Thirty Hertz Rumble

A bl-g about movies, music and nostalgia by James David Patrick

Category: 30Hz Music (Page 2 of 22)

30Hz New Music Radar 2/3/17: Sampha – Process

30hz new music radar

Welcome to February 2017.

 

At least there’s always new music.

 

Another rotten week of the upside-down. But at least we have Besty Devos. God save you, Betsy, for giving us all hope. Hope that in this brave new world, nobody is unqualified for any job. Like just today I decided I’d become Nickelback’s new tour manager. One would have though that my well-documented tweets about how Nickelback’s music causes hemorrhaging in deaf children would have precluded me for consideration! But thanks to Betsy Devos, I’m convinced that my constant attempts to undermine the terror that Nickelback has brought to the general populace in now way prevents me from becoming the person most in charge of Nickelback’s career. In fact, before coming here to tell you about some amazing new music (that’s not made by Nickelback), I stopped over at LinkedIn to declare my candidacy for the position.

And when I get the job, for which I’m totally qualified, I’ll have to stop writing all this nonsense and start on my memoir — On the Road with Nickelback: Aural Regurgitation and the Blood of Bleeding Baby Brains.

Anyway, while we wait for that, let’s check back in with the New Music Radar. This was supposed to be the week we all got time to digest the handful of solid records that came out last week. But what ho?!? No rest for the weary. The first week of February has offered up a trio of records that require your attention.

 

30Hz Playlist on Spotify: Every New Music Radar Recommendation.

 

30Hz New Music Radar: Sampha – Process

Sampha’s first full-length LP Process had been on my list of most anticipated records of 2017 after his track “Blood On Me” stormed onto my Best of 2016 list.  Sampha Sisay — singer/songwriter, keyboardist and go-to producer for Drake and Beyonce — blends pop and R&B with subtle, almost seamless electronic production. His soundscapes envelop the listener, yet his vocals are present but largely unremarkable. They hover in a narrow but well-trodden band of traditional, breathy soul singers. That would normally be a criticism, but Sampha uses this predictability to his advantage. Note how he uses his upper range on “Blood On Me” to shake the listener’s cobwebs of complacency, inspiring a “call to action” or more appropriately a call to intent. Conscious music appreciation relies on intent. To be present and accountable. Divided attentions account for the majority of our listening. Which is why I’ve returned to vinyl as my preferred listening source.

After “Blood On Me” switch gears and sample stripped-down Sampha on “(No One Knows Me) Like the Piano.” It’s a moving portrait of family and nostalgia. He again uses his upper range to float his chorus along with the notes on the piano before again bringing both down a level for the verse.

Just when you think you’ve got the artist pinned down midway through the record, he increases the electronic production, adding blips and bloops for tracks that would likely normally linger as tossaway B-sides on a lesser record. The more overt production causes the listener to adjust and recondition. Process grounds the listen, reminds of the importance of intent and consideration. It will no doubt hang on to become one of the finest records of 2017.

Sample tracks: Blood On Me, (No One Knows Me) Like the Piano, Incomplete Kisses

Buy on Amazon

 

 

Also highly recommended this week:

 

Communions – Blue

 

Ten Fe – Hit the Light

 

 

30Hz New Music Radar 1/27/17: Julie Byrne – Not Even Happiness

30hz new music radar

Welcome to January 27th, 2017.

 

At least there’s always new music.

We’re living in a world of the waking nightmare. We can’t wake up. It won’t go away. The upside-down time. The boogie-monster in the emperor’s clothes continues to disassemble forward progress. If we keep marching backward, slipping against time, we’ll soon be back in the 1950’s. And as much as that thought haunts me… at least there’ll be good music. I could see all of those original icons of jazz up close with a glass of gin in hand. We could witness the birth of rock and roll, like Marty McFly. Believe in harmony. Believe in the power of time travel to fix all that ills us. We’re in the future with the Gray’s Sports Alamanac.

Silver linings, I suppose.

I had this week marked as a prime-choice release week. January 27th did not disappoint. Though I found myself facing four fantastic records, all worth your time and needing to pick just one. And quite honestly, I’m still digesting some other releases that weren’t even on my radar at all. Those sleeper picks that will reveal themselves as the year carries on, ceaselessly.

Here’s a link to my Spotify New Music Radar Playlist with every record I’ve recommended so far in 2017.

