10 New Albums to Stream Today

Featuring Leon Bridges, DARKSIDE, Anika and more

Music Lists New Albums
10 New Albums to Stream Today

Before you ask, no, Kanye West’s Donda is not on this list. But 10 other finished albums are, like the latest outing from shapeshifting soul singer/songwriter Leon Bridges, the first new LP from Nicolás Jaar and Dave Harrington’s DARKSIDE in nearly a decade, and Anika’s first solo record in even longer. Put your ears where they need to be below.

Alexis Marshall: House Of Lull . House Of When

Daughters frontman Alexis Marshall is an imposing figure, creating music that is challenging but deeply rewarding once you push through the initial terror. Marshall’s debut solo album House Of Lull . House Of When is a claustrophobic experience. Shards of drums and guitars crunch together in a nauseating display of anxiety and madness, juxtaposed with moments of respite that keep you on edge like a jump scare waiting to happen. Marshall’s signature vocals evoke feelings of pain and fear as he carelessly dances across the harsh musical minefield he’s created. Make no mistake, this is not a Daughters album. Instead, Marshall’s poeticism stands front and center as he embraces the rambling, preacher-like persona he’s built throughout his other works. It’s an album built out of desperation and necessity, and Marshall delivers that sermon with fervor. —Jade Gomez

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Altin Gün: Âlem

On their second LP of 2021, Âlem, Turkish psych-rock band Altin Gün take their unique blend of new-wave and traditional elements even further than the year’s previous album Yol, with dynamic and highly listenable results. Released as a Bandcamp-exclusive benefit for nature protection organization EarthToday, each purchase of an Âlem track results in 1 square meter of nature being taken into protection—a move that complements the wordly inspiration of the album. Featuring inspirations ranging from ‘70s new wave, like the bright synths of “Sen Çiçejsin Ben Ari,” to goth and even some reggae influences, like on standout track “Kisasa Kisas,” Âlem sounds energetic, classic and vivacious. —Jason Friedman

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Anika: Change

On her first solo album since her self-titled 2010 LP, Anika, aka German-British musician Annika Henderson, delivers nine original songs, with—for the first time—no lo-fi production stifling her Nico-esque drawl and eerie synths. Like Laurie Anderson before her, she finds immense power in hypnotic arrangements that cast her as a prophet who uses the surreal to show that even everyday minutiae are products of the systems that entrap us. On the album’s title track, as the warble of her gradually unfurling voice creeps across wooing synths, she sounds fully convinced that just listening to one another can cure all kinds of social ills. As she repeats, “I think we can change,” it becomes less an opinion than a fact. She sounds just as steadfast on “Freedom,” manifesting personal liberation with chant after chant of “I’m not being silenced,” and the cascading electronics below her suggest that this mantra isn’t a wish—it’s a promise. —Max Freedman

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Chilean-American electronic artist Nicolás Jaar finds energy in the unexpected. The internationally acclaimed DJ-turned-composer-turned noisy bass experimenter manages to elude expectations with every project he releases. Jaar and New York multi-instrumentalist Dave Harrington craft loose, improvisational dance music as a duo, under the moniker DARKSIDE. In the eight years of silence since their standout 2013 release Psychic, it seemed at times that the collaboration was lost to the sands of time. However, DARKSIDE’s latest, Spiral, is an ambitious return to form for the elusive group. It finds Jaar and Harrington sharpening the crepuscular soundscapes of their early recordings, all the while embracing a globetrotting sonic palette and increasingly subtle arrangements. —Ted Davis

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Drinking Boys and Girls Choir: Marriage License

Daegu, South Korea rockers Drinking Boys and Girls Choir caught our attention with a standout virtual SXSW 2021 set that we called “a blast of mosh-inspiring, yet melodic K-punk from minute one.” Written and recorded in lockdown, their self-produced second album, the follow-up to 2019’s Keep Drinking, is their most urgent music yet, with the trio injecting a new level of political consciousness into their ultra-nimble skate-punk sound. MJ, Meena and Myorori reckon with gender politics, internet age exploitation and collisions of the two, like the heinous Nth Room case, imbuing their breathless thrash and glue-trap hooks with a righteous fury. Drinking Boys and Girls Choir may sound sweet, but they won’t hesitate to call it out as the world around them sours. —Scott Russell

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Emma-Jean Thackray: Yellow

British jazz musician Emma-Jean Thackray makes music that’s transcendent, with an album that explores spirituality in all of its variations. On her debut album Yellow, Thackray’s dance-aligned interpretation of jazz is a psychedelic foray into the subconscious, guided by her incredible vocals that nestle deep into the crevices of our minds. Her intention is written all over the album as she dances around her skilled backing band in a gentle unification of their ideas, digging deep into the meanings of dualism and human connection. This pursuit is something to be reminded of, and Thackray nudges the audience with care. —Jade Gomez

