Best New Releases, June 21: Sumac, Alcest, and more

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Today is an exciting new release Friday for fans of heavy music. Among the new records hitting shelves today are the latest from Sumac (our Album of the Week) as well as Alcest and Aseethe. And among some of the other releases out today are an eclectic tribute to a jazz legend, a reissue of an indie classic, plus a live album from a much-missed garage rock group who didn’t stick around long but made some great music while they were around. Check out this week’s Best New Releases.

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

Sumac The Healer review
Thrill Jockey

Sumac – The Healer

We’ve long been fans of the improvisation-heavy, avant garde metal and noise rock of Sumac, their albums Love in Shadow and May You Be Held representing some of the best of what metal can be. Their new album The Healer might even be their best yet, and it’s our Album of the Week. In our review, we said, “Their thorny tangle of feedback and noise has grown more open-ended and strangely beautiful in its own cryptic way, achieving a new climax of gnarled, gnashing triumph on their new album, The Healer.”

Listen at Bandcamp
Buy at Rough Trade (vinyl)

Nuclear Blast

Alcest – Les Chants de l’Aurore

French shoegaze artist Neige, a.k.a. Alcest, continues to mine the nuances of shoegaze textures within heavy music on his latest album, Les Chants de l’Aurore. On past albums he’s pushed his sound deeper into blissful dream pop, as on 2014’s Shelter, and swung far to the other end, with the more black metal-leaning sounds of his earlier albums. His latest, however, is right in that sweet spot, between roaring metal intensity and mesmerizing layers of sonic bliss. Metal remains an essential part of Alcest’s DNA, as evident on the soaring charge of “Améthyste,” while moments like “Flamme Jumelle” showcase Neige’s knack for writing a great pop song as well.

Listen at Bandcamp
Buy at Amazon (vinyl)

Kronos Quartet Sun Ra tribute

Kronos Quartet – Outer Spaceways Incorporated: Kronos Quartet & Friends Meet Sun Ra

The latest entry in the Red Hot Organization’s ongoing tribute to Sun Ra finds the Kronos Quartet in the company of an impressive cast of guests and collaborators in their eclectic interpretations of the cosmic jazz legend’s music. Their string arrangements are wrapped in beats from Jlin and spoken-word takes on Sun Ra’s words from Laurie Anderson, while 700 Bliss (Moor Mother and DJ Haram) go deeper into nebulae and Armand Hammer and RP Boo provide a more intense force of gravity. An eclectic and stunning tribute to a legend, through wild yet affectionate takes on his music.

Listen/Buy at Bandcamp

Thrill Jockey

Aseethe – The Cost

Continuing today’s heavy music marathon is the latest album from Iowa sludge metal group Aseethe, The Cost. The group’s new album packs four gargantuan dirges of slow-moving terror into 40 minutes, allowing their pummeling lurch to land with maximum impact, and with song titles like “The Air Is Caving In,” there’s a palpable sense of danger within these beastly songs, and a chilling ambience through moments such as “Last Time I Do Anything For a Fucking Friend Ever.” We’ll have more on this one soon.

Listen at Bandcamp
Buy at Amazon (vinyl)

Bangladeafy Vulture
Nefarious Industries

Bangladeafy – Vulture

New York noise rock duo Bangladeafy are back with their first new album in four years, an anxiety-ridden sprint through cacophonous bursts of sonic violence in the lineage of groups like Ruins and Lightning Bolt. On Vulture, they continue to showcase the pronounced industrial influence of their past album, Housefly, especially on the ambient noise of tracks like “You Will Never Be Safe in This Place” and “Pastures.” It’s abrasive, menacing, and awesome.

Listen/Buy at Bandcamp

best new releases - Royal Headache
What’s Your Rupture?

Royal Headache – Live In America

Australian power-pop/garage rock group Royal Headache broke up in 2017, but seven years after their split, they’ve delivered a live album that captures their magnetic live energy and raucous power. The set is raw, noisy and explosive, with the band at their most fiery and urgent. While it’s not a set of new songs, it’s still a hell of a lot of fun hearing the band tear through standouts like “Psychotic Episode,” and a reminder of their brief but excellent run.

Listen at Bandcamp
Buy at Rough Trade (vinyl)

Sufjan Stevens Seven Swans
Asthmatic Kitty

Sufjan Stevens – Seven Swans [20th Anniversary Edition]

The first indication that Sufjan Stevens might not have been totally committed to the 50 States project was the release of 2004’s Seven Swans just one year after 2003’s Greetings from Michigan. Yet 20 years later that album remains one of Stevens’ best, a gorgeous indie folk album that features songs inspired by biblical allegory and Flannery O’Connor stories. And it’s back on vinyl after being out of print for a long time, now in a deluxe 20th anniversary edition. We already know this album is fantastic, but this anniversary is as good a time as any to remind yourself of that fact.

Listen at Bandcamp
Buy at Turntable Lab (vinyl)

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