Stream of the Crop: 9 New Albums for Heavy Rotation

Pusha T's return, George Clinton's funky revival, and A$AP Rocky's feature-laden new full-length top this week's list of essential new projects.

by Colin Joyce, Kristin Corry, Alex Robert Ross, Andrea Domanick, and Dan Ozzi
May 26 2018, 4:13am

John Sciulli/Getty Images for PUMA; Matt Seger for Noisey; Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images

Every week, the Noisey staff puts together a list of the best and most important albums, mixtapes, and EPs from the past week. Sometimes that 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.


“Twenty songs on albums these days,” he says. “We’re going for seven.” The seven songs form his new album DAYTONA, the much-hyped third solo album from the former Clipse member, which we’re meant to believe is the long-awaited King Push, a record he’s been teasing for years. The last time I’d spoken with PUSHA-T, he’d just announced 2015’s Darkest Before Dawn, suggesting that it was a prelude for King Push, a teaser for something much bigger, stranger, better. Over the last three years, he’d spoken about the process of recording the album—how it’d gotten dumped three times, specifically—only for the world to eventually be told, through a Kanye West tweet, that it was coming on May 25. It’s safe to say that, given Kanye’s track record for not being able to hit deadlines, we were all skeptical the release would actually happen, but here we are, the project is out, and it’s being devoured by the world. King Push is now called DAYTONA, a 21-minute album completely produced by Kanye West, the first project to come out of the Wyoming Sessions. It’s the best solo project of PUSHA-T’s career. — Eric Sundermann, "High Taste Level Luxury Drug Raps": PUSHA-T on the Making of 'Daytona'

Parliament: Medicaid Fraud Dogg

Parliament, George Clinton's vessel for soulful, slippery jams, returned earlier this week after 38 years away. The magnificently titled Medicaid Fraud Dogg spreads its 23 songs across 108 minutes, plenty of time for a scenic tour through Clinton's world. That world is something akin to an adult amusement park that sells prescription pills (with all the side-effects), encourages nudity, and keeps Atlantan trap mixtapes on in the background. It's not all fun and games—Clinton and his team are too turned-on (in every sense) to get through songs called "Psychotropic," "I'm Gon' Make U Sick O'me," and particularly "Insurance Man" without critiquing America's grotesque and exploitative health system. "Pain Management," a throwback-through-Auto-Tune that he's had kicking around for a while, is a particularly difficult listen when you think about one of Clinton's dear friends and his drug-induced demise—another casualty of an American epidemic. But sex and funk are a protest in their own right, and there's plenty of both here. Trap, too. When asked about the modern music he'd been enjoying in a recent Reddit AMA, Clinton checked off "Flying Lotus, Cardi B, Kendrick Lamar, Jay Z’s new album, Tra’Zae, and all that shit coming out of Atlanta." They all make their way onto Medicaid Fraud Dogg—some through flow, some through name-drops. So Clinton, whose influence on rap and present-day American music is indelible, finds himself inspired by the youth all over again. That turns out to be a mind-altering pleasure on its own. — Alex Robert Ross

A$AP Rocky: Testing

When A$AP Rocky teased new music in January with the message “TESTING COMING SOON,” it was hard to tell if it was an actual precursor to a full length project or a literal test message. Rocky’s TESTING is all about “testing new sounds” as he blends distorted vocals over a myriad of calming guitar strings. He revives what old Harlem sounds like on “Tony Tone,” as he channels a vibe fit for an episode of New York Undercover with Diddy swaggering about their Uptown connection. TESTING feels like a surprise with guest appearances at every turn. Rocky passes the torch to Playboi Carti and Smooky Margielaa on “Buck Shots,” while Frank Ocean, French Montana, and Snoop Dogg prove they were the quartet you didn’t know you needed, a powerful combination drawing from 70s soul on “Brotha Man.” “Brotha man, brotha, brotha / Gotta fight for something,” they growl. When Rocky’s solo, he’s reminiscing on calling old girlfriends in ‘99 on “OG Beeper,” which acts in tandem to the revelations of love he has as a 29-year-old on “Changes.” Frank Ocean and Lauryn Hill outdo him on his closer “Purity,” but that’s all apart of the test. TESTING is an exercise on how far he can push the limits on his own album. — Kristin Corry

