Best New Releases, September 8: Chemical Brothers, Sparklehorse, and more

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Chemical Brothers

This week, we published our list of our most anticipated albums of the fall, a couple of which are out today. Which means it’s pretty much official: Fall release season is here. Whether or not you’re ready for it, new music is coming flooding this way. But too much of a good thing is hardly something to complain about, and today’s batch features a lot to be thrilled about: a dazzling return from some electronic veterans, three (!) outstanding new jazz records, some long-awaited reissues from one of the best bands of the ’90s and more. Hear and read about this week’s best new releases.


The Chemical Brothers – For That Beautiful Feeling

The Chemical Brothers first released their debut album nearly 30 years ago, which adds up to eons in the world of electronic music. The British pioneers of Big Beat have also undergone some significant evolution in that time; the beats are still big, of course, but their palette has shifted toward grander permutations of house music, rich in atmosphere and more progressive structures. The grooves are undeniable, however, whether on the shoegazing opener “Live Again,” the sinister buzz of “Magic Wand,” or the psychedelic funk of “The Weight.” A pair of legends finding a bright new spark.

Listen/Buy: Spotify | Amazon (vinyl)


Sparklehorse – Bird Machine

Sparklehorse’s Mark Linkous died in 2010, cutting short a legacy of idiosyncratic and beautiful, sometimes abrasive, often weird music that nonetheless reflected a deep emotional honesty. Thirteen years later, his final recordings have been released as a final, posthumous document of his work in progress. Archived and assembled by his brother Matt and sister-in-law Melissa, Bird Machine feels very much like a continuation of the music he had been making throughout the 2000s, at turns tender and raucous, dreamy and raw. It’s a bittersweet gift, one last set of new songs that we never expected to hear.

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp | Merchbar (vinyl)

Irreversible Entanglements Protect Your Light review

Irreversible Entanglements – Protect Your Light

With their fourth album Protect Your Light, Irreversible Entanglements make their debut on Impulse! Records, building on a long legacy of jazz legends with their own uniquely poetic and urgent take on protest jazz. It’s one of their strongest yet; in fact, it’s our Album of the Week. In our review of the album, John-Paul Shiver said, “Irreversible Entanglements, in the live music setting, does the thing, the one thing, all masters of their trade execute: While your fans may not understand everything you do in a literal or intellectual sense, they FEEL the entirety of it all.”

Listen/Buy: Spotify | Amazon (vinyl)

Deeper new album Careful
Sub Pop

Deeper – Careful!

Chicago post-punk outfit Deeper released one of 2020’s best sets of jittery and jangly guitar riffs and wiry rhythms on Auto-Pain, a fitting soundtrack for watching your anxiety skyrocket while doing nothing more than burn through your streaming backlog. Careful! finds the group making the move to Sub Pop while expanding their sound in alternately warmer and more eerily ambitious directions. The group maintain their taut, anxious instrumental chemistry while indulging in moments of moody dancefloor goth on “Tele,” sax-squalling art rock on “Fame” and an almost Radiohead-like guitar-loop hypnosis on “Airplane Air.” While the core of Deeper remains intact, they’ve built so much more around it.

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp | Merchbar (vinyl)

best new releases Yussef Dayes

Yussef Dayes – Black Classical Music

Drummer Yussef Dayes made a name for himself with his 2016 collaboration with Kamaal Williams as Yussef Kamaal, Black Focus, an atmospheric and deeply funky set of jazz fusion that’s now regarded as an essential of the UK jazz canon. Since then he’s made a soulful genre-bending collaboration with Tom Misch, but with Black Classical Music, he finally makes his proper “solo” debut—quotes being necessary here because, as with all great jazz, it thrives on collaboration. At once rooted in traditional hard bop but delving into funk, soul, hip-hop and even more orchestral sounds. It’s a gorgeous reintroduction and a stunning showcase for the breadth of his musical palette. We’ll have more on this one soon.

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp | Turntable Lab (vinyl)

best new releases Alabaster dePlume
International Anthem

Alabaster dePlume – Come With Fierce Grace

Last year, Manchester jazz artist Alabaster dePlume released the ambitious GOLD, blending spiritual jazz compositions with poetry—which he now follows up with the mostly instrumental Come With Fierce Grace. A more concise and concentrated set of haunting and mesmerizing compositions, Come With Fierce Grace feels more raw and physical in its presentation, as evident on compositions like “Greek Honey Slick,” which finds dePlume engaged in a groove-heavy jam session with drummer Tom Skinner. An urgent and excellent set of pieces, Come With Fierce Grace feels less like a companion to its predecessor than a fiery encore.

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp | Merchbar (vinyl)

tom waits swordfishtrombones review
Light in the Attic

Morphine – The Night & Like Swimming

When I wrote about Morphine’s The Night for its 20th anniversary, I lamented the fact that the album—the band’s best, and a haunting close of a legacy cut short due to the death of frontman Mark Sandman—wasn’t on streaming or available on vinyl. That’s no longer the case; Light in the Attic have reissued the album, along with its predecessor, the equally fantastic Like Swimming, which are now rife for revisiting in all their effortlessly cool, low-end heavy glory. During their five-album run, the Boston trio never missed, but The Night remains their crowning achievement, a mesmerizing and nocturnal set of songs that balance darkness, melancholy and sex appeal in equal measure.

Listen/Buy: Spotify | Merchbar (vinyl)

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