Music for 2/14/19!!! Cass McCombs, Seun Kuti

@@@ Cass McCombs: Tip of the Sphere (Anti-, 2019) Mostly mainstream rock but with a slack, indie vibe to it. The singer sounds awfully like Jackson Browne, it’s almost spooky. The second tune gets into a more rocking and country flow but it’s certainly not gonna muss anyone’s hair up. The sounds are good, the playing is clean and well done, but the arrangements are extremely familiar to my ears and I don’t love the singer. Is it old fashioned to want your rock to have a little rock in it? This is just a bit too comforting for me, it feels like baby food. His formula works best on the third tune, Estrella.

@@@ Seun Kuti: Black Times (Strut, 2018) I was going through some old All Music notable release emails and saw this one from early 2018. Gotta balance the white and black musics folks. It’s a pretty classic Afrobeat formula with a big ass horn section, a couple of guitar players and background singers. It’s interesting he had Carlos Santana come and shred on the title track and it really freshens the Afrobeat stew, I dig it. I don’t know if I’m up for almost ten minutes of Carlos but it’s good. I like the title of the third tune, Corporate Public Control Department. The band puts out a lot of energy and I like the record without loving it. Very trick horn lines, the singer is on the low energy side and it’s not Tony Allen on the kit. My favorite Afrobeat has Tony Allen on the kit.

YTD recordings listened to: 85
Good music, not list worthy: 48
Not good music: 33

Best: 0
Honorable Mentions: 0

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, 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, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Portal, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton, Parquet Courts, Moskus, Kendl Winter, Tkay Maidza, Barro, Daniel Khan, Tallawit Timbouctou, Sumac, Tropical Fuck Storm, Harriet Tubman, Ammar 808, Anais Maviel

Music for 2/10/19!!! Aaron Porter, AJ Tracey

@@@ Aaron Porter: I Wanna Let Love (Bigger, 2019) A dramatical, mid tempo LGBTQ ballad I got to via one of the NYC mailing lists that has a lot of club and LGBTQ music on it. It had a great line — I wanna let love fuck me up, that’s good hook. The sounds are very up to date modern and partialy dance floor banger sounds but it is a ballad. A big over the top feelings bomb with lots of vocal tracks.

@@@ AJ Tracey: AJ Tracey (AJ Tracey, 2019) A gent from London mixing a lot of sonic influences. I got to this via Flavorpill or Line of Best Fit, same as the track above. I find UK rhyming to be kinda funny, I guess it’s my own limitations. They just don’t sound as rough as American dudes but I understand it’s an arbitrary opinion. The sounds here are a little dancehall with some hip hop influences as well as club sounds. The second tune has interesting quasi-African guitar line and world music flavors. It’s a really interesting arrangement but the rhymes, I can’t get past it. The third tune, Rina, is a booty anthem and I am impressed with the productions and the sounds.

YTD recordings listened to: 76
Good music, not list worthy: 42
Not good music: 30

Best: 0
Honorable Mentions: 0

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, 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, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Portal, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton, Parquet Courts, Moskus, Kendl Winter, Tkay Maidza, Barro, Daniel Khan, Tallawit Timbouctou, Sumac, Tropical Fuck Storm, Harriet Tubman, Ammar 808, Anais Maviel

Music for 2/5/19!!! Anais Maviel, John Maus

@@@ Anais Maviel: Diaspora (Diaspora, 2018) An r&b artist that I got to via the show announcement letter at the adventurous music venue Roulette in the Brooklyn. Because Maviel is appearing at Roulette it’s fair to assume this will not be standard r&b. This first tune is a combination of improvised percussion and vocalizing as well as some drum machine looping and sample looping. I dig it all right as it’s a very uncommon combination of sounds and vibe to the track. There is also a Latin feel to the proceedings. It’s interesting that this music also has an intimate, lo-fi bedroom indie vibe you often hear from the tight jean crowd but Maviel’s musical skills and the exploratory lengths of the tracks make this deeper music. Indie hipsters should check this out as this is how you take mainstream sounds including drum machines and make something interesting.

