Best New Releases, May 31: Arooj Aftab, Thou, and more

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Arooj Aftab

Tomorrow is June, but before we welcome the first month of summer, we’ve got a particularly stacked day of new music today. That includes the highly anticipated new album from a Grammy-winning vocalist as well as the return of a mystical singer/songwriter and longtime favorite of ours, plus the absolutely ripping new record from Thou, which is our Album of the Week. See our picks for today’s best new releases and queue them up for some weekend listening, and beyond.

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


Arooj Aftab – Night Reign

Three years after the release of Vulture Prince, which featured the Grammy award-winning “Mohabbat,” Pakistani-American singer Arooj Aftab delivers a stunning follow-up with the gorgeous Night Reign. On moments like the early single “Raat Ki Rani,” a recent Essential Track pick, Aftab subtly filters her voice through Auto-Tune, while elsewhere she collaborates with artists such as Chocolate Genius, Moor Mother and Vijay Iyer, who was part of the trio with Aftab that made the atmospheric, exploratory Love in Exile from last year. Night Reign is masterful and beautiful, and we’ll have more on this next week.

Listen at Spotify
Buy at Rough Trade (vinyl)

Thou Umbilical review
Sacred Bones

Thou – Umbilical

This week sees the release of the first new album from Thou in six years—though technically it follows a whole string of releases, including collaborations with Mizmor and Emma Ruth Rundle as well as the Norco video game soundtrack. Umbilical is our Album of the Week, and it’s an absolute beast of an album. In our review we said, “This album taps into that locked-in, all-cylinders-firing sensibility, mirroring the energy and immediacy of their live sets via 10 songs defined even more by their turbulent physicality than their emotionalism.” Also, make sure to read our recent profile on Thou.

Listen at Bandcamp
Buy at Rough Trade (vinyl)

Bat for Lashes new album - The Dream of Delphi
Mercury XK

Bat For Lashes – The Dream of Delphi

Natasha Khan returns five years after washing her music in a neon tint on 2019’s Lost Girls with a set of songs inspired by the birth of her daughter. The Dream of Delphi finds Bat for Lashes delving back into the dark, art-pop grandeur of earlier records like her masterful 2009 album Two Suns but with even more gentleness and grace. Songs like the opening title track, which we recently named an Essential Track, showcase her maximalist songwriting at its best, while there’s a deeper electronic groove to “Home,” and beautiful balladry throughout. Look out for more on this one soon.

Listen at Spotify
Buy at Rough Trade (vinyl)

Temporary Residence/Invada

Beak> – >>>>

Earlier this week, Bristol psych trio Beak> surprise released their first new album in over five years. (Technically it was out on Tuesday, but who’s counting?) It’s expectedly trippy, pulsing with krautrock rhythms and mesmerizing drones, melting tonalities and an eerie atmosphere overall. It feels even richer and more otherworldly before, with moments of both grace and menace, but it remains true to the band’s strange and unsettling character. We’ll have more on this one soon.

Listen/Buy at Bandcamp

best new releases - Idaho
Arts & Crafts

Idaho – Lapse

California slowcore pioneers Idaho offer up their first new album in 13 years, after 2011’s amusingly titled You Were a Dick. Historically, the group’s balanced a melodic immediacy and moments of ragged glory with a hazy restraint (see: “Pomegranate Bleeding” from 1996’s Three Sheets to the Wind). Lapse sits right in that sweet spot between the group’s most atmospheric dirges and grittiest grooves—catchy, melodic, understated but gorgeous. And on standouts like “Across the Sky,” the group once again taps into that scrappy Crazy Horse-inspired rock, with more than a little dreaminess to cut through the din.

Listen at Bandcamp
Buy at Rough Trade (vinyl)


Bad Nerves – Still Nervous

Bad Nerves play punk rock—raucous, obnoxious, agitated garage punk that’s reckless, hedonistic and endlessly fun. The London group’s two-minute rave-ups are as much Class of ’77 three-chord rippers as they are reflections of later generations of garage-punk, such as The Reatards or Ty Segall Band. There’s nothing wholly inventive about Still Nervous and it doesn’t matter a lick—this album is too much fun for any of that to matter. We’ll have more on this soon.

Listen at Spotify

HHY & the Macumbas – Bom Sangue Mau

Four years after their 2020-released live album Camouflage Vector, Portugal’s HHY & the Macumbas offer up their latest studio album full of high-energy electronic batida. Rife with frantic and hypnotic rhythms, Bom Sangue Mau (“good bad blood”) courses with dark energy and intensely pulsing power. Moments like “Mão Esquierda” traffic in mystical psychedelia whereas “Serpente Explicíta” is an exercise in gradually amplified intensity, and “Topo do Crânio” simply goes off. An endlessly thrilling set of musical lightning strikes.

Listen/Buy at Bandcamp

best new releases - Can Live in Aston 1977

Can – Live In Aston 1977

The Can live archive continues to grow with the fifth in the series, which follows the stellar Live in Paris 1973, which was the only album thus far to feature their late vocalist Damo Suzuki. The latest was recorded in 1977, as the group carved out more of a funk rock groove, though as a live group Can remains their avant garde selves, with little trace of the more immediate pop sound they came to embrace. In fact, the second of these four extended grooves is based around the legendary groove of Ege Bamyasi standout “Vitamin C,” which is always a welcome entry in their setlists.

Listen at Bandcamp
Buy at Amazon (vinyl)

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