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Best New Albums | April 2023 SunNeverSetsOnMusic

Best New Albums | April 2023 SunNeverSetsOnMusic

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Brandee Younger - Brand New Life

Brand New Life

by Brandee Younger

Released 7 April 2023

Impulse Records / Verve

*****

Celebrated as the premier harpist of her generation, Brandee Younger has broken new ground for harpists over the entirety of her career. Younger made history as the first Black female solo artist to be GRAMMY®-nominated for Best Instrumental Composition, for “Beautiful is Black”
from her genre-busting 2021 major-label debut album, Somewhere Different. That same year the album also garnered an NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding Jazz Album – Instrumental. Along with the release of Brand New Life, Younger will be embarking on a series
of headlining shows across the U.S. this spring, and will follow her whirlwind 2023 with a residency as SFJazz’s Resident Artistic Director in early 2024. 

Read more... Bandcamp

Angel Bat Dawid - Requiem For Jazz

Requiem for Jazz

by Angel Bat Dawid

Released 24 March 2023

International Anthem

*****

Composer, clarinetist, singer and educator Angel Bat Dawid announces the release of a new work, Requiem For Jazz, a 12-movement suite composed, arranged, and inspired in part by dialogue from Edward O. Bland’s 1959 film The Cry of Jazz. The album is a wide-ranging treatise on the African American story from one of its most astute narrators.

Itself an incisive critique of racial politics in the USA, The Cry of Jazz draws formal comparisons between the structure of jazz music and the African American experience - as one of freedom and restraint, of joy and suffering - that manifests in the triumph of spirit over the crushing prejudice of daily life.

Cutting together archive reels from Black neighborhoods in Chicago with live performance footage from Sun Ra and his Arkestra among others, the film remains a radical and prescient evocation of Black pride and its roots in the history of jazz, from spirituals to blues and beyond.

Read more... Bandcamp

Petite Noir - MotherFather

MotherFather

by Petite Noir

Released 14 April 2023

Roya

*****

Petite Noir is the architect of Noirwave – a musical and cultural movement that draws creative energy from punk aesthetics and the fragmented identity of today’s African diaspora. The Congolese artist was born in Belgium, raised in South Africa, and is now based between London and Paris.

MotherFather is his long-awaited second album, and it has a subtitle: ‘The darkness is comforting sometimes’. As Petite Noir explains: “It’s about going through the darkness. But it’s also about rebirth. Because the dark times are needed for us to grow.”

 

Read more... Bandcamp


 

Feist - Multitudes

Multitudes

by Feist

Released 14 April 2023

Polydor (France)

*****

Over the past three decades, Feist has established herself in indie music as one of her generation’s most distinctive voices. Since the release of her solo debut in 1999, she has produced Grammy-nominated and Juno-winning records that oscillate between intimacy and experimentation. At the height of her popularity – with the 2007 song 1234, which soundtracked an iPod commercial, or 2004’s Mushaboom – she harnessed pop-focused hooks and acoustic warmth, clothing layered compositions with a catchy simplicity. But her back catalogue is full of unusual sonic details too: 2011’s Metals is punctuated by dynamic bursts of stamping, shouting and scratching guitars, while Pleasure (2017) saw her stretching out into five-minute tracks that unfurl into swaggering riffs.

The six years since the release of Leslie Feist’s last album, Pleasure, have been momentous ones for the Canadian singer-songwriter. She has relocated to Los Angeles, adopted a daughter and lost her father. Death, birth and persistence inform her moving, raw and occasionally unpredictable sixth record, Multitudes.

Read more... The Guardian

Kara Jackson - Why Does The Earth Give Us People To Love

Why Does The Earth Give Us People To Love

by Kara Jackson

Released 14 April 2023

Kara Jackson / September Recordings

*****

Why Does the Earth Give Us People to Love?, the debut album from musician and poet Kara Jackson, is a journey into grief, self-possession, and love—a dazzling and devastating examination of life’s unpredictability. Those weighty themes are paired with adventurous arrangements: “no fun/party” forgoes the standard verse-chorus-verse form for a more open-ended style; minor chords usher in each new section, and the hopeful country melody gives way to an elegiac bridge. The song explores the various emotions that accompany the search for love—an echo of the album’s One Big Question, which is why we undertake these searches at all. “Don’t be sorry for missing the party,” Jackson says near the song’s conclusion, “‘Cause somebody’s party is missing you, too.”

Read more... Bandcamp

Everything But The Girl - Fuse

Fuse

by Everything But The Girl

Released 21 April 2023

Buzzin' Fly Records / Virgin

*****

It’s not really a comeback. Not really. For one thing, Tracey Thorn and Ben Watt – the component units of Everything But The Girl – haven’t exactly lost touch. The two married in 2008, and while the group have been inactive, the odd release (a non-EBTG cover of The xx, for example) has emerged. But let’s just it’s pretty close to a comeback. And as far as not-really-a-comeback-but-sort-of events go, ‘Fuse’ is up there with the best of them – a graceful, majestic, moving experience, one that dips into club tropes while illuminating pop at its iciest, and most arresting.

