Inhumankind – Self-Extinction

More than perhaps in any other genre of music, the potential for exploration, innovation, and experimentation in metal is limitless. Whether it’s a focus on the seamless melding of metal subgenres into new and exciting forms or the constant push of metal’s thematic heart and soul into bold horizons, this…

Live at the Jazz Factory – The Latest and Greatest in Free Improvisation & Solo Performance

Free improvisation—and relatedly, solo performance—is one of those genres that’s both self-explanatory and defies classification. As you can imagine, the setup is pretty simple: one or more musicians performing improvised or composed music, to varying degrees. Yet, our understanding of most genres is defined by multiple musical motifs and instrumentation…

Merkabah – Million Miles

The saxophone has become an increasingly en vogue addition to the extreme music formula. Ever since John Zorn bleated and honked over grindcore and avant-garde metal with Naked City and Painkiller, a growing crop of younger bands have demonstrated how to masterfully incorporate a jazz staple into heavier compositions. The sparsity of such bands should come…

Hey! Listen to Sly & The Family Drone and Dead Neanderthals!

Ever press send on an important email only to glance it over and find a glaring typo? That’s roughly how I felt when the name “Colin Webster” popped in my head right after we published our second Jazz Quarterly of the year. For those unaware, Webster is a prolific saxophone madman whose constantly challenging his instrument and ever-widening group of collaborators (for more on Webster, read Bandcamp’s excellent piece on him, Travis Laplante and other essential modern saxophonists). With Webster’s name in mind, I reluctantly pulled out my phone over my morning cup of coffee and checked his Bandcamp. I knew full well I’d find a new, exceptional album worthy of inclusion in our latest Jazz Quarterly, and sure enough, Molar Wrench fits this description perfectly. The four-track maelstrom pits together sax, percussion and electronics for abrasive free jazz that’s harboring a voyeuristic obsession with noise.

Jazz Club Quarterly // April-June 2017

We’re back with more fantastic jazz from the second quarter of 2017! Unfortunately with the departure of staff writer and our friend Jimmy Mullett from Heavy Blog, it’s left a hole in our Jazz Club trifecta. Thankfully we were able to fill that void quickly with our buddy Dave Tremblay of Can This Even Be Called Music? Dave is constantly finding interesting and original stuff in the way of jazz and elsewhere, and we’re excited to have him join and help us recommend jazz of all stripes that demands your attention.

Journey to the NOLA Swamps – The Birth of Sludge Metal

We’ve covered a fair bit of ground with our Starter Kit series, where we select a handful of key records that highlight a niche musical style or penetrate the prolific status of a staple genre. Unfortunately, this format doesn’t lend itself to covering proto-genres—microcosms of musical history comprised of a specific set of albums released in a fixed period of time. But these movements are crucial to the evolution of our favorite genres, particularly when it comes to the trajectory of sludge metal. What’s become a multifaceted and often refined style was once a disparate lineage of bands from different genres who all applied the “sludge factor” in different measures. While you won’t find a dedicated section for proto-sludge at your preferred music store, the following albums an artists laid the framework for the modern sludge landscape. So whether your sludge purveyors of choice come from the atmospheric, blackened or progressive sects of he genre, they’re all indebted to the groundbreaking statements these albums made.

Soundtracks For The Blind: Burning Ghosts // Reclamation

At the beginning of this year I covered a band called Burning Ghosts, a sort of free jazz/rock hybrid who expressed their want for change in an instrumental fashion. Their debut was chaotic and noisy but at the same time a harbinger of hope, with trumpeter Daniel Rosenboom’s piercing tone breaking through guitarist Jake Vossler’s most riotous noise-making techniques. I noted in that article that “if I had known about this band earlier, I can almost guarantee that this would be on my top ten of 2016,” and I still stand by that. Musically, Burning Ghosts was a much-needed voice to the experimental music scene—their loudness was matched by the delicate control and virtuosity they put towards their music, and the addition of trumpet to the lineup offered slightly different sonic variations to enjoy. And, to my surprise/luck/excitement, Burning Ghosts is releasing their sophomore album Reclamation this month on John Zorn’s Tzadik label.

Heavy Vanguard: Red Krayola // The Parable of Arable Land

Let’s dive into our album this week: The Parable of Arable Land by experimental rock/psych band Red Krayola, made in collaboration with “The Familiar Ugly”—a group of the band’s friends. RK consisted of Texas art school students, and this “outsider” influence (i.e. not trained musicians) shows up in their music in the best way possible. Lo-fi? Check. Tons of tracks that sound like noise (referred to as “Freak-Outs”)? Double check. If you like your music psychedelic, experimental, and given to flights of all-out, Brötzmann-esque free jazz, this is your record.