365 Day Music Project Week 7
Another week, another great chance to check out some new tunes! I'll just let you get started, because it's less about my opinion and more about getting a chance to add new jams to your life's playlist!
Outerborough by Todd Reynolds
Todd Reynolds is a fantastic musician and an even greater human being. The times that he visited GVSU to perform concerts and coach students were very memorable in my undergrad years. This past year, my last one at GVSU, I had the opportunity to see his great blending of violin with electronics firsthand at Strange Beautiful Music 2014 and when he visited GVSU this past April. He performed for the Arts at Noon series and the GVSU New Music Ensemble spring concert, where I got to perform an improvised work, Meredith Monk’s “Gotham Lullaby,” and with other ensemble members in an aleatoric piece for iPad and electronics by John Jansen. Each work he performed was taken out of his full length release, a combination of his performance and composition style, showcasing many original works and commissioned pieces from notable New Music composers!
This album is a clear example of Todd Reynold’s versatility as a musician and composer. His stylistic influences range from blues to rock to minimalism to classical to jazz! It’s crazy how easily he fits so many genres into one release. He has played with jazz musicians, symphonies, quartets, and rock groups all over the world, and the experience he has gathered with each project shows strongly in this solo release. I can’t say enough about this man, so I’ll refrain from rambling and let you take a listen! My words don’t do the album justice, so you’ll just have to experience it for yourself!
Juicebox by Juicebox
This is Juicebox, an R&B/jazz outfit from San Diego, CA. Their music is groovy and relaxed, showing some solid musicianship and some great West Coast talent. The album was nominated at the San Diego Jazz Festival for best new jazz album of 2015. I found out about their music through a posting from Adrian Terrezas-Gonzalez,(Mars Volta, T.R.A.M, The Earful) who plays with their bassist Omar Rodriguez in other projects. This album is another great reason why Bandcamp is a fun site to explore, because you never know what music you’ll enjoy! Check this album out if you want a few solid tracks to add to your list of soulful jams.
Swarm EP by Swarm
Every now and again I like to check out guitarists, because I have been listening to metal and following certain trends since the 8th grade. One thing that really pushed my musicianship, even beyond my classical training or interest in jazz, was listening to metal albums and trying to imitate things on guitar and piano. Checking out solo artists crafting groovy riffs and technical solos was a weekend past time on various metal sites, often connecting to a variety of new artists in “related music” sections. This particular guitarist I found through a great young guitarist that I follow on Instagram, and I thought I would give this album a listen. In short, it’s a solid first release from this guitarist: groovy riffs, some cool soloing ideas, and it’s self-produced. Who knows, maybe we’ll see him playing in the next big metal band?
Fit for an Autopsy
This band hits hard once again! Every album they put out has more slamming grooves and some feel-good angry music. It’s that kind of deathcore punch you need to drown out the annoying parts of a day and vent without shouting. It gets you banging your head and reaching for your guitar to play along. There’s always an album like this that reminds me why I like certain aspects of metal and what attracted me to the genre in the first place: the heavy. The crushing riffs, the pounding drums, the growling vocals tying it all together before the breakdowns hit you hard. If you liked this band’s last album, this is another great addition to their catalog.
LGND by LGND
LGND (formerly spelled Legend) puts out a new, self-titled album produced by Daniel “DL” Laskiewicz, a man known for his insanely low and heavy guitar riffing and production (like his Acacia Strain release). I have enjoyed previous releases from this band, and I’m happy to see another album! It’s got some solid tunes that get me grooving, which is what I’ve come to expect from the group. It’s hard to pontificate on groups like this for me, but I will say it’s for any metal fan wanting to hear some breakdowns and headbang! Songs like the one above take normal song topics, like heartbreak, and turn it up to like a thousand with such gritty, heavy-hitting music.
Fortified by Ghost-Note
This group is a side project by the fantastic percussion players that make up Snarky Puppy: Robert “Sput” Spearight and Nate Werth. In short, this album is awesome musicians playing some creative, jazzy, funky music that showcases the skilled percussion duo rhythms, cool electronics, and some great guest artistry. It’s fun, inventive, and it shows what skilled musicians can do with years of collaborating and performing. Go listen! Go love this album, it’s definitely one I’m gonna purchase the CD/DVD for when I get some extra money!
Blood by Lianne La Havas
After hearing her debut, I couldn’t wait to dive into her new album. My interest was only strengthened by her fantastic NPR Tiny Desk Concert this month, where she proved that with the right collaborating musicians, you don’t need layers of electronic filler and production to really effect a room full of people with great music. It’s soulful, it’s bluesy, it’s jazzy, it’s pop with heart and it stands out from the typical charting pop artist. She is such a genuine soul, and I hope to play music with as much authenticity as her in my career. Definitely glad I checked this album out!