Matana Roberts – Coin Coin Chapter 3: River Run Thee

The latest installment of Matana Roberts’ Coin Coin series shifts the narrative down a drone-laden, cluttered pathway.

Zs – Xe

Zs’ latest album shows the band taking a more stripped back approach to their hypnotically repetitive approach to experimental rock, jazz, and drone.

Hypercolor – Self-Titled

Hypercolor is a NYC trio making its self-titled debut on “downtown” figurehead John Zorn’s Tzadik imprint later this month. Unsurprisingly, the threesome comprised of guitarist Eyal Maoz, bassist James Ilgenfritz, and drummer Lukas Ligeti (all of whom are accomplished composers and improvisers) delivers the label’s trademark brand of controlled improvisation. However, the band’s deceptively simple setup proves to be another welcome take on Zorn’s “game piece” mentality; the result a work of spastic jazz-rock that courts entropy for the entirety of its playtime. This act is aptly named – Hypercolor will likely be among the most vibrant  blasts of rock music this year.

Look out for this thing, due to drop 15 January via Tzadik.

Roland Kirk – I Talk with the Spirits

To close out CLASSICS WEEK 2014, we’re diving into one of jazz flute’s biggest touchstones: Roland Kirk’s I Talk with the Spirits.

A Tribe Called Quest – The Low End Theory

For this latest installment of CLASSICS WEEK 2014, Anthony Fantano takes on a quintessential jazz rap album: A Tribe Called Quest’s The Low End Theory.

Zion80 – “Metatron”

Exploring Jewish music through the inspiration and lens of legendary Afrobeat godfather Fela Anikupalo Kuti would already be no easy task for anyone with the balls enough to attempt it. But 13-piece band Zion80, led by Jon Madof, isn’t afraid to step into a musical world uninhabited by the majority and make the songs their own, which is exactly what they do on “Metatron”. The nearly 10-minute track is a wild but supremely focused mix of bold, brave horn sections, heavy percussion and enough screaming, mind-melting electric guitar effects to make a grown man squeal like an unhinged schoolgirl. Zion80 gives a mix of the traditional, the psychedelic and the hypnotic on “Metatron”: it’s not quite all Afrobeat, not quite all klezmer, not quite all rock. But when the parts collaborate to make the sum, it truly adds up to something unexpected and powerful.

- Ron Grant

Portico – “Bright Luck” (ft. Jono McCleery)

Once fusing electronic music and jazz on fantastic albums such as Isla and their 2012 self-titled LP, Portico Quartet were one of the most interesting modern music groups to come out of the UK. However, the band’s undergone a few major changes as of late:

1. They’re now a trio.
2. They’re now known simply as “Portico.”
3. They’re signed with Ninjatune.

They’ve got a new album on the way as well titled Living Fields, and “Bright Luck” is the first track to drop from it. The song is a stylistic change of pace, finding the band leaning less on their jazz background, and more on the current trend of ethereal, exploratory, R&B-tinged electronic pop. Jono McCleery’s vocal performance is quite wonderful, but I can’t say the instrumental does anything other than make way for him, really. While I don’t mind this track, I hope the band is still able to showcase their instrumental muscle and finesse on some of the deeper cuts here as well.

Look for Living Fields on March 25th.

Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment – “Sunday Candy”

OK, OK, OK. Take a listen to this track. Recognize anybody? Yes, that’s Chicago rapper-singer Chance The Rapper‘s voice there. While he doesn’t get top billing on this track, he is very much a part of a four-person musical act called The Social Experiment. There’s been rumor for a little while that Chance was going to be releasing a project titled Surf soon, and this seems to be what he was talking about.

The Social Experiment’s remaining members include the likes of Peter Cottontale, Nate Fox, and, of course, Donnie Trumpet. Mr. Trumpet is also known as Nico Segal, and used to play in Kids These Days with one of Chance’s close friends Vic Mensa.

Now, together under this Social Experiment umbrella, Segal and company have released this stellar new single. It’s a spectacular blend of pop, hip hop, gospel, and soul. It features some a wonderfully beautiful vocal melodies, bright horns, and an endearing piano as well.

Really excited to hear how this experiment pans out!

Black Spirituals – “Radiant”

With Of Deconstruction, Oakland free improvisation duo Black Spirituals has delivered one of the year’s greatest potpourri albums. Bassist and electronics operator Zachary James Watkins and percussionist Marshall Trammell found each of the album’s three substantial pieces on simple and vague grooves, exploring every bit of space they have to offer. Above, check out 20-minute opener “Radiant,” which rides modulated bass riffs, flourishes of static noise, and skittering drum fills through countless phases. Its effortless fusion of such styles as noise rock, avant-garde metal, EAI, free-jazz, and freaking cumbia, makes this perhaps the most expressive rock project I’ve heard all year. Enjoy!

Of Deconstruction is out now via SIGE Records. Although this is only Black Spirituals’ debut, they have apparently already garnered the attention of eminent electronic art musician and theorist Pauline Oliveros, who contributes a quote to the album’s Bandcamp page. Way to go!

Dead Neanderthals – Prime

Get ready for the most pummeling 40 minutes of music in 2014.

Prime is the latest release from Holland jazz trio Dead Neanderthals, and the band pulls absolutely no punches on their album posted above, which is just one immense free jazz track. It’s a wild and overwhelming listen, and not for the faint of heart. Enjoy!