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.
In the sweepstakes for longest time between albums, bassist Neil Swainson finally follows up his 1987 debut 49th Parallel with this year’s Fire in the West.
Sweden’s Mammoth Volume made a trio of quirky, prog-infused stoner rock records in the late nineties and early ‘aughts, earning itself critic’s darling status in a field not normally known for that label.
Casting a wide net, Keezer brings a swath of influences – hard bop, fusion, postbop, third stream – to his music.
Ultimately what this session comes down to is pure fun – these guys clearly enjoy their musical interaction, playing everything with a relaxed intensity.
Grammy-winning trumpeter and composer Brian Lynch continues his Songbook series with Vol. 2: Dance the Way U Want To, a reclamation of his back catalog through remakes and reinvention.
Singer, songwriter and all-round music impresario Tim Bowness operates in a fairly unique artistic area.
Drummer Billy Drummond has long been a rhythm keeper’s rhythm keeper, the demand for which might explain why he hasn’t headlined a recording since 1996.
The solo guitar extravaganza Electric Git Box draws on songs from throughout his career, from his 1976 debut Clarity, Circle, Triangle, Square to 2019’s WHENUFINDITUWILLKNOW.
Led since their 2014 inception by guitarist/vocalist Matt Dudzik, these guys probably can’t cross the street without sneering at oncoming traffic, but they know from hooks.
Boston singer/songwriter Abbie Barrett likes good, catchy songs and guitars. In what style those things come together depends entirely on what the tune demands – even if that’s several things at once.
With In Tense, his second album as a leader, Raghavan has staked a claim as one of modern jazz’s most interesting composers and bandleaders.
How many times have we seen a person in their twilight years, still doing it, whatever it is, and making us think, “Man, I hope I still have that much fire at their age.” Well, folks, please welcome Sheila Jordan to the stage.
San Antonio’s long-running Krayolas didn’t attract the power pop tastemakers back when the genre flourished in the eighties, never seeming to break out of their region until thirty-odd years later.
The next generation of Orange Country rock.
Thirty-six years on from his last LP, Foster, re-signed to Blue Note, issues his (very) long awaited ninth album Reboot.
Over four decades into their existence, veteran jazz fusion combo Yellowjackets deserves to release a track called “Resilience.”
Despite first impressions from the band’s name, Philadelphia duo Grassy Sound does not play bluegrass.
The band’s second album since returning from the dead in 2017, Transmissions From Mothership Earth doesn’t rework the formula as much as reiterate that it still functions properly.
Enlisting master guitarist Ben Monder and ex-Yellowjackets bassist Jimmy Haslip as co-producer, the New Orleans-born/New York-based Despommier takes a trip through the catalog of Swedish composer Lars Gullin, whose work he encountered in Italy in 2005.
For her first solo album, AACM member Armstrong presents The Antidote Suite, a soundtrack to the Black Index art exhibit at the University of California Irvine (where Armstrong also happens to be a PhD candidate).
Norwegian drummer Gard Nilssen, sideperson to Macej Obara and Mathias Eick and leader of Acoustic Unity and the Supersonic Orchestra, follows in the footsteps of a legacy – specifically that of late Norse drum legend Jon Christensen.
A mainstay of the Canadian rock scene, singer/songwriter/guitarist Ian Blurton led Tornonto’s beloved and influential postpunk/alt.rock act Change of Heart, before shifting to more straightforward hard rock with C’Mon.
Rising from the ashes of the much-missed Astra, who released a pair of psychedelic proto-prog albums in the early 2010s, Birth, well, pretty much picks up where Astra left off on its first full-length album Born.
Galvanized by his return to San Francisco after a decade in NYC and named after the word for the smell of earth after rain, Petrichor blends Redier’s influences – jazz, classical, stride – into a seamless whole.
British power trio Josiah was a reliable stoner/hard rock force in the early 2000s without ever really hitting stardom, even in that world.
Bassist Brian Bromberg boasts a career going back over four decades, starting as low-ender for saxophonist Stan Getz and going on to a long career in smooth jazz, fusion and straightahead jazz.
Putting aside his own work, Mesmerism finds Sorey alongside his friends Aaron Diehl on piano and Matt Brewer on bass for an engaging spelunk in the Great American Songbook.
On its third LP Turf Ascension, Bubblemath makes no bones about its preferred musical methods, opening with “Surface Tension,” a seventeen-minute epic of shifting time signatures, speculative fictive lyrics and, most importantly, ear-catching melodies.
For its second LP Brown Leather, New York City’s rollicking Sweet Things have undergone some alterations.
During the pandemic the clarinetist developed a new artistic vision, centered on blowing his horn while manipulating electronics live, and it’s that aesthetic he documents here.
It sounds like hype, but it’s the truth: there’s no one like Steve Tibbetts.
Having shifted from the iconoclastic rock & roll of their early/mid-seventies work to a slicker, adult-oriented (and commercially viable) new wave pop, Roxy Music had set aside many of their quirks and most of its adventurousness to become a group of working professionals, rather than a gang of rock radicals.
Given the reputations of Knuffke’s cohorts here, one might expect free jazz cacophony. And while there are plenty of spontaneous compositions here, everyone here keys in on the presence of melody, making even the more rollicking free improvisations accessible to the unacclimated.
On World Construct, his umpteenth album in a career so prolific there’s no point counting, the jazz giant is in top form with his latest trio.
Composer Todd Marcus has two things that immediately set him apart: he’s one of the very few bandleaders to focus on the bass clarinet as his main instrument, and he draws on his Egyptian American heritage for textures not usually found in the jazz idiom.
The brainchild of the late drummer and Corrosion of Conformity co-founder Reed Mullin and HR guitarist Jason Browning, Righteous Fool added Mullin’s erstwhile COC bandmate Mike Dean on bass during the stoner punk icons’ hiatus, and Righteous Fool was born.
Unless you were a dedicated reader of the British music press circa 1991-1993, you’ve probably never heard of Fabulous.
A mere eighteen years old, pianist Joey Alexander already has five albums, three Grammy nominations and performances for two presidents on his resumé. Origin earns a special place in his discography, however.
Is Ramon a thoughtful, intricate study of queer relationships in twenty-first century culture, or is it just an excellent pop record? The answer, unsurprisingly, is both.
An outgrowth of the lauded National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America, NYO Jazz is, obviously, the organization’s jazz outreach arm, recruiting hardworking and prodigious 16-19 year olds to keep the flame of one of America’s greatest contributions to culture burning.
Drummer Keith Hall has a diverse resumé: Betty Carter, Sir Roland Hanna, Kenny Wheeler, Janis Siegel, New York Voices, TRI-FI and several years with singer/saxophonist Curtis Stigers.
The second in a planned seven-volume series dedicated to Eastman’s compositions, particularly those not performed in his lifetime, Julius Eastman, Vol. 2: Boy Joy showcases the earmarks of the composer’s style.
Though music eventually overtook his interest in superheroics, his childhood infatuation remains a creative inspiration.
Void Patrol combines the talents of saxophonist Colin Stetson, guitarist/electronicist Elliott Sharp and Medeski Martin & Wood drummer Billy Martin, at the behest of Alarm Will Sound percussionist Payton MacDonald.
The Berklee-trained musician blends his two disciplines – jazz and classical – into a series of musical poems paying tribute to Odesa’s landmarks and historical occurrences alike.
Grasso continues his journey through pre-hard bop jazz with Be-Bop!, concentrating on the work of Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker.
Four albums in, Roxy Music was about to enter its most commercially successful phase – but with a twist.