10 New Albums to Stream Today

Featuring Snail Mail, Hana Vu, Nation of Language and more

Music Lists New Albums
10 New Albums to Stream Today

2021 is already on the wane, but there are miles (read: many must-hear albums) to go before it sleeps (read: ends). November’s first and fullest New Music Friday features many of our most-anticipated releases of the month, including the long-awaited sophomore album from Lindsey Jordan’s Snail Mail, Los Angeles singer/songwriter Hana Vu’s impressive debut, and the follow-up to Nation of Language’s acclaimed Introduction, Presence. Find your complete weekend listening list below.

Aimee Mann: Queens of the Summer Hotel

Aimee Mann had been writing songs over the past few years for a stage adaptation of Girl, Interrupted, a memoir by Susanna Kaysen about her stay in a psychiatric hospital in the late ’60s, when the pandemic put the project on hold. Rather than shelve what she had been working on, Mann compiled the songs into Queens of the Summer Hotel, her 10th studio album. She’s well-suited to the subject matter. Mann has long been intrigued by trying to unravel the knots of impulses and seeming contradictions that make up our psyches. She has spent a big chunk of her solo career exploring themes of mental illness—the phrase was even the title of her Grammy-winning 2017 album—and she’s been frank about her own mental health struggles. “It’s both sort of fascinating and gratifying to realize that people’s behavior has an internal logic, like classifying it as symptoms more than personality traits,” she once said in an interview. There’s plenty to work with here: Mann examines mental health from different angles, on tracks by turns mordant, biting, distressing and deeply sad. Queens of the Summer Hotel is not an upbeat album, to say the least. Yet the songs are tightly constructed, full of smart wordplay, vivid imagery and characters who are largely sympathetic.—Eric R. Danton

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Hana Vu: Public Storage

Hana Vu is simply bursting with talent at such a young age, having released her stunning debut EP in 2018 at only 17 years old. As many can attest, three years carries a lot of change. For Vu, it meant expanding her vision even further to create Public Storage, her breathtaking debut album. Although it’s easy to box her in with artists such as St. Vincent and Japanese Breakfast (good company to keep!), Vu has moved from her bedroom-pop roots into the crevices of guitar feedback, eerie synths and indie-rock fundamentals for a collection of songs that still capture the wistful teenage days of love and heartache, performance and habit. Public Storage is a fascinating listen, and Vu is perfectly poised to deliver her message. —Jade Gomez

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MUNYA: Voyage to Mars

Like an astronaut setting foot on another world, MUNYA—i.e., Québécois producer, singer/songwriter and performer Josie Boivin—achieves a lifelong dream with the release of Voyage to Mars via Luminelle Recordings (Magdalena Bay, Helena Deland). Her debut album was inspired by her loves of both music and the great unknown: “I love space. I love aliens. I love thinking that we’re not alone in this big strange universe. Those things give me hope.” That starry-eyed perspective radiates through the record, which Boivin wrote, self-produced and self-recorded in her apartment during the pandemic, and titled after Georges Méliès’ essential silent film Le Voyage dans la Lune. MUNYA’s first full-length is as pretty and bright as the celestial bodies themselves, its silken synth-pop splashed with psych and funk touches that lend it an effervescent energy. —Scott Russell

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Nation of Language: A Way Forward

We almost didn’t get to hear Brooklyn band Nation of Language’s stunning 2020 debut Introduction, Presence. Like many bands, Ian Devaney, Aidan Noel and Michael Sue-Poi struggled financially, until Noel and Devaney got married and asked their loved ones to fund their album as a wedding present. And now, thanks to the unexpected (but totally deserved) success of their first album, we’re being graced with A Way Forward, a carefully constructed and emotionally resonant sophomore effort. Nation of Language don’t just keep doing more of the same on A Way Forward, though they totally could have gotten away with that. They extend themselves, influenced partly by krautrock, rather than sticking entirely with the new wave sound of their debut, but also remain impressively sonically consistent. With their sophomore album, Nation of Language solidify themselves as mainstays of ’20s synth-pop music. —Clare Martin

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Parcels: Day/Night

When the likes of Daft Punk are producing your debut single, you’re doing something right. Such is life for Australian dance-pop five-piece Parcels, who’ve pulled out all the stops on the follow-up to their self-titled 2018 debut. Recorded at Paris’ renowned La Frette Studio, produced by Parcels and mixed by James Ford of Simian Mobile Disco, Day/Night is an ambitious, sprawling second effort, featuring 19 total tracks spread across two distinct discs, Day and Night. The band’s bright, funky, guitar-driven and synth-streaked pop takes on bold new dimensions on the double album, with string arrangements by Owen Pallett introducing a sense of sweeping drama and intensity. Day/Night stacks hope and heartbreak against each other, inviting listeners to lose themselves in both or either, with Parcels lushly soundtracking high and comedown alike. —Scott Russell

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Penelope Isles: Which Way to Happy

Penelope Isles’ 2021 output cannot be tied to one specific genre, whether it be the poppy delight of “Iced Gems,” the shoegaze-flavored “Sudoku” or the Springsteen-esque “Terrified.” This sibling duo’s forthcoming album Which Way to Happy builds further upon their explorations of sound, unbound to the constraints of style. The result is a cohesive grab bag of influences ranging from The Smiths to Tame Impala, with the charming shakiness of a new band—comprised of siblings, nonetheless—without the pressures of doing anything other than making what feels right. For Penelope Isles, it feels like the perfect way to go, and you can hear the passion in each note. —Jade Gomez

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SeeYouSpaceCowboy: The Romance of Affliction

It’s easy to reduce hardcore to its sonic qualities, completely ignoring lyrics in favor of head-banging to a nasty breakdown. However, it does a great disservice to the depth it contains. For SeeYouSpaceCowboy, the genre is a fitting medium for frontwoman Connie Sgarbossa’s trauma and pain. On the band’s new album The Romance of Affliction, Sgarbossa’s visceral lyricism opens up onto the catharsis of healing and the necessity of grief brought upon by the passing of her girlfriend, wrapped up in philosophical reflections and earnest pleas for answers. It’s an impressive album that dives even deeper into the darkest of places within the human psyche, but that’s what SeeYouSpaceCowboy have always been about: confrontation in all of its forms. —Jade Gomez

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Sitcom: Smoothie

Sitcom, the project of Jake Lazovick, is a wonderful and vibrant display of contrasting textures and sounds, used to create something enthralling and unpredictable. With indie-rock guitar strums a la Jonathan Richman on songs such as “Gutter” and “Brain Freeze,” interrupted by U.K. garage-inspired soul samples and breakbeats on songs like “Bug in Lamplight,” Lazovick’s only limitation is his imagination. Smoothie is an apt description of this approach, mixing a variety of ingredients for a rich and healthy dose of styles that doesn’t feel overwhelming. Rooted as much in the past as it is in the future, Sitcom sees the sky as the limit. —Jade Gomez

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Snail Mail: Valentine

“Referring to the process as the deepest level of catharsis and therapy I have ever experienced would be a huge understatement,” Snail Mail’s Lindsey Jordan said of making her new album. That healing comes packaged in a blend of blistering rock and pensive singer/songwriter product that isn’t too far off from what we first heard of Jordan on Lush and even her Habit EP from 2016. The main difference on Valentine is Jordan’s newfound vocal confidence: She has perfected her singing voice to match her musical maturity, making Valentine more like Lush’s cool, assured older sister than simply a sequel. Undoubtedly one of the best songs of the year, the triumphant title/opening track, also the album’s lead single, finds Jordan beyond frustration while yearning for the ex who dumped her, or maybe just someone out of reach. The song’s grand scale works because it’s so easy to believe Jordan is as desperate as she sounds. Breakups aren’t just sad—they’re rage-inducing. “So why’d you wanna erase me?” she hollers through the tears, before adding, “You won’t believe what just two months do / I’m older now, believe me / I adore you.” —Ellen Johnson

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Tasha: Tell Me What You Miss the Most

Following 2018’s Alone at Last, Chicago-native singer/songwriter Tasha’s second album, Tell Me What You Miss the Most, finds the artist with a honeyed confidence and a warm bliss about her, the kind of evolution that could only happen with time. What may make Tell Me, and Tasha, most sincere is that we experience that evolution with her. Tasha illustrates her journey with love, loneliness, nature or nostalgia with a natural arc, like watching the sun rise or progressively watching the phases of the moon. Tasha’s blend of R&B, folk and pop feels as comforting as warming up in a crisp bed, her voice dreamy enough to narrate any reminiscing one may do while listening to the album. —Ana Cubas

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And don’t forget to check out … ABBA: Voyage, The Aubreys: Karaoke Alone, Brian Fallon: Night Divine, Connan Mockasin: Jassbusters Two, Curtis Harding: If Words Were Flowers, Diana Ross: Thank You, Dijon: Absolutely, Emma Ruth Rundle: Engine Of Hell, Hanson: Against The World, Heart Attack Man: Thoughtz & Prayers, Holly Humberstone: The Walls Are Way Too Thin, JD Simo: Mind Control, Marconi Union: Signals, MØ: Motordrome, The Mountain Goats: The Jordan Lake Sessions: Volumes 3 and 4, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats: The Future, Neal Francis: In Plain Sight, Noga Erez: KIDS (Against The Machine), Portrayal of Guilt: Christfucker, Radiohead: KID A MNESIA, serpentwithfeet: DEACON’S GROVE EP, Sloppy Jane: Madison

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