Our selection of the best new music across a range of genres from the week ending 24 July 2020.
New Zealand-born, Melbourne-bred and now Los Angeles-based Jess Cornelius has released her debut album, Distance. A lot has changed since Jess Cornelius began writing the songs that would comprise Distance. For starters, she moved halfway around the world. At the time, Cornelius had a few new songs and the idea of finally making a record of her own, excited to start fresh after several years as the primary songwriter in the Melbourne-based outfit Teeth and Tongue. But the distance that Cornelius addresses over the course of these 10 songs is hardly a geographical one. Instead, the album finds a deft songwriter analysing the space between society’s expectations for her and her own dreams; between the illusion of love and the reality of disappointment; between a past she is ready to let go of and a future she could have hardly imagined.
All Distortions Are Intentional, the biggest and boldest step yet in the creative evolution of UK-rockers Neck Deep, is available now via Hopeless Records. Their fourth full-length record is both polished and raw, layered but catchy as hell. It’s a shoot-for-the-stars sonic reckoning, further proving this band’s instinctual DIY ethos has paid off once again. The band enlisted the talents of Grammy-nominated A-list producer Matt Squire (Panic! At The Disco, Ariana Grande, One Direction) to create ADAI, recording in Wales at the legendary Monnow Valley Studio, which has been a recording home for artists like Oasis, Queen, Led Zeppelin, Joss Stone and more.
Maria Schneider’s music has been hailed by critics as “evocative, majestic, magical, heart-stoppingly gorgeous, and beyond categorization.” She and her orchestra became widely known starting in 1994 when they released their first recording, Evanescence. There, Schneider began to develop her personal way of writing for what would become her 18-member collective, made up of many of the finest musicians in jazz today, tailoring her compositions to distinctly highlight the uniquely creative voices of the group. The new release from the Maria Schneider Orchestra, Data Lords, explores two conflicting “worlds”. One world clamours desperately for our constant attention, the other really doesn’t need any of us at all. Amidst the noise, it now requires great effort to take real breaks from the digital world so that we can fully access the organic world that sustains us.
Acclaimed singer, songwriter and musician Courtney Marie Andrews has released her highly anticipated new album, Old Flowers (produced by Andrew Sarlo) on Fat Possum Records. Created in the aftermath of a long-term relationship, Old Flowers features Andrews’ most vulnerable writing to date on ten new songs that chronicle her journey through heartbreak, loneliness and finding herself again after it all.
Lorelei Ensemble have released their recording of David Lang’s love fail (2012, revised for women’s vocal ensemble in 2016) on Cantaloupe Music. love fail is a meditation on the timelessness of love that weaves together details from medieval retellings of the story of Tristan and Isolde with stories from more modern works by Lydia Davis, Marie de France, Gottfried von Strassburg, Béroul, Thomas of Britain, and Richard Wagner. Originally written for vocal quartet performing on simple percussion instruments, Lang’s love fail was arranged for women’s chorus in 2016 and the new version was premiered by Lorelei at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston.
A Small Death is the new album from Samantha Crain; available now through Real Kind Records, a label formed by British musician Lucy Rose. Crain thinks of the album as the beginning of a second chance, a hard-won “bonus round” in life that came about through no small amount of physical and emotional upheaval. Featuring eleven riveting new songs that are by turns anguished and redemptive, A Small Death finds the Oklahoma singer confronting decades of grief and trauma, dredged up by an incapacitating physical pain that often kept her home in bed.
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David Edwards is the editor of The Blurb and a contributor on film and television