Stream of the Crop: 5 New Albums for Heavy Rotation 6/3

New records from Bleachers and Benjamin Booker top this week's list.
June 3, 2017, 2:01pm

Bleachers Gone Now

Since its inception, Bleachers has been defined by qualities that, combined, result in the very best pop music—bombast, sincerity, emotional intelligence, bravery. Gone Now builds on this and expands it: its production is more extravagant than its 2014 predecessor's, its depths of feeling heavier and more challenging. I've always identified with music that offsets big emotions with even bigger sounds, and with Gone Now, Antonoff has done just that. It acknowledges what's often the undeniable fact of sadness—be that personal or about the world—but never plays down the sound. Though the feelings expressed are sometimes dark and complicated, they're always framed in a high-stakes pop largesse. In return, pop needed someone to take it seriously, and Antonoff is incapable of doing anything else.

Lauren O'Neill, I Went on a First Date with Jack Antonoff and It Got Deep

Benjamin Booker Witness

Last Tuesday morning, a video was released of Benjamin Booker performing "Believe," the third cut from his forthcoming second LP, Witness, at the Columbus Theater. He was backed by a full string section and a gospel trio on backing vocals. And he was backed by the room itself, empty besides Booker and his band. Witness is an album about what we see and how we see it, sparked by the 27-year-old's move to Mexico last year, a period that he came to realize was more of a retreat than a long vacation. In an essay at NPR, Booker wrote that two questions drive the record, inspired by James Baldwin: "'Am I going to be a Witness?' and in today's world, 'Is that enough?'" In the otherwise empty Columbus Theater, Booker had his back turned to the seats, singing, "I just want to believe in something / I don't care if it's right or wrong."

Alex Robert Ross,

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Benjamin Booker's 'Witness' Is Now Available to Stream in Full

Amber Coffman City of No Reply

Marika Hackman I'm Not Your Man

Chastity Belt I Used to Spend So Much Time Alone

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