REVIEW: Silent People’s self-titled CD

Silent People photo SilentPeople_cover_zpsrtpykety.jpg If you are to read the album credits on the back, all you would see is Silent People consisting of two people: Gianpaolo Camplese on drums and Stefano Meucci on electronics but with that said, what exactly would that entail? By saying this is on Aut Record,s you would know this is anything but tame or calm. It’s true, this music here is anything but calm but adventurous? Very much.

Silent People’s self-titled album goes in a number of places, beginning their album with a song (“Hydraulic Fracturing”) that sounds very close to Medeski, Martin & Wood’s “We Are Rolling” from their album The Dropper. Then as the album goes, I wasn’t sure if it was free jazz, basement trip hop in the vein of Antipop Consortium or some kind of Madlib side project but it’s a nice blend of the mellow to the insecure, with the listener being insecure as to where the music is going but harmonious at the most unpredictable moments. The label calls what they do electro-acoustic but even if you know what is behind that definition, it still doesn’t sound what you assume it could be and for me, that’s what makes it work. It’s a drummer just jamming on the one at times while he may get into some kind of far off playing as an electronics wizard scatters his creativity everywhere. Or it’s the other way around. It’s a nice place to find yourself to be in, if not an audacious place. I would very much like to stay in this neighborhood for awhile.

REVIEW: The Blessed Isles’ “Straining Hard Against The Strength Of Night”

 photo BlessedIsles_coverSML_zpsgys3cwow.jpg If you still enjoy getting lost in the dreamy soundscapes created by Orchestral Maneuvers In The Dark (OMD), you will find the dreams of The Blessed Isles to be your reality. “Straining Hard Against The Strength Of Night (Saint Marie) is a title consisting of nine syllables, which is two more than the pop music norm but these guys do not want to be anyone’s norm. No sir or madam, they simply make enchanting pop music that is engaging and easily addictive if you allow it to be, from the gentle guitar work of Aaron Closson and Nolan Thies to the keyboards they play together to create something that has a nice and unifided vibe that lets you know there are in this for the long haul. While I could hear a song like “Confession” be remixed for a new musical territory, I enjoy hearing it and other tracks on the album as is. This is a durable one.

REVIEW: Jeff Runnings’ “Primitives And Smalls”

Jeff Runnings photo JeffRunnings_cover_zpsish8yu2u.jpg You may remember him from his time with the group For Aganst but Jeff Runnings is now going at it solo with his debut album, Primitives And Smalls (Saint Marie). Fans of his dreamy side of music will immediately love what he does on the opening track, “Maze” and that is a bit of code to let you know where he’s headed, an unpredictable journey that will still make you feel like you’re at home. Imagine of Scritti Politti was less about soul and groove and more about rock and new wave tendencies and you’ll get a slight hint of what Runnings is trying. His songwriting is as strong as it has always been and one can make this the continuation of his musical and life journey. Job well done.

REVIEW: Danny Green Trio’s “Altered Narratives”

Danny Green Trio photo DannyGreen_cover_zpsxr8bogdz.jpg With a new album featuring songs composed completely by its leader, The Danny Green Trio offer a bit of wonderful jazz with a nice touch of attitude (call it swagger if you will) with Altered Narratives (OA2). Green blesses his piano with helo from drummer Julien Cantelm and bassist Justin Grinnell and together they create a vibe that is warm to the touch and quite beautiful, if not elegant, to hear. Everything was nicely put together with help from producer Matt Pierson and together they play their heart and souls together as one while allowing each other to get deeper into what they’re doing, slightly becoming confident in their own playing and contributions while maintaining they are united for one common cause. The cause is a good one. Highlights include “Friday At The Thursday Club”, “Serious Fun” and the album opener, “Chatter From All Sides”.

REVIEW: The Tony Lustig Quintet’s “Taking Flight”

The Tony Lustig Quintet photo TonyLustig_cover_zpsfr5olzob.jpg Taking Flight (Bimperl Entertainment) couldn’t be a more appropriate title for the latest release from The Tony Lustig Quintet, who is backed on this album with Ulysses Owens, Ben Williams, Samora Pinderhughes, and Michael Dease. Lustig’s instrument is the saxophone, in this case the baritone saxophone and he plays that in a way sounds like some of the best saxophonists around, including Eric Leeds. The musicianship here is brilliant and when they want to get deep into a blues mode (as they do with “Fraytown”), you can imagine yourself walking into a nightclub at 2:45am and making it out at 7:22am. All songs on this are Lustig originals and I hope these songs will become part of everyone’s jazz songbook in the years and decades to come.

