Our selection of the best new music across a range of genres from the week ending 21 August 2020.
Nubya Garcia’s first official LP, Source, explores a multidimensional jazz sound layered with soul, afro-diasporic sounds and hints of dub-step along the way. It tells a deeply personal story, despite having no lyrics to accommodate it. Garcia’s saxophone work creates a cohesive piece of modern jazz music. From a slower, more romantic tempo in “Together Is A Beautiful Place To Be” to the upbeat title track “Source” featuring Ms MAURICE, Cassie Kinoshi and Richie Seivwright, Garcia’s instrumental and composition skills are showcased in more ways than one.
Pop Filter is something of an Australian super group, featuring members of Snowy Band, The Ocean Party and Cool Sounds. And while the six members stretch between cities, their shared history binds them together. The band’s number one goal is to nurture their friendship while continuing to make music at an age when children, work, and distance can easily hamper this. Their debut album, Banksia, is out now via Osborne Again and Spunk! Records. Largely written and recorded in a family holiday home in Broulee, NSW, Banksia is a collaborative project with each individual member writing the skeleton of two songs before they were fleshed out together through the freeform sextet recording process.
Love & Death, the new record from Navarra String Quartet, presents an introspective journey into the human mind. The enigmatic theme reveals how revered composers (including Puccini, Kanacek and Schubert) explored two of humanity’s greatest unknowns coming face to face in an eclectic array of circumstances. The seductive courting of the matador before a final paso doble with the bull, a bouquet of mourning flowers written overnight for a deceased friend, intoxicated love leading to an atrocious murder and finally, Death as a lover and a saviour from the pain of his suffering bride. Although these masterpieces differ greatly, one can question whether it is the very nature of the two unknowns which confers a common thread of immortality.
The Lemon Twigs have released their new album, Songs For The General Public. Brian and Michael D’Addario first emerged as The Lemon Twigs in 2016 with their debut LP Do Hollywood, whose showstopping melodies mined from every era of rock quickly earned fans in Elton John, Questlove, and Jack Antonoff. Go To School, the ambitious 15-track coming-of-age opus, followed in 2018 and solidified the band’s reputation for building grand walls of sound around an audacious concept. The record features previous singles ‘No One Holds You (Closer Than The One You Haven’t Met)’, ‘Live In Favor Of Tomorrow’, ‘Moon’ and ‘The One’.
Agora (“Now”) is the new album from iconic ground-breaking Brazilian artist Bebel Gilberto. This is Gilberto’s first new studio album in six years and was produced by Thomas Bartlett (Sufjan Stevens, St. Vincent). “I have gone through a lot while we were writing and recording this album. I lost my best friend, then six months later my Mom and then six months after that my Dad. It was very hard for me and still is,” says Bebel Gilberto. “I took a different approach with Agora, supported by the love and confidence I received from my long-time friend and producer of the album, Thomas Bartlett. Thomas trusted me – and let me be me. The album as a result is a little bit crazier, more mature and extremely sincere.”
Beat Boy, the new album from Sydney-based artist California Girls, is out now via Dero Arcade. Working between pop, club music and post-punk, California Girls – aka Gus McGrath – has been operating from his hometown in Canberra since 2014, before moving to Sydney at the end of 2019. His debut album Desire in 2016 came to terms with the complexities of romance through contemporary synth pop. Now in 2020, California Girls’ moves to dissect emotional and theoretical ideas of being. Beat Boy is loosely built around the performances of identity and sex, which California Girls attempts to play out within a pop framework. While California Girls isn’t pop music, it references that vocabulary within its own expansive, punk approaches.
One of the most influential voices in hip-hop, Nas, has dropped his new record King’s Disease via Mass Appeal Records / Caroline Australia. The 13-track LP spans a diverse range of uplifting, hard-hitting and melodic cuts, featuring artists like Anderson .Paak, A$AP Ferg and Don Toliver, among others. The milestone release from the Queensbridge icon was produced by hip-hop mastermind Hit-Boy.
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David Edwards is the editor of The Blurb and a contributor on film and television