Michael Toland began scribbling about music in 1988 for the photocopied ‘zine FHT Music Notes. He’s since written for various print and online publications, including Pop Culture Press (for whom he was reviews editor for several years), Texas Music (of which he was a founding editor), Trouser Press, Sleazegrinder, Sonic Ruin, Amplifier, Goldmine, Austin Citysearch the Austin American Statesman, Blurt and the Austin Chronicle. He was also the creator and grand poobah of the music-obsessive web site High Bias (2001-2006). He lives in Austin, Texas and works for public television.
Though formally trained, the Norwegian has spent nearly four decades standing consistently at a crossroads where rock, jazz, electronica, psych and ambient music meet, copulate, and produce healthy mutant children.
Sanford presents a wide program on A Prayer For Lester Bowie, encompassing all facets of his musical personality.
All is groove.
The Saskatchewan native is at her best when she and her keyboard are up front, leading a band of excellent musicians in showcasing her own compositions.
Life Lessons, the latest album from prolific keyboardist and composer Marc Cary, is the kind of record one makes after many years of expansive experience.
Though they never hit the big time, the Delevantes – New Jersey-born brothers Bob and Mike – provided unsung highlights of the nascent Americana scene of the nineties.
Produced by Chris Stamey and considered a minor classic of the college rock era, Myra Holder’s Four Mile Road has been out of print for decades, but has now been resurrected in digital form for the first time.
The smoke, the glitter, the creeping misery, the fierce joy – it all comes together on Black Acid Soul, the debut LP from Lady Blackbird.
It sometimes seems like every jazz musician has that one specific fantasy – that of being backed by an orchestra, or at least a string section.
In many ways, the Polish trio embodies the popular perception of the so-called “chamber jazz” that ECM has championed over the decades.
The blend of Indian music and jazz is always an interesting one.
Multi-instrumentalist Cromm Fallon plies his trade with the psych popsters the Laissez Faire, among others. But he casts a much wider net when left to his own devices.
It may be noodling, but it’s noodling with a purpose.
London’s Green Lung follows up its debut album Woodland Rites with second LP Black Harvest, and if you’ve already guessed that we’re getting a metalized soundtrack to a folk horror epic that exists only in the band’s head, you’re dead on.
When alto sax-wielding jazz warrior Kenny Garrett (Miles Davis, Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers, the Duke Ellington Orchestra, and many more, including a ton of solo albums) decides to get spiritual, he reaches way back.
Each of the eight tunes was recorded outside with no rehearsal, and only first takes were used.
Taking its time in following up its 2014 debut The Witching Hour, Ohio’s Doctor Smoke sno time in distinguishing itself from the underground metal hordes on Dreamers and the Dead.
Though he’s been a star on smooth jazz radio from pretty much the time he emerged in the early eighties, it’s not a comfortable fit, as his latest LP Faraway Place indicates.
For his first full-length album, up-and-coming young guitarist Andrew Renfroe recruits friends on whose records he’s recorded, including saxophonist Braxton Cook, keyboardist Taber Gable, bassist Rick Rosato and drummer Curtis Nowosad, all part of the new crop of young NYC jazz artists.
Given the ECM label’s long tradition of solo bass recordings, it’s surprising that it’s taken this long for Marc Johnson to release one.
While a long-respected and cherished sideperson in many different contexts, drummer Andrew Cyrille has been enjoying a renaissance as a leader. The News, his third album for ECM and second with his Quartet, may be his best for the label yet.
As with the Flesh Eaters’ comeback LP, the intriguingly titled Hot Rise of an Ice Cream Phoenix is a blend of covers, new songs, and updated older material.
Eberhard – dedicated to German bassist/composer Eberhard Weber, with whom Mays worked on Metheny’s pre-Group LP Watercolors – is both a tribute to an old friend and a good example of what Mays brought to the table in his various musical endeavors.
The young Yorkshirewoman has as much affinity for funk, soul and psychedelic rock as the spiritual jazz that shimmers through everything on her debut album.
