So, as you may have heard, things are a little crazy in New York right now. So if this week’s New Arrivals post seems a bit punchier and more pun-filled this usual, it’s probably the result of extreme cabin fever.
We sincerely hope all of our eMusic members impacted by the storm are warm and safe and dry and doing well. We hope to be operating at full capacity here very soon. In the meantime, here’s a roundup of this week’s notable records to help get you through the next few days.
Neurosis, Honor Found in Decay: FINALLY. After an eternal-feeling four-year wait, Neurosis return with the same brand of lurching, 600-ton clobber-metal that have made them so justifiably beloved. The pace here is glacial, and we wouldn’t have it any other way — tense beginnings resolve into fully pummeling refrains. This one is Highly Recommended
Cody ChesnuTT, Landing on a Hundred: Ten years after his celebrated lo-fi debut The Headphone Masterpiece, Cody ChesnuTT returns with an album that is cleaner and sharper and more fully-realized. We interviewed ChesnuTT to find out what he’s been up to in the last decade. His album proves he’s lost none of his gentle tone or assured delivery, he’s just augmented it with fuller instrumentation.
The Coup, Sorry to Bother You: Just in time for the election, The Coup bring another batch of thumping hip-hop built on martial percussion and Boots Riley’s aggressive lyrics and delivery.
Tig Notaro, Live: Live set from justly-celebrated standup comic is alternately wrenching and hilarious. eMusic’s Anna Bond says:
As Notaro champion Louis C.K. has put it, Live is a rare reminder of what comedy can do at its most powerful. Live is the human condition, bone-weary and candid, placed before us without fanfare by one of our era’s most incisive and big-hearted wits; Live is the quietest triumph, a grief-borne obelisk displaying the strength of the human spirit better than any wilderness-survival memoir could hope to; Live is big-eyed, raw and grateful; Live is unbelievably funny.
Andrew Bird, Hands of Glory: New batch of Bird songs from the Break it Yourself sessions has the same loose, ambling feel as that record — lots of fog and moodiness, spare instrumentation and a ghostly mood overall.
OBN IIIs, s/t: I love these guys. Austin group specialize in marauding, super-melodic garage rock not entirely unlike The Saints or Radio Birdman. If you like big riffs and big hooks, this one’s for you. Recommended
Various Artists, Holidays Rule: It’s basically already the holidays, which means it’s basically already time for holiday music. Every year has one compilation that feels like The One To Get, and this one might fill that role for 2012. Heavy-hitters like fun., Rufus Wainwright, The Shins and Paul McCartney turn in their takes on holiday classics.
Cee-Lo Green, Cee-Lo’s Magic Moment: And if that’s not enough Christmas for you: Cee-Lo brings a record of throwback R&B-inspired takes on Christmas classics. This one is smooth and instantly-classic sounding, and Green’s smooth delivery is perfectly suited to these well-loved holiday chestnuts.
The Barbaras, 2006 – 2008: Great garage from Goner! One of our favorite labels has more revved-up trashy garage-pop to satisfy hungry souls. Giddy and goofy and irresistible, this full-length from the now-defunct group of Memphis goons has enough smarts and sass to make you wonder what might have been. Recommended
Sean Price, Mic Tyson: Let’s just take a moment to appreciate the fact that the new Sean Price record is called Mic Tyson, and to also marvel that somehow no one has ever named a record Mic Tyson before. Sean P! I loved the first few records Price made for DuckDown. This one sounds like it’s not a huge departure, but I can’t imagine anyone out there is hoping he suddenly reverses course and makes his crossover electro-rap record. So in short, you get menacing, claustrophobic production and P’s thick, gut-punching flow and lines about “Hanna-Barbera Barbarians.” This is real clobber ‘em style. I like it.
The Black Opera, Libretto: Of King Legend: The great Mello Music label continues their winning streak with the latest from The Black Opera. As you might guess, this one is a concept record, which may or may not tell the group’s origin story in oblique, metaphorical language. It also functions as a pretty riveting fantasy story, with rubbery synths and rat-a-tat drums. Pretty ambitious, and Recommended
LA Vampires & Maria Minerva, The Integration LP: More great, spooky weirdness from LA Vampires and Maria Minerva. This one is a bit dancier than either of their usual outings, but still has that free-floating, ghostlike quality both have become known for.
