Music for 12/8/17!!! Common Kings, Algiers, Downtown Boys

@@@ Common Kings: Lost in Paradise (Island Empire, 2017) A blue eyed sounding reggae record I got to via a music publicist email. I hate to do it but I have to issue an annoying singer alert. I don’t enjoy his loverboy flow, but that’s just me, I sport no vajayjay. A couple more tracks but I don’t want to get lost in this. The production is crazy bright, nay, let us say it is absolutely flourescent. This is strictly for frat boys who can’t dance.

@@@ Algiers: The Underside of Power (Matador, 2017) This is one of All Music’s top 70 records of 2017 and it’s an aggro electronic funk record. At least the opener is. The singer is completely losing it over a nice beat. Let’s peep more. I like the singer a whole bunch but he could use some help with the arrangements as a drum machine and a distorted bass/synth ain’t gonna get him over the hump. I like the combination of the sounds, but I wanted more storm and power coming from the music.

@@@ Downtown Boys: Cost of Living (Sub Pop, 2017) Also off the All Music top records of 2017. The first tune is pretty standard old school punk rock. I like the female singer a lot, she’s losing it very stylishly. I wish the band would hit it harder but I’m not in charge of that. Ooh, she’s even more ragged in the second tune, nice work! Myself, I’m more in the mood for some peak Sleater-Kinney estrogen exploding/female fury but that’s a big ask. I would ask the band to help the singer out by losing your shit in the same manner. I remember when I was a darned kid, back in the ’20s, we enjoyed a good losing of the nut, you know Bad Brains and what not. I guess that’s out of style.

YTD recordings listened to: 782
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 421
Not good music: 323

Buys: 9
Honorable Mentions: 7

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, Gentleman Surfer, 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, Magrudergrind, A Tribe Called Quest, Noname, Gouge Away, Anna Hogberg, Klara Lewis, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, James Brandon Lewis, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, J.I.D., Oddisee, Forro in the Dark, RAM, Fiver, Dona Onete, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Priests, Propaganda, This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez, Integrity, American Lips, Sudan Archives, Tuba Skinny, The Expanders, Benjamin Booker, Irreversible Entanglements, Converge, Boubacare Traore, Les Filles De Illighadad, Curtis Harding, Les Amazones D’Afrique

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Music for 12/7/17!!! Protomartyr, Vince Staples, King Krule

@@@ Protomartyr: Relatives in Descent (Domino, 2017) Take an art school lounge-y singer and put him in a hipster Devo type of band with a quasi frantic drummer and you pretty much have the opening tune of this record. The second tune, Here is the Thing, is slightly more aggressive and I dig the drummer a whole bunch while thinking the guitar player needs a Red Bull or two. A little crunch would work for me, but that’s just me. The crunch comes up on the fourth tune but I don’t feel it. I got to this via the Guardian’s top 50 of the year, they’re now on the 20-30 top recordings.

@@@ Vince Staples: Big Fish Theory (Def Jam/UMG, 2017) I don’t think I caught this hip hop record during the year but it made it to the Guardian’s list so it triggers a listen. Ooh, this first tune is hot with a blend of club sounds, glitch and tight focused rhymes. The second tune switches to a midtempo party track though Staples’ superior microphone work keeps it moving briskly. The third tune, Love Can Be…. goes full dancefloor with fat kick four on the floor, synth bass, and funky non-skitter beats. Whoever did the beats on this record has crazy ass skills, but I dug the first tune most. (Clipped below)

@@@ King Krule: The Ooz (True Panther, 2017) Also off the Guardian’s best of 2017 list. A mash of various influences in this first tune — downtempo, jazz/blues/soul guitar vamps, and lounge. It’s a mood for sure — unsettled, hip, and alienated but in a completely non-rock aesthetic. Let’s peep more! The second tune unfolds in a similar lush, dark vein. It’s trippy and dissatisfied. The third tune, Dum Surfer (clipped below) has 2 million views on YouTube which is not a little gets the full peep. It’s an interesting stew and I can’t say that I love it or hate it. I don’t like all the reverb on the vocals but I like the beats and the guitar. Check it for yourself.

