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Stream of the Crop: 14 New Albums for Heavy Rotation

In this week's roundup of essential new projects: Young Thug surprises us (again) alongside Nicki Minaj, 21 Savage, and Lil Uzi Vert, Tinashe (finally) returns with her third LP, and War on Women pick apart America's bullshit.

Every week, the Noisey staff puts together a list of the best and most important albums, mixtapes, and EPs from the week just gone. Sometimes that 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.

Young Thug: Hear No Evil

Young Thug said that he'd take a break from music this year in solidarity with his brother, who can neither hear nor talk. Instead, out of nowhere, the 26-year-old gave us Hear No Evil, a quick-hit EP that features a star on each of its three songs. Alongside Nicki Minaj on "Anybody," Thugger makes his clearest play for summer dominance, looping back to a moodily catchy hook. ("You gotta picture me rollin'" is the line, and it works.) The Lil Uzi Vert-featuring "Up" relies more on flow than melody, but it fizzes and pops, particularly when (whisper it) Uzi shows up. "Now," featuring 21 Savage, is the most easily skippable of the three—21's laconic delivery doesn't help—but a persistent, choppy piano keeps things rolling well enough. There's a sign language video for "Anybody" by the way—a more active connection than silence. Hopefully Young Thug never runs out of surprises. — Alex Robert Ross


Tinashe: Joyride

A joyride is often a reckless ride of pleasure, with more focus on the thrill than the consequence. Tinashe’s Joyride conjures the same feeling. Her long-awaited sophomore album switches gears from saucy singles like "No Drama" and "Faded Love" to deep cuts like "Stay the Night" with the range that was present prior to her "2 On" success. Joyride sounds like the dial of the radio, as she sways across tropical beats on the French Montana-assisted "Me So Bad" and saunters on the synth-laced pop of "Stuck With Me." But it’s on "Salt" that the ride isn’t always fun. "Hope you’re happy loving someone else / Even though you barely love yourself," she begins. "So when you go and break my heart again / Don’t throw salt on the wound." Joyride is a fast ride with no seatbelt. Be cautious of whiplash. — Kristin Corry

War on Women: Capture the Flag

War on Women's change-at-any-cost attitude is at its most dire on their second LP, Capture the Flag, produced by Jawbox’s J Robbins. The album’s activist roar is amplified by cameos from riot grrrl pioneer Kathleen Hanna ("YDTMHTL,” which stands for "you don't tell me how to live") and adult film mogul Joanna Angel (“Capture The Flag,” “Childbirth,” “Predator In Chief,” “Violence Of Bureaucracy”)[…] With Capture the Flag, War on Women has taken every appalling headline, every new low in the name of patriotism, and every systemic problem (both fashionable and latent) over the last two years and balled them into a fist. So… who’s gonna get punched? — Dan Ozzi, Raise Your Fist and Blood Pressure with War on Women’s ‘Capture the Flag’


Our Place of Worship Is Silence: With Inexorable Suffering

The band's latest transgression, With Inexorable Suffering[…] will scratch any itch you've got for dark, uncompromising metal of death down to the fucking bone. The band deals in the kind of fetid, backward-facing death that we've come to expect from the underground post-2010, replete with shuddering riffs, mouldering roars, blackened malevolence, and an overall vibe of churning, oozing chaos that's perhaps an unintentional (but welcome) relic of the progenitors' time spent playing in black metal bands like Lake of Blood and Doctorshopper. It's a monster of an album, and has obviously been crafted with the utmost evil intent. — Kim Kelly, Our Place Of Worship Is Silence's New LP Redefines Death Metal Darkness

Carnage: Battered, Bruised & Bloody

Battered, Bruised & Bloodied follows the explorative nature of Carnage’s recent single with Steve Aoki and Lockdown, “PLUR Genocide.” What looks like a typical trap compilation album on its surface is actually a series of experiments and adventures with amazing results. Up and comers like Killy and Deko put in impressive displays, newer stars like Lil Pump and KYLE show that they aren’t going anywhere for awhile, and veterans including Mac Miller and Lil B show new sides of themselves and increased capabilities since the last time they were on a major platform. From super-layered anthems to more chill west coast-influenced tracks, the album has something for everyone without trying to appeal to all. — Trey Smith


Rexmanningday.: Rexmanningday.