Soft Moon, Zeroes: Doomy, booming, Nitzer Ebb-recalling techno-dance from Soft Moon is a welcome flashback to the early days of industrial music. If you ever wore a cape to a goth club or owned a black velour shirt — and who among us hasn’t? — open your arms to a return to your teenage years. Super goth, super good. Recommended
The Velvet Underground & Nico, The Velvet Underground & Nico: Super Deluxe 45th Anniversary Edition: Whoah. Six (!) disc reissue of the VU’s seminal debut comes packed with an insane number of extras. You get the album, the mono mix of the album, Nico’s Chelsea Girls, and a live performance from Columbus, Ohio (naturally) in 1966. It is a huge holy mother of a deluxe reissue. Peel slowly and see. Recommended
HTRK, Part Time Punks Radio Sessions: Radio sessions from dreamy, mysterious band on Ghostly recalls early Wake, with drowsy vocals buried under milky seas of synth.
Chad Valley, Young Hunger: Shimmery and shiny electropop with guest appearances by Twin Shadow and El Perro Del Mar. This one recalls a milder Erasure — soulful vocals and cascading keyboards paired with sensuous vocal melodies.
MhZ, MhZ Legacy: This album finds the unlikely middle ground between future-shock synth-heavy production and old-school boom-bap. Nate Patrin says:
Columbus, Ohio’s Mhz made their name in the late ’90s with early singles on the legendary Fondle ‘Em Records…Fate, circumstances and tragedy have brought the remaining members of the crew back together for MHz Legacy, with the late Camu Tao’s spot filled by both a series of unreleased verses and a few guest spots by torch-carrying MCs (Slug, Danny Brown) who acknowledge the influence of his intense, emotional style. While RJD2â€²s vintage neo-Shadow production style only fills out a handful of tracks – including the tense, symphonic soul of “Out of Room,” the wobbly-kneed funk of “Satisfied,” and the heartstring-pulling Camu tribute “Tero Smith” – it’s as strong a reunion as you could hope for.
Punks on Mars, Bad Expectations: Pouty, new-wavey pop songs with razor-sharp guitars, fizzy melodies and plinking keyboards make this feel like a lost Bomp! magazine classic. Recommended
Saul Williams, Amethyst Rock Star: It’s been a long time since Williams’ celebrated Trent Reznor collabo Niggy Tardust, and the years sound like they’ve only made him more focused and determined. The mood here is grim: imagine dalek’s clanking and wheezing industrial hip-hop production and you’ve got an idea of what to expect here. Williams delivers his verse like he’s reading passages from a book — impassioned, direct and deliberate. Future shock starts here.
Photek, Kupalm: Latest from Photek is full of blinking synths and steady, thumping percussion is the perfect soundtrack for some kind of midnight dance club in a TRON film. Mild trip-hop elements interspersed with old-school electro make this one for the faithful.
R. Ring, “Fall Out & Fire”: R. Ring is Kelley Deal’s new project. This one sounds a little more straight-ahead than her previous work, but still has the gnarled guitar + sugary vocal combo we’ve come to love. Do you guys remember when she was in that band The Last Hard Men with Sebastian Bach from Skid Row? That was super weird.
Star Eyes, Lost Girls EP: Pretty excellent EP of shadowy dance music. Clipped vocals, wavy synths and stuttering drums make this kind of the perfect complement to that Soft Moon record mentioned above. It’s autumn, and the shadows are rolling in — this is another one for the graveyard dwellers.
Dave Sumner’s Jazz Picks
Huge drop this last week. So many to rec that a couple will probably bleed into next week’s column just to spread things out a bit. This week will be a bounty of selections for jazz fans whose tastes run toward the straight-ahead jazz variety, though there are a few selections that’ll appeal to those with more eccentric needs in their music. Let’s begin…
Chad McCullough & Bram Weijters Quartet, Urban Nightingale: Follow-up album to last year’s excellent Imaginary Sketches. McCullough’s trumpet and Weijters’ piano have a symbiosis that should be the envy of others. This is jazz for a rainy day, no matter if it’s the cabin-fever variety or the kick back and relax sort of thing. McCullough gets to soaring, but has weight on those wings, and Weijters has a nice way of balancing the piano’s melodic and rhythmic traits. For this album, Piet Verbist is added as the bass player, and he had an excellent album of his own this year (and Jazz Pick) titled Zygomatik.. John Bishop on drums, and you can’t go wrong there. Pick of the Week.
Manu Katche, Manu Katche: Lovely album from drummer Katche. With Nils Petter Molvaer on trumpet and Tore Brunborg on sax, it’s got that atmospheric Nordic jazz ambiance, but between the compositions and Katche and Jim Watson on piano & keys, there’s plenty of earthy drive to the affair and preventing the album from ever being in danger of drifting off. Highly Recommended.
Bill McHenry, La Peur du Vide: Tenor saxophonist McHenry’s newest has some serious energy. Recorded live at the Village Vanguard, McHenry rounds out his saxophone quartet with pianist Orrin Evans, Eric Revis on bass, and drummer Andrew Cyrille. An album that fans of Coltrane’s transition period from hard bop to free will enjoy. And while burners like album opener “Siglo XX” give plenty of reason to be impressed, it’s when he applies a delicate touch (like on the title-track) that really displays the formidable talent that he is. Recommended.
