november 2022 – good to hear

This is Why
Paramore is an alternative rock band from Franklin, Tennessee. Their debut album, titled All We Know Is Falling, was released in the United States on July 26, 2005. Paramore was the birth name of the mother of a former bassist of the band. Because this name pleased the singer Hayley Williams and the other band members well, they named the band after it. That the name Paramore is also a homophone of the outdated English word “paramour” (Engl.: lover), the band noticed only later. (Wikipedia)
Atlantic Records

Toro y Moi
Chaz Bear (born Chazwick Bradley Bundick in 1986), known professionally as Toro y Moi, is an American singer, songwriter, record producer, and graphic designer. His mother immigrated to the United States from the Philippines as a teenager, and Bear spent his life mostly with Filipinos. In mid-2009, he was signed to Carpark Records, on which he released his debut Toro y Moi full-length album, Causers of This. His 8th Album, Mahal (Love), was released last April. Millennium is a new composition and video that came out last month.
Dead Oceans

Brandi Carlile
Space Oddity from In the Canyon Haze
Brandi Carlile (1981) is a U.S. singer-songwriter and six-time Grammy Award winner.Brandi grew up listening to country music in her rural home and first performed on stage with her mother when she was eight years old. After that, she discovered more rock music for herself and moved to Seattle at seventeen, where she performed as a solo and backing musician. She later teamed up with twins Tim and Phil Hanseroth to form a rock & roll band, but Carlile’s songwriter folk rock style began to dominate more and more. Today, the brothers back her up.
ATO Records

Seasons Change
MorMor (born 1992 in Toronto as Seth Nyquist) is a Canadian singer and songwriter. Nyquist sang in the school choir and played trumpet in a band. He dropped out of university to focus on his musical career and took piano and vocal lessons. In 2015, he released his debut EP Live for Nothing under the pseudonym MorMor, but it went largely unnoticed. In 2018, he released the EP Heaven’s Only Wishful through his own label Don’t Guess.
Don’t Guess

Tom Skinner
Tom Skinner (born 26 January 1980 in London) is a British jazz and pop-rock drummer. Skinner started playing drums at the age of nine and attended workshops at the Weekend Arts College in London between 1993 and 1996. In 2021, he became a founding member of The Smile, which also included Radiohead musicians Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood; they made their first live appearance together in May 2021 at the Glastonbury Festival. Their first album A Light for Attracting Attention, produced by Nigel Godrich, was released on May 13, 2022.
Nonesuch Records

october 2022 – good to hear

Remembering Pharoah Sanders (1940-2022) 
The Creator Has a Master Plan
Pharoah Sander’s approach to jazz is not always easy to follow, yet full of beautiful and melodious surprises. Born Farrell Sanders, he was known for his mastery of the saxophone and for being one of the enlightened, having played with John Coltrane and lived through the turbulences of free jazz «when music was still a religion» (Neue Zürcher Zeitung). Born in Little Rock, Arkansas, he began his career by playing the clarinet in church. Upon finishing high school, he moved to Oakland where played in both black and white clubs until he met avant-garde pianist Sun Ra who introduced him to the jazz scene. (sgs)

Ahmad Jamal
Autumn Leaves
Another great: born 1930, in Pittsburgh, Ahmad Jamal is a jazz pianist, composer, and arranger of African American descent. He began playing piano at age three and was named Frederick “Fritz” Russell Jones before converting to Islam around 1952. A scientist of sound, his use of space and dynamics, along with his tight, intricate arrangements, were a big influence on generations of pianists. «Jamal knocked me out with his concept of space, his lightness of touch, his understatement and the way he phrases notes and chords and passages.» (Miles Davis) At 92, Mr. Jamal says it’s too early to look back because he’s still learning.
Ansonia Records

Romeo Santos
Santos is the lead member and vocalist of the bachata band Aventura. Bachata emerged as a popular style of music in the early 1960s, a variation of the Cuban and Caribbean boleros. It is played by three guitars, bongos and a percussion instrument called güira, looking somewhat like an oversized muscat rape. Long disrespected as the music of the Caribbean underclass, it is presently the music most danced to around the Americas. «The third instalment of Santos’ Formula series continues to show off his soft, persuasive voice and versatile vocal chops as he explores a diverse mix of genres with ease.» (Rolling Stone)
Sony Latin

