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10 New Albums to Stream Now: Kacey Musgraves, the Weeknd and More Rolling Stone Editors’ Picks

Kacey Musgraves’ “space country,” the Weeknd’s surprise EP, the Voidz’ sprawling second album and more albums to stream now

Kacey Musgraves, Golden Hour
The upstart singer’s third album blends country’s twang with electronica’s dreaminess, a sound she refers to as “space country.” “It would be really hard for me to label this as just a country album,” Musgraves told Rolling Stone. “The goal for this record was to sound great when you’re sitting there at 2:00 a.m. thinking about everything. It’s a melting pot of many different influences that have come together. I’ve always loved Sade, but I also love Dolly Parton and traditional country music. I thought there’s got to be a world where all these things can live together harmoniously – a place where futurism meets traditionalism. I still love steel guitar and banjo, but I thought it would be dope if we put that with a vocoder and explored that world.”
Read Our Feature: Kacey Musgraves on Why She Calls Her Golden Hour Album “Space Country”
Hear: Amazon Music Unlimited | Apple Music | Spotify | Tidal

Weeknd

The Weeknd, My Dear Melancholy,
The Canadian miserablist splits the difference between the murky vibes of his earliest mixtapes and the pop formalism that’s defined his slew of hits on this surprise-release EP, which features collaborators like Daft Punk’s Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo, Skrillex and “Black Skinhead” producer Gesaffelstein. 
Hear: Amazon Music Unlimited | Apple Music | Spotify | Tidal

Ashley McBryde, Girl Going Nowhere
On her rollicking, rock-tinged debut, this Nashville-based, Arkansas-born songwriter tells stories of dive bars and county fairs; “Livin’ Next to Leroy” depicts the rural meth epidemic. “In country music, we spend a lot of time talking about beer and having fun and bonfires, but there’s a big meth problem with our listeners and our companions, and it deserves to be spoken about,” McBryde told Rolling Stone. “There is this great party side to being from a rural area and from being in country music, but there’s also this other animal that exists among us all the time. A secret gets bigger and nastier the longer you don’t talk about it. The sooner you do talk about it, it can become a shadow of what it once was.”
Read Our Feature: Ashley McBryde on New Album: “Country Fans Have Been Spoon-Fed Music for Years”
Hear: Amazon Music Unlimited | Apple Music | Spotify | Tidal

The Voidz, Virtue
The second album from Strokes frontman Julian Casablancas’ other band “is a sprawling, unpredictable mess that finds beauty and sometimes depth by looking for it everywhere,” writes Josh Modell. “Like 2014’s Tyranny, it sounds like the work of a dozen different bands that happen to share a singer; unlike Tyranny, Virtue doesn’t seem deliberately off-putting.”
Read Our Review: On New LPs From the Voidz and Albert Hammond Jr., Two Strokes Go Their Own Way
Hear: Amazon Music Unlimited | Apple Music | Spotify | Tidal

Czarface, MF Doom

Czarface and MF Doom, Czarface Meets Metal Face
An all-star session with three old-school MCs – Wu-Tang Clan’s high-minded Inspectah Deck, Boston’s pop-culture Cuisinart Esoteric and the mysterious masked wordsmith MF Doom – going full tilt over nineties boom-bap by 7L in a comic-book-inspired narrative that lets the rappers trip, rip and weave. Namechecks include Willis Reed, Gordon Heywood, Mike Pence, Sufjan Stevens and Kenny Chesney. It may not cohere as narrative, but it’s a fun ride. Will Hermes
Hear: Amazon Music Unlimited | Apple Music | Spotify | Tidal

