Music for 5/22/18!!! Tom Rogerson, K. Michelle, Anathema

@@@ Tom Rogerson: Finding Shore (Dead Oceans, 2017) I’m peeping some records from an All Music notable release email from late 2017. This first one is an ambient record where piano improvisations are manipulated into ambient music. This first tune the piano has been processed and it sounds like a vibraphone. The second tune, Motion in Field (clipped below) sounds synth like in its manipulation with a little of the acoustic piano left into the effects mix. I like the starkness of just the piano/processed piano. It’s got a bit of a New Age feel to it with the large reverb patches but it’s music with some thought behind it and I respect that.

@@@ K. Michelle: Kimberly, People I Used… (Atlantic, 2017) A mash of hip hop, soul, club music etc. that I got to via the All Music notable release email. The second track, Alert, is a put down track with some extensive rhyming while this third tune, God, Love, Sex and Drugs switches to a band format with singing and bluesy guitar. Ms. Michelle has a huge, strong voice with some pleasant rock ‘n roll gravel in it but I can’t say these are particularly engaging lyrics. The third tune is a ballad with piano, electric piano and finger snaps. The record features super modern production and if you dig the strong female vibes and Ms. Michelle’s voice you might really like this record.

@@@ Anathema: The Optimist (Kscope, 2017) A proggy/rocky affair from an outfit out of Liverpool. I’m not usually one for the prog but I will peep most anything and I’m no genre bitch. My Apple Music blurb says these guys used to be a doom metal outfit so hopefully they drop some of that into this record. Thus far this record sounds a bunch like a Radiohead rock/electronic mash except this singer has a soaring rock ‘n roll voice as opposed to Thom Yorke’s mumbling reticence (which I dig). You can really hear the proggy aspirations in the track, Optimist, though it has more than a tablespoon of cheese rock swirled up in there. I’m a huge fan of the piano in jazz but in rock and prog not so much. This isn’t really my thing, but if you dig artistic piano rock well then these guys will hook you up. I could have used some doom metal up in this thing.

YTD recordings listened to: 284
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 149
Not good music: 126

Best: 5
Honorable Mentions: 4

Possibles: Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, 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, 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, A Tribe Called Quest, Noname, Gouge Away, Klara Lewis, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Oddisee, Forro in the Dark, RAM, Fiver, Dona Onete, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Priests, Propaganda, This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez, Integrity, Tuba Skinny, The Expanders, Converge, Open Mike Eagle, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Tal National, Portal, Hernan Sama & Marcelo von Schultz, Jean Grae and Quelle Chris, Lawaii, Los Texmaniacs

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Music for 5/21/18!!! Nickodemus, Los Texmaniacs, Anderson .Paak, Pharrell (The Hat) Williams

@@@ Nickodemus: A Long Engagement (Wonderwheel, 2018) I got to this record via the WRIR weekly email. I’m thinking this is going to be an electronic/world mash but we we’ll see. It opens up with a vocal chant, some non-American string playing, a large horn section and bounce. Old school bounce not trap bounce. The second tune references classic funk and then the third tune brings in some Caribbean sounds and influences. I’m not super into this type of record — it’s a poo poo platter of music styles all centered around upbeat dance rhythms but I always prefer a smaller group of sounds rather than the larger scope.

@@@ Los Texmaniacs: Cruzandos Borders (Smithsonian Folkways, 2018) Speaking of old school here comes some classic Mexican music that I got to via the WRIR weekly playlist email. I’m a sucker for this style of accordion playing and these guys bring a dancefloor energy as much as the previous record. Great singing, great playing and a blazing accordion player, there’s not much more you can ask for. I can only imagine how many gigs these guys have played to get this tight. They’ve probably done these tunes drunk out of their minds, exhausted, or both. Also big respect to the drummer who drives the rest of the band. I’m going to swing back on this record as it’s smoking.

@@@ Anderson .Paak: Bubbling (Aftermath, 2018) I dug the last Anderson .Paak track so I thought he earned a peep for this one. Plus, I respect the .Paak last name though I have no clue what the period is for. It’s a money party track of which I am not fond at all. Look at the cash bubbling, that line could be the soundtrack at the White House as President Cheese Doodle loots and pillages. He sound s a bit like Kendrick Lamar on this track and he did an interesting thing giving the tune a James Bond soundtrack feel. I got to this track via the Apple Music hot tracks section.

