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15 New Albums to Stream Now: Elle King, Esperanza Spalding and More Editors’ Picks

Rolling Stone’s editors pick the best albums to stream this week, including Jason Isbell, Neneh Cherry, and the ‘Halloween’ soundtrack

esperanza spalding elle king albums to stream this week

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EDITORS’ PICK: Elle King, Shake the Spirit
“Whereas fellow retro-loving diva Lana Del Rey played the coy, gothy California dreamer, King came on like a butt-kicking rocker-heroine wailing through her pain,” writes Christopher R. Weingarten. “Turns out, she was living that drama too. King spent the years since her initial success dealing with the fallout of a short, secret, troubled marriage, a subsequent divorce, substance abuse and rehab. You can hear her map out her story, lyrically, as her impressive second album progresses. At the start of the LP, she’s the venomous man-eater of songs like ‘Shame’ (‘Trouble’s what you need/That’s what you getting with me’), ‘Baby Outlaw’ (‘Pity the man that stands in my way/I’m a nightmare even in the day’) and ‘Man’s Man’ (‘Oh, and by the way/While you were away/I fucked somebody on our one-year wedding anniversary day’). The back end of the record, however, is more regretful, fitting a down-to-earth Americana sound created by King and her five-piece rock band, the Brethren. … The sound is vintage, the hard-won swagger is brave and brand-new.”
Read Our Review:
Elle King’s Shake the Spirit is a Raw Revelation

Esperanza Spalding12 Little Spells
The bassist/vocalist/composer “is well over a decade into one of the most fruitful and strikingly original careers in contemporary pop,” writes Hank Shteamer. “Her new LP favors a slightly dreamier aesthetic (see the gorgeous, overture-like opener ’12 Little Spells,’ dedicated to the thoracic spine). But there’s still music here that will make your head spin with its exquisite intergenre oddity.”
Read Our Review: Esperanza Spalding’s Strikingly Original 12 Little Spells

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Live From the Ryman
Culled from Isbell’s recent run at country’s Mother Church, these lucky 13 songs — among them the higher-power meditation “24 Frames,” the love song-slash-sobriety pledge “Cover Me Up” and the gut-punch cancer narrative “Elephant” — don’t suggest chance so much as exacting craft. The 400 Unit shines hard, particularly Amanda Shires’ cutlass fiddle. But everything serves the songs, fittingly — they’re among the finest of the past decade in any genre. Will Hermes

Queen, Bohemian Rhapsody (The Original Soundtrack)
Don’t worry — you don’t have to hear Rami Malek sing. Instead, the soundtrack to the Mr. Robot-starring Freddie Mercury biopic  mostly compiles original versions of Queen’s greatest hits. What makes the latest collection interesting, though, are the bits in between the hits. Unless you’re a diehard, the live versions of “Keep Yourself Alive,” “Fat Bottomed Girls” and “Now I’m Here” sound fresh and crisp (the “Love of My Life” sing-along, from Rock in Rio 1985, is the standout), as do the bits from the band’s triumphant Live Aid performance. Queen’s remaining members reformed precursor band Smile to record the sweet, light, multi-movement rocker “Doing All Right … Revisited” with original vocalist Tim Staffell (the band’s signature harmonies are intact), while guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor’s approximation of the “20th Century Fox Theme” is amusing. A new version of “Don’t Stop Me Now” contains a new guitar line that approximates May’s live performances (though the original’s is livelier). The only throwaway is the “movie mix” of “We Will Rock You,” which combines the studio version with a live recording. But for the most part, this soundtrack is a fun, unretouched tribute to Queen’s musical genius. Kory Grow

John Carpenter, Halloween: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Forty years ago, filmmaker John Carpenter dreamt up the eerie, off-kilter title music for Halloween on the fly. It was never his goal to be a composer — he was just a young director with a shoestring budget. But over the past five years he has become a practically full-time musician, releasing two Lost Themes albums with his son Cody and godson Daniel Davies. The trio’s latest release is the music to a Halloween sequel that was good enough for Carpenter to give it his blessing. The music is icier, more gothic and more textured than that of the original. The main theme gets a disco beat and echoes here and there, but the trio really shines when it steps out of Michael Myers’ looming shadow. “The Shape Hunts Allyson” mixes a chilling keyboard line with deep, gut-checking atmospherics possibly made from bowed guitar. “Michael’s Goodbye” is a heavy-metal crusher full of light and shade. And the seven-and-half-minute “Halloween Triumphant” spins the original theme on its masked head with throbbing synths, echoey rhythms, rock guitar and mood for days. It’s incredible to hear what Carpenter can do without having to worry about all that pesky directing. Kory Grow
Read Our John Carpenter Interview: Look, John Carpenter Just Wants to Make Music, OK? 
Read Our Feature: The Devil and Jamie Lee Curtis
Read Peter Travers’ Review: A Slasher-Movie Reboot for the #MeToo Era

