10 New Albums to Stream Today

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10 New Albums to Stream Today

Halle-freakin’-lujah—it’s Friday, finally. Or, is it? To be quite honest, I can’t be entirely sure, because every single day now passes by in equal and uniform strokes of sunlight and uncertainty. It might as well be Tuesday. But, I have it on good authority that the weekend is in fact nigh, so we might as well try and maintain some sense of Friday normalcy. For music fans, Fridays mean New Music, and there are albums aplenty out today to quench your thirst for a deviation from the norm (or a return to it). Today we’re cranking up (but not too loud; the neighbors are still asleep!) the kick-ass new country album by Ashley McBryde, a thoughtful new rock record by Anna Burch, funky and delicious new Thundercat and so much more. Join us for a living room dance, won’t you?

1. Anna Burch: If You’re Dreaming

“What is this instinct to hate on everything?” asks singer/songwriter Anna Burch on her song “Not So Bad,” the first single from her new sophomore album If You’re Dreaming, which is out today on Polyvinyl. This is Burch’s second LP for the label, following 2018’s Quit the Curse. Sam Evian produced the new record. “Not So Bad” is kind of like a dreamscape, as its delightful music video, which features several dance sequences and plenty of twirling. The chorus is a response to Burch’s question: “It’s not so bad,” she sings. “I’m still here,” she later says, “if it’s not clear.” The video was directed by Burch, and Ben Collins was the director of photography. —Ellen Johnson

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2. Ashley McBryde: Never Will

Country artist and acclaimed singer/songwriter Ashley McBryde is back today with her highly anticipated sophomore album Never Will, the follow-up to her 2018 debut Girl Going Nowhere. “Even though you try to avoid pressure, you can’t because your second record has to prove that your first record was not a fluke,” McBryde said in a statment. “But if we thought too hard, we would have neutered ourselves and not taken some of the chances we wanted to take.” It sounds like those gambles paid off: Never Will is a solid, smart country-rock album that never takes itself too seriously. Bluegrass riffs and electric guitar solos both coexist in another sure-fire examination of southern quirks—romantic and otherwise. —Ellen Johnson

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3. Ellis: Born Again

Linnea Siggelkow, the Ontario singer/songwriter better known by the moniker Ellis, today shares her debut LP Born Again through Fat Possum Records. “March 13” followed the singles “Fall Apart” and “Embarrassing,” which were released earlier this year. “‘March 13’ plays right after the last single ‘Embarrassing’ on the track listing, and is a reflection on a night that I did embarrass myself,” Siggelkow said in a statement. “I acted badly and put someone I cared about in an unnecessary and uncomfortable situation, but refused to admit at the time that I was out of line.” While Ellis won’t be able to embark on a planned tour with Ratboys due to the coronavirus pandemic, she hopes that the record helps those who feel alone—which is a much-appreciated sentiment, now more than ever in the time of social distancing. —Natalia Keogan

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4. Empress Of: I’m Your Empress Of

Lorely Rodriguez, better known as Empress Of, shared news of her third album I’m Your Empress Of earlier this month. The follow-up to 2018’s Us, one of our favorite pop albums of 2018, is out today via Terrible Records. Rodriguez wrote and produced the entire album with guest help from Jim E-Stack, Mikey Freedom Heart and BJ Burton. “It’s called ‘I’m Your Empress Of’ because I’ve always felt that once a song is done, and the emotion is there and it’s not inside me anymore, it belongs to the world,” Rodriguez said in a press statement. —Austin Jones

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5. James Elkington: Ever-Roving Eye

English-born, Illinois-based singer/songwriter James Elkington is back with the follow-up to his 2017 debut Wintres Woma. The new record, Ever-Roving Eye is just as dynamic and was recorded at Wilco’s Chicago loft. The album notably features Ohmme’s Macie Stewart on violin and Spencer Tweedy on drums. —Ellen Johnson

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6. M. Ward: Migration Stories

Last year, M. Ward surprise-released What a Wonderful Industry, an ode to the best and the worst of his long career in music. Ward is now back with a very different kind of project, called Migration Stories, out now. He calls Migration Stories a collection of “11 largely instrumental ballads—a sci-fi fast forward to a more silent night many generations from here to a maybe-era where movement is free again.” —Amanda Gersten

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7. Peel Dream Magazine: Agitprop Alterna

Peel Dream Magazine, the project of NYC musician Joe Stevens, began in 2018 with the release of their debut album Modern Meta Physic. The band’s 2020 follow-up Agitprop Alterna is much broader, thanks in part to the live members that appear here like vocalists Jo-Anne Hyun and Isabella Mingione and drummer Brian Alvarez, and also due to its emphasis on a more dynamic sound. It’s a caressing record with satisfying moments that are felt long after they pass—take for instance the innocent, fluttering keys that close “Brief Inner Mission,” which transition into the wonderfully filtered vocals and blown-out guitars of “NYC Illuminati.” Agitprop Alterna is a loungey, droning, space-age odyssey that might help even the most anxious among us escape for a bit. —Lizzie Manno

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8. Thundercat: It Is What It Is

When considering the resurgent jazz music movement and its undeniable convergence with hip-hop, Thundercat is the undisputed bass god. Like a new-age Bootsy Collins with George Clinton bravado and Flying Lotus by his side, the LA-based Thundercat readies his fourth album, It Is What It Is, for release this week amid some considerable life shifts. Very close friends with dearly departed rapper Mac Miller, Thundercat devoted himself to a life of sobriety following Mac’s passing and says in a statement that “This album is about love, loss, life and the ups and downs that come with that.” —Adrian Spinelli

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9. TOPS: I Feel Alive

On the cusp of releasing I Feel Alive, their fourth LP and first released on their own label, TOPS are already one of the best bands from Montréal. One could argue that countless copycats have emerged on their heels in recent years, trying to replicate their breezy, retro vibe-inflected francophile pop, but really nobody does it better. TOPS’ music oozes with romance, and it starts with singer Jane Penny’s delectable vocals. On recent single “Direct Sunlight,” Penny mindfully plays on the dichotomy of sunny days with the darkness that eventually always falls upon them. But as with most TOPS songs, the unified sailcloth of synths the band creates never leads us to the dark corner, and instead keeps us firmly under sun rays of joy. —Adrian Spinelli

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10. Yves Tumor: Heaven to a Tortured Mind

Experimental-pop provocateur Yves Tumor today releases his fourth album Heaven to a Tortured Mind, the follow-up to 2018’s shocking, acclaimed Safe in the Hands of Love. The album announcement arrived with a new single, “Gospel for a New Century,” Tumor’s first track since the 2019 single “Applaud,” seeing him move from full-length, spiritual genre-defiance to punchy, self-contained pop sounds. Heaven to a Tortured Mind was co-produced alongside Yves Tumor by Justin Raisen, who recently co-produced and wrote on Kim Gordon’s excellent No Home Record, and is known as a formative collaborator for Sky Ferreira and Charli XCX’s early careers. —Austin Jones

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