The 10 Albums We’re Most Excited About in April

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The 10 Albums We’re Most Excited About in April

As we put 2021’s first quarter behind us, it’s time to look ahead to the second, in which spring and hope have both sprung, and the new music continues to flow like vaccines into veins. April alone brings two of Paste’s most-anticipated records of the year, i.e., the debut albums from Dry Cleaning and Moontype, as well as the start of momentous new chapters for Spirit of the Beehive, BROCKHAMPTON and The Armed. With no further ado whatsoever (OK, just a tad), here are the Paste Music team’s most eagerly anticipated April albums.

April 2

Dry Cleaning: New Long Leg

You’ll be hearing more about Dry Cleaning from us in the coming days, but at the center of it all is New Long Leg, their forthcoming debut album, which we’ve been looking forward to for months. Their stylishly alchemic art-rock juxtaposes nervy instrumentation from guitarist Tom Dowse, drummer Nick Buxton and bassist Lewis Maynard with vocalist Florence Shaw’s hypnotic spoken-word delivery, running hot and cool at the same time. From locked-in opener “Scratchcard Lanyard” to sprawling closer “Every Day Carry,” New Long Leg is an enthralling first full-length effort from the London quartet. —Scott Russell

Flock of Dimes: Head of Roses
Sub Pop

On her second album as Flock of Dimes, Jenn Wasner of Wye Oak fine-tunes the synth-forward style that has defined both projects to this point, dialing drum machines and other electronic sounds back while bringing guitars—sometimes thunderous and distorted, others gentle and twangy—more to the forefront. The result, particularly on songs like “Price of Blue,” is something special, with Wasner’s vocals the lovely centerpiece of her dynamic soundscapes. “I think I’ve finally reached a point in my career where I feel comfortable enough with myself and what I do, that I’m able to relax into a certain simplicity or straightforwardness that I wasn’t comfortable with before,” says the songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist, who worked with Sylvan Esso’s Nick Sanborn on her new album. Head of Roses is no less powerful for its simplicity, as its songs move from hushed to explosive and back again, becoming more than the sum of their parts in the process. —Scott Russell

Moontype: Bodies of Water
Born Yesterday Records

Friendship, water and glass have a lot in common. For starters, they’re essential for modern life, and they can be beautiful, life-affirming and often long-lasting. Similarly, they’re all powerful and capable of wreaking havoc. But most interestingly, we can see our reflection in each of them, whether it’s a storefront, a pond or even a friendship. These three things also inform Bodies of Water, the impressive debut album from Chicago trio Moontype. The record is full of references to water in various states of matter, cherished quality time and glass as a symbol of perspective—all devices to highlight the tender, wholesome moments that keep us going. It’s a sweet, intimate record, bolstered by the love each band member has for each other. Soaking up their album really is a healing experience given its universal search for love, understanding and identity. Whether songwriter, lead vocalist and bassist Margaret McCarthy is pining for a friend she hasn’t seen in a while, feeling disconnected from someone who’s near, or trying to cope with being alone, Bodies of Water cherishes the special moments when connection comes easy, and we truly feel seen by ourselves and others. —Lizzie Manno

More notable April 2 releases: Bryce Dessner, Australian String Quartet & Sydney Dance Company: Impermanence/Disintegration, Godspeed You! Black Emperor: G_d’s Pee AT STATES END, La Femme: Paradigmes, Major Murphy: Access, Pansy: Pansy, Ryley Walker: Course in Fable

April 9

Question Everything/RCA Records

BROCKHAMPTON cracked our list of March’s best songs with their first new release since 2019, the electric Danny Brown collaboration “BUZZCUT.” At the time of that track’s release, the rumor mill was already abuzz, with Reddit sleuths piecing together clues that pointed towards the art-rap collective and self-described boy band’s sixth studio album. They announced just that a day later, confirming that their GINGER follow-up ROADRUNNER: NEW LIGHT, NEW MACHINE will drop in early April. We have yet to hear the new record, but if the hype-rap heater that is “BUZZCUT” is any indication, Kevin Abstract and company are swerving away from GINGER’s literal boy band-esque pop stylings and heading back into iridescence/SATURATION-type territory. —Scott Russell

