Stream of the Crop: 11 New Albums for Heavy Rotation 5/20

New albums from (Sandy) Alex G, Mountain Goats, and Oxbow top this week's list of essential records.
May 20, 2017, 3:06pm

(Sandy) Alex G Rocket


, [Alex] Giannascoli's seventh studio album, is kaleidoscopic. It fractures and fragments, new ideas appearing in the periphery, its focus shifting, constantly offering new colors and shapes. It's the sound of (Sandy) Alex G knowing everything 13 times in a row and then, suddenly, knowing nothing at all.

Alex Robert Ross, Alex G Is All Grown Up

Mountain Goats Goths

On his new album, Goths, [John] Darnielle uses memories from [his "goth" phase] to construct vividly poignant and comical tales. For instance, the album closer, "Abandoned Flesh," tells the story of Gene Loves Jezebel, a pseudo-goth band that achieved some commercial success in the 1980s, but ended up with a fragmented and tarnished reputation in the scene. They're a fascinating subject, and one that Darnielle serenades with the lyric, "Because the world will never know or understand / The suffocated splendor / Of the once and future goth band." Darnielle's girlfriend introduced him to the band after seeing them at the Danceteria in New York, where she went to college.

Cam Lindsay, John Darnielle Lived the Teenage Goth Life I Never Did

Oxbow Thin Black Duke

This restlessness isn't just a creative process, however. It runs through the fibers of the band members' own activities, inside and outside the band, and bleeds heavily into their new offering, Thin Black Duke. It's been damn close to a decade since their last record, and while the band never really dropped off the radar, the wait for Oxbow's finest and most focused work nearly became a thing of Chinese Democracy status for those waiting patiently. It's easy to hear the time, frustration, and passion behind these songs. From the swelling opener, "Cold Well Lit Place" to the rollicking tension in "A Gentleman's Gentleman" all the way into the climactic close of "The Finished Line," the record plays like a car crash in slow motion and the ensuing aftermath.

Ben Handelman, Oxbow's Violent Art Rock Is a Meta-Commentary on Masculinity

Tricot 3

Storming out of the gate with "Tokyo Vampire Hotel," 3 shows Tricot at their proggiest and most punkish (the aforementioned song nearly falls apart from the intensity of the band's playing), now fully sounding like a version of At the Drive-In that had never split up and kept pushing post-hardcore to its limits. "18,19" is similarly aggressive and knotted, tripping over its own time signature shifts but somehow never losing its fleet footing. Even that sphere is too narrow a descriptor of all of Tricot's achievements here. Check "Yosoiki" for dance-rock that isn't cheesy and actually limber, while "Sukima" rides a sunny soft-rock strut that sounds like if Toto (yes, Toto) were even more instrumentally adept.

Phil Whitmer, With '3,' Tricot Proves They're the Greatest Trio on Earth

Jlin Black Origami

Linkin Park One More Light

Wavves You're Welcome

Snoop Dogg Neva Left

Tigers Jaw Spin

Adult Mom Soft Spots

Do Make Say Think Stubborn Persistent Illusions

Follow Noisey on Twitter.