Will Oldham, Songs Of Love and Horror
The audio companion to Oldham’s new lyrics compendium of the same name contains 12 songs, tenderly laid bare with voice and acoustic guitar. It’s a winning approach for a guy rooted in folk style, yet possessing an almost Sinatra-esque phrasing mastery. There are songs which have defined Oldham (the Johnny Cash-certified “I See a Darkness”), deep catalog items (“The Way”) and, of course, curveballs, among them an acapella cover of Richard Thompson’s “Strange Affair” with an even bleaker vision than the original, and a bit of lusty, lo-fi, surf’s-up existentialism called “Party With Marty (Abstract Blues).” Even dude’s knock-offs land like keepers. Will Hermes

Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross, Mid90s (Original Music From the Motion Picture)
In the mid Nineties, Trent Reznor was rock’s preeminent enfant terrible — a figure in black (down to the fingernails) who covered himself in mud, sang “I wanna fuck you like an animal” and midwifed Marilyn Manson into the world. A quarter of a century later, he’s an Oscar-winning film composer (and still a threatening, vibrant force of nature when he gets onstage). The score he composed for Jonah Hill’s Mid90s with fellow Nine Inch Nail Atticus Ross couldn’t be farther aesthetically from Nine Inch Nails’ mid Nineties. Its four short and surprisingly sweet mood pieces are marked by idyllic piano playing, Eno-esque ambiance and tremulant, fluttering sound effects. The closer, “Further Along,” is a great stand-alone instrumental, full of light and shade and singed atmospherics; “Big Wide World” is a beautiful piano ballad. Divorced from Hill’s characters’ wild antics, Mid90s a great standalone piece by Reznor and Ross, who seem to revel in stretching their wings beyond the icy soundscapes they created for The Social Network and Gone Girl. Kory Grow
Read Peter Travers’ Review: Jonah Hill’s Skaterat Coming-of-Age Movie

Trending Tropics, Trending Tropics
This collaboration between Calle 13’s “beats-whiz” Visitante and Dominican singer Vicente Garcia is “a wonderfully madcap album with impeccable sequencing,” writes Elias Leight. “Vocalists cycle in and out — [Ana] Tijoux, rapping with flinty grace; Wiso G, exclaiming furiously; Garcia himself, selling ‘The Farm’ with a heady hook. Visitante and Garcia are remarkably uninterested in repeating themselves, so the backdrops change as often as the singers: A snatch of salsa transforms into a half-time hip-hop beat; a club-ready thump joins racing surf-rock; a synth hints at electrocumbia while a guitar riffs on ska. To keep everything tight, Trending Tropics also work with an overarching concept: 21st century humans might be overly dependent on technology. You can read more about that in the news, but you won’t have half as much fun.”Read Our Review: Calle 13’s Visitante Reemerges With Wonderfully Madcap Trending Tropics Album

Neneh Cherry, Broken Politics
After a pop-star stint (see 1988’s “Buffalo Stance”), Neneh Cherry has followed her musical obsessions — rap, jazz, deep club jams — down more interesting paths. This low-key set does the same, addressing our global shitshow with heartfelt ruminations and resolve. Cohorts include U.K. beat artisans Four Tet and Massive Attack’s Robert Del Naja, who jointly shape “Kong,” a King Tubby-sampling dub session that free-associates about love, guns, and history. As social media crack-hits drive everyone mad, these downtempo warrior cries feel both radical and sustaining. Will Hermes

Jessie Reyez, Being Human In Public
The Colombian-Canadian singer’s second EP “further stakes out her musical range, with her singular voice and smoldering passion tying together delicate balladry, boastful trap-pop and sorrowful synth malaise,” writes Maura Johnston.

