Into It. Over It. – Standards

★★★☆☆ = Good!

Sounds like?

Revivalist emo singer songwriter

Moods

Revisiting your high school

Thoughts

There's a mature social introspection that separates this from the classic emo-pop I liked in my teens. Hard to deny the poppy directness of his songs, it's as if he's taken the best parts of emo songwriting and applied them as an adult songwriter.

Aside from an off-putting smugness in his delivery but I found this is a satisfying listen overall. At 32 and feeds a trip down nostalgia lane while still feeling new.

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/Into-It-Over-It-Standards/release/8242767

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Into It. Over It. – Standards

Description: Album Review of Into It. Over It. – Standards


Rating: 3 out of 5

 

Azealia Banks – Broke With Expensive Taste

★★★★☆ = Quality release and suggested listening

Sounds like?
Rap with an alt pop lean

Moods
Headphones on and taking in nu-NYC

Thoughts
I don’t know why, call it a natural curiosity, but growing-up I loved the radio and would spend hours taking in anything I could hear. I find pleasure discovering sounds and appreciate art that maintains this same dynamism. It’s reflected in a broader cultural awareness with my generation, whose been raised with the internet and the power of having humanity’s entire cultural output instantly available. So what do you do with it? You take your favorite parts and begin creating something new, sampling in other words.

I find this to be a representative album for today’s sample based culture as Banks, a versatile MC, floats effortlessly between pop and rap on this impressive set of alt-electro productions (think sampling today rather than the past). I appreciate rappers who are able to carve distinct sounds for themselves and feel this is a classic in the marriage of rap and electro.

Listening notes on specific time:
* 212 – immediately and undeniably great
* Idlest delilah / soda is glitchy greatness and a personal favorite
* ‘Gimme a chance’ succeeds as an OK pop song before switching into a gripping latin bit (maybe corny but I genuinely like it).
* BBD, ice princess, Yung Rapunxel take a turn into harder boomy beats that sound a little dated after the edm boom.
* Things drift off towards the end, but she soars on miss camaraderie. Not sure I’ve heard someone flow over edm so well.

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/Azealia-Banks-Broke-With-Expensive-Taste/release/6728221

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Azealia Banks – Broke With Expensive Taste

Description: Album Review of Azealia Banks – Broke With Expensive Taste


Rating: 4 out of 5

 

AZ – Doe Or Die

★★☆☆☆ = Eh, fine

Sounds like?
Golden age queensbridge

Moods
NY State of mind

Thoughts
I consider this a companion piece to early Nas, stylistically it’s cut from the same cloth; when Nas guests on ‘gimme yours’ and ‘homicide’ it’s clear they’ve got history.

Ultimately I find this to be an uneven listen, AZ feels like a bootleg Nas and the creative vision isn’t as clear as Nas’ early classics. Does have it’s quality moments with ‘Sugar Hill’ and the title track featuring a hot and hazy funk.

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/AZ-Doe-Or-Die/release/8887261

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B2L47XLmdAk




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AZ – Doe Or Die

Description: Album Review of AZ – Doe Or Die


Rating: 2 out of 5

 

Mary Halvorson Octet – Away With You

★★★★☆ = Quality release and suggested listening

Sounds like?
Big, modern, swinging avant-garde jazz

Moods
Feeling.. technical

Thoughts
She’s been hyped a lot for her live shows here in New York and as my first introduction to her I can see why as this is a must hear for anyone interested in modern compositions. Meticulously arranged, this offers layers of strings, brass and rhythm executed flawlessly.

Hats off to the vision and level of playing. Nothing sexy here, its ‘dooty’ plain vanilla jazz but damn those are incredibly interesting compositions.

Side one is where it’s at. Rewards repeat listens.

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/Mary-Halvorson-Octet-Away-With-You/release/9341908

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Mary Halvorson Octet – Away With You

Description: Album Review of Mary Halvorson Octet – Away With You


Rating: 4 out of 5

 

High-Klassified – Kanvaz

★★☆☆☆ = Eh, fine

Sounds like?
Electro hip hop

Moods

Big Boomy

Thoughts
Meh, nothing very interesting here.

