Best New Releases, May 3: Mdou Moctar, Broadcast, and more

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Mdou Moctar

Get comfortable, because there are a lot of releases out today that you need to hear. One of the biggest new release Fridays in recent memory (though to be honest, there have been more than a few big ones) includes the return of a Nigerien guitar hero, a California singer/songwriter, a British Afro-electro fusion band, plus our Album of the Week, a compilation of previously unreleased demos from one of the best bands of the millennium. Queue up our recommendations for this week’s Best New Releases, and spend the weekend with good music.

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.


Mdou Moctar – Funeral for Justice

Nigerien guitarist Mdou Moctar has built up a reputation as a singular presence in guitar-driven music—whether tishoumarinen or, simply, rock ‘n’ roll. Past records like Afrique Victime comprised both at once, reflecting his desert blues roots while channeling the dynamism and intensity of influences like Jimi Hendrix and Prince. With Funeral for Justice, Moctar rocks even harder than ever, and with an even more poignant sense of purpose. As much an indictment of colonialism as a celebration of community, the album channels grief and rage into something infectious and powerful. We’ll have more on this one soon. – Jeff Terich

Listen at Bandcamp
Buy at Rough Trade (vinyl)

Broadcast spell blanket review

Broadcast – Spell Blanket: Collected Demos 2006-2009

The first of two demo compilations being released through Warp this year, Broadcast’s Spell Blanket comprises a wealth of unreleased material from the group, featuring long-unheard material featuring their late vocalist Trish Keenan. It’s currently our Album of the Week. In our review of the new collection, we said, “A sprawling, 36-track, 65-minute collection that comprises everything from stark sketches to material that sounds nearly finished, it offers the suggestion of perhaps two or three albums’ worth of songs and presents, once and for all, the warm tribute to Trish Keenan that Cargill suggested more than a decade ago.”

Listen at Bandcamp
Buy at Turntable Lab (vinyl)

Kamasi Washington fearless movement - most anticipated albums of spring

Kamasi Washington – Fearless Movement

Saxophonist and bandleader Kamasi Washington rarely does anything on a small scale, and his first new full-length since 2018’s Heaven and Earth is expectedly epic, its 12 tracks comprising a hefty 86 minutes. Within that near-hour-and-a-half of music is a diverse range of groove and exploration, including appearances from George Clinton, André 3000, and Thundercat. There’s a deeper dive into fusion here, channeling some transcendently funky sounds from the ’70s and beyond, but more than anything it’s a reminder that when Kamasi Washington enters the studio, he always emerges with something awesome. More on this soon. – JT

Listen at Bandcamp
Buy at Turntable Lab (vinyl)

Jessica Pratt Here in the Pitch review
Mexican Summer

Jessica Pratt – Here in the Pitch

Five years after the hushed and masterful Quiet Signs, singer/songwriter Jessica Pratt makes her return with a more lushly produced set of baroque pop intertwined with the stark folk songwriting that’s become her signature. In our review of the album, we said, “The Los Angeles artist’s fourth album, Here in the Pitch, is tenderly intimate and nocturnal set of songs, as if she’s having a reflective confabulation with herself in a half-lit bedroom with stars shining outside.” – JT

Listen at Bandcamp
Buy at Turntable Lab (vinyl)

Ibibio Sound Machine new album pull the rope

Ibibio Sound Machine – Pull the Rope

Electro Afro-funk octet Ibibio Sound Machine add flashes of mutant disco and Ghanaian highlife to their groove in the radiant Pull the Rope. The collective unapologetically centers African sounds like the mbira and frontwoman Eno Williams’ Akan and Nigerian Pidgin vocals guide the groove with the help of some glittering synths and jazzy horns. For Ibibio Sound Collective, there’s nothing more important than highlighting authenticity and staying true to one’s roots. The band said in a statement, “No matter where we may go, we will always carry the essence of who we are in our hearts, and yet the places and things that separate us are not as important as we may be led to believe.” – ME

Listen at Bandcamp
Buy at Rough Trade (vinyl)

best new releases - John Carpenter
Sacred Bones

John Carpenter – Lost Themes IV: Noir

Horror cinema legend John Carpenter has released three previous albums under the Lost Themes banner over the past nine years, exploring electronic composition with the trace of horror that’s present in everything he does. With Lost Themes IV: Noir, that shifts slightly, drawing inspiration from film noir in a set of instrumentals heavy on dark atmosphere and tension, even some occasional eruptions of noisy rock guitar. Carpenter, along with his son Cody and collaborator Daniel Davies, find fertile ground in this theme, offering a diverse set of songs in varying shades of noir. – JT

Listen at Bandcamp
Buy at Rough Trade (vinyl)

best new releases - Kee Avil - Spine

Kee Avil – Spine

The music that Montreal artist Vicky Mettler makes as Kee Avil is fascinatingly uncomfortable, eerily stunning. Her compositions slither and creep through stark arrangements of guitar, voice and electronics, always leading down dark corridors and bottomless chasms. Her sophomore effort Spine is just such a magnificently menacing piece of work, opening with the haunted creep of standout “Felt,” and further descending into spectacular displays of quiet madness from there. She evokes artists such as Xiu Xiu and later Scott Walker in her masterfully dark grooves and quiet dissonance, but it takes only a little patience to hear these dirges as the wonderfully ominous works of art that they are. – JT

Listen at Bandcamp
Buy at Rough Trade (vinyl)


Agriculture – Living Is Easy

Less than a year after releasing their debut full-length album, Los Angeles’ Agriculture return with an encore EP rife with the soaring black metal that made their debut album one of last year’s best metal albums. Living Is Easy is at once intense and beautiful, and it features at least one decidedly non-black metal song, the folk-ish ballad “Being Eaten by a Tiger.” But blistering standouts like the title track and “In the House of Angel Flesh” are powerful reminders of why Agriculture are one of the best new metal bands around. More on this soon. – JT

Listen/Buy at Bandcamp

Hana Vu Romanticism

Hana Vu – Romanticism

Earlier this year, we named Hana Vu’s “Care” an Essential Track, naming it the “feel-bad song of the season.” Still holds up! But there’s 11 more fantastic songs where that came from on her fifth album, which explores the sometimes overwhelming challenges of adulthood through songs that range from subtle balladry to more ragged and raucous indie rock anthems. Though it’s not quite as white-knuckle a ride as the medieval stabbing on the cover might suggest, Vu exposes more than a few open wounds, bruises and scars in a beautiful act of healing. – JT

Listen at Bandcamp
Buy at Rough Trade (vinyl)

best new releases - John McKiel
You’ve Changed

John McKiel – Hex

New Brunswick artist John McKiel has built up a catalog of warmly off-kilter indie pop and psychedelia since his 2008 debut, The Nature of Things, and his latest finds him firmly ensconced in a wonderfully warbly gauze. Fifth album Hex is rife with hypnotic loops and gently wobbly textures, not so much psychedelic rock at its most cosmic but rather a kind of playful, good-natured series of hallucinations. But the songwriting at the heart of these bubbling loopscapes is what holds them together, melodic and overflowing with wonder. – JT

Listen at Bandcamp
Buy at Rough Trade (vinyl)

International Anthem/Nonesuch

Ibelisse Guardia Ferragutti & Frank Rosaly – MESTIZX

The first collaborative album from Bolivian-born artist Ibelisse Guardia Ferragutti (Alabaster dePlume, jaimie branch) and Frank Rosaly (Fennesz, Joan of Arc, Jeff Parker), is a gorgeously overwhelming debut. A reflection on both cultural identity and decolonization, MESTIZX is an intricate, complex, and thoroughly gorgeous set of songs that weaves between folk, jazz, cumbia, bomba, art-rock and other sounds effortlessly and stunningly. We’ll have more to say on this one soon. – JT

Listen at Bandcamp
Buy at Rough Trade (vinyl)

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