New This Week: EULA, Grizzly Bear, Band of Horses & More

Wondering Sound Staff

By Wondering Sound Staff

on 09.18.12 in Spotlights

SELECTS DAY! SELECTS DAY! SELECTS DAY! SELECTS DAY! Today’s the day we unveil our latest signing to eMusic Selects, and like we always are when this happens, we are a little Christmas-morning giddy about it. Guys, meet EULA, a raging, ruthless, grinning band of post-punker warriors who channel the spirit of Bikini Kill, early PJ Harvey, X-Ray Spex, and more. They are fantastic, and their record, Maurice Narcisse, is a blast. Get to know them a little better here. OH, and did we mention that there are a THOUSAND other records out today? From new Grizzly Bear and Woods to Kanye West and The Killers, from Ben Folds Five to Dinosaur, Jr and Corin Tucker to new How To Dress Well and Band of Horses … the Fall harvest is officially underway, guys. Let’s start off with those EULA upstarts:

EULA, Maurice Narcisse – PICK OF THE DAY. HIGHLY, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Rather than repeat myself and quote myself at the same time, allow me to just quote what I wrote for the album’s review.

With a feral whoop pitched somewhere between Harvey, Poly Styrene, and a baby Valkyrie with a blood-stained grin, lead singer and guitarist Alyse Lamb plays the demonic cheerleader for eMusic Selects band EULA’s Maurice Narcisse, one of the most infectious post-punk parties we’ve been invited to in awhile. “Dirty Hands,” the opening track, tells you almost everything you need to know in one shot. The song is all about the various metaphorical joys of being dirty, and the bass, which squirts out of the song sounding greased with something you wouldn’t touch without gloves on, communicates that same joy.

Grizzly Bear, Shields — The mournful bards of Brooklyn are here again, and the long-awaited Shields is their richest and most unified effort yet. eMusic’s Andrew Parks writes:

Thanks to several “songwriting retreats” in New York and Cape Cod, the effort is decidedly collaborative, an autumnal listen that feels alive and full of welcome left turns rather than heavy-lidded and hazy. The LP’s leadoff single (“Sleeping Ute”) is a perfect example of the group’s push-and-pull dynamics – a tidal wave of rippled rhythms, honeyed harmonies and burbling synths. The rest of the record is much more subtle yet no less effective, as Rossen’s rich melodies and spare riffs play a perfect counterpoint to Droste’s fragile, emotionally-charged confessionals.

G.O.O.D. Music, Cruel Summer — Kanye gets the entire G.O.O.D. Music crew in one room for this long-awaited, long-delayed compilation. Some great moments, but this one sounds like it could have used a bit more time in the oven. Dan Hyman writes:

Kanye West’s critical success is his own enemy; the peerless consistency of his catalog shifts a listener’s expectations into stratospheric territory the second his name is mentioned. So while the rapper’s G.O.O.D Music posse debut, Cruel Summer, can and will largely be viewed – and judged – as a West venture, it’s his compatriots inability to measure up to his self-imposed standard that leaves it feeling light and unfulfilling.There are occasional gems here. But undoubtedly no West-ian gold.

The Killers, Battle Born — Brandon Flowers and “the boys” (The Killers are the sort of gloriously hammy rock band that would refer to themselves this way) return with another batch of the kind of satisfyingly ridiculous and ridiculously satisfying stadium-rock. Fun fact: The Killers are, in my opinion, the greatest mainstream modern rock band alive. Dan Hyman writes:

Listening to the Killers is like slipping on a pair of kaleidoscopic glasses: majestic colors — while understandably fantastical – await. Frontman Brandon Flowers has sold this grand daydream for nearly a decade; why stop now? Following a brief hiatus, the Las Vegas band returns with Battle Born, their fourth album and most super-sized effort yet: it’s another fairy-tale world soundtracked by sweeping ’80s-slathered synths, where women work 268 hours a week “to get their foot in the door” and young lovers “take chances in the hot night.”

