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13 New Albums to Stream Now: Pistol Annies, Rosalía and More Editors’ Picks

We pick the best albums to stream this week, including music by Vince Staples, Metro Boomin, The Prodigy and David Lynch

Pistol Annies and Rosalia albums to stream this week

Pistol Annies and Rosalia

Donn Jones/Invision/AP/REX Shutterstock, Mariscal/EPA-EFE/REX Shutterstock

EDITOR’S PICK: Pistol AnniesInterstate Gospel
“The ethos of the Pistol Annies, who steep their classicist country — rife with despair and misfortune — in rootsy arrangements, has not been welcomed within the mainstream confines of the genre in some time,” writes Jonathan Bernstein. “The Pistol Annies’ solution? Doubling down on the roots-blend they’ve honed over the better part of the past decade, merging Ashley Monroe’s East TN bluegrass roots, Angaleena Presley’s hardscrabble Kentucky country-rock and Miranda Lambert’s Texas honky-tonk. On paper, the Annies’ latest, like its predecessors, focuses on the type of small-town domestic drama the group has become known for. Their songs are populated by men and women struggling with prescription medication, marriage, mid-life crises, malaise and marijuana. But unlike past efforts, where the narratives were mostly distant character sketches and the messy difficulties portrayed therein relied on a heavy dose of dark country humor, the songs on Interstate Gospel convey a much more intimate personal urgency. The result, from the housewife harmony blues on ‘Best Years of My Life’ to Lambert’s haunting post-divorce balladry on ‘Masterpiece,’ is a sharply-rendered sketch of bruised hearts and shaken souls that amounts to the group’s most moving work to date.”
Read Our Live Review: Pistol Annies Enthrall at Jubilant Ryman Auditorium Show

Rosalía, El Mal Querer
“Rosalía’s new album, El Mal Querer, is less rigorous than its predecessor, though even easier to like,” writes Elias Leight. “Under the careful guidance from producer Raul Refree, the Spanish singer’s debut, Los Ángeles, adhered more closely to the strictures of flamenco; El Mal Querer drifts more freely, demanding less understanding of a specific musical tradition, thanks in part to co-production from Pablo Díaz-Reixa, whom English listeners may know for the albums he released under the name El Guincho. As Rosalía sings staunch, trembling lines about jealousy and rapture and romantic torment, there are riptides of festival-ready electronic bass in ‘Pienso En Tu Mira’ and decaying lines of pitch-shifted vocals in ‘De Aqui No Sales’ — along with a vrooming motor, screeching car brakes and shrieking sirens. This one is primed to shred a club: During the song’s second half, Rosalía introduces a ghost of a four-on-the-floor kick drum and changes her singing style so her voice becomes yet another form of percussion. The song sure to attract the most attention Stateside is “Bagdad,” for the simple reason that it riffs on Justin Timberlake’s ‘Cry Me a River’ before leaping into pretty choral interplay. It’s a knowing track — aware that more people are ready to tune in and hungry to pique their interest.”
Read Our Review: Rosalía Stuns With El Mal Querer

Bob Dylan, More Blood, More Tracks
“Released on January 20th, 1975, Blood on the Tracks was many records – in conception, execution and rapid change of mind – on its way to canonization: Bob Dylan’s greatest album of the Seventies and, as much as the singer has denied it since, the most emotionally direct body of songs he has ever committed to a single LP,” writes David Fricke. “It was an album born amid a crisis of family, largely composed in retreat – on Dylan’s farm in Minnesota – and initially recorded in New York as his nine-year marriage to the former Sara Lowndes broke down. Blood on the Tracks was also saved, appropriately, by family. David Zimmerman, Dylan’s younger brother, arranged the last-minute sessions in Minneapolis with local musicians that became half of the final sequence. All but five of the 87 tracks on the six-CD super-forensic edition of More Blood, More Tracks comprise the entirety of Dylan’s sessions in mid-September, 1974 at A&R Studios – the former Columbia facility where he made his first albums a decade earlier – as he wrestles with the bones and language of his new songs, across a range of acute reflection and romantic turmoil … More Blood, More Tracks does not contradict the choices Dylan made on the way to Blood on the Tracks. It fills in his road to wisdom.”
Read Our Review: Bob Dylan’s More Blood, More Tracks is a Fascinating Deep Dive Into the Making of a Masterpiece

Vince Staples, FM!
“On FM!, Vince made a love letter to the radio,” writes Charles Holmes. “With his middle finger up, he proved he can sustain his version of glossy, hard-hitting, California rap over an entire project. Let’s hope it makes it to the airwaves.”
Read Our Review: Vince Staples Made an Album That Sounds Full of Hits

