We kick off this week’s gems with Waysides, the third collection of songs from Los Angeles-based folk singer/songwriter Azniv Korkejian, who performs and records as Bedouine. The album summarises her creative headspace over the past year and a half, comprising some older material and a cover and tying together many songwriting threads that act as a prologue of sorts. “It feels like going back in time, uncovering little capsules,” she explained. “I would never have gotten to do this if I didn’t have this abundance of time at home. It was my silver lining in this mess and gave me purpose.”
The Versions is a collaboration album of covers from Neneh Cherry’s extensive catalogue by some of the most exciting and revered female artists of our time, including superstar songwriter Sia’s version of Neneh’s hit ‘Manchild’ plus versions of other classic tracks including ‘Buffalo Stance’, ‘Woman’ and ‘Buddy X’.
Ultraviolet Battle Hymns And True Confessions, the brand-new album from The Dream Syndicate, blends vintage Krautrock, Eno-like ambience, Neu-inspired rhythmic groove and a Californian sheen sun-baked into their classic psychedelic, melodic hue. The Dream Syndicate have moved well past their early Velvet Underground influences and taken on British glam, German prog and more.
“The Gold Rush Kid? That’s me,” says George Ezra, reflecting on the title of his third record – a 12-strong suite of marvellous, transporting, elevational songs that, more than anything, “sound like me. That’s what ties them together.” After two blockbuster albums – Wanted On Voyage (2014) and Staying At Tamara’s (2018), both of which reached number 1 in the UK and sold millions around the world, and the latter of which earned him his first number 1 single in ‘Shotgun’ and won him the 2019 Brit Award for British Male Solo Artist – it was time to return to heart and hearth, with an album written and produced entirely in London with longstanding collaborator Joel Pott.
Shearwater’s seventh studio album, The Great Awakening, shows us where its wandering frontman has been. While the thundering songs of the band’s 2016 LP Jet Plane And Oxbow were filled with fears for what the United States was becoming under the previous presidential administration, Jonathan Meiburg resolved to find a new approach for their new album. “I felt hopeless,” he admits. “And I didn’t want to make hopeless music.” As a result, The Great Awakening, which was produced by the band and Dan Duszynski (Loma), is a soulful and immersive travelogue of grand atmospheres and intimate landscapes, decorated with field recordings from Meiburg’s journey.
Our release of the week comes from Jessie Buckley and Bernard Butler, who have joined forces on For All Our Days That Tear The Heart, a collection of twelve mesmerising new songs. The meeting of an Academy Award-nominated actress and singer with a Brit Award-winning producer and musician feels like the tale of two distant stars coming together and forming their own constellation. As they say: “The album should be discovered by the world as if they have tripped across a box of photographs in the back of their closet they didn’t know was there.”
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