10 New Albums to Stream Today

Featuring Pale Waves, slowthai, Claud and more

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10 New Albums to Stream Today

Today’s slate of new releases is an exciting one, featuring not only one of Paste’s most-anticipated albums of the month, but also one of our most-anticipated albums of the year. That’s in addition to buzzed-about second efforts from Pale Waves and slowthai, striking EPs by rising artists like Lauren Auder and The Obsessives, and more. Dive into our guide to this latest New Music Friday below, and tell a friend about your favorite find.

Chris Crack: Might Delete Later

Ridiculously prolific Chicago MC Chris Crack dropped five albums in 2020, so it’s no surprise he’s already making his presence felt with an LP here in early 2021. Might Delete Later is the underground rapper’s debut release on Brooklyn-based electronic/hip-hop label Fool’s Gold—his debut release on any label, as a matter of fact—but it has the hallmarks of a Crack album, from laugh-out-loud idiosyncrasy—standout song titles include “Keisha Cole Slaw,” “King of the Living Room” and “Flip Phone Hangup”—to a whitewater rapids flow that’s never pat or predictable. Might Delete Later has a deep bench, as well, with features from Cali Hendrix, cantbuydeem, J. Arthur, King Rozzie, Lil Keisha, Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire, Nate Knew, Nickelus F, Roy Kinsey and U.G.L.Y. Boy Modeling. Crack is a rap game Guided by Voices: You tune his prodigious output out at your own peril. —Scott Russell

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Clap Your Hands Say Yeah: New Fragility

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah blew a lot of minds when they released a fully independent self-titled first album in 2005. They had no record label, no manager, no nothing, and at a time when even “indie” bands were signing to major labels, it seemed like Alec Ounsworth and Co. were doubling down on the DIY ethic of the ’80s underground. That’s not so rare nowadays: The digital revolution, or whatever it is, has made it easier than ever to put out music without the usual intermediaries. Though Clap Your Hands Say Yeah was certainly on the leading edge of all that, Ounsworth has mixed feelings about his role, and a whole lot of other things, besides. They’re the basis for New Fragility, the band’s latest album, which includes songs reflecting on the buzz that overtook Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and the effects it has had on Ounsworth’s life. New Fragility parses trauma, both his own and the more general effects of late capitalism and the ongoing collapse of American democracy. If that sounds like heavy going, Ounsworth makes it worth the ride. The group is basically a one-man vehicle now, and his core collaborators here are ex-Centro-matic leader Will Johnson on drums and Britton Beisenherz on bass. Ounsworth is more thoughtful than polemical on songs with rich musical arrangements, including a string quartet that lends a mournful air to “Innocent Weight.” The default mood throughout is melancholy, but even when his anger shines through, Ounsworth couches it in pungent imagery that feels righteous and personal, rather than prescriptive. —Eric R. Danton

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Claud: Super Monster

21-year-old indie-pop singer/songwriter Claud Mintz makes their full-length debut as Claud with Super Monster, the inaugural release on Phoebe Bridgers’ Saddest Factory imprint. Following Claud’s 2018 Toast and 2019 Sideline Star EPs, the 13-track, 37-minute album blends electric and acoustic guitar-driven pop with synth and psych sounds, wrapping Claud’s bittersweet emotional entreaties in bright instrumentation that somehow feels fit for your bedroom and the main stage at the same time. Super Monster is an unerringly engaging listen that puts Claud’s honesty and vulnerability at the forefront as they reach longingly for romantic connections: “Please, can you spell it out for me / ‘Cause your lips are hard to read / Are you in or in between? / Tell me, tell me what you mean,” they urge on the drum machine-driven “In Or In Between,” then offering on “Cuff Your Jeans,” “You’ve never been that good at small talk / but I’d love to chat your ear off.” There’s even a track called “Rocks At Your Window,” on which Claud sings softly about “dealing with the heartbreak / Bet you didn’t equate / The lack of you with pain.” Super Monster is an easy album to connect with, particularly for younger listeners still very much immersed in love’s emotional trials and travails. —Scott Russell

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JPEGMAFIA: EP2!

