The 42 Best Albums of 2024 So Far

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the best albums of 2024 so far

It’s a weird time to be writing about music. It has been for a long time, and maybe not nearly as weird as it was in 2020 (though it’s felt like 2020 for five years). Huge artists aren’t as huge as they once seemed (barring a few exceptions), and live music is somehow simultaneously less affordable and less profitable. And yet the tidal wave of new music seems to grow even higher—you don’t even want to see what our inboxes look like. It’s never felt this chaotic before. To be honest, I’ve never been that stressed about it before, either.

But the thing is: So much of that music is just incredibly, impossibly good. Just about all of the music that we cover, whether we love it or not, comes from artists who probably merit a much larger audience than the algorithm will allow, and we hope that in being advocates for those artists, we might move the needle just a bit. And given how much music there is to cover, and how much more motivated we are to cover it, we’ve expanded our best of 2024 so far list to 42 albums. (That’s up from 34 last year, up from past years’ 33, 30, and so on.) And that’s even after trimming a few out of the longer list. I can only imagine how it’ll feel at the end of the year. But one thing we know for sure is how excellent the music on this list is. Enjoy our survey of the best albums of 2024 so far.

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


Amiture Mother Engine review
Dots Per Inch

Amiture – Mother Engine

Amiture’s sophomore album Mother Engine feels like a record out of time—pulsing with ’90s-influenced trip-hop beats, shimmering with a gauzy future haze, trapped somewhere in a David Lynch nightmare. The New York duo’s gothic grooves are steeped in both seedy grit and fatalistic sexiness, addressing intimate trysts as if they were a bad addiction and always seemingly on the move toward somewhere else. With its sense of doomed momentum, the group’s Chris-Isaak-on-Nothing-Records atmosphere makes for perfect driving music toward the abyss. -Jeff Terich

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp | Rough Trade (vinyl)


big|brave a chaos of flowers review
Thrill Jockey

Big|Brave – A Chaos of Flowers

The fleeting attention spans of audiences makes every album’s shelf life seem that much shorter in the 2020s, but Montreal’s Big|Brave had the foresight to get all their ideas down during an incredibly fertile creative period that arguably began three years ago but revved into overdrive with last year’s nature morte. Its follow-up, A Chaos of Flowers, is something like a companion album, continuing that record’s exploration into subtler textures and softer spaces while retaining the awe-inspiring power that’s driven all of their records to this point. It’s at once a tour de force and a coup de grâce. -Jeff Terich

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp | Amazon (vinyl)


Broadcast spell blanket review
Warp

Broadcast – Spell Blanket: Collected Demos 2006-2009

Spell Blanket is the first new music from Broadcast since the untimely passing of the group’s vocalist Trish Keenan, as well as their first new music in over a decade. It’s also the final “new” music we’ll ever hear from the UK psych-pop group, arriving in the form of a set of unfinished demos of what might have been their fourth album. And yet despite that fact, it’s utterly glorious, a treasure trove of unheard music that’s every bit as strange and delightful as their proper albums, sometimes consisting of just a few stray bits of melody, other times arriving in the form of nearly finished and spectacular songs. Where “March of the Fleas” reveals the group in hypnotic pop sound-bath mode, “Roses Red” finds something off-kilter and unsettling in seemingly innocent sounds, while “Hip Bone to Hip Bone” feels so much vaster than one minute and 18 seconds would usually allow. Spell Blanket is both celebration and farewell, a tribute to the magic of this singular group and its leader, who left us far too soon. – Jeff Terich

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp | Rough Trade (vinyl)


Chastity Belt Live Laugh Love review - best albums of 2024 so far
Suicide Squeeze

Chastity Belt – Live Laugh Love

On their fifth album, Live Laugh Love, Chastity Belt take their special brand of humor stepped in resistance and the power of friendship, and blends it with sun soaked, slacker rock. The combination leaves us with moments of musical joy, as well as honest lyrics that dig deeper than their past releases. On standout track “It’s Cool,” Julia Shapiro sings, “What’s the point of anything, if I always feel the same? I could tell you anything, I could tell you everything.” It leans into stripped down instrumentals and allows the band to sit with the heaviness of their world, suggesting that the best way to process reality is with your closest friends. – Virginia Croft

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp | Rough Trade (vinyl)


