Paste is the place to kick off each and every New Music Friday. We follow our regular roundups of the best new songs by highlighting the most compelling new records you need to hear. Find the best new albums of the week below, from priority picks to honorable mentions.
Friko: Where we’ve been, Where we go from here
Where we’ve been, Where we go opens with “Where We’ve Been,” a rapturous and all-consuming track that grows and extends feverishly. Lively, full-sounding percussion and stirring vocals lift the track into a grandiose release of sound that relishes in its own catharsis. The lyrics describe a universal sense of hopelessness and how we may find relief in others. “And your teeth hurt more than the day before / It’s time to get another job/Four feet between a wall and window make your wife a widow, oh / So throw your arms around me,” sings Kapetan on the chorus. The album moves at an unexpected pace, transitioning from visceral high-energy tracks to subdued ballads seamlessly.
Friko’s penchant for theatrical emotion makes these adjustments feel natural and warranted in context of telling the greater emotional story of the album. The band is known for their spirited live performances, a quality that pervades the unrestrained anthems on the album. “Crashing Through” whips listeners into a rowdy and distorted introduction saturated with ringing guitars and pounding percussion; Kapetan’s subdued vocals feel whispered in the verses, creating an effect of distance and aloofness that contrasts the noisy and unbridled instrumentals at the beginning and end of the track. Raucous and jeering guitar riffs conclude the track, appearing in red, incendiary bursts similar to the end of “Statues,” in which the hard-hitting track falls into a gritty cacophony of distortion and noise. Where we’ve been, Where we go from here leaves you breathless, and the duo’s unbridled approach to songwriting and instrumentation creates striking and emotive tracks that expand lavishly. —Grace Ann Natanawan [Read our full review and feature]
TANGK marks the first IDLES album since 2021, when they unveiled CRAWLER to much critical-acclaim. The songs tackle freedom and redemption (“Gift Horse”), lovesick prayer (“Grace”) and death softened into joy (“Gratitude”). The album oscillates through textures, putting Mark Bowen and Lee Kiernan’s guitars on pedestals without downplaying the entire band’s collective swagger. A song like “Roy” is, possibly, one of IDLES’ boldest moments yet, as Joe Talbot and co. revel in restraint, sing lovingly about surrender and exorcising self-doubt and dive head-first into a treasure-trove of explosiveness during the song’s cornerstone final act. On TANGK, IDLES wanted to craft an album that would make people dance and feel the love that we all crave in our lives. Grooves aren’t strangers in the band’s catalog, though. To tap into an album like Joy As An Act of Resistance or Ultra Mono is to let your body writhe to the talismanic hypnosis of songs like “I’m Scum” or “Mr. Motivator.”
On TANGK, the itch crops up again on “Dancer” and “Hall & Oates,” but lines like “Collide us as we work it out” and “This snowflake’s an avalanche” don’t evoke separate vibrancies. Even on the latter, when the core harmony is something born out of affection and interpersonal vulnerability, Talbot’s lyrics are a result of the music IDLES makes. The motive is the energy between five people, the token of dancing is not a picture-perfect vision of bodies speaking in tongues in a mosh pit. No, it’s a matter of self-exploration into the vast, infinite riches of love and its graceful, tremendous fixtures of communal spirituality, personal healing and lifelong recovery. Talbot says the word “love” 29 times on the album; even at TANGK’s heaviest, it’s a cache of freudenfreude—or, “joy on joy.” “All is love and love is all,” he chants on “Gift Horse.”; “No god, no king,” Talbot sings later on “Grace.” “I said love is the thing.” —Matt Mitchell [Read our full cover story]
Molly Lewis: On the Lips
We know that Molly Lewis can whistle. In fact, the Australian musician has already etched her name in the modern music zeitgeist by doing it better than nearly any contemporary of hers who may arise. Recently, she’s toured with Weyes Blood and appeared on the Barbie soundtrack, but her debut solo album—On the Lips—is a brooding, gothic, noiristic portrait of smoke-filled lounges and haunted casino corridors. Lewis invites Nick Hackim, BadBadNotGood’s Chester Hansen, the Menahan Street Band and Thee Sacred Souls to fill out the sound, and the result is a Wild West of vignettes—each of which center Lewis and her whistling which, at this point, has transcended instrumentation. Her deliveries tell stories of their own, the backing arrangements often nothing more than set pieces aimed to decorate Lewis’ gravitational, lilting fife. Upon its initial announcement, it seemed possible that On the Lips could be one of the most exciting and unique artist introductions in recent memory. Now that we have songs like “Lounge Lizard,” “The Crying Game” and “Crushed Velvet” at our disposal, that possibility is now nothing more than a fact. —MM
For all intents and purposes, Souvenir sounds like it could’ve followed on the heels of 2019’s Networker immediately. But, for a band like Omni, who have got a working formula, that’s not a bad thing. Like a finely-sharpened blade, Omni might not change much over time, but they sure aren’t rusting either. Their best songs start as minimal post-punk sketches and build into earworms. Highlights in their discography like “Wire” and 2017’s “Equestrian” work so well because Broyles and Frobos locked their mathematical guitar and bass lines into choruses that fit together like puzzle pieces. These songs race with unstoppable momentum, like Is This It-era Strokes with the disparate playing of Devo or Television.
Omni returns to this structure throughout Souvenir, and for good reason. It works. “INTL Waters” unleashes its tension in its outro, and piano chords hit every beat like an emergency alarm. Their songs reward this transfer of energy, from tightly-wound dissonance into immediate and physical rock. On “Plastic Pyramid,” Glaudini warns, “Hold on tight”—before Broyles races into a guitar solo to take the track home. “Verdict” is spiky and forceful. Frobos calls and responds to Broyles’s anxious guitar. But then, it crests to a small, sticky hook: “You know I left a spare key out for you,” he belts, as those guitar lines drop out. These moments demonstrate what Omni does best. Their little spurts of energy are the most impactful parts of Souvenir. —Andy Steiner [Read our full review]
But while serpent first became known for an experimental gothic sound, his third album GRIP sees him continuing to build on the joyful portrayal of gospel and Black queer love showcased on DEACON, with kinetic instrumentals that harken back to early-aughts R&B. Drawing inspiration from the sonic innovation of Y2K royalty Timbaland, Missy Elliott, Brandy and Pharrell, serpent set out to make a project that honored the culture that raised him a second time as he came to terms with his sexuality. “Damn Gloves,” the project’s sex-laced lead single, makes excellent use of contributions from Ty Dolla $ign and Yanga YaYa, with a pulsating club beat, dark synths and erotic refrain (“If we keep on dancing we gon’ make love / Hold you closer, closer than those damn gloves”). Stripped down track “Deep End,” meanwhile, listens like a More Life-era Drake cut, and it shows the softness waiting on the other side of late nights (“Twelfth night of our one-night fling / Your coworkers think I’m cute, are we a thing?”). On his third outing, serpent’s personal and artistic growth is on full display as he continues to explore and embrace the breadth of his own human complexity. —Elizabeth Braaten [Read our full review]
Other Notable New Album Releases This Week: Chromeo: Adult Contemporary; Grandaddy: Blu Wav; Heems & Lapgan: Lafandar; Joe Wong: Mere Survival; Laura Jane Grace: Hole in My Head; Middle Child: Faith Crisis Pt. 1; Prize Horse: Under Sound; Royel Otis: PRATTS & PAIN