New Music Friday Vol. 18
This week only!! More titles than ever before!!
(I hope you read that with the appropriate obnoxious voice-over voice.)
Mt. Joy - Mt. Joy
This is the debut album from a band out of Philadelphia. If Mumford and Sons had formed in the ‘90s, they might sound like this. Most of the songs on this record are upbeat with catchy hooks and hints of southern rock.
Keith Jarrett / Gary Peacock / Jack DeJohnette - After the Fall
Speaking of the '90s, here's an artifact from 1998. Jazz fans might remember that Keith Jarrett was dealing with a nasty bout of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in the mid-'90s, and this is a recording of one of his first live performances back after recovery.
This is a classic trio comprised of three jazz giants, and by all accounts, if you dig these musicians, this seems to have been a dynamic performance that will not disappoint. Unfortunately, there's not much pre-release material to link here. I've only heard one cut off the album, and the video below is kind of a laughable tease. But it sounds like they're swingin' like they know how!
Soccer Mommy - Clean
The only thing that makes me angry about young people creating good music is the fact that I’m jealous that they have such a clear vision of their own creativity at an age when I was still fumbling my way through a sub-par show choir.
Soccer Mommy is a project created by a daring 20-year-old singer/songwriter from Nashville named Sophie Allison. Sometimes she sounds young and vulnerable, sometimes ambitiously progressive for her age. This record is somehow equal parts delicate and edgy.
Seun Kuti - Black Times
Last week, Fela Kuti's son Femi released a new album. This week, his youngest son also releases one. Whereas Femi Kuti's album feels like a safe and faithful update to his father's traditional afro-beat, Seun feels like he's giving it a modern injection of excitement. It's cleaner and crisper in its production, but it has a fresh energy with unstoppable grooves, killer horn lines, and tight arrangements that simply makes me want to keep it on repeat. All the while he stays faithful to the origins of his father's political afro-beat movement with songs in search of peacful black African empowerment. This is one of my new favorite albums.
Jonathan Wilson - Rare Birds
Judging by the increased use of a variety synth and drum sounds in popular music, the embrace of the '80s has become more and more evident and less and less contrite. On Rare Birds, I'd say Jonathan Wilson is expanding this embrace to include the high concept of late-'70s/early-'80s art rock, even dipping toward full-on prog rock.
I hear moments of Pink Floyd, Alan Parson's Project, Yes, King Crimson...that kind of thing. I've never listened to Wilson, but he's produced Father John Misty's albums and has played with Roger Waters, among others. Those are some pretty good credits, and this is a great, complex album with full arrangements and moments of virtuosity.
Lucius - Nudes
I usually reserve the act of purchasing an album on vinyl for records that I really like and want to have around for a while. Lucius' first album, Wildewoman, sits on my shelf of vinyl records. This female duo studied voice at Berklee College of Music, and released that first album in 2013. It was a full album of wall-of-sound inspiration and genre hopping.
This latest album is presumably called Nudes because it's all acoustic. It loses the benefit of noisy electronics but retains their energy and strong vocals. I'm pretty excited about this band, and I will gladly listen to more.
Haley Heynderickx - I Need to Start a Garden
In the mood for a sensitive singer/songwriter? Her vulnerable vocals and rolling guitar-picking make up the core sound of this short-but-lovely "full-length" debut album. Particularly when her guitar is plugged in, Heynderickx seems to be channeling the pioneers of Laurel Canyon.
Cut Chemist - Die Cut
I have a suspicion that there aren't a lot of steadfast hip-hop fans reading this blog, but I do have some hip-hop in my rotation. This feels like as good a time as any to introduce a bit into this exploration of new music. But let's begin with something relatively tame...
Cut Chemist is a DJ. He has had solo projects, but he was also part of late-'90s - early-'00s rap group Jurassic 5 and works with alternative rap/salsa/funk group, California's party band: Ozomatli.
I think Cut Chemist has always created fun beats and sample collages replete with signature throwback scratching. We can probably expect the same from this album which has former Jurassic 5 member (and one of my guilty pleasure MCs...dat voice tho') Chali 2na, old school beat-boxer Biz Markie, and (if you've been following this blog, you'll recognize one of my favorite artists:) TuneYards.