August 30, 2019

Andrew Munsey - High Tide [2019]

This review was published on NextBop

Debut records can make or break an artist, but it seems that drummer Andrew Munsey already has it figured out. Munsey has worked in the past as a sideman and a producer, but he takes his first step as a bandleader on High Tide. The album features ten strong compositions that are brought to life by a talented quintet. The drummer is joined by Steph Richards (trumpet, flugelhorn), Ochion Jewell (tenor saxophone, kalimba), Amino Belyamani (piano, fender rhodes) and Sam Minaie (double bass). 

August 25, 2019

Brandee Younger - Soul Awakening [2019]

This review was published on NextBop

Although Soul Awakening officially carries a 2019 release date, it was finished much earlier. Having been recorded in 2012 and completed in 2013, Harpist Brandee Younger's fourth album as a leader has been sitting in the vaults for some time. With the high quality on display here, the first thing many listeners will be wondering throughout the opening track ("Soulris") is how in the world this record was shelved for so long.

Sleater-Kinney - The Center Won't Hold [2019]

On January 8, 2019, Sleater-Kinney hit the indie-rock world with the shock announcement that they were recording a new album. The news came by way of a picture that included the band - Corin Tucker, Carrie Brownstein and Janet Weiss - and St. Vincent (Annie Clark), who was listed as the record's producer. The inclusion of Clark, an artist that is part of the generation of indie-rock listeners that were deeply influenced by Sleater-Kinney, in a way felt like things coming full circle. The teachers were going to benefit from how they inspired the student.

June 30, 2019

The Comet Is Coming - Trust in the Lifeforce of the Deep Mystery [2019]

This review was published on NextBop

In recent years, Shabaka Hutchings has arguably become the face of the London jazz scene. This status has not arrived without merit, as the tenor sax/bass clarinetist has recently led and been a part of a slew of quality albums, including Your Queen Is A Reptile (Sons of Kemet) and La saboteuse (Yazz Ahmed) and Wisdom of Elders (Shabaka and the Ancestors). Trust in the Lifeforce of the Deep Mystery by The Comet Is Coming, a band made up of Shabaka (tenor saxophone, bass clarinet), Danalogue (synthesizer, keyboards) and Beatmax (drums), is another fine album that further solidifies Hutchings' status as one of the key artists in modern jazz.

Black Midi - Schlagenheim [2019]

Geordie Greep (guitar, vocals), Matt Kwasniewski-Kelvin (guitar, vocals), Cameron Picton (bass, vocals) and Morgan Simpson (drums) are Black Midi - a London-based rock band that many international fans stumbled across by way of a scintillating 2018 KEXP live session. The band's visceral yet complex nature was startling, especially considering the fact that each member looked like they could be in high school. Moments of their sound invited classification, but the disparate nature of the whole seemed to ask the listener to do away with concrete labels entirely. For rock aficionados hell-bent on labels, one could say noise-rock, post-punk and math-rock each have a sizeable steak in whatever people feel like calling Schlagenheim. With the impressive nature of the KEXP session and the Black Midi's already much hyped live reputation in the London scene, the question was always going to be whether they could deliver in a studio session - Schlagenheim answers that with an emphatic yes.