James Blake – James Blake

Runner up of the BBC's Sound of 2011 poll, up and comer James Blake is nothing less than a maelstrom of intricacy. Having cut his teeth in the South London jungle and dubstep turntable circles whilst studying popular music at Goldsmiths University, he spent most of 2010 creating his self titled debut record. No-one saw what was coming, as his … [Read more...]

HBC – HBC

Supergroups and collaborations are among the most beloved occurrences in music. Few things are better than when several of your favorite artists work on and release a project together. Case in point—HBC, the eponymous debut from Scott Henderson, Jeff Berlin, and Dennis Chambers. Full of jazz fusion techniques and timbres, it’s a thoroughly exciting … [Read more...]

Andromeda Mega Express Orchestra – BUM BUM

With every trite and overused musical description, there is the willful decision in realizing that almost everything to say about music has been said already. What exactly that means is if someone proclaims the newly restored Radiohead album as a terrific exercise in rock and pop, for how many other bands/albums/songs can we say that about? I look … [Read more...]

San Francisco Music Club – Love and Freedom

It’s not often that an album’s title represents its music as specifically and accurately as San Francisco Music Club’s debut, Love and Freedom. Incorporating a wide array of styles, including rock, reggae, funk, R&B, and Afro-Cuban into a sound that erupts with vibrancy, skill, and joy, it’s an engaging and fun way to spend an hour celebrating … [Read more...]

Tape – Revelationes

In the Swedish trio Tape, there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of sibling rivalry between Andreas and Johan Berthling. Nor can I detect any nepotism acting against third member Tomas Hallonsten, as everything the group has done is marked by a dedication to balance, diffusing the focus away from any one instrument or mode in favor of a general … [Read more...]

Little Tybee – Humorous to Bees

One of the trickiest things to do in music is combine influences without sounding derivative. It takes true skill, focus, and cohesion of minds to channel multiple genres into a fresh, genuine and organic new identity. On its second LP, Humorous to Bees, Little Tybee has done just that. With a wonderful blend of styles and a fun, free vibe, the … [Read more...]

Teddy Presberg – Outcries from a Sea of Red

People who like their improvisatory music a little edgier than Spyro Gyra and a tad less avant-garde than Mededski, Martin, & Wood are bound to find contentment in the psychedelic jazz of St. Louis guitarist Teddy Presberg.  Though his six-string technique has all the underpinnings of vintage soul and blues music, Presberg is not the slightest … [Read more...]

Beep – City of the Future

Through the aim of making something conceptually rich but without the fear of having to commit to a single idea, Beep deliver what is truly a sprawling array of sounds with City of the Future. Relying on the use of colorful instrumentation and raw musicianship, the experimental trio has found an assorted collection in delivering compelling new … [Read more...]

The Vegetable Orchestra – Onionoise

A Calabash bass, carrot flutes, bell pepper horns, pumpkin drums, and a celery guitar hardly sound feasible, but for the Vegetable Orchestra these creations are the building blocks of a very, very interesting sound. The Vienna based ensemble has been playing instruments made of vegetables for more than a decade. All jokes about playing with one's … [Read more...]

Jesse Harris – Cosmo

Jesse Harris may not be a household name, but this singer/songwriter multi-instrumentalist left a noteworthy stamp on 21st century popular music when his formidable songcraft skills on “Don’t Know Why” helped to land jazz chanteuse Norah Jones three Grammy Awards back in 2003.  An enterprising musician who, since his debut album in 1995, has … [Read more...]