David Widelock Trio – Skating on the Sidewalk
Bay Area jazz guitarist David Widelock unleashes another smart free-form improvisational jazz treat that is heavy in the funk with elements of Latin jazz percolating to the top. Nice.
Anson Wright – Ukiah’s Lullaby
Guitar-centric jazz that is brilliantly refined and crafted; love the gorgeous tone and lovely melodies.
Lullwater – Forest For the Trees
Quick hard rock EP from Athens, Georgia based outfit Lullwater that false starts with a puke out of the same hard rock pop fodder that Nickelback on the album’s intro and then dashes away into the bushes of introspective alternative rock. So if they just nuke “A Forgotten Name” off this EP, they have a winner.
Mark Matos & Os Beaches – Words of the Knife
Psych-pop with sunny brilliant melodies, sandy harmonies, and murky ‘70s funky rock chords, Mark Matos & Os Beaches blend it all into one heartfelt jam that the whole family can get into.
Johannes Linstead – Mistico
Exploration of the Spanish guitar by a virtuoso is something any true guitarist should be listening to. I’m a drummer and I still can have my face melted by Johannes Linstead. Nice.
Latent Anxiety – Reaction
Fortunately for this band, it is a solo act – therefore there is only one person to point the finger at and blame for this horrid mistake for an album.
Latent Anxiety – Perception
My “Perception” of this collection of songs, is merely a “Reaction” to the above terrible mistake.
Chuck & Albert – Energie
Discover Prince Edward Island’s French connection with the new album by Chuck & Albert that celebrates quirk storytelling, tall tales, and untraditional Quebec tunes. Oh did I mention the immense amount of laughter contained within?
Lita Ford – Wicked Wonderland
Heavy metal’s goddess Lita Ford has aged well. While her “Wicked Wonderland” is the first new full-length since ’95, she’s just as sultry and heavy as ever, rocking out with as much metallic glean as possible.
Abaji – Origine Orients
Lebanese multi-instrumentalist Abaji writes blues that is rooted in global world-beat, a melting pot of eccentric instruments, folklore, and earnest songwriting. Truly inspiring.
MarchFourth Marching Band – Rise Up
The circus is in town with this crazy marching band featuring flamenco skirts, stilt walkers, a brass band, various percussionists, and a band that is all decked out in exotic costumes. Oh did I mention that they roll up in a fire engine? That’s just one way they’ve made an entrance, the band seems to always take their DIY performance spirit to the next level. Musically it’s across the map with a centric focus on New Orleans’ performance art.
Toto La Momposina – La Bodega
Dusty Colombian indigenous music that was mixed with African slave hymns, and sultry brass band Latin-jazz composes the bulk of “La Bodega”’s excellent composition. Perfect.
Derecho – Dropped at 10,000 Feet
Sublime melodies and dark imagery comprise this surprising fun-filled lo-fi indie pop gem. Smart and intelligent lyrics are pureed with bittersweet melodies and lovely backdrops of harmonious guitars and vocals.
Brainswarm – Brainswarm
A quick EP of ghoully late ‘80s modern rock alternative, Brainswarm sounds like a bit Zombiefied but it isn’t. Perfect pick for this Halloween though.
Kathy Greenholdt – Lowly Violet
Lyrically astute Americana folk from an intelligent middle-aged woman’s perspective; a welcome change to the suddenly male-dominated genre.
Destroyah – Disc of the Damned
‘80s influenced pop from Honolulu that’s easily shrugged off and ignored.
CoCoComa – Things Are Not All Right
Rough and tumble garage indie pop with punk flakes and spazzy guitar chords, “Things Are Not All Right” would put the Super in Superchunk but they do so much more than that armed with their organ harmonies and smart lyricism.
Secrets of the Moon – Privilegivm
Spending three years recording and penning this epic black metal opus, Secrets of the Moon dominates with an ultra heavy backdrop that is surprisingly melodic and rockin’ against a caustic wail of distorted screams and ambient soundscapes. Scary stuff.
The Scruffs – Conquest
Power pop from Memphis, The Scruffs turn in their 5th record, “Conquest”, having been together since ’77 and apparently unable to really ever break through. There’s talent there but perhaps not enough drive to take it to the next level of musicianship and songwriting.
