Best Albums to Stream Now: Brandi Carlile, Ought and more - Rolling Stone
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10 New Albums to Stream Now: Brandi Carlile, Belle and Sebastian and More Rolling Stone Editors’ Picks

Brandi Carlile’s righteous Americana, Ought’s post-romanticism, Laurie Anderson and Kronos Quartet’s collab and more albums to stream now

10 New Albums to Stream Now: Brandi Carlile, Belle and Sebastian and More Rolling Stone Editors' Picks10 New Albums to Stream Now: Brandi Carlile, Belle and Sebastian and More Rolling Stone Editors' Picks

Brandi Carlile, Belle & Sebastian and Nipsey Hussle.

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Brandi Carlile, By the Way, I Forgive You
Long beloved by champions of songcraft – as evidenced by last year’s tribute album featuring the likes of Adele, Pearl Jam and Dolly Parton – this troubadour has released “a moving and righteous piece of Americana-infused pop,” writes Brittany Spanos. Carlile “belts with gusto, whether offering nostalgic, harmonized forgiveness … or a shoulder to cry on.”
Read Our Review: Brandi Carlile’s By the Way, I Forgive You Is Righteous Americana
Read Our Feature: New Album I Forgive You Is About Life “Being F–king Hard”
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Belle & Sebastian, How To Solve Our Human Problems, Vol. 3
The third EP in the Scottish twee legends’ Human Problems trilogy (which has also been collected into a single set on CD and vinyl) features “Best Friend,” which Simon Vozick-Levinson calls “an enchanting Motown throwback about pining for the wrong person.”
Read Our Review of the Compilation: Belle and Sebastian Deliver Bright Pop Throwbacks, a Few Left-Field Moves
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Laurie Anderson & Kronos Quartet, Landfall
While the first recorded collaboration between artist and storyteller Laurie Anderson and avant-string institution Kronos Quartet is nominally about the period when Hurricane Sandy hit New York City in 2012, the gentle gravitas of Anderson’s poetry and the string-bending techniques used by Kronos make this song cycle a gorgeously unnerving treatise on temporality and loss in which the electronically processed blends with the imperfectly human. “Dreams” is a plaint about others’ monologues about their subconscious travels that bends into a surrealistic description of a recording session, with thunder clapping and strings fluttering around Anderson’s arched-eyebrow retelling. “Nothing Left But Their Names” pitch-shifts Anderson’s precise diction, her low-register voice lurking under shimmering keyboards. “All the things I’d carefully saved all my life becoming nothing but junk – and I thought, ‘How beautiful; how magic; and how catastrophic,'” she murmurs over the trembling drones of “Everything Is Floating.” Landfall‘s studies in contrasts – the analog and the computerized, the terrifying and the divine, the immediate and the eternal – give that observation even more weight. Maura Johnston
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Nipsey Hussle, Victory Lap
We’ve been watching Nipsey’s hustle for nearly a decade now: nominated XXL Freshman in 2010; rapping on tracks with Rick Ross, Snoop and T.I.; dropping an incendiary verse on YG’s 2016 “FDT” (“Fuck Donald Trump”). He’s been promising a project called Victory Lap since 2012 and his official major label debut is finally here, complete with appearances from Kendrick Lamar, Diddy and YG. The wait or timing doesn’t matter since this is timeless West Coast rap – that nimble, funky, slightly-yelled, slightly-cool flow of turn-of-the-Nineties stars like the D.O.C., Kurupt and Daz Dillinger – all with a modern, unflinching narrative. Christopher R. Weingarten
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Superchunk, What a Time To Be Alive
North Carolina quartet Superchunk has crafted “a perfect half-hour of punky, poppy vitriol” in response to the current political climate, writes Kory Grow. “Superchunk have grown up mightily since they became indie-rock heroes with their breakout 1992 single ‘Slack Motherfucker,’ and its insolent chorus, ‘I’m working but I’m not working for you,’ but while the times have changed, the songs remain the same – if not a little better.” 
Read Our Review: Superchunk, Purple-State Punks, Take It to Trump on Their Best Album in Years
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Fischerspooner, Sir
