Music for 12/11/18!!! Yves Tumor, Balun, Kali Uchis

@@@ Yves Tumor: Safe in the Hands of Love (Warp, 2018) Today we spend a bit of time with Pitchfork’s most highly rated records of 2018 — #1 and #2 and #21 respectively. I’m not interested in the standard list entrants like No Name 25 and Kacy Musgraves, etc I’m looking for some music on the fringe. It opens up a tad jazzy and a lot electronic but upfront. After the bashing intro tune it moves into more standard dark electro territory with some nice glitching and chopped up, oscillating synths. It’s not mind blowing but it’s got energy and movement to it as it appears to shun grooves in favor of periodic outbursts. The third tune brings in a singer and moves from a more abstract sonic thing to a chopped up r&b vibe. The record completes some sort of arc and is pretty standard pop-tronic by the fourth tune. I liked the more adventurous early tunes.

@@@ Kali Uchis: Isolation (Universal, 2018) I’ve seen this record on more than one best of 2018 list. It’s marketed with Tyler the Creator’s and Bootsy Collins’ names attached but it’s a mash of sounds — some Latin, some funk, some modern electro r&b. She’s name dropping in this first tune and I don’t like that. I’m on the third tune and I like the sounds and the production but I don’t really like her or the tunes. I could go on and on as to why I might not like her singing but that’s intellectual justification. I wish the lyrics were smarter and maybe I would like her singing more.

@@@ Balun: Prisma Tropical (Good Child, 2018) #46 on NPR’s best 50 albums of 2018. I think I heard the pre-release single from these Puerto Rican folks doing a redraw of Puerto Rican music expectations. Man, I much prefer this to the Uchis record above. These guys are singing in Spanish and using Latin rhythms but the mashing up of influences, most notably indie electronic sounds is much more intelligent and flattering to the artists. More creative, that’s what I’m after. I would like it more if it hit a bit harder and it does strive for an angelic, quasi-New Age dreamy vibe that I usually am not into at all. But as I wrote earlier in this review, just taking Latin music and stuffing it inside an indie electronic turkey is a pretty creative thing to do.

YTD recordings listened to: 681
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 371
Not good music: 265

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

Music for 12/7/18!!! Soccer Mommy, Esperanza Spaulding, Jupiter & Okwess

@@@ Soccer Mommy: Clean (Fat Possum, 2017) Both of the NY Times music writers have this record on their best of year list. Both writers! Once again showing the music coverage at the Times is a bag of ass. I find this downtempo guitar indie record unengaging and pretty derivative. Nothing particularly noteworthy in the lyrics or the music and it affirms the worth of mopey white people music when it shouldn’t be affirmed. But then again the Times put Arianne Grande’s record on the list and listening to that record is akin to drinking a quart of dirty dishwater. It’s not surprising the New York Times as a quiet proponent of white supremacy would single this record out of the thousands released this year for notable recognition.

@@@ Esperanza Spalding: 12 Little Spells (Concord, 2018) Another New York Times best of year choice. I come to this record prejudiced as I do not like Spalding — I find her technical skills to be plentiful but there’s a coldness and lack of soul to her music and these tunes only serve to reinforce that perception. This first tune is more symphonic prog rock than it is jazz. I like this second tune more, the singing is quite nice but I predict it’s going to collapse into a proggy mush….and there we go. I define a great record as one that you want to play over and over again and you continue to find things in the record that deepen the listen. I see this record as a work of technique with moments of beauty and that’s not my definition of a great record.

@@@ Jupiter & Okwess: Kin Sonic (Everloving Records, 2018) This is another New York Times record they call it ‘magnificently funky’. If this first power rock funk inflected tune is any indication this record is not going to come close to the funkiness of Vaudou Game. I’m on the third tune and I like this record but to be honest it’s more of a rock record than a funk record. It’s got some funk in it but it’s a thread and not the core. Stick with Vaudou Game. A lot of chanted vocals, some funky guitar and a drummer that rocks.

YTD recordings listened to: 676
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 368
Not good music: 263

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