YTD recordings listened to: 782
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 421
Not good music: 323

Buys: 9
Honorable Mentions: 7

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, Gentleman Surfer, 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, Magrudergrind, A Tribe Called Quest, Noname, Gouge Away, Anna Hogberg, Klara Lewis, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, James Brandon Lewis, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, J.I.D., Oddisee, Forro in the Dark, RAM, Fiver, Dona Onete, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Priests, Propaganda, This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez, Integrity, American Lips, Sudan Archives, Tuba Skinny, The Expanders, Benjamin Booker, Irreversible Entanglements, Converge, Boubacare Traore, Les Filles De Illighadad, Curtis Harding, Les Amazones D’Afrique

Music for 12/6/17!!! Les Amazones D’Afrique, Powerdance, Cloud Nothings

@@@ Les Amazones D’Afrique: Republique Amazone (Real World, 2017) I heard the single from this record but I never peeped it til now as it’s in the top 50 Guardian records of 2017. This first tune is great with fat bass, trippy vocals and some righteous hand drumming added to the main beats. I like this second tune as it relaxes into a betwixt slow and midtempo groove. I don’t usually like the records with tons of guest vocalists but these are all women and the tracks are tight and unified. I would contrast the funkiness of this record with the African record with the Kronos Quartet strings on it. This is a mash as well, but it’s less uptight and high end with a high funk quotient. This record will end up on my year end list, check it out!

@@@ Powerdance: A Safe and Happy Place (Powerdance, 2017) A white boy disco banger off the Guardian’s top 50 of 2017) It definitely does not have the funk of the Les Amazones record but it’s aimed at the Wonder Bread crowd. Four on the floor, big simple vocals and a propulsive guitar line. It’s a pretty skeletal arrangement and I don’t think the vocalist has the chops to get it airborne. Check for yourself. It pumps harder at the outro but that energy should have been moved forward.

@@@ Cloud Nothings: Life Without Sound (Carpark, 2017) Pop punk off the Guardian list. I usually associate the pop punk with uptempo sing-a-long business but this first tune is not full on and it sports some more reflective chord progressions. I like it. The second tune does bring more tempo and classic pop punk but it’s not mindless without going straight to emo. I’m not a huge pop punk guy but this is a good specimen for the genre. The singer is pretty straightforward — sometimes the singer is so popped out I want to beat ’em with a 2X4 but this guy plays it straight — neight overwrought, nor too ironic, just songs with no bullshit sauce.

YTD recordings listened to: 779
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 419
Not good music: 322

Buys: 9
Honorable Mentions: 7

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, Gentleman Surfer, 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, Magrudergrind, A Tribe Called Quest, Noname, Gouge Away, Anna Hogberg, Klara Lewis, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, James Brandon Lewis, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, J.I.D., Oddisee, Forro in the Dark, RAM, Fiver, Dona Onete, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Priests, Propaganda, This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez, Integrity, American Lips, Sudan Archives, Tuba Skinny, The Expanders, Benjamin Booker, Irreversible Entanglements, Converge, Boubacare Traore, Les Filles De Illighadad, Curtis Harding, Les Amazones D’Afrique

Music for 12/5/17!!! Trio Da Kali/Kronos Quartet, Lisa Knapp, Mount Eerie

@@@ Trio da Kali & Kronos Quartet (World Circuit, 2017) The Guardian is out with the beginning of their top 50 records of 2017. I don’t usually like these mashes of African music with Western music but I’m nothing if not open eared. And really fun to be around. I also don’t like chocolate in my peanut butter. On this first tune the Kronos Quartet plays the role of garnish on a plate of African food, which works but it’s not equal billing. A few string flourishes in an African arrangement with a female singer. I’m on the third tune and it remains pretty much the same and the question you ask yourself is the addition of Kronos Quartet string flourishes make this a favorite African record of the year? Not to me. It’s pretty staid in tempo and I prefer the burning African music and this appears to be designed to draw non-African music listeners to the genre. Just as I write that the marimba player takes a burning solo, you shoulda put that tune first fellas.

