Our selection of the best new music across a range of genres from the week ending 8 May 2020.
That’s How Rumors Get Started is the new release from Margo Price. The album of ten original songs commits her live shows to record for the very first time. Co-produced by Margo and longtime friend Sturgill Simpson, the LP marks Price’s debut for Loma Vista Recordings. Her songs cover themes from motherhood to the mythologies of stardom, and from Nashville gentrification to the healthcare crisis. That’s How Rumors Get Started follows Price’s 2017 album All American Made, which was named the top Country/Americana album of the year by Rolling Stone.
If I Break Horses’ third album Warnings feels like a great film, it’s no coincidence. Faced with making the follow-up to 2014’s Chiaroscuro, Horses’ Maria Lindén decided to take the time to make something different, with an emphasis on instrumental, cinematic music. As she watched a collection of favourite films on her computer (sound muted) and made her own soundtrack sketches, these sonic workouts gradually evolved into something more: “It wasn’t until I felt an urge to add vocals and lyrics,” says Lindén, “that I realized I was making a new I Break Horses album.” The album is an intimate return that sets its own pace with the intuitive power of a much-loved movie. And, as its title suggests, its sumptuous sound worlds – dreamy mellotrons, haunting loops, analogue synths – and layered lyrics crackle with dramatic tension.
Co-produced by Diane Schuur and Grammy-winning saxophonist Ernie Watts, Schuur’s new album Running on Faith features music by some of her heroes; from Miles Davis to Carole King to Paul Simon. Blues, straight-ahead jazz, gospel and a few tunes that defy classification are included. Percy Mayfield’s “Walking On A Tightrope” opens, setting the tone as she sings “the blues and I, we know each other”. Schuur exudes admiration for Dinah Washington with “This Bitter Earth”, and celebrates the unifying lyrics of Miles Davis’ “All Blues.” The hard-swinging interpretation of Paul Simon’s “Something So Right” demonstrates the jazz chops of this album’s tight ensemble. Schuur showcases her musical skills as an instrumentalist, closing with lone piano on the spiritual “Swing Low Sweet Chariot.”
Rising Irish singer/songwriter April (aka April Lawlor) has released her debut EP New Conditions; a collection of poetic love songs. Following a succession of uploaded Garageband demos and covers to her Soundcloud account, April only released her first official single ‘The Impossible Task Of Feeling Complete’ on February 20 this year. The track and the young artist caught the attention of BBC Radio 1 and The Sunday Times. The title track and second single from New Conditions sees April delve into the relationship between infatuation and escapism – in her words: “‘New Conditions’ is a kind of dark love song, it’s about using love as a means of escape from your own problems. When you fill your brain with thoughts about someone else it can stop the other things going on in your mind. It’s about questioning whether you actually are in love or not, or if you’re just pretending to yourself for peace of mind.”
As part of the 250th anniversary of the birth of Beethoven, Compagnia di Punto has made a recording of his first three symphonies. How is Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphonies 1-3 special? A remarkable aspect of this recording is that Beethoven’s symphonies, today considered as untouchable and virtually sacred monuments, are performed by the Compagnia di Punto in arrangements realised by Beethoven’s contemporaries for a chamber ensemble made up of only ten instrumentalists. While this may be considered an affront to some purists, this recording will be welcomed by classical music fans with an open mind as an absolute rarity. On one hand, original arrangements of famous works reveal how loosely the “musical pantheon” could be treated during Beethoven’s time; on the other hand, they manage to cast a completely new light on musical works that are known inside out.
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David Edwards is the editor of The Blurb and a contributor on film and television