Music for 11/16/18!!! The Writhing Squares, Les Gruff and the Billy Goat, Sydney Wright

@@@ The Writhing Squares: A Whole New Jupiter (N/A, 2018) I got to this jazz/psych almost 20+ blast via an email from a musician who is playing a show with them. The bandcamp description explains that it is constructed from bass, sax, and drum machines and other bits and bobs. It slips between normal genre descriptions as it’s a wee bit fusion-y, a little jazzy, a little psych, and a little electro. It also a bit of a jam band feel as it meanders (in a good way) through its 20 minute orbit. I really dig the bass sound, I like the sax playing without loving it. It connects back to ’70s prog/jazz jams. I like the set of sounds but I could use a bit more action.

@@@ Les Gruff and the Billy Goat: Evil Dancers (N/A, 2018). I got to this alt country business via a music publicist email. It’s a down out and drunken regret tune with a slightly atypically pretty sounding male singer. He’s got no gruffness and he’s not overtly manly which I find refreshing. The band is solid with a mournful fiddle line, some twangy tremolo guitar and more than a bit of rock in the drummer. He goes from sadness to bitterness as the tune moves through its paces. I like the sounds and all the components but I think it’s a bit long for my taste. The fiddle and piano solos are my favorite elements.

@@@ Sydney Wright: Wait for the Wave (N/A, 2018) I got to this music by a recording engineer in Austin, TX from a music publicist email. It still confounds me how music publicists operate out in the open yet their influence remains unacknowledged and undenounced. At the very least bloggers and music writers should acknowledge their machinations. This is a ballad with piano and torchy vocals. There are some nice sonic goodies tucked in here — a nice swirling guitar figure foremost in my ear. It’s a bit dramatical but that could be because I’m dead inside. Lyrically it employs a metaphor of waiting for a wave to crash over her. There ya go, not much to say to that. It’s an undercover pop tune with a brief giant, arena rock climax at the end. Have at it if it sounds good to you.

YTD recordings listened to: 644
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 350
Not good music: 254

Best: 11
Honorable Mentions: 8

Possibles: Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, Slidhr, The Chewers, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Lozen, Erase Errata, Mastery, 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, Klara Lewis, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Oddisee, RAM, Fiver, 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, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton, Parquet Courts, Orlando Lopez, Moskus, Kendl Winter, Tkay Maidza, Marianne Faithfull, Gouge Away, Barro

Music for 11/8/18!!! Fucked Up, Jerusalem in my heart, Frontperson

@@@ Fucked Up: Dose Your Dreams (Merge, 2018) Matador mainstays drop a classic punk biscuit on the Merge imprint. They’ve added a few non punk touches like a little horn here and there as well as some synths and interestingly a female background vocal chorus. The singer sounds a whole bunch like an old school cigarettes and whiskey shredded windpipe hard living fella. It’s a concept record/song cycle but I’m listening to it as tunes because I can’t grok the singer when he’s going quickly on the mic. These guys are obviously tight as fuck and know what they can do in a studio having been around the block more than once — I like the tunes without loving them. The fifth tune, Normal People (clipped below), is the best of what I heard.

@@@ Jerusalem in My Heart: Daqa’iq Tudaiq (Constellation, 2018) Contemporary Arabic music mixed with electronic music or contemporary Arabic electronic music, I’m not really sure. I’m on the third tune and it’s more contemporary Arabic music with some electronic music garnishes. I’m not sure regular readers caught the excellent Arabic electronic record Acid Arab out on Crammed Discs last year but it’s not that. These days I’m more up for the integrated smashup of Arabic melodies and electronic music and this flirts with that more than goes fully into it. If you like Arabic music check it out, if you like electronic music check out Acid Arab.