@@@ Pharrell Williams x Camila Caballo: Sangria Wine (Columbia, 2018) Everybody is dropping the summer party tracks in hopes of becoming the track of the season. Nobody knows how to bit the styles of others more than Pharrell Williams and his hat. He’s got a little dub flavor, some Latin flavors from the singer, some pop hip hop beats so all the ingredients are there. I guess how much you dig this track depends on if you like to hear new or original sounds and/or arrangements. This is pretty well manicured sameness. You haven’t eaten this exact sandwich but you’ve eaten something very similar to this sandwich. And that’s the point.

YTD recordings listened to: 278
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 147
Not good music: 122

Best: 5
Honorable Mentions: 4

Possibles: Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, 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, 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, A Tribe Called Quest, Noname, Gouge Away, Klara Lewis, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Oddisee, Forro in the Dark, RAM, Fiver, Dona Onete, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Priests, Propaganda, This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez, Integrity, Tuba Skinny, The Expanders, Converge, Open Mike Eagle, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Tal National, Portal, Hernan Sama & Marcelo von Schultz, Jean Grae and Quelle Chris, Lawaii, Los Texmaniacs

Music for 5/17/18!!! Lawaii, Kassin, Divide and Dissolve

@@@ Lawaii: Lawaii (Self-released 2018) I got to this jazz release via a twat on the Twatter by Bird is the Worm. They are from Denmark and the instrumentation is piano, bass and drums. This trio format can often lead to high end pretentious wanking, but thus far no for these guys. The emphasis here thus far is on atmospherics and tone. thus far they are also employing a less is more approach and I’m feeling it. The first lyrical playing that I’ve heard shows up on the third tune, #5 and it’s offset with some pretty tasty bass bow scratching. The tune cycles on a circular piano figure and the quick scratchy ass bowing. I’ve sample parts of the first four pieces and I really like it thus far. I will circle back at a later point when I can sit and relax to it more but right now I have to extrude the music review kibble for the hungry mass. Check it out.

@@@ Kassin: Relax (Luaka Bop, 2018) Off this week’s WRIR playlist email. I have a conflicted relationship with Brazilian music. I dig it rhythmically but often times the smoothness of it I find dissatisfying. The second tune is a Brazilian Earth Wind ‘n Fire but I don’t love it. It’s clipped below. I’ve sample parts of four tunes and while I kinda appreciate the disco excursion here I’m not super enjoying the music. It’s a large ensemble and the playing is good so it sounds like something you might like have at it.

@@@ Divide & Dissolve: Abomination (Dero Arcade, 2018) Some metal off this week’s CFuv playlist email. It opens up with a lot of tom playing and a dirty bass. I see from the Apple Music blurb that this is a duo and thus far it’s a dark affair with some distorted business but it’s not a typical metal record. It doesn’t have to be. There is a theme here with the first three song titles Abomination, Assimilation, and Cultural Extermination. I’m feeling this second tune Assimilation, it sports a haunting melody over a disgusting nasty bass sound and more heavy on the tom drumming. I like the foundation of the record, the drumming and the bass sound, ah just as I was about to say I needed more you get some spoken word. A female doing some heavy but not super focused spieling and occasional piano. This is no mosh-fest, it’s got ideas behind it and I like it. I wish the tracks that have more in them started out the record.

YTD recordings listened to: 274
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 145
Not good music: 120

Best: 5
Honorable Mentions: 4

Possibles: Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, 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, 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, A Tribe Called Quest, Noname, Gouge Away, Klara Lewis, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Oddisee, Forro in the Dark, RAM, Fiver, Dona Onete, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Priests, Propaganda, This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez, Integrity, Tuba Skinny, The Expanders, Converge, Open Mike Eagle, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Tal National, Portal, Hernan Sama & Marcelo von Schultz, Jean Grae and Quelle Chris, Lawaii

Music for 5/14/18!!! Yeni Nostalji, Jah9, Queen Ifrica, Selena Gomez

@@@ Yeni Nostalji: Self-titled (Ropeadope, 2018) An American of Lebanese descent makes a record influenced by Turkish music.  I got to this record via the WRIR weekly email.  I’m no expert but this first tune has more Brazilian Bossa nova in it than what I associate with Turkish music.  It’s a very romantic vibe here — I’m not a huge fan of romantic music as I’m emotional dead inside but this is pretty well done.  It’s interesting that it mashes up a lot of influences without a care.

