Listening to a New Song Every Day in 2024

Jan 11th: Frank Zappa - Jazz From Hell

Our first album title track of this thread is an interesting one. Jazz from Hell is an instrumental album and Zappa’s own studio self produced album before his death. I can see where some people would find this hellish but to me, this provides many fundamental sounds long before they would become genres themselves.

This is the closest to “jazz EDM” I think I’ve ever come apart from electro-swing bands like Caravan Palace. And while electro-swing can sound samey from artist to artist, Zappa holds a unique place in the genre while releasing years before its popularity. Or was electro-swing ever really popular? I also get elements of glitch-hop, although I hardly consider myself knowledgeable in that genre.

Like many improvisational songs, this doesn’t really have dedicated sections. It has a haphazard, jumpy feel and definitely feels composed or produced like many modern electronic songs. What sets it apart is the jazz and almost orchestral nature.

I see this is a fundamental example or beginning to many styles of music and can recognize it for that, but I’m not particularly a fan. It takes a special song to bond to electric slanted music for me and what sounds like a drum machine just really takes me out of it at times.

Tomorrow I think I’m going to listen to a song off the same album: G-Spot Tornado. Zappa described this as “impossible to play live” and then it was recorded live on The Yellow Shark, which we visited earlier in our journey.

2.5/5

Jan 12th: Mojo Nixon - Tie My Pecker to My Leg

I had a five hour drive to my buddy’s tonight and were already a couple beers deep. This randomly popped up on the ride down and its crass and I like it: no notes. I’m not going to read into the lyrics AT ALL.

We’ll be watching the Lotus stream on Nugs.net tonight, I’ll report back.

3.5/5

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Jan 13th: Melted Strawberry - Freedome

Came out of the woods to the vistor center just to write this.

Local Cleveland band that I’ve been looking at for awhile. Solid song but I dont think I can 100% get behind the vocal stylings. Also do certain parts of this song sound slightly off beat to anyone?

3.5/5

Jan 14th: Frank Zappa - Don’t Eat the Yellow Snow (Chicago '78)

Because of my last minute backwoods weekend plans, I had to forego the true end of Zappa week but were back with a bang now that I’m in civilization.

Don’t Eat the Yellow Snow is typically ~2 minutes but this live version is approaching 19 minutes. And to be honest, I wasnt bored for a single second even most of this boils down to audience participation.

Audience participation can often be hokey and I’ll barely listen to it while I’m there live but Zappa is a master of the absurd and the unexpected. The live commentary leads as a buildup to what are ultimately very short pieces of music but the anticipation is most of the fun here. And somehow it keeps me enthralled hearing about how one of the band members fucked a rat and ate it even though the first section surpasses 10 minutes.

And to me, it seems this song is mislabeled because there’s definetely a medley in here that seems to include part of St. Alfonzo’s Pancake Breakfast? Love this part of the song too, almost a more heavily narrated knock off of Bohemian Rhapsody.

Honestly this is my favorite Zappa selection of anything so far. But its hard to call this a song when its truly a performance, so perhaps im being a bit unfair with my high rating over the others. Whatever: this is my thread, so I make the rules.

4/5

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Jan. 15th: The Hives - Tick Tick Boom

I saw awhile ago that these guys were opening for Green Day on their latest tour and knew I had to check them out. Regardless of my current opinion on Green Day after seeing them in '23, I cut my teeth on Minority as my first real rock album beyond the watchful eye of my parents.

Swedish garage rock band The Hives saw their hey day as I was first listening to Minority back in the early 2000’s. Its honestly crazy how I never heard of them with how similar this song is to my listening habits back then.

Some minor research shows that they put on an excellent live show. If they bring the same energy they do to Tick Tick Boom, I completely believe it. This is “get you going” garage rock that adds a little more layering and complexity; the Hives are a 5 piece as compared to Green Day’s 3 person studio lineup.

This complexity does alot to make me say this song has “it” but honestly beyond that its pretty generic. Theres some interesting distortion and crash at the end of the chorus with “tick, tick, tick , tick, tick, tick, tick… BOOM!” but beyond that its just their slant of garage rock.

But maybe I’m being too pretentious. This song makes me get up and nod my head (I dont have any hair to headbang anymore). And maybe that’s all it needs to do given the genre. Also, I cant help singing Saliva’s Click Click Boom in place of Tick Tick Boom in the chorus.

3.5/5

Jan 16th: Khrungbian - A Love International

Brand spanking new release for the song of the day.

Khrungbian should need no introduction here, so instead I’ll leave you with a fact I learned recently. While I always thought the band was a bit aloof and made it part of their vibe intentionally, their wigs actually have a fun origin story. They started as a way to sneak back to the merch booth unbothered by taking off their wigs and sneaking through the crowd. It certainly surprised me to learn Laura Lee’s hair was actually that color.

Anyway, this a pretty solid and run of the mill Khrungbian song for me. Alot of the statement the band makes is through their minimalism while at the same absolutely blowing down the house with their technical skill. I saw them live and almost died from the funk and their studio performances are just as strongly produced.