@@@ Frontperson – Frontrunner (Oscar St) All of today’s releases I got to via the weekly CFUV playlist email. This one is more straight indie with a symphonic feel and a serious tone. This is not a beer can smashing party here at all. The second tune switches up into a more Crosby, Stills, and Nash vocal harmonies thing. I’m struggling to find the right adjectives to describe the vibe of this record. It’s not art school, it’s not proggy, it’s partially indie, not particularly folky but it’s a lot of sophisticated harmonies over a mostly straight indie band. I guess it’s an old school hippie/indie record. I like some of the singing and it’s an interesting formula they’re using.

YTD recordings listened to: 631
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 340
Not good music: 253

Best: 11
Honorable Mentions: 7

Possibles: Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, Slidhr, The Chewers, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Lozen, Erase Errata, Mastery, 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, RAM, Fiver, 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, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton, Parquet Courts, Orlando Lopez, Moskus, Kendl Winter, Tkay Maidza, Peregoyo y su Combo vacana, Marianne Faithfull

Music for 11/5/18!!! Eva B. Ross, Vagina Lips, Ariana Grande

@@@ Eva B. Ross: Nick’s House (N/A, 2018) I got to this alternative rock pre-release single via a midwestern music publicist. It comes out mellow at a mostly slack tempo and it’s a pretty minimalist affair with a breathy female singer. It sounds a whole bunch like a Carly Simon after she’s had a huge plate of soul food. Modern production touches and some nice guitar sounds.

@@@ Vagina Lips: This is a Good Life (Inner Ear, 2018) I periodically review releases from this Greek label so why not Vagina Lips? It gets into a modified shoegaze shitshow right out of the gate. Touches of mope/goth with the singer instead of the common shoegaze dreamy singer. It’s actually closer to Sonic Youth than shoegaze. A lot of energy with a vocal hook that could have been used a bit less.

@@@ Ariana Grande: Thank U, Next (UMG, 2018) This is how 21st century fame branding works. You’re supposed to follow Ariana Grande’s personal life and her quick and failed relationship with comedian Pete Davidson and that makes you want to check out her music. But I’m guessing before I hit the play button that if you listen to it as a song, it’s gonna be ho hum. But if you love Ariana and she’s your girl…. oh Ariana, she’s learned so much from her men. One taught her love, one taught her patience, and one taught her pain. Boy this young woman knows how to market herself in the most flattering manner possible. She’s so grateful! I like the beats, there’s not much in terms of arrangement and there are too many vocal tracks. Too many vocal tracks are a sign of our time.

YTD recordings listened to: 622
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 335
Not good music: 250

Best: 11
Honorable Mentions: 7

Possibles: Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, Slidhr, The Chewers, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Lozen, Erase Errata, Mastery, 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, RAM, Fiver, 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, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton, Parquet Courts, Orlando Lopez, Moskus, Kendl Winter, Tkay Maidza, Peregoyo y su Combo vacana

Music for 10/18/18!!! Elvis Costello, Kurt Vile, Georgia Ann Muldrow

@@@ Elvis Costello: Look Now (Concord, 2018).  I got to the new Elvis Costello record via this week’s All Music notable release email.  I’m on the fourth tune and my favorite moments thus far have been Costello’s singing.  The band plays well, they’re a great band — the songs are more mainstream and less funky than vintage era Costello/Attractions albums.  There are some parts of the instrumental arrangements that evoke late Beatles tunes, which is interesting.  I’m swinging back to this record overnight and I feel the same — while Costello brings the vocal energy of his youth the arrangements are a bit staid which makes sense as his fans are much older now.  At certain points the more orchestrated arrangements elevate the tunes and sometimes they hold it back a bit.

@@@ Kurt Vile: Bottle it In (Matador, 2018) To say that Kurt Vile is an indie darling is an understatement.  Indie world is balls deep and nuts over Vile.  This first tune sounds like an indie, updated Tom Petty type of rocker.  Very straightforward, a little slippy slide-y in his vocal delivery but very American rock.  You can close your eyes and hear this on classic FM radio.  The second tune brings on a version of crisp Strokes type rock with, oops I had the third track going and skipped the second one.  I’m a bit sorry I went back.  The formula is pretty clear here — mainstream rock arrangements for the masses and then Vile’s voice which is a piquant blend of slack and classic.  The tune clipped below is track 4 and I like it the least of what I heard.

