Music by VICE

Stream of the Crop: 8 New Albums for Heavy Rotation 5/6

A marquee week for indie rock has new records from Mac DeMarco, Black Lips, and Cayetana.

by Noisey Staff
May 6 2017, 6:25pm

Mac DeMarco This Old Dog

Lyrically, he's not performing backflips. Most of the themes being addressed are approached in a direct way, but with enough ambiguity that they're not rammed down your throat. Of everything DeMarco tackles, the feeling of growing older keeps cropping up. It's like a nagging thought that can't be erased. "Dreams From Yesterday" is the sound of a young kid hitting the jackpot, only to find himself in limbo. "Once your life set to settle down / Take a look around you, no more dreaming to be found," he sings. "My Old Man" even refers directly to a reputation preceding him. "There's a price tag hanging off of all that fun," he goes, like two split personalities having a private conversation. In truth, DeMarco has most definitely grown up. But not in a boring, fun-sapping way. Those previously loose guitar parts have tightened up, and these are neatly-bundled songs with a perfect flow. That's not to say there isn't a sense of youth racing through the album too, because there is—it's just staring the threat of old age directly in the face, jostling to get the upper hand.

Jamie Milton, Will The Real Mac DeMarco Please Stand Up

Black Lips Satan's graffiti or God's art?

Black Lips want a return to the animal kingdom: visceral, carnal, occasionally non-verbal. They've leaned towards it for almost two decades, turning their garage-rock into something mischievous and occasionally sinister, guitars dipped in fake blood and vocals covered in ash, sepia-toned pranksters with art-punk sensibilities. On their eighth LP, Satan's graffiti or God's art?, they're better equipped than ever. Produced and recorded by Sean Lennon at his compound in upstate New York, the process saw the band cut off from the outside world, pushing themselves as songwriters and musicians. With new lineup in place—Cole Alexander and Jared Swilley are now joined by guitarist Jack Hines for the first time since 2004, saxophonist Zumi Rosow, and drummer Oakley Munson—there was a rejuvenating new dynamic, only aided by the presence of Fat White Family's Saul Adamczewski and, brilliantly, Yoko Ono, who guests on "Occidental Front."

Alex Robert Ross, Black Lips Are Back with a Howl

Cayetana New Kind of Normal

Throughout New Kind Of Normal, [lead singer Augusta] Koch opens up about her struggles with mental health, and her work to find a peace within herself. Songs like "Am I Dead Yet?" and "Bus Ticket" see her at her most vulnerable, and the band at its most dynamic. Here, Cayetana doesn't sound like three friends playing music, it sounds like one massive force. Across the albums 12 songs,, the band is still dealing in bouncy pop songs, but they've got the forward momentum and combustive urgency of punk, with Koch's unmistakable rasp making every song feel like a life-or-death statement. Both musically and on the business-side, Cayetana stands as a singular unit, unencumbered by what they should be doing, and instead just trying to have as much fun as possible.

David Anthony, Cayetana Hits Reset

Pond The Weather

From their low-key manner, you wouldn't necessarily think Pond crash through genres like a runaway car careening into a record store; speeding their way through songs that swell with psychedelia Technicolor, buzz with tight 80s-style synths and, most recently, have boldly moved into R&B territory. Their seventh and latest album, The Weather, is a far cry from the scraggly, ramshackle textures of their earliest work—which was more like an unhinged garage-rock soundtrack to a rough LSD trip, and might now only be treasured by dedicated cratediggers.

Tshepo Mokoena, Pond Really Don't Care If You Compare Them to Tame Impala

Brother Ali All The Beauty in This Whole Life

Slowdive Slowdive

Perfume Genius No Shape

At The Drive-In in•ter a•li•a

Follow Noisey on Twitter.

Perfume Genius
at the drive-in
Brother Ali
Black Lips