Anoana – from the upcoming album Drif
The experimental music collective Heilung (“healing”) is made up of members from Germany, Denmark, and Norway. Their music encompasses elements of folk or neofolk, folk metal, ethnic, and grunge and is usually dedicated to Germanic deities of old. Heilung was founded in Copenhagen, in 2014, by vocalist Klaus Uwe Faust, a German tattoo artist, specializing in Old Norse subjects, and Danish producer Christopher Juul. They were joined one year later by Faust’s girlfriend of long standing, Maria Franz, a vocalist, and percussionist. Heilung have released three studio albums to date and have toured extensively, accompanied by session musicians.
Season of Mist

Jean-Efflam Bavouzet 
French pianist Jean-Efflam Bavouzet has released a rare, eleven-volume collection of Joseph Haydn’s sixty-two piano sonatas. What we are hearing here is Haydn’s most delightful Sonata No. 31 in A Flat Major, Hob XVI 46. “Cleanly articulated, a little cheeky and taking the composer seriously but never too seriously” (The New York Times), Bavouzet’s style has aptly and humorously been characterized by the Hungarian star pianist Zoltán Kocsis who called it: “Haydn Without the Wig.” Bavouzet loved Haydn from an early age when the latter’s genius was considered as being far inferior to Beethoven’s, a notion Bavouzet amply disproved.
Presto Music

september 2022 – good to hear

Remembering Archie Roach (1956-2022)
Took the Children Away
Archie Roach was one of Australia’s most treasured performers. He recorded award-winning albums for nearly 30 years. From his debut album, Charcoal Lane, to his latest release, Archie Roach: The Concert Collection 2012-2018, he continued to write songs that get to the heart of what it means to be human. Archie, a singer, songwriter, and champion of First Nations, praised as a “courageous” and “powerful” truth-teller, by many political leaders and artists, left us on 30 July. The death of the much revered Gunditjmara-Bundjalung elder was confirmed by his sons Amos and Eban Roach. Goosebumps guaranteed.
Warner Music Australia

The Meridian Brothers
El Grupo Renacimiento (Documentary)
and Metamorphosis
Not only musically valid but full of subtle humour, the Meridian Brothers, one of the most underrated groups of the Columbian salsa scene of the 1970s, introduce us to their world. Though they captivated the hearts of Bogotá’s youth, their provocative and danceable melodies have been largely buried since. In 2022, the Meridian Brothers teamed up with El Grupo Renacimiento to unearth their catalog and reintroduce it to the world on their new album Meridian Brothers & El Grupo Renacimiento.
Ansonia Records

Maggie Rogers
Anywhere with you
«I found a reason to wake up. Coffee in my cup. Start a new day. Wish we could do this forever and never remember mistakes that we made. I told you I loved you when we were just friends. You kept me waiting and I hated you then. Gave it a few years. You settled your debts. But I never got over the secrets I kept. It all works out in the end. Wherever you go that’s where I am.» Maggie Roberts, born 1994 as Margaret Debay Rogers in Eastland, Maryland, has a way with words, and with rock ‘n roll. She also holds a degree from Harvard Divinity School. (sgs)
Debay Sound

Carly Rae Jepson
Beach House
How’s about a bit of fun? Summer’s coming to an end, or I’d be dancing to the cheeky sound of Carly Rae Jepson all night! Jepson is Canadian, born and raised in Mission, British Columbia, one of the 25 oldest communities in the province. Aa a child, she had a passion for musical theatre and, in 2007, finished 5th in Canadian Idol. She continued her studies at the Canadian College for the Performing Arts and moved to Vancouver after her graduation. By May 2015 she had sold 15 million records worldwide. Her 5th studio album, The Loneliest Time, from which ‘Beach House’ is outsourced, is out on 21 October. (sgs)

Miles Davis
That’s What Happened 1982-1985: The Bootleg Series, Vol. 7 [Columbia/Legacy]
All I can give you here is a teaser of a CD set yet to be released. After that, however, there’s the delightful
Tutu (That’s What Happened), performed live in Munich, in 1987. From the mid-fifties to his death in the early nineties, Miles Davis was universally recognised as one of the most innovative musicians working in Jazz. He was also one of the most popular with his albums regularly breaking into the pop charts and he picked up a total of eight Grammy Awards. He also launched the careers of many jazz musicians including Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Chick Corea, Billy Cobham, John McLaughlin and many more.
© Miles Davis & Mercury Studios

august 2022 – good to hear

Come to Say Goodbye
The Irish singer Siomha (= ‘peaceful/good’) has a voice that moves angels. From a family steeped in music, she grew up with the sounds of jazz, trad, folk and soul, leaving an indelible mark on her musical tastes and influences. She started playing the guitar when she was ten, but it was later in her teens while attending high school in southern France that she first took up the jazz guitar, learning from an Italian gipsy she’d met by chance. He taught her the manouche Gipsy jazz style. Soon, Síomha began to write her own songs.
Siomha Music

