|Umbrella 2021 Results: Closing a Third Umbrella|
The music this year was bonkers. Thanks to everyone who participated!
SlothcoreSam - Lo-fi
Very riffy and with very English rock vocals. Very Simple, but not bad.
The Baby Huey Story: The Living Legend
SlothcoreSam - Psychedelic
Very spacey synths and awesome command bass. The main part of the song doesn't stand out too much, but its overall sound still satisfies that funk vibe I often look for, so it’s quite good still. Intro and outro are the best parts.
SlothcoreSam - Sampling
“Last Stop: This Town”
Very Beck vocals over some old baroque type music hmmm. I like the hip hop drums. Oh my god these deep vocals rule, why aren’t I already into Eels? Haha that guitar riff is so weird, but in a good way.
SlothcoreSam - Sentimental Ballad
“Don’t Fight It”
Chill, and maybe a little radio rockish. I find this very boring, like even the brass section isn’t that engaging. I feel like this song either hits you like a ton of bricks or it’s absolutely nothing to you and I hate to say it, but I’m in the second camp.
|5||The Lounge Lizards|
The Lounge Lizards
SlothcoreSam - Instrumental
“Do the Wrong Thing”
Bassy intro and some offbeat keys, okay off to a great start. This reminds me of James Chances and the Contortions, whom I love. The guitar and saxophone are good too. Oh the guitarist is in DNA, that makes a lot of sense, but yeah this rules.
SlothcoreSam - Show Tunes
Fedoras? Oh no. The violin’s cool though. This is intense and the narrative is weird, so I dig it. I almost feel like this is early-Kate Bush inspired. I like it.
|7||Joan Jett and the Blackhearts|
SlothcoreSam - Traditional/Cultural
Alash Ensemble (from Alash)
Nice strings, not sure what kind they are though and the vocals are pleasant so far, so much for throat singing being ugly! Oh wait, there it is! It’s neat, and I highly respect anyone who can sing like this, but I don't think Tuvan throat singing is exactly my fave type of traditional music.
|8||Kevin Bloody Wilson|
20 Years of Kev
SlothcoreSam - Comedy
“You Can’t Say Cunt in Canada”
So much talking. Oh god he’s just naming words for vagina to stick to the Canadians for being pearl clutchers. Now he’s saying cunt in French okay. It’s kinda funny, but it didn’t make me laugh and the folky elements aren’t exactly that interesting.
Anthologie des 3 perchoirs
SlothcoreSam - Dance
“Tenen Non Neu”
Off the bat those drums are in your face. Weird vocals. Dance rock! I can’t tell if this is idiotic or awesome, so I’m gonna go with both. Take me to a dance party where they play this haha.
Queen of the Meadow
SlothcoreSam - Easy Listening
More sad solo violin, but this time with sensual vocals. I mostly know Jennifer Charles from her work with Lovage, but it’s nice to hear here in a different context. It’s simplistic musically, but her voice really sells the style. What If I love this? What If I need this in my life?
Mekanïk Destruktiw Kommandoh
SlothcoreSam - Experimental
“Ïma Sürï Dondaï”
Nerdy prog to end it all. I don’t know what the hell is even going on, so it sure fits the experimental tag. I’m not sure I like this much even though it has the quirky, maximalist thing going on. What a big ending to your playlist though! I respect it at least!
Zig - Lo-fi
I like the drums. The guitar, bass, and vocals are okay so far. Not for me, but not bad or anything.
The Soft Machine
Zig - Psychedelic
“Why Are We Sleeping?”
Good bass and nice organ. I love Robert Wyatt already, so this is a safe choice. The drums here are great. The mumbly vocals leave a lot to be desired though, Kevin Ayers, I assume? Not loving this, but it’s still good.
|14||Joan Jett and the Blackhearts|
Zig - Sampling
Fila Brazilia (from A Touch of Cloth)
Excuse me but sampling “Eat that Question” by Frank Zappa is illegal. Not illegal for this competition, but illegal in general. I’m kidding, but I wasn’t expecting that. This is trippy and jazzy and I’m feeling it even though I’m not in love with it.
Zig - Sentimental Ballad
“Ti Offro Da Bere”
Engaging piano. Mike Patton has so much range, even when he’s singing Italian easy listening it’s just nice to hear him. That was short and cute.
Zig - Instrumental
Slow piano intro so far. Wow that sure was a Zappa way of playing a motif, and since it’s from 1976, I’m guessing he’s a fan. Is this just secretly Zappa? The saxophone, the bass, and the drums all rule. Come on, that’s straight out of the Apostrophe/Roxy/One Size Fits All-era playbook. I suppose imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. That mallet percussion… is this plagiarism? It’s an original piece, so I guess I love it.
The Young Girls of Rochefort OST
Zig - Show Tunes
“Maxence’s Song - Twin Song”
WAIT, this was the song protokute chose, but with an English name instead of a French one. I just assumed it was a different song from the same play. Uh oh. Welp too late now and I guess it’s my fault for not knowing French at all, so no points off or anything. Unfortunately, like the last time I heard it , I don’t really like this much. The vocals are mixed better than in the other version I heard though and the jazzy elements are whatever. Meh.
