Music for May 4, 2021!!! Willow Kayne, Squid, Billie Eilish

@@@ Willow Kayne: Two Seater (Sony Music UK , 2021) All three of today’s listens are from this week’s Line of Best Fit. I mean you can’t take a shit without running into Billie Ellish’s new track but it was namechecked on that email. Comes on with the growling bass, then a shuffle beat, and then Ms. Kayne comes with the descending melody. Occasional guitar spikes, and unfortunately it explodes out into cheesier pop territory in the chorus. Love the verse, like the attitude, could leave the chorus by the side of the road.

@@@ Squid: Paddling (Warp, 2021) A pre-release track that opens with a lot of space, a nerdy clean guitar then a beat and a drone. It’s building to something but I hear an updated version of the Doors’ L.A. woman with different instruments. Are you a lucky little lady in the, I forget the rest of it. Then we get a singer and some background vocal action and the metamorphosis into a janky Devo flavor pack is complete. I appreciate the weirdness of it though I confess to not shitting my pants over it. Nerd rock has never made me shit my pants. There’s also an art school proggy thing going here. It builds to a boil and I like it more — I can see a lot of hipsters digging this. I’ve never hipstered, way too square for that.

@@@ Billie Eilish: Your Power (Interscope, 2021) A pre-release track from Billie Eilish. There’s obviously a big push behind her, she’s a big star, so you can’t take a shit without seeing her on the interwebz. The acoustic guitar is beautifully records, but the vocal is presented with too large a reverb patch and lessen the impact. Eilish is doing a breathy delivery, it’s not over the top but it’s there. More sounds creep into the mix and it’s manicured. I like this much more than her debut where she was sporting her tongue and working a teen sex thing. These lyrics I’m guessing, are considered pretty important but as I mentioned the presentation. Now you think, hey fuckface you’re making a big deal of this but to me this is the cheesing of America. Why not go for something simpler and more direct, why does everything have to be so theatrical and over the top?

Music for May 3, 2021!!! Burial and Blackdown, BackRoad Gee, cktrl

@@@ Burial + Blackdown: Shock Power of Love EP (Keysound, 2021) Three listens today off this month’s free Crack monthly mag out of the UK. I’ve been turned on to a lot of music via Crack Magazine. I thought this was going to be rock (don’t know why I thought that) but it’s an EP of electronic music with a lot of chainsaw synths and hip hop flavorings. I’m sampling the third tune after the first two and they are all rhythmic variants on classic techno beats. This third one is going full R2D2/StarWars ‘blurpy beep and laser tag’ with some fully reverbed cracked syllables; it’s sonically rich. Two 9 minute bangers and two 4+ minute bangers. I think this is above average in energy and texturing but it’s not making me jump and down. Other folks might feel differently.

@@@ BackRoad Gee: A Yo ( 23 Formation, 2021) UK rap, I love it! Check this flow on the microphone, oh he just asked if he could get some gray poupon. He didn’t, I made that shit up. The sounds here are off high end and manicured; some push and pull trippy synth sounds, and a bass that cuts melodically and impact wise when it pushes into the mix. Beats are funky and distinctly not American which I like. There is more than one MC here, one is doing that fake gunshot bubbling shit which I find weird. Rhyming is brisk but I have no clue what they’re on about and the accent really destabilizes my listening experience.

@@@ cktrl: robyn (Touching Bass, 2020) Opens loverboy r&b with chill keyboards and a sax with a lot of reverb or a high quality sax virtual instrument with a lot of reverb on it. Wow this is slotted as jazz on Apple Music which is weird to me. This is a r&b jam session and not jazz as I define it. I like the keyboard sound, and while this has to be a real sax to even garner the jazz label from the Apple, there’s too much reverb, the playing does not have the spontaneity of fully improvised music and I don’t know what else to say. The keyboard player and then the flute player that comes in for the last third are the best components here.

Music for Friday 4/30/21!!! Nicole Bus, Jim Noir, Eddy Current Suppression Ring

@@@ Nicole Bus: Rain (Roc Nation, 2019) All three of today’s listens are off a 2019 All Music notable release email that’s been in my email box. Nicole bus is a Dutch r&b singer which will change the proceedings for sure. This is the 8th track of the record and it’s a lush piano driven midtempo sad banger. The player clicked through to the next track With You which has a decidedly retro feel which I’m torn about. I will give the opener ‘Mr. Big Shot’ a peep and when I hear that late ’90s/early oughts drum beat it’s clear where this music is rooted. Bus is an above average singer but overall I find the tracks lacking spark and a bit of flavor. Again that’s just me.

@@@ Jim Noir: Deep Blue View (Dook, 2019) Opens with what I would call a indie hippie flavor and strong California faded vibes. Super comforting sounds with just a schmear of weird up in there. The first tune Good Mood is a feel good jam with obvious intentions so I thought I would skip to the next one which I like more. I find the combination of indie rock sounds and electronic sounds well done here. I prefer a bit more growl or muscle but that’s just me. I’m not a huge fan of the third tune Hexagons but I have a sense a sliver of the listening public might like this formula.

@@@ Eddy Current Suppression Ring: Vicariously Living (Castle Face, 2020) Post punk heroes from Australia. Nice punky guitar squall, not Sonic Youth more rocking than feedback. There’s a straight up approach up here that I appreciate — set ’em up and knock ’em down without. The sounds are good but no epic production values here. The tempos here are not the manic Dead Kennedys about to lose your mind. I do crave a little more energy but I appreciate this outfit and feel I’ve described them accurately. I checked out the next song ‘Future Self’ and I like it even more than the one clipped below.

Music for 4/29/21!!! Andy Stott, Unschooling, Binker Golding

@@@ Andy Stott: Hard to Tell (Modern Love, 2021) All three of today’s listens are off this week’s All Music notable release email. This track is slotted as electronic on Apple Music but to me it sounds like spaghetti western guitar music and now a female singer. As my definition goes this is stretching the definition. I’ve been duped, this is indie music, lemme check another track and see if it’s instrumental. 5 tracks have a singer, this singer, and four don’t and I will give a quick peep to the third track ‘Repetitive Strain’. The intro here is a repeating phrase that allows the metronome like rhythm to start, pause, and then the huge multi-octave arpeggio with a pipe like synth patch. I’m not sure what he’s going for here, it’s a bit dancefloor, a bit funky, a bit abstract so for me it’s not gelling. Plus I don’t know how to reconcile this track with the last one. As I finish up here here, he’s expanded the rhythmic components and is offering up an undercover dancefloor banger. I like it all right but I remain a bit befuddled but not in a snobby way.

@@@ Unschooling: Social Chameleon (Howlin’ Banana Records, 2021) Angular, nerdy return of Devo style rock with more guitar energy. The band is mixed super high while the singer is stuffed in the middle like the jelly of the donut. In this case more dough and less jelly which is fine, it’s got just enough jelly. The downside of the low vocalist is that I don’t really know what the song is about besides the title and I consume the track as almost instrumental music which is fine as their strength is in band playing.

@@@ Binker Golding: Lunar Wind (Byrd Out, 2021) Slotted as avant garde jazz the instrumentation here looks set to be sax, acoustic bass and drums, possibly more but we just got started. It’s a 15 minute free jazz banger that opens scruffy and stays scruffy and I like scruffy as it builds tension in this first third of the track. I could use a slightly thicker bass sound and a little thinness chopped off the horn as when I listen to long pieces with abstract playing I want that lushness, it adds to my experience. I’m not going to peep this whole piece but I’m going to check in on a couple of other pieces — I like the horn and the sound of the trio on the second track Reflection. I’m enjoying the braying and the energy of the trio here.