Follow us on
Facebook Icon LinkedIn Icon Twitter Icon Youtube Icon Instagram Icon
Feature Image

New Music: June 2024 - Curated by Sharon O'Connell

Sharon O’Connell selects four standout albums to listen to this month, in her latest article for the dCS Edit

Tags: Music,

Listen now on

Liz Lawrence


Liz Lawrence wanted her fourth album to sound “like Cate Le Bon meets Primal Scream, or Beck meets Gorillaz”. Whilst her new offering shares Le Bon’s wonky pop sensibility, Peanuts sounds very little like either hybrid. Instead, it provides a smart and artfully questing set of thoroughly modern pop songs. 

It’s a record born from tough times – during the pandemic, Lawrence left London for her west Midlands hometown, where she found herself poleaxed by depression – yet it soars above them, exploring possibilities of a different way to live, one that values community, public spaces and the natural world. 

Aural intrigue and honest reflection abound: “Losing my mind in the English countryside,” sings Lawrence unabashedly, against a backdrop of lithely lurching bass and sassy finger snaps, her muscular voice carving a deceptively carefree path. 

In the wryly titled ‘No Worries If Not’, she addresses the conventions of self-diminishment while behind her, dirty guitars summon The Stooges’ ‘I Wanna Be Your Dog’.

‘On Loss And Overcoming Despair’ is another highlight, matching junkyard percussion and handclaps with a sinuous, Chinese-pop melody, as a healed Lawrence exhorts, “Don’t give up on the brink, on the brink of a miracle”.

Out now. 

Label: Chrysalis 

Tashi Wada

What Is Not Strange?

The self-produced, first full-length from Los Angeles-based composer and keyboardist Tashi Wada was written and recorded in a period during which his father died and his daughter was born. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it has a mutable, even transcendent quality, its 11 tracks quivering with life even as they both acknowledge and wonder at mortality. 

It may be freighted with existential awe, but What Is Not Strange? is also a vividly sensual set of compositions for double bass, viola and drums/percussion, which sees Wada’s partner, the experimental singer/songwriter Julia Holter, stepping up on additional keyboards and murmurous vocables. 

It’s less drone-dominant than Wada’s previous works and more song-based, though all things are relative. The meditative ‘Asleep To The World’ plays like a mini-series of cathedral organ recitals while ‘Plume’ recalls both Alice Coltrane and Pauline Anne Strom, endlessly rising and falling in ecstatic wavelets. Very different are ‘Revealed Night’, an oddly calming symphony of softly gushing synths and far-off sirens, and ‘Time Of Birds’, where Holter’s keening voice and the steadily increasing volume of a synth’s whine conjure a peculiarly primeval threat.

Out now. 

Label: RVNG Intl.

Sam Morton

Daffodils & Dirt

Samantha Morton’s heavily garlanded acting career is deeply entwined with her love of music, so deeply that she makes playlists for whichever character she’s playing as a reference guide. She’s appeared in music videos for U2 and The Horrors and had a leading role in ‘Closer’, playing Ian Curtis’s wife, Deborah. It’s perhaps no surprise, then, that she should launch her own musical project as a singer and lyricist.

Sam Morton is a collaboration with fêted producer (and XL label boss) Richard Russel, and Morton brings the rawness and vulnerability of some of her screen roles to the duo’s strongly autobiographical debut. Though it focuses on a history marked by trauma, it’s not a heavy listen, as the darkness is offset by Morton’s dreamy voice and the hazy, almost hallucinatory quality of the music. Within that, there’s a broad range of moods and expressions: ‘Hungerhill Road’ is a slice of smoky, trip-hop unsettlement, gentle piano work lends a folkish feel to ‘Greenstone’, ‘Double Dip Neon’ harks back to ‘90s comedown-house tracks and the breathtakingly fragile ‘Cry Without End’ is given a 60s, late-night cabaret setting. When so many “celebrity” records are mere vanity projects, Daffodils & Dirt has both substance and style.

Out now. 

Label: XL

Chris Corsano

The Key (Became The Important Thing [And Then Just Faded Away])

It’s hard to comprehend that this new album from American, improv-focused drummer Chris Corsano is entirely solo, not just because he’s long been an enthusiastic collaborator, teaming up with everyone from Björk to free-jazz sax don Evan Parker, but also because the sonic evidence seems to suggest otherwise.

On The Key… Corsano plays bass, guitar, keyboard and “amplified knives” as well as drums, which meant that overdubbing was necessary. He also devised a string drum, stretching a silicone string across a snare with a bridge, which sounded a bass note when struck. This resonance is foundational to all six tracks, which power eloquently across noise rock, free jazz, post punk and more, the styles variously fusing and fragmenting as they go, while space flows crucially through them. It’s an exhilarating trip, from the groovy, cross-hatched opener, ‘I Don’t Have Missions’, which suggests avant guitarist Bill Orcutt jamming with Can, through the frantically percussive ‘Unlike An Empty Box’ to seven-minute closer ‘Everything I Tried To Understand Wasn’t Understandable At Al’, which nods to gamelan. The album title speaks to Corsano’s initial approach, soon abandoned, to liberating – and thoroughly listenable – effect.

Released June 28.

Label: Drag City

Share this article: