×
Home Music Music News

15 Albums to Stream Now: Robyn, Thom Yorke and More Rolling Stone Editors’ Picks

We pick the best new albums to stream this week, including Daughters, Say Lou Lou, and Joji

Robyn, Thom Yorke

Robyn, Thom Yorke

Heji Shin, Greg Williams

EDITORS’ PICK: Robyn, Honey
Following a rough patch in her personal life with her first album in eight years, Robyn relaxes the tempos and relentless hook-slinging to let healing, rapturous dancefloor grooves take over. Her beats are more seductive and experimental, the reverence for classic disco and house more explicit, the bliss more redemptive. It’s a perfect night of clubbing reimagined as a very artful pop record. Will Hermes
Read Our Feature: Robyn Reborn
Read Our Review: Robyn Lets the Grooves Take Over on the Excellent Honey

Thom Yorke, Suspiria (Music for the Luca Guadagnino Film)
“Yorke’s soundtrack for the new remake of the cult-classic Seventies horror flick Suspiria isn’t a film score in the way that, say, his bandmate Jonny Greenwood’s avant-orchestral opuses for There Will Be Blood and Phantom Thread are film scores,” writes Simon Vozick-Levinson. “Nor is it a proper sequel to either of his own solo albums, 2006’s The Eraser and 2014’s Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes (an underrated triumph that he’s finally touring widely in the U.S. next month). Instead, he’s recorded an 81-minute grab bag of witching-hour instrumentals, strange grunts ‘n’ gurgles, creepy monk chants — and, every so often, a drop-dead gorgeous song. ‘Suspirium’ is a radium-glow piano ballad that would have fit in nicely on Radiohead’s most recent album; the jazzy soul of ‘Unmade’ and the trip-hop shiver of ‘Has Ended’ are even more surprising, carrying welcome echoes of Yorke and co.’s brilliant Amnesiac-era B-sides.”
Read Our Review: Thom Yorke Mixes Haunting Instrumentals and Gorgeous Songs on Suspiria

Joji, Ballads 1
“If you know George Miller primarily as the shock-comedy expert who helped make Baauer’s ‘Harlem Shake’ go viral with a series of puerile hip thrusts in 2013, his new album under the name Joji might be evidence of one of the greatest transformations in modern pop culture,” writes Elias Leight. “Ballads 1 is elegiac and prettily pout-faced. Miller used to make you cringe; Joji makes you cry. … He appears to have mastered a particular kind of self-deprecating pop. ‘Give me reasons we should be complete,’ he wails on ‘Slow Dancing in the Dark,’ before deciding to cut his losses and bow out of the discussion — ‘You should be with him, I can’t compete.'”

The Kinks, The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society (Deluxe Edition)
The Kinks’ quaint, baroque commercial bomb gets its due in a comprehensive box set that features every single track the band could dig up from the period: the album in stereo and mono (go with the mono), non-LP singles, outtakes, demos, BBC recordings, vintage interviews. The album was Ray Davies’ spry, personal love letter to postwar Britain at a time when old shops were being bulldozed in favor of ugly new buildings and people were switching from wooden kegs to metal ones for their draught beer. Songs like the existentially angsty “Animal Farm,” the wistful “Do You Remember Walter?” and the quirky “People Take Pictures of Each Other” are among the best Davies ever wrote. Although a lot of this material has come out over the years in various forms, the remastering sounds crisp and it’s great to have the album’s songs next to singles like “Days” and “Wonderboy,” as well as the upbeat radio recordings the band made. The physical box set adds all sorts of goodies, including a book with a tribute from the Who’s Pete Townshend in it. It’s an act of preservation worthy of the Kinks. Kory Grow
Read Our Feature: The Kinks’ ‘Village Green’ LP at 50: ‘That’s the Story of Our Lives’

