New music round-up (for w/e 15 October 2021)

Our selection of the best new music across a range of genres from the week ending 15 October 2021.

Leftovers, the debut album from Montreal’s Le Ren, stitches together a patchwork of personal songs about different relationships: those we share with mothers, lovers, and friends. Lauren Spear, the artist behind Le Ren, created a physical quilt to mirror the assemblage of stories that comprise her album: a coming-of-age collage that collects over four years of past experiences and finds their present meaning.


For most of her career as one of the most acclaimed improvisers working in jazz’s avant-garde, trumpeter, composer and bandleader Steph Richards worked hard to make sure that her music was considered on its own terms, rather than — as is so often the case in jazz and music as a whole — in the context of her gender. But when she went into the studio to record her upcoming album Zephyr in 2019, Richards was six-and-a-half months pregnant. That literally transformative experience shaped the concise, visceral album both in concept and in practice, forcing the thoughtful, cerebral artist to explore a more immediate connection between her body and her work.


Established! is the new album from RP Boo, his fourth full-length for Planet Mu. In 2013, the label released his debut ‘Legacy’ – an acclaimed album that put RP on the international music map, acknowledging his unique role in the creation of the Chicago-developed art form known as Footwork. It’s been said that RP Boo is to Footwork what Juan Atkins is to Techno. The start; the Soul. On Established! RP looks back to that time when he was inventing Footwork, going out listening to disco and linking with the creators of house such as Paul Johnson.


As a teenager Imogen Cooper studied in Paris from 1961 to 1967 with Jacques Février (who had known Ravel well), Yvonne Lefébure (who had known Alfred Cortot), and Germaine Mounier. She started to wonder about the messages from her teachers she would find on her scores, and about the nature of memory. She was also interested to see if the repertoire she has acquired since she learnt these pieces would change her view, or shed new light on them. Her new highly personal recital, Le Temps Perdu (Lost Time), is an exemplar of Imogen Cooper’s outstanding pianism and musicianship.


Mike Noga’s posthumous album Open Fire is available now. Open Fire was recorded in August 2019 at Sacred Heart Studios in Minnesota with Alan Sparhawk (Low) in the producer’s seat. Open Fire is an apocalyptic, synth-heavy, rock and roll record and follows on from Noga’s critically acclaimed concept album, King. Open Fire was written in Noga’s hometown of Hobart. Writing to a friend during the recording process Mike reflected “Sonically and thematically there’s a healthy dose of impending doom about the state of the world running through the songs…I constantly have the Velvet Underground in mind when I’m writing for this album. Pop… but with a weird, dark twist.”


Sydney group North Arm are back with Bring the Daylight, four years since the release of their last album. Primarily based around the sound and vision of Roderick Smith, the Newcastle-raised songwriter, whose early bands included Firekites, spent most school holidays with his large family in the sleepy coastal town of North Arm Cove, with an old guitar becoming a regular addition to these family trips. It was the melodies that slowly emerged from that dusty old guitar that came to define his North Arm sound and the new album. As reflective and analytical as ever, these are songs comprised of miniature details and the personal minutiae of daily self development. They’re introspective but speak to universal themes that resonate even more deeply after the disorientating events of the last 18 months.


James Sullivan is best known as the singer and guitar player of More Kicks, the London-based power-pop trio. But his album Light Years (out now) is not power-pop. The record is a whistle-stop tour of blitzed-out fuzz (‘Totally Bored’), paranoid drum machine twitches (‘Getaway’), stadium-sized reflections (‘In The End’) and lo-fi ’60s pop nuggets (‘It Won’t Do You Harm’).


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