New music round-up (for w/e 22 October 2021)

Our selection of the best new music across a range of genres from the week ending 22 October 2021.

La Luz has always been a band with a vision. Their discography is a study in balancing both heavenly and haunting sounds for a lush style of rock music that’s all their own. On their self-titled fourth album, La Luz fearlessly launch themselves into a new realm of emotional intimacy with a collection of songs steeped in the mysteries of the natural world and the magic of human chemistry that has found manifestation in the musical ESP between guitarist and songwriter Shana Cleveland, bassist Lena Simon, and keyboardist Alice Sandahl.


American guitarist Norman Blake is one of the great unsung heroes of 20th century folk music. Over the course of his long career, he’s been at the forefront of multiple revivals of American roots music. For now, Blake seems content to amble the backroads of his musical memory, using obscure histories for new songs or pulling forth old chestnuts he hasn’t been able to stop singing in all the long years. His new album for venerable record label Smithsonian Folkways, Day by Day, out now, is an album of favorite folk songs and a few originals done in single take recordings. On guitar and on banjo, Blake showcases the instrumental mastery that’s won him four generations of fans, never playing for speed or virtuosity, but always treating the source material with the greatest respect.


The Silesian Quartet, winner of multiple awards and distinctions both in its native Poland and abroad, is one of the country’s leading chamber music ensembles. Its members – Szymon Krzeszowiec and Arkadiusz Kubica on violin, Lukasz Syrnicki on viola, and Piotr Janosik on cello – spent the early years of their career developing their abilities under the supervision of musicians from such quartets as the LaSalle, Amadeus, Juilliard, Smetana, and Alban Berg string quartets. Today, the ensemble enjoys international renown, giving concerts throughout the world. Their new release sees them showcasing the complete string quartets of their compatriot Krzysztof Penderecki.


The jazz world was stunned and saddened by the unexpected passing of legendary pianist Chick Corea on February 9, 2021, from a rare form of cancer. Two of the gifted musicians who’d helped Chick keep the fire burning so brightly were bassist John Patitucci and drummer Dave Weckl, the pianist’s bandmates in his storied Akoustic Band. Corea worked hard making sure everything was just right for this first release by the trio in over two decades. Straightforwardly titled Chick Corea Akoustic Band LIVE, the 2-CD set was recorded January 13, 2018 at SPC Music Hall in St. Petersburg, Florida. Out now via Concord Jazz, the release serves as a celebratory reminder of Corea’s singular genius, with more than two hours of inspired playing and spirited camaraderie.


The Aerial Maps return with Intimate Hinterland, a brand new collection of “story-songs” of love, loss, and landscape. Boasting an enviable line-up of Sydney musicians who have played key roles in the independent Australian music scene over the last three decades, The Aerial Maps have the ability to make you cry, laugh, reminisce and sway. Their music explores the darker reaches of the country’s psyche, the desperate lives lived beneath the hot sun and on the edges of the wide open roads through narrative and song.


Hand Habits, the project of Los Angeles-based musician Meg Duffy, is back with their new album Fun House – the most ambitious Hand Habits album to date. Produced by Sasami Ashworth (SASAMI) and engineered by Kyle Thomas (King Tuff), the record was not intended as a reaction to the pandemic, but it was very much the result of taking a difficult, if much-needed, moment of pause. Emboldened by going into therapy and coaxed by Ashworth to push the songs into unexpected new shapes, the resulting music is more acutely personal and stylistically adventurous than anything you’ve heard from Hand Habits before.


Borrowed Time is Joe Troop’s solo follow up to Che Apalache’s GRAMMY® nominated release Rearrange My Heart. The album was co-produced by Jason Richmond (Avett Brothers, Joe Henry) and features guest performances by Béla Fleck, Abigail Washburn, Tim O’Brien, and Charlie Hunter.


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