Last updated on January 6, 2022
Water Diary – Good Lee. Downtempo, primarily instrumental hip-hop with high production values and a strong sense of mystery. Deep-grooving opener “Pamilya” is a perfect tone-setter; pop-adjacent “Memories in the Moonlight” features lovely soprano vocals for another highlight. “Heart of Glass” removes the beat for a pensive moment, while closer “Crying Earth” manages to be atmospheric and grounded. A fantastic collection. Highly recommended.
Shadow Falls – The Paper Sea. Peaceful, piano-led compositions that revel in wistful, elegant ambiance. Impressively, the 13-song collection is uniformly enjoyable; the compositions feature different instruments, tempos, and keys to keep the approach fresh. The cello and mellow keys of “Centésimo Saudade” are achingly beautiful. “Starling Ballet” somehow imbues synthesizer with deep emotional weight. “The Center Shall Hold” sounds like staring out a window of a spaceship; the pedal steel of “The Sleepers In(n)” makes the song sound like slowcore postrock a la Mojave 3. A transcendently beautiful collection of piano-led compositions. Highly recommended.
Adirondack – Speak, Memory. Primarily-instrumental emo/post-rock with guitar lines that split the difference between twinkly melodicism and mathy patterns, acrobatic drumming, and a bassist that keeps it all tied together. Their press kit mentions Unwed Sailor, Explosions in the Sky, Appleseed Cast, and American Football, which I would also do if they hadn’t done it for me. The thing that puts them in that high-level category is their command of melodic heft; these three tunes deliver a lot of feelings via tension/release (“Trails”) and/or maximalist enthusiasm (“Lakes”). An excellent way to spend sixteen minutes. Highly recommended.