Pop Culture

Albums Out Today: Dua Lipa, Jessica Pratt, Kamasi Washington, Camera Obscura, and More

In this segment, we showcase the most notable albums out each week. Here are the albums out on May 3, 2024:

Dua Lipa, Radical Optimism

Dua Lipa’s Radical Optimism has arrived. The Future Nostalgia follow-up was promoted with the singles ‘Houdini’‘Training Season’, and ‘Illusion’. “A couple years ago, a friend introduced me to the term Radical Optimism,” Lipa said in a press release. “It’s a concept that resonated with me, and I became more curious as I started to play with it and weave it into my life. It struck me—the idea of going through chaos gracefully and feeling like you can weather any storm. At the same time, I found myself looking through the music history of psychedelia, trip hop, and Britpop. It has always felt so confidently optimistic to me, and that honesty and attitude is a feeling I took into my recording sessions.”

Jessica Pratt, Here in the Pitch

Jessica Pratt has released her fourth album, Here in the Pitch, via City Slang and Mexican Summer. The follow-up to 2019’s Quiet Signs includes the previously unveiled songs  ‘World on a String’, ‘Life Is’, and ‘The Last Year’. Pratt returned to Gary’s Electric Studio in Brooklyn to lay down the album, working with collaborators including multi-instrumentalist/engineer Al Carlson, keyboardist Matt McDermott, bassist Spencer Zahn, and percussionist Mauro Refosco. Ryley Walker, Peter Mudge, and Alex Goldberg also contributed to the LP. “I never wanted it to take this long,” Pratt said. “I’m just a real perfectionist. I was just trying to get the right feeling, and it takes a long time to do that.”

Kamasi Washington, Fearless Movement

Kamasi Washington has returned with a new album called Fearless Movement. The follow-up to 2018’s Heaven and Earth boasts guest appearances from André 3000, Thundercat, George Clinton, Terrace Martin, BJ the Chicago Kid, and more. The jazz luminary described the LP as his dance album, explaining, “It’s not literal. Dance is movement and expression, and in a way it’s the same thing as music – expressing your spirit through your body. That’s what this album is pushing.” The singles ‘Prologue’ and ‘Dream State’ arrived ahead of the release.

Camera Obscura, Look to the East, Look to the West

Camera Obscura are back with their first new album in 11 years. Following up Desire Lines, Look to the East, Look to the West was previewed by the singles ‘Big Love’, We’re Gonna Make It in a Man’s World’, and ‘Liberty Print’. Camera Obscura went on an extended hiatus in 2015 following the death of keyboardist Carey Lander; the band, led by guitarist and vocalist Tracyanne Campbell, made the new album with producer Jari Haapalainen, who helmed their 2006 LP Let’s Get Out of This Country and 2009’s My Maudlin Career.

Blushing, Sugarcoat

Sugarcoat is the latest album by Blushing, Austin, Texas-based dream-pop band composed of the double husband and wife pairs of Christina and Noe Carmona and Michelle and Jacob Soto. Out now via Kanine, the follow-up to 2022’s Possessions includes the advance tracks ‘Slyce’, and ‘Tamagotchi’, and ‘Seafoam’ (which features lead guitar from the Smashing Pumpkins’ Jeff Schroeder). It finds the group continuing the collaboration with Ringo Deathstarr’s Elliott Frazier and Ride’s Mark Gardener, who helped engineer, mix, and master the record.

Mdou Moctar, Funeral for Justice

Mdou Moctar have followed up 2019’s breakout Afrique Victime with Funeral for Justice, out now via Matador. “This album is really different for me,” Moctar, the Nigerian band’s singer, namesake, and guitarist, said in a press release. “Now the problems of terrorist violence are more serious in Africa. When the US and Europe came here, they said they’re going to help us, but what we see is really different. They never help us to find a solution.” Producer and bassist Mikey Coltun added, “With Funeral for Justice, I really wanted this to shine with the political message because of everything that’s going on. As the band got tighter and heavier live, it made sense to capture this urgency and this aggression – it wasn’t a forced thing, it was very natural.”

