Our selection of the best new music across a range of genres from the week ending 15 April 2022.
On her second full-length record, Head of Roses, Jenn Wasner – a.k.a. Flock of Dimes – follows a winding thread of intuition into the unknown and into healing, led by gut feelings and the near-spiritual experience of visceral songwriting. The result is a combination of Wasner’s ability to embrace new levels of vulnerability, honesty and openness, with the self-assuredness that comes with a decade-plus career as a songwriter, producer, multi-instrumentalist and prolific collaborator.
Vibraphonist and composer Joel Ross returns with stunning conviction, issuing his third release for Blue Note Records: The Parable of the Poet. Steadfast in his commitment to skewing perceptions of improvisation and written composition, the critics’ favorite explores new, more expansive territory with his eight-piece Parables band, bringing together young artists of sharply defined expression: Blue Note labelmate Immanuel Wilkins on alto saxophone, Maria Grand on tenor saxophone, Marquis Hill on trumpet, Kalia Vandever on trombone, Sean Mason on piano, Rick Rosato on bass, Craig Weinrib on drums, and returning special guest Gabrielle Garo on flute. The album embodies Ross’ collaborative spirit. His lyrical aesthetic activates an ebb and flow from one movement to the next. Moments of intentional discourse drive sections of collective melody and spontaneous counterpoint.
After the cosmic brew of their first three EPs, London space-surf four-piece Japanese Television are ready to present their debut album, Space Fruit Vineyard, out now on Tip Top Recordings. A full throttle blend of psych, surf, sci-fi, garage rock and everything in between, its 10 tracks solidify their claim as one of the most exciting bands around. The world’s only 100% space-surf outfit, Japanese Television holed themselves up in Yaxley village hall to record their debut full length with The Wytches’ Kristen Bell. Songs were recorded in one take straight onto tape capturing the blistering rawness of the four playing together.
“We’re a bunch of outsiders who refused to be kept out,” says High Pulp drummer Bobby Granfelt. “We’ve never had an academic approach to jazz—most of us grew up playing in DIY bands—so it was the rawness and the energy and the absolute freedom of the music that called to us in the first place.” Indeed, there’s something defiant, something utterly liberating about High Pulp’s remarkable ANTI- Records debut, Pursuit of Ends. Drawing on punk rock, shoegaze, hip-hop, and electronic music, the band’s brand of experimental jazz is both vintage and futuristic all at once, hinting at times to everything from Miles Davis and Duke Ellington to Aphex Twin and My Bloody Valentine.
Munya’s musical process is as fascinating and intuitive as her music. “My music is a collage of first takes, the rawest and best moments, that I transform into something new,” says the woman behind Munya, Josie Boivin. “I’ll take the drums from one song and a guitar part from another and melody I wrote for something else entirely, and I’ll put them together and see how they work.” Munya’s songs are upbeat but ethereal, built around tight, repetitive drum loops and Boivin’s luminous voice. There’s a lightness to this music, a glimmering simplicity, but with a sense of sadness lurking underneath that gives these songs their true power. Munya’s new album Voyage to Mars is out now.
Described by BBC Music Magazine as ‘Mozart music-making of altogether superior quality’, Jean-Efflam Bavouzet’s acclaimed Mozart Concertos series reaches Vol. 6. Along with Concerto No. 24, K. 491, the two concertos presented on this album were composed in Vienna in the winter of 1785 – 86, at a time when Mozart was working on Le nozze di Figaro. He was at the height of his fame as composer, virtuoso pianist, and teacher. These three concertos were all written for his own use in the concerts of that winter, and remained unpublished during his lifetime. Der Schauspieldirektor (The Impresario) was commissioned by Emperor Joseph II for an important state visit and performed at Schönbrunn palace on 7 February 1786. The Overture highlights Mozart’s innate ability as an orchestrator, and serves as a demonstration piece for Gábor Takács-Nagy and the wonderful musicians of Manchester Camerata.
Blues isn’t just twelve bars and a hard luck story. On his debut record, Hard Times and a Woman (out now), guitarist and songwriter Justin Golden showcases the full breadth of the genre and its downstream influences, everything from country blues to Americana, soul, indie roots and beyond. Golden was raised on the Virginia coast and is steeped in the distinctive, fingerpicked Piedmont blues of the central part of the state. He’s studied country blues and can name any number of influences from Blind Boy Fuller to Taj Mahal, but his key inspirations have always come from the indie guitar realm, specifically friends like Phil Cook and J Roddy Walston, with a little Hiss Golden Messenger, Daniel Norgren, and Bon Iver mixed in and maybe a hint of James Taylor.
Other reviews you might enjoy:
- New music round-up
- New music round-up (for w/e 19 March 2021)
- New music round-up (for w/e 21 January 2022)
David Edwards is the editor of The Blurb and a contributor on film and television