Read more... Clash Music

Smokey Robinson  - Gasms

Gasms

by Smokey Robinson

Released 28 April 2023

Polydor (France)

*****

Smokey Robinson’s first collection of new songs in 14 years is gorgeous, tender and utterly filthy – a concept album about sex called Gasms. Robinson, 83, admits he thought the title would be good for business. “When people think of gasms, they think of orgasms first and foremost … I tell everybody: ‘Whatever your gasm is, that’s exactly what I’m talking about.’” He bursts out laughing. Within seconds of meeting him, you can tell this is a man who’s done a hell of a lot of laughing, loving and living.

On the title track, Robinson sings about eyegasms, eargasms, the whole gamut of gasms. If there is any danger of missing the point, he throws in double entendres that verge on the single. He sings with the silky falsetto of yesteryear, the words perfectly phrased as ever. The album ranges from the exultant (“We’re each other’s ecstasy”) on Roll Around to the biological (“If you got an inner vacancy / Baby, then make it a place for me”) on I Fit in There.

Read more... The Guardian

The National - First Two Pages of Frankenstein

First Two Pages of Frankenstein

by The National

Released 28 April 2023

The National / 4AD

****-

First Two Pages of Frankenstein is The National’s ninth studio album. This 11-song collection signals a new chapter in the band’s discography.

Anchored by evocative melodies and an enthralling lyrical narrative, First Two Pages of Frankenstein finds The National sounding more creatively energized than ever and poised to earn them even more fans.

The album was produced by the band at Long Pond Studios in upstate New York and features guest appearances by Taylor Swift, Phoebe Bridgers and Sufjan Stevens.

Read more... Bandcamp

Dinner Party - Enigmatic Society

Enigmatic Society

by Dinner Party

Released 14 April 2023

Sounds of Crenshaw / WMPIRE

****-

The hybrid jazz supergroup featuring Kamasi Washington, Robert Glasper, Terrace Martin, and more keeps it exquisitely sparse and supremely chill.
Dinner Party offers incontrovertible proof that great music requires great restraint. The group comprises three of the most highly rated jazz musicians of modern times—saxophonist Kamasi Washington, pianist Robert Glasper and multi-instrumentalist Terrace Martin—plus North Carolina producer 9th Wonder, who all hide their collective light under a band name that is bland to the point of ridicule. The instrumentation on Enigmatic Society, meanwhile, is exquisitely sparse, stripped back to passing glances and musical breeze.

Read more... Pitchfork

Arooj Aftab, Vijay Iyer, Shahzad Ismaily - Love In Exile

Love In Exile

by Arooj Aftab, Vijay Iyer, Shahzad Ismaily

Released 24 March 2023

Verve

*****

Since 2015, Arooj Aftab has gradually distilled the essence of her work. On her debut album, Bird Under Water, the Pakistan-born, Brooklyn-based composer fused ghazal—a South Asian style focused on loss and love, both romantic and divine—with pop, jazz, and soul, finding the consonance between musical traditions from different corners of the world. On 2018’s ambient Siren Islands, she stripped away tradition, weaving her otherworldly voice between layers of synthesizer. By 2021’s Vulture Prince—her breakout record, an elegiac piece filigreed with voice, harp, and violin—she had learned to squeeze every drop of emotional resonance out of a single elongated syllable, or the vibrato of a gently pressed harp string.

Love in Exile—Aftab’s new album in collaboration with pianist and jazz composer Vijay Iyer and multi-instrumentalist Shahzad Ismaily—takes that process of distillation even further: coaxing an entire album’s worth of pathos out of a handful of Urdu couplets, crafting complex emotional inner worlds through the ritualistic repetition of just a few lines of poetry. In Ismaily and Iyer, she has found the perfect partners. All three draw from a shared vocabulary that is subtle, intricate, and minimalist, yet incredibly expressive. 

Read more... Pitchfork

Jessie Ware - That Feels Good

That Feels Good

by Jessie Ware

Released 28 April 2023

EMI / Universal Music Operations Limited

*****

That! Feels Good! is an emphatic answer to 2020's What's Your Pleasure? in more than one way. The dialogue evoked by the titles translates to how Jessie Ware's fifth album relates to her fourth, as this moves the party into a bigger and more opulent disco with a laser focus on fevered physical gratification. Continuing to work with primary What's Your Pleasure? collaborator James Ford, Ware also pairs here with Stuart Price -- who reached out after helping Pet Shop Boys and Dua Lipa make other dancefloor bombs dropped in 2020 -- to assist in turning up the heat.

