Fall is just about here, and with it comes the increasingly overwhelming waves of anticipated releases we’ve had on our must-listen lists for a little while now. This week’s a pretty big one, with three massive new metal albums, the latest from Mitski, a spectacular jazz reissue and more. And it’s only going to get more overwhelming from here. Check out our picks for this week’s best new albums.
Mitski – The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We
When Mitski announced the release of new album The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We earlier this year, she cited influences such as Scott Walker and Ennio Morricone in discussing the new direction she had taken, which suggested something very different than the new wave-inspired direction of albums like 2018’s Be the Cowboy (which, for the record, we loved). First single “Bug Like an Angel” bore that out with a stark arrangement of ghostly choral voices against a gentle acoustic guitar, and the album as a whole finds her stretching out musically in stunning ways. There’s more space to breathe on this album, and she employs more acoustic instruments in favor of something that feels gorgeously spectral. We’ll have more to say on this very soon.
Baroness – Stone
I’m admittedly a little biased in this arena, but when Baroness releases a new album, that’s essentially the thing I’m going to be focused on for the foreseeable future. Stone is a slight change of course for the group, who for five albums maintained a chromatic theme but have since cast that aside (unless “Stone” is a Pantone color I don’t know about?). Yet the group’s commitment to balancing melody-forward songwriting with some of their heaviest riffs in some time, elements of psychedelia, prog, a little spoken word here and there. We know at this stage not to expect Baroness to repeat what they’ve done before, and the ways in which they continue expanding what a Baroness album is and can be remains as interesting as ever. Expect more on this one soon.
Gridlink – Coronet Juniper
The return of grindcore titans Gridlink is one of the more exciting developments in heavy music this year (and by the way, what a week for metal, right?). And with their long-awaited new album Coronet Juniper, they remind us of what an unstoppable force they are. It’s currently our Album of the Week, and in our review, we said, “the band continue to explore their capabilities beyond sheer technical skill, expanding the musicality of Gridlink even as it remains a platform for masterful feats of instrumental stuntwork.”
Explosions in the Sky – END
This week brings the first new album in seven years from post-rock legends Explosions in the Sky. Yet as they explained to us in an interview published earlier this week, the title isn’t meant to suggest it’s the end of the band. In fact, Explosions in the Sky capture an immediacy and live spirit that their previous album, 2016’s The Wilderness, slightly muted in favor of pieces with more space and ambience. END is a suitably big and climactic album, a satisfying piece of work from a band known for their cinematic excursions. We’ll be discussing this one in more depth soon.
Tomb Mold – The Enduring Spirit
Earlier this week I declared it death metal season—though death metal season is really whenever you want it to be, as longs as there are riffs to celebrate. But it’s almost as if Tomb Mold was anticipating it, as they announced and subsequently released their first new album in four years, The Enduring Spirit, this week. It’s not quite right to say that the band pick up where they left off on 2019’s Planetary Clairvoyance; this is quite a few steps forward. It’s more technically complex, there are more pronounced elements of progressive rock (check that dreamy fusion intro to “Will of Whispers”), galloping grooves (“Servants of Possibility”) and a sprawling epic to close it all out. Hell yes, death metal season is here. More on this one soon.
Subsonic Eye – All Around You
All Around You is the fourth album from Singapore indie rock group Subsonic Eye, and their first for the reputable Topshelf label (who also recently released the incredible new Ratboys album). It’s a thrilling and dense headphone listen that connects the disparate threads of late ’80s Sonic Youth, mid-’90s college rock fuzz and early ’00s emo, with rich and tuneful songs that will likely resonate with anyone who ever fell in love with a song played through a sunburst Jazzmaster and a fully loaded pedalboard.
Pharoah Sanders – Pharoah
Pharoah Sanders’ 1977 album Pharoah was somewhat of a departure from his more fiery spiritual jazz albums when it was released, exploring more space within subtler textures and arrangements, crafting pieces that come to life through a patient soulfulness. It’s been reissued via Luaka Bop, offering listeners a chance to rediscover this underrated but phenomenally beautiful gem from the jazz legend, along with bonus live performances of its longest piece, “Harvest Time,” which can be heard in two considerably different takes, showcasing the versatility of this material, no matter how subtle and meditative.
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.