Cloud Nothings Final Summer review
Pure Noise

Cloud Nothings – Final Summer

Given the urgency of Cloud Nothings’ music—a constant since at least 2012’s Attack on Memory—it might come as some surprise that frontman Dylan Baldi took inspiration from the drone-metal sound of Earth. In the context of the amplified and expansive production sound of Final Summer, however, it makes perfect sense. The band’s latest is their beefiest, with molasses-thick guitars slathered over what remains a wistful and mature album that moves at the speed of a landscape rapidly slipping away through a car window. Baldi and company are writing some of their most anthemic material, and they’ve got the brawny guitars to match. -Jeff Terich

Read More: Cloud Nothings forge their own path

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp | Rough Trade (vinyl)


Erika De Casier Still review
4AD

Erika de Casier – Still

Still is a transitory snapshot of Erika de Casier on her way to becoming pop music’s former best kept secret. The Copenhagen-based singer and producer has stayed nothing short of busy since 2021’s Sensational, collaborating with Mura Masa, Blood Orange, and more in addition to co-writing all four tracks on NewJeans’ massively popular Get Up EP. As the singer’s career picks up, so does the quality of her music, with Still containing some of her best material yet. The record’s collaborations showcase de Casier’s breadth, while “Lucky” effortlessly transcends the rising popularity in Y2K breakbeats, and songs like “Test It” and “Believe It” are simply all-timers. – Patrick Pilch

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp | Turntable Lab (vinyl)


Einstürzende Neubauten rampen
Potomak

Einstürzende Neubauten – Rampen: apm (alien pop music)

Germany’s legendary experimental industrial ensemble have never made music that’s an easy listen. Frankly, it could be argued that the challenge is part of their appeal, acclaim, and longevity. Rampen (apm: alien pop music) reminds us that you can undertake unique, difficult songs that draw listeners in instead of keeping them at a distance. EN here build sonic versions of worlds with traditional instruments as well as found and repurposed objects, while lead singer Blixa Bargeld gives voice to characters and narrators from those worlds. The album is inviting and satiating like the dark, dusty shelves and stacks of a library. – Adam Blyweiss

Read More: A Beginner’s Guide to Einstürzende Neubauten

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp | Rough Trade (vinyl)


EVILSLIME - best albums of 2024 so far
Surf Gang

EvilGiane & Slimesito – EVILSLIME

For the first time, prolific producer EvilGiane of the New York hip-hop collective Surf Gang teams up with even more prolific Georgia-based emcee Slimesito for EVILSLIME, an EP as fun and free-associative as its cover’s homage to the Mona Lisa. Slimesito deals in stone-cold logorrhea, commanding authority even as he assures you not to take anything he says too seriously. Meanwhile, EvilGiane provides beats seemingly out of a fantasy video game: slow and crystalline, hardly danceable but pillowy pleasant. You have to meet EVILSLIME on its own terms. It’s far from brash, and it doesn’t announce itself. But once you’re sunk in, you won’t want to leave its orbit. – Casey Burke

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp


Ibelisse Guardia Ferragutti Frank Rosaly Mestizx review

Ibelisse Guardia Ferragutti & Frank Rosaly – MESTIZX

The International Anthem label has built a reputation for releasing some of the best jazz albums of the 21st century, as intertwined with the Chicago underground of the last three decades. But albums like Ibelisse Guardia Ferragutti and Frank Rosaly’s MESTIZX explore far too many sounds to boil down to one solitary genre. Both veteran jazz musicians themselves, as well as life partners, Ferragutti and Rosaly explore their own mixed ancestries through a gorgeous sequence of trilingual songs that blend jazz with samba, rock with folk, funk with experimental electronic music. Both forward thinking and inward looking, MESTIZX is a work by artists proficient enough in the rules of genre to know just how to break them in beautiful ways. – Jeff Terich

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp | Amazon (vinyl)


Four Tet Three review - best albums of 2024 so far
Text

Four Tet – Three

Three feels a bit like a victory lap. Kieran Hebden, better known as Four Tet, has proven himself adept at basically every permutation of electronic music, from early folktronica experiments to deep, weighty club bangers to beat-centric collaborations with Madlib. Three rolls all these strands of Hebden’s musical identity into a colorful ball and unspools them across the course of eight lush tracks. There’s techno (“Daydream Repeat”), downtempo (“Loved”), microhouse (“31 Bloom”) and a host of other unusual fusions, like the hypnagogic-textured “Skater.” An effortlessly lovely collection from a musician who rarely misses. -Tom Morgan

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp | Turntable Lab (vinyl)


Frail Body Artificial Bouquet review
Deathwish Inc.