Resd more... AllMusic

Slowthai - Ugly

Ugly

by Slowthai

Released 3 March 2023

Method Records

****-

That! Feels Good! is an emphatic answer to 2020's What's Your Pleasure? in more than one way. The dialogue evoked by the titles translates to how Jessie Ware's fifth album relates to her fourth, as this moves the party into a bigger and more opulent disco with a laser focus on fevered physical gratification. Continuing to work with primary What's Your Pleasure? collaborator James Ford, Ware also pairs here with Stuart Price -- who reached out after helping Pet Shop Boys and Dua Lipa make other dancefloor bombs dropped in 2020 -- to assist in turning up the heat.

Resd more... AllMusic

Mo'Ju - ORO, PLATA, MATA

RO, PLATA, MATA

by Mo'Ju

Released 24 March 2023

Mo'Ju

****-

The revered Filipino/Wiradjuri musician is explaining how the structure of their brilliant new record – Oro, Plata, Mata – came to be. The album is filled with vintage funk feel, knife-slashes of strings, the glinting bell-like sounds of the Kulintang (”It’s like a Filipino version of a gamelan – it’s tuned percussion” says Mo’Ju) and some stunning lyrical messages; it’s as much a homage to Mo’Ju’s uncle, who created an iconic film in the ’80s which shares its title with the album, as an exploration of wealth’s glorification, spirituality, political change, existential anxiety, and a passionate dedication to forging a brighter future.

The record doesn’t follow the film’s storyline, but its triad structure informed the way Mo’Ju ended up assembling the music, in unfolding formations of three.

As for its message, Mo’Ju wants to make it abundantly clear that the record is not a moralising, preachy project: ”This album is not didactic,” they say. ”It’s not about, ’Hey! This is what’s wrong with the world, and this is how everybody should be!’ I’m talking about my lived experience. It’s a reflection upon my own internal conflict around feeling at once complicit in capitalism, and also a total captive of it.

Read more... Basement Discs

Bumpy - Morning Sun (EP)

Morning Sun (EP)

by Bumpy

Released 27 January 2023

Astral People Recordings

****-

Naarm/Melbourne-based soul artist, proud Noongar woman and Music Victoria 2022 Uncle Archie Roach Foundation Award winner Bumpy shares her debut EP, Morning Sun.
Over the last few years neo-jazz, nu-soul has gradually been creeping into the Melbourne scene, establishing a rather rapid following as one of the most prominent up-and-coming genres around. 

Merging elements of R’n’B, alternative electronica, jazz and hip-hop, the genre quickly earned its stripes, with trailblazers such as Hiatus Kaiyote and 30/70 migrating from tiny backyard shows and the Victorian ‘bush-doof’ scene to become revered on the stages all around the world. 

Keep up with the latest music news, festivals, interviews and reviews here.
This means that Bumpy’s debut EP Morning Sun is being delivered to the masses at the perfect time. With her backing comprising electronically charged jazz elements and a vocal range resembling the raw huskiness of Macy Gray, Bumpy’s debut perfectly encapsulates the breathtaking vocal capabilities of the ludicrously gifted Naarm-based artist. 

Read more... Forte Magazine

Dijon - Absolutely

Absolutely

by Dijon

Released 5 November 2021

Dark Green Records

****-

Although just 32 minutes overall, "Absolutely" is a surprising little album that Sun Never Sets On Music missed in 2021/2022, but is well worth a listen.

As a reviewer at Atwood magazine said, "Dijon diverts expectations. This has always been clear, but Absolutely demonstrates why he is impossible to put a box around. The LA-based producer and singer-songwriter’s raspy voice makes an impression in an altogether scrappy record. This album turns left when you expect it to turn right; every second is charged with something different. Nevertheless, it propels forward, fueled by love, frustration, and fascination."

Read more... Atwood Magazine

Debby Friday - Good Luck

Good Luck

by Debby Friday

Released 24 March 2023

Sub Pop Records

****-

Debby Friday’s debut album, Good Luck, is stunning for the artist’s overwhelming confidence in her work. The Nigerian-born Canadian asserts herself from the jump in her delivery, in her lyrics, in how she embraces her sense of self and her sexuality. Friday comes across as a more seasoned artist than a debut album would suggest, the result of being a dedicated performer.

Friday’s compositions are loud, metallic, and brash, driven by heavy hitting drums and wearing the influence of her self-declared club upbringing and DJing experience on her sleeve. She is unafraid of marrying harsh sounds with pulsing beats, shrieking electronic tones with throbbing rhythms, tilted sidewise by catchy choruses.

Read more... The Quietus

Nakhane - Bastard Jargon

Bastard Jargon

by Nakhane

Released 31 March 2023

Star Red Music

****-

Since the release of their impressive second album, You Will Not Die in 2018, South African born Nakhane has caught the attention of Elton, Madonna, duetted with Anohni, acted in numerous films, written several books, came out as non-binary and moved to London.

These experiences have helped them extricate themselves from the confines of strict a Christian upbringing and into embracing their queerness. This struggle was something which informed the songwriting on their previous album, while this time round we’re in the realms of hedonism, new experiences, and as they describe it, existential sex.

