Review: The Jacob Duncan Quintet – “It’s Alright To Dream”

I just feel cool, like everything’s alright, when I’m listening to Jacob Duncan, don’t you? Well, thankfully for all of us who like feeling like the world’s not completely coming apart at the seams, the talented Louisville saxophonist is back after his debut, The Busker, won over critics with a few tricks up his sleeve and a…

Review: Léah Lazonick – “Movimenti della Luna d’Oro”

All it takes is 12 minutes to wow us. With a sense of movement falling somewhere between the piano phrasings of Cage (thinking The Seasons, from ‘47) and Glass’ more emotionally driven Metamorphosis, Brooklyn-based composer Léah Lazonick offers us the beautific Movimenti della Luna d’Oro, translation: Movements of the Moon of Gold, a chamber suite in three parts…

Review: Rachel Grimes – “Eights”

Composer/pianist Rachel Grimes orchestrates a soundscape of wonder on “Eights,” a digital one-off also available on the compilation accompanying Oxford American’s new edition on Kentucky music. The song was released, alongside sheet music, earlier today on Bandcamp. The premise for the piano etude is simple and one does not have to wonder long if the…

Justin Vellucci’s Year-Ending Top Ten: 2017 Edition

Yeah, yeah, putting the final nail in the coffin of 2017 is a little premature, seeing as there’s still more than 30 days left in the year. But, I’m the music writer compiling this list, so, here you go. It was an interesting year in underground music and, rather than present a conventional Top Ten,…

REVIEW: Watter – “History of the Future”

Watter – a Louisville post-rock band that’s high in promise due to its parentage, if nothing else – simply fails to deliver on the oft-disjointed but occasionally ambitious History of the Future, its sophomore full-length, out today on Temporary Residence. It’s not that there are not great moments on the record. It’s just that their…

REVIEW: astrid & Rachel Grimes – “Through The Sparkle”

Man, that’s devastating! If the reverb-drenched guitar on this record’s second track doesn’t move you to tremble with tears, then the soaring strings on “M1” surely will. Pianist/composer Rachel Grimes follows up her best-of-2015 The Clearing solo outing with the magnificent Through The Sparkle, a seven-song collaboration with the French chamber ensemble astrid, out today…

REVIEW: High Plains – “Cinderland”

Soundscape master Scott Morgan (better known by his working name, Loscil) and the cellist Mark Bridges have birthed and produced, as the duo High Plains, a debut record of trembling, authentic majesty, and critics will be left puzzled with ways to describe the riveting tones and shuddering beauty of their collaboration. It’s just that good: Top 10 year-ending lists…

REVIEW: Jacob Duncan – “The Busker”

Pat Metheny and Charlie Haden’s pristine and bright-eyed collaboration on the 1997 Verve LP Beyond The Missouri Sky (Short Stories) is a decent point of departure for Jacob Duncan’s The Busker, a new solo outing by the Louisvillian alto saxophonist available digitally and on CD. Both recordings have a kind of organic richness, cool complexity…

REVIEW: Rachel Grimes – “The Clearing”

There is a whisper, a scattering of whispers, a whole orchestrated evening of whispers – a subdued kind of wonder and majesty to it all. But even though only her name appears on the product these days, she never walks these woods alone. Temporary Residence Records yesterday released The Clearing, Louisville-based composer/pianist Rachel Grimes’ second…

REVIEW: Portland Cello Project – “To E.S.”

Elliott Smith’s transubstantiation into a string ensemble is something wondrous (yet subtly shaded) to behold on Portland Cello Project’s LP tribute to the late artist, titled, simply, to e.s. Songs like “Pitseleh” and “Tomorrow, Tomorrow,” both arranged here by project founder Doug Jenkins, retain their charm, while “Shard,” a riveting original composition by Nancy Ives,…