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Peter Evans Quintet, Trouble, Crock, Molly Nilsson

Before we close the book on 2011 for good, here are a few releases that passed me by and – with the benefit of hindsight – should really have made my year-end lists…

Peter Evans Quintet Ghosts (More Is More) – Whilst you can hear echoes of jazz in plenty of great contemporary albums (2011 releases from Julian Lynch, Colin Stetson and Hebden/Reid/Gustafsson), this is probably the finest example of the genre in its undiluted form I have heard in years. Trumpeter Evans and pianist Carlos Homs lead the way with spiralling, avant-garde post-bop solos, with Tom Blancarte (bass) and Jim Black (drums) supplying engaging, turn-on-a-dime rhythms. It’s Sam Pluta’s subtle live laptop processing, however, that gives the record a distinctly modern feel, stretching sounds like elastic and catapulting them off in unexpected and thrilling directions.  Thanks to Undomondo for the heads-up.  Listen: Ghosts

trouble

Trouble December 17th (Duct Tape Ent.) – Pitchfork’s mixtape feature alerted me to this impressively consistent underground release; named after the date the rapper was released from prison, December 17th hinges on the head-busting, roughneck Lex Luger sound that is so popular right now, but Trouble’s energetic, intelligent live-wire flow elevates it above mindless aggression and turns it into an altogether more cerebral form of fight music.  Video: “Bussin'”

Crock Grok (Jackpot Records) – The New Yorker highlighted this overlooked gem from Sam Coomes (ex?) of Quasi and Hella’s Spencer Seim. The focus here is on synths, more specifically a collision of Suicide-style drones and a kind of electronic approximation of Black Sabbath’s doomy riff-o-rama; but Seim’s spastic drumming (he’s obviously been taking lessons from Hella bandmate Zach Hill) lends an air of disjointed funk that recalls the likes of Squarepusher and Deerhoof, whilst Coomes’ natural melodic instinct means a big Beatles-y hook is never far away.  Listen: “No More Dumb Fun”

Molly Nilsson History(Dark Skies Association) – A completely new discovery (to me at least) courtesy of Gorilla Vs Bear. Although her biggest claim to fame is probably having John Maus cover her song “Hey Moon”, Nilsson already has three albums under her belt; the fourth, History, was released last week and will doubtless appeal to fans of Maus’ wistful new new-romanticism, offering a softer, feminine alternative to his 80’s- referencing, Italo disco- inspired pop.  Listen: “In Real Life”

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About foamhands

My name is Michael Dix; I'm a decade or so past being down with the kids, but to me new music never gets old. Apparently I like music that sounds like faulty kitchen appliances and ritual slaughter; really I just like what I like, whether that happens to be indie, pop, punk, hip hop, metal, electronica, Afrobeat or jazz. Follow me on Twitter @FoamHandsBlog to receive notifications of new posts and the occasional random brain-fart, and please share links wherever you can. Enjoy!

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