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SingleCell: Divisible (album review by Christa V.)

SingleCell is a group formed in the Twin Cities just as the COVID-19 pandemic hit the US. The members then made their pandemic hobby creating music in their garage and delving into experimental improvisations together. This album is 6 tracks of improv made between February and October of 2020. Elements of jazz are present, someone in the group has clearly studied jazz piano, but the other instruments are harder to discern. There’s percussive sounds, something like a bow and violin, and whirly tube drones. Most songs feature a repetitive piano riff while the rest of the group modulates and flows around it. They’re all rather chaotic, and none are less than almost six minutes long! This whole album truly is an adventure start to finish.  Favorite tracks: 1, 3, 4

The Bob's Burgers Music Album Vol. 2 (album review by Christa V.)

This is a massive album of 90 tracks from the cartoon series Bob's Burgers. The music is from seasons 7 through 9 and it contains every musical morsel  that's present in the show in some form. There isn't a ton to be said about it, the songs are funny and quirky which fits the cartoon aesthetic. The vast majority of them are less than two minutes song so it would work well for a transition song while on air. Or just playing to be silly. Favorite tracks: 12, 43, 48, 62

MEMCO x WCBN x Maize Collective Present Triple Threat (w/ Shigeto) - This Saturday @ Club Above!

Three of UofM’s LARGEST music orgs are joining forces to bring you
TRIPLE THREAT: MEMCO x WCBN x MAIZE COLLECTIVE
Featuring a lineup of incredible acts from all three orgs plus guest DJ Shigeto! It’s all goin down at the dance space you know and love: Club Above
Tickets are $10, proof of vaccination required for entry.
Portion of proceeds will be donated to Groundcover News, a nonprofit news publication dedicated to helping people living in poverty and elevating their voices.
To learn more about Groundcover News:
https://groundcovernews.org
To learn more about the event hosts:
MEMCO: https://www.facebook.com/memcollective/
WCBN: https://www.facebook.com/wcbn88.3fm/
Maize Collective: https://www.facebook.com/maizecollective.um/
***zero tolerance for racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, or hate of any kind***
Event cover art by Jack Withers

v/a: Oto No Wa: Selected Sounds of Japan 1988-2018 (album review by Christa V.)

This CD marks the fifth installment of the Music For Dreams series. This work was made by Ken Hidaka, Max Essa, and Dr. Rob who got together a range of Japanese musicians to make chill music ranging from ambient to jazztronica. The first track is an excellent opener featuring more chill ambient noises to ease you into the record. “Coco and the Fish” gets things going more with interesting, jazzy percussive beats mixed with ambient sounds that float you along. This serves as a great warm-up for “Gradual Life,” one of the more unique tracks on the album featuring primarily improvised percussion. One final track to point out is track 10 which is more melodic and features steel drums to conjure up the waterline for you. All in all, a fascinating album that’s easy to overlook but hard to forget. Favorite tracks: 1, 5, 6, 10

Take It From The Dead by Acid Dad (album review by Eva N.)

Acid Dad continues to contribute to the revival of the alternative sound with their 2021 rock album, Take It From The Dead. The guitar and drums vary between a low- and high-density rhythm, paralleling a relaxed and emotional mood. Vaughn Hunt’s airy voice echoes off of a particularly authentic-feeling production, sounding as if Hunt is singing live and close to the microphone. Ride with Acid Dad’s unpredicted licks and rocky nostalgia in Take It From The Dead.

Greg Yasinitsky: Yazz Band: New Normal (album review by Christa V.)

Yasinitsky is a saxophonist, composer, and arranger from the Pacific Northwest who created this group (Yazz Band) to showcase his original big band compositions. Made up of fellow improvisors and long-time collaborators, the band is a powerhouse of sound and technique. The title New Normal refers to the pandemic and how meeting together for large ensembles just wasn't possible. The songs are a mix of ensemble tracks recorded pre-pandemic with recordings done in isolation from distant parts of the globe. The resulting songs are a dynamic creation that showcase what makes big band music so fun to listen to. The opening track, "G.P.", is smooth yet energetic, making it an ideal opener. "Blues for Brecker" is up-beat and jazzy, guaranteed to make you want to move. The title track is smooth and tight as well, with great solos as well as ensemble work. This is definitely an excellent example of big band work, despite the challenges that came with the production. Favorite tracks: 1, 3, 5

City Slicker by Ginger Root (EP review by Eva N.)

Ginger Root’s 2021 City Slicker EP oozes with funk and charisma. Cameron Lew’s subdued voice casts the spotlight on the clearer-sounding instruments: the electric keyboard, tangy bass, and jazzy, upbeat drums. These sounds harmonize to create, as Lew dubs it, a unique “aggressive elevator soul” experience that will get you on your feet.

 

Idit Shner: Live at the Jazz Station (album review by Christa V.)

Shner is an alto saxophonist and a professor at the University of Oregon! Here she delivers a masterful performance live and gives her students (and others!) a real taste of how to translate academic music into success. The whole ensemble is incredibly tight, but it is Shner who really shines as a soloist and as the heart of the melody on most of the tracks. “Shake it Til You Hear it Sizzle” is where the band really revs up and delivers several energetic solos! That same energy gets brought to “Pascal’s Ballad” which is incredibly soulful and powerful. The fifth track, “Hippo’s Walk,” is where all of this energy really lets loose and emerges from the whole ensemble! The album ends with practically a scream from Shner’s sax on “Artificial Flowers.” A must-listen if you’re a fan of jazz saxophone! Favorite tracks: 2, 3, 5, 8

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