Active Music Listening Tuesday April 28, 2015

YTD recordings listened to: 323
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 192
Not good music: 105

Honorable Mentions: 10
Buys: 5

Possibles: Chris McGregor, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Dave Arner Trio, Bill Horist, MAKU Soundsystem, Zomby, Retox, About Group, 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, Spacesuits, T.O.M.B., Fofoulah, Lozen, Erase Errata, Mohammed Abozekry, Dawn Richard, Torche, Leo Welch, Astral Swans, Mastery, Leviathan, Lightning Bolt, Xibalba, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Waters

My Beats account is still fucked in the head so I’m relegated to Googletube clips today.  It’s really nice the way Beats reaches out to their customers and apologizes for their server outage.  I called them yesterday and the guy said I don’t know when it’s going to be working, just keep trying to log in.

And it’s no fucking wonder people don’t want to listen to music.  No apology, just keep logging in asshole.

@@@ Torres: Sprinter (Not sure, 2015).  A retro-90’s rock nugget fronted by a blond hottie, which I’m sure had no influence of the decision to release her music.  Not grungy, but guitar-o-centric with hints of slackness and detachment.  It’s an average effort but she’s wearing a nice hat in the video and there are some nice shots of her looking meaningfully out into the distance in the video.  I got to this tune and the tune below via the Tweet machine.

@@@ Malportado Kids: Total Cultura (Dead Labour, 2015).  A Latin music aggro-electronic influenced single that I got to via a music publicist email.  A female singer going over the top of a four on the floor kick and I thought the tune was average until they rocked a Mexican accordion sample (or a synth accordion) playing a pretty trick melody.  That’s a nice mash as far as I’m concerned.  Album out first week of June.  I can see this working big time live but I think their studio jams need a little more fine tuning.

@@@ Mbongwana Star: Malukayi (World Circuit, 2015).  I got to this tune via the new adds section on the WRIR weekly playlist email.  Konono No. 1, a pretty superlative African percussion plus outfit is on this track so it bubbles rhythmically pretty hard.  I don’t want to be too severe on the white folks out there, but when an African/electronic music combo gets it just right it smokes the indie electronic/flaccid disco that’s coming in waves these days.  This isn’t the most amazing combo I’ve heard, it’s more of a a righteous groove that the singer freestyles over, but folks should check it for flavor purposes.  I see from a bit of the video that there is a kit drummer but the dude is so steady I thought it was a drum machine.  Impressive beat lockdown.

@@@  Nai Harvest: Sick On My Heart (Topshelf, 2015).  A uptempo guitar indie pop punk biscuit from a  record that’s out today.  Energetic workout by the drummer followed by the guitar player.

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Active Music Listening Tuesday January 6, 2015

YTD recordings listened to: 11
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 5
Not good music: 4

Honorable Mentions: 3
Buys: 1

Possibles: Boyd Rivers, Chris McGregor, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Dave Arner Trio, Bill Horist, MAKU Soundsystem, Zomby, Retox, About Group, Jessie Mae Hemphill, Kendl Winter, Bone Dance, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Debruit, Slidhr, The Whammies, The Chewers, Alexander Hawkins, Cheryl Pyle, Toxic Holocaust, Equal Stones, Comeback Kid, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Bio Ritmo, Lenguas Largas, Khun Narin, Doug Seegers, The Coral, Coffinworm, Akele Wube, Spacesuits, T.O.M.B., Fainatur

@@@ This Heel: Selfish Food (Small Bear, 2015)  Some fuzzy, lo fi guitars that explodes into a shitstorm of guitar noise and drum cymbal head cutting.  A tad of psych to go with the generous helping of noise, but it’s a tune with melody and that’s good.  Other tunes I checked out were even more impressively fuzzy and distorted.  I’m gonna switch from the GoogleToob to the Bandcamp in case you want a big ol’ heaping helping of distortion.  A little bit of Sonic Youth but with more melody and less pretension.

http://thisheel.bandcamp.com/album/e-p

@@@ POP ETC: Running In Circles (Not sure, 2015).  Super poppy electronica I got to via a music publicist email.  Gated snare sound, big synth sounds, and a big exploding chorus.  So 1980’s influenced it makes you wanna dig up Ronald Reagan and ask him why he let all those gay men die of AIDs.

@@@ Gametheory: Dead Center (Omnivore, 2014).  Off one of the Aquarius Records’ employee best of 2014.  If Alex Chilton fronted a synth rock band it would sound a lot like this.  I did some Bing-ing as I’ve given up the fascist Google machine, and this is a reissue from the 1980’s.  So I say if you’re hankering for some of the ’80s rock accept no substitute and get right back to the mothership.  Some nice melodic bass lines, and there’s some grit to the guitars and they’re really trying to make art and not cheese.  And the singer sounds way too much like Alex Chilton.

