branford

Jazz Album Review: Branford Marsalis “Four MFs Playin’ Tunes”

This week I had the opportunity to listen to Branford Marsalis’ newest release, Four Mfs Playin’ Tunes. This album is the first of his to feature 21 year old drummer Justin Faulkner who in the last 5 years has replaced the seemingly irreplaceable Jeff “Tain” Watts. Tain is one of the most powerfully aggressive modern drummers out there who helped change the face of modern jazz in the 1980′s, but now is busy with his own projects which is why Faulkner has taken over since 2009 (when he was 18). Branford Marsalis’ quartet has a very nostalgic sound to it, as it really hasn’t changed much since 1984. The same hard driving swing that characterized the young lions from the late 80s/early 90s is still there, but so is the more relaxed and fluid songs that seem to lack time whatsoever: another Branford specialty. All in all, the album is what I expected, which doesn’t mean it’s bad at all, it’s your classic Branford, none of the guitar and drums heavy pretentious stuff you might hear at a Berkelee College of Music jazz senior recital, this is just four MFs playin’ tunes.

deMarco

Mac DeMarco Cooks Up Something Good on “2″

Man vs. Mannequin II: The Reckoning

Man vs. Mannequin II: Return of the Mac

Oh hi! Didn’t see you there. I’d like to talk to you about a wonderful little record by a guy who goes by the name of Mac DeMarco. DeMarco – a Canadian singer-songwriter, formerly of the band Makeout Videotape – released his second album, fittingly titled “2″, in October, and I finally got  around to checking it out a couple weeks ago. I’m gonna be honest with you – I was pretty positive I would hate this album before I listened to it. The cover and Pitchfork hype made for a lethal combination in my mind, acting as some kind of harbinger of “ironic slacker” doom. The album’s first track (“Cooking Up Something Good”) even starts with a kinda chunkity-chunk Jack Johnson guitar part. Luckily, by the time the song’s chorus hit, things started to turn around. By the third track – The “Sultans of Swing”-esque “Freaking Out the Neighborhood” – I was hooked. Every song on the album is a catchy, hook-filled fun-time bonanza, full of jangly, shambolic grooves (think Pavement at their most singer-songwritery, laid back moments). These are songs you’ll be humming all day, then you’ll catch yourself humming them and be all “man, I ain’t even mad.” It’s the feelgood album of the summer, except, like, you know, in the winter. Let DeMarco and his band of merry men transport you to sunny days where the drinks are free and Jimmy Buffett is nowhere in sight. Swimming pools and barbecues are there too. Seriously, it’ll be cool. You just gotta listen.

 

LD

Jazz Charts 1/15

Hello everyone,

Here is this week’s edition of the KZSC Jazz Charts. Topping them this week comes an independent/self release from vocalist Lauren Desberg with her EP “Sideways.” This album features many up and coming young jazz stars on the scene today including bassist Joshua Crumbly (Terence Blanchard, Taylor Eigsti), drummer Corey Fonville (Nicholas Payton, Christian Scott), and arrangements by recent Thelonious Monk competition winner in piano, Kris Bowers. The album is produced by all-star vocalist Gretchen Parlato and also features the unique musical expressions of Dayna Stephens and his tenor saxophone. More information and tunes can be heard at her website www.laurendesberg.com.

Other than that I got a TON of jazz incoming this week, thanks for the support!

