Our selection of the best new music across a range of genres from the week ending 26 February 2021.
Singer/songwriter Chris Pierce stands by the notion that music can cut through the isolated and static feelings for those of us worn down by the chaos of everyday life. He calls out to unite us under one sonic roof to speak up, sing out, rise up and resist with the offering of his new 21st century Americana freedom and justice album titled American Silence (out now). On the LP, Pierce channels legendary justice and freedom songwriters. With sparse acoustic instrumentation and unmistakable soulfully passionate vocals, Pierce creates an authentic sound all his own removed from time or trend.
Our Highway, the newest album from Cowboys & Frenchmen, presents a sweeping view of America as seen through the window of a band’s tour van. Recorded live at SubCulture in New York City, this album embodies forward motion, pastoral beauty, urban energy, and economic struggle. Each track expresses these themes in a different setting, from hectic big cities, to majestic and tranquil nature, to the non-stop propulsion of life on the road with its many surprises and challenges. Contrasting musical themes are blended together with virtuosic solos and collective improvisation to create a harmonious collage of modern jazz, telling the story of daily life as a contemporary American artist.
Lost Horizons have released their anticipated new album In Quiet Moments via Bella Union. To celebrate the release the band have shared a video for the closing track on the album, “This Is The Weather”, which features Karen Peris from the innocence mission on guest vocals. Of the track Karen Peris says: “It is a joy for me to be part of another Lost Horizons album. There was a beautiful spaciousness in the track of piano that I received from Simon, that allowed for hearing and seeing a melody and a scene, with a melancholy that connected immediately with the feeling of missing someone very dear to me.”
The Australian World Orchestra is gearing up for their long-awaited return to concert halls. After such a quiet year for live performances, conductor Alexander Briger and the musicians of the AWO will reunite for a symbolic return to normal. It will be nearly two years since Australia’s world-class classical musicians have gathered together on stage, under one flag, showcasing the great talent that makes the Australian World Orchestra unique. This year the Australian World Orchestra celebrates their 10th anniversary with the world premiere of Paul Dean’s Symphony, a new Australian work commissioned by the AWO. This new major work is Australian at its core, capturing the brutal beauty of this relentless and boundlessly rewarding country that we are lucky to call home. Symphony culminates with an expression of hope, as globally we watch and wait for the beauty that emerges after the storm. Before Symphony is played to a live audience for the first time, that audience will have their ears and hearts warmed up with Beethoven’s dramatic and sensitive Coriolan Overture with the evening topped off with Schumann’s gorgeously lush and exciting Second Symphony, one of the greatest works of the Romantic era.
The AWO’s tour will take in Canberra on 2 June; Sydney on 3 June and Melbourne on 4 June.
Grace Sanders has been making a huge impact over the last 6 months leading up to the highly-anticipated release of her debut EP GUMS. Over that time Sanders has showcased a wide variety of sounds and styles, all of which are tied together seamlessly in this EP. Sliding through a unique blend of psych/ electro with layers hazy psychedelic guitars and synths, to gritty, blood-bubbling electro-pop, soul, R&B and trip-hop, GUMS unveils Sanders songwriting prowess and fiery confidence. Sanders speaks on the diversity in sound on the EP:
Australian alt favourites Slowly Slowly have released their new album Race Car Blues – Chapter 2. Featuring adored singles ‘Comets & Zombies’, ‘The Level’ & ‘First Love ft. Yours Truly’, Chapter 2 comes to complete the Race Car Blues story almost a year to the day since the release of the original record in February 2020. In the lead up to the album’s release Slowly Slowly primed fans with an intriguing spread of singles, sonic shake ups and stylistic choices. This unbridled approach is perhaps most evidenced in the band’s recent music video for ‘The Level’, a 70s-soaked effort that completely transports viewers into Slowly Slowly’s unique world.
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David Edwards is the editor of The Blurb and a contributor on film and television