Futbolín – Shy Guys, Malmö Days
The Italian post-hardcore trio managed to create an energetic and emotional EP that has just the slightest hints of math rock and mathcore influence, in the form of a chaotic hardcore aftertaste. Even though the album is rather straightforward in its time signatures, except for the odd time here and there, the choice accentuations keeps things fresh and unsettling. The only thing I can fault this EP on is its measly eleven-minute runtime, but it isn’t really a fault if said minutes give you a great time!
Colin Hinton – Glassbath
Coming out on 20 February, Glassbath aims at reconciling jazz with rock and punk music. It turns out being a nice forward-thinking jazz adventure that seems strongly rooted in all three of the aforementioned genres of music, but there’s still an almost constant intermingling of sounds that create something new. However, some say saxophonists are like singers, and that you can like some and not others for some reason unbeknownst even to yourself. I have to say something doesn’t click with Peyton Pleninger’s tenor playing for me. But that is highly subjective, so try it yourselves!
Daniel Saylor – Spring Rain
The debut album from percussionist and composer Daniel Saylor is a true treat. Spring Rain sees modern jazz through the lens of electronic music and plunderphonics, which gives rise to a sort of vaporjazz sound. Of course, some songs are definitively more jazz-leaning, while others stay on the more electronics side of things, but many merge the two in an interesting tangled mess. Throw in a bit of a lo-fi aesthetic, and you’ve got a unique sound that’s really striking. If you have only one song to try, it’s “Crossing Paths”.
Xenobiotic – Prometheus
Australia’s Xenobiotic just released a brutal album with Prometheus. The band’s blackened tech-death sound shines blindingly on their debut full-length. You get a bit of everything metal, here: tremolo picking parts, metalcore-ish breakdowns, technical riffs, blast beats… good vocal delivery and song structures just seal the deal. That album is truly a must for the metal fan.
灰野敬二 (Keiji Haino) & Sumac – アメリカドル紙幣よ – そのまま横を向いたままでいてくれ 正面からは見られたもんじやないから (Amerika doru shihei yo – sonomama yoko o muita mama de ite kure shōmen kara wa mi rareta monji ya naikara) / American Dollar Bill – Keep Looking Sideways, You’re Too Hideous to Look at Face On
Sumac is already well-known in the post-metal circles, but this collaboration with Japanese artists 灰野敬二 (Keiji Haino) is sure to give them plenty of credibility in the noise and experimental metal circles. It’s an hourlong dive into artistic, not to say abstract, music that really conjures blight and bleak mental images. It’s quite challenging to dig into and it’s somewhat frightening to let yourself be submerged into this fetid pool of noise. However, American Dollar Bill is of utmost importance, and I am so glad this exists. Be sure to listen to this fearsome experiment!
Fire! – The Hands
I totally fell in love with the group’s latest album, She Sleeps, She Sleeps, and with all of their side project’s experiments afterwards. It came as a bit of a bitter surprise to find The Hands following a new direction. Maybe it’s not what I would’ve preferred, but I’m sure this side step will please a lot of fans and newcomers. On The Hands, Fire! seem to be rather more straightforward, and go into that sort of new fuzzy jazz rock sound that’s almost like noise pop in some regards. Unfortunately, it didn’t do much for me, but it’s not a bad record per se.
Vitamin Sun – For You, out of You
Boston’s Vitamin Sun plays an interesting sort of indie prog that’s close to math rock in many regards, but stays closer to alternative prog than anything else. The album is imperfect, but not in the pejorative sense. Instead, its minuscule flaws only reveal the humanness of the band and of the people behind it, and that kind of imperfection is something that adds, rather than subtracts, to the worth of the music. It gives it charm and a unique character. Give Vitamin Sun a chance, you won’t be disappointed!
Basalte – Vertige
Basalte’s atmospheric, blackened post-metal is back with Vertige, which comes out on the 17th. Not to be confused with their debut, Vestige, their latest album expands on the relationship between post-metal and atmospheric black metal in a way that’s rarely been achieved thus far. Far from droning along, the chord progressions on the four tracks are quite expressive, which leads to some grandiose moments. Even if the sound is a bit low fidelity, the mix and production overall is good, so I guess it’s an artistic choice rather than a limitation they faced. This gives Vertige a bleak sound that the band merrily puts to use.
Monoglot – Wrong Turns and Dead Ends
Switzerland’s Monoglot is a superb revelation to me. Wrong Turns and Dead Ends is an avant-garde rock and jazz superposition that turns many ideas on their heads, so it’s never a straight path to the end of a song. It was an October release, so I’m a bit late on it, which is a real shame because I’m sure it would’ve made its way on our monthly list! However, it’s never too late to enjoy great music, and I recommend you head straight to their bandcamp page to listen to the album in full!