Bastard Jargon, a phrase they first came across in linguistics class is a South African term used when learning a new language, used here metaphorically to signify a new beginning, Nakhane was sad last time, but now they’re here to fuck.

Read more... The Line Of Best Fit

Caroline Rose - The Art of Forgetting

The Art of Forgetting

by Caroline Rose

Released 24 March 2023

New West Records

****-

With The Art of Forgetting, Rose took on the dual role of writer and producer. The album encapsulates the feeling of experiencing recent memories, having them turn into old ones and then ultimately forgetting those memories altogether. There is a romantic nature within the sonic landscape of this record. Tape effects and loops emulate the feeling of aging while the juxtaposition of modern acoustic-electronic textures, like lo-fi tape next to hi-fi granular synths result in some of their most mature and honest work to date.

Read more... Bandcamp

WILSN - Those Days Are Over

Those Days Are Over

by WILSN

Released 3 February 2023

Ivy League Records

****-

It’s the album of an artist not just discovering her voice, but truly nurturing and embracing her identity; an uninhibited and unapologetic expression of self. This is what owning your truths and following your heart sounds like; this is what bucking industry pressures feels like. It’s euphoric; it’s brave; it’s gut-wrenching; and it’s utterly irresistible.

hose Days Are Over is definitive and dynamic: A seductive, sonically and emotionally charged introduction establishing WILSN at the crossroads of classic and modern soul.

As its name suggests, it’s also a clean break from the past – one that saw the Melbourne-based artist, nee Shannon Busch, making music with a more indie sound and pop-forward skew for several years.

Read more... Atwood Magazine

B.Cool-Aid, Pink Siifu, Ahwlee - Leather Blvd.

Leather Blvd.

by B.Cool-Aid, Pink Siifu, Ahwlee

Released 31 March 2023

Lex Records

****-

Pink Siifu and producer Ahwlee named their group B. Cool Aid after brown Kool-Aid, a potion made by mixing so many flavors of the powdered beverage that the colors smear. “I was like, ‘Oh shit, that’s us,’” Siifu reflected in a Fader interview. “We mix everything together, and it’s Black too.” Brown Kool-Aid has no set recipe, but it is inevitably sweet and smooth, a standard he and Ahwlee aspire to in their fluid collages of neo-soul, rap, and jazz.

Inspired by hood movies, swap meets, and the Soulquarians, B. Cool Aid channel their artistic influences and overlapping networks into an homage to urbane Black cool. Their third album, Leather Blvd., is a light concept record about an imaginary thoroughfare where Black people live and shop in peace. “Leather Blvd. is the place where you can get it, even when you can’t afford it,” Awhlee told Okayplayer. “It is what America is supposed to be.” 

Read more... Pitchfork

 

A Strange Loop - Original Broadway Cast Recording

A Strange Loop - Original Broadway Cast Recording

by A Strange Loop Original Broadway Cast

Released 10 June 2022

SH-K-BoomRecords, Yellow Sound Labe,

 Barbara Whitman Productions

****-

Listening to the original Broadway cast recording of A Strange Loop straight through can induce a feeling of whiplash. While most of it had me positively giddy with pleasure, a few tracks were pretty hard to take. First, the ample good news. The distinctiveness of Michael R Jackson’s writing ... combines his own lived experience as a perpetual outsider, his love of confessional singer-songwriters, his extensive knowledge of Musical Theatre and his talent for composing irresistible earworms into a theatrical juggernaut that feels truly fresh and fearless.
The recording even improves on the experience of seeing the show on Broadway because the sound is infinitely better than in the theatre. What a joy it is to be able to make out the twists and turns of Jackson’s torrential wordplay without having them overwhelmed by the rambunctious, electric-bass and percussion-driven arrangements.

Read more... Musicals Magazine

Yumi Kurosawa Trio - Metamorphosis

Metamorphosis

by Yumi Kurosawa Trio

Released 24 March 2023

Zoho Music

****-

The refined jazzy elegance of Yumi Kurosawa’s Metamorphosis is certainly a pleasure beholden. Born into a koto-playing family, she won several first prizes at Japan’s National Koto Competition. Her classical training and development were probably fairly standard in traditional Japanese music and koto, a 13-string plucked zither of Paulownia wood with movable bridges under each string. I would assume that, inspired by the cultural veneration for this instrument, she most likely pursued advanced studies in contemporary koto music. Now based in New York, Kurosawa is focused on original music, and she blends her compositional style with other cultures and traditions to create new, vibrant and borderless music.

Read more... Roots Music Report

Anna Wise - Subtle Body Dawn

Subtle Body Dawn

by Anna Wise

Released 16 February 2023

Anna Wise

****-

(Anna) Wise has always been a curious song-maker with an unconventional ear and jazz-like sensibilities, which made her such a favorite artist among artists, including Kendrick Lamar (most will recognize her as the voice on “These Walls” from To Pimp A Butterfly). Subtle Body Dawn was created with her longtime collaborator and husband Jon Bap, now going by Maurice II, and there’s immense sonic variation, even within its seven songs. “Greens” is a lively tune with guitar and rapping percussion and a crafty melody; “Subtle Body” is a lovely, shifting mosaic with rich violin strings, fuzzy audio recordings, and hand claps. “Mother Of Mothers,” the record’s mighty closer, opens on an operatic choir before changing to a plinking childlike piano lullaby as Wise sings about becoming a mother: “I’m never gonna be the same I was before.”

