New music round-up (for w/e 23 April 2021)

Our selection of the best new music across a range of genres from the week ending 23 April 2021.

Imelda May’s sixth studio album 11 Past The Hour is a record that brims with sensuality, emotional intelligence, spirituality and intuition, marking a new chapter for Imelda and showcasing her at her most authentic. With pals and collaborators like Ronnie Wood, Noel Gallagher and Miles Kane, and with inspired contributions from feminist thinkers and activists such as Gina Martin and Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu, the album is an invigorating blast of rock’n’roll, with a purpose. Mostly written with co-producer Tim Bran (London Grammar, Primal Scream) and string arranger Davide Rossi (Coldplay, U2, Goldfrapp), this brave album shows an artist diving deep into her true self, her Irish roots, her love of storytelling and singing from her soul.


London based producer, pianist, bandleader and MC Alfa Mist has released his fourth full-length solo record Bring Backs. Bring Backs marks Alfa’s first release for the label ANTI- and is also the most detailed exploration of his upbringing in musical form. The album’s nine tracks of groove-based intricacies, lyrical solipsism and meandering fragmentations are tied together by a remarkable poem written by Hilary Thomas expressing the sensuous realities of building community in a new country. Entirely written and produced by Alfa, the album was recorded in London with a core band of longtime collaborators including Jamie Leeming (guitar), Kaya Thomas-Dyke (bass and vocals), Jamie Houghton (drums) and Johnny Woodham (trumpet).


Recorded at the height of the international Covid lockdown, Oliver Davis’ sixth album for Signum, Solace, is a feat of both technological as well as artistic achievement. Davis draws together artists from across the globe for a selection of moving works for a variety of forces – recording a violinist in Los Angeles, a piano duo in The Netherlands, a guitarist in Argentina and the Budapest Scoring Orchestra conducted by Péter Illényi in Budapest. British composer Davis has parlayed a long record as a composer of film and television scores into a successful career as a composer of orchestral music that, in performance, has attracted top-notch London orchestras and soloists. He has also been active as a composer of ballet, most recently premiering Lineage with choreographer Edwaard Liang at New York City Ballet’s prestigious Fall Fashion Gala.


Chitra is the debut self-titled EP for Melbourne songwriter Chitra. The EP was originally released digitally right at the dawn of the pandemic, which means we’ve all had plenty of time to get acquainted with the EP and realise that nothing could beat hearing it played straight from the turntable. The record features previously released singles ‘Leaving’, ‘Keep Up’, ‘Better Than Before’ and ‘A Kind’. Chitra’s songs capture the candid and lived in space of in-betweenness of an old soul growing up and navigating the present with an observant and cuttingly self aware lens. Each song offers a vulnerable new insight, individually and collectively weaving a complex narrative. Her love of 50s & 60s girl groups like The Supremes and The Shirelles shines through on the production and vocal performance as well as influences from modern day heroes such as Molly Burch, Angel Olsen and Adrianne Lenker of Big Thief.


The Selecter’s debut album Too Much Pressure was originally released in February 1980, to critical acclaim and launched the band onto the world stage. At the time the band only consisted of Neol Davies and John Bradbury (later of The Specials) before quickly forming a full band by the summer of 1979. They released the follow up single, ‘On My Radio’, which reached No. 6 in the UK charts before releasing their debut album in February 1980. Three further hit singles were released in 1980, ‘Three Minute Hero’, ‘Missing Words’ and ‘The Whisper’. Now Chrysalis Records is re-releasing the classic ska record in a variety of formats, including a special 3-disc deluxe edition.


Throne of Ivory, the new collection of singles and B-sides by The Berries, represents a young American songwriter growing into his full potential. Matt Berry, the multi-instrumentalist behind The Berries, has previously released two LP’s on Boston’s Run for Cover Records: Start All Over Again (2018), a sparkling case of Neil Young worship, and Berryland (2019), an ennui ridden nod to the sounds of Primal Scream and Americana. On Throne of Ivory, however, Berry no longer stands on the shoulders of songwriting giants. Each song bursts with character, layering frigid piano lines and bubbling synths over Berry’s signature guitar heroics. Eyebrow raising experimentalism meets incredible pop sensibility, imbuing the whole record with the captivating energy of a new voice firing on all cylinders.


Animal Collective’s latest project is the soundtrack to the film Crestone, the debut feature written, produced and directed by Marnie Ellen Hertzler. Set in the desert of Crestone, Colorado over the course of eight days, the film features an original score composed by Animal Collective’s Geologist & Deakin. Crestone follows a group of SoundCloud rappers who live in solitude, growing weed and making music for the internet. When an old friend arrives to make a movie, reality and fiction begin to blur.

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