Poil 上田 – Poil 上田 (Dur et Doux)
Poil is among one of my all-time favourite bands—just check this review or this one if you need convincing. With this new album, which is set for release in March 2023, the French avant-prog trio teams up with Ni’s bassist—they’ve already collaborated on Piniol—and, for the first time, Japanese 薩摩琵琶 (satsuma-biwa) player and singer 上田純子 (Junko Ueda). The result of this collaboration is an incredible, although rather short (32 minutes is really not that bad), blend of French avant-prog and traditional Japanese music, poems, and spectacle. It’s a truly astounding record that is sure to make my 2023 list.
Lasiodora – Molt
Lasiodora is a progressive post-hardcore band from Arizona, and Molt is their debut album. And what a debut! In just under thirty minutes, they succeed in establishing the rules of their game. The result is somewhere between Closure in Moscow and the Fall of Troy. Which is to say: you need to hear this.
Baber & Wileman – Φ
Alright, I listened to this album early this year when it came out, and I loved it, but I kept postponing writing on it, and it eventually fell through the cracks. However, let me correct this. Φ (Phi) is an album featuring Matt Baber of Sanguine Hum and Richard Wileman of Karda Estra, two bands I love! This album is quite different from their respective bands, however. It’s a more pensive, acoustic, folksy art rock record. There’s a bunch of more exploratory compositions on the album, but there are also very catchy ballads and songs, namely “Souvenir” and “Emperor”, that are certain to stay in your head long after listening to them. Truly a valuable album for the year’s end!
Don Bolo – Bahamut
Hailing from Ecuador, Don Bolo is a progressive, aggressive, genre-transgressing band that touches on almost everything under the sun: ska, metal, punk, jazz, dub, folk… It’s got a bit of everything! On some slower tracks, one might be remembered bands like Ex Eye or Zu, but the Don’s got so much more for himself. The Latin festivities transpire, and that makes Bahamut truly unique!