Gorillaz ft. Thundercat
Cracker Island
«The ‘Cracker Island’ video, co-directed by Gorillaz co-founder Jamie Hewlett and Nexus Studios’ Fx Goby, reunites the Gorillaz’ 2-D, Noodle, and Russel Hobbs in the Los Angeles County Hospital after all three members show up for unknown reasons; for 2-D, he’s haunted by visions of a cult – as suggested by the song’s lyrics – seemingly run by Thundercat, who pops in and out of reality throughout the visual.» Rolling Stone

We Give Thanks
Seivwright. Yohan Kebede. Duane Atherley. Toby Adenaike. Onome Edgeworth. Ayo Salawu. Their sound is located between fusion and Afro-beat. Compared iwith the next review, you’ll notice an evolution towards the abstract. Sheila says. «It’s that feeling when you’re younger and you hear something and you feel some ownership over it. For me, Nigerian music and soul was played in the house a lot so I felt I had ownership over it so when I heard it elsewhere, there was a certain pride and energy filled with it.»
Brownswood Recording

Analog Africa
Afro-Beat Airways: West African Shock Waves – Ghana & Togo 1972-1978
Organ-driven Afro-beat; cosmic Afro-punk and raw new, psychedelic boogie… just some of the flavors found on this highly danceable compilation by Samy Ben Redjeb, founder of Analog Africa. No effort has been spared! To document these fifteen irresistible tracks and the music scene from the seventies, Samy crisscrossed the lengths of Ghana and Togo in search of the producers and artists – or their relatives. In the process, he recorded a dozen interviews, scanned 90 pictured and transferred 120 master tapes. Afro-Beat Airways showcases an amazing diversity of local rhythms spiced with Afro-American funk, soul, and jazz.” More here.
Analog Africa

Stella Donelly
Stella Donelly, an Australian indie singer-songwriter, is currently on tour in the US. Her debut album, Beware of the Dogs, was released in 2018. She first started singing with in high school, then studied jazz and contemporary music at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts. Her widely acclaimed single ‘Boys Will Be Boys’, about a friend’s rape, was dubbed the Me-Too anthem of Australia. «Like the many Banded Stilts that spread across the cover of her newest album Flood, Stella Donnelly is wading into uncharted territory. Here, she finds herself discovering who she is as an artist among the flock, and how abundant one individual can be» (Bandcamp)
Secretly Canadian

july 2022 – good to hear

Mingus Big Band
Celebrating Mingus: Dizzy Moods
On occasion of the 100th birthday of Charles Mingus on April 22, 2022
The Mingus Big Band cultivates the music of composer and bassist Charles Mingus, who died in 1979. Under the artistic direction of Sue Mingus, this band of fourteen musicians performed weekly at the Fez and Time Cafe in New York from 1991 to 2004. From May 2004 to October 2008, they maintained these regular performances at various venues around the city and then launched ‘Mingus Mondays’ at the Jazz Standard, where the Mingus Orchestra alternated with Mingus Dynasty, until the pandemic eleven years later. In 2022, the popular tradition is resumed at The Django, at the beautiful Roxy Hotel. Mingus Band can be heard in popular clubs around town and around the world.
Dreyfus Records | May 22

Fantastic Negrito
White Jesus Black Problems
«Back in 1759, in Virginia, Elizabeth Gallimore, an indentured white Scottish servant, fell in love with a black slave whose name has been lost in the mists of time. All these years later, their great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandson, Xavier Amin Dphrepaulezz, aka Fantastic Negrito, has discovered he is 27 per cent white and has written an album based on their tale. There’s darkness to spare. There’s casually dispensed pain; legal proceedings (fuelled by Joe Meek-style keyboards, the gritty Nibbadip {black falsetto} goes into the court case for ‘unlawfully cohabiting with a negro slave’ in funky fashion), and overt racism on the interlude You Don’t Belong Here. But there’s redemption too, when the couple’s children are freed.» (Check Thomann for Louder Sound)
Storefront Records | June 22