@@@ Georgia Ann Muldrow: Overload (Brainfeeder, 2018). There are only two pre-release tracks up on the Apple Music but it’s a welcome relief to the Kurt Vile vanilla ice cream sundae.  This is not retro soul, it’s modern drum machine and synth sounds.  The tunes are midtempo and while I’m enjoying the sophisticated sonics of the mix there’s a certain coolness and detachment to the tune.  I’m most definitely enjoying the funkier second pre-release track, Aerosol, to the tune clipped below.  Hike your asses over to the GoogleTube yourself.

YTD recordings listened to: 584
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 311
Not good music: 238

Best: 9
Honorable Mentions: 6

Possibles: Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, Slidhr, The Chewers, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Lozen, Erase Errata, Mastery, 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, RAM, Fiver, 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, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton, Parquet Courts, Orlando Lopez, Moskus, Kendl Winter, Tkay Maidza, Peregoyo y su Combo vacana, serpentwithfeet

Music for 10/15/18!!! Neneh Cherry, SASAMI, Orkid, Bad Bunny

@@@ Neneh Cherry: Kong (Small Town Supersound, 2018). A pre-release single by ’80s singer Neneh Cherry.  Produced by 4tet who I am a fan of.  Not a fanboy, but a fan.  It’s a trip hop track with a dub baseline, a slow piano arpeggio, and some dark echo effects.  A simple open hi hat pattern with kick drum drive the tune.  The tune finds a nice groove but doesn’t progress much during it’s 4:24.  I could have used more than what is on offer.

@@@ SASAMI: Not the Time (Domino, 2018).  A shoe gaze single I got to via tracks of the week at Line of Best Fit.  The guitars a little less stormy than what you would expect and it has a keyboard, but the intimate and confessional vocals nestled in the middle of the mix are classic.  Solid B.

@@@ Orkid: No Noh (Shir, 2018). Mainstream electro pop off the Line of Best Fit tracks of the week.  Female singer doing an up and down melody, low medium funky drum machine beat, though there is a nice echo on one of the drums.  There’s not a lot to the arrangement outside of beat and the vocals so if you don’t like the singer (I’m not a huge fan) then you won’t jump and down over this.  As always, listen for yourself.

@@@ Bad Bunny: MIA (OVO, 2018). Drake breaks the internet as he appears on this Latin single and does his loverboy thing entirely in Spanish.  It’s good to see he’s as buttery soft in Spanish as he is in his native tongue.  Bad Bunny is pumping out the sugar for the ladies as well as this is almost Halloween candy for your ears.  There are some nice drum beat variations in the back end of the tune but this is pretty disposable as again there’s not much here after the beat, the baseline and the microphone work.

YTD recordings listened to: 578
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 308
Not good music: 235

Best: 9
Honorable Mentions: 6

Possibles: Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, Slidhr, The Chewers, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Lozen, Erase Errata, Mastery, 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, RAM, Fiver, 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, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton, Parquet Courts, Orlando Lopez, Moskus, Kendl Winter, Tkay Maidza, Peregoyo y su Combo vacana, serpentwithfeet

Music for 10/11/18!!! Tierra Whack, Tess Roby, Proc Fiskal

@@@ Tierra Whack: Whack World (Interscope, 2018) 15 1-minute hip hop songs that I got to from a best 25 records from the last 3 months at factmag.  I’m on the third minute and I like the brevity of the tunes and the tidbits have more of a melancholy flavor than a party vibe.  I don’t think the brevity and the melancholy are connected.  The jumps from one bit to the next are pleasantly jarring.  The sounds are very new, no retro hip hop happening here.  It’s like somebody hitting the fast forward every 1 minute.  I really like the tune 4 Wings.  I found it and shit!  Enjoy.

