From time to time I post picture galleries of new music that's come my way. This time it's an eclectic mix I've streamed from Tidal, or heard on CD or LP. Some of it's by artists you've at least heard of, but a lot of it is off the beaten path. My goal here is to turn you onto new things, and there will be more than a few gems, I promise.
Durand Jones & the Indications
When I heard Jones being interviewed on National Public Radio my ears perked up. The guy has an authenticity other contemporary singers lack, and his band has just the right mix of grit and soul. The entire record feels like a time capsule of a lost recording from the late 1960s, but it's new. Hope it's an indication of things to come from Durand.
Miles Davis & John Coltrane: The Final Tour, the Bootleg Series Volume 6
Two giants on their 1960 European tour, and sparks fly. The repertoire is familiar to fans, but it was new at the time. Sound quality isn't so hot, but the music sure is.
Sons of Kemet, Your Queen Is a Reptile
This is jazz, but it's not your father's jazz. Sons of Kemet's Your Queen Is a Reptile is a fusion of sorts. Sons of Kemet are leading the charge in the "UK Jazz Wave," and there's a lot going on here with just tuba, saxophone, drums, and sometimes voice. "Queen" rocks and grooves over African and Caribbean rhythms, the sound is deeply soulful.
King Crimson, Live in Chicago
This show, from June 28, 2017 proves the current lineup has what it takes to bowl over even die-hard King Crimson fans. Sound quality is excellent.
Lindi Ortega, Liberty
Liberty's twangy guitars first struck me as the lost soundtrack to the first season of HBO's "True Detective". It's not, but Ortega's stirrings of scary love gone wrong churn with lots of old western atmosphere in the mix. It's music you can lose yourself in.
Shellac, Excellent Italian Greyhound
I haven't cited too many brute force hard rock albums for sound, so here's one, Shellac's "Excellent Italian Greyhound," sounds tight and clear, especially the drums. It came out in 2007, but I've only recently discovered it.
Isle of Dogs (soundtrack)
These really big pounding drums and crashing percussion, wailing saxophones, and he-man choirs are one of the best parts of Wes Anderson's new movie.
Yo La Tengo, There’s a Riot Going On
It sounds like more of the same from the band, but that's a very good thing. Lots of crunchy grooves intermingling with free-form ditties, all the tunes feel fresh.
Nubya Garcia, Nubya’s 5ive
One more "UK Jazz Wave" pick, this one from Nubya Garcia, and it feels fresh. Tenor sax sister Garcia isn't dishing out smooth jazz or anything that dilutes the music, it feels like our time.
Dead Combo, A Bunch of Meninos
If you're a fan of Ennio Morricone's film scores and/or Tex-Mex heroes Calexico you'll love these Portuguese rockers' mysterious sounds.
The Breeders, All Nerve
It's been a while, but Kim Deal's new Breeders full-length sounds just like I remember them. There are hints of her old band the Pixies in there too, the music's tumultuous melodic turns and howling vocals made me smile.
Dick Hyman Plays Duke Ellington
One of the best sounding solo piano recordings around, and Hyman is a brilliant player and interpreter of Ellington's music.
Van Morrison/Joey DeFrancesco, You’re Driving Me Crazy
Morrison has made his share of snoozy albums in the twenty-first century, but this isn't one of them. Yes, it's a jazz-ified pop record that's full of pep. A real keeper.
Doug Macleod, Break the Chain
Bluesman Doug Macleod and his National Reso-Phonic guitar are at it again with his easy-rollin' delivery and a new set of tunes. Macleod is one of the rare artists who gets better with every new album. Sound quality is top notch, definitely demonstration quality.
Transcending Continents & Memories
I can't do better than the way the album's cover describes the music, "Medieval Europe Meets Traditional Chinese Meets Avante-Gard." It's a mesmerizing acoustic suite that juxtaposes Medieval French with traditional Chinese Pipa music, and the recording quality feels authentic and you-are-there realistic.
Kid Koala, Floor Kids (soundtrack)
Mix master Kid Koala is a favorite of mine since I heard his 12 Bit Blues CD a few years ago. This is a children's hip hop, let's-have-fun video game soundtrack. It also sounds great, and there's definitely material in there to exercise your woofers. It's on LP and streaming platforms.
Music For Bang, Baaroom, and Harp
Dick Schory's big band "sound effects" album is an ancient audiophile classic from 1958 that easily trumps contemporary jazz music for fidelity. I like the music too.
Sasha Matson, Tight Lines
Composed and conducted by Sasha Matson, Tight Lines is a work for chamber orchestra that trips the light fantastic. This spirited, even jubilant music will wake up your speakers and make them dance.
Neil Young, Paradox/Hitchhiker
Paradox is a soundtrack to the Daryl Hannah-directed western, and Young sounds better here than he has in years as acoustic and electric tunes set each other off well. If you think Young is too old to belt one out of the park give a listen to Paradox. The standout track isn't Young's, it's Lukas Nelson doing Willie Nelson's Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground. Another album, Young's Hitchhiker, is a recently released suite of solo acoustic demos from 1976 which is a must for fans. Both album's sound quality is excellent.
Robert Silverman, Chopin’s Last Waltz
A reference-quality solo piano recording on LP. Firstly because the piano's tonality is spot-on, and secondly because the dynamics feel right. Oh, and Robert Silverman's performance is awe-inspiring. Available as a DSD file, CD, or as I listened to it, on LP, it's really special.
Bill Frisell, Music IS
I've been a Frisell fan for years, but this solo one with just Frisell on guitar strips away production, and lets the man's creative juices flow. He's not the type to dazzle with a frenzy of notes, Frisell savors each one. If I wasn't a fan before I'd be one now.
Steve Tibbetts, Life Of
This mesmerizing nearly ambient music from guitarist Steve Tibbetts will expand your mind. The sound of the guitars and percussion is loaded with palpable texture. A gorgeous recording that demands repeated listening sessions.
Anna Burch, Quit the Curse
It's great when a new artist really catches your ear, and you feel like you knew her all along. Bursch's catchy rock sensibility, jangly electric guitar and plaintive vocals add up to something new.
Tor Lundvall, Witness Marks: The Works Of John B. McLemore
Deep atmospheres and heavily textured droning sounds set into a huge soundstage. This music will take over your living space and inhabit it.