 

30Hz New Music Radar: Julie Byrne

Julie Byrne is a bit of an anomaly. A singer-songwriter with bombastic, breathy range. She can scar and she can heal simultaneously. One minute she’ll drop down into fragile, seductive Julie London come-hitherness before pulling herself gradually up, up, up, hope breaking through the haze of modern disillusion and moral distrust. The power of her voice overcomes, a fragile warble warm enough to remind you that she’s indeed a human folk singer and not an ethereal being waiting for her call back to her mothership docked in the Horesehead Nebula.

I cannot recommend this record more highly — which is why I’m placing this record at the top of your listening pile. Ahead of the new Cloud Nothings (which disappointed), ahead of the new Japandroids (which did not), ahead of — yes, indeed, the new Bell Biv Devoe (which just exists and that’s pretty cool).

Julie Byrne will seduce you. When you fall in love and stop listening to other records, I’m sorry.

 

Sample tracks: Follow My Voice, I Live Now As a Singer, All the Land Glimmered

Buy on Amazon

 

 

Also highly recommended this week:

 

Japandroids – Near to the Wild Heart of Life

 

Rose Elinor Dougall – Stellular

 

Tift Merritt – Stitch of the World

 

Priests – Nothing Feels Natural

30Hz New Music Radar 1/20/17: Cherry Glazerr – Apocalipstick

30hz new music radar

Welcome to January 20th, 2017. Welcome to the future.

I believe music offers the power to heal scars, ignite fires, prop up lost and weary souls. I’ve always resisted doing a weekly recommended column because there are just so damn many. Everyone has a record to recommend. But I’m not everybody. You’re not everybody else.

I’ve consistently promoted the notion that Pitchfork is not the quality controllers of the alt-whatever music business. Now more than ever, in fact, I believe that Pitchfork is off it’s f’ing rocker. Find the voices in music blogging and bl-gging that resonate on your frequency. Discovering new music is not a solitary exercise done in the dark corners of your room while nobody is looking. Discovery is a collaboration between dozens… nay… hundreds of different voices. I read three or four blogs every week. From those investigations and my own haphazard listening, I’ll bring forth at least one record per week that’s worth your time. Maybe it’s not your new favorite. And that’s perfectly fine, but I guarantee it’ll be at least worth the time. You won’t have to be that person wandering around lamenting that nobody releases good music anymore. They do. It’s here. I’ll share it with you.

 

30Hz New Music Radar: Cherry Glazerr

 

cherry glazerr - apocalipstickL.A. noise pop outfit loves a good guitar drone with splendid cacophony, but Cherry Glazerr also can’t resist a great hook when the mood strikes.

Cherry Glazerr released a debut album in 2014. Since then, however, Clementine Creevy’s bandmates jumped ship. The new lineup consists of Creevy, Tabor Allen on drums and Sasami Ashworth on synths. The revamped trio brings a more focused brand of self-aware cherry-stained punk-pop that totters on the bring of self-control. It’s loud, guitar-driven music for square-ish punks.

Sample tracks: Nurse Ratched, Trash People, Humble Pro

Buy on Amazon / Buy on Bandcamp

 

30Hz Best Albums of 2016

I’m not going to come out and pick the records of 2016 that I most admired. When listening to music what good is “admiration”? I admire lots of records that don’t inspire me to toss them on the record player. What good is an intellectual exercise in choosing music that appeals strictly to your objective, rational thought? No. I’ve never been here to tell you which records you *should* listen to. I’m going to tell you the records that lived on my turntable and in my CD player — the ones I played ad infinitum, the ones I played without conscious requiring a conscious decision-making process.

And as usual, I wouldn’t want to disappoint with a litany of selections cribbed from Pitchfork or NPR or god forbid Rolling Stone or SPIN. I will change the channel faster than you can say Car Seat Headrest. I didn’t toss on Solange or Beyonce when I needed a groove. I found both of those records to be pretty much just sorta overrated. And I was unable to really connect with David Bowie’s final album beyond a couple of gutpunch songs. Leonard Cohen’s climbing my favorites but I just haven’t spent enough time with it. I know. I know. Heresy. But it doesn’t just get a bye because it’s Leonard Cohen’s last record either.

best albums of 2016

 

30Hz Best Albums of 2016

 

Spotify Playlist of all Records + bonus picks

 

Read More

30Hz 100 Best Songs of 2016 / #25 – #1

best songs of 2016

Return to Best Songs of 2016 #50 – #26

 

 

25“Berlin Got Blurry” – Parquet Courts

Since Parquet Courts probably released six or seven records this year, it was only a matter of time before this Brooklyn “Americana punk” band found its way back onto the 30Hz countdown.

