New Long Leg
Here we are all these years after the founding of the 4AD label back in 1980, and they are still putting out great music. The album even has a similar feel from those early 80's years. Think post punk musical coarseness with spoken word-ish stories woven through it. The UK group's singer Florence Shaw threads an irresistible and haunting listen overtop the band's somewhat menacing sound.
Her third release, and it is a beautiful chiller of a release from this Pakistani born artist. I Love how she sings in perhaps a somewhat traditional Hindustani/Pakistani style, with strings and percussion, but in a very dark and somber way. Not a party record, think hauntingly beautiful world music.
From Niger we have Taureg artist Mahamadou Souleymane. If you have delved into this style of African guitar fronted music, it will immediately feel comforting and familiar, but with a unique reverbed processing. A fun record to play for all of your friends, except for that one friend of yours who never made it past Bachman Turner Overdrive, and frequently states; "They haven't made any good music since the 70's". Now that I think about it, go ahead and play this for him.
SONS OF KEMET
Black To The Future
Nice unique vibe on this UK "jazz" album. I hear moments of mid period Last Poets, a little bit of dub, and a thread throughout of a New Orleans style second line band(probably the horns that give it that feel). Interesting things coming out of the UK these days.
JAMES BRANDON LEWIS
Red Lily Quintet
Great jazz records like you loved in the 60's and 70's from labels like ABC IMPULSE and BLUE NOTE are still being made in 2021 and beyond. I'm pretty picky about my jazz that I love. I do like a great flow that while it improvises along the way, has some kind of structure. I also like a jazz record to occasionally go head-on right over the rails in a sax honkfest. At the very first listen I was hooked.
BBC 1974 Londres
Released for the first time on vinyl as part of RSD Black Friday, these BBC recordings capture the band during their prime. Not only does this release feature a great early recording of the classic Magma album Kohntarkosz, it also has the highly sought after sole studio recording of the incredible piece Theusz Hamtaahk. This 1974 recording features the same lineup as seminal album M.D.K. (including Vander, Top, and Blasquiz). The recording quality is superb, as to be expected with a BBC production, and the band is as tight as ever. Magma fans will find this to be an essential release and one worth owning for the inclusion of Theusz Hamtaahk alone.
Realms of Exquisite Morbidity
Any fans of the local Houston metal scene will undoubtedly be familiar with Malignant Altar. If you've heard their first two EPs, you'll have a good idea of what to expect from Realms of Exquisite Morbidity. This record absolutely rips with some great riffs and gnarly vocals. If you haven't seen these guys live, you're missing out.
The self titled 1977 album by Archaïa is one of my all time favorite records so I was happily surprised when Greek label Mutant Embryo Records released these new recordings by the band. Harmonie Solaire blends often creepy Zeuhl vocals with some great dark and minimal guitar and synth work. Recommended for fans of Magma, Heldon, and the Legendary Pink Dots.
Фантомные Чувства (Phantom Feelings)
From Novosibirsk, Russia, Ploho delivered a cold and somber post-punk LP. This release differs a little from their past record due to the more expressive vocals but still carries the monotonal style of singing. This record came together really nicely with Viktor Ujakovs' deep vocal range, Igor Starshinovs' great synth lines, and overall driving bass and guitar. Excited to see what they put out next! <3
Shell Complex 04y3
Sounds exactly how it looks, fun little release I came across while digging online for some new electronic releases. Definitely check it out if you're into Jungle/2-step/Outsider house. Every track on this was bumpinnnnnn ₍ ᐢ. ̫ .⑅ᐢ ₎ !!!
BLACK RAVE CULTURE
Black Rave Culture
Solid project done by DJ Nativesun, James Bangura, and Amal from Washington, DC. This album will take you from breaks to dub to jungle all within 40 minutes. Each track on this is different but it all flows so well with one another which really did it for me. Also the album cover is super clean and overall this was a super well produced release in all aspects.
After putting off listening to this for months I finally gave it a thorough listen and man I have to say I feel like not enough people gave it a chance. Aside it being completely different from a normal Khruangbin release, it is a REMIX record so it won't be your usual Khruangbin. It's great for lovers of downtempo/trip-hop/lounge. Personally I don't listen to Khruangbin very much but this is the one record that I enjoy and have played several times since. It's also a great record for DJs to own if they're into mixing lounge and downtempo type things. Underrated release!!!
This was one of my favorite 7" hardcore releases from 2021 for sure (No sh*t it's on this list). Don't need to say much more about this just give it a listen if you're into some f*cking head-banging hardcore.
A Love Supreme - Live in Seattle
Recorded live almost 60 years ago on just two mics and a reel to reel, John Coltrane and his extended band made my favorite record of 2021. It's Trane with shakers, bells, two bassist, and squawking horns, what's not to love?
Unfamiliar with Shabason and only drawn in by the great cover, "The Fellowship" turned out to be an essential for 2021 nu jazz and ambient music. Beautiful woodwind work top to bottom but, the more tribal percussion led tracks like "13-15" is what really got me.
Electric guitar led jazz is a personal weakness so I had to check this out. While only 33, Lage uniquely plays as funky as Scofield and as subtle and hypnotic as Kurt Rosenwinkle or Bill Frisell. Blue Note had a great year and this is most definitely a highlight.
ALL THEM WITCHES
Live On The Internet
This album is a combination of multiple different genres, making it a super cool experience. With the blends of stoner rock, blues rock, and psychedelic rock, with some metal aspects, this album is a highly recommended listen. To add to the flare, All them Witches released this album with six different potential marble color variants that are left up to chance. This is such a fun album, by such an amazing band!
Prophecies of Eternal Darkness
As a local Houston band, Necrofier is a must listen! This album is their first released album, and it shows off some sick black metal. The guitar shreds, and the vocals are killer -- this album really gives it all. I cannot recommend this album enough, especially if you're into exploring the local metal scene!
TOUMANI DIABATÉ & THE
LONDON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
Toumani Diabaté has long been a favorite of mine. He is a Malian kora player with an extensive solo discography, but really shines in collaboration with other artists such as Bela Fleck, Ry Cooder, and Ali Farka Toure. This collaboration with the London Symphony Orchestra is no exception. Kôrôlén was the breezy crisp breath of fresh air I needed in 2021. The kora blends perfectly with the orchestra, creating an extremely pleasurable listen that I frequently revisited on bright sunny days.
Actually, You Can
Deerhoof rarely misses, but their newest record is my favorite release of theirs in years. The guitars are angular and piercing, the compositions are the most rock oriented I have heard from them since "Offend Maggie", and Satomi's lyrics are just plain hilarious. Such a fun and energetic band always worth listening to.
Before the Glinting Spell Unvests
Ustalost is a solo project from Will Skarstad, a member of New York's Yellow Eyes. This is contemporary Black Metal at its finest - blooming guitar melodies intertwine with smoky synths and atmospheric noise, while Skarstad lays down anguished shrieks from Hell. For fans of Ruins of Beverast, Bekëth Nexëhmü, and Paysage d'Hiver.