Music for 7/23/21!!! Natty Jean, Meta and the Cornerstones, Soul Sugar compilation

@@@ Natty Jean: Ready (Little Rock Sound, 2021) A blend of more modern dancehall with roots reggae conciousness. Not only does Natty Jean throw some serious microphone energy he has plenty of help from background singers on this track. Plenty of percussion too. Downside might be limited to a huge cloudy synth that drops a descending melody to open the track and is woven throughout albeit at lower levels. Lyrically, there’s not that much to discuss the dude is ready. Me ready, ready, super ready super ready. He sounds prepared.

@@@ Soul Sugar: Cool Down (Gee Recordings, 2021) All three of today’s listens are off WRIR’s weekly playlist email, those folks have mad style in picking and spinning music. I don’t believe these are retro tracks I think they’ve been made more recently — hold up let me go google that shit. It is not a retro reissue typa thing and this track is quite stylish — solid summertime reggae bounce, lots of melody and a roots sound without descending into the murky Lee Perry depths, which I love btw. I checked out other tracks on this record and it really is a mix of genres — there are a couple of loverboy clunkers in addtion to some ballads and a bunch of rootsy jams.

@@@ Meta and the Cornerstones: Breeze (Self-released, 2021) We finish up today’s listening sesh with more roots reggae. I could listen to roots reggae all day. It’s a right in yer face production style that I find really nice. Meta, I think the singer, has a tight rhythmic approach and a world weary gravelly tone to his voice. It’s concious lyrics all the way including burning Babylon down and love being the only way. Hopefully when he burns Babylon he really uses extra matches and burns it down really completely and thoroughly. There’s a lot of good stuff in here, it’s a tad epic for my taste and there are a couple of rock vibes that I don’t usually enjoy being mixed into my reggae. Anthemic roots reggae with a unique sound.

Music for 7/19/21!!! Quantic and Nidia Gongora, Dag Tenere, Celia Wa

@@@ QUANTIC AND NIDIA GONGORA: Balada Borracha (Tru Thoughts, 2021) I got to all three of today’s listens from WRIR’s weekly playlist email. A Latin music track fully realized with a large ensemble and multiple voices, percussion, the whole schlemiel. Even an electric guitar with fx for a modern feel! This is a stew and one that I have very few if any objections. I like that the singer is not the most epic and soaring performer — she has a bit of gravel and real world in her voice. They do an interesting thing where it sounds as if they slow the track down en masse and slightly and then bring it back up to speed. Check this out and I hope the rest of the record is as good as this.

@@@ DAG TENERE: Tihoussay Tenere (Nomada, 2021) Some west African guitar centered music presented in a pretty intimate manner. This style is centered around long serpentine guitar lines and call and response vocal lines. Hand drumming too! All of these features are on display here with at least three electric guitar tracks and brisk hand drumming. Ooh, in addition there’s some subtle showing off turned in by the bass player and I hear you doing that and I am enjoying it. The tune goes out with the distortion box on and plenty of energy. The player clicked through while I looked up my last listen and a female singer gets the microphone really changing up the energy and vibe of this track.

@@@ Celia Wa: Over (Heavenly Sweetness, 2021) Opening up with shaker, flute and a large stack of vocal tracks. Ms. Wa hails originally from Guadalupe but she lives in Paris mixing up all manner of sounds into a world music dancefloor style. This is another stew similar to the first track but mostly all electro sounds. I appreciate how this track (to my ears) is evenly split between electro and world music elements so that lack of tilt really yields something fresher because it’s neither this with a splash of that nore that with a splash of this. I like it.

Music for 7/17/21!!! Okute, Vince Staples

@@@ Okute: Quiere La Rumba (Chulo, 2021) Some old school rumba with rock guitar tones pimped out with very stylish production values. Hand drumming high in the mix, you gotta appreciate that. These guys are establishing a massive groove and the daylight between the Latin music and African music is thin indeed. Somebody unleashes a massive keyboard solo in complete rock star fashion. There’s a lot of really good shit going on here and I”m going to check out more of this record when I get a chance. I suggest you do the same. I’m checking out the opening track sporting a female singer and the feels are just as sticky and awesome.

@@@ Vince Staples: Are You With That? (Motown/UMG, 2021) Staples looks like he’s gonna enter this tune into the track of the summer with this lilting hip hop funky nugget. Whoever chose that circus type keyboard sound that sort of breathes and is murky and chewy should get a bonus as it really separates the track from the crowd. Staples is relaxed and reflective on the microphone, I can see this placing in the sweepstakes.

Episode 13: Rootin’ for the Rocket!!! #Bezos

Excerpts from this episode:

Portia Nelson 2-fer: Out of this World/Take Care of Yourself
Julio Jaramillo: Migajas (Crumbs)
Sweet Adelines: A Good Man is Hard to Find
Cyanide Pills: Can’t Get it Up
Jah Shaka: Chant Down the Wicked
The Magic Organ 2-fer: Sugar Daddy/We Have to Suffer


Music for 7/14/21!!! backxwash, DJ Shub

@@@ Backxwash: I LIE HERE BURIED WITH MY RINGS and DRESSES (Ugly Hag, 2021) Slotted as hip hop on the Apple Music to my ears it’s more of a rhythmic metal smashed into hip hop. It’s a very crunchy mix, super compressed which is not uncommon but I don’t love it. Lots of guest vocalists so I’m guessing Backxwash is the producer and she/he/they have tons of guests as sprinkles on the ice cream cone. Let me peep another track. If the beats were funkier I would be more into these arrangements, the beats are pretty straight and tilt it white for loss of a better word. Shit does get funkier on the fourth tune, Terror Packets, where the lyrics revolve around a person transitioning from one gender to another. I like this best of what I heard and I got to this via a music festival announcement where Backxwash will be appearing.

