Album Of The Year?

Yes it’s that time again……and with it being a very busy year I thought i’d better prepare the long-list early on…..so in no particular order the candidates for this years “Best Of…..” not jazz albums… I’ll whittle it down to a top ten in due course, and I may well include some other ones I have missed and some things in the pipeline which look like they make the list.

There are a couple of very strong front-runners at the moment and after that it all gets a bit difficult…………

  • The Seven Twenty – The Seven Twenty
  • Niche – Heading East
  • Heroin In Tahiti – Sun and Violence
  • Dilly Dally – Sore
  • The Holy Soul – Fortean Times
  • Mammoth Penguins – Hide and Seek
  • The Lancashire Hustlers – What Made Him Run
  • Moff Skellington – Scribnalls
  • Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Just Sit And Think And Sometimes I Just Think
  • Robert Forster – Songs To Play
  • Bouquet of Dead Crows – Of The Night
  • Dave Graney – Once I Loved The Oceans Roar
  • Monkeys In Love – Take The Biscuit
  • Corrections House – Know How To Carry A Wip
  • Esmerine – Lost Voices
  • Dead Sea Apes – Spectral Domain
  • Moff Skellington – The Corkscrew Tongue
  • Liberez – All Tense Now Lax
  • Vienna Ditto – Circle
  • JD Meatyard – Taking The Asylum
  • Ken Mode – Success
  • Dead to Dying World – Litany
  • Myrkur – M
  • The Creeping Ivies – Your New Favourite Garage Band
  • Ought – Sun Coming Down
  • Big Brave – Au De La
  • The Happy Fallen – Lost and Found
  • Cryin’ Queerwolf – Diva
  • Alif – Aynama -Rtama
  • Dave Graney ‘n’ The Coral Snakes – Night of the Wolverine  (Expanded)
  • ZX+ Don’t Drink The Water
  • Author & Punisher -Melk En Honing
  • Dave Graney & the mistLY – Play mistLY for me – live recordings vol 1
  • Flies On You – Etcetera
  • Brothers of the Sonic Cloth – Brothers of the Sonic Cloth
  • The Go-Betweens – G stands for Go-Betweens : Volume One 1978-1984 (yes I know it’s a box set but it’s too good to ignore)
  • Moff Skellington – The Corduroy Bridge
  • The Fall – Sub Lingual Tablet
  • Minimi Deutsch – Minimi Deutsch
  • Anna Von Hauswolff – The Miraculous
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Fascinating Things : Issue 20

A biblical deluge of new things in this week so only time for  some short and sharp reviews:

Mammoth Penguins – Hide and Seek (Fortuna Pop!)

The debut album from the new band fronted by Emma Kupa, formerly of BBC 6 Music favourites Standard Fare. Released on 10 July via Fortuna POP!.  A dozen simply marvellous power pop tunes with Emma’s delightful and arresting voice holding the attention for the whole of the album. Lyrically spot on, musically clever, and as it is stripped down to guitar, bass and drums, this is a perfect example of how to write and deliver good tunes.

Dead Sea Apes – Spectral Domain (Cardinal Fuzz/Sunrise Ocean Bender)

Manchester’s Dead Sea Apes have quickly built a fascinating catalogue that delivers fascinating instrumental jams. From the riveting stomp of previously featured ‘Soy Dios’ and ‘Astral House,’ to the enigmatic ebb and flow laden ‘Lupus,’ and straight through to their stunning collaboration with Black Tempest, ‘The Sun Behind The Sun,’ Equally capable of crushing heavy riffing and  mesmerizing ambient space-psyche as heard on last years critically acclaimed ‘High Evolutionary’,  this is a band that gets better with every release. ‘Spectral Domain,’ is their third full length album. From the Lalo Schiffrin meets Cluster spy theme of ‘Brought To Light’, the driving noise juggernaut of ‘Universal Interrogator’ through to the dubbed out claustrophobia of ‘Sixth Side of the Pentagon’, this is wigged space rock of the highest order. Releases on September 28th  in a visually striking sleeve and insert designed by Luke Insect on a purple and clear vinyl swirl be quick though only 200 are available. Nothing available from the album as yet for embeddinhg so here is something from High Evolutionary to whet your whistle.

Minimi Deutsch – Minimi Deutsch (Cardinal Fuzz)

Emerging from the vibrant Japanese psych explosion that has recently birthed Kikagaku Moyo, Sundays & Cybele,  as part of a new wave of acts that are making waves in the West, Minami Deutsch formed in 2014 and quickly went to work on this their debut album. The album is  a product of their source bands while putting a fine new twist on them,  capturing a  motorik sensibility as the band locks into repetitive locked modular grooves.  Source influences are Can, Neu! and La Duesseldorf (the clue is in the name) with added modernist synth swoops and whirls.  Hypnotic repetition with subtle changes leaves this listener wanting much more. Stunning stuff. 28th September sees the release of a 500 pressing on Weissensee white vinyl.