Woods, Bend Beyond — Shaggy, shambling Brooklyn psych-rockers go for the gold — the Neil Young “Heart of Gold” gold, that is. Bend Beyond is the most tuneful and emotionally resonant album they’ve ever made. Andrew Parks writes:

Led by Earl’s lovelorn falsetto and loose, fiery riffs, Woods’ seventh album offsets its tales of frustration (lots of “it’s so fucking hard” talk) with red-blooded arrangements and a clean mix that brings the frontman’s hooks right into focus. It helps that the well-oiled quartet saved their jam-band tendencies for the stage and let their individual parts shine at the same time instead, from the rambunctious organ rolls and roaring guitar leads of “Find Them Empty” to the curve-hugging rhythm section of the title track. It’s inviting enough to make us big city folks briefly ponder our own move to Deliverance-town, USA Well – almost.

Ben Folds Five, The Sound of the Life of the Mind– Ben Folds has been a solo artist for a long time now, but 2012 was the year he decided to bring back “The Five”; the band boogies on like the ensuing years were just a blip. Dan Hyman writes:

A decade removed from the Five’s dissolution, front man Ben Folds remains a reliable purveyor of piano pop that’s equal parts acidulous and jocular. After a long solo jaunt, Folds sounds perfectly at ease reuniting with his old mates for The Sound of the Life of the Mind, a forward-looking effort that retains his trademark wit and jazzy melodic touch.

Thee Oh Sees, Putrifier II — The most prolific, enduring, and consistently inspired garage-rock band going unleashes more of their patented grinning madness. Andrew Parks writes:

Yep, it’s another Oh Sees album; but hey, at least John Dwyer waited nearly a year before chasing the one-two punch of Castlemania and Carrion Crawler/The Dream with another collection of revelatory rock ‘n’ roll. Recorded with a handful of helpers (including engineer/drummer Chris Woodhouse, vocalist Brigid Dawson and sax player/Ty Segall sideman Mikal Cronin), Putrifiers II is really Dwyer’s show, a series of well-aged demos that were flipped into a much fuller sound. So while “Wax Face” rips and roars like Thee Oh Sees’ infamous live shows, most of the music on here reaches well beyond the garage rock realm that’s familiar to any fan of the band’s longtime label In the Red.

Band of Horses, Mirage Rock — Band of Horses’ last effort, Infinite Arms, seems to have struck the band’s devotees as its weakest, largely due to the fact that they commandeered the producing controls themselves. Now, they’re back doing the rawer, looser, more space-filled jams that made people love them in the first place. Dan Hyman writes:

After a tenuous self-production effort on 2010′s glacial Infinite Arms, Band of Horses lowers its harmony-soaked hooves back onto solid ground for its fourth, and rawest release to date. Mirage Rock finds the Ben Bridwell-led outfit, working with acclaimed producer Glyn Johns, returning to its unfiltered roots; these decidedly more freewheeling cuts were recorded entirely live and analog. It’s a refreshing exhale for the South Carolina crew – even Bridwell himself called the band’s last effort felt “overthought.” Bridwell now finds the necessary headroom for his brand of contemplation.

Dinosaur Jr., I Bet On Sky — The greatest and most productive reunited rock band ever? It’s rare for an influential indie rock band to be around to hear their influence start to spring up amongst youngsters (Yuck, Paws), but after reuniting in the middle of the last decade, Dino, Jr. have been churning out albums of candy-laced, jammy, alt-rock gems that easily stand with the material that made them legends. It’s amazing, frankly. Mike Wolf writes:

It might shock longtime fans to think of Dinosaur Jr. doing anything quietly, but such has been the progress of the fabled indie-rockers’ second act: Without much fuss, the original trio of J Mascis, Lou Barlow and Murph are now on their third album since reuniting in 2005 – the same number of records they completed together in the ’80s, before the lineup began to fray. I Bet on Sky slides so comfortably into Dinosaur’s discography that mentioning what’s new really just boils down to some piano, which deepens the emotional quality of album-opener “Don’t Pretend You Didn’t Know” and firms up the background of “Stick a Toe In.” In all the right ways, I Bet on Sky is classic Dinosaur.

