New music round-up (for w/e 14 July 2023)

Our selection of the best new music across a range of genres from the week ending 14 July 2023.

Palehound’s new album Eye On The Bat charts something that divides you into “before” and “after” – the danger of fantasy, of heartbreak, and the pain of growth. How we can surprise ourselves. It’s a documentation of illusions shattering, both of yourself and of others. A tangle of raw nerves coming undone amongst swelling, propulsive instrumentation, it’s the biggest – and best – Palehound has sounded on record.


As Night Beats, Danny Lee Blackwell creates music like one might assemble a puzzle. The Western psychedelic auteur builds his work from one moment, an initial spark, that must fit a certain criteria: it must give him goosebumps. If that sensation arrives, Blackwell will pursue the idea relentlessly until he has a new song; if not, he moves onto the next moment, constantly looking for the perfect molecule of a song. On his sixth Night Beats album, Rajan, the songwriter is at his strongest, creating works that shine with captivating melodies and hypnotic rhythms, but are underscored by subtle choices of craftsmanship that can only be achieved after countless hours in the studio. Blackwell creates a work that lands somewhere between Spaghetti Western film score and psych-pop opus, a career-defining album that reveals much about Danny Lee Blackwell’s artistic philosophy while keeping that ever crucial air of mystery intact.


The sounds of Madam Walker strutting down the street, Dorothy Parker raising a glass, and Cicely Tyson whispering to Miles Davis are all part of The Woodlawn Suite, Victor Goines’ 13-movement work celebrating the lives of New Yorkers now at rest within the historic Woodlawn Cemetery. Commissioned by the Woodlawn Conservancy to create a modern memorial, the saxophonist and composer created these biographical sketches that link listeners to the lives of those who impacted the music’s culture.


UK electronic royalty Disclosure have released their fourth studio album Alchemy via Apollo Records / AWAL. Taking it back to basics, not only have they decided to surprise release the new album, Alchemy has no guest features and no samples. They’re releasing it independently, and they don’t intend to tour it straight away. Instead, the focus is on the two faces behind Disclosure: brothers Guy and Howard Lawrence. “This record is a celebration of us feeling liberated right now,” says Guy. “We’re no longer signed to a major record label. We’re not going to tour this record. We can do whatever we like and be super creative.” On Alchemy, Guy and Howard embrace a new sense of freedom and expression. This is bold dance music that expands the definition of what a Disclosure track can be. Guy’s production embraces everything from jungle breaks and trance-like supersaw synth riffs to rapid tempo four-to-the-floor club tracks. Meanwhile, Howard’s ear for classic melodic songcraft is sharper than ever, and he uses his own vocals and lyrics more than any time before.


The American countertenor Reginald Mobley, a rising figure in baroque music, notably under the direction of John Eliot Gardiner, and the French pianist Baptiste Trotignon, winner of numerous awards (Victoires du Jazz, Django d’Or) have combined their talents and sensibilities to celebrate these spirituals and the music of Black composers and poets on the new album Because. A gathering of songs arranged or written by composers including H.T. Burleigh and Florence Price, most often re-composed with great freedom by the two performers. Very evocative traditional melodies (such as “Sometimes I feel like a motherless child”, “Deep river” and other anonymous “gospel songs”) are mixed with the improvised piano, in an interactive and organic way.


Cedarsmoke, Meanjin/Brisbane’s indie-rock/folk outfit, have released their second album, The Great & The Terrible. Led by Jon Cloumassis, the band’s frontman and singer-songwriter, Cedarsmoke has received widespread acclaim for their lyric-focused indie sound, infused with a distinct blend of dark humour and evocative allure. The Great & The Terrible expands on Cedarsmoke’s already impressive discography, showcasing their musical dexterity and versatility. The album encompasses a diverse range of genres, spanning from indie-rock to heartfelt acoustic folk-style ballads and piano-driven tracks. With a minimalist approach, the instrumentation on the album features a carefully curated selection of instruments, including piano, acoustic guitars, organs, pedal steel, and harmonica, enhancing the raw and authentic essence of the music.


Nosebleeds, the highly anticipated fourth studio album by MisterWives (out now), propels the group into all new territory, this time, equipped with bravery, confidence and strength. Through a decade-long career, of tremendous highs and lows, the forthcoming project meets the band at their most evolved as they turn their pain into power. Over ten compelling tracks, the band digs deeper than they ever have before, capturing the nuances of life’s highs and lows and re-defining what it means to succeed and to fail.


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