RGG, Verneri Pohjola, and Samuel Blaser – City of Gardens
I’ve been introduced to the wonderful trumpet work of Finnish musician Verneri Pohjola with the soundtrack to the Animal Image documentary, and so City of Gardens is my second time meeting his music, this time on an album with RGG’s “Contemporary Sonus”, trombonist Samuel Blaser, and many other musicians. This is a fantastic jazz album recorded live during the Silesian Jazz Festival in Katowice. I highly recommend it!
My Wrist – Touch Me
Touch Me, by My Wrist, belongs in the experimental metal territory, I believe. Somewhere between noise, grind, and jazz, their mostly-instrumental 2018 EP is wild and aggressive. Thanks to their truly unhelpful bandcamp tags, however, I didn’t stumble on their album – which was out January first – until very recently. I mean… it’s in the “kids” section! Anyways… This is a stellar EP and I really hope they can put out more of that insane material soon! For fans of Those Darned Gnomes.
Armando Curiel – Familia
Mexican jazz composer Armando Curiel recently released Familia, which I believe is his first album. Songs like “Sueños de altamar” truly are the peak of this album. Its melodies are memorable and the instrumentation is beautiful and subtle. It’s not a challenging one to listen to, contrary to most of what you can find here, but it’s a high quality product that can accompany you anywhere. Please consider buying it.
Ensemble, et al. – The Slow Reveal
An album from 2017 that eluded me until now; yet another one! Ensemble, et al. is a percussion ensemble akin to The Kraken Quartet, which received many praises last year. While the latter focuses more on the math rock sound, filled with drive and odd-time grooves, today’s subject is more contemplative and post-rock-oriented. In truth, they are two equally worthy sides of one medal, so don’t let it slide by!
كاسيت التاجر (Kasyt altaajir) / Cassette Merchant – كلا اليدين الملكي (Kalaa alyadin almalakiu) / Both Hands Are Royal
Vancouver’s Cassette Merchant is a very interesting project. Combining experimental rock with electronic music, the band uses an electric saz, a Persian lute, originally tuned and fretted using a just intonation system close to quarter-tones. Instrumentally, Cassette Merchant is therefore pretty close to Australia’s Ḥashshāshīn, but the two results couldn’t be more different. While Ḥashshāshīn plays towards a more post-metal vibe, Cassette Merchant is undeniably rock, closer to uSSSy and King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard. Both Hands Are Royal is an amazing album, and while you’re there take some time to check the other bands that were mentioned.
Spooky Generator – Spooky Generator
Electro-math rock is always a pleasing sight. Spooky Generator do just that. The drums, bass, and keyboards trio creates some very interesting songs, that sometimes move towards progressive metal, sometimes there even are wafts of djent and post-rock here and there, but the tendency remains more towards an electronic rendition of groovy math rock. It’s rather unfortunate that I missed this back in March, because it would’ve clearly stood in the recommendations post! But it’s never too late to enjoy it.
Hope from Beyond – Lasts Forever
It’s not every day we get to talk about a Cypriot band, but Hope from Beyond manages to get us to do that. Their album Lasts Forever is a pretty convincing atmospheric djent album that’s a bit like a heavier take on the newer Tesseract, or a bit like Uneven Structure’s Februus at times. Sure, atmo-djent has fallen out of favour somewhat, but it’s still nice to hear a quality album.
Discomfort – Fear
This Italian blackened grindcore act massively slays. Fear is the band’s third album, if you don’t count two split releases, and it’s their most achieved one yet. It’s heavy and thick, full of blast beats and murky chords, with a sludge-laden bass providing the backbone of the beast. It’s hard to find something to fault this album with. I can’t even say it’s too short, for thirty minutes is quite a lengthy release for this genre of music. It’s good, it’s terribly good, and it hits hard.
Les Pompiers – Grande échelle monte jusqu’au ciel
Les Pompiers‘s sophomore release is finally out! Their debut floored me, and so I was anticipating its successor with great eagerness. While it’s good – very good –, I have to say I miss the place that the vocal passages were taking on Le maxi. Of course, there still is a few a cappella fugues and counterpoints on record, but they are so good I wish they were on every song! Alas, this should remain in the “fantasies” closet of my mind. Nevertheless, every track on Grande échelle monte jusqu’au ciel is a wonderful modern jazz experience that’s worth every second of your time.