Frail Body – Artificial Bouquet

Arguably the strongest release in what’s been a remarkable year for screamo, Frail Body’s sophomore album Artificial Bouquet is a masterclass in entangling scorching intensity with wrenching beauty. Nearly each of its 11 songs eventually ends up cranked into the red, surging with venom and fury, but Frail Body harness a grace that transcends sheer aggression. The band make few allowances for actual silence here as one song bleeds into the next seamlessly, from a two-minute detonation like “Berth” into the epic post-metal monolith “Critique Programme.” It’s an album as emotionally exhausting as it is invigorating, which is sometimes the greatest measure of what heavy music can do. – Jeff Terich

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp | Rough Trade (vinyl)


Full of Hell Coagulated Bliss review - best albums of 2024 so far
Closed Casket Activities

Full of Hell – Coagulated Bliss

On Coagulated Bliss, Full of Hell prove themselves to be more than creators of sonic chaos but skilled songwriters who give their melodies a bit more breathing room. This deliberate approach comes across as heavier than their previous work, as there is a greater dynamic shift. Bassist Samuel Di Gristine lays down a steely spine of distorted thump that holds it all together, and even the gnashing of teeth typically vomited forth in Dylan Walker’s vocals carries more purpose on this album. The band has assembled more carefully assembled these violent sounds, building a more effective torture device worth the repeated sessions to this grindcore dungeon. -Wil Lewellyn

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp | Rough Trade (vinyl)


Beth Gibbons Lives Outgrown review
Domino

Beth Gibbons – Lives Outgrown

Beth Gibbons’ proper solo debut arrives nearly 30 years after that of her famous band Portishead, and outside the music itself, a lot has changed. She’s raised a family, lost friends and loved ones, and like so many of us despite our better efforts, she’s a little older now. But the music itself retains a sense of beauty and mystique that have become the British singer’s signature, as evident through the subtle quiver in her powerful vocals. These are songs of introspection and reflection, sometimes stark and sometimes elaborate, with a hint of menace or a spark of open-hearted warmth. With her bandmates and collaborators she’s made music this haunting and beautiful before, but Lives Outgrown is the kind of record that could have only materialized with the wounds and wisdom that only time can provide. -Jeff Terich

Listen/Buy: Spotify | Rough Trade (vinyl)


Glassing - best albums of 2024 so far
Pelagic

Glassing – From the Other Side of the Mirror

The fourth album from Austin’s glassing is a stunning blend of atmospheric sludge with the sprawling sonics of blackened screamo. Their guitars usher in waves of beauty before beating your skull in. Haunting vocals cry out from the ether before a savage snarl responds; it’s just as emotionally heavy as it is sonically. The contrasting colors that crash down within these 10 songs showcase a new peak of mastery for the band, but just enough light shines through to make the despair carry a greater bleakness in the ringing of these wonderfully hopeless hymns. – Wil Lewellyn

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp | Amazon (vinyl)


Kim Gordon the collective review
Matador

Kim Gordon – The Collective

In the pursuit of doing whatever the hell she wants, Kim Gordon has a remarkable knack for putting out material that dances along the line between the familiar and the alien. Very much like her former band Sonic Youth, but while their trademark sounds don’t ring much here, Gordon still followed their blueprint for rock reinvention to curate The Collective: eleven tracks of headphone punishing dub and bass drops, nonchalant observational lyrics, industrial noise, and other sorts of eye-winking sinister fun. No Home Record showed flashes of the more abrasive form this second solo effort would take, with Gordon and Justin Raisen doubling down on rumbling bops for headbangers and beat lovers alike, yet remains bewildering and skronky enough to add variation across its tight runtime and leaves a permanent crease on the bridge of a listener’s nose as a parting gift. Ironically, never before has an album about a collective sounded more apt for solitary confinement. Claustrophobia rarely sounds this wonderful. – Elliot Burr

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp | Turntable Lab (vinyl)


Gouge Away Deep Sage review
Deathwish Inc.

