New music round-up (for w/e 16 June 2023)

Our selection of the best new music across a range of genres from the week ending 16 June 2023.

The fifth full-length studio album from the UK four-piece was conceptualised by Django Django co-founder and powerhouse Dave Maclean, buzzing on ufology as “a way to go beyond”, to bring new voices, new rhythms, new experimentation into play, and effectively to deconstruct the band’s identity. Released in four parts, each as a separate “planet”, Off Planet is the biggest, boldest, and most varied statement the band have made, with a cavalcade of mainstream and underground stars – Self Esteem, Jack Peñate, Stealing Sheep, Toya Delazy and many more, all of them either friends of the band or personally sought out by Dave – bringing entirely new creative angles into play. From bluesy pop and Middle Eastern cabaret goth to Afro acid and piano rave, to call it kaleidoscopic is putting it mildly. Despite at times not sounding like anything on their previous releases, Off Planet is very much still recognisably Django Django.


Acclaimed GRAMMY-winning multi-instrumentalist, singer, and songwriter Meshell Ndegeocello makes her Blue Note Records debut with The Omnichord Real Book, a visionary, expansive, and deeply jazz-influenced album that marks the start of a new chapter in her career. Following her 2018 album Ventriloquism, Meshell returns with an album of new original material that taps into a broad spectrum of her musical roots. The Omnichord Real Book was produced by Josh Johnson and features a wide range of guest artists including Jason Moran, Ambrose Akinmusire, Joel Ross, Jeff Parker, Brandee Younger, Julius Rodriguez, Mark Guiliana, Cory Henry, Joan As Police Woman, Thandiswa, and others.


Dharawal land/Illawarra outfit Expensive Music Band, have released Things to Say at a Barbecue via Exclusive Culture (AU) and Permanent Slump (UK). What was once a solo project, with Things to Say at a Barbecue, Expensive Music Band transitions into a collaborative full-band format, who have live, shared stages with much-loved rising artists including Snowy Band, Pinch Points and Body Type. Written and recorded at Jez Player’s Pinshed with Annabel Blackman (Body Type, Solo Career), Chet Tucker (Uplifting Bell Ends), Luke Player (Tropical Strength, Pinheads) and Bowen Shakallis (Big White), the new album tinkers with yacht rock, AM radio gold and jangly indie-pop, weaving faracial narratives with contemplations of cosmic despair.


Each new Handel release by The English Concert and Harry Bicket is a milestone in the composer’s discography, and the latest, Serse – ‘a spectacular treat for Handel lovers’ (The Times) – is no different. Created to astonish London audiences in 1728, Handel’s romantic and at times comic opera Serse is a spectacular drama of love, war, power and civil engineering set in ancient Persia, whose opening aria ‘Ombra mai fu’ remains an enduring favourite. Serse rules a vast empire, but the human heart is more difficult to command, and sometimes the beauty of a plane tree is the only constant in a dangerous world. The work is complemented by a world – class cast including the ‘barnstorming’ (The Daily Telegraph) Emily D’Angelo as the lovestruck king and Lucy Crowe as Romilda.


Waiting Here is the new album from stalwart powerhouse pop band Tough Age, marking the 10th year of a Tough Era. Returning to their original home of Vancouver after spending over half of their lifespan in Toronto and reuniting with band members from throughout their cross-country existence, the reanimated trio have combined the charged energy of a fresh start with the sharpened songwriting of a veteran group. The resulting 10-song collection is the most cohesive, contemplative release in Tough Age’s decade-spanning discography.


Get ready for a mind-bending trip through the hiphop cosmos with the one and only Kool Keith. Black Elvis is back with his long awaited sequel, Black Elvis 2. Kool Keith takes his information-age rhymes to a whole new level, with a sound that’s equal parts streets and space. Featuring collaborations with Marc Live, Raaddrr Van, Dynamite, Agallah, and the legendary Ice-T, this album will leave you reeling.


Renowned GRAMMY-nominated band Gov’t Mule has released their new studio album, Peace… Like A River. Peace… Like A River is the band’s 12th studio album and follow-up to their chart-topping, Grammy-nominated blues album, Heavy Load Blues. The 12-song rock collection also features guest appearances from Billy Bob Thornton, Celisse, and Billy F Gibbons.


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