Music News: New releases from Amanda Palmer, Stella Donnelly, and more

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Stella Donnelly PledgeHouse SXSW
Australian singer-songwriter Stella Donnelly performs at The Current's SXSW 2018 day party. (Nate Ryan | MPR)
New releases from Amanda Palmer, Stella Donnelly, and more
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Above, listen to an episode of The Current's daily Music News podcast. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify, or wherever else you get your podcasts. You can also sign up for a daily Music News e-mail and join our Facebook group.

Jay and Jade dig into this week's new releases — including new albums from Amanda Palmer, Stella Donnelly, Dido, and Flight of the Conchords. Plus, the Black Keys' first new song in five years.

Flight of the Conchords: Live in London

Believe it or not, Flight of the Conchords have now been around for over 20 years. A decade since their HBO series ended, the New Zealand musical comedy duo of Bret McKenzie and Jermaine Clement are still selling out shows at venues around the world — including the Eventim Apollo in London, where they recorded their new concert film and album, cleverly titled Live in London. The set includes classics, new originals, and endearing banter, making it what Exclaim calls "the definitive audio version of the Flight of the Conchords experience." Here's their live version of their new song "Father and Son." (Jay)

Amanda Palmer: There Will Be No Intermission

In the ten years since The Dresden Dolls officially called it quits, Amanda Palmer has carved out a space for herself as an independent artist, with a huge Kickstarter campaign and Patreon account for fans to truly be her support base. Her ostentatious sound has been simplified for her third solo effort, There Will Be No Intermission.

In a conversation with Boston Magazine, Palmer explained her new sound, saying, "This is the most stripped-down, vulnerable, intimate, honest record I've ever written. [...] My producer and I sat down and we made a very strict set of rules: no band, no strings, no orchestra, no excess ornamentation. Just the sounds and the truth of the songs."

This is no light album, Palmer continued. "A lot of the themes on the record are about being alone and facing the slings and arrows of existence. I write about abortion, I write about motherhood, I write about miscarriage. It's not an easy record." While "Voicemail for Jill" covers the controversial topic of abortion, it's done so in a delicate touch and a soft friendly voice. (Jade)

Stella Donnelly: Beware of the Dogs

If you've known someone who's ever seen Stella Donnelly live — at one of the festival appearances on her busy schedule, maybe, or opening for an artist like Natalie Prass — you've known someone who's told you you've got to listen to Stella Donnelly. Her debut EP Thrush Metal (2018) was full of quietly searing accounts of her life as a young Australian woman, and she's getting a little bit louder with her first full-length. Donnelly has built a band for her first international headlining tour, and Beware of the Dogs hums with the lacerating lyrics and loping rhythms of songs like "Tricks." (Jay)

Dido: Still on My Mind

I don't know about you, but Dido's 1999 release No Angel was on heavy repeat at my house. Dark and dramatic songs like "Thank You" and "Here With Me" mixed dance club misery with longing, love-drunk lyrics. It showed off Dido Armstrong's conversational delivery and gained her international success.

Dido is still the most popular female UK solo artist of all time behind Adele, selling more than 40 million albums worldwide since 1999. It's been five years since the last Dido album and she's about to go on her first international tour in 15 years. Still On My Mind doesn't miss a step; pulling you back into that emotional whirlpool that Dido loves to craft. A little bit trance, a little bit folk: it's the perfect soundtrack for your next breakup with songs like "Chances." (Jade)

The Black Keys: "Lo/Hi"

It may seem hard to believe it's been a whole half-decade since we've heard any new Black Keys, because frontman Dan Auerbach has been busy with his band the Arcs and seemingly infinite producing projects. The ironically keyboardless duo are back, though, with a very on-brand stomper called "Lo/Hi." You'll get "hi" on Auerbach's stinging guitar and Patrick Carney's chooglin' drums, but you may feel a little "lo" when you learn there's no album announcement...yet. (Jay)

Audio sampled in podcast
Jahzzar: "Comedie" (CC BY 4.0)
Flight of the Conchords: "Father and Son"
Amanda Palmer: "Voicemail For Jill"
Stella Donnelly: "Tricks"
Dido: "Chances"
The Black Keys: "Lo/Hi"

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