An African legacy, a jokester, a formidable debut, and some more folksy things...
Lo Moon - Lo Moon
I begin this week's New Music with a needle drop. I knew nothing about this band before I pressed play, and I was hit in the ears with great music. This is a debut record from Lo Moon, a trio that released one track, "Loveless," on the internet about a year ago, got people excited, and then slowly laid out a plan to roll out a record that they artfully and proudly crafted.
They began playing live and released a second track six months later. And now, several months after that, they are releasing this self-titled debut. The half of the songs I've heard so far are heavy on tortured romance, and fans of bands like The xx and M83 will probably be right on board with this album. I love finding great new things. Hopefully you'll agree.
The track below is that first song that initially piqued people's attention. It's a seven-minute journey with an extended, slow-building bridge that climaxes right back into the chorus where it's supposed to.
Femi Kuti - One People One World
Femi is the son of famed activist and Afro-beat megastar Fela Kuti. He began following in his father's musical footsteps in the '90s. Back in November, he told Rolling Stone Magazine, "I hope this album brings joy, love, equal opportunity, justice, peace, understanding and togetherness to the world.”
I haven't heard much of this record, but I like African grooves rich with a strong horn section. I'm curious to see where Femi is taking the Kuti legacy these days.
Caroline Rose - Loner
I'm pretty sure I can't summarize this record any better than Rose's own press release:
An obsession with money, an unfaithful lover, a friend’s accidental pregnancy, misogyny, loneliness, death… This is just some of the lighthearted subject matter that make up LONER––the darkly comedic second album from songwriter/producer Caroline Rose. Armed with an arsenal of new instruments and equipment, an ever-growing sense of “ahhh fuck it,” two years of exploration, and a wicked sense of humor, Rose delivers a set of serious songs wrapped in a sprightly, angsty pop burrito. Because, as Rose puts it, “Sometimes sad songs just need a cocktail.”
If that doesn't make you curious enough to press play, you're obviously not interested, and we should just move on. She's irreverent, for sure, and I think she's kind of funny.
Darlingside - Extralife
I mean, I spend my days singing in a professional vocal ensemble. It should be no surprise to anyone that I'm a sucker for vocal harmonies. Here's another group I knew nothing about until this week when I just closed my eyes and dropped my finger on the play button.
And I guess I have an incurable attraction to indie folk music because here we go again. Indie folk, chamber pop, laden with guiltless vocal harmony and a few quirky electronic elements. I'm almost mad about what a sucker I am. I don't know yet how much substance is lurking beneath the surface, but I kind of don't care yet because I like the surface.
The Low Anthem - The Salt Doll Went to Measure the Depths of the Sea
I'm a fan of evolution. Well, yes, that, but also musical evolution. I prefer artists push themselves and their boundaries rather than repeat the same things over and over again. I like The Low Anthem...with reservations, and those reservations are unfortunately because of the evolution of their sound.
I fell in love with their back-to-back releases Oh My God, Charlie Darwin and Smart Flesh released in 2009 and 2011. Then they took five years off and released an album in 2016 that I don't remember much because it was a new sound I just didn't care about at the time.
What I liked about those two earlier records was that same damn indie folksy harmony stuff I keep going on about. I told you I was sucker. And theirs was particularly heartfelt and beautiful. If you haven't heard the afore mentioned albums, and you like that kind of thing, I recommend having a listen.
As far as I can tell, this new album still embraces that abandonment of their past sound. I'm going to listen, though, because maybe they're reaching new levels in their evolution that I might enjoy. I approach, however, with reservation.