Old-Fashioned Jazz music makes me smile. Here are some recommendations:
Primarily comprised of infectiously joyful music to rival the best of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, The Jumping Notes’ Lover Come Back To Me is one of my favorite albums ever. Big and brassy and beautiful, there is not one bad track to be found on it. One highlight however is their version of Sidney Bechet’s “Si Tu Vois Ma Mere” – Bechet’s version opened Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris.
I stumbled upon Tuba Skinny when researching Jazz great Al Cohn – the band’s cornetist Shay Cohn is his granddaughter. Check out music by Tuba Skinny at abc.au and below…
There is something warm and wonderful about The Bryan Ferry Orchestra’s The Jazz Age. Ferry reworked his old material as 1920′s jazz instrumentals – fire up the Victrola folks!
Ferry also adapted music by other contemporary artists into an approximation of 1920′s Jazz for Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby.
I love the melancholy magnificence of Devotchka and Lost in the Trees. There’s a plaintive quality in the voices of Nick Urata and Ari Picker that’s hard to match. Winston Yellen of Night Beds now joins my list of favorite male vocalists. “Faithful Heights,” the a capella track which opens Night Beds’ debut album, Country Sleep, may be the most beautiful thing I’ve heard this year. You can stream it below. Hear more at World Cafe, Aquarium Drunkard and Fuel/Friends. My favorite track on the album is “Even If We Try,” which can be streamed at Night Beds Official Site.
The entire self-titled debut by Solar Drive (a.k.a. actor Balthazar Getty’s new music project) is available as a free, legal, full album download on Noisetrade. Standout tracks include “Some Say,” “Feel So Down” and “Where We Go From Here” – songs on which Getty’s voice is less distorted don’t work so well. The album ends with a pleasant surprise, “Monster” featuring vocals by Rain Phoenix.
Editor Update: Sorry, it seems the album has been removed from Noisetrade since this article was posted. You can sample & purchase it at Amazon.
English Indie trio Daughter released their debut full-length album, If You Leave, earlier this year. You can sample their sound – aptly described by NPR as “sad, searing songs” – on a recent Tiny Desk Concert. KEXP has a free mp3 of “Smother,” and you can hear “Youth” below.
“Words” by Allison Crowe is my favorite song of 2013, so much so I was inspired to make a video for it. I’m pleasantly shocked to say Allison approved of my video enough to add it to her official YouTube channel. Featured on Heavy Graces, Allison’s second album released this year, “Words” showcases Allison’s fierce vocals as well as her newly acquired fiddle skills. I originally envisioned a video showing a couple’s turbulent break up to match the song’s angry lyrics, but George Hodan‘s somber series of photographs inspired me to depict a deeper grief – the loss of a child. Whatever the visual interpretation of “Words,” there’s an undeniable and quite remarkable intensity of emotion in Allison Crowe’s song. You can view the exclusive premiere of Muruch’s video for Allison Crowe’s “Words” and also download a free, legal mp3 of the song below…
The long-awaited debut album by Black Submarine has a title, New Shores, a release date, February 3rd, 2014, and a preview track on Soundcloud, which you can stream below. Nick McCabe and Simon Jones of The Verve teamed up with vocalist Amelia Tucker (you can download several mp3s at Amelia’s site), Goldfrapp string player Davide Rossi and Portishead percussionist Michele Schillace to form the group. They released an EP in 2011, which you can also stream below, under the name The Black Ships and also contributed to the Java Heat soundtrack earlier this year.