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Stream of the Crop: 10 New Albums for Heavy Rotation

DJ Khaled, Descendents, and ZHU top our list this week.

Photo via DJ Khaled on Instagram

It’s tough, the fear of missing out. Lollapalooza is gleefully raging on through the rain in Chicago, your Facebook feed is an endless cascade of the vacationing smug, and you spent all your money on ice cream last week so now you can’t even go to the pub. Tough break. On the bright side, this week has been a very excellent week for music with much-anticipated records dropping left and right. Better still, we’ve gathered them all together for you in one place.

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ZHU - GENERATIONWHY

The hype around ZHU’s debut album has been well earned. The electronic musician’s desire to remain anonymous until the middle of 2014, hoping that his music would speak for itself, set him apart; tracks like “In the Morning” and “Faded” did the work for him from there. GENERATIONWHY includes the much-discussed Skrillex and THEY. collaboration ‘Working for It,” too.

DJ Khaled - Major Key

It’s tough to find space on the Christmas Tree of excellence that is DJ Khaled to dangle new compliments from. He is (still) the greatest rapper alive, a human Snapchat, a man with an island named after him off the coast of Belize. We already knew that the long-awaited Major Key had the greatest album artwork maybe ever, and now we have the tracks to back it up. Oh, and Khaled’s ninth studio album features almost literally everybody.

Descendents - Hypercaffium Spazzinate

We weren’t expecting a new Descendents album. Nobody was, really. But 12 years on from Cool to Be Youa record that they told us they don’t rank all that highly—the legendary punks are back with a full studio album, sixteen songs in a little over 30 minutes. As it should be.

Lori McKenna - The Bird and the Rifle

In this week’s Expert Witness, Robert Christgau described folk singer-songwriter Lori McKenna as “a winning singer, forthright and accomplished and idiomatic, implying a slight drawl instead of faking a big one. And her writing is major verging on great.” The 47-year-old mother of five’s ninth studio album is produced by Dave Cobb.

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Nao - For All We Know

Soulful British singer-songwriter Nao Jessica Joshua has built up a mass of hype over the last couple years, appearing on Disclosure’s massive Caracal and jostling into the BBC’s increasingly prestigious Sound of… list. Her debut album, released on Little Tokyo Recordings, features the already released and acclaimed singles “Bad Blood,” “Fool to Love,” and “Girlfriend.”

Titus Andronicus - S+@dium Rock: Five Nights at the Opera

Patrick Stickles laid everything out on last year’s “The Most Lamentable Tragedy,” a record that trawled through the depths of manic depression over a heavy 90 minutes, and now there’s a live record of it all. Titus Andronicus is a punk band with grand ideas and, like the band itself, S+@dium Rock: Five Nights at the Opera is more modest in its reality than its packaging, recorded through a residency at the 275-capacity Shea Stadium in Brooklyn.

The Outfit, TX - Green Lights: Everythang Goin’

On Green Lights: Everythang Goin’, Texan outfit The Outfit, TX bring their slowed down, Lone Star vibe into the contemporary. When we premiered it this week, we said they were “working within the crisp-sounding, high-energy world of contemporary trap, giving the prevailing template of modern rap an ominous, slowed-down Texas touch and highlighting what happens when guys who have spent years honing other aspects of their craft as rappers tear into a new sound.” We’re sticking with it.

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The Bouncing Souls - Simplicity

Yeah, a pretty good week for legendary punk bands putting out new records. Simplicity is The Bouncing Souls’s first album with Hot Water Music and one time Against Me! drummer George Rebelo and the band’s first since 2012’s Comet.

Owen - The King of Whys

Mike Kinsella’s solo work as Owen is always a worthy investment of time, not always immediately revelatory on the first listen but ready to be stripped back and picked over. The former American Football frontman’s eight studio album is produced by S. Carey, solo artist in his own right but probably best known as the brilliant second-in-command to Justin Vernon in Bon Iver.

Cam & China - Cam & China EP

Inglewood twin sister duo Cam & China are about to fuck LA up. If you tuned into Noisey on Beats 1 on Saturday morning to hear them play “Extravagant,” “Run Up Remix (feat AD),” and “We Gon Make It,” you know why (but it’s cool, the whole show is playing again Sunday at 9pm). Their debut LP was bolstered by production from D.R.U.G.S. and sounds as big as anything they’ve turned their collective hand to.

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