Valse fréquence – Ci-haut, Ci-bas
Montréal indie post-rock band Valse fréquence just released the Ci-haut, Ci-bas EP, a lyrical record filled with melancholic songs in lush atmospheres, all sung in the band’s native French. Valse fréquence crafted here five compositions in the vein of indie rock, but with all of the sadness and romanticism of post-rock. Ci-haut, Ci-bas is a beautiful EP with hauntingly memorable melodies.
Albatros – Futile (Le Mort)
Nothing catches my eye quite like when a band describes itself as “doom ska”. Québec quintet Albatros did just that with Futile, the latest EP of the group. While “doom ska” is an amazing way to put it—concise, vivid, graphic, and, in a sense, true—it’s more complex than that. Albatros is more like a blackened post-hardcore band with brass. It’s quick, it’s heavy, and it’s not very joyful. Futile is a rather impressive album, and all I’m asking for is more!
Perséide – Parmi les arbres
Perséide is a progressive rock band leaning heavily into the older iterations of the genre—classic prog, proto-prog—as can be heard on Parmi les arbres, the band’s most recent output. Through its seven tracks, Parmi les arbres brings you to some folkish tunes, some more indie pop-like, and others definitely prog. At times slow and elegiac, at times upbeat and naïve, Perséide shines.
Upperground Orchestra – Euganea (Morphine)
This Italian quartet just released a brilliant free electro-jazz full-length by the name of Euganea. Basically, it’s a free jazz trio with an additional electronics and keyboards player. This supernumerary musician really adds a whole new personality to the recording, which is at times now closer to dub music than jazz, although the latter still predominates throughout. Moreover, the bass player sometimes switches to an oud, which brings the whole thing much closer to Middle-Eastern music. All of this makes up for an interesting album that’s a lot of fun to listen to!
Fleshworld – The Essence Has Changed, but the Details Remain (This Charming Man)
I’ve already praised this album for its striking album art, as soon as it was announced. Now, I can also praise it for its music. Fleshworld is a Polish blackened post-hardcore group with noise and sludge elements, and the band is at the top of the art on The Essence Has Changed, but the Details Remain. The album is very methodical and purposeful; the compositions use that post-rock swelling and crescendo to great effect, and, with the addition of the band’s blackened and sludge influences, coalesce into an even more appealing whole. All of this makes for a stellar album.
Club Sieste – Club Sieste (Collectif Coax)
France again… Club Sieste is an experimental noise jazz group of improvisers. If you’re not intellectually salivating from this brief description, this might not be for you. The thirty-minute recording features the musicians at their peak on their respective instruments: saxophone, bass, vibraphone, guitars, drums, and electronics. Yes, it’s noisy; yes, it’s abrasive, and it’s all that I love! Give yourself the pleasure of listening to this beast!