Music for 12/6/17!!! Les Amazones D’Afrique, Powerdance, Cloud Nothings

@@@ Les Amazones D’Afrique: Republique Amazone (Real World, 2017)  I heard the single from this record but I never peeped it til now as it’s in the top 50 Guardian records of 2017.  This first tune is great with fat bass, trippy vocals and some righteous hand drumming added to the main beats.  I like this second tune as it relaxes into a betwixt slow and midtempo groove.  I don’t usually like the records with tons of guest vocalists but these are all women and the tracks are tight and unified.  I would contrast the funkiness of this record with the African record with the Kronos Quartet strings on it.  This is a mash as well, but it’s less uptight and high end with a high funk quotient.  This record will end up on my year end list, check it out!

@@@ Powerdance: A Safe and Happy Place (Powerdance, 2017)  A white boy disco banger off the Guardian’s top 50 of 2017)  It definitely does not have the funk of the Les Amazones record but it’s aimed at the Wonder Bread crowd.  Four on the floor, big simple vocals and a propulsive guitar line.  It’s a pretty skeletal arrangement and I don’t think the vocalist has the chops to get it airborne.  Check for yourself.  It pumps harder at the outro but that energy should have been moved forward.

@@@ Cloud Nothings: Life Without Sound (Carpark, 2017) Pop punk off the Guardian list.  I usually associate the pop punk with uptempo sing-a-long business but this first tune is not full on and it sports some more reflective chord progressions.  I like it.  The second tune does bring more tempo and classic pop punk but it’s not mindless without going straight to emo.  I’m not a huge pop punk guy but this is a good specimen for the genre.  The singer is pretty straightforward — sometimes the singer is so popped out I want to beat ’em with a 2X4 but this guy plays it straight — neight overwrought, nor too ironic, just songs with no bullshit sauce.

YTD recordings listened to: 779
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 419
Not good music: 322

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, Les Amazones D’Afrique

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Music for 12/5/17!!! Trio Da Kali/Kronos Quartet, Lisa Knapp, Mount Eerie

@@@ Trio da Kali & Kronos Quartet (World Circuit, 2017)  The Guardian is out with the beginning of their top 50 records of 2017.  I don’t usually like these mashes of African music with Western music but I’m nothing if not open eared.  And really fun to be around.  I also don’t like chocolate in my peanut butter.  On this first tune the Kronos Quartet plays the role of garnish on a plate of African food, which works but it’s not equal billing.  A few string flourishes in an African arrangement with a female singer.  I’m on the third tune and it remains pretty much the same and the question you ask yourself is the addition of Kronos Quartet string flourishes make this a favorite African record of the year?  Not to me.  It’s pretty staid in tempo and I prefer the burning African music and this appears to be designed to draw non-African music listeners to the genre.  Just as I write that the marimba player takes a burning solo, you shoulda put that tune first fellas.

@@@ Lisa Knapp: Til April is Dead – A Garland of May (Ear to the Ground, 2017) A throwback British folk record updated and bestowed with a modern chopped and looped feel.  It’s a creative aesthetic decision I must say as I’m not very interested in May Day but I’m listening.  The instrumentation is pretty standard for this style of music — hand drums, acoustic guitars, drones,  lots of samples, male co-singers and Ms. Knapp’s waif singing.  I can see how Brits would really get into this fusing of newer musical production techniques combined with their music heritage but check it out on this side of the pond.

@@@ Mount Eerie: A Crow Looked at Me (P.W. Elverum, 2017)  An indie reflection about the death of a musician’s wife.  For once I can say the slack vibe is justified and works well for the mostly raw lyrics and the subject matter.  It’s mostly the singer, the lyrics and an acoustic guitar.  I could have used some drums or other instrumentation just to offset and contrast the slack.  This record is #47 on the Guardian’s top 50 of the year.  Check out the fifth tune Swims for the full misery tour.

YTD recordings listened to: 776
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 418
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 11/9/17!!! Jess Abran/Steven Voyce, Boubacare Traore, The Thick Uns’, Thunderpussy

@@@ Jess Abran & Steven Voyce: Sour Cherry (N/A, 2017)  A super lush stripped down tune that is part r&b as well as retro-grunge melodies.  The female singer has her drama on but she’s counterbalanced by the the guitarist who also participates on the microphone duties.  Tasteful arrangement with guitar, simple drums and the breathy singer.

@@@ Boubacare Traore: Dounia Tabulo (Lusafrica, 2017)  Some West African blues music from a 75 year old musician.  I got to this record via the WRIR weekly review email.  Instrumentation on this first track is two guitars, harmonica, fiddle, and Traore’s world weary voice.  It’s very close to being old school American acoustic country blues and I’m aware that it came from Africa to the U.S.  There are three pre-release tunes (including one remix) up on the Apple Music and this first tune, Dis Lui Que je l’aime comme mon pays, has a good shuffle going on.  There is some tasty, ear catching cello shredding on the second tune but the star here is Traore’s voice.  He’s got mad soul.  I’ll swing back and listen to more of this record when it comes out.

