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.
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more
Chicago-Based Surabhi Ensemble Tours the World in January – Surabhi Ensemble was formed more than a decade ago in Chicago with the aim of bringing together musicians from varying traditions to make music. Saraswathi Ranganathan, who plays veena, assembled a cast that includes Arabic oud, Spanish guitar, and percussion from Africa and India. This month, the group will be sharing their sounds with concert-goers in Southeast Asia, Europe, and Africa. » Read more
Seaprog Festival Seeks Donations – Seaprog is a small festival in Seattle that highlights creative music from many genres with artists from around the world. It's also a US non-profit organization. They're seeking donations to help keep the ball rolling. Starting in 2013, the organization has been growing, and has featured such artists as Free Salamander Exhibit, Jack o' the Clock, Nik Turner, Cabezas de Cera, Miriodor, Thinking Plague, and many more. » Read more
The Seventeenth Dream of Dr Sardonicus Festival Tickets Now Available – Fruits de Mer Records and their merry crew of psychedelic explorers are getting set to present the next The Seventeenth Dream of Dr. Sardonicus Festival. The dates are set for August 2-4, 2019 at The Cellar Bar in Cardigan, Wales. They've also announced that the legendary Groundhogs will top the bill. » Read more
Charles O'Meara (C.W. Vrtacek) RIP – A true musical original has left us. Charles O'Meara, who recorded under the name C.W. Vrtacek, was a wild-card musical talent, ranging from complex progressive rock to introspective modern compositions, with stops at many places inbetween. » Read more
Didkovsky / MacLean / Vrtacek - Flies in the Face of Logic – This disc is sectioned into three distinct perspectives of composition, using an unfamiliar primary instrument for each composer: the piano. First up is Steve MacLean, who in the course of four... (1998) » Read more