Our selection of the best new music across a range of genres from the week ending 3 June 2022.
Fresh grief, like fresh love, has a way of sharpening our vision and bringing on painful clarifications. No matter how temporary we know these states to be, the vulnerability and transformation they demand can overpower the strongest among us. Then there are the rare, fertile moments when both occur, when mourning and limerence heighten, complicate and explain each other; the songs that comprise Angel Olsen’s Big Time were forged in such a whiplash. Big Time is an album about the expansive power of new love, but this brightness and optimism is tempered by a profound and layered sense of loss. During Olsen’s process of coming to terms with her queerness and confronting the traumas that had been keeping her from fully accepting herself.
Decca Classics has released Mitsuko Uchida’s new recording of Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations. Among the most celebrated living interpreters of the music of the Classical period, Uchida captures on disc her interpretation of one of the greatest works in the piano repertoire. Uchida’s live performances of the Diabelli Variations have been praised as “mesmerizing” by The Guardian, “dazzling” by The Arts Desk and “compelling to the end” by the New York Times. The new recording of the work was made at Snape Maltings in Suffolk, a concert hall with which Uchida feels a strong affinity.
Jasmyn is the new solo project of former singer-songwriter and frontwoman of the critically acclaimed Toronto band Weaves, and In The Wild is a clean slate of a debut album which breaks away from old patterns and begins anew. Coming out on June 3, Jasmyn worked with Grammy award-winning producer John Congleton on the record to create a sonic universe that reflected the ebbs and flows of a transitional chapter, where she could be free to create whatever felt right in that moment.
On Origin, celebrated pianist and bandleader Joey Alexander has written the next chapter of his career: composer. His longstanding trio featuring Larry Grenadier and Kendrick Scott is the backbone of his creative freedom, with Chris Potter (a previous collaborator) and Gilad Hekselman joining the fray to bring to life the spectacular vision of Alexander’s first full length release of all original music and debut with Mack Avenue Records.
Montreal multi-hyphenate artist Ruby McKinnon aka Flower Face, has shared her artfully crafted new album, The Shark In Your Water, via Nettwerk. The ten-song collection is a devastatingly beautiful exploration of when “love becomes an obsession.” McKinnon shares stories of heartbreaking intimacy, working through traumas of love, and the constant struggle of self-identity. Alongside the album release comes the dark and moody opening song, “Spiracle,” providing the perfect entry point for listeners. The spiraling build offers a powerful, cinematic start and sets the tone for the melancholic odyssey.
Charlie Musselwhite’s first new solo studio release in seven years – Mississippi Son – is stripped-down and semi-acoustic, driven by his deft guitar playing, while also featuring the masterful harp and soul-deep vocals for which he is famed. The track listing includes Musselwhite originals and songs by Charley Patton, Yank Rachell and Big Joe Williams. This warm, intimate recording is loaded with feeling and exhilarating, timeless music.
Adrian Quesada has penned a love letter to the sophisticated – and slightly delirious – cultural movement of balada music that blossomed throughout Latin America between the late ‘60s and early ‘70s through Boleros Psicodélicos, a stunning album that lovingly recreates the specificity of the balada sound, adding a stellar list of guest vocalists, intriguing contemporary touches and just a hint of irony.
Other reviews you might enjoy:
- New music round-up (for w/e 30 April 2021)
- New music round-up (for w/e 11 June 2021)
- New music round-up (for w/e 17 June 2022)
David Edwards is the editor of The Blurb and a contributor on film and television