Corin Tucker Band, Kill My Blues — The former Sleater-Kinney frontwoman’s latest finds her tackling grown-up topics (mortality, parenthood) with the same take-no-prisoners righteousness she’s always displayed. Lindsay Zoladz has more:

On Kill My Blues, her second album with post-Sleater-Kinney project The Corin Tucker Band, Tucker sounds like the iconic hero in the opening scene of a long-awaited sequel, sighing at the state of affairs that’s forced her return to her old job as a professional ass-kicker. “I thought we had a plan, move things forward for us and women around the globe,” she sings. “Instead of going forward, where the hell we going now?”

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Meat and Bone — JSBX come back, as loud, hungry, horny, and sleazy as they’ve ever been. Andrew Perry writes:

Meat + Bone duly, gleefully pitches headfirst into the mind-altering primordial soup, whence all those ’90s albums came. “Black Mold” opens at warp intensity, listing some characteristically outré heroes including Art Blakey, Graham Greene and, most foreseeably, “the explosive Little Richard.” “Boot Cut,” fabulously for fans, tightens vintage anthem “Bellbottoms” to snapping point, while “Get Your Pants Off” and “Zimgar” revisit Acme‘s scratchy, proto-hip hop, beats-’n’-pieces vibe. The dream scenario, when a band reappears after a lay-off, is that they zero in on what made them ace back when, and that they then smash people with it afresh. Meat + Bone, unequivocally, does exactly that.

Pet Shop Boys, Elysium — The Pet Shop Boys are eternal. Here, they enlist Andrew Dawson, who has worked with Beyonce, Kanye, and fun., to engineer their latest martini-dry dance-floor dispatch. Annie Zaleski writes:

Anyone who knows Pet Shop Boys merely by its droll and flamboyant live spectacle is only getting a partial glimpse of the duo’s genius. Since the mid ’80s, Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe have taken great pains to create records which are equal parts sophisticated, sentimental and pointed. Elysium, the group’s first proper studio album since 2009′s Yes, is no different: The record contains acerbic social critique, elegant wordplay, and gushing romantic sentiments. Elysium is more retro-sounding and subdued than the group’s recent efforts.

The Sea and Cake, Runner — The fresh, light, and always-pleasing post-rock of Chicago vets The Sea and Cake will always have a place in my heart. Eric Harvey writes:

There is comfort in consistency, and few bands illustrate this point better than The Sea and Cake. Started in the mid ’90s as a group of accomplished Chicago scene musicians playing Velvets-style garage rock with jazz precision, the group took a turn on the 2000 LP Oui, and haven’t looked back. On that album, bandleader Sam Prekop merged the impossibly clean grooves of ’50s and ’60s Brazilian pop with the electronic textures that were infusing indie from all angles at the time. It worked. Runner is the sixth album in this vein, and the sixth consecutive album to gently tweak the formula. The Sea and Cake are the same as they ever were, still managing to sound like no one but themselves; as predictably intoxicating as ever.

Kid Koala, 12 Bit Blues – This one sounds interesting. Kid Koala crafts broken-up blues originals from shards of his hard drive. Michaelangelo Matos tells us:

It seems like a joke at first: A blues album made entirely out of samples – like a reverse-negative of Moby’s Play. But Kid Koala’s 12 bit Blues doesn’t simply lay crackled old vocals over new beats. Instead, the Montreal hip-hop DJ has constructed actual blues tracks (not songs; no one on Delmark or Alligator is going to cover them) via bits and pieces of what may or may not have been actual blues recordings to begin with. What’s more, they stick, with deliberately off-kilter rhythms that feel human (as Koala surely aims them to), cutting off a bar here or there to get the blood jumping, and the vocal snippets are often slowed down and mournful in a way that connects the dots between old-style Delta blues and equally down-in-the-mud “screwed” hip-hop.

