Our selection of the best new music across a range of genres from the week ending 30 October 2020.
The consistently brilliant Laura Veirs has released her 11th studio album, My Echo. The album features the previously released singles ‘Burn Too Bright’, ‘Turquoise Walls’ and ‘Another Space and Time’. Veirs’ world was turned upside down in her divorce and it felt like ‘nothing new’ to be forced into further deep uncertainty with the pandemic. She was already prepped for the kind of thinking required for dealing with the unknown. My Echo is her ‘my songs knew I was getting divorced before I did’ album. Her conscious mind was trying as hard as she could to keep her family together but her subconscious mind was working on the difficult struggles in marital life. She was also part of a “Secret Poetry Group” that met and wrote poems monthly for a year. Many of the poems turned into songs for this album.
Guitarist and composer Mary Halvorson has been described as “one of today’s most formidable bandleaders” (Village Voice). In recent Downbeat Critics Polls Halvorson has been celebrated as guitarist, rising star jazz artist, and rising star composer of the year, and in 2019 she was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship. Her new album – with her band Mary Halvorson’s Code Girl – is Artlessly Falling, now available on Firehouse 12 Records. Halvorson is naturally the leader on guitar, and the record features Amirtha Kidambi (voice); Maria Grand (tenor saxophone, voice); Adam O’Farrill (trumpet); Michael Formanek (bass) and Tomas Fujiwara (drums).
French producer, composer, and songwriter Petit Biscuit has revealed his highly anticipated Parachute album – out now. The project was recorded across Petit Biscuit’s global travels as he spent time in Los Angeles sessions and self-isolated on the coast of Iceland for a reprieve from the hustle of daily life. With a wealth of new life experiences to extract from, Parachute finds Petit Biscuit coming into his own as an introspective lyricist with explorations of love, war, and death alongside his self-assured step into the vocal spotlight. Parachute features nine tracks including the recently released ‘Drivin Thru The Night’ and ‘I Leave Again’ feat. Shallou, alongside cuts like ‘Burnin’, the Diplo-assisted ‘Pick Your Battles’ and forward-thinking ‘Constellation’ which Petit Biscuit pinpoints as the future of his sound.
Melbourne based, Wollongong raised Obscura Hail (Sean Conran) is a byproduct of insomnia and the irrational fear of Alzheimers. Sean’s evolving ad-hoc home studio have culminated in a rich archive of alternating styles, proving his commitment to both songwriting and memory preservation. His new EP Siren is out now. The record includes the new single ‘Penumbra’.
The spirit of revolution is infused into the fabric of Shostakovich’s 11th Symphony, from its opening notes to its final closing breaths. Completed in 1957, it remembers the failed uprising of 1905, which sent shockwaves through Russian society that were to span decades. Its timing hints, too, at Hungary’s anti-Soviet rebellion of 1956. Through his powerful and at times unsettling music, Shostakovich celebrates the revolutionary spirit and offers a cautionary tale about the dangers of complete power. The London Philharmonic Orchestra harnesses the dark energy of Shostakovich’s writing in this live performance under Principal Conductor Vladimir Jurowski.
Bridget Chappell has released their debut album Undertow via Heavy Machinery Records. Known for their work under moniker Hextape, Chappell has created a completely original composition using historical data to weave a masterful and compelling story. Originally presented as an installation throughout Knowledge Week and performed live on 23 May 2019, at the Federation Bells, Birrarung Marr, Chappell combines contemporary and historical data of local water management and water colonisation to create an aural painting of the last 185 years of the Birrarung River (“Yarra”) and Narrm bay (“Port Phillip”).
No Eternity In Gold is the fifth album from metalcore giants Like Moths To Flames. Produced, mixed and mastered by Carson Slovak and Grant McFarland (August Burns Red, Rivers Of Nihil), this is a record that showcases Like Moths To Flames like never before. Displaying their trademark foundations of incisive technical dexterity and uncompromising heaviness – all underpinned with earworm melodies – their fifth studio album is the result of challenged perspectives, fully-realised ideals and lessons learned.
Other reviews you might enjoy:
David Edwards is the editor of The Blurb and a contributor on film and television