But this certainly doesnt seem to do anything new for Khrungbian. And maybe that’s ok. The international influences are here, from the on the nose music video to the Asian musical influences evident throughout this and many of their songs. And it stills slaps but it sounds similar to August 10th and other favorites off 2015’s The Universe Smiles Upon You.

3.5/5

1 Like

Jan 17th: SLIFT - Ilion

SLIFT makes their long awaited return from 2020’s Ummon with the release of some singles for the new year. I picked the title track simply because it played first.

Clearly SLIFT is up to something ambituous with this new album, with 8 songs pushing a total of 80 minutes. Three singles have been released so far and the full release will be Friday.

And while I’ve enjoyed SLIFT’s releases to date (finding them through Ummon and their Levitation Session), the production of this song is just so incredibly muddy. And while that could be the point, I go back to listen to songs like Ummon and Lions, Tigers, and Bears and just enjoy them so much more. Their production and pysch cohesiveness ring through where I’m just not getting the same effect from Ilion

Theres a couple cool moments in this 11 minute song like around 2 minutes but everything is just fuzzed and reverbed together. Theres almost this electronic feel to elements of this section that bring an interesting variety before launching back into mind melting pysch.

Perhaps it was just listening to this song without my good cans for soundstage and separation but I shouldnt have to rely on that to like a song. I see myself listening to all 80 minutes of this album on release but Ummon it is not so far.

2.5/5

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Zappa always had some pretty good advices in his songs, don’t eat the yellow snow is a really important one.

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Jan 18th: IDLES - Gift Horse

Sticking with the “released in 2024” theme until I get bored.

IDLES are a band I love. Their energy live and in the studio is incredible and, to me, their lyricism is the best of most modern post punk bands (at least the ones from the scene in the UK). The new-ish single Dancer off soon to be released TANGK has been on repeat since the song released but I havent listened to Gift Horse yet.

This has the typical driving beat and dare I say “simplistic” structure of an IDLES song but its clear that their production special guests Nigel Goodrich and Kenny Beats add alot to this album. This is layered and complex in a way I havent heard from many IDLES songs, which usually put energy first (to great effect).

Lead singer Joe Talbot said this is an album of “love songs” and I can see it in one verse here but the choruses use repetition to great effect to sound anything but loving. “Look at it gooo!” almost ends up being howled by Talbot while the rest of the band crashes along in the typical IDLES wall of sound.

On the first couple listens, its hard to beat classics like Never Fight a Man With a Perm and Danny Nedelko but this is definetely a song that strikes hard on the first impression and will grow more with time and repetitions.

But this recent set of music videos from the band has been a surreal/5, excellent.

3/5

1 Like

Jan 19th: Cage the Elephant - Neon Pill

THEY’RE BACK BABY.

After a shaky couple years marred by Shultz’s divorce and arrest (I mean did you listen to Social Cues? Lot’s of shit on that album…), it seems that Cage the Elephant is ready for an album release this year.

Like I’m sure many impressionable gamers my age, my first introduction to this band was on the commercial for Borderlands. Young Rowdy was entranced and Cage the Elephant’s self titled album became pivotal to my early listening habits. And while they’ve never quite returned to that edge in songs like Tiny Little Robots and the crashing in Free Love, I’ll take off my nostalgia glasses and say they’ve produced some damn fine music over the years.

And Neon Pill falls somewhere in the middle of the discography for me. This is definitely a Cage song but to me is an interesting pick for the first single release. The lyrics are quite repetitive even if the backing music has something interesting to say.

(I need to start using actual music terms as much as I can. I could read sheet music when I was like 12 but am trying to improve my technical writing when it comes to music, so please be merciless but kind in your feedback).

To me, the most interesting section of this song is the transition between the bridge and the final chorus. The lyricism of the bridge isnt particularly interesting but the fade out of everything but the drums, rhytmn guitar, and vocals provides an interesting variance before launching back into a repetitive chorus once again.

This wasnt as quite a strong of a showing as I was expecting from Cage’s triumphant return. I tried to take my nostalgia glasses off for this (which I think are worth about half a star) but its a bit hard with this band specifically. So, realizing my bias and accounting for it, my review probably ends up about the same.

3/5

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(I need to start using actual music terms as much as I can. I could read sheet music when I was like 12 but am trying to improve my technical writing when it comes to music, so please be merciless but kind in your feedback).

What instrument did you play? I never feel like growing up playing piano has affected my music writing, but I guess you wouldn’t know if it did.

I played violin for about a year and piano for 3. Still, its not like I learned the main terms to describe a rock song haha. I also picked up a guitar about a year ago but sadly I gave up on that too quickly. Maybe I’m a bass guy…

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Jan 20th: Spafford - The Way You Do The Things You Do (Cover)

Fought through 10 inches of snow to see the Spafford show in Cleveland last night. So I guess this will be a mini show review as well as review of this excellent jam.