How To Dress Well, Total Loss — Tom Krell returns with a fuller, more fleshed-out follow up to Love Remains, his neck-prickling, ghostly paean to the R&B of the ’90s. Marissa Mueller writes:

When one-man R&B deconstructionist Tom Krell, aka How to Dress Well, released his 2010 debut Love Remains, he was one of a host of bedroom artists – Krell, plus James Blake, the Weeknd and others – re-interpreting FM-radio slow jams and twisting the slinky genre into new shapes. Since then, the number of contemporaries has grown while unchartered paths have shrunk, so it’s commendable that two years later, Krell has distinguished himself again, this time with tighter arrangements and more substantive lyrics.

Aimee Mann, Charmer — The venerated singer-songwriter is back, with her creamy voice, bone-dry wit, and impeccably arched eyebrow perfectly intact. Bill Murphy writes:

Few songwriters today can dig into the messy guts and gristle of relationships the way Aimee Mann does and still sound so remarkably upbeat and playful. Sure, we can chalk it up to the resolve that comes with maturity; at a youthful 52, Mann has carved out her own indie pop niche where strength, self-reliance and a placid disdain for victimhood drive the narrative (even “Save Me,” her signature hit from the 1999 film Magnolia, rang more like a call-to-arms than a plea for help). But she’s also got a keen poetic knack for observation – augmented, at times, by a healthy dose of sarcasm. Charmer, her first full-length since 2008′s @#%&*! Smilers, pivots on the theme of manipulation – how people do it to one another and, more deliciously, how Mann might be doing it to us.

Menomena, Moms — The Portland indie-rock outfit are back with a soul-searching effort. Annie Zaleski writes:

When Brent Knopf left Menomena in 2011 to focus on Ramona Falls, the Portland band soldiered forward, seemingly without a hitch. The pair decided to make Moms, its first record without Knopf and fifth album overall, by themselves. Still, it’s disingenuous to pretend that Menomena is the same band; sonically, Moms is missing the frantic rhythmic underbelly and sense of pop lightness Knopf brought to his musical contributions, and the group’s classic rock tendencies are far more pronounced. But these changes and progressions don’t mean Moms is an unpleasant listening experience – just a different listening experience. Menomena has always been a complex band, but this album has layers upon layers of dense sound to unpack.

Michael Jackson, Bad (25th Anniversary) — To celebrate the 25th anniversary of Michael Jackon’s record-breaking Bad, Epic/Legacy have gathered together a three-disc deluxe reissue package to celebrate the massive impact the album had on pop culture at the time of it’s release. By far the coolest thing to be found on here, I think, would be the third disc, which culls live recordings from the legendary, record-breaking Bad tour.

The Allah-Las, S/T — Stylish 60′s garage rock band, shades of Brian Jonestown Massacre. Great, catchy songs here, behind the pitch-perfect period ambience.

The Album Leaf, Forward/ReturnLatest from the California post-rock outfit. Skittering, pocket-change percussion married to moody, clean-toned darkwave synths and glimmering-pond Explosions-in-the-Sky-style chiming guitars .

Homeboy Sandman, First of a Living Breed: New full-length from NY rapper, Sandman has a wry, spry flow, and the productions here go from bleeping futurism to throwback boom-bap. Sandman navigates both extremes beautifully.

Ensiferum, Unsung Heroes: Do you like pagan folk-metal? Do you like lutes and pan pipes layered between your skullcrushing riffs? Well, friends, have we got the record for you. Ensiferum’s latest brings all the mysticism and might you’ve come to expect from these Finnish madmen.