Daughters, You Won’t Get What You Want
This art-noise conglomerate was one of the grisliest, most intense groups to emerge from the underground metal scene when it fell apart in 2009. But what set Daughters apart was the unnerving nature of their menace — you truly didn’t know what frontman Alexis Marshall might say or do. The band regrouped five years ago and have tweaked their sound slightly; You Won’t Get What You Want is a slow build rather than a shrieking onslaught, but it still has an inherent sense of danger. The band’s most obvious influences (chiefly Jesus Lizard and the Birthday Party) are still present, but they’ve been transmogrified through electronics, tribal drumming and Marshall’s meandering moans. On “Long Road No Turns,” the music seems to melt around Marshall’s voice as he sings about shackled wrists; “The Reason They Hate Me” is a lumbering, industrial dance song; “Guest House” is a percussion showcase that adds one texture over another as Marshall sings, “Let me in.” If heavy music is supposed to be scary, Daughters have elevated it to an invigorating new level. Kory Grow

Say Lou Lou, Immortelle
Swedish-Australian twins Elektra and Miranda Kilbey ditched their label deal and holed up in the Los Angeles hills to make their second album, which embraces a bigger-is-better vision of gloomy pop. The sisters’ icy, multilayered blood harmonies hover above the wah-wah guitar and strutting beat of “Golden Child,” while the funereal beat on their flip of The Church’s New Wave classic “Under the Milky Way” adds extra pathos to its lyrical longing. Maura Johnston

Georgia Anne Muldrow, Overload
Over the years, this gifted Los Angeles singer-producer-multi-instrumentalist has collaborated with Erykah Badu, Sa-Ra Creative Partners and Madlib, so it’s no surprise that her latest full-length is packed full of unflappable funk. The simmering melody in “Vital Transformation” distantly echoes Janet Jackson’s “Any Time, Any Place,” with Muldrow using its backdrop to encourage resistance to the social-media-industrial-complex: “Life is too short to have alternate selves.” And “You Can Always Count On Me,” a rework of the Gap Band’s “These Are the Things I Like About You,” has sterling harmonies and possibly the sludgiest bass work on an album full of sludgy bass work. Elias Leight

Whitey Morgan, Hard Times and White Lines
“At this point, the honky tonk formula is battle-tested and mostly impregnable; stick to the rules, and you’re bound to come out with something solid,” writes Elias Leight. “Whitey Morgan has quietly been a leading modern practitioner of the form, even though he comes from Michigan, not Nashville, and he has not been appointed a savior of tradition by the increasingly powerful Americana lobby. Over the course of three albums, especially 2010’s Whitey Morgan and the 78’s, he covered the usual topics — breaking laws, breaking hearts and various forms of alcohol-assisted tomfoolery — with rumbling authority as his drummer thwacked away and his bassist laid down plump, swinging riffs. This is also the stuff of Morgan’s latest. His voice, always on the low and resonant end of the spectrum, appears to have gained even more bottom-of-the-barrel qualities.”

Ian Sweet, Crush Crusher
“The first thing that strikes you about Ian Sweet’s bright, bracing noise-pop is the tension between Jilian Medford’s diminutive voice and the huge, candied tumult she’s creating and hurling her voice into, and against,” writes Jon Dolan. “It gives off the feeling of someone being transported, or falling into or maybe even being drowned by forces they can’t hope to control, or make sense of. Her lyrics fit that feeling: ‘I forgot myself in you,’ she sings on ‘Hiding,’ which opens the band’s second LP, fending off the feeling of losing her own identity. Later, she tells someone, ‘you’ll go,’ against swirling distortion, ‘and I’ll get swallowed by someone else’s spit.’ What emerges is an old story: anxiety is everywhere, life is a mess, but there’s always healing waves of static and hiss to fall into and become brand new.”
Read Our Review: The Indie-Pop Ecstasy of Ian Sweet’s Crush Crusher

Kaia Kater, Grenades
The folk singer’s new album looks at her Canadian-Grenadian heritage through stylistically varied songs peppered with spoken-word interludes by her father. “[Grenades is an] exploration of my history, and of my dad being a refugee, and the idea of feeling a little bit displaced, as I think a lot of hyphenated Canadians do,” she told Rolling Stone. “It was an album that was about processing a lot of what I was going through musically and about being at peace with my history. Being more at peace with being biracial, with being a hyphenated Canadian. It was about finding strength in that, rather than seeing it as a weakness or as a failure.”
Read Our Feature: Kaia Kater Embraces Her Identity on New Album Grenades

