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10 New Albums to Stream Now: Christina Aguilera, Mike Shinoda, Sophie and More Editors’ Picks

Christina Aguilera’s powerhouse comeback, Mike Shinoda’s cathartic solo album, Sophie’s virtual insanity and more albums to stream now

10 New Albums to Stream Now: Christina Aguilera, Mike Shinoda

Christina Aguilera, Mike Shinoda

Milan Zrnic, Frank Maddocks

EDITORS’ PICK: Christina Aguilera, Liberation
“On Liberation, [Aguilera] gets closer than ever to zeroing in on the right path for her immense skills,” writes Brittany Spanos. “Her eighth album is a healthy mix of hit-chasing, theatrics and soon-to-be classic power ballads that emphasize her immense skills over half-baked conceptual themes… Once again, she proves she does indeed have the range.”
Read Our Review: Christina Aguilera Flexes Her Diva Power on the Excellent Liberation
Listen: Amazon Music Unlimited | Apple Music | Spotify | Tidal

Mike Shinoda, Post Traumatic
Nearly a year after the death of his co-pilot Chester Bennington, Linkin Park MC Mike Shinoda emerges solo from the wreckage. A work of unflinching hip-hop catharsis, Post Traumatic unpacks social mores around grief. Tenderly crafted hooks and assists from K.Flay and Deftones’ Chino Moreno help soften the purge. Suzy Exposito
Read Our Feature: Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda Opens Up About Life After Chester Bennington
Listen: Amazon Music Unlimited | Apple Music | Spotify | Tidal

Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, Hope Downs
“Every amp tone on this album is just sweet enough, every jangling rhythm hits exactly where it should,” Simon Vozick-Levinson writes in his review of this “perfectly pitched guitar-pop” outfit’s full-length debut. “Rolling Blackouts are playing an old game, but they’re damned good at it.”
Read Our Review: Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever’s Indie-Rock Marvel Hope Downs
Listen: Amazon Music Unlimited | Apple Music | Bandcamp | Spotify | Tidal

Sophie, Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides
The first proper album from the Scottish “virtual-insanity innovator” runs the electropop gamut, writes Christopher R. Weingarten, incorporating “singer-songwriter fare in the age of Ableton, vaporwave and Mica Levi movie scores”; pop songs “filtered through the lens of video game music, anime, stadium EDM and some AutoTune that flies and flaps around the scale like an inflatable outside a car dealership”; and “the flighty vocal tics of Nineties R&B stars Mary J. Blige and Mariah Carey.” 
Read Our Review: Sophie’s Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides Is An Avant-Pop Gem
Listen: Amazon Music Unlimited | Apple Music | Tidal

Rico Nasty, Nasty
Hip-hop’s Internet-mediated underground currently teems with talented women like Maryland MC Rico Nasty. While her debut mixtape for Atlantic Records doesn’t feel like a major creative breakthrough, it’s a solid introduction to a dynamic, hard-charging voice in what Rico herself dubs “sugar trap.” She raps with adrenalized passion on the Blocboy JB-assisted “In The Air” and freestyles with vigor over N.O.R.E.’s “Superthug” beat on “Countin’ Up,” evoking the spirit of vintage Crime Mob and Gangsta Boo. She takes time out to be playful, too, dropping subtly funny ad-libs like a verse-punctuating “Duhhh?” Nasty has a lot of raps about the power of pussy, naturally, but one wishes that she’d shift gears more often, like when she unfurls a cool, provocative whisper on “Pressing Me.” Mosi Reeves
Listen: Amazon Music Unlimited | Apple Music | Spotify | Tidal

Petal, Magic Gone
Kiley Lotz has a voice like a bell, one that holds on to its strength and resonance even when she’s singing of knotty emotions like those that dominate her second full-length as Petal. Magic Gone opens with the anxious-musician chronicle “Better Than You,” which frames the Scranton-born songwriter’s rock-life zingers (“You stay out so late/Just to build connection/They say, ‘Hey, man you were great,'” she eye-rolls at the outset) in fuzzed-out guitars and rumbling basslines. One by one, though, the effects fall away as Lotz works what sounds like her last nerve – “God, will they love me if I am honest?” she wails over an acoustic guitar on “Carve” – while grappling with adulthood and loss. “Stardust,” which closes out the album, is a happy ending of sorts, opening with a pillowy piano arpeggio. As Lotz slowly arrives at the realization that goodbyes can be gestures of love, an instrumental clamor rises up around her, propelling her toward wherever life might take her next. Maura Johnston
Listen: Amazon Music Unlimited | Apple Music | BandcampSpotify | Tidal