Gouge Away – Deep Sage

Deep Sage almost didn’t happen. As vocalist Christina Michelle told Treble, the band downed tools during the pandemic and all moved to different cities. Fortunately, they regrouped and resumed work on the songs that became the fantastic, emotionally mature career high point Deep Sage. The five-piece’s signature noise punk remains (see the searing riffs of “No Release” and “Stuck In A Dream”), however tracks like “A Welcome Change” and “The Sharpening” jitter with strange, nervous energies; pent-up and primed to explode, without ever fully losing their cool. Like the rest of these visceral songs, they’re defined by conflicting emotions that feel deeply human in their complexities. – Tom Morgan

Read More: Gouge Away choose a new path

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp | Rough Trade (vinyl)


best albums of 2024 so far - Mary Halvorson
Nonesuch

Mary Halvorson – Cloudward

Veteran jazz guitarist Mary Halvorson has released nearly three dozen studio albums as bandleader or collaborator, but her exploratory spirit remains ever curious, ever wandering, on her 35th, Cloudward. Curiously melodic yet often alien in its mode of communication, the album sometimes feels like a new survey of the lunar landscapes of Sun Ra’s most prolific periods, or a somewhat less intense descendent of Eric Dolphy’s Out to Lunch!—to which Patricia Brennan’s vibraphone plays a significant role. Never as scorching as free jazz, but rarely familiar or comforting, Cloudward is a glorious ascent to a strange and fascinating realm. -Jeff Terich

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp | Rough Trade (vinyl)


HEALTH Rat Wars review
Loma Vista

HEALTH – Rat Wars

This release fell into the great temporal purgatory formed by the music industry and music press, released so close to the end of a calendar year that it missed being considered for best-of accolades for that year. So let’s try to rectify that and give this LA band some proper curatorial flowers in 2024 for their December 2023 album RAT WARS. It finds them—and us—fully immersed in dizzying advocacy for darkwave. Jake Duzsik’s breathy, detached vocals would fit perfectly into shoegaze and dream pop were his bandmates and guests (Youth Code, Godflesh) not also content to drill deep into EBM and industrial-music bedrock. It’s a buzzing, screaming peak of HEALTH’s work on structuring noise and dusting it with melody to reach entertaining ends. – Adam Blyweiss

Read More: HEALTH on finding new frontiers through collaboration

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp | Turntable Lab (vinyl)


Houses of Heaven within/without review
felte

Houses of Heaven – Within/Without

Dark music made for hedonistic nights of fishnet and leather will never not be appealing, but the challenge is in finding ways to make a decades-old sound pulse anew. California’s Houses of Heaven do so while nodding to those who came before, including a guest feature from Nitzer Ebb’s Douglas McCarthy, while their synth-laden anthems occasionally carry hints of Depeche Mode or Nine Inch Nails. But the group build a fascinating hall of mirrors within their castle of black velvet, leaning ever deeper toward psychedelia and the more menacing side of industrial as they hold fast to pristine pop songwriting. It’s been a great year for goth so far, and Within/Without is one of the biggest reasons why. -Jeff Terich

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp | Rough Trade (vinyl)


Brittany Howard What Now review
Island

Brittany Howard – What Now

Brittany Howard’s futuristic introspective album, What Now takes the iconoclast on a journey of self-discovery, immersing herself in arrangements that possibly reflect the sounds and productions of some of her favorite artists. Her second solo project since leaving Alabama Shakes, the album moves from the soulful classic vibes of “I Don’t,” which could easily be mistaken for a ’60s gem borrowed or reinterpreted by the talented folks over at Colemine, to the energetic and angular banger “Prove It To You,” where Howard confidently blows kisses on the dancefloor with handclaps, making those emo EDM cats look over their shoulders. Even the portrait piece that is “Patience” sounds like a Thom Yorke track that should have made a Radiohead album. We get back to her with, or what she chooses to reveal herself with, on “Samson,” which evokes a tear-jerking, lazy Sunday afternoon feel with its Linn drum and trumpet-filled sound. The spacious keyboard melodies and heartfelt confessions in this song serve as a window into the ever-adventurous future of Brittany Howard. Prior to her solo career, Howard was a member of the rock group Thunderbitch and the alt-country band Bermuda Triangle. With What Now we finally get a glimpse into the true multi-instrumentalist that she is, as Howard fearlessly pursues her, tricks-up-my-sleeve musical ambitions. This album is a resplendent genesis, marking a new chapter in Howard’s artistic journey. -John-Paul Shiver

Listen/Buy: Spotify | Turntable Lab (vinyl)


