New music round-up (for w/e 25 November 2022)

Our selection of the best new music across a range of genres from the week ending 25 November 2022.

Acclaimed singer-songwriter Alela Diane has released her sixth studio album, Looking Glass. This is Diane’s first new album in more than four years. Diane grew up in the winding rivers and golden hillsides of Nevada City, California where as a girl she listened to her parents harmonize bluegrass songs in the kitchen. She moved to San Francisco at age 19 and began writing her own songs, making her recorded debut with 2004’s acclaimed The Pirate’s Gospel. A string of increasingly well received albums have followed, supported by extensive touring through North America, Europe, and beyond. On Looking Glass, Diane explores how the past is always with us – a source of sadness sometimes, but also of solace, a kind of permanent foundation on which we all walk into the rest of our lives. Haunting new songs like “Dream A River” resonate with a characteristic braiding of lightness and dark, balancing intensely personal lyrics of imagined catastrophe with a signature shot of bittersweet hope, a possibility that something better might emerge from the ashes.


MATTERS UNKNOWN is the new project led by multi-instrumentalist and composer Jonny Enser. The long-standing brass player for celebrated Afro-Jazz collective Nubiyan Twist has created We Aren’t Just, a wide-ranging double album that channels his concepts of living dynamism and communal practice through a prolific musical compendium. It boldly encompasses Afro-jazz, celestial blues, soulful funk, electronica, hip hop and more. At its heart is a personal response to the physical and mental pain he has experienced in his life as a musician confronting disability; a coping mechanism alchemised as a universal healing force.


As she watched in horror her home city of Kharkiv (and the rest of Ukraine) being destroyed and civilians being murdered every day, Nadia Shpachenko tried to come up with ways to express her feelings of utter despair and anger, as well as hope and resilience, through her music making. In addition to performing fundraising concerts featuring music by Ukrainian composers, she decided to put together a new album to support Ukraine humanitarian aid. Reference Recordings has now released the album, Invasion, with 100% of proceeds benefitting Ukrainian people affected by the war.


Madman in the Rain, the new album from Washington DC-based Dot Dash, is out now on The Beautiful Music. Recorded at New York City’s Renegade Studios and produced by Grammy-winning Geoff Sanoff, Madman in the Rain features 12 new Dot Dash songs. Among them, lead-off track “Forever Far Out” might have come from an imaginary mixtape, made circa Fall 1985 (also appearing: Wire Train, Miracle Legion, Dumptruck.) “Space Junk, Satellites” is a samba-ish reverie that likens stars to hollow jewels and contemplates the moon reflected in shallow pools. “Tense & Nervous” is a two-minute banger. Spectral incantation “Animal Stone” considers criminals & saints (and animals & stones.) Title track “Madman in the Rain” is part glammy torch song, part indie-rock chugger. “Wokeupdreaming” was written while sleeping.


Life After Football isThe Smith Street Band’s sixth album. The follow-up to their ARIA #1 album Don’t Waste Your Anger which was also recorded by bass player “Fitzy” at the band’s solar powered studio in regional Victoria. Featuring the singles ‘I Don’t Wanna Do Nothing Forever’, ‘Everyone Is Lying To You For Money’, ‘Life After Football’ and ‘A Conversation With Billy Bragg About The Purpose Of Art’, the album embodies The Smith Street Band’s trademark prolific songwriting while offering some of the shortest and fastest songs the band have released to date. Life After Football was mixed by Anton Hagop (Silverchair, Powderfinger) and mastered by George Georgiadis.


Chris Liebing and Ralf Hildenbeutel have released Another Night, an album of remixes and mixes from their 2021 album, Another Day, alongside a brand new track, ‘Learning to Fly’. Another Night sees tracks from the 2021 album reimagined for a club context. Blistering remixes from the likes of Nicole Moudaber, Plaid, Anfisa Letyago, Radio Slave and Jan Blomqvist are accompanied by Liebing’s own club mixes, allowing the worlds of his bourgeoning recording career and his worldwide reputation for working dancefloors with pummelling techno, to overlap


Much-loved for her central role in the seminal Australian guitar pop band The Hummingbirds, and more recently with The Aerial Maps, Alannah Russack has written a set of compelling and musically diverse songs – from folk-rock to jangle-pop, alt-country to indie rock, all steeped in soulful singer-songwriter emotionality – the range across the album is a showcase of Alannah’s undeniable gift for melodic storytelling. Her new album is As Memories Pass Each Other, and it’s available now.


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