Spirit of the Beehive: ENTERTAINMENT, DEATH
Saddle Creek

Shapeshifting. If there’s one descriptor for Philadelphia rockers Spirit of the Beehive, that’s it, so we figured we’d get it out of the way early. Transformation surrounds their forthcoming fourth album ENTERTAINMENT, DEATH, affecting the band itself—founding members Zack Schwartz and Rivka Ravede are now joined by Corey Wichlin—as well as their recording process and, of course, the music itself. While the band recorded their breakout 2018 album Hypnic Jerks in only a week, they took four months for ENTERTAINMENT, DEATH, self-recording and producing their most adventurous album yet. Just take “I SUCK THE DEVIL’S COCK,” the record’s near-seven-minute third single, which they describe as “our take on ‘a day in the life’”: The song begins as glitchy, drum machine-spiked jangle-psych, but quickly devolves into borderline ambient noise, eventually reconstituting itself as dreamy indie-pop with the oddest refracted textures. It, like all of ENTERTAINMENT, DEATH, is thrillingly unpredictable from moment to moment, and a mind-expanding exploration of the innumerable forms rock music can take. —Scott Russell

More notable April 9 releases: Benny Sings: Music, Cheap Trick: In Another World, Francis of Delirium: Wading EP, Matthew E. White & Lonnie Holley: Broken Mirror: A Selfie Reflection, Milly: Wish Goes On EP, Nick Waterhouse: Promenade Blue, Rhiannon Giddens with Francesco Turrisi: They’re Calling Me Home, Skullcrusher: Storm In Summer EP, Small Black: Cheap Dreams, Taylor Swift: Fearless (Taylor’s Version)

April 16

Sargent House

On their third studio album, Detroit, Michigan hardcore/punk collective The Armed aspire to nothing less than the creation of a new genre. As the band’s Dan Greene explains, “ULTRAPOP seeks, in earnest, to create a truly new listener experience. It is an open rebellion against the culture of expectation in ‘heavy’ music. It is a joyous, genderless, post-nihilist, anti-punk, razor-focused take on creating the most intense listener experience possible. It’s the harshest, most beautiful, most hideous thing we could make.” If that sounds either hyperbolic or opaque to you, you’ll be shocked by ULTRAPOP itself, which melds hard rock and electronic-pop sounds to challenging, yet undeniably satisfying effect. On singles “ALL FUTURES” and “AVERAGE DEATH,” that manifests as “rollicking electro-rock [that] overwhelms by way of pummeling drums, fuzzed-out synths and shouts, and a big, blown-out production sensibility,” and “a frenetic punk-rock guitar chug, vaporous synths and droning, deceptively hooky vocals,” respectively. And on ULTRAPOP as a whole, The Armed prioritize intensity without ever sacrificing melody, resulting in a vital album that, as the band sing on “AVERAGE DEATH,” is all “Beautiful pain / Worth the exchange.” —Scott Russell

More notable April 16 releases: Autogramm: No Rules, Born Ruffians: PULP, Cory Hanson: Pale Horse Rider, Greta Van Fleet: The Battle At Garden’s Gate, London Grammar: Californian Soil, Nick Hakim and Roy Nathanson: Small Things, Paul McCartney: McCartney III Imagined, The Offspring: Let The Bad Times Roll, Vision Video: Inked In Red

April 23

Arooj Aftab: Vulture Prince
New Amsterdam

A Lahore, Pakistan-born graduate of Boston’s Berklee College of Music now based in Brooklyn, composer and singer/songwriter Arooj Aftab’s forthcoming Vulture Prince follows her 2018 collection Siren Islands, but is in direct conversation with her 2015 debut, Bird Under Water. Vulture Prince opens with “Baghon Main,” a new reimagining of her debut’s fourth track that replaces the original’s subdued harmonium with bright, beautiful strings, as if assuming a newly accepting outlook on a painful past. This act of looking back on days gone by is central to Vulture Prince, which is dedicated to the memory of Aftab’s younger brother Maher, whom she lost while writing it—she explains that the album “is about revisiting places I’ve called mine, places that don’t necessarily exist anymore. It’s about people, friendships, relationships—some relationships that were unexpectedly short term, and how to deal with that.” Among Aftab’s most compelling explorations of the liminal space between love and loss is “Mohabbat,” which finds her breathing new life into a decades-old example of an ancient poetic form, the ghazal. With Vulture Prince, Aftab not only connects her songwriting to time-honored artistic traditions, but also makes music with the beauty to echo through the years in and of itself. —Scott Russell