@@@ DJ Shub: War Club (Shub Music, 2020) On the same festival announcement DJ Shub, inventor of an electronic subgenre that combines indigenous business with electronic music. I’m intrigued by the first tune intro, where the keyboard could be something off a 1970’s Who record while trap beats and big drums thunder. Also some turntablism. Yowsa, the second tune (clipped below) hits and it’s bombastic and overwhelming with gigantic synth patches, MCs, and an overall pumped feel. I didn’t want to reflexively compare this music to that of a Tribe Called Red, but there are personnel connections between the two projects so I will give a shout to that outfit as they really dropped some fire. There’s a lot of sound stuffed into these tracks and it is its own special brand of funky. I will be checking it out more deeply when I have a chance and if you like super rhythmic music you might find a home with this record.

Music for 7/9/21!!! Las Cafeteras, Reaper Mook

@@@ LAS CAFETERAS: La Sirena (ONErpm, 2021) Hipster, Latin dancefloor banging. The emphasis is straight up lush romance but done in an updated and slightly humorous manner. A female and male singer share vocal duties and the dude definitely is working his schtick quite well. A little space organ, plenty of rhythm and a sophisto arrangement. This is a really stylish track, check it out.

@@@ Reaper Mook: Plug Language (Reaper Mafia, 2021) A Barry white style low voiced brother doing a slow, loverboy gangster track. I found this single via a twat by the Pitchfork. I like his voice and his flow though I’m not super into the sax loops that are very high in the mix, they’re kinda driving me nuts. It’s a two minute nugget so I will let the player roll through to check the second track of this single which is also right around 2 minutes long. I like his rhymes and his rhyming and I’m enjoying the lack of saxophone. Do what the fuck I want and get paid, ain’t that Amerka no matter what color your shit is? If you’re craving the chill gangster check the second track, Roll Wit Mook.

Music for 7/8/21!!! Helvetia, Acid Coco

@@@ Helvetia: New Mess (Joyful Noise, 2021) This track was left over from some other day so I cut and pasted it for review today and I can’t recall where the origianl mention of this record came from. I think from All Music. This is the third track of the record and it’s classic fuzzy indie business. I really like the tones here, tasty fuzzy guitars and well recorded drums. I’m clicking around the first quarter of this recording and I like it. There’s a little Neil Young in places, even a little Beatles in the arrangements of one track but overall the sounds here really help the record go over the top. I’m not a huge fan of the genre and it evokes literally hundreds of bands but I like it all right, it has a freshness to it. Essentail Aliens, the title of this record, might really work for you indie rock folks out there.

@@@ Acid Coco: Mucho Gusto (El Palmas Music, 2021) Some danceable world music off this week’s WRIR playlist email. To my ears these are cumbias with a pleasant Casio keyboard feel. Female singer, both slinky and clunky drum machine beats, a little traditional string playing, that’s the basic formula. I like the elements here and I like the way they’re put together. There are different synth sounds and tempos from song to song so there’s variation to the proceedings.

Music for 5/20/21!!! Wayne Snow, Kasai All Stars, Natik Awayez

@@@ Wayne Snow: Nina (Roche Musique, 2021) A pre-release single I got to via a music publicist email. It’s an updated ’80s stripped down funk/r&b thing with a delicious delayed marimba type patch. Snow is rocking a falsetto before he brings in the classic Prince 1999 era synth lead to demolish the doubters. I don’t really know what demolishing the doubters means but it looked good on the screen. I’m listening to this track on a fairly decent set of headphones and the sounds here are lush and quite edible. I’m not sure what the song is about lyrically but the sounds are quite satisfying.

@@@ Kasai Allstars: Like a Dry Leaf on a Tree (Crammed Discs, 2021) The second track I’ve peeped as I checked out the pre release single. I’m a Crammed Disc fanboy with no shame. It’s been a struggle to finish today’s review post, not sure why, I’m tired etc, who isn’t tired? but this is my second listen off this record and I’m hopeful. I like the singing here but not necessarily the drum machine, it sounds like a lo fi bedroom indie rocker. Of course, indie rockers can’t sing or play guitar like this, that is for sure. I find the sounds a bit endearing but the playing not unusual enough to really catch my ears. Could you use a beat upgrade and some more unusual guitar playing. Do like the bass player though, he/she’s working.

@@@ NATIK AWAYEZ: Egaf (Sublime Frequencies, 2021) Slotted as folk music I got to this artist and track via this week’s WRIR weekly playlist email. Born in southern Iraq and living in Cairo I’m most into the hand drumming and violin playing which is just awesome. Oh whoever is on the fiddle is just tearing it out, a mournful solo for the song title perhaps? Regular readers know that I prefer the less smoothed out super produced world music as if the edges are filed down for sensitive imperial white listeners. The production here is pretty straightforward without massive reverb patches and epicness introduced. The music here is more than powerful enough without the production flourishes. Instrumentation is hard drums, oud, violin and voice. I’m certainly no expert on Middle Eastern music and the various differences between music from Iraq vs. Egypt etc but the scales and melodies are similar. I will be swinging back on this record for sure.