10 New Albums to Stream Today

Featuring The Chicks, Illuminati Hotties, Lianne La Havas and more

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10 New Albums to Stream Today

Are things getting better or are things getting worse? It’s hard to tell these days, but at least we can safely say, from a music perspective, that this week has been better than most, as far as album releases go. Today sees the release of highly-anticipated albums from country icons The Chicks, post-punk veterans Protomartyr and rising indie outfit Illuminati Hotties. We also received a new album from our latest Best of What’s Next pick, Dehd, plus emo supergroup SPICE. Dive into all of that and more below.

1. The Aces: Under My Influence

The plush and luminous soundscapes of The Aces’ sophomore album Under My Influence make it pure pop perfection. The Provo, Utah quartet made major musical headway with their 2018 debut album When My Heart Felt Volcanic. Consisting of sisters Cristal and Alisa Ramirez, McKenna Petty and Katie Henderson, the group showed just how well they specialize in both confectionary melodies and luxurious sonic cohesion. But their sophomore effort displays The Aces’ ability to balance palpable growth with an innate understanding of what makes an infectious radio hit. —Candace McDuffie

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2. The Chicks: Gaslighter

The Chicks have never tolerated liars, cheaters or scoundrels. They coaxed dirty secrets from their lovers’ mouths on “Let ‘Er Rip,” promising strength in the face of the truth. In another case, the offender in question was such a scumbag they plotted his murder. In 2006, on their most recent album Taking The Long Way, they still weren’t ready to make nice. While they’re famous for romantic songs like “Cowboy Take Me Away” and hopeful ballads like “Wide Open Spaces,” Natalie Maines, Martie Erwin Maguire and Emily Strayer have always been tough as nails. So it should come as no surprise that the band are consistently resilient on their relentless fifth LP Gaslighter. Ultimately, Gaslighter is powerfully split between the band who were once the Dixie Chicks and who are now The Chicks. Old demons dance alongside new loves. Meanwhile, Natalie, Emily and Martie shout their political opinions, cries for justice and messages of support on behalf of abused women everywhere from the mountaintops, all to the tune of polished, country-pop gold (in part thanks to the production savvy of Jack Antonoff). —Ellen Johnson

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3. Crack Cloud: Pain Olympics

Vancouver art collective Crack Cloud have shared their debut album PAIN OLYMPICS, marked by album highlight and lead single “Ouster Stew.” It was self-produced and written and recorded in Calgary and Vancouver between June 2017 and December 2019. The group’s previous release was their 2019 single “The Next Fix,” which followed their exceptional 2018 self-titled EP. Earlier this year, Paste featured them in our list of 30 Canadian artists you need to know in 2020. In comparison to the tightly-coiled, guitar-driven post-punk of their self-titled release, “Ouster Stew” is more colorful and eccentric—adding synths and saxophone into the mix. Lead singer Zach Choy’s (the group are adamant not to call him a frontman, doubling down on their decentralized model) vocals are positively waggish as their guitars squawk with an art-rock-meets-funk vivacity. —Lizzie Manno

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4. Dehd: Flower of Devotion

The twin masks of tragedy and comedy peering from the cover of Dehd’s third album are a fitting emblem of the band’s new songs themselves. On Flower of Devotion, the Chicago trio’s second Fire Talk full-length, songwriters Emily Kempf (bass) and Jason Balla (guitar), joined by drummer Eric McGrady, devote themselves to the sort of polarity symbolized by the so-called “sock and buskin”—joy and suffering, coming together and falling apart, bitter ends and new beginnings. They ride these emotional and existential seesaws throughout the record, rendering their efforts to hang on tight with both blunt candor and tongue-in-cheek humor. The result is Dehd’s best album to date, a significant upgrade on their sound that finds their Windy City DIY scene-honed amalgam of surf rock, shoegaze and dream pop at its most melodic and expressive. The trio demonstrate newfound levels of intensity and focus on Flower of Devotion, leaving minimalism behind in favor of glossier compositions. —Scott Russell

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5. Illuminati Hotties: Free I??H: This Is Not The One You’ve Been Waiting For