Femminielli, Carte Blanche Aux Desirs: Super mysterious! Near as I can tell, Femminielli is a Canadian musician specializing in icy minimal synthwave. Spooky and engaging — think late ’70s sci-fi soundtrack and you’re on the right path.

Happy Jawbone Family Band, Silk Pistol: I am liking what I’m hearing. Busted, lo-fi all-join-hands folk from this Vermont group that, quite literally, sounds like it was recorded on a tape deck in a cabin at midnight. There’s a lot of the same kind of ramshackle charm of early Elephant Six going on here — some bells, a few whistles, and lots of creaky, childlike vocals. This one is RECOMMENDED

Hundred Waters, Hundred Waters: Tiny, candle-light mystic electro-folk sure to appeal to fans of Josephine Foster and Joanna Newsom. The principle distinction is Hundred Waters’ elegant use of electronics — their songs bubble and pop and twirl like little mechanical mobiles of sound.

Rickie Lee Jones, The Devil You Know: The latest from Rickie Lee Jones is full of creaky, witchy covers of classic rock standards like “The Weight” and “Sympathy for the Devil.” Jones’s voice contains decades of mystery, and there’s plenty of shadow and uncertainty in these arrangements that keep them from feeling like FM radio readymades. She fully dismantles “The Weight,” in fact, turning it into an eerie magick spell. If you’ve heard the last few Marianne Faithful records, you know what to expect here.

Kreayshawn, Something About Kreay: Full-length from one of the year’s most polarizing rappers. Kreay has a snapping-bubblegum flow, and the productions here tend mostly toward blippy neo-futurism. If you’ve heard “Gucci Gucci,” you know what you’re getting here.

Lymbyc Systym, Symbolyst: Lymbyc Systym remind me, in a lot of ways, of early Thrill Jockey. You get gliding keyboards, lockstep percussion and a sleek, mellow, unhurried musical sensibility. Organs twinkle and fade, lazy melody lines lace through gently-rattling drums.

Carolyn Mark, The Queen of Vancouver Island: Latest from Canadian country singer whose collaborated with Kelly Hogan and Neko Case in the past. This some golden-era alt-country right here, rollicking instrumentation, wiseass lyrics and Mark’s whiskey-and-wry delivery.

Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, Octopus Kool-Aid: A very experimental outing — as you might have guessed from the title — from ORL, this one is spacey and spooky, loaded with keyboards and hiccuping electronics and Lopez’s space-locust voice.

Paul Simon, Live in New York City: I’ve been having a real moment lately with “The Obvious Child,” which opens this set. Honestly, I’ve been having a moment with Simon in general — I’ve never been a huge fan in the past, but something in the atmosphere has been pulling me back to his vast catalog. This recording hails from an NY show to support his excellent So Beautiful or So What and, unlike a lot of his peers, Simon keeps things spare and simple and tasteful.

Peggy Sue, Play the Songs of Scorpio Rising: This bands last record owned my life for a while, and this latest sounds like a continuation of that brittle, skeletal-indie aesthetic. This is an all-covers record, wherein the band applies their fantastic gloominess to a bunch of pop and country standards.

Samantha Glass, Mysteries from the Palamino Skyliner: New from the fine folks at Not Not Fun. Lots of chilly synth songs here, with just the right element of spookiness and grimness. If you’re making a horror movie on a budget, we’ve got your soundtrack.

Sensations Fix, Music is Painting in the Air: Re-release of an album from an Italian group. My immediate reaction was, “Whoah, this sounds like Franco Falsini!” so it’s perhaps no surprise that it was Falsini who wrote the guitar parts. As such, it sounds not too far off from his underrated masterpiece Cold Nose, albeit with a few detours into ’70s rock. Imagine if the B-Side of Bowie’s Low went on for about an hour longer. That’s what this is like.

SSION, Bent: Tough-n-Sexy dance music from this Missouri (!) collective pulls from disco and electro and late-period Scissor Sisters for a brash and pouty final product.

