Those Darn Gnomes – All Tiny Breasts Crushed beneath the Shadow (Snail Cage)
The experimental blackened grindcore act Those Darn Gnomes has made quite an impression on me with their first release, The Zodiac. I was loving it, but was put off by just how low fidelity it was. Fortunately, since then, the band has kept its avant-garde mindset and experimental tendencies while levelling up the production value. All Tiny Breasts Crushed beneath the Shadow—a sentence that Christian found out spelled in magnets on his refrigerator—is a reaction to Calling Whitetails to a Tuned Bow, which featured longer, more thoroughly written compositions. Therefore, this new album has much shorter songs in general that are less composed and more improvised. As always, it’s a pure gem of chaos and noise.
Yazz Ahmed – Polyhymnia (Ropeadope)
British-Bahraini trumpeter and composer Yazz Ahmed is back with a new album of psychedelic jazz heavily tinged with Arabic music. Polyhymnia was inspired by the Muse of the same name while writing for the Women of the World Festival. As usual for Yazz, it’s a great album with diverse compositions; some leaning more toward her Arabic background, others presenting a more straight-up jazz attitude, still others exploring that psychedelic, progressive aspect of hers. A thoroughly beautiful album that’s worth many listens.
Jyocho – 綺麗な三角、朝日にんげん (Kireina sankaku, asahi nin gen) / A Perfect Triangle, Rising Sun Human (No Big Deal)
Japanese math-pop act Jyocho is one I always try to keep an eye out for; indeed, it’s not always an easy task keeping up to date with Japanese artists! Fortunately, the band has just put out 綺麗な三角、朝日にんげん (Kireina sankaku, asahi nin gen)—English title: A Perfect Triangle, Rising Sun Human—a relatively short EP bursting with creativity and awesomeness. The odd group features most prominently だいじろー (Daijirō) of 宇宙コンビニ (Uchū konbini) fame, but also a full-time flute player, which really adds to the band’s sound to create something rather unique. This new EP is really enjoyable, like all of Jyocho’s output, really, so don’t wait and get on it!
The Night Watch – An Embarrassment of Riches
The Night Watch is a Canadian band that I have lauded in the past. It’s, at its core, a progressive rock band with strong folk music influences, which transpire a lot through violinist Evan Runge, but not only. While their previous release was a monolithic thirty-six-minute track, An Embarrassment of Riches features eight comparatively short pieces, but at around ten minutes each, they’re not what we can call “short”. The whole album itself barely fits on a single disc, so there’s a lot to like in there! I’d say this is perhaps the band at its most creative and mature. It comes out in November, watch out for it!
Black Pantone – Ni d’Eve ni d’Adam
Yet another crazy good jazz fusion project from France, Black Pantone just released an hour-long collection of compositions, which range from classical-influenced to experimental jazz, by way of fusion. Ni d’Eve ni d’Adam is lush and varied, and each track has something to bring for itself. It’s a very nice, little-known album.
Catatonic Effigy – Putrid Tendency (Iluso)
Guitarist Álvaro Domene is always in the coolest projects, the latest of which takes the form of Catatonic Effigy, an avant-garde metal trio including Colin Marston on bass and Mike Caratti on drums. It’s unknown whether the tracks on this record are composed or improvised, but my money is on a certain mix of both. It seems that the three freely play against one another until one theme comes about and brings them all together for, generally, a short time, before they diverge again into unknown territories. It’s tough to put words on this, but I love it so much; it’s my favourite thing. It comes out in November!