2017 Honorable Mention Pick 2

Fofoulah: Bene Bon EP (Loop Records, 2013)

This 29 minute 6 song EP by a band out of London combines hand drumming with elements of Afrobeat and Senegalese singing.  The drumming is really great, the guitar player sounds like he’s listened to a lot of the Edge from U2, but Edge’s long lost black brother from Africa.  The singer is very good but doesn’t stand out as much as the drumming.  The spirit of the music is neither Afrobeat or Afropop.

The second song (the title track) is my favorite, my least favorite is the fourth song but these guys definitely bring a different recipe to their African music.

Music for 4/26/17!!! Matthew Logan Vazquez, Mr. Mitch

@@@ Matthew Logan Vazquez: Does What He Wants (Dine Alone, 2017)  I’ve heard Vasquez’s music before and almost put it on a year end list.  This one opens up straight blues rock and I don’t like it much.  The second tune is less rocking and more indie — I like it more but the third tune is back to the big rock.  He has a good voice and the sounds are all right but it seems like a record designed to produce loot as it goes out of its way to be familiar.

@@@ Mr. Mitch: Devout (Planet Mu, 2017)  This electronic musician out of London is being marketed as somewhere between grime and ambient.  This first tune is a slow love song with lush synths and a delayed vocal line.  In the second song, he breaks out the ping pong delay and gets to rhyming.  The beats are not typical American hip hop and the piece has a sort of sci fi feel to it.  Mr. Mitch appears to want to have delicate sounds on top of beats so when he drops the energy of the beats it feels ambient and when he goes into a grime hip hop thing it’s a half rugged video game thing.  Not really for me but check for yourself.

@@@ Mike Dillon: Life is Not a Football (Royal Potato, 2017)  Some experimental rock off this week’s All Music notable release email.  This first tune opens up somewhat Captain Beefheart-y with a mid tempo weird groove and lower energy vocals.  The second tune Man C**t gets more fractured with some wild slashing vocal blasts, tom tom drumming and some squirgles.  Yes, squirgles.  I’m on the third tune, I like the marimba/vibes but I for those who want to roll this way I would head out to Beefheart’s Trout Mask Replica or some vintage Zappa.

YTD recordings listened to: 250
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 148
Not good music: 99

Buys: 5
Honorable Mentions: 1

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., Fofoulah, 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, Drone, 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, Aethenor, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, James Brandon Lewis, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Power Trip, Reverend Payton, J.I.D., Oddisee, Forro in the Dark

Music for 4/24/17!!! Forro in the Dark, Kondi Band, While She Sleeps

@@@ Forro in the Dark: Sandcastle (Nacional, 2017)  Some popping Brazilian music I got to via the WRIR weekly playlist email.  This first tune features some great hand drumming, trippy melodic guitar work and an energetic singer.  I see from the GooglePimp that these are Brazilian expats in New York city.  Ooh, this second tune is starting out hot as well — excellent percussion with some wicked flute over the top.  Please don’t tease me, be an awesome record all the way through.  The third tune sports vocals and it’s a narrative about a lawyer in New York — it’s a sophisto cabaret kinda track.  The fourth tune is back to an instrumental, which I prefer and I will check this whole record when I have a chance.

@@@ Kondi Band: Tit Dem Doo Service (Strut, 2017)  A pre-release single I got to via the same WRIR playlist email.  This is a small ensemble track with some fairly furious thumb piano, a singer with some backup and simple drum accompaniment.  As the tune grooves towards the finish line there are some very light and tasteful synth accents and a more urgent floor drum/foot tap.  I would check out more of this record when it comes out.

@@@ While She Sleeps: You are We (Sharptone, 2017)  Some mainstream drama metal off the Apple Music metal section.  I think there are some Linkin Park records up in this band’s collection — they’re a tad rougher but it’s the same art school metal formula.  The singer is upset, I get that, but I much prefer the working class heavy metal.  This is the purdy boy business as far as I’m concerned.

YTD recordings listened to: 264
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 144
Not good music: 97

Buys: 5
Honorable Mentions: 1

Possibles: Chris McGregor, Dave Arner Trio, Zomby, Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Slidhr, The Chewers, Toxic Holocaust, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Lenguas Largas, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Fofoulah, 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, Drone, 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, Aethenor, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, James Brandon Lewis, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Power Trip, Reverend Payton, J.I.D., Oddisee, Forro in the Dark,

Best of 2017 Pick 4

Orquestra Baobob: Tribute to Ndiouga Dieng (World Circuit, 2017)

This band has been around for decades but this record introduces a kora player and brings a sweeter African salsa sound than some of their classic burning jams (and I do mean straight up, dome cracking burning).  Feel free to check out Pirate’s Choice and other classics, those are incredible records as well.

Midtempo jams with super flavorful horn lines and beautiful singing.

Music for 4/21/17!!! Black Bear, Imelda May, Charly Puppy

@@@ Black Bear: digital drug lord (Bertram, 2017)  R&B/soul off the Apple Music new music section.  This first tune has provocative lyrics and solo piano accompaniment.  The second song brings some beats and low end and I like it more.  It’s not peeling my face off but it’s good.  His strength is the rawness of the lyrics.  I’m not sure if Black Bear is a white boy, but he kinda sounds it.  He’s doing a pale Drake thing mixing singing and hip hop, it’s all right.

