Our selection of the best new music across a range of genres from the week ending 5 June 2020.
Singer and pianist Kandace Springs — whose soulful singing led her late mentor Prince to praise her “voice that can melt snow” — has debuted her newest project, The Women Who Raised Me, on Blue Note Records. GRAMMY-winning producer Larry Klein (Joni Mitchell, Herbie Hancock) — who produced Springs’ 2016 debut Soul Eyes — is once more in the prodcuer’s chair. The Women Who Raised Me is a tribute album to the female vocalists who most impacted Springs’ music, stylings, and journey.
Adelaide’s theatrical emo/punk/rock outfit, Wolf & Chain have released their debut EP, An Honest Mistake. The band released two singles – ‘Repent’ (March 13) and lead single ‘An Honest Mistake’ (May 1) – which explored the horror/thriller theme about the preacher (the antagonist) and his cult-like followers. They set the scene for the narrative that is told through the EP, but only scratched the surface with what the band had to offer. Amongst their fast-paced emo-rock riffs, they incorporate hardcore breakdowns, string arrangements, upbeat stabs on the piano and Spanish acoustic guitar.
Modern Nature – the name taken from the title of Derek Jarman’s garden diaries – is the new project of Jack Cooper (of Ultimate Painting / Mazes). An eclectic blend of folk, jazz, and indie rock, the band’s debut album – How to Live – crossed the urban and rural into each other. Their new mini-album Annual, recorded in December 2019 at Gizzard Studio in London, is another step towards something more liberated and a world away from the sound of Cooper’s previous bands. Saxophonist Jeff Tobias’ (Sunwatchers) role informed something even more expansive. How To Live collaborator Jeff Tobias takes a more central role, alongside percussionist Jim Wallis.
We Sing Until Sunrise (Ngaangk Nookertiny Ngala Warangka) is the debut album for Melbourne-based electro-R&B-pop duo, The Merindas. Comprising eight tracks, the album was initially intended for release in late April, at the end of The Merindas’ first national headline tour. But that came to an abrupt halt due to COVID-19. The Merindas are the collective force of Candice Lorrae of Jawoyn and Thursday Island heritage (born in Darwin) and Ballardong Whadjuk and Nyoongar woman Kristel Kickett (from Tammin, Western Australia). They describe their unique sound as “electronic pop with a dancehall feel, alongside hip hop and R&B influences”. With three singles under their belt (We Sing Until Sunrise, I Feel It and Before Daylight), their hotly anticipated debut album We Sing Until Sunrise (“‘Ngaangk Nookertiny Ngala Warangka’- which simply means that we are forever singing, forever dancing and forever celebrating our culture”).
GRAMMY Award-winning composer Michael Daugherty creates an original musical tribute to the singer-songwriter and political activist Woody Guthrie (1912–1967) on This Land Sings. Traveling the backroads of America from coast to coast with a guitar and harmonica, Woody Guthrie performed folk songs of love, wandering and social justice during the Great Depression and the Second World War. Daugherty has composed his own original songs and instrumental interludes that give haunting expression, ironic wit and contemporary relevance to political, social and environmental themes from Guthrie’s era. Under the baton of GRAMMY Award-winning conductor David Alan Miller, the Albany Symphony’s new music ensemble Dogs of Desire, joined by soprano Annika Socolofsky and baritone John Daugherty, give a poignant and rousing performance.
Acoustic singer-songwriter Blanco White (the solo project of Londoner Josh Edwards), a Brit whose heart belongs in Southern Spain and the Andean mountains, has dropped his new album On the Other Side. A prolific songwriter, White has released a series of Latin American-style folk tracks throughout 2019 and 2020: “On The Other Side”, “Papillon”, “Desert Days”, “Samara” and “Mano a Mano”. After studying guitar in Cádiz (Spain), and later the Andean instrument the charango in Sucre (Bolivia), Edwards’ aim was to begin bringing together elements of Andalusian and Latin American music alongside influences closer to home. The result is this full-length album.
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David Edwards is the editor of The Blurb and a contributor on film and television