Alt-J, An Awesome Wave: People seem to really like these guys. Kind of tense, moody alt-rock with plenty of keys and atmosphere for days.

Bad Powers, Bad Powers: Whoah! Lurching, pouting, thrashing metal — 200-ton riffage and shouted vocals, but also — wait for it! — crazy layers of keyboard as well! This is sinister and spooky — Julie Christmas sitting in with The Faint, doing Electric Wizard covers.

Brother Ali, Mourning in America: New, politically-themed album from Minneapolis rapper.

Jazz Picks, by Dave Sumner

Huge drop this week, and lots of great music. Piano appears to be the instrument with most mentions today, especially in the trio format. Otherwise, nice mix of straight-ahead and unconventional jazz, from a variety of generations and locations. A bunch of tiny label and self-produced albums, too… under-the-radar goodness. Let’s begin…

Trish Clowes, And In the Night-Time She Is There: Beautiful release from saxophonist Clowes, who brings a nonet to the table that includes a string quartet, guitarist Chris Montague (Threads Orchestra & Troyka), pianist Gwilym Simcock, and guests. Tunes that, on their face, sound laid-back, but are full of graceful bustling movement. Clowes’ integration of the strings is a magnificent touch. Pick of the Week.

Brad Mehldau Trio, Where Do You Start: New one by one of Jazz’s modern greats. Mehldau’s sound on piano further develops his personal mix of jazz precision and pop music warmth. With longtime collaborators Larry Grenadier on bass and Jeff Ballard on drums, the tracks on this album came from the same recording session as his previous release Ode, the difference being that these are all covers (except for one tune). Mehldau gives his interpretations from a disparate group of artists, like Clifford Brown, Jimi Hendrix, Sonny Rollins, and Nick Drake. This album won’t rank up there with my favorite Mehldau releases, but it’s solid music that will make more than a few connections with listeners.

James Falzone, Klang: Brooklyn Lines… Chicago Spaces: A quartet of free improv jazz musicians from the Chicago scene, led by clarinetist Falzone, with a quartet that includes an all-star line-up of Jason Adasiewicz on vibes, Jason Roebke on bass, and Tim Daisy on drums. Modern free jazz, with tunes that behave like car chase scenes down winding streets and lots of stop-and-go motion. Highly Recommended.

Scott Anderson, Numerology Ology: Intriguing release from guitarist Anderson, whose fascination with numbers inspired the compositions of this album. Hard to categorize this album, which sometimes verges on fusion, but also has among its ensemble the oboe trio Threeds (who also double on English horn), so you get a classical bent to the music. Add in the bass of Eivind Opsvik, and Jeff Davis on drums, and guests on piano and soprano sax, and it’s an odd soup of music. Remindful in some ways of Matt Ulery’s recent album By A Little Light, with the mix of jazz and classical elements. Recommended.

Joe Fielder, Joe Fiedler’s Big Sackbut: Unconventional album, with Fiedler, Josh Roseman, and Ryan Keberle all on trombones, and Marcus Rojas on tuba. When I first learned of this recording, I was intrigued but fearful it might be monotonous… that’s a lot of heavy brass in that quartet. Thankfully, Fiedler’s quartet deftly visits all the textures of the instrument, and there fluttery light moments to go along with the joyous romps. Fun music that takes some chances. Recommended.

Sonic Drei, Paralelepipedo: Very cool trio of alto sax/clarinet, drums, and bass. When they go up-tempo, they sound very much in the modern jazz environment with skittering rhythms and shifty melodies, but when they get into ballad mode, there’s a classicism about the music that, while still modern, has echoes of jazz past. Post-rock fans will likely be attracted to the trio’s angular sounds and pleasant moodiness. Good stuff here, and a happy find. Find of the Week.