JPEGMAFIA fans are eating again: The Brooklyn-bred, L.A.-based artist is back with the sequel to 2020’s EP!, a seven-track collection of dark pop (“LAST DANCE!,” “FEED HER!”), warped and glitchy electro-R&B (“FIX URSELF!,” “PANIC ROOM!”) and caustic, no-bullshit raps (“THIS ONES FOR US!”). A military vet who started making music as JPEGMAFIA after the Baltimore uprising in response to Freddie Gray’s death, Peggy is politically minded as ever on EP2!, whether mocking MAGA (“I love my baby like Trump loves Putin, in the deepest way / My baby’s barely scratched the surface, there’s a deeper state”) and thumbing his nose at “alt-right trolls,” or calling out white privilege and slack-tivism (“White boys scared of the Peg and plot, but postin’ they black squares now”). He even puts the music media in his crosshairs, excoriating disgraced The Fader staffer Eric Sundermann by name and taunting, “That liberal arts degree really ain’t hitting.” Lyrically unflinching and instrumentally unpredictable, EP2! may not be an entire meal, but it’s well-worth sinking your teeth into. —Scott Russell

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Kìzis: Tidibàbide / Turn

Algonquin two-spirit artist Kìzis (who’s previously recorded as Mich Cota) is releasing what may be one of the most ambitious albums of 2021. Tidibàbide / Turn is a four-hour LP, bursting at the seams with reverent chants, throttling techno, compassionate electro-pop and amorphous, string-laden compositions. There’s even an alternate national anthem that more accurately reflects Canada’s mistreatment of indigenous peoples (“No Canada”). This album is clearly meant to be an event—one that requires listeners to plan ahead and make time for. No detail has gone overlooked, but it’s also inherently imperfect. It’s a triumphant coming together of dozens of guest musicians (including Beverly Glenn-Copeland and Cub Sport’s Tim Nelson), and though they impressively execute Kìzis’ spiritual, altruistic vision, there’s a carefree spirit where missteps are embraced. Tidibàbide / Turn has a warm glow, one that radiates with the knowledge that it may not be for everyone, but will be deeply cherished by those who connect with her ornate songs and singular psyche. —Lizzie Manno

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Lauren Auder: 5 Songs for the Dysphoric

London-based singer/songwriter Lauren Auder’s third EP 5 Songs for the Dysphoric became appointment listening for us as soon as we heard “Heathen,” which we praised as “utterly mesmerizing, blending dark dance-pop and noise-rock sounds, with only Auder’s deep baritone vocals to guide you through the haze,” while highlighting it as one of the best new songs released that week. Both the Clams Casino- (Vince Staples, Lil B) and Dviance-produced “Heathen” and the rest of 5 Songs for the Dysphoric find Auder finding herself, expanding her creative orbit to include collaborators like rising-star soul singer Celeste, as well as producers/co-writers Danny L. Harle (Charli XCX, Clairo) and Tobias Jesso Jr. (HAIM, King Princess), and releasing new material for the first time after coming out as a trans woman. “I think part of the reason the past two EPs were made in such an insular way was that I needed to discover myself and get to the point where I felt confident in my artistic voice,” Auder says of her 2018 Who Carry’s You and 2020 two caves in EPs. “By the time I made this EP I felt comfortable enough to let in some exterior influences, without being afraid that it would no longer sound like me.” —Scott Russell

