Clive Tanaka y Su Orquesta - Jet Set Siempre No. 1 (2010)

A while back, someone bitched and moaned that I should stop posting lame shit, and cited Clive Tanaka as a suitably non-lame alternative. Well, I listened.

Clive's background is interesting, he allegedly practiced hikikomori or self-isolation for a long time. I guess that meant lots of time for music-making. It's chillwave, mostly in major keys, so happy-sounding and eclectic, kind of like Toro Y Moi but without all the singing. The album title and art are pretty telling, as these are definitely warm weather, easy-living sounds.

Democracy, friends.

Shudder to Think - High Art: Music from the Motion Picture Soundtrack (1998)

I recently watched this film, and it stayed with me for days. And in addition to the melancholic characters and their highly sexual chemistry, the music really stuck with me.

It's scored by an old group called Shudder to Think. The mostly-instrumental tracks are ambient, with lots of synth pads, moog bass, reverb-heavy downtempo beats, and this distinctly-90s-production-value sound. I don't know how to describe it... maybe like Buddha Bar, except not totally lame? Chill out? I dunno. They're not all winners, but some of the tracks - like That's Fat - are pretty great.

Give it a try.

Abbey Lincoln - Straight Ahead (1961)

i really didn't know too much about Abbey Lincoln, but after going to shows and hearing just about every female jazz singer announce "this is an Abbey Lincoln tune" before launching into an amazing song, i figured i should look her up. turns out she's not only a great singer (Ella-esque, even if Billie was her muse), but she also wrote and arranged her own tunes. on Straight Ahead she's backed by a great band that features Booker Little, Eric Dolphy, Coleman Hawkins, and future husband Max Roach. tough to pick a favorite track, but When Malindy SIngs stands out for its intense vocal performance and Left Alone features some of the sexiest sax playing i've heard in awhile. this is as good a place to start as any if you're interested in plowing thru her back catalog.

oh, it's sweeter than the music of an educated man

Caddywhompus - The Weight (2011)

great straight-ahead rock record from NO's unfortunately named Caddywhompus. on first listen they might remind you of Grizzly Bear, especially with some of the open chord voicings they use, but it's clear that most of these guys probably were in hardcore bands at some point. the songs themselves are really great, full of beautiful melodies and often seamlessly shifting from section to section in interesting way - a throwaway line of melody, a harmony change in a bridge, or a rhythmic impulse can become the anchor for new ideas. lots of surprises, including some swingin' 6/8 (track 1) and cathartic squalls of noise (track 3), the latter of which are fucking awesome. i'd been craving a good ol' fashioned guitars/bass/drums album for some time now, and this delivered in spades.


King Khan & the Shrines - What Is?! (2007)

Some more awesome music from my motherland.

King Khan's stuff is garage rock meets psych revival, and it's really, really good. If you get a chance to see him live, promise me you will.


Thelonious Monk - Monk Alone: The Complete Columbia Studio Recordings 1962 - 1968 [1998]

Thelonious Monk - Monk Alone: The Complete Columbia Studio Recordings 1962 - 1968 [1998]

I've been on a big Thelonious Monk kick recently. It's been said that pleasure lies somewhere between boredom and confusion, and Monk's music illustrates this well. His fat, frquently dissonant chords along with his broken syncopated ryhthyms are never quite what you expect them to be in jazz from this time period. At the same time, his music remains the theory-heavy, quinetessentially cool type of jazz that I love from this heyday.

I think that every thing I love about Thelonious Sphere Monk is best put on display within a solo piano context. In the absence of a full rhythym or horn section, Monk's hyper-rythymic style becomes particuarly interesting structually as he provides the rythym, accompaniment and melody.

Part One
Part Two

Bruce Peninsula - A Mountain is a Mouth (2009)

This band is easily my favorite in Canada right now, hands down. Bruce Peninsula is a core band of five individuals, backed by a fluctuating choir and auxiliary section comprised of other well-known local talents. Their music is dynamic and rhythmic, heavy on minor keys, growling vocals, rich chorals, and intense percussion. All these elements come together to sound like something unlike anything else right now, and highly epic and powerful.

I highly recommend supporting them by picking up a lossless copy, as well as their new record Open Flames and other recordings, here.