KZSC Top 10 Charts
1    LAUREN DESBERG    Sideways    Self Released
2    BRANFORD MARSALIS QUARTET    Four MFs Playin Tunes
3    AMBROSE AKINMUSIRE    When The Heart Emerges Glistening    Blue Note
4    DEE DEE BRIDGEWATER    Live At Yoshi’s    Verve
5    AMIKAEYLA    Being In Love    RootsJazz
6    MARC JOHNSON AND ELIANE ELIAS    Swept Away    ECM
7    PAUL HEMMINGS UKETET    Introducing – The Paul Hemmings Uketet    Leading Tone
8    ALFREDO RODRIGUEZ    Sounds Of Space    QWEST
9    ANDREA BRACHFELD    Lady Of The Island    Zoho
10    BRAD MEHLDAU TRIO    Where Do You Start    Nonesuch
KZSC Jazz Adds
Jackie Ryan    Listen Here    Open Art
Organissimo    Dedicated    MFA Jazz
Patricia Barber    Smash    Concord
Erik Deutsch    Demonio Leclado    Kuumbwa
Davina and the Vagabonds    Black Cloud    Kuumbwa
Wasabi    Wide Open    Kuumbwa
Daniel Lantz Trio    Daniel Lantz Trio Plays Bond    Kari-On
The Summarily Dismissed    To Each    Kari-On
Didi Favreau    Vague Recollections Pt. 1    Self
Shake it Like a Caveman    Digital Football    Self
Hashem Assadullahi    Pieces    Origin Records
Mimi Fox    Standards Old and New    Origin Records
Inbar Fridman    Time Quartet Project    Origin Records
Lary Barilleau & The Latin Jazz Collective    Carmen’s Mambo    Origin Records
Rob Ryndak    A Wonderful Thing    New World n Jazz
James Sanders    Blue Violin    MFA Jazz
Nate Najar     Blues for Night People    Lisa Reedy
Jerry Leake    Cubist Prominence    Self Released
Pamela Hines    3. 2. 1.    Kari-On
Lisa Forkish    Bridges    Kari-On

-N. Mokover

Alec-Icon-Radio1

Brootalisk’s Top 25 Loud Rock Albums of 2012

How does one attempt to define a year that has experienced a continually expanding range of sensations through the means of musical endeavors? Is it even possible to describe the feelings that 2012 has displayed, whether they be sadness, contentment, pain, or exuberance? The answer is no. It is practically impossible to express the emotions that one has been subjected to because no one but one’s ownself can truly know what it felt like when one soared to new heights and reached the crescendo of a particular song, or traveled through the murky depths of a record to reach the climax and leave utterly exhausted yet entirely fulfilled. However, with all that said, it is still a worthy undertaking to recommend, and by doing so acclaim, works of art that have been known to emit a certain uniqueness about themselves, and will relinquish the audience with a sense of admiration. The following 25 albums are, in this humble writer’s opinion, some of the greatest artworks in the musical scene that our generation has been lucky enough to witness and experience first hand.

 

#25: Dethklok – Dethalbum III

Dethklok has always been about satirizing the metal genre, and while Dethalbum III still accomplishes the feat, it’s also a great example of the kind of talent Brendon Small possesses. From the song writing to the instrumentation, Dethalbum III shows just why Dethklok is the most brutal force in the universe.

 

#24: Alcest - Les Voyages De L’Âme

While more post-rock/shoegazey than black metal, Les Voyages De L’Âme is nonetheless a powerful album, and while it doesn’t quite reach the heights that made Écailles De Lune a force to be reckoned with, it is still a great example of frontman Neige’s sheer talent and the near endless possibilities when combining two seemingly different genres into one massive soundscape.

 

#23: Between the Buried and Me – The Parallax II: Future Sequence

If you come into The Parallax II: Future Sequence knowing what to expect, you will leave sorely confused and perhaps a bit bewildered. Don’t overhype the album (like one Loud Rock Director might have done), and instead let the music naturally flow into you. You’ll enjoy the record much more that way.

 

#22: Daylight Dies – A Frail Becoming

Sometimes it takes a band longer than others to fully mature and ripen into a full fledged dynamic force of nature, but in Daylight Dies’ case, it is well worth the wait. A Frail Becoming is Daylight Dies best record yet, and showcases their confident but not overly eager sound and style.

 

#21: Monuments – Gnosis

Gnosis isn’t the most well put together album, nor is it the most heartfelt, but what it lacks in emotion it more than makes up for in sheer technicality and entertainment. It’s not something you listen to when you want to go on an aural escapade through your mind, but rather a guilty pleasure that’s easy to get into but complex enough to keep you coming back for more.

 

 

 

Best Loud Rock EPs

#5: Circle of Contempt - Entwine the Threads

 

 

#4: Agalloch – Faustian Echoes

agalloch

#3: Revocation - Teratogenesis

 

 

 

#2: Apostate - Λ ♦ Λ ♦ Ø (Against All Odds)

 

 

 

#1: Chimp Spanner - All Roads Lead Here

 

 

 

 

 

 

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#20: Skyharbor - Blinding White Noise: Illusion and Chaos

After leaving Tesseract, Daniel Tompkins has been creating his own musical path, with experiments such as In Colour and Absent Hearts, but by far his most successful work has been in Skyharbor and their debut Blinding White Noise: Illusion and Chaos. However, while Dan’s vocals are some of the best in the genre, it’s Keshav Dhar’s songwriting, and the awesome guest appearances, that truly make this album a must listen.

 

#19: The Sword – Apocryphon

Arguably the most progressive record to come out of The Sword, Apocryphon sees the Hard Rock outfit stay true to their unique brand and style, yet move in the logical next step after the sci-fi goodness that was their 2010 release, Warp Riders. 

 

 

#18: Sylosis – Monolith

Thrash has had some trouble staying relevant in the metal realm in recent years, but Sylosis has made their contribution and imprint on the genre with Monolith, a “monolithic” record that should have no trouble reaching out to fans who have already left the genre.

 

 

 #17: Wintersun – Time I

When a musician takes 8 years to forge a highly anticipated album, it will almost always disappoint fans, no matter the quality of the record, and Time I is no exception. However, don’t allow the voracious and unappeasable fans scare you away from the record. Though not quite on par with Wintersun’s debut, it is still just as epic and grandiose.

 

#16: Deftones – Koi No Yokan

It’s easy to get caught up in the hype of a Deftones release and to instantly think that every single record is a masterpiece. While the reality is much more dull, this record certainly is not, being full of romantic charge and fleeting commotion. Koi No Yokan is no masterpiece, but it is still an exception work of art that is just as Deftones as any of their other releases.

 

#15: Cloudkicker - Fade

Ben Sharp, mastermind behind Cloudkicker, is something of a Do-It-Yourself musician. All his music, free on his bandcamp, is entirely made by himself and self released. Don’t let that fool you though; Fade is one of the most moving albums on this list. It’s greatness is subtle, but once found you will be able to explore the plethora of impressive musical talent at work here.

 

#14: Exotic Animal Petting Zoo - Tree of Tongues

Characteristically weird and bizarre, Tree of Tongues is, in a way, akin to watching something frightening but remarkably interesting in such a way that you simply can’t look away. There’s nothing about this album that should scare you off though; it’s crazy in all the right ways, yet accessible enough to keep you coming back for seconds and thirds.

 

#13: Meshuggah – Koloss

With everyone trying to copy the sound that has made Meshuggah a household name, Koloss shows the little kids how it’s done. The album is Meshuggah as Meshuggah does. Heavy, distorted riffs, and insanely brutal breakdowns, there is almost nothing not to immediately love about this album.

 

#12: Converge - All We Love We Leave Behind

Without the rind mindset, Converge can be incredibly hard to incorporate into your musical tastes. Their goal is simple: pummel you into the ground until you can stand upright no more. All We Love We Leave Behind may not change your opinion on the band, but there’s a definite subtlety about it that implies something a bit more harmonious but just as destructive, a refreshing take on the trademark sound Converge has utilized throughout the years.

 

#11: The Contortionist - Intrinsic

Some may call it pretentious, others may call it boring, but to many more, Intrinsic is an incredibly engaging and worthwhile listen that garners praise where it received criticism. If one gives it a chance, instead of writing it off as a bombastic piece of work, it can reveal an entirely fascinating auditory experience, straight from the heart of one of the premier progressive metal acts today.

 

 

 

Best Non-Loud Rock Albums

#5: Trioscapes - Separate Realities

#4: Rush - Clockwork Angels

#3: Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!

#2: Swans – The Seer

 

swans

 

 

#1: Hammock – Departure Songs

 

hammock-departure-songs

 

 

 

 

#10: High On Fire - De Vermis Mysteriis

High On Fire has always been a good band, but they never dropped an album that could make them a truly great band. That is, until they released De Vermis MysteriisChanneling the sludginess Electric Wizard and the menace of Converge, De Vermis Mysteriis is a fantastic combination of different methods and styles while still being wholly High On Fire.
#9: Neurosis – Honor Found in Decay

An amalgamation of everything Neurosis has accomplished, Honor Found in Decay shows why Neurosis is considered one of the finest post metal acts in history. Although there are some very slight missteps present in the record, they don’t hinder in the slightest what the album represents: a celebration of all that has come to past, and a shimmer of hope for what the future holds. 

 

#8: Hypno5e - Acid Mist Tomorrow

Progressive and completely avant-garde, Acid Mist Tomorrow makes use of numerous tricks, some old some new, to create an atmospheric yet ferocious sophomoric effort. Although there are very unnecessary moments, such as the numerous employments of voice overs, but these are overshadowed by the air of breathtaking brutality that exudes from each and every song.

 

#7: Diablo Swing Orchestra – Pandora’s Pinata

It’s hard to be avant-garde while still being aaccessible, even more important, coherent. Yet, Diablo Swing Orchestra somehow manage to release one of the weirdest yet most intelligible albums 2012 saw. Full of skillful violin work and operatic singing, Pandora’s Pinata is arguably the zaniest-yet-strongest progressive metal work to come out this year.

 

#6: Amenra – Mass V

The second most soul crushing album on this list (see: #1), Mass V isn’t just an escapade into doom gloom, it’s created for the sole purpose of crushing your spirits with any means Amenra sees fit, and don’t doubt them for a second, no matter how optimistic your outlook on life is. If you’re not at the very least melancholy after listening to the album, you need to plug your speakers in and actually listen.

 

#5: Soul Cycle – Soul Cycle II

It can be hard comparing an instrumental record to albums with vocals of any kind. They’re an easy way to add depth to a song. However, Soul Cycle doesn’t take the easy way out, and with Soul Cycle II, vocals would have only taken away from the excrutiatingly precise instrumentation present on the album. This is arguably the finest instrumental album since Animals as Leader’s self titled debut.

#4: Gojira - L’Enfant Sauvage

What can one say about L’Enfant Sauvage that has yet to be said? It’s not just Gojira’s finest work yet; it’s one of the single greatest albums to come out of 2012, and will most likely be considered a classic 5 years from now. When some reflect on what made 2012 the best year for metal in recent history, this is what many will point to with eager faces and banging heads.

 

#3: Enslaved –  RIITIIR

Equal parts alluring and downright breathtaking, RIITIIR doesn’t skimp any of the radiant beauty that has made them the reigning champion of black metal for two straight releases. Also, it’s most definitely worth mentioning that this record has the most powerful ending of 2012, and it is entirely indicative of the rest of the monumental album that is RIITIIR.

 

#2: Ne Obliviscaris – Portal of I

Seeing the crown up for grabs in the progressive metal dominion, Ne Obliviscaris didn’t waste any time in forging one of the most original and creative pieces of art of not just the year, but the entire decade. Portal of I takes the listener on a climactic journey in which one will experience some of the highest highs and lowest lows ever conceived. This isn’t just an album, it is the birth of a new band, one that is sure to release instant classics and garner unbelievable praise. Consider yourself lucky to experience a consummate band in their very beginnings.

#1: Downfall of Gaia – Suffocating in the Swarm of Cranes

It’s hard to describe something that has made you feel so many emotions simultaneously without ever being overbearing. Never before has an album had this kind of affect, destroying your very inner soul during the record’s second song, but slowly building you back into something so much greater and more understanding of the world around you. It’s grotesque, beautiful, disconcerting, and exhilarating all at the same time. But, don’t let the Downfall of Gaia’s obscurity scare you from listening to this masterpiece. Let Suffocating in the Swarm of Cranes’ musical content scare you away. Believe me, though, when I say this: you will, most willingly, come back for more perfect mind-bending cruelty and thoroughly enjoy every second of it.

 

 

 

 

Ty

2012: The Year of Ty

It’s been one helluva year for San Francisco garage rock wonderkid Ty Segall. Ty’s been rockin’ all over the free world spreading his gospel of scuzzy psychedelic rock ‘n’ roll. This year Ty recorded and released three records of his own in addition to producing a killer LP for Nashville punks Heavy Cream and a single for Memphis up and comers Ex Cult. After hitting the road with fellow Bay Area residents Thee Oh Sees, Ty and his band have been making the late night TV rounds with performances on Conan and Letterman. To put it lightly Ty’s been killing it.

Here’s a sampling from each of Ty Segall’s releases from this year

For his first full length of the year Ty teamed up with San Francisco cohort White Fence

Next up he hit the studio with his touring band for his fastest, heaviest album yet

For his third and final album of the year Ty played every instrument himself. Here he is on Letterman with his band ripping the place to shreds

So go check out Hair, Slaughterhouse, and Twins to get as stoked on Ty Segall as we are here at the Great 88.