Adrian Quesada
Boleros Psicodélicos
For Adrian Quesada, co-founder of the psychedelic soul duo Black Pumas, all it took was the stillness of the pandemic to finally create the project that had existed only in his head for the last 10-plus years — his latest release, Boleros Psicodélicos. The 12-track album is infused with the multi-instrumentalist’s admiration for the golden era of romantic bolero music that continues to transcend cultural borders today. Bolero ballads first manifested throughout Latin America in the late ’60s and early ’70s, with elements of instrumental experimentation that would go on to influence future generations like electric guitars with an influx of added reverb, the electric organ  harpsichord strings and the mellotron. (Variety)
ATO Records | June 22

Death Cab for Cutie
Roman Candles
Death Cab for Cutie formed in 1997, in Bellingham, Washington, a college town about two hours south of Seattle. According to Wikipedia it is currently composed of Ben Gibbard (vocals, guitar, piano), Nick Harner (bass), Dave Depper (guitar, keyboards, backing vocals), Zac Rae (keyboards, guitar), and Jasen McGerr (drums). To date, the band has earned eight Grammy nominations, the first of which in 2006 for Best Alternative Music Album for Plans, and the most recent in 2016 for Best Rock Album, Kintsugi. Gibbard supposedly took the band name from the song of the same name, “Death Cab for Cutie,” written by Neil Innes and Vivian Stanshall and recorded by their group, the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band for their 1967 debut album Gorilla. Their new album Asphalt Meadows, featuring. Roman Candles, is due on 16 September.
Atlantic | June 22

Harry Styles
Music for a Sushi Restaurant
Harry Styles spoils us with little pop pearls. A multi-talented energy bundle, he surprises again and again with his freshness. A versatile voice, a confident style, self-ironic songs, and an uninhibited androgyny reminiscent of the seventies: the critics are once again full of praise. And he can act, too. It all started with the British talent show ‘The X-Factor’, followed by the boyband ‘One Direction’, put on hold at Harry’s request in 2016 because he didn’t want to “tire out” his fans. Because of his style-setting flair, Harry became the first man to make it onto the cover of Vogue. Harry meditates and works out daily, doesn’t eat meat and describes himself as spiritual. (sgs)
Erskine Music | June 22

june 2022 – good to hear

Heroes Are Gang Leaders 
«Heroes Are Gang Leaders was founded in 2014 by poet, photographer and Professor Thomas Sayers and saxophonist James Brandon Lewis as a tribute to the late poet, activist, and Jazz Critic Amiri Baraka. Ellis and Lewis opened for Baraka at the St. Marks Church (The Poetry Project) in 2013. HAGL is a Literary Free Jazz Ensemble of writers and musicians dedicated to the sound extensions of literary text and original composition. Between 2014 and 2019 HAG recorded six projects… (The) yet to be released POPschutz war recorded in Berlin, Germany, during HAGLO’s first European Tour.» (Bandcamp)
Via Midheaven 

Dr. John
I Walked on Gilded Splinters 
Dr. John was working on Things Happen That Way, when he died of a heart attack in June 2019. Three years after his death, the album will finally be heard when Rounder Records releases it on Sept. 23. it’s the timbre, the accent, the modulation, the timing, the suspense, the mystery, the soul, and the wonder of this voice that had me hooked from the very first moment I heard Dr. John aka The Night Tripper. Produced by Karla A .Pratt, the musician’s daughter, this album draws it inspiration from Louisiana Hayride [radio show] and the icons of country and western.
Rounder Records | May 2022

The Holophonics
Donkey Kong Country 2 – Forest Interlude. Ska Raggae Dub
The Ska/Punk cover band from Denton/Dallas, TX, consisting of Eric Daino, Vocals, Guitar, Organ; Shane Robert Reider, Trombone; Tyler Waguespack, Bass; Will Huebner, Drums, Brian Handeland, Saxophones, say: «We play all the songs you love and all the songs you hate! Because every song sounds better as Ska and we intend to make you skank all night long!» Their horn section is their forte; they’ve been all over the musical news for covering hits from Billie Eilish’s Bad Guy to Michael Jackson’s Thriller.
Respawned Records | May 22

Kendrick Lamar
The Heart Part 6
Kendrick Lamar Duckworth is poetry in motion, and one of the most influential rapper sof his generation. As a child, he witnessed the filming of the music video ‘California Love’ by Tupac Shakur and Dr. Dre, a seminal moment. He graduated from high school with straight As, releasing his first full-length album at age sixteen. He «dropped ‘The Heart Part 5’ on May 8, 2022, five days before the release of his fifth album Mr. Morale and the Big Steppers… The overriding theme of ‘The Heart Part 5’ is spurning the notion of the black gang lifestyle as being glamorous.» (Songfacts)
Hammer Recordings | April 22

