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Spoon, Depeche Mode and 13 More New Albums to Hear Right Now

Also, Rick Ross’ ‘Rather You Than Me,’ Gary Clark Jr.’s ‘Live North America 2016’ and Conor Oberst’s ‘Salutations’

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Depeche Mode, Gary Clark Jr. and Spoon all have albums out this week.

Anton Corbijn, Joey Martinez, Zackery Michael

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Spoon, Hot Thoughts
The title track of Hot Thoughts starts like a Kraftwerk tune: electronic drone, metronomic beats and clipped robotic vocals. Then the guitars crash in, and you’re reminded almost no one engineers post-punk propulsion into precision-tuned rock-and-roll melody better than Spoon auteur Britt Daniel. Nearly 25 years in, his group has made maybe their best record yet – a line that been repeated, accurately enough, with most every record they’ve made.
Read Our Review: Spoon Doubles Down on Beat Science on ‘Hot Thoughts’
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Depeche Mode, Spirit
Depeche Mode’s 14th LP offers a bitter, sorrowful elegy for the outside world. Nearly every song on Spirit laments the death of human decency, often in disarmingly beautiful ways (see the fuzzy ballad “Fail,” the forlornly crooned “Poison Heart”).
Read Our Review: Depeche Mode Back In ‘Violator’ Mode on 14th LP ‘Spirit’
Hear: Spotify / Apple Music / Tidal / Amazon Music Unlimited

Conor Oberst

Conor Oberst, Salutations
Coming off a dark night of the soul in the wake of a brain cyst diagnosis, Conor Oberst released the desolate solo Ruminations set last year. Now Salutations remakes that set’s 10 recordings in full band arrangements: “Tachycardia”‘s parlor-room piano is braided with accordion and piercing guitars; the shivering balladry of “Till St. Dymphna Kicks Us Out” – invoking a Lower East Side bar named for the patron saint of the psychologically damaged – gets wrapped in strings and buoying backing vocals. There are seven new songs echoing similar themes, including “Too Late to Fixate,” a wry self-care sing-along (“Tried some bad meditiations/Sittin’ up in the dark,” it begins), and the title track, about the salvation of relationships. Ultimately, the twin LPs are more than just a conceptual display of working process, per Kanye and Kendrick. They also make for a meta-narrative of how we struggle alone, but ultimately need a little help from our friends to survive. Will Hermes
Hear: Spotify / Apple Music / Tidal / Amazon Music Unlimited

Mario Batkovic, Mario Batkovic
Bosnian-born squeezeboxer Mario Batkovic does for the accordion what Colin Stetson does for the sax and James Blackshaw does for the acoustic guitar. He brings the cycling, repetitive pulses of minimalist composers to raw solo performance, creating a sparkling world of hypnotic melodies and resonating sounds. Miked so you can hear the intimate clack of buttons, it’s a stunning marvel of see-sawing melodies and warm wheezes. Christopher R. Weingarten
Hear: Spotify / Apple Music / Tidal / Amazon Music Unlimited

Also of Note:

Rick Ross, Rather You Than Me
The ninth album from mainstream rap’s grandest boastmaster features appearances from Future, Chris Rock and Gucci Mane.
Hear: Spotify / Apple Music / Tidal / Amazon Music Unlimited

Gary Clark Jr., Live North America 2016
Live music is still where guitarist Gary Clark, Jr. is at his most intriguing. On his second live LP, Clark sings classic-sounding soul (“Our Love”), leads swinging R&B rave-ups (“Shake,” featuring Leon Bridges here) and burns up any number of emotive, bluesy guitar solos (“When My Train Pulls In,” “You Saved Me,” “Numb”). Best yet: He’s putting out Live North America with no added studio trickery – it feels all the more live because of it. Kory Grow
Hear: Spotify / Apple Music / Tidal / Amazon Music Unlimited