 

24“Do You Need My Love” – Weyes Blood

The second Weyes Blood track on the Best of 2016 channels Dusty Springfield and Aimee Man and just makes me swoon. Natalie Mering shifts nimbly between vocal genres, even within the same song.

 

23“Warning Call” – CHVRCHES

AHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAH. And you thought because CHVRCHES didn’t release a record in 2016 I couldn’t put them on the countdown. IT AIN’T A 30Hz PARTY WITHOUT CHVRCHES. HEYYYY HOOOOO. Even their afterthought video game soundtrack songs own my universe.

 

22“Time Moves Slowly” (feat. Samuel T. Herring) – BADBADNOTGOOD

Experimental jazz trio channels Isaac Hayes-era soul and groove. Instant chill that makes you feel at least three times cooler than you really are.

 

21“Dust” – HAELOS

UK trio aims to update trip-hop for the 21st century. Whimsical Portishead, perhaps. Maybe the “ae” in their name aims to suggest general joviality.

 

20“Blood On Me” – Sampha

I don’t know if you’ve noticed but these blurbs are growing increasingly lesser. 70 blurbs is approximately my breaking point for new thoughts. Most “Best of” lists would have a number of different writers tossing out blurbs. Divide and conquer. The staff at 30Hz numbers 2. I count my cat as an employee because he likes to sit on the keyboard when I write bl-g words. So now that I’ve padded the word count on this blurb to make it look more legitimate and change the brief / brief / brief cadence, I’ll tell you all I know about Sampha. He made guest appearances on every record in 2016 (no fibs), released this song and plans to release a debut full-length in 2017.

 

19“Frankie Sinatra” – Avalanches
Was there a more anticipated release in 2016 that was met with more deafening indifference? Listen, I know we all wanted a world-changing record from Avalanches. After all, they made us wait 16 years for their follow up to the actual world-changing Since I Left You Avalanches just needed us to listen to Wildflower with reasonable expectations. I first greeted this track with a little bit of side-eye. 16 years and this is all you’ve got? But the more that record played and the more Danny Brown’s unpredictable lyrical flow infiltrated my brain, the more essential “Frankie Sinatra” became. The only bad thing about Wildflower is that it isn’t Since I Left You — which remains *the* landmark record of sampling innovation.

 

18“Drive It Like You Stole It” – Sing Street

What’s special about this song? Well, let me return to a concept that I consider essential to pop-culture appreciation — the notion of synesthesia nostalgia. I first wrote about the connection between music and film as one of the first bl-g posts I published on this site. Back when I wrote and thought about things more deeply to purge demons and whatnot. “Drive It Like You Stole It” stands as a testament to that connection. John Carney’s film provided one of the few truly authentic feel good moments of my 2016 — and this soundtrack, in its pitch-perfect echoes of the 1980’s popular music that I adore — just makes me smile. Music should do that from time to time. Gleefully reveling in a kind of nostalgia as a way to escape the demons chasing you.

 

17“Scattered Ashes (Song for Richard)” (feat. James Graham) – Minor Victories

I didn’t even add this song to the preliminary 2016 Hits list until late in the year. After one particular spin of the Minor Victories record I finally focused in on the vocals. “Is that James Graham?” I asked my 4yo. She said, “Yes!” without even hesitating. She likes to be agreeable when it has no bearing on her ability to have or not have dessert or go to the playground. James Graham, of course, is the lead singer for the Twilight Sad. Once I focused in on the “Scattered Ashes” vocal track, I was smitten. “Tell me what it’s all about / Shed tears for God’s rejected / Cut the cord, rewind the ending / Take my life back to the start” fronting an impenetrable wall of sound.

 

16“River” – Bishop Briggs

Ballsy Scottish diva drops killer beats and befriends a gospel choir.

 

15“Common Sense” – School ’94

Pop-friendly Swedish shoegaze. Nifty bassline and easy-breezy vocals from Alice Botéus. Perhaps a founding member of the Norwegian happy-time indie-rock movement along with the above-featured Sun Days and 2015 favorite Makthaverskan.

 

14“Wardenclyffe” – S U R V I V E

Austin, Texas based analog electronic quartet has answered our pleas for a modern Goblin. (Maybe we didn’t necessary beg for a new Goblin, but a little revisionist history won’t hurt in this particular instance.) After contributing songs to The Guest (which in my mind were the best things about the movie), two members — Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein — produced the soundtrack to Stranger Things.

