Grant Green-Street of Dreams

Grant Green Street of Dreams:

A mellow session from four jazz greats. A little snooze inducing at times, best for background music or to have on while relaxing.

Rating: 12/15 smooth trade offs

Bill Frisell-The Best of Bill Frisell, Vol. 1: Folk Songs

Bill Frisell The Best of Bill Frisell, Vol. 1: Folk Songs:

Beautiful renditions of tunes from all aspects of American folk musics. FrisellĀ  and his backing musicians manage to recreate everything from country, to blues, to Appalachian music while adding some sly notes and modifications of there own. Frisell’s movement away from jazz and towards folk is an interesting and potentially bad choice, and on this disk its clear that it was well worth the risk.

Rating: 12/15 indignant jazz snobs

Cobra Verde-Haven’t Slept All Year

Cobra Verde Haven’t Slept All Year:

Jumping from Garage rock to acoustic balladry to art rock tunes, this album presents a pretty cool listen. The lyrics never stray far from sex, drugs, and rock and roll, but have an appropriate swagger that keeps them enjoyable. Theres nothing unique here, just a quality rock album.

Rating: 12/15 Degrees in popular music studies

The Boredoms-Super Roots 10

The Boredomes Super Roots 10:

Analog synth drones, layered vocals, and polyrhythmic drumming drift in and out of your speakers in ecstatic glee. Eye and company create another album that gets you in touch with the universe, but only when you’re in the exact right mood for it.

Rating: 12/15 Drum circles

Matthew Ship-Harmonic Disorder

Matthew Ship Harmonic Disorder:

Monkish piano interplays beautifully with a very talented rhythm section. The faster Bop workouts are strong, but are still Bop workouts. The true strength of this album resides in the slower spacious tunes where the harmonic interplay and push and pull between the trio members creates a unique tension.

Rating: 12/15 should of stuck to the cool stuff

Moondog-Sax Pax for a Sax

Moondog Sax Pax for a Sax:

Sax heavy jazz influenced danceable tunes, which adhere to an incredibly strict set of harmonic rules. Moondog’s compositions at once sound unique, but also lack variation due to his very set beliefs in the proper way to compose. The harmonies, progressions, and time signatures all become predictable. That being said the music is beautiful an unlike many albums by so-called “serious” composers, the music is fun. It sounds like a mix between french music and 1920’s jazz, but with some harmonies not commonly heard in either genre.

Rating: 12/15 Viking Helmets

Derek Bailey-Pieces For Guitar

Derek Bailey Pieces For Guitar:

A series of solo free jazz guitar solos. Though atonal, and often quite harsh, theres a variety of moods and textures explored on this album. Bailey sometimes sounds like Monk at his most vicious and sometimes like a contemplative Anton Webern. He experiments readily with feedback and live panning and utilizes them not as bells and whistles, but as meaningful compositional elements. Interesting for anybody who wants to here experimental music with more of a point than just breaking down pre-established rules.

Rating: 12/15 meaningful skronks

Mirah-(a)spera

Mirah (a)spera:

Soft and beautiful acoustic guitars and vocals betray the powerful observations found in the lyrics. Lyrically, this album focuses exclusively on relationships, and manages to never be corny. The only complaint I have about this album is the indier than thou production. Most songs sound like they were recorded with a tin can on a string. Mirah continues to release strong relevant material, surprising since Calvin Johnson signed her, but true none the less.

Rating: 12/15 Strangle worthy producers

Odawas-The Blue Depths

Odawas The Blue Depths:

Solid mournful indie pop with a tinge of folk. The singers heavily reverbed voice does well whether set again acoustic guitars, pianos, bodhrans, or synthesizers. Its a strong release, but every tracks has almost the same drifty but epic feel, which can wear a little thin at times.

Rating: 12/15 spaced out keyboards

Wilderness-(k)no(w)here

Wilderness (k)no(w)here:

Slow spacey minimalist post punk. Sounds like an Owls record slower down a few RPMs. The resulting effect of the, at times painfully, slow music, is simultaneous trance and tension. Deep resonant vocals crawl across this sea of molasses, adding a human element to the churning. Good to lay back and listen to.

Rating: 12/15 Bottles of cough syrup