December 30, 2020

HCTF's best of 2020 (10-6)

HCTF's annual list of the 20 albums that will be in regular rotation for many years to come. As per usual many genres are represented. This blog covers a lot of ground and it shows in this eclectic, final tally.

Today: countdown from number 10 to 6.

Please shop at your local record store. Most of them have a website where you can order your stuff. Buy directly from the artist, attend live shows when it's safe to do so again. Educate your friends. Word-of-mouth can't be beat as the prime source to discover new music.

Middle Blue: Weird Funk in Small Bars

10 Middle Blue: Weird Funk in Small Bars

A vibrant amalgam of improvised jazz and funk captured live.

They are about jamming and improvising and once they have settled on a theme to turn it upside down, stretch it out, with band members stepping in and dropping out. The best kind of jazz is alwys sounds like it is created on the spot and Middle Blue's spontaneous approach to music enables them to groove, swing, and take twists and turns that keeps even the longst of jams entertaining and interesting.

» Full review

Anton Barbeau Présente: Kenny vs Thrust

9 Anton Barbeau Présente: Kenny vs Thrust

Powerpop maestro digs into his back catalog with two bands for the price of one.

[He] returns to the heyday of Seventies rock, using the classic format of a rock quartet with two guitars, bass and drums, augmented by a slew of guest musicians to add extra textures and sounds. Most of the songs are not new as such. Barbeau dug deep in his back catalog to find gems from his past bands and projects, rearranging them or putting them upside down completely. His lone protest song Land of Economy, with the great line "sing me a song without a chorus // I wanna know who killed the forests", gets a full-on Paisley underground treatment, while Beautiful Bacon Dream is transformed into a sleazy, psychedelic come hither invitation.

» Full review

Jim Knable & The Randy Bandit

8 Jim Knable & The Randy Bandits: Blue Reunion

Americana band returns after a decade. Well worth the wait.

[...] a birdview's perspective at the happenings in the last decade, zooming in on details with uncanny precision. The band has deepened their sound - note the bottom end courtesy of Jay Buchanan's upricht bass - and it really comes together in the slower passages. The years have been kind to the Bandits. Creating timeleas music was always their goal and with Blue Reunion they pass with flying colours.

» Full review

Mammal Hands: Captured Spirits

7 Mammal Hands: Captured Spirits

Jazz trio with an uncanny knack for being both tight and loose.

Jesse Barrett's use of tabla gives fans of fusion something to hang too, especially when brothers Jordan (saxophone) and Nick Smart (piano) take off with a flurry of notes. Captured Spirits is a record that solidifies their reputation as a front-runner in the UK avant-garde jazz scene. They can soothe, snarl, and charge. No matter which path they choose, it's never a dead end.

» Full review

Steve Dawson & Funeral Bonsai Wedding: Last Flight Out

6 Steve Dawson & Funeral Bonsai Wedding: Last Flight Out

Country rock singer branches out to crooing and jazz.

Dawson sings about a murder in the street and how to cope with that in While We Were Staring Into Our Palms, turning it into a plea "to try to be kind" - a recurring theme through the album. The bully in The Monkey Mind Is On The Prowl won't have the last laugh after all is said and done. Last Flight Out is a record that taps the listener softly on the shoulder, asking to join him in his new mellow mood, where love and beauty still can have a place against all odds. Just be patient. like he is in However Long It Takes, and surrender to the flow.

» Full review

No comments:

Post a Comment