8 New Albums You Should Listen to Now: Arooj Aftab, Bat for Lashes, Belly, and More

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With so much good music being released all the time, it can be hard to determine what to listen to first. Every week, Pitchfork offers a run-down of significant new releases available on streaming services. This week’s batch includes new albums from Arooj Aftab, Bat for Lashes, Belly, Shaboozey, Ayra Starr, Thou, Ezra Feinberg, and Crimeapple. Subscribe to Pitchfork’s New Music Friday newsletter to get our recommendations in your inbox every week. (All releases featured here are independently selected by our editors. When you buy something through our affiliate links, however, Pitchfork earns an affiliate commission.)


Arooj Aftab: Night Reign [Verve]

The Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Arooj Aftab returns with Night Reign, her fourth solo album and the follow-up to 2021’s Vulture Prince. Aftab once again brings a jazzy, dreamlike touch to her unique take on chamber folk, drawing out sensations like losing track of time during a hangout with a friend (“Whiskey”) and exchanging glances while craving more (“Raat Ki Rani”). Across the nocturnal album, Aftab gets lost in the emotive allure of all that nighttime has to offer, as do collaborators like Moor Mother, Vijay Iyer, Cautious Clay, and Kaki King.

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Bat for Lashes: The Dream of Delphi [Mercury KX]

A spate of lockdown activity and a bespoke oracle deck have been the sum of Bat for Lashes’ output since 2019’s Lost Girls. Now, Natasha Khan is back with The Dream of Delphi, an album she described in press materials as a folkloric account of her early motherhood, partly told through the Motherwitch character that inspired the oracle deck. Becoming a mother, she said, “has made me feel more vulnerable than I’ve ever felt before. But I feel more human, more embodied. I can’t escape life by making beautiful things as much as I did. But there’s sort of a beauty to my mortality now.”

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Belly: 96 Miles From Bethlehem [Universal Arabic Music]

Belly, the rapper, pays tribute to his Palestinian roots—in particular, his hometown of Jenin—on 96 Miles From Bethlehem. The sometime Beyoncé and the Weeknd collaborator enlisted fellow Palestinian artists Elyanna, Saint Levant, and MC Abdul for the record, combining production from DaHeala with traditional instrumentation to evoke the nation’s resilience and perseverance.

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Shaboozey: Where I’ve Been, Isn’t Where I’m Going [Empire]

By the time Shaboozey featured on Beyoncé’s blockbuster new country album, Cowboy Carter, the Virginia native had already released three singles from his new album: “Let It Burn,” “Annabelle,” and “Vegas.” After joining the Houston superstar on “Spaghettii” and “Sweet ★ Honey ★ Buckiin’,” Shaboozey shared one more single from Where I’ve Been, Isn’t Where I’m Going, and it proved to a big one. “A Bar Song (Tipsy),” which interpolates J-Kwon’s 2004 hit “Tipsy,” has topped Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart and reached No. 3 on the Hot 100. The rest of the album follows through on the artist’s signature blend of rock, hip-hop, and country.

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Ayra Starr: The Year I Turned 21 [Mavin/Republic]

Ayra Starr continues her rapid rise under the aegis of star-making Nigerian label Mavin Records on her second album, The Year I Turned 21. The Beninese Nigerian Afrobeats star brings along guests, including Rauw Alejandro, Anitta, Gievon, and Asake, setting the stage for the next phase of her international breakout. As she told Pitchfork last year, “I have plans, but I feel like there are greater things I have to do that my mind doesn’t have the capacity to comprehend.” Read more in “Ayra Starr Always Knew She Would Be a Pop Sensation.”

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Thou: Umbilical [Sacred Bones]

It’s been three years since Thou last released an album of their own, but all of their collaborations over the years—Emma Ruth Rundle, Ragana, Mizmor—have kept their style of thrashing metal in top shape. On Umbilical, the follow-up to 2021’s Hightower, Thou sharpen that sound with doomy atmosphere, pummeling drums, and guitar riffs that are as indebted to hardcore punk as they are the calloused fingers of metal greats, resulting in a nearly metalcore combination. As evident on singles “I Feel Nothing When You Cry” and “Unbidden Guest,” Thou still bring the deafening hooks that inspire both head-banging and singalongs— gravelly, of course.

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Ezra Feinberg: Soft Power [Tonal Union]

In some 20 years working in the music sphere, sometime psychoanalyst Ezra Feinberg has drifted from the psychedelic indie-rock of his Citay collective into a more ambient realm packed with splurges of color, instrumental detail, and occasional pulse-raising beats. Collaborators here include Mary Lattimore, Bing & Ruth’s David Moore, and Jefre Cantu-Ledesma.

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Crimeapple & Big Ghost Ltd: Bazuko [Manteca Music]

New Jersey rapper Crimeapple and producer Big Ghost Ltd have reunited for Bazuko, the sequel to their 2018 collaborative full-length Aguardiente. Guests on the new album include Lukey Cage, T.F, RLX, and Mickey Diamond. Bazuko, led by “Re-Rock,” follows Crimeapple’s 2024 releases El León and LetHimCook.

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