New music round-up (for w/e 24 May 2024)

Our selection of the best new music across a range of genres from the week ending 24 May 2024.

With a credo adapted from science fiction author Octavia E. Butler, an album title from a collection of metaphysical poetry, and an expansion in consciousness brought on by personal crisis, guitarist and songwriter Shana Cleveland learns to embrace a changing world with unconditional love on News of the Universe, the new full-length from California rock band La Luz. News of the Universe is a record born of calamity, a work of dark, beautiful psychedelia reflecting Cleveland’s experience of having her world blown apart by a breast cancer diagnosis just two years after the birth of her son. It’s also a portrait of a band in flux, marking the first appearance for drummer Audrey Johnson and the final ones from longtime members bassist Lena Simon and keyboardist Alice Sandahl, whose contributions add a bittersweet edge to a record that is both elegy for an old world and cosmic road map to a strange new one.

Motorists’ second album had a lengthy gestation period, written in the year following their 2021 self-produced debut, Surrounded, which Allmusic described as “an abundance of thoughtfully arranged hooks.” In the six months leading to their recording sessions for Touched By The Stuff, the band picked up the pace, with both Learoyd and Fahner barely sneaking songs under the wire. Instrumentals were recorded live off the floor, before the trio ran wild with overdubs, weaving organs, vibraphones, and handclaps into their mellifluous harmonies.

Between Light and Shadow is the new release for the Nick Biello Trio. The album is based on the German Netflix Show “Dark.” Inspired by the themes of alinear time, alternate realities, coalescing futures, and the human struggle to discover the meaning of our mortality, leader Nick Biello wrote original music for the trio which also features Alex Tremblay on bass and Peter Kronreif on drums.

Don’t Thank Me, Spank Me! have released their self-titled debut album. The record was co-produced with the help of Henry Jenkins (Mo’Ju), Hudson Whitlock (Karate Boogaloo), Myka Wallace and Jules Pascoe with Casey Rice on mixing duties. A love affair between all their greatest musical influences, Don’t Thank Me, Spank Me! draws on the duo’s love of girl bands from the 70s, 80s pop rock, 90s RnB, and so much more, as they speak to their experience moving through the world as women.

Trio Rigamonti presents romantic piano trios by two female composers, Clara Schumann-Wieck (1819-1896) and Rebecca Clarke (1886-1979) on their new album. Though of different age and country they shared a common goal: to challenge the male-oriented music society by fighting the prejudices and asserting their own creative and professional powers. Both trios give testimony to a passionate and emotionally-charged musicality, while the instrumental writing is of the highest caliber, both composers being practicing musicians as well (Clara was a famous pianist, Rebecca a noted viola player).

Through his project Lionlimb, New York-based singer/songwriter/producer Stewart Bronaugh crafts unfurling soundscapes that feel mysterious and otherworldly, yet timeless and nostalgic at the same time. He presents his most ambitious vision of these inner vistas on his new album, Limbo (out now on Bayonet Record)s. Inspired by a palette of ‘70s Italian film soundtracks, ‘60s girl group music, and funk and soul ballads, Bronaugh brings these influences together to invent an immersive sound all his own—with help from close collaborator Joshua Jaeger, whose live drums bring a rawness to Limbo’s meticulously layered production.

Free Live Sports is Madeleine Laing (vocals/bass), Steven Rose (guitars/synth/vocals) and Dave Holmes (drums). Following their 2021 debut, Stay Grounded, released to underground acclaim via Rough Skies Records, the band have released their sophomore LP I’ll Fish When I’m Dead. The record explores themes of adulthood, existentialism, and isolation, with a sound described by the band as “wonky rock constantly at the risk of coming apart at the seams.”

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