Norma – Se voisit olla sä
Finland’s Norma is an all-female psychedelic rock group, and it’s recently released Se voisit olla sä, a stunning album. By carefully balancing progressive rock influences and pop, Norma is able to create memorable songs and catchy tunes. The frontwoman’s gorgeous voice, in the beautiful Finnish language, is often backed by stacked vocal harmonies, which further adds depth to the record. It’s a fun and easy listen!
Nytt Land – Oðal
From Russia, the Nytt Land quartet brings us dark and ritualistic folk music with metal influences. I say influences, because there is no, or next to no metal on this record, but its aura is definitely present all throughout. They get massive points for using physical, traditional instruments, and using some badass overtone singing! Count me in!
Perú – Ch’ixi
Ch’ixi is Argentine math rock band Perú‘s third release, and they’re really hitting the top of their form! Admittedly boasting some post-rock influences, the South American quartet prefers to evade cliches, and instead crafts an album with its own sound. There’s even some accordion in there! Very fun ride!
Hyper Lightning Hydra – Galactatron
I know I rant a lot against the use of VSTs and synthesized instruments, but a case can be made for them when they’re used as an artistic choice. Enters Australia’s Hyper Lightning Hydra. On Galactatron, the project uses a variety of sound libraries and samples to create something that’s not too far off of a video game from the nineties’ soundtrack. The songs range from rock, to jazz, to classical, to world music, and the compositions are very interesting. Imagine a somewhat less experimental Cryptovolans, and enjoy!
Antagoniste – Fragmented Soul
Featuring none other than Shining’s Jørgen Munkeby on saxophone, Antagoniste is an otherwise one-man solo project from France. On their Fragmented Soul EP, they craft some pretty cool sax-driven, sludgy post-metal with vocals that wouldn’t be out of place on a stoner album. Unfortunately, many flaws plague this release: badly programmed drums, poor production, songs that stagnate a bit too much, and its aforementioned vocals. Interesting, nonetheless.
ᛚᚮᛋᛐ ᛐᛆᛚᚴ (Lost Talk) – Symbol/Signal
I swear I wishlisted that album and followed the artist on bandcamp prior to this album’s release, yet, somehow! its release went under my radar. Oh, well! Better late than never… Australians Lost Talk – stylized in runic as ᛚᚮᛋᛐ ᛐᛆᛚᚴ on the album cover – play a punkish, noisy style of post-hardcore that is most appreciated. Singer Amy Mowle’s vocals are expressive and perfectly deranging, bringing similarities to some older feminist noise punk and no-wave artists. Awesome release that should have found its place among the best of February!
Owane – Yeah Whatever
Owane keeps putting out success after success on his flawless track record. The latest of which is Yeah Whatever, an amazing progressive metal fusion album. It sounds like an eighties-inspired modern instrumental prog album, with all the kitsch, the cliches, and the catchy but impressive musicianship. Yeah, whatever you do, you need this!
Louis de Mieulle & Matt Garstka – Dual
Bassist and composer Louis de Mieulle‘s album with drummer extraordinaire Matt Garstka is the underground modern jazz album you didn’t know you needed. Dual is based off of Matt’s beats – whether they are improvised or not is unknown –, in a similar fashion to Marco Minnemann’s Normalizer project, I suppose. The beats then serve as the foundation of the songs, and the result is a truly impressionist and modern architecture. Polyrhythms galore, and the harmonic and melodic concepts brought on by Louis and the various guest guitarists are infectious. Awesome album, and I can’t wait for the second part of this concept release, due this summer.
Yamantaka // Sonic Titan – Dirt
The Toronto-and-Montreal-based progressive-rock-and-art-pop sextet Yamantaka // Sonic Titan just released their latest album, Dirt. Far from dirty, it’s a clean-sounding album that has to draw comparisons to Bent Knee. Both bands have unique and wildly different musical identities, but I feel there are parallels to draw between the two acts. In any case, Dirt is a very cool prog album that will likely get you hooked!