New music round-up (for w/e 28 June 2024)

Our selection of the best new music across a range of genres from the week ending 28 June 2024.

The Felice Brothers first emerged from the Hudson Valley nearly two decades ago with a gloriously ramshackle sound that drew on everything from Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan to Walt Whitman and Flannery O’Connor. In just a few short years, the group went from busking in the subway to playing Radio City Music Hall with Bright Eyes and appearing everywhere from the Newport Folk Festival to Levon Helm’s Midnight Ramble. The band’s newest record, Valley of Abandoned Songs, marks The Felice Brothers’ debut for Conor Oberst’s new Million Stars label and showcases the group at their most intimate and unvarnished. Balancing hope and despair in equal measure, the album explores the search for meaning and connection through the eyes of a wide-ranging cast of misfits and outcasts, and though the recordings here span several years of almost-lost tunes, the result is a thoroughly cohesive collection that manages to feel both utterly timeless and particularly attuned to the present all at once.

How Will I Live Without A Body? is the new album from Loma: a gorgeous, unique, and oddly comforting album about partnership, loss, regeneration, and fighting the feeling that we’re all in this alone. Many of its songs have a feeling of restless motion; faceless characters drift through meetings and partings, tangling together and slipping away. ‘I Swallowed A Stone’ is like a nightmare with a happy ending; ‘How It Starts’ and ‘Broken Doorbell’ reflect on the challenge (and necessity) of wrestling with agoraphobia. Though the record nods to the trio’s separate lives— a German percussion ensemble, a pair of Texan owls, and the surf at Chesil Beach make guest appearances—the core of Loma’s sound remains intact: earthy, organic and deeply human, anchored by Emily Cross’s cool, clear voice.

Jack Walrath: Live at Smalls is the 8th release in the Smalls Living Masters series. The record sees trumpet legend Jack Walrath delivering six original compositions in the fine company of his long time band of Abraham Burton on tenor saxophone, George Burton on piano, Boris Kozlov on acoustic bass and Donald Edwards on drums. Jack Walrath’s talents have been utilized by Charles Mingus, Ray Charles, Muhal Richard Abrams, Ricky Ford, and Sam Rivers among many others.

UK alternative rock band The Mysterines have today released their sophomore album Afraid of Tomorrows via Fiction Records. Formed in Liverpool, The Mysterines – frontwoman Lia Metcalfe, drummer Paul Crilly, bassist George Favager and guitarist Callum Thompson – have undergone a radical transformation over the past few years. Fresh with new purpose and reinvigorated from songwriting sessions while secluded away in the countryside (in between playing to 60,000-strong crowds while on tour with the Arctic Monkeys), the band is now releasing the best music of their career.

John Adams’ Girls of the Golden West is a California opera, telling the story of the Gold Rush not through familiar time-worn myth, but in the words and deeds of real people – as Mark Twain described them: “the strangest population, the finest population … who ever trooped down the startled solitudes of an unpeopled land.” Longtime Adams collaborator Peter Sellars drew from original sources from the Gold Rush era – letters, journals, newspaper articles, and familiar song lyrics – to create the libretto. As Sellars has said, “These true stories of the Forty-Niners are overwhelming in their heroism, passion, and cruelty, telling tales of racial conflicts, colorful and humorous exploits, political strife and struggles to build new life.” Responding to these incidents, Adams’ propulsive music captures all the conflicting emotions with his characteristic insight. The composer himself leads the Los Angeles Philharmonic in this live recording from Walt Disney Concert Hall, which also features the Los Angeles Master Chorale and a cast led by Julia Bullock, Davóne Tines, Paul Appleby, Hye Jung Lee, Elliot Madore, Daniela Mack, and Ryan McKinny.

Melbourne-based band Hiatus Kaiyote have released their new album, Love Heart Cheat Code via Brainfeeder Records / Ninja Tune. Love Heart Cheat Code is a snapshot of four musicians dancing together on the edge; eleven playful, exuberant tracks that shine light. Yet, for a band that made a name for itself with its complexity and received critical praise and multiple Grammy nominations for their embrace of maximalism, one of the most striking things about Love Heart Cheat Code is its simplicity.

Dirty Three Ahoy! Appropriately disheveled, the Three emerge from the unending waves of time to pick up their guitar drum and viola/violin/piano/synthesizer/loops/percussion for their first album in a decade – Love Changes Everything. Their playing encompasses ALL – from the original fury of their unlikely power trio to an impressionist cinema later on; mercurial, tumultuous to ambient to adagio, mood and emotion drawn up to dazzling heights from the humble human scale. The record is out now via Remote Control Records.

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