@@@ Lisa Knapp: Til April is Dead – A Garland of May (Ear to the Ground, 2017) A throwback British folk record updated and bestowed with a modern chopped and looped feel. It’s a creative aesthetic decision I must say as I’m not very interested in May Day but I’m listening. The instrumentation is pretty standard for this style of music — hand drums, acoustic guitars, drones, lots of samples, male co-singers and Ms. Knapp’s waif singing. I can see how Brits would really get into this fusing of newer musical production techniques combined with their music heritage but check it out on this side of the pond.

@@@ Mount Eerie: A Crow Looked at Me (P.W. Elverum, 2017) An indie reflection about the death of a musician’s wife. For once I can say the slack vibe is justified and works well for the mostly raw lyrics and the subject matter. It’s mostly the singer, the lyrics and an acoustic guitar. I could have used some drums or other instrumentation just to offset and contrast the slack. This record is #47 on the Guardian’s top 50 of the year. Check out the fifth tune Swims for the full misery tour.

YTD recordings listened to: 776
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 418
Not good music: 321

Buys: 9
Honorable Mentions: 7

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, Gentleman Surfer, 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, Magrudergrind, A Tribe Called Quest, Noname, Gouge Away, Anna Hogberg, Klara Lewis, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, James Brandon Lewis, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, J.I.D., Oddisee, Forro in the Dark, RAM, Fiver, Dona Onete, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Priests, Propaganda, This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez, Integrity, American Lips, Sudan Archives, Tuba Skinny, The Expanders, Benjamin Booker, Irreversible Entanglements, Converge, Boubacare Traore, Les Filles De Illighadad, Curtis Harding

Music for 12/1/17!!! The Melodians, L’Attirail

@@@ The Melodians: The Return of the Melodians (TWT, 2017) Super updated and smoothed out reggae from an old school reggae outfit. I got to this record via this week’s WRIR playlist email. For those not deep into the reggae this opening track really makes you hear how reggae came out of soul music. This singer is full on American r&b. I like the second tune more but I’ve really grown to love the gritty and somewhat murky production of those old school records as there’s something missing here as a result of the modern production.

@@@ L’Attirail: La Part Du Hasard (CSB Productions, 2017) I’m overseas and I can’t easily get to the English Google though I think part of the problem is I just turned on a bunch of privacy features and now I think they’re fucking with me. As far as I can tell from the interwebs this is a mash of Balkan and French music influences. It also has a little rock and a wee bit of country up in here as well. There is some nice horn playing going on here but the focus is on the guitars and sweet midtempo instrumentals. I hear at least a couple of guitar tracks going on here and I’m feeling this fourth tune, La Main du Mort.

YTD recordings listened to: 773
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 415
Not good music: 321

Buys: 9
Honorable Mentions: 7

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, Gentleman Surfer, 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, Magrudergrind, A Tribe Called Quest, Noname, Gouge Away, Anna Hogberg, Klara Lewis, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, James Brandon Lewis, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, J.I.D., Oddisee, Forro in the Dark, RAM, Fiver, Dona Onete, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Priests, Propaganda, This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez, Integrity, American Lips, Sudan Archives, Tuba Skinny, The Expanders, Benjamin Booker, Irreversible Entanglements, Converge, Boubacare Traore, Les Filles De Illighadad, Curtis Harding

 

Music for 11/30/17!!! Benin City, Poppy Ajudha, Melis

@@@ Benin City: All Smoke, No Fire (Moshi Moshi, 2018) A pre-release electronic single off the Line of the Best Fit tracks of the week. Ah, after a somewhat menacing British MC, some hip hop skitter breaks out. It’s hard to say if this is hip hop or not but I do appreciate that this track is about gentrification. You’re flat is in my dancehall, you’re parking in my market, that’s a great line. It’s got a pretty insistent pong keyboard arrangement that drives me a tad crazy and the MC gives way to a singer and then back so it’s got some disorientation built into it, but I dug the spirit.

@@@ Poppy Ajudha: Tepid Soul (Poppy Ajudha, 2017) Another single off the Line of Best Fit. More of a chill track than the first firestarter. Female singer, mellow guitar, trippy keyboard, and a beat that’s a couple of steps above lounge. Soak your hands in my tepid soul, I can’t really get a handle on what that line means as it’s the hook. I’m pretty sure using the word tepid in a vocal hook is not the greatest idea.

@@@ Melis: Parallels (Virtuous Sound, 2017) Serious pop off the same Line of Best Fit tracks of the week. Female singer keeping it trim and together until the exploding slightly kaleidoscopic chorus. More like pop/adult alternative as the cheese factor is there but it’s lower than mainstream pop. Let’s peep a bit more. The second track opens up with piano and more fragile singing. The third track sinks deeper into the bad relationship feelings. This one is for the aggrieved ladies.

YTD recordings listened to: 771
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 413
Not good music: 321

Buys: 9
Honorable Mentions: 7

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, Gentleman Surfer, 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, Magrudergrind, A Tribe Called Quest, Noname, Gouge Away, Anna Hogberg, Klara Lewis, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, James Brandon Lewis, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, J.I.D., Oddisee, Forro in the Dark, RAM, Fiver, Dona Onete, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Priests, Propaganda, This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez, Integrity, American Lips, Sudan Archives, Tuba Skinny, The Expanders, Benjamin Booker, Irreversible Entanglements, Converge, Boubacare Traore, Les Filles De Illighadad, Curtis Harding

 

Music for 11/29/17!!! Futuro de Hierro, blackbear, Shenandoah Davis, Holy

@@@ Futuro de Herrio: Paso en el Vacio (Majia Rojo, 2017) I was contacted by this small European label about a review of this release. It opens up with an industrial dance groove, some feedback squalls and a gent somewhat losing it on the microphone. I’m feeling these random sheets of aggro guitar/guitar-like squeals. I like this second track called A veces somos uno as the vocals are made more abstract with processing and they are set lower in the mix. I like the sounds on this record, dark and tough, but I didn’t enjoy the vocal work as much. Check it for yourself, especially the second tune.

@@@ blackbear: anxiety (Interscope, 2017) Off the Apple Music hot tracks section this is an electro pop record with tons of hip hop MCs as guest vocalists. The production is meticulous and occasionally creative but otherwise it surely puts caramel on the rotten apple of any sort of real life anxiety. Lots of chopped and synthed vocals. He’s anxious without her love, blah blah blah.

@@@ Shenandoah Davis: The Wings (Plume Records, 2017) An indie recycling of early ’60s dramatic pop. Davis has a thinnish (not Finnish) voice but the string flourishes are the star here. They are reverbed and panned wide for epic effect. There are drums but placed back in the mix so it’s her sweet voice and the strings and maybe some electro garnish tucked back there. Could be an organ, hard to tell, insert joke here. I got to this via a music publicist email.

@@@ Holy: Heard Her (Pnkslm, 2017) A pre-release single I got to via Line of Best Fit’s tracks of the week. It’s a bombastic, Beatles influenced psychedelic Brit rock track. I have no idea if they are Brits or not. Not the tooth grinding psychedelic business — it has plenty of guitar crunch (and some really nice drumming) with spacious organ to balance shit out. I’m not jumping up and down but it’s a quality tune well put together with really good energy.

YTD recordings listened to: 768
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 411
Not good music: 320

Buys: 9
Honorable Mentions: 7

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, Gentleman Surfer, 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, Magrudergrind, A Tribe Called Quest, Noname, Gouge Away, Anna Hogberg, Klara Lewis, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, James Brandon Lewis, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, J.I.D., Oddisee, Forro in the Dark, RAM, Fiver, Dona Onete, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Priests, Propaganda, This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez, Integrity, American Lips, Sudan Archives, Tuba Skinny, The Expanders, Benjamin Booker, Irreversible Entanglements, Converge, Boubacare Traore, Les Filles De Illighadad, Curtis Harding