The Album Leaf – Between Waves CD/LP (Relapse)
Nearly twenty years into a career that has seen Jimmy LaValle exercising his creativity across the realms of film scoring, sound collage, and electronic/rock music, via instrumental and vocal-driven compositions alike, LaValle and The Album Leaf deliver yet another sonic triumph with Between Waves. Born out of a thorough reinvention of LaValle’s creative process and approach, Between Waves is The Album Leaf’s first proper full-length record in over six years and the first to be recorded and produced as a complete band, and was written with greater emphasis on the group dynamic. From the moody evolution of “Glimmering Lights” to the wistful trip-hop stylings of “New Soul” and beyond, Between Waves is a gorgeous collection of euphoric melodies and emotionally charged multi-instrumental soundscapes.
The Bad Plus – It’s Hard CD (Masterworks)
The Bad Plus’ eleventh studio recording sees the leaderless trio of bassist Reid Anderson, pianist Ethan Iverson, and drummer David King returning to the distinctive deconstruction of pop forms that first drew them international attention almost two decades ago. Recorded this past April at NYC’s Brooklyn Recording with longtime engineer Pete Rende (Joshua Redman, Bill McHenry), It’s Hard spans both era and inspiration as The Bad Plus offer new perspectives on this collection of covers (Crowded House, Kraftwerk, Prince, Johnny Cash, Cindi Lauper, Peter Gabriel, Barry Manilow, Maroon 5, etc.). [Vinyl edition due October 7.]
Banks & Steelz – Anything But Words CD/2xLP (WB)
“Interpol’s music … it’s like if RZA had been born in the rock world”—RZA. Banks & Steelz is the ongoing collaboration between Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA and Interpol’s Paul Banks. “While the cross-pollination of hip-hop luminary RZA and Banks, an artist known for moody early-2000s indie rock, suggests experiment for experiment’s sake, their chemistry on record is palpable, blending Interpol’s icy remove with RZA’s disjointed flow. ‘We’re both hard workers in the studio,’ explains RZA, who was first tipped off to Banks’ work when his manager suggested they duet. They clocked more than 200 sessions and crafted ideas for around 40 songs, meticulously landscaping the sonic terrain. ‘If I was to say I met someone who works as hard as me in the studio, it would be this young man right here,’ RZA continues. ‘He’ll do it over 30 times. To me, that’s cool, because that’s how some of the best records are made, some of the best films are made that way. I respect him as an entity.’ Antyhing But Words features guest appearances from Kool Keith, Florence Welch, Method Man, Masta Killa and Ghostface Killah, the latter of whom appears on lead single ‘Love + War.’” — SPIN Continue reading