May 2022 Roundup

This month’s Roundup post covers includes fine examples of garage rock to ambient music and Sudanese jazz, as well as many other cool sounds. Check ’em out!

Jeff Gburek – Vigilance Suite I & II

Available through the great Ramble Records, Vigilance Suite I & II is Jeff Gburek utilizing guitar, zither and an e-bow to process the horror of the war that is currently still sweeping through his ancestral homeland of Ukraine.

The album’s music, 20 different suites spread across two CDs, is rich with tension and melancholia, but it does spiral off occasionally into side tangents and even light moments that evoke a sense of hope.

If Elkhorn’s acoustic improvisations and the more impressionistic work of Pelt are your thing, then this is a record that will move you to your core. Click here to get your copy today.

Noori & His Dorpa Band – Beja Power! Electric Soul & Brass from Sudan’s Red Sea Coast

Noori & His Dorpa Band is a Sudanese group that takes the elements of primordial Beja melodies, and gives them new life through a heady combination of slinky Ethiopian jazz, Chicha grooves and Tuareg guitar lines.

The Beja people are an ethnic group in Sudan, Egypt and Eritrea that might have descended from the ancient Egyptians. In recent years the Sudanese government have refused to acknowledge them and have even taken steps to erase their culture. A revolution has since erupted in an attempt to keep the Beja people and their art and music alive and thriving. Noori, armed with his self-made tambo-guitar, a singular hybrid of an electric guitar and an electric East African tambour, is leading a charge to spread Beja music loudly across the world as an act of resistance. The release of this album through Ostinato Records is just one large step in his pursuit for equity and justice.

Musically, the album is a richly mellow experience, with breezy saxophones that bring to mind Mulatu Astatke, snaky guitar/tambo-guitar solos and hypnotic rhythms.

Fans of the Ethiopiques series, Les Filles de Illighadad and pretty much anything on the Habibi Funk label will easily become obsessed with this record. Click here to order yourself a copy today.

Bayamo – Slow is Fast

Satisfying my lo-fi beats cravings lately is Bayamo’s ultra smooth Slow is Fast.

The LA-based Bayamo spliced and stitched together jazz samples and break beats into a kaleidoscopic soundscape that blankets you with a deep coolness.

Soulful funk guitars and panning stereo effects abound throughout this chill EP, giving it a pleasant hallucinatory buzz. This is especially evident on the slightly more uptempo “Tailwind,” which sounds like a Michael Hampton acid dream reconstructed by Alfa Mist and Boards of Canada. It’s as trippy and serene as it sounds.

If you get down with Rook1e and Mt. Fujitive, then this is an album you need to dig into. Click here to get your digital copy now.

Golden Feelings – s/t

Golden Feelings is the kosmische ambient project of Ypsilanti, Michigan’s own Dustin Krcatovich.

Completely self-recorded, this album features five deep tracks that drift and flow like thick interstellar seas. With sweeping waves of misty synthesizers and pulsing guitar siren calls, these tracks recall the likes of the recently departed Klaus Schulze and Pete Namlook at his most ethereal.

If you need to block out the rest of the world and feel like you’re drifting through the cosmos, Golden Feelings’ got you covered. Click here to get this album on tape, CD or digital right now.

Joyfultalk – Familiar Science

For tangled, surreal jazz that feels completely alien to this planet, check out Joyfultalk’s new album on Constellation Records, Familiar Science.

Lead by Nova Scotia producer and composer, Jay Crocker, Joyfultalk creates nightmarish and otherworldly polyrhythmic jams with dueling saxophones, clattering percussion and a whole swarm of wonky keyboards and electronics.

Songs like the title track, with their fever dream vocalizations, sci-fi synths and sick guitar work hit you like an unexpected dose of brown acid at a party. As you get pulled into these tunes, the world begins to feel blurry and all balance seems off. Before you know it, your perception becomes as mutated as the grooves on this record.

Click here to distort your mind today.

J.M. Hart – Slips, Trips & Falls

I previously wrote about the lead single, “Wednesdays,” from J.M. Hart’s new record, but the rest of the album deserves your attention, too.

Released today on Hart’s Bandcamp page, Slips, Trips & Falls finds the Virginia-based folk rocker striking a fine balance between pleasant country-tinged singer-songwriter fare and cosmic Americana.

Songs like “Scraps” recall the more creative moments of private-press loner folk LPs of the ’70s, while the hushed and melancholic “Since You Left Town” tug on your heartstrings like an early Viking Moses tune. Meanwhile, one of the major highlights is the closing number, “Ship of Dreams,” which features the great Howard Hughes Suite on pedal steel. This track goes down like a cold beer on a hot summer evening. If you could imagine the sentimental lyricism of Tom Waits combined with the instrumentation of North Americans, then you’d have the vibe of this great song.

You can buy the album here on CD and digital today.

Mary Lattimore & Paul Sukeena – West Kensington

Released through one of the best labels going, Three Lobed Recordings, West Kensington is a brilliant experimental collaboration between harpist Mary Lattimore and guitarist Paul Sukeena.

The tracks on this record are minimalist dreamscapes that edge into the more cosmic end of the ambient country spectrum (especially on the interstellar soundbath that is “This Time Juliane Landed Softly”). Lattimore also plays synthesizer, which covers most of the record in an aurora borealis-like glow, while Sukeena adds to the meditative atmosphere with a mellotron and the unique warmth of an Old Style rubber bridge guitar.

With melty waves of slide guitar and cascading harp notes echoing throughout vast clouds of vaporous synths, this is certainly one of the best ambient records to come out this year. Click here to order your copy on vinyl or digital right now.


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As always, please also consider donating to any of these sites to help fight racial injustice.


Published by Record Crates United

Keith Hadad, the creator and manager of RCU, has been a contributing writer to Elmore Magazine and and maintains a regular column, “Keith Hadad’s Choice,” in Blicker magazine. His writing has also appeared in the Smithsonian Folkways' Guest Blog and the Optical Sounds Fanzine. Also, please check out the blog's super-active Instagram account, @recordcratesunited for daily blurb-styled music reviews.

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