@@@ Ena: Binaural (WM Denmark, 2014)  A little scooby snack from the same Aquarius Records employee best of 2014.  This tune is a bit of a sad banger in Miley Cyrus parlance.  Ena sports a banging’ shoulder tattoo on her Beats photo, but her voice is more manly, though they’ve tweaked it out.  She does a singing/rapping so she’s a two weapon musician.  Production is r&b slick with a little West Coast hip hop skitter thrown in.  I feel bad that she’s sad.

Active Music Listening Friday November 7, 2014

YTD recordings listened to: 892
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 550
Not good music: 284

Honorable Mentions: 11
Buys: 15

Possibles:  Boyd Rivers, Chris McGregor, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Dave Arner Trio, Bill Horist, MAKU Soundsystem, Zomby, Retox, About Group, Jessie Mae Hemphill, Kendl Winter, Bone Dance, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee,  The Ballantynes, Debruit and Aljawal, Slidhr, The Whammies, The Chewers, La Misa Negra, Alexander Hawkins, Cheryl Pyle,  Toxic Holocaust, Equal Stones, Comeback Kid, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Bio Ritmo, Lenguas Largas, Khun Narin, Doug Seegers, Shakey Graves, The Coral, Sleaford Mods, Simo Lagnawi

@@@ Musketeer: Sicilian Queen (Not sure, 2014).  Some strummed acoustic guitar adult alternative/soft rock/folk I got to from an email blast from the artist.  Spacious drum sound and a strong and gentle voice.  Less instrumentation gives room and emphasis to what is there and I enjoy the less is more formula — there’s a piano tucked in the back of the tune when the drums come in, there’s a simple melodic trumpet line about 2/3rds through and some sundazed organ sounds behind the trumpet.

@@@ The Voyeurs: Rhubarb Rhubarb (Heavenly Recordings, 2014)  Some mainstream frat Brit rock/indie I got to via a music publicist email.  It’s a bit of an odd duck — poppy and weird at the same time, it’s not rock or punk or indie per se.  Check it for yourself.

You can stream over here at NME.

@@@ Joe Holiday: Strength and Kindness (Somebody Else’s Nightmare, 2014).  A smooth jazz vocal record with fusion keyboards, electric bass, and a dual horn attack.  Smoother than a baby’s bottom, the drums are funkier rather than free — the second tune could easily be the theme song to a 70’s television show while the third is more an uptempo fusion-y number.  I got to this via a Twitter ad.

@@@ Mysticum: Planet Satan (Peaceville, 2014).  I’m expecting big things from a metal record called Plaent Satan.  After a brief metal percussion intro we’re right into the beehive guitar sound with some synths, thrash drums and some of that tinkly percussion comes back.  The tune is called LSD, and it lives up to its trippy title.  These guys are fronted by a Neanderthal singer, it’s really quite mad.  The combination of the double kick and the agit guitars is quite mad.  The singer goes full punk freakout with the drummer on the tune, Far.  Maybe I got a bit too excited about Planet Satan.

@@@ ANAAL NATHRAKH: Desideratum (Metal Blade, 2014).  Also off my weekly heavy metal email newsletter.  This badboy opens up a little like I imagine Dante’s inferno, broken voices, clouds of windy chaos, industrial noises, blasts of guitar sound, everything is disjointed and fucked up.  When it opens up into the tune proper it’s pretty manicured metal — well containted guitar chunk, flat whacking kick drum.  The electronic burbles are sort of interesting and distracting at the same time especially in contrast to the epic flow of the second tune Unleash.  The drummer is the star here.

Active Music Listening Friday October 31, 2014

YTD recordings listened to: 870
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 537
Not good music: 275

Honorable Mentions: 11
Buys: 14

Possibles:  Boyd Rivers, Chris McGregor, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Dave Arner Trio, Bill Horist, MAKU Soundsystem, Zomby, Retox, About Group, Jessie Mae Hemphill, Kendl Winter, Bone Dance, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee,  The Ballantynes, Debruit and Aljawal, Slidhr, The Whammies, The Chewers, La Misa Negra, Alexander Hawkins, Cheryl Pyle,  Toxic Holocaust, Equal Stones, Comeback Kid, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Bio Ritmo, Lenguas Largas, Khun Narin, Doug Seegers, Shakey Graves, Jungle Fire, The Coral, Sleaford Mods

@@@ Sleaford Mods: Chubbed Up+ (Ipecac, 2014).  Excellent record title that I found on this week’s All Music email.  Ah, Brits, nice thick accent.  Dance rock drumbeat and gristled fuzz bass on the opener, The Committee.  The vocals are where the action is at — they’re medium foul mouthed with a negative attitude, two characteristics I enjoy in a singer.  The singer, Job Seeker, is a bit more Kraut-rocky.  These guys really don’t seem to give much of a fuck.  The music is not awful but the rants are what you tune in for, so if you’re sharing a laser printer in an insurance company cubicle this probably isn’t for you.  I couldn’t find anything from this record, but I’m sure the last biscuit is the same show.  Fuckin’ geezers, they really do live up to the title of the record.

