700 Bliss: Spa 700 (Don Giovanni, 2018)
Organic electronic production and a pleasantly confrontational African American female MC/singer/spoken word artist headline this EP. It is rough without being overly fast and aggro with more than one mention of slave ships and other racial references. I dig that and think the way the lyrics and the sounds go together is great. The beats are more sci fi than funky with a lot of thick, grizzled bass pulses and frequent high end blasts, whistles or creepy ring outs.
It’s 13 minutes of trippy, pissed off computer music. Excellent and unique work.
Dona Onete: Banzeiro (Mais Um Discos, 2017)
If you took the spirit of the lead singer from the Pogues and put him into the body of an almost 80 year old Brazilian woman and then put her in front of band that is more like a Colombian cumbia band than Brazilian Bossa nova and it would sound like this record.
It’s a party record with a great balance of energy and the weight the limited range of Onete’s gruff voice brings. She’s awesome.
I have no idea what the lyrics are about and I could care less, it’s a great set of tunes with a great spirit. Check it out
Krullur: …..failure to comply (Horror Pain Gore Death Productions, 2016)
For me a great heavy metal record is about energy and this 17 minute record delivers a great amount of energy with a combination of classic metal sounds, thrash, and moments of old school hardcore punk.
One of my other requirements for high quality metal is a great drummer that can push, pivot, and turn the rest of the band. The drummer here fits the bill — he goes from spraying huge tom fills to thrash sections to straight metal arena rocking. The singer also right for my tastes — he’s neither operatic nor a caveman microphone grunter.
I thought they were going soft with a cover Lame (as it ever was) but that segues into the tune Nuclear War, which is blistering.
Check it out. The album opens up with the tune clipped below and if this doesn’t get your blood pressure up and make you want to go burn somebody’s house down, you must be close to death.
Gentleman Surfer: Reanimate Ore (Self-released, 2016)
I’ve heard enough rock music to last a lifetime so when there’s a rock record that I find interesting that’s an occasion. This is an instrumental rock record with threads of punk and prog and Frank Zappa and generally weird American music. The sound of the record is very plain and transparent and the highbrow sound of a lot of prog records put me off. I find the synchronized melodic playing of the guitarist and the keyboardist to be the most engaging with the weird sectioning of the tunes right behind that.
I see from the credits on the bandcamp page that these guys cover an Ornette Coleman tune. I would assume these are music school performance nerds or at least have a wider knowledge of musics than their rock stylings would imply.
They sound like they’re just into playing weird ass music and they should be recognized for their quality output. I could not find this record on Apple Music so you’re gonna have to head out Bandcamp way for this.
Check it out.
Irreversible Entanglements: Irreversible Entanglements (International Anthem, 2017)
The most notable aspect of this jazz trio/spoken word record is the black female poet. There are some great lines in the first tune, Chicago to Texas (clipped below) and she delivers them with the appropriate disdain and pissed off-ness required by the topic of the tune. My favorite line is ‘there is no justice, there is no rehabilititation, no religion either, just four pills and a dixie cup called America’. Excellent work on that. She is ferocious and I see this record as the antidote to the Kendrick Lamar Walt Disney record that recently won a Pulitzer Prize.
The trio plays really well but this woman is the star here and they burn all the way through. Check it out.
These guys are playing the Vision Festival here in Brooklyn, NY so if you’re a resident of these five boroughs I’m sure they kill it live.
Benjamin Booker: Witness (ATO, 2017)
This is a really good album for cubicle dwellers. Nothing particularly surprising in the sounds and the lyrics but it’s a fresh blend of sounds. The first tune, Right on You, is my favorite tune on the record (clipped below) so though while the rest of the album unfolds at a less rocking tempo it is the best showcase of Booker’s guitar playing and his raspy voice.
There is some politics in here but not overtly so, it’s mostly a collection of blues inflected rock with updated indie sounds.
I’m a big fan of mixtures of African-American musical influences and white people music and Booker does a really good job blending the two into his own thing.