New music round-up (for w/e 29 March 2024)

Our selection of the best new music across a range of genres from the week ending 29 March 2024.

In 1916, Carrie Chapman Catt declared to a crowd of women’s suffragists that the world was in crisis – and it was time to turn that crisis into victory. “The Woman’s Hour has struck,” she announced. In All My Friends, the new album from Aoife O’Donovan, her message is amplified until it reverberates into a new millennium. The nine tracks on All My Friends build a rich, expansive sound upon the singer-songwriter’s harmonious and contemplative trademark style. Conceived and recorded as an orchestral venture, the album’s ambitious scale and anthemic quality reflects its themes, with songs inspired by the life and mission of Chapman Catt, whose work O’Donovan discovered in 2019. A commission to celebrate the centenary of the 19th amendment, which first granted American women the right to vote, led O’Donovan to Chapman Catt’s letters and speeches, whose words, she says, “felt timeless”. Some of the suffragist’s oratory is incorporated verbatim in the lyrics, including the evergreen question: “What is the democracy for which the world is battling?”


The new musical cross-generational music partnership between two acclaimed Melbourne musicians, Pinkerton Pendlebury have released their self-titled debut album. Pinkerton Pendlebury is a musical partnership bringing together more than five decades of live and studio experience and is something of a mutual admiration society between two Melbourne figures who are known as musician’s musicians. Andrew Pendlebury is best known for his work with seminal Stephen Cummings-fronted ’70s/80s Melbourne band The Sports and for a number of acclaimed solo records – including an ARIA Award winner – in the ’80s and ’90s; Steve Pinkerton came to prominence in the 2000’s with The Anyones who had both US and Aussie record deals, and these days plays drums for Dallas Crane and sings and plays guitar in The Ronson Hangup.


Since their 2010 self-titled debut, The Secret Sisters have brought their spellbinding harmonies to songs that untangle the thorniest aspects of life and love and womanhood. In the making of their new album, Mind, Man, Medicine, Alabama-bred siblings Laura Rogers and Lydia Slagle found their songwriting transformed by a newfound sense of self-reliance and equanimity, threading their lyrics with hard-won insight into the complexities of motherhood, commitment, compassion, and self-preservation in an endlessly chaotic world. Centered on a kaleidoscopic sound that boldly blurs the edges of country-folk, the duo’s fifth full-length ultimately confronts many of modern life’s harshest challenges while leading the listener toward a more open-hearted state of mind.


Tomorrow’s Another Day may be trumpeter and composer Jeremy Pelt’s most experimental recording to-date, with greater emphasis on the dynamic aspects of sound. This thought-provoking record gets a huge lift from the participation of drummer/technologist Deantoni Parks, who previously has lent his remarkable talents to such visionaries as Meshell Ndegeocello and André 3000. Pelt’s newest band features Jalen Baker (vibes), Wintz (guitar), Leighton McKinley Harrell (bass) and Allan Mednard (drums), with Frank LoCrasto (piano) on two tracks. The ensemble seamlessly works together to produce a unique galaxy of sounds which have the ability to evoke gritty scenes that pulse with primal energy or surge transcendently skyward. Through it all, it is the trumpet and creative presence of Pelt which provides a sense of ballast to the myriad sounds and textures, with an intensely personal and mesmerizing weave of arguably some of the most stunningly imaginative and communicative work he has given us so far.


Revelations, the fourth album from Sarah Shook & the Disarmers, is out now. The record is “a stirring country-rock record that two-steps between Waxahatchee’s incisive beauties and Tom Petty’s winking classics, Revelations is the work of a songwriter relishing newfound clarity and confidence”, according to The New York Times.


Berlioz’s The Damnation of Faust caused a scandal in 1846 when it was first performed, and with its supernatural story and thumping good melodies, it’s still one of 19th-century music’s most thrilling treats. In a new live concert recording from the Royal Festival Hall, London Philharmonic Orchestra’s Principal Conductor Edward Gardner is joined by massed choruses and a charismatic all-star cast for an unforgettable performance described by The Guardian as ‘by turns broodingly introspective, beguilingly sensuous and eerily malign, with sinister brass and woodwind flickering like demonic fire.’


Born of a dream of home but then waylaid by disappointment, frustration, and eventual acceptance, a journey through the past led to Byland’s new album, Heavy For A While (out now). Fueled by singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Alie Renee Byland’s spirited, eclectic musical approach, songs like “Settle My Mind” and “Postcard” are widescreen expressions of longing and isolation, weaving deep-rooted melodies, candid lyrical communication, and sophisticated arrangements with whispers of nostalgia and an unstoppable sense of forward motion. The result is a singular vision both familiar and unprecedented, bittersweet yet strikingly life-affirming.

Other reviews you might enjoy: