Best New Releases, February 23: Hurray for the Riff Raff, Erika de Casier, and more

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Hurray For the Riff Raff

The last new music Friday of February closes out a month of great music with some eclectic new offerings. Among the best albums out today are some outstanding new releases from veteran singer/songwriters, a pair of supremely noisy extreme metal records, the return of some alternative/indie heavyweights and a pair of essential archival recordings. See what’s on deck for this week’s best new releases.

Blurbs by Jeff Terich (JT) and Mia Euceda (ME).

Note: When you buy something through our affiliate links, Treble receives a commission. All albums we cover are chosen by our editors and contributors.


Hurray for the Riff Raff – The Past Is Still Alive

Singer/songwriter Alynda Segarra has released some of the best folk/Americana albums of the past decade, including 2022’s Life on Earth, and their latest, The Past Is Still Alive, only builds on an already stellar legacy. Written amid a period defined by grieving, as well as finding new inspiration in the works of other artists and activists, The Past Is Still Alive is a gorgeously heartbreaking yet inspiring album, showcasing some of Segarra’s most beautifully affecting songwriting to date, in addition to featuring guest contributions from the likes of Anjimile, Conor Oberst, Meg Duffy and more. We’ll have more to come on this album soon. – JT

Listen at Bandcamp
Buy at Rough Trade (vinyl)

Erika De Casier Still review

Erika de Casier – Still

Danish artist Erika de Casier technically released her new album Still on Wednesday, but close enough. It’s a texturally rich, atmospheric and sophisticated set of songs that represents some of the best that pop has to offer in 2024. In our review of the album, Patrick Pilch said, “While Still’s clever lyricism and novel themes set Erika de Casier apart from the average pop musician, the songs on this record consistently speak for themselves. This is an album written by someone in complete control of their vision and craft.” – JT

Listen at Bandcamp
Buy at Rough Trade (vinyl)

best new releases - Mary Timony

Mary Timony – Untame the Tiger

Mary Timony is an indie rock legend, having been a member of Helium, Autoclave and Wild Flag as well as having released her own solo material. Untame the Tiger is her first record under her own name in 17 years, and it’s also rife with spectacular songwriting both in the form of scrappy rock anthems and more slow-burning standouts. Though a bit more understated than the new wavey rock ‘n’ roll rippers of her most recent project, Ex Hex, Untame the Tiger is a strong showcase for Timony’s ability to craft stunning melodies and layered hooks, traced around the edges with elements of psychedelia, country rock and folk. An outstanding set of indie rock from a master of her craft. – JT

Listen at Bandcamp
Buy at Rough Trade (vinyl)

Mom + Pop

MGMT – Loss of Life

Despite not dropping a record in six years, MGMT’s relevance hasn’t waned in the intervening years. Recently, their music’s resurged via “Little Dark Age” zoomer TikTok edits and in the feverish satire film Saltburn. On Loss of Life, their superhuman knack for writing transcendent pop songs is stronger than ever. From glitzy ’80s-inspired love ballads to airy folk celebrating new beginnings, there’s plenty of awe-inspiring moments to take in. The record carries over MGMT’s signature psychedelia, all while expanding on the throwback sounds they draw upon. It’s a proper introduction to the band for a new generation—and a vigorous comeback for veteran listeners. – ME

Listen at Bandcamp
Buy at Turntable Lab (vinyl)

Thrill Jockey

The Body & Dis Fig – Orchards of a Futile Heaven

Noise-metal duo The Body often craft some of their best music when working in collaboration with another artist—see, for instance, their records made with Uniform or Big|Brave. With Orchards of a Futile Heaven, the group teams up with Berlin sound collagist Dis Fig for a set of intense, terrifying dirges laden with distortion and caustic static. Yet they’re often curiously beautiful in spite of how confrontational they might appear on first listen, carrying both a hypnotic accessibility and an unexpected grace amid the cacophony. We’ll have more on this one soon. – JT

Listen at Bandcamp
Buy at Rough Trade (vinyl)

best new releases - Persher
Thrill Jockey

Persher – Sleep Well

Persher, the industrial-metal alias of techno duo Karenn (Blawan and Pariah), offers the second of two supremely intense and noisy records from the Thrill Jockey camp this week, pivoting away from the hypnotic pulse of the dancefloor in favor of an agitated and aggressive sound akin to Godflesh gone d-beat. This music is abrasive yet cathartic, with an eerie digitized core at the center of its fiery sonic assault, and on moments like the mid-tempo strut of “Desiccated Forgettables,” Persher even carves out a badass noise rock strut loaded with more grooves than audio grenades. Sleep Well comprises a consistently hellacious ruckus, but it’s an incredibly fun listen in spite of it—or, on second thought, maybe because of it. – JT

Listen at Bandcamp
Buy at Rough Trade (vinyl)

Otherly Love

Church Chords – elvis, he was Schlager

The debut album from eclectic collective Church Chords, helmed by Stephen Buono, never remains in a fixed place for very long. Its first song, “Sweet Magnet,” feels a little Lungfish mashed up with Don Cherry, and elsewhere the collective delves into deep grooving post-punk disco, hypnotic ambient pop, spiritual jazz and manic noise rock. And featured among the many contributors to the album are musicians such as guitarist Jeff Parker, keyboardist Ben Lazar Davis, Wilco’s Nels Cline, Tortoise’s John Herndon, plus vocals from Genevieve Artadi, Takako Minekawa and Ricardo Dias Gomes. Church Chords bring together sounds and artists from various backgrounds into something that feels inspired and unique, a thrilling exploration of untapped possibilities. We’ll have more to say on this one soon. – JT

Listen/Buy at Bandcamp

Can Live in Paris 1973

Can – Live in Paris 1973

Back in 2021, Can and Mute Records launched the beginning of an ongoing archival series of live albums from Can’s classic era, and the fourth in the series is the first to showcase a performance featuring their late vocalist, Damo Suzuki. In our article on the live album, I said, “Suzuki is the x-factor here, abrasive but mystical, his improvised, dadist lyricism impossibly attuned to the band’s volatile wavelength. Though ultimately one instrument in a collective—Can’s music is less an emphasis on one individual part than the movement of the whole—his presence is essential to the overall performance.” – JT

Listen at Bandcamp
Buy at Rough Trade (vinyl)

best new releases - Emahoy Tsege Mariam Gebru

Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou – Souvenirs

The wonderful folks at Mississippi Records have reissued the debut vocal album of Ethiopian nun, composer, and pianist Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou. Originally recorded between 1977 and 1985, these compositions chronicle the artist’s devastating escape from her country and the increasingly harsh Derg dictatorship. Guèbrou’s unmistakable piano, a mix of traditional Ethiopian Orthodox and Western classical, carries a heavy grief unheard of in other recordings. Her vocals are haunting and accompany the sorrowful arrangements with lament, unconcerned with putting on a performance. Guèbrou recorded these tracks directly into a boombox, producing a raw, unfiltered listening experience. Her devotees will be elated to hear the reworked version of the bittersweetly optimistic “Tenkou! Why Feel Sorry?” – ME

Listen at Bandcamp
Buy at Rough Trade (vinyl)

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