Music for 2/22/19!!! Ladytron, Yann Tiersen, Maren Morris

@@@ Ladytron: Ladytron (Ladytron Recordings, 2019) Some mainstream electronic pop rock I got to via last week’s All Music notable release email. The opener, Until the Fire, is a rocker while the second tune (clipped below!) is a midtempo ballad. The singer is meaningful and the lyrics impart a futuristic and artistic intention. The sounds are updated ’80s synth pop rock sounds. This isn’t really for folks like me. I’m not really sure who this is for — maybe thirteen old fantasy fiction loving tweens. As music outside of its intended demographic it’s pretty overwrought drama pop but folks love that. I don’t want to get all judgy and shit.

@@@ Yann Tiersen: All (Mute, 2019) If it’s on Mute it’s gonna be aspirationally sophisticated music. It opens up with the sounds of children playing and some New Age piano with electronic garnish. Lord help us all for we need tough jackets to withstand all the cheese that rains down over us. I couldn’t get to the meat of the song, it was really too much for my fragile sensibilities. The second tune, Koad, keeps the piano, switches the children for bird chirps, and then introduces a multitracked female ‘choir’ with lots of ooo-ooo-ooo-oohs. It’s comforting the way a 2X4 to the back of the head is comforting. I’m on the third tune and Tiersen kept the bird chirps from the second track. I hope those birds get their royalties. I think I hear a harmonium which signifies spirituality. I can’t take it anymore, I’m out like bell bottom jeans. I hope this wasn’t aspirationally sophisticated music because if it was it did not succeed, this is undercover New Age cheese.

@@@ Maren Morris: The Bones (N/A, 2019) This tune occupies the #1 slot on Apple Music hot tracks. It uses the metaphor of ‘the bones’ of a house where the visuals may be frayed but the foundation is strong. The tune uses too sonic signifiers that I loather — first off the excessive use of finger snaps and the breathy, I’m about to cream my panties singing style that has infected modern pop. It is accompanied by a simple, clean electric guitar figure. I believe this qualifies as today’s country music — it’s not country music except in peripheral ways but it retains the earnest feelings country music goes for.

YTD recordings listened to: 104
Good music, not list worthy: 59
Not good music: 40

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, Chaka Khan

Music for 2/21/19!!! Zazou Bikaye, Czarface and Ghostface

@@@ Zazou Bikaye | Na Kenda (Crammed, 2018) I got to this recording via the WRIR weekly playlist email. This is a remixed and reissued track from the late ’80s and sports all the sounds that prevailed at the time. This is a single with the A side remixed as Afro acid and the second side the same song remixed as techno dub. There are some super delicious funky squiggles going on in addition to bell sounds and African vocals/chants. The first remix is super high energy while the second brings a more laidback techno vibe but it’s a celebration of vintage sounds.

@@@ Czarface: Czarface meets Ghostface (Silver Age, 2019) A Wu Tang clan member collaboration that I got to via last week’s All Music notable release email. It’s a classic comic book/kung fu movie mash with two MCs facing off in a rap battle. The sounds are decidedly retro in the second tune, Face Off, with some arena rock vibes mixed with the ghetto heroics. The production is much thicker than what RZA would put behind this and I prefer the stripped down sound to these sounds. The rhyming is all right if pretty standard. I like the fifth tune, Powers and Stuff, the best of what I heard.

YTD recordings listened to: 101
Good music, not list worthy: 58
Not good music: 38

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, Chaka Khan

Music for 2/19/19!!! William Russell Wallace, Chaka Khan, Tierra Whack

@@@ Chaka Khan: Hello Happiness (Island, 2019) Chaka Khan brings the old school funk flavors on her new record. Blending aspects of disco into her funk she goes for the popping bass sounds, the string arrangements. I was thinking she had a solid comeback on her hands until she gets into super dirty funk on the third tune (clipped below). It’s guitar driven with synth sparkle and I had to swap out the title track for this funk nugget. Check this track out, it’s bumping at many levels. She continues to burn on the blues down on love track, Too Hot. Surprisingly great music from Khan.

@@@ Tierra Whack: Only Child (Tierra Whack, 2019) I liked Tierra Whack’s 2018 efforts. Maybe not as much as others who gushed but I’m interested in continuing the listening. I like that there are mad school old school doo wop vocal stylings that open the tune before the rhymes come in. A break from the trap! Also a simple but memorable guitar part ringing through the tune. I find lines like ‘you made my heart so cold I should work at Friendly’s’ and ‘money over dick, money over dick’ to be smart and creative. Tierra Whack has it going on with this track.

@@@ William Russell Wallace: San Jacinto (N/A, 2019) I got to this lonesome folk ballad (complete with harmonica solo) via a music publicisit. Wallace’s voice has desperation built into it and while an old Dylan ditty would be a touchstone the difference in vocals takes it to a different place. A little tambourine, some harmonica, a lot of acoustic guitar and his voice. Solid.

