10 New Albums to Stream Today

Featuring Bachelor, black midi, DMX and more

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10 New Albums to Stream Today

May has come and gone in a flash, and more people are “vaxxed and relaxed,” which welcomes the possibility of an exciting year full of live music (as evidenced by the nonstop tour announcements). The last week of May offers a wide array of tunes to usher in the summer, like the mathematical jazz rock of black midi or the cozy melodies of Bachelor. Whether you want to dance in the dark to NOV3L or blast some DMX out of your rolled-down car windows, there is something for everyone on this list. Take a gander at some of Paste’s favorite releases of the week and find a new sonic summer companion.

Bachelor: Doomin’ Sun

It may be overstating things to say Melina Duterte (Jay Som) and Ellen Kempner (Palehound) belong together, but their musical union as Bachelor sure is satisfying. Written and recorded during a pre-pandemic, two-week-long creative outburst in a rented California house, the songs on Doomin’ Sun bring together the two artists’ best qualities: Kempner’s vulnerable vocals and memorable melodies, and Duterte’s deadpan harmonies, rhythmic sensibility and magic touch as a producer. Sometimes, Bachelor sounds a bit more like Kempner, as on the relatively sparse “Went Out Without You,” which highlights both her knack for a nursery rhyme-like tune and her ability to sing about infatuation and insecurity in a way that’s uncluttered and relatable. Sometimes, Bachelor sounds a bit more like Duterte, as on “Spin Out,” a drop-dead gorgeous song that unfurls in shimmering slow-motion around one of the album’s most abstract set of lyrics. Her talent for making music feel lush, encompassing and dynamic—as if it’s rolling across your brain like a beautiful storm—is something to behold. Both are so strong on their own, it would be brave to suggest they’re stronger together. But it might not be inaccurate. Only one way to find out for sure: A future full of not just Jay Som and Palehound records, but Bachelor records, too. —Ben Salmon

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black midi: Cavalcade

In the lead-up to black midi’s second album, Cavalcade, the band did indulge one indie-rock cliché: slagging off their celebrated debut and promising the new one will be different. “People seemed to really like the debut album but after a while we all became pretty bored with it,” Geordie Greep told The Quietus recently. “So, it was like: this time let’s make something that is actually good.” Consciously or not, Greep was warning the group’s fans that Cavalcade wouldn’t feature more of the same, and it doesn’t. Where Schlagenheim felt serrated and sharp-edged and packed tight with grooves, Cavalcade feels brooding and explorative. It’s wordy and lyric-minded, with long, serpentine narratives that unfold like shape-shifting fruit roll-ups. Greep sings more than he mutters or shrieks, and sometimes he even croons, as on “Marlene Dietrich,” an uncommonly melodic nod to the 1930s screen legend outfitted with velvety strings. black midi has achieved something remarkable in building a considerable fanbase and buzz around music as staunchly anti-commercial as this. Those fans willing to wade through the band’s murkier excursions will find a brilliant second album lurking somewhere within Cavalcade. —Zach Schonfeld

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DMX: Exodus

It is important to remember that Exodus, along with most other posthumous releases, was never intended to be released after its creator’s death. Listening to these projects feel more like a forbidden act than one of joy, as the voices feel more disembodied and you can’t help but wonder if the artist ever intended for it to be heard this way. It is only a little over a month since DMX’s untimely death on April 9, and his unintentional swan song is a roaring, yet sad goodbye to a timeless legacy. DMX’s gruff voice still echoes out his signature barks, albeit more subdued. Likewise, many of his peers, who appear over Swizz Beats’ lush, bombastic production, show their age. In another way, this can be seen as a raucous last hurrah for these rappers as a reminder that although our bodies are temporary, their music is forever. Emerging out of the hi-hats and piano samples is the imposing figure of DMX, donning angel wings with his last words for a genre he changed forever. —Jade Gomez

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Flanafi with Ape School: The Knees Start to Go

From the minds of weirdo-music collective Boiled Records co-founder Michael Johnson (aka Ape School) and multi-instrumentalist and producer Simon Martinez (Flanafi), The Knees Start to Go is a standout psychedelic achievement. Marrying singular and distinctive, guitar-based songwriting with classic analog synths and stuttering, often buzzy-sounding beats, the pair create an inimitable sound that at times resembles transmissions from a parallel universe—one tuned to a slightly weirder frequency. It is through the exploration of the otherworldly qualities in their music that tracks like “25 27 30” and “Habra” find ultimate beauty and transcendence. —Jason Friedman