REVIEW: The March Divide’s “Saturdays”

The March Divide photo MarchDivide2016_cover_zpspzezv15m.jpg I’ve been listening to Jared Putnam’s music as The March Divide in the last few years and he returns with something new called Saturdays (self-released) which show he continues to do what he does best, and that is to show how much of an artist he is and where he’s willing to go to go to new places. Fourteen songs may sound like a lot one needs to consume but if you’ve been into his style of rock pop, you are going to love each and every track. I still hear different Lenny Kravitz qualities in what he does but I also hear what makes some of Elvis Costello, Dave Grohl, Ben Folds, and Bruno Mars’ music stand out, and that he writes in a way that makes the songs hard to resist. They are well written and have enough qualities that will make you want to sing to its choruses once he sings the second one, only causing you to play the song two more times to be sure you didn’t miss any of the lyrics.

REVIEW: Emily Rodgers’ “2 Years”

Emily Rodgers photo EmilyRodgers_cover_zpshmpvkvmi.jpg If you’re familiar with the name Emily Rodgers, you may have wondered where she has been. While hew new release is called 2
(Misra), it has been seven years since she came out with her last album, 2009’s Bright Day and a lot has happened since then. Then again, she could easily say the same thing about her life as well but she returns with an album of ten songs, showing why her music and passionate voice has been missed.

Her music is very much today but it is also rustic, as if it was meant to be from the past or it came from the past and we are hearing something that is meant to be told to us. It’s as if Rodgers wrote this without a sense of time or timing but when you hear this a year from now, five years, ten, on our death beds, we are going to remember the moment we first heard this and why songs like this aren’t as celebrated as they once were. Or maybe it still is and I happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. What I also like is that occasionally, the songs don’t sound right either. I mean it is in key and everything but… while she sounds nothing like Joni Mitchell, Rodgers has a way of going on places that may sound unintentional but where it goes is where it means to be and where you mean to be. Call it call it No Depression, call it left-of-country, call it what should be on country radio today but isn’t but simply call it Emily Rodgers’ new album. Let’s hope we will not have to wait until 2023 for another follow-up.

REVIEW: Yves Lambert Trio’s “Laissez courir les chiens”

Yves Lambert Trio photo YvesLambert_cover_zps86hfkwpo.jpg I’ll be honest: upon listening to Laissez courir les chiens (La PrĂ»che Libre) by Yves Lambert Trio, I understood the wonderfuk folk music but I wasn’t sure what language I was listening to but I learned they are a French Canadian folk group who do this for the love of the music, French culture, Canadian culture, and staying true to the strength of roots and community. I’m unable to hear the music and know what they’re singing about but the press release states they are politically minded and their songs offer a sense of history that helps to bring people to the past in order to get into the future. I would love to know what they’re singing about but the passion heard is evident in any language.

REVIEW: Bloody Knives’ “I Will Cut Your Heart Out For This”

 photo BloodyKnives_cover_zpsgz7fez4d.jpg A lot of journalists like to use words like ethereal, earthy, other-worldly, and clustered to describe now lush a band sounds on record. I know I have most likely used all of them at any given time but the truth is that if and when it works, all you have to say is their sound is loud as fuck and I love it. Case in point: I Will Cut Your Heart Out For This (Saint Marie), the new album by Bloody Knives. Arguably, the core of what they do is bring up their guitars up to eleven and allow it to fill up the soundscape up to your next to where you may feel like you’re about to suffocate from it. Some of it sounds like there are hints of keyboards played behind the guitars and the bass guitar is pretty much the foundation (or one of them) of everything to let the listener know what is centered, or should be. Even a track like “—–“, a solid instrumental, could be considered a bridge to get you from one point of sonic hell to the other but within the hellish feedback and volume are songs that help you understand its texture a bit better, whether the song is a romantic tale or a metaphor about the struggle of anything. Imagine having influences from bands like Helmet or My Bloody Valentine and then wanting to drag them deeper into your own awesome hell. It sounds distortion as if everything was brickwall limited and it makes your eyes want to bulge and yet the words that tell the tales force you to keep listening. That’s when you realize the possible meaning of the album title because the music will indeed cut your heart out and if they split it all over the stage like another band from yesteryear, even better.