Our work’s really cut out for us this week, folks. After a bit of a lull in releases last week, the floodgates are properly open this time around. So many new albums in one day can be a daunting prospect, and that’s not to mention the slew of brand new singles out today from artists like Anderson .Paak, Noname, Vampire Weekend, The National and Pile.
But luckily we here at Paste have your best interests at heart, and we’d never want you to feel overwhelmed. That’s why we’ve whittled down the week’s releases into the 10 of the most exciting, essential albums to check out today, many of which we recently highlighted among our most-anticipated releases of the month.
1. Chris Crack, The Future Will Be Confusing
Prolific Chicago MC Chris Crack has put out seven projects in under a year, and his latest effort The Future Will Be Confusing could be the pick of the litter. Funny, freewheeling and lush, the new album finds Crack cramming a lot of substance into a quick, 18-minute package. It builds on many of the ideas from Crack’s last album Crackheads Live Longer Than Vegans, which might as well still be brand new as it only came out a couple weeks ago.
Listen here or here.
2. Bryce Dessner, El Chan
The National’s Bryce Dessner is back with a new collection of classical music performed by the pianists Katia and Marielle Labèque. El Chan contains three pieces, “Concerto for two pianos,” “Haven” and “El Chan,” the latter of which is dedicated to The Revenant director Alejandro González Iñárritu. It’s a vibrant and beautiful collection, at times devastating and at others soaring, always moving on to the next idea before the old one grows tired.
3. The Drums, Brutalism
Jonny Pierce has released his fifth studio album with The Drums and his second as the band’s sole member. Brutalism finds Pierce abandoning the surf-rock grooves of his earlier work, instead opting to explore his experimental side with generally impressive results. The songs on Brutalism are glitchy, propulsive and undeniably infectious, making it clear that Pierce’s penchant for pop melodies has not waned in the years since his first two albums.
4. Good Morning, The Option
Melbourne lo-fi rock duo Good Morning have built quite an impressive resume for themselves despite flying largely under the radar for much of their career. They’ve had a consistent output of short albums, EPs and singles over the years, their song “Warned You” has become a veritable indie hit, and A$AP Rocky even sampled their song “Don’t Come Home Today” on his last album Testing. The duo’s new album The Option is largely devoid of the hazy psych trappings of their past, but it’s also their most sprawling and fully realized record to date.
5. Lady Lamb, Even in the Tremor
Maine songwriter Aly Spaltro has returned with her fourth album as Lady Lamb, Even in the Tremor. Spaltro has made a name for herself with tender, observational folk-pop that explores the people and places around her. This time around, however, she’s looking inward and reflecting on her own journey with stunning honesty and emotional depth.
6. Lee Fields & The Expressions, It Rains Love
Veteran soul singer Lee Fields has put out a brand new record with his band The Expressions titled It Rains Love. The new album combines Fields’ timeless voice with modern, left-of-center production to create an album that feels at once familiar and exhilarating. It Rains Love sounds as if Fields and his band have been playing together for several decades, despite releasing their first album together in 2009.
7. Priests, The Seduction of Kansas
The long-awaited sophomore album from D.C. rock outfit Priests is finally here. The Seduction of Kansas is a gorgeously produced post-punk opus that’s as sharp as it is infectious. Vocalist Katie Alice Greer’s scathing political jabs are in full force here, and not a moment too soon.
Listen here or here.
8. PUP, Morbid Stuff
The Toronto punk rockers of PUP have outdone themselves on their third LP Morbid Stuff. The amps are louder, the hooks are bigger, and vocalist Stefan Babcock has never sung with this much attitude and urgency. The result is an album with which fans of PUP and the genre as a whole are bound to be enamored. Bonus points for any listener who can find the one-line guest appearance from Eva Hendricks of Charly Bliss.
9. Molly Tuttle, When You’re Ready
Acclaimed folk songwriter and acoustic guitar virtuoso Molly Tuttle has just released her debut full-length When You’re Ready. While her past work stuck to a handful of instruments, and focused on Tuttle’s own singing and playing, this new album finds Tuttle backed by a full band all the way through. The result is an album that’s bigger, brighter and more expressive than her past work while still leaving room to appreciate the incredible individual talent at the core of these songs.
10. Weyes Blood, Titanic Rising
is Natalie Mering’s first full-length album as Weyes Blood in almost three years. It’s also her most ambitious and sprawling effort yet as she attempts to find beauty and clarity in some very somber times. Mering wears her influences on her sleeve —Joni Mitchell, The Kinks, The Carpenters—but the directions these songs take couldn’t feel more fresh.
Listen here or here.