I Can’t Believe This Is Called Music! Top 2019 Albums of 2019, Part XXII: 10-4

Part I: 2019-1920

Part II: 1919-1820

Part III: 1819-1720

Part IV: 1719-1620

Part V: 1619-1520

Part VI: 1519-1420

Part VII: 1419-1320

Part VIII: 1319-1220

Part IX: 1219-1120

Part X: 1119-1020

Part XI: 1019-920

Part XII: 919-820

Part XIII: 819-720

Part XIV: 719-620

Part XV: 619-520

Part XVI: 519-420

Part XVII: 419-334

Part XVIII: 333-221

Part XIX: 220-121

Part XX: 120-21

Part XXI: 20-11

Part XXII: 10-4

10: Car Made of Glass – Every Song Is a Good Song (Montgomery Street)

California’s Car Made of Glass is a peculiar thing indeed. Though it started as a sort of emoviolence, grindcore, and noise blend and made plenty of split releases in that style, it reached a crossroads on their debut, Foreign Graffiti. Even though, it seems, the band’s experimental and noise demographics seemed to wax while the rest dwindled as time passed, there is a juncture, a breaking point, that was reached on that album. Some tracks are purely of the former, and some of the latter, and some, still, are a continuation of what they were doing before: a mix of the two. There is no ambiguity about Every Song Is a Good Song, however. The more forward-thinking population within Car Made of Glass won the civil war, and we get an album that mainly focuses on ambiances, noises, lowercase recordings, jazz, and free improvisation. It’s really amazing how the five tracks can be different from one another, yet how they nevertheless sound so much alike. I believe this is the band’s best release to date, and I’m eager to find out where we’ll be headed to next!

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9: Black Midi – Schlagenheim (Rough Trade)

Black Midi‘s newest effort departs from their free-rock improvisation-fuelled fever dream with Damo Suzuki and into the realm of composition once again. On Schlagenheim, they move easily from math rock to noise rock to experimental pop to post-rock to—I don’t know—other stuff! It’s a brilliant and amazing album, but one that is pretty hard to categorize and to describe. Well, I would expect no less from the band! That album is prog as hell, always flowing from one place to another, and it’s weird. You’ll love it! I do.

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8: Matt Mitchell – Phalanx Ambassadors (Pi)

Pianist Matt Mitchell is ubiquitous in the contemporary jazz scene. A few of the bands he played with recently include Quinsin Nachoff’s Flux, John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble, and Anna Webber, all of which I completely adored. On Phalanx Ambassadors, he takes his improvisational and compositional skills to their limits to create something truly out of the ordinary. It’s a wild album that will bite back, but the masochists that we are love to be bitten.

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7: Matana Roberts – Coin Coin, Chapter Four: Memphis (Constellation)

Matana Roberts‘s latest album has been widely acclaimed already, and it’s thanks to this that I’ve been acquainted with Memphis. To say that it’s gut-wrenchingly emotional would be underselling it. The Coin Coin series retells, from my understanding of it, stories of the North American slave trade, and it’s intertwined with this fascinating composition style that’s uniquely idiosyncratic and unmistakable. If you see that album on many lists, this year, don’t ask why, listen to it. Over and over again.

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6: 嶋川堅太 (Kenta Shimakawa) – グリンプス (Gurinpusu) / Glimpse

Who here remembers when I wrote about the prog fusion band Tindergodz? Well, here’s a follow-up! Project mastermind 嶋川堅太 (Kenta Shimakawa) went on and created a solo album pushing the fusion of jazz and progressive metal even further, and without the comedic aspects his previous project had. The end result is one of the best modern djazz releases, featuring many talented and renowned musicians. One of the parts I enjoyed most is, rather simply, the theme to the title track. It’s rhythmically interesting, and uses a lot of wide intervals, making it sound very energetic, dynamic, and recognizable. Thanks to the amazing talents of singer Louisa Rosi and saxophonist Baptiste Horcholle. A similar thing can be said of “Oiseau”, of which you can watch the guitar playthrough video above. Starting with a fast-paced polymetric riff in \(\frac{7}{16}\) against \(\frac{7}{4}\) sets the tone for the rest of the composition, filled with groove, sax, and amazing melodies. Seriously, a tremendous album! Don’t miss out!

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5: Snooze – Familiaris

I’ve always been a huge fan of Chicago’s math rock slash post-hardcore band Snooze; well, since their Actually, Extremely debut at least. You’ll be glad to learn that they keep their almost skate punk sound, while refining their math and progressive edges. Familiaris is filled with hooked melodies and odd rhythms. In other words, it’s fantastic!

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4: Spinifex – Soufifex

Spinifex is a hard band to nail down. They make the music that they want to make, and it doesn’t matter whether it’s similar as before or completely different. Also, they release it without fanfare and Soufifex is a fine example of this. It came out on music platforms on January 10, but only came on Bandcamp this week, and it’s the only place that will alert me when something comes out, so… Hey it’s here and it’s late but it’s so good it doesn’t matter so go ahead and enjoy!

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On January 22 2020, this entry was posted.
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