Inter Arma New Heaven review
Relapse

Inter Arma – New Heaven

A formidable, elusive collection, New Heaven doesn’t feel right to be described as an “extreme metal” album. There’s black metal shrieks, blasts and ominous atmospheres aplenty, but these eight eccentric tracks are too curious and unconcerned by dogma to be tarred with a strict genre brush. Treble editor Jeff Terich’s review does a good summation, describing Inter Arma’s fifth album as a “cosmic kind of metal psychedelia.” Beyond the intensity, there’s some fun quirks like the classic rock guitar leads on “Endless Grey,” while the apocalyptic art rock of “Gardens In The Dark” makes Swans sound like Dua Lipa. An odd, expansive and frequently spellbinding album. – Tom Morgan

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp | Rough Trade (vinyl)


most anticipated albums of spring 2024 - Jlin Akoma
Planet Mu

Jlin – Akoma

Jlin has been inverting ideas and genres since 2015, from her revelatory perspective on footwork to how she morphed those sounds into the wider electronic music landscape. Akoma, her latest album for Planet Mu, finds her talents soaring higher into the stratosphere. The polyrhythms created with just the kick and snare call to mind J Dilla on hyperdrive, and that’s before the kinetic snare cracks sitting everywhere but the traditional beat start rampaging through your ears. Don’t be deceived —this is not an aural onslaught that will overwhelm your senses. Instead, top cuts including “Speed of Darkness,” “Anset,” “Sodalite (with Kronos Quartet),” and “The Precision of Infinity (with Philip Glass)” showcase an artist at the top of her game who consistently pursues fresh ideas. – Adam P. Newton

Read More: Jlin revels in the mystery of creation

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp | Rough Trade (vinyl)


best albums of 2024 so far - Liquid Mike
Self-released

Liquid Mike – Paul Bunyan’s Slingshot

Last year, the Marquette-based indie rock slackers Liquid Mike generated a lot of buzz with their spunky S/T record, and on their new album, Paul Bunyan’s Slingshot, the band has capitalized on that buzz with gigantic hooks and personality. Highlights like “K2,” “Town Ease,” and “Pacer” all sound punchier and more focused than anything they’ve done before, as frontman (and part time mail man) Mike Maple sings about the mundanities of upper peninsula living while playing the biggest, catchiest riffs that would make Robert Pollard proud. Not a moment is wasted on this record; it’s just banger after banger. Simply put, you’re not going to hear a more thrilling and fun power pop record than Liquid Mike’s Paul Bunyan’s Slingshot. -Jeff Yerger

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp


Lord Spikeheart The Adept review

Lord Spikeheart – The Adept

Previously known for delivering explosive works of high-intensity noise with his former group Duma, Kenya’s Lord Spikeheart dials up that intensity just a little bit higher on his solo debut, The Adept. Its 37 minutes are slathered with distortion and growls, screeches and pummeling rhythms, out-heavying most metal albums and jackhammering with more menace than the most misanthropic industrial. There are moments of unsettling ambience, appearances by like-minded rappers such as Backxwash and Fatboi Sharif, but more than anything The Adept is an onslaught of sonic violence that leaves me in awe. – Jeff Terich

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp | Rough Trade (vinyl)


Mannequin Pussy I Got Heaven review
Epitaph

Mannequin Pussy – I Got Heaven

I’ll fully admit it: When 1990s rock cognoscenti were coming up all Kathleen Hanna and Corin Tucker, I was all Juliana Hatfield and Liz Phair. The latest LP from this Philadelphia band lets me have these two great tastes, and they taste great together. There’s a lot of genuine tunefulness and power pop to enjoy, and it manages to mesh well with their high-octane statements on love and politics. It’s not that Mannequin Pussy mean to soften their delivery from the primal scream of their first few albums, they simply show they can if they want. I Got Heaven isn’t just the name of this release, it’s listeners’ emotional response. – Adam Blyweiss

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp | Amazon (vinyl)


Mdou Moctar Funeral for Justice review
Matador

Mdou Moctar – Funeral for Justice

It’s hard not to be taken aback by the title of Mdou Moctar’s latest. Funeral for Justice is such a bleak, heartbreaking phrase; devoid of context it might denote countless horrors, but it carries a specific connotation here, speaking to generations of damage and trauma on the people of Niger in the name of colonialism. Yet while the album carries sadness and grief, it does so through an electrified delivery system, Moctar’s songs surging with life and energy. Even in a band that’s supplied no shortage of raw power as channeled through some of the most sublime guitar playing in rock music today, Mdou Moctar rocks harder than ever before, and through some of their most pointed messages. It’s impossible not to be moved by an album like this—it’ll shake the ground beneath you. – Jeff Terich

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp | Rough Trade (vinyl)


best albums of 2024 so far - Messthetics and James Brandon Lewis
Impulse!

