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!
Trevor Dunn – Nocturnes (Tzadik)
Let’s move back to April to talk about New York bassist and composer Trevor Dunn‘s latest album, Nocturnes. The album features two main sides: Dunn’s first string quartet on the first and six nocturnes for piano on the other. A nocturne, in music, is a piece inspired by or intended to be played during the night. That’s quite self-explanatory, but its origins date back to the Middle Ages, with a surge in popularity in the XVIII and XIX centuries. Dunn’s nocturnes are a creative and diverse set of six short compositions. Melancholic, gloomy, and sometimes a bit eery and weird, they are portrayed rather well by the amazing cover artwork by Brunetti. In general, a very enjoyable set of chamber music.
Caroline Davis’ Alula – Alula (New Amsterdam)
Saxophonist and singer Caroline Davis recently put out Alula, her latest album, with Matt Mitchell on keyboards and Gregory Saunier on percussions. The end result is a stellar collection of compositions that are very energetic and rather eccentric as well, as can be glimpsed by listening to the preview track, “Wingbeat”, alone. The album only feels too short! But, that’s hardly a criticism; it’s more of a praise for the music is so gripping that it only feels like it’s gone too soon when it ends.
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!
Hungría – Cumbre de nieves perpetuas
Argentina’s Hungría has finally come up with a successor to the outstanding Magyarország vagy halál! It seems to me that Cumbre de nieves perpetuas tends to lean more on post than math rock, but the core idiosyncrasies remain. As an example, the track “Algunos animales son tan difíciles de ver que parecen espíritus” is an especially brilliant example of how the two subgenres can work hand in hand to create something more than the sum of its parts. The rest of the album is full of brilliant moments as well, so I encourage you to check it out!
Tak – Oor
The avant-garde chamber music ensemble Tak just released Oor, a collection of six recordings of compositions written [mostly] for the group by as many different composers. This leads, obviously, to very diverse tracks, varying greatly in every regards between one and the next. One thing that remains throughout is the degree of excellence of the composition and performance. Each composer has a unique approach to music, the genre, and the form (Tak’s lineup), and yet the group gently bends itself to the required shape and perfectly fits the mould. All of this leads for an intensely interesting and cathartic experience, with Oor being one of my favourite discoveries of the year so far!