Our selection of the best new music across a range of genres from the week ending 1 May 2020.
Damien Jurado’s new album What’s New, Tomboy? is now out on Mama Bird Recording co. and Loose Music. The album marks his second for the labels. Where last year’s In the Shape of a Storm stripped back everything to reveal an artist at his most intimate, What’s New Tomboy? sees Jurado stepping back into a more fleshed-out sound with his voice and rhythm section at the fore. What’s New, Tomboy? is an album that seeks respite in bare minimums and barren revelations: sometimes frail, sometimes affirming, sometimes wry, and usually a threadbare mix of all those sentiments. “When You Were Few”, for example, was written as Jurado was clearing out the bulk of his possessions.
When Dizzy Gillespie put his hat in the ring for President of the United States in 1964, he also offered to be the first African-American astronaut, just in case they couldn’t find anyone else. In making Dizzy Atmosphere, Dave Douglas’s tribute to the great trumpeter, composer and humanist, Douglas said he wanted to explore Dizzy’s experimental and wide open mind as well as the influence of his music.
This album shines a light on the whole legacy of Gillespie, one of America’s finest artists. The original music Douglas wrote swings and shimmers with a grace reminiscent of the great man. Dizzy Atmosphere also contains several imaginative arrangements of Gillespie compositions, including reinterpretations of two key Gillespie tunes “Manteca” and “Pickin’ the Cabbage.” Douglas’s band features fellow trumpeter Dave Adewumi, recent winner of the Carmine Caruso Competition; along with pianist Fabian Almazan, guitarist Matt Stevens, bassist Carmen Rothwell, and drummer Joey Baron.
Australian musician, visual artist and fashion designer Annie Hamilton shares her self-titled debut solo EP, out now on Inertia Music / [PIAS]. Alongside the release, Hamilton has shared a video for “Californian Carpark Concrete”, shot by Jordan Watton on Super8 film in Australia’s Snowy Mountains. The song addresses the constant passage of time and anxiety that can breed from creative or emotional stagnation. Annie Hamilton (the EP) follows a string of standalone singles, including “Kitchen”, “Fade” and “My New Tattooed Chameleon”. The six tracks tie together the frays of navigating, processing and documenting her own lived experiences. Examining the mundane and profound, the everyday and the bigger picture she creates a world so vulnerable and accessible that her specific experience feels like universal truth.
Car Seat Headrest have released their new album Making A Door Less Open, available in distinct track listings and mixes for digital, CD and vinyl via Matador / Remote Control Records. The album features critically acclaimed singles “Martin”, “Hollywood”, “There Must Be More Than Blood” and “Can’t Cool Me Down”, which have already collectively surpassed 6 million streams on DSP’s. Created over the course of four years, Making a Door Less Open is Car Seat Headrest’s first set of brand new songs since 2016’s Teens of Denial. The album, the result of a fruitful “collaboration” between Car Seat Headrest and 1 Trait Danger, a CSH electronic side project consisting of drummer Andrew Katz and Toledo’s alternate persona, “Trait”. It sees Toledo embarking on new and imaginative roads to writing and recording, placing emphasis on the individual songs, each with its own “special energy”, resulting his most dynamic and open-ended work to date.
Following on from their recordings of Haydn’s “Sun” quartets, the Chiaroscuro Quartet now return to the composer with their new album, Haydn: String Quartets Op. 76. This was Haydn’s last complete set of quartets, begun in 1796 when he was 64 years old. The Six String Quartets, Op. 76, form one of the most renowned of Haydn’s sets of quartets and carry the stamp of their maker: No other set of eighteenth-century string quartets is so diverse, or so unconcerned with the norms of the time. In the words of Haydn’s friend and contemporary Charles Burney “they are full of invention, fire, good taste and new effects”. On the present disc, the first of two, we hear the first three quartets, including the “Fifths” quartet (No. 2) so named after the falling perfect fifths with which it begins. The most famous of the set – and possibly of all Haydn quartets – is No. 3, however: the “Emperor” quartet with its second movement: a set of variations on the “Kaiserlied” which Haydn had recently composed to the greater glory of the Austrian Emperor Franz II.
Parcels have unveiled the live film and album Live Vol. 1. The film was recorded at Berlin’s legendary Hansa Studios and offers fans an uninterrupted look into the band’s live process. Tracked live to tape and mixed on a hardware console, the set list features everything fans love about Parcels. It’s a generous offering, filled to the brim with well-known songs, a heightened live feel, and those experimentation and glorious transitions which give their performances a unique touch.
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David Edwards is the editor of The Blurb and a contributor on film and television