The Afghan Whigs
The Getaway
The Afghan Whigs announce their first studio album in five years How Do You Burn? — their ninth album overall, following the brace of widely-acclaimed records they’ve made since re-grouping in 2012,  For his supporting cast, core member Greg Dulli called upon several serial collaborators including the late Mark Lanegan, who was a regular in Dulli’s Twilight Singers, a partner in The Gutter Twins and a close friend. The Afghan Whigs, from Cincinnati, Ohio – Dulli, Curley, Nelson, Keeler and with Christopher Thorn now joining the band on guitar – will take How Do You Burn? out on the road beginning this spring.
Royal Cream/BMG | Mai 22

may 2022 – good to hear

A Pair of Brown Eyes
Cat Power – Video by Jim Jarmusch
A singer-composer, actress and occasional model from the Southern United States, Cat Power has been playing in various bands since 1990. Charlyn Marie Marshall was born 1972 in Georgia, her father, Charlie Marshall was a well-known blues pianist. Avant-garde director Jim Jarmusch has directed the music video for Cat Power’s interpretation of The Pogues’ ‘A Pair of Brown Eyes’ from her recently released album Covers. “The dreamy visual was filmed at New York City’s Blonde Studios, with Jarmusch’s camera capturing Cat Power as she performs the song alone on a Mellotron in a cloud-like setting. The video marks the first collaboration between Marshall and the Down by Law director. ‘As someone who deeply loves Cat Power’s music, getting to collaborate with Chan on this video was like a dream come true,’ Jarmusch said in a statement. ‘She’s so inspiring to me, of course as an artist, but she’s also just such an extraordinary person.’” (Rolling Stone)
Domino Records | April 22

Lightning I, II, from the album WE (to be released on 6 May 22)
Arcade Fire
The Canadian Indie rock band Arcade Fire has released five studio albums, three extended plays and twenty-four singles. Present members of the band include Win (Edwin Farnham Butler, 1980), singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist, his wife Régine (Alexandra) Chassagne, is a Canadian singer, songwriter, musician, and multi-instrumentalist, and a founding member of the band. Other core members are Frank Reed Parry (multi-instrumentalist, composer, producer), Tim Kingsbury (bass) and Jeremy Gara (drums).  A first album, Funeral, was a direct result of the personal losses they had endured in their families, most notably the passing of Win Butler’s grandfather, the composer-arranger Alvino Rey. This led to a somewhat somber sound. It catapulted the band to immediate success. A flurry of prizes later, and Arcade Fire is somewhat more settled. The band likes to give back and are big donors when it comes to Haiti, where Régine Chassagne hails from.
Columbia Records | April 22

Sira from the new album Timbuktu
Oumou Sangaré
In 2017, the album Mogoya signalled the long-awaited return of Oumou Sangare after eight long years during which the Malian singer devoted herself to managing her numerous businesses. With that album, recorded in Stockholm and Paris, the woman who once sold water on the streets of Bamako and has since become a global star, treading a fine line between her attachment to the traditional music of Wassoulou, the region of Mali which she hails from, and technological dislocation, gracing her fans with songs whose vital force was still intact and laying bare a heart that has remained as ardent as ever. In return, Oumou suddenly found herself propelled into a new dimension, that of pop culture: Painted by the Congolese artist JP Mika for the front cover, remixed by Sampha, St Germain, Malik Djoudi and others for the follow-up Mogoya Remixed, and even sampled by Beyoncé. Putting her generosity, her formidable energy and her notoriety at the service of the most disadvantaged, the Malian star Oumou Sangaré defends the values of Africa.
World Circuit | April 22

Arbenz X Postma / Jerjen / Barradas
Shooting the Breeze
«Swiss drummer and bandleader Florian Arbenz is in the middle of a mission to release twelve albums with twelve radically different line ups from his studio in Basel. Conversation #5 is out this month featuring renowned Dutch saxophonist Tineke Postma, accordionist João Barradas and Australian bassist Rafael Jerjen.» (Jazzfuel) From his custom-built Hammerstudio in Basel, he brings together both musicians he’s known for years and those that he’s only admired from afar. Florian Arbenz, who comes from a family of musicians, has been playing jazz together with his twin brother, pianist Michael Arbenz, since their teenage years. In the field of classical music, he has performed as a percussionist at numerous concerts and festivals (such as the Basel Music Forum, the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, and the Lucerne Festival) with Heinz Holliger, Kent Nagano, and Paul Sacher, among others. In addition, he has given solo concerts in Europe and South America.
Hammer Recordings | April 22

