New music round-up (for w/e 7 June 2024)

Our selection of the best new music across a range of genres from the week ending 7 June 2024.

There has never been a figure in pop culture like Peggy Gou. The self-managed South Korean-born, Berlin-based producer and artist has ascended from underground sensation to global icon by sticking to her own unwavering vision, becoming one of the most in-demand electronic music artists and DJs in the world. On her long-awaited debut album, I Hear You (out now on XL Recordings), Gou boldly claims her voice through the kaleidoscopic lens of ‘90s house music, delivering a nostalgic, yet electrifyingly forward-thinking sound, bringing in a unique set of collaborators from Lenny Kravitz and Villano Antillano, to Olafur Eliasson.

South African pianist, composer, philosopher, and healer Nduduzo Makhathini travels beyond any existing notion of music-making to offer his most profound vision of creative mysticism yet with uNomkhubulwane, his stunning eleventh studio album which is his third to be released on Blue Note Records following 2020’s Modes of Communication: Letters From The Underworlds and 2022’s In The Spirit Of Ntu. The transcendent three-movement suite—which pays homage to the Zulu Goddess uNomkhubulwane and explores Africa’s tragic history of oppression—features Makhathini’s trio with bassist Zwelakhe-Duma Bell le Pere on bass and drummer Francisco Mela. The music is both an offering and an invitation to humanity to cultivate ways of being that strive for freedom and balance.

To write the songs on their second album Annie Schermer and Channing Showalter, who record together under the name West of Roan, spent time in collective imagination, journeying to their respective inner worlds and under worlds. As they simultaneously discovered and created a psychic landscape of story, song, archetype, and image, a figure emerged: the Queen of Eyes. Lending her name to the collection of myths they composed, the Queen of Eyes is a god of doorways and portals, a god of seeing in the dark and in dreams, a saint of weeping in sorrow or in joy. She served as their guide as the duo navigated personal and cultural grief and shame to summon sparse yet richly evocative songs that serve as beacons of human truth and vulnerability.

1977 is the debut solo album from Kurt Frohlich, the charismatic lead singer of Riley’s L.A. Guns. The album marks Kurt Frohlich’s first solo venture, showcasing his multifaceted talent as both performer and producer. The seven-track album is a raw, unfiltered homage to the gritty punk and rock-and-roll sound that defined 1970s New York—a sound that has deeply influenced Kurt’s musical journey and artistic expression. With its share of hooks and raw guitar power, 1977 feels like a time back in the ’70s when rock and roll was tough, wild, and unpredictable.

ATMA Classique have released Jean Sibelius’ Symphonies Nos. 2 & 5 with Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducting the Orchestre Métropolitain de Montréal. Recorded at Maison symphonique de Montréal, this new release is part of their complete cycle of Sibelius symphonies launched in 2019 with Symphony No. 1. The two symphonies on this recording are among the best-loved works of Jean Sibelius. Symphony No. 2 marks the conclusion of his first stylistic phase. Like many other Finnish patriotic artists around the turn of the century, Sibelius identified as a national Romantic. Symphony No. 5, on the other hand, established the foundations of what would become Sibelius’ mature style, in which he pushed concentration and austerity to extreme limits. The popularity of these two works has never faltered since they were premiered in Helsinki more than a century ago.

The way Bloomsday’s Iris James Garrison writes songs feels like somewhere between a mirror and a memory. Spacious, full-bodied folk songs, they are an ode to things that are good no matter how small; they sometimes feel like the ghost of a Mary Oliver poem. Bloomsday’s new record, Heart of the Artichoke, is a relic of unfettered creativity and community. They recount the miracles of the mundane, the memories that become sacred, an ode to all that is holy: nightswimming, songs plucked from the ether, the ways friendship can endure.

STOP-MOTION, the debut album by Ginger Winn, is an alluring body of work that offers a bright glimmer of hope in an often bleak world. It captures the artist’s hopes, dreams and experiences as Winn explores her place in the world and who she might become. Winn recorded ten songs in 18 days with David Baron (The Lumineers, Noah Kahan, Shawn Mendes), who recently entered the top 5 on both Rock and Alternative producer Billboard charts and produced the wildly popular “Scared to Start” by Michael Marcagi, at his own Sun Mountain Studios in Boiceville, NY. Winn carefully crafted a body of work that encourages reflection, daydreaming and wonder while simultaneously confronting truths, no matter how difficult it may be.

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