Jean Grae & Quelle Chris, Everything’s Fine
Everything’s Fine marks the re-emergence of Jean Grae, a near-legendary figure in underground rap – she hasn’t issued a major project since 2008’s criminally underrated Jeanius. Her collaboration with partner Quelle Chris is reminiscent of the latter’s fuzzily constructed lo-fi suites, from the noisy feedback loop of “Scoop of Dirt” to the ruddy, demented P-funk of “House Call.” But Grae, who calls herself “Frizzy hair, bookworm, but still street smart” on “Gold Purple Orange,” is arguably one of the best bar-for-bar rap vocalists of her generation. She brings a sharp edge to this quirky suite that satirizes post-millennial, post-Trumpocalypse anxieties, and delves into conspiratorial rants about blonde Kanye and the Koch brothers on “The Smoking Man.” “You miss me? You should have bought the catalog, stupid,” raps Grae on “Zero,” as in “zero fucks to give.” Mosi Reeves
Hear: Amazon Music Unlimited | Apple Music | BandcampSpotify | Tidal

Bettye LaVette, Things Have Changed
The soul singer’s collection of Dylan covers “is tradition-based music that extends the heritage it draws from,” writes Joe Levy. “This album is more hers – more personal and reflective of her wicked ways, sly humor and battle-tested wisdom – than any she’s made. Consider Dylan a jumping off point for LaVette – a way of drawing power and focusing attention until she can take the time she needs to describe the world the way it feels to her: a tangle of longing, lust, struggle and hard-won satisfaction.”
Read Our Feature: Bettye LaVette on Interpreting Bob Dylan: “I Had to Go to Bed With These Songs”
Read Our Review: Bettye LaVette Dives Deep Into Bob Dylan Songbook on Things Have Changed
Hear: Amazon Music Unlimited | Apple Music | Spotify | Tidal

Sam Morrow, Concrete and Mud

Sam Morrow, Concrete and Mud
This Angeleno offers a West Coast take on country music on his third album, but Concrete and Mud‘s vibe is less sunshine and palm trees and more in line with the hard surfaces and grit of its album title. In the pulsing, clavinet-assisted “Quick Fix” and the swaggering album opener “Heartbreak Man,” Morrow pairs his brawny voice and tales of life at the margins with brittle funk grooves and greasy slide guitar licks. He incorporates some psychedelic tones in the sprawling jam “Paid by the Mile” and the murder ballad “The Weight of a Stone,” delivering a subtly chilling vocal performance on the latter. Fellow SoCal country singer Jaime Wyatt joins him on the rollicking gambler saga “Skinny Elvis,” a nod to the King as well as to the classic duet style of Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris. When the Golden State’s notoriously gorgeous weather comes up in the ballad “San Fernando Sunshine,” it comes from the perspective of someone who’s been struggling to catch a break in Los Angeles, where the glitz and glamour always seem just a bit out of reach. Jon Freeman
Hear: Amazon Music Unlimited | Apple Music | Spotify | Tidal

Joan Shelley, Rivers & Vessels
This EP benefiting Kentucky Waterways Alliance is an overdue covers set by Shelley, a folk-style singer/songwriter with one of the loveliest voices in music and whose influences flicker brightly in her work. Highlights include a reverential take on Nick Drake’s reverent “Time Has Told Me” and a duet version of Dolly Parton’s suicide tale “The Bridge” that features country connoisseur and frequent Shelley wingman Will Oldham. Will Hermes
Hear: Apple Music | BandcampSpotify | Tidal

Mary Halvorson, Code Girl
Halvorson’s a guitar hero with a vernacular both refined and weird. Her new project, a quintet with impressionistic trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire and polyglot-powerhouse vocalist Amirtha Kidambi, is almost an indie-rock band, dishing up abstracted bursts of metal (the crushing power chords and tortured horn-screams on “In the Second Before”; Kidambe’s deathly croak on “Pretty Mountain”) and ragged singer-songwriter emotionalism (the raw “Accurate Hit”). Halvorson’s digitized bent-notes and melody lines curlicue like errant bottle rockets, and her lyrics, via Kidambi, address the challenge of love in code, its usual language. Will Hermes
Hear: Amazon Music Unlimited | Apple Music | Bandcamp | Spotify | Tidal

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