New releases for 12 July 2024

First out of the blocks this week is Sturgill Simpson, who makes his long-awaited return to music this year with an extensive tour along with a new album. The album is being released under the name Johnny Blue Skies, after Simpson promised to release only five studio albums under his own name. Passage du Desir is being released on his own independent label, High Top Mountain Records, and includes eight songs co-produced by David Ferguson and recorded at Clement House Recording Studio in Nashville and Abbey Road Studios in London.

Liana Flores is a London-based English-Brazilian singer-songwriter influenced by bossa nova, ’60s British folk and the Romantic poets. With her music, which calls to mind artists from Nick Drake and Astrud Gilberto to contemporaries like Laufey and Faye Webster, Liana aims to open a window to the sublime in the everyday with simplicity, emotional candour and the rhythms of the seasons – inviting each listener into what she describes as a “fantastical realm”. Liana’s debut album, Flower of the Soul, is an 11-track collection of vignettes that illustrate co-existent playfulness and sincerity, the suggestion of ephemerality and the consonance of soul and soil.

Filled with raw, imagistic, sometimes smutty vignettes set to entrancing, slow-burn pop songs, Cigarettes After Sex’s latest album, X’s, captures every emotion a romantic arc inspires. But where previous albums have drawn from an amalgam of relationships, X’s focuses for the most part on just one relationship that spanned four years. “The record feels brutal,” admits bandleader Greg Gonzalez. “I could sit and talk about this loss to someone, but that wouldn’t scratch the surface. I have to really write about it, sing about it, have the music, and then I can start to analyse and learn from it. Or just relive it – in a good way. I don’t have that Eternal Sunshine-thing of wanting to forget.

More than just another ‘unreleased recording’, Louis In London captures the last great performance by perhaps the most influential American musician of all time. Louis Armstrong affixed a note to his personal copy of the tapes on which he wrote ‘FOR THE FANS’. Therein is our mandate, our privilege and our collective charge: to share Louis’s message and these recordings with the world. Louis’s music has the widest global appeal and the audio release is supported by live video footage of every track, capturing some of the most inspired singing and trumpet playing of Louis’s career.

Kiasmos – Icelandic composer Ólafur Arnalds and Faroese musician Janus Rasmussen – return, renewed and restored, with II, the triumphant follow-up to their universally acclaimed self-titled 2014 debut, which re-envisioned minimal techno with orchestral flourishes and weightless production. They made most of that first album in just two weeks; this time it’s been 10 years. The making of II was a test of their friendship, but also testament to how great musical chemistry can always go the distance and be just the same as it ever was. They did a lot of the work on II during the lost year of 2020–21, including a trip to Ólafur’s studio in Bali. The pair sampled traditional Balinese percussion like the gamelan and incorporated Janus’s field recordings of their natural surroundings – the sound of birds, crickets and, on standout track ‘Dazed’, echoing the sunrise over the lush landscape.

Our release of the week is the original score composed by Thom Yorke for the Italian drama film Confidenza by Daniele Luchetti, based on Domenico Starnone’s novel of the same name. Yorke’s previous full-length score and original soundtrack, for Luca Guadagnino’s 2018 remake of the giallo classic Suspiria, received a Grammy nomination. Confidenza was produced by Sam Petts-Davies (who also worked with Yorke on Suspiria and The Smile’s Wall of Eyes), and sees Yorke and Petts-Davies working again with the London Contemporary Orchestra alongside a jazz ensemble including Robert Stillman and fellow Smile bandmate Tom Skinner.

Thom Yorke - Confidenza OSTJohnny Blue Skies (Sturgill Simpson) - Passage du DesirLiana Flores - Flower of the SoulCigarettes After Sex - X’sLouis Armstrong - Louis in LondonKiasmos - II

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