Stream of the Crop: 10 New Albums for Heavy Rotation
L: Josh Brasted/WireImage
R: Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images
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.
Yves Tumor: Safe in the Hands of Love
As jumps to bigger labels with more resources and more robust in-house PRs tend to go, the slippery new record by the collagist composer-qua-songwriter Yves Tumor is being heralded as the most accomplished in a long career of dizzying experiments. This is always praise to be accepted with healthy skepticism, especially for artists like Yves, for whom “accomplishments” never really seem the end goal. This is the same person whose new website is howilearnedtolovetheindustry.info, a subtle acknowledgement that this sort of alchemical magic exists within or without the system built to turn it into cash.
And yet, I still can’t really ignore that there does seem to be something extra special about this record. At least, it’s the most benevolent gesture from someone generally dispositioned toward confrontational gestures—like big festival sets turned into impromptu harsh noise improvisations. There’s something decidedly pop about Safe in the Hands of Love—so much so that I’ve seen people compare it to both Third Eye Blind and Modest Mouse, which is...extreme but not totally wrong. Safe in the Hands of Love takes Tumor’s gnarled impulses toward wooly experimentation, and willfully harsh sonics and turns them into something beautiful. Which is worth celebrating, even if all the other stuff in the catalog deserves it just as much. — Colin Joyce
Waxahatchee: Great Thunder EP
Pitched as a return-to-roots record after last year's introspective and crunchy pop-punk LP Out in the Storm, Katie Crutchfield's Great Thunder comprises seven re-recorded songs originally written for a scrappy side project of the same name five years ago. The arrangements are pretty much the same here too—piano chords, a little acoustic guitar, sweet two-part harmonies—though everything is warmer and smoother than before. But apart from "Slow It Down," which sounds like an American Weekend outtake, these songs are too intricate, their structures too loose, to be sped up and thrown into the middle of a club set. So, taken as a whole, it's less a look backwards into Crutchfield's past and more an intriguing hint at the new forms that might follow. — Alex Robert Ross
Joey Purp: Quarterthing
Savemoney stalwart Joey Purp's last project, the iiiDrops mixtape, came out more than two years ago, just days after Chance the Rapper's Coloring Book (and Kanye's Pablo) set the mainstream up for a summer of Chicago gospel. But save for a couple of guest spots for friends like Vic Mensa and Knox Fortune, Purp's been conspicuously quiet ever since. Quarterthing, his true debut album, is thankfully the sort of emphatic statement that makes that silence worthwhile. He bleeds old into new, opening with a church-harmony throwback anthem "24K Gold/Sanctified," breathlessly holding his own on a collab with RZA, then dipping into minimal dance beats on staccato songs like "Aw Shit!" and "Look At My Wrist." It'll take time to pick this thing apart, but it's sneakily one of the most inventive mainstream rap records of the year so far. — Alex Robert Ross
Spiritualized: And Nothing Hurt
Spiritualized's eighth album[...] is a bold, soothing record full of [frontman Jason] Pierce’s most beautiful songwriting to date, music that captures the pureness of what makes Spiritualized’s sound so revolutionary[...] And Nothing Hurt would make for a perfect last album. Outside a couple ferocious tracks (“On the Sunshine,” in particular), much of the record sits in a pensive, soulful space. Songs like “A Perfect Miracle” and “The Prize” offer hazy ruminations on the meaning of life and the fragility of existence, all while earnestly attempting to dig into what makes us human. — Eric Sundermann, The (Final?) Miracle of Spiritualized
Ava Luna: Moon 2
It’s a collection of sounds that just...works, plinking and tinkering along with the charming efficacy of a rube goldberg machine. If you’re willing to take it on just that level, it can offer a more pleasant environment than our daily existence, a place where stuff makes sense again. — Colin Joyce, Ava Luna Dream of a Better World on Their Weirdo Pop Album 'Moon 2'
NHK yx Koyxen: Reflexes
Rather than just remixing last year's pleasantly oddball DFA debut Exit Entrance, Japanese producer Kouhei Matsunaga has reimagined the whole record, pushing half of the songs so far from their source that they've got new titles altogether. So even if you're not familiar with the original, this is worth digging into. Everything sounds a little richer, and the smiley-happy-shiny-glitchy "Meetings" packs a bit more syncopation in. Of the new songs, the minimal "With You" and playful "Pio" stand out. It's a mutation of an album that mutated as it went the first time, so don't expect it to settle in one place for more than a moment. — Alex Robert Ross
W00DY: Relentless Kickdrum
Living up to it’s title in spirit if not in letter, the Philadelphia producer W00dy’s new 7-track tape is a pummeling collection of collaged samples that’s as anxious as it is ecstatic. All of its compositions sit at right around the seven-minute mark, but they’re maniacal sugar-highs nevertheless, sprinting dizzily through both joy and terror. — Colin Joyce
Conduit: Drowning World
[Conduit's] debut full-length Drowning World[...] is exactly the sort of spiritually broken and revoltingly recorded collection of sounds I'm always looking for[...] Early on in the record after an intro of collaged noise and a sleepwalking jam called "Hypnagog," Conduit properly take off with a track, appropriately, called "End Times." In general, that track's indicative of the production approach, which makes all of the sharp edges even more jagged and dangerous; the cymbals kinda sound like they're being struck with kitchen knives; the vocals sound like someone's trying to cough up steel wool. It's upsetting, and overwhelming, and makes me want to kick over and industrial trash can—cause whatever chaos I can to add to the apocalypse that the title describes. — Colin Joyce, Let Conduit's Depressing Shit Rock Scrub Out Your Insides
Lil Berete: ICEBREAKER
Lil Berete, who hails from Toronto’s Regent Park neighbourhood, uses tracks to a tell a transparent and honest story of both his aspirations and his lived reality. Fusing the sonic aesthetics closest to him—Toronto and his mother’s native of Guinea—the eight-track project is a strong stepping stone for the 17-year-old, STN artist. The project’s intro track, “Live”, likens an unapologetic autobiography giving listeners insight into who the artist is and the hardships he has faced in the past. However, followed up with “Dreams”, Lil Betete dives in with punchy bars about all the goals he’s working towards that will inevitably come to fruition with the success of his music career. Much of the rest of the project explores more or less the same content and is potent with witty bars and unique cadences. — Sharine Taylor
Oliver Coates: Shelley's On Zenn-La
A complex emotional architecture forms the framework for the new album by nominal-cellist-but-for-real-multi-hyphenate Oliver Coates. It’s nigh-impossible to make electronic explorations that feel both naive and in-control, open-hearted but clinically produced, intentional but otherworldly, but such is the triple axel that Coates lands. Shelley’s On Zenn-La is playful and colorful, but never totally weightless, the feeling of shouldering your burdens and grinning anyway—making space for joy where you can. — Colin Joyce
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This article originally appeared on Noisey US.