Friday has finally arrived, which means it's release day for a bunch of albums at home and around the world. With so many hot releases out there, we've compiled some of the best new albums to present to you for the long weekend of listening. This week, we’re spotlighting the long-awaited return of Lianne La Havas and The Chicks (FKA The Dixie Chicks), as well as a sublime ambient project from Nicolas Jaar and local releases from Kllo and Alice Ivy. Let's go!
Lianne La Havas - Lianne La Havas
Five years since her last release Blood, UK soul sensation Lianne La Havas has returned with a new self-titled album out today through Warner. Featuring over 50 minutes of new material, it’s La Havas’ most lush release to date, with each song featuring gorgeous arrangements and warm, gooey production that’s not too dissimilar from D’Angelo’s Black Messiah. As you’d expect, Lianne La Havas’ vocals are at their A-Game on each track here, with songs like ‘Bittersweet’, ‘Paper Thin’ and ‘Sour Flower’ displaying her wild vocal acrobatics and talent in the harmony department. Plus, it’s so nice to finally have a studio recording of her amazing ‘Weird Fishes’ Radiohead cover after all these years - file this one in the essential pile.
Nicolas Jaar - Telas
After dropping the hard-hitting techno epic 2017-2019 under his Against All Logic alias in February and following it up with Cenizas a mere month after, the ever-prolific Nicolas Jaar is back with another full-length effort Telas. This four track, hour-long effort sees Jaar merge abrasive electronic percussion and harmonic modulations with subdued synths and plucks to make for another ambient-tinged offering, with the extended run time of each track making for a much more immersive listen than his last. Like any release from Nicolas Jaar, Telas proves to be a challenging but overwhelming rewarding listen, with even the most nuanced of bleeps and rattles adding up to make for another irresistible left-of-field project from one of the most intriguing minds in electronic music today.
The Chicks - Gaslighter
For their first new album since 2006’s Grammy Album of the Year award-winning Taking The Long Way, country pop stalwarts The Chicks (formerly known as The Dixie Chicks - the group changed their name last month due to its connotations with slavery in the US) deliver a sublime return to form with Gaslighter. Produced by the omnipresent pop overlord Jack Antonoff and featuring songwriting contributions from Annie Clark, Ariel Rechtshaid and Australian expats Sarah Aarons and Ben Abraham, Gaslighter sees The Chicks blend tender moments with yeehaw anthems to make for quite a memorable comeback release. Tracks like ‘Tights On My Boat’ show off Natalie Maines’ vocals like never before, while ‘Hope It’s Something Good’ and ‘Set Me Free’ blends orchestral strings and pedal steel to make for a wonderful two-song stretch to wrap up the album.
Alice Ivy - In My Mind
With In My Mind, Melbourne-based producer Alice Ivy delivers a collaborative 13 track effort that sees her songcraft and skill as a producer reach exciting new peaks. Boasting the likes of Thelma Plum, Montaigne, Bertie Blackman and Ecca Vandal among several other Aussie features, In My Mind sees Ivy cover everything from dancehall-infused electro-pop, pumping future house and atmospheric trap. The drum programming on the soulful ‘All In For You’ with Ngaaire makes for one of the record’s best moments, while the combination of the boom-bap groove and Benjamin Joseph’s soaring falsetto on ‘Better Man’ shows just why Alice Ivy is worthy of her status as one of Australia’s coolest producers.
Kllo - Maybe We Could
Kllo’s 2017 debut Backwater proved to be a huge breakout moment for the Melbourne duo, appealing to electronic and pop fans alike with its future garage inspired production and catchy hooks. With the release of their latest effort Maybe We Could, Kllo double down on the formula that made them sensations in the first place, with Simon Lam’s trademark production proving to be the perfect bedrock for Chloe Kaul’s unique vocal style. As you’d expect, there’s plenty of muted pianos and warm pads atop of scattered grooves, and while there’s no immediate standouts like Backwater’s ‘Virtue’, it’s tracks like ‘Still Here’ and ‘Somehow’ that make Maybe We Could the aural treat that it is.
Honorable Mentions: L-Fresh The Lion - South West, Alfie Templeman - Happiness In Liquid Form EP, Jarv Is... - Beyond The Pale, Willaris. K - Full Noise EP.
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