January 2022

Kristine England

Jan 31, 2022

Yard Act

The Overload

At first listen, this seemed reminiscent of the Fall (never a bad thing), yet Yard Act's documentation of discontent is certainly very contemporary.  The reviews are in, and consensus says this band's debut lives up to the hype. NME calls it "a wonderfully wacky debut" while Pitchfor notes, "It’s a confident debut LP from a young band seizing its moment and cutting the tension with a chuckle."

"The Overload"

Fickle Friends

Are We Gonna Be Alright?

Catchy pop tunes exploring the monotony and uncertainty of living through a pandemic. In other words, it's relatable and listenable. Why not?

"Yeah Yeah Yeah"

Fazer

Plex

Munich's kraut-jazz quintet has released its latest after signing a new deal with City Slang. The rhythm section is particularly engaging, but trumpeter Matthias Lindermayr is firmly in the spotlight here. "as you listen a bit deeper, textures you didn’t notice at first reveal themselves; subtle syncopations that would pass the casual listener by jolt you.. great albums also create worlds, not all of them play by the same rules, and that should be celebrated." (Clash Magazine)

"Cuentro"

Anna von Hausswolff

Live At Montreaux Jazz Festival

The vocals! The vocals! The epic, cinematic sweep of the music, the drama, and the incredible vocals! The Swedish singer delivers in this recording of her 2018 Montreaux performance. The rest of the band is up to the task too. "This ensemble performance from 2018 offers an ideal introduction to the Swedish songwriter’s work, showcasing her vocal virtuosity and gothic drama." (Pitchfork)

"The Truth, the Glow, the Fall"

Steve Roach 

Zones, Drones & Atmospheres

Music to drift through the cosmos by (as if the album and song titles weren't enough of a clue).  Forced Exposure calls the record, "a masterful expression of subtle, potent ambient-electronic minimalism."

"Holding Light"

Anna Ash

Sleeper

As if the pandemic weren't enough to contend with, Michigan-born singer Ash fled to California only to have to face the fear and tragedy of sweeping wildfires. A haunting song describing a wait for the inevitable flams to arrive and knowing when it's time to flee. Yet No Depression finds that "Sleeper is a hopeful collection of songs about resilience."

"Fire Season"

EELS

Extreme Witchcraft

Buzzing guitars and self-deprecating humor...what's not to like? For this, the 14th EELS studio album, the band was forced to work remotely with collaborator John Parish during the pandemic. It all turned out ok, though. And that's all that matters.

"Good Night On Earth"

Canyon City

Matinee

Paul Johnson, a.k.a. Canyon City, has released his latest six-track EP, Matinee, a collection of sparse and contemplative folk ballads -- sounds to soothe the soul.  He and his wife had relocated to CO right before the pandemic hit, so his feelings of isolation were likely doubled by his particular circumstances. Fortunately, he had an outlet for these feelings and a home studio to work through them.

"So Are We"

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