Dinosaur Jr.: Sweep It Into Space

F. Scott Fitzgerald once wrote, “There are no second acts in American lives,” and while there’s debate over what exactly he meant, there’s no debating that Dinosaur Jr. make him sound silly. In April, the Amherst, Massachusetts rock trio will continue their quiet all-timer of a reunion run with Sweep It Into Space, their 12th studio album, fifth since reforming their original lineup in 2007, and first since 2016’s acclaimed Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not. J Mascis, Lou Barlow and Murph recruited only one other musician for their new record: Philly rocker Kurt Vile, who co-produced Sweep It Into Space and played lead 12-string guitar on lead single “I Ran Away,” which we hailed as one of March’s best tracks. As ever, Dinosaur Jr.’s guitar-rock heroics are unerringly tuneful—the sunny guitar licks of “I Ain’t” are an immediate reminder that you’re in some of the most capable hands around. —Scott Russell

Remember Sports: Like a Stone
Father/Daughter Records

Despite their youthful sound, Philadelphia rockers Remember Sports have already lived a musical life or two. Forming as simply Sports in 2012 while their members were attending Ohio’s Kenyon College, the self-described “basement rock band” caught the attention of Father/Daughter with their 2014 self-released debut Sunchokes, going on to put out their 2015 album All Of Something; break up; reform with a new lineup, home base and name (adding “Remember” to avoid being mistaken for Tulsa, Oklahoma’s Sports, among other acts); release 2018’s Slow Buzz; and reissue Sunchokes. The road to their fourth album Like a Stone found Remember Sports as we now know them—vocalist Carmen Perry, bassist Catherine Dwyer, guitarist Jack Washburn and drummer Connor Perry—calling on their hard-fought continuity and cohesion, swapping instruments with a sure-handed skill fit to break them out of the basement. Frequently characterized as indie-punk, Remember Sports’ sound has more than a little of Philly’s own Hop Along in it (Carmen’s spirited vocals are similarly striking), but their nuanced indie rock folds in everything from explosive emo to warm Americana, containing the multitudes of a band who’ve grown to know exactly who they are. —Scott Russell

More notable April 23 releases: Alan Vega: Mutator, Art d’Ecco: In Standard Definition, Field Music: Flat White Moon, Ki Oni: Stay Indoors and Swim, Laurence-Anne: Musivision, Porter Robinson: Nurture, Silverware: No Plans, Sour Widows: Crossing Over EP, Tom Jones: Surrounded by Time

April 30

Dawn Richard: Second Line: An Electro Revival
Merge Records

“I don’t need a genre. Fuck it, I am the genre,” Dawn Richard declares in the opening minutes of her Merge debut, a futuristic celebration of a record that the New Orleans-born artist describes as “a movement to bring pioneering Black women in electronic music to the forefront.” A founding member of Danity Kane, Richard has emphatically put her commercial-pop past behind her, striving on Second Line to assert herself as an “assassin of stereotypes,” per her album bio, by way of her King Creole persona, with whom she discusses her past and future between many of the LP’s tracks. Though the album takes its title from the jazz bands that traditionally perform at New Orleans funerals, Richard explains a Second Line as “a celebration of someone’s homecoming,” tying the album into the death of outdated norms and the rebirth of innovative, expectation-defying. art—not only her own, but also a new generation’s. A joyous, vibrant record, Second Line establishes Richard as a visionary artist, as well as a powerhouse producer. —Scott Russell

More notable April 30 releases: Ashley Monroe: Rosegold, Dropkick Murphys: Turn Up That Dial, Enumclaw: Jimbo Demos EP, girl in red: if i could make it go quiet, Gojira: Fortitude, Guided by Voices: Earth Man Blues, Laufey: Typical of Me EP, Leon Vynehall: Rare, Forever, Manchester Orchestra: The Million Masks Of God, Marianne Faithfull and Warren Ellis: She Walks In Beauty, Matt Sweeney & Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy: Superwolves, New Madrid: New Madrid, Paul Jacobs: Pink Dogs On The Green Grass, Rochelle Jordan: Play With the Changes, Royal Blood: Typhoons, Teenage Fanclub: Endless Arcade

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