neutral to slightly negative on the vocals, mostly positive on the arrangement. The player clicked through and the drama doth continue so points for consistency. Super polished, maybe a bit too much.
@@@ Pillow Queens: No Good Woman (Royal Mountain Records, 2022) Seventh song of the record and the female singer comes out spreading a melody across a few octaves in a quietly desperate style. After a guitar and vocal intro the full rock band comes in, old school guitar indie style. It builds to a pretty rocking point by the 2/3s marker. I like the drum sounds here, I think the guitar tones could use some work to be more impactful, and I’m neutral on the singer and the tune.
@@@ VTSS: Goin Nuts (Technicolour, 2022) I got to this track via the UK electronic music magazine Crack. These guys are up to some techno business with not classic beats and fat ass bass pushin asses around. Some glitch action, some high hat skitter action and boom! This is a 6 track EP with some hip hop flavors, some abstract electronic sounds, some classic techno flavors and funny titles like the ‘Propaganda of Success’ and ‘Why we Don’t deserve Nice Things’. This is above average approaching slamming so if you dig electronic throw this quickie EP a listen and you might feel it.
@@@ Moonchild Sanelly: Covivi (Transgressive, 2022) This is our sole listen from this week’s Line of Best Fit. Sanelly is part of the South African electronic scene and are 5 pre-releases tunes up on Apple Music where her record called is branded as pop. It’s a poppy track but it’s also very funky track with some big hand drumming sounds. Lots of chanting type vocals, you know your classic old school drums and vocal interaction. I didn’t love the track Stripper that I checked out but these tracks are full of sophisticated rhythm. The third track I peeped and the opener on the record is called Undumpable but I think the first track I peeped is the best of what I heard.
@@@ GCOM: XO 4 (!K-7, 2022) I got to today’s listens via last week’s All Music notable release email. This is an electro track, and I’m guessing from the very beginning of the track that it’s set to be a sci-fi, epic track and not your unt-sss techno dancefloor banger. It’s a very ambient and sparse beginning with occasional kick drum before the glitchy updated drum ‘n bass sounds hit. R2D2 on meth would be an apt description here, pumped up robot electro. This is an almost 7 minute banger where the Odyssey 2001 feels alternate with the drum ‘n bass thwack action and as of now I don’t know if I will be here for the whole sandwich. I have nothing to really protest and while the ambient and the dnb is a bit interesting it’s not making me shit my pants. I want to shit my pants, I always want to shit my pants.
@@@ Jake Xerxes Fussell: Love Farewell (Paradise of Bachelors, 2022) This is the opening track of a folk record and while I did just type above that I want to shit my pants usually my reaction to a great folk record is not exactly a pants shitting moment. This opens with some guitar playing before Fussell heads in with his chestnut voice– a bit deep but not Isaac Hayes tone and I just used chestnut because I thought it fit without knowing why. The arrangement here is sparse and the production is not arch, as in made large for folks to feel more important. It’s hard to say where the point is where you pronounce a track or a record to be a bit sleepytime tea for your taste and I’m not sure Mr. Fuseell has violated my requirements vis a vis sleepytime vs. not sleepytime but there surely is not a ton to hang your hat on here and I believe that’s the point. There’s some really tasteful but staid guitar playing, there’s some unadorned vocalizing and then a bit of horn garnish, or mandolin, or electric guitar added and I’m gonna make the call that while this isn’t for me but he’s done a good and somewhat brave thing to not stuff his music with all sorts of stuff.
@@@ Rosali: No Medium (Spinster, 2021) I got to this female driven rock via bandcamp’s best of ’21. Various reviews invariably mention Crazy Horse and while I don’t totally agree I get it. The first tune, Mouth, doesn’t crush/rock as much as Bones, which is very retro guitar rock. It’s good to see a woman staking out this traditionally male rock space. Guitar tones are excellent and while it is slotted as indie on Apple Music it’s got a straightforward feel to the production and doesn’t traffic in much of anything I know to be indie. If this sounds interesting with you, start with the third track, Pour Over Ice, and then go from there.
@@@ LNS & DJ Sotofett: Stutters (Tresor, 2021). This record is on the best electronic music of 2021 and is described as a record rooted in techno but containing elements of other musics like dub and Appalachian folk music. No not folk music. It’s described as being a super fun record and I guess the purposely cheesy video game sounds and bumped up tempos push it in that direction. I guess a fair number of these tracks could work in blaxploitation movies or B grade television shows. I like the energy but I could actually use more. I like it but it will not be a late addition to my best of ’21 list.
@@@ Blawan: Underbelly (XL, 2021) Second track off a 5 track EP that I got to via Crack Magazine, and boy-o homie brings the bass! He just flaps them speakers righ up in yer face. He drops a super hot whistle-y, marimba flavored riff on top of that that is not reggae but it bounces and operates as such. Fuck me I would listen to this shit all ’22 if it’s on offer. This is why I listen to the stuff Crack Magazine recommendations because they have a high hit rate, they don’t just offer up your basic music publicist PR dried biscuits. Sa-weet!!!! I’m checking another track and it’s not quite as hot but it will hot up the place.
@@@ Scratcha DVA: Yardman (DRMTRK, 2021) Another listen off Crack Magazine’s best of 2021 and while it sports a bombastic intro it segues into some UK based toasting dancehall business. I like his flow and the bass sound but where’s my fat beat? Where’s the fat ass beat, it’s just screaming out for it. I’m on the fourth track and it’s a frustrating listen. All the sounds are there and the toasting vibe is there but it doesn’t seem to come together to blow the lid off. I was hoping for something like Mad Ting which folks should check out.
@@@ Chris Liebing: Whispers and Wires (Mute, 2021) This is the eighth song off this techno record that just came out. It’s pretty sci-f in the beginning here, churning and refraining from the classic unt-sss. Oooh, a female vocalist, sultry — will we have a song or a techno jam with diva bits? It’s a just shy of 6 minute banger and she’s back for another verse, the vocals really change the vibe bigly. He busts out with a long dubby vocal churn and also what might be considered a solo so there’s not only a song feel here, but a bit of a rock feel. The last 90 seconds, noop, I was gonna say it was a reflection of the intro with a dubbed out snare but the vocalist is back again. I’m agnostic on the singer, she’s cool but I think I enjoy my techno more without a lot of singing. I’m giving a quick peep to the third track, 10 West, and it’s similar. I like it, am not jumping up and down but some nice arranging here.
@@@ Ben LaMar Gay: Aunt Lola and the Quail (Nonesuch, 2021) I put this listen second for today because it’s on Nonesuch and well Nonesuch is kinda a full of shit label for people with really good jobs playing like they’re hip. I will be happy to admit if this turns out not to be the case. The video clipped below is is the fourth track of the record and it has a looser feel than the record above. It sports a bit of a noodly keyboard feel in the opening but it’s not what I expected from such a buttlocked label. I like the looseness of the arrangement over the toms and it comes off as undercover jazz. Imma check out who’s on this biscuit. Ah, once in a while I hit the shit correctly, Mr. LaMar Gay is a jazz cornetist from Chicago that sometimes lives in Brazil and I’m feeling the two places in this record — he sounds like Henry Threadgill filtered through a bunch of VSTs. I’m super feeling this record and it will end up on my year end list. It is a super interesting blend of electronic and improvised music. I did not think I would like it but I do and I hope folks out there check it out.