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/High-Klassified-Kanvaz/release/11953128

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High-Klassified – Kanvaz

Description: Album Review of High-Klassified – Kanvaz


Rating: 2 out of 5

 

Jeff Beck – Blow By Blow

★★★★☆ = Quality release and suggested listening

Sounds like?
Guitar driven classic rock

Moods
Collins Basement

Thoughts

The songwriting reminds me of prog rock due to a series of time changes and chops but at its core this is ‘classic rock’ through and through.

Songs are structured around Beck’s guitar playing and feature some great keys solos and impeccable drumming and bass. Beck’s style is fantastic: technical and precise while still maintaining a groove.

While later tracks like ‘scatterbrain’ kick things into full-on rock, I really like the easy-going, latin-tinged ‘she’s a women’.

Solid record.

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/Jeff-Beck-Blow-By-Blow/release/1929704

Listen!

Youtube
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fwUq8ZE3d7c
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wcGlc45uHOo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i_9C5MUJVHQ


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Jeff Beck – Blow By Blow

Description: Album Review of Jeff Beck – Blow By Blow


Rating: 4 out of 5

 

Jim-E Stack – Tell Me I Belong

★★★☆☆ = Good!

Sounds like?
Hip energetic electro

Moods
Friday

Thoughts
Variety is this albums appeal. Tracks rely on heavily repeated vocals and rhythmic bits to great effect, felt very inspired by the classic breakbeat aesthetic of the second track. ‘Reassuring’ utilizes a downpitched vocal sample, creating a bumping homage to early James Blake. His percussive sense comes out on the 2nd half in the form of an appealing rhythmic bounce.

This is good to great, accessible and catchy. I enjoy it just as much on repeat listens but wonder if the straightforward songwriting will holdup as an album or make these tracks more fit as singles for mixes.

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/Jim-E-Stack-Tell-Me-I-Belong/release/6907279

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Jim-E Stack – Tell Me I Belong

Description: Album Review of Jim-E Stack – Tell Me I Belong


Rating: 3 out of 5

 

Nelson Of The East – Night Frames

★★★☆☆ = Good!

Sounds like?
Slick instrumental house disco afro funk

Moods
Dancing at a show

Thoughts
This hovers somewhere in the middle of afro-funk, disco and house. Has a nice feel sexy worldly feel.

First couple of tracks are ok: thumping bassline, tasteful keys flirt with soulfulness ( especially the last bit on ‘night frames’).

‘Obalyeko’ gets more interesting: introducing a vocal sample, marimba-like part and a complex but crisp bass line. ‘En route’ chills things out with a techno like throb.

The Glenn Astro remix of the title track adds a wobbling dub baseline, probably the freshest thing on here with it’s direct electro influence.

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/NOTE-Night-Frames/release/12224797

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Nelson Of The East – Night Frames

Description: Album Review of Nelson Of The East – Night Frames


Rating: 3 out of 5

 

Vels Trio – Yellow Ochre

★★★☆☆ = Good!

Sounds like?
Funky modern jazz trio with rock chops

Moods
Couldn’t get into Snarkypuppy so I saw the vels trio instead

Thoughts
Damn this is a tight group. Add vels trio onto the list of recent good modern jazz releases. Has just the right amount of funky keys and rock chops to keep the songwriting engaging.

This feels like a great release to get a friend into jazz as it’s got enough groove for anyone to hook into.

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/Vels-Trio-Yellow-Ochre-/release/10484847

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Vels Trio – Yellow Ochre

Description: Album Review of Vels Trio – Yellow Ochre


Rating: 3 out of 5

 

Idris Muhammad – Power Of Soul

★★★★☆ = Quality release and suggested listening

Sounds like?
Funky soulful jazz

Moods
Feeling Fine

Thoughts
Not crazy about the title track (though the guitar work is good) but the rest of the album is really good:
* ‘Piece of mind’ is hip and soulful with an easy free-floating vibe.
* ‘Lorans dance’ is a masterpiece and one of my favorite tracks in recent years: cool, nocturnal, soulful.

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/Idris-Muhammad-Power-Of-Soul/release/3643207

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Idris Muhammad – Power Of Soul

Description: Album Review of Idris Muhammad – Power Of Soul


Rating: 4 out of 5