Melody’s Echo Chamber, Bon Voyage
French musician Melody Prochet – a yé-yé star for the micro-dose generation – reinvents her Melody’s Echo Chamber project on this second LP, trading her former Aussie wingman Kevin “Tame Impala” Parker (who helped bake her 2013 debut, a sugar-crusted psychedelic brioche) for a Swedish team including Reine Fiske and Gustav Ejstes of “progg” rockers Dungen and pop prankster Fredrik Swahn. The results are just as heady, but less blurred and more eclectic; check the flute solo and samba-jazz groove on “Cross My Heart” and the screaming Arabic funk of “Desert Horse,” two gems in a bright new crown. Will Hermes
Listen: Amazon Music Unlimited | Apple Music | BandcampSpotify | Tidal

Palberta, Roach Goin’ Down
Over the course of seven releases since 2013, Brooklyn/Philly trio Palberta have finessed a unique brand of rubberband punk that combines the demented melodies of the Residents, the harmonies of indie rock girl-groups like Tiger Trap, and a broken Captain Beefheart shuffle, usually in two minutes or less. Like 2016’s Bye Bye Berta, the groups fourth album is a no-wave juggernaut, the band moving closer to Wire or Minutemen territory as they tighten up as a group – but doing so via songs about sitting and thinking (“Roach Goin’ Down,” “Big Box Inn”) or about being Palberta (“Palberta”). Two concessions to pop are highlights: “Sound of the Beat” is a 65-second rasper that plays like the Go-Gos with an itch for guitar noise; “Rich Boy” is a dissonant, 72-second, gender-fucked cover of Hall and Oates’ “Rich Girl” with a saxophone-skronk solo. Christopher R. Weingarten
Listen: Amazon Music Unlimited | Apple Music | BandcampSpotify | Tidal

R+R=Now, Collagically Speaking
Once upon a time, the main currency of jazz was a soloist’s improvisational flow; today, it’s all about collective vibe. That principle plays out in handsomely chill fashion on the debut from new all-star ensemble R+R=Now, which doubles as a statement of purpose for a new generation of jazzers. If you’ve been following this movement, you’ll recognize many of the names here – including keyboardist-bandleader Robert Glasper, trumpeter Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, synth players Terrace Martin (the alto saxophonist on To Pimp a Butterfly) and Taylor McFerrin, and bassist Derrick Hodge – as well as the album’s lush, roomy sound. Singing, rapping and spoken-word float through these tracks, as do soulful improvs from Adjuah, Glasper and others, but what lingers is the overall aura: a no-seams-showing blend of jazz, R&B and hip-hop, with a spontaneous “3 a.m. in the studio” feel. Hank Shteamer
Listen: Amazon Music Unlimited | Apple Music | Spotify | Tidal

Gin Blossoms, Mixed Reality
Robin Wilson’s high tenor cut through Nineties radio like a clarion, and it remains fully intact on Gin Blossoms’ first album in eight years. That’s no easy win for the band, who marked the 25th anniversary of their breakout New Miserable Experience last year and have been soldiering on since. Here, they team up with producers Don Dixon and Mitch Easter (R.E.M.) to craft an especially jangly and lo-fi batch of songs ­– which is saying something for a group that never met an open chord it didn’t like. “Still Some Room in Heaven” highlights the band’s breezy sound; “Angels Fly” sounds like an Experience outtake; and the sharp “Fortunate Street” comes straight out of the garage. The Gin Blossoms’ magic, however, has always been in deceptively upbeat arrangements that mask melancholy lyrics: “I don’t know how to help you/There’s no one left to lie to,” sings Wilson in “New Mexico Trouble,” proof the band remains as conflicted as ever. Joseph Hudak
Listen: Amazon Music Unlimited | Apple Music | BandcampSpotify | Tidal

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