Best New Releases, March 24: Depeche Mode, Debby Friday, and more

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Depeche Mode

A pretty big new release Friday is upon us, with the highly anticipated new album from Depeche Mode dropping today, as well as some great new hardcore, a dynamic hip-hop tag team match, a genre-bending up-and-comer’s debut LP, and a collaborative improvisational release from a team of jazz veterans. Check out our picks for the week’s best new releases.

best new releases Depeche Mode

Depeche Mode – Memento Mori

Depeche Mode’s 15th album arrives after the death of longtime member Andrew Fletcher, which makes its release a bittersweet bookend of an era, and there’s a mournful sensibility that permeates much of the record. But it also contains some of the best songs they’ve released since 2005’s Playing the Angel, the band sounding not necessarily reenergized per se, but tapping into some of the dark immediacy that characterized their greatest records in the ’80s and ’90s. More than simply nostalgia for its own sake, Memento Mori is both haunting and atmospheric, yet carries the unmistakable synth-arpeggio pulse that occasionally nods to a song like 1990’s “World in My Eyes” (“Caroline’s Monkey”). Depeche Mode sound inspired, but they’re also simply writing great Depeche Mode songs, which ends up feeling more innovative as a result. – Jeff Terich

Listen/Buy: Spotify | Merchbar (vinyl)

Debby Friday
Sub Pop

Debby Friday – GOOD LUCK

Debby Friday’s first couple of EPs, including the Deathbomb Arc-released Death Drive, found the Canadian artist balancing elements of techno, industrial, hip-hop, synth-punk and various other shards and fragments of styles and aesthetics into something dark yet immediate. With GOOD LUCK, her Sub Pop debut, you can add pop to that as well—though she’s left none of the most abrasive aspects of her sound behind, bringing bigger hooks to a set of songs that feel at home among Daft Punk, Depeche Mode and Death Grips, her heaviest moments still rife with hooks, and her brightest anthems hiding a switchblade up their sleeve. This is one of the most thrilling debut albums of the year so far, and we’ll have more on this very soon. – Jeff Terich

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp | Merchbar (vinyl)

best new releases love in exile

Arooj Aftab, Vijay Iyer, Shahzad Ismaily – Love In Exile

Arooj Aftab, Vijay Iyer and Shahzad Ismaily began their collaboration in the pre-pandemic era but it’s finally borne recorded fruit in the form of Love In Exile, a stunning blend of jazz, ambient and progressive music that thrives on powerful if sometimes unnameable feelings. Their music sounds immense, but the trio rarely employ more than a few instruments at a time, Iyer’s piano and Ismaily’s bass often providing a haunting atmospheric backdrop to Aftab’s mesmerizing vocals. Sometimes mysterious, often spiritual and always gorgeous—Love In Exile channels a presence and energy beyond the basic practice of three people playing music together in a room. We’ll have more to say about this album soon. – Jeff Terich

Listen/Buy: Spotify | Merchbar (vinyl)

Caroline Rose the Art of Forgetting
New West

Caroline Rose – The Art of Forgetting

Singer/songwriter Caroline Rose began making indie folk and Americana before moving into synth-pop and electronics-laden grooves, which makes a return to strummier shores on The Art of Forgetting a return to their roots, of sorts. But it’s also a set of emotionally charged and dramatic songs that feature some of their most stunning recorded moments. In our review of the album, Adam P. Newton said, “these songs possess a rueful, knowing tone, but underneath it all, you hear a strong person who understand the power of moving forward instead of wallowing in misery.” – Jeff Terich

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp | Merchbar (vinyl)

best new releases jpegmafia danny brown

JPEGMAFIA and Danny Brown – Scaring the Hoes

Danny Brown’s been teasing a pair of new releases over the past year, and the first to arrive is his collaborative album with JPEGMAFIA, Scaring the Hoes. Rife with dazzling and glitchy production and with one-liners arriving in an explosive barrage, Scaring the Hoes is something like the weirdo version of Watch the Throne: Two MVP emcees having an absolute blast bouncing rhymes off each other against a backdrop of ear-candy beats. To say nothing of the duo’s lyricism itself—which is never anything less than wildly entertaining—this is a record that absolutely sounds amazing. This won’t be the last you hear from us about this album, but in the meantime it’s the most thrilling possible start to your weekend. – Jeff Terich

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp

Hirs Collective We're Still Here
Get Better

The HIRS Collective – We’re Still Here

Expanding their collaborative tractor beam, the HIRS Collective’s mission to defend and empower marginalised communities gets channelled more succinctly, but still as acerbically, on We’re Still Here. Explosions of neck-sliding blast-beating powerviolence abound, interspersed with a range of easter eggs: trap-rapping, Halloween sound effects, baby noises, NPR emergency broadcasts, cello and Powerpuff Girls samples, where HIRS lend their microphone stand to an all-star roster within noisy, doomy and frenetic music circles. Without even scratching the 35-plus artist surface, there’s Justin Pearson’s juvenile yells, Melt-Banana’s shrieking Yasuki Onuki, the inhuman voicebox of Dylan Walker, Damian Abraham’s joyful liquor-soaked rasp, Sunrot, Thou, The Body, and the inimitable Shirley Manson, back to back for unlikely Super Smash Bros double teams. It’s a deluge, an intentional mess crisply collated and produced by the core duo. While less than their usual 100-song efforts, the message remains: it’s all love. – Elliot Burr

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp

Angel Bat Dawid best new releases
International Anthem

Angel Bat Dawid – Requiem for Jazz

Inspired by both the 1959 film The Cry of Jazz, which featured the Sun Ra Arkestra, as well as Black classical music tradition, Angel Bat Dawid’s Requiem for Jazz isn’t by any means a conventional jazz album, but its title isn’t necessarily misleading. The “requiem” in the title is a nod to operas by both Mozart and Verdi, and incorporates motifs and elements from those famed works, guided by a powerful chorus of vocalists and featuring arrangements that intertwine spiritual jazz and classical music in a narrative form that reflects Black joy and struggle. Bridging each of the major pieces are shorter, beat- and sample-driven pieces that bring us back to the present day in mesmerizing fashion. This is a work that will assuredly take more than one listen to fully absorb, but spend some time with it and let it reveal more of itself each time—it’s breathtaking. – Jeff Terich

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp | Turntable Lab (vinyl)

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