Music for 12/12/18!!! Mammoth Grinder, Primal Rite, Sumac

@@@ Mammoth Grinder: Cosmic Crypt (Relapse, 2018) I haven’t heard a ton of metal this year that made me jump up and down but I snagged a few choices off a year end list at the AV club and this one led by the drummer for Power Trip looks engaging. It’s got a nice friendly mosh flavor to it. Just your meat and potatoes smackdown. It doesn’t have the same energy as Power Trip’s 2017 release which I really liked but it’s solid. It’s got a couple of the dudes from Iron Reagan whose name I like but about whom I know little.

@@@ Primal Rite: Dirge of Escapism (Revelation, 2018) This recording has a bit of a different feel to it than the Mammoth Grinder one above. That band name is very accurately chosen and this first tune is a bit math-y with a nice muscular stomp and some punk flavorings. The singer’s voice is fucked with and he sounds like he’s inside a big concrete tube and barely understandable. By the third tune Antivenom the water is at a full boil and the thrashing and grinding about is quite intense. I’m not feeling like this is best of 2018 for my list but it’s got a lot going for it.

@@@ Sumac: Love in Shadow (Thrill Jockey, 2018) Marketed as a largely improvised metal record there are four long ass pieces three of which clock in at over 15 minutes. I’m listening to the second tune right now and it is a noisy and energetic guitar record without being a full metal meltdown kinda record. The focus here is on playing as one would expect with 15 minute pieces. I like how it’s not a sloppy record by any means but it’s looser than most metal records. It is a big metal jam record. I like the sound of it and I will circle back on it when I have closer to 1 hour and 6 minutes.

YTD recordings listened to: 684
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, Sumac

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

Music for 12/6/18!!! Judas Priest, Sleep, Ghost, Behemoth

@@@ Judas Priest: Lightning Strike (Sony Music, 2018) I always thought Judas Priest rode the fine line between rough metal and cheesy ass shit. But folks love it and this single is off their 18th album. I tell you they do all right putting out a lot of energy and performing at this level after all these years. Their lead singer is 67 years old and he’s out there tearing it up. An awesome tune if you love Judas Priest. I’m working off a loudwire best metal songs of 2018 and this one is #1 on the list. Imagine that. Big guitar melodies over the thwacking kick drum, these guys are taking their vitamins.

@@@ Sleep: Giza Butler (Warner, 2018) A ten minute old school hippie metal kinda track off an album released earlier this year on Jack White’s imprint. Plenty of time to pack your water pipe or get a weed brownie from your stash as this is mad stony. Opens up with a hypnotic bassline and gets into some fuzzy wah wah f’real. Very Sabbath. And right around 2 minutes it crushes the guitar and the singer comes in kinda low key. It’s well done and indebted to War Pigs.

@@@ Ghost: Rats! (Loma Vista, 2018) More classic metal. This video below has 15 million hits. I hear this tune more rooted in the ’80s than the ’70s. The singer is quite pretty even with doubletracked vocal harmonies in places. The hook is the word Rats! This is a bit light for my taste and guess how they would react to my less than excited review. Rats! He didn’t love it!

@@@ Behemoth: Bartzabel (Metal Blade, 2018) 5 minutes of epic opening up with some arpeggiated guitars and big toms. Big big toms. We got a big intro going here, oy it ended and now it’s threedled guitar, some big pounding and a half caveman singer. Come to me Bartzabel! Who is Bartzabel?? GooglePimp, help a brother out! He is the spirit of Mars. A planetary spirit, imagine that. Mars is the red planet and Mars was the god of war so there are some dark, not quite Satanic vibes to the Bartzabel. I don’t know if I would want to hang with Bartzabel, is it fun to party with a planetary spirit? I don’t know who could answer this question. The tune is all right with lots of drums — big fills, big kick drum but I don’t know if it’s worth all the fuss.

YTD recordings listened to: 673
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 366
Not good music: 262

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 12/5/18!!! Tirzah, Helena Deland, Rosalia

@@@ Tirzah: Devotion (Domino, 2018) We are up on the 2018 best of lists beginning with Gorilla vs. Bear. I used to rock it from bottom to top but there are so many lists out there I switched it up and start at the top and work it down. This is the #1 record here. The first tune is a bit electronic, a bit slack, and a bit sort of improvised or at least it sounds it. She has a loose vocal style. The second tune Do You Know switches to more of a grooved out vibe with a really nice tweaked out sample and a simple funk beat. I really like the sounds here and while I like the singer I’m not getting a huge emotional connection to the tunes. I can see why folks would really like the intimate feel of the record.