How to Dress Well, The Anteroom
In the period between Tom Krell’s fourth and fifth albums, the “directness” of 2016’s Care “curdled into something more concrete and savage, a sensation Krell likens to being ‘shredded, truly, on the heights of despair,'” writes Elias Leight. “Gone along with 21st-century ‘amorphousness’ is Care‘s clean production style. … In its place: screeches and scratches, itchy noises, agitated lyrics full of violent imagery (self-mutilation, ‘rotting flesh,’ ‘break my skull’). Electronics have always been at the core of How to Dress Well, but now they’re molded in the manner of producers lumped together as “experimental” — Krell’s mix of influences released in the run-up to The Anteroom includes Lotic and Peder Mannerfelt — and borrowed from the more utilitarian world of techno.”
Read Our Review: How to Dress Well Returns to Distortion on The Anteroom

Raheem DeVaughn, Decade of a Love King
The soul singer’s sixth full-length summons the anything-goes spirit of his mixtapes, blending old-school soul and new-generation R&B with bravado while staying focused on the important subjects: Love, sex and romance. “Wifey” is gorgeous psych-soul that features a drowsy synth winding around DeVaughn’s proclamations of fealty; “Love Sex Passion” channels Camille-era Prince and Kaleidoscope Dream-era Miguel, its guitar filigrees tantalizingly playing off DeVaughn’s screwed-down and pitched-up voice; and “#BFF” pairs anxious snares with blooming electro sprites, their regimented rhythms allowing DeVaughn to showcase his formidable ad-libbing skills. Maura Johnston

Phony Ppl, mō’zā-ik
The progressive R&B group’s sixth album — and first to receive a physical release — is “a commercially assured flow of progressive soul and art-rock reach,” writes David Fricke, “from the seductive hip-hop of ‘Before You Get a Boyfriend’ to ‘Think Your Mind,’ which has the home-demo feel of early-Seventies Paul McCartney. ‘Move Her Mind’ suggests Stevie Wonder running a Steely Dan session; ‘Way Too Far’ sounds like Radiohead conspiring with the rhythm-box-fixated Sly Stone of There’s a Riot Goin’ On.”
Read Our Feature: Phony Ppl: Rise of a Progressive Soul Force

Open Mike EagleWhat Happens When I Try to Relax
Since releasing his widely acclaimed autobiographical work Brick Body Kids Still Daydream last fall, this Chicago-born MC has launched a side gig as an amateur wrestler and has continued to develop his forthcoming Comedy Central series The New Negroes. He’s aware of his growing cult fame as a black nerd icon: on “Southside Eagle,” he brags that he’s ballin’ like a member of the 1993 Chicago Bulls, adding, “I’m getting bread, but I’m still living in the red” — maximizing an audience with an “independent hustle” that will never approach Post Malone levels or even get him out of financial debt. With a quirky flow that can shift between a singsong lilt and a sly, sarcastic tone, the L.A.-based rapper threads a line between mockery and self-deprecation, especially on bizarre tracks like “Single Ghosts,” which describes an affair with a dead person over a synth-horror beat. But Open Mike Eagle is more Pagliacci than insult comic: when he raps “Vampires don’t fuck with my genius” on “Microfiche,” he’s more likely to indict himself than a rap industry that underrates his talent. Mosi Reeves

Rubén Blades with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Una Noche con Rubén Blades
“Rubén Blades is a living legend,” writes Suzy Exposito. “Following a 2017 collaboration with Lin-Manuel Miranda, as well as Salsa Big Band, his 2017 album with Roberto Delgado & Orquesta, Blades reiterates his reign as the King of Salsa with Una Noche con Rubén Blades. The album was recorded live in 2014 with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, in New York City’s Rose Theater. There Blades performed some of his most treasured hits from over the last four decades, including “Pedro Navaja” and “El Cantante.” Lead single “Ban Ban Quere” first debuted in percussionist Ray Baretto’s 1975 album, Barretto; Blades revives this classic song with dizzying arrangements by renowned Orchestra bassist, Carlos Henriquez. Orchestra trumpeter Wynton Marsalis ramps up the song’s apex with a blazing solo, ascending higher and higher until the brass emits a resounding shriek.”
Read Our Interview: Hear Salsa King Rubén Blades Perform ‘Ban Ban Quere’ Live in Upcoming LP

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