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NRCSSST: NRCSSST

Stephanie Luke, drummer and co-vocalist in The Coathangers, and Dan Dixon (PLS PLS, Dropsonic) have formed a new band called NRCSSST, and they’re releasing their self-titled debut album today (Feb. 12) via Slimstyle. Previously, they shared the album’s lead single, “Sinking,” which premiered here at Paste. The Atlanta band are backed by drummer Chandler Rentz (Snowden), keyboardist André Griffin (PLS PLS) and bassist Danny Silvestri (Trances Arc). They starting writing in 2019 and later began performing, but only managed to play a few shows before the pandemic hit. “Sinking” is built on soaring, benevolent rock, and throughout, they try to gauge the health of a relationship and whether it’s worth holding on to. The song’s cymbal-clattering, synth-led breakdown is the first taste of their vast arsenal of sounds used on the album. NRCSSST has both the upbeat, anthemic tendencies and synth-y grit of bands like Interpol and Spoon, plus hints of glam-punk (“All I Ever Wanted”), moody psych (“Room”) and slow-building, piano-led rock (“Sunday Girl,” “Lay Your Hands on Me”). For fans of the duo’s other Atlanta bands, you’ll also detect the hard-nosed passion of The Coathangers and the keyboard hisses of PLS PLS. —Lizzie Manno

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The Obsessives: Monastery EP

Philadelphia band The Obsessives have shared a new EP Monastery, out now via Memory Music. The EP was produced by Will Yip, the Grammy-nominated producer behind records like Mannequin Pussy’s Patience, Bartees Strange’s Live Forever, Nothing’s The Great Dismal and Turnover’s Peripheral Vision. Monastery opens with the twinkly warmth of “Lala,” which takes off with big-hearted hooks, even if the lyrics are preoccupied with bracing for a cataclysmic event. “Everyone get down on to your hands and knees / If the big one drops / I’m sure we all will see / In this life there are no guarantees,” Nick Bairatchnyi sings before they launch into a melancholy synth solo. Their glistening keys and misty-eyed refrains also resurface on track two, “I’ll Always Love You,” which has plenty to celebrate and mourn—though the narrator professes their addiction to love (and the news), and has admitted to romantic miscalculations, what looms larger is their undying compassion. They close with a slow, stripped-down cover of The Breeders’ 1993 classic “Divine Hammer,” which fits in with their theme of searching for greener pastures. —Lizzie Manno

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Pale Waves: Who Am I?

Who Am I? opens with “Change,” a track that trades the ‘80s glam synths of Pale Waves’ debut album My Mind Makes Noises in for a ‘90s-inspired acoustic guitar. The switch-up is perfect for frontwoman Heather Baron-Gracie’s vocal prowess, with the singer’s voice landing somewhere between the pop-with-an-attitude of Avril Lavigne and the raw emotion of The Cranberries’ Dolores O’Riordan. This isn’t to say Pale Waves floats by on the nostalgia factor alone—the band translates their many inspirations into their own brand of indie pop that feels perfectly fit for 2021, with their lyrics bouncing between relationships, identity and mental health. On an album centered around a question of identity, the band is at their strongest when shouting out the answer. Few songs on the record compare to “You Don’t Own Me” in terms of pure anthemic pop-rock, as Baron-Gracie defiantly asserts, “You don’t own me / and I’ll do whatever I want to” in the face of everyday misogyny. —Carli Scolforo

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slowthai: TYRON

slowthai’s self-titled sophomore album, TYRON is an exciting follow-up project whose bifurcated structure encapsulates the duality of slowthai’s effervescent rap persona and the evolving interiority of Tyron Frampton. The LP’s A-side features a barrage of high-energy, bouncy, grime-rooted, all-caps tracks that encompass these quintessential boastful, bravado-based lyrics. In “45 SMOKE,” the album’s opening freestyle, slowthai bursts onto the track screaming, “Rise and shine / Let’s get it / Bomboclaat, dickhead, bomboclaat, dickhead.” And honestly? Bars. It’s a deeply slowthai intro to a song—energetic, cheeky. There are these recurring braggadocious gestures and flourishes throughout the album’s A-side. Later in the same song, slowthai, like Nas and Loyle Carner before him, lays claim over the Earth, saying, “The whole world is mine.” The lyrical shift from brazen to bummed out over the arc of TYRON but especially on the B-side—the strongest side, methinks—effectively elucidates the difficulty that slowthai seems to have as he navigates how much of his anti-authority trickster nature is and will continue to be authentically Tyron; authentically slowthai. —Adesola Thomas

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