David Hazeltine, The New Classic Trio: Nice straight-ahead piano trio. With Hazeltine on piano, George Mraz on bass, and Joe Farnsworth on drums, it’s a trio of vets who never disappoint when delivering a quality vintage of jazz. And since we’re talking Hazeltine, I’ll take the opportunity to mention a favorite album of mine, Mutual Admiration Society 2, which has Hazeltine’s trio of Billy Drummond and Essiet Essiet teamed with the terrific vibes of Joe Locke.

Alex Riel, Full House: Recorded live at the Jazzhus Montmartre in celebration of Danish drummer Alex Riel’s 70th birthday. He leads a quartet that includes alto sax, piano, and bass through a series of jazz standards. Great straight-ahead jazz, with the rendition of Coltrane’s “Impressions” being a real treat. Riel has made his mark on a number of excellent jazz albums, and following his name like a trail of breadcrumbs is an excellent journey to take. I’ll start you out with a rec of his performance on Benjamin Koppel’s Adventures of a Polar Expedition.

Bill Carrothers, Civil War Diaries (Live): Pianist Carrothers has returned to the theme of the Civil War in his compositions on a few occasions now. This release was recorded live in Vélizy, France on March 10, 2006. It’s Carrothers performing solo piano, with the same elegantly classical style that has rewarded on prior recordings.

Brothers Two Others, Brothers Two Others: A Swedish quartet of guitar, sax, drums, and bass that likes to play cool jazz a la Lenny Tristano. Nice mix of tracks that swing and sway. Music that can double as rainy day jazz or for late night drives through the city. Tracks like “Stompin’ at Ragsved” have some nifty step-for-step action between sax and guitar, but it’s the ballads where this quartet really shines.

Emmanuel Cremer, Coma: Solo cello album from Cremer, who has made a name for himself in both jazz improvisation and classical circles. A sublime album of all the cello loveliness one could ever ask for, but with plenty of complexities to prevent it from ever getting superficially banal.

Alex Guilbert Trio, On the Ground with the Alex Guilbert Trio: Nice straight-ahead piano trio out of Seattle. Not sure I was going to mention this album in the column today until I heard his rendition of The Shins “New Slang,” and, well, that got me to reconsider. He plays it pretty straight, and from the result, it was played exactly right. Pretty cool.

Stefan Pasborg, Free Moby Dick: Nifty quartet date led by Danish drummer Pasborg, who covers six classic Rock songs, from Iron Maiden to Zep to Tom Waits. Drums, tenor & bari saxes, and bass. Considering this is released on the Ilk Music label, it’s surprisingly less free than I would’ve expected. Likable, in its way, and I wanted to get a quick mention of the album in.

Halit Turgay, Turk Cayi Caz Suiti: Quartet led by flautist Turgay, and backed by piano, drums, and bass. Turkish music blended with jazz. Sometimes a bit too light, but more often than not, an appealing set of tunes that sometimes float languidly, sometimes hop and bounce.

Vein, Lemuria: Swedish piano trio that has saxophonist Dave Liebman featured. Half the track are originals, the other half covers of Gershwin and Brubeck compositions. Nothing earth shattering, but worth a mention.

Sam Jackson, Sharp & Flat: Likable piano trio that invites some strings in to guest on a couple tracks. Leans to the pop influenced side of jazz, but that’s more informative than critical. It’s a vibrant recording with some high moments and some misses, but overall, I found it an enjoyable listen with plenty of catchy hooks. And, besides, I’m a sucker for a piano jazz album that brings in some lush string sections now and again. Jackson also plays Fender Rhodes on the recording, but it’s predominately piano.

And finally, the weekly Probably-Shouldn’t-Be-Categorized-Under-Jazz rec…

Marianne’s Bag, Hard To Catch: Quartet of vocals, drums, piano, and bass, with a string quartet to boot. Folk more than anything. Reminiscent of older Nico recordings. Haunting vocals, lush strings, a little bounce from a piano trio. Quite pretty, but likely to appeal to other genres than Jazz.