The Messthetics & James Brandon Lewis – The Messthetics & James Brandon Lewis

It’s a wonder that Fugazi’s Brendan Canty and Joe Lally, the most in-the-pocket rhythm section in post-hardcore, never made a jazz record until now. Their group The Messthetics, with guitarist Anthony Pirog, leaned in that direction with their prog-punk self-titled debut, but the addition of saxophonist James Brandon Lewis brought the x-factor that elevated their grooves from slow-burn to inferno. Their first collaborative release is the absolute best of what jazz-punk or punk-jazz can be, guided by funk but grounded in grit. The quartet eases into nocturnal beauty with “Boatly” while flaring up into incendiary dynamism with “That Thang,” but it’s in the endless tension of closer “Fourth Wall” that they carve out a groove that could just keep on going like the needle was locked in. -Jeff Terich

Listen/Buy: Spotify | Rough Trade (vinyl)


best albums of 2024 so far - meth.
Prosthetic

meth. – SHAME

It feels perverse to talk about an album as heavily borne of personal struggle as meth.’s SHAME as being enjoyable, but it is a truly enjoyable, if brutal, listening experience. The album’s sound is dominated by Zack Farrar and Michael McDonald’s pummeling guitars and vocalist Seb Alvarez’s death growls, which sound simultaneously disturbed and disturbing. While musically meth. play mathcore-influenced heavy noise rock akin to Chat Pile and mid-period KEN mode, their lyrics draw inspiration from Alvarez’s battles with alcoholism and Catholic guilt. SHAME may only be their second album, but it augurs well for where they’re headed. – Greg Hyde

Read More: meth. deliver confrontational metal through honesty

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp | Amazon (vinyl)


Metz Up on Gravity Hill review
Sub Pop

Metz – Up on Gravity Hill

A lot has changed for Metz, but it’s happened gradually. The Toronto trio have spent the last decade adding countless new strings to their distortion pedal-jacked bows, with Up On Gravity Hill standing tall as their most elaborately-imagined collection yet. The band’s exhilarating, industrial-textured noise rock is now rife with confident melodies, unusual guitar lines and, most impressively; potent emotions. Slowcore dirge “Light Your Way Home” is the most startling, however, while the likes of “Superior Mirage” with its shoegaze outro or fabulous opener “No Reservation / Love Comes Crashing” and its earworm choruses are as equally stirring and, sometimes, downright poignant. – Tom Morgan

Read More: Metz tap into a new energy

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp | Turntable Lab (vinyl)


best albums of 2024 so far - MIKE
10k

MIKE & Tony Seltzer – Pinball

Arguably MIKE’s most dynamic tape to date, Pinball finds one New York heavy linking with another for a charmingly fun collaboration tape. Tony Seltzer’s heavy and dynamic production breaks MIKE’s mold, showcasing the rapper’s dexterity within the context of brighter styles and an easy-going energy. Pinball is nonchalant, more impromptu, and far more lighthearted than MIKE’s traditionally pot-smogged beats under bars on grief, isolation and loss. After having laid down the irresistible highlight “R&B” as a one-off, the duo knew they needed to see the project through. For a record containing as much spontaneity as Pinball, MIKE and Seltzer make this shit look easy. – Patrick Pilch

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp


Moor Mother The Great Bailout review
Anti-

Moor Mother – The Great Bailout

By the end of your first listen, you are complicit. You might’ve not known about the titular £20 million bailout of British slave owners following the abolition of slavery in 1833, but Moor Mother will make sure you never forget it. The Great Bailout is about a very specific moment in history, and she never leaves any room for interpretation; She lists the names of those involved, she has the dates memorized, and she follows the paper trail. But the music itself exists in a purgatorial state. Somewhere between the haunting wailing of a blues singer and industrial electronics, you will find the truth. – Thomas Stremfel

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp | Rough Trade (vinyl)


