Chicago Underground Duo – Locus

Style: Cyber-Jazz, Avant-Garde Jazz, Future Jazz

Influences: IDM, Afrobeat, Free Jazz

Vibe: Futuristic, Mechanical, Driving, Energetic, Suspenseful, Cinematic, Eclectic, Abstract, Spacey

Musical Methods: Thematic Improvisation, Electro-Acoustic, Polyrhythmic, Percussive, Instrumental, Studio-as-an-Instrument,

Instrumentation: Cornet, Drums, Mbira, Synthesizers, Game Boy, Guitar, Balaphone, Electronics, Bamboo Flute

Sam Prekop – Sam Prekop

Featuring Jim O’Rourke, Josh Abrams, Rob Mazurek, Chad Taylor, John McEntire, Julie Pomerleau, & Archer Prewitt

Style: Chamber Pop, Jazz Pop, Lounge Music

Influences: Bossa Nova, Math Rock, Post-Rock

Vibe: Gentle, Breezy, Intricate, Summer, Intertwined, Mellow, Bright, Smooth

Musical Qualities: Lush, Soft, Polished, Melodic

Tortoise – The Taut and the Tame (The Luke Vibert Mix) / Find the One (Wait, Abstraction No. 3)

Style: Ambient Dub, Post-Rock, Experimental Electronic

Vibe: Hypnotic, Spacey, Mellow, Abstract, Nocturnal

Musical Qualities: Remix, Atmospheric, Rhythmic, Instrumental, Sampling, Loops

Ryley Walker – Course in Fable

Style: Progressive Songwriter, Jazz-Rock, Prog-Folk, Post-Rock

Vibe: Spring, Introspective, Warm, Intertwoven, Bright, Colorful, Carefree, Reflective, Personal

Musical Qualities: Lush, Progressive, Odd Time Signatures, Intricate, Dynamic, Polished, Improvisation, Lyrical, Riffs, Orchestral Arrangements

Gastr Del Sol – Camofleur

Style: Post-Rock, Avant-Rock, Experimental Singer/Songwriter, Chamber-Folk

Vibe: Cryptic, Warm, Cerebral, Spring, Exploratory, Eclectic, Melancholy

Musical Attributes: Odd Time Signatures, Progressive Structures, Melodic

Gastr Del Sol – 20 Songs Less

Style: Avant-Folk, Experimental, Math-Rock

Vibe: Sporadic, Chaotic, Abstract, Agular, Cerebral

Musical Attributes: Noisy, Glitchy, Collage, Complex, Electro-acoustic, Instrumental, Studio-as-an-instrument

Tortoise – TNT

Style: Post-Rock, Experimental Rock
Influences: Dub, Kosmische Musik, Bossa Nova, Lounge, Minimalism, Jazz, Electronic
Vibe: Contemplative, Eclectic, Focused, Futuristic, Impressionistic, Lush, Meditative, Peaceful, Soothing
Musical Attributes: Atmospheric, Complex, Digital Production, Percussive, Polyphonic, Studio-as-an-Instrument, Loops, Headphone Album, Rhythmic, Pulse, Instrumental, Progressive, Polished

Ezra Feinberg – Recumbent Speech

Style: Post-Rock, Post-Minimalism, Progressive Folk

Influences: Kosmische Musik, American Primitive Guitar, Minimalism

Vibe: Airy, Nocturnal, Pastoral, Peaceful, Focused, Imaginative, Impressionistic, Contemplative, Warm

Musical Attributes: Atmospheric, Instrumental, Progressive, Pulse, Odd Time Signatures, Pulse, Dynamic, Headphone Album, Minimalistic

Stereolab – Cobra and Phases Group Play Voltage in the Milky Night

Style: Progressive Pop, Space Age Pop

Influences: Kosmische Musik, Bossa Nova, French Pop, Lounge

Vibe: Spacey, Lush, Retro-Futuristic, Catchy, Groovy, Motorik, Nocturnal, Uplifting

Musical Attributes: Melodic, Headphone Album, Odd Time Signatures, Studio-as-an-Instrument, Progressive, Lyrical

Lyrics: Philosophical, Political, Communist, Bi-Lingual (English and French)

Instrumentation: Synthesizers, Vibraphone, Drums, Electric Bass, Electric Guitar, Vocals, Brass, Strings, Keys (Organ, Clavinet, Harpsichord, Wurlitzer)

David Grubbs – The Thicket

On experimental musician David Grubb’s first dedicated songwriter outing, he synthesizes technical bluegrass banjo and fingerstyle acoustic guitar playing with imaginative arrangements, abrupt stylistic shifts, philosophical questioning lyrics, improvisation, and drones. Featured musicians include drummer John McEntire (Tortoise, The Sea and Cake), bassist Josh Abrams (Natural Information Society), and drone violinist Tony Conrad.

Brokeback – Field Recordings from the Cook County Water Table

Doug McComb’s first album as Brokeback is imbued with pastoral Impressionism, experimentalism, and a sense of Zen contentment. The record is mostly centered around his Bass VI, a short-scale bass with six strings that is trebly enough to function in both guitar and bass roles. This versatile instrument is usually wet with chorus and reverb that sculpt a fluid, aquatic tone to complement the slow, tranquil melodies. Outside of some solo pieces Doug is joined by a variety of accompaniment including lap steel guitar, synth, upright bass, Rhodes, vocals from Mary Hansen, and light percussion provided by producer/Tortoise bandmate John McEntire. This is a record that can be appreciated from a passive impressionistic standpoint, as well as under the microscopic attention of an engaged ear. (Follow link for full review)

Recommended for fans of Tortoise or Ennio Morricone’s spaghetti Western soundtracks