Future's Search for Redemption and 8 More Albums for Heavy Rotation
Spiritual drones and old folk songs fill out this week's essential listening.
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.
Future, Save Me
Admittedly fried by all the benzos and the emotional weight of all the wanton decisions he’s made, Future uses his new EP Save Me as a plea for deliverance. At least theoretically. On “XanaX Damage” he’s recalcitrant for, perhaps even fearful of, the effects that decades of substance use has had on his life. “St. Lucia” details the romantic choices he makes that he knows only cause him pain. He’s not sorry, really, but he says he wants to be saved. That’s probably part true, but he’s also kinda just flexing on the priest on the other side of the confessional booth—outlining his transgressions with a grin. He asks for redemption, but he also seems to be saying to everyone else: you’re leaving the same kind of destruction in your wake. “Tryna fight temptation, something I need to pray about,” He sings on “St. Lucia.” “Tried to talk to the pastor, found out he doin' the same thing.” Even holy men are stuck in this life of sin. —Colin Joyce
Tim Heidecker, What the Brokenhearted Do…
On the surface, Heidecker's new album serves as a break-up record in the confessional tradition of Bruce Springsteen’s Tunnel Of Love or Taylor Swift’s Red. Yet, in a twist befitting his mischievous career, these eleven originals cataloging the bitterness, escapism, and heartache of divorce happen to come from a happily married father of two. “There can be some truth in these songs without it being the whole truth,” he says. “You can exaggerate it or fantasize about it a little more than to just report the news of your life.” —Gary Suarez, "Tim Heidecker's Divorce Album Is No Joke"
Stef Chura, Midnight
Michigan’s Stef Chura levels up her biting and witty indie rock on Midnight. There’s no better example of this than the emotional centerpiece of the LP “Sweet Sweet Midnight.” It’s a sprawling and unpredictable duet with Car Seat Headrest’s Will Toledo (who also produced the album) that deals with the trauma of a friend’s death. The pair offer some perfectly desperate harmonies on the chorus, singing, “everything you called for / I wanna see you breathe.” It’s anthemic and cathartic, and the rest of the record is too. —Josh Terry
As the title of her new record suggests, the New York-based songwriter Yohuna makes music about reflection. Like on 2016's yearning Patientness—as moving of a meditation as I can remember about the merits of taking life slowly—the musician born Johanne Swanson turns her gaze inward, picking apart thought processes and behavioral tics, trying to trace the outlines of the self in as tidy a manner as she can. The songs are careful and considered in the same way, full of these hesitant passages of acoustic guitar and gently sung harmonies, that bloom and unfold into self-assured anthemics. Self-searching can be a powerful thing. —Colin Joyce
Jake Xerxes Fussell, Out of Sight
All of the songs on Jake Xerxes Fussell’s plaintive and comforting LP Out of Sight come from traditional sources in the public domain. A Durham folk music preservationist, Fussell lovingly respects and reinterprets these historic off-the-beaten path numbers. The shuffling and ambling “Oh Captain” comes from an early 1920’s deckhand’s song and the gorgeous “Jubilee” draws from Jean Ritchie’s Appalachian Family Tradition. Fussell’s voice is equal parts ragged and welcoming, richly giving these songs care and patience. For a genre where passing down stories is at its core, this LP is modest. But it also feels like an essential document of how the history of American music evolves and endures. —Josh Terry
Earthen Sea, Grass and Trees
Jacob Long's ultra-minimal ambient techno project Earthen Sea goes even more vaporous, using treated field recordings and “sounds that could be played by hand but weren’t” to create otherworldly environments. Less directed compositions than evocations of environments, the pieces that make up Grass and Trees are slow to move and unfold, luxuriating in reverbed repetition, tracing the outlines of a given space before gradually morphing into something new. Whether exploring gentle metallics on "Blank Slate" or droney atmospheres, Long demonstrates a unique ability to take alien sounds and make them feel comfortable and familiar. —Colin Joyce
City & i.o, Spirit Volume
Volume's in the title, but this cross-Canada duo seems less concerned with the loudness connotation of that word than the measurement. This is music that takes up space, that has physical presence. You might expect as much if you're familiar with the work of the players here—City makes crushing sound explorations, i.o is a elastic-limbed drummer, and both are focused on creating music that overwhelms you. That manifests in many forms, whether in moments of harrowing intensity, like in the jabbing noise that scours "Faith," or in the more placid passages like "Churchlight." Whether furious or peaceful, the music they've constructed feels massive, like it's going to swallow you whole. You'd be best advised to give yourself over to it. —Colin Joyce
Mattson 2, Paradise
The Mattson 2’s recent output has found them evoking the lush and carefree soundscapes of Japanese city pop. Their 2018 release Vaults of Eternity: Japan was full of loving reinterpretations of songs by artists like Haruomi Hosono and Ryuichi Sakamoto, and while their latest LP Paradise doesn’t indulge in sonic excess, it does capture that breezy, sun-filled vibe. It’s the first album where the jazz twins Jared and Jonathan Mattson feature vocals like on the twinkling “Moonlight Motel” and groove-heavy “Wavelength.” But while the two prove to be stellar songwriters, it’s their extended jams and vibe-setting that make this such an enticing listen. Opener “Naima’s Dream” is brimming with virtuosic musicianship, and it offers just the first hint of all the playful moments throughout. —Josh Terry
TENGGER, Spiritual 2
The journey is the point on this new album by the Seoul band TENGGER. Rather than get bound up in such mundane concerns as melody or structure, the duo just drift from one blissful synth sequence to the next—not in a way that feels purposeless, but in a way that feels free, unconstrained by genre or even by mood. There's droney passages, but there's also anxious motorik, cosmic ambience, and swooning psychedelia. If you don't like the view at any particular moment, just wait a second. It's changing constantly, streaming by outside the window as you tear off into the countryside, with no destination in mind. —Colin Joyce