Stream of the Crop: 8 New Albums for Heavy Rotation
New albums from Yung Lean, Whitney, and Cloak top this week's list of essential records.
The end of the week means a glut of new music to dig into and, while that is Extremely Good, it can be difficult to know where to start. So every week, we at Noisey put together a list of our favorite new albums, mixtapes, and EPs from the past seven days. You can listen to them all on this page. It is neither comprehensive nor fair. We hope it helps.
Yung Lean: Stranger
Yung Lean is 21 years old and he just released his third album. What’s even more annoying about it is that that album, Stranger, is great. Easily his most mature release to date, it’s assured enough to sound convincingly laid-back, and his ability to properly relax makes it his first album to properly showcase his versatility. “Skimask” will please the Vans-wearing, poppers-huffing, Instagram-storying branch of his fandom (me), and tracks like the bright, bouncy “Hunting My Own Skin” might give him the closest thing he’s had to mainstream success since “Kyoto.” A few songs later, however, and he’s more reflective, channeling his beloved and much-cited influence Daniel Johnson on closers “Agony” and “Yellowman.” Stranger, then, is an album which shows the many sides of where Yung Lean’s at right now, and honestly, it sounds pretty good. —Lauren O'Neill
Whitney: Light Upon the Lake: Demo Recordings
A collection of demos that differs only minimally from the album that it became, Whitney's Light Upon The Lake: Demo Recordings should really be nothing more than a pleasant piece of ephemera. But these early cuts are, incredibly, even woozier than the album proper. Julien Ehrlich's falsetto is singed into every track, the pace slows by a couple beats a minute, and there's the very real sense that Whitney were finding something special in their first attempt at a full-length. "Light Upon the Lake" and "Polly" are gone, replaced by a demo of "You and Me" and a previously unheard song, "Southern Nights." Use this to drift away. —Alex Robert Ross
Cloak: To Venomous Depths
This rising quartet traffics in timeless heavy metal thunder tinged with an underlying current of shamelessly melodic black/death metal (think Dissection's polished, melodeath-tinged Reinkaos) that sashays into Satyricon-esque black 'n' roll when the mood strikes. The band have cultivated a certain grand, Southern Gothic air, as well, channeling melancholia and magnolias instead of the swampy, down-tuned menace we've been conditioned to expect from metal made south of the Mason-Dixon. There's something awfully special about these guys, and I hope this release catches fire the way it deserves to—there's a spark of genuine, exciting creativity here that's well worth nurturing. —Kim Kelly, Cloak's Southern Gothic Debut Is Full of Heavy Metal Magic
Sleigh Bells: Kid Kruschev
This short-form release from the twee-noise duo could be the first of many—guitarist Derek Miller has said that they want to put out EPs "at a more consistent rate" going forward. Miller has also said that Kid Khruschev is the result of he and lead singer Alexis Kruass “embracing both the personal and world-scale anxiety of the moment.” Sleigh Bells' distorted, well-manicured outbursts have a headstart there. —ARR
Wiz Khalifa: Laugh Now, Fly Later
"It's about weed, probably. The kids seem to like him." —Trey Smith
Field Medic: Songs from the Sunroom
Since 2014, [Kevin] Patrick has become a de facto bard for the hyper-online and anxiety-plagued, releasing several singles, EPs, improvised mixtapes, and a 2015 full-length light is gone, most self-recorded in his then-apartment's sunroom. He jokes about how his music tackles worry over the phone. "Some people talk about having stage fright but I have like life fright all day long," he says. "I get anxious and paranoid and then the minute that I get on stage I feel really comfortable and happy." There are countless lovelorn and nervous gems throughout his sprawling discography, like his 2016 EP that beer called becks reminds me of a haiku i wrote where he yearningly sings of hangovers and true love. But Run For Cover Records has whittled it all down to a 15-song compilation, Songs From the Sunroom. —Josh Terry, Field Medic's Anxious New Single Is About Saying Fuck It and Doing Drugs
Auðn: Farvegir Fyrndar
Andri glares at his guitarist partner from across the table. He's joking, I think. “When we wanted to create a solid concept, our bands got split into two," Hjalti clarifies. "Our serious effort became Auðn and when we wanted to have fun, there was Hubris, but I'm not really into black metal.” Cue the mic drop moment. Farvegir Fyrndar is such a wholly reverent epitaph to the tenets of black metal—from progenitors Mayhem and Emperor to contemporary envelope-pushers Blut Aus Nord and Deathspell Omega, to whom they're often compared—that I smell a rat. “I never finished a whole song by Deathspell Omega,” says Aði. “Please don't look at my YouTube feed because it's filled with shit music!” —Louise Brown, Auðn's New LP Represents the Next Generation of Icelandic Black Metal
Angel Olsen: Phases
A gathering of B-sides, rarities, and demos, spanning Olsen's career from 2010 to the present day, Phases is as hypnotic as you'd expect from an artist who doesn't like to rush. It features the already-released Specialsingles "Special" and "Sans."
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