Not necessarily in any order:
Silian Rail – each/other. Emotive post rock with monster drummer and cool guitar technique. Post rock is often a let down but this is post rock at its best. Hypnotizing, rapturous, brooding and smart as hell.
Field Music – Plumb. Nominated for the Mercury Prize in the UK, this record is pop mastery in the XTC vein and is full of catchy complexity. Led to discovering the rest of their catalog, which is all as good as this.
Kelly Hogan – I Like To Keep Myself In Pain. Exquisitely produced, this is alt-country at its best, with tracks written by Robyn Hitchcock, Vic Chesnutt and other luminaries, all belted out by Hogan with her signature style.
Cataldo – Prison Boxing. Local record here, officially came out in 2011, but only got turned on to it in 2012. Really pretty tracks and deceptively interesting song writing.
Matt Slocum – After The Storm. Heard him at Tula’s during Earshot Jazz and this CD has been in constant rotation in the car. Imminently tasteful.
Another Earshot Jazz Festival 2011 mind melter and they’re playin again tonight. Matt Slocum Trio is Slocum on drums, Danny Grissett on piano and Darek Oles on bass. Once again, monster players with monster chops. John Gilbreath introduced them, giving a shout to Tula’s – love that place – and then givin these guys props as up and cmoing masters. Wearing suits and looking snappy, they stayed a little more inbounds while they explored these tunes, enfolding themselves around tradition – doing things like trading 4s, or 8s, or at one point the trade just became a conversation between drummer and bassist. Or moments of Slocum just playing a swing beat on the ride. But plenty of broken time. Such proficiency. Jazz musicians are Jedi.
They played two sets, mostly Slocum tunes, closing the second set with one called “Catalyst.” Also played a Grissett song in the second set called “Viennese Summer” – what a melodic pianist he is, just so adept on the keys, unbelievable chording, beyond modal. Oles with emotive solos and so driving when all three were playing. Slocum getting some nice solos in, one all brushes. Real pretty tune in the first set dedicated to his girlfriend. And another one about the Passaic River in New Jersey. Closed the first set with a Monk tune – they sent it. Also a couple tunes by some other composers.
Kept thinking about interview with Eric Harland from James Farm, where he said:
Yes, when we play a song with a structure, we have the ability to float off away from that or remain in the structure. But we all make the journey together and then whoever brings the song back, it’s not like there’s someone holding anyone back , like a ball and chain. You have the liberty to freely explore where you want to go. And we’ll go there with you and come back together. That’s the secret.