@@@ Tess Roby: Beacon (Italians Do It Better, 2018)  We switch gear from youthful African American female gloom hop to white people electronica.  It’s opening up with a sinuous guitar line and a Rush beat, not great as far as I’m concerned.  Then a singer — where is she from?  Montreal!  I love Montreal.  I think this is poor record sequence/placement on my part as the jump from those hip hop kibble and bits to this is not great.  This is low energy, not as funky, and just a wee bit……white.  And I say that as a human that used to be a white person.  I thought this was going to be an electronic record but it’s an indie rock record with an electronic U-haul attached to the back.

@@@ Proc Fiskal: Insula (Hyperdub, 2018).  This is an abstract electronic record I got to via the same best 25 records of the last three months.  It is most definitely chopped pretty roughly with plenty of processed vocal samples and bass ‘n drum type beats.  It is trying to be both funky and trippy and thus far I don’t think it’s hit either goal.  I want to like it as it aims for a place I enjoy listening to but it sounds a bit sterile and technical for my taste.  The arrangements are more than competent but it’s a nerd record.  Homie needs some doobie in his funk, imho.

YTD recordings listened to: 574
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 306
Not good music: 233

Best: 9
Honorable Mentions: 6

Possibles: Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, Slidhr, The Chewers, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Lozen, Erase Errata, Mastery, 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, RAM, Fiver, 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, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton, Parquet Courts, Orlando Lopez, Moskus, Kendl Winter, Tkay Maidza, Peregoyo y su Combo vacana, serpentwithfeet

Music for 10/9/18!!! Schlegelmilch, Goldberger and Black, KALETA AND SUPER YAMBA BAND, Ladama

@@@ Schlegelmilch, Goldberger & Black: Three of a Mind (Skirl, 2018) I got to this jazz record from a friend whose music teacher is on this recording. Instrumentation includes organ, guitar and drums and I’m psyched about that combination of sounds. This first tune has an indie rock flavor and is pretty straight ahead. The tune moves more firmly into a proggy area after the intro. The second tune, Chiseler, edges more deeply into prog and jazz neighborhoods. It is definitely spiritually related to Martin Medeski and Wood but more rocking than I remember that outfit being. I’ve sampled big bites of four of the tunes and I’m mostly neutral on this record. I like parts of it and not others.

@@@ KALETA AND SUPER YAMBA BAND: Mr. Diva / Hungry Man, Angry Man (Yamba, 2018) I came across a quick bio of this outfit and it’s New York city based with a senior figure in African music. It does sport classic Afrobeat horns, a couple of simple and funky guitar parts and then a gent rocking it in…..well he was born in Benin but grew up in Nigeria. It’s got funky beats, a solid guitar organ, and even some organ action. If you’re in the mood for the old school Afrobeat, have at it.

@@@ Ladama: Poor Macatu (Six Degrees, 2017) I got to this group of Latina female musicians from an email by an upstate New York media collective. This is the first track from their 2017 record Night Traveler and it is busting with energy. Multiple voices, a brisk tempo, and a full but not cluttered mix. Ah, they gave space for an accordion solo, you can’t fuck with that as far as I’m concerned. Other instruments include drum kit, hand percussion, electric bass, and nylon guitar. I associate the West Coast label Six Degrees with sleepytime tea world music so I was not expecting this level of energy. They rhyme, they chant, they sing together. I’m going to roll back and check out more of this record.

YTD recordings listened to: 571
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 304
Not good music: 231

Best: 9
Honorable Mentions: 6

Possibles: Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, Slidhr, The Chewers, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Lozen, Erase Errata, Mastery, 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, RAM, Fiver, 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, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton, Parquet Courts, Orlando Lopez, Moskus, Kendl Winter, Tkay Maidza, Peregoyo y su Combo vacana, serpentwithfeet