New music round-up (for w/e 3 May 2024)

Our selection of the best new music across a range of genres from the week ending 3 May 2024.

On his first solo record in six years, Kamasi Washington turns his attention to dance – a natural progression of the Los Angeles born artist’s ongoing study of music as a means of connection. His 2015 album The Epic, as well as 2018’s Heaven and Earth were received by critics and audiences as a kind of intervention, across generations and genres. Both of those records were big offerings, heavy on choir and strings, but Fearless Movement offers something different: terrestrial rhythms and collaborations from rappers, musical icons and even Washington’s own daughter. With guests including Thundercat, Taj Austin, Ras Austin, Patrice Quinn, DJ Battlecat, Brandon Coleman, D-Smoke, George Clinton, BJ the Chicago Kid, and Andre 3000, there’s a tight-knit feeling to Fearless Movement, which continues to connect Washington’s work to Black music in L.A. across time — from past to present to future.

Rachel Chinouriri’s debut album – What a Devastating Turn of Events – is a culmination of the experiences, challenges and joys of Chinouriri’s life so far, explored through the prism of musical stylings honed through years of experimentation and creation. Ever-eclectic and brutally honest, the album traverses life’s light and shade, the writing and sharing a healing process for Rachel, and she hopes, her listeners.

Following the release of Everything Harmony, which garnered acclaim from Questlove, Iggy Pop, Anthony Fantano, The Guardian, and countless others, The Lemon Twigs — the New York City rock band fronted by brothers Brian and Michael D’Addario — have once again captured the attention of the music listening public. They are in their premature “comeback” stage, and coming back this early has its benefits; the brothers have the energy of 24- and 26- year-olds, plus the experience and songwriting chops of seasoned musicians, having recorded their first album, Do Hollywood, nearly a decade ago at ages 15 and 17. A Dream Is All We Know is a joyous affair. As the title suggests, it’s less of a sober look at the darker side of life, and more a hopeful sojourn into the realm of dreams.

Susanna Mälkki and the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra have released an album featuring three masterful compositions of Jean Sibelius via BIS Records. The collection is an exploration of Sibelius’ renowned works, including the compelling Karelia Suite, the emotionally charged Rakastava, Op. 14, and the evocative Lemminkäinen Suite, Op. 22. This collaboration serves as a testament to Mälkki’s commitment to preserving and evolving the legacy of Finnish classical music, solidifying the profound link between the conductor, the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, and the timeless creations of Jean Sibelius who premiered many of his works with the HPO.

On her fourth album, West Coast artist Jessica Pratt expands the scope of her artistry, placing her sharpest songs to date within an ever-broadening pool of influences including spectral ’60s pop, Hollywood psychedelia and bossa nova. Whereas Pratt’s 2019 record, Quiet Signs, floated elegantly in the ether, Here in the Pitch is entrenched in more earthen characteristics, as the title suggests, and her craft is emboldened with a newfound gravitas.

Following the release of Jo Meares’ 2022 album Dream Hotel, and the live album and film that followed last year, he now turns his focus to his Melbourne band, the decidedly more rock-leaning Silver Bullets. Highly prolific and creatively collaborative, Meares knows how to gather a group of musicians around him to bring his songs to life. His last solo album, the cinematic and atmospheric Dream Hotel, featured a number of well known Sydney musicians (Reuben Alexander, Matt Galvin, Jessica Cassar, Jessie Newling, Michael Bridges) with Melbourne producer and musician Anth Dymke at the helm. Overlapping with that project, Meares also corralled together the dark and evocative Melbourne-based rock quintet Jo Meares’ Silver Bullets – allowing him to explore an edgier and at times noisier sound on their debut self-titled album.

It’s been a decade since John Carpenter recorded the material that would become Lost Themes, his debut album of non-film music and the opening salvo in one of Hollywood’s great second acts. Those vibrant, synth-driven songs, made in collaboration with his son Cody Carpenter and godson Daniel Davies, kickstarted a musical renaissance for the pioneering composer and director. In the years since, Carpenter, Carpenter, and Davies have released close to a dozen musical projects, including a growing library of studio albums and the scores for David Gordon Green’s trilogy of Halloween reboots. With Lost Themes IV: Noir, they’ve struck gold again, this time mining the rich history of the film noir genre for inspiration.

Other reviews you might enjoy: