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Ty Dolla $ign: Beach House 3
Rap's versatile gentleman returns with his second studio album and inevitably stacks it with features. Pharrell Williams, Lil Wayne, The-Dream, YG, Future, Swae Lee, Wiz Khalifa, Damian Marley, and Tory Lanez all guest; Mike Will Made It, DJ Mustard, and Skrillex are among the producers. It came with a bunch of singles in advance, but the standout was the luxurious "Message In a Bottle." —Alex Robert Ross
Angelica Rockne: Queen of San Antonio
In between the flashes of honky-tonk energy on Angelica Rockne's forthcoming debut, Queen of San Antonio—when the singer-songwriter dips back into the country canon and pulls out dive-bar dust-ups and cosmic clutter—there are torch songs. That's when Rockne's voice settles in, she starts drinking to forget, the slide guitars back off of one another, and the heart of the record comes through: weary but not quite broken-down. —Alex Robert Ross
Slaughter Beach, Dog: Birdie
Birdie, the second LP from Modern Baseball co-frontman Jake Ewald's solo project, Slaughter Beach, Dog, softens the lines between reality, fiction, and metaphor like a drunk memory. Moments of apparently candid detail – like paying $1.25 for a taxi ride, bugs biting at skin on a porch, or "Yuppies in the prefabs holding hands at midnight" – can shift focus before a line is through. Ewald will detail a scene meticulously and then slide away to tell you that a bishop kicked his mom out the house and spun her round in a blindfold; at one point he's not sure if someone's in Echo Park or sitting in the living room. —Alex Robert Ross
Julien Baker: Turn Out the Lights
Writing about depression is hard. More often than not, it means writing about the absence of feeling, leaving a writer with few if any of the usually-essential senses to bounce off of. That's one of the reasons that Julien Baker's "Appointments," from her second LP Turn Out the Lights, is so absorbing. It's a vivid and detailed account of a person's inability to see any sort of emotional redemption, or the ability to actually feel anything at all. Somehow, Turn Out the Lights uses depression as a wellspring of ideas. If there's any justice, it will see Julien Baker regarded as the masterful songwriter and singer that she is. —Alex Robert Ross
Rico Nasty: Sugar Trap 2
2017 has proven to be a landmark year for DMV-based rapper Rico Nasty. Since her viral hit "Poppin", racked up a million and a half views over the course of the summer (in part thanks to a feature on HBO's Insecure) her fanbase steadily multiplied, and rightfully so. After months of anticipation, Sugar Trap 2 is finally here, a hard-hitting follow up to its May counterpart The Tales of Tacobella. While Tacobella is named after her softer spoken alter-ego, her very own Sasha Fierce-type energy claws its way to the surface of Sugar Trap 2, ready to command your attention. And command it does—Rico's signature rasp and bubblegum trap beats are sweet enough to entice anyone. —Tiffany Wines
John Maus: Screen Memories
This PoliSci PhD returns from six years in the Minnesota wilderness with a 12-track exegesis on the death of liberal arts education, Silicon Valley's techno-gnosticism, and, more generally speaking, the end of the world. As ever, he channels that in the form of both baroque composition and synth-pop minimalism—like Bach transcribed by Flock of Seagulls, or something like that. There's one inspirational jam built around an extended football metaphor and another whose sole lyric is "Your pets are gonna die." But don't worry, Maus assured me when I interviewed him last month that they all go to heaven at the end. —Colin Joyce
Also out this week:
Weezer: Pacific Daydream
Young Dro: Da Real Atlanta
Fever Ray: Plunge
Bootsy Collins: World Wide Funk
Yellow Days: Is Everything OK In Your World?
Majid Jordan: The Space Between
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