Jazzcore is one of these things that’s really, really good, but that doesn’t get a ton of attention, and doesn’t get a ton of releases either! It nonetheless covers a wide range of sounds, from the improvised to the purely written, from prog-adjacent to jazz-adjacent to… a lot of other things! It’s a great genre, and here’s my best picks for 2021.
Number Five: Skeletonized Quartet – Future Shock
Skeletonized has been around for some time, and they’ve been quite consistent with releases! Putting out a few releases every year at least! With Future Shock, you can hear their improvisational approach, their bleak atmosphere-building, and their new member, Nathan, on guitar and electronics! Enjoy!
Number Four: 薬玉 – 薬玉
I just noticed 薬玉 (Kusudama) is a very old band! Their Youtube videos go from 4 weeks ago straight to… 11 years ago. The Belarusian quintet seems to have a more lighthearted approach to the genre than most others on this list, and will often hop between genres like funk, pop, and reggae before slamming on the gas and going full-on jazzcore, which is really cool and keeps you on your toes! If you missed it this year, now’s the time to get into it!
Number Three: Jü – Ⅲ
It’s my first time with Jü, but apparently they’ve been at it for nearly a decade already! And I get why, now. Ⅲ is as solid as any other album on this list, and the band’s exploration of other musical territories, sonorities, and atmospheres is definitely something to look out for in that one!
Number Two: Spinifex – Spinifex Beats the Plague
What a pleasant surprise each time a new Spinifex album arrives. While I didn’t reach the same cathartic enjoyment as when I listened to Soufifex, Spinifex Beats the Plague is an astonishingly solid heavy jazz album that truly deserves a spot on this list!
Number One: The Flying Luttenbachers – Negative Infinity
I mean, who to give it to but to the absolute legends of the genre? Negative Infinity marks a return to a focus on compositions instead of improvisations for the band, and I can’t be happier about that! While I do love improvisation (see my Best of Improvisation list), I feel like the Flying Luttenbachers’s formula works much better as a brutal prog/jazzcore band than a jazz improv one!
Hover over foreign scripts for pronunciation and romanization.
Friday, 26 February
Moop – Ostara
Friday, 19 March
Abacaxi – Mainstream Desire
Fred Cracklin & First Children – FC
Friday, 2 April
Dead Neanderthals – Rat Licker
Skeletonized Quartet – Future Shock
Saturday, 26 June
Plain Cheese Pizza – Plain Cheese Pizza
Vancouver, British Columbia
Friday, 9 July
The Flying Luttenbachers – Negative Infinity
New York, New York
Friday, 24 September
Jü – Ⅲ
Friday, 5 November
Spinifex – Spinifex Beats the Plague
Amsterdam, New York
Wednesday, 1 December
薬玉 – 薬玉
Best of 2021
01/01 – Best of Afrobeat
01/02 – Best of Atmospheric Black Metal
01/03 – Best of Avant-Garde Black Metal
01/04 – Best of Brutal Death Metal
01/05 – Best of Classical
01/06 – Best of Death Metal
01/07 – Best of Deathcore
01/08 – Best of Doom Metal
01/09 – Best of Folk
01/10 – Best of Grindcore
01/11 – Best of Hardcore
01/12 – Best Improvisation
01/13 – Best of Indie Rock
01/14 – Best of Jazz Fusion
01/15 – Best of Jazzcore