Our selection of the best new music across a range of genres from the week ending 12 March 2021.
Australian indie-folk act The Paper Kites have released their fifth studio album Roses via Wonderlick/Sony Music Entertainment Australia. The band are also hitting the road this August for a national tour of Australia. With their brand of weather-beaten ballads and rain drenched pop, the 10 track album bleeds with gentle significance, full of power and sentimentality. The first collaborative release from the band, the album features female accompanists in Lucy Rose (UK), Julie Stone (AU), Nadia Reid (NZ), Maro (PT), Aoife O’Donovan (US), Rosie Carney (IE) Ainslie Wills (AU), Amanda Bergman (SE), Lydia Cole (NZ) and Gena Rose Bruce (AU). Produced by Sam Bentley and Tom Iansek (#1 Dads, Big Scary), Roses is a deeply moving collection of songs, helmed by a cherished selection of artists.
Lake Street Dive’s new album, Obviously, is out now on Nonesuch Records. Obviously was produced by Grammy Award-winning producer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Mike Elizondo who is best known as a songwriting collaborator for Dr. Dre, Eminem, and 50 Cent and has also served as a record producer for Fiona Apple, Mary J. Blige, Carrie Underwood, and 21 Pilots, among many others. Utilizing Elizondo’s hip-hop record-making expertise coupled with the permanent addition of keyboardist Akie Bermiss, Lake Street Dive’s wide-ranging taste in pop, rock, R&B, and jazz have blended together to make an impressively cohesive sound, combining retro influences with a contemporary attitude.
Tone Poem is the third full-length album by Charles Lloyd & The Marvels, the genre-straddling quintet that features the master saxophonist with Bill Frisell on guitar, Greg Leisz on pedal steel guitar, Reuben Rogers on bass, and Eric Harland on drums. Following the band’s 2016 debut I Love To See You and their 2018 collaboration with Lucinda Williams Vanished Gardens, the nine dynamic instrumental tracks here include new Lloyd originals along with pieces by Ornette Coleman, Thelonious Monk, Leonard Cohen, Gabor Szabo, and Bola de Nieve. The vinyl edition of Tone Poem was supervised by Joe Harley and will be the first-ever new release to be presented as part of Blue Note’s acclaimed Tone Poet Vinyl Series.
The Pet Parade marks a milestone for Eric D. Johnson, who celebrates 20 years of Fruit Bats in 2021. In some ways still a cult band, in other ways a time-tested act, Fruit Bats has consistently earned enough small victories to carve out a career in a notoriously fickle scene. While many of the songs on The Pet Parade were actually written before the pandemic, it’s impossible to disassociate the record from the times. As an example, producer Josh Kaufman (The Hold Steady, Bob Weir, The National, and Bonny Light Horseman, in which he plays with Johnson and Anaïs Mitchell) was brought in for his deep emotional touch and bandleading abilities. However, Johnson, Kaufman, and the other musicians on The Pet Parade—drummers Joe Russo and Matt Barrick (The Walkmen, Fleet Foxes, Muzz), singer-songwriter Johanna Samuels, pianist Thomas Bartlett (Nico Muhly, Sufjan Stevens), and fiddler Jim Becker (Califone, Iron & Wine)—were forced to self-record their parts in bedrooms and home studios across America.
Dies Occidendum is a mythical voyage across fog-laden, scorched earth terrain from the original friar of dark hip hop, DJ Muggs the Black Goat. Known and revered as the sonic mastermind behind both Cypress Hill and his own Soul Assassins imprint, here Muggs sheds the MCs and presents his latest dark-soaked productions as an illuminated manuscript of sorts; a fully immersive, instrumental soundtrack to the mysterious Dies Occidendum. No one wields the Excalibur of sonic darkness quite like Muggs. Combining ingredients of psych rock, gypsy folk with modern elements of trap, forged together under layers of his signature sonic grime, Muggs has created yet another blueprint for the utmost sonic menace and macabre.
Piotr Anderszewski takes a characteristically creative approach to Bach’s Das Wohltemperierte Klavier (The Well-tempered Clavier). Rather than recording all 48 of its prelude-and-fugue pairings, he has focused on 12 pairings from Book Two. “I decided to put the pieces together in a sequence of my own subjective choosing, based sometimes on key relationships, at other times on contrasts. The idea behind this specific order is to create a sense of drama that suggests a cycle: 12 characters conversing with one another, mirroring each other.”
Over the past few months, Joelistics has been trickling out the first tastes of his ambitious new production record Joelistics Presents Film School. After rounding out a trio of genre-melding releases – ‘Yokai’, ‘Memory Palace’ and ‘5 Rivers’ – Joelistics is thrilled to finally reveal the remainder of his highly anticipated, moody and angular concept album, of over five years in the making. Now available via Odd Head Music, Film School is a departure for Joelistics as vocalist and MC, and sees the multi-instrumentalist leaning into his recently lauded ‘Best Producer’ role to concentrate his efforts on an expansive catalog of beats and synths. ‘70s Asian pop samples, psych-rock journey music and studio improvisations weave deep explorations of sonic experimentation, with string compositions, guzheng (Chinese harp), synths, samplers, drum machines and more.
Other reviews you might enjoy:
- Obviously (Lake Street Dive) – music review
- New music round-up (for w/e 11 June 2021)
- New music round-up (for w/e 3 December 2021)
David Edwards is the editor of The Blurb and a contributor on film and television