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Leon Bridges: Gold-Diggers Sound

On July 8, a few weeks before the release of his third LP, Leon Bridges posted an intimate Instagram teaser of a song titled “Steam.” Over nothing more than threadbare fingerpicking, he quietly crooned about a possible late-night hook-up: “Shouldn’t complain, but this function’s dry / Don’t wanna small talk or socialize / What are you doing tonight?” In the comments, jazz artist Josh Johnson lobbied for an “acoustic EP” edition of Gold-Diggers Sound. Bridges fired back, “on gawd tho.” But the album itself, even at its quietest, sounds very little like that social media teaser — and perhaps that was Bridges’ point. A quality song, like the simmering electro-funk of “Steam,” can exist in any arrangement. That move also underscores the shapeshifter mentality he’s displayed since day one, evolving from the vintage soul vibes of 2015’s Coming Home to the try-anything-once (including funk and disco) aesthetic of 2018’s Good Thing to the psychedelic atmospheres of 2020’s Texas Sun, a collaborative EP with Khruangbin. Gold-Diggers Sound is yet another graceful, often captivating deviation from the retro path most critics probably expected him to stick with—particularly after earning a 2016 Grammy nod for Best R&B Album. Patiently molding these songs over two years at the titular East Hollywood bar/hotel/recording studio, Bridges jammed and wrote with an enormous cast of players and producers, arriving at a sleeker, jazzier sound befitting a space of such chicness. —Ryan Reed

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Maxine Funke: Seance

It’s appropriate for New Zealand singer/songwriter Maxine Funke’s new record to share its name with a seance—the act of reaching out to a higher plane in order to transcend our own, using what we know to perceive the unknowable. Funke’s pin-drop folk songs find her doing exactly that via barely touched acoustic guitars and keys, with her bewitching vocals doing the bulk of the heavy lifting. Her voice brings an otherworldly vibration to the fragmentary images depicted in her lyrics, like the titular oasis of the stunning “Quiet Shore,” or the “eyeballs, asphalt, grass clippings, peppercorns” of “Moody Relish.” Funke manages intimacy and universality at once, but above all, she is a font of beauty. You’ll be sorry when she says “Goodbye.” —Scott Russell

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Mega Bog: Life, and Another

On songwriter Erin Birgy‘s (aka Mega Bog) new album Life, and Another, the artist’s personality and ability to tap into the electric force of life in her music is on full display. Throughout her new album’s 14 tracks, Mega Bog unveils an eclectic soundscape that oscillates between jazzy instrumentation, folk whisperings and straight up indie rock. Birgy’s voice is lively and spirited, enriching each track with unique timing, often dancing around the instrumentals. The album’s title track is a spacious and lush example of the songwriter’s ability to fill tremendous space with her hushed voice, and on “Maybe You Died; she functions almost as a grim narrator, sounding ethereal amid the dreamy, hazy instrumentation. Spacious and wide-reaching without feeling disjointed or disconnected, Mega Bog’s talent for wrapping the listener up and swallowing them in a cavern of emotion has never felt more tangible. —Jason Friedman

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Samia: Scout EP

Every now and then, when you look around, you’ll see these moments: friends at a cafe table, or in a park, or just walking down the street. It’ll arise from a lull in a conversation, or even be prompted by something they say, but they’ll look at each other and realize just how lucky they are. Maybe they’ll just acknowledge it with a knowing look, or a wink, a ruffle of the other’s hair or a side hug. But they know right then just how very precious our love is, whether platonic or romantic. We won’t take this for granted, not for a long time, their eyes say. This past year has taught us this lesson in the most cruel ways, and now we cling to what’s left with all our might. Samia’s new EP captures this feeling—overwhelming in its beauty and sadness—with the same clarity and fervor that made her debut record The Baby so stirring. Scout isn’t a pandemic piece, per se, but it’s the type of art that comes out of a year pondering one’s life, which is just what Samia did. The songs focus on the act of cherishing, but deserve to be cherished in their own right. —Clare Martin

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And don’t forget to check out… Chiiild: Hope For Sale, Dave: We’re All Alone in This Together, David Crosby: For Free, Descendents: 9th & Walnut, Iglooghost: Lei Disk [Radio Broadcast], Jackson Browne: Downhill From Everywhere, Joshua Radin: The Ghost and the Wall, Molly Burch: Romantic Images, Ora the Molecule: Human Safari, Rodney Crowell: Triage, Woods: More Strange

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