Consumer Guide: October, 2023
Two country singers searching for connection in different ways, democratic‑socialist folk‑rock agitprop grab bag, and a singer/songwriter/bandleader relearning and reclaiming her undeniable gifts.
Armand Hammer: We Buy Diabetic Test Strips (Fat Possum) Elucid and Billy Woods gift their specialized world with virtuosic free‑form hip hop, beautiful and brilliant in its unduplicable way yet just about devoid of discernible groove or verbal coherence. Like the free jazz of half a century ago, it brims with intelligence and has its moments of wit. But also like the free jazz of that bygone time, it bespeaks a revolution that’s mostly in the head. “Woke Up and Asked Siri How I’m Gonna Die” precedes “The Flexible Unreliability of Time & Memory”; “The Gods Must Be Crazy” precedes “Y’All Can’t Stand Right Here.” Can we really take exception to someone who reports that his “bedtime stories had the kids crying before they got tucked in”? After all, he did tuck them in. B PLUS
Chai: Chai (Sub Pop) Their fragile signature sound remains as they get older and older, smarter and smarter, although not a whole lot catchier—and this kind of music, insofar as that’s a meaningful generalization, is supposed to be catchy. But deep in their perky, fragile souls, these young “new cute” Japanese women never stop learning no matter how far they still have to go. “I should practice my kissing.” “Driving through the traffic jam/Views are lovely I need coffee.” “Not all needs to change./Every second we age.” “We are the female/We are the human being.” A MINUS