Site update: You remember a while ago we switched to writing sets of eight, and then nine mini-reviews, for the sake of covering a wider range of releases, and to be able to share the highest amount of quality releases we could manage? Then, remember how we switched to making solo mini-reviews, because I didn’t think these sets made justice to the best releases we covered? Now, I think it’s time for a sort of middle ground. I often find myself with albums I enjoy but don’t have much to say about, not enough to write a mini-review for them alone, so I don’t write about them, but would still like to share them in some way… Enter Breadcrumbs. It will basically be the successor column to the mini-review sets, but now it would be a bit confusing to call two different kinds of post the same. I’ll keep writing solo mini-reviews for the albums that hook me the most, or those that I find I have enough to say about, and will just share the other ones I like in Breadcrumbs, with just a little summary of my appreciation. I hope you’ll enjoy this new column, or rather the resuscitation of an older one!
Jackie Frank Russell III – Outward Calm, Inward Chaos
It’s a rather puzzling progressive metal album that goes to many places and fusions many genres and styles together in one. There’s progressive metal, progressive rock, neo-classical, electronic music, and many others. I think it’s in the “uncanny valley” of audio fidelity, where it’s pretty good for a solo musician, but not good enough to qualify as a professional release, so I don’t love it, but it’s certainly something that’s worthy of spreading around!
Omega – Eve
A somewhat peculiar kind of experimental black metal from Italy, Eve is based at least loosely on the Voynich manuscript and its still-undeciphered writings. Crossbreeding black with doom yields interesting results, and this is no different, plus there’s definitely some atmospheric portion to the music as well. As with the previous album, though, it’s a bit lo-fi, with the inexcusable use of sampled drums. Still, pretty good and obscure concept!
The Earth and I – The Candleman
This album is not out yet, but let me discuss it here briefly. It’s a female-fronted alternative metal band closing in near post-hardcore territory but with a fascination with the new kind of melodic progressive metal professed by Tesseract and its likes. Sure, it’s good, comforting, but is it new? Nah.
Vincent Jourde & Joffrey Dahonnet – Flow
This French-American duo’s album isn’t available in full on bandcamp, unfortunately. However, the two deliver some very soothing and entrancing guitar-and-woodwind jazz. It’s a simple yet strong and effective formula. The album’s forty minutes feel tragically short, and leave you asking for more from this soft and gentle moment.
Jiggly – Ritalin Chewables
The quest for bandmates often leads people to hazardous paths. Oakland, California’s Jiggly just recorded a four-track, eleven-minute experimental math rock EP in order to find a suitable bass player to complete their duo. The music on display here is quite mind-boggling, and just the kind of math rock that I utterly enjoy: it’s spastic, technical, hectic, and prazzpastic!
Jyocho – 碧い家で僕ら暮らす
We’ve covered Jyocho in the past, but, being based in Japan and all, the news of a new album don’t always come instantly. They released this EP in mid-September, and it’s basically more of what we loved them for already. Emotional but also technical math rock, female-fronted, flutes, and also a very rewarding sense of songwriting. Jam this as soon as possible!
Reflection Nebula – I
I once jokingly referred to this album as post-post-rock, but I think it somewhat encapsulates what the project stands for right! More boringly, it’s an ambient post-rock project from Russia that absolutely loves space. The songs are very slow, minimalistic, and fragile. It has some, very few moments where there are drum hits – consider it the apex of the album! The whole is tremendously beautiful, edifying in its vastness and barrenness. Hearken!
Namibian Tales – Kalahari Encounters
Namibian Tales is a world fusion band based in the Netherlands, but with its gaze set towards sub-Saharan Africa. The album is a remarkable mix of jazz fusion and traditional music from southern Africa. It’s just perfectly wrapped up together in this fifty-minute package, truly memorable.
Bingo Bandy Club – 9999 in 1
After releasing a single (Laser Raptor) a couple months back, Russian progressive rock quartet Bingo Bandy Club releases their full-length! Sheltering at least some similarities with math rock and funk music, 9999 in 1 is a groovy and, well basically it’s a great jam! Push play and bob your head!