Our selection of the best new music across a range of genres from the week ending 30 April 2021.
Alexa Tarantino burns bright with a scintillating maturity of insight and takes flight on Firefly, her third release for Posi- Tone Records. Driven on by the Winds Of Change to refine the Clarity of her artistic vision, Tarantino reaches inward to transform herself into the luminous Firefly and searches to discover the unifying spark of eternity hidden behind each individual moment in time. Supported on the album by familiar collaborators, including vibraphonist Behn Gillece, pianist Art Hirahara, bassist Boris Kozlov, and drummer Rudy Royston, Alexa leads her group by example and sparkles with melodic inspiration throughout.
They look like we do, and may live somewhat the same. Yet, they are multiplied. Where once was Superwolf, now are Superwolves. What world, REALLY are Matt Sweeney and Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy from? A place of all-music, knowing no borders, no morals other than natural tribal lines to be violated in the name of love and light, for all together.
Elgar’s violin concerto – distinctively passionate and nostalgic – is one of the great late-Romantic concertos. “It is a huge piece,” says Renaud Capuçon “both in terms of its length and its romantic and noble nature.” This is Capuçon’s first recording with Sir Simon Rattle, here conducting the London Symphony Orchestra. When Rattle chose Elgar’s Enigma Variations for his inaugural concert as the LSO’s music director in 2017, he was celebrating the close historic links between the composer and the orchestra. Not only did the LSO accompany Fritz Kreisler in the premiere of the violin concerto in 1910, Elgar became its Principal Conductor the following year. Paired with the concerto on this album is his violin sonata, first performed in 1919. Renaud Capuçon, who calls the sonata “a work of nobility and tenderness”, is joined by one of the leading British pianists of today, Stephen Hough.
Inspired by new motherhood, Tennessee country music star Ashley Monroe performs a dramatic volte-face for her fifth studio album Rosegold. Compared to the steadfast traditionalism of her output up until now, this represents a joyous embrace of modern electronic music and hip-hop production and classic pop aesthetics.
The Legal Matters are back with their third offering, Chapter Three. This is a welcome return to the scene for the LM’s, after their well-received previous albums, 2014’s The Legal Matters, and 2016’s Conrad (Omnivore Records). Chapter Three expands on the Legal Matters patented ‘big guitars and harmonies’ sound with strings, horns and a healthy dose of Moog. According to the band, the record covers “all sorts of stuffs – pandemic, Trump, honesty, affliction and affections – seriously all over the map”.
Los Angeles-based artist Rochelle Jordan has released her new album, Play With the Changes. For Jordan, a desire for sonic expansion has long been embedded into her fusion of futuristic and ancestrally soulful R&B. To hear a Rochelle Jordan song is to absorb a blend of sampledelic 90s pop, vintage UK house and garage, 31st century electronic bangers, airy late night ballads, and progressive hip-hop. On Play With the Changes, Jordan showcases not just her own personal evolution, but a path to pushing sound forward. Produced by KLSH, Machinedrum, and Jimmy Edgar, the album presents her as a modern heir in a lineage of powerhouse vocalists with style and imagination: everyone from Whitney Houston to Celine Dion, Aaliyah to Amerie, Kelis to Mariah Carey.
Melbourne 2 is the second release from Too Birds, and is out now across all digital platforms via X Amount Records. Too Birds’ sound has been described as brutal and cryptic. The band blend elements of harsh noise, hip-hop, and industrial metal to create music steeped in fresh originality. Too Birds is the collaborative project of vocalists Teether, Realname, and producer Mr Society. Together, they create fever pitch music, drawing inspiration from an esoteric mix of influences, the final product of which is a musical experience that bends to all extremes.
Other reviews you might enjoy:
- New music round-up (for w/e 9 April 2021)
- New music round-up (for w/e 19 March 2021)
- New music round-up
David Edwards is the editor of The Blurb and a contributor on film and television