Best New Music: Nena Catalina, The Avalanches

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Spark’s music master Nic Harcourt on the new music to hear this week.

I just added the first new songs of 2021 to my Spark Radio: New Music New Artists playlist, including “Barrunto (Suspicion)” by Nena Catalina. Nena is actually the Puerto Rican-born, Texas-based artist Zayra Alvarez who created a new incarnation for a concept album inspired by the lives of generations of women in her family and culture.

“La Chica de la Ventura” finds her on an emotional journey that follows a through-line of patterns and experiences back to her great-great-grandmother Catalina.

For fans of: Natalia Lafourcade, Ely Guerra, Belanova, Bad Bunny

Also new, Australia’s Avalanches return with their third album We Will Always Love You which finds them digging through their bag of samples to build collages of soul, pop, and middle of the road easy listening to create new songs. 

Photo by Grant Spanier

“Interstellar Love” features a guest vocal from Leon Bridges and a sample of Alan Parsons Project’s “Eye in the Sky” and is inspired (like the album itself) by the story of astronomer Carl Sagan and his wife Ann Druyan capturing their romance on tape and sending it into space as part of the Voyager’s “Golden Record.”

For fans of: Flying Lotus, Gorillaz, DJ Shadow, Cut Copy

Nic Harcourt has been turning people onto their favorite new bands for most of his career, hosting the iconic Los Angeles KCRW radio show Morning Becomes Eclectic for nearly 10 years, which the New York Times called “appointment radio.” He’s launched the careers of many artists, including Coldplay, Adele, Sigur Ros, Sia, the Arctic Monkeys, and countless others. He also hosted the iconic Guitar Center sessions on DirecTV and currently holds down morning drive at 88.5fm out of California State University Northridge.

Meet The Scientists,
The Artists,
Community Leaders,
The Chefs,
The Educators,
The Investors
and The Innovators
Who are Spark.

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Meet The Scientists, The Artists, Community Leaders, The Chefs, The Educators, The Investors and The Innovators Who are Spark.