@@@ John Maus: Addendum (Ribbon, 2018) An avant indie dude I got to via the Flavorpill weekly email. This first tune is rooted in ’80s synth rock with what I assume to be ironic lyrics about ‘Mr. Moneybags doesn’t know shit about outer space.’ That’s a good line. I really am not a big fan of many of the sounds here but his humorous lyrics really make the sounds more palatable to my ear. Drum machine, simple bass playing, reverbed lyrics and lots of synth sparkle and cloud action. That’s what you’re signing up for.

YTD recordings listened to: 72
Good music, not list worthy: 38
Not good music: 30

Best: 0
Honorable Mentions: 0

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, 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, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Portal, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton, Parquet Courts, Moskus, Kendl Winter, Tkay Maidza, Barro, Daniel Khan, Tallawit Timbouctou, Sumac, Tropical Fuck Storm, Harriet Tubman, Ammar 808, Anais Maviel

Music for 1/28/19 Gong Gong III, Julia Kent, Florence and the Machine

@@@ Gong Gong III: Siren (N/A, 2018) Some punk blues (and bass) with a Chinese language singer that sounds all right. I got to this 2 song EP via a gig email from Flavorpill. It’s not full on filthy ass white trash business but it does get rougher around the 3 minute mark of the first tune. The second tune is similar but brisker in tempo. I really like the vocals in Chinese but I think they could use a syringe of Red Bull in the eye. Who doesn’t need one of those?

@@@ Julia Kent: Temporal (The Leaf Label, 2019) I got to this neo classical recording via this week’s All Music notable release email. The first tune is very reminiscent of a lot of electronic music coming out. Sparse, some echoes and acoustic instruments with an emphasis on space. The second tune could be out of any number of documentaries again with sparseness and drones and a mellow pulse. I like this music but it doesn’t really stand out against a lot of what’s out there. It’s positive to see folks on both sides of the equation mixing classical sounds and electronic sounds as it’s a sensible aesthetic idea.

@@@ Florence and the Machine: Moderation (EMI, 2019) I haven’t quite gotten the gist of Florence and the Machine. I guess it’s a major label recycled blues rock kinda thing. Florence can sing but the production is unnecessarily clean for a rock track. IMHO. I’m not a huge Adele fan but she sings poor Florence into the crapper.

YTD recordings listened to: 58
Good music, not list worthy: 34
Not good music: 23

Best: 0
Honorable Mentions: 0

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, 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, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Portal, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton, Parquet Courts, Moskus, Kendl Winter, Tkay Maidza, Barro, Daniel Khan, Tallawit Timbouctou, Sumac, Tropical Fuck Storm, Harriet Tubman, Ammar 808

Music for 1/22/19!!! Deerhunter, Sharon Van Etten, The Killers

@@@ Deerhunter: Why hasn’t everything already disappeared? (4AD, 2019) It’s indie Tuesday so get your flavored coffee and tight jeans out. I have actually enjoyed Deerhunter records in the past though that may not be the case as I get them confused with Deer tick, and Deer Hoof. Oy, those indie confuzinators. I think I’m thinking of a different Deer band, I don’t think this is going to go well for me. It’s better than Taylor Swift’s last record, I’ll give them that. This first tune appears to be an uplifting rock thing with a crushed drum sound and a quasi-Beatleesque vocal melody. There’s a raucous outro with a big sounding guitar solo which I’m enjoying. The second tune continues the bright rock theme and I think we’re onto the formula for the record. It’s all right music, I’m not super in the mood for it, but I guess people like the comforting arms of something like this. I would rather go burn someone’s house down.

@@@ Sharon Van Etten: Remind Me Tomorrow (Jagjaguwar, 2019) Also off this week’s All Music notable release email. Apple Music has this blurbed as spooky maximalism which I don’t think I have a frickin’ clue about. This first tune has to be inspired by John Lennon’s first solo record. Piano, detached voice, alienation, etc. The sounds are pretty engaging but part of me is not attached to it. The second tune moves into a higher tempo and a more rocking vibe. I don’t think I’ve ever really enjoyed Van Etten’s voice — I can’t say anything specifically about it but I don’t connect with it. I’m getting a sense of what spooky maximalism might sound like. There are a lot of little flourishes and background melodies that give the tunes a more orchestral feel. Not overtly necessarily but it’s hyperproduced in a way. And in the middle of it sits her low energy voice, I guess that’s it.