The first album in nearly a decade from electroclash pioneers Warren Fisher and Casey Spooner finds the pair in gay-disco-ready, libidinal form – yet there’s a ruminative aspect to this album’s party that implies a wariness borne by bigger concerns than the average hangover. “What am I looking for? Why do I need more? What do I really want want want want want?” Spooner yelps over the pulsing beats of “TopBrazil,” and that existential-crisis refrain haunts Sir even on its more upbeat songs. The glitterball-refracted “Have Fun Tonight” utters its title as if it’s a command, contrasting with Spooner’s longing beckon to his lover, while the sparse “Butterscotch Goddam” wrestles with the heart-mind connection. “To me, what has become important is a conjoining – no pun intended – of sexuality and emotionality,” Spooner told Sir producer Michael Stipe in an interview for Billboard. Sir examines that pairing with moody grooves and tightly wound beats that are given extra heat by Spooner’s bravado. Maura Johnston  
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U.S. Girls, In a Poem Unlimited
Canadian recording artist Meghan Remy dishes up art-pop delights on her second LP as U.S. Girls. Songs are elegant yet forceful, full of shape-shifts but smooth, tuneful and fun. “Velvet 4 Sale” sets billowing synth noise over a moodily predatory groove as Remy makes the line “It’s all just friction/but don’t forget the revenge” sound like a viable pop hook. Scary Monsters-era Bowie, Madonna, Kate Bush and early-Eighties downtown NYC punk-funk pop up among the glistening touchstones. But Poem isn’t just solid retro. Remy bounces between genres effortlessly, from the P.M. Dawn dreaminess of “Rosebud” to the rich, inviting synth-pop of “Poem” to the “La Isla Bonita”-tinged bounce of “Pearly Gates,” holding it all together with songwriting chops, searching, self-possessed lyrics and a sense of old-school record-making craft. The result: Rewarding repeated listens. Jon Dolan
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Ought, Room Inside the World
Montreal post-punkers Ought blend thudding basslines and razor-wire guitars with the smoothed-out crooning of frontman Tim Darcy in a way that recalls both buttoned-up New Romanticism and sweat-drenched post-punk, sometimes simultaneously. “Take Everything” see-saws between a swooning reel around the fountain and short-circuited, reverb-heavy riffage; “Desire” finds Darcy engaging in show-stopping balladry, a choir backing him up until the song’s sheer force of emotion causes a woodwind-assisted slowcore explosion. Maura Johnston
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Alva Noto + Ryuichi Sakamoto, Glass
The fruitful relationship between legendary polymath Ryuichi Sakamoto and glitch-centric producer Alva Noto has yielded some of the 21st Century’s most beguiling mixes of modern classical, ambient, electronica and improv: the five gently skipping and drifting CDs of the “Virus Series” and the score for Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Revenant, nominated for both a Golden Globes and a BAFTA. Their first longform piece, the nearly 37-minute Glass, is a live improvised set in Connecticut’s Glass House, Philip Johnson’s famous architectural coup of a glass-walled modernist prism. Glass and Noto seem to capture not it’s bucolic surroundings, but instead the structure’s moody presence and unique materials. The piece crunches, twinkles and wooshes – a sound almost like tiny glass balls plinging against a porcelain floor. The back end teams this with touches of Badalamenti or Morricone. Christopher R. Weingarten
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Painted Doll, Painted Doll
“Chris is a death metal legend from the Bay Area and I’m a guy from Cleveland who worships the Kinks,” Painted Doll vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Dave Hill has said of this project’s unlikely make-up. More specifically, Chris is Chris Reifert, drummer and bellower for gore-obsessed 30-year-old metal institution Autopsy; Hill is a comedian, author, radio host and retro-minded rock savant. Their backgrounds might suggest some mutant genre hybrid, but the pair’s self-titled debut – on which Reifert drums, and both members share guitar and bass duties – turns out to be a refreshingly straightforward ode to their shared love of vintage garage and psych rock. Album opener “Together Alone” is a jangly, patchouli-scented gem shot through with “(Don’t Fear) the Reaper”-style eeriness, while “Carousel” nails the wistful side of early-Seventies glam. Even on its more raucous tracks (the Stooges-y “Eclipse”; a fuzz-guitar-bathed cover of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ “I Put a Spell on You”), this brief, beautifully recorded set drips with a sensuous, and vaguely sinister, aura. Hank Shteamer 
Hear: Amazon Music Unlimited | Apple Music | BandcampSpotify | Tidal


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