New music round-up (for w/e 7 January 2022)

Our selection of the best new music across a range of genres from the week ending 7 January 2022.

Flight Facilities’ sophomore full-length LP Forever features the titular single (in collaboration with BROODS), and includes vocal support across the record from Channel Tres, Your Smith, DRAMA, Emma Louise, Jordy Felix and BRUX. Over five years in the making, Flight Facilities’ musical journey has always been an intentional exploration of multiple genres. The duo applied that same explorative ethos to their second record, taking a concerted delve into the previously untouched niches and eras of dance. This deliberation stems from a strive to make the type of music that lasts as long as their creative process appears to take…‘forever’.


First Flight to Tokyo: The Lost 1961 Recordings is a thrilling previously unreleased live recording of Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers captured at Hibiya Public Hall in Tokyo on January 14, 1961 during the band’s first-ever tour of Japan. The Jazz Messengers were among the first modern jazz groups to tour the country, and adoring Japanese audiences were enthralled by one of the band’s all-time great line-ups featuring the legendary drummer with Lee Morgan on trumpet, Wayne Shorter on tenor saxophone, Bobby Timmons on piano, and Jymie Merritt on bass. The concert featured soaring performances of well-known jazz staples including Charlie Parker’s “Now’s the Time,” Thelonious Monk’s “Round About Midnight,” and Jazz Messenger hits including “Blues March,” “Dat Dere,” and “Moanin’”.


Lise Davidsen’s new album of Grieg songs, recorded with brilliant Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes, has just been released. Simply titled Edvard Grieg, the album is a dream come true for Lise, something that has been on her wish-list ever since signing with Decca in 2018. It’s a very personal album too, as she puts it: “Everyone in Norway knows this music”. “I am very aware of the conventions of how it ‘should’ be done and by whom. This project was about listening to the music on our own terms, trying to find our sound and our versions of these songs.” In total there are 28 songs on the album, including the very popular «Haugtussa» (Op. 67) text by Arne Garborg, the famous “Jeg Elsker Dig” (Op. 5 nr. 3) and the German songs, «Six songs» (Op. 48). Grieg, Davidsen and Andsnes make it an all-Norwegian affair, and it doesn’t stop there: the album was recorded in the Norwegian town of Bodø, just north of the Arctic Circle, and the cover photo was taken by brilliant Norwegian photographer Morten Krogvold.


Backroads is JohnSmith’s ninth solo record. The collection of 13 new songs ranges from folk ballads, R & B, bluegrass to rockabilly. The instrumentation includes acoustic and electric guitar, upright and bass guitar, pedal steel, organ, piano, violin, banjo, bouzouki, Irish button accordion, low whistles, french horn, and loads of harmonies.


Written while pregnant with their first child, If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power finds Halsey sifting through dark thoughts and deep fears, offering a picture of maternity that fully acknowledges its emotional and physical realities—what it might mean for one’s body, one’s sense of purpose and self. “The reason that the album has sort of this horror theme is because this experience, in a way, has its horrors,” Halsey says. “I think everyone who has heard me yearn for motherhood for so long would have expected me to write an album that was full of gratitude. Instead, I was like, ‘No, this is so scary and so horrifying. My body’s changing and I have no control over anything.’ Pregnancy for some women is a dream—and for some people it’s a nightmare. That’s the thing that nobody else talks about.”


Frigya – “Africa” in ancient Tunisian dialect – is a collaboration between percussionist Imed Alibi, and musician and producer Khalil Hentati. The duo explore a contemporary and electronic approach to traditional North African percussions for which they share a common passion. This album is the result of several years of research and creation where the duo inventoried and archived the traditional Mezwed and Bedoui repertoires, in order to deliver a modern interpretation spiced up with dancefloor accents.


Transparency, the sixth album by Scottish rockers Twin Atlantic, was supposed to be an accompaniment to 2020’s Power. But as frontman Sam McTrusty and bassist Ross McNae entered their studio in Glasgow, their muse had abandoned them when the pandemic hit. After setting up a home studio in his two-bedroom flat, McTrusty rediscovered his creative spark over nocturnal songwriting sessions with The Killers and U2 producer Jacknife Lee, checking in from his home in the US. They originally planned to do one song, but it soon blossomed into a collection of tracks that would become Transparency, Twin Atlantic’s most imaginative and forward-thinking album to date.


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