New music round-up (for w/e 31 May 2024)

Our selection of the best new music across a range of genres from the week ending 31 May 2024.

“The night,” Arooj Aftab confesses, “is my biggest source of inspiration.” By trial or intuition, the GRAMMY® winning artist has come to understand that these still moments of cover uniquely enable healing, desire, shelter, love – each essential elements of life and living, of intimate relation to one another. Night Reign is a perfumed, public garden of renewal, peaking the senses with each composition, each turn of phrase, each modulation. Stepping away from, though never forgetting, the grief and loss that animated her GRAMMY® Award-winning track “Mohabbat” and album Vulture Prince (2021), on which she faced what can too quickly and easily be taken away, Aftab appears here with original music and in yet another form: as bard of everyday possibility, quietude and life-altering romance.

Letters To A Friend, From Interstate is an emotionally charged debut album from Naarm/Melbourne-based outfit Gypsy Road. This heavy, Midwest-emo, post-punk project navigates relatable topics to most melancholy Melbournian youth, including watching TikToks, breakups, smoking weed, and drinking beer. The album offers an eight-track sonic journey highlighting the emotional struggles the band faced throughout the whole project.

Composer/arranger/keyboardist Geoff Stradling has spent most of his decades-long career focused on the success of other’s films, TV shows and albums he’s been associated with, including many years as Music Director of the Golden Globe Awards. All along, his StradBand acted as a workshop for his concepts and a collective project for many of his colleagues. With Nimble Digits, the band takes center stage, highlighting the wide breadth of the modern jazz orchestra—from the styles originated by Gil Evans, to post-Miles fusion, to Afro-Cuban and Afro-Brazilian influences. On their new album Nimble Digits, he wields his ensemble the way the best bandleaders always have, playing to individual musicians’ strengths while maintaining a strong and personal harmonic, contrapuntal, and textural thematic throughout. L.A.’s musical talent pool is dozens deep at every chair, and many of its brightest stars are here, with thirty-one musicians bringing Stradling’s music to life.

Something very special happens in the moment when a listener truly connects to a song. It’s an intangible reaction that bridges science and emotion, turning firing synapses into something cosmically beautiful. Another Michael exists for that moment: when a song transforms the setting of a long walk home, or speaks to a past experience while simultaneously making a new one, or taps into something universal by relating details so specific and personal that they could only be revealed in music. In 2023 the band released Wishes To Fulfill, the first in a pair of albums dedicated to their love of song, and now they’re back already with the experimental next chapter, Pick Me Up, Turn Me Upside Down. Together, the dual LPs create and pay tribute to the power of transcendent musical moments. Wishes To Fulfill and Pick Me Up, Turn Me Upside Down are contrasting but complimentary albums: musical siblings that are undeniably different entities but still share key sonic DNA

Born in New York City, 25 year old Maya Hawke is an actress, singer and lyricist. Hawke is famously known for her statement role on Netflix’s Stranger Things, and can be seen in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Amanda Kramer’s Ladyworld, and the Netflix film Do Revenge. Following the reception of her independently released A and B side singles in 2019, she released the deeply personal full-length album Blush. Maya Hawke’s third studio album, Chaos Angel, is out now via Mom+Pop Records.

The Wooden Prince is the third album in Thomas Dausgaard’s survey of Bartok’s orchestral works. As before, he has recorded a version of a major work seldom heard with the Scottish Symphony Orchestra. This rare and final version of the Wooden Prince is coupled with the masterful Divertimento and the Romanian Folk Dances.

Groundbreaking slowcore pioneers, IDAHO, have released their first full-length in more than 13 years. Lapse (Arts & Crafts) is out now and is streaming everywhere. Led by Laurel Canyon-based singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Jeff Martin since its formation in the early 90s, IDAHO has built a canon that defies the confines of indie rock, bearing the uncanny grace to stimulate equally the full spectrums of the heart and the mind, with lush, alien four-string guitar tones draped over a ragged, elegant desertscape.

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