10 New Albums to Stream Today

Featuring Little Simz, Spirits Having Fun, L'Orange and more

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10 New Albums to Stream Today

Like some kind of glorious musical eclipse, every now and then, New Music Friday and Bandcamp Friday collide, the perfect storm of appreciating artists’ new releases and maxing out our ability to directly support those artists. As the pandemic stretches on and touring musicians struggle to be able to do what they do best, it remains vital for us to not only uplift the records we love, but also do what we can for the human beings who create them. With all that in mind, we’ve surveyed today’s release slate and hand-picked its 10 most compelling titles, from the towering fourth album from London’s Little Simz to the impressive second efforts by Spirits Having Fun and W.H. Lung, and the latest from North Carolina-born beatmaker L’Orange. Start your September off right via the complete list below.

Drake: Certified Lover Boy

There is no better way to end Hot Girl Summer than to kick off Toxic Boy Fall, and Drake is the perfect soundtrack for that. On his newest album Certified Lover Boy, a worthy competitor for Kanye West’s Donda in the midst of their very confusing feud, Drake reminds us what has made him one of the most successful acts of the past decade. He leans heavily into the tropes he employs and the jokes made about him, as evidenced by the album’s cheesy title and artwork. Songs like “No Friends in the Industry” and “Love All” recycle Drake’s longstanding distrust for all those around him. Album highlight “Way 2 Sexy” repurposes the Right Said Fred classic into an Instagram caption-ready hit aided by none other than Future and Young Thug in all their cocky glory. “Knife Talk” is Drake at some of his finest, playing effortlessly against 21 Savage’s viciousness. Clocking in at over an hour and a half long, Drake’s newest effort is a task to listen to, but there is a lot to appreciate as he continues to reinvent what has made him so special. —Jade Gomez

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Jail Socks: Coming Down

The full-length debut of Charlotte, North Carolina trio Jail Socks, Coming Down is a winning display of the band’s self-described “Southeast emo” sound, with painfully honest lyricism, chugging chord progressions and melodic riffs to spare. Guitarist-vocalist Aidan Yoh, bassist-vocalist Jake Thomas and drummer Colman O’Brien combine the effortlessly sticky hooks of pop-punk with hardcore’s break-neck pace, but lose none of their luster when they slow things down, like on “Pale Blue Light,” “More Than This” (on which Yoh confesses, “Cracked wide open, hoping that someone would notice”) or the climactic, tearjerking title track. Coming Down is a cathartic listening experience, the kind of record that reminds you life’s bumps and bruises are really more like badges of honor. —Scott Russell

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Lady Gaga: Dawn of Chromatica

Lady Gaga has taken on many personas throughout her career, bouncing from the eclectic pop outcast of her early work to the stripped-down image and sound she embodied for 2016’s Joanne (as well as her acclaimed performance in A Star is Born). In 2020, Chromatica was unleashed, pivoting her into a new, ’90s house-inspired, futuristic chapter of her career. A year on from Chromatica, which drew criticism for carrying some restraint in the experimental production, Gaga has listened to the critics and assembled a team of some of the brightest dance and pop producers and musicians to create Dawn of Chromatica, a star-studded remix album. Big names like Rina Sawayama and Charli XCX carry Gaga’s songs to stunning heights, striking a balance with the iconic pop star. House music auteur LSDXOXO kicks off the album with his remix of “Alice,” turning it into a bass-heavy romp. There is also the brilliantly strange Arca remix of “Rain On Me,” turning the hit single into a trance-inspired wormhole. The remixes add a new layer to Gaga’s vision on Chromatica, and it sounds like a curated expansion, rather than a haphazard revision. —Jade Gomez

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Little Simz: Sometimes I Might Be Introvert

While artists like Skepta and Dave have come to define the future sound of British rap, it’s Little Simz who might very well leave the most lasting mark this year. Her single “I Love You, I Hate You” is one of the best all-around tracks of the year. Produced by Inflo (who has had nothing short of a Midas touch on his work with SAULT, Michael Kiwanuka, Cleo Sol and Jungle), the song finds Simz sliding into each bar with dense lyricism that’s just flat-out impressive on a pointed track about her maligned father; there’s opening yourself up by being vulnerable and then there’s this:

Never thought my parent would give me my first heartbreak (I hate you)
Anxiety givin’ me irregular heart rate (I love you)
Used to avoid gettin’ into how I really feel about this (I hate you)
Now I see how fickle life can be and so it can’t wait (I love you)
Should’ve been the person there to hold me on my dark days (I hate you)
It’s easier to stargaze and wish than be faced with this reality (I love you)
Is you a sperm donor or a dad to me?

There’s emotional outpourings like this at every turn of Sometimes I Might Be Introvert, but it always sounds so grandiose. She’s as confident on the mic as they come and you can feel the cold, hard gaze in her eyes when she’s delivering lines like the one above. You vibe hard with how cool she is on “Woman,” saying, “Brooklyn ladies, know you hustle on the daily / Innovatin’ just like Donna Summer in the ‘80s.” She’s rapping for women, she’s rapping for Black women, she’s rapping for women all around the world, and she’s rapping for people who can appreciate how the hip-hop art form is built for marginalized voices to rise up. There’s broad appeal to her overall aesthetic, too, and now on her fourth album, Little Simz is poised to highlight the mighty British rap scene for good. —Adrian Spinelli

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L’Orange: The World Is Still Chaos, But I Feel Better

The chaos mentioned in the title of L’Orange’s latest album The World Is Still Chaos, But I Feel Better rears its head through the music in strange ways. At its core, this is an experimental hip-hop album, but L’Orange’s unique, wonky and often groovy production reflects the painful urgency of the times we’re living through, to a highly listenable result. Featuring frequent voiceovers with collaborators talking about things that have improved their lives or that they are passionate about, the album’s many smooth, sample-filled beats undoubtedly possess an optimism to counter the ever-looming unrest. Although sonically disparate, L’Orange’s sequencing on The World Is Still Chaos, But I Feel Better spells out a certain narrative of hopefulness through 22 direct, impactful beats. —Jason Friedman

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Motorists: Surrounded

On their new album Surrounded, Toronto group Motorists let the jangly, post-punk and power-pop sounds of their influences take the wheel for a driving and wildly enjoyable debut. Boasting impeccable production that provides enough space for vocalist Craig Fahner’s politically charged lyrics as well as the bright, charming guitar riffs that characterize Surrounded, the album’s 12 tracks feel direct, punchy and urgent. Honing their pop sensibilities on tracks like the psychedelic “Vainglorious” or the fast-paced “Turn It Around” pays off for the fresh rockers, amplifying the effectiveness of the album’s many hooks. —Jason Friedman

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Pearl & The Oysters: Flowerland

The third album from French-American duo Pearl & The Oysters, and the first since the band relocated to sunny Los Angeles, Flowerland might as well be called Oasis. Joachim Polack and Juliette Davis construct a tropical psych-pop paradise that beckons you away from real life’s stresses—literally, as Davis urges on opener “Soft Sciences,” “Hey, come to the beach / You studied all night long / You deserve a break.” Flowerland is that sort of album, a colorful, feel-good getaway that effortlessly charms and soothes. The duo’s evocative sophisti-pop stylings are as fit for swaying in a lover’s embrace as they are for kicking back poolside, or even for just finding a secluded stretch of beach inside your own mind. This is a stiff drink with a little paper umbrella in it of an album, indulgent and elaborate in a way that sands the rough edges down. You deserve it. —Scott Russell

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Quentin Ahmad DaGod: N.O.A.H.

Danny Brown’s Bruiser Brigade Records is on a roll in 2021 as they shape up to build a rap empire the likes of No Limit, Cash Money, Suave House and more. Next up on the roster is Quentin Ahmad DaGod’s N.O.A.H., a scrappy and scathing Detroit rap gem. DaGod is rough around the edges, painting bleak pictures and pairing clever rhymes reminiscent of the ’90s’ golden age of gangster rap with his own regional flair. Raphy’s smooth, soulful production sets a lush backdrop for DaGod’s distinct delivery and undeniable talent. N.O.A.H. adds another facet to the multi-dimensional Bruiser Brigade crew, rounding out their wide array of styles with a more grounded, classic scruff. —Jade Gomez

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Spirits Having Fun: Two

The scene-mates of promising young rock bands like Moontype and Floatie, Chicago’s Spirits Having Fun—guitarist-vocalist Katie McShane, bassist Jesse Heasly, guitarist-vocalist Andrew Clinkman and drummer Phil Sudderberg—will make their Born Yesterday Records debut with their second album, the fittingly titled follow-up to 2019’s Auto-Portrait. Just like those of their aforementioned Windy City peers, Spirits Having Fun’s sound is far more complex than initially meets the ear, with dream-pop (“Picture of a Person”), math rock (“The Leaf Is a Chorus”), power-pop (“Hold the Phone”) and psych rock (“See a Sky”) each making their presence felt across Two’s 12 tracks. McShane and Clinkman’s vocal and instrumental interplay lends further depth to the record, making the music feel uniquely alive and in conversation with itself, growing and changing before our ears, yet unwavering in its forward motion. —Scott Russell

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W.H. Lung: Vanities

Manchester synth-rock quintet W.H. Lung are back with the follow-up to their acclaimed 2019 debut Incidental Music. Tom Sharkett, who shares songwriting duties with Joe Evans, called the lead track “a transition from the old W. H. Lung to new,” while Vanities as a whole documents a period of flux for the group, in which they lost a member to a move and were drawn to the inclusive community of dance music. Where Incidental Music found the band blending post-punk and krautrock guitars with synth-pop propulsion, Vanities shifts the scales towards the latter end of the rock show vs. dance floor spectrum. On lead single “Pearl in the Palm,” synth sounds evoking both Blade Runner and Giorgio Moroder swirl around uptempo drums and Evans’ reedy vocals, with funky guitar accents, group vocals and a sprawl that never slows evoking the best of dance-punk greats like LCD Soundsystem. W.H. Lung seem to understand that, in times this dark, the unconscious escape that dance music provides is not a luxury, but rather an urgent necessity, and with this record, they’ve risen to the occasion. —Scott Russell

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And don’t forget to check out … Baby Queen: The Yearbook, Ben David: Somewhere In The Universe, Buck Gooter: Head In A Bird Cage, Imagine Dragons: Mercury – Act 1, Iron Maiden: Senjutsu, Keaton Henson: Fragments EP, LANY: gg bb xx, Meatbodies: 333, Nico Hedley: Painterly, Sam Silbert: Down on Silverlake, SUUNS: The Witness, Usain Bolt: COUNTRY YUTES