Danses de Claude Debussy
Nicolas Tulliez, solo harpist with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio-France
«Born and raised in Paris, Nicolas Tulliez holds a Bachelor of Music from the Juilliard School, an Artist Diploma from the Royal Conservatory of Toronto, and a Master of Music from Yale University. His teachers include Pierre Jamet, Nancy Allen and Judy Loman. Winner of many competitions and scholarships, he has performed as a soloist all over Europe, USA, Canada and Asia. Chosen by Myung Whun Chung as first harp solo of the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France since 2005, after being appointed at the same position at the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg, then at the Sinfonieorchester Basel, he also plays regularly with other formations such as the Lucerne Festival Orchestra, the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, the Berliner Philharmonie, the London Symphony Orchestra, the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks (Abbado, Haitink).” (

april 2022 – good to hear

Tiny Desk Concert
“People always ask me, ‘What’s your favourite Tiny Desk Concert?’ Well, right now it’s the one recently performed by DakhaBrakha. The creative quartet from Kiev, Ukraine make music that sounds like nothing I’ve ever heard, with strands of everything I’ve ever heard. There are rhythms that sound West African and drone that feels as if it could have emanated from India or Australia. At times, DakhaBrakha is simply a rock band whose crazy homeland harmonies are filled with joy. All the while, they play tight-knit tunes featuring accordion, drums, reeds and shakers while wearing tall, Marge Simpson-looking wool hats that made me jealous It’s refreshing to hear the power of acoustic music and the many worlds of sound still waiting to be explored.” Bob Bollen, Producer
NPR Podcast

Пташечка (Little Bird)
Vivienne Mort
The first attempts to create the band Vivienne Mort came in 2007, when singer/songwriter Daniela Zaiushkina composed her first songs. Finally, in 2010 Vivienne Mort released its debut mini album Єсєнтукі LOVE. In 2013 the band released their first full-length album Театр Pipinó at the Revet Sound recording studio and set out on a Ukrainian tour. At the same time, they made a music video for the song “Сліди маленьких рук” (Small Handprints), that was broadcast and spread on the net very quickly. In 2014 Vivienne Mort released the second mini album called Готика (Gothic) and a music video for the song “Риба” (Fish). The new mini album Filin is introduced on March 1, 2015. The new single “Ти забув про мене” (You Forgot About Me) appears shortly after that. On March 15, 2016, the band released its fourth mini album Rósa. The corresponding tour began in Poland and ended in Kyiv The video for the song “Пташечка”, which was shot in Mumbai, India.
United Music Group | July 2016

The Best of Ozean Elzy
Okean Elzy
Okean Elzy, Elsa’s Ocean in English, O.E. for short, is a rock band from Ukraine. It is considered a cult band. The band was formed on October 12, 1994 by four friends in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv (German: Lemberg). The founding members Svyatoslav Vakarchuk, Denys Hlinin, Yuri Khustochka and Pavlo Hudimov knew each other from the band “Klan tyschi”, which was founded in 1991. Front singer Svyatoslav Vakarchuk (nicknamed “Slava”) writes most of the lyrics for Okean Elzy in his native Ukrainian. Besides, he is fluent in Russian, Polish and English. Vakarchuk became, after the 2019 parliamentary election with his own party ‘Voice’ deputy in the Ukrainian parliament. In response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Vakarchuk joined the Territorial Defense of Lviv oblast on March 6, 2022. (Wikipedia) These guys tends to grow on you…
Moon Records | November 17

The Ukrainian word onuka translates to “granddaughter,” a tribute to lead singer Zhyzhchenko’s grandfather and renowned folk-instrument maker, Oleksandr Shlionchyk.  Zhyzhchenko started her music career as a member of the band Tomato Jaws, a band that she started with her brother. Tomato Jaws remained active for 11 years, ultimately leading to the creation of ONUKA. Lead singer Nata Zhyzhchenko believes that she can revitalize old traditions and classic folk instruments such as the bandura and sopilka (a flute). ONUKA’s debut album was released in 2014, and it became the best-selling record of the month in Ukraine. Their first EP, Look, was released on May 15 and debuted #1 in Ukraine. ONUKA released a second EP, Vidlik on February 8, 2016. The EP includes five tracks: ‘Svitanok’, ‘Vidlik’, ‘Other (Intro)’, ‘Other’, and ‘1986’. Zhyzhchenko cites the Chernobyl disaster, and its impact on Ukraine as a major influence on the album. The EP’s name, Vidlik, means both ‘new beginning’, and ‘countdown’. (Wikipedia)
Vidik Records | December 19

