New music round-up (for w/e 21 January 2022)

Our selection of the best new music across a range of genres from the week ending 21 January 2022.

The Gods We Can Touch from Aurora is her celestial but provocative new album about shame, desire and morality, all seen through the narrative prism of Greek mythology. In each of the album’s fifteen songs we meet a different god. On Exist For Love, it’s Aphrodite; We also meet Persephone, queen of the damned (on Heathens), Morpheus (This Could Be A Dream) and Peitho, the personification of seduction and persuasion (A Dangerous Thing). “The Greeks had gods and goddesses for everything,” Aurora notes. “For anxiety, for wine, for sex… Long ago when this concept of gods and goddesses started they were more human, more relatable, and almost touchable. Most importantly, they had flaws.”


Forever I Wait is Martina Topley-Bird’s fourth long awaited studio album and her very first self-produced and curated piece of work to date. The album captures an extensive journey confronting, exploring, analysing and reflecting on the devastating fragilities of life as it ultimately seeks to make peace with what life is.


David Binney’s new record, A Glimpse of the Eternal, is, he says, “completely different than anything I’ve ever done – chilled out, an honest and pleasant vibe, nothing too complicated or intense.” If that self-description seems at odds with the intense, complex tonal personality that Binney has presented on his 30-album discography since 1990 … well, that was his intention. He explains: “Initially, I wanted to do something like those almost commercial records from the ’50s or ’60s or ’70s, like a Gene Ammons record I have where he plays these ballad- like tunes for 2½ – 3 minutes.” He adds: “All the guys were super-enthusiastic about doing a straight-ahead ballads record.” But as Binney researched and culled repertoire, he changed course. He decided to incorporate a few “more energetic” tracks and to record some covers of “obscure tunes that meant something to me.”


Shoals is the third studio album from London band Palace, and it’s out now via Fiction Records. Shoals is a profound and pensive album, boldly exploring some of life’s greatest questions over its 12 mesmerising tracks. Through diving into themes of the subconscious, dreams and existentialism, Shoals is broadly a record about living with and processing fear.


The Philadelphia Orchestra and its Music Director, Yannick Nézet-Séguin have released their latest album Florence Price: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 3 to celebrate the achievements of Florence Price in surmounting systemic barriers of African-Americans and women in classical music. Price came to prominence almost ninety years ago. The composer’s Symphony No. 1 was the first symphonic work by a Black woman to be played by a major American orchestra. Much of her music then fell into neglect for superficial reasons, as Nézet-Séguin comments. Therefore, The Philadelphia Orchestra brings her music back with their latest recording.


Artsick was formed in June 2018 when Christina Riley (of Burnt Palms) teamed up with Mario Hernandez (Kids On A Crime Spree, Ciao Bella) on drums and Donna McKean (Lunchbox, Hard Left) on bass. Following up their 2018 7″ single they’re now back with their debut album Fingers Crossed, The record surveys a vast swathe of indie and indiepop history, from DIY progenitors like Dolly Mixture through the punkier side of C86 (think Talulah Gosh, Fat Tulips) to the 90s K Records-centered International Pop Underground and straight through more recent exemplars like Vivian Girls and Colleen Green.


Sisters Eleanor and Bonnie Whitmore, two of roots music’s most accomplished songwriter/instrumentalist/vocalists, have released their first album together as The Whitmore Sisters. Titled Ghost Stories, it’s inspired by the loss of family, friends, ex-boyfriends and — on the title track — people who died by police violence. These “ghosts” chose to appear right as Covid became entrenched — when live music evaporated and people were isolated from each other.


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