Earlier this month, artists like Lucy Dacus, PUP and Sadie Dupuis of Speedy Ortiz shared a SoundCloud link to a self-titled album by a band called Occult Classic. With a solid black album cover and no credits to be found, buzz about the album started to swirl on social media—though that probably wouldn’t have happened if the album wasn’t so mind-numbingly good. Fans immediately began to speculate about whether this was a supergroup whose members included the indie artists tweeting the link, but a close ear would tell you that Sarah Tudzin of Illuminati Hotties is indeed on lead vocals, later spelling out her band name several times on track seven “Content / Bedtime.” It was later confirmed as a new Illuminati Hotties mixtape, and it’s a big step up from their 2018 debut Kiss Yr Frenemies. It’s bolder, punkier and has some of the best rock hooks in recent memory. On their 12 songs (with goofy, lowercase track titles) and less than half-hour run time, you’ll hear tinges of phat electro-rock, invigorating riot grrrl and delectable twee-pop. —Lizzie Manno

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6. JARV IS…: Beyond The Pale

Jarv Is…, the project of Pulp’s Jarvis Cocker, has shared his debut album, Beyond the Pale, Cocker’s first since Further Complications in 2009. He describes Beyond the Pale as an “alive album”: It’s composed of recordings of multiple live shows Jarv Is… have played since 2017, when the offbeat Britpop band originally came together to play the Norður og Niður festival in Iceland. “Jarv Is… was conceived as a way of writing songs in collaboration with an audience,” he says. “As the material they were playing was in a state of flux the band decided to record their live shows so that they could monitor how the songs were developing.” —Katy Mayfield

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7. Lianne La Havas: Lianne La Havas

British soul singer/songwriter and guitarist Lianne La Havas has shared her self-titled new album, which includes an impeccable cover of Radiohead’s “Weird Fishes.” Recorded during a live session at 123 in Peckham just a few weeks ago, the video for the cover features La Havas on guitar and vocals, accompanied by her live band. The cozy setting and relaxed atmosphere make for an intimate experience, and La Havas’s unique musicality and vocal mastery put a fresh spin on the 2007 single. —Lia Pikus

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8. Protomartyr: Ultimate Success Today

“Dull ache turned sharp / Short breath, never caught,” Joe Casey repeats through the closing minute of “Day Without End,” his voice turning from detachment to anger, struggling above the hammering drums, guitars and horns as they remain largely unchanged except in their steadily building, brutally indifferent noise. This begins Protomartyr’s fifth album, Ultimate Success Today, and in many respects encapsulates the mission of the Detroit post-punk veterans’ music. From their first LP No Passion All Technique to their latest release especially, Protomartyr have had a preoccupation with failure, the volcanic eruption of small, petty lives confronting the overwhelming forces, both external and internal, that bind them to their insignificance and vise versa. Ultimate Success Today places that theme on an apocalyptic and disturbingly prescient scale. These tracks paint sketches of authoritarianism creeping dully into everyday life, soulless populism rooting its way into confused masses, animals trapped between choosing death or the pain that comes with surviving, and above all, the illusory promise of success in a world collapsing in on itself. It is, to put it lightly, not a happy world for Protomartyr. —Jack Meyer

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9. Silverbacks: Fad

Irish five-piece Silverbacks have been grabbing headlines recently for their art-punk-meets-indie-rock tunes. Their debut album, Fad, which was produced by Girl Band’s Daniel Fox, doesn’t merely fill space with Joy Division or Pavement homages—they’re far too invested in their own detailed world. Their music revels in contradiction—light and dense, soft and rough, playful and cynical—resulting in a multi-faceted sound of crashing art rock riffs, poetic lyrics and vocals that range from easy-going pop to grim punk. —Lizzie Manno

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10. SPICE: SPICE

Bay Area emo supergroup SPICE is Ceremony’s Ross Farrar (vocals), Sabertooth Zombie’s Cody Sullivan (bass), Ceremony’s Jake Casarotti (drums), Creative Adult’s Ian Simpson (guitar) and Victoria Skudlarek (violin). They used what they call “the power of groupthink” to create a full, all-encompassing world on their self-titled album, and it shows. The melodies are enveloping, and the atmosphere is rich; the songs feel carefully crafted. —Danielle Chelosky

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