Bella Ciao 
Adaptation of the Italian Folk Song; Ukrainian-Jewish klezmer by Mishka
Khrystyna Soloviy
Khrystyna Ivanivna Soloviy (1993, Lviv Oblast) is a Ukranian-Lemko folk singer, born into a family of choral conductors. She graduated in philosophy from the University of Kyiv. In 2013, she won the Ukrainian casting show „Голос країни“ (The Voice of Ukraine) and chose Slawa Wakartschuk as her mentor. He produced her first album Zhyva voda (Living Water) which included 12 songs (ten folk songs of Lemko and Ukrainian origin and two written by herself). Meanwhile, Khrystyna Soloviy is one of the most famous singers of Ukraine. In times of peace, she sings about love. Since February 24, the date of the invasion of her country by Russian troops, the 29-year-old singer has decided to use her songs as a weapon of war.
Rectangle | February 22

march 2022 – good to hear

Encanto: We Don’t Talk About Bruno 
Disney Original Score
In case you have small children, you can’t have missed it. Disney’s new movie Encanto, with songs by Lin Manuel Miranda, has turned from an underground hit to a full-scale invasion! Gone are Baby Shark, obviously for babies, or Elsa, tucked away in her Nordic village. Here comes as good a story as Disney hasn’t produced in many years. In Encanto we meet the multigenerational Columbian family Madrigal, each of whom possess an exceptional magical gift, except for Mirabel Madrigal, the heroine of the story. This gift seems threatened, Has the family Madrigal and their little house been bewitched by the prescient Bruno Madrigal? This is for Mirabel Madrigal to find out with the help of her sisters Isabel and Luisa. The music – a madrigal, of course – is a sensation! (sgs)
Vevo | December 21

African Shabtay
Marbin is a progressive jazz-rock band based in Chicago, IL, with a unique story that stads out in today’s music world. With a do-i-yourself approach, Marbin started touring extensively in 2011, bringing their original instrumental music to every part of the United States. Through word of moths, Marbin has gained a multitude of devoted fans all over the world and has sold tens of thousands of records. Marbin has released eight albums so far, the last being Shreddin’ at Sweetwater (2021). Danny Markovitch (saxophone, Everette Benton Jr. (drums), Dani Rabin (guitar) and Jon Nadel (bass) regularly play in clubs and in jam and jazz festivals around the world. Markovitch and Rabin are originally from Israel and met shortly after Markovitch completed his military service and Rabin had graduated from Berklee College of Music in Boston.
Multi-National | October 21

Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe in You: Change
Big Thief
Big Thief is a rock band from Brooklyn, New York, with roots in folk music. «Its members are Adrianne Lenker (guitar, vocals), Buck Meek (guitar, backing vocals), Max Oleartchik (bass), and James Krivchenia (drums). All four members attended the  Berklee College of Music, but only formed a group after each had graduated.» (Wikipedia) Dragon New Warm Mountain is their fifth album, a double pack and best of the past two years. It «is a ninety-minute meditation and answer. An album about cosmic timings and earthly connections, weaving deftly between the themes explored in their twin albumsU.F.O.F and Two Hands released in 2019. More than any other band, Big Thief’s music represents an ecosystem.» (Sophia Zu in Cherwell) Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe in You conveys a great sense of intimacy – music from the heart!
4AD | February 22

LUX – Remake 2022
PJ Wassermann
LUX by Schaltkreis Wassermann was a big hit in the 80s Italian cosmic scene dominated by DJs Beppe Loda and Daniele Baldelli. LUX, with its overlays of three and four beat rhythms, continues to fascinate music lovers. On average, the track is googled five-hundred times a week on Shazam. I’ve produced a remake of LUX using analogue synths ARP 2600, ARP Avatar and Roland 100M, adding modern synthesizers. Several remixes of LUX will be released in the coming weeks and months – stay tuned. PJ Wassermann is a musician, performer and composer who has been into electronics for more than forty years: «Playing live is one of my passions. I perform to visuals by Asteriza and often jam. With my looper, I create ambient musical spaces, and I have a loose band project called Spacebike.» | February 22

