Stream of the Crop: 6 New(ish) Albums from the Holiday Break
Albums from Jeff Rosenstock, CupcakKe, and Lil Wayne made Christmas and New Year more interesting.
L: CupcakKe photographed by Melissa Ann Pinney; R: Jeff Rosenstock photographed by Taji Ameen
A glut of new music came out over the holiday season in 2017 and, while that's great, nobody wants to start the new year feeling like they've already missed out on good things. Every week, we put together a list of our favorite new albums, mixtapes, and EPs from the past seven days, but this week we're bringing together the records we enjoyed the most from the past three weeks or so. You can listen to them all on this page, then click through to buy them if you'd like. The list is neither comprehensive nor fair. We hope it helps.
Jeff Rosenstock: POST-
Jeff Rosenstock's highly praised 2016 album WORRY. sounded exactly the way the title looked: Manic, nervous, an ALL CAPS PANIC. That feeling must not have resided for the indie punk hero in the year since it was released given that [gestures vaguely toward the state of the entire world], and his surprise New Year's Day release, POST-, takes that paranoia and frustration and throws gasoline on the fire. POST- showcases short, fast bursts of exasperation that lead up to a winding 11-minute adventure that ends with Rosenstock repeating, "We're not gonna let them win, fuck no." — Dan Ozzi, A Chat with Jeff Rosenstock, the Music Industry's Favorite Music Industry Outsider
Since she went viral overnight in late 2015, most know Harris as the over-the-top, insatiably horny persona she assumes in her videos, with her flair for witty, absurdist, and completely NSFW sex raps, which exist somewhere between Slick Rick and La Chat. In the video for "Vagina" – her first-ever attempt at freaky rap – her eyes flash mischievously as she licks an especially girthy cucumber, rapping doggy-style in rainbow pasties and sporty knee socks. Her video for "Deepthroat," which by now has more than 17 million YouTube views, zooms in on Harris rubbing a banana suggestively between her toes. In it, she raps: "I want to eat yo' dick (I do) / But I can't fuck up my nails (I can't) / So I'mma pick it up with chopsticks." She punctuates her most extravagantly raunchy lines with a conspiratorial smile, as though she's already tickled just imagining the response. — Meaghan Garvey, CupcakKe Is the Coolest Rapper in Chicago
American Pleasure Club: I Blew on a Dandelion and the Whole World Disappeared
Sam Ray writes, records, and releases engrossing music under so many names and with such frequency that it's almost impossible to keep track, even if you're paying close attention. American Pleasure Club is the new name for Teen Suicide, Ray's best-known project, and he's already announced the release of their debut "proper" full-length under the name, A Whole Fucking Lifetime of This. But on Christmas Eve, to lock in the new name, he released I Blew on a Dandelion and the Whole World Disappeared, a collection of seven crackling, tape-recorded acoustic songs that open up into a nine-minute drone piece. It's inspired by Townes van Zandt and Grouper, and it's beautiful. Actually, it's worth sitting down with and listening to on repeat. But Ray and his wife, Kitty, released a demo for a song called "Mad GIrl's Love Song" on Christmas Day, then American Pleasure Club released "New Year's Eve" on New Year's Eve because someone tweeted at Ray saying it'd be funny. So, try to keep up. — Alex Robert Ross
Summoning: With Doom We Come
Formed in Vienna, Austria in 1993 at the height of black metal's infamous Second Wave, Summoning separated themselves from the corpsepaint-smeared pack by embracing a very specific aesthetic based on Tolkien-inspired fantasy instead of Satanic horror. While their earliest material hewed more closely to a traditional black metal template, the soaring, bombastic albums they're best remembered for are firmly ensconced within the verdant realm of Middle Earth. Founding duo Silenius (vocals, keyboards, bass) and Protector (vocals, guitars, keyboards, drum programming) have remained the heart of the long-running project since 1995, when founding drummer Trifixion and backing vocalist Pazuzu exited the band, and have steered it through the release of epic after epic, from 1995's classic Minas Morgul to their stellar new album, 2018's With Doom We Come. They're both involved in other musical projects, as well, with Silenius (a former member of Abigor) contributing to Amestigon and Kreuzweg Ost and Protector moonlighting in Ice Ages and Brachialilluminator. — Kim Kelly, Summoning Is the Best Tolkien-Obsessed, Anti-Fascist Metal Band in the World
Lil Wayne: The Dedication 6
The sixth instalment in Lil Wayne and DJ Drama's Dedication series, and the first in four years, came out on Christmas Day, and it had everything you'd expect from a stocking-filler, down to the DatPiff digital wrapping. The beats are familiar, from Kendrick Lamar's "DNA" to 21 Savage's "Bank Account" to JAY-Z's "The Story of O.J, and Nicki Minaj and Gudda Gudda show up early. It's inevitably spotty and ephemeral, but it's reassuring to hear Lil Wayne find his flow, even if it only happens briefly. The highlight is "XO Tour Life," where Wayne sounds comfortable without sounding narcoleptic, rhyming "Just call me the Rapper, I'm Chancin' it" with "Kaepernick." Take the highs where you can get them. — Alex Robert Ross
Francis and the Lights: Just for Us
Released at a day's notice in the middle of post-Christmas purgatory, Francis Farewell Starlite's third album is rich, dreamlike, refreshingly simple, and just charming enough to get away with its occasionally tiring wholesomeness. Its a step forward for Starlite, who is more engaging on his own gentle piano ballads than he is on collaborations with megastars, and he's honest enough to let his agony mix with wit. "Breaking Up" is a one-sided conversation over a shitty phone line, and there's plenty of pain in it: "I can't hear you, we're breaking up / Did you say it's over? / I can't hear you, we're breaking up / Did you say you were coming over?" The next song is "Never Back," which opens here: "There is no God." — Alex Robert Ross
Follow Noisey on Twitter.