Aldous Harding’s videos operate similarly to the way Solange’s do for When I Get Home–they’re inseparable from the sounds. Both works avoid narrative, and many of the songs phase in and out of specific ideas and theses, but with the very specifically conjured visual aesthetic, they make a bit more sense and offer more straightforward emotional warmth. Of course, Harding has only released two videos for Designer so far, but the album stands for itself outside of that visual context, each tune a world of tiny sounds building acres of landscape together.
Buy it on itunes
Read my track review of “The Barrel”
Rico Nasty-Anger Management
Though only 19 minutes long, Anger Management feels necessary thanks to its relentless pummel. Save some singing on her final track, these tracks are jam packed with quick jabs and risky, electro beats. Anytime Rico shows her face it feels great, but this mixtape feels loose and carefree while losing none of the rage that infected her debut album last year.
Buy it on Itunes.
Here’s some new releases that I’ll be thinking about this week:
Sunn O)))-Life Metal
For a band so notorious for creating some of the loudest live experiences ever, Sunn O))) also somehow have a talent for life affirmation. Titled after a joke the band formed on the road, Life Metal is typically droney and deep, but overtones blossom and shine like a summer afternoon as the smolder burns on.
Available Now on First Listen
Kevin Abstract-Ghettobaby EP
I have to say that if anyone in Brockhampton is going to make it as a solo artist it’ll probably be Kevin Abstract. His singing and rapping kind of combines to create the true heart of the group anyways and throughout this EP both shine.
Listen to it on Spotify
To some degree, there’s no more to say about this. Of course, Beyoncé delivered the greatest Coachella set of a generation. Of course, the glance at her every era is immaculately planned, arranged (and even mixed and mastered). But, that’s kind of her magic. Beyoncé is a singular auteur, one who painstakingly betters herself and pushes forward with immaculately intricate ideas, pulled off effortlessly. To have a document for her unmatched live feats somehow continues to up the ante.
Listen on Apple Music
One listen in it’s clear that PUP got something here. The passionate LP pierces the soul with harrowing tales, dark angst, and maybe hope somewhere in the background.
Read my “Kids” track review
Weyes Blood-Titanic Rising
I feel like my first impression of Weyes Blood was something like “beautiful but not super engaging.” Her second album is a step forward with more cascading sounds and all sorts of cool cosmic touches like the Philip Glass strings on “Movies” or the Elton John piano strutting sprinkled all around.
Read my “Everyday” track review
Priests-The Seduction of Kansas
I felt like Priest’s first single didn’t quite stick the landing and the album feels like a pretty stark collection of new territories. “Jesus’ Son” rips right out of the gate and others see the band dabble in more open territories. Certainly a good amount of victories here.
Read my review of the title track
Show Me The Body-Dog Whistle
This one promises to be huge, check out my thoughts on the quite literally orchestral single.
Buy it on the band’s website
Billie Eilish-When We Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?
I try not to review too much material that I have little hope of enjoying and admittedly Billie Eilish kind of fits that mold. I feel like she has the potential to be interesting or maybe even earth shattering, so I want to take an honest look at her debut album, but it kind of obviously splits the difference between Lana Del Ray, early Lorde, and maybe even Juice WRLD, with blunt teenage lyricism and thin pop production that sounds dark, but doesn’t hit as hard as it should.
Check it out
Huge release day today, should have American Football and Nilufer Yanya reviews done this evening because they were on first listen all week, but these three can all be streamed today as well!
Ex Hex-It’s Real
Ex Hex may be a band with a pretty sharp and specific brand, but their new album also has a rich emotionality, both delivering their timeless bangers and more muted introspection.
Laurel Halo-DJ Kicks
Aside from her frankly ridiculous bag of musical references (you can here every era of electro as well as free jazz in there), Laurel Halo’s specialty is using small sounds for massive impact. This completely applies to her DJ sets. Though she gets up to a heafty rumble, as opposed to the continuously tiny areas of albums like Dust or In Situ, big sections of this album build momentum with miniscule motions. Around the 40 minute mark you’ll be walking everywhere like it’s a runway, but the path to get there might just be the most interesting feature.
Check out my review of single “Sweetie”
Jenny Lewis-On the Line
Jenny Lewis’s solo music has always bridged the gap between a rugged, American sensibility and open emotional rawness. “Redbull & Hennessy” showcases that as well as the depth to the production here. It’s got a certain burn too it in the distant pianos and the cavernous drums–studio gloss does everything right throughout her first album in 5 years.
American Football-American Football (LP3)
In the wake of the news of Tame Impala coming back, I took another glance at Currents and of course it holds up, but more importantly it took me back to the stereogum review of the album, where writer Ryan Leas says that the album starts with a seven-minute behemoth and then turns into a slow burn to build up to the finale. Maybe I was a little overly influenced by this, but that’s how the third American Football LP felt on first take.
As previously discussed, “Silhouettes” is likely the most adventurous tune the band has ever come up with and it’s also, quite literally, a seven-minute behemoth. Then the band calms down for a minute, however, with three-minute tunes that feel comfortable, leading into more substantial work on “Doom in Full Bloom” and the Rachel Goswell featuring “I Can’t Feel You.” Though it may not feel like a massive rekindling initially, by the end it’ll certainly feel blissfully new and expertly crafted.
Listen to it Now! on First Listen
Self described as a super dark answer to the likes of Portishead, Dis Fig combines radio static and apocalyptic vocal work. Check out my thoughts on lead single “Unleash.”
Nilüfer Yanya-Miss Universe
In Your Head was a perfectly straightforward piece of pop-rock that might’ve raised some concerns that Miss Universe would be too simple, but by no means is that the case. Though the album is a bit long and regrettably features a collection of De La Soul like vocal interludes, it sees Yanya deliver blissfully punchy tunes alongside long form pieces that truly spread their wings–sax solos and all.
Listen to this one on NPR today
Just gave you a brief rundown yesterday, but having heard more of the album, I can attest that this thing is constantly riding high and bursting at the seams. If “Fashionista” was too down-the-middle for you, definitely get out there and give this one a try, it could blow you away.
Catch it now on first listen
duendita-direct line to my creator
duendita makes soul that bears cracks on its sidewalks. Her music breaths as the textures of gathering your morning coffee provide a cushion to the dynamic song forms. Having just finished a degree in recorded music at NYU (this album was literally her senior thesis), the young talent looks primed and ready for a full blown career and though this is the spark, it already sounds fully formed.
Buy it on bandcamp
Booker Stardrum-Temporary Etc.
Like Greg Fox of Litugry, Stardrum uses sensory percussion to craft an enveloping experience and honestly I feel like he’s a little better at it. Definitely give it a spin.
Also buy it via NNA Tapes, the coolest record label in the world.
Solange-When I Get Home
Solange hit us with a surprise release last night and you gotta sit down and listen to this thing immediately. When I Get Home feels like an instant-classic, seemingly taking all the energy on A Seat at the Table and filtering it through a vaporizer. Little cells of melody lilt and repeat over sparse but lively production making for one of the most adventurous and avant-garde mainstream albums this side of Blonde.
Little Simz has been a talent in rap and introspection for a while and it looks like it’s only up from here—GREY Area promises to be her most developed work yet.
Yves Jarvis-The Same But By Different Means
Having released more indie rock oriented stuff as Un Blonde, Montreal’s Jean-Sebastian Audet has changed his name and rebranded as a sort of abstract soul artist. Single “That Don’t Make It So” sounds almost like Flying Lotus produced a tune with D’Angelo.
Kehlani-While We Wait
Just gave you my rundown of Kehlani’s “Nights Like This,” today she releases a short and sweet mixtape to hold us over until her next full album–she’s nine months pregnant this month and still releasing music? a prolific queen. Sporting welcome features from Musiq Soulchild and 6lack, the 30 minutes effortlessly flex Kehlani’s adaptability without loosing her singular voice.
Buy it on itunes like the good old days
Look at how planned out I look today! Lol, just spoke briefly about how Placeholder the single offers a newfound cushion of studio crafted sound to support Meg Duffy’s voice and songwriting and, though there are some surprises, it seems like that’s an apt description for the rest of the work. Addressing intimacy in myriad forms, the album evokes a cold smolder from start to finish.
Listen today on NPR
A fixture of the Bristol DIY scene, former hub of dub and post-punk intermingling, Dan Davies captures an independent spirit with music that melds all corners of underground music from tape loops to punky freakouts, and even some free jazz touting sax playing.
Ariana Grande-Thank You, Next
Ariana Grande’s next career step could get dicey, or it might not judging from how well sweetener went over and how she Chaneled herself by releasing her biggest smash, the title track of today’s released, after the fact. Whether it’s the dark cousin to sweetener’s bliss, or something completely of its own, I think we should maintain hope that today’s pop diva will come up with something endearing for us to enjoy.
Though not really a band that’s become nationwide heroes, Deer Tick are Rhode Island legends, who’re right in line with Foxygen and Cage the Elephant in terms of respectful, fun throwback rock sounds.