Our selection of the best new music across a range of genres from the week ending 14 May 2021.
Over the past four years, Juliana Hatfield has kept fans engaged and intrigued as she oscillates between impassioned original releases (Pussycat, Weird) and inspired covers collections (Juliana Hatfield Sings Olivia Newton-John, Juliana Hatfield Sings The Police). This year she returns with her latest album of originals, Blood, out now. Her 19th solo studio album takes a deep dive into the dark side with a lens on modern human psychology and behaviour. “I think these songs are a reaction to how seriously and negatively a lot of people have been affected by the past four years,” says Juliana. “But it’s fun, musically. There’s a lot of playing around. I didn’t really have a plan when I started this project.”
Sons of Kemet return with their new album Black To The Future, the follow up to 2018’s Mercury Prize-nominated breakout release Your Queen Is A Reptile. This is their fourth record and second on impulse! records. Guest artists include Kojey Radical, Moor Mother, Angel Bat Dawid, Joshua Idehen, D Double E and is part of the impulse! records “impulse 60!” 2021 campaign.
The Monster Who Hated Pennsylvania by Damien Jurado is out now on his own label, Maraqopa Records. The album contains ten intense stories of people determined not to be broken by dire circumstances. The self-produced album is sonically among Damien Jurado’s most exposed, homespun ambiance and inspired by the dry sound of records like Lou Reed’s The Bells and Paul McCartney’s Ram. Jurado creates his own Twilight Zone, “a middle ground between light and shadow”, a dimension of imagination, of half-remembered dreams and people reaching out to cross into that liminal space between heartbreak and wholeness. Jurado knows the territory well and knows the secret words to whisper at the right time. “All is not lost/Even if you’re without a direction.” “Just stick around till the light pushes into the darkness,” Damien promises – or admits – Press your eye to the speaker, tune your ear to the horizon.
The 30th Australian Festival of Chamber Music (AFCM) will take place in Townsville from 23 July to 1 August. A joyous 10-day celebration of music curated by internationally acclaimed Artistic Director, Kathryn Stott, the AFCM has forged a stunning international reputation as one of the best chamber music events in the world. This year’s event features 133 works, 112 composers, four world premieres and five Australian premieres. It stars more than 40 Australian musicians, 15 in their AFCM debut, as well as three ensembles including the Goldner String Quartet in their 25th anniversary year, and three local groups including the acclaimed Dancenorth.
Dunedin’s finest, The Chills release their seventh studio album Scatterbrain, a glorious self-examination of Martin Phillipps’ songwriting hot (ish) on the heels of the hugely successful Snowbound (2018) and the critically-acclaimed movie The Chills: The Triumph And Tragedy of Martin Phillipps a year later. Now in 2021, Phillipps is now taking stock of things – everything. Yes, everything. The result is Scatterbrain, a thought-provoking and evocative take from a man who has lived through good times and bad.
Rupt and Flex (1994 – 96) is an anthology of Seefeel’s 94 – 96 work made for Warp and Rephlex. The package includes their out-of-print studio albums Succour and (Ch-Vox); two non-album EPs, Starethrough and Fracture/Tied; and 22 bonus tracks from the Seefeel archives, most of which have been previously unreleased.
The Juilliard String Quartet have a new line-up and have just released their first album with new member Areta Zhulla. The record captures warm memories of their initial season touring together, and is now available! The album repertoire is:
Ludwig van Beethoven: String Quartet in E minor, Op. 59
Béla Bartók: String Quartet No. 3, Sz. 87
Antonín Dvořák: String Quartet in F Major, Op. 96 “American”
Other reviews you might enjoy:
- The Horizon Just Laughed (Damien Jurado) – music review
- The Monster Who Hated Pennsylvania (Damien Jurado) – music review
- New music round-up
David Edwards is the editor of The Blurb and a contributor on film and television