Some of the warmest, best instrumental music yet from Doug McCombs's Brokeback – maybe a bit less abstract than most earlier Brokeback efforts – but just as alluring, even while working with more a immediately engaging sound. McCombs is on guitars here with multi-instrumentalist James Elkington, Pete Croke on bass and Arief Sless-Kitain on drums & percussion, and occasional atmospheric vocals by Amalea Tshild. Illinois River Valley Blues manages to bring in more identifiable jazz, rock and soundtrack-y influences, while still wholly distinctive – and the way McCombs is inspired by lesser traveled points on the map of his (and our own) home state has always been a fascinating aspect of his work in Brokeback – never more so than on this one. Includes "Ride Ahead And Light The Way For Me", "Cairo Levee", "The Canyons Of Illinois", "Andalusia, IL"., "Spanish Venus", "Ursula", "The Stroller's Memorial", "Night Falls On Chillicothe" and more. CD
Another superb blend of spacey jazz and progressive instrumental musings, touched with a bit of 70s Miles, and served up with excellent production and the usual high level of standards you'd expect from Jeff Parker, Rob Mazurek, Dan Bitney, John Herndon, and Matt Lux. Proof that Chicago is still one of the most exciting points on the globe – and filled with nice cuts like "Solaria", "New Beyond", "LUH", and "Audio Champion". CD
Great early post-millennium outing from Tortoise's Jeff Parker! This set for ThrillJockey sounds great with the addition of Sam Barsheshet to the group on Rhodes and Wurlitzer. Drummer/percussionist Chad Taylor and bassist/multi-instrumentalist Chris Lopes fill out the group. Parker's style is clean, generous and collaborative, leaving plenty of casual space within the tunes for the players and room on the tracklist for the other players' compositions. The centerpiece of the album is a great version of Marvin Gaye's "When Did You Stop Loving Me, When Did I Stop Loving You", which the group turns into more of an after hours sweet spot than a mournful soul lament. Nice, nice work! Other tracks include "Istanbul", "Mannerisms", "Sea Change", "Beanstalk", "Toyboat" and "Rang (For Michael Zerang)". CD
A fine quartet outing from Tortoise's Jeff Parker – a great guitarist who stays busy without ever wearing out his welcome, and in fact leaves us wishing for more straighter jazz-Great early post-millennium outing from Tortoise's Jeff Parker! This set for ThrillJockey sounds great with the addition of Sam Barsheshet to the group on Rhodes and Wurlitzer. Drummer/percussionist Chad Taylor and bassist/multi-instrumentalist Chris Lopes fill out the group. Parker's style is clean, generous and collaborative, leaving plenty of casual space within the tunes for the players and room on the tracklist for the other players' compositions. The centerpiece of the album is a great version of Marvin Gaye's "When Did You Stop Loving Me, When Did I Stop Loving You", which the group turns into more of an after hours sweet spot than a mournful soul lament. Nice, nice work! Other tracks include "Istanbul", "Mannerisms", "Sea Change", "Beanstalk", "Toyboat" and "Rang (For Michael Zerang)". LP, Vinyl record album
The first album in years from Tortoise – again stretching out creatively in fascinating ways, some subtle and others obvious – and all of it compelling! The Catastrophist is partly inspired by work Tortoise was commissioned to produce by the City Of Chicago, material that could be used in collaboration with the city's great jazz and improvistional musical community. For The Castastrophist record, these musical building blocks were pulled back into Tortoise-ville, where the band could do their diverse and distinctive thing. Compelling drums and percussion, creative guitar and bass grooves, and divergent keyboard textures make up the connective tissue – but it's a pretty diverse sound overall! Two of the more fascinating stylistic departures have vocals – a bass-y, synth-steeped cover of the early 70s David Essex hit "Rock On", and the moody, melodic "Yonder Blue" with Georgia Hubley of Yo La Tengo. Other titles include"The Catastrophist', "Ox Duke","Gopher Island", "Shake Hands With Danger", "The Clearing Fills", "Gesceap", "Tesseract", "Hot Coffee" and "At Odds With Logic". LP, Vinyl record album
Essential early-ish Tortoise – and among their best records ever! The bassy, heavily rhythmic aspect of their earlier recordings is as well intact and distinctive as it was on the benchmark self-titled album and earlier singles, but the group really branches out here and incorporates many more diverse elements. The 20+ minute opener "Djed" is as incredible as ever, starting with that brilliant bass line and some staticy effects, which is compelling enough, but soon the drums and organ kick in and it becomes what might be post rock's most epic instrumental anthem. The shorter tracks are hardly less vital. "A Survey", "The Taut And Tame", "Dear Grandma And Grandpa", "Glass Museum" and "Along The Banks Of Rivers". LP, Vinyl record album
TNT ... CD ThrillJockey, 1998. Used ...