Mick Coady’s Synergy, Nine Tales of the Pendulum: Nice modern jazz set with a nice line-up. Coady leads on bass, and backed by Dave Binney on alto, Michael Buckley on tenor, Ivo Neame on piano, and Sean Carpio on drums. Mostly high-energy, but songs like “Real Ballad” show that they know how to ease up on the gas pedal.
Stephane Kerecki Trio, Sound Architects: Really pretty album with Kerecki’s sax/bass/drum trio with guests Tony Malaby on sax and Bojan Z on piano. Definitely a modern flair for jazz comp, but there are moments of 60s spiritual jazz that give the music a spellbinding quality. Find of the Week.
Avishai Cohen, Triveni II: Follow-up album to previous release Triveni and recorded in the same days as the original. Nasheet Waits on drums and Omer Avital on bass join Cohen’s trumpet. This album is more song-oriented than the first, also more fluid with the interactions between trio members. Intimate feel to the music, and nice spontaneity to keep the listener guessing for what’s coming next. You can’t go wrong downloading this album.
Vinicius Cantuaria, Indio de Apartamento: Guitarist-vocalist Cantuaria returns with a very strong effort on his latest recording, bringing a new sonic effect to his signature mix of Brazilian music and modern jazz and folk. The different elements seem more evenly dispersed on his latest release, which really spotlights the dynamics of the interactions without sanitizing them of their best qualities. Plenty of guests, as per usual, including frequent collaborator Bill Frisell, and also Norah Jones and Ryuichi Sakamoto on piano. Beautiful, calming, sometimes eerie music.
Vincent Courtois, Mediums: Odd album, strangely mesmerizing. A trio, with Courtois on cello, Daniel Erdmann and Robin Finckner each on tenor sax. Courtois, whose range of experience takes him from classical across to free jazz, finds a meeting point between his cello and simultaneous tenor saxes. It’s an engaging album, also sounds sort of pretty at times. File under Something Different.
Antonio Ragosta, Il Mare e Lincanto a Roma Est: Debut album from the guitarist. Mostly a guitar trio, but adds in some cello and trombone to nice effect. Strong influence from his Italian home turf. Nice easy sway to most of the tunes, a couple groove along though to mix it up.
Nicola Sergio Trio, Illusions: Dynamic piano trio album. Nothing fancy, just solid play. More European than NYC style, but we’re only talking a matter of degrees here. Some very beautiful moments, and probably the kind of album that just gets better with repeated listening.
Meretrio, Meretrio: A trio that does a pretty nifty job of blending modern guitar jazz with Brazilian music. Dreamy ballads, swinging up-tempo pieces, lots of catchy melodies. This album came out in 2011, but I’m pretty sure it’s never been on eMusic before. It’s really a nice album.
Pharez Whitted, For the People: Nice straight-ahead hard bop session with a solid line-up of musicians: Whitted on trumpet, Eddie Bayard on tenor & soprano sax, Bobby Broom on guitar, Ron Perrillo on piano, Dennis Carroll on bass, and Greg Artry on drums. Whitted knows how to bring the fire without allowing it to become an uncontrolled conflagration. Bayard takes an excellent turn on soprano sax, and Broom and Perillo juggle notes with a nifty precision. An album that’s fun and easy to bounce along with.
Sean Wayland, Click Track Jazz: Slave to the Machine Vol. 1: Interesting new release from pianist Wayland, who seems to shift his sound with each subsequent album. On this current release, he’s on keys and synths more than piano, and delves into jazz-funk and fusion sounds. His natural spryness on piano creates a ice contrast with the funk and fusion elements (which can get sort of sluggish). He retains his core of Matt Penman and Jochen Rueckert, and adds a bunch of guests, including Donny McCaslin, Mark Guiliana, and Wayne Krantz.
Winther-Storm, Spinnaker: Quartet of guitar, bass, sax, and drums. Nordic sound, straight-ahead modern, though seem to feel the occasional pull toward a more free sound. Nothing earth-shattering here, but the album holds up fine after a couple listens and seemed worth getting a mention.
Tom Matta Big Band, Components: Debut album, straight-ahead big band sound. 17-piece ensemble of musicians from the Chicago scene. Good music for fighting back the chill of autumn turning to winter.
Noordpool Orchestra, Radiohead: A Jazz Symphony: 42-piece big band with strings covers the Radiohead songbook. Some uneven moments, and I’m really not sure if this album is gonna have staying power in the long run, but it’s a nifty idea and I appreciate the attempt, and it woudn’t surprise me to discover that some listeners come to adore this album.