Pill, Soft Hell
The New York band’s No Wave-inspired spin on punk confronts the status quo with jagged guitars and searing, ripped-from-the-headlines lyrics. “As a society, the more we make ourselves aware of those complications, the better,” guitarist Jon Campolo told Rolling Stone. “We need to be more self-aware of what the fuck we’ve built.”
Read Our Feature: Pill Use Punk Noise to Fight Complacency

Draco Rosa, Monte Sagrado
“This is rock & roll as near-death experience. And it is an eerie thrill,” writes David Fricke. “Rosa’s raw vocal and open fear here — and throughout Monte Sagrado — evoke the howl and urgency of the late Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell. The difference: Cornell, who died last year at 52, finally lost his grip on hope, family and prescription medication. Rosa, at 48, is a survivor of the teen-idol meat factory, Menudo; the dangerous side effects of that success in drug hell and alcoholism; and two recent, close calls with cancer. On Monte Sagrado, he is still writing and singing at the precipice, reporting from the void.”
Read Our Feature: To Hell and Back: Draco Rosa on Menudo, Beating Cancer and New Album
Read Our Review: Draco Rosa Indulges His Dark Side in Comeback LP, Monte Sagrado

Rudy Royston, Flatbed Buggy
The basic instrumentation of jazz hasn’t changed much in around 70 years, so even small tweaks can make a band stand out. For his third LP, Rudy Royston — whose crisp, propulsive drumming has powered groups led by Bill Frisell, Dave Douglas and many others — opts for three uncommon timbres: Gary Versace’s accordion, John Ellis’ bass clarinet and Hank Roberts’ cello. Rounded out by Joe Martin on bass, the quintet conveys an array of earthy moods inspired by the leader’s Texas childhood. “boy…MAN” starts off sounding like an old spiritual, as Ellis shares a somber theme with Roberts’ bowed cello, but ends up as a funky stomp. “Bobblehead” features rambunctious swing, with Versace and Roberts trading playful phrases. Brief interludes like the back-porch-style “Hold My Mule,” which shows off the cellist’s twangy pizzicato work, heighten the album’s cinematic feel. “I want it to feel like there’s dust going on, on this record,” Royston says in a promo clip. The offbeat ensemble he’s assembled here helps him stir up plenty. Hank Shteamer

Shad, A Short Story About A War
This Canadian is an award-winning rapper in his homeland — his 2011 album TSOL earned a Juno for Rap Recording of the Year, beating out Drake’s Take Care. But in the U.S., he hadn’t drawn much notice until he began hosting Netflix’s rap history series Hip-Hop Evolution. His new album is typical of his thought-provoking work: It’s a concept piece about the ways in which humanity tears itself apart through conflict, whether physical, spiritual or economic, and creates environmental catastrophe in the process. The music is airy, ambitious and typical of Aughts orchestral pop-rap; one standout number is “The Fool (Pt. 2) (Water),” which matches a plaintive piano melody over a soulful rhythm and a vocal hook by guest Steven Mulcare. But the focus is on Shad’s words, and a plain-spoken flow that occasionally swerves into earnest spoken-word verse like “Intro: Sniper.” Another excellent cut is “Another Year,” where he trades rhymes with Ian Kamau and Eternia. Mosi Reeves

Eliza Shaddad, Future
This Londoner’s gauzy pop-grunge is a study in contrasts: It’s brooding yet insistent, with striding, hooky basslines covered in fuzzed-out riffs and guided by Shaddad’s quietly resolute alto. On the elegiac “Are You There?” Shaddad repeats the title phrase with increasing intensity as guitars spike outward, eventually entering into a duel with crashing drums; “Just Goes to Show” balances its rubbery low end with bright riffing that seems nearly cheerful, although the romantically pessimistic lyrics quickly dash those hopes; and “Your Core” increases its potency by letting the guitars recede here and there. A solid debut stuffed with songs that resemble late-autumn thunderclouds, dark and rumbling but with hints of light spilling out from behind. Maura Johnston

Newswire

Powered by
Close comments

Add a comment