Our selection of the best new music across a range of genres from the week ending 7 May 2021.
Ska-punk pioneers The Mighty Mighty BossToneS have released their 11th studio record When God Was Great on Hellcat Records. Co-produced by longtime collaborator Ted Hutt (The Gaslight Anthem, Dropkick Murphys) and Rancid frontman Tim Armstrong (Transplants, Jimmy Cliff), When God Was Great is the culmination of their extensive and all-embracing career and sees the band bringing back friends, tourmates, and bandmates from the past for a sonic celebration that stresses the power of perseverance and human connection during tumultuous times. The album features 15-tracks that initially arose out of a collective sense of loss.
Sophia Kennedy’s music sometimes sounds like a soundtrack to world to disintegrating, hanging on by a thread of memories, it combines the glamour and the morbid charm of tin pan alley show tunes from the 1960s or 70s and yet it fully embraces the deconstructed modernism of club music. The songs can change the atmosphere in a split second, impressively illustrated by last year’s single “Orange Tic Tac” which switched between threatening gloomy trap beats and soothing crooner melodies. Her sophomore album Monsters, to be released May 7th on City Slang, is full of plot twists, moments of prettiness dashed with paranoia. The title itself, is a self-ironic, comic-like commentary of being an artist trying to tame own creations like “monsters” gone wild but also a nod to a generally threatening tension in the world. Monsters is pop music teetering on the verge of ruin but it’s not a eulogy, it’s a Tear Down Party!
The Paris based Quatuor Modigliani is a regular guest of the world’s top venues and finest String Quartet & Chamber Music series. The quartet has been recording for the Mirare label since 2008 and has released 8 CDs, all awarded prizes and receiving international critical acclaim. The next release will be “Carnet de voyages”. The Modigliani Quartet has built true artistic friendships and are regularly play with other musicians such as Nicholas Angelich, Daniel Müller-Schott, Yefim Bronfman, Sabine Meyer, Beatrice Rana and Renaud Capuçon. Their new record Haydn, Bartók, Mozart is available now.
LA-based singer/songwriter Ashe has released her eagerly awaited full-length debut album, Ashlyn, out today via Mom + Pop Music. Building elaborate symphonies around her most intimate revelations, Ashe adorns her new songs with elements of everything from orchestral pop to grandiose ’70s rock to sublimely timeless piano balladry. Executive-produced by Ashe and Leroy “Big Taste” Clampitt, Ashlyn features her breakthrough single “Moral of the Story”: a FINNEAS-produced hit that’s surpassed 758 million streams to date, in addition to fueling a meteoric rise that includes amassing nearly a million Instagram followers, over 9.5 million monthly Spotify listeners, one million TikTok followers and earning the admiration of legendary artists like Brian Wilson (one of Ashe’s personal heroes).
The third and final album from REMI, Fried was written and recorded from 2017-2020 and features an array of guest vocalists including Silent Jay, Lorry, Children of Zeus’ Tyler Daley and Konny Kon, Whosane and Baasto. Fried was recorded at House of Beige studios and comes out via House of Beige/Believe in Australia/New Zealand and Jakarta Records for the Rest of the World. REMI burst onto the scene in 2012 with the impressively unique and fresh-sounding ‘Regular People Shit’ mixtape, however it was the break-out laid-back summer vibes of their ‘Sangria’ single which appeared on the 2013 mixtape ‘F.Y.G. ACT:1’ that garnered national and international attention. Later that year REMI went on to win triple J’s Unearthed Artist of the Year and in 2014 they independently released their debut album ‘Raw X Infinity’ which went on to win the Australian Music Price (AMP) for Australian Album of the Year, the first hip-hop record to ever do so. Both Remi and Sensible J have released statements on their individual socials regarding Fried being the final REMI record.
TAO Forms presents the entirety of The Jesup Wagon, an astonishing new work from the fertile creative mind of tenor saxophonist–composer James Brandon Lewis. Performed by the Red Lily Quintet, an exceptional & singular inter-generational ensemble, this album speaks to the forever-evolving continuum of the jazz tradition. Voted Rising Star Tenor Saxophonist in the 2020 DownBeat Magazine International Critic’s Poll, James Brandon Lewis supercharges his remarkable evolution with a brilliant and evocative appreciation of the life and legacy of turn-of-the-19th century African-American musician-painter-writer-scientist George Washington Carver. [Sustainable agriculture was a key component of Carver’s prescient thoughts into action; his Jesup Wagon was a key part of that]. This album consists of seven pieces that create a portrait of stunning clarity and depth.
Natalie Bergman has released Mercy, an album of twelve songs she wrote, performed, produced and mixed herself…because she absolutely had to. As the first project the Wild Belle artist has created and released under her own name, Mercy is a “moving tour-de-force” (SPIN), closing the loop on a solitary and profoundly sad chapter of her life that first began in October 2019. From experiencing an unthinkable family tragedy to spending weeks in silence at a monastery in the desert, the music of Mercy showed Natalie Bergman her greatest purpose, and provided her the hope to come back to life. Now, channeling the cleansing sounds of psychedelic soul, ‘60s pop and traditional gospel, she opens the portal to the LP’s “land of milk and honey” (The FADER), and invites listeners to “find sanctuary in the soft and swaying rhythms” (NYLON).
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David Edwards is the editor of The Blurb and a contributor on film and television