The Lemon Twigs, A Dream Is All We Know

Less than a year after the release of their last album Everything Is Harmony, the Lemon Twigs are back with A Dream Is All We Know, out now on Captured Tracks. The 12-track effort was preceded by the singles ‘My Golden Years’, ‘They Don’t Know How to Fall in Place’, and the title track. “There’s definitely an escapist bend to this album,” Brian D’Addario commented in press materials. “Joyous music can take you out of the world when things get too heavy, which everyone needs sometimes. ”

Ibibio Sound Machine, Pull the Rope

Ibibio Sound Machine have dropped a new LP, Pull the Rope, following up 2022’s Electricity. The band, led by Eno Williams and Max Grunhard, recorded the new album with Sheffield-based producer Ross Orton (Arctic Monkeys, M.I.A.) over two weeks. “Ross is from Sheffield, which has an edgier, more industrial vibe than London,” Grunhard explained in press materials. “He hears things differently than us, is more grounded in rave and grungier sounds, and knew when to add drums or push the instrumentation more. It was very different for us, but it lends itself to where Ibibio Sound Machine is going.”

Snarls, With Love,

Snarls have dropped their sophomore LP, With Love,. Following 2020’s Burst and 2021’s What About Flowers? EP, the record was produced by Chris Walla (Death Cab For Cutie, Foxing, Ratboys) and tracked at his remote studio in Norway. The songs ‘Heavy Drinker’, ‘Big Fish’, and ‘baby bangs’ previewed it. “We wrote this record during a time of serious introspection for the whole group, and it covers all kinds of topics from love to loss, confidence to self-loathing,” the band reflected, “all the various ups and downs we’ve gone through in such a transformative period of time.”

Lightning Bug, No Paradise

Lightning Bug have unveiled their latest album, No Paradise. Arriving three years after A Color of the Sky, the album – the band’s first since leaving the Fat Possum label – includes the early singles ‘December Song’, ‘Opus’, and ‘Lullaby for Love’. According to a press release, “if [A Color of the Sky] was celestial, this is terrestrial, rooted in the dirt, the muck, the marrow of ephemeral life. It explores the vast landscape of darkness that threatens to envelop us all, but revels in the fault lines through which light shines, shimmers, guides us to something like salvation.”

Charlotte Day Wilson, Cyan Blue

Cyan Blue follows Charlotte Day Wilson’s 2021 outing Alpha. Released via Wilson’s Stone Woman Music imprint and XL Recordings, the album was preceded by the tracks ‘I Don’t Love You’, ‘Forever’ featuring Snoh Aalegra, ‘Canopy’, ‘My Way’ and the title track. “I want to look through the un-jaded eyes of my younger self again,” Wilson said of the record. “Before there wasn’t as much baggage, before so much life was lived. But I also wish that my younger self could see where I am now. It would be nice to be able to impart some of the wisdom and clarity that I have now onto her.”

Hana Vu, Romanticism

Hana Vu has followed up her 2021 debut Public Storage with her sophomore full-length, Romanticism. Ahead of its arrival, she shared the singles ‘Care’, ‘Hammer’, and ’22’. “I’m just trying to convey my perspective as boldly as possible,” Vu explained. “To succinctly crystallize how it feels to be young, but also to be deeply sad.” She added: “Being a romantic is different from being a romanticist. The nexus of this album is indulging in these sad feelings, indulging in the senses. It’s just not commonplace in society that people really can value the beauty of being so sad, of feeling grief and heartbreak.”

Other albums out today:

S. Raekwon, Steven; Jon Mckiel, Hex; Kacy Hill, BUG; Kee Avil, Spine; American Culture, Hey Brother, It’s Been a While; Sia, Reasonable Woman; SEVENTEEN, 17 IS RIGHT HEREFrank Turner, UndefeatedSam Gendel & Sam Wilkes, The Doober; Into It. Over It., Interesting Decisions: Into It. Over It. Songs (2020 – 2023); Evilgiane & Slimesito, EvilslimeRachel Chinouriri, What a Devastating Turn of EventsVacation, Rare Earth; Better Than Ezra, Super MagickKelly Jones, Inevitable Incredible; ghost piss, Dream Girl; Jawnino, 40; Ibelisse Guardia Ferragutti & Frank Rosaly, MESTIZX.

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