Drummer Tom Cohen has played nearly every kind of music imaginable as a session musician. But when given his druthers, the Philadelphia sticksman is partial to jazz. My Take features him in an organ trio setting, joined primarily by B-3 master Joey DeFrancesco and either Tim Warfield or Ralph Bowen on saxophone.
Regardless of whether or not TJF enjoyed the success that was rightfully theirs, the Welsh combo hasn’t slowed down, releasing its fifth LP Into the Blue.
Unsurprisingly reflecting the difficult times in which it was made and lived, Deep States continues the Melbourne quartet’s mission of deconstruction, tearing down two guitars/bass/drums rock music in order to build it back up.
Plenty of artists return from extended hiatuses and sputter out with one new album, but not these unique noir rock balladeers. If anything, Stray Gods is stronger than the comeback LP.
The great country of Sweden has no shortage of stoner rock bands, so it can be hard to get excited about yet another one. But there’s something about Moon Coven that makes the group stand out.
The Alchemysts may not have existed in two decades, but, thanks to Tee Pee, their music not only lives on – it holds up nicely.
Four decades after the first attempt, Sorrows release their masterpiece.
Evolving out of L.A.’s much-beloved Chicano punk trio the Plugz, the Cruzados never got their due in their eighties existence – the curse, perhaps, of being a straightforward, punk-pedigreed rock & roll band on a major label (Arista) looking for both the next Bruce Springsteen and the next Poison.
Since his compadre Brad Marino released another solo album this year, naturally fellow Connection singer/songwriter/guitarist Geoff Palmer follows suit.
The music of Ann Arbor’s Fourth World Quartet lasted less than a year (the titular 1975) and all of two gigs. So what makes this document of fully-realized demos so important?
Born in the small town of Kirkland Lake, south of Toronto, singer/guitarist Dany Laj writes the kind of tunes full of yearning: for love, for commitment, for purpose, for getting the hell out of town.
Boston duo Damon Krukowski and Naomi Yang have had a long relationship with legendary Japanese psych guitarist extraordinaire Michio Kurihara (Ghost, Boris, the Stars, White Heaven), but haven’t been able to record with him in a decade.
Both veterans of the Boston rock & roll underground, singers/songwriters/guitarists Sal Baglio (the Stompers, the Amplifier Heads) and Dan Kopko (Watts, the Shang Hi-Los) combine forces to form the Peppermint Kicks.
For its second EP, Orlando trio Odd Circus is eager to prove that free improvisation isn’t just the province of jazz musicians.
Having passed the twenty year mark, The Lords of Altamont now stand as veterans of L.A.’s always-thriving garage rock scene.
One look at the personnel on the debut album by East Axis makes it hard to resist: pianist Matthew Shipp, drummer Gerald Cleaver, saxophonist Allen Lowe and bassist Kevin Ray make up a free improvisation dream team.
Rather than fill nooks and crannies with ear candy, Harrison lets the songs breathe, the air around each lick and vocal framing the tunes as much as backwards guitars and tape splices did in the Kontiki days.
A joint effort from two musicians equally comfortable with organic and synthetic sources of sound, Aufbruch feels like the perfect soundtrack for the Pandemic Years.
For Coda – Orchestral Suites, the Austrian musician reworks pieces from past works via a horn-and-string laden chamber orchestra, vibraphone, electric guitar and his own probing horn.
Shun leader Matt Whitehead used to lead South Carolina’s Throttlerod, and while his new group Shun fields some of the former band’s ragged-but-right stoner metal, there’s a lot more going on here.
With jazz’s long history of saxophone/drums duo albums, it was only a matter of time before some musicians decided to double up.
Documenting a 1970 performance recorded by the Left Bank Jazz Society at Baltimore’s Famous Ballroom, the two-disk Understanding resurrects a magnificent Brooks gig from the vaults.
Besides his piano, Evans wields the band as his instruments, knowing when to keep them in support and when to let them loose.
Inspired by and dedicated to nineteenth century American artist Robert Henri, The Art Spirit is clearly committed to Art For Art’s Sake.
A worthy follow-up to last year’s self-titled introductory EP, the Idolizers rip it up again on new EP ConCretins.