‌Much of the album was inspired by this new journey, and it’s drawn out a reinvigorated and more assured side of Wise.

Read more... Nylon

GoGo Penguin - Everything Is Going To Be OK

Everything Is Going To Be OK

by GoGo Penguin

Released 14 April 2023

Gogo Penguin, XXIM Records, Sony Music

****-

British trio GoGo Penguin recorded Everything Is Going to Be OK during an emotionally heavy period of tragedy and loss. Bassist Nick Blacka's mother and brother both died of cancer within months of each other, and pianist Chris Illingworth mourned the death of his grandmother. Additionally, drummer Rob Turner announced his departure from the group near the end of 2021. Joined by new drummer Jon Scott, the bandmembers wrote and played music together as a form of escape, and as a way to heal. The music retains the familiar sound they've been honing since their formation, featuring circular melodies and sophisticated drumming inspired by electronic dance music, but performed by a primarily acoustic jazz trio formation. However, there's unmistakably a more melancholic, bittersweet feel to these songs. 

Read more... AllMusic

Bobo Stenson Trio - Sphere

Sphere

by Bobo Stenson Trio

Released 17 March 2023

ECM

****-

The Bobo Stenson Trio’s ability of covering far-reaching idioms and wide-ranging repertoire within the scope of their personal diction has become both hallmark and custom, inspiring the New York Times to say the pianist “makes sublime piano-trio records without over-playing. It’s pulsating, with long improvised phrases; it’s alive.” Charting an equally subtle and idiosyncratic path through originals and melodies derived from various Scandinavian composers, the distinguished group proves of a particularly supple alchemy on Sphere. Here, a variety of musical tenets coexist in the unique blend, which the Swedish pianist has wrought, developed and refined over decades of collaboration with ECM and Manfred Eicher, who, as Bobo says “brings out the musicians’ best qualities” and produced the record. The pianist’s cohorts, Anders Jormin on bass and drummer Jon Fält, together accompanying the leader since Cantando in 2008, are more than ideal musical partners to Bobo’s soft touch and infinite appetite for interplay.

Read more... ECM

Padang Moonrise (Various Artists) - Padang Moonrise The Birth Of The Modern Indonesian Rec

Padang Moonrise: The Birth Of The Modern Indonesian Recording Industry (1955-67)

by Padang Moonrise (Various Artists)

Released 25 November 2022

Soundaway Recordings

****-

Padang Moonrise is the story of modern Indonesian music that emerged underneath the volcanoes of Java and Sumatra. Java, the most populous island in the archipelago of over 17,000 islands and 1300 distinct ethnic groups, and its capital city Jakarta, was where most of the post-colonial national identity, politics, administration and music production was centred.

Traditional songs from Java, Sumatra, Bali and beyond were re-imagined by a small group of state-sponsored musicians that also composed and arranged new music. These songs aimed at consolidating a geographically disparate country with a new language and new ideas of national character. This compilation brings together a handful of these recordings that combine elements of regional popular music, Islamic Gambus, Javanese & Balinese Gamelan and Kroncong, with jazz, Afro-latin music & instrumentation, and vocal harmonies influenced by banned American doo-wop and rock & roll.

The results are a unique blend of styles that have remained mostly insulated from the world outside of Indonesia until a recent worldwide resurgence in the interest of recorded music of all forms has shone a new light on these nearly forgotten recordings.

 

Read more... Bandcamp


 

Reverend And The Makers - Heatwave In The Cold North

Heatwave In The Cold North

by Reverend And The Makers

Released 28 April 2023

Distiller Records

****-

Reverend and The Makers have created something special for their highly-anticipated new album ‘Heatwave In The Cold North’ – the band’s seventh, and their first in five years. Concise, optimistic and uplifting, it includes lead singles ‘Problems’, ‘High’, ‘Heatwave in the Cold North’, and the emotive ‘A Letter To My 21 Year Old Self’ which has formed part of a wider project headed up by frontman Jon McClure.

Endearing, vivid and ambitious, ‘Heatwave in The Cold North’ is the band’s strongest and most soulful body of work to date.

