Ulrich Schnauss & Jonas Munk: Passage
Europe continues to be a goldmine of musical discovery with several excellent under-the-radar releases already this year. I’ve got four good ones for you this week. First up is the collaboration between German-living-in-England electronic musician Ulrich Schnauss and the Danish guitarist Jonas Munk, who you and I might know best as a member of Causa Sui. Their newest album is Passage, a delicious, multi-course meal of euphoric jams, ambient brain teasers and headphone grooves. This one’s good for many, many listens, so get at it!
Cobalt Chapel: Cobalt Chapel
We don’t shy away from a good psychedelic-rock nugget around here and where better to find one than the United Kingdom. The self-titled debut from Cobalt Chapel is a perfect specimen of British psych-rock, aswirl with organs and keyboards, and haunted guitar and enchanted vocals from Cecelia Fage. The songs are weird and engaging and hypnotic and sometimes very weird, ranging from the very good to the quite excellent, the soundtrack to an experimental film from the 60s. Dig it, man!
Aquaserge: laisse ça être
How about some French jams? Don’t usually have bands from France pop in the RecommNeds, but this one’s irresistible. The band is Aquaserge and their newest release, laisse ça être just popped up on my radar and I just had to share posthaste. Groovy experimental pop, a French cousin to Landlady who were featured here a couple weeks ago. There are equal elements of afrobeat and prog-rock, horns and hypnotic beats, but mostly this is just a helluva lot of fun. The album title roughly translates to “let it be” which sounds just about right. Enjoy this one, friends!
Avec Le Soleil Sortant De Sa Bouche: Pas pire pop, I Love You So Much
OK, so, true confession, this last one isn’t European at all. But, it’s French Canadian, so I think that gets me half-credit. The Montreal band’s name is a mouthful, Avec Le Soleil Sortant De Sa Bouche, and their sophomore album, Pas pire pop, I Love You So Much, is an absolute earful, at least two earfuls, for sure. Sometimes I hear a new band and feel like they’ve defined their sound on maybe a single riff from a classic song. This album feels like a full on suite built on a couple riffs from the Talking Heads’ “Born Under Punches,” and I mean that in the best way possible. Triumphant, funky, math-y, and just addictive as hell, this is one heckuva record. On top of that, the combination of playing and energy on this album makes me want to see these guys live very badly. Highly recommended.