@@@ Jah9: Love has Found I (VP, 2018)  A modern roots reggae single I also got to via WRIR.  Female singer active on the mic, it’s a love of Jah tune.  I like her singing, I like the background vocals less.  The flutist is doing good work and while I prefer the old school murky sound the band here is solid in their support of her devotion.

@@@ Queen Ifrica: Black Woman (VP, 2018)  Speaking of that old school reggae production there are some mighty tasty dub echoes on this seven minute tune that is the lead single off a full length.  Again, a strong female singer showing devotion and love for Jah.  I checked out the first tune, Trueversation, and it’s much more of an accessible pop reggae track.  Go with the Black Woman single, it’s much better imho.

@@@ Selena Gomez: Back To You (Interscope, 2018) This lead track off the soundtrack of some Netflix production is the kind of super popular cheese bomb track that I loathe.  I don’t loathe it due to snobbery, I love all manner of musics but the cliches here are just rank.  It’s as predictable as death and probably not half the fun.  It’s got earnest acoustic guitars in the verse and then it breaks out in the chorus with the hook both vocal and synth.  The production is exquisite, the feelings are tame, all in all I could barely choke it down it was so gooey — like a low end pizza parlor slice.

YTD recordings listened to: 263
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 139
Not good music: 115

Best: 5
Honorable Mentions: 4

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, 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, A Tribe Called Quest, Noname, Gouge Away, Klara Lewis, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Oddisee, Forro in the Dark, RAM, Fiver, Dona Onete, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Priests, Propaganda, This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez, Integrity, Tuba Skinny, The Expanders, Converge, Open Mike Eagle, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Tal National, Portal, Hernan Sama & Marcelo von Schultz, Jean Grae and Quelle Chris

Best of 2018 Pick 6

The Ballantynes: Liquor Store Gun Store Pawn Shop Church (La Ti Da, 2013)

I pride myself on the small records that pack a big punch. I could give a flying fuck if Miley Cyrus’ naked cannonball video has 75 million views on the GooglePimp, that’s got fuck all to do with music. Just cuz nobody’s heard of it has no bearing on quality. People forget that great music is nothing more than a bunch of people in a room letting it all hang out and that has nothing to do with loot, it has to do with soul.

If you took the Blues Brothers and put ’em in flannel shirts and gave them any old school white trash beer and removed the horn section and the frat boy bullshit you would have something very close to this record. It’s a guitar driven soul/rock record with a lot of guitars, a male and a female singer that both do good work and a ramped up band.

Music for 5/11/18!!! Escape Argot, Jack Larson, Meghan Trainor, Yung Gravy

@@@ Escape Argot: Still Writing Letters (Traumton, 2018) I got to this record via a twat from Bird is the Worm who is a jazz blogger very active on the Twatter. The first tune is pleasantly disjointed though I’m not super into the sax player. There’s a synchronized section where the sax player and the piano player play in unison and it’s a tad annoying. Let me peep some more. The second tune is the title track and it’s all right — I’m feeling like this record might not be for me. It’s a low on fire and more arranged than what I prefer. I like the piano player and the drummer but not the sax player.

@@@ Jack Larsen: Push Ups EP (Jack Larsen/Closed Sessions, 2018) Another record from the Twatter, this time from a guy who promos for Fat Possum but also twats about other records that may or may not be associated with Fat Possum. He’s an indie fella so I’m thinking there’s gonna be a lot of feelings on this record. Mr. Larsen only has one pre-release tune up on the Apple Music but I want to mention that he’s shirtless on his record cover and he looks like he might be a male bimbo. This is no Meghan Trainor but it’s indie cotton candy sweet thing. He’s got some dance elements (drum machine and electronic garnish) and he’s got those annoying arpeggiated indie guitar sounds going and he’s talking about his life and I could really give a shit. Most people don’t get this idea but the sounds and the vibes here are trying too hard to please, it’s indie baby food. I ask myself what kind of self-involved douchebag needs this kind of music?? I think this is a really good question.

@@@ Meghan Trainor: Let You Be Right (Sony, 2018) Off the Apple Music hot tracks section. I’m a huge Meghan Trainor fan, huge! Not really. In this time of identity politics and music being closely intertwined Meghan has reinvigorated her career by shedding a lot of weight. There used to more Meghan but now there’s 20 pounds less. And she has a new boyfriend and shit is looking up for her fo shure! The tune is a high end dancefloor banger designed to pad her bank account. Four on the floor, some classic disco popping bass, and even cowbell. You can’t fuck with Meghan Trainor and you can’t fuck with cowbell. She don’t want to fight, she’s gonna let you be right. I would call this fluffy ginger ale funk. It’s got some wang to it but it’s got a cotton candy flow to it.