@@@ Jagged Edge: Je Heartbreak II (BMG/Primary Wave).  Some contemporary r&b off the All Music weekly email.  Super slick production over some subsonic bass and singing — a lot of singing, I mean a lot of super passionate dramatical singing.  We’re talking Hollywood love story passion.  The third tune, Familiar, has a bit more funk but it sports the same abundance of vocal action.

@@@ Nots: Reactor (Goner, 2014).  A track off an upcoming record I got to via a music publicist.  A throwback synth punk track by an all girl group out of Memphis.  A bit of a shouter on the vocals and the drummer and the singer need some lessons.  I like the bass sound and the guitar work, the synth sounds like somebody shoved a spoon up R2D2’s ass.

You can stream here.

@@@ Youth Worship: Pink Snow (Self Harm, 2014).  If you took Nirvana and put a haughty sort of dildo worshipper on the microphone it would sound like these guys.  The bite on Nirvana is epic and not in the gray area.  Big arena drum sound meticulously tweaked with a blanket of classic American guitar fuzz over it.  Mellow in the verse, explode in the chorus.  Maybe dildo worshipper is a bit unfair but it sounds like he’s working some sort of rock star trip ala dildo worshipper extraordinaire Billy Corgan.

 

Active Music Listening Monday October 20, 2014

YTD recordings listened to: 829
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 512
Not good music: 259

Honorable Mentions: 11
Buys: 14

Possibles:  Boyd Rivers, Chris McGregor, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Dave Arner Trio, Bill Horist, MAKU Soundsystem, Zomby, Retox, About Group, Jessie Mae Hemphill, Kendl Winter, Bone Dance, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee,  The Ballantynes, Debruit and Aljawal, Slidhr, The Whammies, The Chewers, La Misa Negra, Alexander Hawkins, Cheryl Pyle,  Toxic Holocaust, Equal Stones, Comeback Kid, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Bio Ritmo, Lenguas Largas, Khun Narin, Doug Seegers, Shakey Graves, Jungle Fire

@@@ Anawan: Where Are You Now? (New Amsterdan, 2014).  I got to this proggy indie tune via a music publicist email.  The marketing blurb had a snippet from a founder of bandcamp calling the music ‘difficult and genius’.  And here we have one of my pet peeves of the the music industry — the selling of simple music as sophisticated to flatter listeners.  It’s also dishonest, and let’s be honest, the music business is completely in the shitter because it’s based on a bedrock of dishonesty — lying about genre, lying about quality, whatever lying is required to sell it.  This is just a snippet of a tune and it reminds me of Yes, and it’s not difficult and I would have to hear more to know if it’s a work of genius.

You can stream it here

@@@ Bang Data: Mucho Poco (Futuro Sonico, 2014).  Off the WRIR weekly review email this is some Latin music straight out of Oaktown drawing from various genres — a rap in Spanish in the first tune, a fat synth bass line that could easily be slipped into a salsa club track, guitars of various styles.  The band works a smart party vibe and it holds together well.  I would put this at 1/3 rap, 1/3 Latin funk, and the other 1/3 split between rock and other influences.  Check these guys out.

@@@ Nightfell: The Living Ever Mourn (Southern Lord, 2014).  Regular readers know I try to check out Southern Lord releases as my tastes match up well with theirs.  I got to this record via my heavy metal mailorder weekly email.  It’s mostly slow and doomy with outbursts of thrash.  Oh my, this is some righteous guitar buzz syrup going here.  Drums are more hard rock than full on meltdown metal and the singer is mostly a caveman throat shredder.  Enjoy the tasty tones.

@@@  Postcode: Losing the Battle (Small Bear, 2014)  An interesting combination of shoegaze/slowcore guitar fuzz over a pretty manic drum beat (at least in the beginning of the tune).  I thought the tune could have been shorter.