The Bronzed Chorus – I’m the Spring
North Carolina duo of guitar and drums The Bronzed Chorus sounds like a flippin’ rock orchestra of layered soundscapes and post rock joy. Grand.
Flying Machines – Flying Machines
Intellectual classic rock that boasts a mix done by the same guy (Tom Weir) who has worked bands as diverse as Weezer, No Doubt, and Tom Morello? Yes. And then some. Flying Machines write crafty songs that are alternative rockers to all the throw-away pop that is played in the mainstream coupled with lyrical smartness.
Boy Genius – Staggering
Two acoustic dudes that like to write fun love-soaked pop with plenty of intriguing loops, samples, field recordings, feedback, and layers of instrumentation, Bog Genius is a charming outfit that everyone should take very serious.
Cesaria Evora – Nha Sentimento
Imagine overcoming a revolution, being stricken with extreme poverty, and then get hit with a stroke to become one of the most famous world music artists out of her homeland of Cape Verde? Well Cesaria Evora has all of the above on her renowned resume and adds another beautiful exploration of Arabic traditions into blues music with her fantastic “Nha Sentimento”.
The Helm – Home
Abrasive and abusive hardcore that is rich in crushing egos and crusty hardcore rock. Completing the circle with surprising transitions and smashing breaks, The Helm is a yet another reason that hardcore music continues to produce surprising and invigorating music.
Collapsar – Beyond the Event Horizon
Dark ambient soundscapes range and collide forming a microcosm of sound that is far from safe and far from boring; drone collages, layered darkness, and a journey of deep space keeps “Beyond the Event Horizon” challenging and intriguing all at once.
Gary B & the Notions – A New Twist & Shout
Baltimore’s Gary B. focuses his singer/songwriter sights on Elvis Costello and Television producing “A New Twist & Shout” that Chuck Berry would be proud of – indeed pop songs that boast that delicious melodic gravy that so many artists search an eternity to find.
My First Failure – My First Failure
Bland German hardcore that is yet more gasoline poured on the eternal flame of lame. There’s some talent here, but it’s hard to get at among all of the clichés and forgettable tunes.
Tom McBride & the Whig Party – Like a Lion
Indie alternative pop that shrugs aside notions that because it’s “indie” it has to sound small. “Like a Lion” boasts hauntingly familiar pop hooks and catchy harmonies amid smart songwriting and penmanship surrounded by a big band sound fit for a soulman like Bruce Springsteen.
Dr. Rage & the Uppercuts – Sexus Diablo
‘70s era swanky rock ‘n’ roll that is guitar first and foremost and then some. Bluesy rock with whiskey soaked vocals that call out to all the babydolls in the house while rockin’ a jean jacket and tight fitting leather pants set to bring the local dive bar do its knees.
Ventana – American Survival Guide Vol. 1
Industrial nu-metal from the idiots in Mushroomhead that steal from Slipknot. Enough said.
Various Artists – Saw VI Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Yes it is exactly as you’d expect this c-movie soundtrack to sound like – lame metal bands with a few good ones interspersed with a whole lot of throw-away. Converge’s “Dark Horse”, Nitzer Ebb’s “Never Known”, and a couple other tracks are the only worth entries on this eighteen track long nuisance.
Outbreak – Outbreak
Fast and full-blown post-punk/hardcore that has enough melody to keep the scenesters interested while boasting so much crusty crackling hardcore breakdowns that even tried and true hardcore kids who only listen to 7” vinyl would perk up a bit. Think a newer Agnostic Front with a firm nod in the direction of Madball and NYC hardcore in general.
Nommo Ogo – Across Time and Space
Alaska is not what one would immediately associate with psychedelic noise, though perhaps the bleak landscape filled with moronic politicians that desperately cling onto their MILF status is the perfect setting for a group like Nommo Ogo. Having been together since 1996, the group has performed alongside such luminaries as Wolves in the Throne Room. “Across Time and Space” finds the band exploring Krautrock, industrial opuses, and agnostic soundscapes of surreal and dark pleasures. Interesting.