@@@ Yung Gravy: Snow Cougar (Republic/UMG, 2018) How can you not check out a record called Snow Cougar by an MC called Yung Gravy???? I can’t pass that shit nor can I beat it with a stick. Regular readers know how much I love all the extra garnish you get with music these days so I can feed the fire by proposing maybe Yung Gravy (somehow spelling it Yung really changes it for me) would want to get with Meghan Trainor. She’s looking good, he’s into snow cougars, maybe he’s a chaser of former chubby pop singers. I’m not denigrating here, I’m looking to make the world a better place. Like Mark Zuckerberg, who is just special special special. This first tune, Knockout, has poppy horns with standard hip hop beats without being too trap. Mr. Gravy will take your bitch and/or fuck your sister every day. For real, he raps that. Nasty Gravy Boy. BTW, Yung Gravy is a white boy, one that will fuck your sister every day. I’m going to check this third tune as DRAM raps on this one then I’m going to tip cuz Yung Gravy has an annoying flow on the mic and his music is trash. He vanilla ice creams the arrangements so I can understand how he has drawn non hip hop fans to him, but he’s trash.

YTD recordings listened to: 259
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 137
Not good music: 113

Best: 5
Honorable Mentions: 4

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, 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, A Tribe Called Quest, Noname, Gouge Away, Klara Lewis, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Oddisee, Forro in the Dark, RAM, Fiver, Dona Onete, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Priests, Propaganda, This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez, Integrity, Tuba Skinny, The Expanders, Converge, Open Mike Eagle, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Tal National, Portal, Hernan Sama & Marcelo von Schultz, Jean Grae and Quelle Chris

Music for 5/9/18!!! Bokani Dyer Trio, Damien Jurado, Jon Hopkins

@@@ Bokani Dyer Trio: Neo Native (Self-released, 2018) I got to this jazz record via the London Jazz blog. I’m assuming, hopefully correctly, that with a name like Bokani the leader of this trio is either African or of African descent. The instrumentation is piano, bass and drums and it’s pretty straightforward straight jazz. Some nice contemplative beginnings that segue into more energetic solos. I’m not a huge straight jazz fan, I was hoping for more African music influences in the record, he didn’t do that and there’s a lot of other stuff for me to listen to and folks who might be interested in checking him out.

@@@ Damien Jurado: The Horizon Just Laughed (Secretly Canadian, 2018) There are three pre-release tracks up on Apple Music from this record that I saw listed on last week’s All Music notable release email. I really loved Mariqopa which was a few years ago and I dig Jurado’s voice. This first tune is like a Neil Young song with some Curtis Mayfield strings in the back, it’s a good track with a melancholy vibe. Again I really like his voice so that puts it over for me. He’s got a pretty ’70s sound going for the record and this second pre-release tune, Percy Faith, is more upbeat for the cubicle dwellers. The three tunes I’ve checked have been solid, I’m not particularly jumping up and down but I don’t think that’s what this record is trying to do.

@@@ Jon Hopkins: Singularity (Domino, 2018) Also off last week’s All Music notable release email and this first tune opens up electro epic with a sheer wall of insect-y/staticky noise mixed with feedback-y synth sound with a bass synth that slowly fades up in volume. It’s ambient and groovy at the same time, two things I like. The two undergoes a fairly significant evolution over the course of its six minutes but it’s smooth and enjoyable. The second tune starts out more ethereally with some higher register arpeggiated synths a little of a New Age/Lord of the Rings vibe. Hopkins is clearly an experienced arranger. Myself I prefer the darker pieces and I’m going to swing back and listen to this record all the way through when I have the time. The opening track, my favorite of what I heard is clipped below.

YTD recordings listened to: 253
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 135
Not good music: 109

Best: 5
Honorable Mentions: 4

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, 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, A Tribe Called Quest, Noname, Gouge Away, Klara Lewis, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Oddisee, Forro in the Dark, RAM, Fiver, Dona Onete, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Priests, Propaganda, This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez, Integrity, Tuba Skinny, The Expanders, Converge, Open Mike Eagle, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Tal National, Portal, Hernan Sama & Marcelo von Schultz, Jean Grae and Quelle Chris