Israeli artist Yuval Sela released his sophomore album Emunatcha Baleilot (Your Faithfulness At Night) last month. You can check out the title track, featuring Shachar Ariel, and the album on Spotify below.
Building on his debut, 2011’s folk-centric Yomim Tovim (Good Days), the new album sees Sela’s sound develop into a haunting blend of blues, country, and Middle Eastern. Over twanging guitars and shuffling drums, Sela rumbles out melancholic lyrics in a gravelly bass to rival the late Johnny Cash. The result is rich, deep, and sticks to the bones of the soul.
DJ duo Dreams In Static (comprised of Erez “Diwon” Safar and Levi “Dugans” Martinez) have just released their sophomore album Part of the Machine through Diwon’s Bancs Media label. The album features vocals from Brooklyn-based soul singer Akie Bermiss, as well as LA-based gospel singer Ashley Rachelle and her Baptist church choir. You can check out the video for the title track and the full album on Bandcamp below.
Dreams in Static originated as a side project for Safar, who is also the founder of Jewish hip hop label Shemspeed. They released their debut album, Serene Poetic, in 2012.
Esther S., a singer-songwriter and producer from Montreal, just released her new EP In The Fog last week through her label Softsonic. You can check it out below.
The EP is an alluring bit of indie-pop, full of ethereal keyboards and haunting harmonies. Lyrically, Esther S. doesn’t seem to wear her faith on her sleeve, but it’s easy to see the record’s theme of turning to a higher power in times of distress.
Esther S. (full name Esther Spiegelman) has had a long career in music. Besides for her previous solos (2014’s Home EP and the 2015 album Paper Planes), she has also performed with her brother Yankie as Lets Be Giants, as well as in the duo Bright September with Stephane Lorello.
Indie folk duo Husky, from Melbourne, Australia, are currently touring nationally in support of their latest album, Punchbuzz, which released on June 2. You can hear it on Spotify below or check out the video for the album’s lead single “Ghost”:
Husky, comprised of cousins Husky Gawenda and Gideon Preiss, have previously released two albums, 2011’s Forever So and 2014’s Rucker’s Hill, with influences ranging from Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan to The National and Tame Impala. Gawenda also told the Australian Jewish News that the new album was creatively affected by his and Preiss’ time living in Berlin in 2015, during which they visited the city’s Jewish Museum and Holocaust memorial.
Outside of Husky, Gawenda and Preiss perform in the Yiddish folk group The Bashevis Singers with Gawenda’s sister Evie. They performed at the Shir Madness Jewish Music Festival in Sydney last year and recently released a self-titled album.
Jerusalem-based rock band The Bar Papas are on the verge of releasing their debut album, Nesiya Tova (Good Journey), with the title track having just been released yesterday. This might sound somewhat surprising, given that both the band and the album have almost 20 years of history behind them.
The reason for this delay has less to do with laziness than with a Job-like string of misfortunes. You can read the long version on the band’s website here, but the short version is that founding members Amihai Zipoor and Shimshon Meir Frankel met at Yeshivat Darche Noam in 1998 and started jamming together. Despite building a local following on the strength of an amateur cassette recording and a self-titled studio demo, the early 2000s saw the group endure a revolving lineup, a venue closing down during the Second Intifada, and even a brief hiatus in 2005.
Even this new album, which began life in 2007 with the help of a city grant, has faced all manner of mishaps in coming to fruition: a glitch wiped out two days of material; the original producer backed out and had to be replaced, only for the replacement to unexpectedly relocate to another city; and constant money shortages made studio time and musicians hard to come by. This is to say nothing of incidents such as a labor strike, building renovations, canceled sessions, and even a guitar track that went missing at the last minute. It wasn’t until three years ago that the album was completed and given its wry name, with exhaustion and real life causing the band to hold off releasing it until this year.
So after all this time, is this new-old album worth checking out? That remains to be seen, but the songs released thus far show a lot of promise. Aside from some echoes of the Carlebach-influenced jam folk scene that spawned acts like Moshav Band and Reva L’Sheva, the Bar Papas primarily trade in retro-’60s pop rock and psychedelia that sounds like a mix between Simon & Garfunkel and Pet Sounds-era Beach Boys. This is most prominently heard on song like “Ezri” and “Karev Yom“, while the title track shows sinister shades of ’90s alternative. These are the ingredients for a fun and distinctive sound, so here’s hoping that, in spite of all its setbacks, the album will successfully use them.
(H/T Blog in Dm)