Three Olympians—as in Washington—including Sadie Switchblade formerly of G.L.O.S.S., cough up a phlegmy wad of real suburban emo on their debut as Rexmanningday. There’s squelched songs about miserable come-downs, headrush romances, a whole lot of prickly guitar octaves, and a full-throated cover of a Get Up Kids song. Throw it on in your mom’s minivan, cry as you crowdsurf. — Colin Joyce

King Tuff: The Other

Four years on from Black Moon Spell, his last scuzzy LP as King Tuff , Kyle Thomas has returned with something more pensive, ambitious, and intriguing. The first single was the title track, a quietly spacey, six-minute-plus almost-ballad which serves as the opener here. It's about hitting "rock bottom," according to Thomas himself, so we're set up nicely for an hour of throwback rock that alternates between a strut, a swagger, and a psychedelic day trip. Jenny Lewis, Mikal Cronin, and Ty Segall (duh) are all present. It's good to have King Tuff back—still searching for something, still funny enough to pull that off, and now less afraid to take a few risks. — Alex Robert Ross

Aria Rostami & Daniel Blomquist: Distant Companion

The latest batch from the neon-illuminated purveyors of gloom at Dark Entries, includes this curiously enlivening piece from composers and sound mutilators Aria Rostami and Daniel Blomquist. There’s moments of staticky abjection and greyscale darkroom grit, but the record’s main suite is named after the North star, forever a guiding light to those lost in darkness—a way out for those searching desperately enough for it. Appropriately, there’s moments of bliss too, like the chittering electronics that fill "Polaris Ab," a glimmer of moonlight through the low branches of the gloomy forest in which they reside. — Colin Joyce


Princess Nokia: A Girl Cried Red

Destiny Frasqueri said that this, her fourth proper release as Princess Nokia, would be an "emo mixtape." She certainly followed through on the promise, though that might not be the best news. Frasqueri is massively talented, and there's no reason that she shouldn't bring morose, nihilistic pop-punk into her already self-aware rhymes. But she falls back on lyrical clichés too often—"Smash my heart in pieces / It looks so good on the floor" is one recurring line—and her voice seems stiff, even robotic here. If you're looking for a standout, "Flowers and Rope" has a dark, summer-midnight bounce to it. If you're looking into the future, take this as an awkward splurge that could lead a potentially brilliant young artist onto stranger (but hopefully more solid) ground. — Alex Robert Ross

RLYR: Actual Existence

On Actual Existence, RLYR’s second release, [Trevor] de Brauw’s signature guitar-work is accompanied by a few new tricks—the four-song album quickly breaks out into a blast-beat pace and ends in a long stretch of all-consuming distortion. Yet, through the chaos erupting from his bandmates around him, de Brauw’s familiar sound remains a steady presence. — Dan Ozzi, RLYR’s ‘Actual Existence’ Is 40 Minutes of Beautiful Chaos

Autechre: NTS Session 1

Over the course of the month of April, the English duo of Sean Booth and Rob Brown breaking up their unwieldy new 8-hour box set into relatively digestible chunks on the London-born internet radio station NTS. But no one knew that when they tuned into the station last thursday to two hours of absolutely alien sounds from Autechre. Was it a mix? Was it reimagined old material? A pirate radio broadcast from Orion’s Belt? A press release confirms its just new music from the duo, which to my ears is among the most ecstatic and unsettling they’ve released in upwards of two decades at the avant edge of the whole world of computer music. It’s the sort of detail-rich record that feels like you could spend months unpacking it. That there’s six more hours coming is sorta unbelievable. — Colin Joyce


Pac Div: 1st Baptist

Pac Div spent the last six years pursuing individual endeavors, and the growth they experienced in that time shows. This 10-track project is everything we missed about the group—their ability to mix classic concepts with new sounds with an injection of humor and personal insights. 1st Baptist is a hell of a reintroduction, taking everything they’ve learned individually over the past few years and bringing it all back together so fluidly that it’s hard to believe they ever went their separate ways. — Trey Smith

Wrekmeister Harmonies: The Alone Rush

Wrekmeister Harmonies’ new album, The Alone Rush, reached a place in me that I generally leave untended for fear of what I’ll find lurking in its shadows. The six long, languorous compositions nestle beneath a Gothic cross at a junction of doom, drone, post-rock, and ambient, and unfold slowly, leaving acres of space between rain-slick strings, celestial keys, swooping dissonance, and each of vocalist JR Robinson’s stately baritone breaths. It weaponizes quiet, embracing the introspection and absolution that have themed the project—which has long featured a rotating cast of members, but is now stripped down to a duo and rounded out by Esther Shaw—since they first embarked on their long, strange trip almost a decade ago. Its edges feel rough, and raw, with a certain wildness about them; this is beautiful music, to be sure, but it has come to us from a place of pain. — Kim Kelly, I Feel at Home in the Isolation of Wrekmeister Harmonies' New Album

Josh T Pearson: The Straight Hits!

The former Lift to Experience frontman has returned to the realm of the living. Where his depressive 2011 solo album, Last of the Country Gentlemen, told anguished tales of love gone awry and life gone to shit, The Straight Hits! bursts through on a rush of power chords and the line: "Fast as a bullet!" He deliberately kept things as bright as possible here, and he wrote down a bunch of rules to make sure nothing got bogged down ("All songs must have a verse, a chorus and a bridge," "The lyrics must run 16 lines or less," etc). It's led him to a genuinely entertaining country-powerpop crossover record—so good that the "gushing" imagery on the uncomfortably sexual "Straight Laced Come Undone" is only a minor blip. Amazing what shaving a two-foot beard can do to a guy. — Alex Robert Ross

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