@@@ HELENA DELAND | From the Series of Songs “Altogether Unaccompanied” Vol. I – IV (Luminelle, 2018) There are four EPs that make up this series and I will begin at the beginning and not get far. Not due to quality but lack of time. I would say these guys took ’70s classic FM rock with a soft rock tilt and indie-fied it. Hippie sounds; dreamy and some slack. A little Harvest era Neil Young with a va jay jay? I like it but I could use some other sounds mixed in. The second tune gets into more classic guitar indie but with an easygoing distorted guitar and nothing out of hand. I’m totally confused as to the numbering and order of these mini records but I get the general gist of the singer and her music. The folks putting this list together love the fragile feelings and letting them out or listening to them.

@@@ ROSALÍA | El Mal Querer (Sony, 2018) I’m into how this list features the female musicians and we switch gears to a mainstream Latin release on Sony. She’s a good singer and the production is very non-indie with lots of little goodies and a big sound with lots of vocal tracks. It may be flirting with a concept record as there are section titles with meanings but I can’t get into it too much as I know not more than 30 words of Spanish. These feel mostly to be love songs so that puts this record in line with the first two chosen by these guys. I think I like this one more than the other two — not because of the sound but it’s got more than one thing going on. It’s trying to balance new electro sounds with some older more traditional musical elements and that’s interesting to me.

YTD recordings listened to: 669
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 363
Not good music: 260

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, Gouge Away, Barro, Daniel Khan, Vaudou Game, Tallawit Timbouctou, Babylon Trio

Music for 11/29/18!!! Earl Sweatshirt, Pangaea, Dan Habarnam

@@@ Earl Sweatshirt: The Mint (Columbia, 2018) I started listening to Mr. Sweatshirt because of his name. Earl Sweatshirt is a stylish moniker. This is a mellow track with not outright dub reggae vibes, but it has a certain blunted feel within its hip hop construction. It’s got a relentless and amorphous bassline that’s punctured by some sharp piano figures. I’m not sure what the lyrical point exists for this tune, but there’s more than a bit of 40s being drunk and some blunt smoking.

@@@ Pangaea: Bone Sucka (Hessle Audio, 2018) I got to this via the experimental section at Apple Music (which is a joke as far as I’m concerned). This is a slightly weird electro/techno track but nothing particularly experimental. After about 90 seconds it starts to lean in (Sheryl Sandberg style!) on a groove — bringing up the drums, putting a vocal exhortation sample and some synth grooving. I actually would consider this more a funk track than a techno track. I like the groove — it’s not breaking records but it’s happening.

@@@ Dan Habarnam: Draw Your Pattern (Idle Hands, 2018) Also off the Apple Music experimental section. It’s a more standard techno beat with some kraut-y bits but it’s pretty trippy sauce layered over it. It crystallizes into a piano hook and classic unt-tss at about 2 minutes. It’s a decent dancefloor banger, nothing to get too hung over. The second tune, Draw Your Pattern, opens up with a more interesting beat. A tad funky and a bit chopped. It dubs out a long ass sample that smooths out the chopped groove. I feel this tune. It has a unique groove and interesting weirdness that keeps me engaged. This track is pulling me in and introduces new ideas to itself at a fresh but not overwhelming pace. Shoulda put this one first!

YTD recordings listened to: 662
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 360
Not good music: 260

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, Gouge Away, Barro, Daniel Khan, Vaudou Game, Tallawit Timbouctou

Music for 11/28/18!!! Vulcain, Cauldron, Flatbed

@@@ Vulcain – Vinyle (Season Of Mist) Some old school classic hard rock/metal a step down in sludge from Motorhead but very similar. Let me Google the language of the singer – they’re French. I don’t think of the French as a heavy metal people — is that racist? Also a few Motley Crue pubic hairs up in this here record as well but its DNA is aligned with Lemmy. Yikes! Fast with not a lot of guitar shredding and a fair number of riffs. Not my thing, this is more for the cucumbers in the leather pants crowd.

@@@ Cauldron – New Gods (The End) Singing in English but also with the classic metal vibes, this time the Scorpions. I think I might enjoy not knowing what Frenchie was on about in the last pocket review. Get a load of the cover art below. It looks like a booger with fangs, that’s fucked up. I’m not sure there’s a ton to say about this record — it’s pretty standard hard rock/classic metal.

@@@ Flatbed – Drug Mom (Arachnidiscs) Uh oh, we’re switching gears to the decidedly rougher lo fi, brain scraping business. Oh Jesus, it sounds like somebody trying to dry hump a chainsaw. A barrage of guitar static, tribal drumming and it looks like no singer. That could be fine. Krikey, this will pickle your brain pronto. I appreciate the devotion to dirty ass sounds.

YTD recordings listened to: 659
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 358
Not good music: 259

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, Gouge Away, Barro, Daniel Khan, Vaudou Game, Tallawit Timbouctou