New Music Friday has arrived once again, folks. And, as usual, the bounty we’re graced with is a heavy one. We know the experience can be dizzying: spreading yourself thin across the musicsphere, trying to acquaint yourself with the breadth of new releases dispersed from all corners. That’s why we’ve done the legwork for you, bringing all the freshly dropped albums that you need to hear right now comfortably streamable in one tidy place.
Dan Auerbach, Waiting on a Song (Nonesuch)
His first solo effort since 2009’s Keep It Hit, Dan Auerbach follows the Black Keys’ Billboard-topping eighth studio album, Turn Blue, and his Arcs side-project’s debut, Yours, Dreamily, with a crystalline sonic palette. Whereas his previous solo jaunt pushed gnarly blues-rock through lo-fi frugality, the Akron guitarist returns to his own Easy Eye Studio in Nashville, this time ascending with lush, orchestral arrangements and a pristine choral depth.
Chastity Belt, I Used to Spend So Much Time Alone (Hardly Art)
Armed with both the caustic commentary and acerbic sense of humor native to Pacific Northwest’s riot grrrl roots, Chastity Belt honorably invoke the ethos of their Seattle predecessors while forging a musical terrain tread with decidedly more delicacy and discretion. At once emotive and biting, Chastity Belt’s third album continues to tint lighthearted jangle pop with the meditative inner conflict that steers their lyrics and music alike.
Beach Fossils, Somersault (Bayonet)
A stark sonic departure from 2013’s Clash the Truth, the latest from Beach Fossils sees their dreamy melodrama expanded and resized to make room for the complement of polished woodwind and string arrangements.
Decamping from the cluttered bedroom of lo-fi dream-pop, Somersault floats with a newfound crispness, as if on a hot air balloon that runs on soft, reverberated vocal emissions.
Roger Waters, Is This the Life We Really Want? (Columbia)
Starting with “Smell the Roses” in April, Roger Waters, architect of the atmospheric wing of psychedelia, has so far shared three singles in anticipation of his first studio album since 1992’s Amused to Death. And it’s a welcome reemergence. As Prefix has been keenly perceptive to, the current political climate has seen Waters’ work summoned with renewed relevance.
Kool G Rap, Return of the Don (Full Mettle)
On the heels of the “Out For That Life” single unveiled last week, hip-hop godfather Kool G Rap unleashes his first studio release in six years with Return of the Don. The single, featuring Raekwon, exhibits not so much a Golden Age redraft as it does a refreshed heavyweight demonstrating true MC dexterity to a gallery of undisciplined rookies. With production from Moss and guest appearances from the likes of Sheek Louch and Freeway, Return of the Don stands to whet the appetites of devout hip-hop heads and casual onlookers alike.
Amber Coffman, City of No Reply (Columbia)
It was impossible not to feel Amber Coffman’s palpable absence on Dirty Projectors’ self-titled album released earlier this year. After Coffman’s romantic relationship with frontman Dave Longstreth dissolved in 2012, the creative bond between the two began to slowly follow suit, culminating inevitably in Coffman leaving the band. Fortunately, as observed from City of No Reply, Coffman’s debut solo effort, the former Projectors songstress has her own brand of delectable art pop to deliver on.
Saint Etienne, Home Counties (Heavenly)
On paper, a band comprised of former music journalists might look like one that caters to an elite niche of needlessly over-enlightened music-taste doctorates. Saint Etienne, now on their ninth studio album, are case in point that even the most studious music minds can formulate among the most accessibly visceral and danceable pop music.
Jesu/Sun Kil Moon, 30 Seconds to the Decline Of Planet Earth (Caldo Verde)
The second collaborative release crafted by British experimental act, Jesu, and Mark Kozelek’s Sun Kil Moon outfit sees the pair trace a soundscape far more pastoral and meditative than 2016’s Jesu/Sun Kil Moon. Kozelek stitches ambivalent, peculiarly evocative non-sequiturs through a sonic atmosphere more ethereal and brittle than piercing or urgent.
Yo Gotti/Mike WiLL Made-It, Gotti Made-It (Be Great)
When Nicki Minaj discreetly uploaded an Instagram video selfie of her rapping to her guest verse on “Rake It Up,” it was the first we’d heard of the Gotti Made-It mixtape. Tagging Yo Gotti in the post and hinting at a midnight release riled suspicions until the surprise mixtape collab between Yo Gotti and WiLL Made-It was at last unveiled.
TOPS, Sugar at the Gate (Arbutus)
Self-recorded and self-produced, Montreal dream-pop enchanters, TOPS, reemerge with their third album from LA’s “Glamdale” studio mini-mansion. Breezy and buoyant, Sugar at the Gate, satiates one’s appetite for pop music that’s delicate and consoling in its cadence while alluring and evocative in ambiance.
Mozzy/Gunplay, Dreadlocks & Headshots (Real Talk Entertainment)
While the new crop of rappers largely opt for seductive club swank and laboriously polished studio touch, Sacramento’s Mozzy and Triple C collective stalwart, Gunplay, relish in unadulterated rawness on Dreadlocks & Headshots.
Marika Hackman, I’m Not Your Man (AMR)
After leaving a paper trail of singles, EPs, and a pair of mesmerizing full-lengths that seemed to seal her reputation as a somber, contemplative singer-songwriter, Marika Hackman rebuts by embracing her inner pop penchants. While there are moments on I’m Not Your Man that thrive in echoing her former works, there are more that flourish in a newfound sense of aggressive pop vigor.
Sweet Baboo, Wild Imagination (Moshi Moshi)
Marking the quirky Cardiff busybody’s seventh studio album, Wild Imagination is a document of gently danceable pop precision. Equally sweet-hearted and leering, the multi-instrumentalist follows The Boombox Ballads and the Dennis EP with a collection of songs that sound more disciplined and yet reassuringly idiosyncratic.