The link provided is not from last night but this band’s content work ethic is absurd and they already have the soundboard up on nugs (which is what I’m using). Bonus points for this, because as a jam band music reviewer this is the greatest thing ever.

Technically, The Way You Do The Things You Do was released in 1964 by The Temptations but this jam was made in 2024 so it still counts toward my current theme.

Spafford live to me seems to be an exercise in patience. This is hardly a bad thing, as the slow but driving leadups to the excellent jam focal points provide a certain anticipation that works well. In this song specifically, they dont really turn on the heat for 10 minutes or so but then they’re suddenly in outer space without you realizing.

And what a sudden realization this was live. Going from calm and funky to suddenly a frenzied pace with tight jams got me literally hooting and hollering (I keep listening for myself on the recording lol). This 20 minute jam was part of a 4 song first set and I was certainly having a good time watching these guys go.

I always love getting up close to see bands work too. It was a cool moment seeing Cory Schechtman on keys call off the jam around 18 minutes with a simple catch of guitarist Brian Moss’ eye. Such a simple move but something that comes from playing so many shows together, especially as Moss gobbled up the space left behind with a nice jam of his own.

I’ll be seeing Spafford again when they’re in town but I dont think I’m quite groupie-ing them like Gizz. Even though I enjoyed the lead ups I described, they did get a bit noodley at times. And its hard to find a jam band with vocals that I love… But overall solid showing. Maybe next time the Cleveland weather can give these boys from Arizona a bit of a warmer welcome.

4/5

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Jan. 21st: Green Day - Bobby Sox

No.

Green Day died long ago.

Do not listen to Saviors.

0/5

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Jan 22nd: The Black Keys - Beautiful People (Stay High)

Long Monday, so this is a quick and dirty one.

A new release from the Black Keys is hard to turn down. Plenty of classic from these guys over the years and this song is solid as well. Definetely sounds like a Black Keys song but a horns section add some complexity to parts of this new single.

While the lyrics are a tad repetitive (what Black Keys songs aren’t?), this is catchy as anything else. Just a fun little song and an odd music video to boot.

This might even be a four.

3.5/5

At least for me it has kicked off a Green Day nostalgia trip, I hadn’t listened to Nimrod and Dookie for a very long time.

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Jan 23rd: Umprehy’s McGee and Huey Lewis and the News - Dance (feat. Jeff Coffin)

Typical Umprehey’s complaint: wonderful and technical guitar with something left to be desired in the vocals. I got to see Umprehy’s do a Ledd Zepplinn cover set with a sit in singer who sounded EXACTLY like Robert Plant and it was incredible. It appears I’m not as much of a fan of guest Jeff Coffin.

Huey Lewis and the News (presumably) add the wonderful horns in the background and Umprehy’s is in top form on guitars. Over-under I hear this at their show in January?

2.5/5

Edit: I did not hear it at my show in January

Jan. 24th: Frankie and the Witch Fingers - Thinking About You

Exploring some of the deeper catalogue after enjoying Data Doom so much. Not alot of time for a real review but hey I listened to new music today.

3/5

Jan. 25th: Squid - Fugue (Bin Song) (feat. John McEntire & Dan Carey)

I’m very sad I won’t be making it out to my closest Squid performance (six hour drive) but happy that there is new music in 2024 already.

Squid is a post punk band I’ve been following since before the release of O Monolith. Bright Green Field was an incredible freshman album and really categorizes the range of the British post-punk movement into… ambient yelling? Odd sounding rock music?

Fugue (Bin Song) features some musical guests, which I can only assume includes the wonderful violin on this track. Squid’s already complex sound is complemented by this string instrument making it’s seemingly first appearance.

This was cut from O Monolith for being “off theme” and I don’t see why. This has elements of almost of every Squid song: Olly’s sharp vocals, biting rhythmns, and the absolute chaos (at times) of a post-punk band.

What’s absent are some of the more discordant but ambient sounding tempo cuts in songs like House Plants. Fugue (Bin Song) contains a mostly consistent rhythm of guitar, keyboard, and other instruments. This is for the better I think, as House Plants and other songs would be better off rocking out for the entirety.

Great song. This being a remanent of O Monolith means potentially no new music but I’ll anxiously be awaiting.

4/5

Jan. 26th: Ty Segall - My Room

I’ll be catching Ty this summer and I was going to go in completely blind. I usually like to go into a live show knowing the artist deeply or simply not at all. But here’s he released new music in 2024.

My Room starts off with a groovy bassline and develops into almost 70’s folk rock. Its hard to categorize the sound here for me but I enjoy it. Almost a Beatles meets Hendrix?

What I don’t enjoy is that screeching guitar on the back half of the song. It pulls me out and just completely grates on me. In an otherwise wonderful song, that part isn’t for me.

And this is why I usually don’t listen to a song or two. I don’t want my first impression to be wrong. Now I have to get REALLY into Ty Segall, thanks.

2.5/5.0