Cantares de Andarilho
Zig - Traditional/Cultural
“Canção de Embalar”
Pretty and folky. Portuguese is such a lovely language. 2 minutes in and I’m getting a little tired of this one, but it’s pleasant all the same.
|19||The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band|
The Doughnut in Granny's Greenhouse
Zig - Comedy
“My Pink Half of the Drainpipe”
Good piano off the bat and accordion? Genre hoppy as hell with goofy vocals. These lyrics are more random/obscuro than funny. This is so English it hurts, but I also like it a bit.
Zig - Dance
Wow, her voice is so deep. Very disco in every way, especially that sparse barely funk, but funk guitar. It’s not completely unengaging, like if I was at a club, I'd probably get down to it, but it's not really anything special to my ears. This song shouldn’t be 6 minutes.
Zig - Easy Listening
Pretty with a jaunty guitar. The echoey whistling is cool and helps the song to stand out. Caetano is awesome, I love his debut and the stuff he’s written for Gal Costa. It’s simpler than my favorite stuff, by him, but I still certainly like it. Plus his voice is so warm and inviting.
The Marble Index
Zig - Experimental
“Lawns of Dawn”
Weird bells and strange melodica with Nico’s poetry over it. Very original musically. Like a dream, this song fades in and out leaving me with questions, but no answers. Good song, very surreal atmosphere.
Ryus - Lo-fi
Clashing time signatures? I like how these vocals work against the instrumentation. This is from 2010? It sounds like it’s from the 90s. I like how the instrumentation sounds like it's ready to fall apart.
Ryus - Psychedelic
Very 80s arena vocals, they remind me of Peter Gabriel, but with more effects on them. The atmosphere sounds like an ambient picnic. This is decent, but I wouldn’t say I love it.
The Notorious Byrd Brothers
Ryus - Sampling
I like the guitar and bass. Very warm vocals and feeling. Oh damn, the samples are scary war clips, nice! Anti-war is such an interesting topic for a song, I swear there are so many interesting angles people approach it. So placid musically, for such a violent topic. I like it.
Ryus - Sentimental Ballad
“A Case of You”
Simple acoustic that I don’t find too engaging, but Joni’s voice gives the song life. All about fear and courage, that’s cool. I just wish it was musically more my thing. Maybe a bit more percussion or something would make me like this more, or like a double bass thumping along.
Ryus - Instrumental
“Degrees of Light”
Trippy and water-like beat so far. It’s pretty simple, but what it has is interesting. The handclaps are kind of a turn off, but not a huge one.This has “transition track” vibes and I was kind of hoping for something stronger for all of these selections.
|28||Andrew Lloyd Webber|
Jesus Christ Superstar: Original Cast
Ryus - Show Tunes
“Heaven on Their Mind”
Hard rocking so far. This is well written, but it’s not the kind of thing I’d ever really seek out. It’s 70s poppy hard rock and I don’t know. The strings and piano are cool though. Good bass at the end.
|29||Toumani Diabate with Ballake Sissoko|
New Ancient Strings
Ryus - Traditional/Cultural
Now that’s some pretty and intricate string work ooh. Holy crap this is exciting, but light, good combo. Not much else to say about this one, but I’m still thoroughly engaged. Wait what’s that weird plucking sound, this got even better. Pretty, but not afraid to explore a multitude of a single instrument’s sound capabilities. Fuck it, this is perfect.
|30||The Dead Milkmen|
Big Lizard in My Backyard
Ryus - Comedy
Silly and catchy punk. Why aren’t I already into these guys? Between Eels, Elysian Fields, and now Dead Milkmen, I got some new stuff from my backburner that are now on my frontburner.
Ryus - Dance
Synth funk? Risky, but let’s see where it goes. Oh, it's Prince! The dude has so much personality, and way too many albums. Fun fact: Prince is Dean Ween’s favorite artist. I’m not even joking. This is pretty cool. Good bass solo and even better synths. If the 80s were good at anything it’s synths...wait this is from 1979, ahead of its time sorta. One day I’m gonna give a Prince album a real shot, but not today.
Ryus - Easy Listening
More Joni? You really have a lot of faith in her work. I respect that and honestly this one is way more engaging musically than the last one. A lot of passion here. Oh she said the album title in a prominent way! I wish I liked this more, but it’s good.
Ryus - Experimental
Scary guitar work. And now it’s a slow ambientish section? This is going to be a ride, isn’t it? Machine sounds? So this is early industrial rock. It’s a jam song in a way, or it’s post punk? I don't know what this is. Woodwinds? Okay then. And you guys call Mr. Bungle random nonsense? I might sound like I’m complaining, but I’m actually enjoying this a lot.
|34||Unknown Mortal Orchestra|
23rd: Storm in a Tea Cup
🥉 BRONZE: Zig - 3.61818181818
🥈 SILVER: SlothcoreSam - 3.72727272727
🥇 GOLD: Ryus - 3.90909090909