New Music Friday: the top releases this week

It's Friday, which means it's New Music Friday, which means it's time for us to pick out some of the biggest and best releases of the week. Grab our weekly YouTube and Spotify playlists to hear more...

'Old Town Road' should still be number one. That's it, that's the take.

This week in New Music Fridayland we find ourselves at opposite ends of the avant-garde music spectrum, the cinematic scoring work of Max Richter and Joe Hisaishi proving a foil for the drones of Chris Watson, Georgia Rogers, The Transcendence Orchestra and Sly & The Family Drone. We also have ye olde rock band fayre of varying intensity from Fontaines D.C., Brigid Dawson & The Mothers Network and Land Of Talk. Throw in a reissue of a Japanese City Pop delight and some proggy library-rock noodling and you've got yourself a pretty good selection all in all.

Chris Watson / Georgia Rodgers - Notes From The Forest Floor / Line Of Parts

Two drones of the Fourth World persuasion on this new SN Variations split. Chris Watson (of Cabaret Voltaire fame) and Georgia Rodgers’ pieces may have premiered years apart - in 2015 at London’s ICA and in 2019 at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival respectively - but ‘Notes From The Forest Floor’ and ‘Line Of Parts’ both operate in the same nocturnal shadow-realm. Parts of Rodgers’ piece come across beautiful chords like she’s found a clearing in a wood, but largely ‘Notes From The Forest Floor’ and ‘Line Of Parts’ both err on the side of ominous.

Fontaines D.C. - A Hero's Death

Fontaines D.C. (how I wish they were called Fontaines Of Wayne) are taking the world by storm. After their debut LP ‘Dogrel’ bulldozed its way to the front of the crowd last year the Dublin group have wasted no time in serving up a second set of moodyish, euphoricish post-punk ditties in the form of ‘A Hero’s Death’. To call Fontaines D.C. Ireland’s answer to Protomartyr would do neither band a disservice.

Brigid Dawson & The Mothers Network - Ballet Of Apes

Brigid Dawson, who here leads The Mothers Network on debut LP ‘Ballet Of Apes’, used to run with Thee Oh Sees. If this album recalls any era of the garage-rock mainstays’ varied output, it’s the freak-folk stylings of mid-2000s offerings like ‘The Cool Death Of Island Raiders’. However, such comparisons only really hold on tracks such as ‘When My Day of the Crone Comes’ - otherwise ‘Ballet Of Apes’ is a slightly dreamy, slightly hypnagogic rock collection that enmeshes ‘The Velvet Underground & Nico’, Cate Le Bon and Captain Beefheart.

The Transcendence Orchestra - Feeling The Spirit

The Transcendence Orchestra is a duo of Daniel Bean and Anthony Child, the latter of which you’ll probably know better as Surgeon. However, the music they make together really isn’t much like the searing techno one associates with the Surgeon name. The Transcendence Orchestra’s new LP ‘Feeling The Spirit’ does share some space with the pair of ‘Electronic Recordings From Maui Jungle’ records Child released in the mid-2010s, but this music is also far more hallucinatory, a dense whirr of drones that will appeal to those amongst you who enjoy the output of the Astral Industries label.

Max Richter - Voices

Max Richter - he of ‘Waltz With Bashir’ fame, among other things - dipped quill in ink for more than a decade to create his new LP ‘Voices’. It’s certainly an ambitious work (what isn’t where Richter’s concerned?), containing as it does all manner of orchestral instruments cooing sweet nothings around various readings of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. If you just want the nicey-nicey instruments by themselves you should get the double-CD edition of ‘Voices’, which comes with a whole disc of ‘voiceless’ mixes.

Sly & The Family Drone - Walk It Dry

You know that bit in ‘The Simpsons’ where the Ramones perform at Mr. Burns’ birthday party, and just before they start playing he says "ahh, these minstrels will soothe my jangled nerves"? For Mr. Burns substitute this Norman Records™ copychurner, and for the Ramones substitute Sly & The Family Drone. Even with a name like that, I really wasn’t ready for the caustic screes of their new LP ‘Walk It Dry’. This is horrid avant-noise-rock to skin cats to, and I’m here for it. Have the Rolling Drones killed.

Land Of Talk - Indistinct Conversations

Like Waxahatchee or BC Camplight, Land Of Talk is essentially a singer-songwriter project with a band attached. On Land Of Talk’s new LP ‘Indistinct Conversations’ Elizabeth Powell leads her trio of Mark “Bucky” Wheaton and Christopher McCarron through a set of elegant, thoughtful songs which aren’t dissimilar to the output of those aforementioned acts. Sometimes things get a lil grungy, but then ‘Indistinct Conversations’ throws up a spare heartbreaker like ‘Now You Want to Live in the Light’, a song on which Powell’s majestic voice is given room to shine.

Momoko Kikuchi - Adventure

Light In The Attic just can't help themselves, can they? Momoko Kikuchi’s ‘Adventure’ is the latest in the label’s long line of Japanese album reissues, and the 1986 LP will undoubtedly push the buttons of anyone who has enjoyed either of Light In The Attic’s ‘Pacific Breeze’ compilations in the past. Recorded when Kikuchi was just 18 years old, this record is as smooth and chic a collection of City Pop tracks as you're ever likely to hear. It comes on purple vinyl too, which is pretty cool! 

Sven Wunder - Eastern Flowers (Doğu Çiçekleri)

Sven Wunder’s ‘Eastern Flowers (Doğu Çiçekleri)’ is one of those records which gets certain sorts of music fans all hot and bothered. The album’s combo of a 70s instrumental-psych aesthetic, Anatolian rock modes and some prog-based riffage are catnip to both the library music connoisseur and the hip-hop beatmaker. If you fall into either of these categories we suggest that you indulge in a little ‘Eastern Flowers (Doğu Çiçekleri)’ post-haste.

Joe Hisaishi - Princess Mononoke (Soundtrack)

Something of a motherload for fans of the Studio Ghibli universe here, who have had already it rather good lately due to the glut of Joe Hisaishi music that’s made its way to vinyl in recent times. After receiving pressings of his stirring neo-classical orchestral compositions for films like ‘Porco Rosso’ and ‘Kiki’s Delivery Service’, now we are served luxurious editions of Hisaishi’s work on the 1997 flick ‘Princess Mononoke’. As well as this ‘Soundtrack’ edition we also have the ‘Image Album’ in stock.