YTD recordings listened to: 99
Good music, not list worthy: 56
Not good music: 38

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, Chaka Khan

Music for 2/18/19!!! Almamagretta, Mdou Moctar

@@@ Almamegretta: Ennenne Dub (Sanacore, 2017) I saw this dub outfit has a new record out on Echo Beach, a German imprint, but it’s not around on bandcamp or the streaming sites. Many of the tracks on this album have been remixed which is not a problem but might make it a little less sonically cohesive. Almamegretta hails from Naples Italy and they sing in both Italian and English. This first une, Tiempo Niro, is very brisk and they come back down to a slower dub tempo in the second tune, Pray. They have some sticky rhythm parts here but the vocals do not consist of pieces of processed vocals as you would find in a typical dub outing. They’re more dub tunes with vocals across the whole tune. I find this less interesting but they have some wicked sounds going on here. They also have some electronic sounds up in these tracks which give it more of a Massive Attack feel.

@@@ Mdou Moctar: Wiwasharnine (Sahel Sounds, 2019) Another new arrival at WRIR, an excellent world music station in Virginia. This is a pre-release single from a record coming on March 29th. If you closed your eyes and put a white boy out in front on the vocals this could almost pass as an American rock band. It’s a bit bouncier and more cheerful than your usual West African desert blues shred show. I have nothing against an upbeat number. Big rock guitars, it’s a good track.

YTD recordings listened to: 93
Good music, not list worthy: 53
Not good music: 36

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 2/17/19!!! Cardi B. and Bruno Mars, Drake, Gary Clark Jr.

@@@ Cardi B & Bruno Mars: Please Me (WEA, 2019) Oh boy, I like Cardi B, but I think Bruno Mars stinks. My first thought is that they have switched gender roles and I’m sure she could pop Bruno Mars’ head off in a hot second. I think she just said her pussy was like horchata, which is a sweet Mexican milk and we can be sure Bruno fetched coffee during this session. The tune has a well developed hook that kinda gets rocked more than it’s worthy of and the tune does have a throwaway feel to it.

@@@ Drake: I’m Going In (Young Money, 2019) Drake’s got some reissue cake for the masses. His 2009 mixtape turns 10 and if you want to hear Drake go plastic gangsta check this track out. I like the retro beats, they are pretty good. I was not writing this blog at the time of this original release — regular readers know that I check everything Drake puts out cuz it’s fun and not because it’s good. I continue to be a bit befuddled as to why Drake is so huge — his rough rhymes are silly, I think Biggie Smalls would laugh at his ass. I think Cardi B would stomp his dick off as well. And his sounds are all right but not worthy of the adulation. I guess he’s the, who is he of this time? Is he comparable to the Bee Gees? Or to Michael Jackson? It’s a good question but not one I have an answer to.

@@@ Gary Clark Jr: What About Us (Warner, 2019) A pre-release single from the standard bearer for the electric blues style in 2019. Makes me kinda miss Stevie Ray Vaughan to be honest. I think his guitar tone is a bit too epic but who am I to say? I’d like to see him peel off a Buddy Guy shred to really pump this track up and I’m not sure it’s gonna show up. We three minutes in and not yet. It’s a track about generational shifts as the young bloods take over and that’s cool. I dig the end where he goes into a Prince type falsetto but the tune does not deliver a massive solo nor particularly developed lyrics.

YTD recordings listened to: 91
Good music, not list worthy: 51
Not good music: 36

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 2/15/19!!! Migos, Piqsiq, Vouna

@@@ Migos: Position To Win (Quality Control/Motown/Capitol, 2019) #1 on the Apple Music hot tracks area. This is a burning track with the vocal hook ‘In a position to win, in a position to go’ which is chanted repeatedly as a type of invocation. They have a breakdown section in the middle of the tune that comes with a really solid synth hook. I haven’t really taken to the Migos but this is a hot track I can see in basketball game broadcasts, dance floors, etc. Lots of energy pumping folks up with elements of trap but going for a non-trap vibe.

@@@ Piqsiq: Altering the Timeline EP (Coax, 2019) Some fully realized Inuit throat singing that I got to via this week’s CFUV playlist email. It has more elements to it than throat singing, which is a rhythmic style as I hear it. There is either some sparse drums or a drum machine and some choir like singing so it is a mix of different sounds. There’s a gruffness to the throat singing that contrasts with the more ethereal parts so it’s a more three dimensional sound than just the choir/angelic singing you get on a lot of indie records. A lot indie records go overboard on that. The second tune, Kuugarjuk: Creek has more filled out electronic arrangement to accompany the throat singing. It sounds a whole bunch like Kate Bush after three packs of cigarettes.

@@@ Vouna – Vouna EP (Artemisia, 2018) A heavy record also off the CFUV weekly playlist email. After a little female vocal intro in comes the transistor radio guitar and I expect a skull crushing doom to descend momentarily. And it does but in a slow motion, surprisingly mournful and not aggressive way. And there’s the thrash, I like that. They have a synth player handling a lot of the slow melodies and most regular readers know that I don’t love synth in my metal. I’m not gonna be a fascist about it but it’s not my first choice. I like that it’s not trying to be like other metal records out there. It shares some DNA but they’re trying to get something different going here and I appreciate them for that.

YTD recordings listened to: 88
Good music, not list worthy: 50
Not good music: 34

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