Read more,,, Clash Music

Mark Barrott - 蒸発 (J​ō​hatsu)

蒸発 (J​ō​hatsu)

by Mark Barrott

Released 17 April 2023

Reflections

****-

These days I try, whenever possible, to write like a Japanese Calligrapher - prepare the room, the ink and paper and then the make the act of creation as spontaneous as possible.
I desire therefore, a release mechanism that mirrors this creative process as closely as possible, giving me the freedom to share music quickly and directly with people that care.
This first Bandcamp focused release is music from a soundtrack I was commissioned to write for a Japanese documentary ‘Jōhatsu…the art of evaporation’. I have no idea if it will ever see the light of day, (post pandemic funding issues), but one of the conditions of my contract was the ability to release the music myself should the documentary remain unreleased by the end of 2021.
Regardless of its origins, this is the music I wish to make, the emotions I wish to capture and share…the ideal of living simply with Kindness, Grace & Gratitude.
I hope that this achieves that connection with you.

Read more... Bandcamp

Xylouris White- The Forest In Me

The Forest In Me

by Xylouris White

Released 14 April 2023

Remote Control Records

****-

In 2019, following the release of and tour for The Sisypheans, Giorgos Xylouris, Jim White, and producer/third member Guy Picciotto took some time off and began discussing, then sketching ideas for new material via transcontinental digital transmission.

White and Picciotto worked in the producer's Brooklyn basement, then sent files to Xylouris in Crete, where he added lyra (a violin-like instrument) and luato (a long-necked lute). White noted that this new process at least seeded a forthcoming record without employing their standard working themes or verbal speech; even dynamics emerged gradually. Picciotto compiled and combined music from both.

This process of making The Forest in Me proved intimate in a new way. Xylouris heard a certain solitude in the music; it matched the album's working title and their working method. These musicians, accustomed to communicating directly in the studio at the same time, had to channel an inner, subjective, creative language that would eventually be combined to create something bigger. Little did they know they were in the process of establishing a working M.O. that would become a necessity in just a few short months as the pandemic gripped the world.

Read more... AllMusic

The Lahaar - The Lahaar

The Lahaar

by The Lahaar

Released 31 March 2023

Soundway Records

****-

Drawing inspiration from the depths of late 70's NYC proto-rap disco instrumentals, Nigerian boogie, Jamaican dub and modern jazzy house - The Lahaar is a Trans-Tasman collaboration between Julien Dyne, Horatio Luna and Surprise Chef's Lachlan Stuckey, featuring Mara TK and Toby Laing on vocals.

The EP embarks on a 5-track rollercoaster - kicking off with “Doin’ It”, fast-paced jazz-funk peppered with marimba and organ riffs, balanced out by the siren vocals of Mara TK.

“Step 2” suddenly brakes and swerves into cruise mode, repurposing the trumpets and dub echoes - picking up tempo in the soulful melancholia of “Work Work Work”. In the last two tracks the organs and guitars make a frenetic comeback by way of disco-house, ending with a nod to 70s cop movie funk.

Read more... Bandcamp

The Rookies - Feed The Fire

Feed The Fire

by The Rookies

Released 22 March 2023

The Rookies

****-

Feed The Fire explores the purpose and powers within the element of fire; destruction, regeneration, nurture and passion. The Rookies don’t take releasing music lightly, and seek to use this record to present a fierce and uncompromising call for a better future. The first all original record from the ensemble, the music has been formed into a continuous track in seven parts - a carefully crafted journey representing a simple truth, that until we burn down the systems that do not serve us all, we cannot grow to become our best. That our collective liberation and freedom is rooted in the liberation and freedom of all people - a future only made possible by feeding the fire and burning down all systems of exclusion and intolerance.

Read more... Bandcamp

Esthesis Quartet - Time Zones

Time Zones

by Esthesis Quartet

Released 10 March 2023

Esthesis Quartet

****-

Esthesis Quartet is made up of four accomplished musicians and educators who met at various festivals, conventions, and sessions around the USA (there are brief bios at the end of this post after the video clip that accompanies the press release). Time Zones is the second album put out by this quartet, their first album, the eponymous Esthesis Quartet, was released in 2021.

Noteworthy in the male dominated field of jazz academia, there are only six women across the country [USA] who are department heads of jazz programs. Two of the six are in Esthesis Quartet. Gender aside, the high level of musicianship and commitment to spontaneous creativity makes Esthesis Quartet a formidable musical force and Time Zones an eminently satisfying project for aficionados of contemporary improvisatory music.

 

Read more... Mouthpiecemusic Simply Jazz Talk
 

Nostalgia 77 - The Loneliest Flower In The Village

The Loneliest Flower In The Village

by Nostalgia 77

Released 27 January 2023

Jazzman Records

****-

Ben Lamdin AKA Nostalgia 77 is a UK based Jazz producer who's been releasing music on Tru Thoughts for over 10 years, whilst also running his own Jazz label, Impossible Ark.

For the past 20 years Nostalgia 77 has become a catch all for the musical life of Benedic Lamdin. His schizophrenic offerings range from songwriting sessions, soundtracks, excursions into Soul and in this case Jazz. The Loneliest Flower in the Village is an album that sees Lamdin reunited with longtime collaborator and arranger Riaan Vosloo and experienced veterans from a host of Nostalgia 77 projects.

