The Milk Factory – Roundish
“The Milk Factory” might sound like a boogeyman destination that cow parents use to scare their calves into good behavior, but it’s actually the name of a group that comes out of Ghent, Belgium’s thriving contemporary jazz scene. “Roundish,” from the group’s new release, Aula (W.E.R.F Records), features gentle eddies of woodwind, brass, guitar, and bass that swirl lazily like the water in a slow-moving inlet. Some of the most relaxing jazz you’ll hear.
Linda Diaz – Green Tea Ice Cream
On “Green Tea Ice Cream,” a track from last month’s Magic EP, New York’s Linda Diaz vows to “Plug my ears to hear my heart.” Backed by an instrumental as lush and sumptuous as the track’s titular treat, Diaz urges herself and anyone listening to take some time out of the daily grind to relax and recuperate. When you’re an octogenarian looking back on your life, you’re going to remember “Writing letters to old friends/Black cats and tender moments” more fondly than you’ll remember your job title or your paycheck. Do yourself a favor and listen to Linda Diaz’s advice.
Evening Machine – Contra Alley
The music of Johannesburg, South Africa’s Evening Machine is an eclectic blend of styles; you can find traces of post-rock’s instrumental expansiveness, synth-pop’s chipper beeps ‘n’ boops, deep house’s subdued rush, and traditional African music’s polyrhythmic complexity. “Contra Alley,” from the group’s self-titled debut, passes in one dreamy, propulsive whoosh. Atmospheric synths, percolating guitars, and mantra-like chants emerge and fade out again. A truly unique sonic experience.