Di Giaches de Vvert. Il Primo libro di madrigali a quatro voci. Renaissance for steel guitar: Che Giova Posseder Cittadi (Prima Parte) 
Noël Akchoté
Noël Akchoté (1986) is a French guitarist active in various experimental fields between drone, rock, jazz, and contemporary classical music. Also music journalist and author as well as founder (together with Quentin Rollet) of the French avantgarde label Rectangle. At fourteen he was performing day and night in bars and restaurants. He dropped out of school and learned to play drums and bass.
Akchoté has played with every great name. Starting on guitar at when he was eight years old, he received lessons in classical guitar in school.«French guitarist Nöel Akchoté has confounded critics since his earliest releases with his blend of swinging jazz, free improvisation, and art-song sensibilities.» (Thom Jurek, ‘Soundpage(s)’
Rectangle | February 22

february 2022 – good to hear

The Boy Named If  
Elvis Costello & the Imposters 
A sensational Elvis Costello, who has never sounded better on vinyl, gives all on this extraordinary album that has found positive reception all around. «So much of the pleasure of The Boy Named If lies in how The Imposters deliver everything from the slow-burning ballad ‘Paint the Red Rose Blue’ to the tight R&B groove of ‘Magnificent Hurt’ with the clean efficiency of a rock & roll combo. The Imposters have never sounded better on record – and they’ve never sounded more like the Attractions either, which isn’t entirely a coincidence – and that helps give The Boy Named If its infectious kick: it may feel like an old-fashioned Elvis Costello album, but it sounds entirely fresh.» (All Music)
Capitol | January 22

Live at the Montreux Jazz Festival
Anna von Hausswolff 
The daughter of the Swedish avant-garde sound artist Carl Michael von Hausswolff, composer, singer-songwriter, pipe organist, musician Anna «has written and released four full-length albums: Singing From The Grave (2010), Ceremony (2012), The Miraculous (2015) and Dead Magic (2018), often recording with a cast of other musicians. Her forthcoming release, All Thoughts Fly sees Anna in solo instrumental mode. The entire record is just one solo instrument, the pipe organ, all songs written and played by Anna von Hausswolff. In Montreux, we hear six pieces; Anna performs sensational renditions of fan-favourites from The Miraculous and Dead Magic, with the backing of a full band including additional vocals from her sister, cinematographer Maria von Hausswolff.»
Southern Lord | January 22

To Human Power
Mirjam Hässig Quartet
A dream world, sometimes stormy, contemplative and suddenly a pinch of Dadaism, that’s what Aé! offers listening ears. Ayé! is characterized by the special instrumentation with harp, double bass, voice, ukulele and electronic beats. The musicians Mirjam Hässig (voice, composition, ukulele), Julie Campiche (harp, FX), Manu Hagmann (double bass, FX), Nicolas Bianco (drums, electronics) form a multifaceted team, which musically attentively responds to each other and creates a warm and captivating atmosphere. The quartet joined forces in the summer of 2019 and has been working on their independent repertoire ever since. After the debut tour, the music was recorded and released in November 2021.
The Orchard Enterprises | November 21

Laurel Hell
The sixth studio album by the Japanese American rock singer-songwriter mitski is more electronic than her previous, more guitar-driven recordings. Pitchfork quotes mitski as saying: «I needed love songs about real relationships that are not power struggles to be won or lost. I needed songs that could help me forgive both others and myself. I make mistakes all the time. I don’t want to put on a front where I’m a role model, but I’m also not a bad person. I needed to create this space mostly for myself where I sat in that gray area.» Their sweet melancholy makes mitski’s songs special. They are easy to listen and to dance to. Mitski (Mitsuki Frances Laycock) grew up in Japan and lived an international childhood before settling in the US and pursuing a musical career.
Dead Oceans | February 22

Dawn FM
The Weeknd
Abel Makkonen Tesfaye (he and mitski are both born in 1990), known professionally as The Weeknd, is a Canadian singer-songwriter and record producer. His songs are upbeat, but he had a troubled childhood. Weeknd’s lyrics speak of his amorous needs and relationships. He began releasing his own music in 2009 to almost immediate success. He has a strong voice with a good range, he has soul, and he’s street smart. That’s why The Weeknd is the real deal, in him disco meets Marvin Gaye. He has opened for Drake, played Coachella and The Brooklyn Ballroom, remixed Beyoncé’s «Drunk In Love», won a slew of prizes and became a superstar, heading the Superbowl, in February 2021.
XO | February 22

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