'It had been a long time since we'd gigged or recorded so the idea was as much a little reunion in the studio as any grand plan to record an album' says Lamdin.

 

Read more... Bandcamp

Close Encounters - SOULACOSTA II

SOULACOSTA II

by Close Encounters

Released 15 February 2023

HOLY SOUND

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Back in 2018 we dropped 'SOULACOASTA', our first long-form body of work - we were blown away by the reactions and still to this day the title track is a favourite in our live show with the full band. We now present to you 'SOULACOASTA II', a colourful sonic journey over 60 minutes in length that's full of energy for vibrant club floors, but equally ready for a headphone journey or long car ride. It’s a 14 track expedition through soul, house, broken beat and beyond, with the bass and beats driving the vehicle as the synths, keyboards and samples decorate the view. This record was an opportunity to get deeper into dance music and dive into niche sounds and samples that we’ve collected from trawling through movies, archives, digging through the crates across Australia, UK and Europe, weaving new inspiration and textures into our music. This record also features some drums and percussion by Lucky Pereira, and bass guitar by Matthew Hayes.

Read more... Bandcamp

Ivan Ave - All Seasons Gear

All Seasons Gear

by Ivan Ave

Released 10 March 2023

Mutual Intentions AS

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If there is a space in this place for a voice of this age, it’s still sealed in wax. Above the din of the noise a vocal appears, in calm reflection, it delivers a message of hope in a time of despair. Ivan Ave is back. A lot has transpired since we last heard him on a full-length project, there's a lot to ponder as we get into his latest LP, All Season Gear.

On his 4th solo album, Ivan offers a glimpse into the various seasons he and his friends went through in the last three years. All Season Gear was recorded on highs and lows through a pandemic, through healing, falling in love and observing the chaos that is the hyper-textual information age. Lyrically an all-weather-proof record, breaking even with with a joie de vivre, backed by production from the likes of Sasac, Mndsgn, Like, DJ Harrison and Ivan Ave himself.

 

Read more... Bandcamp
 

Benny Sings - Young Hearts

Young Hearts

by Benny Sings

Released 24 March 2023

Stones Throw Records

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There's a soft sophistication to Dutch singer/songwriter Benny Sings' music that evokes the sunny adult-contemporary pop of the '70s and early '80s. It's a vibe he has cultivated on past albums and one he brings to another level with 2023's Young Hearts. A collaboration with producer Kenny Beats, the album leans more towards the early-'80s end of the throwback spectrum as Sings and Beats marry jazzy, synth-accented melodies with bubbly electronic grooves. Sings and Beats first got together for the track "Don't Look" off Sings' 2021 mixtape Beat Tape II. As with that track, the songs on Young Hearts are a perfect balance of Sings' laid-back melodic hooks and Beats' funky, hip-hop-inspired grooves. It's an immediately infectious blend perhaps best expressed on the title track, a song that wouldn't sound out of place on a Joe Jackson album of the early '80s. 

Read more... AllMusic

Darren Jessee - Central Bridge

Central Bridge

by Darren Jessee

Released 24 March 2023

Bar None Records

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Darren Jessee is a familiar presence to alternative music fans thanks to his long tenure as the drummer / backing vocalist in Ben Folds Five. (He also co-wrote that group’s biggest hit “Brick.”) Outside of that outfit, he’s logged time touring with Sharon Van Etten and Hiss Golden Messenger, as well as fronting the indie rock ensemble Hotel Lights. But perhaps Jessee’s most affecting work has been the three albums he has released over the past five years under his own name. On these recordings, he scales everything back to the purest pop essentials, with strings, acoustic guitar, and a smart application of vintage keyboards serving to put further emphasis on his languid vocals and plainspoken, yet elegiac lyrics. Jessee’s latest full-length Central Bridge is his best yet. A hushed understated affair recorded primarily in the artist’s North Carolina home, the album revels in the small details of life—a crumpled pack of cigarettes found in an old jacket, a pile of wet swimwear on the floor—that somehow leave a lasting impression on a person or stir up deep seated memories

Read more... Bandcamp

Marc Romboy - Music Made for Aliens

Music Made for Aliens

by Marc Romboy

Released 17 March 2023

Awesome Soundwave

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Mönchengladbach, Germany artist Marc Romboy is renowned within the electronic scene for his eclectic, boundary-pushing approach and decades worth of experience working both behind the scenes and behind the decks.

In recent years he has embraced performing live as another creative outlet and, indeed, creative challenge. As an artist and performer, Marc has always pushed the boundaries of his creativity and this, Marc’s first studio album in 6 years is a true masterwork of techno from one of the masters of the genre.

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muted colors

by Ben Sloan

Released 24 March 2023

New Amsterdam

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Percussionist and producer Ben Sloan has performed and recorded with The National, Moses Sumney, Beth Orton, Mouse on Mars, Rozi Plain, Serengeti, and WHY? His debut album, muted colors, is a shapeshifting exploration of genre-fluid sound. And he brings a few of these friends on the journey. Featuring Sumney, Serengeti, Liz and Josiah Wolf of WHY?, and Felicia Douglass of Dirty Projectors, Sloan’s debut was culled from his digital scrapbook—old hard-drives, folders, field recordings, studio sessions, and countless voice memos—resulting in a time capsule-type album that feels frenetic, yet contemplative, betraying a heavy core beneath a flitting surface.