@@@ The Thick Uns’: Deadly Bargain (Self-released, 2017) Super slack lo-fi take on late ’70s power rock.  A little bit of Captain Beefheart sprinkled over these proceedings as well.  It’s a solo bedroom production so it gives the rocking a different feel.  I got to this music from the musician himself who followed this here blog and then sent me a note afterwards.  A fair number of musicians follow this blog in hopes of snagging a review but they don’t send the note afterwards.  For fans of weird rock.

@@@ Thunderpussy: Speed Queen (UMG, 2017)  We’ll finish up with an arena/corporate rock single off the Apple Music hot tracks section.  It’s a pretty standard fat rock riff but I dig the way the female singer (who I assume to be Ms. Thunderpussy) comes in with some kitty claws and a short delay on her vocals.   It’s pretty standard double entendre about keeping her engine clean.  It’s an all right track but if you’re gonna bite the Led Zeppelin in this manner you should put a little freak in your guitar playing.  It’s not that the guitarist needs a Red Bull, he’s amped up but he needs some doobie up in his funk.  Solid B yo.

YTD recordings listened to: 726
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 389
Not good music: 304

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

Music for 11/6/17!!! Diamante Electrico, Mr. Lif & Brass Menazeri, The Illustrious Blacks

@@@ Diamante Eléctrico: Dias Raros (ft. Billy Gibbons) (Mercado Negro, 2017)  I saw this artist on the WRIR weekly email.  I guess he’s a guitar hero and he’s joined on this track by ZZ Top’s own Billy Gibbons, a great guitarist in his own right.  The song sound a whole lot like a ZZ Top track sung in Spanish — a straight rock beat and a straight rock bass, and Billy Gibbons.  Where’s my shred?  You get a little riff break down, rhythmic in nature but no shred.  Two guitar heroes and no shred?  I came for the guitar shred and all I got was a few riffs.

@@@ Mr. Lif & Brass Menazeri: Resilient  (Waxsimile, 2017) Imma have to look up the whereabouts of the musicians in this single off the WRIR weekly email.  I can’t see from the website where the Balkan sounding band is from but the MC is from Boston.  It’s an interesting mash to have an acoustic band behind a MC — rolling snare and a lot of sinuous horn lines.  The band does well in providing a base but I wish the MC had more energy and flavor.  For some reason the single they put up on Apple Music is not available on the GooglePimp.  Weird.

@@@ The Illustrious Blacks: Neo Afro Futuristic Psychedelic Surrealistic Hippy EP (Concierge, 2017)  A blend of Flashlight-era George Clinton and ’90s Dee Lite dance floor funk that I got to via a Flavorpill promo email.  And a bit of Prince as well.   There are four tunes on this EP and I’m on the fourth one and I recommend the first track and then tip after that.  The opening track is posted below.

YTD recordings listened to: 714
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 383
Not good music: 298

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

Music for 10/30/17!!! Victor Rice, EUFOBIA, CANZONIERE GRECANICO SALENTINO, Selena Gomez

@@@ Victor Rice: Fumaca (Easy Star Records, 2017)  A pre-release single that I got to via a music publicist email.  I’m supposed to know who this musician is but I don’t.  It’s a lounge tinged, laid-back reggae jam — instrumental thus far.  The horns just work their melodic magic over a chill yet bubbling rhythm section, including organ.  So Victor Rice is a NYC transplant that was big in the ’90s NYC ska scene and this is a tune from a new record by him.  The horn section here is very pleasant.

@@@ EUFOBIA: Graveyard (N/A, 2017)  A single from a Bulgarian heavy metal band that I got to via the indie music blog called Indiepulse.  I would peg this is medium retro metal — it’s got a bit of a Pantera vibe with some caveman grunting in the chorus and some singing in the verse.  Big rhythmic guitar playing that reminds one of Rage Against the Machine.  However that is just the base for some super epic guitar soloing.  Lots of rock energy but not super pissed.  Horns up ya shittaz!

@@@ CANZONIERE GRECANICO SALENTINO: Canzoniere (Ponderosa, 2017) Right out of the gate I have to do some searching on this band as I’m guessing Brazil but it might be Portugal (or somewhere else).  It’s somewhere else, they’re from Italy and they’ve been rocking it since 1975.  It has a pop and world music sensibility operating at the same time.  Lots of layers of tracks – tons of vocal tracks but also lots of percussion and small instrumental pieces.  The second tune switches over to a medium gruff gent and accordion so this record might be set to bounce around sonically quite a bit.  Whatever happens musically you can be sure there’s going to be a lot going on and it’s going for a large pop art statement.  That’s what it sounds like to me.

