Notable Releases of the Week (11/10)

The weather is getting colder, Christmas music is trickling out, and the first major year-end list of 2023 is already here. It’s just about that time of year, but as always, great music does not stop coming out by mid-November, and this week–while a bit slimmer than the last few weeks–has a handful of heavy hitters. I highlight six new albums below, and Bill tackles more in Bill’s Indie Basement, including Bas Jan, Art Feynman, David Holmes, Tyvek, Daneshevskaya, and the Kirsty MacColl box.

On top of those, this week’s honorable mentions include the first Scream album in 30 years, Helmet, Beirut, Fenne Lily, Larry June & Cardo, Bad Boy Chiller Crew, Kyle Gordon (the “Planet of the Bass” guy), Lola Brooke, PinkPantheress, King Creosote, Pure Bathing Culture, BJ the Chicago Kid, Cold War Kids, Rick Ross & Meek Mill, YoungBoy Never Broke Again, No Cure, Calling Hours (Farside), KC Rae (Now, Now), Roadside Graves, Manor Gates, Cash Bentley, Wayside, François J. Bonnet & Stephen O’Malley, MTVoid (Tool), MouthBreather, Jesse Kivel, Left Cross, Aïsha Devi, John Francis Flynn, Palm Ghosts, PHONY, Hit Bargain, The Sleeping Souls, Incendiary Device, Jess Joy, King Louie Bankston, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, Patrick Shiroishi, Niecy Blues, Sunwatchers, Mon Laferte, Kirsten Ludwig, The Lives of Famous Men, Garth Brooks, Foghat, Johnny Flynn & Robert MacFarlane, the Desire Marea EP, the George Riley EP, the Adam Miller (of Chromatics) EP, the Cuco EP, the Foodman EP, the Mia Joy EP, the LLEWELYN EP, the String Machine EP, the Sara Noelle EP, the Searows EP, the Kiéla Adira EP, the Kokoroko remix LP, the L.S. Dunes demos album, the Cat Power Sings Dylan album, The Beatles’ Red & Blue Album reissues.

Read on for my picks. What’s your favorite release of the week?

Wiki & Tony Seltzer – 14K Figaro
Wikset Enterprise

Wiki has been on a roll this year (not that he ever isn’t). Following a brief EP in May, he put out an excellent collaborative album with MIKE and The Alchemist in September, and now he releases his own new solo album, entirely produced by Tony Seltzer. From working entirely with one of his earliest collaborators to the hyper-local New York City themes in the lyrics, 14K Figaro feels like a return to form, but not a retread or a look backwards. It’s his most overtly New York album since his masterful 2017 album No Mountains In Manhattan, and it embraces the maturity, wisdom, and stylistic variety that he’s picked up in the six years since that LP. Tony Seltzer’s modernized boom bap is hypnotic, and Wiki leaves you hanging on every word, with help from Zelooperz, WiFiGawd, and Remy Banks. As far as classic-style New York rap albums go, this is one of the strongest ones I’ve heard in recent memory.

Chris Stapleton

Chris Stapleton – Higher
Mercury Nashville

There are classic rock revivalists playing dress-up, there are popular country singers putting Top 40 gloss on tired clichés, and then there’s Chris Stapleton showing both of those groups how it’s really done. On “White Horse,” the firecracker lead single from his new album Higher, Chris Stapleton dishes out a Southern/heartland rock anthem that sounds like “Whipping Post,” “Runnin’ Down A Dream,” and “The Boys of Summer” all rolled into one, but also sounds entirely new. It’s not that it sounds like a “lost classic rock gem” (speaking of tired clichés); it’s that it sounds like a new song by an artist who refuses to believe the music of that style/era has nothing left to say. It’s a hell of a way to introduce the world to Higher, one of Stapleton’s best albums yet, and it’s only a small piece of this album’s puzzle. Throughout its 14 songs, Chris and his band–which includes his wife Morgane and his longtime collaborator Dave Cobb, who both co-produced the album with Chris–trek through soulful country ballads, dirty blues rock, jangly folk rock, and other earthy styles of music that filled the American mainstream from 1969 to 1984. It’s an album that casually and expertly defies genre as much as it defies era-specific trends and expectations, and what really drives it home is the way Chris performs these songs. From his howling vocals to his screaming guitar solos, everything he does sounds heartfelt and sincere.

Aesop Rock Integrated Tech Solutions

Aesop Rock – Integrated Tech Solutions

From the album artwork to the music itself, Aesop Rock’s new album Integrated Tech Solutions is a head-first dive into ’80s sci-fi retrofuturism. It’s full of skits, mock-commercial soundbites, and lyrics that drive the concept home, and Aes’ dizzying tongue-twisters and kaleidoscopic beats are both pure psychedelia. He ropes in a diverse cast of guests that range from billy woods to Hanni El Khatib to Nikki Jean, and his own performances are as strong as ever. He still zigs when the rest of the world zags, and he still raps and produces with the same fervor that he had two decades ago. He may not be driving alt-rap culture like he once was, but he’s never stopped making great music in his own weird lane.

Vincent Neil Emerson

Vincent Neil Emerson – The Golden Crystal Kingdom
La Honda/RCA

Chris Stapleton isn’t the only artist with a great country/folk/rock crossover album out this week. Vincent Neil Emerson follows in the footsteps of greats like John Prine, Townes Van Zandt, Neil Young, and Bob Dylan, and his new Shooter Jennings-produced album The Golden Crystal Kingdom is a lovely collection of songs that stands tall next to Vincent’s heroes. It often finds him in tender singer/songwriter territory–a road he navigates so well–propped up by warm acoustic guitars, soaring pedal steels, and gently brushed drums; but he also Goes Electric on a few songs, and those bluesy, fuzzed-out moments suit Vincent just as well as the quiet ones.

Vastum Inward To Gethsemane

Vastum – Inward To Gethsemane
20 Buck Spin

Oakland death metallers Vastum‘s fifth album Inward To Gethsemane is some of the band’s meanest, heaviest material yet, and the lyrical content is fittingly bleak. “This album was an opportunity for us to take some of the religious or mystical themes to their limit,” vocalist Dan Butler says in a new interview with Invisible Oranges. “I was thinking a lot about different forms of spiritual agony and modern life. One of them was just like being… abused throughout life, and then living a life of misery.” Read more here.

Vantage Point

Vantage Point – Against Myself
Triple B Records

Between the recent Magnitude LP and this new Vantage Point, Triple B is killing it with classic-style straightedge lately. The Boston band is in the lineage that’s extended from late ’80s youth crew to hometown-hero ’90s revivalists like In My Eyes and Ten Yard Fight to more recent BHC greats like Have Heart, and Vantage Point take cues from all of those eras and push things forward with a spin of their own. This nine-song LP whips by, and the songs are great–pure energy from the band, and unbridled emotion from vocalist Russell Campot.

Read Indie Basement for more new album reviews, including Bas Jan, Art Feynman, David Holmes, Tyvek, Daneshevskaya, and the Kirsty MacColl box.

Looking for more recent releases? Browse the Notable Releases archive or scroll down for previous weeks.

Looking for a podcast to listen to? Check out our new episode with Dan Yemin (of Paint It Black, Lifetime, Open City, etc).

Also, BrooklynVegan launched pre-orders for its first-ever special edition 80-page magazine, which tells the career-spanning story of Alexisonfire and comes on its own or paired with our new exclusive AOF box set and/or individual reissues. Pick up yours in the BV shop.

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