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by John Garratt

10 Mar 2014


File this under: download them before they’re taken away. Ancient Pistol is guitarist Mike Feeney, a truly independent musician who sculpts his music with a wide array of effects and zero commercial ambitions. Operating out of Brighton, Massachusetts, his Reverbnation page has been ranking quite well there, thanks largely in part to the number of tracks available for free download. As of last count, there were 18 free songs and four available for streaming. Feeney’s latest, Groovy Pavement, is available here on CDBaby.

How did I find out about Ancient Pistol? I went to CDBaby and typed in “Bruce Gilbert”. I discovered “Race with the Blahs” and that just about sealed the deal.

by John Garratt

25 Feb 2014


For quite a while, Destination: Out was a great one-stop website for one’s avant-garde/free-jazz edification and downloading. They uploaded all kinds of rare, out-of-print stuff for the temporary taking. They even opened a download store, believeing that they shouldn’t be the only ones with access to these weird and wonderful recordings featuring Peter Brötzmann, Hans Reichel, Sam Rivers, the Schlippenbach Trio and many more.

by John Garratt

18 Feb 2014


Marty Willson-Piper might not be participating in the forthcoming album by the Church, but he’s got things to keep him in busy in the meantime. For one thing, his incessant record collected has culminated in the In Deep Music Archive. Here you’ll find Willson-Piper’s thoughts and reflections on the many, many recordings he’s acquired over the years, playlists of featured songs, and free stuff. Yes, he’s decided to give away ten of his albums for free from the website’s shop. There are a few things you have to legitimately pay for, like the new MOAT collaboration with Niko Röhlcke, some releases by Tiare Helberg and some guitar lessons over Skype. The remaining ten don’t have to be downloaded for free, though. You can leave Willson-Piper a donation if you like. Because, hey, all that vinyl can’t buy itself.

by John Garratt

14 Jan 2014


Jazz guitarist Nir Felder’s debut album, Golden Age, drops this month. Many a musician has his or her idea of what a “golden age” was or is, but Felder is reluctant to stake such a claim. In his words, the album’s title is “more of a question than a statement,” rhetorically asking if we are in a golden age for the arts right now or if we were ever in the throes of one at all.

Felder’s performing and composing chops are not unlike many a fusion jazz guitarist who came before him. Any fan of Pat Metheny or Mike Stern can wring much listening enjoyment from Golden Age. It seems to have just the right amount of virtuosity pitted against genuinely engaging writing, all buoyed by a tight group featuring pianist Aaron Parks, bassist Matt Penman, and drummer Nate Smith.  “Ernest /Protector”, one of Golden Age‘s flashier tracks, premieres here on PopMatters. While the hard-bop qualities reveal one side to Felder, just know that there is much more to delve into later this month.

by John Garratt

25 Nov 2013


Back when the Electric Grandmother was still based in my hometown, a weekly paper tried to review the album Pee Sells…But Who’s Buying?. The poor fool assigned the task just couldn’t do it. He called the title “oddly fitting” and that it was “a challenging listen in the sense that it’s hard to make it through the damn thing.”

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