CHVRCHES: Love Is Dead

Love Is Dead is fundamentally still very much a CHVRCHES record, ornate and ebullient with reaching synths, yet still on the darker side as, Mayberry cheerfully tells me, “goths ‘til we die!” But with the addition of [Greg] Kurstin, CHVRCHES have stepped into the major pop world. The tracks on Love Is Dead are even bigger than what the band had done on prior albums and EPs, which, considering how much their sound soared, is an incredible feat. — Sarah MacDonald, The Pop Goth Gospel of CHVRCHES

Shy Layers: Midnight Marker

Listening to the music that JD Walsh makes as Shy Layers is kinda like the experience of laying eyes on a box of crayons bigger than you ever thought possible. Do you remember the feeling of wonderment when you first saw one of those Crayola boxes that housed 152 distinct colors? Is it even possible? Of course it’s possible! You are just a child and there’s a whole world of pigment out there beyond what you can even imagine. Midnight Marker, his new album on Beats in Space, is a push further into that feeling—exploring hues that seem unfathomable, but somehow exist in the form of glittering synth sequences and the polychromatic glee of his vocoder runs. It’s occasionally pointillist and hyperdetailed, but he’s also content to just luxuriate in the slipperiness of it all. He leaves the whole box out in the sun, watching as all the wax runs together. — Colin Joyce

Klein: cc

Klein has referred to her new EP as her most “spirally and Disney” record, and true to her promise its comes on like an existential anxiety attack in the middle of the mad hatter’s spinning teacups. There’s gleeful rhymes and chiming melodies—all the pleasant and colorful hallmarks of the most magical place on earth—but when Klein indulges those things she knocks them off balance too. “Explay” sounds like a carousel with a motor overheating. The sharp intakes of breath on “Apologize” is like what might happen if you opened up ASMR videos in so many tabs that your computer locked up. There’s suggestions of peace, beauty, and joy, but mostly it’s the sort of stuff that makes you want to curl up in fear. There’s a reason someone decided to secretly shoot a horror movie in the Magic Kingdom just a few years ago. Shit gets weird. — Colin Joyce

Pet Symmetry: Reflection

Evan Weiss hinted that he might be dropping new material by one of his many projects today and it looks like that project is…. [ spins the Weiss Wheel-O-Bands past Into It. Over It. and Their / They’re / There]... Pet Symmetry! A mid-tempo rocker and a slow but quick pensive jam kick off the Reflection EP, but the standout is the third and final track, a Ramones cover featuring Julia Steiner of Ratboys. That would explain the cover, featuring Joey holding a kitten. Ramones songs obviously sound best in the summer sun, so the Memorial Day weekend timing of this release is impeccable. Soundtracking the drive to Coney Island easily makes the buck the track costs worth it. — Dan Ozzi


So much about the Richmond, Virginia duo who operates as Prison Religion is malleable, even down to their name. They’ve said in the few interviews that they’ve given that they’re content to operate as People’s Religion or Prison Relations, or “any cool acronym using P and R,” Warren Jones—aka False Prpht, half of the group—once deadpanned[...] Today, they’re releasing a statement that makes all this make a little more sense, in the form of a six-track project called O FUCC IM ON THE WRONG PLANET. All along, the title seems to argue, they’ve been unknowing interstellar travelers trapped in this strange place, kicking up clouds of dust as they introduce new sounds to the internet’s strange underbelly. Appropriately, it’s their most alien yet, pushing further into noisy abstractions and vocal mutilations than they ever have before. — Colin Joyce, O Fucc You Need to Hear Prison Religion, The Next Great Noise Scientists

Jenny Hval: The Long Sleep EP

Six albums into her career, [Jenny Hval] had never made an EP before. The task seemed easy enough, and she turned out its first single, “Spells”—a warm, even sleek, pop-soaked number–within a day. But moving onto the next tracks proved tricky for Hval, whose chameleonic output has been defined only by her rigorous conceptual intention. “I wrote ‘Spells,’ and then I did other stuff, and then I realized that, ‘Oh this is all the same song,’” Hval explains by phone during a recent stop at Moogfest. The result is The Long Sleep, a four-track EP that recycles, remixes, and otherwise meditates on the elements of a single song that Hval couldn’t get away from, together amounting to a shapeshifting melody, and the shapeshifting idea of what a song is. — Andrea Domanick, Jenny Hval Has Something to Tell You

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