On the Monthly: March 2017

No particular order, best albums I reviewed last month (lol so late to the Migos game)


“As many a rap crew have been over the course of the art form’s history, Migos are for the youth.  “We ain’t really never had no old money/We got a whole lotta new money though” they spit on “Bad and Boujee,” an early contender for the year’s most iconic single.  Roughly two years after showing the world the dab, Migos present “Culture” to claim a bit of their undeniable influence.  The album isn’t a work that will shatter your world view or wow you with intricacy, but it is one that will keep you entertained with witty, fun lyrics, full-proof chemistry, and the occasional sober moment about how the trio’s dangerous lifestyle wasn’t necessarily a result of choice.”

Full Review

Jessica Ackerley Trio-Coalesce

“Jessica Ackerley is a Canadian-born jazz guitarist who has since relocated to New York City.  On Coalesce, she seems to have completely accomplished her goals.  To quote her liner notes: “Coalesce is an exploration of the guitar trio. The compositions have been a three-year process of honing the perfect balance between compositional form and complete free improvisation.”  It’s clear that the songs on this record are structured and planned, but the group’s flexibility is impeccable.  Melodies melt into open sections of improvisation with ease; solos flip-flop between individual focus and collective conversation effortlessly; and the group finds room to embrace space and silence between their primal noisy jam sessions making for a record that offers constant surprises and a perfect balance between not only improvisation and composition, but anticipation and stimulation.”

Full Review

Parlor Walls-Opposites

Armed with konked-out free jazz saxophone and no-wave punk sensibilities, Parlor Walls paint an emotionless, futuristic void to speak about modern mundanities, societal constructs, and relationship tensions.  Self-described trash-jazz musicians, the walls pit Alyse Lamb’s raucous vocal deliveries and scrapping guitar musings against Kate Mohanty’s screeching horn over open-faced drum grooves from Chris Mulligan in a number of different aesthetic realms.  Crime Engine Failure opens with a straightforward distorted landscape, but tunes like Me Me My and Cover Me jump into a more industrial realm, leaving the tumultuous jam session Teach Me Where to Roam out in left field as an outlier.  At this point in time, the lines between free jazz horns and punk-induced yelps have been drawn before, but Mohanty’s lyrics leave room for interpretation and the dynamic songwriting approach makes for a riveting experience.

Full Review

Dirty Projectors-Dirty Projectors

“Now essentially a solo project of David Longstreth, the “Dirty Projectors” as an art project are in a state quite similar to Longstreth’s personal life.  Having just gone through a break-up with former band member Amber Coffman, both Longstreth and his “band” are feeling lonely and torn apart.  As a result, Dirty Projectors is a breakup album.  The very first lyrics evoke those initial thoughts when part of your being has been ripped out: “I don’t know why you abandoned me/You were my soul and my partner.”  Later, Longstreth reminisces on the beginning of their relationship, talks about the pointless fights, and victoriously finds some sense of moving on by the end.  Sonically, the record almost sounds like a Bon Iver cover version of Kanye’s 808s and Heartbreaks; or perhaps just a glitchy pop aura with some fake rapping and funk riffage questioning whether or not Longstreth is worthy of the alternative R&B tag.  It’s a beautifully displaced piece that finds a unique, but sensible place in the contemporary musical moment.”

Full Review

Fog Lake-Dragonchaser

Largely crafted by songwriter Aaron Powell, Montreal’s Fog Lake surround poetic takes on nostalgia, suffering, and lost connections with a mass of bleak rock aestheticism, the entire instrumental pallet mixed into one grim soup.  Dragonchaser isn’t necessarily a concept work, but many of the songs speak about the destruction that results from being stuck in a rut of unhealthy habits.  The opener pulses at a sluggish tempo with Powell repeating “I’ll just wait for Novocain,” his only solace from “such easily forgotten days.”

Full Review


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