Henry Threadgill Zooid – In For A Penny, In For A Pound (Pi Recordings)

A double CD of a new suite of compositions from the masterly Mr Threadgill.  As usual there is the unique combination of instrumentation that characterises a Threadgill release – alto, flute and bass flute from the leader, and trombone/tuba,guitar, cello, and percussion. Essentially a “stream of musical phrases” developed over six distinct pieces. Each CD starts with a short introduction and then moves two lengthier section, Bubbling with ideas this is typical Threadgill territory,  his complex avant garde structures creating a unique musical palette with passages of manic pointillism sitting alongside measured chamber jazz, which can then transform into Henry’s particular version of mutant jazz rhythms. Not to for the faint hearted but if you enjoy challenging music you should give this a try. Again there is nothing from the album available as yet so here is a live cut from a couple of years back.

Johann Kloos – Flower Bed (Bandcamp)

A retrospective collection of material from 2003-2011 from the ever busy Dr Kloos. As usual it is jam packed full of musical ideas, replete with humorous idiosyncrasies, and damn fine. Johann moves between various genres across ten excellent tracks, one minute a piece of jazz-funk that Jan Hammer would have been proud of, the next atmospheric post-punk textures,  and then motorik driven beats .  This guy has more ideas in his little finger than any Coldplay wannabee that has been signed by a major. This guy should be supported and promoted he deserves the widest possible audience.

Aaron Diehl – Space Time Continuum (Mack Avenue)

Widely acknowledged as a modern master in the aftermath of his acclaimed 2012 Mack Avenue debut, “The Bespoke Man’s Narrative”, 29-year-old pianist-composer Aaron Diehl ups the ante with his 2015 release “Space, Time, Continuum”. Diehl first came to notice on the self-released late ʼ00s albums “Live At Caramoor”, a solo date on which he navigated the stride piano canon with deep assurance; and “Live At The Players”, on which he delivered a program spanning classical music, bebop and the blues. On “The Bespoke Man’s Narrative”, Diehl presented original music drawing on composers like John Lewis and Duke Ellington for inspiration.  On “Space, Time, Continuum”, an eight- track album, Diehl uses the core trio of bassist David Wong and drummer Quincy Davis. Also featured are the iconic tenor saxophonist-composer Benny Golson and baritone saxophonist Joe Temperley, both 85 years young; the 39-year-old underground tenor saxophone giant Stephen Riley; and the rising star trumpeter Bruce Harris, not yet 30. are also featured. The album moves between trio workouts to blues drenched pieces, or sprightly bop workouts, featuring the horns. Beautifully recorded, there is nothing ground breaking here but the playing is exemplary.

Fascinating Things : Issue 19

Hot on the heels of the new Chelsea Wolfe comes the debut album from Myrkur, the Danish one-woman black metal project. Myrkur (“darkness” in Icelandic) burst onto the scene l in mid 2014 combining the rawness of second wave black metal bands like Ulver and Darkthrone with a natural sonic, ethereal beauty, creating a wholly unique perspective on the genre. Now working with producer Garm of Ulver, this album is a bit of a revelation and moves the genre forward by several very large steps.  Both vicious and lovely.

Publicist UK consists of Brett Bamberger (also of Revocation), Zach Lipez (ex Freshkills), David Obuchowski (Goes Cube, Distant Correspondent), and Dave Witte (Melt Banana, Burnt by the Sun, Municipal Waste). Post-punk pre-goth epic tunes swinging wildly between the more baleful bits of Tuxedomoon and the Eldritch excess of Sisters Of Mercy.

The  title track to the  third LP by Seattle’s Black Breath, “Slaves Beyond Death”, has just been issued as a first single as the album nears release through Southern Lord 25th September. Heavy stuff indeed.

The new Girobabies album is due out on 28th September but you can pre-order now, which I recommend you do.

Bouquet of Dead Crows have released the video of the other A of their forthcoming single on German Shepherd, worth watching for the number of different guitars Neil Bruce goes through in one song! They launch the single on the 28th at the Cornerhouse in Cambridge. I’ve heard the forthcoming album which is a bit of a belter, will share bits of it when I am allowed to.

More quirky and idiosyncratic pieces from the ever busy Dr Johann Kloos are revealed on his new waxing “Flower Bed”.  Johann says it is another retrospective collection, I say it is a another fine collection of fascinating,left field, compositions. Salford’s very own Frank Zappa.

The Mammoth Penguins debut “HIde and Seek” is on its way from Cargo Records. It’s Emma Kupa’s new vehicle and the trio did a great acoustic session on Dave Hammonds Smelly Flowerpot show on Cambridge 105  last week. Pending the arrival of the CD here is a live cut of the excellent “Propped Up” from the album. Echoes of early Go-Betweens here for me!