Tortoise's third album, and pretty remarkable creative leap for the inventive Chicago ensemble – now with the great guitarist Jeff Parker in the fold! Like the earlier records, Like their earlier records, TNT features an incredibly haunting mix of percussion, electronics, and jazz-oriented instrumentation – put together with an approach that's even more sophisticated than earlier releases. That said, the guitar makes a huge difference – and there's a lot of guest players in the mix, including horns and strings. Definitely one of their best ever! Titles include "Swing From The Gutters", "Four Day Interval", "Jetty", "Everglade", and "The Equator". CD
8 Bold Souls have been one of the most consistent (and compelling!) jazz units working in Chicago over the past 20 years – and thanks to the notable leadership of reed player Ed Wilkerson, the group has continued to grow and flourish, bridging a gap between an older AACM south side tradition, and the younger underground players on the north side. No surprise, then, that this album came out on the indie/post-rock stronghold ThrillJockey – but don't let that put you off if you're a real jazz fan, because Wilkerson's vision is clearer and purer than ever, and the set bristles with excitement through a batch of sparkling original compositions written in a vaguely Mingus-y style. Titles include "Pachinko", "Gang Of Four", "Brown Town", and "Odyssey". CD
Knoxville ... CD ThrillJockey, 2010. Used Gatefold ...
Out Of Stock
Wow, this is SO not the Tortoise that first set the underground aflame in the early 90s – the group has evolved and opened up in ways we never would have expected. With It's All Around You it's emerged with an airy, open, stargazing set of tracks that resemble the languid atmosphere of Tangerine Dream as much as they do early post rock! Gone, for the most part from early Tortoise is that strong, rubbery electric bass groove and tightly thudding live drum sound. It's All Around You retains the bright vibes and sputtering electronics of the TNT album, and the out front, almost rock & roll guitar lines of the Standards album – and adds an ever present, ambient synthesizer bubble of sound to surround the thing. It's all so catchy, too, and almost sunny. If Tortoise hasn't really broken any new ground this time, it's only because they're the ones who broke it in the first place. Tracks include "It's All Around You", The Lithium Shifts", "Crest", "Stretch", "Dot/Eyes", "By Dawn", "Five Too Many" and more. LP, Vinyl record album
Their first one, now a classic in the once-burgeoning "post rock" genre (much as we hate using that term) – and it's hands down one of best and most influential albums to come out of Chicago in the early 90s! A spare, rhythmic blend of moody grooves laid down by 2 basses, 2 drummers, and a host of other instruments. This is the one that still featured Bundy "K for Killer" Brown, and overall, it feels more like the work of a core band than some of the more atmospheric and thickly-layered Tortoise records to come. Includes "Magnet Pulls Through", "Night Air", "Ry Cooder". "Tin Cans & Twine", "Flyrod", "On Noble", and more. LP, Vinyl record album
A post millennium folk guitar modern classic from Glenn Jones! Inspired by Fahey, Basho and other heroes of that caliber, but it's a really excellent, high caliber modern take on the style. Jones is an incredibly skillful player, but never overdoes things, leaving subtle spaciousness in play in really effective ways. Includes "This Is The Wind That Blows It Out", "Sphinx Unto Curious Men", "Friday Nights With", "Fahey's Car", "Linden Avenue Stomp", "Nora's Leather Jacket" and "One Jack Rose (That I Mean)". LP, Vinyl record album
(First time on vinyl! Includes code for digital download.)