March 2023 Favorites
After a flurry of posts in January and February, I felt a little bit guilty about not publishing anything new in March. Well, I guess I did share that thrown-together Piano Day piece last week, but that's it.
But you know what? Fuck it. I was busy with a bunch of other things. Work! Marathon training! Spring cleaning! Watching basketball! Playing with my pup! I just need to continually remind myself that this DC thing is just a hobby, and that I've got no real commitments or deadlines.
So here I am after a month of near-dormancy with my favorite March releases, presented in order of release date. Check out some words and audio samples below, and hey - another Bandcamp Friday falls later this week. Maybe give one of these artists some money?
Powers / Pulice / Rolin - Prism (Cached Media) - March kicked off with an absolute ripper. Across Prism's four tracks, this super-trio combines dulcimer + saxophone + guitar to create beautifully shimmering constructions. And to stick with the light metaphor, these pieces each open like slivers of sunrise, shining brighter and brighter as they climb. It's an album that pairs well with spring's peeks of blue sky.
Lia Kohl - The Ceiling Reposes (American Dreams) - I had the great pleasure of interviewing Kohl in February, so be sure to check out that piece by clicking this link. We got into her new album in some detail, so I won't copy/paste all that here. But to read the words of a true pro, you should check out what Philip Sherburne had to say about The Ceiling Reposes while you're at it.
Sergio Díaz De Rojas - Muerte en una tarde de verano (Nettwerk) - Sergio is a longtime friend of DC, and it's a pleasure to amplify his new album of piano works on the site. Here, the composer's eleven melancholic offerings fade in and out softly - they are "reflections on mortality and loss," he explains. While some sound like music box waltzes, my favorite track is a bit of an outlier, which you can hear below.
Arhios - Miscible (self-released) - Of the six instrumental genres that ACL covers in their seasonal preview pieces, I give the least amount of attention to rock. Releases falling under this category typically aren't my thing. But I tell ya what, one of them did if for me last week. Arhios' brand of active post-rock - anguar/rounded, metal/emo, and of course, LOUD/soft hit me just right. I honestly thought that my post-rock days were behind me, but maybe not?
Cruel Diagonals - Fractured Whole (Beacon Sound) - Ho hum, another month, another Beacon Sound feature. But seriously, this one is so good. On Fractured Whole, Megan Mitchell (who records as Cruel Diagonals) uses only her voice to construct sonic mountains. Some songs are built around held loops while other feature chopped tracks, but each conveys an awesome sense of power.
Julian Klaas - Impromptu (Squama) - Perhaps my favorite March release is this offering of playful piano experiments by Julian Klaas. A classically-trained violinist, Klaas was given his sister's old Wurlitzer piano, and decided to tinker around. On Impromptu, you can hear him playing simple minimalist melodies, but he also veers in pleasantly unexpected directions, utilizing electronic embellishments and flair.
Navy Blue - Ways of Knowing (Def Jam) - First a post-rock album and now a rap album? What's going on at DC? I actually went through a pretty heavy NYC rap phase back in 19/20 (Medhane was my most-played Spotify artist that year, before he fell out), and hearing Navy Blue's Def Jam debut brought me right back. The artist's intent was to make an album more joyous and celebratory than his last few releases, and he delivered.
Steve Gunn & David Moore - Reflections Vol. 1: Let the Moon Be a Planet (RVNG Intl.) - And finally, a dreamy collaboration between a favorite guitarist and a favorite pianist of mine. David Moore (of Bing & Ruth) recommends that you listen to this album of meandering acoustic constructions first thing in the morning, so I gave it a shot. And indeed, the music feels like a stretch and a yawn, rubbing your eyes and welcoming a new day. FFO Ironomi-style plucks and plunks - you'll love this one.
Thanks for checking in at the the of March, y'all, and I'll be back with more listening recommendations in a month.