Pitbull, Climate Change
On his tenth album, Pitbull brings on Robin Thicke, Aerosmith’s Joe Perry and Blink 182 drummer Travis Barker for “Bad Man,” which is like U2’s “Desire” as Miami club thunder, and gives the Soup Dragons’ rave-pop classic “I’m Free” a reggaeton tint on “Freedom.”
Read Our Review: Pitbull Throws Yet Another Huge Party on ‘Climate Change’
Hear: Spotify / Apple Music / Tidal / Amazon Music Unlimited


Obituary, Obituary
During the past 20-plus years, death metal has evolved from ultra-primitive to ultra-proggy, with a sea of five-string basses, triggered kick drums and batshit technicality now dominating a once proudly Neanderthal movement. Thankfully Obituary remain unswayed. The veteran Florida band’s new 10th LP is 35 minutes of raw, riff-y goodness, capitalizing on the same strengths that have propelled their work since their classic 1989 debut, Slowly We Rot: guitarist Trevor Peres and drummer Donald Tardy’s dark, swaggering grooves, and Tardy’s older brother John’s still-potent growl. Lead guitarist Kenny Andrews’ heroic solos add a touch of flash here, but overall, Obituary features the band at their no-nonsense best on tracks such as the thrash-y “Sentence Day” and the hardcore-esque “Straight to Hell.” Evolution isn’t in the Obituary vocabulary, but somehow these self-proclaimed “cavemen of metal” keep getting better at what they do. Hank Shteamer 
Read Our Feature: Obituary Talk Three-Decade Quest for the Perfect ‘Meat-and-Potatoes’ Groove
Hear: Spotify / Apple Music / Tidal / Amazon Music Unlimited

Ben Frost, Music From Fortitude
Iceland-based composer Ben Frost is a modern master of high-volume experimental music, creating bowel-rumbling worlds of digital suffocation. For the soundtrack to Arctic murder investigation series Fortitude, he peels back a layer of color, leaving a tundra-esque nailbiter that’s desolate but no less uneasy. His palette is diverse but always tense – cinematic booms, snowblind static, vintage synths, moans and whispers, and a chilly version of Soft Cell’s “Tainted Love” creaked out by Wildbirds & Peacedrums singer Mariam Wallentin. Christopher R. Weingarten
Hear: Spotify / Apple Music / Tidal / Amazon Music Unlimited

Paul Shaffer & the World’s Most Dangerous Band, Paul Shaffer & the World’s Most Dangerous Band
David Letterman may be retired, but the intrepid band that served him for more than 30 years is rambling on without him with their first album since 1993. Along to help are Dion, Darius Rucker, Bill Murray and more.
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Real Estate, In Mind
In perfect form for springtime – whether it’s spring 1967 or 2017 – the latest from the New Jersey beachcombers is a psychedelic-pop confection. Though it’s the band’s first release since the 2016 departure of founding guitarist Matt Mondanile of Ducktails, successor Julian Lynch continues their sunny trajectory with an earthy, folk-inflected flare. Suzy Exposito
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Anohni, Paradise EP
The six-song companion piece to Anohni’s critically acclaimed 2016 LP Hopelessness.
Hear: Spotify / Apple Music / Tidal / Amazon Music Unlimited

Sorority Noise, You’re Not As _____ As You Think
The Connecticut emo quartet follow up their umbral 2015 breakout album Joy, Departed with a ferocious album crafted with the help of Brand New producer Mike Sapone. Written in the shadow of his close friends’ deaths, frontman Cameron Boucher approaches grief with the roiling gravitas of Bill Callahan on “A Better Sun,” then rebounds with a battering ram on “Disappeared.” Suzy Exposito
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Frances, Things I Never Said
The debut from the British pop singer who critics have compared to Adele and Carole King.
Hear: Spotify / Apple Music / Tidal / Amazon Music Unlimited

Greg Kihn Band, Rekihndled
The first studio album in more than 20 years from the power-pop hitmaker behind “Jeopardy” and “The Break Up Song (They Don’t Write ‘Em).”
Hear: Spotify / Apple Music / Tidal / Amazon Music Unlimited


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