10 New Albums to Stream Today

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10 New Albums to Stream Today

Phew, what an exhausting week of music (and political) discourse, am I right?! Pop singers are still coming after critics with torches (cough cough Halsey), the Recording Academy is basically in flames and the president is on an impeachment trial that could ultimately make no difference at all. Huge sigh. At least the end of this godforsaken week (sure, it was a day shorter, but what does it matter when everything is on fire?) brings a new crop of albums to check out over the weekend. Here are 10 new records you should listen to, including the latest from indie-folk singer Andy Shauf, a stunning project from a favorable new supergroup and a 2020 album from the Pet Shop Boys, whose most recent hit peaked on the Billboard charts in the spring of 1988. Go forth.

1. Andy Shauf: The Neon Skyline

Canadian indie-folk musician Andy Shauf has already released a few charming singles from his forthcoming concept album The Neon Skyline, including “Things I Do.” In a similar fashion to Shauf’s 2016 record, The Party, The Neon Skyline’s structure follows a storyline that takes place over the course of a night, according to a press release: “The interconnected songs on The Neon Skyline, all written, performed, arranged and produced by Shauf, follow a simple plot: The narrator goes to his neighborhood dive, finds out his ex is back in town, and she eventually shows up.” —Hayden Goodridge

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2. Black Lips: Sing In A World That’s Falling Apart

Atlanta garage-rock outfit Black Lips today released their ninth album, Sing In A World That’s Falling Apart, and by the sound of their recent single, “Gentleman,” the raw rockers have taken a daring step into the realm of country-rock. While the instrumentation on “Gentleman” feels clearly inspired by a past era, the recording process of the record may have something to do with its nostalgic feeling, as well. Sing In A World That’s Falling Apart was recorded with Nic Jodoin at Valentine Recording Studios—which recently reopened since shutting its doors in 1979. In the studio that hosted The Beach Boys and Bing Crosby, the group mixed their album with vintage analog technique, cutting it directly to tape. —Hayden Goodridge

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3. Bonny Light Horseman: Bonny Light Horseman

It’s only January, but the folk event of the year could already be upon us. Bonny Light Horseman may sound like a meaningless arrangement of words, but it’s actually Anaïs Mitchell, Eric D. Johnson and Josh Kaufman, three incredible musicians and creators in their own rights who decided to bless the acoustic music world by joining forces. And their namesake is actually derived from an English-Irish ballad with origins in the Napoleonic Wars of the early 19th century, “Bonny Light Horseman,” which is also the first track on their self-titled debut album and features The National’s Aaron Dessner on guitar. The three artists first gathered at Justin Vernon’s Eaux Claires Festival circa summer 2018, and a year later they rendezvoused at Pickathon. You know the Portland-based Johnson from his band Fruit Bats, and Mitchell is the mastermind behind Hadestown, which won the 2019 Tony Award for Best Musical, and its coinciding concept album, which she first released in 2010. Kaufman is a producer who’s notably worked with Craig Finn, Josh Ritter and The National. Together, they’ve made something truly spellbinding: a folk album whose influences span the centuries and the continents, but whose core is so very of-this-moment. —Ellen Johnson

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4. En Attendant Ana: Juillet

French five-piece En Attendant Ana recorded their new album Juillet over the course of just one week at a studio in rural France, and the product sounds unlike any of their prior output. Primary songwriter and frontperson Margaux Bouchaudon said in a press statement, “I tend to consider it as a journey towards acceptation of losses (would they be friends, lovers or dreams through death, departure or disillusion…) but also towards self respect and independence.” —Ellen Johnson

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5. Okay Kaya: Watch This Liquid Pour Itself

Kaya Wilkins—under the moniker Okay Kaya—is one of indie label Jagjaguwar’s freshest faces, but her latest single “Baby Little Tween” puts the new artist right at the level of her beloved labelmates Sharon Van Etten and Angel Olsen. The single is just one piece of her debut project on Jagjaguwar, Watch This Liquid Pour Itself, which shows Wilkins coming to terms with a former identity. Album opener “Baby Little Tween” rests upon delicate, watery synths that cradle Wilkins’ half-whispered realizations. As the song picks up into a groove, she self-harmonizes, singing, “I used to be inspired / Used to feel something / I used to fight the feeling always let it win.” Sung through Wilkins’ multiple voices, these lyrical bridges between her two identities become even more apparent. —Hayden Goodridge

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6. Pet Shop Boys: Hotspot

Hotspot, the 14th full-length from synth-pop legends Pet Shop Boys, is purportedly the end of a creative trilogy undertaken with producer Stuart Price. And from the sounds of this new album, it’s the right time to end this partnership. There’s nothing to suggest in Hotspot that Pet Shop Boys are running low on inspiration. The album’s highs are high enough to further prove that the duo has had the most consistent career of any of their synth-pop peers. But their best play will likely be to move beyond the Stuart Price era and pump some fresh blood into their creative veins. —Robert Ham

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7. Pond Diver: Flashbacks

Alabama-based Americana group Pond Diver today are sharing their debut EP Flashbacks. A recent single, “Racecar,” features clean guitar work and a horn section from the University of North Alabama, not far away from the band’s native Muscle Shoals, a legendary music city. The record itself was mixed and mastered locally by Chris Bethea (Penny and Sparrow) at Muscle Shoals Mastering. —Ellen Johnson

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8. Terry Allen: Just Like Moby Dick

Veteran Texas outlaw Terry Allen makes his return to music today with a new record, Just Like Moby Dick. Also a visual artist, Allen is releasing Moby Dick as “a spiritual successor” (per the press materials) to his 1979 album Lubbock (on everything). It’s first new batch of songs since 2013’s Bottom of the World and features the full Panhandle Mystery Band. —Ellen Johnson

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9. Wolf Parade: Thin Mind

Wolf Parade’s return to music has arrived with a fair share of cautionary tales for the modern era. Since 2017’s Cry Cry Cry, the Montreal indie-rock trio have been reflecting on the increasingly oversaturated lifestyle created by the technology of our times, crafting their criticisms into a project that looks in the mirror of the present and finds ominous darkness looming in the near future. Thin Mind is expected to further illustrate these horror stories from the Anthropocene—the era of humankind’s dominion over the earth. As Thompson explains, the group is united in their rising fear for our increasingly caustic society and how it will continue to advance upon our human wellbeing. —Hayden Goodridge

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10. The Wood Brothers: Kingdom In My Mind

Fans of late ’90s/early 2000s southern rock and folk-rock are already fully aware of The Wood Brothers. Their new album Kingdom In My Mind, a follow-up to 2018’s Grammy-nominated One Drop of Truth, arrives today, and it could be their best release in a while: Their plucky, bluesy style of southern rock sounds fresher than ever here. Brothers Chris and Oliver Wood had careers of their own before joining forces, but the age of The Wood Brothers has resulted in some of their most successful work. These folksy songmakers have made being a fan of southern rock delightful for the better part of 15 years now. —Ellen Johnson

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