Stream of the Crop: 10 New Albums for Heavy Rotation
New projects from Vince Staples, Takeoff, Curren$y, Freddie Gibbs & The Alchemist, and Kelly Moran top this week's list.
Every week, the Noisey staff puts together a list of the best and most important albums, mixtapes, and EPs from the past seven days. Sometimes it includes projects we’ve written about on the site already; sometimes it's just made up of great records that we want everyone to hear, but never got the chance to write about. The result is neither comprehensive nor fair. We hope it helps.
Vince Staples: FM!
It’s always summertime in Vince Staples’s world. FM! captures the essence of Long Beach, with Big Boy’s Neighborhood running through the short 22-minute runtime. Staples uses this as a broadcast for the unfiltered version of Los Angeles, not the one glamorized on television. The west coast rapper has an unbelievable ability of making gritty raps sound sunny as he does on "FUN!," a song that makes robbery sound like just another day at the beach. He uses his imaginary radio station as a way to preview new music from rappers like Earl Sweatshirt and Tyga, which really makes you wish Vince Staples Radio existed. —Kristin Corry
Takeoff: The Last Rocket
Within the Migos, Takeoff has never drawn much attention to himself—until now. The Last Rocket, his new solo effort, is 12 tracks of trying to find his footing outside of the North Atlanta supergroup. Much of the 38-minute project feels like the pre-:Bad and Boujee" era where Takeoff flourished: big beats, catchy hooks, and witty one liners. "None to Me," stands out from the rest for his confessional lyrics about his estranged relationship with his brother. "I seen it with my own eyes, my brother changed up on me for dead guys," he raps. His depiction of the transformation in their relationship is a departure from the drip his group members bathe in. The Last Rocket is an attempt at defining himself without using the sound he popularized as a crutch. —Kristin Corry
Curren$y, Freddie Gibbs & The Alchemist: Fetti
With June’s Freddie, Freddie Gibbs already released one of the most exciting rap projects of the year, and so getting another one—this time in tandem with Curren$y and The Alchemist—feels like a snow day. There's only really one question you'll need to ask yourself: Do you like to smoke weed? (Coincidentally that's a very good snow day activity.) —Eric Sundermann
Kelly Moran: Ultraviolet
On Ultraviolet, Moran tackles the piano with a highly personal approach, brushing away all the stiff academia that permeates the classically trained crowd she hails from to make room for music as boundless and heady as it is welcoming. She often focuses on just a few sparse notes that pirouette endlessly around each other, like feet gliding down a spiral staircase. While it reminds me of the melancholy chamber music of Ryuichi Sakamoto, or perhaps Lubomyr Melnyk's highly textural approach to piano, Moran’s latest record ultimately finds her tackling a wavelength all her own.—Sam Goldner, Get Lost in Kelly Moran's Multi-Dimensional Piano Music
Chief Keef: Back From The Dead 3
Fuckin hell yeah. —Eric Sundermann
Matt Ox: OX
Matt OX, like many 13-year-olds past and present, has ditched his toys, straightened out his dyed-black hair, and worked up the courage to pretend that he's got more important things to do than focus on girls. On OX, his debut proper, he sounds disturbingly self-assured, holding himself together on tracks with Valee and Chief Keef, flexing constantly, bragging about putting "thirteen racks in my motor" as if he's anywhere near the legal driving age. It's not the most lyrically original rap release of the year, but Ox has good taste in producers—Oogie Mane and Real McCoy, mostly—and he almost always sounds convincing. Altogether it's a (rather unexpected) leap forwards. And he's 13! I'd praise him for being able to tie his own shoelaces, but he probably pays someone to do that for him now. —Alex Robert Ross
Sun Kil Moon: This Is My Dinner
At this point, you're either on-board with Mark Kozelek's novella-length post-Benji screeds, or you're sick to death of his apparent self-indulgence. I'm in the former camp—I find his narrative style meditative where others find him boring, and witty where others find him abrasive—so an hour-and-a-half-long record built around four ten-plus-minute songs is like catnip to me. I'll take him dragging the word "lawyer" out for 40 whole second over complete silence on the uncharacteristically breezy "Rock 'n' Roll Singer," and I'll get all misty-eyed when he sings about saying goodbye to his ailing cat. And I'll probably listen to This Is My Dinner, with all of its sonic variety, more than most of Kozelek's recent work. —Alex Robert Ross
H.E.R.: I Used to Know H.E.R. Pt. 2
In the second installment of I Used to Know Her, the elusive singer continues to journey through past relationships. This time, guitar strings pluck at her emotions like they do on "Can’t Help Me," a song exposing the toxicity of projecting insecurities on your partner. She manages to make the ugly parts of relationship sound soft. On "Take You There," she sings about creating heaven on earth in her relationship at a Janet Jackson-esque whisper. Over a handful of releases, H.E.R. borrows traditional elements of R&B but makes it her own. Like the old school adage of choosing between yourself and a lover, she writes it differently than we’ve heard before. "If I have to choose between you and my heart, I’m gonna lose," she sings on "Hard Place." Without releasing a complete album, H.E.R. is slowly revealing the parts of herself she used to know. —Kristin Corry
Sexual Jeremy and COQ: Sex Tape
I can’t figure out how I first got on the Bandcamp mailing list for the shit-rock band from Denton, Texas named Sexual Jeremy, but this split tape with fellow noiseniks COQ makes me glad I did. Like a stack of AmRep records left to rot in a damp basement each act offers up their twisted and stinking take on the whole broken riffs and disaffected yelling thing. Which is one of my favorite things. Arguably more importantly, the Texans’ band name sparked an intra-office debate on who is the most sexual Jeremy. My money’s on Shockey. —Colin Joyce
BlocBoy JB: Don't Think That
BlocBoy, one of 2018's breakout stars, doesn't hang around on his second release of the year. This is just the Memphis rapper checking in to stay fresh in your memory, and while nothing on Don't Think That pushes his sound forward, there aren't really any duds either. Lil Uzi Vert gets a pretty lively cameo; "Crip Lit" makes for a solid R&B break. No chance you're playing this instead of Simi though. —Alex Robert Ross
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