Stream of the Crop: 8 New Albums for Heavy Rotation

New projects from Porches, Pendant, Mudhoney, and JPEGMAFIA were among our favorite albums from the week just gone.

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Jan 21 2018, 1:26pm

Aaron Maine of Porches photographed by Brian Vu

Every week, the Noisey staff writes about the best and most important albums, mixtapes, and EPs from the past seven days. Sometimes they’re projects we’ve written about on the site already; sometimes they're just good records that we want everyone to hear. The resulting list is neither comprehensive nor fair. We hope it helps.

Porches: The House (Domino)

Even just from the way he leans into the window frame, it’s clear there’s a lot of love bound up in this place, so it would seem no coincidence that [Aaron] Maine’s latest record as Porches (released today on Domino) is called The House. Like his last album Pool, it’s a slow-moving collection of synth-driven pop songs, centered around the woozy brass of Maine’s voice and the abstract emoting with which he imbues his lyrics. There’s a hazy comfort to it, not unlike that which fills his home on that January morning, but, he explains, the record was finished long before he lived here, in a time that felt way a little more unsteady. — Colin Joyce, Porches, At Home

Pendant: Make Me Know You Sweet (West Mineral Ltd.)

In 2016, Brian Leeds reoriented his Huerco S project around loopy, crystalline ambient pieces with the modern classic For Those of You Who Have Never (And Also Those Who Have). He returns to the form on Make Me Know You Sweet, the first record on his new label West Mineral, recorded as Pendant. This new collection has a little bit of its predecessors glimmer—especially on the clouds-parting opener “VVQ-SSJ.” But he mused last year to Inverted Audio that the new material he was working on was darker and more spare: “Is it noise, is it ambient?,” he wondered. As promised, Make Me Know You Sweet generally tends more toward murky abstraction, embracing the sturdy stillness of long-held synthesizer notes and scratchy samples that circle one another and mark the passage of time like tree rings. — Colin Joyce

Mudhoney: LiE (Sub Pop)

Sub Pop are selling LiE as the "first unlimited-edition, non-bootleg" live album in Mudhoney’s 30-year career, which doesn’t seem so important when you remember that Live at El Sol and Live at Third Man are readily available online, the KEXP Space Needle performance is on YouTube, and bootlegs are kicking around the type of places that bootlegs kick around. But, despite all that, LiE is more than worth the time and money. The band have sounded leaner since returning with Vanishing Point in 2013, and this is the first time anyone’s captured that properly, balancing Steve Turner’s fuzz without sacrificing the elastic precision of Dan Peters and Guy Maddison as a rhythm section. And the chances are that Mark Arm will still be howling like this into his dotage. — Alex Robert Ross

Rejjie Snow: Dear Annie: Part 1 EP (300 Entertainment)

The Irish rapper’s debut LP, Dear Annie, is out February 16 on 300 Entertainment, and this laid-back four-song EP is more of a sampler than a standalone. The beats here are so mellow that the practically pornographic opener "Egyptian Luvr," which features Aminé and Dana Williams and lounges over a Kaytranada beat, ends up sounding hurried by the time "The Rain" sleepwalks to a close. It makes a good soundtrack to Snow’s existential, sex-centric lovesickness. First, comic petulance: "Sorry I'm late, I would've been here / But I fuckin' hate you, hope you disappear." Then sober insecurity: "Tell me that I'm fuckin' great / Best rapper to fuckin' live / Tell me that I make you proud / Tell me that you want my kids." In the end, when he murmurs "Demons are my bitch when I sleep / And my slave name is all she screams," he’s either terrified or exhausted. Or both. — Alex Robert Ross

Leslie Winer & Jay Glass Dubs: YMFEES (Bokeh Versions)

Artificial intelligence, Searlean brain-teasers, and abstract anatomy make up just a portion of Leslie Winer’s wide-ranging intonations on this collaboration with the Greek experimentalist Jay Glass Dubs. YMFEES, apparently short for “Your Mom’s Favorite Easy-E Song,” makes those philosophical meanderings feel even more unsettling as it undertakes its boundary-pushing psycho-journey through claustrophobic industrial clattering, digitalist dub refractions, and humid atmospherics. Like a particularly blunted Robert Ashley piece, its the sort of thing that works best if you just surrender to the unrelenting flow of linguistic signifiers and musical referents. — Colin Joyce

JPEGMAFIA: Veteran (Deathbomb Arc)

Barrington Devaughn Hendricks grew up in New York and moved to Alabama as a teenager. He enlisted in the army, which sent him to Kuwait, Iraq, Germany, and finally Japan, where he stayed for a while before moving to Baltimore, just before the city erupted in protest in response to the death, at police hands, of Freddie Gray. He's a contrarian—projects like Communist Slow Jamz, Black Ben Carson, and the 2nd Amendment EP are a giveaway—and his rhymes are built to confront and confound the inanities and stupid brutalities of the internet's darker corners. Veteran is wild—seventeen tracks of furious irony that spit and sputter and end up moving through a four-song stretch of "Whole Foods," "Macauley Culkin," "Williamsburg," and "I Cannot Fucking Wait Until Morrissey Dies." That last one, with its SoundCloud parody beat, detaches itself when he raps, "4chan on my dick cuz I'm edgy / Sit ya pale ass down, have a Pepsi." But when he refers to himself as a "left-wing Hades," he might be telling the truth. — Alex Robert Ross

Shopping: The Official Body (Fat Cat)

Still straight-up post-punks but never just for purists, the London-based four-piece have responded to Brexit, fear, and insularity by focusing on the human body and its place in society. That’s inevitably a more biting critique of a broken culture than any protest album can muster, and certainly more potent than any of the shouty, monoculture indie that’s continued to rise since the country retreated into itself. Everything here is sonically taught, but it's harder to resist now that they've found some danceable rhythms. That helps the anger to land. Like this line, from co-lead vocalist Rachel Aggs, on "My Dad's a Dancer": "This is such a simple thing / You don't like me / I don't look like you." — Alex Robert Ross

Higher Brothers: Journey to the West EP (88Rising)

These four kids from Chengdu, China, who decided to combine their Sichuanese dialect with English after watching Noisey Atlanta, are coming to the US next month, and this four-track EP is supposed to stoke the hype around them in the run-up. Two of these songs feature Ski Mask the Slump God and, of those, only "Rich Bitch" is new. But it serves as a good intro to a group you're likely to hear more about in 2018. The highlight is "Chanel," an ominous and bass-heavy song that features the following regognizable words: "Coco," "Chanel," "logo." You get the idea. — Alex Robert Ross

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