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)
Since I last wrote a couple of nice things have happened. Firstly I am now working with the excellent music venue Band on the Wall in Manchester to compile a monthly “new jazz” podcast which will reflect some of the jazz artists that will be playing at the august establishment as well as featuring some of the best new jazz releases. I am hoping to feature up and coming jazz musicians especially from the Greater Manchester area in those podcasts as well. I have an abiding love for the place as I have seen some of my favourite artists there over the years so it is a real treat for me to be doing this for them. Secondly I am now a featured blogger on the excellent Hype Machine website which highlights some of the best new music.
Talking of the Band on the Wall I was pleased to note that the legendary Curved Air will be playing there on Thursday next. Sadly I cannot attend due to ongoing post ankle fracture problems but my good buddy Stephen Doyle is attending on my behalf and a review of the gig will appear on the blog, courtesy of SD, in due course. It’s a long while since I saw Sonja and Co (supporting Mott The Hoople in Northampton back in the dark ages) so I am keen to hear what Steve and his wife Yvonne make of the performance. More information and ticket options can be found here.
Regina,Saskatchewan, based band Library Voices have released their new album ‘Lovish’. Their self-produced third collective effort, ‘Lovish’ was recorded in an old funeral home. The album was mixed by Dave Plowman and Alex Bonenfant (METZ, Crystal Castles, July Talk). The band have upped the fuzz and fidelity on this release, but have not lost any of their charming melodic pop elements. The 11 song album opens with the line “All of your heroes, they’re all assholes/but that don’t mean you should piss on your dreams” and then embarks on an anthemic 40-minute alternative rock journey. The cavernous reverb of an old Space Echo and a busted up tape machine provides the sonic backbone to this engaging guitar-driven album. There’s almost a mid-period Go-Betweens feel in places which of course ticks all the right boxes for me. One of the better albums of the year, especially when the band get the guitars up to full pelt and the punk psychedelia kicks in.
Father Murphy, the Italian duo comprised of Rev. Murphy and Chiara Lee, who have been inhabiting the underground since the early Noughties with a series of dark, disturbing recordings, have teamed up with producer Fabrizio Modonese Palumbo (Larsen) for a 10” EP, which is appropriately entitled “Lamentations” and is to be released by the avant-garde label Backwards on 20th November 2015.
Preparations continue for the release of SUNN O)))’s upcoming LP, “Kannon”, to be released this December via Southern Lord, and this week the album’s cover art and pre-order options have been released.
As part of the label’s ongoing 25th anniversary celebration, Relapse Records has released a 38-song label sampler available for free download via Bandcamp and Amazon MP3. The label sampler features songs from all of Relapse’s 2015 new releases including TORCHE, WINDHAND, ZOMBI, MYRKUR, ROYAL THUNDER and many more. It also includes tracks from the remixed and remastered reissues released in 2015, including music by PIG DESTROYER, SACRILEGE, EXHUMED, RAZOR, and more! Additionally, the sampler contains tracks from 2015’s new signees MAGRUDERGRIND, ILSA, SEVEN SISTERS OF SLEEP, WRONG, GRAVES AT SEA, and LYCUS. The 2015 sampler is also available for free streaming via all majorportals.
Additionally, Relapse Records released a massive 194-song sampler spanning the label’s entire 25-year history earlier this year.
The Scissors are self proclaimed as “Swirling Hammond organ fuelled psychpop with horrorshow freakbeat guitars and new wave post punk synergy”. They are from Cambridge and is the case with that places music scene there are all sorts of links. Band member Stewart Harris not only designed the sleeve for the recent Bouquet of Dead Crows album but also plays bass in excellent band The Seven Twenty. The Scissors have recently remastered their debut album as well as working on some new recordings which have been sent my way and will appear on a future podcast. Highly recommended!
There is a new single out from the excellent Damn Vandals which is released on 6th November.
The new album from Myrkur is absolutely stunning, the blend of ethereal ambience and throat shredding death metal is quite remarkable,
Melbourne based band The Sunday Reeds are Romana Ashton (vocals, bass) and Drew Jones (guitars). Their debut LP ‘Drowning in History, released through UK indie label Squirrel Records in 2009, led to an extensive European tour in 2010 which won the band a huge following but came at a cost. Then a couple, Romana and Drew split up in Paris, the City of Love, an experience that became the inspiration for their critically acclaimed EP ‘Amour Tragique’, a collection of five songs about love and loss. Latest single ‘Pretty People’ written by Romana Ashton, produced by the band and mixed by James Aparicio (Spiritualized and Mute Records) offers an insight into the direction of the album that the duo are currently writing. On one level ‘Pretty People’ is about cliques and their sense of self-importance, and on another, is a caustic social commentary about our culture’s fascination with ‘the trivial’, celebrity, gossip and fame by proxy. A video for the single will be released on the 12th of October to coincide with the official release of the track to the public. The Sunday Reeds plan to tour Europe in 2016.
Kranky have announced the upcoming Christopher Bissonnette album, Pitch, Paper & Foil, which is to be released on the 6th November. Continuing the explorations of the analog synthesizer ﬁrst revealed on his last album, Bissonnette’s deft touch in recording and mixing is a joy to experience. While most contemporary analog synth dabblers ﬁnd themselves unable to not overload the sound-ﬁeld with the endless array of possibilities the instrument provides, Bissonnette provides a master class in economy and control.
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!