@@@ Imelda May: Live Life Flesh Blood (Decca/Universal, 2017)  Off this week’s All Music notable release email and I’m peeping it because it’s produced by T Bone Burnett and he’s got skills.  The first tune is mad mellow, lonesome and comforting at the same time.  The second tune brings a mellow drumbeat but the focus remains on the guitar playing and the singing.  I like it but I think I might prefer Emmylou Harris’ records done in the same vein.  This is just a tad too polished and sleepy time tea to make it to my stereo.

@@@ Charly Bliss: Guppy (Barsuk, 2017)  Some power pop/punk in the Superdrag vein.    My main beef with most indie guitar rock is how fucking butter soft most of it is.  I don’t need to be bludgeoned like a metal record but I need a little muscle.  So these guys rock a bit and they have a strange female voice out front and it makes for an interesting contrast. I don’t like this second tune as much as the opener.  I’m liking this record less as it plays more but I really like the first tune.  It’s clipped below, that’s how much I care.  I give I give I give and all you guys do is take.

YTD recordings listened to: 259
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 142
Not good music: 95

Buys: 5
Honorable Mentions: 1

Possibles: Chris McGregor, Dave Arner Trio, Zomby, Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Slidhr, The Chewers, Toxic Holocaust, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Lenguas Largas, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Fofoulah, 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, Drone, 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, Aethenor, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, James Brandon Lewis, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Power Trip, Reverend Payton, J.I.D., Oddisee

Music for 4/19/17!!! The Maine, Chris Shiflett

@@@ The Maine: Lovely Little Lonely (8123, 2017)  Some mainstream half rocking, half bittersweet faux thoughtful white boy rock.  Not as gloomy as the Goo Goo Dolls, but a tad soft at its emotional core.  Call me crazy but I find this music scary.  These are finely manicured false emotions designed to bolster people who are already sporting a somewhat tenuous connection to reality, many of them very young and just starting out in life.  Records like this perpetuate the idea that art may be completely cliche and recycled and somehow passionate and emotional at the same time.  And as the music soaks in through an already troubled society people hear this music and think fake emotions are not only normal but acceptable and encouraged.  Fake emotions are so much more toxic than fake news, this is a dangerous donut people and it’s best to stay away and head for something with some splank to it.

@@@ Chris Shiflett: West Coast Town (Side One Dummy, 2017)  I’m consistently amazed at how flexible the new country music has become.  This first tune is minority country and mostly a Cracker tune with a funky white boy beat.  It’s really quite something and it does fall in the same category as going into a bagel store and getting a donut.  The second tune has more twang for sure, but I think he’s been listening to mad Cracker tracks.  I own more than a few Cracker records and frankly his lyrics are better.

YTD recordings listened to: 253
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 138
Not good music: 94

Buys: 4
Honorable Mentions: 1

Possibles: Chris McGregor, Dave Arner Trio, Zomby, Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Slidhr, The Chewers, Toxic Holocaust, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Lenguas Largas, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Fofoulah, 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, Drone, 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, Aethenor, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, James Brandon Lewis, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Power Trip, Reverend Payton, J.I.D., Oddisee, Feral Ohms

Music for 4/18/17!!! Chris Stapleton, Actress, ELHAE

@@@ Chris Stapleton: Broken Halos (Mercury Records, 2017)  A pre-release single that I chose to peep because music blogging honcho Bob Lefsetz shit his pants over this track.  My first impression is that I’ve heard this chord progression 300 hundred times before.  Otherwise it’s a decent track, Stapleton puts in a heartfelt vocal performance.  I appreciate the lack of schmaltz as country music has gone full cheddar cheese but his vocals would benefit from some more unique band playing behind him.

@@@ Actress: AZD (Ninja Tune, 2017) An experimental techno record off this week’s All Music weekly email.  The opening of this first tune sounds like a glass of ginger ale popping in a metal tunnel.  I guess it’s a teaser. Okay we’re on to the second tune which sounds like a melted James Bond 007 theme with an ascending but modulated bass line and some salt water taffy synth clouds.  Oh God, let there be more than this.  I could use a beat motherfuckers.  I’m not getting more, let’s peep a last track here.  Okay we got a beat on this third track.  It’s sort of a railroad/industrial beat with some chopped loop garnish.  I don’t think this is for me and I think you might need to be high to enjoy this.

@@@ ELHAE: Aura II (Atlantic, 2017)  Some electro r&b with strong hip hop influences that I got to via Apple Music new music section.  Really fat bass sounds with half skitter beats and synth-centric arrangements.  The first two tunes are booty call tunes and the singing has plenty of Autotune dolloped on.  Personally, I’ve been spinning 6Lack’s record from last year, the arrangements are much more interesting in my opinion.

YTD recordings listened to: 251
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 137
Not good music: 93

Buys: 4
Honorable Mentions: 1

Possibles: Chris McGregor, Dave Arner Trio, Zomby, Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Slidhr, The Chewers, Toxic Holocaust, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Lenguas Largas, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Fofoulah, 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, Drone, 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, Aethenor, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, James Brandon Lewis, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Power Trip, Reverend Payton, J.I.D., Oddisee, Feral Ohms