@@@ Alewya: Play (Because London, 2021) Today’s listens are off this week’s Line of Best Fit. Lots of music outside of the U.S., lots of music by non white folks pushed up there. I’m hearing this as a world music influenced, lounge-y dancefloor banger. A fair amount of vocals have been injected over the rhythms — some backwards, some processed. Then I believe Alewya takes a laidback turn at rhymin’ on the microphone. I’m not going to say there’s anything particularly revolutionary in the lyrics in the music but she sure has built a pretty massive groove with both the sounds and the lyrics and her delivery. I’m checking out another track by her and it uses the same formula and executing it at a high level. I don’t want to get all racial and shit but she’s from Ethiopia so the rhythmic sophistication embedded in a dancefloor banger is not surprising to me.
@@@ Remi Wolf: Street You Live On (Island/UMG, 2021) This is the last track on a major label pop record that tries to throw a little bit of everything into the pot trying to find a large group of listeners. A little rock, a little funk, a lot of pop music, those are the most prominent sounds going on here. It’s a bittersweet melody with a vocal hook about avoiding the street that he lives on due to painful memories. The due to painful memories is my addition. I mean it’s groomed and produced the way you would expect from a major label pop jam. I would be more moved if the beat wasn’t so straight. I know why they do that but I don’t enjoy it. Kick snare, kick snare, kick snare, big drum machine tom tom roll, repeat.
@@@ Interesting Times Gang: Plan Bee ( , 2021) This is an electronic side project of the leader of Kowloon Walled City, one of the few rock bands I think is just killin’ it. I love electronic music, I love Kowloon Walled City, throw ’em a peep! This is a single from earlier this year and it’s a drum machine with some synths and wow this is not what I thought it was going to bee. It’s kraut-y rock with proggy vocals and a buzzy bass. Honestly I can’t tell if it’s tongue in cheek or not. These guys have a full length coming out soon and maybe I’ll give them a little more love and check that out before tipping out on the outfit. For the pre-release single they kept the buzzy rock bass but improved the beats and went for a less kraut-y but still krauty thing. I like this much more, it’s more easy listening electronic (half kidding) but it doesn’t go uber nerd.
@@@ Karey Faux: While God Was Sleepin’ (Don Giovanni, 2021) One thing I hates about the streaming stores is how you can’t really tell what version of a record you might be peepin’ vis a vis remixes and shit. This is the first track off a remix record of a record I have not peeped but the remix is by JID, and Imma JID fan, I mean he’s nanoatomic on the microphone. It’s a party track about sneaking around and fornicating on the sly. Somewhat graphic, well pretty graphic, but not fully X rated. 1/2 X rated. Oh, he makes an appearance on this track, JID is shifty and he slides into this track. Mad styles here, big retro beat feels with updated flavors and of course JID and his flow. Sonically interesting and playful this is some business to check out for sure. Feels fresh while not going for the full trap, latest beats/cloudy trippy synths business.
@@@ James McMurtry: Canola Fields (New West, 2021) I got to this record via music business honcho Bob Lefsetz. His taste is often janky. This is the first track of the record and he looks set to grab in this moment the mantle of poetic country music. The band is pretty standard with nice tones and pretty straight playing, his voice is certainly many notches above Bob Dylan but the focus here is on the lyrics first and then the melodies. I don’t know how old this cat is but he’s doin all right on the microphone. I skipped to the third track Operation Never Mind cuz I liked the title. There’s more rock in this album than I initially caught on. I like this record without jumping up and down. The tones are great, especially the guitars. I don’t get fully off on the lyrics and the songs are good without making me jump up and down. I was raised on rock and I find it tough to listen to now.
@@@ —___–___: Sadness, infinite America (Orange Milk, 2021) Off this week’s Pitchfork 10 most reviewed albums. I don’t know what I thought this was going to be but this track is crazy mash of free jazz, autotuned vocals, vibes, sax, and voice. It’s got a desolate vibe for sure, so we’re far past mope and straight into dystopia. And I’m much more into dystopia than bourgeois mope. The way the teched out voice goes with the jazz elements is fresh and I’m super into it. It doesn’t feel random, it sounds arranged but there’s no way to know for sure. Someone is slipping one past the goalie here as it’s slotted as ambient, and it does have an ambient feel to it but it’s got more going on than a typical ambient record and it’s just not an accurate description of the music. Well done, and I’m listening to my second selection and I’m digging it as much as the video clipped below. Check this out if you’re up for some freshness. A little sweet, a bit abstract, a bit lonely and darker — yadda yadda yadda. There’s also some orchestral classical feels going here.