Stream of the Crop: 11 New Albums for Heavy Rotation 4/8
The 'Resistance Radio' project and new albums from The New Pornographers and White Reaper top this week's list.
Various Artists Resistance Radio
This Sam Cohen and Danger Mouse-produced Resistance Radio project has been both quietly prescient and sprawlingly ambitious in the run-up to its full release. Pre-1962 pop tracks, handed over to contemporary artists like Angel Olsen, Sharon van Etten, and Benjamin Booker, have been released to coincide with Amazon's The Man in the High Castle series, a show that wonders what might have happened if the Axis powers had won the War. Maybe nobody meant for this to be quite so politically relevant, but we can't help it now.
The New Pornographers Whiteout Conditions
Carl Newman's ad hoc outfit could be the greatest band in the world if he didn't write so obsessively about purveying their tune-porn, but he'll settle for the status he's got. Claiming Krautrock and shrugging off the departed Dan Bejar, he generates 11 soaring new pop songs, which in some abstrusely Krautrock way are sparer than the 13 on Brill Bruisers. And from those songs let me corral a few snatches of meaning. "I only play for the money honey." "You can imagine all the factions/That form around high ticket attractions." "A scalper's price built into the design." "Colosseums of the mind / An ancient con, the shadows of a song." "This is the world of the theater / Come up with some highbrow move / Think of all the lives we're saving / Think of all the ways we'll cave in." "With the ignorance of a poet." "Second-rate Socrates" (second, eh?). "Cottage industry." "I wasn't hoping for a win / I was hoping for freedom / You couldn't beat 'em / Forget the mission just get out alive." "Didn't choose what we mean / Just went along with what's played / There were rules once before / There should be rules again." But until that by no means impending day...
Robert Christgau, Expert Witness
White Reaper The World's Best American Band
The World's Best American Band is undoubtedly a better record than its predecessor. Lead single "Judy French" is almost even powerful enough to make me wanna air guitar in public like an oblivious idiot. (Let it be known that I am nowhere near the world's best Canadian air guitarist.) They've cleaned up all of the muck that made them sound like Jay Reatard, learned how to write stronger hooks, and developed a more straightforward style of rock and roll, with thumping rhythms, appropriately timed howls, and killer solos. Y'know, the kind of music that the best bands play.Dan Ozzi,
Njomza Sad for You
After a winding road of singles and features with some of the best heavy-hitters in the EDM and rap world, Chicago singer-songwriter Njomza is ready to emerge with her first official release, Sad for You. The EP finds the 22-year-old taking the lessons she's learned from her past collaborators (of the likes of Mac Miller, Skrillex, FKi 1st, to name a few) and applying them to sweeping and accessible pop tunes that channel the atmosphere of 90s R&B with modern compositions.
Wear Your Wounds WYW
On April 7 (via Deathwish Records), hardcore's patron saint Jacob Bannon will release one of the heaviest records of the year—but it will be heavy in an altogether different way from what we've come to expect from the Converge frontman. For his first solo effort, Wear Your Wounds, Bannon has deviated from his blood brothers at his genre-defying day job. The project's debut, WYW, has been in the making for years, with the earliest songs being written just after Converge released their iconic Jane Doe album in 2001. Here, unable to hide away behind a wall of noise, Bannon has created something raw and ultimately more vulnerable.
Joey Bada$$ All-Amerikkkan Bada$$
Future Islands The Far Field
Tee Grizzley My Moment
The Chainsmokers Memories... Do Not Open
Father John Misty Pure Comedy
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