Fabiana Palladino review
Paul Institute/XL

Fabiana Palladino – Fabiana Palladino

If you were to peer at the Treble Slack, you might be shocked at how often we talk about pop music. Not in the cliched “poptimist” sense, but rather simply that we like hooks, grooves, and sharp songwriting. Hence, it’s little wonder that we all fell head-over-heels in love with the self-titled debut album from Fabiana Palladino. Released on Jai Paul’s Paul Institute label, these ten songs fall easily into the camp of sensual, yet mature pop music created by Sade, Jessie Ware, and D’Angelo. The music conjures up memories of ‘80s pop and ‘90s R&B—shimmering keys, elegant synth pads, crisp drum programming, and supple bass runs (often provided by her father, celebrated session player Pino Palladino). With her sassy, spirited high alto leading the way, you simply must check out superb songs such as “I Don’t Dream Anymore,” “Stay With Me Through the Night,” and “Shoulda.” – Adam P. Newton

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp | Rough Trade (vinyl)


Pissed Jeans Half Divorced review
Sub Pop

Pissed Jeans – Half Divorced

While it might not be quite so immediately impactful as Pissed Jeans’ previous two albums, Honeys and Why Love Now, Pissed Jeans’ sixth album, Half Divorced, still packs a considerable punch. Lead vocalist Matt Korvette says that during the writing and recording process, the band aimed to turn out an album that would be enjoyable to hear and play live, as opposed to merely on record. They’ve fully achieved that aim, with the live shows they have done to promote the album being some of their best yet—but it’s still an excellent record. – Greg Hyde

Read More: Pissed Jeans on their furious return

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp | Rough Trade (vinyl)


Jessica Pratt Here in the Pitch review
Mexican Summer

Jessica Pratt – Here in the Pitch

It stands to reason that the first new album from singer/songwriter Jessica Pratt after a five-year interval would end up being her most gorgeously lush album to date, but it’s still far subtler and more restrained in its escalation of sonic treatments than you might think. Pratt is at once a perfectionist and a minimalist, drawing stunning beauty from even the most hushed and stark acoustic arrangements. Those can be found in ample supply on Here in the Pitch, sometimes paired with the eerie drone of organ (“Nowhere It Was”) or in the form of a breezy bossa nova (“By Hook or By Crook”). But amid these quiet meditations are gloriously maximalist chamber pop productions like the ’60s-era Scott Walker inspired “Life Is.” Here In the Pitch is a giant leap made in small steps, a glorious new high that still suggests even more room to soar. – Jeff Terich

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp | Rough Trade (vinyl)


best albums of 2024 so far - Marciology
Marci

Roc Marciano – Marciology

Roc Marciano’s been on an enviable streak in the past half-decade, releasing a full eight records since 2020. All of them are good, some of them great—like 2022’s The Elephant Man’s Bones, which we gave best-hip-hop-of-the-year honors—and Marciology might very well be the best. Heavily featuring Roc’s own production, as well as featuring contributions from the likes of The Alchemist and Animoss, Marciology is hypnotic and rich, crackling with analog warmth and palpable menace. Marci’s flow throughout is both low-key and agile, and while the record features some of his most technically dazzling lyricism in addition to playful wordplay and moments of eerie tension, it’s the sheer sound of it all that proves most captivating. He couldn’t have picked a better album to title as if it were a college course—this is an approach well worth studying. – Jeff Terich

Listen: Spotify


Ty Segall Three Bells review
Drag City

Ty Segall – Three Bells

Given Ty Segall’s streak of releasing around two-dozen albums since the late ’00s, it’s a wonder the California singer/songwriter still has as much left in the tank as he does. His latest, Three Bells, is one of his most ambitious to date, a progressive psychedelic opus that’s at times playful and freewheeling, but invariably returns to moments of more intricate sprawl, like the hypnotic lead single “Void,” or the jazz-fusion freakout “Denee.” While Segall occasionally returns to the fiery garage rock and glam that’s defined much of his career, Three Bells finds him properly flexing his most creative muscles, following flights of fancy into weird and exciting places. – Jeff Terich

Read More: A Beginner’s Guide to Ty Segall

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp | Rough Trade (vinyl)


best albums of 2024 so far - Sheer Mag
Third Man

Sheer Mag – Playing Favorites

Chock full of electrified, twangy guitar riffs, Sheer Mag’s third album showcases their ’80s-influenced rock ‘n’ roll sound fused with Christina Halladay’s incredible vocals. “Moonstruck” plays into a funkier sound for the band, closer to Steely Dan than the AC/DC crunch they had previously brought to mind. Each track is brimming with life and energy, due in part to the band’s role in production, as the musicians all assisted in producing Playing Favorites. There’s a clarity to each instrumental track, coming through the speakers with an extra sense of confidence. Sheer Mag’s sound feels their most succinct this time around, and it’s a sound that’s full of joy. – Virginia Croft

