Stream of the Crop: 13 New Albums for Heavy Rotation 2/25
Another Future album, Stormzy's debut, and a raucous new album from Pissed Jeans top this week's list.
Stormzy Gang Signs & Prayer
But forget the pie charts, forget the brand synergy. GSAP has been a long time coming, and it's worth the wait. While some artists wobble walking the tightrope between mainstream accessibility and underground credibility, Stormzy has pulled out a deckchair and is reclining comfortably in the middle. Few artists have ever been more ready to be huge, or more deserving. New King is right.
Pissed Jeans Why Love Now
Why Love Now, their fifth record, is louder and more frustrated than ever before. "(Won't Tell You) My Sign," "Actavia," and "The Bar Is Low" embrace the dirge, and there's an inverse relationship between how the title "Worldwide Marine Asset Financial Analyst" and how angry it really sounds. "I'm a Man," narrated by author Lindsay Hunter, recounts casual office sexism, from flexing by changing the water jug with one hand to making clear that "I like kids, but I don't like boyfriends, and I don't like husbands." It's damning because it's too normal, too plausible. The second record was called Hope For Men; this record suggests there ain't much of that to go around. Love had two producers at the helm—Arthur Rizk, the rifflord behind Sumerlands who's also worked with Title Fight, Prurient, and Inquisition, and punk/no wave legend Lydia Lunch. Rizk brought the righr combination of heads; Lunch made all the rage come to a head.
— Andy O'Connor, Stream Pissed Jeans' Fierce New Album 'Why Love Now'
Dirty Projectors Dirty Projectors
In the years in between, Longstreth found himself creatively rudderless and heartbroken, only taking on gigs behind-the-scenes lending a hand to friends like Joanna Newsom, Solange, and even Coffman herself. But through these collaborations—and a great deal of personal reflection—Longstreth began to find his voice again, toying with sketches of songs on a commuter train between NYC and Hudson. The songs really began to ultimately take shape on the West Coast, as Longstreth abandoned the familiarity of Brooklyn for Los Angeles, built himself a studio on the East Side out of an old cabinet factory, and enlisted the help of peers like Solange and Battles ex-frontman Tyondai Braxton to complete Dirty Projectors. It's the first self-titled album in the band's history and perhaps its most ambitious. The pursuit of truth, beauty and uncommon wisdom has informed nearly every Projectors release, but never have these values been sought in such unapologetically autobiographical ways.
— Zach Kelly, Back to the Future with Dirty Projectors
King Woman Created in the Image of Suffering
Somehow, the band's first full-length album is even better [than their game-changing 2014 EP, Doubt]. The digital version opens with "Citios," a bonus track manifested as cloudy feedback loop, the album title repeated like a mantra—or a prayer. In its more corporeal form, Created In The Image of Suffering kicks off with "Utopia," launching straight into the indefinable, alluring sound that's made King Woman so beloved in such a relatively short time. It's a romantic concoction of shoegaze, doom, post-metal, textured noise, drone, and wave upon wave of dreamy distortion, often obscuring its focal point—Esfandiari—in a smear of fog as grey and imposing as her native San Francisco.
Drunk is structured as if in fragments, dividing 51 minutes of running time into 23 tracks, often ending a song just as you've found the groove or isolated the theme. "Just because you have a short attention span doesn't mean you're not as smart," he says. The truth is that breaking out of a rigid three-and-a-half-minute framework has had formal benefits, allowing Thundercat's songs to breathe where necessary and to move quickly when that suits the album as a whole. But the format also reflects how we consume information ("Instagram exists, Vine exists"), how most of us work, even how an inner monologue might look if it were written down.— Paul Thompson, Thundercat the Great
Scott H Biram The Bad Testament
More than a few hints of and metal have seeped in between the Austin musician's raggedy chords, ramping up his country blues with a little bit of rock 'n' roll bite. He channels a heavy-eyed Merle Haggard on"Red Wine"—a laid-back, whiskey-sipping, whole-lotta-lovin' ballad—then segues straight into "Trainwrecker," which sees Biram howl his best Lemmy impression with a speedy, sneering metal edge. Even though they lack vocals, Biram sounds most like himself on raucous, foot-stomping honky-tonk ragers like "Pressin' On" and "What Doesn't Kill You..." though, when he stomps down hard on a distortion pedal, lets loose on the ol' electric, and just goddamn wails.
Xiu Xiu FORGET
FORGET, their 13th studio album, is another confounding, clattering work from the group. Produced by Deerhoof's Greg Saunier, John Congleton (Blondie, Sigur Ros, Sleater-Kinney), and Xiu Xiu's own Angelo Seo, it is at once their darkest and most easily accessible work to date. Lead single "Wondering" holds all of the industrial grandeur that the band has toyed with since its inception; "At Last, At Last" is anthemic at its peaks, terrifyingly paranoid at its lows. It runs the listener ragged before offering up the closer, "Petite," a stark and troublingly fragile acoustic track, Stewart's voice moving from a warble to a breathless baritone as cellos swirl and meander around him.
— Alex Robert Ross, Stream Xiu Xiu's Confounding New LP 'FORGET'
Reversal of Man
Good news, late 90s screamo fans! All five of you will be over the moon to know that Reversal of Man has finally gotten around to giving this whole internet craze a try and added their catalog to the streaming services this week. Sure, you've got the Revolution Summer ten-inch at home, but now you can feel the thrill of drowning out your coworkers with it as it feeds into your headphones at your day job. New to Reversal of Man? Start with This Is Medicine and join in the thousands of music fans who have said: I don't get it.
— Dan Ozzi
Taylor Bennett Restoration Of An American Idol
Oddisee The Iceberg
Crystal Fairy Crystal Fairy
Lead photo via Future on Instagram.
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