Our selection of the best new music across a range of genres from the week ending 24 September 2021.
The Shivas’ new record Feels So Good // Feels So Bad is an album about acceptance. Sometimes that acceptance feels enlightened and sometimes it feels like the end result of a lot of kicking and screaming. The Shivas have adapted in both of those ways. With new tours scheduled and a new album on the way, they’re still hoping – like all of us – for a new era of vibrant, cathartic live music. The lessons they learned from having their normal upended, though, have only helped them grow.
“one hand on the steering wheel the other sewing a garden” is the name of the second album by Canadian songwriter Alexandra Levy, publicly known by the moniker Ada Lea. On one hand, it’s a collection of walking-paced, cathartic pop/folk songs, on the other it’s a book of heart-twisting, rear-view stories of city life. Ada Lea has followed up the creative, indie-rock songcraft of her debut what we say in private with surprising arrangements and new perspectives. The album is set in Montreal and each song exists as a dot on a personal history map of the city where Levy grew up.
When There’s Love Around is an album of two halves. The first is “about feeling small and insignificant and stressed,” Kiefer says. “It’s about things that cause me to worry, but at the end of the day, are probably unimportant from a larger cosmic perspective.” The nostalgia of looking through old childhood pictures in one of the lead tracks, “I remember this picture,” is reflected on the album cover, a Polaroid of Kiefer and his sister, painted by Mikey Yates. The album’s second half is more reflective and spiritual, its cathartic mood occasioned by the loss of Kiefer’s beloved grandmother. While grief and loss are main themes, the tone is still largely positive – Kiefer describes himself as an optimist.
Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo is naturally an iconic work for Leonardo García Alarcón. The Argentinian conductor has performed and matured his interpretation of Monteverdi’s masterpiece throughout his life. Together with his group of soloists, the Namur Chamber Choir and the Cappella Mediterranea ensemble, he now presents his vision of L’Orfeo: Monteverdi’s opera is as much the apotheosis of the Renaissance as a testimony to the nascent Baroque style.
Bomba Estéreo’s new album Deja is the band’s long-awaited first album in 4 years. The album was mixed by Damian Taylor (Björk, Arcade Fire). Deja is about leaving behind the unnecessary baggage in our lives and re-connecting with what is meaningful and essential – with the earth. It’s about a hope for our future and finding a better balance between technology and the natural world.
Theo Croker has releaseed a new album BLK2LIFE || A FUTURE PAST, his first since the critically acclaimed Star People Nation. The album was produced by Croker and features Wyclef Jean, Ari Lennox, Gary Bartz, Charlotte Dos Santos, Iman Omari, Malaya, and Kassa Overall. A contemporary oratorio, the 13 tracks that make BLK2LIFE || A FUTURE PAST are inspired by the forgotten hero’s journey towards self-actualization within the universal origins of blackness. It’s a sonic celebration of Afro-origin, and ultimately a reclamation of the culture, for the culture. “Our hero receives a transmission from his ancestors while in meditation that sets him on a mission to raise the planet’s vibrations through music that defies the confines of a ‘genre’ and frees the culture from the imminent threat of commercial gentrification,” says Theo.
Hold Me Down is the debut album for Grand Pine. The band have solidified their place as one of Melbourne’s most rapidly developing and beloved acts. On the album, the band explore recurring themes of loneliness, heartache and disconnection but also gives listeners glimpses of growth and acceptance of self. Recorded in guitarist Connor Black-Harry’s bedroom studio between 2018 and 2019 amidst a wake of late nights and caffeine heights, the recordings weave together a colourful patchwork of the band’s broad musical influence. What is left is a dreamy-pop habitat for one to get lost in.
David Edwards is the editor of The Blurb and a contributor on film and television