For quite some time now, every Thursday has brought the publication of a review looking back at an album in McLatchey's Second Tier, where our friend Mike visits or re-visits one of his favorite releases. Today marks the start of the next tier, which once again will feature classics from a wide variety of styles, from jazz to classic prog to electronic to death metal — and many places in between.
by Jon Davis, Published 2016-12-22
For this series, we'll simply go in alphabetical order by artist, more or less. There's no sense letting petty rules get in the way of good music, or good music writing. We're starting off with an ambient gem from 1999, Altara from A Produce and M. Griffin. In the weeks to come — who knows how long it will take? — we'll see such artists as Agitation Free, DFA, Miles Davis, East of Eden, and Agorophobic Nosebleed, as well as well-known progressive groups like Yes, Genesis, Camel, Banco, and Änglagård. So check back every week (or more often, since we have new reviews on every other day as well!) and see what Uncle Mike has to say. When an artist has more than one title in the list, we'll throw them out the same day to save time.
In general, we are always focusing on new releases and reissues, since that's what you'll find available now, but there's more to good music that just the new, so it's good to take time for remembering the best of what past decades have to offer. Some of the new reviews revisit things we've reviewed before, so you'll get an additional viewpoint on those — sometimes from another writer back when the music was new, sometimes from Mike himself, so now you can see how views change (or not) on music over the decades.
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more
Holger Czukay RIP – Holger Czukay, a musical experimentalist without boundaries who has been involved with expanding the sound palette of rock music since the late 60s, has died at the age of 79. After studying with Karlheinz Stockhausen in the early 60s, he became fascinated with the possibilities of rock music, and was a co-founder of the pioneering group Can. He leaves behind an impressive body of work both as musician and producer. » Read more
John Abercrombie RIP – Another of the greats of jazz guitar has left us. John Abercrombie plied his way through a beautiful series of albums on the ECM label as well as bringing his talent to bear on albums by many of jazz's greatest artists. From his early work in the group Dreams to Gateway and outstanding work with Billy Cobham, Jack DeJohnette, Kenny Wheeler, and many more to his own trios and quartets, he brought a unique instrumental voice to the world. » Read more
Musicante (Guillermo Diego Ensamble) - Sonoridades Mexicanas – While not exactly a reissue, this compilation by Guillermo Diego y Musicante includes all of the material from their 1987 album A los Cuatro Vientos, plus two tracks from 1982's Buscando un Tesoro,... (1994) » Read more
Motorpsycho + Jaga Jazzist Horns - It's a Love Cult, The Stix & In the Fishtank – After hearing the name Motorpsycho for a few years, I was pretty curious to actually hear the band. I did not expect an album of such variety, that combines intensity and subtlety and a wide range of... (2005) » Read more