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Stream of the Crop: 8 New Albums for Heavy Rotation 3/11

New albums from Charli XCX, Laura Marling, Tennis, and Valerie June top this week's list.

Charli XCX Number 1 Angel

With a whole bunch of featured artists (all of whom are women: Uffie, ABRA, CupcakKe, Raye and Starrah) and PC Music weirdos AG Cook and Danny L Harle partly taking on production, Number 1 Angel is Charli XCX at her best – all coquettish lyrics and Tumblr teen imagery, backed up by pop songwriting on levels that most acts would die for.

—Lauren O'Neill, Charli XCX is on Filthy, Candy-Coloured Form on 'Number 1 Angel'


Laura Marling Semper Femina

Marling's sixth album isn't a declarative feminist piece. This isn't her first foray into an explicitly feminine-centric work: last year Marling worked on her podcast The Reversal of the Muse, interviewing female engineers, producers, Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris, to name a few, about working in the music industry and the limitations women so often face in it. Semper Femina is a different conversation. It is a record that negotiates the ways in which each person carries both feminine and masculine qualities in them and how each are prioritized culturally. —Sarah MacDonald, Laura Marling Talks Exploring the Kink in Our Desires on 'Semper Femina' Tennis Yours Conditionally

In some ways, Yours Conditionally is a shout out to Cape Dory: a sailing trip preceded both records, both were self-produced; in others ways, Yours Conditionally is a total evolution. If Cape Dory was a "travel diary," as Moore describes it, which catapulted them into the spotlight almost by accident, Yours Conditionally is wholly intentional, a singular, autonomous vision (the duo even started their own label, Mutually Detrimental, to release the record). Perhaps it's no surprise then that their dreamy pop is laced with lyrical bite and Alaina's using the constrictive stereotypes and expections around gender and marriage as her grist.

—Avery Stone, Tennis Set Sail Again, Defy All Odds, and Test the Limit to Their Love


Valerie June

The Order of Time

On her forthcoming album, The Order of Time, June dusts off the "organic moonshine roots music" she introduced us to in her first album, Pushin' Against a Stone. Her sophomore album—written with help from Norah Jones— matches its predecessor in length and musical style, but her vocals are featured more prominently, hinting at a more confident approach to making music that works with her capabilities. The energy June brought to us with "Workin' Woman Blues" is still there in songs such as "Got Soul" but overall the record less resembles a push out the door and more like an exercise in vigilant renewal. From the very first note on "Long Lonely Road" to the joyful trumpet that closes the record 11 songs later, June's self-described "organic moonshine roots music" ultimately celebrates being alive. Reflective of her outlook on life,—one that takes everything, even the good times, with a grain of salt— The Order of Time glides and grooves right before breaking your heart completely.

—Annalise Domenighini, "Time Is Only Linear On Earth": A Discussion With Cosmic Country Singer Valerie June

Sunny Sweeney Trophy

The album is a beautiful maturation of Sweeney's previous three albums. Its reflections on growing older and slowing down (check out "Grow Old With Me" or "Nothing Wrong With Texas") will make you pause, but only for a moment; the rest of the record is fun as hell (its titular song, "Trophy" is especially good. If this doesn't make you want to love passionately and party with your favorite people until the sun comes up, you have some work to do.


—Annalise Domenighini, Sunny Sweeney Is More Introspective Than Ever and Still on Fire with 'Trophy'

Hurray For The Riff Raff The Navigator

The Shins Heartworms

Jay Som Everybody Works

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