new release Archive

Album Review — Kimon Kirk — Altitude

There’s always a place for chiming, ear-candy rock with folk and singer-songwriter tendencies. And that’s what’s offer on Altitude, the new album from Boston-based Kimon Kirke. This guitarist and songwriter had a solid understanding of pop music values, and he crafts accessible tunes that draw the listener in. There are hints of country in subtle

Album Review: D-Town Brass — Demiurge

Much of what passes for avant garde music tends toward a kind of seriousness, a dour approach that screams, “this is art!” and all but insists that the listeners revel in its importance. Accessibility rarely figures into the mix, and that’s the point, kind of. But there are exceptions. The work of Sun Ra certainly

Album Review: Robert Jürjendal – Water Finds a Way

Keeping up with such matters as I do, I’ve learned that there are quite a few different ways of coping with the realities of 2020 and beyond. That’s especially true for creative types. Some have gone to ground; others are in full creative flower. Estonian guitarist Robert Jürjendal is most definitely in the latter category.

Album Review: The David Angel Jazz Ensemble – Out on the Coast

Unless one was an aficionado of the style during its heyday in the 1940s, there was little reason to predict that the form would endure far into the future. It’s doubtful that even hardcore big band fans would have expected it to last into the 21st century. But here we are. Yes, it occupies a

Hundred-word Reviews: February 2021, Part 2

These five fall loosely – okay, sometimes very loosely – into the progressive and jazz categories. The Mastelottos – Too Much Happiness Though Robert Fripp’s recent video series with pulchritudinous wife Toyah Willcox have shown that he, too has a sense of humor and a light touch, it’s King Crimson’s Pat Mastelotto who perhaps reigns

Hundred-word Reviews: February 2021, Part 1

The majority among these five lean in a powerpop direction. Rob Fetters – Ship Shake If Fetters’ name strikes you as familiar, that may be because you fondly remember The Bears, the arty powerpop group featuring him and Adrian Belew. And maybe you incorrectly assumed that Belew’s prodigious creativity was the Bears’ sole center of

Album Review: John Magnuson – Barely Noticeable

It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, I take notice: every now and then, one or another friend sends me an album with a Post-it affixed, sporting a message along the lines of, “You need to hear this.” It happened recently with the new album from John Magnuson. Living as I do in Western

Album Review: The Justin Rothberg Group – Hurricane Mouse

Too often, when an artist makes music that starts with a jazz foundation and leans in an “accessible” direction, the result is smooth jazz. Ugh. It’s the rare artist who takes jazz textures and makes music that is both challenging and melodic. Hurricane Mouse by the Justin Rothberg Group is a successful case in point:

Not Your Father’s Terry Gross: Post-rock Trio Gears Up for a ‘Soft Opening’

Some of the most innovative and creative recording artists — Jimi Hendrix, Miles Davis and Brian Wilson chief among them — have used the recording studio as an instrument. But in the case of Bay Area band Terry Gross, the studio can be said to have created the band. Multi-instrumentalist Phil Manley is a member

Creativity During COVID

Note: This story started as an assignment for Mountain Xpress about one artist — Chris Tullar — and grew into a larger story looking at a wider range of creatives local to Asheville. — bk The ways in which creatives deal with the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic vary widely, but many of them