Listen/Buy: Spotify | Rough Trade (vinyl)


The Smile Wall of Eyes review
XL

The Smile – Wall of Eyes

Musical pet projects are usually relegated as extra-curricular waysides to core discographies; fan favorites for trawlers of Discogs depths. But not many side hustles feature talents from one of the world’s most heralded legacy bands, or one its best progressive jazz troupes. While The Smile’s promising debut rattled through a bloated collection of weird rockers (so, much like that pet project descriptor), Wall Of Eyes is a different beast that sees the members inch mightily close to their respective bests across eight expertly composed cuts. Tom Skinner’s grooves take on bossa nova on the title track, his tasty rattles fill spaces left between Thom Yorke’s wistful political finger-pointing on “Friend of a Friend,” and Jonny Greenwood’s sideways fretwork (“Read the Room”) tastefully gears toward the unravelling “Bending Hectic,” either tear-inducingly beautiful or tense depending on how you look at it. This January release set many of the year’s triumphs in motion, so let’s hope this more concrete version of The Smile keeps setting the course. – Elliot Burr

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp | Turntable Lab (vinyl)


Thou Umbilical review
Sacred Bones

Thou – Umbilical

In their nearly two decades as a band, Thou have released an astonishing amount of music, from sprawling and melancholy doom-metal dirges to utterly filthy collabs with friends and colleagues like The Body. Umbilical adds more depth to their sound by narrowing their focus, honing in on their rawest expressions of grungy sludge metal through more concise, riff-driven rippers. One of their most direct and accessible albums, Umbilical doesn’t add more polish or sheen, but instead taps into the urgency of their live shows, capturing a deeply physical and powerful representation of the band that finds their cacophonous roar colliding with some of their best songwriting to date. -Jeff Terich

Read More: The existential arc of Thou

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp | Rough Trade (vinyl)


Waxahatchee Tigers Blood review
Anti-

Waxahatchee – Tigers Blood

There’s a potential parallel reality where Waxahatchee’s Tigers Blood would have ended up a more mainstream pop production; by her own admission, Katie Crutchfield “gave it a good six hours” before deciding that was the wrong direction for the album. That might have been an interesting experiment, but it certainly wouldn’t have ended up the starkly beautiful, deeply affecting album that we hear today. Following the game-changing Saint Cloud from 2020, Crutchfield continued to embrace a more spacious country-folk sound, prominently featuring guitar and vocals from MJ Lenderman on standout moments like “Right Back to It,” a quietly moving song about the enduring ease of a relationship with gorgeously harmonized vocals. But by and large it’s what Crutchfield strips away that makes the biggest impact on songs like “365,” leaving only what country music requires: three chords and the truth. -Jeff Terich

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp | Rough Trade (vinyl)


Chelsea Wolfe She Reaches Out review
Loma Vista

Chelsea Wolfe – She Reaches Out to She Reaches Out to She

Chelsea Wolfe’s gothic domain continues to expand. Since her last proper album of doom-laden post-punk and stoner rock, 2017’s Hiss Spun, she’s gone acoustic, made a noise rock collab and became a featured player on a Converge album. None of which sounds anything like her latest, She Reaches Out to She Reaches Out to She. Oozing with eerie synths and lurching with trip-hop beats, it finds her meditating on grief, heartbreak and sobriety through some of her most enchantingly dark material to date. It’s a career best, rich in atmosphere and depth, stripping away the noise in favor of something that feels simultaneously more intimate and vast. -Jeff Terich

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp | Turntable Lab (vinyl)


Yard Act Where's My Utopia review
Island

Yard Act – Where’s My Utopia?

If Yard Act’s first album, 2022’s The Overload, was vocalist James Smith’s roguish polemic against the (admittedly, quite dire) state of the world and society around him, then their sensational sophomore effort, Where’s My Utopia?, saw the band take that same arsenal (a scathing sarcasm and refusal to take anything seriously) and apply it inwards, using it now to analyze themselves and their place in the music industry. It’s an album that effortlessly outpaces its (already very good) predecessor by getting a little meta, using the manic rhythms and sly bass hooks as a vehicle to ask some heavy questions: “what does it mean to sell out?”; “do I deserve this level of success?”; “what exactly is it that listeners even want these days?” For the most part, there are no easy answers—though my response to that last one is definitely “more Yard Act.” – Ed Brown

Listen/Buy: Spotify | Turntable Lab (vinyl)


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