Our selection of the best new music across a range of genres from the week ending 22 May 2020.
For her 20th studio album, Katie Noonan takes listeners back to where it all began – the iconic pop songs of the 1980s that first ignited her passion for music. On the album, Noonan is joined by four of the finest jazz musicians in Australia – Zac Hurren (saxophones), Sam Keevers (piano), Phil Stack (double bass) and Evan Mannell (drums) – all fellow babies of the 1970s who grew up with this music as their earliest influences. They put new jazz spins on these classic tunes that reveal just how good the songwriting was. Terence Trent D’Arby’s smash hit ‘Sign Your Name’ is re-imagined as a sultry late-night groove, while Whitney Houston’s ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’ is transformed into a piano ballad that exposes the heartache and longing at the core of what has long been a party-starter.
Banana Skin Shoes is the ninth album from Badly Drawn Boy (a.k.a. Damon Gough). The album comprises of 14 tracks including previously released track ‘Is This A Dream?’. Always one to wear his heart on his sleeve, Gough’s ninth album is a truly personal & heartfelt collection of songs, a huge statement of intent and a colourful, honest pop record.
After humble lo-fi beginnings in the Australian art-pop underground, Donny Benét has released his new album Mr Experience via Dot Dash Recordings / Remote Control Records. Mr Experience marks a new chapter informed by a wealth of musical and personal development. Sincerity has been a key component of Benét’s output since the beginning. Mr Experience moves further away from ironic notions as Donny explores lyrical and musical themes which embody observations of maturation in his audience, his tight-knit musical community, and himself.
I Still Play, an album of eleven new solo piano compositions written by artists who have recorded for Nonesuch Records, is now available. The pieces were written in honor of the label’s longtime President Bob Hurwitz on the occasion of his 2017 shift into the Chairman Emeritus role. This all-star collection features works by John Adams, Laurie Anderson, Timo Andres, Louis Andriessen, Donnacha Dennehy, Philip Glass, Nico Muhly, Brad Mehldau, Steve Reich, Pat Metheny, and Randy Newman, performed by Andres, Mehldau, Newman, and Jeremy Denk.
Indigo Girls are back to tell their origin story. They’ve reunited with their strongest backing band to date to create Look Long; an eclectic collection of songs that finds the duo of Amy Ray and Emily Saliers chronicling their personal upbringings with more specificity and focus than they have on any previous song-cycle. The eleven songs have a tender, revealing motion to them, as if they’re feeding into a Super 8 film projector, illuminating a darkened living room: Saliers and Ray are tackling the mechanisms of perspective. “We’re fallible creatures shaped by the physics of life,” says Saliers. “We’re shaped by our past; what makes us who we are? And why?” In this moment of delirious upheaval, Look Long considers the tremendous potential of ordinary life and suggests the possibility that an honest survey of one’s past and present, unburdened by judgement, can give shape to something new—the promise of a way forward. With the energy of an expanding, loyal audience beneath their feet, a weather eye toward refinement, and an openness to redefinition, Indigo Girls exemplify that promise.
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David Edwards is the editor of The Blurb and a contributor on film and television