As with many genres, there are a number of elements that can define a truly great jazz album. While things like melody, technicality and innovation come to mind, something nearly all of my all-time favorite jazz albums have is a captivating first moment to initiate the proceedings, particularly with piano-driven…
World fusion’s possibilities are truly endless; this year alone, clarinetist/composer Wacław Zimpel led his ensemble Saagara through a blend of jazz and Indian classical music on 2, while Nguyên Lê and Ngo Hong Quang spliced Vietnamese folk music and jazz guitar on Hà Nội Duo. Not only does Yazz Ahmed ‘s phenomenal La Saboteuse add to 2017’s exceptional world fusion offerings, her sophomore album is easily one of the most significant releases in modern Arabic jazz. The London-based composer, trumpeter and flugelhorn player leads an eclectic nine-member ensemble through psychedelic chamber pieces that effortlessly continue in the legacy of Arabic jazz greats like Ahmed Abdul-Malik, Rabih Abou-Khalil and Anouar Brahem.
Just this past week we saw how important the ACLU still is. One of the first to confront the so called “Muslim ban” enacted by the indifferent pen of Donald Trump, it began the long and arduous legal battle against this administration. With not only the presidency but also Congress and Senate painted in the most extreme and reckless red imaginable, their work will grow seven-fold; now they must take on the legislative branch instead. Thus, and despite of the already remarkable success their fundraising has seen in the past week, Bandcamp’s contribution to the ACLU is admirable. We’re here to do our share; below you’ll find a list of artists that are worthy of your support on this Friday.
With our general list for 2016 out of the way, we can now shift the focus from our aggregate opinion to individual ones. Both outlooks have their own merit; the former provides us with an overview of our year in music. However, the latter shines a light on something we’re extremely proud of and that’s the varied and eclectic nature of our staff these days. We used to have a very certain type of music associated with Heavy Blog and while we still have a long way to go, we feel like we’ve done a good job at expanding our palettes and the representation of different kinds of music and metal in our staff. The lists below reflect that; you’ll find black metal, avant-garde, technical thrash metal, hip hop, rap, noise, ambiance, post metal and rock, melodic death metal and much more throughout these lists.
As summer comes to its annual, unfortunate end, it’s understandable if your attention span for new releases has slipped in favor of last-minute vacations and weekend escapades. Unfortunately, you picked one hell of a month to slack off, as August provided us with some of 2016’s most phenomenal releases yet. We don’t say that lightly – August has truly bestowed upon us an eclectic array of musical triumphs that had our staff scrambling for the time to digest it all. Our editors certainly share this sentiment and have compiled what may be our strongest group of Editors Picks to date. We’ve got recommendations ranging from post rock to trap-rap and doom metal to avant-jazz, so prepare to empty your wallets on your new favorite albums of the year.