Best New Albums: This Week’s Records to Stream

Featuring AJJ, Arlo Parks and more

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Best New Albums: This Week’s Records to Stream

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 albums of the week below, from priority picks to honorable mentions.

ALBUM OF THE WEEK | AJJ: Disposable Everything
Disposable Everything is AJJ’s big reconciliation with the current state of affairs and the band’s place in all of it. What role should five men have in preserving any semblance of goodness that might still be left in this country? On Disposable Everything, AJJ aren’t quite sure they should have a role at all. In a world plagued by mainstream artists attempting to spin shallow money-grabs into wholehearted, political decrees, the band is not all that interested in shining the empathy on in ways they cannot authentically provide. There is no demand for revolution on this album; only the stark realization by the men who made it that they, too, have been lubing the cog that makes the machine of inequity crawl forward. Disposable Everything knocks on the door of modern masterpiece status, as AJJ have taken every single thing they do well, shoved it into a blender and made a chunky, absurd, glorious, gilded smoothie with it. —Matt Mitchell

Arlo Parks: My Soft Machine
After a year spent touring with Harry Styles, Clairo and Billie Eilish, among others, Arlo Parks’ sophomore album, My Soft Machine, the awaited follow-up to her Grammy-nominated debut Collapsed in Sunbeams, is finally on the horizon. With a title lifted from Joanna Hogg’s 2019 film The Souvenir, Parks is aiming to reckon with the highs and lows of her 20s. “This record is life through my lens, through my body—the mid-20’s anxiety, the substance abuse of friends around me, the viscera of being in love for the first time, navigating P.T.S.D. and grief and self-sabotage and joy, moving through worlds with wonder and sensitivity – what it’s like to be trapped in this particular body,” Parks said of My Soft Machine in a statement. Lead single “Weightless” is a fit of electronic joy that puts Parks’ soft vocals on a pedestal at the track’s forefront, a trend that continues across the singer-songwriter’s entire record. —Matt Mitchell

Gia Margaret: Romantic Piano
Romantic Piano was engineered predominantly by Sean O’Keefe, while Margaret mixed and produced much of it alongside Yoni Wolf. Employed across the album are, as Margaret calls them, field recordings of nature that delight in unison with the pianos, horns, drums, bass and vocals she and her peers plug into throughout the 12-song, 27-minute run-time. Perhaps the greatest part of Romantic Piano‘s makeup is how human all of it sounds. Much akin to the recent, swelling trend of artists recording their albums in a live headspace—in hopes of harnessing what an on-stage energy might look like on tape—Margaret catches all of the imperfections happening concurrently—whether it’s a crackle of house foundation of a street growing busy—and fashions everything into an immersive nebula of DIY ethos. At its core, Romantic Piano is a perfect love-letter from Margaret about embracing the instrument she turned to when her voice couldn’t continue. But by no means is her piano-playing merely a second option in the wake of change. No, no. By the tracklist’s end, Romantic Piano morphs into the opus of someone whose talents and vision could give a crack of lightning a run for its money. —Matt Mitchell

Sparks: The Girl is Crying in her Latte
After nearly six decades of making music together, Ron and Russell Mael, the brothers known collectively as Sparks, are showing no signs of slowing down nor losing their remarkable skills as pop songwriters. The duo has returned to Island Records, the label that released their ’70s masterworks Kimono My House and Propaganda, and are set to drop their 25th studio album, the delightfully titled The Girl is Crying in her Latte on May 26. What we’ve heard from this record so far isn’t much, only the title track has been released as yet. But that tidbit alone, a fuzzy bit of electropop about, yes, a young woman weeping into her coffee drink, is more than enough to raise our excitement to DEFCON 1. —Robert Ham

Stuck: Freak Frequency
Approximately five seconds into its new album Freak Frequency, the Chicago-based band Stuck map out their stylistic territory and begin filling it with sounds on “The Punisher.” There’s the dry thwack of the drums, which keep a steady rhythm even as they contribute to the jittery ruckus unfolding around them. Two electric guitars lock into a latticework of prickly tones, bobbing back and forth like choreographed sewing needles. The bass line is sturdy and unassuming, and, 75 seconds in, a skronky saxophone arrives to lend the song a distinctively queasy feel. Yes, this is post-punk, the kind fronted by a guy who sings in shouts, yelps and a brooding croon, often about the daily agitations of modern life under the crushing weight of capitalism and the thumb of technology. After a 2021 EP Content That Makes You Feel Good established them as promising post-punkers with an irrepressible ambitious streak, on Freak Frequency, frontman Greg Obis and his mates—bassist David Algrim, drummer Tim Green and guitarist Donny Walsh—deliver on that promise by upping the production and turning their knotty tunes into strapping, sharply cornered bangers. Sometimes, they come out sounding like a more muscular Devo, notably on “Time Out,” a wiry rant against social media and screen time. Other times, they sound like Chicago’s answer to Detroit’s endearing noise-rock kings, Protomartyr. Freak Frequency is proof that the band has both the chops and the conviction to fight back against the bullshit. —Ben Salmon

Water From Your Eyes: Everyone’s Crushed
Everyone’s Crushed, the latest album from experimental indie-pop duo Water From Your Eyes, picks up right where their last album left off. Its cheeky opening track, “Structure,” shares the same name as the Brooklyn natives’ 2021 breakthrough record. It’s as if vocalist Rachel Brown and multi-instrumentalist/producer Nate Amos are world-building, expanding on the lore of their dense catalog. On their first album for the revered indie titan, Matador Records, Water From Your Eyes deliver on the simmering anticipation surrounding them. It’s another case that marks Brown and Amos as one of the most innovative, exciting creative partnerships of the moment. Their vision has become fully reified, merging pop balladry, Berlin techno and indie rock in methods that seemed unfathomable until they executed it. Despite that record’s elliptical abstractions, Everyone’s Crushed takes their collagist ethos a step further. Brown and Amos have thrown Structure out the window, given that most tracks on this album defiantly resist actual structure itself. Take the standout closer, “Buy My Product,” which flouts a conventional verse-chorus format in lieu of tumultuous crescendos and swirling, discordant layering. While Brown’s lyrics maintain their dissociative, surrealist mindset, it’s hard not to hear “Buy My Product” as a noisy lament about the inescapability of hypercapitalism. Everyone’s Crushed shines an incandescent limelight on Water From Your Eyes at the absolute height of their powers; it’s their best work yet. —Grant Sharples

More Notable Releases Today: Boy & Bear: Boy & Bearh, Joe Perry: Sweetzerland Manifesto MKII, Kevin Morby: More Photographs (A Continuum), Matchbox Twenty: Where the Light Goes, Miya Folick: Roach, Simply Red: Time