 

13“Don’t Worry About Me” – Frances

Place yourself in a quiet room. Turn on “Don’t Worry About Me” and just sit.

 

12“We the People…” – A Tribe Called Quest

Socially conscious, imminently relevant and a killer beat. This Tribe record will lead us through the fog of 2016 and beyond.

 

11“Modern Act” – Cloud Nothings

More lo-fi guitar-driven pop rock from Cloud Nothings. I should dislike this track. The band exchanged a slight case of head-banging for a Top 40 hook… but goddamn its just so f’ing catchy and still boasts some exquisite scuzzy guitar work.

 

10“Sister” – Angel Olsen

FINALLY! The Top 10. Everyone breathe a sigh of relief. Only a few more of these to go and then we can go our separate ways. Angel Olsen’s vocals on “Sister” transcend the rest of MY WOMAN… and I really really really like everything she’s ever done. This is a tempered, calculating Angel — using breath and silence to amplify the highs and provide extra depth where her fragile voice trails away, desperate, lonely, before building back up, hopeful, motivated. Cue guitar. Cue raucous jam. Check out her XMU Session live recording for this track if you can track it down.

 

9“Life Itself” – Glass Animals

 

I’m in for a conga line. I tried to onomatopoeia the drum beat in this track; I just can’t. You try. Post your best Glass Animals onomatopoeia in the comments. Best one gets a free album download. Go. This is the reader participation segment.

 

8“Hurts” – Emili Sandé

I’ve been trying to come up with a worthy title for Emili Sandé. Something like the Grande Dame of Gospel Hip-hopera. What do you think, sirs?

 

“Radio Kids” – Strand of Oaks

I’ve been to Goshen, Indiana so I feel comfortable suggesting that Tim Showalter is easily second best thing to ever come out of Goshen, Indiana. Howard Hawks also hails from the Elkhart County seat so I’m pretty sure he’s got the market cornered on most amazing Goshen export. This visceral, angsty rock track feels more War on Drugs than Strand of Oaks — but both bands are 30Hz countdown staples so no love lost here.

 

6“Weak” – Wet

Listening to my 7yo perform Kelly Zutrau’s layered and repetitive echo-chamber vocals provides endless entertainment. A song of beautiful minimalism and subtle underlying synth.

 

5“Burn the Witch” – Radiohead

I sometimes try to justify putting “Fake Plastic Trees” in my countdowns, at least this year I actually get to place a newly produced Radiohead song.

 

4“Best to You” (feat. Empress Of) – Blood Orange

Rumor has it that Blood Orange (aka Devonté Hynes) thought this was a tossaway beat and didn’t know what the hell to do with it. He gave it to Empress Of (aka Lorely Rodriguez) and she came back with this vocal track. Reaction #1: Consider the fleeting and magical process by which artists create music — great music. How this track seems so natural, yet almost never came to pass. Reaction #2: Everyone needs better nicknames because Blood Orange and Empress Of are killing it.

 

3“On Hold” – The xx

To me, Jamie xx is like the Wizard of Oz. I would love to sit in on a session to see how he works and creates. On the other hand, I don’t want to peek behind the curtain. He operates on an entirely different level than the rest of us mortals.

 

2“Come Down” – Anderson .Paak

Speaking of beats. James Brown’s going to return from the dead to take this groovy-ass shit back.

 

1“Hurt” – Låpsley

Not my typical choice for a #1. There’s no bombast. No melodramatic movements in four parts. Where’s the orchestra? Where’s the marching band? The toy instruments? “Hurt” is just the voice of British electronic singer/songwriter Holly Låpsley Fletcher and few ethereal electronic manipulation. But within apparent simplicity came bravado and depth and one of those choruses that makes you close your eyes and fancy yourself a tremendous chanteuse. “So if you’re gonna hurt me / why don’t you hurt me a little bit more / just dig a little deeper / just push a little harder than before.” In many ways these lines perfectly soundtrack our dumpster-fire year. Try harder, 2016, because you’re not going to break us.

 

 

101 – 76   /   75 – 51   /  50 – 26 /   25 – 1

 

And now that you’ve run the gamut, here’s the entire list, plus all the tracks that got cut in the final round just before publication. Thanks for taking a sonic journey through my 2016. You can follow all my playlists on Spotify here.

 

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