Stream of the Crop: 12 New Albums for Heavy Rotation

New albums from Lil Baby & Gunna, Cat Power, and Fucked Up top this week's list.

Every week, the Noisey staff puts together a list of the best and most important albums, mixtapes, and EPs from the past seven days. Sometimes it 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.

Lil Baby & Gunna: Drip Harder

Drip Harder is supposed to be the culmination of the best parts of each rapper, as the merging of their catchphrases suggests in the title. Baby and Gunna’s chemistry is typically effortless and organic, but Drip Harder is an indication that their alliance will, at times, require some heavy lifting. Their collaboration is a peek at the potential both artists possess, but a reminder that they’ve made better music together and apart. When Gunna and Baby get it right, it's rousing, such as on the lively lead single "Drip Too Hard." The hook reads as the dissertation for their partnership. "Drip too hard, don’t stand too close / You gon fuck around and drown trying to ride this wave," Baby cries. There isn’t a song featuring just the two of them with a wave as swelling as "Drip Too Hard" across the project’s 39-minute runtime, but Drip Harder isn’t devoid of high points—there just aren’t enough of them. —Kristin Corry


Cat Power: Wanderer

Chan Marshall's tenth studio album as Cat Power is quiet, unadorned, lyrically fragmented, and open-ended. With the exception of "Woman," a defiant desert-dive collaboration with Lana Del Rey, Marshall works in whispers, tapping into anxieties and memories that read like surreal, deconstructed short stories. It's good to have her back. —Alex Robert Ross

Fucked Up: Dose Your Dreams

[Dose Your Dreams] is a sprawling, hour-and-a-half concept record that follows a cast of fictional characters both old and new. David Eliade, the protagonist from 2011’s David Comes To Life, is back in the saddle. But Haliechuk explains that David is just a pawn in this record. "It’s actually Joyce’s record," he asserts. —Luke Ottenhof, Fucked Up Want to Inspire the Next Fucked Up

Cursive: Vitrola

It’s fitting how Vitriola finds a way to sound like an early Cursive record without sounding predictable. Kasher started writing for Vitriola after the 2016 election, and that informed the bulk of his writing. Instead of working on an album-length concept, Kasher wrote from his gut, allowing all his anger and fear to get funneled into the songs. But even then, there’s still an undercurrent of hope running through it. “Despite how bad things might be, we’ve got to find a way out if we can,” says Kasher, and that drive to make it through the darkness is what lingers long after Vitriola has ended. —David Anthony, Tim Kasher Is Still Trying to Understand the New Cursive Album, Too


Donny McCaslin: Blow

[Blow] is still, just about, a jazz album, at least in places. But the art rock oddities of Blackstar [on which McCaslin was bandleader] are taking over. It's rich and unpredictable, and the near ever-presence of vocals—in particular from Age of Electric/Limblifter singer Ryan Dahle—turns the sound on its head. —Alex Robert Ross, Mark Kozelek Tells a Weird Story on Donny McCaslin's Sharp New Single

Sheck Wes: Mudboy

Sheck Wes may have a contender for song of the year with "Mo Bamba," but his debut album MUDBOY is confirmation that he’s in for the long haul. MUDBOY is a continuation of rap’s new rabble rouser with an assortment of menacing beats and enough sports references to launch "WESPN." In 49 minutes, Wes manages to be equal parts nonchalant on songs like "Fuck Everybody" while tirelessly creating an unearthing energy on "Kyrie." He uses "Jiggy With the Shits," to tell the the true story of growing up in Senegal, and even spits half of a verse in his native tongue. MUDBOY is what happens when you realize the difference between fertilizer and shit is all a matter of perspective. —Kristin Corry

Pulse Emitter: Xenharmonic Passages

The latest from the ever-prolific synthesist and experimentalist Pulse Emitter is a formalist exercise in pushing into the unknown galaxy of microtonality—essentially meaning that it consists of intervals and scales not traditionally explored in Western music. This is interesting to us the layperson listeners not because its conceptually groundbreaking, but because great art is often made under rigorous methodologies. And truly this is one of Pulse Emitter’s most wonderful and strange works in a catalog full of them, a collection of landscapes as colorful and alien as anything the ProcGen big bangs in No Man’s Sky have been able to dream out of raw data. It’s a whole new world, crafted with a hand tied behind its creator's back. —Colin Joyce


Various Artists: Don't Look Now: Aural Apparitions from the Geographic North

The second installment of Atlantan experimental imprint Geographic North’s Halloween benefit compilation pulls together 90 minutes of creeping and squirming ambient pieces from composers whose work largely skews less bleak. None of it’s your run of the mill cloaks-and-fog DARK AMBIENT either, instead there’s neon woodwinds gleaming in the darkness on CV & JAB’s “Seeing Redness, Plastic Fingers” or the seasick sample-twisting of Suzanne Kraft’s “Stabbing.” Félicia Atkinson—always an outlier even when she attempts genre excercises—swirls together a number of brighter sounds, malleted percussion, recorded bird sound, techno-ish synth sequences, into something that could easily work as a horror theme, which feels like a novel approach to heavy music. Per the concept of the comp, all the players here choose darkness, but its the ways in which they arrive there that makes this set worth delving into. —Colin Joyce

Swearin': Fall Into the Sun

After three years away, Allison Crutchfield's much-loved indie-rock project have returned. The basic components are the same: smart, inventive, emotive, crunchy, throwback songs that keep an eye on every group of plaid-wearing, suburban icons you fell in love with as a teenager. Of course, they're older and wiser now, but they're still a compellingly exuberant rock band. I consider that to be a public service of sorts. —Alex Robert Ross


Annelies Monseré: Happiness Is Within Sight

Like a lot of the great songwriters and composers treading the vast emptiness between pop composition and formless ambience, the music that Annelies Monseré makes is overwhelming grayscale, intriguingly elusive, and often very slow and sad. Her new album Happiness Is Within Sight, despite it’s hopeful title, largely follows in this vein. Taking inspiration from the unraveling of a relationship—romantic or otherwise, her brief Bandcamp statement doesn’t explain—her organ drones, slow puttering percussion, and distant vocalizations, provide a proper soundtrack for the emotional anesthesia you can sometimes feel when your life’s been upended. Stare out a window into the rain, or peer deep into your own troubled soul, and waste the day away, as Monseré sings of the better days to come. —Colin Joyce

Marie Davidson: Working Class Woman

It’s hard to tell whether Marie Davidson is laughing with you or at you. The Quebecoise producer makes club-adjacent music that makes fun of clubbing and dance music culture; her latest record, Working Class Woman, features capitalist hard-work chants disguised as self-empowerment anthems (or maybe it’s the other way around.) And despite expressing a deep, earnest appreciation for psychology, there’s a song on the album that does little other than make fun of psychologists. —Shaad D'Souza, Marie Davidson Is Sick of This Capitalist Hell

The Marcus King Band: Carolina Confessions

The heart of Carolina Confessions is “Goodbye Carolina,” a wrenching ode from the point of view of King’s friend how committed suicide. Mixing commerce with the need to infuse art with personal, intimate expression is one of the risks King is forced to engage with. But the songwriter is able to justify these uglier sides of the business with the very simple fact that he’s spending his life doing what many only fantasize about: "Just writing down everything that’s troubling me and then being able to shout it at how ever many people will listen every night is very therapeutic." —Will Schube, The Marcus King Band's 'Carolina Confessions' Is a Country Music Gut-Punch

Follow Noisey on Twitter.