New Music, August 2013

Here’s the latest music update, some recent album purchases I’ve been breaking in over the past few months:

Probably my most strange and interesting recent find is the Finnish group Alamaailmann Vasarat. They blend their unique orchestration — keyboards, two cellos, saxes, horns, and drums — into an intriguing mix of prog rock, jazz, and world music, very heavy on low end. I found their 2009 release Huuro Kolkko a highly listenable and interesting collection of instrumentals, like a bizarre distant relation of Secret Chiefs 3. Great stuff; will definitely check out more of their albums.

Also fun is another new band, to me:  Consider the Source, which has a more traditional lineup (guitar, drums, bass) but a unique sound. Their 2009 release Are You Watching Closely? is an accomplished mix of progressive rock with a jazz, Middle Eastern, funk, and jam-band sensibilities. Some tracks here work better for me than others; the opener (below), “Moisturize the Situation,” is definitely a standout. A nice addition.

The next two albums are from old friends revisited. My second Marco Minnemann sampler, The Green Mindbomb (1998) is a fantastic showcase for his sick drumming skills (see below for an amazing example). As a composer he definitely strikes me as a descendent of  Zappa, and shares a sensibility with sometime collaborator Mike Keneally: a difficult-to-classify blend of rock and jazz influences. The focus here is clearly on instrumental virtuosity, and it’s got plenty of that on display, especially on the drums. This album is pretty great.

Finally, I fleshed out my Fugazi collection with Repeater + 3 Songs (1990). Every now and then I like their raw, stripped-down rock sound, which in my ears falls somewhere between punk and grunge. I think this collection holds up nicely with the other Fugazi compilations in my collection, 13 Songs, In on the Kill Taker and Steady Diet of Nothing. No wrong steps for me in this bunch.

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