New music round-up (for w/e 8 March 2024)

Our selection of the best new music across a range of genres from the week ending 8 March 2024.

Cuckoo Storm – the new album from Marry Waterson & Adrian Crowley – might never have been, were it not for a social media post Crowley wrote on a wintery late-night walk in a quiet neighbourhood of Dublin during lockdown. Struck by Waterson’s previous album ‘Death Had Quicker Wings Than Love’ (co-written with David A Jaycock), he wanted to mark the moment and pressed ‘send’ into the ether with no way of knowing what would follow. Drawn to his voice and seeing a kindred spirit in his poetic lyrics, Waterson was touched by his message and responded by asking if he would be interested in working together. His answer was a resounding ‘yes.’


The Foreign Department is the second album by Astrel K, the solo project helmed by Stockholm-based British ex-pat, Rhys Edwards. As a title, The Foreign Department offers an instructive guide for the listener, framing a life-in-transition/artist-in-exile document that maps two impromptu moves in twelve months for its songwriter: the first from London in pursuit of a relationship, the second between homes in Stockholm as that decade long relationship then suddenly dissolved. Indeed, diffusion, dissolution and reconstitution feel like appropriate touchstones for its recurring themes.


Experimental Naarm/Melbourne two-piece Solder (a.k.a. Timu Raubenheimer and Finn O’Shea) have shared their debut studio album Trying World, out now, independently. Written across three years, Trying World is Solder’s first body of work recorded in a proper studio, and it’s clear. The sound is bigger, more defined, with deeper textures and greater detail – musical peers Lily Harding (Mug), Sarah Hellyer (Floodlights, Equal Parts), and Sam Lyons (Eggy) colouring the album further with woodwind instruments, backing vocals and synth.


Jeppe Zacho has been on the Danish music scene for many years and performs in groups such as Jazz Five, The Counterfictionals, Jack Street, and various Big Bands. On his debut album, the experienced musician and composer assembles his dream quintet for the first time to delve into his own compositions. Described in the liner notes as “modern jazz the old fashioned way”, the record has a tone that is forward-thinking and fresh while retaining the raw energy and live excitement of all the timeless jazz records that jazz fans grew up with.


After success in her native Germany, Anja Huwe abandoned music to pursue her visual art career. But leaving her legacy in the past was not so easy. Invited by her long-time friend Mona Mur, Huwe reconsidered her decades-long hiatus from music and decided to join Mur in her studio in Berlin. Together, they worked for a year and a half, composing, performing and producing the tracks from scratch, which would eventually become the album Codes. Integral to the overall sound experience was the input of Manuela Rickers who added her famed signature guitar style.


The inspiration for the album End of My Days came about from Ruby Hughes’ first collaboration with the Manchester Collective in the spring of 2020. During the first Covid lockdown, they built the program of this recital for the purpose of touring the UK and uplifting their audiences at a time when we were all being confronted by challenging notions of mortality and isolation. As artists, they asked themselves what music might attend to the prevailing concerns of this time. Their answers came in the form of this offering. The title of this album, End of My Days, comes from Errollyn Wallen’s song; a resounding celebration of life that embraces death without regret or sadness but with great verve and acceptance. The other songs, each in its own way, evoke silence and separation, but also love and hope and even the reassurance that we will return whence we came and light shall lift us into eternity. The concluding song, Deborah Pritchard’s Peace, is a message of hope, willingly received as the world emerged out of lockdown in 2021. Luminous tranquillity moves us into the light, towards eternity.


Stockholm duo GHLOW returns with new their second album Levitate, which showcases the band’s blend of garage punk and electronics. Levitate is a daring and ambitious sequel to their debut Slash and Burn that maintains that record’s sense of urgency whilst also finding room for experimentation and artful reflection. The level of trust between the pair that their debut had cemented is reflected in the way the record came together, with the band eschewing all outside assistance and instead putting their faith in themselves. Levitate was written, recorded, produced, mixed and mastered entirely by de Blanche and Evdokimov in their Stockholm studio, and the result is akin to listening to a creative collaboration blossom in real time.

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