Year-end listmania is almost here. In fact, we just voted, and the results confirm more than anything how much great music has already been released this year. And yet, the release schedule hasn’t stopped, though it is easing off the accelerator a little. This week we’ve got a roundup of several great new albums to hear, including a pair of stellar new rap records, and three very different but very good albums that all prominently feature saxophone. Check out this week’s Best New Releases below.
Aesop Rock – Integrated Tech Solutions
After more than two decades, Aesop Rock remains an emcee to be reckoned with, in large part because nobody else makes the kind of hip-hop that he does. Self-executive-produced, Integrated Tech Solutions features some of Aes’ most dazzling sounds and verses in years (at least since Malibu Ken?), juxtaposing a dystopian sci-fi atmosphere against tongue-twisting and dizzying depictions of a society in decline due to capitalist greed and technological nihilists. And as if two great albums this year already wasn’t enough, billy woods also makes an appearance on standout track “Living Curfew.” We’ll have more on this one soon.
Phét Phét Phét – Shimmer
Jarrett Gilgore appeared in Best New Releases recently with his contributions to Titanic’s outstanding new album Vidrio. And as it just so happens, that duo—Mabe Fratti and I. La Catolica—also happen to appear on the debut release by Gilgore’s new project Phét Phét Phét. A warm and meditative hybrid of new age, jazz fusion, art-pop, krautrock and otherwise, Shimmer comprises five gorgeous, detailed yet understated instrumentals that showcase Gilgore’s saxophone along with the voices and instruments of his collaborators, all of which come to a stunning stillness with the 20-minute closer “You Are the Eyes of the World.”
Patrick Shiroishi – I Was Too Young to Hear Silence
Saxophonist Patrick Shiroishi has been wildly prolific both as a solo artist and as a collaborator, having collaborated with the likes of claire rousay, Chelsea Wolfe, Jeff Tobias of Sunwatchers (who are also featured in this week’s new release roundup), Algiers and most recently having joined The Armed on their new album Perfect Saviors. I Was Too Young to Hear Silence is a return to his solo, ambient saxophone free improvisation, beautiful and spacious, meditative yet emotional, rich in breathtaking and immersive landscapes both pin-drop silent and reverberating endlessly.
Sunwatchers – Music Is Victory Over Time
New York jazz-psych group Sunwatchers return with their follow-up to 2020’s Oh Yeah? with Music Is Victory Over Time, a swirling and incendiary set of instrumental head trips that are as triumphant as they are hallucinatory. Guided by Jeff Tobias’ dazzling saxophone leads and Jim McHugh’s searing guitars, the group continues to find fertile ground in both intricate and immediate sets of jazz-tinged rock freakouts. Where moments like opener “World People” showcase their verve and energy, the slow burning “Foams” spotlights a slower burning, nuanced approach with mesmerizing details that reward closer listening. The group’s intense fire continues to burn even brighter.
Larry June & Cardo – The Night Shift
Larry June started off the year with the excellent collaboration with The Alchemist, The Great Escape. He follows that up with a new collab with Cardo, The Night Shift, which features a long list of collaborators, including The Alchemist, 2 Chainz, ScHoolboy Q and Too $hort, and more. It’s rife with production that blends trap beats with jazzy samples, steamy late-night summer sounds and plenty of funk to spare. An outstanding victory lap from a rapper who’s been on an impressive streak.
Jeff Terich is the founder and editor of Treble. He's been writing about music for 20 years and has been published at American Songwriter, Bandcamp Daily, Reverb, Spin, Stereogum, uDiscoverMusic, VinylMePlease and some others that he's forgetting right now. He's still not tired of it.