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A fresh crop of new music to tickle your ears

Some rock, a lot of jazz, and a bunch of truly eclectic music that’ll make you want to get better speakers or headphones to hear how amazing this music really is.

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Steve Guttenberg

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1 of 25 Steve Guttenberg/CNET

New Music

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. 

Listen to the playlist on Tidal.

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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.

 Get the album from Amazon

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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.

Get the album from Amazon.

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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.

 Get the album from Amazon.

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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.

Get the album from Amazon.

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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.

Get the album from Amazon.

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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.

Get the album from Amazon.

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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. 

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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.

Get the album on Amazon.

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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.  

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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.

Get the album from Amazon.

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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. 

Get the album from Amazon.

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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. 

Get the album from Amazon.

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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.

Get the album from Amazon.

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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.

Get the album from Amazon.

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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. 

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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.

Get the album from Amazon.

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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.

Get the album from Amazon.

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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.

Get the album from Amazon.

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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. 

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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. 

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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. 

This album is available on Amazon. 

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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.

 Get the album on Amazon.

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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.

Get the album from Amazon.

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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.

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