@@@ The Killers: Land of the Free (Island/UMG, 2019) I briefly cruised a blog post about this track so peep I will. It starts out all Bruce Hornsby and shit. Piano and meaningful. Oh boy, here’s the giant choir in the back. I appreciate the sentiments here but it’s like getting a good veggie burger but the shit is just drowning in so much shitty cheese you can’t appreciate the burger. Naimsayin’? Power chords, climax, rockin’ it, choirs, blech and phooey. I am certainly no defining voice of woke, but woke folks (imho) don’t need to be pandered to in this manner. The sounds work against the sentiments.

YTD recordings listened to: 47
Good music, not list worthy: 28
Not good music: 18

Best: 0
Honorable Mentions: 0

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, 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, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Portal, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton, Parquet Courts, Moskus, Kendl Winter, Tkay Maidza, Barro, Daniel Khan, Tallawit Timbouctou, Sumac, Tropical Fuck Storm, Harriet Tubman, Ammar 808

Music for 1/3/19!!! Alice Bag, Ammar 808

@@@ Alice Bag: Blueprint (Don Giovanni, 2018) #44 on the NPR best of 2018. I believe these are Latinx punk rockers doing some old school guitar bashing and with piles of vocal hooks up on there. At least this first track. The second track takes more a mainstream rock approach which is fine but I’m always up for some female anger punk. This is more for the NPR folks. I would recommend Gouge Away’s new record over this as well as some old X records if you really crave this style. I like the identity politics of this and I’m up for non white female punk rock for sure but the record doesn’t grab me the way I want it to, but that’s just me.

@@@ Ammar 808: Maghreb United (Glitterbeat, 2018) This is #39 on NPR’s best of 2018 and I was going to spew some more anti-NPR business but this record is on Glitterbeat and Glitterbeat is a worthwhile imprint so let’s check this bad boy out. It’s North African business and I’m a huge fan of North African, African, and Middle Eastern music. This first tune brings the four on the floor funk with some some additional hand drumming and some group singing. We’re just gonna sample some of these dishes as I have a feeling this album is gonna work for me though this second tune doesn’t have the drive of the first and I like the freight train pushing. They’re back with the hard hitting on the third track and I’m going to circle back on this record when I have the chance.

YTD recordings listened to: 6
Good music, not list worthy: 5
Not good music: 0

Best: 0
Honorable Mentions: 0

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, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Portal, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton, Parquet Courts, Moskus, Kendl Winter, Tkay Maidza, Barro, Daniel Khan, Tallawit Timbouctou, Sumac, Tropical Fuck Storm, Harriet Tubman, Ammar 808

Music for 12/18/18!!! Lonnie Holley, U.S. Girls

@@@ Lonnie Holley: MITH (Jagjaguwar, 2018) I’m intrigued as to how a black cat at this age got on a hipster imprint like Jagjiggedjaguwarnicious. He’s got a strange and slightly nasal voice that I dig and this first tune puts that into a chill keyboard centric arrangement. He’s taking the non-confrontational route to putting songs with titles like ‘I Snuck off a Slave Ship’ and ‘I Woke Up in a Fucked Up America’ out into the universe. This is the most startling lounge singer piano record I’ve heard in a long ass time. I appreciate his boldness and the sounds he puts with his lyrics are extremely unusual. My only criticism is that the tunes are all kinda long and rambly so I find it detracts a bit from what I think he’s trying to do. However, I give props to the formula and it’s an extremely creative set of decisions he made here.

@@@ U.S. Girls: In a Poem Unlimited (4AD, 2018) Released in February and brought back for U.S. Today’s best of 2018 list. I have not heard anything on 4AD that I’ve loved since the Pixies! This first tune is an indie funk kinda thing — slinky funk rock beat, some wah wah guitar, and a sexiness that is attempted but not convincing. At least to me. The second tune, Rage of Plastics, is a similar but with a different anchoring beat. I’m feeling like this is an attempt to turn the ABBA sound into an indie effort with concious lyrics. I’m not super into it but I get that we all have different tastes.

YTD recordings listened to: 694
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 375
Not good music: 268

Best: 16
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, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Portal, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton, Parquet Courts, Moskus, Kendl Winter, Tkay Maidza, Barro, Daniel Khan, Tallawit Timbouctou, Sumac, Tropical Fuck Storm, Harriet Tubman