New Zs album Xe due in January

It's been a long wait for a new full-length from NYC's uber-iconoclasts Zs. Since 2010's "New Slaves," the band released a "holy trinity" of short end-of-era jams in witness to their lineup of the time coming to its end (Sky Burial, 33, and This Body Will be a Corpse), and the wonderful sextet-era retrospective box set "Score." Last year brought "Grain," in which the newest Zs roster (Greg Fox and Patrick Higgins have joined Sam Hillmer) heavily rework the final unreleased recordings of the previous lineup. It's a conceptually fascinating album, essentially drawing the project's next breath out of its own recorded momentum, but to be honest, I found its ritual-rebirth implications more interesting conceptually than musically.

However, the band has been workshopping their next major work(s) in live performances over the last few years, as they've often done before, and new album "Xe" has just been announced for release on January 27 via Northern Spy. You can preorder it here already, which will net you a sweet poster designed by Tauba Auerbach as well.

I'll be doing a full review of this album next year for sure, but it's a damned fine record. You'll hear a lot more live-electronics textural work on "Xe," which is already resonating with me way more than "Grain" (they have a highly sculpted, musique concrete approach toward live electronics on these pieces),but fans of the most rigorous maximal/minimal extremities of previous albums will find much to love here as well. The 18-minute title track is currently making my day about a million times better than I expected--it's classic Zs, perfectly composed and performed. I'm really digging "Corps," too, full of gorgeous clean guitar tones balancing blazing drum work punctuated with Hillmer's sax. Glad to see you coming back to the new arrivals bin, Zs! The five-year wait was a drag, but "Xe" is well worth the wait.

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