New music round-up (for w/e 17 February 2023)

Our selection of the best new music across a range of genres from the week ending 17 February 2023.

Keep Up The Good Work is the new album by Lowly, out now on Bella Union. The internationally acclaimed quintet from Denmark continue to develop their creative process, embracing other peoples’ affection and letting it blend into their songwriting. The result of this journey: Keep Up The Good Work, the band’s most heartfelt work to date. Sometimes the support we need doesn’t lie in complex answers. Sometimes it can be found in the most simple encouragement. This reflection is embodied throughout Keep Up The Good Work. This music has been forged within a maelstrom of lockdown restrictions and critical life events; often working together virtually, and eventually being together physically and writing as a group.


Award-winning blues and roots musician Joe Louis Walker has released his new album, Weight of the World. A Blues Hall of Fame inductee and six-time Blues Music Award winner, Walker has been described as “a legendary boundary-pushing icon of modern blues” by NPR. His 2015 release, Everyone Wants a Piece, was nominated for a Grammy Award in the “Best Contemporary Blues Album” category. In addition, Walker dueted with B.B. King on his Grammy Award-winning Blues Summit album and played guitar on James Cotton’s Grammy-winning album Deep in the Blues. A true powerhouse guitar virtuoso, unique singer, and prolific songwriter, he has toured the world extensively, performed at the world’s most renowned music festivals, and earned a legion of dedicated fans.


Australian country singer-songwriter Melody Moko is changing the face of country music as we know it with the release of her new stunning new album Suburban Dream. Melding contemporary and edgy lyrical content with finely finessed Americana production, Suburban Dream is like no other release, and further cements the Golden Guitar Award winning artist, as an unrivalled innovator of the craft.


Got the Keys to the Kingdom is the new album from world-renowned saxophonist Chris Potter, recorded live at the Village Vanguard in February 2022. Since joining Edition Records in 2019, he has released two albums with his Circuits Trio (featuring James Francies and Eric Harland), as well as the multi-tracked solo record: ‘There Is A Tide’. Chris’ latest album features an all-star band comprising Craig Taborn, Scott Colley and Marcus Gilmore, recorded live in arguably the most famous and revered Jazz club in the world.


Australia’s leading arts and social change organisation Big hART has released Songs for Freedom, an uplifting collection of original songs created by Ngarluma and Yindjibarndi artists in the Pilbara town of Roebourne, together with guests. The album is the work of numerous songwriters, musicians and other creatives, coming together under the name The Freedom Collective. Produced by Grammy Award-winning musician (and long-time ABC Radio National presenter) Lucky Oceans (who was also a nominee at the recent Grammys, once again with his old band Asleep At the Wheel), Songs for Freedom features lead vocal contributions from Naomi Pigram, Patrick Churnside, Fred Ryan, Vikki Thorn (The Waifs), Kendall Smith, Kankawa Nagarra (Olive Knight), Jay Jarome and John Bennett.


Born in Liège, Belgium, in 1873, Joseph Jongen showed an outstanding precocity for music from a very early age, and was admitted to the Liège Conservatoire at the extraordinarily young age of seven. He won a First Prize for fugue in 1895 and honours diplomas in piano and organ the next year. In 1897, he won the Belgian Prix de Rome, which allowed him to travel to Italy, Germany, and France, where he experienced the music of Brahms and Richard Strauss, Fauré, Debussy, and Ravel, all of which would exert an influence on the young composer. Although he composed in numerous genres, including the symphony and concerto, as well as chamber music, instrumental pieces, and choral works, it is his output for the organ for which he is now best known. The Serbian-American pianist Ivan Ilic helps to redress the balance with this new recording of two of Jongen’s substantial sets of Préludes for piano. The 13 Préludes, Op. 69 are expansive in nature and extremely poetic – each bears an evocative title. They are dedicated to Émile Bosquet who gave their première, in 1923. The 24 Petits Préludes dans tous les tons were begun in 1940 and (like Bach’s preludes and fugues) circle through each and every key, major and minor. Arranged in twelve pairs, the minor key following the major on the same tonic note, these works reflect Jongen’s affinity for (and mastery of) their free form, as well as demonstrating his mature compositional style.


While koleżanka’s previous album, Place Is, was about life on the road and the people you meet living out of a suitcase, their new album Alone with the Sound the Mind Makes is all about being alone at home. The voices that you hear in your head when you remember what it was like to hang out with friends. The drinks shared and the stories remembered.


Other reviews you might enjoy: