To put it plainly, Ruby the Hatchet’s second full-length offering, Planetary Space Child, reeks of 70s goodness. You can smell the High Life on its breath, the stale weed in its hair, and the sensual mingling of Marlboro funk and stage fog.
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.
Crumb play in the soft static waves of dreampop, gliding through wistful, airy melodies as if nothing bad has ever happened. They’ve only released a single self-titled three song EP thus far, but you’d never guess it. Despite their youth, Crumb already have the secure sense of musical identity that veteran bands spend years achieving. Their instruments mesh into a sound that is more than the sum of its parts. The percussion and bass keep the music active and bouncy, while frontwoman Lila Ramani lazily daydreams melodies with her effect-laden guitar and enchantress voice in the vein of Lana Del Rey.
It only makes sense that we come to an epiphany about “Voodoo Child” while listening to Minneapolis psychedelic sludge outfit, Maeth. After all, their latest release, Shrouded Mountain, is the sonic equivalent to knocking down a mountain and building it back up again. This record finds the band flexing their post-metal muscle, making the ebbs and flows of their signature aural growth and decay feel more effortless and natural than ever. By tightening things up and leaving behind the shorter transitory interludes from prior albums in favor of merging everything into what could be a singular song, Shrouded Mountain runs efficient, but overflows with atmosphere and.
It’s a well documented fact that rock music has roots in the blues; you can’t really step into rock without running into the staples of the genre. Bands like Led Zeppelin, Guns N’ Roses, Rolling Stones, Aerosmith and more all lapped up the sounds of B.B. King and Muddy Waters like milk in their early careers. Blues rock is still prevalent today, with bands like The Black Keys and The White Stripes taking massive influences from early blues acts. But where’s blues metal in all of this? We always think of blues rock, but not much more. Guns N’ Roses arguably footed the line between hard rock and metal, and some bands today - Elder comes to mind, as do many bands from the recent trend of throwback and "occult" metal (Graveyard, Witchcraft) - have some minor hints of blues. However, we never really think of/see metal bands adding a significant chunk of Muddy Waters to their music. I believe that Electric Hoodoo, and their self-titled album, are an important stepping stone on the path to that blues metal sound. While they aren’t entirely metal, they are about as heavy as you’re going to get at the moment with a band so inspired by the blues.