Active Music Listening Friday October 10, 2014

YTD recordings listened to: 799
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 493
Not good music: 250

Honorable Mentions: 10
Buys: 13

Possibles: Boyd Rivers, Chris McGregor, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Dave Arner Trio, Bill Horist, MAKU Soundsystem, Zomby, Retox, About Group, Jessie Mae Hemphill, Kendl Winter, Bone Dance, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee,  The Ballantynes, Debruit and Aljawal, Slidhr, The Whammies, The Chewers, La Misa Negra, Alexander Hawkins, Cheryl Pyle,  Toxic Holocaust, Equal Stones, Comeback Kid, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Bio Ritmo, Lenguas Largas, Vessel. Earls of Leicester, Khun Narin, Orlando Julius, Vaudou Game, Doug Seegers, Shakey Graves

@@@ Vashti Bunyan: Heartleap (Fat Cat, 2014).  Some British folk off the All Music weekly.  Waif-y female singer, dreamy and sweet over a chimy clean electric guitars with sprigs of angel synth twinklets/maybe even an old school whistle/flute tucked on the side to get your inner hobbit pumped up.  Old School stripped down folk pretty, it’s a less is more sort of affair.

@@@ Zola Jesus: Taiga (Mute, 2014)  Also off the All Music weekly email of ‘notable’ music.  This first tune, the title track Taiga, is comin on with some epic electronic opera attitude — big revered female voice front and center, some ohs and yeahs smeared in the back over a bit booty bass and some chopped electronic.  More drum ‘n bass in the rhythm section than your boom titch techno action.  The second tune moves closer to the shopping mall techno part of town.  Big bass drum and huge female voice with high quality synth bass waves.  The singer, who I presume to be Ms. Jesus sounds more than a bit Ice Princess-y and that lends bigness to the whole shebang.

@@@ Flying Lotus: You’re Dead! (Warp, 2014).  Off the All Music weekly email.  Should be a real pick me up with a title like You’re Dead!  In the first tune, called Theme, I hear some jazz sax, some chopped up dance beats but chopped acoustic drums, some jazz fusion action filtered through some dance production.  I’m a bit surprised to see what sounds to my ears like some improvisational playing making its way to a semi-large outfit like this.  The third tune, Cold Dead, adds the distorted shreddy guitar and adds that to the electric outness they started with.  Oh, Kendrick Lamar is on track 5 and I don’t like that dude.  A bold mish mash of styles, not mind blowing but interesting.  Lamar is not throwin his gangster self around which is refreshing.

@@@ Little May: Little May (Capitol, 2014).  Some space indie I got to via a music publicist.  Big and sparse, but the first tune is not overflowing with cheese — oh wait, just as I typed the word cheese I smell a big major label crescendo slinking around the corner.  Reminiscent of I’m not sure who.  A bit of an in-betweener with some rockin’. some indie, hints of roots music, and even some stoner downtempo vibes.  This is pretty restrained for a major label effort.

Active Music Listening Monday July 21, 2014

YTD recordings listened to: 550
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 343
Not good music: 165

Honorable Mentions: 4
Buys: 6

Possibles: Boyd Rivers, Chris McGregor, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Dave Arner Trio, Bill Horist, MAKU Soundsystem, Zomby, Retox, About Group, Jello Biafra, Fat Freddy’s Drop, Jessie Mae Hemphill, Kendl Winter, Shigeto, Bone Dance, Defeater, Sidi Toure, Lindi Ortega, Jonwayne, Christian Kjellvander, Okkyung Lee, Tiger Hatchery, The Ballantynes, Debruit and Aljawal, Slidhr, The Whammies, The Chewers, La Misa Negra, Melingo, Alexander Hawkins, Cheryl Pyle,  Toxic Holocaust, Equal Stones, Comeback Kid, Third Coast Kings, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Charming Axe, Eccodek, Bio Ritmo, Pacifika, Kasai All Stars, Viet Cong, Traams, Karol Conka

@@@ Priory: Weekend (Warner Brothers, 2014).  More New Age indie electronic!  Any tune with handclaps in it is aimed straight at the heart of shopping mall America.  It’s a song about the weekend.   I just got paid, I’m psyched for the weekend, I’m done working for the Man!  Big hooky, chorus — soft as butter, friendly boy singer — and the handclaps, oh the handclaps.  Highly polished corporate sonic biscuit.  I got to this tune via the fine folks at Warner Brothers promo, and I wish they hadn’t sent this my way.

@@@ Vox Mod + DGH: New Concerns (Not sure, 2014).  More New Age electronic music, it’s a tidal wave people!  Help me I’m drowning.  A minimalist krautrock, arpeggiated (and ping pong) synths and a falsetto vocal, those are the basic elements of the tune.  I got to this via a publicist email, and frankly I’m flipping out at all the New Age music exploding in my earholes.

@@@ Ridley Bent: Wild Card (Americana North, 2014).  Some power roots/country I saw on the CFUV weely email.  Guitar power chords and banjo has always been one of my favorite combos (not).  I like the second tune, The Most Beautiful Woman Around, better than the first tune, which is clipped below.

@@@ Stumbleine featuring Violet Skies: We’re Shadows (Monotreme, 2014).  Some New Age-y electronic r&b I got to via a music publicist email.  Meaningful piano chords, ample reverb on the female vocalist, arpeggiated synthesizers.