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Lecx Stacy: Bundok

Lecx Stacy’s breathtaking debut Bundok is a fever dream pieced together through Stacy’s musical fascinations. The result is a dark, poignant essay on his Filipino-American identity and the impacts of racism and colonialism as illustrated through his eclectic color palette. Deep, rumbly bass underscores his monotone delivery, which abruptly shifts into rap-infused hardcore punk. “Drowning In My Sleep” samples the titular phrase from Underoath’s 2004 song “It’s Dangerous Business Walking Outside Your Front Door,” reworking it into a shapeshifting slow burn interspersed with Jersey club bed squeak samples and Texas-inspired pitched-down vocals. Stacy pushes the limits of musical technology and his wide array of influences to create a vibrant collage that melds together two different cultures, creating beauty amidst the chaos. —Jade Gomez

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N0V3L: NON-FICTION

If you trapped an early-days Franz Ferdinand in a basement and fed them nothing but bad news and cigarettes, they’d eventually write and record something like NON-FICTION, the compelling debut album from Canadian quintet N0V3L. (They recorded it in a Vancouver tear-down that’s since been demolished, so perhaps that analogy is closer to the mark than one would think.) Dark and nervy, the record’s switchblade-sharp guitars and seasick rhythms somehow manage not to overwhelm, but rather to entrance and invigorate, with help from producer Bryce Cloghesy (Military Genius, Crack Cloud). Despite all that’s weighing on NOV3L’s minds—late capitalism, the opioid crisis, mental illness, time’s inexorable passage, you name it—they’re incredibly light on their feet, simulating danceable whimsy via penetrating riffs, hazy horns and Jon Varley’s nonchalantly blunt vocals. Impending doom has seldom felt so funky. —Scott Russell

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Penelope Trappes: Penelope Three

On Penelope Three, songwriter and producer Penelope Trappes creates an epic soundscape to cap off her trilogy of self-titled albums. Building and demolishing walls of sound, Trappes uses the space within her music practically as its own brilliant instrument, heightening and volumizing every emotion. Massive beats accompany her typically sparse instrumentals, lending them urgency and intensity, and making for a worthy end to this chapter of Trappes’ songwriting. —Jason Friedman

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Sweet Trip: A Tiny House, In Secret Speeches, Polar Equals

On their first full-length album since 2009’s You Will Never Really Know Why, experimental rock outfit Sweet Trip seems to have lost none of the creative spark that made them such a uniquely identifiable and exciting band. Bit-crushed guitars roar over stuttering beats that sound like they’re degenerating rapidly, with an added maturity from the band that keeps every moment of their return dynamic and interesting. A keen ear for pop songwriting plus the injection of just the right amount of chaos makes A Tiny House, In Secret Speeches, Polar Equals a landmark entry in Sweet Trip’s discography. —Jason Friedman

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UV-TV: Always Something

Always Something is the third album from New York City rock trio UV-TV, and the first the band wrote and recorded (in lockdown, naturally) after relocating to the city from Gainesville, Florida’s swampy confines. Founding members and songwriters Rose Vastola (vocals/guitar) and Ian Bernacett (guitar), now joined by full-time drummer Ian Rose, craft a versatile sort of indie rock that offers something to everyone, with elements including “post-punk angularity, new-wave sheen and jangle-pop hooks” all in the mix, as we wrote in praise of single “Back to Nowhere.” Vastola and Bernacett’s guitars steal the show, remaining sleek and propulsive regardless of what gear UV-TV is running in (“I Don’t Mind” features some particularly killer riffage), but the duo’s lived-in vocal interplay gives us something to truly connect with, especially when they pause to let their fretboards breathe. Always Something is proof of how far that combination can take this band. —Scott Russell

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Wyldest: Monthly Friend

On her second album as Wyldest, London-based singer/songwriter Zoe Mead examines the subject of womanhood from all angles, considering “the physicality of it, the different ideas around it, its limitations and its advantages,” per press materials. She wrote, produced and mixed Monthly Friend herself in her Greenwich studio, exercising maximum control while confronting the sophomore slump head on. Mead wields dreamy guitars and indie-pop hooks with an ease sure to satisfy fans of Soccer Mommy and Jay Som, yet manages a quiet, atmospheric sensitivity more akin to acts like Skullcrusher or Haley Heynderickx. Monthly Friend’s title crystallizes Wyldest’s approach to her subject as a songwriter, warmly embracing the challenges others use as excuses to knock women down. Mead refuses to sugarcoat these truths, but her album sounds awfully sweet all the same, even at its most spare. —Scott Russell

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And don’t forget to check out… Bladee: The Fool, Elder Island: Swimming Static, Kele: The Waves Pt. 1, Loscil: Clara, Lou Barlow: Reason to Live, Perturbator: Lustful Sacraments, Sneaky Jesus: For Joseph Riddle

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