Poppy, Am I A Girl?
Is it possible for something to critique culture while being utterly of it? That’s one of the many questions posed by the YouTube brand-cum-pop star Poppy, whose second album takes on our current moment’s particular ills while also luxuriating in them—then freaks out just in time for things to end. For most of Am I A Girl?, Poppy’s friction-free voice glides over electro-pop textures while straight-facedly pointing out the absurdities of the day; “I am busy and important/ You wanna bill me for it?/ My love, that’s up to you” they coo over the burbles of opening track “In a Minute,” while “Aristocrat” skip-steps through a “Cheap Thrills”-echoing beat as Poppy spins a tale of sneaking into a party that features “an orchestra to drown out all the violence,” their dance moves skilled enough to not give away their class background. Tensions push and pull, and near the album’s end, they begin to seep out; the title track, in which Poppy questions their gender identity, has its glitterball beat slowly overtaken by ferocious guitars, and the final tracks—the Grimes collab “Play Destroy” and the see-sawing “X”—ping-pong between sugar-spun pop and marauding nu-metal, with Poppy shifting between sugar-spun coos and blood-craving snarls on the finale. As a song, it’s a treat for anyone interested in identifying the clear parallels between hyper-sweetened pop and balls-to-the-wall riffing; as a critique of the mental whipsawing one has to do in order to survive in 2018, it’s even more satisfying.  Maura Johnston

David Lynch and Angelo Badalamenti, Thought Gang
For more than a quarter century, filmmaker David Lynch and composer Angelo Badalamenti have been sitting on some of the most compellingly bizarre creations either had worked on — even by David Lynch’s standards. Now they’ve finally released Thought Gang, a project that has only previously surfaced on Lynch’s soundtrack to Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me and in the backgrounds of his works like Mulholland Drive and Inland Empire. A far cry from the hipster, cool jazz of Twin Peaks or the dreamy pop of their work with singer Julee Cruise, the record is a schizophrenic, free-jazz experiment in which Badalamenti played with a couple of jazz ensembles that tried to put Lynch’s fantastical scenes to music; the director would either give them a scenario to interpret (such as people driving to the desert where they witness aliens) for an instrumental or they’d complement his beat poetry, like “A Real Indication” or “Woodcutters From Fiery Ships,” which are both about deranged people in strange circumstances (like his films). It’s unpredictable and uneven but also strangely compelling and overwhelmingly Lynchian. It’s a whole new side to these two that you didn’t know you wanted. Kory Grow
Read Our Interview: David Lynch and Angelo Badalamenti on Their Wild Jazz Experiment

Charles Mingus, Jazz in Detroit / Strata Concert Gallery / 46 Selden
If you’re going by the bare facts alone, Jazz in Detroit — a new five-CD set of live recordings from a single night in February 1973 — is strictly for Charles Mingus completists. But what looks marginal on paper turns out to be sheer joy coming out of the speakers, thanks in large part to Mingus’ lesser-known yet enormously gifted sidemen. Saxophonist John Stubblefield, trumpeter Joe Gardner, drummer Roy Brooks and especially pianist Don Pullen, whose solos range from crisp bebop to cyclonic free jazz, fully inhabit the rich sound world of Mingus classics like “Pithecanthropus Erectus” and “Peggy’s Blue Skylight.” Supplemental broadcast material interspersed with the live performances sheds light on Detroit’s rich, overlooked jazz scene at the time. Jazz in Detroit might be aimed at die-hards, but the music is so strong that even listeners new to Mingus will feel right at home. Hank Shteamer
Read Our Review: Charles Mingus’ ‘Jazz in Detroit’ Sheds Light on an Overlooked Era

Roseanne Cash, She Remembers Everything
Cash is a literary writer — see her story collection, Bodies of Water, and memoir, Composed — and she goes deep on this set, sometimes conjuring autobiography (“Everyone But Me” involves the loss of a mother and father), and sometimes from third-person remove (the title track, resonant in light of #MeToo and the Kavanaugh hearings). Every human has daddy issues, and Cash’s, as the daughter of Johnny and June Carter Cash, are particular to life in a country music dynasty. But however much they inform her art, they don’t define it. Case in point: “8 Gods of Harlem,” which enlists Kris Kristofferson and Elvis Costello to round-robin verses of an inner-city eulogy. “We pray to the God/of collateral children,” sings Cash in hers, ghosted by headlines of police shootings and failed safety legislation. She’s a songsmith at the top of her game. Will Hermes

