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Stream of the Crop: 9 New Albums for Heavy Rotation 2/4

New records from Sampha, Elbow, and Iron Reagan top this week's list of essential records.

Sampha - Process

In a way, Process is an out of body experience. As a narrative, it's like something from Gaspar Noé's Enter the Void, a psychedelic film shot from the aerial perspective of a young man experiencing death as a floating ghost. Sampha has read The Tibetan Book of the Living and Dying, a modern take on the 8th-century Tibetan Book of the Dead, read by the central character in Noé's film. The book teaches that death frees awareness from the body, leading the mind to create its own reality complete with flashing visions that can be peaceful and paranoid alike. It sounds a lot like the imagery on Process, in which the narrative takes place somewhere between wakefulness, death, and dreaming. "I wake up, and the sky's blood red", he sings on "Blood on Me." "I'm still heavy breathing, felt so much more than dreaming. I get up, they're at the edge of my bed. How did they find me?… Let's get away… I'm on this road now, I'm so alone now, swerving out of control now, and I crash the whip." A similar vision of his own death appears on "Reverse Faults": "I took the break pads out the car and I flew, smashed this window in my heart…" Often, Sampha is envisaged as a kind of ghost, able to watch his loved ones but unable to reach them. "Flying high above all your memories, I have a bird's eye view", he sings on "Incomplete Kisses." -


Francis Blagburn, On His Debut Album 'Process,' Sampha Proves His Journey is Just Beginning

Elbow - Little Fictions

All these years after Asleep in the Back's subdued indie rock, Elbow's seventh studio album, Little Fictions, harks back to those simpler times when the band were first beginning, before the stadium tours, and the Mercury Prizes, and truckloads of records sold. It's slower, and more personal, swapping the grandiosity of, for example, tracks like "One Day Like This" off the their platinum-selling album The Seldom-Seen Kid, for quiet introspection. -

Cameron Cook, Elbow Are Trying to Make Sense of a Senseless World

Iron Reagan - Crossover Ministry

Crossover Ministry parties hard and riffs harder, bringing the mosh with a mix of Tony Foresta's trademark goofball humor and on-point jibes about the sorry state of the planet. True, nailing yourself to this particular cross means you won't end up in that fabled land of milk and honey, but at least you'll have fun while you head down towards a place where the guy in charge has all the best tunes. -

Alex Deller, Iron Reagan Baptize the Thrash Faithful with 'Crossover Ministry'


The Menzingers - After the Party

Moon Duo - Occult Architecture Vol. 1

Big Sean - I Decided


Young Dolph - Gelato

Syd - Fin

Lead photo via Sampha on Instagram.

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