Review: The Aristocrats "Culture Clash"

Oh, that all modern instrumental music was this soulful and interesting.

Oh, that all modern instrumental music was this soulful and interesting. As the title hints, stepping across stylistic boundaries is what Bryan Beller, Guthrie Govan, and Marco Minnemann aim to do, and their pursuit of noholds barred fun—as well as their virtuosic command of their instruments— is a blast to hear. The chops are fierce, the tones are primo (check out Beller on “Ohhhh Nooo”), and the moods cover the spectrum, from groovy to menacing to playful to thrashing to introspective. Highlights include the arpeggiator- like 16ths on “Dance of the Aristocrats” and the “Bright Size Life”-ready bass solo in “Gaping Head Wound.”


CD Review: The Hanumen "The Hanumen"

This dazzling, seven-piece feast of Indian-flavored spiritual goodness might be right at home in a yoga studio, but its fresh production, masterful musicianship, gospel-infused vocal harmonies, and diverse instrumentation make it a great bet for anyone with open ears.

Review: David Bowie "The Next Day"

Like the CD cover, Gail Ann Dorsey’s sumptuous lines on seven of this album’s 14 songs contain sly references to Bowie classics, but they’re also a showcase for the chemistry she and the Thin White Duke have honed over the last 18 years.

CD Review: Bill Laswell "The Process"

How do you think it’d sound if bass magus Bill Laswell and his fretted, fretless, clean, and effected P-Basses got together with drummer Chad Smith—yes, the Red Hot Chili Pepper—and young New Orleans keyboard master Jon Batiste? If you guessed that it’d be spiritual and sweaty, and that you might hear Smith as you’ve never heard him before, you’d be right.