The Levin Brothers – ‘Not So Square Dance’

levin brothersIf you’re a regular TMMP reader, jazz is probably not your thing. If that’s the case, don’t switch over to Facebook or porn or whatever other services people use the Internet for – instead, picture a jazz band in your head. Imagine them running through a tune.

If you’re anything like I was before I fell in love with jazz, you’re probably imagining three or four or more po-faced and arrogant musos standing/sitting very still and playing horribly plain and regimented lines of notes punctuated by equally mechanical chords. But the video below is different.

This is what jazz really is (at least, when it’s done properly): It’s inventive, vibrant, and full of personality. It’s the sound of incredibly gifted and passionate musicians expressing themselves in the moment – the same basic thing that great rock and metal players do, only this way it sounds different. Fucking cool, right?

I’m willing to bet that whatever you’re normally into, you’ll find something really eye-opening and interesting via Not So Square Dance. Maybe the next time you’re out on an upmarket date with a significant other, you’ll manage to find something to appreciate about the background music rather than finding yourself consumed with the desire to stuff your ears with the entrées. Maybe you’ll find something cool to discuss with your grandparents; maybe a friend will suddenly reveal themselves as a closet jazz fiend and you’ll find something completely new to bond over. Or perhaps you’ll end up digging into the Levin Brothers’ full album (reviewed here), exploring Tony and Pete Levin’s previous work, and finding yourself arriving at the roots of some of the greatest forward-thinking music of our time.

Click play on one of the coolest, quirkiest, and most excellent jazz-related videos out there – and see what happens.

Links / Video

Read TMMP’s review of the full Levin Brothers LP here.

Check out TMMP’s interview with Tony Levin here.

Cold Summer – ‘Car Crash (In Progress)’

cold summer press shotI love bands that mean it. Cold Summer have spent a fair few years working on themselves – and on Car Crash (In Progress), it really shows. Polished and professional yet still raw, passionate, and in your face, this is a total barnstormer of a song that you need to check out right now.

Scroll down, click the link, press play, and be swept away.

Links / Listen

Car Crash (In Progress) will be released on September 22, and can be heard via Soundcloud here.

Cold Summer on Facebook and Twitter.

Morning Bound – ‘I Did Fine’

morning boundIn an era when musicians with great songs are a dime a dozen, going the extra mile and digging out something exceptionally creative is essential. By combining poppy catchiness with jazz fusion’s labyrinthine intricacy and top-drawer musicianship, Morning Bound stand head and shoulders above their commercially-oriented contemporaries. I Did Fine – only song #2 from this New York-based trio – combines vocal loops, heartfelt lyrics set to epic melodies, and a hell of a rhythm section performance into five-plus minutes of awesomeness.

I can’t wait to get my hands on the full EP…

Links / Video

Morning Bound on Facebook.

Tammy Scheffer on Facebook and Twitter.

Panagiotis Andreou on Twitter and Facebook.

Red Seas Fire – ‘Confrontation’

red seas fire confrontationMetal’s been around for a long time now – but it never ceases to amaze me how many musicians are still finding ways to breathe new life into a genre so frequently mocked for its backward-looking retromania.

On Confrontation, Red Seas Fire take all manner of pre-existing metallic mutations and mix them into still another fresh sound. Think Korn’s first album mixed with Periphery’s latest and you have Tyrants; visualise Chester Bennington laying down vocals over a Killswitch Engage / Tesseract jam and you’ll get closing track Compass. The Gold Room, meanwhile, offers fuzzy riffs and hardcore vocals alongside catchy lyrics sure to translate live and a bit of Dillinger Escape Plan-esque mathiness toward the end, while The Grand Escape is pure djent-fuelled filth. In short, Confrontation is all killer, and absolutely no filler.

Overall, this is a must-hear for those ready to follow metal’s new breed into as yet unexplored territories.

Links / Listen / Video

Red Seas Fire official website.

Trioscapes – ‘Digital Dream Sequence’

trioscapes digital dream sequenceTMMP is all about stretching beyond your comfort zone – and this set of super-intricate fusion tunes will definitely aid in that quest, regardless of how “out-there” you may have been before.

On Digital Dream Sequence‘s opening title track, precisely measured drums underpin labyrinthine sax/bass unison lines and terrifying horn/synth duels over the course of seven and a half minutes – and that’s only for starters! Delightfully-titled second offering Stab Wounds digs into a super-busy Return To Forever vibe with a brilliant bass/drum/flute interlude and plenty of in-your-face synth work; From The Earth To The Moon begins serenely enough, but it’s not long before things take a turn for the twisted; Hysteria is nothing less than a batshit-crazy freakout; and closing epic The Jungle is…well…epic. There isn’t a dull moment or weak note to be found on Digital Dream Sequence – it’s a masterfully crafted journey into three top-notch musical minds that exceeds even the loftiest expectations.

With Digital Dream Sequence now floating about the digital ether, fans of BTBAM and T.R.A.M. have had their wettest dreams come true. If you’re in that category, you’d best head to the shop for some “man-size” tissues and zinc tablets before pressing play.

Links / Listen

Trioscapes on Facebook.

CeCe – ‘Hawaii’ (Live At Zoo Orchestra)

cece logoAs a music writer, I get through a lot of songs over the course of a day. Very few make it through to the point where I feel compelled to write about them – and 99% of the time this is because the songwriters and performers in question are either too afraid to really open up and express themselves, or haven’t developed to the point where they’re capable of getting the point across in the manner they obviously intend.

CeCe, however, is more than able to hit the mark from a technical perspective – but most importantly she’s not scared to get dark, deep, and vulnerable. That’s the difference between a decent song that I can appreciate and a spellbinding one that keeps me hooked – and suffice it to say that Hawaii is definitely a spellbinding song. Blending darkness, sultriness, and vulnerability into a four-and-a-half minute slice of alt-pop brilliance, at this point CeCe has become Surrey’s answer to Lana Del Rey…only perhaps even better.

Links / Video

CeCe official website.

Zoo Orchestra official website.

Thomas Leeb – ‘Trickster’

thomas leeb trickster 2Sublime. Infinitely cool. Near-impossibly effortless. Building fragmented non-sentences made up of adverbs and adjectives can be seen as bad writing, but it’s also an effective method when it comes to describing Trickster. Carefully chosen notes flow through strangely-tuned strings and warm tones to arrive in the ears fully formed and deliciously seductive. I love this track – and if you’re into the likes of Mike Dawes, Andy McKee and company, you definitely will too.

Check Trickster out via YouTube below, and see how you can help Thomas Leeb complete his upcoming album via PledgeMusic here.

Links / Video / Buy

Thomas Leeb official website.