This blog is back in business, yet again, with my first New Music Friday post in quite some time. I’ve been really jonesing to share the things I’ve been listening to these past few months, but life got in the way. I’m pushing it out of the way now for a few minutes so I can get some of my musical thoughts out there — including, after an unfortunate delay, my best albums and songs lists from 2016, both of which I’ve been working on all year. (It wouldn’t be a Harmony Avenue best-of list if it wasn’t fashionably late.) Anywho, here’s a quick look at some fantastic new songs out today:
I’ve talked at some length about singer and songwriter Natalia Lafourcade on this blog previously. Her last album, “Hasta la raíz” along with its title song, were my favorites of 2015. She’s out with a new single reportedly from her upcoming album, and it’s a collaboration with two folk guitarists and countrymen of Lafourcade, Miguel Peña y Juan Carlos Allende, better known as Los Macorinos. “Tú Sí Sabes Quererme”(“You Know How to Love Me”) builds on the remarkable artistic growth she experienced with “Hasta la raíz,” taking an even more organic, authentic approach to create a wonderful slice of both Lafourcade’s Mexican roots and her singular artistic vision. I know this one will be on my rotation for quite some time, and I’m really excited to hear what else Natalia Lafourcade has up her sleeve in the coming months.
Take a listen to “Tú Sí Sabes Quererme” on Spotify:
In another case of a band I’ve mentioned before on the blog (and covered on YouTube) and whose last album was a treat, The New Pornographers also have a new song out today, “High Ticket Attractions,” the lead single for their new record out in April, “Whiteout Conditions.” It’s a driving, infectious power-pop romp, the kind that TNP knows how to do best. It also showcases their well-established knack of marrying abstract imagery (sample line: “The Magna Carta/it’s underwater”) with earnest sentiment and musical brilliance. The harmonies are as riveting as ever, with the call and response in the verses as a highlight. This is another album I’m really looking forward to.
Take a ride on “High Ticket Attractions” on Spotify:
Guess what? New single. New album. There’s a theme here, really. British band Jamiroquai (they of classics like “Virtual Insanity” and “Canned Heat”) are back with their first release in 7 years, “Automaton,” the title track of their album out in March. “Automaton” manages to both hark back to vintage Jamiroquai and bring their sound squarely into today’s musical landscape with some truly adventurous beats and production. Lead singer Jay Kay’s voice, I might add, hasn’t seemed to age a bit in the years since the band has been away. They seem to be back better than ever.
Here’s “Automaton” on Spotify:
One last song to continue our theme, the new single “Gentle Storm” by one of my favorite bands, British rock group Elbow. (In this case, it’s the third song they’ve previewed off their album “Little Fictions” out next week.) The consistent, almost tribal beat that powers the song contrasts beautifully with the relative tranquility of the melody, and the pleading of the lyrics: “Gentle storm, rage my way/Fall in love with me everyday.” The lyrics are one of the areas where Elbow always shines, and the images here are a portrait all at once familiar and fresh of newfound love. I can’t wait to hear the full album next week. (Just you wait until I talk about their lead single, “Magnificent (She Says),” in my top songs list coming soon.)
Find refuge in a “Gentle Storm” on Spotify:
There’s lots more that’s out this fine Friday, but I’ll leave it to you to discover it (and for me to maybe share some more of it later on). I’m hoping this return will stick, and I’m already gearing up to post yet another mammoth best-of product, so make sure to stay tuned for lots of excellent music coming your way.