@@@ Selena Gomez & Marshmello: Wolves (Interscope, 2017)  We’re going to finish up today with a single from Selena Gomez but be careful as you nibble it, it’s a super cheesy biscuit!  If you have high cholesterol or if you are on a low sugar diet you might want to keep away.  She’s going to be running through the jungle and she’ll be running with the wolves to get to you.  I won’t dwell on the detail that wolves don’t live in the jungle (though they do work in large music label corporate offices).  It’s a tune that tries to be a sandwich for everyone — an anthem, a little rock guitar schmear, and a few EDM pubes for the club kiddies.  And to complicate matters it’s both a biscuit and a sweet cookie so I leave confused but I know in my heart this tune stinks.

YTD recordings listened to: 698
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 374
Not good music: 290

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

Music for 10/2/17!!! Elida Almeida, Otis Reed, LADAMA

@@@ Elida Almeida: Forti Dor (Lusafrica, 2017)  A mellow African pre-release single off an upcoming full length.  Nylon guitars, piano, string swells, and light beats are featured.  Almeida has a really nice voice, not soaring but sweet with a little gravel.  I have no preference for soaring voices.  Almeida sings in Portuguese so it pushes the vibe more into a world music neighborhood rather than an African one.  The tempo is medium, the energy is mellow and it’s a super pretty tune.

@@@ Otis Reed: Why Would I (Palmtree, 2017)  Somebody who started to follow this here blog does a fortnightly playlist and as it’s multi-genre and I’m super into the multi-genre I thought I would check it out.  This is a hip hop tune and it’s neither left field nor mainstream.  The beat is mid tempo and lighter rather than heavier with mellow keyboard vamps.  Lyrics are conscious and two MCs take turns on the mic and there is a female background singer.  It’s all right thought it doesn’t really stand out in my mind.

@@@ LADAMA: Compared to What (Six Degrees, 2017)  Some world music/funk I got to via the same fortnightly playlist.  Stream of consciousness lyrics with political flavors, uptempo conga, a tight repeating bass line, a horn section and a periodic guitar figure.  It’s a brisk tune and self-righteous.  Check it out you may dig it.

YTD recordings listened to: 639
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 343
Not good music: 270

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, Sudan Archives, Tuba Skinny, The Expanders, Benjamin Booker

Music for 9/25/17!!! Clientele, Joey La Soldat, Baraka Moon, The Expanders

@@@ The Expanders: Old Time Something Come Back Again, Vol. 2 (Easy Star, 2017)  I saw this record on the WRIR playlist this week and noticed from gathering this video from the GooglePimpTube that this appears to be a re-issue from 2012 as there are videos from this record from that time.  Oh fuck off this is Volume 2 and that was volume 1 — damn you short attention span!  There are three pre-release tunes up on the Apple Music and while I don’t dig the title of the first tune Life is a Funny Thing, it’s a pretty sticky roots reggae vibe with a sweet and though vibe side by side.  These guys are skilled at every position with a great singer, solid rhythm section and a spot on guitar player.  I will most definitely check more of this record out when it comes out and it will most likely be on my best of the year list.

@@@ The Clientele: Music for the Age of Miracles (Merge, 2017)  The All Music blurb says this record has a hefty dose of autumnal grace and warmth.  That is some high end PR diarrhea for sure.  The first tune sounds like a slacker Byrds tune — shiny, chiming guitars and an engaging singer.  The second tune opens up with a piano and you know pianos are a meaningful instrument with a lot of emotions attached to it.  I predict a cheese sandwich here ah no, just an interlude.  The tambourine has made its appearance on this third tune and the orchestral slack vibe has continued.  I like this record all right — it’s a bit of a recycling job as this is very familiar in melody and arrangement but people have the memory of goldfish so it will be huge!

@@@ Joey la Soldat: Burkin Ba (Akwaaba, 2017)  I’m going to have to Duck Duck Go this musician as he opens up the record in French and he’s obviously African but I can’t grok much besides that.  Ah, Burkina Faso.  He does a credible gangster trip on this second tune, Microphone.  I’m on the third tune and I like it.  It is African hip hop but it is not so far from American hip hop with synth based arrangements and tight rhymes with call and response vocals.  He is rapping in French so that’s a big difference there.

@@@ Baraka Moon: Bismillah (Baraka Moon, 2017)  A New Age-y world music mash I got to via the WRIR weekly playlist email.  The pre-release single is called Bismillah and I”m having a tough time tying it to a place.  Let me consult the fantastic interwebz.  Ah, they’re from San Francisco and I hear South Asian influences as well as Australian didgeridoo, guitar and percussion.  So this is truly a mash of world music influences and is going for a Qawwali trance vibe.  I like it all right

YTD recordings listened to: 620
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 332
Not good music: 263

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, Sudan Archives, Tuba Skinny, The Expanders