It’s a very light release week, due to the holiday, but as always, going through the full list of releases turned up a few things. Let’s talk about them:
Jesca Hoop, The House That Jack Built â€“ The uncanny alt-pop of the woman who was once Tom Waits’s nanny is coolly enigmatic enough that Waits called it “a four-sided coin.” We agree wholeheartedly with whatever that means. Check out the interview Andrew Perry did with Jesca; it’s a fascinating read.
Nile, At The Gate of Sethu – Stalwart death metal band with a long-standing interesting in Egyptian mythology keep things fresh, fierce, and interesting twenty years in. Jon Wiederhorn breaks it down for us:
Part of the Ancient Egyptian text “Book of Gates,” the Gate of Sethu is one of a series of obstacle-strewn passageways the dead must navigate to enter the afterlife. According to the “Tenth Division of the Tuat” the entry is guarded by two knife-wielding mummies, 16 hissing cobras, and the corridors are consumed in flames. We’ve got no idea how a spirit could get by the nasty beasties and reach the next dimension. Then again, we can’t begin to fathom how Nile — a technical death metal group from North Carolina, not Cairo, whose members have no formal background in Egyptian mythology — have produced 20 years’ worth of vicious, complex and immaculately crafted music filled with ancient Egyptian themes and colored deftly with Middle Eastern melodies.
Delicate Steve, Positive Force â€“ Proggy, lo-fi instrumental soul. Good stuff.
Primate, Draw Back A Stump â€“ Given the band name, this is appropriately knuckle-dragging, chest-beating, crude-implement-swinging hardcore.
Young Zee, One Crazy Weekend â€“ This is a dude most people don’t know, but he once upon a time ran with Eminem, back when Eminem was an indie rapper. He’s still pretty good; he had a song on the 8 Mile soundtrack and his pitched-up, strangulated delivery makes sense right now next to Danny Brown and Meek Mill. He’s very good at rapping.
Drums of Death, Blue Waves â€“ Highly sought-after techno/house producer fromLondon, whose lately worked with Azealia Banks, releases an EP.
Doug Benson, Smug Life â€“ Popular comedian, star of Super High Me and a frequent guest on Best Week Ever, releases a record. Sounds pretty funny, and I am not mad at that title.
Otto Klemperer rarities — We also received a minor treasure trove of rare recordings from the legendary conductor Otto Klemperer; this is wonderful music, worth your time and extra $$, especially if you aren’t sure what to download on a light release week.
Dave Sumner’s Jazz Picks
A small drop today in new arrivals Jazz, but a nice mix of sounds, so there should be something here for everyone. Let’s begin…
Todd Clouser’s A Love Electric, Entre: Selections in Garage Jazz: Recorded in the same session, and with (mostly) the same personnel as the excellent 20th Century Folk Selections, guitarist Clouser focuses more on the 70s rock-funk idiom, channeled through a jazz ensemble. What he refers to as Garage Jazz, Clouser accentuates the grooves and rhythms, and brings about a different facet of his own view of how jazz is and where it can go. This album consists of all original compositions, and shows Clouser just as deft with his own music as he is in the treatments of others’. Highly Recommended.
Harris Eisenstadt, Canada Day III: Drummer Eisenstadt releases third in the Canada Day series. Quintet with Nat Wooley on trumpet, Matt Bauder on tenor, Chris Dingman on vibes, and Garth Stevenson on bass… as strong a cast as you’ll find on an album. Compared to the previous Canada Day albums, this one has more focus on the sparkle of the diamond’s facets than the sharpness of its edges. It’s a pretty album, even while remaining a supremely forward thinking music. Modern, challenging, yet positively alluring. With his varied projects, Eisenstadt is establishing himself as one of the more important composers/performers on the scene. Pick of the Week.
Denny Zeitlin, Wherever You Are: Nice solo set from acclaimed pianist Zeitlin. On this release, it’s strictly ballads… a mix of original compositions and American Songbook. Zeitlin’s style incorporated disparate elements of 60s jazz, though for this release it stays close to the quiet preponderance of Bill Evans. If you’re looking for a tasteful solo piano album, it’d be tough to pass this one up.
Mahlis-Panos Project, Protoleia: Interesting world jazz set with oud as the lead instrument. A languorous sway, though plenty of life in the notes to keep the brain engaged. Consistently good from first tune to the last.
Jim Holman, Explosion: Chicago pianist’s debut as leader. A sextet, which featured Richie Cole on alto sax. Nothing complicated here, a straight forward blowing session with plenty of enthusiasm and kick. Another nice release from the Delmark label.
Silke Eberhard, Singen Sollst du…: Very likable free jazz duo recording with alto saxophonist Eberhard and percussionist Alex Huber. Plenty of screeching and skronking, drums like raindrops in a hurricane, and moments that smolder brightly just before the explosion. Transitions between the quiet and the noise most appealing aspect of this album. Find of the Week.
Isaac Darche, Boom-Bap!tism: Soulful release from guitarist Darche, who rounds out his trio with Sean Wayland on Hammond B3 and Merk Ferber on the drums. Hard to say whether it’s the individual efforts or the trio symbiosis which is more appealing, but they both work in the album’s favor. Not just another guitar-organ trio, but also doesn’t stray from the expected sound. Wayland should be more recognized for his talents than he is, has put out several solid albums under his own name, too. Just a nice release. Recommended.
Kim Pensyl, Foursight: Nice straight-ahead jazz date from the Cincy trumpet player. Nothing groundbreaking, just a solid set of jazz that was worth pointing out. Strongest aspect of the album is the interplay between trumpet and sax.