Endon is often described as ‘Tokyo’s most extreme band’, and it’s quite easy to spot why, when you listen to one of their albums – perhaps more so with Mama. They play with noise electronics, grindcore, punk, and black metal to create one of the most in-your-face music out there. Through the Mirror came out on March eighth in Japan, but is going to be released for North America and Europe on June second, through Hydra Head. I bought my digital copy on iTunes, and I guess you could do the same, but, if you want a physical copy, it’s best to wait if you want to save a few bucks on shipping! As for the album, it’s perhaps a little less extreme than its predecessor, but it’s a very interesting, aggressive, and challenging album!
I just came upon Spotlights‘ Tidals, which came out in May of last year, but I wanted to include it anyways. The album is a goosebumps-inducing trip into heavy but melodic post-rock – perhaps post-sludge or doomgaze, in a sense -, that creates a strong driving force with its sludgey riffs, and heartbreaking catharsis through its vocal melodies and harmonies, thanks to Sarah and Mario on vocals. This album gives off the same vibe as Lantlôs‘ Melting Sun – one of the best albums of all time -, so that only adds to your reasons to check this one out! I just noticed that they also released an EP in December, and so that’s the next thing I’ll add to my listening queue!
Extremophile is the latest progressive/free jazz tracks collection from the Dominic Lash Quartet. The musicians play with many time signatures and odd harmonic structures totally naturally, and that gives an incredibly enjoyable end product that’s mind-numbingly challenging to analyse musically – at least for me, I’m sure there are plenty of more talented jazz musicians who aren’t afraid of such a thing. The result is seven tracks with varying degrees of structure and improvisation, but that are all utterly amazing to listen!
Birdperson is the latest alternative math rock band prying for your attention. The Michael Jordan of Baseball is their debut EP, and it demonstrates quite aptly their melodic capabilities. Aaron Cooler’s vocals are full and on point, giving the songs a strong identity and purpose. If you’re looking for some comforting tunes with an indie vibe, and bordering on math rock and shoegaze, this is the perfect thing for you!
I was – and still am – not a fan of Cartoon Theory‘s Cartoon 1.1 Theory, and so kind of forgot about them, but they came back to me. Their latest piece of work is a split with another French band, Heptaedium ニンテンドーコア, and it’s pretty damned good! Each band provides three tracks, and there’s a collective piece, too: ‘Mecha’. I’ve got to say that their fusion-ish, djenty progressive metal with chiptune elements has improved quite a lot since their debut! This split album introduced me the aforementioned ‘other French band’, who also includes a lot of chiptune in their compositions, but theirs are more steered towards progressive metalcore and djent. Still, both bands did an amazing job on this split release, and the album art is radical!
Genetics is a Colorado-based progressive funk band. Yes! Progressive funk is what happens when you replace prog rock’s morose riffs and chords with some legitimate grooves. The emphasis on instrumental prowesses, long-form song structures, and fondness of conceptual releases all remain. Beast Mountain was just released, and it’s an absolute must for progressive rock and funky music fans alike. It’s a super fun, charming, and impressive full-length concept album in which to drown for hours!
Latin America are great consumers of progressive rock from all around the world, but there are only a handful of Latin American prog bands that I can count among the best ones. And Mexico’s Cast is a new name on that list. The band has been established since 1978, and Power and Outcome just came out in early March – their nineteenth album! Musically, it’s pretty much exactly what you’d expect from a symphonic prog band: lots of orchestrations, long-ish songs, melodic vocals, odd time signatures, and many solos! Yes, this can sit right at home in your prog records library, and I suggest you save some space for it!
Howling Embers is a new symphonic post-rock band that will make you melt. On their eponymous debut, the slowly moving pastures are joined by acoustic string instruments in order to craft some of the most beautiful and emotional post-rock out there! This album is simply beautiful and engrossing. You need this if you’re into post-rock!
Russian experimental progressive rock quintet released their latest study, The Grand Astoria Meets the Finest Moscow Sound Explorers, an experiment in ambient music. The record only consists of three songs – one of them split in two parts because of bandcamp’s file size limit -, totalling a massive total of two hours and a half on three discs! Joined by members of Кшеттра (Kshettra), Adean, and Люди на льду (Lyudi na ldu), they manage to craft haunting atmospheres in seemingly endlessly-repeating soundscapes that, nonetheless, continually progress and evolve. Something to definitively add to your more tranquil and background-ish music playlist!