Every Friday, artists drop anticipated albums, surprise singles, and hyped collaborations. As part of New Music Friday, EW’s music team will choose some of the essential new tunes. With new releases from Ed Sheeran, Khalid, Mike Will Made-It, and more, here are the most noteworthy new releases this week.
Ed Sheeran, ÷ (Divide)
Ed Sheeran’s first album in three years, featuring mega-hits “Shape of You” and “Castle on the Hill,” arrived Friday morning with pop songs that house everything from rocking breakup ballads (“Dive”) and tender love songs (“Hearts Don’t Break Around Here”) to The Streets-inflected rap verses (“Eraser”) and a heartbreaking tribute to his grandmother (“Supermarket Flowers”). —Jessica Goodman
Khalid, American Teen
Khalid recently scaled the charts with his song “Location,” an ode to meeting up and talking it out face-to-face in the age of smartphones. His impressive (and aptly titled) debut album features similarly addicting snapchats of teenage life–the boredom, the restlessness, the uncertainty, the nostalgia–anchored by an enticing mix of pop and R&B as well the 19-year-old’s rich, emotive voice. Read EW’s full interview with Khalid here. —Nolan Feeney
Blanck Mass, World Eater
Blanck Mass is the solo project of Benjamin John Power, who comprises one-half of the cacophonous noise duo F— Buttons. And considering that that group hasn’t released an album since 2013’s Slow Focus, World Eater is an admirable stand-in. Power easily mixes concussive, sprawling, electronic soundscapes (“Rhesus Negative”) with glitchy IDM (“Please”) that would slot seamlessly on Aphex Twin’s early masterpieces. When he fuses those sounds with faintest hint of synth-pop on “Minnesota / Eas Fors / Naked,” the result is extraordinary. —Eric Renner Brown
A Thousand Horses, “Preachin’ To The Choir”
ATH’s 2015 debut, the raucous, Dave Cobb-produced Southernality, sweat beer and confidence. That stomp has only gotten louder in the last two years. The first taste of their upcoming second album bursts with attitude and saucy wordplay. —Madison Vain
Mike Will Made-It ft. Migos, 21 Savage, YG, “Gucci On My”
Powerhouse beatsmith Mike Will Made-It (“Black Beatles,” “Formation”) reintroduces himself with “Gucci On My,” published under his own moniker and featuring rising hip-hop acts Migos, 21 Savage, and YG. The lurching instrumental recalls Mike Will’s best work — and hints at a promising year for one of pop music’s most influential figures. —E.R.B.
Alex G, “Witch”
Like Cat Seat Headrest, Alex G accumulated a cult following by distributing his voluminous, DIY catalog on Bandcamp. But his career received a massive boost last year, when he contributed his slinky six-string acrobatics to Frank Ocean’s two albums, Blonde and Endless. The mystical “Witch” — one of two new tracks the young singer-songwriter shared upon announcing his new album, Rocket, this week, follows in a lineage of hypnotic indie-rock that recalls Deerhunter and Sung Tongs-era Animal Collective. —E.R.B.
Maggie Lindemann, “Pretty Girl” (Cheat Codes Remix)
The 18-year-old alt-pop artist’s anthemic tell-off gets a burbling update thanks to DJ trio Cheat Codes. Both acts reside in LA and this song begs for a cruise along the coast. —M.V.
The Juan Maclean, “Can You Ever Really Know Somebody”
The DJ John MacLean (who goes by the moniker The Juan MacLean) has long relied on LCD Soundsystem’s singer-keyboardist Nancy Whang for some of the last two decade’s most dazzling dance-floor odysseys, including 2013’s “Feel Like Movin'” and 2008’s “Happy House.” The duo are at it once again on “Can You Ever Really Know Somebody,” a nearly six-minute blast of serrated synth melodies and deep-house grooves. —Kevin O’Donnell
Wavves, “You’re Welcome”
Since launching Wavves nearly a decade ago, Nathan Williams has explored sounds from lo-fi surf-rock (2010’s King of the Beach) to glossy, Offspring-esque pop-punk (2013’s Afraid of Heights). The fresh title track off You’re Welcome, due in May, hews closer to the former: crunchy guitars, a ramshackle beat, and Williams’ petulant vocals coalesce for a jam that’ll sound best driving to the beach with the windows down come summer. —E.R.B.