Metro BoominNot All Heroes Wear Capes
This isn’t Metro Boomin’s first solo endeavor: before he certified his reputation as the one of the best producers of his era, the Atlantan compiled 19 & Boomin in 2014. But that mixtape’s gaudy keyboard riffs pales in comparison to what sounds like a full-fledged, album quality showcase. From the murky cloud-rap loop that he extends a bit longer than expected before Travis Scott jumps on “Overdue,” to the orchestral keyboards he layers underneath Gucci Mane’s voice on “10AM / Save the World,” it’s clear that Boomin is showing off his studio chops with creative flourishes. The only problem is, like most big-budget rap producer albums, Not All Heroes Wear Capes is too dependent on uneven rap performances. The quality varies widely, with 21 Savage impressing on “Don’t Come Out the House” and underwhelming on “10 Freaky Girls”: a similar divide lies between Travis Scott’s “Overdue” and his blasé collab with Swae Lee on “Dreamcatcher.” Meanwhile, “Lesbian” may initially appear as yet another exercise in hip-hop misogyny, but is actually a compelling tale from Gunna and Young Thug about falling in love with women who probably won’t love them back. Mosi Reeves

Marianne Faithfull, Negative Capability
Beginning with 1979’s acrimonious Broken English, Marianne Faithfull has spent the last four decades gracefully transitioning into the Grande Dame of the Melancholy, the High Priestess of Dusky Rock, capable of bridging the chasm between Kurt Weill’s dramatic ballads and the gothy rock of artists like Nick Cave and PJ Harvey. Her deep, complex voice is cuts through the darkness with ease. Her latest, Negative Capability, continues her long string of late-career masterworks. She revisits her breakthrough hit, “As Tears Go By,” but the world-weariness of her voice gives it new depth, and she does the same with Broken English’s “Witches’ Song” but turns it into an almost uplifting folk song. Nick Cave wrote the music for her Midsummer Night’s Dream riff, “The Gypsy Faerie Queen,” and Mark Lanegan did the same for “They Come at Night,” a vehicle for her anger after the Bataclan attack. There are also moments of tenderness (“No Moon at Night”) and vulnerability (“Misunderstanding,” “In My Own Particular Way”) that make it one of her most compelling albums to date. Kory Grow

The Prodigy, No Tourists
Aptly named No Tourists, the latest by the Godfathers of Rave is by no means for genre sightseers, much less the dozens of second-rate imitators who’ve eaten their dust over the years. In the nearly three decades since they first cracked the U.K. mainstream, the Prodigy have doggedly resisted the allure of passing EDM trends, sticking to the breakneck big beat sounds pioneered by producer-songwriter Liam Howlett. And in true Prodigy form, they refuse to dial anything back now: take MC Maxim’s kingly bravado in the high drama track “We Live Forever,” or Keith Flynt’s cyberpunk sermon in “Champions of London.” (“Civil unrest,” spits Flynt, “Crack the bulletproof vest!”) The occasional outsider does manage to elbow into the fray, and to winning results: New Jersey hip-hop crew Ho99o9 features prominently in “Need Some1” as well as the Molotov cocktail of a track, “Fight Fire with Fire”; meanwhile English blues man Barns Courtney lends his prodigious holler to “Give Me a Signal.” As the saying goes, “It ain’t broke, don’t fix it — and in No Tourists, whatever “it” is, the rowdy trio’s got down to a science. Suzy Exposito

Brötzmann/Leigh, Sparrow Nights
Peter Brötzmann has spent more than 50 years repping the aggro fringe of free jazz. But the saxophonist behind famously abrasive Sixties sessions such as Machine Gun has always been a more nuanced player than his reputation as an air-raid-siren screamer would suggest. That’s why Sparrow Nights is a revelation. The 77-year-old German improviser has rarely sounded more vulnerable than he does on this series of studio-recorded duets with American-born pedal-steel guitarist Heather Leigh, his frequent foil in recent years. Whereas many Brötzmann collaborators have engaged him in gladiator-style combat (see another recent release from the saxist’s aptly named power trio Full Blast), Leigh instead emphasizes negative space. Set against her echoey, meditative swirls or harsh, pealing distortion (textures she combines with otherworldly vocals on a new solo album), Brotzmann, playing a bevy of reeds, from bass sax to contra-alto clarinet, often sounds like he’s interacting with the elements. The setting’s sparseness foregrounds the forlorn existential-blues pathos that’s been at the heart of his performances for decades. If Machine Gun was Brötzmann’s steely catharsis, Sparrow Nights is the haunted aftermath. Hank Shteamer

Dead Can Dance, Dionysus
Six years after their brilliant reunion album, Anastasis, Dead Can Dance return with their headiest work to date: a two-act, LP-length meditation on the Greek god of pleasure. This record skews more toward Brendan Perry’s side of the duo, with Lisa Gerrard contributing only the female responses to his music, but it never feels like a Perry solo record. As with all Dead Can Dance records, it’s like an anthropological encyclopedia without any words: orchestral strings play obtuse melodies that split the difference between traditional Mediterranean and Middle Eastern music, percussion instruments stutter and shake in curious ways and both he and Gerrard tap into the most primal, Dionysian parts of their souls for stirring vocals they sing in languages they seem to have divined. Each movement offers a unique interpretation of pagan fervor, making for something akin to a modern soundtrack to ancient rites. Kory Grow

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