I swore that I had added the album "Jazz Mind" by Ed Scrader. I'm surprised they're not already on the site. Ed Schrader's Music Beat is generally a lo-fi punk project, but on their latest album they expand their sound quite a bit. Greater production values (courtesy of Dan Deacon) and more varied instrumentation gives this album a wider sonic palate than previous releases, but tracks like "Rust" still showcase the groups raw fury.
Peter Zummo is an American composer an Trombone player. He frequently produced and collaborated with Arthur Russell as well as composing his own unique modern classical music. This recent release by him is hypnotic. I took a walk and listened to this album, and I found it to be an extremely pleasant listen with minimal beats vibraphone, trombone, and various other strings and percussion.
Footwork album by a Chicago area producer. A good introduction for those that are not familiar with the genre, and a great album for fans. Hopefully this will expose more people to this unique brand of Chicago area music. I think a lot of the tracks are solid, but the album can get a little repetitive at points.
A mix of punk, free jazz, and math rock is a godsend for me. I debated whether jazz is actually present, because the tracks that contain horns sound more like they are being bludgeoned to death rather than being played. If you like cacophony, then give it a listen.
A very fun and exuberant set from the Malian singer/songwriter. I kind of hope that Thrill Jockey branches out into more African music like this; I'm sure that it would make for some great collaborations.
OK, this next album may actually be the next masterpiece in the making.
After nearly 40 years, this songwriting duo is finally getting to release their first album. If you like the singer/songwriters of the 60s and 70s, then you might just have found a new favorite. This is pure folk/ rock perfection, and I am trying not to add it to my greatest chart immediately. I can't believe that stuff like this is still out there waiting to be discovered. It makes me want to drop everything, and go find the lost cuts of Orson Welles' films or other hidden art of the world.
If you do anything this week, you should check out a new Cubano Mambo album that Daptone Records just put out that's a lot of fun. I love Perez Prado, and this album seems somewhat an homage to him and Cuban music of the past with the playing of a modern ensemble. A lot of fun.
I'm going to go over a partial discography of an artist that I've been wanting to get more into every week. I won't rank their albums, but I will give a quick synopsis and probably a link or two to their songs as well as a short biography on the band. The first band I'll be looking at is...
Sad Lovers & Giants: Alternative Mavericks (or maybe the poor man's Smiths?)
Active primarily between 1981 and 1991, with one break up during that time period, Sad Lovers & Giants carved out a cult following among the vast swath of British Alternative acts of the 1980's. Sad Lovers & Giants don't exactly stick out from more popular contemporaries in any striking way (barring the atmospheric keyboards present on a lot of tracks), but they blend together a lot of those sounds in a way that's tight and professional. The skittery and sometimes jangly guitar work, the brittle melancholic lead singer, the jumpy bass, and always competent, accentuated drumming, make for a band that had all of the tools, but not really the pizzazz needed to make it much bigger. I would say that their 5 albums made in this time are just as good as anything made in the genre of alternative rock/ post punk during this time period. That being said, if you like The Smiths, The Cure, The Chameleons, Joy Division, or any other number of alternative acts from the 1980s, then you will like Sad Lovers and Giants.
The first and arguably the most "new wavy" of the bunch, this album clocks in at a quick 28 minutes. A good debut that is their current highest rated on the site. Akin to other debuts of the era like Echo and the Bunnymen's energetic, but underdeveloped first LP.
Their sophomore album expands on nearly every aspect of their debut. Songs are darker and more intricate that the previous album, and they start to develop their own brand of meandering ballads. However, their are still some real wild one's on this album like "Man of Straw".
They broke up after their second album, but this live album, which contains some of their best known songs was released in 1986. The band's biggest hits interestingly enough were never on an album until expanded versions were released in later years. In fact, their are a lot of great non album songs that are on the expanded versions of the previous two albums that are included on this Live Album. I would almost say that this is a better place to start than their actual debut.
This right here is the album that should be better known. This is the album that should have broke them out of the underground scene that they seemed to be stuck in. The guitar playing is fantastic, the vocals are just the right amount of emotionally detached, but still resonant, and nearly all of the songs sound like they could have been hits in another time. Particularly the songs "Cuckooland" and "House of Clouds".
As with most bands from the 80's, I was a little trepidatious to dive into their 90's output. Headland is a slight departure from their last album, and is almost a little dream poppy in it's delivery. This is probably the most lush of their albums, sonically speaking, and are more minimal than some previous efforts. Songs move at a pretty slow pace, but are more texturally dense than previous efforts. The closing track is appropriately morose.
This album sounds kind of like a mixture of Mirror Test and Headland. It's not quite as thoughtful sounding as Headland, and has more of bite like their older albums. Another surprisingly competent album. Especially after listening to all of their other material.
Well, it would be one thing if this band had one overlooked album, but after going through most of their discography (barring a lot of the singles they released and one comback album in 2002) I can't say I disliked anything that I heard. All albums kept me engaged for their duration, and were a pleasant listening experience. I had only heard bits and pieces of their albums up to this point (except Epic Garden Music), and I'm happy to have now listened to all of these.
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