“The album is something of an abstracted diary,” says Sloan. “Each track is a vignette, a little colorful, sensational world to briefly indulge.”

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Rodrigo y Gabriela - In Between Thoughts...A New World

In Between Thoughts...A New World

by Rodrigo y Gabriela

Released 21 April 2023

ATO Records

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Guitar duo Rodrigo y Gabriela return with their first album since 2019's Grammy-winning Mettavolution. In 2021, they issued an arrangement of Mozart's Symphony No. 25 in G Minor K.183 and received another Grammy nod for a cover of Metallica's "The Struggle Within." In Between Thoughts...A New World was written, recorded, and produced in their Ixtapa, Mexico studio. It showcases a significant expansion of their core sound, adding orchestral and electronic textures. The music was inspired by spiritual reflection and the Hindu text the Advaita Vedanta. Rooted in the concept of non-dualism, it depicts a single, infinite, indivisible reality of pure consciousness. All objects and "selves" derive their identifiable -- not independent -- existence from this interconnected reality.

Read more... AllMusic

Alpha Mist - Variables

Variables

by Alpha Mist

Released 21 April 2023

Anti

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Variables is a collection of warm, subtle and often delicately beautiful jazz and hip-hop. It’s also largely instrumental: Mist’s vocals only appear on two songs – Borderline and the trippy, cello-adorned 4th Feb (Stay Awake). Elsewhere, Kaya Thomas-Dyke brings honeyed tones to the densely textured R&B of Aged Eyes, while South African folk singer Bongeziwe Mabandla leads the exquisite Apho.
It’s a shame we don’t hear more of Mist’s MCing: his lyrics are evocative, funny and cleverly laconic. Yet by making his presence felt elsewhere – on drums, piano and production duties – he avoids being pigeonholed, establishing himself as a genre-transcending talent. 

Read more... The Guardian

Moody Beaches - Acid Ocean

Acid Ocean

by Moody Beaches

Released 21 April 2023

Poison City Records

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Acid Ocean by Moody Beaches, is a potent 10-track serve of harmony-driven and brooding, fuzzed-out anthems, with cutting lyrical themes touching on social and economic injustices, invisibility as we age, and the numbing from modern life.

Emerging from Melbourne’s punk-rock underbelly in 2017, Moody Beaches have since cemented themselves as a must-watch live act and staple of the Australian indie punk scene, sharing stages with the likes of Magic Dirt, Screamfeeder, Dead Kennedys and Spiderbait. 

Read more... PBS

Billy Raffoul - I Wish You Were Here (EP)

I Wish You Were Here (EP)

by Billy Raffoul

Released 24 March 2023

Billy Raffoul / Network Music Group

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Billy made his debut in 2017 with the single “Driver.” Following the 1975 EP and The Running Wild EP, he released his debut full-length, A Few More Hours at YYZ in 2020. The single “Acoustic” generated over 60.7 million Spotify streams as “Easy Tiger” surpassed 19.4 million Spotify streams. The same year, he maintained this momentum with International Hotel and shared bills with Kings of Leon, Kaleo, X Ambassadors and more. Reaching another level, 2021 saw him garner the SOCAN Songwriting Prize for the single “Western Skies.”

Despite the Pandemic lockdown, he focused on writing and recording as much as possible. He collaborated with longtime creative cohorts Justin Zuccato and Mike Crossey remotely and occasionally in-person, piecing together what would become his upcoming EP, details forthcoming.

Read more... Billy Raffoul

Erik Truffaz - Rollin'

Rollin'

by Erik Truffaz

Released 7 April 2023

Blue Note

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Trumpeter Erik Truffaz's releases inspire excitement, debate, and concert attendance in Europe and Asia. Back in 2020, film director Marie-France Brière approached him about collaborating with her and composing music for a documentary film (Les îles de Napoléon). Following post-production and its entry on the competition circuit, Brière requested the trumpeter's quartet play a concert of themes from French cinema to close the Angoulême film festival. The band enjoyed the process and gig so much, trumpeter/producer Truffaz approached Blue Note -- his longtime label -- about releasing two albums of themes. Rollin' is the inaugural release, Clap is due at the end of the year. Bassist and co-producer Marcelo Giuliani and Truffaz -- the only remaining member of the trumpeter's quartet -- chose Rollin's personnel together: percussionist Raphaël Chassin, keyboardist Alexis Anérile, and guitarist Mathis Pascaud. Also included here are two vocal selections, "One Silver Dollar" sung by Camélia Jordana and "Cesar et Rosalie" delivered by actress and partner Sandrine Bonnaire.

Read more... AllMusic